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Great Empires of North America, Part 4: People of the Pyramid

Their culture, religion and cities welded the Southeast into a unified civilization. Meet the Mississippians — medieval America’s mightiest emperors. The Great Sun was dead. As a gray dawn broke over the city’s towering pyramids, a procession of mourning priests and nobles paraded through the courtyard, bearing gifts for their king’s tomb. A cadre of […]

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Great Empires of Central Asia, Part 5: The Eastern Renaissance

Their realm was the heart of civilization — until the apocalypse came. Meet the Persians: enlightened lords of Central Asia’s final golden age. If I ask you to picture “Arabian culture,” what images come to mind? Towering citadels, perhaps; adorned with domes and minarets. Flowing robes of many colors, and turbans and embroidered veils. Gardens […]

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A (Somewhat) NSFW History of Dirty Jokes

The best naughty one-liners, setups and punchlines, from the Bronze Age all the way to the 20th century. So a Sumerian walks into a bar. Doesn’t really have to be a Sumerian, actually. A guy. Any guy. Guy walks into a bar, orders a drink, tries to join in on the conversation. But none of the […]

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The Insanity That Keeps Us Sane

We’ve got some strange ways of dealing with violent thoughts. Hey, want to hear a cool story? In the 1280s, the Mongol warlord Hülegü Khan was getting ready to make war on the city of Baghdad — which was, at that time, the epicenter of the civilized world. The Khan sent a threat letter to the Caliph […]

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The “G” Word: “Gypsies” Aren’t Who You Think They Are

They’re called Roma, their culture is ancient and intriguing… and the word “gypsy” is a slur. All right my friends, let me tell you about “Gypsies” — or as they’re actually called, the Romani people, or simply the Roma. They’ve been in the news a few times lately for child abductions. They’ve got a reputation as musicians and […]

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