The One Time Shouting In Church Was Good

The Second Vatican Council in 1962 was intended to address relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. Near the end of the second session in 1964, a cardinal from Belgium asked the other bishops: "Why are we even discussing the reality of the church when half of the church is not even represented here?" He was referring to women -- not one woman was involved in the proceedings.

In response, 15 women were appointed as auditors in September 1964, and eventually 23 women were auditors at the Second Vatican Council, including 10 women in religious orders (i.e. nuns). The auditors had no official role in the deliberations. They did attend subcommittees working to draft documents, and met as a group once a week, to read draft documents and comment together on them.

The First Reindeer (In English)

'He was a very prosperous man in respect of those possessions that their wealth consists of, that is, of wild animals. When he sought the king, he still had six hundred domesticated animals unsold. These animals they called reindeer (hranas); six of them were stæl reindeer. They are very valuable [prized?] among the Finns (Finnas), since they [the Finns] catch the wild reindeer with them [stæl reindeer]'

This is the first written account of reindeer in English. It comes from King Alfred of Wessex's history, recording the visit of a Norwegian chieftain Ohthere (usually rendered Óttar in Old Norse) in the late 900s CE. In this particular passage the Ohthere is telling of his 'wealth' in a farmstead in northern Norway. It seems he has a herd of reindeer which have been domesticated by Finns and by this time brought to Norway. The word "reindeer" itself would not enter English until the 1400s.

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.

Japan had a real estate bubble in the late 1980s when values skyrocketed. At its height in 1989, Tokyo was (on paper) worth double the entire United States.

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.)

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    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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