history,

2

March 24th 1944: The ‘Great Escape’

On this day in 1944, a group of Allied prisoners of war staged a daring escape attempt from the German prisoner of war camp at Stalag Luft III. This camp, located in what is now Poland, held captured Allied pilots mostly from Britain and the United States. In 1943, an Escape Committee under the leadership of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell of the RAF, supervised prisoners surreptitiously digging three 30 foot tunnels out of the camp, which they nicknamed ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’. The tunnels led to woods beyond the camp and were remarkably sophisticated - lined with wood, and equipped with rudimentary ventilation and electric lighting. The successful construction of the tunnels was particularly impressive as the Stalag Luft III camp was designed to make it extremely difficult to tunnel out as the barracks were raised and the area had a sandy subsoil. ‘Tom’ was discovered by the Germans in September 1943, and ‘Dick’ was abandoned to be used as a dirt depository, leaving ‘Harry’ as the prisoners’ only hope. By the time of the escape, American prisoners who had assisted in tunneling had been relocated to a different compound, making the escapeees mostly British and Commonwealth citizens. 200 airmen had planned to make their escape through the ‘Harry’ tunnel, but on the night of March 24th 1944, only 76 managed to escape the camp before they were discovered by the guards. However, only three of the escapees - Norwegians Per Bergsland and Jens Müller and Dutchman Bram van der Stok - found their freedom. The remaining 73 were recaptured, and 50 of them, including Bushell, were executed by the Gestapo on Adolf Hitler’s orders, while the rest were sent to other camps. While the escape was generally a failure, it helped boost morale among prisoners of war, and has become enshrined in popular memory due to its fictionalised depiction in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

“Three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick, and Harry. One will succeed!”
- Roger Bushell

2

Viking Twisted Silver Torc, 8th-11th Century AD

Vikings hoarded precious metals, especially silver, to a great degree; for example, in Viking Scotland alone, there are thirty-one Viking age hoards containing silver - and those are just the ones we know about - while Viking Ireland has nearly double that! Silver necklaces of all sizes were often included in hoards, and functioned as a wearable form of currency.

anonymous asked:

I once discussed with some rightwinged people about ethnicity. And they said that blacks were a "subhuman" race because they are "obviously" less intelligent than other ethnic groups and that they never invented something or had a culture as Europeans or Persian cultures. But I honestly didn't have a good answer. Do you have some resources on why blacks haven't made such things in comparison to other ethnic groups?

I’m not going to pretend that I’m surprised or shocked to hear this because I, too, live in America, and have encountered this from Conservative Republicans aka Conservative Christians aka Evangelicals aka oblivious racists who claim they aren’t racist because they either have a black friend or have / “know” (talk to, from time to time) some black people in their lives (who have absolutely no idea how racist they are because the don’t actually “know” them, they simply hold basic, watered-down conversations with no substance that allows said white person to be chummy without actually divulging anything about themselves. That being said… 

Point any racist but “totally not racist” people to the ‘List of African-American inventors and scientists’ on Wikipedia; The Black inventor Online Museum because that’s a thing; and I also recommend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s beautiful and enlightening kid-friendly book ‘What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors’ (image below): 

Share with them the ‘History of science and technology in Africa’ on Wikipedia; and for those you encounter who know that there are such things as libraries and museums but can’t seem to you know, make an effort to actually visit them, there’s a resource for that provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services called, appropriately, ‘The Digital Public Library of America’ which permits you to look up local libraries nearest you via address or zip code.

Find Your Library (alternative sources here, here, and here)

Below are some recommended educational programs I highly recommend as well, for the “visual learner”….

FIRST PEOPLES (PBS)

See how the mixing of prehistoric human genes led the way for our species to survive and thrive around the globe. Archaeology, genetics and anthropology cast new light on 200,000 years of history, detailing how early humans became dominant. 

Review here.

