Category Archive: History

Jul 10 2014

Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα

Just to counter the repressive BS in the last post, here’s some news that it doesn’t have to be that way: 2,500-year-old erotic graffiti has been found on an Aegean island. "They were what I would call triumphant inscriptions," said the Princeton-trained professor who found them while introducing students to the ancient island world of …

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May 04 2014

"May the Fourth be with you"

It’s a joke meme going around, but I remember this date for something more serious. May 4, 1970. 44 years ago. Don’t forget it. If you don’t know about it, read the story.

Mar 31 2014

Yes, really

Yet another critic of Cosmos speaks out on Giordano Bruno. This time it’s Andrew Sullivan, who first complains about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “style”, calls him intrusive and silly, and then gets to the real complaint: he dissed the Catholic Church. David Sessions pans it. The segment previewed above is on the 16th century priest and …

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Mar 23 2014

The Eugenics Creed

Salon has a good essay on Charles Davenport, a prominent American biologist from the first half of the 20th century who was one of the loudest voices promoting the eugenics movement. Oh, let’s call it what it was: the Wealthy White Racist movement. It begins with the tale of Carrie Buck, as was previously told …

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Mar 15 2014

Don’t you just love seeing ignorance get smacked?

Ah, racists…simultaneously so smug and so stupid. One racist white guy wrote in anonymously to People of Color in European Art History with a slightly leading question: Can you explain why Europeans were much more technologically advanced than the indigenous populations of Africa? I mean, these cultures hadn’t even invented sewage systems, which is something …

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Mar 15 2014

Missing the point of Giordano Bruno

I’m seeing a lot of silly carping about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos — almost all of it is focused on the story of Bruno told in the first episode. The apologists for religion are upset: how dare a science program point out the poisonous influence of religion? Bruno wasn’t really a scientist anyway, so he …

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Feb 25 2014

A magnificent denunciation of libertarian revision

Really. It’s terrific. Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from yesterday. The Daily Show Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook

Feb 12 2014

I shall not even try to list all the things science has failed to anticipate

Help me wrap my brain around this tweet. I can’t grok it. Philosophers' historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day! — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) February 12, 2014 Philosophers’ historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy. Happy Darwin Day! John Wilkins isn’t helping. @pzmyers @RichardDawkins …

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Feb 12 2014

Happy Darwin Day!


I thought I’d include a picture of the young Charles Darwin, since we are celebrating his birthday today. That’s him in 1816, when he was 6 or 7 years old, with his younger sister, Emily Catherine Darwin. And then I started wondering about that other person in the picture. Darwin’s sisters were an extremely important …

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Jan 20 2014

Despair at the movies

We just got back home from Twelve Years a Slave. Throughout that movie, all I could think is, “we human beings did that to other human beings? We suck.” Now how am I supposed to get to sleep with that kind of disgust for humanity on my mind? (It was still the best movie I’ve …

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