Friday, December 25, 2009

Shakespeare was 'secret Catholic'

article with HHZ-English

The leading English seminary in Rome has unveiled documents that suggest William Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic.

The Venerable English College has claimed that England's leading playwright was a secret Catholic who spent "lost years" in Rome.

Father Andrew Headon, the vice-rector of the college, said that college records correspond with a previously undocumented period in Shakespeare's life after he left Stratford in 1585 and before he emerged as a playwright in London in 1592. "There are several years which are unaccounted for in Shakespeare's life," said Father Headon.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cereal is much older than we thought -
100,000 years, to be exact

OTTAWA (AFP) – Starting the day right by eating a bowl of cereal in the morning dates back more than 100,000 years, according to Canadian researchers in a study to be released Friday.

"The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought," said study author Julio Mercader.

Indeed, scientific evidence until now showed the practice started only 12,000 years ago at the closing stages of the last Ice Age.

The University of Calgary archeologist recovered dozens of stone tools, animal bones and plant remains dating back more than 100,000 years ago.

Thousands of starch grains on excavated plant grinders and scrapers showed that wild sorghum -- the ancestor of the chief cereal consumed today in sub-Saharan Africa for flours, breads, porridges and alcoholic beverages -- was brought to the cave and processed systematically, said the study.

"This happened during the Middle Stone Age, a time when the collecting of wild grains has conventionally been perceived as an irrelevant activity and not as important as that of roots, fruits and nuts," Mercader said.

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Monument In Cleopatra's Underwater City

Archaeologists on Thursday hoisted a 9-ton temple pylon from the waters of the Mediterranean that was part of the palace complex of the fabled Cleopatra before it became submerged for centuries in the harbor of Alexandria.

The pylon, which once stood at the entrance to a temple of Isis, is to be the centerpiece of an ambitious underwater museum planned by Egypt to showcase the sunken city, believed to have been toppled into the sea by earthquakes in the 4th century.

The pylon was part of a sprawling palace from which the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and where 1st Century B.C. Queen Cleopatra wooed the Roman general Marc Antony before they both committed suicide after their defeat by Augustus Caesar.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ancient Tablets Decoded; Shed Light on Assyrian Empire

Meticulous ancient notetakers have given archaeologists a glimpse of what life was like 3,000 years ago in the Assyrian Empire, which controlled much of the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. Clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform, an ancient script once common in the Middle East, were unearthed in summer 2009 in an ancient palace in present-day southeastern Turkey.

Palace scribes jotted down seemingly mundane state affairs on the tablets during the Late Iron Age—which lasted from roughly the end of the ninth century B.C. until the mid-seventh century B.C.

But these everyday details, now in the early stages of decoding, may open up some of the inner workings of the Assyrian government—and the people who toiled in the empire, experts say.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Student Finds Thomas Jefferson Personal Letter

(CNN) -- In a nondescript conference room tucked inside the library at the University of Delaware, a graduate student found a historian's equivalent to a needle in a haystack.

Amanda Daddona said she discovered a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson amid one of 200 boxes of legal documents, minutes from meetings and day-to-day correspondence of a prominent Delaware family.

"The first thing I recognized was his signature," said Daddona, 22, who is getting her master's degree in history. "It was really, really exciting. I just sat with it for a few minutes and looked it over and savored the moment."

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WWII plane recovered from Lake Michigan

WAUKEGAN, Ill. - A World War II Fighter Plane has been recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan.

A crane pulled the plane out Monday at Waukegan Harbor, but the process has been going on for months.

It was back in 1945, when the F6F-3 Hellcat sank, during a training flight. The pilot, Walter B. Elcock, now 89, barely survived the crash. While he couldn't make it to the recovery, his grandson, Hunter Brawley did.

Brawley recalls his grandfather telling him all about the plane crash as a kid and was excited to be at the recovery.

"I'm shocked, flabbergasted, this is history and it's amazing," said Brawley.

Brawley says he carefully recorded Monday's event to share with his Grandfather.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vanished Persian Army Said Found in Desert

Bones, jewelry and weapons found in Egyptian desert may be the remains of Cambyses' army that vanished 2,500 years ago.

