Bookmarked Africa’s Lost Kingdoms (The New York Review of Books)

It may remain a little-known fact, but Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Some remarkable new books make this case in scholarly but accessible terms, and they admirably complicate our understanding of Africa’s past and present.

Howard French’s dive into Africa’s complex past is a reminder that history is always more complicated than we may want it to be.
Liked 17 Equations That Changed the World

One of the masters of writing mathematician Ian Stewart wrote about 17 equations that he believes have changed the world. In his book, In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World, he discusses each equation in an engaging and practical manner, and he gives a number of illustrations of how those equations have and are impacting our lives.

Replied to Indiana Bones, the Melbourne archaeology students and the fossil ‘jigsaw puzzle’ that wowed the world (The Age)

After painstakingly gluing together more than 100 fossil fragments, Angeline Leece and Jesse Martin stood back and gazed in awe. What they saw would rewrite humanity’s family tree.

The length in time associated with discoveries and the associated research makes has me wonder about the challenge of the move away from tenure and how universities maintain such work.
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Thank you for the Aztec tip. it made me wonder about the interpretation evidence and how every generation has its translations. As Walter Benjamin explains in The Task of the Translator.

Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point, with this touch rather than with the point setting the law according to which it is to continue on its straight path to infinity, a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course according to the laws of fidelity in the freedom of linguistic flux.

Listened BBC Radio 4 – In Our Time, Frederick Douglass from BBC

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Celeste-Marie Bernier
Interviewed Guest Karen Salt
Interviewed Guest Nicholas Guyatt
Producer Simon Tillotson

An important discussion about slavery with an extensive reading list too.
Liked The Very Drugged Nazis (The New York Review of Books)

Nazi ideology demanded purity of body, blood, and mind. Adolf Hitler was portrayed as a vegetarian teetotaler who would allow nothing to corrupt him. Drugs were depicted as part of a Jewish plot to poison and weaken the nation—Jews were said to “play a supreme part” in the international drug trade—and yet nobody became more dependent on cocktails of drugs than Hitler, and no armed forces did more to enhance their troops’ performance than the Wehrmacht did by using a version of methamphetamine.

Liked How apocalyptic is now? – UnHerd (UnHerd)

Actually history is repeatedly punctuated by discontinuities in which what was gained is irrecoverably lost. Whether because of war or revolution, famine or epidemic — or a deadly combination, as in the Russian Civil War — the sudden death of ways of life is a regular occurrence. Certainly there are periods of incremental improvement, but they rarely last longer than two or three generations. Progress occurs in interludes when history is idling.

Watched

Kristen Bell and Jimmy perform a live mashup of some of the best Disney sing-along tunes of all time, including “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2.

Full list of songs featured below:

  • When You Wish Upon a Star
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Heigh Ho
  • Bear Necessities
  • Under the Sea
  • A Part of Your World
  • Whole New World
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • Circle of Life/ Nants’ Ingonyama (intro)
  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight
  • Colors of the Wind
  • Do You Want to Build a Snowman
  • You’ve Got a Friend in Me
  • Remember Me
  • How Far I’ll Go
  • Into the Unknown
  • Let It Go
Bookmarked Educational Crises and Ed-Tech: A History (Hack Education)

I want us to think about what it means for education technology — in this crisis or any “crisis” — to permeate people’s homes. Education technology has been offered by its funders as the solution to educational crises for a century now. Look where that’s got us.

Audrey Watters discusses the history of radio and television responses to past crises.
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It is probably fair to say, then, that Mao was responsible for about 1.5 million deaths during the Cultural Revolution, another million for the other campaigns, and between 35 million and 45 million for the Great Leap Famine. Taking a middle number for the famine, 40 million, that’s about 42.5 million deaths.(sourcesource)

Quote from Ian Johnson in New York Review of Books post ‘Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?’. I think that ‘Chairman Andrews’ has got a bit of a way to go to reach those numbers?

Bookmarked How some cities ‘flattened the curve’ during the 1918 flu pandemic

Social distancing isn’t a new idea—it saved thousands of American lives during the last great pandemic. Here’s how it worked.

Nina Strochlic and Riley Champine discuss responses in America to the Spanish Flu. They highlight the importance of social distancing:

Of course, getting citizens to comply with such orders is another story: In 1918, a San Francisco health officer shot three people when one refused to wear a mandatory face mask. In Arizona, police handed out $10 fines for those caught without the protective gear. But eventually, the most drastic and sweeping measures paid off. After implementing a multitude of strict closures and controls on public gatherings, St. Louis, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Kansas City responded fastest and most effectively: Interventions there were credited with cutting transmission rates by 30 to 50 percent. New York City, which reacted earliest to the crisis with mandatory quarantines and staggered business hours, experienced the lowest death rate on the Eastern seaboard.

