Let's Talk About Botswana's Success

A good video going over the groundwork laid down by Botswana’s first president after its independence, which made the country’s current prosperity and peace possible.

How Did Ancient Egyptians Keep Track Of Their Cows?

With a Sekhmet-shaped cattle band, of course! Cattle brand is in the shape of the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet, also known as "the destroyer," "lady of life" and the one who protected truth/justice. Perhaps her head was used so the truth of the cow's owner would be protected? Circa 1500 - 1200 BCE. (Brand is from the British Museum, statue is from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.)

Literal Meanings of Countries' Names

Click through the image gallery to see names' meanings around the world. Some of these names are older than others. For instance, Mexico's name comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Also, some of these take the English name's meaning, others the local language's meaning. But still -- fun maps!

The Olympic Games hosted by Barcelona in 1992 were the first Olympics in three decades not to have a single country boycott participation. It was also notable for:

  • the first integrated team, with non-white athletes, from South Africa
  • the USA “Dream Team,” featuring multiple MBA stars, who took the gold medal
  • being the last occasion that the Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same year. In 1994, the International Olympic Committee decided to have them on alternating even-numbered years
  • the Basque nationalist group ETA committed multiple terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the Catalonian region in the lead-up to the games, but none during the Olympics themselves

Diary of a Pyramid Laborer

This is the oldest known papyrus containing text, dating to 2550 BCE. It is the diary of one inspector Merer, basically a logbook, where he recorded the daily activities of stone transportation from the Tura limestone quarry to and from Giza during the 4th Dynasty.

Interesting Facts About The Zodiac

Whether you read your horoscope faithfully, or you do not even remember your own zodiac sign, here's a fun list to learn more about this ancient system of divination.

  • Astrology developed before the Copernican Revolution. As a result, the zodiac is based on the incorrect assumption that the sun moves around the Earth, passing through the different star constellations.
  • The modern zodiac's 12 signs were finalized in ancient Greece, and is directly based on Ptolemy's writings in Egypt during the 100s CE
  • Saint Augustine of Hippo published a criticism of astrology in opposition to early Christians who were trying to cast horoscopes for Christ
  • Ancient Babylonians had their own zodiac of 12 signs, including a scale and a pair of twins
  • In India, astrological predictions are based on the 12 zodiac signs, which are the same as western signs, and the five elements fire, earth, water, air, and ether, each of which correspond to a planet
  • The Chinese zodiac runs on a sixty-year cycle of 12 signs (rat, rooster, dragon, etc) combined with the five phases (wood, fire, metal, water, earth)

Between 1970 and 2016, Earth has lost 68% all birds, fish, and animals. That is over two-thirds of Earth’s wildlife, gone. We live in a historic time.

New DNA Analysis of Ancient Egyptians

Ancient Egyptians shared little DNA with sub-Saharan Africans. A recent study looked at the genomes of ancient Egyptians from the New Kingdom through the Roman era, and found their DNA was most closely related to Near East. Modern Egyptians are more related to sub-Saharan Africans than their ancient counterparts: the ancient samples were 6 to 15%, modern samples 14 to 21%. This suggests population movements post-Roman era. One particularly well-preserved DNA sample was even tested for physical characteristics, and suggested a lighter skin pigmentation, dark-colored eyes, and lactose intolerance.

A total of 62 countries have gained their independence from Great Britain. That is about 20% of the world's countries! This is followed by France with 28 countries, Spain with 17, the Soviet Union/Russia with 16, Portugal with 7 and the United States with 5.

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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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