Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ellis Island

Ellis Island was once the symbol of everything a new immigrant to America dreamed. When it was in operation, millions of people went through its gates and into New York City. Such luminaries as the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and the Trapp Family Singers (of The Sound of Music fame) entered the new land here.
In 1954, Ellis Island processed its last immigrant. Since then the island was abandoned, and the buildings became largely derelict. That changed in 1990, however, when a $150 million dollar project was completed, and the center became a museum of American immigration. Ever since then, it has been open to visitors (including myself). However, it has yet to generate enough money to keep organizations such as Save Ellis Island alive.
It began to seem unlikely that the restoration of the buildings on Ellis Island could continue. Then, American Express stepped in. They contributed $100,000 to Save Ellis Island, which was "on the brink of extinction", as the New Yew York times puts it. The donation was inspired by another New York Times article describing the poor state of the organization.
Now, Save Ellis Island has been revived, and it can continue making Ellis Island a great spot for anyone interested in a key part of all world history: The migration of people.
by Rahul V., Period 8

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Shortest War in History

War, as people understand it, is something that doesn’t merely end in a blink of an eye. Rather, it’s usually a long and drawn out process – a process that takes months to years to come to a finale. But the shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, was precisely the former: a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of world history. This war, fought between the United Kingdom and the East African state of Zanzibar, lasted a mere approximate forty minutes from the Britain navy’s initial invasion.
The cause of the war came when the British-supporting ruler Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died, resulting in succession of the throne of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash – who was not a staunch British supporter. When the United Kingdom’s demand of a new pro-British ruler was not carried out, they declared war on Zanzibar on August 27. At 9:02, the British navy started their bombardment on the palace and its forces. The palace consequently caught on fire, disabling the artillery and crippling their movement. Some 1,000 pro- British Zanzibar citizens raided the palace and the flag was shot down. A cease fire took place at 9:40.
About 500 of the sultan’s forces were suffered casualties while only one lone British sailor was injured. Britain’s victory marked the beginning of direct British control over Zanzibar. Still, in light of all the wars that took place, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was nothing more than a blip in the grand scheme of things.
by Grace Z., Period 8

Stabbed, Beheaded, Lost, Found

Credited with ending the wars between Catholics and Protestants,
French King Henry IV was perhaps one of France’s most popular
monarchs. His popularity, however, would not prevent his assassination
in 1610 by a devoted catholic, Francois Ravaillac, who slashed the
king’s throat when his coach was stuck in traffic. His body was buried
with other kings, but would eventually be dug up by revolutionaries
who chopped off his head and through it in a pit.

For several centuries the head’s location was unknown until it
resurfaced in 1919 and was auctioned off. However, identifying the
head has remained impossible until recently. Using modern day
technology and techniques such as radiocarbon dating and forensic
science, researchers have determined the head is definitely Henry’s.
Using the same techniques it may now be possible to identify the
remainder of the bodies in the basilica of Saint Denis. King Henry’s
head will be returned to the basilica sometime next year.
by Liam S., Period 8

Incas and Aztecs: Are They Really so Similar?

When we think of the Inca, we think of the similarities between the Aztecs and the Incas when in reality; they were very different. Even if we just look at the foods they produced and ate we can see these differences. The Incas had large domesticated animals: the llama and alpaca, deer, and a guinea pig of sorts. Their main food staple was maize and quinoa. They had many different types of potatoes and greens. Whereas, the Aztecs had no large domesticated animals. They relied on turkey and enjoyed many varieties of fruit. At first, they were cautious of chocolate but soon came to love it and offer it as a drink for the gods. The Aztecs also appreciated insects; some of the ones that they consumed were: ants, grasshoppers, manuey worms, and jumil bugs. With their many differences, such as how the Incas focused on growing crops and the Aztecs concentrated on growing fruits, there were still some similarities. One that stands out the most is, how they both used maize as their main food supply. Although they are often combined in the same category, they are totally different cultures when it comes down to it; this is shown just through the foods they eat.

