I'm a grad student in conservation biology who has always had a strong interest in conservation issues. However, I feel like the technical side of my education is much stronger than the philosophical side, and I want to restore that balance. Who should I read, what resources should I look into, what organizations or publications are out there that will help me gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical, historical, and cultural components of environmentalism? [more inside]
I'm trying to learn more about the history of the bombing of Dresden, and am looking for the most reliable (yet accessible) source. [more inside]
This is driving me crazy...it was a very readable book that described several (eleven?) American historical disasters, including I think the S.S. Sultana tragedy. (Or, some other steamship fire.) [more inside]
I'm interested in tea and its history, especially its role in global trade and conflict. Are there any great nonfiction books that cover the subject without focusing exclusively on a certain time period or location? [more inside]
I was thinking back to high school, when I spent hours browsing archives such as the Jargon File, the d20 SRD, and bash.org. Of course, these are just scratching the surface - I read pages and pages of D+D files, funny anecdotes, and interesting stories on personal sites. I miss the magic of diving into a site like that - any recommendations?
Baa Baa Blacksheep, Twinkle Twinkle, and the alphabet song are all the same tune. How is it that one song has been used for three well known songs? What are some other examples of songs being the exact same tune but with totally different lyrics? (I'll accept rip off/coincidence type things like Born This Way/Express Yourself, but I'm looking more for examples where the identical-song-different-lyrics thing was deliberate and done knowingly.)
I'm looking for any pointers to articles, books, or information about the history of pre-modern, non-Western thought about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. (To be clear, I'm not looking for anything about "ancient astronauts" or whether the ancient Egyptians were guided by aliens or anything like that.) [more inside]
I would like to harvest file-system activity from my operating system on an ongoing basis so that in the future I can look back on the data to see what files I was working on at a given time. I'm using windows 7. Basically something like the web history in a browser, but for my local files and applications. [more inside]
I recently came upon the work of Noam Chomsky and it opened up a whole new world of information and ways of seeing the world. How can I become more informed about our world's recent history and be accurate about it? [more inside]
For job applications, what should I do about a few months long job where I was terminated after being moved between projects? [more inside]
What are some good English-language resources to learn about Japanese mythology? Book recommendations are welcome, too. My interest is mostly to gain some background knowledge that would help me understand better Japanese novels or manga, in the way that knowing Greek or Norse mythology is helpful when reading Western literature.
Trying to find the perfect book to scratch a partner's literary itch for macrohistories related in some way to music. Details within. [more inside]
I'm trying to remember details about a book written about the US in the 1920s from the perspective of a visiting fundamental Muslim. The book, from my memory, was influential in the progress of fundamental Islamism (and later terrorism) as the book described the jazz age, black people, women's sexuality, etc. in a very bad light. Strangely Google isn't helping me with this. Thanks!
History Buffs of MeFi: Please share your most favorite, most compelling sources. Movies, books, graphic novels, fiction - everything is fair game. [more inside]
Looking for a fun gift for an 8-year-old that might fuel his interest in American history (or any history) ... Any ideas? (Some specifics provided inside.) [more inside]
My nine year old just read "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry. It is her first introduction to really high quality historical fiction. She is excited to read more books that teach her about history, but are also fun to read because they are fiction. Do you have any ideas about historical fiction books that are excellent quality like "Number the Stars" but that are age appropriate for my nine year old? Thank you.
My dad loved the series Deadwood. He also loves biography and historical non-fiction books. I would like to give him an interesting history of Deadwood for Christmas but not necessarily one connected with the show (which seems to be most of them). Any recommendations?
I'm going to New Orleans in a few days to cover a conference for a client. I will be going a half day early and staying an extra ~2 days more. I have limited time to do research, and do plan to go through the archives and NYT recommendation article. However, I was hoping to dig up any recommendations as to other things to see/check out when I'm there, and this seems to be an easy way to do so. [more inside]
My local news can barely report stories accurately when they happen on the same day, in the same town. How can I trust the validity of information that's been whispered-down-the-lane for decades, centuries or millenia? And if history isn't intended to be entirely factual, then what are we supposed to be gaining by studying it? [more inside]
Sounds simple, but we were wondering because in 2000 for religious reasons they cut opium production and we're curious where they stand.
Congress readmitted several Southern states to the Union in an “Omnibus Bill” it passed on June 28, 1868. Where can I find the text online?
