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141 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

My personal favorite is the early history of the lighting rod. Lightning likes to try to ground itself via the tallest, pointiest thing around. This means that because of their architecture, ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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76 votes
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Was race really unimportant in the 1660's?

(Disclaimer: definition of race varies. Wikipedia offers this: "a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society" and that is ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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53 votes

Why was the Scout movement so successful?

Baden-Powell had been besieged in the town of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. He had formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps, which was a group of youths that supported the defending troops by carrying ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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46 votes
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What defined a Jew in the context of WW2?

The "classification" of Jews in Nazi Germany (and occupied territories) was governed by the Nuremberg laws and based on "heritage." Basically, someone with no Jewish grandparents was considered non-...
Tom Au's user avatar
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36 votes
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Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

Actually, the exact same thing happened in Brazil, but with a real uprising: Vaccine Revolt (Wikipedia). This is a matter of great discussion in Brazilian history, with most historians arguing that ...
Luís Guilherme's user avatar
35 votes
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Is the scarlet letter 'A' a real historical thing?

tl; dr There were certainly laws requiring that adulterers had to wear the letter 'A' stitched upon their garments in the late seventeenth century. The letter was not required to be scarlet - just a ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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30 votes
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How wide-spread was antisemitism in the USA during WWII?

How often were Jews barred from academic and social clubs in the early 20th century? Feynman's experience was hardly unique: At the turn of the twentieth century, quota requirements limited Jews’...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
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29 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

In Korea: Fan Death (dates to the 1920s) In US and Europe: Poisonous Tomatoes (dates to their discovery in the New World, but not clear if/when there were "authorities" stating the truth) Reasons ...
AllInOne's user avatar
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29 votes
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Did classical Romans wear any sort of swimwear?

The Romans, and indeed the classical world in general, would've usually swam in the nude. See for instance the following depictions of naked divers, though they are not precisely Roman. Frescoes ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
29 votes

Was race really unimportant in the 1660's?

IANAH(*), so I can't (and won't) answer about the rest of the world, but in the XVI-XVIII centuries, colonial Spaniards took race pretty seriously, dividing them in castes. Here you see a contemporary ...
xDaizu's user avatar
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27 votes
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Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

It seems like this was the 'polite' gesture of greeting in ancient Sumeria, and is actually the meaning of a Sumerian phrase for greeting: She faces in the direction of the cultic activity, her ...
justCal's user avatar
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26 votes

Was race really unimportant in the 1660's?

In the early middle ages or ancient times that might have been the case. But certainly not by the 19th or early 20th century - scientific/darwinist racism was in full swing by then. 17th century ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
25 votes
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Who are the "Millennial Folk" being referred to here?

The book by Michael Nicholson from 1992 quoted in the question is slightly incorrect and thus essentially misquotes Taylor. Taylor references and quotes Repington as "millenian folk". (src, ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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22 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

There is a belief which for want of a better term I will call Draft Theory. This is the belief that a draft, defined as a stream of air blowing on the body from one direction, such as from an open ...
David42's user avatar
  • 417
21 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

From the 1930s. Mentioned on Huffington Post. The older blog referred to in the HP article is no longer available, to so prevent the same thing from happening to the HP article, here's the relevant ...
Jim Garrison's user avatar
21 votes

How does one wash with sand?

Sand is an "abrasive". As such, it is good for dislodging/removing dirt, etc. trapped in clothes. But after you do this, you have to wash out the sand. Soap does a similar job in a different way (...
Tom Au's user avatar
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20 votes

What is the most advanced nonliterate society?

The Inca might have been the largest non-literate society in history. Allow me to explain by way of two definitional digressions. Any society has peripheral or marginal members that are less in tune. ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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20 votes

What is the name of the theory opposite to the Great Man theory?

Not every thesis has a single antithesis or opposite. However, we can highlight a few trends or schools of thought in historiography (the study of history) that contrast most sharply with the Great ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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19 votes
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How did lecturers magnify their voice in the days before amplification?

From my knowledge as a theatre historian and speech coach, I would say, it is probably a combination of: Projection and enunciation. Not only speaking loudly, but speaking clearly and probably a bit ...
rougon's user avatar
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19 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

The use of anaesthesia during labour was highly contentious, partly on medical grounds, partly on religious grounds - women were meant to suffer during childbirth - certainly in the opinion of (male) ...
TheHonRose's user avatar
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17 votes

Why was the Scout movement so successful?

According to William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book "Generations", one reason the scouting movement was so successful was it came at "just the right time," at least for Americans. One ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
16 votes

How does one wash with sand?

Tayammum Pretty much the way it sounds. (oddly, I had to wash my hair with sand this week, so I can report that it works pretty well.)
MCW's user avatar
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16 votes

Why conceal the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus?

The short answer is that we do not know for certain. The most likely answer, and the one that has gained consensus with most historians, is simply that the French high command considered that its ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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15 votes
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Were slaves allowed to use the Roman baths?

Yes, they were. The epigraphic testimony for slaves at baths as customers is quite direct, though sparse... Thus, it is difficult to determine how common and widespread the practice was. ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
15 votes
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In segregated South, would Asian-Americans be treated as "colored" or as whites?

Segregation in the South didn't make many provisions for grades colour; consequently, Asian-Americans (as well as Native Americans) occupied an uncertain place in between the two. As such, the exact ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
14 votes

Is there a historical precedent to the vaccine scare?

You might consider the first smallpox vaccine. From Voltaire's "Letters on the English": "IT is inadvertently affirmed in the Christian countries of Europe that the English are fools and madmen. ...
jamesqf's user avatar
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14 votes

Did men and women feast together in early medieval East Francia?

I recently came across something that seems to contain an exact answer to this question. In 826, an exiled Danish king, Harald Klak visited the court of Louis the Pious with his wife and some ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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13 votes

Was homosexuality rarer in ancient Sparta than in any other Greek state?

Short Answer There is no evidence of any law banning homosexual relationships where one partner submits to the other, but Xenophon does mention the forbidding of physical pederastic relationships by ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar

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