Christy S.
Period 8

Archeologists unearth very old Chinese food

New archeological evidence provides insight on the dietary habits of
Chinese over 2500 years ago. Along with other artifacts, ancient Chinese
cuisine was found in a cemetery, perfectly preserved in the desert region
between east and central China. The foods unearthed included noodles,
porridge, oblong and round cakes of various sizes and a sheep’s head.
Researchers chemically analyzed the noodles, porridge and cakes and
concluded that they were created from millet. Millet was probably the staple
crop in Northwest china because of its drought resistance and ability to
prosper in poor soils. The early Chinese where possibly among the worlds
first bakers and noodle makers, possibly even predating Egyptians. This is
interesting because it is rare to see baked goods in Chinese cuisine during
any time period. Also the almost perfectly preserved bodies that the food
was buried with resembled Europeans more than Asians. The bodies had light
colored hair, deep eyes, and protruding noses. Nearby another research group
found noodles, only 4000 years old, that were yellow in color and looked
similar to La-Mian noodles as seen in the picture
Dennis O Period 7

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Female Pharaoh for Ancient Egypt?

For some time, Cleopatra VII has been considered the only female pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty. However, one of her lesser known ancestors, Queen Arsinoë II may have also held the title of a female pharaoh approximately 200 years prior to Cleopatra VII’s reign. Maria Nilsson, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, theorized that Arsinoë could be another female pharaoh. Born to Ptolemy I, Arsinoë married her first husband, then her half brother, and finally her full brother Ptolemy II, with whom she reigned with. She and he shared equal rule of Egypt. Her royalty was determined by her crown, based on the height, position, and pictorial elements. Her existence and reign challenges the assumptions of an almost strictly patriarchal society. When Arsinoë died around the age of 45, she acquired a cult following and her crown was adopted by Cleopatra III and VII, showing that she was a powerful ruler worth modeling after.
by Jen Y., Period 8

Divining Angkor

Angkor vanished at its height, and no one knew the reasons until recently. The city was extremely religious, and Buddhism eventually took over from Hinduism. But the temples still stand. This complete change switched up the government and changed royal authority. Here is where the stories of how it fell begin. Some say that because of this change the royal court left, others say that the economics of the place failed; still others believe that something might have led to a rebellion. None of these are completely true, but all are contributing factors. The center stage of their down fall was really something that helped them rise though: water. The people of Angkor had waterways, canals, and reservoirs that helped them conserve water during dry seasons. The widely excepted reason for why they fell now is that because of an extremely wet season, or year. It pushed beyond the amount of water the canals could hold and destroyed the carefully planed water system. Scholars went to the canals of Angkor and discovered their secrets, the reason for the fall of something so powerful.
by Sarah O., Period 8

Murdered French King's Remains Identified

Recently, a mummified head found in the basilica of Saint Denis was identified as the head of the popular Henry IV. A team of experts had been working diligently, using forensic and anthropological strategies to uncover the mystery behind it. Henry IV, surprisingly enough, was loved by his people, and is credited with ending the wars between the Catholics and the Protestants. Ironically, he was stabbed to death by Catholic fanatic Francois Ravaillac. However, in 1793, his head was chopped off after his tomb was raided by revolutionaries, and was sold on the black market. It resurfaced in 1919, it was constantly being auctioned off for private collections. After performing some radiological tests on it, the dating was found to be from about 1450 and 1650 which matched his lifespan. In addition, a piercing was found on the head, and it is known that Henry IV had his right ear pierced. Molds of the head, old scars, and facial blemishes all match the physical characteristics of Henry IV. In respect for the loved king, a funeral service will be held for him next year, including his head being placed where it rightfully belongs.

by Rylan Y., Period 8

Michelangelo's David Holding Secret Weapon?

Nearly everyone in the world has either heard of the Statue of David or the great Michelangelo, but what people never realized until now was the entire time David has been holding the remnants of a weapon in his right hand. For centuries people have looked at the Statue of David without realizing his right hand ws holding what was left of a staff used for combat. This weapon was used as a staff with a sling attatched to the end in order to throw rocks or other small objects great distances. In the bible it is said that David defeated Goliath with a similar weapon to what Michelangelo gave his statue. The reason why the rest of the staff was never added was because the statue was mounted in front of the Piazza della Signoria. While some people disagree on whether or not the weapon was actually a staff or not, the fact remains that the Statue of David is holding some unknown object in his right hand and it will continue to hold it for as long as the statue stands.
by Danny O., Period 8

King Henry IV Finally Found?

