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history has always been fucking wild lmao

when people claim they hated history i have to tell them its because they dont know ENOUGH history, the better history
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Tim Wise forgets that the last time WV coal miners got too demanding about working conditions:

Mine owners and local law enforcement assassinated activists, used a private airforce to drop WWI surplus mustard gas bombs on them, and the USAF had spotter planes feed the union-busters targeting information.

We don’t talk about the West Virginia Coal Wars much even though they were the largest “armed insurrection” in this country since the Civil War, but some legacies of those days still haunt us such as the figure of Mother Jones – a real person and a militant pro-labor activist whose name has been stolen by a labor-punching neoliberal corporate media rag.

If you want to understand the lengths that big business (with the backing of our government) will go to in supressing labor movements, you should read a bit about the Battle of Blair Mountain [x][x].

Nobody wants to be a coal miner…

But people are born into a system specifically-created so that coal mining is their only option. In the past, this kept the mines full even as the workers dropped like flies. Today, it is producing a generation with no way to escape a moribund industry.

When people cry out that their “way of life” is dying, it’s easy for us to laugh and snark at them. But we forget that a “way of life” is the means by which they live. For some people, there is no replacement, no other option. When their way of life dies, so do they.

And if they get too loud when “demanding something better” – we bomb them and erase them from history.

image source:[x]

August 25-September 2 is the anniversary of The Battle of Blair Mountain.

Don’t let America forget its labor history.
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If you ever think history impressive or grand, here’s a story for you:

Right after ww2, Jews were freed, but basically had no citizenship to speak of, and the allied forces weren’t that!helpful. So a group called the TTG was formed to help emigrate (read: smuggle) Jews from Central Europe, to Mediterranean ports, where they would take boats to Israel.

The TTG did this by piling the Jewish refugees into trucks bearing British insignia, their operatives dressing up as British soldiers, and just openly driving to port cities.

If they were ever stopped by actual military forces, they would say they were a part of a covert supply missing, under special orders from Major Tuches. They would stress that the contents of the trucks was super secret and to not be disturbed under any circumstances. They saved over 300,000 Jews like this.

If that sounds reasonable to you, here’s the thing: TTG stands for Tilhas Teezee Gesheften, and the operatives named one Major Tuches as their commanding officer whenever they needed to.

Or, to translate that into English, the event that saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees was called Operation Kiss My Ass led by Major Asshole.

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This is the greatest progression of events I have ever read, where’s my historical gay romance novel about this


Local King Cannot Stop Promoting His Boyfriend

where’s the lush period drama about this series of events?

fun thing about king James, this guy was fairly public about his bf (more public than what was acceptable). He threw lots of extravagant parties with his man on his arm. It pissed off the church obviously so to get them off his back, he’s the one that ordered the third translation of the Bible from Hebrew to English (the King James Version aka the Authorized Version) so the Bible every hot blooded all American Christian reads today was literally just written so a very gay king could fuck his boyfriend in peace.

oh my god this is hilarious

“guys, guys. I know this looks kinda gay, and i promise i have a good explanation for all this, but have you considered… that jesus… is also gay? checkmate, heteros.”
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Marsha P Johnson. Trans woman. Drag queen. Activist. The first person to throw a brick at Stonewall. Hero. Don’t whitewash. Never forget.
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Look at this, and remember it next time someone says that the gay community survived the AIDS epidemic.

We didn’t survive, we started over. We lost all but an entire generation.

This is what “we survived Reagan, you’ll survive Trump” looks like. No, we didn’t.

The AIDS crisis is a reminder that no matter how cool we are in a moment (like during the height of disco), the instance shit goes south for us cishet people will let us die.

