So, on the one hand, it’s important to recognise that the Olympian pantheon as we know it is, in large part, an invention of artists and philosophers, and there’s strong evidence that it bears very little resemblance to what ancient Greek religion looked like in practice.
One of my favourite bits of ancient mythology is that we know Gilgamesh, King of Uruk was reputedly one-third human and two-thirds god, but none of the stories of his parentage or genealogy have survived to the present day, so we’re just stuck wondering how the heck you get one-third out of a family tree until the end of time.
When I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.
Researchers analyzing 250-year-old fossils found evidence that this pig-sized mammal relation, a genus called Lystrosaurus, hibernated. Normally fossils don’t tell us much about metabolism rate shifts that are evidence of hibernation. But the Lystrosaurus has tusks that grow continuously. Like tree rings, the tusks give a record of the animal’s activity.
A comparison of cross-sections of tusks from six Antarctic Lystrosaurus and cross-sections of tusks from four Lystrosaurus from South Africa showed periods of less growth and greater stress that were exclusive to the Antarctica samples. The distinct periods match up with what modern hibernating animals go through today. It also matches where the animals lived: living in Antarctica, hibernation makes sense as a way to handle extreme seasonal weather. Turns out hibernation is a very, very old adaptation
“When I was about twenty, I contracted a mania for gambling. We played for very high stakes; and more than one of my companions gambled away the full value of his home. My luck was generally bad, but on one occasion I won everything in sight. Still I was not satisfied, but must go on with the play. I lent my companions money so that we might continue, and before we left the table I had lost all that I had won and was in debt.
"My parents were greatly worried by my gambling habits. My father especially was stern and often expressed his contempt at my wanton waste of time and money. However, I never would promise him to give up gambling, but instead defended myself with a bad philosophy that is very common. I told him that, of course, I could stop whenever I pleased, but that it was not worth while to give up gambling because the pleasure was more to me than the joys of Paradise.
"My mother understood human nature better and never chided. She knew that a man cannot be saved from his own foolishness or vice by someone else’s efforts or protests, but only by the use of his own will. One afternoon, when I had lost all my money, but still was craving to play, she came to me with a roll of bills in her hand — a large sum of money for those times and conditions — and said, “Here, Niko. Take these. They’re all I have. But the sooner you lose everything we own, the better it will be. Then I know you will get over this.”
"She kissed me.
"So blinded was I by my passion that I took the money, gambled the whole night, and lost everything, as usual. It was morning when I emerged from the den, and I went on a long walk through sunlit woods pondering my utter folly. The sight of nature had brought me to my senses, and my mother’s act and faith came vividly to mind. Before I left the woods, I had conquered this passion. I went home to my mother and told her I never would gamble again. And there never has been the slightest danger of my breaking the promise.”
“Making Your Imagination Work For You.” By M. K. Wisehart. American Magazine, April, 1921.
i learned that during the American Revolution, an enslaved man was charged with treason and sentenced to hang. He argued that as a slave, he was not a citizen and could not commit treason against a government to which he owed no allegiance. He was subsequently pardoned (x)
Though really, a lot of a certain type of liberal historiography gets kind of awkward when it comes to the fact there’s usually at minimum several decades where all the historical proponents of the most banal liberal beliefs (”racial equality is good”, “women should have rights”, “child labor is maybe no a great thing”, etc) were exclusively different shades of communists and anarchists.
A 1,200-year-old soap factory has been unearthed in the Negev Desert by a team of Israel Antiquities Authority researchers, with the assistance of local high school students. The pillared building was in use during the time when the Abbasids controlled the area.
Based on the archaeological remains, it appears that hard cakes of soap was made from olive oil and saltwort, using a rather complicated process. First, the liquid mixture was cooked for about seven days, and was then transferred to a shallow pool, where the soap hardened for another ten days, until it could be cut into bars, which dried for another two months. So much soap could have been produced at the site that it was probably exported to Egypt and other parts of the Arab world.
Yūichirō Miura became the first person to ski on Mount Everest on May 6, 1970. He climbed up to the South Col (elevation over 26,000 feet) then skiied down nearly 4,200 vertical feet. The 1975 documentary about Miura won the Oscar for best documentary.
But Miura didn’t stop there – among other things he was the first to ski Mt Fuji, and the oldest to summit Everest at 70 in 2003. A record broken by himself 10 years later.
The invention of “teenager” as an age group is wild, it’s like arriving at an entirely new category just because having an automobile fucks so bad. It used to be “kids” and “adults” and then the car came along and teens were like “Now I Hate Authority, Love Loud Music, and Am Horny. Time to be my own thing.”
The car invented a totally new type of group-based culture and it’s bonkers.