And the mummy went searching through the museum groaning “Who has my big toe?” Ok, ok, I’m done with the bad campfire story now. Just thought I’d share some historical news, since I do love history.

An artificial big toe attached to the foot of an Egyptian mummy could be the world’s oldest prosthetic body part, British researchers said on Friday.

The fake toe, which is made of wood and leather and is currently on display at the Cairo Museum in Egypt, dates from between 1 000 and 600 BC.

Researchers at Manchester University in northwest England hope to prove it was used to help someone who had lost their original big toe to walk.

If they do, it could mean that prosthetic body parts were in use up to 700 years earlier than was previously thought.

The oldest known prosthesis is a bronze Roman leg dating from about 300 BC which was kept at the Royal College of Surgeons in London but was destroyed during a German bombing raid in the Second World War.

A second false big toe, which is on display at the British Museum, will also be tested by scientists in Manchester.

“If either one is functional, it may be interesting to manufacture it with modern materials and trial it for use on people with missing toes,” said Jacky Finch, a researcher working on the study.

She added that the Cairo toe is the most likely to have been a prosthesis, because it shows signs of wear and is attached to a “well-healed” amputation site.

The London toe, by contrast, does not bend and is therefore more likely to have been cosmetic, she said. Source

book icon For Christmas from my sister Lisa this year I received a great book entitled Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer. It is a fantastic read. It gives great insight into the business economy in America starting in the mid 1800’s. Not only does it give the details of the biggest breweries in American history, but also insight into the people that made them the biggest. A-B, Pabst, and Schlitz would not have gotten as large as they did if it weren’t for their ambitious presidents, brew masters, and marketers. brew The book does not just focus on the big guys though, the last third of the book focuses on the micro-breweries that sprung up in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and discussed what made the succeed, fail, and pave the way for future micros. One of the most fascinating chapters is the chapter on Prohibition and how the brewers survived (selling soda pop, ice cream, and non-alcoholic “near beer” among other things). The book is a fascinating read if you have any interest in history, business, or just beer. I highly suggest you read this book. Now, I know what many of you are thinking, history books are boring. Not this one. The narrative is quick, concise, and entertaining. There isn’t anything boring about this book, it was perfect for a guy that lives in a beer town.

There is a new film of JFK right before his assassination that has just surfaced. According to the website

This newly-discovered home movie of the fateful Kennedy motorcade was recently donated to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The photographer, George Jefferies, filmed President and Mrs. Kennedy on Main Street at Lamar in downtown Dallas less than 90 seconds before the assassination. Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy, can be seen riding on the left rear bumper. The donor, Wayne Graham, is the son-in-law of Mr. Jefferies.

Click here to view the video footage.

I was browsing this page and saw my history blog listed (though, my last name is spelled wrong) and found quite a few really interesting blogs that I have since subscribed to. One of my favorites to read is A History Teacher. Two recent posts I thought were excellent. I hope one day I will be able to incorporate the technology that this history teacher uses in my classroom. I think much can be done using the web to further students’ understanding of not just technology, but also social studies. Who says the computer lab is just for English class?

This reminds me of a professor I had in college who would not let us use the internet for resources in writing our term papers. He concluded that the internet was full of false information, which to some extent, it can be, but this teacher shows how it is truly a valuable tool to be embraced, not shunned. I can’t wait to see what kind of activities I can come up with when I get into a classroom. There is so much out there that will help students learn in unique and creative ways.

I watched a movie tonight on HBO. What originally interested me in this movie was the fact that Michael Pena starred in it. Since his excellent role in Crash, I knew he would be an actor to look out for in more starring roles in the future. The movie I watched tonight was called Walkout. It is the story of a teacher (Pena) mentoring Chicano high school students protesting injustices in the East L.A. public schools in 1968 which led to a series of walkouts. To say the least, the movie was excellent. The first 5 minutes of the film brought up some great points about history.

The 1968 classroom headed by Sal Castro (Pena) questioned where Chicano history was in the textbooks. Almost 40 years later, one must still wonder where it is. Rarely do you read about the Chicano civil rights movement in history texts, the same movement that spread across the country and help raise Chicano college enrollment from 2% to 25% over the few years following the High School walkouts and also helped stop the injustices and help make Chicano schools more equal. Edward James Olmos did this story great justice with his direction and production of this movie allowing millions to see and experience a Civil Rights movement that many never knew existed. I implore anyone who is interested in history, civil rights, and more importantly, human rights, to watch this movie.