The Anthropocene Is a Joke

On geological timescales, human civilization is an event, not an epoch

Humans are now living in a new geological epoch of our own making: the Anthropocene. Or so we’re told. Whereas some epochs in Earth history stretch more than 40 million years, this new chapter started maybe 400 years ago, when carbon dioxide dipped by a few parts per million in the atmosphere. Or perhaps, as a panel of scientists voted earlier this year, the epoch started as recently as 75 years ago, when atomic weapons began to dust the planet with an evanescence of strange radioisotopes.

VIDEO: “Her ancestors enslaved mine. Now we’re friends”

Phoebe Kilby discovered her ancestors were slave-owners and she wanted to pay reparations. 

Through an organisation called Coming To The Table, she found her linked descendant Betty Kilby, and asked if they could meet.

Stamping Out Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill Won’t Be So Easy

The administration’s decision to postpone the $20 makeover has inspired some Americans to make their own Tubmans. An artist named Dano Wall has been making stamps of Tubman’s face that can be used to blot out Jackson’s on the $20. (After Mnuchin’s announcement, the stamp sold out on Etsy, though you can also make your own.) Wall told the Washington Post that he’d like to get thousands of stamps out there: “If there are 5,000 people consistently stamping currency, we could get a significant percent of circulating $20 bills [with the Tubman] stamp, at which point it would be impossible to ignore.”

Despite the improbability of achieving widespread visibility, the idea of turning greenbacks into vehicles for political messages isn’t new.

Pierre Kompany’s long road from DRC camp to Belgium’s first black mayor

INTRO:

Vincent Kompany’s life is the stuff of little boys’ and girls’ dreams. Scorer of a dazzling goal of the season, captain of Manchester City’s all-conquering Premier League champions and on Saturday, the 32-year-old hopes to pick up the FA Cup at Wembley in front of 90,000 fans.

The Belgian international’s travails on the field will fill the newspaper back pages, but the drama on the pitch will struggle to match the life story of the 71-year-old man who will be cheering him on the from the stands.

Last October, Pierre Kompany, father to Christel, 34, Vincent, and François, 29, was elected as Belgium’s first black mayor, in what is hoped will prove to be a watershed moment for a country that has struggled to reconcile its colonial past.

The ultimate proof of India’s Hindu-Muslim harmony is locked away in a Jaipur palace

One of Rama’s servants overhears a washerman quarrelling with his wife. Episode from the 14th book, the Aśvamedhikaparva (ʻhorse sacrificeʼ).

INTRO:

When Akbar, at the age of only 13, succeeded to the throne in 1556, the Mughal empire was vast and powerful. When he died, in 1605, he left it three times the size: It was a flourishing empire that encompassed much of the Indian peninsula, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which gained him the epithet of Akbar the Great.

One of the key factors of his success was tolerance of diversity, and a harmony amongst different rulers. The Mughals were Muslims, a minority in the land they ruled, so it was vital to involve Hindus and other non-Muslims in the running of the state. That’s what Akbar did: Non-Muslims held positions of all levels within the administration—from generals to ministers, from artists to scribes. He didn’t impose an Islamic rule, and he discontinued the levying of the jizia, a tax on non-Muslims, and of any taxes imposed on Hindus traveling to their pilgrimage site.

The Remarkable Story of a Woman Who Preserved Over 30 Years of TV History

71,000 BetaMax and VHS tapes later…

In 1975, Marion Stokes got a Betamax magnetic videotape recorder and began recording bits of sitcoms, science documentaries, and political news coverage. From the outset of the Iran Hostage Crisis on November 4, 1979, “she hit record and she never stopped,” said her son Michael Metelits in Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, a newly released documentary about his mother and the archival project that became her life’s work.