Respectability politics is Russian roulette. 
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you wanna see some badass shit from the early 20th century?? The Lumière brothers created the first full color photograph… in fucking 1903! So these dudes dyed potatoes (in red, blue, and green), mashed them down into just pure fuckin’ starch, and used these dyed potato starches as filters to block out/let in certain wavelengths of light. They coated one side of a glass plate with the starches and sensitized the other side with a mixture of gelatin and light sensitive materials (silver nitrate) and loaded these plates in their cameras.. This is a really simple explanation of the process and I may have missed some thingsA few of my favorite autochrome photos:

the process is called “autochrome”, if anyone wants to find more examples.

…the lesbians in the last one tho.
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have i ever told y’all about the greatest moment of my academic career

i was a freshman in college and i had this history teacher who was ~edgy~ and his hotness level on ratemyprofessor was off the charts and he was the first teacher i ever heard use the word “fuck.” anyway he would do this thing every so often where we’d have a “quiz” and the first two questions were always really easy and the last one was hard - they were all similar questions, and the point was to show what you learn about history and what you don’t. 

so one day he’s like okay kids time for a quiz and the first question was who killed abraham lincoln. the second question was who killed JFK. third question was who killed william mckinley. 

we all take a few minutes and write down our answers, and then the teacher asks the questions again so we can shout out the answers. everybody answered the first two with really no problem.

now, keep in mind that this class was at 9 a.m. and i was exhausted All The Time during my freshman year of college so i sat in the back in my sweats and never said a word and the teacher definitely had no clue who i was. 

so you can imagine his surprise when he asked the class who shot william mckinley and without missing a beat i said, “czolgosz,” pronounced correctly and everything. 

my teacher froze and in a very stern voice asked, “what was that? what did someone just say?”

i repeated: czolgosz.

my teacher: “who said that?”

i raised my hand, and my super cool history teacher glared at me. he then asked me how the hell i knew the answer. he said that in the TWENTY YEARS he’d been teaching this stupid class, nobody, not A SINGLE PERSON, had ever known the answer to that question.

i then had to quietly explain to a room full of people that there’s a musical called assassins and there’s a song about czolgosz shooting william mckinley at the great pan american exposition in buffaloooooooo (in buffaloooooooo)

I know this because I just rewatched an episode of “Murdoch Mysteries” last night that covered it. Pop culture can be educational.
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The first licensed female doctors of India, Japan, and Syria posing together in 1885

via reddit

Keep reading
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In 1808, Napoleon, running out of scenic holiday destinations to invade, somehow totally forgot about his neighbor to the south, Spain. So that year he dispatched his troops, kicking off the Peninsular War.

Only 20 years old and working as a barmaid in the town of Valdepenas, Juana Galan was not expecting a surge of French soldiers to come storming through her village. But on June 6, that’s exactly what happened. At that time, most of the men were fighting Napoleon’s forces elsewhere in the nation. Juana, unfazed by things like rifles and Frenchmen and French riflemen, began organizing the women in her village to form a trap for the approaching army.

When the army arrived, Juana and her friends were ready. They dumped boiling water and oil on the French troops, which by all accounts will instantly take the fight out of pretty much anyone. Then Juana, armed with only a batan, beat back the heavily armed French cavalry with her squad of village women, almost none of whom were armed with guns.

The French retreated, giving up on capturing not just Juana’s town but the entire province of La Mancha, leading to ultimate Spanish victory. Today, she is seen in Spain as a national hero, a symbol of resistance, strength, patriotism, feminism and hitting shit with a stick.

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“we can’t call most historical figures things like gay or lesbian because those terms didn’t exist in their times/cultures and if you ever call them that you’re a bad historian and/or just projecting”

“while it is important to be aware of the differences in how sexuality existed in other time periods and cultures, and using modern terminology is generally inappropriate in an academic setting, our terminology is still a convenient way to speak about historical figures who would likely have those identities in our own time. a historian should always be conscious of those differences, but that does not mean that it is wholly inappropriate to use our modern terminology in a casual setting for historical figures who had same-sex relationships, especially since, for many queer people, these historical figures can be a source of inspiration as well as a connection to the past”
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Today is considered the day of the death of Anna Frank, although the exact date is unknown. Anna Frank died of typhus in concentration camp Bergen-Belsen.

