Whereas the novelist creates characters to drive his narrative and arranges plot steps into a dramatic arc toward some sort of resolution, the historian is given his characters and tries to find a plausible narrative to support an unfolding record of events and outcomes. He searches the record to identify the circumstance, interpret the motive.
NYT- U.S. DOWNS IRAN AIRLINER MISTAKEN FOR F-14; 290 REPORTED DEAD; A TRAGEDY, REAGAN SAYS; ACTION IS DEFENDED – July 4, 1988- United States Navy warship in the Persian Gulf shot down an Iranian passenger plane today that the Navy said it mistook for a jet fighter, and Iran said all 290 people on [...]
Secret police files reveal six-figure payments to Ceausescu’s henchmen, as retailer denies knowingly paying Securitate.
The Guardian, By Matei Rosca, July 4
Bucharest – Romania’s brutal communist-era secret police received covert six-figure payments from Ikea as part of the Swedish group’s deals with a local furniture manufacturer in the 1980s, according to documents obtained by [...]
London Review of Books, By John Perry, June 27
Over ten days in June 1954, a decade after the D-Day landings, the CIA sent twelve planes to drop bombs and propaganda on towns in Guatemala in support of a coup against the elected government of Jácobo Arbenz. They did only minor damage at first: one [...]
The Edge, By Terence McKenna, March 27, 1990
[Speculative, but what the heck...]
First of all, I am delighted to be here. The great thing about being here in New York is you don’t have to worry if you’re the smartest person in the room. What impels me to talk to groups like this is [...]
It’s the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity’s undoing.
The Guardian, By George Monbiot, May 27
Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by [...]
originally posted on May 31,2010 by Michael Collins.
On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee ordered an impossible charge against Union positions. Known as Pickett’s Charge, the engagement was a disaster for General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. 4,100 men died in the engagement, mostly Southerners. These losses represented over half [...]
The IBM system 360 has survived 50 years. Please treat this as an open thread for mainframe related stories and links.
Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly.
The Observer, By Vanessa Thorpe, March 29
Archaeologists and forensic scientists who have examined 25 skeletons unearthed in the Clerkenwell area of London a year ago believe they have uncovered the truth about the nature of the Black [...]
Our nation is in decline, and we seem determined to follow the road which has been trodden by all world powers that have ever existed. It’s an unpleasant path, with an unpleasant result at the end. Let’s have a quick look at some examples.
Naked Capitalism, By Yves Smith / Greg Grandin, February 24
Many in the United States were outraged by the remarks of conservative evangelical preacher Pat Robertson, who blamed Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake on Haitians for selling their souls to Satan. Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble — as many as 300,000 died — [...]
I read this a couple of days ago in the SMH: “Scores of copies of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl in public libraries across Tokyo have been vandalised, sparking alarm amid a rightward shift in Japan’s politics.”
Now I read “For many Japanese the book forms the basis of their knowledge about the [...]
CNN, By Mick Krever, February 3
Despite spending $10 billion in reconstruction money fighting narcotics in Afghanistan, the U.S. has “failed,” the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, John Sopko, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
“If you look at production, if you look at cultivation, if you look at breaking the tie between [...]