Control Of Fire


Burn stuff
1 million years ago?

Nobody knows when our ancestors learned to control fire. The oldest direct evidence comes from Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa, which contains ashes and burned bones from 1 million years ago. But there is evidence hominins were processing food even earlier, and that might have included cooking with fire.

See other: What Makes Humans Human?

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According to William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar called out: “Et tu Brute!” moments before dying on 15 March, 44 BC. He was stabbed 23 times.

Pope Benedict XVI

On 28 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned the papacy as a result of his advanced age, becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415. In modern times, all popes stayed in office until death. Benedict XVI was be the first Pope to resign voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

February 12 is an interesting day in history: in 1554, Lady Jane Grey was executed for treason after reigning as queen of England for just nine days, and in 1912, the last emperor of China, Puyi, was forced to abdicate and the country became a republic.

February 11 is a moving date in history: in 1531, Henry VIII is recognised by the new Protestant Church of England as its ‘supreme head’; in 1975, Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman to head a British political party, leading the Conservatives; and in 1990, South African anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years.

British navigator Captain James Cook was killed by indigenous Hawaiians after a row over a stolen boat on 14 February 1779.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Agniology is the philosophical study of ignorance.

English: Map of South Africa, with provinces, ...

Map of South Africa, with provinces, neighbouring countries and oceans

The word honky, meaning a ‘white man’, comes from a West African language called Wolof. In Wolof, honq means ‘bright pink’.

South Africa has nine official languages and three official capitals.

The word agnomical means ‘not having any particular purpose’.

In French, bonne soeur literally, ‘good sister’ means nun; belle-mère literally, ‘beautiful mother’ means mother-in-law.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

A History of Prostitution‏


Contrary to the old cliché, prostitution is almost certainly not the world’s oldest profession – that would be hunting and gathering, perhaps followed by subsistence farming – but it has been found in nearly every civilization on Earth stretching back throughout all recorded human history. We can say with some confidence that wherever there have been money, goods, or services to be bartered, somebody has bartered them for sex.

18th Century BCE: Hammurabi refers to prostitution

The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi includes provisions to protect the inheritance rights of prostitutes, the only category of women (except for widows) who had no male providers:

‘If a devoted woman or a prostitute to whom her father has given a dowry and a deed therefore […] then her father die, then her brothers shall hold her field and garden, and give her corn, oil, and milk according to her portion […].’

‘If a sister of a god, or a prostitute, receive a gift from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as she pleases […] then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases.’

6th Century BCE: Solon establishes state-funded brothels

Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845).

Woman refusing money offered by a gentleman who has assumed she is a prostitute

Greek literature refers to three classes of prostitutes: pornai, or slave prostitutes; freeborn street prostitutes; and hetaera, educated prostitute-entertainers who enjoyed a level of social influence that was denied to nearly all non-prostitute women. Pornai and street prostitutes, appealing to a male clientele, could be either female or male. Hetaera were always female.

According to tradition, the Athenian statesman Solon established government-supported brothels in high-traffic urban areas of Greece – brothels staffed with inexpensive pornai that all men, regardless of income level, could afford to hire.

Prostitution would remain legal throughout the Greek and Roman periods, though later, Christian Roman emperors strongly discouraged it.

Circa 590: Reccared I bans prostitution

The newly-converted Reccared I, Visigoth King of Spain, banned prostitution as part of an effort to bring his country into alignment with Christian ideology. There was no punishment for men who hired or exploited prostitutes, but women found guilty of selling sexual favors were whipped 300 times and exiled, which in many cases would have been tantamount to a death sentence.

1161: King Henry II regulates but does not ban prostitution

In the medieval era, prostitution was accepted as a fact of life in most major cities. King Henry II discouraged yet permitted it, though he mandated that prostitutes must be single and ordered weekly inspections of London’s infamous brothels to ensure that other laws were not being broken.

1358: Italy embraces prostitution

In 1358, the Great Council of Venice declared prostitution to be:

‘Absolutely indispensable to the world.’

Furthermore, government-funded brothels were established in major Italian cities throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.

1586: Pope Sixtus V mandates death penalty for prostitution

German prostitute, Erotikakademie Berlin

German prostitute, Berlin

Penalties for prostitution (ranging from maiming to execution) were technically in place in many European states, but generally went unenforced. The newly-elected Pope Sixtus V grew frustrated and decided on a more direct approach, ordering that all women who participate in prostitution should be put to death. There is no evidence that his order was actually carried out on any large scale by Catholic nations of the period.

1802: France establishes bureau of morals

Following the French Revolution, the government replaced the traditional bans on prostitution with a new Bureau of Morals – first in Paris, and then throughout the country. The new agency was essentially a police force responsible for monitoring houses of prostitution in order to ensure that they complied with the law, and did not become centers of criminal activity. The agency operated continuously for over a century before it was abolished.

1932: Forced prostitution in Japan

“The women cried out, but it didn’t matter to us whether the women lived or died. We were the emperor’s soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance.”
– Yasuji Kaneko, Japanese WWII veteran

During World War II, the Japanese government abducted between 80,000 and 300,000 women and girls from Japanese-occupied territories and forced them to serve in so-called comfort battalions, militarized brothels that were created to serve Japanese soldiers.

To this day, the Japanese government has denied responsibility and refused to issue an official apology or pay restitution.

1956: India almost bans sex trafficking

Although the Immoral Traffic Suppression Act (SITA) theoretically banned commercialized sex trade in 1956, Indian anti-prostitution laws are generally enforced, and have traditionally been enforced, as public order statutes. As long as prostitution is restricted to certain areas however, it is generally tolerated.

1971: Nevada permits brothels

However Nevada State politicians have consistently held the position that they personally oppose legalized prostitution, they do not believe that it should be banned at the state level. Subsequently, some counties ban brothels and some allow them to operate legally. At the time of writing, it is the only US state where prostitution is legal.

1999: Sweden takes a feminist approach

Although anti-prostitution laws have historically focused on the arrest and punishment of prostitutes themselves, the Swedish government attempted a new approach in 1999. Classifying prostitution as a form of violence against women, Sweden offered a general amnesty to prostitutes and initiated new programs designed to help them transition into other lines of work.

No Domination


“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

– Nelson Mandela