The remains of a mighty Persian army said to have drowned in the sands of the western Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago might have been finally located, solving one of archaeology's biggest outstanding mysteries, according to Italian researchers.

Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Play for king sold for £84,000

BBC News - A Jacobean manuscript of a play which was to have been performed for James I and was later found in a trunk at a castle has sold at auction for £84,000.

The heavily crossed out draft for The Amazon was discovered in an attic at Powis Castle in Welshpool, Powys.

The hitherto unknown play by Lord Edward Herbert of Chirbury had been valued at £90,000 by Bonhams in London.

It is believed the play was to have been performed before the king and his court in 1618, but it was cancelled.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

1/6 UK children think Auschwitz is a theme park,

1/10 think Hitler was a football manager

A survey conducted by a veterans charity has found startling evidence that school children are increasingly ignorant of the history of the Second World War, with one in twenty believing Adolf Hitler to be a former national football team coach of Germany and one in six thinking that Auschwitz is a theme park.

The survey, conducted by Erskine, which takes care of around 1,350 war veterans, asked 2,000 children aged nine to 15 a number of questions about the Second World War and got some astonishing results.

One in six of respondents said they thought that Auschwitz is a theme park based on the Second World War. One in 20 said that the Holocaust was the celebration of the end of the war, whilst one in ten said they believed that the SS were Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Possible Expedition to Titanic Shipwreck Planned for 2010

NORFOLK, Va. — The company that has exclusive rights to salvage the Titanic is planning a possible expedition to the world's most famous shipwreck in 2010.

The first expedition to the North Atlantic wreck site since 2004 is revealed in a filing by RMS Titanic Inc. in U.S. District Court, where four days of hearings are scheduled to begin Monday on the company's claim for a salvage award.

Lawyers for RMS Titanic Inc. confirmed the expedition plans but declined to discuss them in detail.

The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in international waters on April 15, 1912, and has been subject to competing legal claims since an international team led by oceanographer Robert Ballard found it in 1985. Since then, RMS Titanic has retrieved artifacts during six dives.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Painting Sold At Garage Sale For $2 Might Be a Picasso

Woman May Have Sold an Original Picasso Painting at a Garage Sale

This week the Shreveport, La., resident learned that she might have had an original Picasso painting in her possession, potentially worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars but sold it at a garage sale for $2.

"I was floored. I had no idea in my wildest dreams that I could possibly have had millions in my driveway and sold it for $2," said Parker, who lives in a Shreveport trailer park.

Parker held the sale to help out the relatives of an an 84-year-old neighbor -- a frequent art collector -- who had recently died.

The neighbor's relatives lived out of town and had tried to sell his belongings at an estate sale the week before, but didn't want to transport the unsold items back home with them, and gave them to Parker.

Among those items was a painting that had "Picasso" written on it, but when she asked her neighbors' relatives about it, they said it was a fake and told not to worry about it, she said.

"I kept looking at this picture and said, Well it don't look like much, and it was in this cheap little frame," Parker said.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

WW II veteran's color war films discovered

MEDINA -- A World War II veteran is making another contribution to U.S. history, more than 60 years after the Bronze Star recipient served his country.

Herman Graebner, 89, remembers virtually every detail of his four years in the U.S. Army. What he didn't reveal until recently though, was that he had shot two reels of color movie film of the action he saw in the war.

Three daughters and more than 60 years later, Captain Graebner's re-discovered treasures will become part of a History Channel documentary series.

"The value of what Herm has captured on 8 millimeter film is not only a documentary, but a record that will soon be gone," says Dr. James Banks, Graebner's neighbor, and an historian with the Crile Archives at Tri-C West.

"I say that they'll be gone because 15 years from now there might not be any World War II vets left to give us their first-hand accounts of what they did and what they saw," Banks tells WKYC.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Researchers claim a third of dinosaurs might never have existed

( -- A new ten-year study by US paleontologists suggests that up to a third of dinosaur fossils may have been incorrectly identified as new species, when they are actually juveniles of species in which there was a dramatic change as they developed.

