It’s fairly clear, even after reading only a few verses, why Lucretius’s didactic poem, On the Nature of Things – De Rerum Natura – made such an impact on thought, philosophy, religion and science in the Renaissance. It must have been like a lighthouse in the dark night; a “Eureka” moment for many of the age’s thinkers. […]
Muffy and Cuddles were pretty sure they had the math right, but they had a lingering worry that the explosion might ignite the Earth’s atmosphere. On the other hand, the cat was certainly never going to bother them again. No … Continue reading →
Somewhere on one of my bookshelves, is an old Penguin paperback copy of History of The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. It’s a bit worn, pages lightly yellowed, glue a little brittle. It’s been sitting on the shelf, stacked with many other paperbacks, piled two deep, floor to ceiling, for the past two decades and more. It’s […]
Elizabeth May on Harper government's library closures: Book burning doesn't remind me of this century #CDNpoli— Mike De Souza (@mikedesouza) January 27, 2014
A worrying subset of the Canadian population seems content settling for a Conservative Party that willingly destroys Canadian heritage and property. How can Canadians peacefully stop the looting and burning of our cultural and scientific records?
Although the Department of Fisheries and Oceans states that the purpose of its Library Consolidation Initiative is to create greater public access to information online through ‘digitization,’ it is unclear what, if any, digitization has taken place to date. A (Read more…)
A recent article on Gizmodo shows off some previously unseen (or perhaps just forgotten) footage of a young Steve Jobs unveiling the Macintosh computer, back on January 30, 1984. Thirty years ago, this week. Seems like forever ago. But I remember it, and reasonably well. I remember where I was living then, what I was […]
Today marks the 8th anniversary of Stephen Harper’s election as Prime Minister. At the time, a lot of Liberals figured they could turn him into Joe Clark after a quick leadership change. Yet, by this time next year, Harper will have passed Louis St. Laurent, Robert Borden, and Brian Mulroney, to become the 6th longest serving Prime Minister in Canadian history – and most succesful conservative in over a century.
That’s the good news. The bad news for Harper is that it’s hard to fight the “time for a change” bug. Trudeau and King both lost elections after around a (Read more…)
USC Shoah Foundation has a large collection of interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. Old physical media formats are susceptible to damage from fires to improper storage and USC has had to deal with this. The tech department at the foundation has figured out a painless way to restore and even improve the quality of footage from the damaged media.
Remembering history and being able to hear first hand accounts of events (no matter how horrific) can only help humanity. If we forget our history we are likely to repeat it.
Ryan Fenton-Strauss, video archive (Read more…)
I’d wondered why the USA wasn’t chasing after draft dodgers still.
On this day in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter granted an unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men… fb.me/2Zrr46qpA— Christina Cherneskey (@ccherneskey) January 21, 2014
My respect for Carter went up when I learned this.
Obama could redeem some of his failing popularity if he stood up to the NSA spy machine and pardoned Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, among other whistle blowers of illegal American spying programs aimed at American citizens.
Bought a book at Loblaws (of all places) this week, one by Harry Turtledove: The Big Switch. It’s one of his many alternative history novels, about what might have happened if things had happened a certain way – a different way from what actually transpired – in the opening years of World War Two. He’s […]
Just Kids is a memoir by the artist and musician Patti Smith, about her life and relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The book is a memoir of both Smith’s and Mapplethorpe’s coming of age as artists, and of the path of their relationships, both with each other and with other people who were formative in their young lives. Just Kids is also a memoir of New York City in the 1970s, especially of certain slices of the art and music scenes.
Although Smith met and hung out with many famous musicians, artists, and writers during the time she writes about, (Read more…)
For the past 25 years, I have had a mysterious page in Latin, held in a cheap picture frame, and stored in a closet for many years. It’s a two-sided page from a book, printed in black and red letters. I bought it at a used-book store in Toronto back when I lived there and […]
At year’s end, The Tyee reported that a memo – marked “secret” and first reported on OCanada.com - cast grave doubts on the Harper Government’s claim that environmental archives were destroyed only after they had been preserved digitally. In other words, the memo proves what progressive and concerned Canadians have long known and suspected to be true. A federal document marked “secret” obtained by Postmedia News indicates the closure or destruction of more than half a dozen world famous science libraries has little if anything to do with digitizing books as claimed by the Harper government.
In fact, the (Read more…)
“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
— Assata Shakur
Filed under: History Tagged: DWR Quote of the Day, On Freedom and Oppression
I always like to have a detective-mystery series to follow. I try many of them, like a few, and watch several episodes in a row as downtime relaxation. I recently started the Canadian “Murdoch Mysteries,” which takes place in Toronto at the turn of the 20th Century. Back when we still had cable TV, I frequently saw promos for Murdoch Mysteries, but I thought it looked kind of cheesy. But when I recently clicked on it through Netflix, I discovered it’s actually quite good. I’m now well into Season 2, and I’m finding the mysteries not obvious and the character (Read more…)
According to the good folks at WoodGuthrie.org, our hero Woody Guthrie wrote these New Year’s resolutions, which he called “rulin’s,” in 1943.
