Although this site has been created primarily for my students, everyone is welcome. In these pages you'll find many sources of information.
The Online Resources section below has numerous links that are of current interest. For more links to material on just about any topic you're looking for, use the E-Links button above. Linked off of that page are pages containing hundreds of links to sites covering a number of topics.
Visit often ... I update frequently! Hope you enjoy the site!
Quote of the Month
It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet ... We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.
News of the Month
Earth Overshoot Day (EOD), previously known as Ecological Debt Day (EDD), is the calculated, illustrative calendar date on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by the earth that year), by the world ecological footprint (humanity's consumption of the earth's natural resources for that year), and multiplying by 365.
Over the past 20 years, humanity has reached Earth Overshoot Day earlier every year. In 2018, it fell on August 1st and then moved up several days to fall on July 29th last year. Since 1999 this date, which signifies the day on which we have used the planet’s share of resources for the year, has moved up two months. This year, for the first time since tracking began, Earth Overshoot Day will occur later, on August 22nd, more than three weeks later than last year. Because of the pandemic, humanity’s use of the planet’s resources has temporarily slowed a little. The main drivers are the carbon footprint (reduced 14.5% from 2019) and the forest product footprint (reduced 8.4% from 2019).
When viewed through an economic perspective, EOD represents the day each year on which humanity begins ecological deficit spending. Think of ecological overuse as you would financial overspending, but with a significant difference: Financial debt can always be wiped away, while ecological resources are borrowed from a system we cannot bargain with. In ecology, the term Earth Overshoot Day illustrates the level by which human population overshoots its environment.
Throughout most of history, humanity has used nature's resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to release carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within the earth's budget. But by the early 1970s, that critical threshold had been crossed: Human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce. According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations, our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide is now equivalent to as much as 1.75 earths. The data show us on track to require the resources of two planets well before the mid-21st century.
Advocates for Earth Overshoot Day note that the costs of ecological overspending are becoming more evident over time. Climate change - a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than forests and oceans can absorb them - is the most obvious result. Other effects include shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest. Our overuse of our planetary resources is becoming increasingly clear as deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather conditions resulting from climate change become unavoidable realities of daily life for a significant proportion of the planet.
The implication is clear. Humanity is simply demanding more than the earth can provide. To preserve peace and sustain human achievements, humanity needs to reverse the trend and push Earth Overshoot Day back to December 31st and beyond. This is the minimum condition for one-planet prosperity. The only alternative is one-planet misery, where resource insecurity undermines whole economies and pits nation against nation, accelerating inequalities. This year, the coronavirus pandemic has caused humanity’s ecological footprint to contract. However, true sustainability that allows everyone on earth to thrive can only be achieved by design, not disaster.
Then and Now
08/01/1790 - The first US census ended, showing a population of nearly 4 million people.
08/01/1936 - The Olympic Games opened in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler.
08/01/1946 - The Atomic Energy Commission was established.
08/01/1957 - The US and Canada created the North American Air Defense Command.
08/01/1981 - MTV made its debut.
08/01/2020 - Lammas / Lughnasadh – Wicca, Celtic
08/02/1776 - The official signing of the Declaration of Independence took place. Nearly 50 men signed their names during the ceremony. The final six added their signatures later.
08/02/1876 - Crooked Nose McCall shot and killed Wild Bill Hickock.
08/02/1903 - Calamity Jane Burke died.
08/02/1921 - Enrico Caruso died in Italy.
08/02/1923 - President Harding died of food poisoning.
08/02/1939 - Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging the creation of an atomic weapons research program.
08/02/1965 - The first trim line phone was commercially available to the public.
08/02/1983 - The House of Representatives voted to designate the third Monday of January a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
08/02/1990 - Iraq invaded Kuwait.
08/03/1492 - Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain on a voyage that took him to the Americas.
08/03/1914 - Germany declared war on France.
08/03/2020 - National Watermelon Day
08/03/2020 - Raksha Bandhan – Hindu
08/04/1873 - Hans Christian Andersen died in Denmark.
08/04/1914 - Britain declared war on Germany while the US proclaimed its neutrality.
08/04/1944 - Nazi police raided the secret annex of a building in Amsterdam and arrested 8 people - including 15-year-old Anne Frank, whose diary became a famous account of the Holocaust. She died of Typhus in Bergen-Belsen in the spring of 1945, only weeks before the camp was liberated.
08/05/1861 - The federal government levied an income tax for the first time.
08/05/1884 - The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe's Island in NY harbor.
08/05/1914 - The first electric traffic lights were installed in Cleveland OH.
08/05/1957 - American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC.
08/05/1963 - The US, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty in Moscow banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, space and underwater.
08/06/1806 - The Holy Roman Empire went out of existence as Emperor Francis I abdicated.
08/06/1890 - NY convicted murderer William Kemmler became the first person executed in the electric chair.
08/06/1945 - The B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay dropped the first nuclear weapon, Little Boy, on Hiroshima, Japan. The bomb exploded at 58 seconds past 8:15 am, leveling every structure within a radius of 5 miles, killing at least 100,000 people and injuring at least that many more.
08/06/1965 - President Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act.
08/06/2020 - No Nukes Day
08/06/2020 - Feast of the Transfiguration – Christian
08/07/1782 - George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non-commissioned officers.
08/07/1789 - Congress established the War Department.
08/07/1959 - The US launched Explorer 6 which sent back a picture of the earth.
08/07/1964 - Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution giving the president broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese attacks on US forces.
08/07/2020 - The Texas sales tax holiday for school items begins today and runs through the 9th.
08/07/2020 - National Lighthouse Day
08/07/2020 - Purple Heart Day
08/08/1876 - Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph. (Remember that smell?)
08/08/1942 - Six convicted Nazi saboteurs who had landed in the US were executed in Washington DC. Two others received life imprisonment.
08/08/1945 - President Truman signed the United Nations Charter.
08/08/1973 - Vice President Spiro Agnew branded as "damned lies" reports he had taken kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland and vowed not to resign - which he eventually did.
08/08/1974 - President Nixon announced he would resign following new damaging revelations in the Watergate scandal.
08/09/1842 - Herman Melville escaped from the Typee Valley cannibals with whom he had spent a month in captivity in the Marquesas Islands.
08/09/1854 - Henry David Thoreau published Walden which described his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
08/09/1945 - Three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the US exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki killing an estimated 74,000 people.
08/09/1965 - Singapore proclaimed its independence from the Malaysian Federation.
08/10/1846 - Congress chartered the Smithsonian Institution, named after English scientist James Smithson.
08/10/1988 - President Reagan signed a measure providing $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans interned during WWII.
08/11/1909 - The SOS distress signal was first used by an American ship, the Arapahoe, off Cape Hatteras NC.
08/11/1962 - The Soviet Union launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.
08/11/1997 - President Clinton made the first use of the line-item veto approved by Congress. He rejected three items in spending and tax bills. The Supreme Court later struck down the line-item veto as unconstitutional.
08/11/2020 - Janmashtami / Krishna Jayanti (Birthday of Krishna) – Hindu
08/12/1851 - Isaac Singer received a patent on his sewing machine.
08/12/1898 - The US formally annexed Hawaii.
08/12/1953 - The Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
08/12/1972 - The last American combat ground troops left Vietnam.
08/13/1521 - Hernando Cortez captured present-day Mexico City from the Aztecs.
08/13/1934 - Li'l Abner, created by Al Capp, made its debut.
08/13/1942 - Walt Disney's Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
08/13/1961 - East Germany divided Berlin when it sealed off the border between the city's eastern and western sectors in order to halt the flight of refugees.
08/15/1945 - The Allies proclaimed August 15th as V-J Day a day after Japan agreed to surrender unconditionally.
08/15/1947 - India became independent after some 200 years of British rule.
08/15/1948 - The Republic of Korea was established.
08/15/1961 - East German workers began building the Berlin Wall.
08/15/1969 - Woodstock!
08/15/2020 - International Homeless Animals’ Day
08/15/2020 - Assumption Day – Christian
08/16/1812 - Detroit fell to British and Indian forces in the War of 1812.
08/16/1829 - The original "Siamese twins," Chang and Eng Bunker, arrived in Boston to become exhibits to the Western world.
08/16/1977 - Elvis Presley died at Graceland Mansion in Memphis at the age of 42.
08/16/2020 - National Roller Coaster Day
08/17/1907 - Robert Fulton's North River Steam Boat began heading up New York's Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany.
08/17/1896 - A prospecting party discovered gold in Alaska, a finding that touched off the Klondike gold rush.
08/17/2020 - Marcus Garvey's Birthday – Rastafarian
08/18/1587 - Virginia Dare became the first child of English parents to be born on American soil on what is now Roanoke Island NC.
08/18/1894 - Congress established the Bureau of Immigration.
08/18/1958 - Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita was published in the US.
08/18/1963 - James Meredith became the first black to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
08/19/1929 - Amos and Andy, starring Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, made its network radio debut on NBC.
08/19/1934 - A plebiscite in Germany approved the vesting of sole executive power in Adolf Hitler.
08/19/1991 - Soviet hard-liners announced to a shocked world that they had removed President Mikhail Gorbachev from power. The coup collapsed two days later.
08/19/2020 - Aviation Day
08/19/2020 - Al-Hijra (New Year) / Muharram begins at sunset – Muslim
08/20/1966 - President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over.
08/20/1940 - British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force by saying, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
08/20/1953 - The Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
08/21/1680 - Pueblo Indians took possession of Santa Fe NM after driving out the Spanish.
08/21/1831 - Former slave Nat Turner led a violent insurrection in Virginia. He was later executed.
08/21/1858 - The famous debates between Senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas began.
08/21/1940 - Exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in Mexico City from wounds inflicted by an assassin.
08/22/1775 - England's King George III proclaimed the American colonies in a state of open rebellion.
08/22/1846 - The US annexed New Mexico.
08/22/1851 - The schooner America outraced the Aurora off the English coast to win a trophy later known as the America's Cup.
08/22/1902 - President Theodore Roosevelt became the first US president to ride in an automobile.
08/22/1950 - Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player accepted in competition for the national championship.
08/22/2020 - Earth Overshoot Day (Ecological Debt Day) is the day on which we will have exhausted the resources our planet can renew this whole year. Tomorrow we will begin consuming more resources than the planet can regenerate in the year. Earth Overshoot Day has been calculated since the early 1970s when the world first fell into ecological deficit and it has occurred earlier every year since. An exception to that pattern is this year, when it is later than last year due to the world shutdown resulting from the coronavirus.
08/22/2020 - Ganesh Chaturthi – Hindu
08/23/1914 - Japan declared war on Germany in WWI.
08/23/1939 - Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty.
08/23/1992 - Hurricane Andrew slammed into the Bahamas with 120 mph winds.
08/24/79CE - Long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash. An estimated 20,000 people died.
08/24/410CE - Rome was overrun by the Visigoths, an event that symbolized the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
08/24/1572 - The slaughter of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.
08/24/1814 - British forces invaded Washington DC, setting fire to the Capitol and the White House.
08/24/1932 - Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly nonstop across the US, traveling from Los Angeles to Newark in just over 19 hours.
08/25/1944 - During WWII, Allied Forces liberated Paris after four years of Nazi occupation.
08/25/1984 - Truman Capote died.
08/25/2020 - Table Communion pour Dan Wezo, Roi de France – Voudon
08/26/55BCE - Roman forces under Julius Caesar invaded Britain.
08/26/1883 - The island volcano Krakatoa began erupting with increasingly large explosions.
08/26/1920 - The 19th amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote, took effect.
08/26/1957 - The Soviet Union announced it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.
08/26/2020 - Women’s Equality Day
08/27/1945 - American troops began landing in Japan following the surrender of the Japanese government in WWII.
08/27/1975 - Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia's 3,000 year old monarchy, died in Addis Ababa at the age of 83.
08/27/2020 - Petroleum Day (Texas)
08/28/1947 - A bull mortally wounded legendary bullfighter Manolete during a fight in Linare Spain. He died the following day at age 30.
08/28/1963 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his I Have a Dream speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
08/28/2020 - Ashura begins at sunset – Muslim
08/29/1533 - The last Incan King of Peru, Atahualpa, was murdered on orders from Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro.
08/29/1944 - American troops marched down the Champs Elysees in Paris as the French capital celebrated its liberation from the Nazis.
08/30/30BCE - The seventh queen of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, committed suicide.
08/30/1963 - The Hot Line communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.
08/30/1967 - The Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first black justice on the Supreme Court.
08/30/1991 - Azerbaijan declared its independence, joining the stampede of republics seeking to secede from the Soviet Union.
08/30/2020 - Agou / Agwe (through tomorrow) – Voudon
08/31/1935 - President Franklin Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of US arms to belligerents.
