The modern Republic of Korea (aka South Korea) has never postponed an election. This includes during the Korean War, and now, covid-19!

The Long Relationship Between Apples And Animals

Apple trees reproduce poorly when apples that fall from the tree are left to rot where they fell. Even when those do grow up, the second-generation trees grow poorly when too close to their parents. Apple trees in the wild therefore rely on animals -- such as humans -- to disperse their apples and so disperse their offspring. The fossil record suggests that apple trees developed across Europe and Asia as early as 11.6 million years ago. Animals (and eventually hominins) have been using apples for their easy source of nutrients ever since. The earliest evidence of hominins eating apples comes from a Neolithic site in Switzerland dating to 3160 BCE. And the first evidence of apple seeds around hominins, suggesting active domestication, comes from the first millenium BCE at a village site in Kazakhstan.

The smallest known whale to have ever lived, the Dwarf Sperm Whale, is not much larger than a person and is considered a little-understood species. This is despite having a range that includes all of the earth's oceans.

Three String Vase, or, "The Peach Bloom Vase"

Underneath this vase's glassy surface, you can detect subtle modulations in color from dull pink to red to grayish green. Although seemingly just one color, the vase really suggests an infinite variety of color variations. In Chinese, the color is sometimes called kidney-bean red. The vase's shape is that of a "three-string vase" (after the rings on the neck). This particular example was part of a set of eight vessels intended to adorn a scholar's home. A standard set included flower vases of different shapes, together with vessels used for washing brushes and holding red seal-paste. It is an adaptation and refinement on Song Dynasty ware, probably dating to the early Qing Dynasty (1710 - 1722).

Has Your Country Been Led By A Woman?

Has Your Country Been Led By A Woman? The map is for each country’s most modern incarnation, e.g. it does not count the USSR for Russia. ​

An Elegant Solution To A Pesky Plague

In 1771, Moscow experienced a Bubonic Plague outbreak under the rule of Catherine the Great. It took a long time for doctors to recognize that a plague was occurring, but people knew something was happening because those they knew kept dying. The result? Without governmental guidance, people began self-isolating at home, and avoiding hospitals where they might catch the disease. There was also a riot after the governor of the city fled to his coutnry estate, and the police chief did the same.

Something had to be done, so Catherine the Great appointed her sometimes-lover Grigory Orlov to handle the plague and resulting unrest. He arrived at a city where doctors were not trusted, and no one wanted to go to hospitals, but the plague was still spreading. He needed a way to check the entire population, to separate the sick and the healthy, and do so without causing riots.

Orlov's solution was elegant in its simplicity. He announced that when people left hospitals and quarantine homes, verified by doctors to be cured, they would receive a set of new clothes and a cash benefit (married people would get 10 rubles, single people 5 rubles). People suddenly flooded hospitals, wanting to be checked by doctors so they could get the benefits. It is estimated that Orlov spent 30,000 rubles of his own money on the benefits, and there was no unrest or force needed.

Particularly helpfully, people kept going back to doctors to get re-evaluated. This helped determine the incubation period of the plague by calculating when individuals first were evaluated to when they started showing symptoms.

Tiny Tools Are Evidence Of Human's Early Asian Expansion

Trying to create a small, delicate drawing is more difficult than creating a simple, large drawing. In a similar way, our stone-wielding ancestors found it harder to make small, delicate stone tools than simple, large tools like axes. This is why researchers were surprised to find that by around 45,000 years ago a community in Sri Lanka had mastered such technology.

A collection of microliths (small stone tools) were found in the Fa-Hien Lena Cave in Sri Lanka. These advanced tools helped humanity's ancestors thrive despite the difficult rainforest environment by allowing them to hunt small tree-dwelling animals. And at 45,000 years old, the microliths are evidence that humanity settled the edges of South Asia earlier than was previously thought.

The First Aurora

Assyrian astronomers almost 2,700 years ago were the first people (we know of) to document auroras. The colorful lights, known in the Northern hemisphere as the northern lights, occur because waves of charged particles from the sun hit our planet's magnetic field. Normally these are not visible in Assyria, which is too close to the equator. But in the early 600s BCE, a massive solar wave hit the earth. The effects were visible as far south as Mesopotamia. And the awed locals wrote about their experiences: three cuneiform tablets from Nineveh document this unusual event, and the strange "red glow," "red cloud," and "red sky" that they saw.

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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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