On Wednesday this week, a mummified head has been confirmed to belong to King Henry IV, part of some remains thought to be long gone. However, the whereabouts of the head before this discovery is quite interesting. After being assassinated by a Catholic extremist, King Henry IV was buried along with the rest of England’s past kings. But in 1793, his head was detached from his body and thrown into a pit with numerous other heads by revolutionists. The head was then rediscovered in 1919 where it was auctioned off to private collectors who prized this well preserved head. Analysts report that the body’s organs seem to have been well preserved, which is the reason why the head is still somewhat intact. After a formal funeral ceremony, the head will be re-interred in the royal basilica of Saint-Denis next year.

By Trevor M., Period 8

Friday, December 10, 2010


Insider news has just been released from Schuetze Obernigg, a 19-year-old deserter and prisoner of war, about Hitler in his daily life. Obernigg states that his day consisted of a morning starting at 10 a.m., followed by a quaint breakfast of coffee, bread, and marmalade. Guests of Hitler were welcomed in the afternoon. He would then work late, often not finishing until the early morning of the next day. Obernigg’s reports also include that Hitler was a fiery man of paranoia. He ironically did not like the feeling of being watched and was apt to pound and shout during conferences. However, he supposedly also had a mild to personal people. Although viewed a terrible villain, Hitler was still a man; a man who started his mornings with coffee, bread, and marmalade.

Meghan Bates
Period 3

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Highest Paid Athlete

Think that todays athletes are paid ridiculous amounts? Well it is nothing when compared to what charioteer Diocles made 122 A.D. It is estimated that Diocles made 35,863,120 sesterces which is equivalent to about 15 billions U.S. dollars. Diocles figure of money greatly surpasses that of modern day ahtletes such as Tiger Woods, who is known as todays richest athlete. At the the time chariot racers were the heroes of their day. Chariot racing was a very dangerous sport. Death or serious injury to the rider or their horse was not uncommon. Diocles accumalted his large sum money by not having the most victories, but by winning the big money events. It is said that in just 29 races he accumalted 1,450,000 sestercies, which be enough money to go around for a full year in a common Roman city. Diocles toatal earnings of his life could also have provided enough for Rome entire population for a year. Overall, though todays atheletes make ubelivable ammounts of money, they are nothing in comparison to the 15 billion plus dollars that Diocles made chariot racing.
by Nick A.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marie Antoinette

Plastic surgery on a past princess? How is that even possible?
Well, modern techonolgy has brought this "impossible" action to reality. French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has sculpted the French noblewoman's face. He created three busts of her and has tweaked each in three ways- a "French" one, an "American" one, and a "Russian" one. These three styles are based on what is considered beautiful in each country. The French one is the most recognizable, but has smaller lips and cheeks. The American one has had an "eye-lift" and a nose-job. The Russian one is the most changed; its cheekbones are raised immensly and its nose is almost non-existent. Marie Antoinette was an Autrian-born duchess who became the Queen of France during the time of the French revolution. She allegedly said the famous phrase "Let them eat cake", when refering to the poor's lack of food. Today, she is one of the most well-known female figures of her time. She married King Louis XVI, but was greatly disliked by the public. In 1793, she was tried and executed by guillotine for treason. Antoinette is buried at the Basilica of St. Denis in France. Her life is popularized in culture today through movies and books, like the namesake movie Marie Antoinette and the Alexandre Dumas
novel Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, or the Knight of the Red House.

Low Interest in Egyptian Runoff That Favors Ruling Party

Runoffs in Egypt’s parliament elections were held on Sunday where a general mood of public disinterest after it became clear from the first round that the ruling party was determined to eliminate any meaningful opposition. This pushed the two main opposition groups in Egypt to boycott Sunday’s runoff elections. According to a government-appointed commissioner following the first round, the Muslim Brotherhood party had 88 seats and had won no seats as along with the Wafd party who had 222 seats had only won 2 seats. For both groups, this served as a clear indication that President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling the National Democratic Party was intent on expunging any voices of opposition or dissent in the oncoming parliament.

