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Birds native to Australasia are being found in Renaissance paintings—and in medieval manuscripts, Rebecca Mead writes. Their presence exposes the depth of ancient trade routes.
In 2018, they published a paper, in the medieval-studies journal Parergon, proposing that this bird most likely arrived in the cosmopolitan markets of Cairo after a journey from China, to which it would have been traded from somewhere in Australasia.
Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On turned 50 this week; it was an instant commercial success in 1971, helping to summarise the hopes and despairs of Black Americans against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and ongoing fight for racial equality. But could the album be even more relevant today? Rolling Stone thinks so (it jumped from #6 to #1 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list when revised in 2020). Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African & African American Studies at Duke University and is on The Music Show to pull apart the album (from the distinctive vocal techniques to how it flows as a song cycle) and to talk about its influence on Motown, soul music, and beyond.
You don’t need to look too hard to see the influence that Marvin Gaye has exerted across generations of artists from Frank Ocean to Alicia Keys, Sampha to Devon Gilfillian and countless more.
For a wider appreciation of where the album sits in time, Neal also wrote a piece for NPR.
For decades, rumors have persisted that in the 1996 offseason, Michael Jordan considered leaving the Bulls to play for the Knicks. We go behind the scenes of the incredible, potentially league-shifting 24-hour dance between MJ and the Knicks.
Klassen and her colleagues arrived at Angkor’s peak-population number by reading the landscape as a palimpsest left behind by the ancient Khmer peoples. Back in 2012, a team used helicopter-mounted lidar—3-D laser scanning—to measure minute differences in ground elevation beneath tree cover. It revealed an unmistakable grid of housing foundations, roads, farms, and canals sprawling for 1,158 square miles in what the team calls the greater Angkor region, similar to a modern-day metro area like the San Francisco Bay Area, with its multiple urban centers and low-density residential areas in between.
We hear the term all the time that you’re resilient. It doesn’t mean we want to be resilient. We want to be free, we want to be trauma-free.
This transgenerational trauma stuff, it is scientifically proven it can be passed on through the DNA, it is real.
I just hope, I hope with all of my heart that we are coming to a position in this nation where we can stop turning our head away, open our hearts and just grow a little bit of capacity for our story.
Because the truth is the stolen generations, the majority of it — when I say these words, it’s not to trigger any of the old people that were taken — they weren’t necessarily birthed out of love.
Our women were raped and bastardised and here we sit today with our women 30 to 80 times more likely to be hospitalised due to domestic violence.
That’s our women, there’s nothing more royal or sacred on this planet than our women.
We’re from the oldest living continual culture on the planet and so over-represented in this hell of domestic violence.
It starts as a root where we have to go to.
In order to face that root we have to hit it front on and go “I didn’t do it”, but rather than turn away and say “that’s not my fault, I’m not sorry”, it’s like a brother’s, sister’s, auntie’s, uncle’s passed away and you heard about it and you go, “Are you OK? I’m sorry that happened. I will empathise with you and open up my heart and give you a hug, because I’m sorry”.
Let’s talk about it.
So the next time you find yourself in front of a historic map, make sure you ask what details have been included, which have been excluded and — most importantly — why?
She didn’t know it at the time, but an eight-year-old’s life was set to change irrevocably when Gough Whitlam moved into her south-western Sydney street in 1957.
In the early 1980s, bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Adam and the Ants and the Human League were at the forefront of a second “British invasion” of the United States, rivalling the one led by the Beatles two decades earlier. It seems all the more odd, then, that it should be so hard to say what the New Romantics’ music consisted of.
The clothes might have been brighter, cleaner and less torn, the pose more a sulk than a sneer, but New Romanticism was as much an attitude as punk ever was.
In many respects, the catalyst for the new romantics were Roxy Music and David Bowie.
Peter York, one of Jones’s talking heads, says of Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain” that Ferry’s voice was “the natural antithesis of Joe Cocker.” Here was “a singer whose whole approach said, ‘I’m not singing, I’m being a singer.’”
Ford also spoke with Jones about the book on The Music Show:
A Hundred Days Into the New Era, Looking Back on the Old
The years felt like a constant barrage of insults to fact, truth, science, of attacks on laws, on rights, on targeted populations
Whether or not you were buying what he was selling, he was winning by making noise and getting away with it.
It was like living in the aftermath of an earthquake, when the aftershocks can come at any time, or in a place where explosions happen unpredictably, or with an unstable abuser, and in fact it was living with an unstable abuser, who was on one hand not in the house with us and on the other hand was our president and the most powerful person on earth.
In the first months of the Trump presidency, I saw a journalist joking on Twitter, “I went out to lunch. WHAT HAPPENED?” because the sheer unpredictability meant you might miss something dramatic if you took your eyes off the drama for even the length of a lunchtime.
