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todayinhistory:

September 15th 1254: Marco Polo born

On this day in 1254, Marco Polo was born in Venice, Italy to a wealthy merchant family. Polo’s father and uncle spent much of his childhood traveling around Asia, especially China where they found favour at the court of Mongol leader Kublai Khan. In 1271, when he was seventeen, Marco left with his father and uncle on their return trip to China. On this journey they visited the Middle East and crossed the Gobi Desert, eventually arriving at Khan’s court where they stayed for 17 years. In this time Marco became Khan’s special envoy, and was sent to areas never before explored by Europeans, including India, Burma and Tibet. Their eventual journey home was arduous, with many of their party perishing on the way. The family also faced hardship when they returned to Venice in 1295, for they struggled to re-enter Venetian society and culture. Marco Polo became involved in Venice’s war with Genoa, and was captured and imprisoned by the Genoese. While imprisoned he told the stories of his travels to his fellow prisoner Rustichello, who wrote them down and eventually published them in The Travels of Marco Polo. Polo’s stories became widely famous and popular, with the fantastic descriptions of foreign places like China and India astonishing contemporary Europeans, many of whom took Polo’s words to be fiction; Polo asserted until his death that it was all true. Marco Polo died in Venice in 1324 aged 69 but his legacy lived on as his unprecedentedly rich and detailed descriptions of foreign lands inspired later generations to explore the world, including Christopher Columbus who brought a copy of Polo’s book on his journey to America in 1492.

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pbsthisdayinhistory:

Sept. 12, 1992: Dr. Mae Jemison Becomes First African American Woman in Space

On this day in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel through space. She served as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47.

WTCI’s Alison Lebovitz discusses the legacy of the first woman of color to travel beyond the stratosphere on “The A List with Alison Lebovitz.” Watch the interview here.

Photos: NASA

(via pbsthisdayinhistory)

Filed under history

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pbsthisdayinhistory:

September 14, 1901: Theodore Roosevelt is Sworn in as President After William McKinley is Assassinated
On this day in 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States upon William McKinley’s assassination.  Roosevelt was 42 at the time, making him the youngest President.
McKinley, who had been extremely resistant to accepting security measures, was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz about a week earlier in Buffalo, New York.  Afterwards, Congress assigned the Secret Service the duty of protecting the President. 
Explore the significance of this event with a preview video of McKinley’s assassination from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.
Photo: Assassination of President McKinley. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

pbsthisdayinhistory:

September 14, 1901: Theodore Roosevelt is Sworn in as President After William McKinley is Assassinated

On this day in 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States upon William McKinley’s assassination.  Roosevelt was 42 at the time, making him the youngest President.

McKinley, who had been extremely resistant to accepting security measures, was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz about a week earlier in Buffalo, New York.  Afterwards, Congress assigned the Secret Service the duty of protecting the President.

Explore the significance of this event with a preview video of McKinley’s assassination from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts.

Photo: Assassination of President McKinley. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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micdotcom:

19 #WhyIStayed tweets everyone needs to see

While many cheered the NFL’s move to (finally) punish Rice’s vicious behavior, too many media outlets immediately fell into a tired pattern of victim blaming. 

Writer Beverly Gooden had heard enough. “I was watching the responses to the TMZ on my timeline, and I noticed a trend. People were asking ‘why did she marry him?’ and ‘why didn’t she leave him,’” Gooden told Mic. “When I saw those tweets, my first reaction was shame. The same shame that I felt back when I was in a violent marriage. It’s a sort of guilt that would make me crawl into a shell and remain silent. But today, for a reason I can’t explain, I’d had enough. I knew I had an answer to everyone’s question of why victims of violence stay. I can’t speak for Janay Rice, I can only speak for me.”

Gooden decided to change the conversation. Follow micdotcom

(via jillianluvpsych)

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Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.

Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via alliterate)

OH WAIT LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT CECILIA PAYNE.

Cecilia Payne’s mother refused to spend money on her college education, so she won a scholarship to Cambridge.

Cecilia Payne completed her studies, but Cambridge wouldn’t give her a degree because she was a woman, so she said fuck that and moved to the United States to work at Harvard.

Cecilia Payne was the first person ever to earn a Ph.D. in astronomy from Radcliffe College, with what Otto Strauve called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”

Not only did Cecilia Payne discover what the universe is made of, she also discovered what the sun is made of (Henry Norris Russell, a fellow astronomer, is usually given credit for discovering that the sun’s composition is different from the Earth’s, but he came to his conclusions four years later than Payne—after telling her not to publish).

Cecilia Payne is the reason we know basically anything about variable stars (stars whose brightness as seen from earth fluctuates). Literally every other study on variable stars is based on her work.

Cecilia Payne was the first woman to be promoted to full professor from within Harvard, and is often credited with breaking the glass ceiling for women in the Harvard science department and in astronomy, as well as inspiring entire generations of women to take up science.

Cecilia Payne is awesome and everyone should know her.

(via bansheewhale)

(via angry-at-my-generation)