Via BigThink: salmonella from Europe may have killed the Aztecs. This is based on DNA analysis on Aztec remains. The salmonella may have been carried over via livestock. The end result would not have been pretty. Salmonella can cause enteric fever, which leads to high fever and bleeding from the nose, eyes, and mouth. The death toll was 15 million.
Between 1560 and 1630, the Great Witch Hunt raged in Europe, which resulted in 80,000 accusations and 40,000 deaths? Why did this phenomenon grip the continent? Two economists argue that the underlying reason was to gain more followers. This took place against the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation.
To bolster their point, the authors point out that from about 900 to 1400, the church didn’t want to acknowledge the existence of witches; and consequently, it didn’t try people for witchcraft. In 1258, Pope Alexander IV even prohibited the prosecution of witchcraft. Yet a few centuries later, the church reversed its decision. According to the economists, it was because of the Protestant Reformation.
Sounds suspiciously familiar to our own modern phenomenon of the “Drug War.”
History, Space, and Ethnicity: The Chinese Worldview is a relatively short article on how the pre-contact Chinese viewed their place in the world. From the introduction:
(1) What was the Chinese perception of the world, or world history, before China came into close contact with the rest of the world in the nineteenth century? And (2) how did this perception affect the work of historians from the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) onward?
I am just about to finish a book on Islamic history, bookmarking this for future reference.
A capsule history of how the kilt came to be. It was born out of a royal ban and out of workman’s necessity, but its rise as a symbol of national identity was due to an equally famed author.
A whirlwind tour of analog computers, including some of which use fluids for computation.
From the 1950’s: an analog computer designed for solving differential equations. To program it, the operator needed to rewire patch cables. It used high voltages, though, and could sometimes caused a shock.