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Unruly History in the News #33
Fires, labor protests, and a boat that has to be kept wet
We’re doing a short round-up this week because the weather is just too beautiful to be inside for long. I hope that you’re enjoying some beautiful weather wherever you are!
The fires in Maui have been catastrophic. At least 93 people have died, making it the deadliest wildfire in the US in over a century. Disaster relief efforts are ongoing. Here is how you can help.
The Writers Guild of America strike passed 100 days this week. This does not make it the longest strike in American history—that honor goes to the Kohler v United Auto Workers strike of 1954, which lasted for seven years—but it does make it longer than the 2008 strike. Negotiations finally began on Friday—the AMPTP and WGA met for the first time since the strike began in May. (The longest WGA strike lasted for 154 days in 1988.) Just a reminder that studios giving up less than .5% of their profits each would have ended this 102 days ago.
Also, aspointed out—it’s hot labor summer, baby! According to Cornell University’s Strike Tracker, there have been some 226 labor protests in the US this year, with 117 of those happening since May 1. (That’s an increase of 52% over 2022.) It’s part of a story of worldwide protests happening this summer, including European airports, natural gas producer strikes in Australia, South Korea’s Confederation of Trade Union strikes, India’s Screenwriters Association, and hundreds of strikes across China. Looks like South Korean filmmakers might be next.
Once upon a time, Bob Dylan spoke his mind and made a lot of people—including the FBI—very angry.
The 10 Million Names Project aims to restore the real names and dignity of the 10 million enslaved people whose stories were erased from history. Those 10 million people have an estimated 44 million living descendants. The goal is to eventually create a searchable database where these stories can be protected and passed down. To that end, the project “includes a call to action that invites people to come forward and share their own family records that may amplify written and oral histories.”
On August 11, 1973, hip-hop was born at a block party in the Bronx. It’s rare that we get such a specific date for the birth of a cultural phenomenon, so this is a cool story.
Very excited for this 13-year-old boy who found a megalodon tooth in Essex. If I was more cynical, I would think it was planted by ambitious marketers for Meg 2. Not to worry, the Natural History Museum beat me to the punch, claiming the tooth was probably bought in a gift shop and dropped by a tourist. We’ll have to wait for carbon dating to know for sure.
Justin Bell, a “keen metal detectorist” found his fifth hoard of treasure in the UK. This most recent hoard is thought to be a family’s savings because it includes “a Henry VIII half groat which was ‘unique to Canterbury’ and made between 1526 and 1532, thee Elizabeth I sixpences and two shillings from between the 1570s and 1590s and three James I shillings and a sixpence from 1603 to 1609.”
Speaking of coins—it turns out that Vikings made replicas of Arabic coins, and some of those replicas have survived. Also, they—ahem—weren’t very good?
DNA analysis of 34 people buried in Machu Picchu has revealed that the city hidden in the Peruvian mountains had a very diverse population.
Did early humans settle in central and northern Europe and then flee again during a period of intense cooling temperatures? Science says probably.
An ancient Roman boat was unearthed in a Serbian mine—preliminary dating suggests that it is from the 3rd or 4th century AD. This is particularly interesting as the boat is made of wood, so it should have rotted away by now. They think the damp soil protected it, and they have to continue dousing it with water as they excavate, which I suspect makes things… messy.
I’m really excited that this summer has seen paleontologists find both the largest whale to ever live (a 400,000-pound big boy) and the teensiest whale to ever live (a 410-pound tiny baby).
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