Notable Women : Swapping out faces we all know for faces we all should


Notable Women features 100 historic women selected from the Teachers Righting History database, a collection of women whom the American people recommended to appear on actual U.S. currency during my time at the U.S. Department of Treasury (via).

After all, inspirations lead to aspirations, which is why we have a responsibility to highlight the women who have shaped our past and serve as role models for our future. I want to thank you for your interest, and hope you will share Notable Women with your friends and family (via).

Although very cool and better than nothing, somehow, it seems a bit, I don’t know, shallow maybe? Because really, that’s all we can do to honor the woman who have helped shape and form our country?

I applaud the attempt, but am embarrassed just the same.

You can view modified notes on the website, like Sojourner Truth (top), Grace Hopper (below), Amelia Earhart (bottom), and Amelia Boynton Robinson.


TIME's 100 most influential images


In this unprecedented exploration of 100 photographs that shaped the human experience, TIME goes behind each spectacular image to reveal how and why it changed the course of history (via).

There is no formula that makes a picture influential. Some images are on our list because they were the first of their kind, others because they shaped the way we think. And some made the cut because they directly changed the way we live. What all 100 share is that they are turning points in our human experience (via).

Here are a few of my favorites so far:

You can explore the stories behind the top 100 photographs, or you can watch short documentaries of the top 20 OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PHOTOS OF ALL TIME.

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-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Short Films

The Fallen of WWII : A Short Documentary of War and Peace

This video, at various points, made me sick. The graphs, of each figure equaling 1000 people who died, and that red line of Russian casualties . . . goodness. I thought it would never end. 

Yet, when it came to the midway point, when Halloran said, "More people died in WWII than in any other world in history. For comparison, here are twenty or so of the very worst wars we have on record," I couldn't help but think of a quote from a book I recently read, Born a Crime.

Trevor Noah, an American comedian born in Apartheid South Africa writes

The thing Africans don't have that the Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that's really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified.

If you look at that infographic closely (minute 13:13), only two African countries are mentioned, "The Congo" listed at 8 million and Mideast Slave Trade at 19 million. And these are just the millions that "count". And they mights simply be guesses. 

. . . When you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It's harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren't counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

As the film spans out and the graph of millions dead shrinks, the title, "Worst Atrocities on Record" appears. 

How many more have died who haven't been recorded? How many more are still dying today, during the "Long/New Peace"? Because even though we are better than we were, can we honestly call this a time of peace, just because the major powers (dare I say important powers) aren't fighting each other? 

If people are still dying, needlessly, at the hands and minds of others, and if people are still fearing for their lives and losing their homes, can we really call this a time of peace?

What about the refugees that are spread all across this world? The wars and genocides that have plagued Africa and the Middle East, what about the thousands of deaths that are growing daily in shit-hole countries? . . . oh. Right. Now I get it.

That's why we're allowed to be content. Because we're only counting the countries that count. 


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-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Infographics that say more than what they say  :  WWII

Ugly History : The 1937 Haitian Massacre

The memory of the Haitian Massacre remains a chilling reminder of how power-hungry leaders can manipulate people into turning against their life-long neighbors.

Seems like outsiders played a crucial and terrifyingly selfish role in establishing such a "shit hole" country. 


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-N- Stuff  :  History  

These numbers actually mean something . . . kind of.

One of my math professors at University once told my class he could tell us where we were all born, just by hearing their first three digits of their SSN. And then he did. It was pretty cool.

He then told us a story about how he had done the same thing years earlier and when he told one young lady she was from Florida, she argued. "No," she said, "I'm from New York."

"No," my professor argued back, "You're from Florida," and she argued back, insisting she was born and raised in New York.

Turns out she was from Florida because she was adopted and her parent's never told her.

Whether this story is true or not I don't know, but here's what I know is true: those seemingly random numbers mean something.

In 1935, following Social Security Act, the US government had to "devise a method for uniquely identifying the earnings records for the millions of persons covered by the new law." Because "Social Security and the benefit amount were to be determined from a person’s earnings over many years, a method was needed for maintaining permanent and accurate earnings records for each person."

The Social Security number (SSN) consists of nine digits divided into three parts, with each part usually separated by a hyphen:

xxx - xx - xxxx
Area number - Group number - Serial number

Until 1972, the urea number indicated the location (State, territory, or possession) of the Social Security office that issued the number. When the Social Security numbering system was developed, one or more area numbers were allocated to each State based on the anticipated number of issuances in the State. Because an individual could apply for an SSN at any Social Security office, the area code did not necessarily indicate where the person lived or worked. . . The area code now indicates the person’s State of residence as shown on the SSN application.

