“Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s wet nurse might have been his sister” | Culture | The Guardian

“Carvings on the wall of the tomb of Maia, the boy king’s wet nurse, have led archaeologists to suspect she may have been his sister Meritaten”

Very interesting!

Source: Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s wet nurse might have been his sister | Culture | The Guardian

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“Coming to Terms on Japan’s Wartime Sex Slaves” – The New York Times

“Prime Minister Abe now says he is genuinely sorry for Japan’s terrible abuse of South Korea’s “comfort women” before and during World War II.” This is a surprising, but great turn of events! Abe surely didn’t do it for the right reasons, but at least he did it!

Source: Coming to Terms on Japan’s Wartime Sex Slaves – The New York Times

“Killing the Islamic State Softly” | Foreign Policy

The interesting question is this: What would a smart power campaign directed against the challenges represented by the Islamic State (which are of course broader than just that group) look like? What are the techniques; levels of resources; and strategies of cooperation, collaboration, and communication?” James Stavridis offers some suggestions: Killing the Islamic State Softly | Foreign Policy

“A Harvard Medical School professor makes the case for the liberal arts and philosophy” – The Washington Post

“David Silbersweig, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, says today’s multidisciplinary world needs liberal arts — and philosophy in particular — more than ever.” Silberweig is right. Unfortunately, just as we desperately need the skills and knowledge that comes from studying the humanities, politicians and business leaders are devaluing these fields. As a result, students view their humanities courses as an unnecessary obstacle in pursuit of their careers, and student disinterest then provides the justification for defunding these fields.

As a successful medical scientist who studied philosophy in college, Silbersweig is the perfect advocate for the liberal arts. He attributes his diverse educational background with his success. He notes, “I discovered that those without a liberal arts foundation, while often brilliant, generally had a narrower perspective. Their path to and through outstanding universities was more vocational.”

He argues that “[i]f we are to remain at the forefront of knowledge creation in this changing, globalizing world, then our students must be the next generation of explorers. We have a sacred obligation as educators, role models and mentors to ensure a system that promotes the attributes conducive to their success. A broad yet rigorous education will best equip them to go forth into uncharted territory to address issues of import to humanity in a creative fashion.”

“We need to foster and protect academic environments in which a broad, integrated, yet still deep education can flourish. They are our national treasure and a strategic asset, whether some politicians would recognize that, or not — and philosophy is foundational, whether my old dentist would appreciate it or not.”

Read the entire article here: A Harvard Medical School professor makes the case for the liberal arts and philosophy – The Washington Post

“Beyond ISIS” | History News Network

In the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks more and more Americans are in favor of sending troops to destroy ISIS and a “do whatever it takes” strategy to completely destroy ISIS and other terrorist threats. But do they know exactly what they are advocating? It’s unlikely!

It is not completely their fault. Many on the Right (pundits, politicians, and intellectuals) are advocating this strategy in the face of what they claim is an existential threat. Many of those who are pushing for this all in approach either don’t understand the level of commitment they are promoting, or have not fully thought through what it would take to achieve such a goal.

In light of this disconnect, Andrew J. Bacevich challenges the proposal by laying out in no uncertain terms what it would take to execute this strategy. He concludes that the costs (in terms of lives, treasure, and values) would be great! “By sowing fear and fostering impossible expectations of perfect security, it would also compromise American freedom in the name of protecting it. The nation that decades from now might celebrate VT Day — victory over terrorism — will have become a different place, materially, politically, culturally, and morally.”

“For a rich and powerful nation to conclude that it has no choice but to engage in quasi-permanent armed conflict in the far reaches of the planet represents the height of folly. Power confers choice. As citizens, we must resist with all our might arguments that deny the existence of choice. Whether advanced forthrightly by Cohen or fecklessly by the militarily ignorant, such claims will only perpetuate the folly that has already lasted far too long.”

Read the entire piece here: History News Network | Beyond ISIS

terrorism

“Christian Appy on the Legacy of the Vietnam War: An Interview” | History News Network

Christian Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, in an interview reflects on the legacy of the war. As usual, he offers great advice based on years of study. For example, he proposes “that we fully and finally dispense with American exceptionalism. I don’t think the historical record justifies the faith, it alienates other people and nations (for obvious reasons), and it contributes to public acquiescence to the tiny few who make foreign policy in our name and are all to ready and willing to assure us that they can be trusted to use our ‘indispensable’ power as a force for good in the world.”

Read the entire interview here: History News Network | Christian Appy on the Legacy of the Vietnam War: An Interview

American Reckoning

“Records show Hitler enjoyed special treatment in prison” – Yahoo News

“Fleischmann, who heads the Bavarian state archives in Nuremberg, said a review of newly published prison records reveals that Hitler and fellow members of the Nazi Party were treated much more favorably than socialists or communists who were also incarcerated for staging a coup several years earlier.” This isn’t that much of a surprise. We already knew that his stay at Landsberg prison was closer to house arrest than what a common prisoner would have experienced. He and his co-conspirators were seen as defenders of the fatherland and were widely admired as such.

Source: Records show Hitler enjoyed special treatment in prison – Yahoo News

“Did the 1914 Christmas Truce Really Happen?”

Yes, it did! However, Brian Dunning challenges some of the exaggerated stories surrounding the 1914 Christmas Truce.  Dunning is right to question the excessive mythic stories of this story, but even in its more toned down version it is a wonderful story that should inspire hope for humanity.

Read Dunning’s careful analysis of the truce here: Did the 1914 Christmas Truce Really Happen?

christmas truce WWI

“Thomas Piketty to India’s Elite: ‘Learn From History’” – The New York Times

“On a visit to Mumbai, the economist and author hopes India’s elite can ‘learn from the stupid mistakes of the other elites.’” Will they? I doubt it! But I applaud Piketty for trying.

Source: Thomas Piketty to India’s Elite: ‘Learn From History’ – The New York Times

History News Network | Quicksand: Or How and Why the U.S. Created its Very Own Middle Eastern Quagmire

Another perceptive analysis of our current situation: “Americans are scared and whenever the next terrorist act occurs, temperatures will soar, and as our past bears out, bad things will surely happen as ambitious  politicians, goaded by the mass media, rush to avenge the criminals, guilty or not. Meanwhile, the morally and politically myopic men and women who  entrapped us in a no-win Greater Middle Eastern hornet’s nest will continue advising our leaders how to beat ISIS and finally win our never-ending wars.”

Source: History News Network | Quicksand: Or How and Why the U.S. Created its Very Own Middle Eastern Quagmire