Fun historical artifact:

Computer price lists from 1964.  Check out the price of a monitor and memory.  Here’s what a printer cost:

This was for a dot-matrix printer, with output that looked like this:

Time marches on.


Stained Glass: Beauty with a Purpose


The Middle Ages gets a bad rap for being a period when life was devoid of beauty or innovation — but then we see its magnificent cathedrals and we know that wasn’t true.  We could spend a lifetime looking at all of the amazing features of cathedrals.  There are so many elements to examine, such as the sheer mass and complexity of the architecture and the intricate stonework.

The stained glass, a distinctive innovation of Gothic architecture, provided more than just something pretty for worshippers to see.  The windows often told stories from the Bible so that the illiterate masses could see them — think of it as a medieval form of television.

Because cathedrals cost a lot of money to build, the windows also featured images of patrons.  Donors and royalty would be rendered in glass in recognition of their contributions and support. Here’s one example from the chapel at Merton College:



Scientists as well as historians and artists marvel at the beauty of stained glass.  Nova has an interactive feature that wonders how medieval artisans created stained glass using only sand, wood and fire.

Of course, there are great web resources that you can use to see the beauty of stained glass, such as these tours of Canterbury Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral.  Here you can see detailed images from the Cathedral of Tours.  This site provides a comprehensive look at stained glass from all over Europe.

To take a video tour and see beautiful rose windows, you can take a look at this piece from the BBC:

Great site for Black History Month


February is Black History Month, and there are lots of terrific  resources to explores on the Internet.  Here’s one:    this site features a map with “legends” and “milestones” of the African-American experience.

 naacp bhm map

Clicking on a spot will give you information about a particular event, and also will show you the impact of that event on others.  It’s a great illustration of cause-and-effect which we see so often in history.

Egypt in the News

We’ve begun discussing the founding of Islam.  Understanding its history is crucial to being an involved, educated citizen in today’s world.

If you’ve been following the news, you know that there are big things happening in Northern Africa — most notably in Egypt, but also in Tunisia.  The unrest may be spreading to the Middle East.  (Uh oh.)

What’s going on on Egypt?  CNN for students has a video that summarizes major developments, and explains what it may mean for you.

Two names to keep an eye on as we follow the unrest in Egypt:  Hosni Mubarek and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Both are going to play key roles in what happens next.