If you were the average climber/mountaineer in the mid-to-late 19th century, how aware were you that your gear was basically crap in terms of providing protection from falls? [more inside]
How long did it take to sail from the Americas to England in 1609? And vice versa? [more inside]
On the weekend I discovered a great series of German magazines/publications: Karfunkel, especially the Karfunkel Combat series. I know my son would love this stuff, but his German is super basic. So is there an English magazine series anything like these? [more inside]
I am looking for one or more professionals to find interesting moments in the history of one of the detroit car makers. someone who can i.e. provide me with information out of which I can make interesting "on this day in 1952, this happened" articles. how should I go about finding the right person for this project? [more inside]
I have inherited several memoirs and other paper documents produced by family members before the digital age made document creation, storage, and dissemination so easy and extensive. What's the best way to make sure these documents survive and are accessible to those who might be interested in them? [more inside]
In short, the "Question Title" provides my question... Why are there multiple versions of the Gettysburg Address? [more inside]
I'm writing a trivia game for a birthday party. What are events from the 1950s through today that 60 yr olds would have a good grasp of that I would miss out on just by scanning through wikipedia? [more inside]
I just caught a scene from the 1953 film Stalag 17. In it, some WW2 prisoners of war hold a dance, and for obvious reasons, half the male dancers are following. Can anyone help me fill in the imaginary back story as if I were watching this film in 1953? [more inside]
I really want to find out more about the history and progress of LGBT rights. Namely, early forms and social codes to express homosexuality, the civil rights movements and how psychology viewed before and now, and what led to finally removing homosexuality as a disorder from the DSM. [more inside]
I'm interested in learning more about late 20th century American history and politics, particularly the Cold War, Watergate and Nixon. What books, fiction or non-fiction, can you recommend to a non-American? [more inside]
Defense Against Enemy Propaganda, a 1956 film intended for US troops, contains a couple of clips of Soviet propaganda with voiceovers in English. Are they genuine Soviet films? Where did they come from? [more inside]
Obviously innkeeper, bartender, tailor, etc. were jobs of both of those eras (and virtually all other eras, including our own.) But I am trying to figure out jobs that only existed in these two specific eras (Renaissance and Colonial). The sort of thing I am looking for: ie. specific jobs for specific eras: atilliators (who made crossbows in the middle ages); lamplighters; and "board boys" (who manually posted stock quotes in brokerages in the early 1900's. ) [more inside]
Music buffs of the Eastern European, pre-Christian/pagan and generally history-oriented sort: I stumbled upon a youtube video of what, as far as I can make out, is a group performing ancient pagan Slavic music. Fascinating stuff and I want more of it. Can anyone help me identify the group? Are there other groups like this? Thanks!
We'd like to take a three-to-four day road trip originating and terminating in Atlanta, focusing on Civil War history this weekend. Looking for suggestions on sites and itinerary ideas. [more inside]
So my problem is that I sometimes stalk people on facebook - come on, I'm not the only one -.- - but don't want some people/things I checked on facebook to appear in my omnisearch bar in Chrome. So I tried to go to history to delete/clear only facebook data but apparently you can't select all facebook history at once and delete it. It might take a long time if I were to select each individual item to delete. Is there a simple way to do this?
My knowledge of the Vietnam War is not as complete as I would like it to be. My own internal representation of its 1960s period is fairly strong but it fades a little at the 1970s/Vietnamization phase of the war. So I'm posing the following questions: [more inside]
I'm in the middle of In Search of Lost Time. It's interesting me in French history. It's better to learn about it from non-fiction, though, since Proust mixes real figures and facts with ones he made up. What good books are there about any period of French history between 1789 and, say, 1939? Popular or academic books are fine, and they don't have to concern themselves with wars, arms races, and treaties, either. Cultural histories are good.
Charles Babbage was a prominent member of the Analytical Society, and was at the very least intimately familiar with Leibniz's formulation of calculus. But did he ever read Leibniz's writings on logic? Did the Ars Combinatoria, or any of his writings on the "universal characteristic" or "calculus ratiocinator" influence Babbage's thinking about computation?
Of all coined currencies in histories, which in their day, or today (kinda two part question) were the most plentiful? Not used in transactions but just physically existed, minted minus lost.
Who is in this painting?
Seeking recommendations on media--books (novels and nonfiction), movies, music, maybe even documentaries--on life in Berlin during the 1980s and 1990s. I'm especially interested in the punk scene and any other counter cultural groups through this time period. [more inside]
You're teaching a massive survey course on the history of the 20th Century. What books are on the syllabus, in what order? [more inside]
I went to an exhibit of historic swords today and read the following inscription: . . . the blade also carries the name of the craftsman . . . a magic square for protection, and blah blah. The sword in question is from the Talpur rulers of Sind[h], in what is now known as Pakistan, and is from the 19th century. I'm just really curious about these protective magic squares, and am hoping there is someone out there who can tell me something about them and/or show some examples.>> [more inside]
How far does genealogy go back in different countries/cultures? [more inside]
Help! I need to know what high society Cairo looks like in the 1920s - the sophisticated, opulent, and fashionable - people and settings. More parties and interiors than architecture. It's really important that the references be of Egyptian people, not travelers visiting from abroad bringing their own style with them. But, if it was fashionable for the well-heeled to import furniture and clothing styles from Europe, that's important too. What does a party look like, and how would it differ from a party set in Paris or London? The things that are different are the things that are important. My best resource so far is the Egyptian Royalty pool on Flickr. That and Indiana Jones is all I've got. It's for a painting. Thanks!
What comes next after popular medical non-fiction? [more inside]
What are the 13 aerospace vehicles in storage at "the boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base? [more inside]
I was watching the excellent Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War last night, and found myself wondering how this particular conflict is taught in schools outside the US. If you were raised outside the United States and remember learning about the US Civil War in school, what do you remember? I would love to hear about your experience.
I want to get a firmer grasp of the English-speaking countries history. [more inside]