A Motorized Pram, Circa 1922

Notice the English nanny's smile and the child's doll. And the shockingly short skirt for a lady! Skirt lengths had been to the ankles until 1920, so this nanny's look was quite of-the-moment.

The 1940 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan. But they never were, due to the outbreak of World War II. Which means the 2020 Olympics are the second time that Tokyo has been the planned host for Olympics that did not happen.

The Triumph and the Tragedy of the Soyuz 11

In June of 1971, the crew of the Soyuz 11 became the first humans to spend time on an orbiting space station. But on its return to Earth, a Soviet recovery team opened the capsule, and found the crew dead inside. Somewhere in its extraterrestrial journey a ventilation valve malfunctioned and killed everyone on board. Which makes the three men the only known humans to have died in space.

The Mystery of Mao's Successor

On September 13th, 1971, a Triden 1E jet crashed from the Mongolian sky into the Gobi Desert. All on board were killed. Among the dead were senior Chinese Communist Party member and legendary communist general of the civil war, Lin Biao. The general had been Mao's chosen successor, yet he died along with his wife and son after fleeing his home in Beijing at dawn that morning. In their haste to leave, the waiting plane did not refuel, and it fell from the sky before reaching its intended destination.

Many questions surround Lin Biao's death. Why did he and his family flee? Where were they trying to flee to? What caused the plane to crash? Chinese records were destroyed shortly after Mao's death so nothing could contradict the official explanation: Lin plotted to overthrow Mao, fled when the plot was discovered, and then died when his plane ran out of fuel. But that official explanation is flimsy and was only released after a delay of three weeks.

Plotting to overthrow Mao made little sense because Mao was clearly ill by the 1970s. It was known a successor would be taking over soon. Perhaps intensifying factional battles inside the Chinese Communist Party over the succession, irretrievable now, lead the family to flee. Lin seemed to have grown tired of politics by 1971, though, so perhaps it was not him but his wife and son's political standing that had put the family in danger.

Where was the plane headed is another question. At the time the Soviet Union was hostile to China so perhaps they were seeking asylum there. But at the end of the Cold War it was revealed that the Soviets investigated the crash site. Their findings just made things more complex. Among other things, the Soviets determined the plane initially headed south from Beijing, not north. So the Soviet Union may not have been the plane's original destination.

So what can we say about Lin Biao's death? Mao's chosen successor died in a mysterious plane crash in Mongolia in 1971. His wife and son died with him. Those are about the only absolutely true facts we know today.

That's How To Kick Off A Party!

The Scottish Parliament was dissolved after Scotland formally united with England to form Great Britain in 1707, under Queen Anne. It was re-established in 1999 after an act by the British Parliament. Winnie Ewing, who had been a member of the Scottish National Party for almost forty years, opened the Scottish Parliament with words so historic I will quote them to you know. She proclaimed "I want to start with words that I have always wanted either to say or hear someone else say - the Scottish Parliament, which adjourned on March 25, 1707, is hereby reconvened."

A Brief History of the Terms POC and WOC

The terms "women of color" and "people of color" -- terms now in common use in American English to describe individuals who are not White -- were first created and used by persons of color. "Women of color" was created at the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston. An alliance of minority women's groups at the conference came up with the term as a way to describe their shared experience of oppression, and to express their commitment to working with all oppressed non-White women.

"People of color" is older, dating to the 1960s and 1970s. It was coined by groups like the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the Brown Berets, who wanted to express their solidarity as people of color. These groups pioneered the idea (in the US) of people having color being a cause in how they were treated by society, and the groups needed a term that would include all oppressed non-White individuals that they could feel comfortable calling themselves. The new solidarity term deliberately started with the word "person," putting the people first, in contrast to the previously-used term "colored people" which put their category first. In short, people of color was created so that non-White individuals in the US could express, using a dignified term, that they were a group united by shared oppression and discrimination by American society and American institutions.

The Cryptid Moose of New Zealand

In 1910, ten moose (four bulls and six cows) were introduced to a remote part of New Zealand known as Fiordland. It is considered a less-than-ideal habitat for moose. Therefore it is unsurprising that there were few sightings and the last confirmed sighting was in 1952. However, a moose antler was found in 1972, and DNA tests showed that hair collected in 2002 was from a moose.

It is semi-traditional in Taiwan's Yuan (parliament/legislature) to brawl. They usually occur several times a year, and sometimes several times a month! Punching, hair pulling, throwing plastic bottles, water balloons, and handy cups of water are all common.

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    By Lillian Audette

    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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