Although it originated in the Americas, some (Western) scholars in the 1800s claimed corn is an Old World crop. Some went so far as to falsify documents that claimed to be pre-contact references to corn by Europeans. As you can guess their attempts did not work.

The Colored Hockey League was the first organized in 1895. Between 1895 and the early 1930s, all-Black ice hockey teams on Canada's eastern seaboard played for mixed audiences as they challenged each other and vied to win the Colored Hockey Championship. The Colored Hockey League pre-dates the National Hockey League by 20 years, and also pre-dates the more famous Negro Baseball League of the United States.

Inuit languages use a base-20 numeral system. This makes Arabic numbers with their base-10 numeral system difficult to learn and near-impossible to use for Inuit speakers. To address this problem students in Kaktovik, Alaska, invented a base-20 numeral notation in 1994. Twenty is written as a one and a zero (\ɤ), forty as a two and a zero (Vɤ), four hundred as a one and two zeros (\ɤɤ), etc. The Kaktovik numerals have quickly become popular and spread among the Alaskan Iñupiat.

9/11 Changed Interpretations of the First Civilizations

Historically, the Middle East was interpreted and categorized by traditional historians as part of "Western" civilization until about 9/11. That means that ancient Mesopotamia -- with its famous early cities of Ur, Sumer, and Babylon, and later empires such as the Babylonian and Assyrian -- was seen as part of the arc of history which would eventually produce ancient Athens, then the Roman Empire, and eventually today's European countries. And history books on religion written before 2000 by Western writers will refer to Islam, Christianity and Judaism as Western religions and Western societies. This is in contrast to Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism which are Eastern religions, emerging from Eastern societies.

After 9/11 a big movement emerged in much of Europe and the United States among conservatives to interpret Islam as Eastern and all Islamic countries as Eastern. Ancient Mesopotamia got re-classified as part of the arc of Eastern history along the way. Among non-conservatives, the Middle East is also categorized differently but for different reasons. Rather than recategorizing what is Western or Eastern, "western" is more critically examined as a term. Instead of ancient civilizations being lumped into "western" and "eastern" you are more likely to see (non-conservative) historians questioning "who is 'western'" "what is 'western'" and "who is defining those terms and why do they care."

A Tale of Taxes and Space Travel

While in space for the Apollo 13 mission which was the third intended to land on the moon, US Astronaut Jack Swigert realized that he had forgotten to file his tax returns by the deadline. He had been rather busy and distracted in the preparation for their mission. Ground control had a good laugh, then helped Swigert figure out if he could get an extension. Turns out Swigert was entitled to a 60-day extension for being out of the country on deadline day!

Dog Bone Fragments Trace History of New World Settlement

A 10,200-year-old fragment of dog bone has been identified, from among thousands of ancient bone pieces discovered in a cave on the west coast of Alaska in 1998. Modern DNA analyses have found that the dog the fragment belonged to was closely related to dogs domesticated in Siberia about 23,000 years ago. And the dog was descended from a population that split from its Siberian ancestors about 16,700 years ago.

By tracing this dog's heritage and movement, we can get hints at the history of the humans dogs (presumably) traveled with. Our current understanding of human history fits well with the new study. Previous studies looking at human DNA suggest that modern Native American populations split from Siberian ancestors around the same time. Chemical analysis of the dog bone indicates that the creature ate a diet based on marine animals. Potentially the dog lived off scraps of fish, seal, and whale, provided by its human companions traveling by boat around Ice Age glaciers.

Humans Have Made Birds Fly In Zero Gravity. For Science.

These simulated zero-gravity experiments were done by the United States Air Force in 1947.

The Sauropods, a dinosaur clade, were the tallest animals that ever lived. Some were more than twice the height of a giraffe. (They also include some of the largest animals to have ever lived on land.)

A Much-Married Man

There is a world record for most monogamous marriages: 29 consecutive marriages! It is held by an American Baptist minister Glynn Wolfe. Three were to women he had previously divorced, lengths ranged from 19 days to 11 years, and his last marriage was a publicity stunt with the woman who holds the record for most marriages (23!)

When Wolfe died in 1997, his widow did not attend the funeral, nor did any of 28 his ex-wives. Only one of his estimated 40 children attended.

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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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