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Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday links

August 12 is Erwin Schrödinger's (he of the famous half-dead cat) birthday: explanation, quotes, jokes, video.


Browse the British Library’s online copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s 570-page notebook.

Roman roads of Britain.

The Tiny Island in New York That Nobody’s Allowed to Visit.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include directly streaming music to your cochlear implant, the anniversary of the battle of Thermopylae, the 1814 beer flood that killed eight people, village sin-eaters, and Glen Campbell's Alzheimer's-related song.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday links

RIP Glen Campbell - here's his heartbreaking Alzheimer's-related song: "I'm Not Gonna Miss You".


This 1814 Beer Flood Killed Eight People.

Today is the anniversary of the battle of Thermopylae.

The Worst Freelance Gig in History Was Being the Village Sin Eater.

Japan has engineered an ice cream that 'doesn't melt'.


ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include knitting as a patriotic duty in World War 1, early explosives (including cat and bird bombs) from 16th century illustrated manuscripts, the 1900 hurricane that left over 6,000 dead in Galveston, TX, and a look at Puzzlewood, Tolkien’s inspiration for Middle-earth.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RIP Glen Campbell - here's his heartbreaking Alzheimer's-related song : "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"

From his website:

Glen Travis Campbell 1936-2017
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Glen is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page.
From 2014: After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, 78 year-old country music singer/songwriter Glen Campbell recorded the footage in this music video (other than the old videos, of course) as his disease progressed; the final sessions are from last year (2013). Currently in stage 6 of the disease, he's been living in a full-time care facility in Nashville since March of this year.


Part of the lyrics he sings to his wife, Kim:

You're the last person I will love
You're the last face I will recall
And best of all, I'm not gonna miss you.
Not gonna miss you.

I'm never gonna hold you like I did
Or say I love you to the kids
You're never gonna see it in my eyes
It's not gonna hurt me when you cry

I'm never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains

I'm not gonna miss you
I'm not gonna miss you

Here's the Alzheimer's Association website, and here's more on Campbell and his Alzheimer's.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday links

Early explosives, including cat and bird bombs, from 16th century illustrated manuscripts.

The Wool Brigades of World War I, When Knitting Was a Patriotic Duty.

The Deadliest Natural Disaster in U.S. History. The 1900 hurricane left over 6,000 dead in Galveston.

A subway-style map of the Roman roads of Britain.

Pigeons of War and their Double Decker Buses.

Puzzlewood – Tolkien’s Inspiration for Middle-earth.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include facial reconstructions of famous historical figures, the science of sword-swallowing, sunken Nazi gold, and Milton Friedman's birthday.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Early Explosives, including cat and bird bombs, from 16th century illustrated manuscripts

Illustrations from Unique at Penn and BibliOdyssey (and Google images, of course):

All of the illustrations here come from early explosives and warfare manuals copied and re-copied with alterations between the 16th and 17th centuries. The immediate originator of the idea behind these cat and bird bombs was Franz Helm of Cologne, an artillery master in the service of various German princes who likely served in campaigns against Turkish forces during the mid-16th century. He wrote a treatise on siege warfare (Buch von den probierten Künsten) and artillery that circulated widely in manuscript, but was not published in print until 1625.
In the text accompanying the images is a section entitled “To set fire to a castle or city which you can’t get at otherwise” [4]. This section details how to use doves and cats loaded with flammable devices to set fire to enemy positions. On cats the text paints a grisly picture of attaching lit sacks of incendiaries onto the animals to have them return to their homes and set fire to them. In my awkward translation:
“Create a small sack like a fire-arrow … if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw it will be ignited.” 




From BibliOdyssey, some general (animal-free) illustrations of explosives:



Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday links


It's free-market economist Milton Friedman's birthday: some favorite quotes and short videos. 

$130 million of Nazi gold may be in a sunken cargo ship.

10 facial reconstructions, using scans of skeletal remains, of famous historical figures. Richard III looks kind of like Jim Carrey, although not as much as this reconstruction of a Neanderthal looks like Chuck Norris.

The Science of Sword-Swallowing.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the invention of the Chilean Sea Bass, medieval fashion trends, examples of bad taxidermy, the proper names of 17 bodily functions, and, for Beatrix Potter's birthday, some of her gorgeous botanical drawings.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trailer for Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

The latest in the Sharknado series, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premiers on August 6. Per IMDB: With much of America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado, Fin and his family must travel around the world to stop them.



Related:

Real-life Sharknado: 5 actual instances of animal tornadoes, including Gatornado.



