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Category: History

Animals self-medicate with plants − behavior people have observed and emulated for millennia

Animals self-medicate with plants − behavior people have observed and emulated for millennia

A goat with an arrow wound nibbles the medicinal herb dittany. O. Dapper, CC BY By Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University When a wild orangutan in Sumatra recently suffered a facial wound, apparently after fighting with another male, he did something that caught the attention of the scientists observing him. The animal chewed the leaves of a liana vine – a plant not normally eaten by apes. Over several days, the orangutan carefully applied the juice to its wound, then covered…

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The roots of Israeli fascism

The roots of Israeli fascism

Rick Perlstein writes: In 1928, a prominent [Zionist] Revisionist named Abba Ahimeir published a series of articles entitled “From the Diary of a Fascist.” They refer to the founder of their movement, Ze’ev Jabotinsky (his adopted first name is Hebrew for “wolf”), as “il duce.” In 1935, his comrade Hen Merhavia wrote that Revisionists were doing what Mussolini did: “establish a nucleus of an exemplary life of morality and purity. Like us, the Italian fascists look back to their historical…

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How a Jewish desire for revenge against the Nazis turned into an Israeli justification for killing Palestinians

How a Jewish desire for revenge against the Nazis turned into an Israeli justification for killing Palestinians

76 years after, we are still in 1948. — Shachar Pinsker (@spinsker) May 14, 2024 Shachar Pinsker writes: By the end of the Second World War, writing about vengeance in Hebrew had taken on a new significance. A million and a half Jews fought in the armies of the Allied Powers. Writing in Hebrew, however, focused on the 30,000 Jews from the Yishuv [the Jewish community in pre-state Palestine] who volunteered to fight alongside the British army, especially the Jewish Brigade, numbering…

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Reimagining balance

Reimagining balance

Joel Kaye writes: Between approximately 1250 and 1375, a manifestly new sense of what balance is, and can be, emerged. When projected onto the workings of the world, this new sense transformed the ways the workings of both nature and society could be seen, comprehended and explained. The result was a momentous break with the intellectual past, opening up striking new vistas of imaginative and speculative possibility. The group of medieval scholars whose speculations most clearly reflected this new modelling…

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DNA from ancient graves reveals the culture of a mysterious nomadic people

DNA from ancient graves reveals the culture of a mysterious nomadic people

Nature reports:Most people know about the Huns, if only because of their infamous warrior-ruler Attila. But the Avars, another nomadic people who subsequently occupied roughly the same region of eastern and central Europe, have remained obscure despite having assembled a sprawling empire that lasted from the late sixth century to the early ninth century. Even archaeologists have struggled to piece together their history and culture, relying on spotty and potentially biased contemporaneous chronicles that, in many cases, were authored by…

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Nixon advisers’ 1971 climate research plan — another lost chance on the road to crisis

Nixon advisers’ 1971 climate research plan — another lost chance on the road to crisis

Marianne Lavelle writes: In 1971, President Richard Nixon’s science advisers proposed a multimillion dollar climate change research project with benefits they said were too “immense” to be quantified, since they involved “ensuring man’s survival,” according to a White House document newly obtained by the nonprofit National Security Archive and shared exclusively with Inside Climate News. The plan would have established six global and 10 regional monitoring stations in remote locations to collect data on carbon dioxide, solar radiation, aerosols and…

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Living with the enduring pain of postcolonial trauma

Living with the enduring pain of postcolonial trauma

Farah Abdessamad writes: In 1952, the 27-year-old Frantz Fanon had just published his first book, Black Skin, White Masks, his controversial and rejected doctoral thesis on the effects of racism on health. Fanon had been interning at Saint-Alban hospital in southern France when he soon noticed that medical personnel often overlooked and minimised the concern of North African patients. At that time, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia (where my father was born) were either French colonies or protectorates, and these patients…

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America fell for guns recently — and for reasons you will not guess

America fell for guns recently — and for reasons you will not guess

Megan Kang writes: Of all the potential explanations we tested, we discovered that the post-Second World War economic boom and relaxed federal gun regulations most drove the surge in demand for guns. As unemployment rates decreased and incomes increased, firearms – once deemed a luxury or practical necessity – grew within reach for more and more Americans. Simultaneously, cultural attitudes surrounding gun ownership may have shifted, as multiple generations of Americans returning from the Second World War, the Korean War…

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The French aristocrat who understood evolution 100 years before Darwin – and even worried about climate change

