Interesting facts

October 25, 2015

Stuff I post to Facebook and then forget, or more exactly, stuff I read while at the library and then forget the attribution for.

every 98 seconds someone in the US gets sexually assaulted.
– rainn, quoted on pbs newshour


[during the 16th c imperial sack of rome,] the painter parmigianino was imprisoned, saving his life only by making drawings of his jailers.
– john julius norwich, absolute monarchs


the “basan” is a nocturnal, fire-breathing ghost chicken from japanese folklore that lives in the woods and comes into town at night to terrorize the populace. how awesome is that??
– ben thompson, badass


the medieval welsh scrubbed their teeth with green hazel-shoots and then rubbed them with wool until they “shined like ivory,” giving them the whitest teeth the chronicler gerald of wales had ever seen.
– thomas asbridge, the greatest knight


there are more than 22,000 forms of christianity.
– john julius norwich, absolute monarchy


isabella jagiellon of transylvania (16th century) was the first ruler to issue an edict of universal religious toleration.

  • sarah gristwood, game of queens


the boers were known for their charity in battle, coming out at night to comfort the british wounded and ferry them to hospitals.

– josceline dimbleby, may & amy


at the turn of the last century, kipling remarked he liked his christmas sea voyages the best, as the stewards would write seasonal messages on the cabin mirrors in soap.

– josceline dimbleby, may & amy


hearing is the first and last sense: first to be developed in the womb, last to go as we die. to me, that means our little lives are rounded by a song.

– patricia monaghan, the red-haired girl from the bog


the blue in woad was used in camouflage in wwii brirain to make soldiers invisible at night  julius ceasar recorded the celts’ use of woad 2000 years previously!

– netflix, women warriors


the 1860 heavyweight championship bout between irish-american benicia boy and a brit went 37 bare-knuckled rounds before they called it a draw and both men won the belt.

– michael and barbara foster, a dangerous woman


in 1990 the average pay of the chief executive officers of the 500 largest corporations was 84 times that of the average worker. by 1999, it was 475 times the average worker’s pay.

– howard zinn, a people’s history of the united states


in 19th century italy, people traveling by diligence (coach) held a piece of rope in their hands which was tied to their luggage strapped outside in order to prevent theft.

– brian thompson, the disastrous mrs weldon


only four percent of black GIs were able to access the GI’s bill offer of free education.

– debby irving, waking up white


early or mid-19th century (unspecified): in new hampshire, five hundred men and women petitioned the amoskeag manufacturing company not to cut down an elm tree to make space for another mill. they said it was “a beautiful and goodly tree,” representing a time “when the yell of the red man and the scream of the eagle were alone heard on the banks of the merrimack, instead of two giant edifices filled with the buzz of busy and well-remunerated industry.”

– zinn, a people’s history of the US

the need for slave control led to an ingenious device, paying poor whites – themselves so triublesome for two hundred years of southern history – to be overseers of black labor and therefore buffers for black hatred.

– zinn, a people’s history of the US

“state scarlet” was the code name for “an enemy attack within minutes” in 1960s britain.

– andrew marr, the real elizabeth

the farmers enlisted as privates in the american revolution earned $6.66/ month, while upper class colonels received $75/month.

– howard zinn, a people’s history of the united states

from 1914-1918, about ten thousand voluntery organizations were formed in britain. [this shows the tremendous gaps between what the people needed during the war and what the government neglected to provide.]

– andrew marr, the real elizabeth

the eight karmic winds are desire for pleasure and fear of pain, the desire for wealth and the fear of loss, the desire for praise and fear of blame, and desire for fame and fear of disgrace. if you are moved by these, then you are thinking and acting in terms of your ego, not in terms of the universal principles.

– joseph campbell, goddesses

the phrase saying we are “dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants” goes back at least to 12th century europe.

– john of salisbury, quote taken from susan wise bauer’s the history of the renaissance world

elizabeth, wife of george vi, was the first scotswoman since mary, queen of scots to become queen.

– daily sketch, 11 dec 1936

in 2011, just 34% of veterans of iraq and afghanistan believed the wars had been worth fighting.

– matt kennard, irregular army

The mottos of Henry VIII’s wives:
Catherine of Aragon: “Humble and Loyal”
Anne Boleyn: “Most Happy”
Jane Seymour: “Bound to Obey and Serve”
Anne of Cleves: “God Send Me Well to Keep”
Catherine Howard: “No Other Will but His”
Catherine Parr: “To be Useful in All I do”

the state of mind that often precedes suicide attempts: a desperate desire to shed an old self whose suffering has become unbearable and thus must be reborn in the act of dying. this imagined rebirth has nothing to do with belief in reincarnation or even in heaven, but with the perception, ironically, that the soul cannot survive under existing conditions.