Jack Horner, of Montana State University, said in a new documentary to be aired on the National Geographic channel, that one example was the Nanotyrannus, which was identified as a separate species but which may in fact be a juvenile , whose changed dramatically as it matured, becoming much less elongated. This was suggested after a dinosaur mid-way between the size of a Nanotyrannus and Tyrannosaurus Rex was discovered.

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New discoveries at world's oldest submerged town

Archaeologists surveying the world’s oldest submerged town have found ceramics dating back to the Final Neolithic. Their discovery suggests that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5,000 years ago — at least 1,200 years earlier than originally thought.

The Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project aims to establish exactly when the site was occupied, what it was used for and through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town became submerged.

This summer the team carried out a detailed digital underwater survey and study of the structural remains, which until this year were thought to belong to the Mycenaean period — around 1600 to 1000 BC. The survey surpassed all their expectations. Their investigations revealed another 150 square metres of new buildings as well as ceramics that suggest the site was occupied throughout the Bronze Age — from at least 2800 BC to 1100 BC.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ancient Aramaic Records Meet Technology

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) New technologies and academic collaborations are helping scholars at the University of Chicago analyze hundreds of ancient documents in Aramaic, one of the Middle East’s oldest continuously spoken and written languages.

Members of the West Semitic Research Project at the University of Southern California are helping the University’s Oriental Institute make very high-quality electronic images of nearly 700 Aramaic administrative documents. The Aramaic texts were incised in the surfaces of clay tablets with styluses or inked on the tablets with brushes or pens. Some tablets have both incised and inked texts.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Leonardo da Vinci picture discovered by a fingerprint

A previously unknown portrait by Leonardo da Vinci potentially worth tens of millions of pounds is thought to have been discovered thanks to a fingerprint.

The painting, titled Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress, recently sold for a mere £12,000 ($19,000). It was billed at a Christie's sale in 1998 as "German, early 19th century".

Peter Silverman, the Canadian-born owner, thought there was more to it and decided to get the drawing checked out after buying it in 2007.

His hunch appears to have paid off.

A Paris laboratory discovered that a fingerprint from the tip of an index or middle-finger, found on the top left of the picture, was "highly comparable" to one found on da Vinci's work St Jerome, which he painted early in his career when he did not have assistants, according to the Antiques Trade Gazette.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

2012 Isn't the End of the World, Mayans Insist

December 21, 2012 isn't the end of the world. Or is it?

Definitely not, a Mayan Indian elder, Chile Pixtun, insists. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff."

...Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.

A significant time period for the Mayas does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years.

But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials.

..."If I went to some Mayan-speaking communities and asked people what is going to happen in 2012, they wouldn't have any idea," said Jose Huchim, a Yucatan Mayan archaeologist. "That the world is going to end? They wouldn't believe you. We have real concerns these days, like rain."

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Bible Wrongly Translated For Years;
God Did NOT Create The Earth,
According to Respected Old Testament Scholar

The notion of God as the Creator is wrong, claims a top academic, who says the Bible has been wrongly translated for thousands of years.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis "in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth" is not a true translation of the Hebrew.

She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world -- and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals.

...She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb "bara", which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean "to create" but to "spatially separate".

The first sentence should now read "in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth"

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

18th Century Ships' Logs Predict Future Weather Forecast

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2009) — One hundred and fifty years ago, Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species revolutionised how we view the natural world. Now his voyages on HMS Beagle are influencing modern research on the evolution of our climate.

The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks (CORRAL) project has digitised nearly 300 ships’ logbooks dating back to the 1760s. The accurate weather information they contain is being used to reconstruct past climate change – hitherto untapped scientific data.

Research team leader Dr Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland comments: “The observations from the logbooks on wind force and weather are astonishingly good and often better than modern logbooks. Of course the sailors had to be conscientious – the thought that you could hit a reef was a great incentive to get your observations absolutely right!

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

French general planned 18th-century invasion of Britain using American force

From Julius Caesar to Adolf Hitler, the invasion of Britain has been a constant theme in the history of these islands, even if the successful attempts have been heavily outnumbered by the unsuccessful ones.

Until now, however, one plan has remained unknown: an 18th-century plot to invade with an American army during that country’s War of Independence.

