Category Archives: History

Happy birthday, Sinclair Lewis

From today’s Quotes Of The Day

Sinclair Lewis was born at Sauk Centre, Minnesota on this day in 1885. He was an avid and somewhat romantic reader as a boy, he attempted to run away from home at age thirteen to be a drummer boy in the Spanish-American War. He graduated from Yale in 1908 and set to work writing romantic poems and stories. He was awarded, but refused, a Pulitzer in 1926. He was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, a prize he accepted. The Nobel Committee praised “his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”, but at least four of his novels were banned at various times.

There are two insults no human being will endure: that he has no sense of humor, and that he has never known trouble.
He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.
The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying, “The trouble with this country is…”
When audiences come to see us authors lecture, it is largely in the hope that we’ll be funnier to look at than to read.
When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.

– All from Sinclair Lewis, 1885 – 1951

Help Fund The Beagle Project – and have fun doing it!

I first saw about this on Pharyngula the other day and I think it is a majestic idea! A group of Brits are trying to build a replica of HMS “Beagle” and, on the Darwin Bicentennial in 2009, sail around the world following the exact path Charles Darwin made on his historic voyage. Have scientists, journalists and, yes, bloggers, on board who will do research, take pictures and videos, and write their ship-logs for everyone to read (if a ship-log is on a blog, is it called shlog?). Stop at every port and promote evolution!
Most definitely take your time to check out their website and blog to learn more about the project.
They’ll have wi-fi on the ship. They intend to have webcams on board as well. Oh, how I wish I could be on board! You can just imagine what kind of mad blogging I’d do! Any sponsors out there?
I wonder how long the trip would last? After all, the original Beagle took a lot of time mapping the coast of South America and exploring the inland areas in multi-day and sometimes multi-week parties. The new Beagle does not need to do that and can probably cut the total sailing time down to a year or even less.
But such a big project requires money! A lot of it – $6 million! And this is where you can help. Miss Prism, PZ Myers, Adam Turinas and others are coming up with creative ways to urge their blog-readers to donate to this worthy project. You should do the same on your blog!
Since, unlike MissPrism, I cannot knit, and I am not rich, how can I help? Perhaps I can urge you all to donate and, if you are interested, you can forward me the payment-confirmation e-mail (you don’t have to, of course). I will not reveal your name and link on my blog (unless you insist), but will post every day over the next ten days to reveal what the highest donation was to date. At the end of a ten-day period, I will contact the person who donated the most (to ask for permission to use the name and link and to give me the snail-mail address) and send that person a copy of The Open Laboratory. That’s probably the only thing of value I have and can give!
So, start donating now! And spread the word!

Good and Bad History

Carnival of Bad History #12 is up on Axis of Evel Knievel
Carnivalesque #22 – the Early Modern edition – is up on Scribblingwoman.

If only people read the Bible the way they read their contracts…

If only people read the Bible the way they read their contracts...So, why do Creationists and other quacks try so hard to sound all ‘scienc-y’? (June 15, 2005)

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History Blogging of the fortnight

The History Carnival’s Annual Happy Holidays Party (as Reported by an Ignorant, Belligerent Lush) is up on Acephalous.

Quotes of the Day – the Nobel Prize edition

From QOTD:

The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel died at San Remo, Italy on this day in 1896. Under the terms of his will, his estate was arranged so as to grant prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine or Physiology, Literature, and Peace, these five prizes were first awarded on the fifth anniversary of his death. In 1969 the Bank of Sweden joined the festivities and established a prize for Economics that is awarded at the same ceremony, erroneously called the Nobel Prize for Economics. The prize for Peace is awarded at the Oslo City Hall in the capital of Norway, the others are awarded at the Stockholm Concert Hall. They are always presented on the 10th of December, although the winners are generally announced a couple of weeks ahead of time. Here, then, some thoughts on Prizes.
Do not trust your memory, it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.
Georges Duhamel
The world is made of people who never quite get onto the first team and who just miss the prizes at the flower show.
Jacob Bronowski, 1908 – 1974
Of life’s two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a laborer’s hand.
Kahlil Gibran, 1883 – 1931
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882
The virtue lies in the struggle, not in the prize.
Richard Monckton Milnes, 1809 – 1885
He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.
William James, 1842 – 1910

Who Won The World War II?

Who Won The World War II?This post (from May 10, 2005) was deliberately written to provoke, by asserting that the “victors write history” rule gets into trouble when there are too many victors writing too many histories. Thus, it was written deliberately as an opposite extreme to what kids learn in school in the USA, as well as a report on what many Europeans think and say over beer in a bar (I have heard it many times), not a report of yet another “Truth” that I actually believe in. So, I also re-posted the comments and hope that some real WWII experts chime in this time around (Orac? Archy?) and straighten-up the myths.

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Happy birthday, Jonathan Swift

From today’s Quotes Of The Day:

Jonathan Swift was born at Dublin, Ireland on this day in 1667, seven months after his father’s death, and was raised primarily by an uncle. He received his B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin but political events forced him to England before completing his Masters. He became secretary to an English diplomat, and spent most of his life serving as a political liaison of sorts, although he was also a priest of the Church of Ireland and was, on at least a couple of occasions, a parish priest. We know him as possible the greatest satirist in the English language, which is remarkable because none of his works were published under his own name during his life.
A man should never be ashamed to own up when he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
A wise man should have money in his head, not in his heart.
I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.
When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.

– All from Jonathan Swift, 1667 – 1745

History Blogging of the fortnight

History Carnival XLIII is up on Axis of Evel Knievel

History Blogging of the fortnight

The History Carnival XLII is up on Holocaust Controversies.

Some very, very bad history….

Carnival of Bad History #10 is up on Archy.

History blogging of the week

History Carnival #41 is up at ClioWeb.

Atlantis, lost and found, again

John bemoans the state of science journalism, with some added history of the Atlantis hypothesis.

The March Of Nazi Penguins*

Amazing history lesson from Archy: Nazis in Antarctica.
* title totally stolen from Mustang Bobby, as there is no possible improvement on it.