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Lesser-known women in technology

Who are some important women in technology that are lesser-known in the world? Especially women of color, LGBTQ women, and non-American women? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Sep 15, 2014 - 44 answers

How to Become an Expert in Foreign News?

I have been offered a somewhat prestigious job in foreign news. I have been working in other areas of journalism for the last decade, but am not particularly well versed in international news. So I am looking to bone up on, basically, the entire history of the world, all of its current political leaders/conflicts, geography, current expert thinkers/critics on regional international questions. Aside from getting a world map shower curtain, what else should I be doing? [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Sep 14, 2014 - 16 answers

The pre-modern breast pump was a man? Tell me more about tetaires.

In The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, the following sentence has prompted much speculation: "There were rebilhous, who called out the hours of the night, 'cinderellas', who collected and sold ashes used for laundering clothes, men called tetaires, who performed the function of a breast-pump by sucking mothers' breasts to start the flow of milk, and all the other specialists that the census listed under 'trades unknown' and 'without trade', which usually meant gypsies prostitutes, and beggars." So, uh, tetaires? [more inside]
posted by poodelina on Sep 13, 2014 - 5 answers

Tell me about the world

Today I read this article about Iraq, and I'm so glad I did. It is a well written history of middle east conflict, that's entertaining enough that I read the whole thing to the end. I know it isn't comprehensive (and I'm sure it contains details that are debatable), but it has turned me into a more educated news reader. Now I'm hungry to learn more about other places as well. [more inside]
posted by superfish on Sep 12, 2014 - 3 answers

Inheritance Tax on estimated value of photo negatives left behind? WUTT?

An acquaintance's brother-in-law, a retired photojournalist (Newsweek, Time), has left specific instructions to destroy his negatives after his death so his family won't be hit by US inheritance taxes on the estimated market value of the collection. He sells through Getty and Polaris so this is a valid financial threat (he believes). Kinda sad, I think. He did a close up and personal pictorial project with a young Bob Dylan living in New York, and these rare shots would be destroyed, along with... [more inside]
posted by spock on Sep 10, 2014 - 24 answers

What class ticket would the Wright Brothers have purchased?

Descriptions of pre-War transatlantic ocean liners make it clear that wealthy passengers traveled first class, and poor immigrants traveled third class, but I'm fuzzy on who exactly would be traveling second class. In particular, I'm not sure what class tickets Wilbur and Orville Wright would have bought on their various crossings, particularly the earlier ones before their first public flights. [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities on Sep 9, 2014 - 5 answers

Once more unto the breach...

I'm making a collection of ideas and best practices for history teachers. If you had an amazing history teacher, in either middle school or high school, what did they do that captured your interest? If you teach history, what have you seen work? [more inside]
posted by kingfishers catch fire on Sep 8, 2014 - 24 answers

Book recommendation filter

I want to read a book about the sociohistory of inflation: something like Graeber's Debt is the closest analog that comes to mind, tho probably a poor one. Does such exist? [more inside]
posted by PMdixon on Sep 7, 2014 - 3 answers

Seach engines store search history

I think we know that the search engine providers store a history of your searches. We hear about law enforcement checking someone's search history for the poison and bomb-making searches they have done, etc. etc. But some search engines now do predictive search as you type out the letters. Auto suggestion or instant match or whatever they call it. So as you type .... b-o-m-b-, the suggestions and sometimes results appear (bombay bicycle club, bomber jacket, bomb timers, etc.). You can certainly get the search results you may be looking for without ever press enter. And with some, the search result change as you scroll up and down a list that it has suggested for you based on the first few letters typed. So when/what is the record of your searches made? It is every letter you type? or only when 'enter' is pressed? or the position of the cursor as you scroll through a list? Or only whatever's in the search box when a link is clicked (so you see read the page summaries without that being tracked, but if you click a link, then that's a search 'hit')? I don't know. Could you help me understand please?
posted by Xhris on Sep 5, 2014 - 2 answers

Nudge nudge wink wink: Where could someone get gay porn in the 1930s?

