This doesn’t sound right really, does it?

As a historical theologian, I researched the role that pious Christians played in developing and producing alcohol. What I discovered was an astonishing history.
Religious orders and wine-making
Wine was invented 6,000 years before the birth of Christ, but it was monks who largely preserved viniculture in Europe. Religious orders such as the Benedictines and Jesuits became expert winemakers. They stopped only because their lands were confiscated in the 18th and 19th centuries by anti-Catholic governments such as the French Revolution’s Constituent Assembly and Germany’s Second Reich.

Deeply, deeply, uncertain that the Jesuits were ever major land holders (in Europe) or vintners.

Yet this is from an academic.

Michael Foley, Associate Professor of Patristics, Baylor University

Hmm.

Well, turns out Ian Smith was right then

In the early 1980s I interviewed the undoubtedly racist Ian Smith, who led Rhodesia with white minority rule from 1965 to its reincarnation as Zimbabwe in 1979. How would Mugabe do, as leader, I asked him? “He will be there for at least 30 years, murder or imprison all of his opponents and bankrupt the country”, was the terse reply. Not a terribly bad call, really.

Smith’s solution wouldn’t have worked either but still…..

Someone with good Google Fu needed

Rowntree and his assistants went out on to the streets of York in 1897 to investigate. Armed with notebooks, they criss-crossed the city, frequently passing the place where Deliveroo couriers would congregate more than a century later. They visited more than 45,000 people in the following two years, asking how much they earned, what they paid in rent, what food they bought, and all manner of other questions about their lives. Rowntree made sure to compile information on wages from local employers and to consult the latest medical research on the number of calories men, women and children needed to consume every day.

What were the calorie numbers Rowntree used?

Be rather interesting to compare that with average diets today, no?

Children’s deaths in Lanarkshire

The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to an investigation by BBC News.
The children were all residents of a care home run by Catholic nuns.
At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary’s Cemetery in Lanark.

Before the outrage:

It opened in 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken homes. It closed in 1981, having looked after 11,600 children.

The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.
Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

Given the prevalence of child death from those diseases at that time that’s not actually a bad outcome. Well, obviously, dead children is a bad outcome but comparatively…..

Don’t think so love, don’t think so

Wilberforce, unquestionably a force for good, helped end, in 1807, Britain’s official involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. But he was not alone. The enormous contribution of black people in Britain at the time – especially activists and writers who were slaves themselves – has no equivalent site of glory, in London or anywhere in the country.

There were no slaves in Britain at the time. None, not a one.

The Jamaican chippie called Chalky

A late Roman history claims that Clodius Albinus, the 2nd-century Roman governor of Britain and self-proclaimed emperor of Rome, was named Albinus on account of his extraordinary whiteness at birth (From Carlisle to Cairo: Romans could be from anywhere, 8 August). But it should be pointed out that the Romans could be a bit Jim Davidson when it came to naming prominent black people. When Martial addressed a famous prostitute named Chione (“snowy”) in epigram 3.34, he explicitly described her as black (“nigra”).

Not exactly a new idea then.

Yes, idiot

We’re entering a period of intense wartime memorialisation. As the salvation of the British and French from certain death by sheer pluckiness comes alive again in Christopher Nolan’s – by the way, brilliant – film, the centenary of Passchendaele fills the TV schedules with grainy death and plangent trumpets. Farage and his ilk have to own these moments, since their narrative takes so much animation from the atmosphere these wars create: hazily remembered high drama in which British phlegm won the day, and sly foreigners were put in their place. I understand instinctively why Farage would like it if young people spent a lot more time thinking about our victory in the second world war. Yet I wonder what, specifically, he wants the young to understand about Dunkirk, and the more I wonder, the more I think that maybe he didn’t actually watch it.

Nigel runs battlefield tours, as done for years. As with his fishing (where he even writes fishing columns) it’s one of his private interests. He’s also rather good at it.

Ah, yes, amazing how often this has been discovered

A trove of Nazi treasure valued at over £500million has been pinpointed in a Bavarian wood.
But the hoard cannot be excavated because the treasure hunter who has found it has fallen out with the landowner — whose permission he needs to extract it.
Hans Glueck, 76, who has quested after the hoard of gold, diamonds, artworks and rare postage stamps for two decades says the owner of the land wants the treasure for himself.
But without the map and coordinates he has obtained down the years ‘he is as blind as a mole,’ said the fortune-seeker.

I know of two instances here in Czech of the Nazi gold train being found.

Perhaps “claimed” to be found is more accurate because no one ever does produce the gold.

Oysters ain’t exotic food

Early Cornish kings feasted on a diet of oysters, roast pork and fine wine, eating and drinking from bowls imported from Turkey and glass goblets from Spain, a new dig at Tintagel Castle has suggested.

The connection with tin trading is well known and was there a couple of millennia before the site of this dig. But really, oysters back then were not exotic nor rich food. With a low population and thus pretty much entirely clean water (and the amount of shit running free would just make filter feeders grow faster anyway) oysters would be damn near everywhere just for the price of picking them up. They were poor man’s food.

As was salmon, truth be told, often enough at least.

There’s a fun argument to be had here

You know, the South Africa for Africans argument?

The first of these discoveries is genetic. Swedish and South African scientists have made the origin of us — modern human beings — an even more mind-bogglingly gradual phenomenon than we used to think. Here is what they found. A skeleton of a boy who died 2,000 years ago at a place called Ballito Bay has yielded a good sample of preserved DNA. He was a Khoe-San, that is to say an indigenous native of southern Africa of the kind once called “bushmen”, who still live in the Kalahari desert.

But unlike all today’s Khoe-San he had no DNA from black Africans or white Europeans in him. Neither had yet arrived in southern Africa. So comparing the Ballito boy’s DNA to all modern people’s DNA made it possible to calculate when we last shared a common ancestor with him.

