The indigenous people of Papua New Guinea did not develop metalworking before modern contact. Instead, they fought with sharpened bone daggers. Here there was a choice: fight with daggers crafted from human thighbones or daggers crafted from cassowary thighbones -- giant, flightless, dinosaur-like birds. The preferred weapon in Papua New Guinea was human bone daggers. And a new study suggests why: the dagger fashioned from human bone is stronger than the giant bird's thighbone, largely because of the way the warriors of New Guinea carved the weapons. The human bone daggers retained more of the natural curves of the bone, making them stronger than the flatter, less curved cassowary bone daggers. Given that cassowary daggers are easier to replace than human-bone daggers, it makes sense that the human daggers were carved with greater care to make them stronger.
The world’s first telegraph line was set up between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between the stations. The first message was sent by inventor Samuel F.B. Morse on May 24, 1844, from DC to Baltimore. It said: "What hath God wrought?" in -- what else -- morse code. Since the line could only transmit electrical signals, manipulating that signal was the only way to communicate.
Morse code became a standard method of communication for the next hundred years. It was still in use by all sides during World War II!
This undated manuscript is a lovely example of traditional Chinese and Vietnamese cartography, with some western influences. Named “Comprehensive map of Vietnam’s provinces” (Việt Nam toàn tỉnh dư đồ) it appears to have been painted around 1890. Most of the map is in traditional Vietnamese and Chinese style. The map does not have a precise scale. It shows Vietnamese provincial organization loosely, with province names enclosed in red in the right places, but with no attempt at provincial borders. Almost every river mouth and estuary is named, reflecting a traditional Vietnamese view of their land, Non Nước (Mountains and Water). It also has a lovely and traditional pictorial style, with mountains and rivers and even a “gate” at the border between Vietnam and China. The map’s western elements are scant: the shapes of the Vietnamese coastline is fairly accurate, as is the Mekong River and the lake of Tonle Sap in Cambodia.
Josephine Pollard, History of the Old Testament in Words of One Syllable, 1888.
The term "golem" appears in the Hebrew Bible with the meaning "formlessness." The Talmud, Jewish commentaries on the Bible and Jewish law, uses "golem" to mean an "uneducated person." From this combination comes the modern sense of the word: a clumsy, ugly, human-made monster who has no life until it is given to him by his creators.
Tteok-bokki is a common South Korean food, easily bought at a street vendor. The first record on tteok-bokki appears in Siuijeonseo, a late-1800s Korean cookbook, where the dish was listed using the archaic spelling steokbokgi. In this early version, tteok-bokki was made with a savory sauce based on soy sauce. Today, that version is often called "royal court" tteok-bokki. Today the more popular version is spicy, made with gochujang (chili paste). This version first appeared as a street food in Seoul in the 1950s.
This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!
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