[W]e were Sisyphus, forever pushing boulders of coherence up a slippery hill, and the supply of boulders seemed inexhaustible, and they had a tendency to roll down again.
We were forever discovering and forgetting and rediscovering this story, as though a kind of amnesia had seized us, and that was another way that time itself seemed disordered. It was as though we were living in a version of Groundhog Day in which, unlike the plot of that movie, we would never get the story right enough for it to escape the cycle.
It felt as if the United States was a woman who had filed for divorce from her abuser, and here he came in all his furious confusion, convinced he could terrorize her into patching things up.
This post is for you if you’ve been wondering whether Black Death => Renaissance means COVID => Golden Age, and you want a more robust answer than, “No no no no no!”
This post is for you if you’re tired of screaming The Middle Ages weren’t dark and bad! and want somewhere to link people to, to show them how the myth began.
This post is for you if you want to understand how an age whose relics make it look golden in retrospect can also be a terrible age to live in.
And this post is for you if want to ask what history can tell us about 2020 and come away with hope. Because comparing 2020 to the Renaissance does give me hope, but it’s not the hope of sitting back expecting the gears of history to grind on toward prosperity, and it’s not the hope for something like the Renaissance—it’s hope for something much, much better, but a thing we have to work for, all of us, and hard.
by claiming that the Renaissance—and all its glittering art and innovation—was caused by individualism, Burkhardt was really advancing a claim about the nature of modernity. Individualism was an X-Factor which had appeared and made a slumbering world begin to move, sparking the step-by-step advance that led humanity from stagnant Medieval mud huts to towers of glass and iron—and by implication it would also define our path forward to an even more glorious future. In other words, the X-Factor that sparked the Renaissance was the defining spirit of modernity. If individualism was responsible, not only for the Renaissance, but for the wonders of modernity, then logically those regimes of Burkhardt’s day which most facilitated the expression of individualism could claim to be the heart of human progress and to hold the keys to the future; those nations which did not advance individualism (where socialism prospered, for example, or “collectivism” which was how 19th century Europe characterized most non-Western societies) were still the slumbering Middle Ages, in need of being awakened to their true potential by those nations which did possess the X-Factor of human progress.
Instead of Renaissance Italy, Palmer believes that we may have more to gain from looking at the Vikings:
If you really want to know what COVID will do, I think the place to look is not Renaissance Italy, but the Viking settlements in Greenland, which vanished around 1410. Did they all die of the plague? No. We’re pretty sure they never got the plague, they were too isolated. But the Greenland settlements’ economy had long depended on the walrus trade: they hunted walruses and sold the ivory and skins, and ships would come from Norway or Iceland to trade for walrus, bringing goods one couldn’t make in Greenland, like iron, or fine fabric, or wheat. But after 1348 the bottom dropped out of the walrus market, and the trading ships stopped coming. By 1400 no ships had visited Greenland for years except the few that were blown off-course by storm. And meanwhile there were labor shortages and vacant farms on the once-crowded mainland. So we think the Greenland Vikings emigrated, asked those stray ships to take them with them back to Europe, as many as could fit, abandoning one life to start another. That’s what we’ll see with COVID: collapse and growth, busts for one industry, booms for another, sudden wealth collecting in some hands, while elsewhere whole communities collapse, like Flint Michigan, and Viking Greenland, and the many disasters in human history which made survivors abandon homes and villages, and move elsewhere. A lot of families and communities will lose their livelihoods, their homes, their everythings, and face the devastating need to start again. And as that happens, we’ll see different places enact different laws and policies to deal with it, just like after the Black Death. Some places/regimes/policies will increase wealth and freedom, while others will reduce it, and the complicated world will go on being complicated.
That’s why I say we should aim to do better than the Renaissance.
In the music industry in the ’80s, there were two worlds of music — the mainstream and the alternative. Then a new decade dawned, the worlds collided and music changed forever.
If the likes of Metallica, Faith No More, and Pixies had prised the door open, Nirvana kicked it off its hinges.
Neal explained how this paved the way in Australia for acts like SIlverchair and You Am I.
Until 1991, Billboard charts weren’t based on actual unit sales or radio play. Instead, it was assembled using (white) retail clerk estimates of what was selling best and what (white) DJs considered to be “hottest” each week. According to The Atlantic, both groups had reasons to lie. For example, labels would pressure radio stations to favour “hand-picked hits” if they wanted to keep receiving the newest single on time (stations sometimes received bribes to play specific tracks, too). Meanwhile, labels would force inventory on their retailers, who would then overreport sales to convince music fans to buy excess inventory.