Of the 110,000 Dutch Jews deported to the Nazi death camps, only 5,000 survived.
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Sophie Scholl’s last words: 

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”


Quote from Traudl Junge, Hitler’s private secretary from 1942-45:

Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn’t able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn’t personally to blame and that I hadn’t known about those things. I wasn’t aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out. 
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History Meme: 7 couples (1/7)

Hans Hermann von Katte & Frederick the Great

The story of Hans and Frederick is perhaps one of the most tragic historical love stories of all time. Hans was a nobleman from birth, coming from a long line of aristocratic military men, but even then he wasn’t high enough on the social ranks to be associating  with the likes of the royal family. However, this hardly stopped the crown prince, Frederick, from getting to know and befriending him. It is unclear when the two first met, but it is said that when he and the prince attended the same private mathematics and mechanics class, the two became fast friends. Wilhelmine, Frederick’s older sister, frequently admonished her brother for acquainting himself with those who were ‘below them’. This did nothing to change Frederick’s mind about the young lieutenant that had caught his fancy. Together the two boys shared a love for poetry, the flute and the French language. Based on their letters to one another, it can be inferred that they both spoke in French between them. As the years went on, Hans became the prince’s close confidant as well as his protector. In fact, the lieutenant was known to have stood guard while the prince practiced playing his instrument so that he wouldn’t get punished for it if someone were to find out and tell the King. The closeness of the pair didn’t escape the attention of the Prussian court and for a while it was wildly speculated that they were in fact, lovers. Some even said that they “behaved like a master and a mistress” when they were together.

In 1730, Frederick trusted Hans enough to tell him about his plan to run to Britain to escape his father’s abuse. Hans, although he understood his beloved’s reasons, did not support the idea of the crown prince abandoning his country and did all that he could to convince Frederick that there was another way. During this time, Hans was the only person Frederick trusted to deliver correspondence between him and his sister so Hans frequently visited the princess. Wilhelmine, who wasn’t at all fond of Hans, accused him of poisoning her brother’s mind with ideas of escaping, to which Hans replied: “As long as I am with that beloved prince, I shall prevent his executing his designs,”. When the princess heard this, she told the lieutenant that he was putting his life on the line even if he opposed to her brother’s plans. Hans simply answered: “If I lose my head, it will be in a good cause. But the prince will not forsake me,”. In the end, Hans supported Frederick’s decision to leave. Together the two of them, along with their dear friend Keith, plotted to leave at separate times and meet up at the town of Leipzic so they could go over to England. The night the prince was scheduled to leave, he wrote to his beloved: “I am off, my dear Katte. My precautions are well taken, so I have nothing to fear. I shall go through Leipzic,  where I shall pass myself for the marquis d'Ambreville. I have already sent word to Keith, who is to go straight to England. Lose no time, for I expect to meet you at Leipzic. Adeiu! Be of good cheer,”