The authors also highlighted the need to sustain this for an extended period of time as “relaxing intervention measures too early could cause an otherwise stabilized city to relapse.”

Liked Visualizing the History of Pandemics (Visual Capitalist)

The history of pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) event, ranked by their impact on human life.,The history of pandemics, from the Antonine Plague to the ongoing COVID-19 event, ranked by their impact on human life.

via Jason Kottke
Bookmarked Resources for Teachers (A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry)

This one is Resources for Teachers. I’ve been absolutely delighted to hear that some of the material I put up here has been useful for teachers in either designing lesson plans or even as readings or additional resources. So I thought I would gather here links to the posts that I have been told were useful by K-12 and post-secondary educators.

Bret Devereaux provides a fascinating trip through battles of the past and in fiction. This includes an exploration of Ancient Greece and the Siege of Gondor from Lord of the Rings.
Bookmarked How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America (Smithsonian Magazine)

The toll of history’s worst epidemic surpasses all the military deaths in World War I and World War II combined. And it may have begun in the United States

John M. Barry, the author of The Great Influenza, discusses the three waves of the Spanish flu. He talks about the beginnings in the US:

Although some researchers argue that the 1918 pandemic began elsewhere, in France in 1916 or China and Vietnam in 1917, many other studies indicate a U.S. origin. The Australian immunologist and Nobel laureate Macfarlane Burnet, who spent most of his career studying influenza, concluded the evidence was “strongly suggestive” that the disease started in the United States and spread to France with “the arrival of American troops.” Camp Funston had long been considered as the site where the pandemic started until my historical research, published in 2004, pointed to an earlier outbreak in Haskell County.

The way the virus spread around the world:

Initially the 1918 pandemic set off few alarms, chiefly because in most places it rarely killed, despite the enormous numbers of people infected. Doctors in the British Grand Fleet, for example, admitted 10,313 sailors to sick bay in May and June, but only 4 died. It had hit both warring armies in France in April, but troops dismissed it as “three-day fever.” The only attention it got came when it swept through Spain, and sickened the king; the press in Spain, which was not at war, wrote at length about the disease, unlike the censored press in warring countries, including the United States. Hence it became known as “Spanish flu.” By June influenza reached from Algeria to New Zealand. Still, a 1927 study concluded, “In many parts of the world the first wave either was so faint as to be hardly perceptible or was altogether lacking…and was everywhere of a mild form.” Some experts argued that it was too mild to be influenza.

How the Spanish Flu infected both throat and lungs:

A pandemic occurs when an entirely new and virulent influenza virus, which the immune system has not previously seen, enters the population and spreads worldwide. Ordinary seasonal influenza viruses normally bind only to cells in the upper respiratory tract—the nose and throat—which is why they transmit easily. The 1918 pandemic virus infected cells in the upper respiratory tract, transmitting easily, but also deep in the lungs, damaging tissue and often leading to viral as well as bacterial pneumonias.

The three different waves:

After that third wave, the 1918 virus did not go away, but it did lose its extraordinary lethality, partly because many human immune systems now recognized it and partly because it lost the ability to easily invade the lungs. No longer a bloodthirsty murderer, it evolved into a seasonal influenza.

Scientists and other experts are still asking questions about the virus and the devastation it caused, including why the second wave was so much more lethal than the first. Researchers aren’t certain, and some argue that the first wave was caused by an ordinary seasonal influenza virus that was different from the pandemic virus; but the evidence seems overwhelming that the pandemic virus had both a mild and virulent form, causing mild as well as severe spring outbreaks, and then, for reasons that remain unclear, the virulent form of the virus became more common in the fall.

The way in which people reacted:

In New Haven, Connecticut, John Delano recalled, “Normally when someone was sick in those days [people] would bring food over to other families but…Nobody was coming in, nobody would bring food in, nobody came to visit.” In Perry County, Kentucky, the Red Cross chapter chairman begged for help, pleaded that there were “hundreds of cases…[of] people starving to death not from lack of food but because the well were panic stricken and would not go near the sick.”

Considering the current coronovirus outbreak, it was intriguing reading Barry’s predictions:

In recent years, two different bird influenza viruses have been infecting people directly: the H5N1 strain has struck in many nations, while H7N9 is still limited to China (see “The Birth of a Killer”). All told, these two avian influenza viruses had killed 1,032 out of the 2,439 people infected as of this past July—a staggering mortality rate. Scientists say that both virus strains, so far, bind only to cells deep in the lung and do not pass from person to person. If either one acquires the ability to infect the upper respiratory tract, through mutation or by swapping genes with an existing human virus, a deadly pandemic is possible.