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  • Showing only topics with the tag "history". Back to normal view
    1. Webcams

      There was a very brief period of time in the late 90s early 00s when the word “webcam” had just started existing and entering the popular discourse; and where that word was practically synonymous...

      There was a very brief period of time in the late 90s early 00s when the word “webcam” had just started existing and entering the popular discourse; and where that word was practically synonymous with “sex show”.

      I think around the time I first heard that word, having a webcam usually meant you would use it to do nude shows with.

      They weren’t integrated with computers back then (laptops were super expensive and not popular yet, and they weren’t a mainstream laptop accessory until way later). So if you had a webcam, you had to really seek it out and pay quite a bit of money for it. It made little sense for people to buy them just to use them for personal reasons and most jobs didn’t have a utility for them.

      … except sex work. Live, paid access cam shows immediately caught on. And people would see those in ads (ads tended to be trashy with zero quality control back then, even automated. Worse than now, I swear), and associate “webcam” with “webcam show”.

      There was no reason to otherwise hook up a camera to a computer if not to stream its contents to the web, anyway. The first webcam, that famous coffee pot, was just that: a web-connected camera. Web cam. Wikipedia talks about “Jenni cam” — I wasn’t on the anglosphere’s internet at the time so this escaped me, but it does seem to agree that the concept entered the mainstream not via videoconferencing, but via cam girls.

      5 votes
    2. Do you read 'old news'/article archives?

      Asked because I like the idea of reading about the past and feel unsatisfied by r/history and r/askhistorians mainly because reddit's search isn't that great and those subs have a much wider scope...

      Asked because I like the idea of reading about the past and feel unsatisfied by r/history and r/askhistorians mainly because reddit's search isn't that great and those subs have a much wider scope than most news archives.

      I'm gonna do this on a Q&A format. Note that "old news" doesn't need to be news articles, it can be blogs for example.

      If you read old news/articles, where do you get them from/find them?

      What kind of "old news" do you read?

      What historical period do you tend to read about?

      If you're reading an article about a historical event you remember, how does your memory tend to compare to those articles?

      How often do you do it?

      What do you think about subreddits like r/twentyyearsago, since they're basically trawling through those news archives?

      7 votes
    3. In your opinion, what is the most powerful speech in history?

      Despite not even being his most famous speech, I think that Martin Luther King's final speech "I've Have Been to the Mountaintop" is the most amazing example of public speaking ever. The grand...

      Despite not even being his most famous speech, I think that Martin Luther King's final speech "I've Have Been to the Mountaintop" is the most amazing example of public speaking ever.

      The grand finale of Dr. King's great legacy. A speech given by a man who knew that his days were numbered. A speech given by a man who knew he would not live to see his dream come to fruition. Dr. King discusses the adversity that the Civil Rights movement had already faced and how these challenges were overcome through non violent methods. He challenges America and it's citizens to live up to the ideals of the country.

      Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights. And so just as I said, we aren't going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around. We aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

      The speech ends with Dr. King foreshadowing the possibility of his death, an event which would occur the very next day when MLK was assassinated at his motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

      Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

      So that's my vote. What do you view as the greatest speech in history and why?

      24 votes
    4. Do you have any quotes or articles that you now find prescient to share?

      I have these 2 quotes here. This quote is apparently from this book, cited in this article: If the two parties do not develop alternative programs that can be executed, the voter’s frustration and...

      I have these 2 quotes here. This quote is apparently from this book, cited in this article:

      If the two parties do not develop alternative programs that can be executed, the voter’s frustration and the mounting ambiguities of national policy might also set in motion more extreme tendencies to the political left and the political right. This, again, would represent a condition to which neither our political institutions nor our civic habits are adapted. Once a deep political cleavage develops between opposing groups, each group naturally works to keep it deep. Such groups may gravitate beyond the confines of the American system of government and its democratic institutions.

      Assuming a survival of the two-party system in form though not in spirit, even if only one of the diametrically opposite parties comes to flirt with unconstitutional means and ends, the consequences would be serious. For then the constitution-minded electorate would be virtually reduced to a one-party system with no practical alternative to holding to the “safe” party at all cost.

      Wow.