Unfortunately, Hans was held up at a town and was caught before he could make his escape. Frederick had a good head start, but he too was captured and the both of them were thrown into prison, accused of treason. Both of them were interrogated roughly and subjected to prisoner-like living conditions for months. Although Hans confessed to being an accomplice of Frederick, he defended his beloved’s decision and never once mentioned that Wilhelmine was a part of their plans. Frederick was said to have given the guards nothing but haughty, harsh and insulting answers, refusing to subject himself to his father’s will. When he did say his side of the story, his alibi lined up perfectly with Katte’s. Frederick William, the prince’s father, was so outraged that he wanted to put his son to death. However, the Holy Roman Emperor opposed to this idea since Frederick is the crown prince and the heir to the Prussian crown. He turned all of his anger towards the unfortunate Hans, who was only initially sentenced with life imprisonment. His executioner refused the command twice and even apologized to Hans when he was sent to escort him to the execution site. The young lieutenant smiled and replied: “I die for a prince whom I love, and I have the consolation to give him, by my death, the strongest proof of attachment that can be required. I do not regret the world,”. Frederick in the meantime was brought to an apartment with a view of the execution stand. He thought that he was going to be executed, but the knowledge that Katte was safe gave him a little comfort. In the morning, the prince was awakened and was forced to look out the window where his love was standing at the scaffold. Frederick attempted to to throw himself out the window, but was held back by the guards. “Delay the execution!” the prince screamed, “I am ready to renounce my right to the crown if his majesty will pardon Katte!” then turning to Hans, Frederick switched to speaking French and said: “Please forgive me, my dear Katte, in God’s name, forgive me!” Hans had nothing but a smile when he called back, “If I had a thousand lives, I would sacrifice them all for you. There is nothing to forgive, I die for you with joy in my heart!” Before the axe hit Hans’ neck, Frederick had already fainted away.

After he awoke, the prince became so ill that his life was in danger for three consecutive days. He was ravaged by hallucinations and nightmares and even refused to take any medicine. Frederick calmed down, however, when he was told that his mother and sister would die if he did. Days later, when the prince was in a better state of health, guards came by to ask him to write a letter resigning himself to his father’s will. At first, the prince refused but, feeling like he had nothing to fight for, he eventually stopped fighting and gave in. Wilhelmine mentioned in her memoir that for weeks, her brother insisted on wearing the brown coat that he was given as a prisoner until it was battered and torn, because it was similar to the one Katte wore when he was killed. Frederick remained in a state of depression for quite some time until he shook himself out of it and never spoke of Hans ever again. Through his life, he never fell romantically for any other man or woman nor did he participate in any kind of sexual activity.

(All quotes were taken from Wilhelmine’s memoirs)

Jack Falahee as Hans von Katte

Toby Regbo as Frederick the Great
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“Imagine if people had been going ‘don’t fight hate with hate’ back when Hitler was around.”

Fam…let me tell you bout Poland.

Let me tell you about how the entire rest of Europe sat ack and watched the invasion of Poland because they thought it would be “improper” to send military aid. How they were unwilling to enforce the treaties that Germany was breaking, because that would make them “just as bad.” They sat back and wrote strongly worded letters while fascists grew in power because they didn’t want to dirty their hands. They thought reasonable discussion and politics would be enough to stop a fascist dictator from rising to power.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t enough.

like yes, people literally did try that argument then too. 

Everywhere there’s fascists there are fascist apologists hiding under the guise of pacifism, ready to enable their shit and demonize resistance. 
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This is a Mills & Boon from 1967 and honestly I don’t know what I’d do if I met someone and they said ‘with those hands she simply must play the piano’ but it would probably end in tears

For those asking, this is from ‘When Love is Blind’ by Mary Burchell, aka Ida Cook. My New Year’s Resolution is to try and read books by really interesting authors, and Ida Cook comes under that umbrella category because:

she was singularly and bizarrely obsessed with opera, along with her sister, Louise Cook

she wrote about 112 romance novels in her life 

during WW2, these two facts became incredibly useful because she and her sister were badass ladies who used the money that Ida earnt from selling romance books to smuggle Jewish people’s possessions across the border from Germany, helping Jewish refugees to satisfy Britain’s financial criteria for immigration

this is because Britain’s immigration requirements included a clause that meant you had to prove that you were financially stable enough to live in Britain, which was hard for Jewish people as they were banned from taking goods or money abroad with them. They were able to leave Germany, but would not be accepted to live anywhere else. So, to get around that, people would smuggle their goods into Britain for them

they literally used to go to Germany dozens of times a year to ‘see operas’, dressed in plain clothes, and would come back to Britain dressed in about eight layers of gold and finery