Beyond Sharknado - here's a trailer for Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (because fracking!)

For whatever birthday or gift-giving holiday comes up next, or just because you want one, here's a Sharknado Action Figure.

Sharknado 3 will be set in DC and have Ann Coulter as VP, Marc Cuban as Prez.

Sharknado 2: The Second One on SyFy: here's everything you need to get ready.


This will be bigger than Sharknado: Monster vs Machine - Mega Shark Vs Mecha Shark (Trailer)

Old and busted: SharknadoNew and hot: SharkNATO.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday links

It's Beatrix Potter's birthday: in addition to Peter Rabbit et al, she produced some gorgeous botanical drawings.


The Proper Names of 17 Bodily Functions.

Some examples of bad taxidermy.

Medieval Fashion Trends.

Meet the Woman Behind New York’s 1800s School For Crooks.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include a history of prosthetic limbs,  Aldous Huxley's birthday, why monks have strange haircuts, and what happens when you leave a tetherball hanging in the forest.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bad taxidermy

There's a lot of bad taxidermy out there - here are a few examples, which I assume are a result of do-it-yourself attempts. There are links to lots more at the bottom of the post.






















More here, herehere, here and here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday links

It's Brave New World author Aldous Huxley's birthday.

10 Relics From the Horse-Powered City Hiding in Plain Sight



CNN headquarters was built on an abandoned psychedelic theme park. Kind of related: The Business of Building Roller Coasters.


ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include how baby flamingos become pink, the lengths taken to make Abraham Lincoln look good in photos, when Paris flooded in 1910, and why red M&M's disappeared for a decade.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What happens when you leave a tetherball hanging in the forest

This has been around since 2015, but somehow I missed it:



Per the poster's Facebook page:
Rambro the Angry Ram lives in a 100 acre forest near Nelson New Zealand with his female companion Ewenice and son Dodge ram.
He was relocated there after causing problems for his previous owner - breaking fences, gates, attacking dogs and people. 
He is now free to roam the hills with his family. He guards his new home with extreme violence, he occasionally meets up with forest owner Marty Todd who films their sometimes hilarious encounters.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday links

How Baby Flamingos Become Pink. Kind of related: Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years.

The Great Lengths Taken to Make Abraham Lincoln Look Good in Photos.


It's the anniversary of the 20th of July plot, the unsuccessful bomb attempt to kill Hitler in 1944.



ICYMI, Monday's links are here. and include why ancient Roman concrete is better than modern mixes, a compilation of film of New York City circa 1900, the anniversary of the first nuclear test, and the history of condoms.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Baby Flamingos Become Pink

Flamingo (wiki) chicks start out grayish-white, then are fed bright red milk, a sort of crop milk made from either parents’ upper digestive tracts. As the chicks grow, they develop their signature pink feathers, as well as adult bills that can filter mud and silt from their food.

This BBC clip from Animal Super Parents describes the process:



Here's an explanation from Live Science:
Flamingos live by lakes, swamps and wetlands, and so they eat mostly algae, insect larvae and small crustaceans, such as shrimp and mollusks.
The red and blue-green algae they consume is loaded with beta carotene, an organic chemical that contains a reddish-orange pigment. (Beta carotene is also present in many plants, but especially in tomatoes, spinach, pumpkins, sweet potato and, of course, carrots.) The mollusks and crustaceans flamingos snack on contain similar pigment-packing carotenoids.
The bird’s digestive system extracts pigment from carotenoid-containing food and it eventually dissolves in fats. The fats are then deposited in new feathers as they grow, and the flamingo’s color slowly shifts to pink.
Related: Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years.

h/t The Kid Should See This.

Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years

Don Featherstone was the creator of the plastic pink flamingo.

Don created the flamingo when he was freshly graduated from art school, and newly employed at a plastics factory. One of his first assignments was to create three-dimensional plastic lawn ornaments (up to that time, most plastic lawn ornaments were more or less flat). The flamingo was one of his earliest efforts for the factory.
Eventually he became president of the company. After Don retired, dire things were done, by his successor, to the flamingo, triggering a worldwide protest, which eventually led to a more or less happy rallying of the forces of Good, and a restoration of the plastic pink flamingo’s status. In 2011, the flamingo attained new heights, when the Disney movie Gnomeo and Juliet featured a plastic pink lawn ornament named “Featherstone”.  Don and Nancy were feted at the film’s premiere.
For 37 years, the Featherstones wore matching outfits every day. Nancy Featherstone told why, in an interview two years in The Guardian. That interview appeared under the headline “Experience: I’ve worn the same outfit as my husband for 35 years“.

