Thursday, August 17, 2006

History Carnival XXXVII

History Carnival XXXVII. The newest edition of the venerable History Carnival is up at Mode for Caleb. The blog author (Caleb McDaniel) has done a great job pulling together a great carnival!

A few favorites with the writing cut and pasted directly from the carnival:

1. Tom Hanks is ... James Madison. The American Presidents Blog wonders if it might be coming soon to a theater near you. It's a movie that Ed Darrell would probably be happy to see.

2. Tim Burke, who has been live-blogging his library-cataloging, pauses to ruminate on the importance of reputation capital in the hierarchy of academic norms.

3. Natalie Bennett takes the blogosphere on a cycle tour of the historic architecture in Hastings, Winchelsea and Rye.

The next History Carnival will be hosted at Frog in a Well: Japan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

History of Nigeria

History of Nigeria. This is a short essay on the history of the African nation of Nigeria. Yes, there is more to this nation than e-mail scams!

The Encyclop√¶dia Britannica notes, "Country located on the coast of western Africa. It has an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square km). It is bordered to the north by Niger, the east by Chad and Cameroon, the south by the Gulf of Guinea, and to the west by Benin. Nigeria is not only large in size—it is larger than the U.S. state of Texas—it is also Africa's most populous country. Nigeria has a diverse geography, with climates ranging from arid to humid equatorial. However, Nigeria's most diverse feature is its people."

From the site:

Before the colonial period, the area which comprises modern Nigeria had an eventful history. More than 2,000 years ago, the Nok culture in the present Plateau state worked iron and produced sophisticated terra cotta sculpture. In the northern cities of Kano and Katsina, recorded history dates back to about 1000 AD. In the centuries that followed, these Hausa kingdoms and the Bornu empire near Lake Chad prospered as important terminals of north-south trade between North African Berbers and forest people who exchanged slaves, ivory, and kola nuts for salt, glass beads, coral, cloth, weapons, brass rods, and cowrie shells used as currency.

In the southwest, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was founded about 1400, and at its height from the 17th to 19th centuries attained a high level of political organization and extended as far as modern Togo. In the south central part of present-day Nigeria, as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, the kingdom of Benin had developed an efficient army; an elaborate ceremonial court; and artisans whose works in ivory, wood, bronze, and brass are prized throughout the world today. In the 17th through 19th centuries, European traders established coastal ports for the increasing traffic in slaves destined for the Americas. Commodity trade, especially in palm oil and timber, replaced slave trade in the 19th century, particularly under anti-slavery actions by the British Navy. In the early 19th century the Fulani leader, Usman dan Fodio, promulgated Islam and that brought most areas in the north under the loose control of an empire centered in Sokoto.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NASA can't find original tape of moon landing

NASA can't find original tape of moon landing. Reuters is reporting that NASA has lost the original tapes of the first Apollo Moon landing.

The news report notes, "The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous 'one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,' a NASA spokesman said on Monday."

How convenient! As more and more people begin to question the "truth" behind the Apollo lunar landings (that they may have never happened), NASA loses the evidence. Could it be that the original tapes could easily be tested and found to be fake today?

Does the above paragraph sound crazy? I agree too. However, lunar landing revisionists are claiming the above.

The Wikipedia article on the Apollo Moon Landing Hoax Accusations is currently locked from editing due to repeated disputes. However, the missing tapes are now being introduced as evidence on the associated Wikipedia Talk page. An anonymous contributor wrote, "How convenient. First, the data tapes missing..NOW THE ORIGINAL FOOTAGE! I am proposing to add this to the hoax evidence section." Further weirdness continues, "Well, to stick to the point for a moment, the fact that the tapes are missing is suspicious to those who are not true believers. It would be like invading Iraq and finding that weapons of mass destruction were 'missing' - it's not proof of a conspiracy, but it sure smells like one." And so forth...

I note that the 9/11 and Holocaust revisionists also point to missing evidence as proof of a conspiracy. Unfortunately, as time goes by, primary source material is lost. Historians know this and realize that important events often have misplaced, lost, or accidentally destroyed documentation. The lack of this evidence does not constitute proof that an event never happened or happened differently that has already been proven beyond reasonable debate.

This is all very frustrating. The Apollo Moon landings happened and have been verified to the satisfaction of scientists and historians. So called proofs that the landings were a hoax are all easily refuted and usually show a lack of scientific knowledge from the hoax claimer. But yet even a simple news story like this emboldens the ignorant and gets this nonsense stirred up again.

I guess all history is conspiracy and we do not really know anything. Is there any piece of history that someone could not spin into a conspiracy theory if they put their mind to it?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

8 Important Lessons Learned from '80s Cartoons

8 Important Lessons Learned from '80s Cartoons. Maybe this article is not history related but I think it is. What lessons did the cartoons from the '80s, (The Smurfs, G.I. Joe, He-Man, and The Transformers) teach children? Several cartoons seem to teach lessons which can be applied to history.

Here are a few:

CARTOON: The Smurfs, LESSON: Communism works! The 20th century showed repeatedly that communism is a miserable failure. It does not provide economic security for people and often results in famine due to mismanaged agriculture. Further, human rights such as religious freedom suffer. But hey, communism worked for the Smurfs! I wonder if this show was the genesis of the newest crop of American communists?

CARTOON: G.I. Joe, LESSON: Knowing is half the battle. Or, as the article notes, "Actually, we’re pretty certain that our strategy for the Iraq War was conceived after a two day long G.I. Joe marathon in the Pentagon. They just implicitly trusted that the good guys were going to win, that firing off our guns would make the bad guys run for the caves and that giving everyone cute nicknames was somehow endearing."

CARTOON: Transformers, LESSON: If we’re not careful, robots will kill us all. This is probably good advice for the future. Robots may yet be our doom.

I wonder what the current crop of cartoons are teaching children. As my sons watch TV, how are they being possibly indoctrinated? I note that the Teletubbies live in a totalitarian state...