Around the same time our “Stable Genius” leader was tweeting about the size of his “nuclear button” like he was a high school freshman, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they are going to hold a session on January 16th about teaching federal, state, and local first responders how to “prepare for a nuclear detonation”. Both Guam and Hawaii have been more focused on nuclear threats in recent weeks and months, as both places are likely within the range of ballistic missiles from North Korea.
As a general rule, I am not a fan of the term “history buff”. Whenever I see someone referred to as a “history buff”, I tend to become a little irritated. In my mind, history buffs collect the Civil War Chess Set and Stonewall Jackson beer steins. Historians do research and then usually present their findings in one way or another. Just because you read history doesn’t mean you are a historian, just as the fact you can speak English does not mean you could be an English teacher, you know?
So when I read about Paul LePage, Governor of Maine (and living example of how the combination of poor anger management and eating too much poutine is really bad for you), making the (to me) astounding claim that 7,600 men from Maine fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, I nearly coughed Coke Zero through my nose. Continue reading “The Trumpization of Civil War history”
Today’s date is a day on which so many things happened, I doubt I can even remember them all.
Of course, it is the day that in 1861 the Civil War started with an artillery bombardment of the Union garrison in Fort Sumter, in the middle of Charleston Harbor. That’s a gimme for a Civil War historian like me.
While searching for some videos on YouTube that might do a better job of explaining the phenomenon of rogue waves than I can, I actually found some really, really good material. First, one of my absolute favorite people on the Intertubes, Hank Green, who is also half of the awesome duo that is the vlog brothers. Here, Hank talks about rogue waves on his SciShow channel.
In what could prove to be a huge step forward in predicting how rogue waves are formed, and thus a tool for saving lives at sea, researchers at MIT have found a way to give 2 to 3 minutes warning of an incoming rogue wave.
I know it probably sounds stupid, but it’s hard for me to explain how excited I am about this research. So much so that I am tempted to go speak with the researchers sometime (living in Cambridge does have its advantages). But to understand why I am geeking out about this, it might help for me to go into some detail about what we know about rogue waves, and how they have affected ships at sea, as well as oil rigs, lighthouses, and coastlines. This is one of those times that my love of history (especially maritime history) and my love of science come together.
Although Seth Myers is not from Boston, he did spend a big chunk of his childhood nearby in New Hampshire. And as a result, he totally gets the whole “Hollywood can’t get the Boston accent right” thing. Admittedly, there have been times that I am watching a movie or a TV show set in Boston and the bad attempts at local accents really get to me – not to mention the brutally mispronounced names of Massachusetts cities and towns – (I am looking at you, Falling Skies).
So seeing this “trailer” was a real treat. He totally gets it.
And the cameo from Rachel Dratch is just… wicked awesome.
I don’t know what it is, but something about the sea fascinates me, and has for most of my life. Maybe it’s because the sea has played various roles in my family history – some big and some small. Maybe it’s because ships captured my imagination as a little boy the way trucks or cars or airplanes do for most young boys. For years as a kid, my favorite “souvenir” I would get from my trips to the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard was one of those little wooden ships, usually a fishing boat of some kind, that you find in local shops. And I have been reading books about New England maritime history for years.