      There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. -John Adams

      There is also this text from the Pew Political Typology of the US in 1999 which I found somewhat funny:

      The polling shows more compassion toward the poor and less hostility toward immigrants. A greater percentage in this survey than in the recent past think the government should do more to help needy people, and fewer express strong support for tightening our borders to further restrict immigration. Both of these trends may reflect the increased economic satisfaction and diminished financial pressure registered in this year’s survey. Gains in economic contentment have been greatest among upper income groups, while people in the lowest income category report less financial pressure but no more financial satisfaction than in the mid-1990s. Unexpectedly, despite these trends, Americans report no greater satisfaction with their wages than in the recent past. In fact, middle-income people are less satisfied than they were in 1994.

      DAMAGED AND SCUFFED, MY HANDS HAVE BEEN CUFFED, BUT I DON'T PLAN TO GET HUFF, FRANTIC AND PUFF OR PLAN TO GIVE U-

      That has aged pretty uniquely if you see it as the immediate effects of neoliberalism.

      Anyway, do you have anything to share?

      12 votes
    5. Do you think there is anything from the past we should bring back?

      (Hot take alert) I personally think mass protests should be brought back. Many governments around the world are rejecting democracy and so can really only be held accountable with drastic...

      (Hot take alert)

      I personally think mass protests should be brought back. Many governments around the world are rejecting democracy and so can really only be held accountable with drastic measures. I'd even argue people should be armed and follow domething like in the Charlottesville gun rallies or the 1968 DNC riots as a model for protesting particularly egregious stuff like Trump's impeachment trial. A few hundred thousand armed people pointing at the US Senate saying 'A trial without witnesses is unconstitutional, the president is not above the law' would definitely send a message to the Republicans there and watching in FOX.

      24 votes
    6. If you could make any event(s) in history not happen, which one(s) would you pick?

      I didn't know tildes has trending topics. I'd either pick the rise of the bolsheviks in Russia (You can replace them with the mensheviks, who wanted to abide by democracy.), The division of the...

      I didn't know tildes has trending topics.

      I'd either pick the rise of the bolsheviks in Russia (You can replace them with the mensheviks, who wanted to abide by democracy.), The division of the HRE (A united germany in 900CE would be very consequential.) And the rise of the hapsburgs in what would be Austria-Hungary, since it meshed a dozen linguistic groups together.

      13 votes
    7. Streaming TV is better in every possible way

      In the recent topic about NBC's new streaming service the claim was made that: This is straight-up worse for the consumer than it was before. I responded to that comment, but wanted to expand on...

      In the recent topic about NBC's new streaming service the claim was made that:

      This is straight-up worse for the consumer than it was before.

      I responded to that comment, but wanted to expand on it a lot more. So here goes.

      If you've never read about it, you might not know what TV was like before the internet, so I want to give a brief history of television in the US as I understand and remember it. I was born in the early 1970s, so that's where I'm coming from.

      ~1940-~1960 - Televisions are large heavy devices full of vacuum tubes. In order to watch something on your TV you also need a large metal antenna on the roof of your house. There are 3 television stations - ABC, NBC, and CBS and they all broadcast in standard definition. You can clearly pick up 1 or 2 of them, but the 3rd is always kind of staticky because their broadcast tower is just over that hill in the distance, so the signal is weak. In order to watch a show you have to be in front of your television when the show is on. All shows are in black and white. Except the characters. They're all white. And straight. And middle class. And Christian. The shows are "free" because sponsors buy advertising time at the beginning or ending of the show.

      ~1960-1970 - Televisions are still huge boxes that weigh a ton and are full of vacuum tubes. You still need a large antenna on your roof to get the shows, and it doesn't work very well when it's raining. There are now 2 or 3 local stations that have a variety of programming throughout the day and often show re-runs of older shows you used to watch. You still need to be in front of your television when the show is on in order to see it. Some shows are now in color! Except the characters. They're all white. And straight. And middle class. And mostly Christian, though there is an occasional Jew, usually for laughs. Oh, and the big networks use satellites to broadcast their programs to local affiliates across the country. (This will be relevant in the 1980s.) The shows continue to be paid for with your attention; ads now interrupt the show for a few short minutes between the first and second or second and third acts.