BECOMING HUMAN (NOVA)

Nothing is more fascinating to us than, well, us. Where did we come from? What makes us human? An explosion of recent discoveries sheds light on these questions, and NOVA’s comprehensive, three-part special, “Becoming Human,” examines what the latest scientific research reveals about our hominid relatives—putting together the pieces of our human past and transforming our understanding of our earliest ancestors.

Featuring interviews with world-renowned scientists, each hour unfolds with a CSI-like forensic investigation into the life and death of a specific hominid ancestor. The programs were shot “in the trenches” where discoveries were unearthed throughout Africa and Europe. Dry bones spring back to life with stunning computer-generated animation and prosthetics. Fossils not only give us clues to what early hominids looked like, but, with the aid of ingenious new lab techniques, how they lived and how we became the creative, thinking humans of today.

Review here.

THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN JOURNEY (BBC)

A five-episode, 300 minute, science documentary film presented by Alice Roberts, based on her related book. The film was first broadcast on BBC television in May and June 2009 in the UK. It explains the evidence for the theory of early human migrations out of Africa and subsequently around the world, supporting the Out of Africa Theory. This theory claims that all modern humans are descended from anatomically modern African Homo sapiens rather than from the more archaic European and Middle Eastern Homo neanderthalensis or the indigenous Chinese Homo pekinensis, and that the modern African Homo sapiens did not interbreed with the other species of genus Homo. Each episode concerns a different continent, and the series features scenes filmed on location in each of the continents featured.

Related review of Alice Roberts’ book by the same name of which this program was adapted, here.

ORIGINS OF US (BBC)

Science series telling the story of human evolution through changes in human anatomy, examining how the human body has adapted through seven million years of evolution.

PREHISTORIC AUTOPSY (BBC)

A journey into our evolutionary past, piecing together the bodies of our prehistoric family, discussing the remains of early hominins such as Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus afarensis.

‘CHILDREN OF AFRICA (THE STORY OF US)’ (melodysheep)

With referenced material from BBC Incredible Human Journey, BBC Ascent of Man, BBC Life of Mammals, BBC Human Planet, BBC Walking With Cavemen, and excerpts from various lectures, ‘Children of Africa’ is a musical celebration of humanity, its origins, and achievements, contrasted with a somber look at our environmentally destructive tendencies and deep similarities with other primates. Featuring Jacob Bronowski, Alice Roberts, Carolyn Porco, Jane Goodall, Robert Sapolsky, Neil deGrasse Tyson and David Attenborough.


ORIGINS: THE JOURNEY OF HUMANKIND (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC)

Hosted by Jason Silva, Origins: The Journey of Humankind rewinds all the way back to the beginning and traces the innovations that made us modern.

Related interview/reviews here, here, here, and here.

‘ORIGINS’ ANNOUNCEMENT TRAILER PRODUCED BY MELODYSHEEP


Of course, I could go on and on and on referencing various resources to provide people who have unintentionally “inherited” this perspective or who are stuck in a feedback loop within their echo chamber of ignorance, but let’s be honest, the only thing that can actually influence impactful change into a racist person’s mind is the will to self educate, and personal human experience obtained from intimate conversation with diverse ethnicities and cultures. I do hope this helps.

2

Roman Glass Evil Eye Beads, 1st-3rd Century AD or Earlier

Imagery of the Evil Eye was first recorded by the Mesopotamians approximately 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets. Some scholars believe that it may actually have originated as early as the Upper Paleolithic Age. Evil Eye iconography has been found in Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures as well as Buddhist and Hindu societies; however, each culture ascribes a similar meaning to it. The evil eye is believed to be a curse cast by a malevolent glare that is typically directed at a person who is unsuspecting and unaware. Many cultures believe that the evil eye can bring about misfortune, injury, or bad luck. For this reason, talismans and beads like these traditionally have been created to protect the wearer against the evil eye given their powerful apotropaic properties against the evil eye.