Drawn up by a French general, the scheme was to bring over an American force of 10,000 that would find a Britain so distracted by the war on the other side of the Atlantic, that victory would seem certain. Just to make sure, however, the general suggested that the force include a corps of Native Americans, or “sauvages”, as he termed them, who would strike such fear in British troops that any resistance would collapse immediately.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Remains of World's Oldest Brain Found in Armenia

Washington, October 1 - ANI: An Armenian-American-Irish archeological expedition claims to have found the remains of the worlds oldest human brain, estimated to be over 5,000 years old.

The discovery was made recently in a cave in southeastern Armenia.

An analysis performed by the Keck Carbon Cycle Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine confirmed that one of three human skulls found at the site contains particles of a human brain dating to around the first quarter of the 4th millennium BC.

The preliminary results of the laboratory analysis prove this is the oldest of the human brains so far discovered in the world, said Dr. Boris Gasparian, one of the excavations leaders and an archeologist from the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Yerevan.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Ancestor: Not Chimp, Not Human

A petite female early human climbed along tree branches on all fours but spent time upright on the ground some 4.4 million years ago in her woodland home in what is now Ethiopia.

This ancestral image comes from a partial skeleton of a hominid nicknamed "Ardi," who weighed in at 110 pounds (50 kg) with a height of just under 4 feet (120 cm).

...The species brings scientists closer than ever to the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees and gorillas, which lived about 6 million or more years ago just before early humans split off from the chimpanzees and bonobos. (Anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, didn't appear on the scene until about 200,000 years ago.)

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Russia casts doubt on Hitler skull theory

Russia has questioned the credibility of new research claiming Adolf Hitler may have escaped at the end of the Second World War.

Officials in Moscow say they have no record of a US researcher who claims to have examined a skull fragment said to belong to the late Nazi dictator.

Russia responded after a History Channel documentary claimed to have subjected the bone, which is kept in Moscow, to DNA testing and discovered it belonged to a woman and not Hitler.

The program suggested its findings bolstered the theory that Hitler did not commit suicide in 1945 as is widely thought.

But Vladimir Kozlov, deputy director of Russia's state archive where the fragment is stored, has cast doubt on the programme. He says he has no record that an American scientist called Nick Bellantoni who is shown in the program taking samples from the skull had ever been granted access.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Emperor's rotating banquet hall unveiled in Rome

ROME – Not only was Nero a Roman emperor, it turns out he may also have been the father of the revolving restaurant. Archaeologists unveiled Tuesday what they think are the remains of Nero's extravagant banquet hall, a circular space that rotated day and night to imitate the Earth's movement and impress his guests.

The room, part of Nero's Golden Palace, a sprawling residence built in the first century A.D., is thought to have been built to entertain government officials and VIPs, said lead archaeologist Francoise Villedieu.

The emperor, known for his lavish and depraved lifestyle, was born in 37 A.D. and ruled from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.

The dig so far has turned up the foundations of the room, the rotating mechanism underneath and part of an attached space believed to be the kitchens, she said.

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Emotional Bunny says: "Yes, it's quite lovely, isn't it? And the sun sets every evening on the right - er, no, I mean - the left side of the room..."

Uncertainty over Hitler's death after tests on bullet hole skull reveal it belonged to a woman

Adolf Hitler may not have shot himself dead, new DNA evidence shows.

A skull fragment believed for decades to be the Nazi leader’s has turned out to be that of a woman under 40 after DNA analysis.

Scientists and historians had long thought it to be conclusive proof that Hitler shot himself in the head after taking a cyanide pill on 30 April 1945 rather than face the ignominy of capture.

The piece of skull - complete with bullet hole - had been taken from outside the Fuhrer’s bunker by the Russian Army and preserved by Soviet intelligence.

Now the story of Hitler’s death will have to rewritten as a mystery - and conspiracy theorists are likely to latch on to the possibility that he may not have died in the bunker at all.

Thomas Edison's Personal Laboratory Opens to the Public

Thomas Edison's inventions changed the world, and starting on October 10th you'll be able to tour his laboratory complex at Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey. Key areas, including Edison’s private laboratory, original music recording studio and a photography studio will open to the public for the first time in the history of the site.