Happily for us, an admirer at another website has transcribed them. Woody’s rulin’s are by turns sweet (“learn people better”), fanciful (“dream good”), and practical (“wear clean clothes”). Some are downright hilarious: “wash teeth if any”. 33. Wake Up And Fight
32. Make Up Your Mind
31. Love Everybody
30. Love Pete
29. Love Papa
28. Love Mama
27. Help Win War — Beat Fascism
26. Dance Better
25. Play And Sing Good
24. Send Mary (Read more…)
I’ve just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. I’m sure many of you have read it, but if you have not, please run to your local library or bookstore or website and borrow, purchase, or download a copy immediately. This book is literary nonfiction of the highest order, a melding of social, cultural, and science history, and a a triumph of research and writing.
Henrietta Lacks was an African-American woman, a poor tobacco farmer who lived near and in Baltimore. Henrietta died of cancer in 1951, at the age of 31. She left behind five (Read more…)
One day, as I was getting off the subway on my way from Brooklyn to my workplace on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, people were handing out these tabloids. I never learned who made them, where they came from, or where they went. But I’m so glad I saved my copy all these years.
It’s a whole newspaper – news, sports, weather, ads for fake movies, personal ads. Brilliant. In case you can’t read the date, it was 1984.
And special bonus from one decade later, The National OJ.
I had to scan them in two parts, but they (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: wmtc: before the onion, before the yes men, there was the post new york post
JOAN PEIRÓ BELIS The following brief biography was originally published at the website of the CNT of Puerto Real in Spanish. The original Spanish version can be found there under their ‘Biografias’ section. Joan Peiró, glass worker, anarcho-syndicalist intellectual, and Minister of Industry during the second Spanish republic, was executed by firing squad on July 24, 1942 at Paterna (Huerta Oeste, Valencia). He was born on February 18 in the working class district of Sants in Barcelona. He began work in a Barcelona glass factory at the age of 8 an d didn’t learn to read and write (Read more…)
It was bitterly cold today but I joined with others in handing out candy canes and holiday themed postcards in support of the campaign to raise the minimum wage in Ontario. There were six others from my anti-poverty group and we took turns warming up inside the mall and standing outside fumbling with our gloves trying to give things out. I did the interview with CTV. We gave out about a 100 candy canes and had some supportive feedback yet with weather this cold no one wants to stand and talk.
Inside the mall feels like such a different world. (Read more…)
Maybe you thought we gave up and went away? Not a chance. The War Resisters Support Campaign is still working to make Canada a safe haven for people of peace and conscience.
Several US war resisters were forced out of Canada, court martialed, and given harsh prison sentences by the US military. Many more could no longer bear the uncertainty and surrendered themselves to the military. But some forty people who refused to participate in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, along with their families, are still living in Canada. And we are still fighting for them.
About a (Read more…)
Bob Herbert in Jacobin: I knew that the tributes would be pouring in immediately from around the world, and I also knew that most of them would try to do to Mandela what has been done to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: turn him into a lovable, platitudinous cardboard character whose commitment to peace and willingness to embrace enemies could make everybody feel good. This practice is a deliberate misreading of history guaranteed to miss the point of the man.
The primary significance of Mandela and King was not their willingness to lock arms or (Read more…)
“The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight.
That time has now come to South Africa.
We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.
Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an (Read more…)
Teresa Mañe Miravent – Mother of Federica Montseny The following is a translation from Spanish. The Spanish original is available at the Biografias anarquistas section of the website of the CNT Puerto Real. Any errors of translation are entirely my responsibility.
Born on November 29 1865 in Cubelles (Garraf, Catalonia) – until recently believed to be in Vilanova i la Geltrú- the educator, activist and anarchist propagandist Teresa Mañe Miravent, better known under her pseudonym Soledad Gustavo. Her wealthy family ran the Garden Hotel in Vilanova i la Geltrú, known as the “Three Girls Hotel” as the three daughters (Read more…)
The Dark Side of Christian History
The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe: Morningstar and Lark, Orlando Florida, 1999 ISBN 0-9644873-4-9 This is the sort of book that I had to force myself through. It was not so much the purported subject matter but rather the author’s not-so-well-hidden agenda. This is not an overview of the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches except insofar as these can be slotted into Ellerbe’s real purpose. This purpose is to argue against Christianity and for pop-religious New-Age “spirituality” with a thin veneer of corrupted feminism. The (Read more…)
We’ve just seen “The Central Park Five,” the Ken Burns film about five young men of colour who were wrongfully arrested, indicted, and convicted of rape and attempted murder, and who served seven, and in one case, thirteen years, in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.
There was virtually no evidence linking the five teenagers to the crime, and enormous amounts of evidence showing they could not possibly have committed it. They were convicted on the strength of illegally obtained, coerced, false confessions.
In one sense, this story is one of the oldest in the United States. As former (Read more…)