The Life of Anne Frank Lives On

by Josepha Da Costa, age 13

The heartbreaking story of Anne Frank lives through the diary she kept for two years while hiding from the Nazis.

Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany to an upper-class Jewish family. For the first four years of her life, she lived an ordinary, happy childhood. When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, anti-Semitism encouraged by Nazi policies affected Jewish families such as Anne's. Anne's father, Otto Frank, moved to Amsterdam to escape persecution, and later started a business named the Dutch Opekta Company; his family joined him a year later. [read more]

The Rich History of the Mayans

by Leilani McNeal, age 13

Who were the Mayans? The Mayan empire is one of the most well-known civilizations in history. Located in the highlands and lowlands of Mesoamerica, Mayan civilizations had unique plazas, temples, and pyramids. The Mayan empire lasted from 300 BC- 1519 AD. The Mayans made an important impact on history.

The Mayans had a large amount of land with many societies. Archaeologists divided Mayan territory into highlands and lowlands. Within the two locations, the Mayans had different societies, found in the lowlands during both Late Pre-Classic period (300 BC – 250 AD) and the Classic period (250 BC – 900 AD). The Late Pre-Classic period displayed social development and more societies appeared in the Mayan lowlands. The Classic period was characterized by great stone cities and monuments. They manufactured goods and created artwork to sell and trade. The dense Mayan population made it challenging to manage agricultural production. For the most part, however, the Mayans had a strategic system to feed the population. [read more]

The Fascinating History of Catalonia

by Desteny Alvarez, age 13

Catalonia, located in Northeast Spain, was an independent region from Spain and Portugal back in 1150 with separate laws and a separate language. It strived for political independence from Spain.

In 1150, Petronilia, queen of Aragon, and Roman Berenguer, count of Barcelona, married, and later passed their dynasty to their son. The dynasty existed until King Philip V was defeated in the war of Spanish succession. First, Valencia was defeated, then Catalonia and other islands. Thanks to the defeat of Valencia, modern-day Spain was formed. The succeeding kings tried to keep the Spanish language and laws of the region because of Catalonia's separatism. Catalan general Francisco Franco took control of the region in 1938 killing 3,500 people and exiling many more. In 1977, Catalonia regained autonomy with a new democracy. In July 2010, the Constitutional Court in Madrid ruled that there were no laws showing Catalonia had to be under Spanish control. Since Barcelona supported the wealthiest part of Catalonia, the Spanish economic crisis increased Catalan desire for independence. [read more]

The Dark History of the Holocaust

by Desteny Alvarez, age 13

The word "Holocaust" comes from a Greek word and can be divided in "holos" (wholes) and "kaustos" (burned). It was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar. Since 1945, this word has taken a whole new and terrible meaning - the mass murder of over 6 million European Jews and many other members of persecuted groups. Those groups included homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other religious groups. This was caused by the German Nazis, who ruled during World War II.

Prejudice against Jews didn't start with Adolf Hitler. There had been evidence of hostility toward Jews long before the Holocaust – such as when Roman authorities destroyed the Jewish temple of Jerusalem. Jews were forced to evacuate Palestine. During World World I, prejudice against Jews suffering took on a racial character rather than a religious one. [read more]