Related posts and links:

Flamingos have erectile tissue in their mouths. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday links

On July 16, 1945 the atomic age began with the Trinity nuclear test.

The Medieval History of Stonehenge.

Why ancient Roman concrete is better than modern mixes

Old New York: film from the Library of Congress of New York City circa 1900.



ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Bastille Day, the 47 names Disney considered for the 7 dwarfs, 1796 cases of Madeira found in a museum basement, and the stories behind iconic movie props.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Old New York: film from the Library of Congress of New York City around 1900

Per YouTube, the video features Enrico Caruso singing "La donna e Mobile"* (from Rigoletto (wiki)) circa 1908 and clips of films taken in New York City dating from 1898 to 1906 from the Library of Congress.



"La donna e Mobile" translates as "woman is fickle".

h/t Miss Cellania

On July 16, 1945 the atomic age began with the Trinity nuclear test

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

~ J. Robert Oppenheimer* (wiki) (quoting from the Bhagavad-Gita** on witnessing the first atomic explosion, 16 July 1945)

The spherical symmetry about a point approximately
 100 feet above the ground is the height of the test tower
In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

~ Oppenheimer ("Physics in the Contemporary World," lecture at M.I.T., 25 November 1947)

We have had our last chance. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.

~ General Douglas MacArthur (wiki) (speech, 2 September 1945)

The assembled Gadget (what scientists were calling the bomb)
 atop the test tower
There are no accidents, only nature throwing her weight around. Even the bomb merely releases energy that nature has put there. Nuclear war would be just a spark in the grandeur of space. Nor can radiation "alter" nature; she will absorb it all. After the bomb, nature will pick up the cards we have spilled, shuffle them, and begin her game again.

~ Camille Paglia (b. 1947) (Sexual Personae, Ch. 1)

It was on this date in 1945 that, for good or ill, the "nuclear age" began, with the explosion of the first experimental atomic bomb, code-named Trinity (wiki), in the western desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Trinity, with a yield equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT, was the first spherical implosion bomb, developed at Los Alamos under the auspices of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

The weapon designers were so confident of the success of the simpler gun-barrel configuration that the device of that type dropped on Hiroshima only three weeks later had never been tested. The subsequent Nagasaki bomb (dropped on 9 August) was of the Trinity type. In light of today's on-going nuclear proliferation, American songwriter/satirist Tom Lehrer had already nailed it in his 1960s-era song, "Who's Next?":



Trinity, the first atomic explosion, 16 July 1945:


* N.B. Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the controversial New York-born physicist who directed the Manhattan Project laboratory in Los Alamos that ultimately designed the first atomic bombs. Later suspected of being a security risk, at least partly for his opposition to developing the hydrogen bomb, he was suspended from his position at the Atomic Energy Commission in 1953.

Trinitite, also known as Alamogordo glass, is the glassy
 residue left on the desert floor after the Trinity
 nuclear bomb test melted the sand into glass.
** The Bhagavad-Gita ("The Song of the Lord") is one of the great poems of Hindu scripture, composed in Sanskrit circa A.D. 100.

Related:


Fan of mushroom clouds? Dozens of nuclear test videos declassified, uploaded to YouTube.



The text above is adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday links


Happy Bastille Day! Here's an old Jonah Goldberg article on the subject: The French are Revolting.

Museum discovers three cases of Madeira wine from 1796 in cellar. The wine was stocked in anticipation of John Adams’ presidential election.

The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them.


ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include how barbed wire changed the West, Nikola Tesla's birthday, the Japanese soldier who refused to surrender for 29 years, the history of the equals sign, and correlation is not causation: charts of weird things that correlate with each other.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The parakeet has a goiter: the best standard publisher rejection letter ever

From the blog of the excellent Letters of Note

The dreaded rejection letter is, more often than not, an entirely miserable experience for all concerned. To receive one is to instantly and all at once have one’s hopes dashed, confidence thinned, and mood dampened; to send the same is to knowingly rain misery down upon a stranger whose happiness will soon melt away thanks to a decision you had no choice but to make. 

