Do You Know These Facts About the Fourth?

Fourth of July is a holiday celebrating the independence of the United States of America. Do you know these facts about the Fourth? The Cost An estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in the Revolutionary War. Another 8,000-12,000 died of disease while prisoners of war. Why it’s Important  For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear. Aung San Suu Kyi You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it. John Adams (Founding Fathers) Okay, those aren’t facts, but you should still know them. And now you do. What’s in a Name? It could have been called Resolution Day instead. The Declaration of Independence was first called the Lee Resolution, after Richard Henry Lee. Original Document Two hundred copies of the Declaration of Independence were made and distributed in 1776. Twenty-six have survived. An archivist discovered the twenty-sixth copy in 2009. 1776 Laptop Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on a mahogany […]

Listen & Learn: Science and History Podcasts

Science and History podcasts are a fun, easy-to-digest way of learning. I’ve mentioned before that I love podcasts. Lately, I’ve listened to fewer because I no longer have a commute. But I try to listen to at least one of the science and history podcasts. They are always fascinating. I always learn some new detail. Often, I find a bit of inspiration for future stories. Science Friday This podcast, hosted by Ira Flatow, covers everything science. From the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies. Every year they host Cephalopod Week (beginning June 21). You’ll learn fun and cool stuff about cephalopods.  The Science Friday Initiative, a non-profit organization, dedicated to increasing the public’s access to science and scientific information, produces this podcast. Science Friday videos are available on Youtube. The podcast is available on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, Sound Cloud, Podbay, Tune in, and the website.  You Are Not So Smart Host David McRaney says the You Are Not So Smart podcast is “a celebration of self-delusion that explores topics related to cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies.” It’s always fascinating. McRaney interviews scientists about their research into how the mind works. At […]

Do You See a Dystopia in America?

Dystopia is all the rage right now. Nearly every day in America, someone refers to a dystopia. From The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu to the current administration in America. A dystopian American society seems closer than ever. Discussion usually becomes a lament that “America is turning into a dystopia.” Do you see a dystopia in America? It’s both in the present and the past. We’ll take a look at a few historical examples, but first… What is Dystopia Dystopia is “an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives.” Merriam Webster Dictionary Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (1884-1937), a Russian novelist, wrote the first dystopian novel, We. Also a playwright and satirist, he was a “chronic dissenter.” Tsarist censors condemned, arrested and tried Zamyatin. He won an acquittal. He wrote a novel, We, in 1921. His manuscript circulated in Russia but he could not publish it there. An English translation was published in the United States in 1924. The original Russian text was published in New York in 1952. The story tells of a “Single State” where workers live in glass houses and have numbers rather than names. According to Goodreads, the novel is “ a resounding cry for individual freedom.”  […]