– james hillman, referenced by susan bordo in the creation of anne boleyn

in 1921 there were 6,000 americans in paris; by 1924, 30,000.

– amanda vaill, everybody was so young

in the fourteenth century, people who brought fagots of wood to burn heretics were given 40 days of pardon from the fires of purgatory by the roman catholic church.

– heretic queen, susan ronald

the word “heresy” (airesis) meant “to choose another path” in the 4th century CE.

– karen armstrong, fields of blood

after WWII, general SLA marshall of the US army and a team of historians interviewed thousands of soldiers from the european and pacific theaters. they found that only 15-20% of infantrymen had been able to fire at the enemy directly – the rest tried to avoid it and devised complex methods of misfiring or reloading their weapons to avoid detection.

-fields of blood, karen armstrong

the uranium in the hiroshima atmic bomb, which obliterated 70,000 people in an instant, weighed less than a dollar bill.

-pbs newshour, 27 may 2016

napolean decreed that traffic should flow on the right of the road. which explains why the brits drive on the left.

-richard hill,
there is no hebrew word for “goddess.”

  • jean shinoda bolen

a iatromantis is one who experiences a consciousness that is neither waking nor dreaming, neither alive nor dead, one who is at home not only in the world of the senses but in another reality as well. a iatromantis was, to the ancient greeks, “taken by apollo.” it was a silent ecstasy that gave total freedom. one name given to those priests of apollo was “skywalker.”

  • paraphrased from “in the dark places of wisdom,” peter kingsley

…”civilization” should not be used when referring to the industrialized wirld, especially not in relation to non-western societies who have their own social and cultural understandings of what a good society should look like. we use the word “civilization” to mean “materially wealthy” and technologically advanced, even though material wealth and technology are often used for uncivilized, unethical ends.

  • paraphrased from milton kennerly in tim wise’s “white like me” 3rd ed.

towards the end of WWII, when the US had 5 million surrendered germans on our hands, washington changed their status to “disarmed enemy forces” so the geneva convention wouldn’t apply to them. over 8,000 of them died in US camps. i guess “enemy combatants” wasn’t a new idea.

  • excorcising hitler, frederick taylor

“Aardwolf”: “spy-speak for a kind of formal assessment for [CIA] headquarters from one of the agency’s field stations.”

  • Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, Joby Warrick

“This malleable world seems odd to adults,” Brenda Laurel continues. “Adults make a clear distinction between authoring and consuming. To adults, if you have to make the world and then play in it, it feels like changing hats. Little kids don’t have that problem.” By way of example, Laurel points out that children make assertions, and those assertions instantly become part of the play environment. A child will say, “I am a princess and I am riding a horse.” And, like God in Genesis, so it is. By contrast, Laurel says, “Adults need a certain anonymity or ability to mask. They need props like the smart costumes so they don’t look silly. When those conditions exist, adults like to play.”

  • Independent, Jan/Feb 1994

“the main clauses of the Treason Act of 1351, by which Edward III [of England] establishes exactly what constitutes ‘high treason,’ are still on the statute books.” [can i get a ‘wow’?]

  • the time traveler’s guide to medieval england, ian mortimer

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and proof that the internet has redeeming features: an interactive map of the Roman empire! This will be an indispensable tool for me.

in 1912, 56 socialists were mayors of U.S. cities, Oklahoma had a “red” legislature, Kansas was a hotbed of radical publishing, and the party published 262 English-language weeklies and five daily papers.

  • clancy sigal

the word “heresy” comes from the greek “heresias,” meaning “choice.”

the symbol of the raised, clenched fist goes back to ancient assyria as a sign for the goddess Ishtar.

a take of a knight’s PTSD, from Froissart, ca 14th century:

“Sir Peter de Béarn has a custom, when asleep in the night-time, to rise, arm himself, draw his sword, and to begin fighting as if he were in actual combat. The chamberlains and valets who sleep in his chamber to watch him, on hearing him rise, go to him, and inform him what he is doing: of all which, he tells them, he is quite ignorant, and that they lie. Sometimes they leave neither arms nor sword in his chamber, when he makes such a noise and clatter as if all the devils in hell were there. They therefore think it best to replace the arms, and sometimes he forgets
them, and remains quietly in his bed.”