Naturally, those who ran the music industry saw little need to overhaul how it worked. And thus while the book and film industries had shifted to computerized sales databases in the 1980s, not one of the top six record distributors signed onto SoundScan before its release in June 1991. But this resistance didn’t stop N.W.A.’s N***az4life from debuting #2 on the Billboard Top 100 the very next month under SoundScan. This was the highest charting performance in rap history – and happened without any radio airplay, music video airings on MTV, or a concert tour. The failings of the old honour system were further demonstrated by the fact that N.W.A. debuted at only #21 on Billboard’s R&B chart, which wasn’t yet on SoundScan. Somehow it was possible that N***az4life was the second biggest album in the country by units purchased, but 21st in its own genre when it came to what was “selling” and “hottest.” One week after it’s release, the album hit #1 on the Billboard chart (displacing R.E.M) as hundreds of thousands flocked to the record store in search of the “surprise” hit.
In the following years, the R&B/hip hop genre achieved three other industry “firsts.” It saw the fastest rise from a non-top ten genre to Billboard’s most popular one, has been the most dominant #1 by share, and holds the longest run as #1 (note the chart below ends in 2010, but this reign persists through to date).
From the 1700s (at least), well before the colony of New South Wales was established in 1788, the Aboriginal people of northern Australia were trading trepang (sea cucumber) with fishermen from Makassar, a port-city on the island of Sulawesi (now Indonesia).
The “Macassan” fishermen would sail to Australia around December each year, with the north-west monsoonal winds.
They would spend months living on Australian beaches, collecting and processing the trepang, before returning home with their haul.
Their catch was destined for China.
“The north coast of Australia, southern China and Makassar were all connected by an international trading network that centred on trepang,” curator Alison Mercieca, of the National Museum of Australia, said in a 2008 lecture.
That trade network matured over centuries, and became a popular source of food for the Chinese market.
“Throughout the nineteenth century it would appear that a majority of trepang traded from Makassar was supplied by the fleets which sailed to Arnhem Land and perhaps even supplying about a quarter of the total Chinese market by the mid-nineteenth century,” she said.
Over the next eight years, a weird system developed. The companies that owned the ships were allowed to cycle crews through the ships, maintaining skeleton crews to keep them afloat, but weren’t allowed to sail the ships out of the canal. As time passed, the ships communicated with each other and grew into a community. They formed the Great Bitter Lake Association to administer to the needs of the crew.
Ironically, it was the Six-Day War that created the situation for the creation of mega-containter ships.
In regards to other links, ABC provide an explainer to the Suez Canal, CNN provide an interactive experience of travelling through the canal, while Garrett Dash Nelson allows you to place the Ever Given everywhere.
Don’t see making your own web page as a nostalgia, don’t participate in creating the netstalgia trend. What you make is a statement, an act of emancipation. You make it to continue a 25-year-old tradition of liberation.
To understand the history of the Web and the role of its users, it is important to acknowledge that people who built their homes, houses, cottages, places, realms, crypts, lairs, worlds, dimensions [Fig.1–13] were challenging the architecture and the protocols, protocols in a figurative not technical meaning. Users hijacked the first home page of the browser and developed this concept in another direction.6 A user building, moving in, taking control over a territory was never a plan. It was a subversive practice, even in 1995.
There is no web design and web designers any more, there are graphic designers and developers again, front-end and back-end developers this time. For me as a net artist and new media design educator, this splitting of web designer into graphic designer and front-end developer is bitter, because it is the death of a very meaningful profession.
Lialina closes with a call to reclaim the web:
Don’t collaborate! Don’t post your texts where you are not allowed to turn it into hypertext.
Don’t post your pictures where you can’t link them to whatever you like. Don’t use content management systems that turn your GIFs into JPEGs. Don’t use hashtags, don’t accept algorithmic timelines. In short, make a web page and link to others who still have one.
Leaving monopolists and/or using alternatives is easy to suggest. And many of us made the first step – for example, created a page on neocities.org or on tilde.club, or even bought a superglue.it kit and hosted their home page at their actual home, supporting the Reclaim hosting initiative.
This reminds me of other histories of the web, such as Parimal Satyal’s small web, Eevee’s dive into the world of CSS, Charlie Owen’s call to return to the beauty and weirdness found in the early web and Kicks Condor’s discussion of what we left in the old web.
It was time to face the difficult truth about my family who lived on stolen land.
A century ago, Russia was enduring a terrible famine, the Irish Free State was created, U.S. President Warren Harding was inaugurated, the Tulsa Race Massacre took place in Oklahoma, a new machine called a “dishwasher” was introduced, New York’s Madison Square Garden was home to “the world’s largest indoor swimming pool,” and much more. Please take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around the world 100 years ago.
How a student project became one of the world’s most popular open-source apps, powering much of modern-day media, without ever creating a huge windfall for its developers.
The primary cause of death was hypothermia—temperatures would have been well below zero degrees Fahrenheit the night they fled—but two of the deceased were missing their eyes, and another her tongue.