Recent History Articles

Archaeologists recently discovered a sarcophagus, which is much like a coffin, that was almost 2,000 years old in Germany. This sarcophagus contained the remains of an ancient woman. This discovery is particularly interesting because the woman went to her afterlife fully prepared with jewelry, makeup, and perfume. [read more...]
In AD 500, Teotihuacán was the largest and most sophisticated city in Mesoamerica. Today, it is a famous visitation site and remains one of the greatest wonders of the world. [read more...]
On the morning of July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert in Socorro County, New Mexico, the first large-scale atomic weapons test took place. Conducted by the United States Army and code named “Trinity,” the detonation of the nuclear weapon created a fireball that could be seen 250 miles away. [read more...]
Krakatoa, also called Krakatau, is a volcanic island that made waves worldwide. It was one of the most powerful and devastating eruptions in modern history, killing 36,417 people. [read more...]
European settlers such as Frank Hudson gave the Yahara Lakes beautiful Native American names. Lake Monona, Lake Mendota, Lake Kegonsa among other lakes are well-known to Madison residents; but many do not know why the settlers chose such a specific style of names. [read more...]
Scientists have long pondered what disease could have been strong enough to cause the end of the Aztecs. A new study reveals that a lethal form of the bacteria salmonella could be the culprit of the Aztec’s demise. [read more...]
As the first African American female to exhibit her abstract art solo at the Whitney Museum in New York, Alma Thomas lived a life filled with meaningful and lasting achievements. [read more...]
Female scientists in the past, such as Rosalind Franklin, Mae C. Jemson, and Ada Lovelace, have worked to demolish the stereotype that science is a profession for a man. There are, however, even earlier females who jump-started pathways for women in science. [read more...]
Although the name of Death Valley makes the place sound like it has to do with death, it is just in relation to the scorching heat. Death Valley is located in California near the Pacific Ocean. It is very dry and hot, and the temperature can be anywhere from 120° F or higher on a normal day. [read more...]
The Black Death was one of the worst global pandemics in history. The Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, was a calamitous epidemic that devastated Europe and Asia in the mid-1300’s. [read more...]
Kremlins are beautiful buildings in Russia. The most famous Kremlin is in Moscow. It has an interesting history and many mesmerizing rooms. [read more...]
En el siglo XIX, los Estados Unidos querían construir un canal interoceánico en Nicaragua que conectaría el océano Atlántico con el Pacífico. [read more...]
Ever since the redistricting maps of 2011, gerrymandering in Wisconsin has been in the political spotlight. Redistricting―redrawing voting district boundaries―is a regular occurrence in the United States. It’s intended to adjust political maps based on population and allow for fair elections. Unfortunately, it has been manipulated to further political agendas in an act called “gerrymandering.” Since the majority party draws the lines, redistricting is often used to suppress opposition and keep a certain party in power. However, an increasing number of voters and politicians are calling for reform of the redistricting process to create fairer voting districts. [read more...]
¿Alguna vez te has preguntado cómo fue inventada la primera videocasetera o el primer reproductor de DVD’s? [read more...]
In the spring of 1991, a graphic and inflammatory video surfaced. It had caught Rodney King, an African-American man, being beaten by four Los Angeles policemen, three of whom were White. Their acquittal of the brutality gave way to five days of riots in LA fueled by outrage and injustice. [read more...]
The Deepwater Horizon spill is known as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. To fully understand this event, it is important to know the science behind it. [read more...]
In Windsor, Ontario in Canada, a humming sound has been occurring for years, and its source has yet to be identified. [read more...]
The role of journalism in society has changed drastically throughout the last couple decades. One event that contributed to this change is the Watergate scandal. The film All the President's Men focuses on the Watergate scandal, which brought down the presidency of Richard M. Nixon. [read more...]
Helen Keller was unique and will always be a role model for the many things she accomplished. Helen was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880, on June 27. Her dad, Arthur Keller, was a captain in the confederate army. After her mom died, she was raised by Kate Adams, a young woman who was soon married to Mr. Keller. Helen had four sisters and brothers. [read more...]
Malcolm X was an American Muslim leader, born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a well-known figure in the Nation of Islam, who came up with concepts of race pride and Black nationalism in the early 1960s. His autobiography was widely read after he was assassinated, which made him a hero among Black youth and the Black community. [read more...]
The heartbreaking story of Anne Frank lives through the diary she kept for two years while hiding from the Nazis. [read more...]
Vincent Van Gogh was a very misunderstood Dutch artist who created many priceless works. Though he could do anything from sketch to paint, he mostly painted. One of his most famous paintings is Starry Night, which he created in 1889. [read more...]
Sexism and even theft sometimes played roles in the crediting of various scientific discoveries throughout history. Rosalind Franklin, a brilliant woman who lived during the 1900’s, and her work with DNA is a perfect example of this. [read more...]
Who were the Mayans? The Mayan empire is one of the most well-known civilizations in history. Located in the highlands and lowlands of Mesoamerica, Mayan civilizations had unique plazas, temples, and pyramids. The Mayan empire lasted from 300 BC- 1519 AD. The Mayans made an important impact on history. [read more...]
Catalonia, located in Northeast Spain, was an independent region from Spain and Portugal back in 1150 with separate laws and a separate language. It strived for political independence from Spain. [read more...]
The word "Holocaust" comes from a Greek word and can be divided in "holos" (wholes) and "kaustos" (burned). It was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar. Since 1945, this word has taken a whole new and terrible meaning - the mass murder of over 6 million European Jews and many other members of persecuted groups. Those groups included homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other religious groups. This was caused by the German Nazis, who ruled during World War II. [read more...]
Do you know who Betty Shabazz was? She was the wife of Malcolm X. She was an educated woman who lived a hard life. [read more...]
Perhaps one of the best known heroines of history is Joan of Arc. Her bravery, conviction, and ultimate canonization has been an inspiration for men and women alike for centuries. One 1928 silent film captures the drama of her famous story as none other could. [read more...]
The Freedom Riders movement began May 12, 1961. The Freedom Riders were a group of activists, originally seven black, six white, who protested segregation in the South for seven months. Their goal was to integrate transportation and facilities in the southern states. Their courageous actions during this time sparked massive controversy. They were brutally beaten, arrested, and faced racial oppression. The Freedom Riders are a symbol of justice, civil rights, and activism. [read more...]
The “Father of Modern Gynecology,” James Marion Sims, is celebrated all over the United States for his pioneering work in women’s reproductive health. What many overlook is his reputation for intrusive experimentation on Black slave women without their consent, or in his words, the most “memorable time” of his life. Sims’ controversial means of discovery is one in a long history of the ‘Black lab rat’ narrative. [read more...]
Qin Shihuangdi started building the Great Wall between 220 – 210 BC. Its primary purpose was to protect the country by keeping the northern Mongolian horsemen away, using a structure of bricks and stones. The wall also served as a way to send information. Messages were sent from the watchtowers using smoke signals during the day and bonfires at night. According to an official measurement, the wall is 3,946 miles long. But in 1990, a Chinese walker measured 4,163 miles on his pedometer when he walked along the wall. [read more...]
Scientists have always believed that there was one mass migration of people across the land bridge between Asia and the Americas. This group of people then split in two, forming the northern and southern groups, which are the ancestors of modern day Native Americans. This belief was mostly based on DNA from bodies and remains found in settlements. However, a new discovery might completely change the theories about these people and their paths. [read more...]
British writer and feminist Virginia Woolf is one of the most influential writers of the early 20th century. Her writing challenged the values recognized during the Victorian era and made progress for women. Although her writing was unpopular during her lifetime, she was an inspiration for women in questioning social normalities for future authors. [read more...]
Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4th, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. She lived across Europe in places like London, Kent, Linkebeek, Tolochenaz and Arnhem. She was the child of Ella van Heemstra and Joseph Ruston. She died on January 29, 1993 of Appendix cancer. [read more...]
Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who died in 1951 from cervical cancer. Her cells, on the other hand, are still alive and continue to grow. Scientists are using her cells made huge medical discoveries decades after her death and their existence has made modern medicine as we know it today. [read more...]
Imagine a shining utopian city with flying cars, robots, and towering glass buildings filled with elaborate technology. Who do you see inhabiting this city? One concept might change your view: Afrofuturism. [read more...]
During the wild – 1900’s, black homes and churches were bombed so often that Birmingham, Alabama that the city got the nickname "Bombingham". [read more...]
World War Two lasted from September 3, 1939, to August 14, 1945. Researchers estimate that over 60 million people died in this war, which damaged Europe’s political and economic standing in the world. [read more...]
The Midwest harbors many fascinating many mounds, burial sites, and historical landmarks - some are even located in Wisconsin. [read more...]