By Ryan A.

Period 3

Oldest Preserved Shoe

The worlds oldest shoe was found in nearly perfect condition in the Vayotz Dzor province.
This shoe was found excavated and found in a pile of sheep dung which had preserved it for
about 5,500 years. The archeologists were outstanding by the condition and the fine details
that they could still see. Such as the individual eyelets, laces, and the straw found inside.
They pondered and hypothesized the possibilities of why there might be a single shoe in a cave.
Was it left on accident? or was it part of a ritual? later on they dig up more evidence that it could
possibly be part of a ritual. They had also dug up
three pots, each containing a child's skull, along with
containers of well preserved barley, wheat, apricot and other edible plants. These discoveries could lead
to finding more about how lived and what they believed in.

Jenny Clark Period 3

Vicious Man, Quaint Breakfast

Tales of a Man named Schuetze Obernigg, an SS Officer that spent time in Adolf Hitler's hideout in the Bavarian Alps, tell that Hitler may have eaten Marmalade for breakfast in his stays; and
to get away from his troubles back home to find a quiet peaceful place to stay. It's sort of funny how a man of such cruelty and evil ate a breakfast of fruit garnish. The more important fact however was that Obernigg showed the British Intelligence that was investigating this situation that Hitler's hideout was a possible location for a last stand of the Nazi extremists. Fortunately that possibility did not occur, and the hideout was never used as a military fortress.

By Eric Kenyon Period 3

Many theories have been presented on how early peoples managed to get
tons of stone to the site of Stonehenge. The problem is that the
stones could not have just been dragged up as they were, because of
their weight and the friction they create. The most recent theory is
that that wooden ball bearings balls placed in grooved wooden tracks
would have been able to move the massive stone slabs, presented by a
University of Exeter archeology student. But engineer Garry Lavin
believes that wicker baskets could have been used to move the stones.
Because the technology of woven material was all around the early
peoples, why wouldn’t they have used it to accomplish this impossible

Garry Lavin tested his theory over the summer, and successfully moved
a one-ton stone in a wicker-basket material cage he created. Next, he
plans to build a cage capable of moving a five-ton slab, and will try
it out just in time for the celebration of Stonehenge at the summer
next year.

By Rachael A.

Period 3

Chocolate Supremacy

In addition to participating in agriculture and trade, the Aztecs were consumers of what today‘s generation knows as chocolate. Formally speaking, this was known as cacao which was cherished and demanded by the civilization. The Aztec’s usage of chocolate was first revealed by a Spaniard chronicler, Bernal del Castillo. His records stated that cacao was a beverage that contained phenyl ethylamine. This is the same chemical released in the human body when experiencing attraction towards another. Therefore, to the Aztecs, chocolate was a key ingredient to attract women. But not only was chocolate a seductive tool, but an important role in traditional rituals and the concept of political power. Plus, because it was in high demand, this treat was used as currency. A greater understanding of chocolate’s history is an essential attribute to it’s religious, political, and economic involvement in the development of ancient societies.
By: Taylor O.
Period: 3

Da Vinci's 'Magi' Hides Master's Original Intent

One of Leanardo Da Vinci's paintings "The Adoration of the Maji" has hidden drawings in it. Leanardo never finished this work because he accepted a project to be the court artist of the Duke of Milan. The picture is of the New Testament's account of the three wise men bestowing adoration to the newborn Jesus and his mother. Otherwise there is no sign of Joesph, the donkey,oxen, a stable, or the shepard. The paint on the piece was not found to be applied by Da Vinci, but it covered up the real masterwork. With the help of infrared technology, the largest collection of drawings of people and animals done by Leonardo in a single work was found. Some of the drawings uncovered from the surface of the painting are scenes like a full blown battle behind Virgin Mary's Head. The ox, donkey, and the missing stable emerge too. A third image to emerge is the face of the young shepard boy. In short, Da vinci may have left many more secrets in his other works for us to discover.
Nathalie C Period 7

