St. Augustine on BBC In Our Time.
A capsule summary of the exciting life of Claire Boothe Luce, wife of Henry Luce, who provided the funds for Silliman University’s Luce Auditorium.
Is the gun the basis of Anglo civilization? Provocative question from Aeon.
Rather than a handbook for tyrants, Machiavelli wrote The Prince as an ironical work, according to political scientist Erica Benner. Machiavelli was an ardent Republican during the time of the Medicis, de facto rulers of Florence, when the swing towards monarchy was strong. Read this way, The Prince can be seen as a cautionary work into the workings of tyranny and how best to recognize and fight it.
The Berlin Wall has been down for as long as it was up. Twenty-eight years, two months, and twenty-six days. What a world it was, what a world it’s been.
Ted Nelson is designer of Project Xanadu, a conceptual precursor to the World Wide Web. He invented the term ‘hypertext’.
Archaeologists are using forensic software developed in the cold war to decode Leibniz’s notebooks. Leibniz, if you recall, independently developed calculus. Since paper was expensive during his time, his notebooks were crammed with a mishmash of information from various subjects, often overlapping on the same page.
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.”