they did also actually see operas

when officials got suspicious about how many goddamn clothes and items of jewellery they were wearing at one time, they pretended that they were spinsters who didn’t trust their families at home not to sell their belongings, and so they wore all their best clothes and jewellery whenever they went abroad

they had to super carefully plan all their crossings so that the same people who saw them travelling to Germany with no luggage at all didn’t see them travelling back to Britain in completely different outfits, laden with baggage and suitcases

they did this so often that officials did begin to get suspicious about how many times in a year two women could actually go to Germany just to see operas, so the director of the Munich Opera House started to arrange specific performances on dates of their choosing so that they could prove their reason for travelling. He also let them choose which performance they wanted him to put on. They must have been bloody delighted

many of her romance novels are about operas

like this one 

she had a bit of an opera problem, really

she wrote an autobiography and only about a third of it is about her heroic work helping Jewish refugees. The rest of it is about her childhood

just kidding, it’s about operas
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Okay friends today we are gonna learn
about the GHOST ARMY, which, disappointingly, was not actually an
army made of ghosts

pictured: the unit patch for the
Ghost Army, which is DOPE AS FUCK

see one of the things that made WWII so
fucking nuts was the totally bizarre level of technology. Like wow we
invented the first real computer and radar but also if you wanted to
see how many troops were hanging out somewhere you had to send a dude
to fly over and take pictures manually??? this left A LOT of room for

so the normal method of dealing with
aerial surveillance was to cover shit with camouflage netting. Say
you’ve got an nice air base that you really don’t want any bombs
dropped on- you literally just cover that with a ludicrous amount of
netting and some fake trees and BAM now it looks like just an empty
field from the air

there’s a building under that weird

that’s cool! That’s
really cool! But not cool enough

At some point
somebody sat down and went “hey wait. What if…what if instead of
disguising buildings and units as fields, we disguise fields as

holy fucking

the British had
used a bunch of fake tanks and like, boxes of provisions stacked up
in tank shape and then covered with a tarp in 1942 during Operation
Bertram and it worked really well, but they didn’t have a special
unit devoted to just clowning on the Germans like that.

so the US military
decides they do want a designated clowning unit and goes out and
recruits a bunch of fucking nerds from all the art schools and makes
them into the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops aka THE

the ghost army’s
job was basically to go in, sidle up to a real unit, and then
basically set up a fake version of that unit while the actual unit
sneaked away to go dunk on Nazis where the Nazis weren’t expecting

okay time to get
into the really cool part of this story, which is HOW the ghost army
faked being a real unit:


that’s a big ol balloon!!!

the ghost army had
a stockpile of inflatable tanks, aircraft, artillery, cars, whatever,
that they would set up and then poorly cover with camouflage
netting so from the air it looked like someone had just done a
real shit job of hiding actual materiel. They even had dummy soldiers
that they would set up to make the scene look populated, since the
ghost army itself was about 1,000 dudes regularly imitating units of
30,000 men

what’s really cool
is that visual deception was more than just the inflatable stuff
itself. If the ghost army plopped down a balloon tank, they then also
had to go out with shovels and rakes and shit to make a fake track
that a real tank would have left, because it turns out tanks are
really hard on your landscaping

step 2: “spoof

the last couple of
days before the real unit moved out, the radio operators of the ghost
army would move in. see, radio transmissions were done in Morse code,
and it turns out every radio operator has a slightly different “fist”
when typing Morse. A “fist” is basically typing style- some
people would take longer to type out certain letters or would have
pauses between groups or anything like. Anybody listening to the
radio transmissions who was skilled enough could tell different radio
operators apart from just their fist

anyway the ghost
army operators would move in and basically listen to all the real
unit’s radio transmissions until they had learned the real operators’
fists. Then they would take over radio traffic, imitating that fist
so it seemed like the real operator had never left. I forgot to make
this section funny because I was too caught up in how rad it is SORRY