For fictional purposes, I need to know where someone could get porn (specifically photos, not necessarily films) for gay men in the 1930s/40s. This has been annoyingly difficult to find on an internet search, and I unfortunately don't have the time to get a lot of library books and sift through them to find this out. [more inside]
posted by emcat8 on Sep 4, 2014 - 14 answers

Name that book: black soldier hosted with British family during WW2

The book is young adult fiction. I vividly remember one scene in which the narrator, a young boy, goes with his mother to the station to meet the soldier they'll be hosting, who then turns out to be black. The boy, without thinking, wipes his hand on his trouser leg after shaking hands. [more inside]
posted by ianso on Sep 4, 2014 - 1 answer

Why is Russia?

I have time to read and I would like to learn about recent and current political and social events in Russia. So where is a good place to start learning about recent Russian history? Books, films, anything. (Influenced by this Meta post).
posted by smallvictories on Sep 4, 2014 - 12 answers

So I bought a time machine … well it looks more like a plane ticket!

I’m going to be in Greece for around two weeks in mid-September, and am hoping for some advice in how to best immerse myself in Classical and Hellenistic history and art – as well as the practicalities and logistics of the present day! [more inside]
posted by an opinicus on Aug 29, 2014 - 5 answers

Looking for sources on the history of the New York Times

I'm currently working on a project that involves figuring out the editorial policy of the New York times historically (specifically in the first 50 years or so of its existance as a newspaper). Any thoughts on where to start? [more inside]
posted by rainbowbrite on Aug 29, 2014 - 6 answers

History of the USA ..but in an interesting way

I am looking to read up on the history of USA and need book recommendations [more inside]
posted by jellyjam on Aug 28, 2014 - 21 answers

What modern beer tastes most like old-fashioned beer?

I was thinking about the Ken Burns Prohibition documentary today, and it got me thinking: if I wanted to find what beer tasted like in the United States a century ago, what would I try? [more inside]
posted by 4ster on Aug 23, 2014 - 23 answers

Recommendations for books about Red Clydeside

I recently found out that I'm not the only red sheep in my otherwise right-wing family. Apparently my great-grandmother was good pals with James Maxton and some of the other Scottish socialists of the day. I'm looking for book recommendations about Maxton and Red Clydeside in general.
posted by atropos on Aug 22, 2014 - 2 answers

State of French scientific knowledge about the moon in 1878

need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
posted by aesop on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Designing a poster for my friend's movie

So my friend just completed post for her movie and she asked me to do a simple poster for it. The movie is about how the growth of the feminist movement in Northern Ireland under British rule. I am giving her many options, some of which are specific to the time and place and some of which are more about women in general. Thoughts? [more inside]
posted by cyrusw8 on Aug 17, 2014 - 6 answers

How did peasants in the Middle Ages survive the winter?

What strategies were used by peasants of medieval Europe to prepare for and survive the harsh winter months? [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry on Aug 16, 2014 - 32 answers

Calling all virologists - important events in virology needed!

I'm preparing a timeline of important virology-related events for work. We have some HIV-related and some bacteriophage-related material as well as some cancer-related stuff and some "greatest hits" (x-ray diffraction patterns, transduction, discovery of interferon). I'd like to expand our timeline to cover more diverse kinds of virology-related stuff. [more inside]
posted by Frowner on Aug 15, 2014 - 8 answers

Help me think of some small but significant buyable business artifacts

I work at a business school, and want to decorate my office with some cool artifacts that represent business and innovation. As a family heirloom, I already have a piece of the original Vanguard rocket (it exploded on launch). I have also bought a beautiful piece of Fordite. What other beautiful or interesting wall-mountable small artifacts could I buy that would fit with this collection? I have been thinking about icononic microchips, electronic or industrial equipment, or other related stuff, nothing too pricey. Any ideas - links to places to purchase would be great, too...
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 9, 2014 - 14 answers

Road scholar

Let's say you have a kid - 10-15 years old, so maybe grades 5-10 - and you decide to pull them out of school for a year. During that time, you are going to drive around the United States with the goal of learning, in an authentic way, as much as possible about American history, culture, and geography. Where do you go, and what do you read? [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles on Aug 9, 2014 - 15 answers

Unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic?

I need to show unemployment figures for Germany during the Weimar Republic (starting no later than 1923) in a way that consistently compares apples to apples and not apples to oranges -- i.e., total number of unemployed OR total percentage of workforce, but not sometimes one and sometimes the other. (Having both would be ideal.) I would also prefer a specific month for each figure, if possible, rather than just the year (i.e., "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in September 1932" is more useful than "Unemployment reaches 5.1 million in 1932"). [more inside]
posted by scody on Aug 6, 2014 - 3 answers

Before gas, did candles really illuminate rooms well?

