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Dystopian Horizons

Concrete uniformity. Brutalism. Doublespeak. Big Brother is watching you. Firemen coming to burn your belongings rather than douse them. For the good of the people, the nation. Propagandize the anthem. Remember, remember the fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot!

Speculate on the words above—does it make you squeal? If so, is it with joy or horror? Does it make you dream, or does it suppress your foolishness so you may sleep soundly, night after night? Does it connect you to the overmind? And what may help relegate us to true uniformity?

It may be dystopia.
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Blessings in Bubonic Rags

The Plague and the Printing Press
There’s an old Chinese proverb about a farmer, his son, and their horse. One day the horse ran off, and when the neighbors heard, they came to commiserate. But the farmer rejected their sympathy, saying to them, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” The next day, the horse returned and brought with him a wild horse. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to give their congratulations, but the farmer rejected their congratulations and said, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” Later, when the son was trying to tame the wild horse and was thrown from its back and broke his leg. The neighbors came to the farmer once more saying “How unfortunate! Now your son cannot work on the farm with you!” And once more the farmer said, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” And as it happened, the next day officials arrived in the town to conscript all able-bodied young men to fight in a war, but since the son was injured he was spared.

This paradoxical domino effect can be seen—and in fact, finding these effects is a practice of many historians—when studying the many differing impacts of historical events.  

One paradox can be found during the Black Death
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Making a Difference

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela International Day, which will be held on July 18th 2017, commemorates Nelson Mandela’s dedication and service to South Africa, as well as other people and cultures of the world.

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The Pleasures of Picnicking

During seasonal weather, people yearn to enjoy the great outdoors. Sunny, mild days offer ideal opportunities for hosting picnics in the park. Charming wicker baskets, country-style checkered tablecloths, leisurely pleasures, and delectable food come to mind.

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What Is Cooking in Literature

Beyond nourishing us, food assists us in maintaining our health and can impact our moods. A source of passion and great pleasure, food also has many links with history.

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In the Buff

On Nudity
The subject of nudity is mentioned in the Gutenberg Bible (1462 historic edition), which is the first major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are unashamed of their naked bodies until they eat the forbidden fruit and are expelled from paradise.

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking has been an ongoing atrocity, which occurs in destinations around the globe. Its victims, which include women, children, and men, are subject to a variety of forms of trafficking. These include sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude. Restore NYC—a nationally recognized leader in identifying and helping trafficked women, estimates that 18,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the U.S. each year.

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Tune Out & Tune In

With growing efforts and awareness of the peril of our oceans and land, more people are making strides to conserve. Eco-conscious people worldwide are pitching in to save the planet. Efforts encompass recycling to conserving water and energy to reducing carbon footprints, and choosing reusable cloth totes over plastic bags. Many are eager to do their fair share.

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History of Perfume

We’ve all been captivated by the alluring scents of fresh flowers, baking bread, or brewing coffee. Since scent is routed through the olfactory bulb, which is connected to regions of the brain that relate to memory and emotion, it has the capability of triggering emotion.

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Animal Magnetism

Within recent years, pets have managed to climb the ranks to secure coveted spots atop family pedestals. These domestic companions—from the familiar dogs and cats to more exotic parrots, sugar gliders, and iguanas—have captured their owners’ hearts and nudged them to open up their wallets.
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Staying Power

New Lexicography
Every year, lexicographers must decide which popular words and phrases will be added to dictionaries. Tuned into books, politics, business, technology, the arts, and media, these word masters observe which words and phrases are used most frequently, exactly how they’re used, and what they mean.

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Tattoo You

Once considered rebellious and were associated with sailors, criminals, and thugs, over the years tattoos have become mainstream in countries around the globe.

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Agriculture Then and Now

Science records the development of agriculture back more than 10,000 years with Neolithic evidence of crops of wheat, barley, peas, lentils, chick peas, flax, and rice. Following the sowing and harvesting of grains and legumes, early Old World farmers domesticated pigs, then sheep, and then cattle. New World farmers focused on sorghum and potatoes, followed by coca, llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs. Maize and cotton were latecomers to the agricultural repertoire.

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Paul Bunyan

Hero of the North Woods
Few folk tales from ages past endure in today’s children’s literature. Paul Bunyan is no exception. The folk hero was portrayed as a giant of a man at seven feet tall, renowned for his great strength, powerful voice, massive pipe, and memorable sidekicks, not the least of which was Babe, the blue ox. Tales of his illiteracy recount entertaining errors when ordering supplies.

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Heroic Myth to Little Green Men

Tales of Outer Space
Ancient astronomers discerned patterns of stars, constellations anchored by particularly bright points of light, and named them. The Western world knows these constellations mainly by their Greek names and through Greek myth: Cassiopeia, Orion, Pegasus, etc. Other cultures grouped constellations differently and assigned them different names in accordance to their mythologies and heroic traditions. From Lucian’s second century True History to 10th century Japan’s The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter to the Middle East’s medieval One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and throughout the millennia to the modern age, mankind’s fascination with the “Great Beyond” never ceases.

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Child Labor

A Brief History
Only in the latter half of the 20th century did the concept of a carefree childhood emerge as a right of all children rather than just the privileged few. Until then, parents and businesses viewed children as an abundant, renewable source of cheap labor. Low income and rural families especially relied upon the labor of children to contribute to put food on the table.

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Operation Overlord

World War II Snapshot
On June 6th, 1944, Operation Overlord commenced. It was the D-day to eclipse all other D-days, the World War II operation on a strategically unnamed day that marked the largest seaborne invasion in history. 

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Gay Pride Month

LGBTQ Writers of Immanence
June was designated as Gay Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969, a series of days that marked the breaking point of tensions between the LGBTQ communities and the New York City Police Department. It was the first major protest for LGBTQ rights in history.

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Poète Maudit

The Seer and the Forest Fire
“La race toujours maudite par les puissants de la terre.” Or, “The race that will always be cursed by the powerful ones of the earth,” wrote author Alfred De Vigny in his novel Stello. Poet Paul Verlaine put it to wider use in his own work to describe both writers and artists who were against or otherwise working outside mainstream society. 

And the “race” was called the poète maudit, cursed poet.

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World Refugee Day

The UN Convention
While a concerted effort at refugee relief is a relatively new enterprise, refugees are as old as war. In 1951, only six years after the end of World War II, the United Nations began to address the issue of refugees. The multilateral treaty known as the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees has been ratified a handful of times since and sets the terms for what is and is not a refugee.

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