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I Can’t Believe It’s 3,500-Year-Old Bog Butter

March 18, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

An example of bog butter recovered from Irish contexts. Pictured here is dated to 360-200 BC and found deposited in a keg.

People in Ireland stored their butter in bogs for at least 3,500 years, leaving behind well-preserved waxy globs , in a university press release. “In certain periods they may have been votive deposits, while at other points in time it may have been more about storage and even protection of valuable resources.”

A bog butter sample dated to AD 775-895 in a wooden container.

Smyth’s study notes that “early medieval Irish law tracts list butter as one of the products payable as food rents.” If you left your rent butter out too long, you might unintentionally liquidate your assets, so it would make sense to deposit it in a bog.

“Foods are an often-ignored category but may have also been infused with symbolism,” Smyth said. “In this regard, it may be no coincidence that both butter and gold are commonly deposited in bogs.”

…read more


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What Hitler Got Wrong About D-Day

March 18, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

Hitler made several miscalculations ahead of the Allied invasion of Normandy—but there were still deadly German defenses in place.

As early as 1942, Adolf Hitler knew that a large-scale Allied invasion of France could turn the tide of the war in Europe. But thanks in large part to a brilliant Allied deception campaign and Hitler’s fanatical grip on Nazi military decisions, the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944 became precisely the turning point that the Germans most feared.

But that’s not to say the Germans hadn’t prepared.

Allied leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill began planning the D-Day invasion soon after the United States entered World War II. The Allies knew that opening a Western European front was critical to spreading the German forces thin. The only remaining questions were where the invasion would happen and when.

READ MORE: Eisenhower and Churchill Spent Years Planning D-Day

A Nazi propaganda image shows German Wehrmacht soldiers laying down plate mines on the roads around the Atlantic Wall in March 1944.

Germany Builds the ‘Atlantic Wall’

To ready for an invasion, in 1942, Germany began construction on the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400-mile network of bunkers, pillboxes, mines and landing obstacles up and down the French coastline. But without the money and manpower to install a continuous line of defense, the Nazis focused on established ports. From the start, the top candidate for an Allied invasion was believed to be the French port city of Calais, only 20.7 miles across the English Channel from Dover.

As part of Joseph Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda machine, the Germans installed three massive gun batteries along the Calais coast with their 406-mm cannons pointed at Dover. The Nazi’s message was clear—attempt to storm Calais and we will drive you into the sea. Meanwhile, the rest of the French coastline, including the northern beaches of Normandy, was less fiercely defended.

D-Day Deception (TV-PG; 3:24)

Hitler Falls for Allies’ ‘Dummy Army’

The reason Germany chose to double-down Nazi defenses along the Calais coast was not only because of its proximity to England, but because Hitler fell hook, line and sinker for one of the most successful military deception schemes since the Trojan horse. Codenamed Operation Fortitude, the Allies used every trick in the book—and invented a few new ones—to convince German intelligence that the D-Day invasion would absolutely occur in Calais.

Military historian and …read more


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The Myth of Nonprofit Higher Ed

March 18, 2019 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

If the
Varsity Blues
bribery and cheating scandal has done anything
positive, it has been to shine some light on a basic reality: very
little in higher education is truly nonprofit. It turns out some
analysts—and residents—of the ivory tower have been
making this point for years. But nothing elevates things in the
public consciousness like rich people—especially
—behaving badly.

The specifics of the scandal involve outright fraud by people
outside of the ivory tower trying to get their kids into the
penthouse—elite institutions including Yale and UCLA. There
is no evidence of which I’m aware that the schools themselves
encouraged such fraud, though some employees, seeking to enrich
themselves, allegedly did. This was especially true of coaches,
including a former Georgetown University tennis coach who
took in $2.7 million
to put kids on athletics admissions lists.
And even if the schools did not condone their behavior, these
individuals nonetheless illustrate something crucial about the
whole system: just because you work at a place with a nonprofit tax
designation doesn’t mean you cease to be self-interested.
Indeed, trying to maximize one’s happiness is a very human
thing to do.