Even worse than the rejection letter is the standard form rejection letter, a lifeless kick to the guts aimed en masse at a pool of unsuitables who are, it would seem, undeserving of a personal shove--a pre-printed shake of the head for one’s troubles. To find a standard form rejection letter of note, then, is quite a task, but not impossible, and here is the finest of examples, written and sometimes sent by Brian Doyle, current editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine

Letter taken from the More Letters of Note book:

Thank you for your lovely and thoughtful submission to the magazine, which we are afraid we are going to have to decline, for all sorts of reasons. The weather is dreary, our backs hurt, we have seen too many cats today and as you know cats are why God invented handguns, there is a sweet incoherence and self-absorption in your piece that we find alluring but we have published far too many of same in recent years mostly authored by the undersigned, did we mention the moist melancholy of the weather, our marriages are unkempt and disgruntled, our children surly and crammed to the gills with a sense of entitlement that you wonder how they will ever make their way in the world, we spent far too much money recently on silly graphic design and now must slash the storytelling budget, our insurance bills have gone up precipitously, the women’s basketball team has no rebounders, an aunt of ours needs a seventh new hip, the shimmer of hope that was the national zeitgeist looks to be nursing a whopper of a black eye, and someone left the toilet roll thing empty again, without the slightest consideration for who pays for things like that. And there were wet towels on the floor. And the parakeet has a goiter. And the dog barfed up crayons. Please feel free to send us anything you think would fit these pages, and thank you for considering our magazine for your work. It’s an honor.

--Editors

The 47 names Disney considered for the 7 dwarfs



In the 1930s, as Disney began work on the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (an adaptation of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm), the writing team compiled the following list of potential names for the seven dwarfs - characters who, in the original story, were unnamed.

As we now know, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy were picked. The name of their leader, Doc, was chosen at a later date.

By the way, in 1912 the story had been adapted for the Broadway stage, and the names chosen for the dwarfs were Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick, and Quee.

Here's the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Original Theatrical Trailer from 1937:



And here are the options they compiled (What the heck is Neurtsy? And why leave off Sleazy and Smutty?):
  1. Awful
  2. Baldy
  3. Bashful
  4. Biggo-Ego
  5. Burpy
  6. Daffy
  7. Deafy
  8. Dippy
  9. Dirty
  10. Dizzy
  11. Doleful
  12. Dopey
  13. Dumpy
  14. Flabby
  15. Gabby
  16. Grumpy
  17. Hickey
  18. Hoppy
  19. Hotsy
  20. Hungry
  21. Jaunty
  22. Jumpy
  23. Lazy
  24. Neurtsy
  25. Nifty
  26. Puffy
  27. Sappy
  28. Scrappy
  29. Shifty
  30. Shorty
  31. Silly
  32. Sleepy
  33. Snappy
  34. Sneezy
  35. Sneezy-Wheezy
  36. Sniffy
  37. Snoopy
  38. Soulful
  39. Strutty
  40. Stuffy
  41. Swift
  42. Tearful
  43. Thrifty
  44. Weepy
  45. Wheezy
  46. Wistful
  47. Woeful

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday links

Yesterday was Nikola Tesla's birthday: bio, Tesla coil music, Tesla vs Edison rap battle

Brussels sprouts, English Muffins, French toast - How 9 Site-Specific Foods Got Their Names

The strange and righteous history of the equals sign.

Correlation is not causation: charts of weird things that correlate with each other.


The Japanese soldier who lived in the hills and refused to surrender for 29 years.

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include Independence Day speeches from Lincoln (1858), Coolidge (1926) and Reagan (1986), how the first news reports of independence were disseminated, the science of fireworks and of barbecue, and Independence Days from science fiction.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Independence Day links

Want some inspiration? Read Lincoln's 1858 speech on the meaning of Independence Day: "Let us stick to it then. Let us stand firmly by it then." More excellent speeches from Coolidge (1926) and Reagan (1986). Video of the Reagan speech is here.


Journal of the American Revolutions' 10 Myths for the Fourth of July and Breaking News From 1776: First News Reports of Independence.

All about the Statue of Liberty.


Videos: The Science of Fireworks and of Barbecue

Kaboom! 10 Facts About Firecrackers That Will Blow You Away. Related: PBS's description of various fireworks effects, and a quiz.

America The Beautiful: the story of the song.


When in the course of human events... here's the full text of the Declaration of Independence.


Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Video: The Science of Fireworks, some 18th century fireworks illustrations, and photographic advice

Washington College professor John Conkling, who is the former director of the American Pyrotechnics Association and the co-author of Chemistry of Pyrotechnics, breaks down the science of fireworks and offers a laboratory demonstration of various color fuels in action.



