According to Chinese official historical records, there had been a historical record of eunuch marriage as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty. But they were not common until the Ming Dynasty. Starting in 1402, the Yongle Emperor quietly began allowing eunuchs to marry, as thanks for their significant contributions in Jingnan Rebellion which nearly knocked Yongle off his throne. From then on the marriage of eunuchs had legitimacy because it had the tacit approval of the emperor. The Yongle Emperor even awarded wedding to eunuchs who made significant contributions. These were, for obvious reasons, marriages for intimacy and companionship not children. Eunuch marriages remained common in the imperial court through the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.
A visa has recently come to light that was issued by Saburo Nei, who was acting Japanese consul-general in the Soviet Union. The visa was issued to Simon Korentajer, a Jewish refugee who fled to Vladivostock ahead of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Korentajer’s granddaughter, Kim Hydorn, has kept the document. It was issued by Nei in Vladivostock in 1941. The visa allowed Korentajer, his wife, and their daughter to escape to Japan, violating the policy held by that country’s Foreign Ministry. The Korentajer family spent about six years in Shanghai (which at the time was controlled by Japan) before they emigrated to San Francisco in 1947. This is the first visa issued by Nei to Jewish refugees to be recovered, although some records of them have been found. The number “21” was written on the document, indicating that Nei may have issued as many as 20 or more such visas.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Parasitism is, at heart, just a relationship between two organisms. Albeit a relationship in which one organism, the parasite, increases its own success by exploiting and harming another organism, the host. Exquisitely preserved 515-million-year-old fossils from southern China belonging to organisms called brachiopods show evidence of a relationship between the brachiopods' tubes and potentially parasitic worms. Specifically, the hardened tubes encrusting the surface of fossil brachiopod shells were once occupied by worms that took food that the brachiopod sucked into the tube. But how can fossils show that the relationship was harmful for the host? The new research showed that there was a clear negative effect, as brachiopods without the worms grew larger than those with the worms. Thus, the worms were parasites.
The English word “bank” comes from the Italian word “banco.” In late medieval Italy banks were family businesses consisting of a single large room with a counter, or “banco,” in the middle to separate customers from clerks and bookkeepers.
A new study has detected a large, rectangular platform made of earth in southern Mexico with the use of lidar technology. (Lidar employs lasers to generate 3-D models of vegetation-covered terrain.) The structure, thought to have been built by the Maya between 1000 and 800 BCE, measures more than 4,500 feet long by 1,300 feet wide and up to 50 feet tall. Because it is so wide, the structure seems like a natural part of the landscape to people on the ground. It was only from the air that the rectangular shape made it clear that this was, once upon a time, a structure. The remote-sensing survey also found nine causeways and reservoirs linked to the new find.
Bulgaria's Plovdiv is Europe's oldest city. It was first founded around 8,000 years ago, and has been continuously inhabited since at least 5,000 years ago. The modern city sits atop 39 feet (12 meters) of cultural remains.
Recorded in 1987 by French archaeologist Christian Dupuy, two remarkable life-size depictions of giraffes were engraved on the weathered surface of a sandstone outcrop in north-eastern Niger. The animals cannot be seen from ground level; they are only visible by climbing onto the boulder. They are thought to date from between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago, to a period known as the Neolithic Subpluvial, when environmental conditions were much wetter and the Sahara was a vast savannah capable of sustaining large mammals such as giraffe. And, of course, humans. The engravings reveal a sophisticated artist who utilized multiple techniques including scraping, smoothing and deep engraving of the outlines. This was not the first fumblings of an amateur, but someone who had been taught techniques, and was part of a larger artistic tradition. A systematic study of the area has identified 828 further engravings, including 704 animal forms, 61 human forms, and 17 inscriptions of Tifinâgh script.
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