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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The story of evolution itself is evolving...

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

The Institute unites scientists with various backgrounds (natural sciences and humanities) whose aim is to investigate the history of humankind from an interdisciplinary perspective with the help of comparative analyses of genes, cultures, cognitive abilities, languages and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.

Genome of extinct Siberian human sheds new light on modern human origins.

photo Denisova caveThe sequencing of the nuclear genome from an ancient finger bone from a Siberian Cave shows that the cave dwellers were neither Neandertals nor modern humans.
An international team of researchers led by Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) has sequenced the nuclear genome from a finger bone of an extinct hominin that is at least 30,000 years old and was excavated by archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, Russia, in 2008.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Civil War Preservation Trust

The Battle of Wilderness site is the subject of an intensive fundraising campaign with a year-end goal of acquiring and preserving key areas of this important battlefield.

The organization works with willing property owners and utilizes conservation easements and property transfers as the means of preserving historic sites - making a win-win situation for all parties.

You can gift an acre, or buy a membership, or download their wonderfully-detailed maps in pdf format.

The CWPT website offers lesson plans for teachers and study aids for students.

If you want to pre-plan a visit to a Civil War battlefield, this is a fabulous resource.

Visit CWPT and learn about the campaign at Save the Wilderness

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Who was Jefferson Davis?

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, is a much-misunderstood historical figure. Who he was and what he said, stood for, and believed are not what you may think.
After reading his correspondence, his speeches, and learning from historical records, he emerges as a human being who cared greatly for his country and whose repeated efforts to prevent the onset of a Civil War were largely ignored.
He saw the relations between the North and the South as a grab for power related to the westward expansion of the United States, with the North as the aggressor. He repeatedly pointed out that the states were sovereign, that the union was not of unequal states but of equal states, not of the North and South but each state sovereign in itself.
His views are presented cogently, and there is an excellent book published by Random House, from which the following extract is taken:

"The harmony, the efficiency, the perpetuity of our Union require the States, whenever the grants of the Constitution are inadequate to the purposes for which it was ordained, to add from their sovereignty whatever may be needed, and the same motives urge us to seek no power by other means than application to the States.
To all which has been said of the inherent powers of this Government, I answer, it is the creature of the States; as such it could have no inherent power, all it possesses was delegated by the States, and it is therefore that our Constitution is not an instrument of limitations, but of grants. Whatever was then deemed necessary was specifically conveyed; beyond the power so granted, nothing can now be claimed except those incidents which are indispensable to its existence; not merely convenient or conducive, but subordinate and necessary to the exercise of the grants."

Senator Jefferson Davis, Speech in the U.S. House of Representatives, March 16, 1846

Jefferson Davis: The Essential Writings, edited by William J. Cooper, Jr., Modern Library, 2004, page 34.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010


Secession is the defining word for Americans with ancestors who fought in the War Between the States aka the Civil War aka The War of Northern Aggression.

A new exhibit of important documents officially opened Friday.
When: Monday-Fridays 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed for state holidays).
What: "Confrontation to Conflict: South Carolina's Path to the Civil War."
Where: S.C. Archives and History Center, 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia.
Cost: Free, but the archives gift shop will available for purchases.

Secession Day
9 a.m.: The original Ordinance of Secession will be on display at the Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., all day until 5 p.m.
10 a.m.: The S.C. Historical Society begins free hourly tours of its exhibit, "Voices of Secession," at 100 Meeting St. The last tour begins at 3 p.m.
10 a.m.: The Confederate Museum at Market Hall will observe the anniversary 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Men and women in period attire will greet visitors with copies of the Charleston Mercury's famous "Union is Dissolved!" special edition. The museum will highlight its collection of secession artifacts, including two of the pens used to sign the Ordinance of Secession, stage decorations from the ceremony and a lithograph of the ordinance owned by one of the signers. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
11 a.m.: Mayor Joe Riley and others unveil a new South Carolina historical marker at 134 Meeting St., where the Ordinance of Secession was signed on Dec. 20, 1860.
6 p.m.: The Secession Gala begins at the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium with a reception. The original Ordinance of Secession will be on display. A 45-minute theatrical play starts at 7:15 p.m. and will be followed by dinner and dancing.

Civil War stories
If you have stories of your ancestors during the Civil War and you would like to share them with other readers, send them to newstips@postandcourier.com.
These stories will become part of our ongoing coverage of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Be sure to include your contact information.
Are you a Civil War re-enactor?
Whether you're dressed in blue or gray, we would like to share your photos with readers. Tell us your name, residence, who is in the photo and what battle you're re-enacting. Send them to newstips@postandcourier.com.

For more details:

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor Day, 07 December

This month in History on Footnote:

"On December 7, 1941, the United States suffered the most shocking military defeat in its history at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The Japanese surprise attack caused over 3,000 casualties and sank or damaged many ships including all eight battleships anchored in the harbor. Though the attack severely incapacitated the US Pacific fleet, it united a previously divided America and committed a nation to war."

See more about the Pearl Harbor Attack and WWII

The World War II War Diaries provide a day-to-day record of operational activities and sometimes administrative activities as well. Free during the month of December.

Monday, December 6, 2010

US Census Clock & Population increase since 1790 by decade

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to 12/06/10 at 18:23 UTC (EST+5) is 310,859,176

One birth every..................................   7 seconds
One death every..................................  12 seconds
One international migrant (net) every............  37 seconds
Net gain of one person every.....................  13 seconds

Resident Population
The U.S. resident population includes the total number of people in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, was 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2 percent over the 248,709,873 counted during the 1990 Census. This data will be released by the Census Bureau before December 31, 2010.