step 3: making a
lot of noise

the ghost army had
special trucks fitted with huge fuck off speakers and a whole library
of stock sound effects. Once the real unit left and the fake unit
inflated, the sound trucks would come in, select a combination of
sound effects that matched the unit they were impersonating, and then
played everyone in the 15 mile radius of the speakers their fire mix

step 4: fuckin

see the thing about
impersonating your own units is that other allied units would know
about it and might talk about it where enemy collaborators could
hear. So the ghost army had to fool the Germans but they also had to
fool their own army. Every time they impersonated a new unit,
the ghost soldiers would paint that unit’s insignia on all the fake
materiel, make fake signs with the unit’s name and colors, and sew
the unit’s patches on their own uniforms

once they were
dressed up as soldiers from the impersonated unit, the ghost army
dudes would go into town and mingle with other soldiers from actual
fighting units nearby and hang out in bars while loudly saying things

so anyway this
bunch of weedy American art nerds staged 20+ battlefield deceptions
between 1944 and the end of the war, sometimes fooling that Germans
so successfully that they actually got shelled

I'mma leave you
with this quote from the book “The Ghost Army of World War II” by
Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, because it’s a quote from an actual
member of the Ghost Army and that alone makes it funnier than
anything I could ever write:

On another
occasion, two Frenchmen on bicycles somehow got through the security
perimeter. Shilstone managed to halt them, but not before they had
seen more than they should. “What they thought they saw was four
GIs picking up a forty-ton Sherman tank and turning it around. They
looked at me, and they were looking for answers, and I finally said
‘The Americans are very strong.‘”
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It’s like millennials do not understand that middle east has been at war for 1000′s of years. That we intervened on behalf of Kuwait. That without “bombing” people that want to kill and oppress others, millions will be murdered and tortured.

“at war for 1000′s of years”

you clearly know nothing about Afghanistan nor the middle east

here’s Afghanistan in the 1950′s, 60′s, & 70′s

if you really want to know what caused all the instability & growth of extremist groups I suggest you take a look at the US foreign policy towards Afghanistan during the 80′s

It’s interesting to note that when the communist government came to power in Afghanistan in the late 70′s, one of the first things they did was declare equality of the sexes, made education for girls mandatory, & banned child marriages. The conservative tribal leaders who the US armed & funded (& who later became the Taliban) declared this to be a “war on Islam” & fought against the central government.

The US had no problem back then with encouraging the growth of Islamic conservatism to counter socialism/communism. You created your biggest enemy & you have no one to blame but yourselves.


its crazy to me how the US talks about war in the middle east as if its this ancient problem inherent to the area instead of a recent problem created by western countries to further their own interests.


the CIA took out the democratically elected leader of Iran in the 1970s over oil and that set off an entire chain of events leading to ISIS, here’s more about multiple other countries we’ve fucked over 

What they won’t tell you in your US history class.

Ah how quickly there’s no mention of the USSR’s role in the destabilization of Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia’s second largest export, Wahaabist Islam (the same thing that gave us Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Daesh), wonder why that is.

Do tell? I’m genuinely curious to the full explanation as to the real explanation as to why the Middle East was destabilized, which doesn’t pin all the blame on America. Please elaborate.

The Soviet Union invaded because there was a coup in Afghanistan that was unfriendly to the Soviets and overall the communist government of Afghanistan was deeply unpopular because they kept killing people.

The Soviets assassinated the president and proceeded to scorch the earth of Afghanistan, rape and murder villages in reprisals when officers died; this went on longer than Vietnam

Wahabbinism is a very pro-saudi form of manifest destiny theory of Islam and Saudi Arabia has spread this around the middle east to their own benefit when it is convenient and makes them money. They lent out money to Osama bin Laden because they knew he was pissed that American troops were staged in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War

Western nations and failed NATO policy is partly to blame for middle eastern issues and that guy up there is foolish to say that they’re the good guys in this situation, but equally foolish is to say that other middle eastern counties don’t fuck each other over. Hell, the Taliban was arguably created more from Pakistans ISI than the U.S; considering they gave them much more aid and much more attention in an attempt to make a pro-pakistan government
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Okay but you all know that Charles II cleaned up Catherine of Braganza’s vomit once, right? She was really sick and he was there for her the whole time, borderline nursing her and she vomited and before anyone else could clean it up before him, Charles was in there, wiping it off his wife and wiping it off the sheets.  

