Category Archives: history

New Mexico: Española to Las Cruces

This will be my penultimate travel post, as I arrived back in Las Cruces and will be here until Saturday,when I return to Chicago for a week. (Next: a gastronomic visit to Paris.) I did the long drive from Española to Las Cruces in one day, stopping for a few hours at the fantastic Three Rivers […]

Cunk on Britain: Episode 3

I believe I’ve posted the first two episodes of Cunk on Britain, Diane Morgan’s very funny take of the history of Old Blighty. I’m surprised that the episodes are still up (#1 here and #2 here), as the BBC tends to take these things down. Well, watch them soon. This episode covers the nineteenth century, […]

Cunk on Britain, part I

I’m truly surprised that this is still up, as the BBC relentlessly removes most of its purloined videos from YouTube. So far, this one—the first of Cunk’s five-part BBC Two series—is still up. I mentioned it this morning, but you might have missed it. Have a look at this 30-minute show, which is classic Cunk, […]

The Friendly Atheist goes all HuffPo about Muslim Vikings

By now we’ve all heard of an announcement that a group at Uppsala University in Sweden found a Viking burial in which one dead Viking was wrapped in a cloth that was supposed to depict the word “Allah” in Arabic script (just Google “Viking burial Arabic”; one example is here.)  Although a peer-reviewed publication of […]

The rise of Christianity

Reader Alexander called my attention to what he said was an “interesting article in Aeon. It will not make theologians happy.” And the article, called “Christians were strangers” (subtitled “How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world”) is indeed worth reading, though […]

Did Hitler have free will?

Ron Rosenbaum’s 1998 book, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, got a lot of critical approbation, much of it apparently for the author’s argument that many “Hitler studies” arrived at conclusions that were simply a projection of the authors’ preconceived biases onto the Hitler story. Here’s a bit of the original New […]

Did Amelia Earhart survive, only to be captured by the Japanese?

The story of aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific on July 2, 1937 while trying to circumnavigate the globe with her navigator Fred Noonan, continues to fascinate us.  There have been sporadic reports that her bones have been found on some atoll or another, or of a jar that could have contained her […]

What if Wilkins and Franklin had been able to work together?

by Matthew Cobb Today I was interviewed by the French radio station, France-Culture (colloquially known as France-Cul), for a programme about Rosalind Franklin, the King’s College, London, researcher whose data were used by Watson and Crick as the basis of their double helix model of the structure of DNA. Much of the discussion, inevitably, revolved […]

Happy 100th birthday, Francis Crick (1916-2004)

by Matthew Cobb Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA with Jim Watson, was born 100 years ago today, on 8 June 1916. He was one of the most remarkable scientists of the 20th century, and, in my opinion, had one of the greatest scientific minds ever. As Jerry put it here […]

Was Jesus real, and who cares?

Apropos of my recent post on the historicity of a Jesus-figure, Reader Pliny the in Between posted this on his/her site Evolving Perspectives. The cartoon’s called “Independent variables”: