Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Pyramids at Giza

Fig.1: If the pyramids were built today, insurance companies would claim they need to be replaced in thirty years to account for "regular wear and tear" and "water damage."
Close your eyes and think of Egypt. What's the first thing you see? No, not the horrendous special effects in The Mummy franchise. You're probably thinking of the pyramids at Giza, carefully guarded by that watchful sphinx. This complex (officially called a "necropolis," meaning "city of I see dead people") is one of the most famous attractions in the world, visited annually by millions of tourists who don't mind having sand in their hair forever. Not only is the Great Pyramid the oldest of the Ancient Wonders of the World, it's the only one still standing! (I know I'd trust those contractors more than the slackers that made the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!) Most importantly, without these Ancient Egyptian works of engineering, we wouldn't have any clue what a polyhedron with the characteristics of a conic solid and a polygonal base is called, cause we sure ain't learning that crap from the 10th grade math teacher in whose class we spent more time playing Candy Crush.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

George Washington

It's Presidents' Day Weekend in the United States! So while you're out buying discounted mattresses and SUV's with 0% APR and $0 due at signing, let us remember the 44 leaders that have made the tough decisions so us commoners don't have to think about petty things like budgets and diplomacy and when they're re-invading Vietnam for the grudge match. I'll be going through all the presidents one by one at this time every year, which will take about 44 years (maybe I'll do Grover Cleveland twice). But we may have six to eleven more during that span, and then another one or two in the added time needed to cover them, so I'll probably be pushing up daisies before I'm done with this (especially if the Vietcong captures me in the counter-invasion).

Fig.1: Only an infallible man can sucker punch like that.
The Commander-in-Chief. The Father of His Country. The American Cincinnatus. The Conflagration from the Plantation (used during his UFC days, fig 1). Whatever you like to call him, everyone knows all about George Washington. He led the Patriots to victory over the British in the American War for Independence, allowing for the establishment of a free United States that would kick butt in everything for the next 200+ years. He presided over the Constitutional Convention, creating a governmental framework without any possible pitfalls. He became the very first President, and set various precedents for the office from titles, term limits, neutrality, and the fact that the American executive doesn't need to put the seat down for anybody. He is arguably the greatest man in the history of history! Unfortunately, there are many people who are willing to be arguably about it. Recent scholarship has attempted to take Washington down a notch or two, and show that he exhibited many shortcomings during his lifetime. I'm here to combat these so-called historians ("communists" is probably the more appropriate term) and present Washington the way he needs to be to those impressionable school children: as a hero who could do no wrong. Only then can Americans feel better about themselves.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Luba and Lunda Kingdoms

Fig.1: Did you know that the Luba and Lunda Kingdoms would hold hands while sleeping so they wouldn't float away from each other?
There have been a countless number of memorable kingdoms throughout African history. Most prominently are the Zulu Kingdom, the Mali Empire, the... um... the uh... well.... Did I mention the Zulu Kingdom? Hmmm, well I guess that's about all most of us know.  Well, there have been a countless number of kingdoms throughout African history that deserve to be memorable! As a public service, I will enlighten you about many of these entities that were doing just fine until those Europeans decided to scramble everything up. Here, I'll give you two histories for the price of one with the Central African sibling states of the Luba and Lunda. Unlike many kingdoms that existed contemporary of one another between the 17th and 19th centuries, they did not engage in continuous warfare (I'm looking at you, England and France), but actually strengthened political ties and returned each other's power tools when borrowed. Also, their respective government systems based on power sharing preserved order and prevented civil disputes during their rule. It's a lesson many states can learn from, especially ones in the lands that the Luba and Lunda once ruled (I'm looking at you, Shiny Happy People's Democratic Republic of the Congo).