You are browsing the archive for 2019 February 01.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Neanderthals Mated With Other Human Ancestors in Siberian Love Shack

February 1, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

The human family tree is becoming messier than The Jerry Springer Show. We already know Homo sapiens and Neanderthals . “In recent years it has become clear that Neandertals made such items… The possibility that Denisovans, too, developed symbols and complex tools, further complicates the picture.”

Excavation works in the East Chamber of Denisova Cave.

If Denisovans did make these artifacts, that would raise even more questions. For example, did Denisovans develop the skills to make ornaments independently, or learn these skills from someone else? It’s possible many hominin communities developed these skills independently at different points in history. But it’s also possible that modern humans learned some of their skills from hominins that are now extinct.

The 2010s have been packed with discoveries showing ancient Homo sapiens weren’t as far ahead of everyone else as we thought. Archaeologists have identified a 500,000-year-old shell engraved with geometric designs that predates both modern humans and Neanderthals. This means its designer must have been a more ancient human ancestor like Homo erectus, the “upright man.”

Neanderthals in particular are raking in the good publicity. Researchers have determined that Neanderthals in France knew how to create fire 50,000 years ago, which is earlier than any evidence we have for modern humans. They’ve also discovered that Neanderthals in Germany 300,000 years ago may have hunted game at a distance by throwing spears.

Without more research, it’s not at all clear who could have made those ornaments in the Siberian cave. For now, we just know the Neanderthal-Denisovan love shack was a little old place where they could get together.

…read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

How an African Slave in Boston Helped Save Generations from Smallpox

February 1, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

The news was terrifying to colonists in Massachusetts: Smallpox had made it to Boston and was spreading rapidly. The first victims, passengers on a ship from the Caribbean, were shut up in a house identified only by a red flag that read “God have mercy on this house.” Meanwhile, hundreds of residents of the bustling colonial town had started to flee for their lives, terrified of what might happen if they exposed themselves to the frequently deadly disease.

They had reason to fear. The virus was extremely contagious, spreading like wildfire in large epidemics. Smallpox patients experienced fever, fatigue and a crusty rash that could leave disfiguring scars. In up to 30 percent of cases, it killed.

A Boston advertisement for a cargo of about 250 slaves recently arrived from Africa circa 1700, particularly stressing that the slaves are free of smallpox, having been quarantined on their ship.

But the smallpox epidemic of 1721 was different than any that came before it. As sickness swept through the city, killing hundreds in a time before modern medical treatment or a robust understanding of infectious disease, an enslaved man known only as Onesimus suggested a potential way to keep people from getting sick. Intrigued by Onesimus’ idea, a brave doctor and an outspoken minister undertook a bold experiment to try to stop smallpox in its tracks.

Smallpox was one of the era’s deadliest afflictions. “Few diseases at this time were as universal or fatal,” notes historian Susan Pryor. The colonists saw its effects not just among their own countrymen, but among the Native Americans to whom they introduced the disease. Smallpox destroyed Native communities that, with no immunity, were unable to fight off the virus.

Smallpox also entered the colonies on slave ships, transmitted by enslaved people who, in packed and unsanitary quarters, passed the disease along to one another and, eventually, to colonists at their destinations. One of those destinations was Massachusetts, which was a center of the early slave trade. The first slaves had arrived in Massachusetts in 1638, and by 1700, about 1,000 slaves lived in the colony, most in Boston.

Life Aboard a Slave Ship (TV-PG; 4:02)

In 1706, an enslaved West African man was purchased for the prominent Puritan minister Cotton Mather by his congregation. Mather gave him the name Onesimus, after a Biblical slave whose name meant “useful.” …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

These Black Female Heroes Made Sure U.S. WWII Forces Got Their Mail

February 1, 2019 in History

By Alexis Clark

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion helped boost the morale of millions of Americans during WWII.

An army unit known as the “Six Triple Eight” had a specific mission in World War II: to sort and clear a two-year backlog of mail for Americans stationed in Europe. Between the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Red Cross and uniformed civilian specialists, that amounted to seven million people waiting for mail.

And the responsibility to deliver all of it fell on the shoulders of 855 African-American women.

From February 1945 to March 1946, the women of the 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion distributed mail in warehouses in England and France. Because of a shortage of resources and manpower, letters and packages had been accumulating in warehouses for months.

Part of the Women’s Army Corps, known as WACs, the 6888 had a motto, “No mail, low morale.” But these women did far more than distribute letters and packages. As the largest contingent of black women to ever serve overseas, they dispelled stereotypes and represented a change in racial and gender roles in the military.

“Somewhere in England, Maj. Charity E. Adams,…and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell,…inspect the first contingent of Negro members of the Women’s Army Corps assigned to overseas service.”, 2/15/1945

When the United States entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was no escaping the fact that women would be essential to the war effort. With American men serving abroad, there were countless communications, technical, medical and administrative roles that needed to be filled. The Women’s Army Corps—originally created as a volunteer division in 1942 until it was fully incorporated into the army by law in 1943—became the solution.

