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comment Did Kim Jong-Il wrest away power (rather than inherit it) from Kim Il-Sung in a power struggle?
Not sure if this wouldn't be better on Politics. I do know that getting info out of N. Korea is a challenge, and had heard that a lot of their seemingly "crazy" behavior had to do with internal power struggles, and particularly keeping the Army in line. That fact that this would even be a consideration tells you that this isn't a simple situation of a hereditary dictatorship, as it is often portrayed.
1d
comment Which is the oldest language in the World?
@Tonny - ...tell you what, I'll split the difference and give you 700. :-)
1d
comment Which is the oldest language in the World?
@Tonny - This seems like the kind of statement that people would like to exaggerate, so I went over to the Linguistics stack and looked into it. The accepted answer to this question on Icelandic's conservatisim. Explains that this is real, but indeed highly exaggerated. For instance, modern Icelanders are no better at reading those 800 year old sagas than I am at Shakespeare. So yes, you might be able to say it is an "older" language than English, but that age is not 800 years.
1d
comment From what part(s) of Germany were the majority of Texas immigrants in the mid-19th century?
@mart I don't know about the names, but Bavaria was most certainly heavily involved
May
21
comment Why weren't North American Indians considered to be property yet to be acquired (slaves)?
This is a valid point, although I think the question addressed it in the note. However, some people don't read questions that far, so its good to bring it up anyway. Upvote from me.
May
21
comment Did people use to marry much younger during the last millennium?
The thing I find interesting in those #'s is the delta age between men and women. It started large (about 4 years), briefly shrunk to almost nothing at the end of WWII, and has stayed at about 2 years ever since, even as the absolute age of both has been rising.
May
19
comment Do I look my ethnicity?
Its a misguided question, no matter what stack you put it on. It is not possible to discern the ethnic background of any less than about 5-10 people just from looks alone, without letting them speak. OTOH, even simple linguistic quizzes can often nail down your hometown. Language is your true pedigree.
May
18
comment Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?
Relying on constitutional or legal language isn't a very persuasive argument for me when the country in question doesn't have Rule of Law. China by its own admission is working towards it, but is not there yet. China is also rather famous for persecution of Falun Gong followers.
May
16
comment How many USA men dodged the draft in Vietnam, and how?
FWIW: My dad claims they were prepared to move us to Canada, but he got a really high draft number, so it wasn't necessary. Don't know if he would have gone through with it, but I suspect this gives you the two most common ways men avoided of the draft.
May
15
comment How common was smoking in first half of the 20th century?
@Relaxed - For cigarettes, the graphs above start at pretty near the maximum per-capita usage in the USA, as you can see from iayork's first graph. But Peteris is right that before that lots of people were just using other nicotine delivery methods, rather than not smoking at all.
May
15
comment How common was smoking in first half of the 20th century?
Very, very true. In the first half of the 20th century, the appearance of things like cigarettes and diamonds in movies were often due to a kind of industry-wide product placement. After that became illegal (for tobacco), as I mentioned in my answer, it became something that was used sparingly as a signal for various things to the viewer. Since then, I believe (haven't seen stats) that the extent of real-world smoking in movies has been drastically underplayed. About 1/5th of Americans are still smokers, but you wouldn't know much of anyone is from our movies.
May
13
comment How do we know that prostitutes were very common/popular in Corinth around Jesus' time?
@fdb - I suspect he just meant that he'd trust Strobo's authority on the subject before trusting something found in a book that has a vested interest in portraying pagan greeks as unusually immoral.
May
12
comment Strange symbol on Midwest brick home
@Lohoris - That's the exact first impression I got. Regardless of what it was really supposed to symbolize, I wouldn't be surprised to hear it caused trouble with the neighbors.
May
11
comment What happened to the Polish Calvinists?
@Bregalad - I probably should have linked them to their sources, which are here and here respectively. And if you zoom the second one way in, it turns out there are in fact 4 purple dots on the western border that might be Calvinist (I don't know Polish, but I think that's what the key is saying)
May
10
comment 4th of July and Tchaikovsky
A large part of the reason is was "influential" was that it was televised, at a time when there were only 4 channels (counting PBS). So a sizable percentage of the country was watching (particularly those not on the East coast, as it would be on before it was dark enough to watch local fireworks).
May
8
comment Why was Mexico's former ruling party named the *Institutional* Revolutionary Party?
Makes sense to me (+1), but some may not be as familiar with that French phrase and its significance. You may consider either translating it, elaborating, or at least linking to a definition.
May
7
comment How common is nostalgia for the colonial perod in countries which gained independence in the 20th century?
One big red flag: If your question(s) is(are) phrased in the present tense, you might not have a history question.
May
7
comment Why didn't “Europe” support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?
@taninamdar - ...assuming he didn't actually mean just "Turks". The changeover from Seljuk leadership to Ottoman didn't really significantly change the nature of the threat Constantinople was facing.
May
7
comment What's the origin of Crespi plates?
As near as I can tell, these are all claiming either old-world or even worse Atlantian origins for the script, which is such an extraordinary and seemingly-unlikely claim that it would need some seriously extraordinary evidence to back it up.
May
7
comment Why was Japan not colonized?
What definition of "colonized" are you using? There's a literal definition we history folks like to use (founded colonies there, settlements made up entirely of its own people), and then there's the very broad cultural/political definition that other social sciences like to use.