Online Resource Links
What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy and for how to stop it | ISIS Claims Responsibility, Calling Paris Attacks First of the Storm | Syria Iraq: The Islamic State Militant Group | Isis: The Inside Story | Frontline: The Rise of ISIS | Council on Foreign Relations: A Primer on ISIS | Cracks in ISIS Are Becoming More Clear | How ISIS’ Attacks Harm the Middle East | Timeline: the Rise, Spread and Fall of the Islamic State
Check out Today's Front Pages. Each day, you can see the front pages of more than 800 newspapers from around the world in their original, unedited form.
Whether or not you noticed, the earth's population passed 7 billion a while back. You might enjoy NPR's wonderful video, Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion.
Check out the St. Louis Fed's presentation The Financial Crisis: What Happened?. The original video is no longer available but you can view the power point presentation.
Want to take a survey but not sure how many responses to collect? This Survey Calculator gives you the number for any given population size and desired confidence level. A reverse calculator lets you enter characteristics of an existing survey and gives the confidence interval (±X%) to apply to the results. The Survey System site, sponsored by a survey software company, also gives clear explanations of statistical significance, survey design and related concepts. Also check out 20 Questions a Journalist (and You, too!) Should Ask About Poll Results.
PBS's 30 Second Candidate allows you to view more political ads than you ever knew existed. Choose the Historical Timeline link to see how political ads have changed over the years. Start with the infamous Daisy Ad that Lyndon Johnson used against Barry Goldwater. Click on Watch Johnson ads. Then click on either the QuickTime link or the Real Video link next to Daisy.
Check out Political Compass. The site does a good job of explaining political ideologies (although with definitions different from those I use) and gives you a chance to discover your own political philosophy.
Law Library of Congress: North Korea: Collection of links to websites on North Korean government, politics and law. Includes legal guides, country studies and links to constitutions and branches of government (where available). Council on Foreign Relations: North Korea: Background, articles and opinion pieces about North Korea government and politics. Many of the articles focus on North Korea's nuclear program. From the Council on Foreign Relations, "an independent membership organization and a nonpartisan think tank and publisher."
State of the Union (SOTU): The site uses an interactive timeline to provide a visual representation of prominent words in presidential State of the Union addresses by displaying significant words as "determined by comparing how frequently the word occurs in the document to how frequently it appears throughout the entire body of SOTU addresses." The Appendices section describes the statistical methods used. Also includes the full text of addresses.
Small Town Papers: This site provides access to scanned images of recent issues of dozens of small town newspapers from throughout the United States. Newspapers are updated periodically, 2-3 weeks after publication. The site also includes a searchable archive (of articles, photos and advertisements), which covers different periods for each paper, some as far back as the 1890s. Access to the archives requires free registration.
This website serves as a centralized location to learn about the Congressional Research Service and search for CRS reports that have been released to the public by members of Congress. (CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report.) Features a searchable database with more than 8,000 reports, a list of recently released reports, other collections of CRS reports and a FAQ about CRS.
Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798 - 2020: This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past US military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted.
Keeping the Shi'ites Straight Based on the opinion that no story has been more confusing for the Western news media to cover in postwar Iraq than the politics of the country's Shi'ite majority, this article provides a basic outline of Shi'ite religious history. Discusses the Sadr family (Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr, Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and Muqtada as-Sadr), Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim and other figures.
This commercial site presents brief information about dozens of Black Inventors from the United States. Some entries include portraits and images. Also includes a searchable timeline covering 1721-1988. Does not include bibliographic information.
Annenberg Political Fact Check: This site describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in US politics. The site provides original articles, with summaries and sources, analyzing factual accuracy in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Searchable. From the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
White House Tapes: The President Calling: Three of America's most compelling presidents -- Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon -- bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. In this documentary project, American Radio Works eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history. Includes audio, a transcript of the documentary and background information on each president and the tapes.
The State of State and Local Finances: New studies afford a state-by-state or city-by-city analysis of fiscal well being. The Year of Living Dangerously: While leaders in a growing number of states appear to believe they're serving the public good by squeezing government dry, there's little question that minimizing management carries a host of dangers that directly affect the lives of citizens.
Government Debt by Country Map: Shows countries' general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP in 2012.
First Amendment Library: Provides info on Supreme Court First Amendment jurisprudence, including rulings, arguments, briefs, historical material, commentary and press coverage.
If you need a presentation or workshop for your group,
or the link at the top of the page.