Billie Jean King is amazing. A role model to everyone from gay rights activists to female equality supporters, this tennis player is well-known all over the world. Born Billie Jean Moffitt, Billie Jean was born on November 22, 1947, and grew up in Long Beach, California. As a child, Billie Jean was surrounded by athletes. Her father, Bill Moffitt, was a firefighter and a sportsman, and her brother, Randy Moffitt, became a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. [read more...]
The McCarthy Youth & Conservation County Park is a spacious park in Cottage Grove that offers many activities for families and friends to enjoy. The park’s 285 acres of land features equestrian trails, hiking trails, camping sites, sledding hills, snowshoe trails, cross-country ski trails, picnic areas, and archery areas. [read more...]
Today, many recently established news companies use social media outlets like Facebook or Snapchat. Even though these companies may be under fire from more traditional publishers of news, such as the New York Times, the style of journalism being used is very similar to that of early American newspapers. [read more...]
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is an historically-important building located in London, of course, named after William Shakespeare. Both the backstory and construction of the Globe are as interesting as the playwright himself. [read more...]
On April 20th, 1999, two American teenagers named Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, were responsible for 13 deaths and many more injuries among teachers and students at Columbine High School in Colorado. This shooting was the biggest at the time in the United States. [read more...]
The Middle Ages were quite different from today’s world, from country life to city living. [read more...]
December 16, 1960, at 10:45 am, an airliner came blazing through Brooklyn, New York, crashing into another plane. [read more...]
In March 12, 1928, at 11:57 p.m. the St. Francis Dam broke, freeing 12.6 billion gallons of water into the San Francisquito Canyon, destroying lots of homes, and claiming innocent lives. [read more...]
The Capital Times, founded by William T. Evjue, turns 100 years old this year. Current editor emeritus, Dave Zweifel, is proud of the newspaper’s long and rich history. In fact, Mr. Zweifel refers to The Capital Times as Madison's proudly radical newspaper. [read more...]
Ancient Egyptians were skilled mathematicians and architects who built huge stone monuments in honor of their rulers. One type of monument they built for their pharaohs was the pyramid. The most impressive of the ancient monuments were the Egyptian pyramids which were built in Giza. [read more...]
Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy, the third child born to the prominent political Kennedy family, spent many years in the background of various family members’ success. A tragic incident at birth left Rosemary intellectually disabled. The remainder of her life was filled with rejection and sadness amidst her struggle to survive. [read more...]
Historians call the process of African colonization “The Scramble for Africa.” It began with an agreement at the Berlin conference, which lasted from 1884 to 1885. There, representatives from 15 European countries met to decide on the process to colonize the continent. [read more...]
America's youngest military branch has become arguably the world leader in aeronautical engineering and technology. Its mark in recent history is deep, from becoming one of the first military branches of its kind in the world, to playing a major role in recent wars. As wars and turmoil continue, the Air Force will continue to flourish, grow, and progress as America's protectors of the skies. They will continue to pursue their motto: "Fly. Fight. Win." [read more...]
From 1789 to 1799, the people of France led their country in a revolution that marked a huge turning point in European history and led to the end of the French Monarchy. The period included the Reign of Terror which lasted for from 1793 to 1794. [read more...]
In the cold, far east of Europe, there is a country that borders Poland and Russia. Its history of Varangian tribes, Viking rule, and Russian occupation has made for a unique country. This nation, Ukraine, is also home to many revolutionaries. [read more...]
Born in the late 1750’s, Alexander Hamilton was an American Founding Father and is now portrayed on the 10 dollar bill. He grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. His father left when he was only 10-years old and two years later, his mother died of an illness. [read more...]
When did the New World and the Old World really meet? Pre-Columbian theories claim that interaction between the indigenous Americans and people from Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania occurred before Columbus. With a large diversity of scientific, linguistic, physical, and folklore evidence of contact from four different continents, it seems plausible that this was the case. [read more...]
Now famous recording and performing artist and actor Will Smith succeeded at an early age. In fact, he became a millionaire before the age of 18. Amazingly, he has been just as successful throughout his career. [read more...]
Everyone knows that the Earth revolves around the Sun, right? It seems like it should be obvious. But Nicolas Copernicus lived in a time when this very thought was ridiculed by the majority of people. [read more...]
On May 12, 1820, a girl was born to affluent British parents in Florence, Italy. Growing up as a member of “respectable society”, she was expected to follow the conventional route for someone with her status at the time, which included marrying well. To her parents’ chagrin, however, she was more interested in healing the sick than courting eligible young men, and she even rejected the “respectable” boy who proposed to her. Worse than that, she loved math, which displeased her parents the most. She was Florence Nightingale: the “Lady with the Lamp,” a famous nurse in the Crimean War, and—perhaps most notably— a mathematician. [read more...]
Mandrake the Magician, a man capable of hypnotism and illusion, debuted as the first super hero in 1934. Four years later, Superman came flying into the comic book world and immediately became an idol to children and adults across the nation. [read more...]
The flu pandemic of 1918 was one of the largest and deadliest in history. The influenza, or flu, pandemic infected about 500 million people—about one third of the planet’s population at that time. The flu infected more than 25 percent of the U.S. population, and more than 675,000 Americans died. The disease was first seen in Europe, the U.S., and parts of Asia. Then it spread around the world. The first flu vaccine was decades away; there was no effective treatment available in 1918. [read more...]
Years before Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights, Jackie Robinson became the first black man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. [read more...]
Martin Luther King Jr. was an incredibly influential civil rights activist not only to the African-American community but also worldwide. He fought for equal rights for African-Americans and other groups of people until he was assassinated in 1968. [read more...]
The term “metropolis” is typically used to refer to a large, bustling city with tall buildings and constant movement. A 1927 silent movie by the same name made cinematographic history, and despite its subtle-but-strong influence on popular culture, you’ve likely never even heard of it. [read more...]
Although Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his art, he was also a remarkable scientist. In fact, his 13,000 page notebook was full of inventions ranging from clocks to battle tanks that are still used today. [read more...]
About 250 people died in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The famous, or infamous, Chicago Fire remains a sad and well-known chapter in American history. What many people don’t know is that up to 2,400 people died in a much larger but relatively unknown fire in northeast Wisconsin. The Peshtigo Fire was the deadliest fire in United States history. Both of these fires occurred on the tragic evening of October 8, 1871. [read more...]
In the 1940’s, most scientists were men. This was the case until the admiral Dr. Grace Hopper came along and flipped the script. [read more...]
If you've ever studied poetry, you've likely read “Phenomenal Woman” or “Still I Rise.” These are only two of the classics written by the talented, inspiring poet Maya Angelou. [read more...]
Thousands of years ago, when farming began, it changed the world. Centuries ago, meat made up about a third of prehistoric peoples' diet. Since they had to follow the herds of animals they hunted, these early people never stayed put in one place, they lived as nomads. [read more...]
Many students know about the European front during World War II, but fewer may have learned in-depth about the just-as-relevant Pacific/Asian front. [read more...]
Many figures have changed the literary world throughout history, Chilean author Roberto Bolaño is one such figure. [read more...]
What would you do for a million dollars? Would you lie about who you are? Make up talents? Threaten blackmail? Infamous conwoman Cassie Chadwick did all of the above in pursuit of money. [read more...]
Many years ago, horses here considered wild animals roamed and lived free. For centuries, they ran in large herds around the world among humans and other species. [read more...]
Earlier this year, scientists stumbled upon a specimen they claim to be the oldest fossil ever discovered – dating back at least 3.77 billion years. In a recent study, researchers Mattew S. Dodd, Dr. Dominic Papineau, and their colleagues at the University College London examined rocks from a formation in Canada called Nuvvuagittuq. [read more...]
Simpson Street, the road on which Simpson Street Free Press was established, was once a corn field and the Royal Airport. The area around Antler’s Tavern—a beloved institution—has been through many challenges, but it’s always had a strong sense of community. [read more...]
You’ve probably heard of DNA—the genetic information contained in each human cell— but perhaps you haven’t heard of the person who helped discover its unique structure: Rosalind Franklin. Though her discoveries about DNA structure led to a paper that won the Nobel Prize. Franklin's accomplishments were not initially credited to her. Luckily, records of Franklin's work ultimately came to light, and her true contributions to science are now understood by the general public. [read more...]
Did you know that 90 percent of the people who live in Thailand are Buddhist and about three million people there are Muslims? The lifestyle in Thailand is probably very different than yours. [read more...]