Gourd Possibly Containing King Louis XVI's Blood

A decorated gourd dating back to around 1793 is thought to have carried the blood of Louis XVI, who was beheaded during the French Revolution. On the outside of the gourd, there is the inscription “Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading” probably made by a flame tool. Although the handkerchief was not found, a dried, brown substance was on the inside of it and through modern technology and testing, scientists were able to confirm it is in fact blood, but they are still testing to see if it is specifically Louis XVI’s. The tests they have run though, point quite prominently towards Louis XVI. Louis XVI was known for his striking blue eyes, and on the gene HERC2, a mutation was found which causes blue eyes. Also, DNA testing has revealed the blood came from a male and has a DNA profile uncommon in most Eurasians, which means it came from someone with “royal” blood. Even though there is evidence pointing towards the blood coming from Louis XVI, scientists cannot conclude for sure that it is his because they have nothing to compare it to. Through more testing, they hope to use the DNA of Louis XVII, his son, and Marie Antoinette, his mother, to conclude with certainty. Even though storing blood and body parts in a decorated gourd seems really odd, it was accepted in the 1700’s after an execution.

Suzie B. Period 3

Cleopatra, the well known only ruling queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty, has been found to not be the only queen to have ruled during this time period. Her rival, a woman by the name of Queen Arsinoë II. This lesser known queen was first discovered by Maria Nilsson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden who made this discovery by looking at bas-relief carving of a woman in a extravagant crown. This little queen wasn’t paid much attention to before, but once she was looked into by Nilsson, it was discovered that she led a full life. This queen was married three times before she died at the age of forty-five. During this time, she became a much loved and respected woman who had a unique crown, it was this crown that made it possible to have a Nilsson discover her. The queen’s crown symbolized her three roles in society as a queen, a priestess, and her significance as a goddess. After her death, Arsinoë had a cult who worshipped her and made her the first queen of that time to receive a cult that worshipped her. This great new discovery has led to a challenging of Cleopatra’s seat as the only ruling queen, will she keep her thrown is the question?

A Female Pharaoh Before Cleopatra?

Cleopatra, the well known only ruling queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty, has been found to not be the only queen to have ruled during this time period. Her rival, a woman by the name of Queen Arsinoë II. This lesser known queen was first discovered by Maria Nilsson of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden who made this discovery by looking at bas-relief carving of a woman in a extravagant crown. This little queen wasn’t paid much attention to before, but once she was looked into by Nilsson, it was discovered that she led a full life. This queen was married three times before she died at the age of forty-five. During this time, she became a much loved and respected woman who had a unique crown, it was this crown that made it possible to have a Nilsson discover her. The queen’s crown symbolized her three roles in society as a queen, a priestess, and her significance as a goddess. After her death, Arsinoë had a cult who worshipped her and made her the first queen of that time to receive a cult that worshipped her. This great new discovery has led to a challenging of Cleopatra’s seat as the only ruling queen, will she keep her thrown is the question?

Brian R. Period 3

Cleopatra May Not Have Been First Female to Pharaoh

Although Cleopatra has been known as Egypt’s first female pharaoh, it has been discovered that Queen Arsinoë II may have been there 200 years before her. By analyzing the crown she wore, Swedish researchers are starting to question whether all the pharaohs had all really been male. Queen Arsinoë II (316-270 B.C.) was the first female pharaoh belonging to the Ptolemy family. She was the daughter of Ptolemy I who was a Macedonian general who later became the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which is the dynasty Cleopatra belonged to. She was not a regular queen. She had fought in battles and even won events in the Olympics. She was married three times, that last time being to her brother King Ptolemy II. This is when she was given her unique crown. The symbols on the crown showed that she was a queen, high priestess, and the ruler of Lower Egypt. She dies at the age of 45 and was supposedly honored for 200 years after her death. There was even a special shrine built in remembrance of her, Arsinoëion. The original crown was interpreted into many variations, which were later on worn by future queens such as Cleopatra III and Cleopatra VII.
Bailey W. Period 1

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Did the Maya Build Chirping Pyramids?