READ MORE: Pearl Harbor Attack: Photos and Facts

WACs attracted women from all socio-economic backgrounds, including low-skilled workers and educated professionals. As documented in the military’s official history of the 6888th, black women became WACs from the beginning. Civil rights activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune, a personal friend of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a special assistant to the war secretary, handpicked many of them.

“Bethune was lobbying and politicking for black participation in the war and for black female participation,” says Gregory S. Cooke, an historian at Drexel University, whose documentary, Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II, highlights the 6888.

Black women were encouraged to become WACs …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

A Timeline of the U.S.-Led War on Terror

February 1, 2019 in History

By Editors

In the wake of the attacks of 9/11, President George W. Bush called for a global ‘War on Terror,’ launching an ongoing effort to thwart terrorists before they act.

As much of the nation was just starting the day on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four East Coast flights, crashing three of the airplanes into targets in New York and Washington, D.C., with the fourth plane slamming into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back.

In the end, 2,977 people died, making it the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in history.

The al Qaeda-led attacks prompted President George W. Bush to declare a global “War on Terror” military campaign, in which he called on world leaders to join the U.S. in its response.

“Every nation in every region now has a decision to make,” he said in a national address. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”

Below is a timeline of notable events.

9/11 Timeline (TV-PG; 4:45)

America Responds to 9/11

Sept. 11, 2001: Terrorists hijack four U.S. planes, crashing two into the two towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, while a third hits the U.S. Pentagon minutes later. The fourth plane, targeted to hit the White House, crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers attacked the terrorists. The death toll, not including the hijackers, was 2,977.

Sept. 12, 2001: Bush addresses the nation, declaring war and stating: “The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient. We’ll be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination. This battle will take time and resolve, but make no mistake about it, we will win.”

Sept. 20, 2001: In a speech addressing Congress and the nation, Bush announces the War on Terror, saying, “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

Sept. 25, 2001: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces the anti-terror campaign as “Operation Enduring Freedom,” which he says will take years to fight. The following day, Saudi Arabia ends diplomatic ties with Afghanistan’s Taliban government.

How Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda Planned 9/11 (TV-14; 3:07)

War in Afghanistan …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Establishing an Acceptable Relationship with a Nuclear North Korea

February 1, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Since evidence emerged in the early 1990s that the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was pursuing a nuclear
weapons program, Washington’s position has remained
consistent and unyielding. U.S. leaders insist that Pyongyang must
abandon its nuclear ambitions and agree to complete, verifiable, and irreversible
denuclearization. That stance has not changed despite the modest
warming of relations following the 2018 summit meeting between
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Washington’s demand is the principal risk that the upcoming
second summit next month may end in failure, triggering a new round
of dangerous tensions.

Washington’s strategy to pressure North Korea on the
nuclear issue clearly has failed to achieve its goal. The United
States has maintained a system of rigorous bilateral sanctions
against Pyongyang and lobbied the international community to adopt
ever-tightening multilateral sanctions. Yet Even so, the
DPRK’s nuclear program has continued to make steady progress.
Western experts believe that Pyongyang now possesses a small
nuclear arsenal; estimates vary widely from about a dozen to
perhaps as many as 60 weapons.

Washington needs to
abandon the utopian objective of North Korea’s complete

On several occasions, U.S. leaders have contemplated taking
drastic action to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear program. In
the mid-1990s, Bill Clinton’s administration strongly
considered launching air strikes against
Pyongyang’s embryonic installations. Fortunately, cooler
heads prevailed on that occasion, but Washington has repeatedly
emphasized that “all options,” including military
force, remain on the table.

Wise policymakers abandon a policy when it becomes apparent that
it is not working. Stubbornly clinging to an unproductive strategy
is foolish and potentially dangerous. President Richard Nixon
understood that Washington’s two-decades-old policy of
refusing to engage the People’s Republic of China was futile.
He had both the foresight and the courage to make a dramatic course
change and begin the process of normalizing relations with Beijing.
Nixon’s decision greatly benefitted both countries. President
Trump needs to exhibit similar judgment and courage regarding
policy toward North Korea.

Pyongyang is unlikely to give up its modest nuclear capability
at any time in the foreseeable future. One important reason is that
North Korean leaders have seen how the United States has treated
non-nuclear adversaries. Washington’s regime-change wars in
Iraq, Libya, and Syria likely convinced the DPRK that a nuclear
deterrent might be the only way to avoid a similar fate.

Instead of continuing the quixotic quest for Pyongyang to accept
complete denuclearization, Washington should pursue a more
realistic objective. That goal would be to achieve a normal,
reasonably cordial relationship with the DPRK, thereby greatly
reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Beijing has been urging
a more flexible, non-threatening …read more

Source: OP-EDS