Magical History Tour

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It was fast food, but they served snails.

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image

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https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00020-3

Sisters who kicked down the door of the US medical establishment

Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell fought to be doctors in the mid-nineteenth century, and to train more women as physicians.

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For some reason, this week’s viral sensation is sea shantys:

History thread:

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Before Christmas I saw a thing where a sea shanty group would crew up in that X Box Sea of Thieves game and when in a crew would start shantying. I wonder is it related?

ETA

I don’t TikTok myself but I haven’t heard any shanties coming from my girls devices…

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BTW: there’s a brief mention in that history thread of the distinction between civilian and military use of shanties, but it doesn’t go into detail.

According to what I was told while on HMB Endeavour, the story goes something like this:

On a merchant ship, the owners wanted to maximise profit by minimising expenses. As a consequence, merchant ships tended to be drastically undercrewed. The shanties were designed to make it easier for a couple of men to do a job that really should have been done by a dozen.

In contrast, military ships needed to carry sufficient crew to simultaneously sail the ship and man the guns. As a consequence, they tended to have lots of spare manpower when they weren’t actively fighting.

So, where a merchant ship would have a couple of guys singing and hauling on a rope for ten minutes, the military ships would just put thirty guys on the rope and get it done in seconds. No shanty required.

There’s also the point that military ships tended to want to avoid unnecessary noise for stealth reasons. So, again, no shanties.

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What are those adorable tiny doors in the US Capitol Building?

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