Historical

Gaia’s Map of 1.3 Billion Stars Makes for a Milky Way in a Bottle

Call it a galaxy in a bottle. Last Wednesday, astronomers in Europe released a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. Dennis Overbye The New York Times It is the most detailed survey ever produced of our home galaxy. It contains the vital statistics of some 1.3 billion stars — about one percent of the whole galaxy. Not to mention measurements of almost half a million quasars, asteroids and other flecks in the night. Analyzing all these motions and distances, astronomers ... Read More »

The best anthem for Workers’ Day? ‘Stimela’ – a tale about apartheid’s migrant labour system

What is the ultimate song to celebrate Workers’ Day? Many will suggest “The Internationale” which had its roots as a poem written in the aftermath of the Paris Commune in 1871 by Eugène Pottier, a transport worker. Andries Bezuidenhout The Conversation Set to music a few years later, it became the anthem for the wider progressive movement. It served as the Soviet Union’s anthem after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, making it more closely associated with the communist movement. But ... Read More »

Long lost art of first major global war discovered in Kent

Exclusive: Largest selection of pre-19th century prisoner of war art ever found in Britain David Keys Independent The long-lost art of the world’s first major global war has been rediscovered inside a historic manor house complex in the Kent countryside. Eighteen images of ships, scratched on the building’s walls by French prisoners of war in the mid-18th century, have been found by historical investigators carrying out conservation work at a National Trust property, Sissinghurst Castle, 13 miles south of Maidstone. Together with 16 ... Read More »

Britain’s secret ‘torture camp’ and the stench of a cover-up:

How the brave men who protested about prisoners being abused at a UK base in Cyprus were shunned… until now In 1958, Grenadier Guard Jamie Eykyn discovered horrific abuses in Cyprus Prisoners accused of being EOKA terrorists were being tortured on British camp Officer Eykyn reported the abuses to his superior officer, Major Michael Stourton Yet instead of gratitude for their bravery, they met a wall of hostility and denial By Polly Dunbar For The Mail On Sunday It was ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Revenge and the Kurdish Dilemma

After 4,000 years of continuous habitation, there is no Kurdish presence left in Afrin. Maurice Glasman * The Nation Arriving in Baghdad, it is clear who has won the Iraq War. The Shia are in charge. Tower-sized, luminous green posters of Husseyn and Ali define the landscape, draped from Brezhnevite tower blocks, augmented by portraits of martyred fighters in identical uniforms, with a prominent place for Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the Shia cleric executed by the Saudis. These are reproduced in ... Read More »

The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago

Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. Ramzy Baroud CounterPunch That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled. The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin. Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against ... Read More »

Gallipoli commemorations of Turkish youth tell us much about politics in Turkey

With ongoing political instability and security concerns in Turkey, we are again likely to see a smaller turnout of Australians and New Zealanders for Anzac Day ceremonies at Gallipoli this year. Authors: (2) The Conversation But thousands of Turkish youth will be on the battlefields at dawn. They will be re-enacting the march by the 57th Regiment to the highlands, where Ottoman troops halted the Anzac advance in 1915. We undertook fieldwork last Anzac Day on this ritual as part ... Read More »

Ancient Amazonians lived sustainably – and this matters for conservation today

Our colleague, the archaeologist Santiago Rivas, recently made a remarkable discovery. Authors (4) The Conversation On a small plateau above the outskirts of Iquitos, a town in the northern Peruvian Amazon, he found a layer in the soil which contained small pieces of ceramic pottery, that were around 1,800-years-old. Digging deeper, he found another layer of soil, this time containing pottery that was about 2,500 years old. This is the archaeological site at Quistococha which has been occupied for at ... Read More »

Stephen Lawrence anniversary: 25 years later, less than half of ethnic minority Britons think progress made on racial prejudice

Poll comes a quarter of a century after murder of black teenager in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993 Ashley Cowburn Independent Less than half of people from ethnic minority backgrounds believe there has been progress on racial prejudice over the past quarter of a century, according to a new survey mapping attitudes towards race and integration in Britain. The poll coincides with the 25th anniversary of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, ... Read More »

What Greek tragedy illuminates about James Comey

Once upon a time, there was a prominent, powerful man in government who cared deeply about integrity and following the rules. Victoria Pagán The Conversation He said, “You cannot know a man completely, his character, his principles, sense of judgment, not till he’s shown his colors … Experience, there’s the test.” Leaders have a sacred obligation to those they rule, he said. “As I see it, whoever … refuses to adopt the soundest policies but fearing someone, keeps his lips ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out

The Communist Manifesto foresaw the predatory and polarised global capitalism of the 21st century. But Marx and Engels also showed us that we have the power to create a better world. Yianis Varoufakis The Guardian For a manifesto to succeed, it must speak to our hearts like a poem while infecting the mind with images and ideas that are dazzlingly new. It needs to open our eyes to the true causes of the bewildering, disturbing, exciting changes occurring around us, ... Read More »

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

My Jewish Encounter With Hinduism

How I came to an intellectual and spiritual connection with Swami Chidananda Saraswati Religions are complex realities. Alon Goshen-Gottstein Tablet They are constituted by systems of beliefs and rituals. They are embedded in particular cultures. They involve communities and they are mediated to a large extent through teachers and living spiritual exemplars. In what follows I describe a process of encountering Hinduism that has been in the making for nearly forty years. It has gone… My Jewish Encounter… Read More »

Why remembering matters for healing

April 12 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year communities and schools plan various events such as reading the names of Holocaust victims and survivors, forums of Holocaust survivor speakers, or panel discussions with historians. Nancy Berns The Conversation These events run through an entire week of remembrance. Such formal days of remembrance are important. As a sociologist who studies grief and justice, I have seen how these events and permanent memorials can be both healing and inspirational. I will share ... Read More »

Berlin to change street names over brutal African colonial past

Berlin is poised to strip the names of streets linked to atrocities committed during its occupation of Namibia and dedicate them to liberation fighters, part of a late reckoning with Germany’s brutal colonial history in Africa. BERLIN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet After more than a decade of debate, the three biggest parties in the Berlin Mitte district assembly voted Wednesday night to recommend new names for streets in the so-called African Quarter in the northwest of the German capital, spokeswoman ... Read More »

Secrets of the sea bed: Hunt for Stone Age site in North Sea

British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land. Laurence Peter BBC In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment. The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long. Mesolithic people are thought to have ... Read More »