Over 430,001 years ago, a murder occurred in Northern Spain. Well, at least a suspected one. In the cave system Sima de los Huesos, translated in English to Pit of Bones, scientists found a skull with many injuries. [read more...]
A recent finding published in the journal Nature Genetics suggests that a gene associated with short stature, reduced mobility, and sore joints might have played a key role in the survival of humans during the Ice Age. [read more...]
You probably know the legend of the majestic, antlered deer that live in the North Pole. You may even know that reindeer exist outside of Christmas stories. But did you know that there are actually people who live among reindeer? [read more...]
Ancient people described the Milky Way galaxy as 'a river, milk, and a path', according to legend. The Milky Way galaxy in which we live is just like billions of other galaxies. Most of the stars in the Milky Way are older than the 4.5 billion-year-old sun. [read more...]
Thousands of years ago, a pharaoh named Tutankhamun— commonly known as “Tut”—lie on his deathbed. He was one of the youngest pharaohs ever to rule Egypt. Ever since King Tut’s mummified body was discovered in 1922, archaeologists have worked to uncover the mystery of his life and early death. [read more...]
Rulers of Japan for almost 700 years, the Samurai warriors established an impressive legacy, one that continues to astound many to this day. Recently, SSFP staff and students had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of Samurai warriors at the Chazen Museum of Art’s stunning “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” exhibit. [read more...]
While white male land-owners have enjoyed the right to vote since the formation of the United States, American women protested and campaigned for the right to vote—a movement called suffrage. [read more...]
In the 21st century, the world is at our fingertips. Smartphones provide the answers to any question imaginable in just a few seconds. These pocket-sized devices also allow users to connect with others almost anytime, anywhere. Yet while we may take them for granted, smartphones didn’t always exist: inventors worked through decades of design to bring us the modern phone we have today. [read more...]
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a great word—phrase even—simply because of how fun it is to say. [read more...]
Recently, a team from Madison’s James C. Wright Middle School took home the championship in a national African American History Challenge Bowl competition in New Orleans. [read more...]
In Ancient Greece, the world was different than it is in many places now. There, people regularly killed domestic animals such as oxen, sheep, and goats and offered them as sacrifices to their gods. In fact, sacrifice was part of the Ancient Greeks' religion. [read more...]
Since the 1970’s, an ongoing debate concerning the blood of dinosaurs has engaged scientists and civilians alike. Although there is no direct evidence that indicates if dinosaurs were cold-blooded or warm-blooded, scientists do have some guesses. [read more...]
In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Thirteen years earlier, he changed the course of civil rights when he successfully defended Brown vs. Board of Education before the Supreme Court and struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal” in public education. [read more...]
Mildred Dresselhaus, “Queen of Carbon” and famous physicist, died at the age of 86 on February 20, 2017. She was beloved by professors and students at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and remembered as the school's groundbreaking first fully-tenured female professor. Dresselhaus mentored many and achieved a number of great feats before her death. [read more...]
In the late 1970s, German citizens Gunter Wentzel and Peter Strelzyk made a historic flight in a homemade hot air balloon to escape East Germany. Even though their story is not the most popular or well-known, it is remarkable indeed. [read more...]
California’s Yosemite National Park is a very large and beautiful place. Home to thousands of animal and plant species, the park boasts awesome mountains, scenic valleys, and clear rivers. [read more...]
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a comet! Comets are small lumps of ice that move on the outskirts of the solar system in the direction of the sun. When a comet gets hot, a beam of light shoots out from its front and forms two shining “tails” on its back. Comets are parts of matter left over from the creation of the Solar System. [read more...]
Everything in the world is made up of one or more elements. The Periodic Table of Elements charts all the different elements and their characteristics. It is organized by each element's mass. [read more...]
Two years ago I visited the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico with my parents. This was an incredible experience, and I learned so much about the Pyramid. [read more...]
Saturn, “the gas planet,” is composed of 96 percent hydrogen and four percent helium. But it's 100 percent my favorite planet! Galileo Galilei first discovered Saturn in 1610. He described its rings as “handles.” Conveniently, Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens also reported seeing Saturn, which he once described as having “a thin flat ring which nowhere touches the body.” [read more...]
These days, you may see people wearing safety pins and wonder, “what’s up with that?” Before answering this question, it's necessary to consider the history of the safety pin. [read more...]
Before Bob Dylan was the music legend he ultimately became, he wrote a love song to the dairy state, Wisconsin. The lyric sheet for this unreleased piece will today cost $30,000 minimum. [read more...]
The Golden Gate Bridge is a stunning entry-way to the city of San Francisco. But it never would have become one of the 100 Wonders of the World without the determination of architect Joseph B. Strauss. [read more...]
In the 16th century, over 400 people in Strasbourg, France ‘danced themselves to death.’ Yes, that’s right: these Frenchmen literally killed themselves by dancing. [read more...]
Famous former president and icon Abraham Lincoln changed the world with one document: the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Throughout his life and presidency, however, Lincoln also accomplished much more. [read more...]
The pyramids of Giza are wonderful, historical monuments and the oldest of the Seven Great Wonders of the World. They leave all other pyramids behind in terms of size, architecture, and legacy. [read more...]
People all over the world took notice when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon in 1969. However, a far smaller population knows of Margaret Hamilton’s contribution to the Apollo 11 mission and moon landing. Recent national interest in understanding the historic role of women in science has generated new enthusiasm for Hamilton’s work. [read more...]
The Black Death, also known as the “bubonic plague,” was a horrible illness that affected Europe and Asia from the 14th through the 15th century. During this period, known today as the Middle Ages, 25 million people died from the Black Death. [read more...]
Albert Einstein was a renowned physicist and remains one of the most famous scientists to this day. His findings, especially his General Theory of Relativity, completely re-shaped the way the world views the universe. [read more...]
China, Greece, Rome, and Central American countries all claim they started the beloved sport of soccer nearly 2,000 years ago. It might surprise you to learn, however, that soccer actually became the sport we know today in England. [read more...]
Have you ever seen a 20,000-pound crocodile or piano-sized fish at the zoo? Probably not. These prehistoric beasts, including the “ShieldCroc” and “Old Four Legs,” lived one hundred million years ago. [read more...]
African American leader Huey P. Newton lived a complicated life full of ups and downs. He is most famous for co-founding the Black Panther Party. The organization’s main goal was to defend Black Americans and promote their advancement through housing, education, and job opportunities. [read more...]
The Eye of Providence symbolizes the all-seeing eye of God. It shows an eye often surrounded by rays of light. This symbol is found on a lot of coats of arms, seals, and logos of states and countries. [read more...]
No one has visited the Moon since 1972 when the last of the Apollo missions left. [read more...]
“Bootleggers and Baptists.” When I first heard this phrase, I thought that it must be some expression that refers to a dull topic that only middle-aged adults would understand. But as I conducted more research, I soon discovered that the phrase is actually a storied saying with a fascinating origin! [read more...]
One of the most fearsome leaders of the early 5th century was not a war general or a dictator. No, he was the short, illegitimate son of an Irish king. His story is often overlooked in history books and little is known about his personal life, but his legacy lives on along with his name: he is Niall of the Nine Hostages. [read more...]
The Salem Witch Trials began and ended in Massachusetts in the early 1690s. Accused of practicing witchcraft, 200 people were prosecuted and put in prison during this time; 20 of whom were eventually hanged. [read more...]
The question “is music poetry?” crossed my mind on a Tuesday afternoon at the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom, when I stumbled across a news release my editor Aarushi Agni had placed inside my folder. The release, a recent article from The New York Times, explained the reactions of the literature community after the iconic Folk singer/songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his songwriting work. [read more...]
Back in the 1800s, many Irish people emigrated to Wisconsin. To this day, their descendants continue to live throughout the state and influence its culture. [read more...]
A famous symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty was originally a gift to the United States from France in admiration of our nation's democracy. [read more...]
Ella Fitzgerald, also known as “The First Lady of Song,” was an astonishing singer. Born to William Fitzgerald and Temperance “Tempie” Williams Fitzgerald, in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917, Fitzgerald lived solely with her mother. [read more...]
For thousands of years, humans have been watching the sky. They’ve mastered the patterns of the stars and can easily find constellations like the zodiacs, Pleiades, the Big Dipper, Orion, and many other star clusters. Ancient people knew their way around the night sky; if you want to learn to be as skilled in astronomy and stargazing as they were, follow these tips below. [read more...]
Journalist and Civil Rights activist Ida B. Wells fought against prejudice with her powerful words. She paved the way for other women of color to speak out against injustice. [read more...]