The French aristocrat who understood evolution 100 years before Darwin – and even worried about climate change

Donna Ferguson writes: Shortly after Charles Darwin published his magnum opus, The Origin of Species, in 1859 he started reading a little-known 100-year-old work by a wealthy French aristocrat. Its contents were quite a surprise. “Whole pages [of his book] are laughably like mine,” Darwin wrote to a friend. “It is surprising how candid it makes one to see one’s view in another man’s words.” In later editions of The Origin of Species, Darwin acknowledged Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon,…

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Capitalism and underdevelopment in the American South

Capitalism and underdevelopment in the American South

Keri Leigh Merritt writes: In 1938, near the end of the Great Depression, the US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt commissioned a ‘Report on the Economic Conditions of the South’, examining the ‘economic unbalance in the nation’ due to the region’s dire poverty. In a speech following the report, Roosevelt deemed the South ‘the nation’s No 1 economic problem’, declaring that its vast levels of inequality had led to persistent underdevelopment. Although controversial, Roosevelt’s comments were historically accurate. The president’s well-read…

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Norman Finkelstein on Gaza: The U.S. could have stopped Israel on day one

Norman Finkelstein on Gaza: The U.S. could have stopped Israel on day one

  Renowned scholar and activist Norman Finkelstein discusses Israel’s war on Gaza with Marc Lamont Hill. As Israel’s war on Gaza continues, killing more than 33,000 people, numerous scholars and politicians have voiced concern and condemned Israel’s policies and actions. Among those critics is Norman Finkelstein, a staunch advocate for Palestinian freedom and one of the foremost historians on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, himself a son of Holocaust survivors. This week on UpFront, Norman Finkelstein shares his insights on Israel’s war…

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Solar eclipses are always with us

Solar eclipses are always with us

Marina Koren writes: Cosmically speaking, the alignment of Earth, the sun, and the moon is ordinary. But from our corner of the universe, the occurrence produces something wondrous: a total solar eclipse. On April 8, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow along a narrow strip of the country, from Texas to Maine. Outside this path, the sun will not disappear, and the best and safest way to observe the event is with eclipse glasses….

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The empty promise of a two-state solution has become an instrument for sustaining Palestinian subjugation

The empty promise of a two-state solution has become an instrument for sustaining Palestinian subjugation

Tareq Baconi writes: After 176 days, Israel’s assault on Gaza has not stopped and has expanded into what Human Rights Watch has declared to be a policy of starvation as a weapon of war. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, and the international community has reverted to a deeply familiar call for a two-state solution, under which Palestinians and Israelis can coexist in peace and security. President Biden even declared “the only real solution is a two-state solution” in…

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Trump’s anti-Ukraine view dates to the 1930s. America rejected it then. Will we now?

Trump’s anti-Ukraine view dates to the 1930s. America rejected it then. Will we now?

Robert Kagan writes: Can Republicans really be returning to a 1930s worldview in our 21st-century world? The answer is yes. Trump’s Republican Party wants to take the United States back to the triad of interwar conservatism: high tariffs, anti-immigrant xenophobia, isolationism. According to Russ Vought, who is often touted as Trump’s likely chief of staff in a second term, it is precisely this “older definition of conservatism,” the conservatism of the interwar years, that they hope to impose on the…

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Israel’s ‘Iron Wall’: A brief history of the ideology guiding Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s ‘Iron Wall’: A brief history of the ideology guiding Benjamin Netanyahu

A view of Khan Yunis in Gaza on Feb. 2, 2024, after weeks of continuous Israeli bombardment and bulldozing. Abdulqader Sabbah/Anadolu via Getty Images By Eran Kaplan, San Francisco State University Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled that Israel’s military will soon launch an invasion of Rafah, the city in the southern Gaza Strip. More than 1 million Palestinians, now on the verge of famine, have sought refuge there from their bombed-out cities farther north. Despite U.S. President Joe Biden’s…

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How the unedifying ‘lessons of Iraq’ reappraisals obscure the war’s real lessons

How the unedifying ‘lessons of Iraq’ reappraisals obscure the war’s real lessons

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes: During the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign, Democratic Party candidate Bill Clinton distinguished himself from the Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush with regard to Bosnia by supporting a “lift and strike” policy. Armed with weapons from the old Yugoslav Army, Bosnian Serbs were on a rampage, and a United Nations embargo was preventing Muslim Bosniaks from being able to defend themselves, even as the Bush administration looked on. Clinton’s proposal would lift the arms blockade and…

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