Nothing elevates things
in the public consciousness like rich people-especially
celebrities-behaving badly.

Of course, all schools are populated by human beings, hence all
are inclined to maximize their profit: the benefits they get versus
their costs. As
the late Henry Manne
, who taught at Emory University, the
University of Wisconsin, George Mason University, and other
institutions, explains in his chapter—a reprint of
this 2014 essay
—in a new
book I co-edited
, the idea that people in organizations with
nonprofit tax status do not seek profit “is a hallowed and
egregious myth. Human nature does not change with the legal
structure of the employing organization. Managers of nonprofit
organizations are no less interested in maximizing personal utility
than are managers of for-profit firms.”

Varsity Blues has inspired people to pay new attention to the

many legal ways
putatively nonprofit institutions pursue
monetary gain through admissions. These include opening places to
less qualified children of
big donors
, and legacy admissions maintained with
continued financial commitment in mind
. And let’s face
it, presidential
pay in the millions
, and endowments
in the billions
, don’t exactly say “we just want to
break even.”

Despite a lot of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Arms Sales to U.S. Allies in Yemen Are Endangering American Lives

March 18, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Trump administration has made Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates the foundation of its anti-Iran strategy. As a
result, Washington, despite its avowed commitment to democracy, is
supporting two authoritarian absolute monarchies. Riyadh recently
distinguished itself by murdering and dismembering a journalistic
critic in its own consulate.

Worse, however, the Saudis and Emiratis are proving to be the
most disruptive, destabilizing forces in the Persian Gulf. Most
disastrously, in 2015 they intervened in Yemen, turning that
nation’s enduring internal strife into another front in the
region’s dangerous sectarian struggle.

Their brutality has been ostentatious, bombing urban and
civilian targets, including hospitals, markets, funerals,
apartments, and more, and killing tens of thousands of
non-combatants. The UAE also maintained detention facilities
utilizing torture, at which American personnel have been present,
though supposedly not involved in illegal behavior. Amnesty
International reported “detailed stories of detention at
gunpoint, torture with electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging from
the ceiling, sexual humiliation, prolonged solitary confinement,
squalid conditions, inadequate food and water.”

Washington’s policy in
Yemen is both hypocritical and dangerous.

Moreover, the “coalition” led by the UAE and Saudi
Arabia, has been aiding America’s adversaries. Al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most effective affiliate of the
organization which downed the twin towers. The rebel Houthis
dislike America but hate AQAP even more. However, the Saudi/Emirati
assault has diverted the Houthis’ attention from dealing with
America’s enemies. Chaos and conflict are ever the
terrorists’ friends.

Worse, the Emiratis/Saudis, and the nominally legitimate
government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi which they are
supporting, have been aiding, arming, and recruiting radical
jihadist groups, including AQAP. (Riyadh and Abu Dhabi also employ
members of the Sudanese Janjaweed militia, known for its
brutality.) Last year the Associated Press reported that the coalition paid and recruited AQAP
members and “cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying
some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with
weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash.” Moreover,
“Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaeda
militants, or those who were recently members, because
they’re considered exceptional fighters.”

Emirati money also went to the AQAP-related Abu Abbas brigade,
whose founder, Abu al-Abbas, was labeled a terrorist by Washington.
“The coalition is still supporting me,” declared
al-Abbas, even though his group launched a raid which freed Al
Qaeda fighters from a local security facility. Salafist Adnan
Rouzek runs a brutal force which operates under and is subsidized
by President Hadi. Rouzek’s top aide is Al Qaeda and has been
regularly seen with Al Qaeda officials; his group, explained AP, is
“one of the main recruiters of al-Qaeda fighters” in
the city of Taiz. “In one case, a tribal mediator …read more

Source: OP-EDS