When one thinks about Egypt, gold-hued visions of pyramids, mummies, and ancient structures might come to mind. But what people do these treasures honor and why? [read more...]
In a year that claimed many lives, famous and otherwise, the world has lost a great scientific mind. While she has never been a household name, Vera Rubin was a groundbreaking scientist. [read more...]
A big-time star with an attitude, Selena Quintanilla Perez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, on April 16, 1971. She began performing as a child and, by age of 10, became the lead singer in her family band, "Selena y Los Dinos". [read more...]
Genghis Khan, infamous warrior of central Asia, was born in 1167. Originally born “Temujin,” he was the son of a tribal chief. [read more...]
On December 8, 2016, America bade farewell to an American legend. John Glenn, senator, lifelong pilot, decorated war veteran, and one of NASA’s first astronauts passed away in his home state of Ohio. [read more...]
Did you know that Louis Pasteur helped get germs out of milk? Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist, was born on December 27, 1822, in Dole, France. He lived with his father in Arbois, France. Not a very good student but an excellent artist, Pasteur earned a bachelor’s degree in arts in 1840, and another one in science in 1842. He received his doctorate from the École Normale in Paris. Pasteur spent years researching and teaching at Dijon Lycée before he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. [read more...]
Thousands of black youth marched out of their homes and schools in Birmingham, Alabama, and out onto the streets to protest for their rights, on the morning of May 2, 1963. People may not know, but black youth, aged six-17, were just as involved in the Civil Rights Movement as their parents. Youth often went to mass meetings and protests with their parents. Despite their young age, they also noticed segregation, such as separate water fountains, bathrooms, schools, and seats on buses. They even had separate spelling bees and art festivals. Overall, whites had better options. Many children also witnessed bombings and had other traumatic experiences. They called their town “Bombingham.” These kids soon had their own protest. [read more...]
Henry Ford was a giant in the automobile industry. [read more...]
What sport helps participants stay strong, win battles, and teaches valuable self- defense? Karate, of course! A long time ago in Japan, karate was brought to the Okinawan Islands by a Chinese family. In Japanese, karate literally means “empty hands.” Karate originated here because weapons were banned in Japan at the time, so hands became the weapons of choice for many warriors. [read more...]
Before about 1770, most things were made by hand instead of by powered machinery. An early example of powered machines arose in Britain. [read more...]
In 1901, astronomer A. E. Douglas had an idea about how to study the effect of sunspot cycles on the Earth. Little did he know that this very idea would ultimately lead to some important discoveries. [read more...]
Katrin Brendemuehl, age 13 and Callan Bird Bear, age 12 The gorgeous artwork crafted by Native American tribes known as beadwork can be as intricate as the wings of a dragonfly. The allure of colorful glass beads against a dark, rich fabric is enough to catch nearly anyone’s eye. This fall, the James Watrous Gallery, a gallery at the Overture Center with a focus on contemporary Wisconsin artists, features these culturally significant, powerful works. [read more...]
In 1631, while giving birth to her 14th child, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife passed away. When the Emperor lost his beloved wife, his hair grew white from grief and he vowed to build a tomb worthy of his wife’s memory. The Emperor wanted something unique, something unequaled anywhere else in the world. [read more...]
Beloved political reporter and groundbreaking journalist Gwen Ifill passed away early last week at the age of 61 following a private battle with uterine cancer. Ms. Ifill was well-known and respected for her coverage of the White House and national campaigns and for her work with The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC, and PBS. [read more...]
What is colorism? Colorism is prejudice or discrimination toward people of color that specifically focuses on the relative darkness of an individual’s complexion. I wasn’t quite sure what it really was until I watched a documentary called Dark Girls. Even though I have experienced colorism first hand, Dark Girls reveals experiences of colorism in the U.S. and around the world. [read more...]
For years, African American history and culture has been downplayed in literature, films, and the media. However, with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the African-American narrative will finally become accessible to everyone, creating a richer story of America. [read more...]
In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy told Americans that it was time to go to the moon. Nine years later, Neil Armstrong was the first human to ever walk on the moon. [read more...]
If you've ever been to a powwow, you might have heard the tinkling sound of the Jingle Dress Dane. Historically used for healing, the Jingle Dress is now part of a dance that honors and celebrates Ojibwe culture and tradition. [read more...]
Humans have inhabited the Earth for millions of years, but how did we gain the ability to stand on two feet? Many would think the answer to “human bipedalism” – our ability to walk and stand on two feet – lies in the study of feet. Shockingly, however, recent research actually suggests that the trait may connect back to a tiny fish known as the threespine stickleback. [read more...]
The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States of America since 1782. The bird symbolizes freedom and America’s rich wild life. [read more...]
En 1942, durante la segunda guerra mundial, muchos de los trabajadores estadounidenses se fueron a la guerra. Los Estados Unidos tuvo que buscar cómo llenar el hueco que dejaron los soldados. Así es como muchos “braceros”, el nombre que se les daba a los trabajadores en la agricultura, llegaron a los Estados Unidos de México. [read more...]
We've all heard of Galileo Galilei, but how did he become a famous inventor in the first place? Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. At the age of 10, he was sent to school at the Monastery of Vallombrosa. His father, Vincenzo, took him out of school at the age of 14, because he worried that his son would become a poor man. Vincenzo then sent Galileo to Florence to spend a few years with tutors. [read more...]
César Chávez fue un gran líder para los trabajadores agrícolas en los Estados Unidos. El es una persona importante por haber empezado el sindicato llamado Trabajadores Agrícolas Undidos, para buscar que se trate con justicia y se les pague un buen sueldo a los trabajadores. La infancia de César Chávez influyo su motivación para defender los derechos de los trabajadores agrícolas. El nacióó el 31 de marzo de 1927 en Arizona, a propietarios de una granja. [read more...]
George Washington Carver was born into slavery in 1864. He and his mother, Mary, were owned by Moses and Susan Carver. Carver was orphaned as a child when his mother was captured by slave raiders. After slavery was abolished, Moses and Susan Carver took in Carver, and regarded him as their own son. The Carvers taught him how to read and write. A good student, Carver especially enjoyed learning about plants and animals. [read more...]
A long time ago, before even newspapers existed, there lived a group of people called the Ancient Greeks. They shared news in the form of myths; which were often passed on through word-of-mouth. These myths represented a set of beliefs and are now collectively called Greek Mythology. One of my personal favorite Greet myths is “Lost At Sea”. [read more...]
Ever since World War II, all U.S. citizens have been required to pay income taxes. The income tax affects many states including Wisconsin and targets many top-earning businesses. This has led to an expansion of the national tax system over time. [read more...]
Have you ever dreamed about soaring through the sky? Using the flying rocket belt, better known as the jet pack, these dreams can become a reality. [read more...]
The Blue Mosque is located in Istanbul, Turkey, but it wasn’t always a mosque. Before becoming a mosque, it was the mother church of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, the church fell under the Turkish and at that point it became a mosque. It attracts large numbers of visitors each year. The temple houses various exhibits and museums. [read more...]
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, better known to the world as Cristiano Ronaldo, was born on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. He is a professional soccer player and has set many records while playing for Manchester United and Real Madrid. [read more...]
The Great Wall of China is one of the most spectacular architectural structures of all time. With a length of about 3,946 miles, the Great Wall was originally built in the 1600s to keep Mongolian horsemen from invading China. The wall was also constructed to showcase the Emperor's power and glory. [read more...]
¿Sabías que la población de la ciudad de México es más grande que las de Nueva York, Madrid o París? La ciudad de México, también conocida como el D.F. o Distrito Federal fue establecida en 1525. La ciudad atrae a muchos turistas. La economía de México está impactada por el número de turistas que visitan cada año el D.F. los cuales son uno de los recursos mayores del país. [read more...]
By land area, the Mongolian empire was the largest-ever empire. Its first ruler was Temujin, who later became infamous under the name, Genghis Khan. The Mongolian Empire lasted through the early 13th and early 15th century. [read more...]
Capitalism is an economic system wherein private owners control industry, and trade goods and services to make a profit. Capitalism originated in Western Europe and spread for years until it engulfed the whole continent. In the early modern world (1500-1800), Europe dominated the globe economically due to colonialist exploration of western lands and eastern trade routes. Those European traders were merchant capitalists. [read more...]
While many remember Leonardo Da Vinci as a great artist, he was also a great scientist. He was born in the little Tuscan town of Vinci on April 15, 1452. His parents quickly separated after his birth, his father re-marrying a local heiress, and his mother, a local cow-herder. Leonardo was left in the custody of his father and his stepmother. The two didn’t have much time for Leonardo; his grandfather looked after him. [read more...]