I’m not sure if this was in 1663 when she became seriously ill after miscarrying or in the 1670s, when anti-Catholic sentiment and the Popish Plot signalled in on her and her household specifically and she was scared for her life (and worried that someone would convince Charles to divorce her. As we know, he told everyone who did to fuuuuuck offfff) and thus became seriously sick and incapacitated again. As it is, following her miscarriage in 1663, she was so ill that her fever caused her to become delusional and she believed she had in fact given birth. Charles sat with her and comforted her by saying that, yes, she had given birth. They had two sons and two daughters, he said. And he described them to her until she fell asleep. Kill me as fuck :) 

That’s why it’s particuarly touching that in most (if not all) of the engravings that depict the pair together, they are holding hands or touching tenderly in some way. Pour example: 

This is so sweet.

Had to draw it.

A perfect, perfect edition to my post! Thank you, these are super and sweet! 💞
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Congratulations, B.o.B., a dude more than 2,000 years ago figured out what you still can’t understand despite the benefits of free public school, generations of documentation and the internet at your fucking fingertips.

To be honest, I’m mostly reblogging this for the Carl Sagan explanation.

Ancient Egypt was insane with their astronomy and giant buildings. The damned pyramids line up with constellations and specific stars

Yep.  This is why I hate the aliens and the mysticism explanations.

I mean, come on, y’all.  The ancient Egyptians were just smart, okay.  And we owe them.

The conspiracy theories are a side effect of a common mistake.

People now are not, on average, smarter than the first anatomically modern humans (and probably not smarter than Neanderthals or Denisovans either).

We just have better libraries.

How smart was the first person who invented fire? The first woman (almost certainly) who realized that deliberately dropping seeds near her camp meant that the tasty or medicinal plant would grow right there where she could get it?

The first man (most likely) who realized that if he used an extra stick he could throw a spear further and more accurately - creating the spiritual ancestor of modern firearms.

And then you get to Egypt - which did have good libraries. And a solid labor surplus.

Or, let’s take the Mayans, Chichen Itza. I’ve been there. Big pyramid. Sports court. Lots of little rooms. Chichen Itza was a university. It was where they trained their priests.

It also has this: 

That’s the Chichen Itza observatory.

Compare it with this:

That’s the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.

The Chichen Itza building was actually more cylindrical than a dome. It had star watching platforms inside it. But you can see that building #2 is intended for a similar purpose to building #1. As far as we know they did not have a telescope in it, but certain forms of glass rot…so we can’t be sure, and the Mayans sure as heck knew their astronomy.

Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian city we know of in North America (I say we know of because with everything that happened, we may have missed one if it was made entirely using wood) had observation platforms and a woodhenge similar to the ones in Europe.

It seems that every time a human society has enough of a surplus of labor and materials: Astronomy happens.

The pyramids, with their alignment to the stars. The observatory at Chichen Itza. Stonehenge.

These things are the spiritual ancestors of Curiosity and Voyager - and took just as much intelligence, curiosity and desire to understand the universe to build.

The “it must be ALIENS!” theory is essentially racist.


Because white Europeans could not believe that any brown people, anywhere, ever, no matter how advanced their cultures or science/math, could create wondrous engineering marvels. It couldn’t be Mayans, or Egyptians, or ancient Koreans or Thais,
or the ancient peoples of

Great Zimbabwe and Mohenjo-Daro, or the Aztecs or the Rapa Nui people, or Tibetans or or or.

It had to be White People From Outer Space, any other explanation was unpossible. Because racism dulls Occam’s razor.


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