It would be hard for most Americans alive today to imagine life without recorded music, movies or electric lighting, and those are only a few of Edison's contributions to technology. The inventor earned 1,093 United States patents, a record number for one person that still stands. Beginning October 10th you can visit the impressive laboratory complex in West Orange, New Jersey, where Edison worked from 1887 until his death in 1931.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

H.G. WELLS: 9 Predictions That Have, And Haven't, Come True

September 21, 2009--Actor Rod Taylor "tests" a time machine in a still from the 1960 film The Time Machine, inspired by a 1895 novella by British writer H.G. Wells. One of the founders of modern science fiction, H.G. Wells would have celebrated his 143rd birthday today.

The time machine was one of many future technologies that H.G. Wells popularized in his 20 novels and dozens of short stories. Although such a device isn't one of Wells's fancies that has since come to fruition, a time machine is within the realm of possibility, said Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Koreans prepare for rare reunion

BBC News, Seoul - Sitting on the floor, with her suitcase in front of her, 100-year-old Kim Yu-jung is preparing for a remarkable journey.

Surrounded by four of her children, the youngest of them now in his late 50s, she is packing some winter clothes for the colder weather in the North.

The family is one of a small number given a rare chance to meet their long-lost relatives from the other side of the border that cuts this peninsula, and the lives of its people, in half.

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History textbook says USA first landed on moon in 1979, JFK president in 1960

An official history textbook used by thousands of GCSE pupils contains embarrassing errors, including the assertion that the United States won the race to the moon in 1979.

The new book, written by examiners, also tells pupils that John F Kennedy was president of America in 1960.

Entitled History: The Making of the Modern World, the textbook for a new Edexcel GCSE history exam, the inaccuracies have been slammed by historians and teachers.

"You have got to get these things right," said Sean Lang, a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridgeshire, and honorary secretary of the Historical Association. "The whole issue of exam boards putting out official exam text books that students then buy is highly suspect as it is, but if they are going to do it, you expect it to be right.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure uncovered in UK

LONDON – It's an unprecedented find that could revolutionize ideas about medieval England's Germanic rulers: An amateur treasure-hunter searching a farmer's field with a metal detector unearthed a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts.

The discovery sent a thrill through Britain's archaeological community, which said Thursday that it offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled England from the fifth century until the 1066 Norman invasion and whose cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world.

"This is just a fantastic find completely out of the blue," Roger Bland, who managed the cache's excavation, told The Associated Press. "It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

A short history of long speeches

This is a Linked! article - relevant content for both HHZ-History and HHZ-English

For 96 long minutes, Colonel Gaddafi spoke to UN delegates about Somali pirates, the death of JFK, jet lag and his conspiracy theories about swine flu. Call that a long speech? It's but a tiddler.

After an hour and a half of Mr Gaddafi speaking in person, it is not known how many of those listening logged on for more.

Four hours and 29 minutes is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest speech in front of the General Assembly, given in September 1960 by Fidel Castro. The former Cuban leader is known for his interminable speeches - his longest on record in Cuba clocking up seven hours and 10 minutes at the 1986 Communist Party Congress.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rare Discovery: Engraved Gemstone Carrying A Portrait Of Alexander The Great

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2009) — A rare and surprising archaeological discovery at Tel Dor: A gemstone engraved with the portrait of Alexander the Great was uncovered during excavations by an archaeological team directed by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"Despite its miniature dimensions – the stone is less than a centimeter high and its width is less than half a centimeter – the engraver was able to depict the bust of Alexander on the gem without omitting any of the ruler's characteristics," notes Dr. Gilboa, Chair of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. "The emperor is portrayed as young and forceful, with a strong chin, straight nose and long curly hair held in place by a diadem."

(Image Credit: No'a Raban-Gerstel, University of Haifa)

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Rice existed 4,000 years ago in Yangtze basin

Source: Epoch Times (9-17-09)New findings indicate that farming in the Yangtze Basin existed as early as 4,000 years ago. Excavation in the Xiezi Area of Hubei Province yielded a total of 402 cultural relics, including carbonized rice.