That is, the Bantu are just as much invaders as whitey has been. Indeed, for the Western Cape, the Bantu came later. The same is true of almost all of Africa south of, about, Ghana. The Bantu there are as new as the Germanic tribes are to Western, or even Central, Europe.

Which does pose something of a problem for the idea that the land should belong to the indigenes. Which indigenes?

Learn a bit of history you damn fools

Time has long worked against Indigenous peoples. The English-speaking epochs of the last 200 years – the Pax Britannica and American Century – share the same dramatic opening scene: a global coup displacing millions of people and thousands of societies from the Mi’kmaq in New Foundland to the Māori in New Zealand.

Property, sovereignty and even history itself are said to originate with these Anglo-Saxon triumphs. History and time are appropriated as the sole possessions of the white men who inherited the earth. For the ruling class, their passage marks the steady advance of civilization, modernity and progress. Rapturous booms and tumultuous busts are punctuated by bloody wars recast as heroic conquests. All throughout the land, alabaster monuments memorialize these triumphs and tragedies.

For Indigenous peoples, the same dates, statues and eras mark massacres, epidemics and expulsions. Generations rue the insidious devastation of occupation. Songs and stories reverberate to the rhythms and dreams of a halcyon freedom receding into legend as our last elders who bore witness pass onto the next world.

The history of the English-speaking world, brought crashing down upon Aboriginal peoples is a shared nightmare lurking in the collective subconscious of the survivors. From reservations, ghettoes and schools where the first peoples of these lands were sent to assimilate or die, we look out upon a world built on the premise that in it we have no place.

Sigh.

The entire history of the world is one group conquering, fucking, eating their way trough the tribe next door. Whitey’s just the latest to do it and not even the most successful. The Bantu in Africa, the Han in China, have rolled over the original competitors rather more thoroughly than the Anglo Saxons have done.

Inquiries have been made of the Moriori reaction to the news about the Maori but at pixel time no response. It is though they were all eaten.

I’m not entirely sure it works this way

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska?

In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.

The Mercator projection “works” and works beautifully for maritime navigation up to 70 0 N or S. The Peters projection is very much better for showing land areas, entirely so. As perhaps we’re more interested in the latter than the former these days then why not?

The result goes a long way to rewriting the historical and socio-political message of the Mercator map, which exaggerates the size of imperialist powers.

“This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools.

The district has 125 schools and 57,000 students, 86% of whom are non-white, with the largest groups being Latino and black. After changing the maps, Rose said, educators plan to look at other subjects and shift away from presenting white history as the dominant perspective.

Well, I’m not entirely sure to be honest:

“The Mercator projection showed the spread and power of Christianity and is standard,” she said. “But it is not the real world at all. What the Boston public schools are doing is extremely important and should be adopted across the whole of the US and beyond.”

Elliott, who is still teaching at 83, said she was booked to give lectures in Michigan, Iowa, Missouri and Texas this week, and would be hailing Boston’s move.

“This is going to change how kids see the world much for the better,” she said.

Because one way to look at the Peters map is to go, wow, Europe is really teeny, isn’t it? But they did still go out and kill or conquer damn near everybody. Those Dead White European Males must have had something, right?

I’ve never really believed this and not sure why

Well after the Industrial Revolution, many people in Britain still swore by the health benefits of a ‘first sleep’ and ‘second sleep’.

For centuries, according to a sleep historian, they would use the time when they woke up at night to do household chores, visit friends – or make love to their spouse.
Sleeping through the night is by comparison a ‘modern invention’, according to Professor Roger Ekirch of Virginia Polytechnic and State University.
Speaking yesterday at the Royal Society of Medicine, he said: ‘Middle of the night insomnia was a rare problem before the late 1800s. As early as in the 16th century it was utterly normal, unworthy of comment.’
Bedtime was historically around 10pm, after which, he added: ‘Most individuals awakened shortly past midnight to an hour or so of consciousness, in which they meditated, they conversed and made love – not necessarily in that order.

I have a feeling that this is like that 80 days holiday for medieval peasants thing, a confusion between holiday and holy day there.

What makes me suspicious of the two sleep story is the cost of light. OK, so you don’t need the candle on for a shag but you do to do chores etc. And candles were expensive.

We also, at least so far as I know, don’t see such behaviour in people living at that same standard of living today, the $3 to $5 a day peeps out there.

But just because I don’t quite believe it doesn’t mean it’s not true. What would bolster my disbelief would be working out what is it that is being confused here, as with holy and holi days.

Perhaps someone knows more Indian political history than I do

So, the Gandhis, very important in Indian politics. Congress Party is still pretty much the private fiefdom of the current two, Rahul and Priyanka. Certainly Rahul’s not VP of the party on skill and intelligence grounds.

How much of this depends upon the name, Gandhi?

And how much of that is the name, not the source?

For there’s no connection at all to Gandhi the freedom activist and Mahatma etc. Indira was the daughter of Nehru, and she married a bloke who just happened to be called Gandhi, no relation.

It’s entirely obvious that the Gandhi name is important. But how much of it is just the coincidence (or even Indira selecting the man for the name). Alternatively, how many Indians think there is a connection to Mahatma in the current generation?

Yes, obviously, the well informed will know. But what about that rural mass where they weigh, not count, the votes for Congress?

Fun currency

The scudo (plural scudi) is the official currency of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and was the currency of Malta during the rule of the Order over Malta, which ended in 1798. It is subdivided into 12 tarì, each of 20 grani with 6 piccioli to the grano. It is pegged to the euro (at a rate of 1 scudo : €0.24)

So there’s 17,280 piccioli to the scudo. Or, each piccioli is worth 0.0000013889 of a euro.

Useful then.