Watching A period piece film and wondering if, before gas and electric lighting, having a roomful of candles ever really illuminated things as much as they appear here or were all large rooms of the time like spotily-lit caverns after dark? [more inside]
posted by Senor Cardgage on Jul 28, 2014 - 17 answers

Life in a large and wealthy Victorian home

I want to know more about the material culture of a large English country house or great house in the Victorian era. [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet on Jul 26, 2014 - 12 answers

Pairing fiction with eras in common

So two books I really love are Heaven to Betsy and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I love how they go into the details of the period they take place, particularly the fashion and food. It was also only recently I realised that they take place roughly around the same era. It really surprised me because they are so completely different to one another. Francie has an alcoholic father and the family can barely get food on the table; Betsy's biggest ordeal is falling in love with a boy that doesn't like her back and not studying for an essay contest. So my question is two-fold and is aimed at requesting book suggestions. [more inside]
posted by like_neon on Jul 25, 2014 - 23 answers

Recommend me some books about old sailing ships

I'm in a mood to read non-fiction history books dealing with sailing ships. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Jul 22, 2014 - 22 answers

How can you recognize a secure person if you’re insecure?

Am I ruining a great relationship with my anxiety or am I anxious because my relationship is not great? Is there a way to tell the difference between irrational anxiety and alarm bells? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 20, 2014 - 9 answers

Best Books on shipping mail/news/orders/etc?

What is the best book on the history of sending mail, news, orders and other information by ship?
posted by michaelh on Jul 18, 2014 - 1 answer

Book recommendation: a good historical overview of the US in the 1980s?

I am seeking recommendations for (reputable/peer-reviewed) essays or books that could help me develop a nuanced but well-rounded understanding of the social, political, and economic climate in 1980s America (economic deregulation is a particular point of interest). [more inside]
posted by coastisclear on Jul 14, 2014 - 8 answers

The weirdness of manuscript copyright law (UK version)

In the case of unpublished historical manuscripts in copyright till 2039 in the UK, where the original author is long dead and there is no designated copyright holder, how does copyright work once you get down a generation or two and have multiple heirs of seemingly equal standing? (eg. several grandchildren or multiple great nieces and nephews) Must everyone be consulted and agree, or if a will never mentioned the manuscript but left everything to a given child or even a non-family member, do only their heirs count and not the other grandkids etc? [more inside]
posted by Flitcraft on Jul 8, 2014 - 3 answers

Where can I find historical broadcast TV schedules?

I've been scouring the internet for a way to pick a certain date and time in modern history and see what was being broadcast at that moment, but so far no luck. Does anybody know of an archive of this information, or any clever ways to repurpose any other existing data?
posted by excitementMD on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Businesses in New York that have been around for over 100 years

I'd like to compile a list of businesses in New York City—starting with Manhattan—that have been around for 100 years or more. I'd also like to include places the public can visit that aren't "businesses" per se. I'm guessing this information is publicly available, but I don't know where to start. Any guidance would be extremely helpful. Thanks!
posted by context adventure on Jun 29, 2014 - 20 answers

What are the best blogs about history?

What are the best blogs or other online publications about history (any kind) out there? I'm looking for medium-to-long, well-researched, smart, readable articles by a variety of authors with some expertise in their subject matter. I don't want anything too clickbaity, but nothing straight from an academic journal either.
posted by oinopaponton on Jun 29, 2014 - 13 answers

Historic Supreme Court voting records

I'd like to have a list of every US Supreme Court decision ever, including which justices voted how. I'd like the list to be easily parsable by a computer program. Details and alternatively acceptable things inside. [more inside]
posted by Flunkie on Jun 24, 2014 - 3 answers

How to find out which chemical plants are union shops in La./Tx.

How do I figure out what chemical plants in Houston-Beaumont-Port Arthur and South Louisiana are union shops? [more inside]
posted by CtrlAltD on Jun 15, 2014 - 5 answers

What are some examples of humanitarian acts gone awry?

Can anyone provide instances of humanitarian efforts on a global or national scale that ended up exacerbating matters or creating new problems? What made these efforts different from successful ventures? [more inside]
posted by jne1813 on Jun 13, 2014 - 24 answers

What are the most historically accurate period movies/series?

