Brains, being soft tissuey organs don’t last long at all after anything dies under pretty much all conditions. Finding an ancient brain in any condition is miracle of archaeology, but finding a human brain that’s still some sort of stuff after 4000 years is pretty unlikely. But here it was, a Bronze Age brain under the dirt in Turkey.
The New York Public Library teamed up with the University of Maryland’s Institute for Technology in the Humanities to digitize Shelley’s two surviving notebooks containing most of the work—complete with edits by Percy Bysshe Shelley, her poet husband. Making this almost 200-year-old text click-accessible for a modern audience is only the first step for the Shelley-Godwin Archive, which hopes to digitize the entire oeuvre of the ultra-writerly family of Percy, Mary, and her parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Good lord knows Oscar Wilde wasn’t shy about his love of the male form, but according to some evidence, it seems pretty likely that in 1882, Wilde and fellow writer and beard to end all beards owner Walt Whitman bumped nasties. So now you know that.
In human history, people didn’t go from all hunters and gatherers to settled farmers any more than there’s one way that humans today live. In the Stone Age, there were some that were beginning to see the benefits of agriculture, but hunters and farmers coexisted in the world just as farmers and bankers do today. But not side by side— new research shows that hunters and farmers rarely met and interbred. One had their thing, the other group had their thing.
A controversial American biblical scholar is set to make his first appearance in London next week to present a discovery that he claims proves the story of Jesus Christ was invented as a system of mind control to enslave the poor.
As it turns out, the Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed mostly by government budget cuts, not fire
The burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, the destruction of tens of thousands of scrolls, the rivers running black with ink, is one of the great intellectual tragedies of history, but it may not have all gone down as books and Hollywood have described. The remains of the Great Library show almost no evidence of fire or destruction— as it turns out, the Library was nearly dead from government budget cuts before Caesar destroyed a warehouse full of scrolls bound for export.
In almost every textbook for decades and decades, there’s been the notion that it was agriculture that spawned the rise of complex civilization. And while agriculture may have played a part in getting the ball rolling, it turns out that it’s likely that war played a much bigger role in advancing society.
Agriculture only has to get so big and only has to create a certain level of technical innovation before it’s good enough. And there are plenty of cultures that had plenty of agriculture (much of native North America and sub-Saharan Africa) that never developed large scale, complex civilizations. War creates a need for defense, banding together in larger groups and teamwork to develop and produce technology. Think of places like most of Europe, which was locked in constant warfare for a thousand years, Mexico and Central America, the Middle East and East Asia— all places where war played a huge role in the creation of complex societies.