Stone tools, pottery, bronze, jade and porcelain were unearthed, as well as a number of spinning wheels, drop spindles made of clay and other textile tools. There were also stone mounds and smelting relics such as slag. A variety of grains and seeds were found, and experts believe there may be carbonized wheat among the plant findings at the site.

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Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Emotional Bunny Says: "A couple drops of water + pan + stove = yum!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Theory: Stone Age People had Sophisticated Navigation Networks

This is a Linked! article - relevant content for HHZ-History and HHZ-Math

( -- A new theory based on studies of locations of large landmarks in Britain, such as stone structures, hill forts and earthworks, suggests they were part of a grid used for navigation around 5,000 years ago, which implies people at the time were not as primitive as previously thought.

The theory, put forward by Tom Brooks, a retired marketing executive turned amateur historian, claims landmarks such as Silbury Hill and Stonehenge were part of a navigation network that allowed people to travel long distances without maps.

Analyzing 1,500 sites in southern England and Wales, Brooks found that all the known sites could be connected to at least two others to make isosceles triangles, which have two equal sides. Some of the triangles have sides greater than 100 miles long, and the equal sides are accurate to +/- 110 yards, which Brooks says could not have happened by chance.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Monopoly's Hidden Maps for WWII Prisoners

It's a story that will forever change the way you think of the phrase, "Get Out of Jail Free."

During World War II, as the number of British airmen held hostage behind enemy lines escalated, the country's secret service enlisted an unlikely partner in the ongoing war effort: The board game Monopoly.

It was the perfect accomplice.

Included in the items the German army allowed humanitarian groups to distribute in care packages to imprisoned soldiers, the game was too innocent to raise suspicion. But it was the ideal size for a top-secret escape kit that could help spring British POWs from German war camps.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

U.S. returns stolen fossils to China

Federal investigators Monday returned dinosaurs eggs, saber-toothed cat and other fossils stolen from China. Customs official had seized the fossils, taken without permission from China, and asked researchers at Chicago's Field Museum and the Virginia Museum of Natural History to evaluate them.

"These pre-historic fossils are an invaluable part of the history of the People’s Republic of China and they will undoubtedly contribute to the scientific exploration of that nation’s past,” said the Department of Homeland Security's John Morton, in a statement.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Letter of Mary Queen of Scott Appears, Briefly

EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) – At 2 a.m. on a frigid February morning in 1587, Mary Queen of Scots sat at her table and penned a last letter before her execution in the great hall of Fotheringhay Castle in the English midlands.

"Tonight, after dinner, I have been advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning," she wrote to her brother-in-law, the king of France.

Fragile with age but in remarkably good condition, the letter by one of the great tragic figures of Scottish history is making a rare appearance until Sept 21 at the National Library of Scotland.

Library spokesman Bruce Blacklaw said the library wanted to promote a new visitors' center and bring to public view treasures tucked away in the library's vaults.

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The Real ‘Obama before Obama’

By Daniel Sauerwein
Mr. Sauerwein is a Breaking News Editor at HNN

Recently, HNN ran a breaking news story published by the Washington Post entitled “The ‘Obama before Obama’ ” by Kevin Merida. The article begins with the story of the purportedly first African American elected to public office, John Mercer Langston, who was from Virginia and was elected township clerk in Brownhelm, Ohio in 1855. Merida also discusses Langston’s other achievements, including being founder of the future Howard University Law School.

".....Unfortunately, there is a major error regarding the historical record with this article. Based upon two encyclopedias dealing with African American history, HNN has learned that John Langston was not the first African American elected to public office. Indeed, there were two men before him."

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

History in danger as only 30% of pupils take subject at GCSE

A survey showed that one in three primary school pupils thought Winston Churchill was the first man on the moon

Monday, September 14, 2009

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

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FBI Probing 'Stolen' Jackie Kennedy Note

DALLAS — A Dallas newspaper reports that the FBI is investigating a "stolen" handwritten condolence note by Jacqueline Kennedy to Ethel Kennedy that was penned shortly after Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 assassination.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that investigators and Kennedy family members suspect the note was taken from Robert and Ethel Kennedy's Virginia home.