      ~1970-1980 - You can now buy a small television that uses transistors instead of huge vacuum tubes that always burn out. It has "rabbit ear" antennas that don't require installation on your roof. There are now 5-7 local stations including a public broadcasting station that mainly shows a strange woman doing something called "yoga". For a very high monthly price you can get cable which gives you pristine picture quality of all the channels in your area plus 1 channel that shows movies. You need to have an installer come to your house to set it up, and they can't tell you when they'll be there, but they'll come eventually. All shows are in color (except for reruns of shows from the 1950s). Even the characters are starting to show some color! (But not too much.) There are a handful of LGBT characters, usually played for laughs or shown as someone others consider sick. Advertisements now occur roughly every 5 minutes.

      ~1980-1990 - Televisions are now all electronic (but still has the huge cathode ray tube displaying the picture). Most don't even need a separate antenna. It doesn't matter anyway because cable is cheap enough that most middle-class households can afford it. (You still have to wait for an installer to come.) There are something like 30 channels! It's insane! You can get multiple cable channels that show recent (only 1-2 years old) hit movies. And you can video tape any show you want to see so you don't have to be in front of the TV when it's on. (Assuming you can figure out how to set the clock on your VCR, and the power doesn't blink off for even a second during the show, and the show isn't pre-empted by any news or sports, and the tape doesn't get shredded or self-destruct.) You can fast-forward through ads, and your TV may have a mute button to turn the sound off during ads if you're watching live. If you're really a TV nut you can buy a satellite antenna. It's a 6-foot diameter round metal dish you stick in your back yard. You can directly receive the feeds from the big networks. This allows you to occasionally see Tom Brokaw eating a sandwich during what would normally be a commercial break. If you can't afford a satellite dish, you get to see ads every 5 minutes, plus product placements during the shows. Characters seem to have gotten whiter, straighter, and Christianer than they were in the 1970s. Ads remain largely as intrusive as in the 1970s, there are just more of them now.

      ~1990-2000 - TVs remain largely unchanged from the 80s. Everyone has a VCR. Everyone now has cable. (Waiting to get it installed now takes longer than ever, and the cable companies are notorious for terrible customer service.) Cable has 100 channels. Most of it is complete dreck and uninteresting to you. Since these channels have to fill airtime 24/7, much of it ends up being "infomercials." However, because there are so many channels most of the non-white, non-Christian characters move to niche channels. (There still aren't very many LGBT characters.) Satellite dishes shrink to about 1 foot across and several companies launch satellites just to provide consumers with content. Several cable channels spring up to show re-runs with small pieces missing, filled in with ads. The ads are much louder than they used to be.

      ~2000-2010 - VCRs start getting replaced with digital video recorders that can set their own clocks and schedule shows by name rather than date and time. They can save a number of shows without changing tapes. Some have automatic ad-skipping technology. DVDs replace VHS tapes. Televisions start moving to high definition LCD panels. Installing cable takes longer than ever, but cable carries hundreds of channels including channels devoted only to a single sport like golf or tennis. You can get bundles that include different features like lots of movie channels, adult content, artistic content, sports packages, etc. There are a variety of channels with shows devoted to different groups of people including women, minorities, and LGBT populations. It becomes possible to download an episode of a television show or a movie to your computer or iPod over the internet in only 20 minutes. You can watch on the way to work or on an airplane!

      ~2010-now - Standard definition TVs are obsoleted. All TVs are now High Definition and some are even 4k Ultra High Definition with High Dynamic Range color. The satellite companies are hemorrhaging customers. People are "cutting the cord" and getting rid of cable TV, though most still get their internet through the local cable provider. There's often only a single choice of provider.

      Here's what streaming TV over the internet involves:
      You can now be almost anywhere and instantly watch almost any episode of any television show you want with pristine quality. You don't need to install any additional hardware and the device you watch it on fits in your pocket. You can literally go to a cell phone store, buy a phone, and start watching television on your new phone minutes later. And you can put that on your huge high resolution TV, too.

      There are hundreds of streaming services, but you don't even need to subscribe to a service to find content. People are uploading it constantly. You can watch old episodes of thousands of shows as well as new original content for around what you used to pay for cable TV. You can watch educational stuff, or just short fun videos. You can find videos on every topic from every type of person about every type of person for better or worse.

      And if you want to pay for video there are no ads. Nothing to mute, nothing to fast-forward through, nothing to annoy you. (There are still product placements, though they're usually subtle and make sense within the content.) If you watch part of a show on your phone on the train, when you get home, you can pick up where you left off on your television instantly. The weather doesn't affect the picture quality. Shows are never preempted because some politician is making a speech or a sporting event or awards show went longer than expected. There's always something on, even if it's a holiday or summer or there some big event you don't care about going on.

