Many of our everyday practices have surprising origins. For example, the idea of serving a three-course meal — soup, main dish, and dessert — is actually credited to a Persian (some say Arab or Kurd) known to history as Ziryab. His full name is Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi, and he was an educated North
Category Archives: Historical
If you are running a business, you would want to closely track your assets. How can you improve productivity? How can you increase an asset’s value? At what point does the cost of maintenance exceed the return? These are all important questions. Now, what if these assets you are tracking are people? Or, more accurately,
From The-Best-Man-For-The-Job-Might-Be-A-Woman Department : Archaeologists had always thought they had found the ideal Viking male warrior’s grave in southeastern Sweden. There were swords, arrowheads, and two sacrificed horses, so the interred must be a man, right? Then Stockholm University bioarchaeologist Anna Kjellström closely examined the warrior’s pelvic bones and mandible. To her, they seemed feminine. When none
Here’s something to think about during this Memorial Day weekend. In 1877, the first black man graduated the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1940, the Army promoted a black to the rank of general. But the U.S. Navy was more bound to tradition. At the beginning of World War II, African Americans
It’s not unusual to regret one’s actions; in my life, it’s a semi-regular occurrence. But how many people actually come to regret their inventions? You might be surprised. One invention we’d all be better off without is the atomic bomb. Two of the principal figures in its creation were Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
We can’t ignore this one. This is thought to be Shakespeare’s birthday, although no one know for sure. The Writer’s Almanac for today (April 23, 2020, https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-writers-almanac?) has an excellent summary of his life, better than anything I could write, so I’m just going to copy it here. “It’s the assumed birthday of William Shakespeare (books by this
Perhaps it’s appropriate at this time to note that April 5 was the birthday of Joseph Lister, considered the father of antiseptic medicine. Lister was born in 1827 in Upton, England. He graduated with honors from University College in London in 1852 and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and house surgeon
Since reading is such a safe quarantine pastime, who would you think was the world’s first known author? So far as we know now, our first credited author was Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BCE in Mesopotamia. According to the archaeological evidence, she was remarkable figure: a princess, a priestess and
In an era when Nationalism appears to be the ascending political philosophy, I ran across what I think is a good example of how international cooperation can make a small but meaningful difference in our lives. This is an entry in the March 27 issue of The Writer’s Almanac — On this day in 1912, President
The more I study history, the more I realize how much important information never appears in most textbooks. For example, the role of women. I’ve just stumbled across the story of Lise Meitner, who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1878. She was the second woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Vienna.