The note has changed hands several times and has sold for as much as $25,000.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Extinct Eagle May Have Hunted Humans

Sept. 11, 2009 -- Sophisticated computer scans of fossils have helped solve a mystery over the nature of a giant, ancient raptor known as the Haast's eagle which became extinct about 500 years ago, researchers said Friday.

The researchers say they have determined that the eagle -- which lived in the mountains of New Zealand and weighed about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) -- was a predator and not a mere scavenger as many thought.

Much larger than modern eagles, Haast's eagle would have swooped to prey on flightless birds -- and possibly even the rare unlucky human.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Search hopes to find 510-year-old Nfld. church

Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service Published: Sunday, September 06, 2009

Newfoundland; Site may be oldest Christian site in New World

Newfoundland and Labrador's top archeologist has revealed plans to search for the remains of a 510-year-old church on the western shore of Conception Bay -- a project aimed at adding to a string of recent discoveries about explorer John Cabot's history-making voyages to Canada in the late 15th century.

If the purported church is found near the town of Carbonear -- the site targeted by Memorial University's Peter Pope in what he calls a "longshot" dig proposed for next summer -- the discovery of North America's earliest Christian settlement would join the 1,000-year-old Viking site at Newfoundland's L'Anse-aux-Meadows, Jacques Cartier's recently unearthed 1541 fort near Quebec City and Virginia's Jamestown ruins among the continent's most important archeological sites.

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Emotional Bunny Says: "OK, SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY GETTING OUT OF HAND HERE. Does anyone recall a certain pair of articles I posted last week? Here they are, just to refresh your memory:

'Massive' ancient wall uncovered in Jerusalem


16th-Century Convent "Reappears" After 40 Years

Can someone please explain?? Did we discover the Lost City of Atlantis, only it broke apart and floated beneath the Earth's surface?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Walt Disney originals found in Blackpool attic

Original Walt Disney drawings have been found in an attic office in Blackpool.

The 15 mint condition black and white and colour drawings, which could be worth up to $20,000 (£12,000) each, were in the middle of hundreds of files gathered in over a century of Blackpool Illuminations.

....The material is now being catalogued and will be archived for future public viewing for the first time.

The Disney drawings were sent from Hollywood to Blackpool by Walt Disney himself.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hun-y History (The Huns)!

The Huns appear officially in history only when their hordes coming from the east reach the Roman Empire and in a very short time they conquer most of Europe.
Before that time, they have been numbered among the nomadic tribes of the Asian steppes and their origin was almost unknown. Now we have many research elements that have brought more light about this people, or complex of peoples, and have discovered that they were present in the most ancient times in Mesopotamia, and that have even been linked in some way, though not ethnically, with the Israelites in different times along history.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Taiwan's plan to take back mainland

By Cindy Sui

Taoyuan County, Taiwan

Most people in China and Taiwan might think they know what happened after the long and bloody civil war between the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Communist Party ended in 1949.

But recently declassified government archives have revealed a previously unknown secretive plan by Taiwan's late President Chiang Kai-shek to take back mainland China.

Chiang and his troops had fled to Taiwan after losing the war to the Communists, but despite great obstacles he was obsessed with the idea of taking back the land he had lost.

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Could Texas's Gingrich-Based High School History Curriculum Go National?
While Republicans are busy gnashing their teeth over President Obama's imminent indoctrination of the nation's schoolchildren, there's an education story bubbling up in Texas that could have considerably more far-reaching consequences.

......Approved textbooks, the standards say, must teach the Texan student to "identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority." No analogous liberal figures or groups are required, prompting protests from some legislators and committee members. (Read an excerpt here.)

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

'Massive' ancient wall uncovered in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An archaeological dig in Jerusalem has turned up a 3,700-year-old wall that is the largest and oldest of its kind found in the region, experts say.

Standing 8 meters (26 feet) high, the wall of huge cut stones is a marvel to archaeologists.

"To build straight walls up 8 meters ... I don't know how to do it today without mechanical equipment," said the excavation's director, Ronny Reich. "I don't think that any engineer today without electrical power [could] do it."

Archaeologist Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority added, "You see all the big boulders -- all the boulders are 4 to 5 tons."

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Emotional Bunny Says: "Is it just me, or are there an unusual amount of "discovered" buildings, walls, etc.? See previous post."