Atlas Obscura has an excellent gallery of antique illustrations of fireworks. Here are a couple, but go to the link to see the whole set:

This hand-colored etching illustrates a 1749 show celebrating the Aix la Chapelle peace treaty, which also featured the first performance of George Fredric Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks." Sadly, three spectators were killed during the show when a lit rocket shot into a stack of reserve fireworks and blew up a pavilion. (Image: Public Domain/WikiCommons)
A”Grand Display” over New York’s Hudson River illuminated the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24th, 1883. This celebratory chromolithograph was published by Currier & Ives. (Image: Library of Congress)
And there's this:

Designs for "pyrotechny," engraved by Andrew Bell
for the 1797 edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. 
Related, National Geographic has some pro tips on how to take good pictures of fireworks. 

Thermodynamics and chemistry: The Science Of Barbecue

Joe Hanson of It's OK To Be Smart (youtube channel) and Aaron Franklin, the owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas discuss the thermodynamic and chemical science behind grilling meat.
In this week's video, I stop by the #1 BBQ joint in America (seriously, you can look it up) to learn about the science of BBQ!
By the way, here's Aaron Franklin brisket recipe and here's his series of video barbecue lessons. From his comments:
The science behind these things: how wood burns, how airflow works, if you start thinking of how fluid dynamics work inside the barbecue, science has a pretty huge part of it. I think good barbecue is a balance between science and gut instinct.


More on barbecue science here and here.

Previous posts with Joe Hanson components:

Valyrian steel, length of the seasons, dragon biology: The Science of Game of Thrones, bonus geological map

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday links



June 30, 1934 was the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler's purge of those standing in his way.

Catherine the Great's Secret Cabinet of Erotic Curiosities

Inventor creates a hover craft by strapping 76 drones to a seat.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include weird historical baldness cures, Helen Keller's birthday (with a selection of non-PC jokes), animals with regional accents, and a set of awkward pregnancy photos.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1954 film: How a Clean, Tidy Home Can Help You Survive the Atomic Bomb

A gem from cold war history: "The lack of safe house keeping has doomed this house to destruction."



Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. The makers of the film (which apparently include people selling home improvement products as well as the U. S. government) assert that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increases survivability.

Related posts and links:

Fan of mushroom clouds? Dozens of nuclear test videos declassified, uploaded to YouTube.






Hard to tell if there's anything to this:  Nixon blocked Soviet nuclear attack on China in 1969.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 28 is the anniversary of both the event that started and the treaty that ended World War One

June 28 is the anniversary of two days that might be said to mark the beginning and end of the First World War. It's the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (wiki) of Austria and his wife - heirs to the Austrian throne - by Serbian radical Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914, the proximate cause of the beginning of the war. If you're interested in further information on the subject there are hundreds of books and films - the best books I know of (and I'm no expert) are Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August (this won a Pulitzer back when they meant something) and John Keegan's The First World War.

Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie at Sarajevo - The German caption
 says, "Leaving the town hall, 5 minutes before the assassination":
On the same date in 1919, five years later, the peace treaty that ended the war was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. In the interim, ten million died, twice that number were wounded, and Europe's late-19th-century faith in the inevitability of progress and human betterment was destroyed. On hearing the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Germany's much-maligned Kaiser Wilhelm II noted from exile that, 

"The war to end war has resulted in a peace to end peace,"

and France's Marshall Ferdinand Foch observed,

"This is not peace; it is an armistice for twenty years." 

They were right.

God grant we may not have a European war thrust upon us, and for such a stupid reason too, no I don't mean stupid, but to have to go to war on account of tiresome Servia beggars belief. 

~ Mary, Queen-Consort of England's George V (letter to her aunt, Princess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 28 July 1914) 

The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime. 

~ Sir Edward Grey (remark, 3 August 1914, on the eve of Britain's declaration of war) 

The War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted of battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate. 

~ Sir Winston Churchill (Preface to Spears, Liaison 1914) 

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion. 

~Barbara Tuchman (The Guns of August, "Afterward") 

This animated map reflects the daily changes over the course of the war:


Here's a 6 minute overview of World War I:


And the BBC’s Horrible Histories explanation of how the Brits got involved:

The Atlantic has a series of photoessays entitled World War I in Photos on various WWI topics.


An 8 minute video on The Treaty of Versailles and its consequences:


Previous posts: Wilfred Owen, the best of the WWI "War Poets", was born 121 years ago today

Tuesday links

Today is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links, some history, and a selection of (non-PC) jokes.

14 of History’s Craziest Baldness Cures



How Animals Develop Regional Accents: Whales, bats, and birds have local dialects.

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the forgotten undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial tunnels dug by giant sloths, how much business pay to get on those big blue exit signs, and how to steal pizza without anyone knowing.