      There is one down side: sometimes something you want to watch is on a service you have and then later it goes away, or it's not on a service you have. Usually you can subscribe to a service for 1 or 2 months, watch what you want and unsubscribe.

      21 votes
    8. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot...

      I see no reason why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot. Today is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes night, where we commemorate the 1605 plot by Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics who...

      I see no reason why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

      Today is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes night, where we commemorate the 1605 plot by Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics who planned on blowing up Parliament and King James I to set off a popular revolt and putting a Catholic Monarch on the throne.. We do that by burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire, eating black peas, treacle and parkin and terrorising pets everywhere by setting off fireworks.

      Unfortunately because of its proximity to Halloween and silly things like "safety" many of the traditional celebrations are dying out. Kids used to essentially beg for money by stuffing clothing and asking for "a penny for the Guy" which they'd use for sweets or fireworks. Locally made bonfires are also becoming rarer with most these days done by professional and regulated firework companies and organised by the council so it feels more like watching a show and less like getting together with your neighbours and family.

      Are you going to any events, hosting one, do you have any stories or questions about Bonfire night, do you have any traditions. Thoughts on fire works etc.

      Just a general Bonfire Night thread.

      18 votes
    9. The identifying terms we use (and the political history behind them)

      Today's political climate has all sorts of terms being thrown around with varying meanings and history behind them. There are Liberals (political ideology for FREEDUM), and Liberals (foreign...

      Today's political climate has all sorts of terms being thrown around with varying meanings and history behind them. There are Liberals (political ideology for FREEDUM), and Liberals (foreign policy), and Liberals (economic policy), and Liberals ("conservatives"), and Liberals ("centrist, anti-absolute monarchists"), and Liberals ("democrats"), and Liberals (some other field that annoys the shit out of me). There are Progressives, and Conservatives, Nationalists, Socialists, Social Democrats, unreconstructed Monarchists, Reconstructed Monarchists, Anarchists, and I'm sure some other political identity that I've missed.

      So, given the rather long list of ways to identify politically, and the just about as long history for those ways to identify politically, I thought we should have a discussion focused exclusively on the political history of the terms we used.

      So, the questions:

      1. What terms do you commonly use to describe yourself and others in your political environment? 
      2. What is the relevant history that informs the way you use common political terms to describe yourself and others?
      3. Got any links, movies, books, etc., that delve into that history?
      

      This has the potential to get hairy because of how broad it is, so I'm going to try to remind people of some best practices that I use when engaging in meaningful discussion:

      • Understand before criticizing. - Be able to frame someone's view in a way that they can agree with themselves before critiquing their view. Questions are your friend, but make sure the questions are focused on better understanding someone's view, not on biasing reactions to a view.
      • Assume good faith. - Calling people "trolls" makes me very angry. Don't do it. For any reason. To anyone. If your case is so bulletproof that you'd be willing to call someone out for it here, take it to @Deimos instead. I don't want to read it here.
      • I Could Be Wrong - There is nothing wrong with having confidence in your view, but there should be some part of you that recognizes you can be wrong about whatever claim you make. Nothing is 100%. Absolutely Only Sith Deal In Absolutes, etc.
      11 votes
    10. Thoughts on the World Wars

      I've been consuming a ton of media about the world wars lately. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of historical fiction, records, memoires, and documentaries. But so far, very few things...

      I've been consuming a ton of media about the world wars lately. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of historical fiction, records, memoires, and documentaries. But so far, very few things have come close to painting a cohesive picture.

      Most of it focuses on hot spots like Verdun, Pearl Harbor, Dunkirk, Normandy, the haulocaust, the atomic bomb, enigma, u-boats, the luftwaffe, Stalingrad... And I can see why. Even on a microcosm level, the conditions of the stories are unimaginable.

      The issue I'm having is that I feel like our cultural memory of these events his been eroded over time. We have these impressions of what we think it was like, but not an overarching understanding of the complex series of events throughout the 20th century. We have an overabundance of records, photographs, film, and documentation in general, but maybe it's the overabundance that makes the digestion such an insurmountable undertaking.

      What are your experiences with studying this time period? How do you feel about the quality of your understanding? And finally, do you have any recommendations for myself and others?

      14 votes