This may have been one of the most influential board games ever made.Continue reading The Arabic Game of Al-Qirqut
In November 1940, the British Royal Navy carried out a surprise attack on the Italian fleet in Taranto Harbor using carrier aircraft. It was a model for the Japanese air strike on Pearl Harbor a year later.Continue reading The British Raid on Taranto Harbor
When I was a kid I lived in Rapid City SD and had Lakota friends on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I learned the basics of arrowpoint-making (along with a bunch of other kids) from a guy who seemed to take a liking to the young wasichu.
So I thought I’d give it a try again now that I am cooped up here (until I can finally get those needles in the arm), and have obtained some suitable stone and chipped away at it for the past several days.
A few photos. Sorry—it’s hard to knap flint with two hands and still work a camera. 😉Continue reading Making Some Stone Tools
The Chauchat light machine gun bears the reputation as being quite possibly the worst weapon fielded during the First World War.
Continue reading The Chauchat Light Machine Gun
By 1753, the French and British rivalry in North America had reached a breaking point, and both sides prepared for conflict. The spark that set it off was struck by a young Virginia militia officer named George Washington. Yes, THAT George Washington.
The death of Jumonville photo from WikiCommonsContinue reading How George Washington Helped Start the French and Indian War
For over 150 years, the Dire Wolf, originally known as Canis dirus and now classed as Aenocyon dirus, was believed to be a specialized version of the ordinary North American Gray Wolf, Canis lupus, that was slightly bigger and had a heavier skull to tackle larger Ice Age prey. But in 2020, an examination of DNA extracted from Dire Wolf skeletons changed that picture entirely.
Dire Wolf skulls on exhibit at the LaBrea Tarpits in Los AngelesContinue reading Dire Wolf: The Big Bad Wolf Wasn’t Really A Wolf After All
The Packard was the Rolls-Royce of its day—it cost over a dozen times more than a Ford Model T, and was the preferred ride of industrial magnates, Hollywood glitterati, and Mafia gangsters.
1953 Packard Caribbean convertible, at the Packard Museum in Dayton OHContinue reading The Packard Auto Company
The iconic bomber of the Second World War, the B-17 flew in every theater, but was most active in the air war over Europe.Continue reading Icons of Aviation History: The B-17
During the summer of 1810, in northwestern England, a mysterious beast went on a rampage, killing hundreds of sheep until it was finally brought to bay.Continue reading The “Girt Dog” of Ennerdale
The Tentacled Snake has evolved a unique method of catching prey.
Continue reading The Tentacled SNake’s Remarkable Fishing Gear
I re-run this diary every year.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 was one of the most famous events to come out of the First World War. Some have called it the last gasp of the chivalric age of professional militaries and gentlemen officers, to be followed by the full horrors of modern impersonal industrial war.Continue reading The 1914 Christmas Truce
The first widely-deployed mono-wing American carrier fighter, the Wildcat was the US Navy’s frontline fighter during the first years of the Pacific War.Continue reading Icons of Aviation History: F4F Wildcat
A brief history of some British idioms.
One of the strangest naval battles of the First World War took place in September 1914, when a British “armed merchant cruiser” engaged a German “auxiliary cruiser” that was disguised as … itself.Continue reading When Ocean Liner Fought Ocean Liner
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico and Central America in the 16th century, they found the Aztec native people playing a game on a cross-shaped playing board, known as “Patolli”.