What was the state of humanity before civilization arose? To this day the popular conception, both among the public and as promulgated by many historians and archaeologists, is that of small, primarily nomadic, bands of people perpetually on the brink of existence, endlessly in pursuit of their next meal, characterized as “stone age”. This all changed with the domestication of plants and animals and the development of agriculture, which ultimately led to the first great civilizations taking root in such regions as Mesopotamia and Egypt around 5000 to 6000 years ago. This nice neat scenario may be the modern dogma, but that does not assure its veracity. There is another, much older, view found among the classical ancients – including the Greeks, the Romans, and the dynastic Egyptians – which is encapsulated in the legend of Atlantis.
Some of the world’s oldest cave paintings have revealed how ancient people had relatively advanced knowledge of astronomy. The artworks, at sites across Europe, are not simply depictions of wild animals, as was previously thought. Instead, the animal symbols represent star constellations in the night sky, and are used to represent dates and mark events such as comet strikes, analysis suggests. They reveal that, perhaps as far back as 40,000 years ago, humans kept track of time using knowledge of how the position of the stars slowly changes over thousands of years.
If you’ve never had a bean pie, you’re missing out on a lot more than a dessert. Made from navy beans, it was developed by black Muslims in the Nation of Islam in the 1930s. The history of why they created it, and what it represents, tells one of the most essential stories about Muslims in America. And as you’ll see, it is extremely delicious.
I am fascinated by this history, so I am sharing it with you all. Come on over and I will bake you a bean pie!
ND Mosque Oldest in US
A brief NY Times article about the mosque in Ross, ND; the oldest mosque in the US. I am fascinated by the forgotten history of Muslims in this country.
I recently drove to ND to interview a descendant of the original Syrian Muslim settlers. The man I interviewed was instrumental in rebuilding the mosque a few years ago. Also, the mosque was just added the National Register of Historic Places.
As immigration - particularly Muslim immigration - has become such a flash point, it is important for us to celebrate our rich American history. This story of a tiny mosque in North Dakota is a little piece of our American story.
...Miner, Hunter, Brewer, and Cook

Tales of Alaska’s gold rushes, which began in the 1890s, are full of larger-than-life men... But nestled among all the stories of men is the story of Fannie Quigley, a five-foot-tall frontierswoman who spent almost 40 years homesteading and prospecting in Kantishna, a remote Alaskan mining region that would later become part of Denali National Park...
In 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis was at hand, and with the overhanging fear of an impending Soviet missile strike...families in Central Florida built homemade bomb shelters.

...100 members of 25 wealthy families...pooled their resources and secretly built what is said to be the largest privately-owned bomb shelter in the nation, a massive subterranean structure that is now referred to as the Mount Dora Catacombs.
The members of [the 'Skullcap Crew'] ... have together faced at least 128 known official allegations from more than 60 citizen-filed complaints over almost a decade and a half. They have also been named in more than 20 federal lawsuits.

Citizens have repeatedly accused these men of acts of brutality, intimidation and harassment – costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal settlements. Yet over the course of their careers, these officers have received little discipline – a two-day suspension, a five-day suspension, a reprimand – according to city data. Instead, they have won praise from the department, accruing more than 180 commendations.

[government, vices]
What I wouldn’t give to go back 50 years and re-do the American road trip just like I picture it in my mid-century kodachrome dreams.
U.S. clocks spring forward again this Sunday, March 13, for daylight saving time, the annual event that stretches the hours of evening sunlight and irritates those who would rather leave well enough alone.
She was known as "the most perfect model," and in her heyday, one headline proclaimed, "All New York Bows to the Real Miss Manhattan." She earned the name not just because she was the toast of the town in the 1910s, but because her perfectly proportioned face and body inspired numerous works of sculpture that still stand in Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx today.

One contemporary account concluded that Audrey Munson "posed for more public works than anyone" — at least a dozen of which are still on public display. New Yorkers may not know it, but they see Munson everywhere...

Daily Mail article (with artistic nudity)

Donald and Me
The [Village Voice] Revisits Wayne Barrett's 1979 Profile of an Ascendant Donald Trump

When Barrett began his series for the Voice, Trump was already something of a topic in the New York press, owing mostly to his developer father, Fred Trump. But he was also the architect of some high-profile deals in Manhattan in the mid-1970s. Even so, most of the attention that Trump the Younger had received by that point focused mostly on his outlandish personality and the sheer amount of money he’d been throwing around, which was remarkable in a city that was, by many accounts, on its last financial legs.

By contrast, Barrett’s series was the first to take a fine-tooth comb to Trump’s business practices. The reporter focused on two prominent development projects — the Hyatt Hotel in midtown and a proposed convention center on the West Side — and plumbed them in meticulous detail.

The two projects, now 40 years in the past, may seem like ancient history. But they were, in many ways, the deals that made Trump who he is today. He cited these same projects when he announced his candidacy back in June...

"I made it the old-fashioned way," Trump said of his fortune.

But Barrett’s reporting paints a picture of Trump’s background that’s somewhat at odds with the one he paints for himself...

Part 2: Behind The Seventies-Era Deals That Made Donald Trump

[some dude/some chick, filter the vote 2008]
It looks like the logo for an arena league team. Or a radio station. Or a bag of chips. Or a Saturday morning cartoon show. Or any number of other things that should never be confused with an NFL franchise.
Beehives and Big Mainframes
In the late sixties I worked for Bell Labs for a few years managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system. It was the days of beehive hair on the women and big mainframe computers. One day I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below. I had a great staff, mostly women except for the programmers who were all men. For some reason only one of them was around for the pictures that day.
Charles was the first black photographer at the New York Times. These photos, from 1966, were never published.
During the Cold War, many missile defense sites—precisely because their purpose was to guard infrastructure of vital national interest—were housed in urban or suburban locations. Los Angeles in particular, thanks to its aerospace facilities, military bases, and booming postwar population, became one of the most fortified regions in the United States.