Since 1998, scientists have been recording chirp-like echoes inside of Mayan pyramids, such as Kukulkan. The scientists have concluded that the chirping is more than a strange coincidence, but an intentional element of the design of the pyramids. Researchers have found that the chirping noise resembles the call of the quetzal, the messenger to the Mayan gods, and believe that whenever one clapped inside of the temple they would be rewarded with this sacred call.

But what exactly makes these large temples like Kukulkan chirp? Researchers have found that Kukulkan had four sets of stairways with 91 stairs each, plus one step at the top, adding up to 365 steps. Scientists think that when a person clapped, the noise bounced off the many stairs present in the temples and declined in frequency, making the chirp-like noise. The Mayans most likely discovered this phenomenon by accident, but after years of improvements, eventually made it a more accurate representation of the quetzal call.

Jessica M Period 7

The Lost Tomb of Jesus

Since the 1970’s hundreds of tombs have been discovered in the Jerusalem area containing ossuaries. One tomb, in particular, was found containing ten ossuaries. Some of the ossuaries had inscriptions with all of the inscriptions pertaining to the Gospel. In a documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus the case is made that “ the 2,000-year-old ‘Tomb of Ten Ossuaries’ belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.” Leading epigraphers all acknowledge the inscriptions and archeologists confirm the truth of the find. A statistical study establishes that the probability is 600 to 1 that these names would wind up all in the same tomb and not be related to Jesus of Nazareth. Also DNA examination on some human residue in one of the ossuaries uncovers new evidence that might show a relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and The Maculate Conception, Mary Magdalene.

Presley S Period 7

Long Lost Michelangelo Sculpture Found

It is possible that yet another of the brilliant sculptor Michelangelo’s great works has been found. The sculpture depicts a man kneeling down and sharpening a knife. This sandstone sculpture is known as the Arrotino. The Arrotino is missing a nose and two fingers, causing the suspicion that it may have been a fake because the nose is often removed from fake sculptures to make it appear more authentic and ancient. However, there are features that make it unique. One such feature is the way in which Michelangelo transforms the rough sandstone into soft looking flesh. An account written by Pandolfo Titi while the Arrotino was under construction accurately describes the sculpture as being made from Gonfolina sandstone. It was at one point in time displayed with the Harpy, which is attributed to Tribolo, but people lost interest in the Arrotino . It is very likely that this is yet another original masterpiece of Michelangelo, but he was also known to copy great works. Therefore, this piece deserves to be looked at further and reevaluated. Whether it is a Michelangelo original or merely a copy, it is a beautiful work of art that should be revered and recognized for its acute attention to detail and anatomy.

Annie E Period 7

Boy An Icon For Childhoods Lost In Holocaust

This photo taken during World War II has been seen by millions. In the Warsaw ghetto, there was SS General Jurgen Stroop. He was in charge of evacuating them from this ghetto to the death camps. One may wonder why someone would take a picture such as this one. The General had an administrative officer named Franz Konrad take this photo in order to show Stroop’s control and effective evacuation. In reality, what was promised to take three days ended up taking four weeks. Due to this, a boy, who remains nameless to this very day, was at gun point and photographed. The cruelty of the SS astounds the world and it is almost impossible to see this picture and not feel emotion. That is why to this very day, this boy represents the terrible genocide of Jews, and the devastating loss of a childhood that those who have survived have lived without.

Naomi T Period 7

King Tut's Chariots Marvels of Engineering

King Tut, who was the pharaoh of Egypt over thirty three hundred years ago, owned chariots that showed great engineering for that era and even the era we are in today. When the British archeologist Howard Carter discovered King Tut’s tomb in Egypt, he noticed that there were two ceremonial chariots, a smaller decorated one, and three others. These chariots represented the high engineering level of Egypt’s chariot builders. The wheels contained a tire, but they were wooden and could maneuver through many different terrains, while still having a comfortable ride. Despite its comfortable ride, recent studies showed that King Tut may have fallen from his chariot because he had malaria in his foot which caused him to be less stable on his chariot. His chariots also showed high level engineering of beams and poles between the cart and the yoke. One of King Tut’s chariots travelled outside of Egypt for the first time in three millennia to a museum in New York City to show off its details and building system. All in all, King Tut’s chariots represented high engineering.

Elizabeth C. Period 7