As a kid, have you ever heard an older sibling or friend say “I call shotgun” before a car ride and wondered what that really meant? The answer may lie in old western legend. [read more...]
Chad is a land in Africa of the unknown and forgotten. Life in Chad is unlike any other, with an amazing spectrum of wildlife and numerous ethnic groups. [read more...]
The Printing Press, a very important invention, initiated an “information revolution” on par with the Internet today. In fact, the Printing Press changed the world. [read more...]
The Arctic is not a place many humans would call home, however, but it's just that for some birds. Though most birds live in warm climates and migrate elsewhere when it gets cold, Arctic birds stick it out through each freezing winter. Arctic birds live in the treeless tundra. [read more...]
Human beings have been using energy from fire for thousands of years. There is evidence that late age stone cave dwellers kept their caves warm with fires which were kept alight for months or even years. These early people relied on fire, even though they did not know where it came from. In fact, they thought it was magic. [read more...]
Lenses are used to see and visually document the world around us. The two main types of lenses are convex and concave. They are used in many different tools, reflecting and bending light to produce an image. Lenses work by moving light in different directions using refraction, forming a smaller or larger image. A beam of light may diverge or converge depending on the shape of the lens. [read more...]
Egyptian mummies are the stuff of legends, cryptic video games and adventure films. But why did the Egyptians make mummies in first place? [read more...]
Machu Picchu, a historic world site, was discovered in the 20th century in the Peruvian Andes by Connecticut Senator Hiram Bingham. [read more...]
Marianne Winkler was walking on a German beach with her husband when she saw an object that had washed up on the shore. She investigated further to find the object was a message in a bottle. The bottle was sealed shut, so Winkler and her husband decided to break it to get the message [read more...]
America owes its riches to African slaves. The institution of slavery started during the 17th and 18th centuries in the United States. The country had plenty of natural resources, but it did not have enough labor to farm the land. To the rich white plantation owners, African slaves seemed to be a perfect solution. [read more...]
The Himalayas form the largest mountain range in the world. They also host the tallest mountain on the planet: Mt. Everest. In Nepal, the Himalayan mountain range is called “Chomolungma,” meaning Goddess of Mother Snows. [read more...]
Most of us have probably heard about the Loch Ness Monster. Most of us also probably believe that the legend of this sea monster isn't true. But, did you know that there have been some sightings of a Loch Ness Monster right here in Wisconsin? Rock Lake is only 20 miles from Madison and 87 feet at its deepest. [read more...]
Albert Einstein was a great example of a scientist who helped us understand that matter can be turned into energy, proving it with his famous formula E=mc2. [read more...]
Ellis Island. Ellis Island opened in 1892 and at least 12 million people were let in the country that year. But only 90 percent of all the newcomers every day passed though Ellis Island. [read more...]
Traveling to space is an incredible feat. To leave the bounds of Earth requires great ambition, endurance, nerves of steel, and even a dash of luck. [read more...]
Sixty years ago on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks changed the course of history by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Today, she is remembered as an iconic figure in the Civil Rights movement. Some people believe Parks stayed in her seat because she was physically tired. Parks herself would later explain, “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” [read more...]
In the year 1900, pieces of an ancient device that would come to be known as the Antikythera mechanism were discovered under the sea by sponge divers and taken to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. [read more...]
Did you know that gymnastics originated in Ancient Greece? The word gymnastics comes from the Greek word for disciplinary exercises that combine physical skill with grace and artistic acrobatics. Gymnastics can be performed by both men and women at many levels from personal classes to competitions. [read more...]
The history of ancient Greece is very interesting. Ancient Greek people told stories to help each other learn about the world around them. They had ideas about their food that seem weird to us today they also invented theatre as we know it and the Olympic games. [read more...]
Marie Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, a famous painter during the 1780s and 1790s, was the kind of person every painter dreams of becoming–even today. She was not only one of the most famous, highly-paid painters but also one of the first women accepted into one of the most prestigious art academies in the world. [read more...]
The New Kingdom of ancient Egypt started in 1550 B.C.E when the nation’s capital moved to Thebes. During this time, the Egyptians also created the famous underground burial site called the Valley of the Kings. In this valley, tombs surrounded by pyramids held many kinds of treasures. Some tombs even contained food, royal clothing, gilded furniture, jewelery, weapons and chariots, which were all buried with the kings, or pharaohs, to be used during their afterlife. [read more...]
Geronimo was a great Native American leader. He was born in the Apache tribe in 1829 near Clifton, Arizona. Throughout his life, Geronimo gained a reputation as a leader who challenged anyone who threatened his tribe’s way of life. [read more...]
The “Great Migration” was a significant time in America. During this time, which spanned the late 1800's through the early 1900's, many African American people moved from the South to the North hoping to make better lives for themselves. [read more...]
Being a paleontologist is like being a detective; you have to search for all the puzzle pieces in order to solve the mystery. You also have to take chances, and sometimes you will discover something new and surprising. It can also be painstaking and difficult. However, one man, Nizar Ibrahim, did not give up until his paleontological mystery was solved. [read more...]
A small, once dirt-poor Mexican village now hosts one of the largest concentrations of modern artists in the world. In fact, for the 1,200 residents of Mata Ortiz, high-quality ceramics have become more than an expression of culture—they have become a way of life. [read more...]
Though there are many women in the field of journalism today, this was not always the case. Nancy Dickerson, however, earned her status as a pioneer in radio and television news reporting in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, she even worked as the first female reporter at CBS. [read more...]
Being a paleontologist is like being a detective; you have to search for all the puzzle pieces in order to solve the mystery. You also have to take chances, and sometimes you will discover something new and surprising. It can also be painstaking and difficult. However, one man, Nizar Ibrahim, did not give up until his paleontological mystery was solved. [read more...]
Cleopatra VII was the last pharaoh of the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt. She is probably most known from the 1963 film, “Cleopatra,” Shakespeare's “Antony and Cleopatra,” and museum exhibits about her family's rich history. [read more...]
Many visitors to Louisiana might not know the difference between Creole and Cajun food. Creole and Cajun are two cultures that originated in the French Catholic Colonies in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1700's. Since both cultures are French and share influences, one might wonder what the difference is between them and their cuisines. [read more...]
Have you ever heard the phrase “strike while the iron is hot”? Around the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom, we hear the phrase often. [read more...]
Wilma Rudolph was a famous runner. She was the first woman ever to win three gold medals in the same Olympics as a track and field athlete. [read more...]
Recently, paleoanthropologists discovered evidence that suggests Homo erectus used fire one million years ago. Prior to this important discovery, scientists theorized fire had been used back then but had no direct evidence. [read more...]
About 3,000 years ago, ancient Greeks roamed the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Many independent states, each with their own identities, comprised the greater ancient Greek civilization. [read more...]
William Shakespeare, one of the most famous writers of all time, is known worldwide for his plays, sonnets and poems. Also called the ‘bard,’ or the ‘upstart crow,’ Shakespeare is best-known for his works "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and "A Midsummer Nights Dream." In fact, these works are still performed today all over the world. [read more...]
Roberto Clemente is one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. [read more...]
Written by Arthur Flowers and illustrated by Manu Chitrakar, I See the Promised Land is a graphic novel that explores the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s involvement in it. [read more...]
The tale of Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance on July 2, 1937 during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe is a familiar one. For years, many believed that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan crashed into the Pacific Ocean after running out of fuel near Howland Island, their intended destination. However, a recently identified piece of aluminum, named Artifact 2-2-V-1, disproves this theory and offers insight into what really happened. [read more...]
It’s no wonder The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks—Rebecca Skloot's non-fiction account of theft, disease, exploitation, and science—became a bestseller. This shocking text tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman incapable of telling it herself. [read more...]
The Titanic, completed in 1912, was an engineering accomplishment never before seen. But it pales in comparison to an even greater achievement completed in the same century on the other side of the planet: the Trans-Siberian railway. [read more...]
Scientists have found new evidence that indicates settlers in Jamestown, Virginia resorted to cannibalism to survive harsh droughts and severe famine in the early 1600s. [read more...]
When James Dean entered the spotlight in the 1950’s, he was not a run-of the-mill actor. His cool personality complemented his rebel ways that made him a very attractive and influential star. James Dean was an icon of his time. [read more...]