I'm looking for examples of period movies/series - particularly of ancient times - that are absolutely, obsessively, flawlessly historically accurate. As in 'if I emerged from a time machine, that's how it would be' accurate, or universally-blessed-by-eminent-historians accurate. [more inside]
posted by scrm on Jun 13, 2014 - 18 answers

Introductory sources on biological classification

I'm beginning a project that looks partly at biological classification, primarily in western science. I have no background in this, and so I'm digging around. I'm interested to know more about the current rules for nomenclature, and also to know more about historical, philosophical, sociological, knowledge practice, ethnographic, anthropological, science technology and society (STS), sociotechnical, etc., approaches to the study of biological classification. I'll take monographs, articles, papers, web sites, etc. I have access to a university library. What are some good sources that can introduce me to this? Many thanks!
posted by carter on Jun 9, 2014 - 13 answers

The Tech Tree from Civilization is just not detailed enough

I'm looking for a technology tree for the early early history of human technology. I want one that is detailed but it doesn't need to go any further than the Classical age. Do you know of any resources on-line or have any book recommendations that would give me a good part of what I need? [more inside]
posted by Jane the Brown on Jun 8, 2014 - 3 answers

What are the "big shifts" that have changed humanity?

I'm looking to explore the big shifts and major revolutions that have made a historical impact. Examples in the modern age: the rise of democracy, the proliferation of capitalism, and the Information Age / Internet. What other big shifts and major revolutions have changed humanity? [more inside]
posted by markbao on Jun 5, 2014 - 35 answers

Non-Western History Please!

I want to read some non-Western history, from pre-colonial periods. All I ask is that it be a good read, but non-Western authors would be a cool bonus. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jun 3, 2014 - 18 answers

What is the origin of the dimensions of large-sized US dollar bills?

US dollar bills before 1928 were larger than they are now, 188mm by 79mm. Are there records of why that particular size was chosen? [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Jun 1, 2014 - 7 answers

Ottoman Turk translation help?

How would one write "The Fast Ones" in Ottoman-era Turkish? I'm making a mildly humorous sign for a Turkish friend, and for various reasons I'm pretending it's Ottoman-era (1650). [more inside]
posted by aramaic on May 29, 2014 - 2 answers

Introductory history of Western philosophy & thought?

I'm looking for a good overview of Western philosophy for beginners. [more inside]
posted by Grinder on May 28, 2014 - 15 answers

Pros and cons of National Register of Historic Places designation?

I'm working with a small-town historical preservation group to get a grant to preserve and display their old, now defunct, USFS Ranger Station cabin. I'm primarily burying my nose in archives and old newspapers to do the historical research, but the group is curious about whether or not they should also apply to be listed by the NRHP, and I agreed to help them out. Any pertinent anecdotal experiences or anything you could share about your own knowledge of the NRHP? Any advice or strong opinions on the matter? [more inside]
posted by Grandysaur on May 27, 2014 - 8 answers

How did colonial Americans speak?

I am trying to write a story that takes place in 1660s Massachusetts. I have a great plot and characters, but the action stops when they open their mouths. I simply don't know how they spoke. How can I find examples of 17th century English as spoken by ordinary people? [more inside]
posted by Biblio on May 26, 2014 - 11 answers

Need help sourcing a quote

I could have sworn I read Ta-Nehisi Coates write somewhere on the internet something along the lines of - "The North didn't win the Civil War, America did." The thinking behind this was that the war shouldn't be framed as "North vs. South" - but rather, "America vs. the CSA" or "America vs. some traitors." Does this ring any bells? [more inside]
posted by Baby_Balrog on May 23, 2014 - 5 answers

Opinionated history books?

I love conversing with people who know history and are sparkling, highly opinionated storytellers. Often these are foreigners or emigrants speaking about their country. They're unafraid to draw sharp, outspoken conclusions that frame major situations (e.g. that some leader was an incompetent fool or that an accident of geography is what will ensure conflict between two groups continues). What are some book equivalents of that conversational experience? They can be on any period or region. I do not want a magisterial treatise. I want a keen-eyed, slicing talk with someone really well-informed and cynical over several drinks who's gonna say what's what.
posted by shivohum on May 22, 2014 - 14 answers

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