Area Number:

There are several exceptions to these rules. Before 1964, area numbers 700-728 were assigned by the Rail- road Retirement Board to workers covered by the Rail- road Retirement Act.’ Area number 586 is divided among American Samoa, Guam, the Philippines, and Americans employed abroad by American employers and, from 1975 to 1979, it was also used for Indochinese refugees. Area number 580 is assigned to persons applying in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Virtually all railroad workers had been assigned SSN’s by 1964; therefore there no longer was a need to have a separate numbering system. 


Group Number:

The group number has no special geographic or data significance. It is used to break the numbers into blocks of convenient size for SSA’s processing operations and for controlling the assignments to the States.


Serial Number:

The last four digits, the serial number, represent a numerical series from 0001 to 9999 within each group. The order in which the SSN’s are issued is as follows: For each area number, the group number follows an odd and even sequence starting with odd numbers 01 to 09, even numbers 10 to 98, even numbers 02 to 08, and finally odd numbers 11 to 99. The serial number begins with 0001 and continues in sequence,2 except every fifth
For all practical purposes, the serial numbers are random. The use of numbers from the 2000 and 7000 series for every fifth issuance per- mits scientific sampling of workers and beneficiaries, For example, see Warren Buckler and Creston Smith, “The Continuous Work History Sample: Description and Contents,” Economic and Demographic Statistics: Selected Papers Given at the 1980 Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association in Houston, Texas, November 1980.
SSN is given a serial number from the series 2001-2999 and 7001-7999. The last three serial numbers issued are 9998, 9999, and 7999. Serial number 0000 is never used. Each State goes through all of its area numbers with group number 01 and serial numbers 0001-9999 and 7999 before using group number 03. Thus, 989,901 SSN’s can be issued for each area number.
The g-digit number provides the capacity for assigning nearly 1 billion SSN’s. To date, approximately 277 million numbers have been issued, leaving about 75 percent still available. Only Florida has used up its original allotment. Several other States (Arizona, California, and Mississippi), and Puerto Rico are expected to exhaust their original allotment within the next 2 decades. Additional area numbers have been designated for these locations. About 5-7 million new numbers are issued each year, but even at this rate there will be sufficient numbers available for several generations to come (via).


I hope none of you just found out you were adopted. If so, blame my math professor. He started it.



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Charlie Chaplin delivers the greatest speech

I’ve seen this speech several times and have used it often in class. Because it’s brilliant. I love how simple it is. No gimmicks. No pictures. Just words, powerful words. Words bursting with truth, and words that should convict us all.

The film is based on a barber who, wounded during the First World War, returns home after 20 years. “His shop has grown full of cobwebs and dust, but it is the hateful graffiti on his shop window that takes him totally by surprise. Hynkel, the tyrannical dictator, and his henchmen persecute the barber, as well as the rest of the Jewish community” (via). 

"The Great Dictator is a 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other films. Having been the only Hollywood film-maker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin's first true sound film."

The Great Dictator was Chaplin's most commercially successful film. Modern critics have also praised it as a historically significant film and an important work of satire. The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards - Outstanding Production, Best Actor, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Supporting Actor for Jack Oakie, and Best Music (Original Score) (via).

© Roy Export S.A.S. All Rights Reserved.

© Roy Export S.A.S. All Rights Reserved.

"Getting Charlie to speak also meant putting to death this character that had made his creator famous and taking the risk of exposing himself without a mask. Does the declamatory speech at the end of The Great Dictator betray Chaplin’s inability to sustain the aesthetic and comic register all the way through to the end of the film? Chaplin was well aware of these issues, which is why he wrote the words “First picture in which the story is bigger than the Little Tramp." (via).


In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he could not have made the film if he had known about the true extent of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time (via).

Here's the speech:

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Final speech from The Great Dictator Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. All rights reserved



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The Economics of Airline Classes

How much money does an airline make on a typical flight in the various classes of service? On some flights, revenue from first & business class seats can be up to 5 times that of economy seats. This video explores the economics of airline classes and looks at how we got to the present moment, where the people and companies buying business class and first class tickets are subsidizing those of us who fly economy (via).
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 -N- Stuff  :  History