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Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday links

Scots, wha hae - Happy Burns Day! Here's a bio of Scotland's "prince of poets" Robert Burns, plus Braveheart, Burns Supper instructions,and lots of haggis.

How a Group of Bootleggers Created NASCAR.

Identical twins send samples to 5 DNA ancestry companies, get some odd results.

This weekend - January 26th is Australia Day, and on January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz.

A surprising number of people have operated on themselves.

My new favorite conspiracy theory.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include kite-drawn carriages from 1822, the history of the master bathroom, milking scorpions by hand, and a Bill of Mortality showing the deaths in London for the week of Aug 15 - 22, 1665.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

January 26 is Australia Day

We're built, as a nation, on the grounds of a concentration camp. It's like saying, "OK, here's Auschwitz. Here's where we'll start our country.

~ Peter Carey (b.1943) (of Australia, City Limits, London, 1 April 1988) 

An interesting change of heart in these next two quotes: 

I have been disappointed in all my experiences of Australia, except as to its wickedness; for it is far more wicked than I have conceived it possible for any place to be, or than it is possible for me to describe to you in England. 

~ Henry Parkes (wiki) (1815-1896) (letter, 1 May 1840, later published in An Emigrant's Home Letters

With our splendid harbor, our beautifully situated city, our vast territories, all our varied and inexhaustible natural wealth, if we don't convert our colony into a great and prosperous nation, it will be a miracle of error for which we shall have to answer as for a gigantic sin. 

~ Parkes* (speech, Melbourne, 16 March 1867) 

In the weltering hell of the Moorooroo plain 
The Yatala Wangary withers and dies,
And the Worrow Wanilla, demented with pain,
To the Woolgoolga woodlands despairingly flies ...

Mark Twain (1835-1910) (Following the Equator, Ch. 36, "A Sweltering Din - Australia", stanza. 7**) 

Governor Arthur Phillip hoists the British flag
over the new colony at Sydney in 1788.
Today is Australia Day (wiki), the anniversary of the date in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip led a fleet of convict ships into Sydney Cove and initiated the establishment of New South Wales, Australia, as a penal colony.*** By the mid-19th century, free immigration had replaced the transportation of convicts in populating the country, and a half dozen other colonies were established there, leading to a final federation as the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. British involvement in Australian affairs was formally abolished in 1986, and in many ways, the modern nation more resembles the United States than any other in the world. 

* N.B. Australian statesman Henry Parkes was instrumental in welding the independent colonies of that sub-continent into a single nation. 

** Twain's poem, of which this is only one of about ten stanzas, was written in 1897 and is based entirely on real Australian place names. 

*** It was the independence of the United States that forced the English to find an alternative destination for the "transportation" of criminals. 

Here's a brief video on Australia Day:

Australia's well-known, but unofficial, national song: 

Related post:

April 25th is ANZAC Day - the Battle of Gallipoli was 100 years ago

Thursday links

This Bill of Mortality shows the death tally of all city parishes in London for the week of Aug 15 - 22, 1665. The Plague is the number 1 cause of death, followed by various fevers, consumption, and Griping in the Guts.

From 1822 - Kite-Drawn Carriages.

A short history of the master bathroom.

Scorpions are almost always milked by hand, which is why their venom is worth $39 million per gallon.

How Much Money Do You Save by Cooking at Home?

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include Stonewall Jackson's birthday (and his left arm's separate grave),  how duct tape is made, life in ancient Mongolia, Britain's worst ice skating accident,(which left 41 dead), and that time the doctors pumped 15 cans of beer into a patient's body.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

PSAs on movie theater etiquette from 100 years ago

These lantern slides on silent movie theatre etiquette from the 1910s show that inconsiderate audience members have existed since the dawn of cinema. 
Most early movie theaters had only one projector so “etiquette slides” were used to divert the audience while reels were being changed. These glass slides often featured lighthearted instructions for proper behavior while viewing a film.

I don't get this one - what else would you use?

From Old Hollywood, via Boing Boing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

This Bill of Mortality shows the death tally of all city parishes in London for the week of Aug 15 - 22, 1665

What the heck is Griping in the Guts, you ask?  Check out the link.

In 16th- and 17th-century London, in response to recurrent epidemics of bubonic plague, authorities instituted the tradition of publishing a bill of mortality each week. This page represents the death tally of all city parishes for the week of Aug. 15-22, 1665, when the plague had infected 96 of the 130 parishes reporting.

In his book Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects, Neil MacGregor writes that the bills cost about a penny, and were published in large print runs. The other side of the bills contained information on deaths broken down parish by parish.

The Wellcome Library in London has made more than 100,000 of its medical-history images available for hi-res download under a CC-BY license. Among the images now freely available are a handful of bills of mortality from 1664 and 1665. Visit their Images page and search “bills of mortality” to see. And historian Craig Spence runs a blog exploring violent deaths in the bills of mortality, which is a great browse.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday links

January 21 is Stonewall Jackson's birthday - his left arm has a separate grave. Also, French King Louis XVI was guillotined on January 21, 1793 - here's Allan Sherman.

Britain's worst ice skating accident, which left 41 dead, occurred on January 16, 1867, at Regent's Park in London.

How is duct tape made and why is it so strong?

What Life Was Like for Ancient Mongolians.

Doctors saved a man's life by pumping 15 cans of beer into his body.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include the science of mucus, how your brain creates dreams, why humans lost their fur, and Ben Franklin's birthday (including his 200+ synonyms for drunk and the bodies found in his basement,).