Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another: ...or Do They?: wherein the Usenet flamewars on whether or not two democracies have ever fought each other are nicely summarized. [via Rebecca's Pocket]
The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Starting next Wednesday, this site will have a new entry from this 17th century diary posted each day, complete with notes on the people and places mentioned by Pepys and annotations from readers. [via Leuschke]
Reckoners: The Prehistory of the Digital Computer, from Relays to the Stored Program Concept [via Robot Wisdom]
Away with the Faeries: Gordon Rutter on the history of the faery ring legends.
We now know that fairy rings are actually produced by fungi - see panel - but this was not always the case. As the common name for the phenomenon implies, they were widely explained as the result of a gathering of fairies that ended with a circular dance. Such was the energy used in their dancing that the ground was permanently marked.
[via The Daily Grail]
A Brief History of Thinking Outside the Box: Social Inventions Through the Ages: Utne Reader lists at the major changes in society over time. I'm not sure about some of their choices: do raves really rank up there with Urukagina's Code?
Smart arses: There is a rush to save scrolls which are still in the library in Pompeii where they were buried by Vesuvius but are now in danger of being flooded. What are we leaving to future generations to preseve? Bijan Omrani surveys the Bodleian Library's toilet graffiti to answer this question.
In Pompeii, every phrase scratched into the ancient walls -- whether it be the drunken effusion of a guest returning from a dinner party, or the plaint of a lover shut out from his mistress -- is greedily catalogued. Professors rejoice when even the most opaque fragment of Greek lyric emerges from the darkness. How can we rest easy with ourselves, knowing that the most private thoughts of the nation's premier scholars are falling prey to the janitor's bucket and mop?
The collection of Abraham Lincoln Papers is now complete at the Library of Congress, with about 20,000 documents scanned and available online. [via CamWorld]
NPR's Morning Edition interviews Robert Sullivan, the editor a new book on the history of the Macys' parade.
The controversy over Seahenge goes on. First there were protests over moving the tree stump and 55 surrounding oak posts, which date to 2050BC, that make up the monument from its original location in Norfolk. The monument was relocated to Flag Fen, where it was almost lost to fire early last year, for study. Now there is apparent disagreement over whether it should be put back or preserved on dry land, with English Heritage saying that to bury the momument back in the beach risks destruction by the North Sea. A hearing will be held next week to decide the issue. A similar but larger structure was found early this year less than 200 yards away, but has not yet been excavated.