History

A brief history of the Paralympics

Jessica Long is one of the most decorated athletes in the United States. The 29-year-old swimmer won four medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, bringing her total count to 28. For years, the games have given her the chance to compete at the highest level—and something to look forward to every four years.

Since I was 12, when I won my first gold in Athens, I wanted people to know what the Paralympic Games were,” says Long, whose lower legs were amputated when she was a baby due to a congenital condition. “Each year the excitement and

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New book ‘God’s Diplomats’ unveils the secret history of Vatican diplomacy

Statues on Bernini’s colonnade at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. (Photo by Marco Verch/Creative Commons)

One of the Vatican’s most important but least studied departments is actually one of its most extensive: the massive network of lay and religious people engaged in peacemaking, information gathering and international diplomacy who throughout history have swayed governments and challenged kings.

In a new book, God’s Diplomats: Pope Francis, Vatican Diplomacy and America’s Armageddon, journalist Victor Gaetan unveils the inner workings of the Holy See’s diplomatic efforts. The book not only corrects the relative anonymity of the Catholic Church’s crucial function, but

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A Brief, Fascinating History of Ambergris | Science

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM |
Sept. 2, 2021, 7 a.m.

This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com.

In a sparsely furnished office building in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, the record-breaking skyscraper that towers over Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Farook Kassim reaches into a desk drawer, extracts a small plastic baggie, and offers up its contents for inspection. Inside is what looks like a stone the size of a thumb, white flecked with brown and gray. Its light color denotes high quality. The fragrance

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How Will the Taliban Leaders Govern? A History of Rebel Rule Offers Clues.

As Taliban commanders exchange their guns for the reins of power, some 38 million Afghans can do little but hold their breath and wait to see how their latest conquerors will rule.

That uncertainty, also palpable in foreign capitals from Washington to Beijing, is compounded by the deep contradiction between the group’s record of extremism and brutality during its prior reign, from 1996 to 2001, and its promises of moderation today.

History may offer a few clues. The Taliban are, depending on how one counts, something like the sixth or seventh rebel group to take over a country in the

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Texas House advances GOP bill targeting how race and history are taught

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Why history is not on the side of the loser in Georgia vs. Clemson, a rare top-five matchup in Week 1

As much as they wanted to tamp down the wildfire of hype surrounding their game, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Georgia’s Kirby Smart have failed. Saturday’s game, the history that surrounds it and the implications it can have on the 2021 college football season are that big. Better, though, to fail in crafting a narrative surrounding the hyper-ventilated run-up to No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 5 Georgia than losing the actual game.

In this case, history tells us Saturday’s loser in Charlotte will have a massive problem achieving its season-long goal, which is nothing less than achieving one of four spots

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Should Your Web History Impact Your Credit Score? The IMF Thinks So

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
A group of researchers has published a blog post at the International Monetary Fund’s website in which they call for a significant shift in how credit scores are assessed. Instead of being based on traditional metrics, the group believes banks should begin incorporating additional information, including your browser history.

The rise of fintech services and cryptocurrencies have changed modern banking in a number of ways, and banks face an increasing number of challenges as various third-party payment processors interpose themselves between financial institutions and their traditional customers. The credit scoring systems used broadly

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The history of Afghanistan and US ties, from the Cold War to 9/11

The United States’ decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan closes a 20-year chapter between the two countries. But US intervention in Afghanistan far predates the 21st century, stretching back decades.

In the weeks and months ahead, there are going to be a lot of questions about what’s next for Afghanistan, including how the US approaches it. But contemplating what happens going forward also means looking at the past, including the ways American involvement has shaped Afghan politics and life for more than 50 years.

During the Cold War, both the US and the Soviet Union sought to gain footholds in

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Fact check: Trump officials try to rewrite their Afghanistan history

But some of the criticism from former Trump administration officials has departed from the truth.

In public statements this past week, former Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller have all slammed Biden in one way or another for the chaos that has unfolded in Afghanistan this month. While some of that criticism has been accurate, much of it has inaccurately tried to rewrite the Trump administration’s own history on Afghanistan — denouncing Biden while also misleadingly omitting the actions taken by Trump and his administration.

Here’s a fact check of … Read More