Evolution is the way an organism changes over time. This change ultimately produces a species that is distinct from an organism’s early ancestors. Many experts think that the species on Earth today have arose and formed from simple organisms that first appeared three billion years ago. [read more...]
Many people are aware of the recent wars in Afghanistan, but some might not know about this country's wildlife, people, and history. [read more...]
Have you ever heard of Malcolm X and wanted to learn more about him? A great African American leader, Malcolm Little was born into a hard life on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. Son of a Baptist minister, Malcolm and his family moved to Lansing, Michigan, in 1929 after racists burned down their home. Soon after this fire, Malcolm's father was murdered. After Malcolm's mother had a nervous breakdown, he and his seven siblings were split up and sent to different foster homes. [read more...]
Those who frequent Vilas Park have likely noticed the Old-Woman-in-a-Shoe slide. For decades it has entertained young children, yet its history has mystfied the public. [read more...]
Many call Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minister, the “Iron Woman.” While some say she destroyed Great Britain, others insist she worked hard to help her country’s people succeed. [read more...]
The phrase “Houston, we have a problem” has been adopted into everyday life. It is a clever way of saying: “Uh-oh.” This phrase originated nearly 25 years ago on April 13th, 1970, when the Apollo 13 spacecraft experienced an accident. [read more...]
The East African Rift Valley is a beautiful but perilous place. Partially surrounding Lake Victoria, the Rift Valley extends from Tanzania to Ethiopia. The western arm of the rift is 1,900 miles long, while the eastern arm is about 1,600 miles long. This area, marked by constant earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, is also known as the Afar Triangle. [read more...]
Around 35 B.C.E., Roman soldiers used deadly weapons and armor to attack their enemies and to protect themselves. Examining their weapons and tactics can provide an insight into warfare at the time. [read more...]
Born on June 27, 1880, Helen Keller has touched the hearts of millions with her resilience and strength in confronting her disabilities. [read more...]
During the 1800's, women were typically confined to the roles of housekeeper, cook, cleaner, and child-care provider. Women's suffrage campaigner and political advocate Susan B. Anthony, however, challenged these gender norms. [read more...]
The Olympics have changed in many ways over its 200 year history. Today, it is no longer a religious event. For example, women can now compete. In ancient times, women used to be killed just for watching. [read more...]
We recently made a trip to downtown Madison. Simpson Street Free Press writers, Lucy Ji, Alex Lee, and Helen Zhang, visited the City-Council Building looking for another piece of local history. What we found was a little-known treasure that is both history and art. [read more...]
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” said Coco Chanel. [read more...]
According to the Sanskrit Rigveda, a series of ancient Hindu texts, Aryan invaders led by the god Indra, marched into India around 1500 BCE. Indra was known as the “fort destroyer.” The 90 forts and 100 ancient castles worked by Indra’s army were stuff of myth until archaeological excavations in the 1920’s and 1930’s proved otherwise. [read more...]
In the Black Hills of South Dakota, there is a curious looking mountain. [read more...]
Near the Black Sea, in the small town of Sozopol, Bulgaria, residents once practiced a method of vampire extermination, which involves skewering bodies of the deceased with sharp objects. [read more...]
The genetic samples of the human race's most recent common ancestors are biblically nicknamed. For years, scientists thought "Y chromosome Adam" and "Mitochondrial Eve" never lived in the same time or place. Now, recent evidence suggests these ancient ancestors may have in fact resided close to each other in the same era. [read more...]
In ancient Greece, the human lifespan was about half of what ours is today. People in ancient Greece believed spirits went to the underworld after death. During this time period, death was an everyday occurrence; men were killed in battle, women died during childbirth, and children would often die in infancy. The dead were cremated or buried. Greeks believed that after a body or its ashes were covered with earth, spirits could leave to the underworld. [read more...]
There are different types of money all over the world, each with its own distinct design and value. With so many types of currency today, it’s hard to believe that there was a time before paper bills or coins. Agricultural products; strings and beads; animals; other goods; and services were traded among people before the advent of money. [read more...]
The plateau of Giza near Cairo, features the famous pyramids of Egypt. They are considered the most extraordinary architecural structures in history. They also depict the story of Egypt 5,000 years ago. These mysterious pyramids and their sheer size draw visitors from around the world. [read more...]
The period of European history leading up to the Renaissance is known as the Middle Ages. Scholars generally agree that it began around A.D. 750 and ended in the 1400’s, lasting over 650 years. [read more...]
In 1974, outside the city of Xi’an, China, a group of well diggers came across one of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all time: a life-size clay soldier. Chinese authorities were later notified and dispatched to the site, where they uncovered thousands of these clay soldiers. [read more...]
Back in the 12th century, the Cambodian godking Suyarvarman II constructed an enormous temple he named as Angkor Wat. Today, the temple is still one of the world’s most stunning specimens of Hindu architecture. [read more...]
Mycenae was the most powerful kingdom developed in Greece between 1600 and 1200 B.C. This kingdom had a very advanced culture. Although the Mycenaeans did not keep records, they left an archaeological trail. Archaeologists know from discovered artifacts that Mycenaeans communicated in a written language and developed technology. [read more...]
The first public library in the state of Wisconsin, called the Free City Library, was opened in Madison on the date of June 1, 1875. Madison Mayor, Silas Pinney, who came up with the idea, is still honored through the amazing network of public libraries we have today, including the Pinney Branch Library. [read more...]
When myths and legends are passed verbally from generation to generation, we call that an oral tradition. [read more...]
The original model of the typewriter was finished in 1867. Christopher Latham Sholes and other inventors developed the typewriter in a small machine shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After a few years of improvements, the world’s first practical typewriter was introduced in 1874. [read more...]
The Egyptians were among the first to make paper. The word paper comes from papyrus, a reed that grows on the banks of the Nile River. [read more...]
Josephine Baker was the first physician to use preventive medicine, and revolutionized the field of midwifery. Her 1939 autobiography, “Fighting for Life,” was recently reissued. Dr. Abigail Zuger, a contribution to the New York Times said Bakers insights are “intensely relevant” today. [read more...]
Between 1929 and the late 1930’s, the Great Depression pulled America into one of its darkest ages. [read more...]
During the Middle Ages (400-1400 A.D.), art influenced the lives of the European people. Romanesque and Gothic art dominated Europe. Mainly displayed in the church, both styles significantly impacted European culture, in ways that are still evident today. [read more...]
Shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with The Stars, America’s Best Dance Crew and America’s Got Talent dominate our TV screens and feature talented dancers. Throughout history, dancing has been a way to express feelings and even a way to tell a story. For some people, it is a way to show off their strength. [read more...]
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation , or WARF, is UW-Madison’s nonprofit technology transfer office. WARF helps UW-Madison researchers by patenting their discoveries, then licensing the scientists’ findings to primary companies to make them more accessible to the market place. WARF was founded in 1925 during the Progressive Era by Harry Steenbock, a professor of Biochemistry at UW-Madison. [read more...]
Tucked on the west side of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus is the Babcock Hall Dairy Store. While Babcock Hall is most famous for its ice cream, it also sells an assortment of dairy products, including a variety of award-winning cheeses and locally produced milk. Without the contribution of UW-Madison researcher Stephen Babcock, these products would not be as delicious as they are today. [read more...]
In 1631, Arjuman Banu Began died giving birth to her fourteenth child. Her husband, Shah Jehan, the Moghul Emperor in India, was devastated. He sought to build a tomb in her memory that was like nothing else in the world. “The Taj Mahal” would symbolize his great love for her. And after 22 years, with the help of 20,000 workers, his desire was realized. [read more...]
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the oldest rock art in North America. Etched as long as 14,800 years ago, these carvings, or petroglyphs, were found at Winnemucca Lake in Nevada. [read more...]
Pickling is an interesting and ancient process. Pickles come in many different types, shapes and sizes. [read more...]
First oxen were wild beasts, but now they are tamed cattle. This phenomenon didn’t happen overnight. New research pinpoints when in history cows were domesticated. [read more...]
Six people died trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean before Charles Lindbergh made his solo, nonstop flight in 1927. Lindbergh, a former UW-Madison attendee survived his flight and made history. He also gained instant fame, and became an overnight legend. [read more...]
B.B. King, also known as the King of the Blues, started his career as a young boy in the 1940’s. He is still going strong to this day. [read more...]
Roberto Clemente Walker was a famous Major League baseball player. He was an all-star on the baseball field, and a hero off the field. For 18 seasons spanning from 1955 to 1972, Clemente contributed greatly to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a right fielder. He won the "Most Valuable Player" award in 1966. When Clemente wasn’t playing baseball, he was involved in public service. [read more...]
