Category Archives: History

Video of Anne Frank Surfaces on YouTube

Anne Frank: the only existing film images (0:09-0:14):

July 22 1941. The girl next door is getting married. Anne Frank is leaning out of the window of her house in Amsterdam to get a good look at the bride and groom. It is the only time Anne Frank has ever been captured on film. At the time of her wedding, the bride lived on the second floor at Merwedeplein 39. The Frank family lived at number 37, also on the second floor. The Anne Frank House can offer you this film footage thanks to the cooperation of the couple.

More at Mashable.

Laziness in reporting – what’s new?

You may have heard about a recent Wikipedia hoax:

A WIKIPEDIA hoax by a 22-year-old Dublin student resulted in a fake quote being published in newspaper obituaries around the world.
The quote was attributed to French composer Maurice Jarre who died at the end of March.
It was posted on the online encyclopedia shortly after his death and later appeared in obituaries published in the Guardian, the London Independent, on the BBC Music Magazine website and in Indian and Australian newspapers

Yup. Journalists check their sources carefully. Especially the despised untrustworthy Wikipedia, only a notch above the unruly mobs of bloggers.
But that’s not new.
Back in 1899, there was no Wikipedia, but there were Dictionaries. Trustworthy. Except when they are not. Pwnd.

Happy birthday Samuel Morse

Thanks to Google, we know that today is the birthday of the first Twitterer:
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Why Study Science? (1955)

Thanks to reader Paul for this tip – what an amazing piece of history: an instructional movie from the Sputnik Era, explaining why one should study science. Many of the arguments have not changed since then, though the details of sciences and technologies used in the film are very different. The role of women is, well, so 1950s….

Found on Prelinger Archives (more information in the comments) and A/V Geeks:

Family on last night of vacation speaks of stars & then of how study of science can help son & daughter make intelligent decisions on problems confronting them in world. Narrator specifies many of opportunities science presents in professions.

We can write dozens of blog posts just analyzing this movie or using it as a starting point ;-)

Why Gandalf Never Married?

1985 talk by Terry Pratchett:

….One may look in vain for similar widespread evidence of wizards. In addition to the double handful of doubtful practitioners mentioned above, half of whom are more readily identifiable as alchemists or windbags, all I could come up with was some vaguely masonic cults, like the Horseman’s Word in East Anglia. Not much for Gandalf in there.
Now you can take the view that of course this is the case, because if there is a dirty end of the stick then women will get it. Anything done by women is automatically downgraded. This is the view widely held — well, widely held by my wife every since she started going to consciousness-raising group meetings — who tells me it’s ridiculous to speculate on the topic because the answer is so obvious. Magic, according to this theory, is something that only men can be really good at, and therefore any attempt by women to trespass on the sacred turf must be rigorously stamped out. Women are regarded by men as the second sex, and their magic is therefore automatically inferior. There’s also a lot of stuff about man’s natural fear of a woman with power; witches were poor women seeking one of the few routes to power open to them, and men fought back with torture, fire and ridicule.
I’d like to know that this is all it really is. But the fact is that the consensus fantasy universe has picked up the idea and maintains it. I incline to a different view, if only to keep the argument going, that the whole thing is a lot more metaphorical than that. The sex of the magic practitioner doesn’t really enter into it. The classical wizard, I suggest, represents the ideal of magic — everything that we hope we would be, if we had the power. The classical witch, on the other hand, with her often malevolent interest in the small beer of human affairs, is everything we fear only too well that we would in fact become.
Oh well, it won’t win me a PhD. I suspect that via the insidious medium of picture books for children the wizards will continue to practice their high magic and the witches will perform their evil, bad-tempered spells. It’s going to be a long time before there’s room for equal rites.

Hat-tip

World’s Biggest Diamond Heist

Joshua Davis wrote an amazing article for Wired – The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist – about the biggest successful bank robbery in history: how was it accomplished, why the perpetrators got caught in the end, and how come nobody still knows all the details (including the Big Question: where on Earth is all that loot today?). He interviews some of the key people in the story as well, with proper caveats about their trustworthiness. A masterful example of good journalism and a riveting read. The Obligatory Reading Of The Day.

Happy Birthday Dr.Seuss – from Google

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