It was 1972 and President Richard Nixon was running for reelection. Late one evening an obscure, seemingly minor break in took place at Democratic party headquarters. Nobody at the time could have predicted that this incident would shake the foundations of the federal government. [read more...]
Blackbeard was the most fearsome pirate that ever to sail the seas, notorious for his daredevil tactics in battle. Blackbeard was known for his success in piracy and for his murderous ways. [read more...]
Ships are super-sized boats that weigh more than 1,000 tons. There are many different kinds of ships. The first were large wooden ships, powered by sails or oars. They were used as early as 300BC. [read more...]
At 9 AM sharp on a sunny August morning, staff writers Selin, Rosalinda, Nancy, Patricia and I met with our editors Adaeze and Aarushi at the Free Press office. We were ready to hit the road to tour historic southwestern Wisconsin. [read more...]
Recently, Simpson Street Free Press writers took a trip to southwestern Wisconsin to visit historic sights. We wanted to see Stonefield Village in Cassville. Once there, we met Dale Moore who has worked there for 12 years. Mr. Moore was the perfect tour guide. [read more...]
On a hot August day, a team of Free Press reporters and I decided to visit the Platteville Mining Museum. When we entered the museum, a very friendly staff person greeted us and gave us a brief introduction to the museum and its history. [read more...]
Recently, a group of Free Press reporters explored some of the historical sights in Southwestern Wisconsin. One notable historic site is Pleasant Ridge. Once an African-American settlement nestled in Grant County, it is now commemorated by a historical marker. Pleasant Ridge was not just any settlement; it was essential to the development of our state. [read more...]
Julius Caesar founded the leap day in 46 B.C., effective in 45 B.C. His leap day added ten days to the Roman calendar. Centuries later, when Pope Gregory XIII was elected in 1572, he felt that all the Christian holidays were being celebrated on the wrong dates due to Caesar’s leap day. To fix this, the Pope asked astronomers to produce a different calendar, known as the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar has 12 months and about 365 days, with a leap day once in a while. This is the calendar that the majority of the world uses today. [read more...]
On a clear fall day almost 80 years ago, an amateur fossil hunter was exploring the remote hills of eastern New Mexico. Near the small town of Clovis he found something very exciting. By the 1930s researchers from around the world were investigating human artifacts found at the site. [read more...]
A new discovery suggests that about 1.8 million years ago there were several pre-human species living in Africa. The species Homo Erectus is believed to be our direct ancestor. But now it seems possible humans had two additional relatives. [read more...]
The breakthrough hit, “That’ll Be the Day,” was recorded by the American singer and songwriter who produced some of the most influential work in rock music, Buddy Holly. [read more...]
The roots of blues music run deep. This rich history can be traced along major highways running south to north through the American heartland. US. Route 61 is one these roads. It is known as the “Blues Highway.” [read more...]
I recently read a biography of Muhammad Ali written by Randy Gordon. Ali is one of the most famous American boxers in history. [read more...]
A Mustang is a free roaming horse that lives in North America. The Spaniards originally brought these animals to North America when they conquered Mexico. [read more...]
A biopic based on the memoir of rock and roller Cherie Currie; The Runaways is a thrilling film directed by Floria Sigismondi about the rise and fall of Joan Jett’s teenage band. The Runaways stars Kristen Stewart as the legendary Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as the seductive Cherie Currie. The storyline takes place in California during the mid 1970s, when Joan was just 17. [read more...]
Despite tough obstacles throughout life, Billie Holiday managed to become one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. That’s quite the accomplishment, even if her career didn’t last long. [read more...]
Early on a Saturday Morning, fellow Free Press teen editor Annie Shao and I set out for the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was a nice day and this was a trip we were looking forward to very much. The exhibit we wanted to see is called, “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.” We loved it. The exhibit transported us back to Cleopatra’s world to fully understand her life and death. [read more...]
Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Egypt, ruled a land that was powerful, glamorous, and full of life. It’s no wonder that Roman emperor Octavian wanted to steal Egypt for himself. [read more...]
You know those simple, basic words that we use all the time but don’t think much about? Well, some of them have been around for over 10,000 years. [read more...]
The date was February 1, 1960. The place was Woolworth’s restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina. It all started when four college freshmen, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond, entered the “whites only” Greensboro Woolworth’s and sat down at the lunch counter. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into. [read more...]
A recent study conducted by Dr. Erik Trinkaus, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, gives scientists new reasons to question which factors are most responsible for the population growth of early modern humans. Scientists previously believed that a long lifespan helped early modern humans thrive, and that Neanderthals went extinct due to a shorter life span. However, this study’s findings suggest that both groups had relatively similar life spans, which means other factors will need to be examined. [read more...]
Until recently most researchers believed that prehistoric humans ate a meat-centered diet. Now a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal shows this view of the so-called Paleolithic diet might be false. [read more...]
In 1922, just as the archaeologist Howard Carter was about to give up his search, an undisturbed tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh was discovered. It was the tomb of King Tutankhamun, or King Tut for short, a young ruler from Egypt’s 18th dynasty. [read more...]
The dodo bird went extinct about 350 years ago. And for many years after that, people knew very little about this strange looking bird. By the 19th century, the descriptions of this bird were so unbelievable that its very existence was considered a myth. [read more...]
Imagine a species where individuals change their appearance so dramatically by adulthood that they appear to be an entirely different individual. The skull transformations of the great three-horned triceratops and the dome-headed pachycephalosaurs seem to have been just this dramatic. [read more...]
Some believe that the fabled dinosaurs dominated Earth until their untimely demise 65 million years ago. But many people do not know that other species may have been more prominent and had a huge evolutionary significance: the marine reptiles. [read more...]
Discovered in 1909, the Burgess Shale Outcrops in the Canadian Rockies display a menagerie of prehistoric marine fossils. These rock formations offer scientists a glimpse at the incredible expansion of complex multi-cellular life that occurred 550 million years ago, during what is known as the Cambrian Era. [read more...]
Satchel Paige was one of the greatest pitchers of the Negro Leagues. His impressive career spanned five decades. [read more...]
If you travel north of Madison on Highway 12 for about 25 minutes you will cross the Wisconsin River at Sauk City. Soon after crossing the Wisconsin River Bridge, Highway 12 begins its climb through an ancient mountain chain. This is Wisconsin’s famous Baraboo Range. [read more...]
My family and I moved to Madison from Nepal over five years ago. It took time to feel settled here, but we have finally become more accustomed to the life and culture of the United States. [read more...]
It is the staple food for half the world’s population, going almost unnoticed as a side to countless dishes. It’s a food that is incorporated into thousands of recipes, from simple dishes to culinary masterpieces. It is also the second most cultivated grain in the world, harvested on every continent, save for Antarctica. [read more...]
Rarely do scientists discover two unique dinosaur species on the same continent within the same month. But they accomplished just that in December of 2003—on Antarctica. [read more...]
The rise and fall of cities, cultures and civilizations are often surrounded by mystery. History is like a giant puzzle, with gaps we don’t completely understand. [read more...]
In the last issue of the Simpson Street Free Press, Helen Zhang wrote an article about new research suggesting Neanderthals were capable of symbolic thinking. Now, Spanish researchers have discovered that Neanderthals may have also been very aggressive hunters. [read more...]
There is an ethnic group that has successfully faced down the most powerful empires of modern times. For thousands of years the Pashtun people of Afghanistan and Pakistan have battled powerful foreign adversaries. Through it all they have maintained their independence and sovereignty. They have seen plenty of conflict, both foreign and domestic. [read more...]
Josh Gibson is said to be one of the greatest baseball players ever. He was known as the “Black Babe Ruth,” and played in the Negro Leagues. His impressive statistics’ his reputation, and his nickname all stand testament to his incredible skill. Some experts at the time even considered him to be better than Babe Ruth. [read more...]
Just Like Josh Gibson, is a wonderful little book by Angela Johnson, and is perfect for young girls aspiring to become baseball players, or just about any other career traditionally thought of as “man’s work.” In this book, a little girl tells the story of her grandmother’s love for baseball as a child growing up in the 1940s. [read more...]
John “Buck” O’Neil was a player and a coach that changed baseball forever. [read more...]
On June 5, 1989, a single man stood defiantly in front of several tanks that had been ordered to gun down protestors in Tiananmen Square. The unidentified protestor was pulled away by bystanders moments before death. [read more...]
John Muir is most famous for drawing up the plans that set boundaries for Yosemite National Park. He advocated the creation of the park, writing articles and co-founding the Sierra Club to protect its beauty. [read more...]
Louis Pasteur was the founder of stereochemistry, the savior of the silk industry of south France, and the developer of pasteurization. He was a man whose scientific genius led to many discoveries in science. [read more...]