The Japanese Concept of “Ubasute”

The Japanese term “ubasute” (pronounced “ooh-bah-suu-tay”) refers to “taking a person into the forest to leave them to die” and is a practice in Japan which has been imposed upon the elderly, sick, mentally ill, and disabled (e.g. blind, deaf, epilepsy etc.) during difficult periods when food resources have been scarce. This practice is referred to as “senicide” in English. It is unclear if this practice actually occurred throughout Japanese history, but the practice did occur within other cultures (e.g. Ancient Rome, India, Scandinavia etc.) which has led most experts to believe that the practice was more than mere mythology in Japan

The First Successful Flight Machine

Paper makers Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (pronounced “jha-ack ee-tee-yen mon-go-fee-yay”) and his brother Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (pronounced “zho-seef mee-shell mon-go-fee-yay”) created the hot air balloon after noticing that paper in their factory would be lifted by warm currents of air. This discovery lead to the innovation of hot air being confined within a bag which birthed the modern hot air ballon, an overall design which has remained relatively unchanged since its advent in 1783 despite advances in technology. As hot air is filled into a sack, the sack becomes less dense than the air which surrounds it, allowing the sack to rise in its altitude, be it 1 meter or 10,000 meters. The first successful untethered flight with passengers occurred on September 19, 1783. This initial flight was completed by a sheep, duck, and rooster. The first flight with humans occurred just 2 months later, with the hot air balloon raising 3000’ into the air and traveled a distance of 8 kilometers. The Age of Flight was born during this event as it was the first time in human history that a person or group had successfully lifted off the ground and remained in control of their flight path trajectory

The Discovery of the Route Which Allowed Explorers to First Climb Mount Everest

British born George Mallory, the person tasked with heading the team who first set out to climb Mount Everest in 1921, overlooked what is now used as the doorway to Mount Everest, the entry point of East Rongbuk Glacier. When Mallory first viewed this entry point, a narrow cliff within the mountainside wall, he dismissed it as too modest and small to warrant further investigation. Canadian Oliver Wheeler however was educated in the science of topography and geography from his father who surveyed the Canadian west coast Rocky Mountains and because of this, he did not view the dimensions of the cut to be as important as the pulse of water pouring out of that cut every afternoon. This enormous volume of expelled water signaled to Wheeler that a glacier had to be present at the head of the valley as it was the only possible explanation which fit. On July 30, 1921, Wheeler set out for the East Rongbuk Glacier and as he anticipated, he was able to make it up the ice field within 6 short days. As the East Rongbuk Glacier widened and curved around, it came directly to the base of the North Col, a sharp edged pass carved by glaciers in the ridge connecting Mount Everest and Changtse (pronounced “chang-see”). This opening became the key to unlocking Mount Everest and is still leveraged by climbers into the modern day. 6 days after setting out, on August 4, 1921, Wheeler sent a dak runner, which is essentially a Tibetan messenger, with a sketched map indicating his discovered exploit of the armor of Mount Everest for Mallory

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

Timbuktu, Mali and its Cultural and Commercial Traditions

Timbuktu, Mali is located at the precise point where the Niger River flows northward into the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, which is an incredibly difficult place to reach and is why it is often used in the English language as a representative of a far away place. In Timbuktu, men keep their faces veiled while in the presence of women at all times, not even lowering their veils to eat, instead taking in food from underneath the veil. Women predominantly make familial decisions and hold the position of power within society. Timbuktu is made up of various ethnic tribes including the Kel Tamasheq, Songaï (pronounced “sore-eye”) (sometimes spelled as “Songhai”) and Arabs primarily. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg people however their numbers are vastly outweighed by the 3 main tribes of Timbuktu during the modern era. Despite once being a trading hub of both of salt and gold, Timbuktu now primarily trades in salt as the price of gold has made gold inaccessible for the average inhabitant. Timbuktu is slowly being buried in the sands of the Sahara Desert as these sands blow in and slowly but surely bury Timbuktu’s structures a little bit at a time. Fortunately, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has been helping to preserve the city of Timbuktu and its buildings from the elements of sand, wind, and rain which have eroded its structures made from natural materials, mainly adobe and mud brick

The Eurasian Yamnaya People and Their Cultural and Physical Dominance of the European and Asian Continents

The Yamnaya people were bands of nomads who roamed territory north of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea during the Bronze Age. By 3000 B.C., the Yamnaya became the greatest horse culture of the ancient world, as they were the first culture to adopt both riding upon horseback as well as the pulling of horse wagons. This breakthrough in technology allowed the Yamnaya to transport food and supplies more easily and readily so that the best pasture lands could be acquired. This allowed the Yamnaya to quickly become the most dominant culture within the Central Step region. Horses allowed for larger herds of cattle and sheep, which permitted wealth to be quickly generated and redistributed into local economies. The Yamnaya alongside other cultures which they combined with traversed across the Central Step, moving as far east as Mongolia and as far west as central Europe. The Yamnaya nomads dominated virtually every culture encountered which is understood due to the fact that many regions began speaking the Proto-Indo-European language in the Yamnaya dialect. The rationale for this is that language is connected to power and/or wealth which is a large incentive for a person or group of people to adopt because it provides unique advantages in all aspects of life including everything from economic trade to finding a romantic life partner. The Yamnaya left no written record of a written language but linguists are able to piece together fragments of the Yamnaya dialect due to the fact that many languages in Europe and Asia, including ancient languages like Greek and Latin, modern romantic languages like Italian, French, and Spanish, Germanic languages like various Scandinavian languages and English, and Russian and Sanskrit, all derive from the common Proto-Indo-European language spoken by the Yamnaya (e.g. the English term ”brother” is “frater” in Latin, “bratar” in Sanskrit, and “pratar” (pronounced “pray-tarr” with a rolled “R”) in Greek). The term “wheel” and “wagon” are Yamnaya terms, and only appeared after the Yamnaya people became dominant within the Central Step region where these two technologies were developed. This is important because Proto-Indo-European languages like that of the Yamnaya must have been spoken after the invention of the wheel around 3500 B.C., as the terms invented would have no use prior to the advent of the practical application (e.g. only using the term “hard drive” in English after the advent of computers, as there is no intended use prior). Many linguists believe that all languages stem from a single source language and that this single source may be the Yamnaya dialect. This dialect and Yamnaya culture as a whole spread across Europe and Asia with millions of modern day people in both continents with generic markets tracing their lineage back to the Yamnaya people. Archeologists and anthropologists believe the Yamnaya were so successful because of learned, acquired immunity towards the Bubonic Plague. Evidence of yersinia pestis bacteria exists within the burial sites of Yamnaya people, which means that the Bubonic Plague was already affecting humans as far back as 3000 years before any written record. This evidence further demonstrates that the Bubonic Plague began within Eurasia, possibly in Yamnaya communities and that those who survived, were most likely able to dominate other European and Asian cultures which did not have acquired immunity as they brought the plague with them when invading foreign territory. It is believed by experts that this immunity and transference of the Bubonic Plague allowed the Yamnaya to expand across the known world, conquering and acquiring the people and regions they came across

Snow in Iran During the Summer


Iran experiences snow during the winter every couple of years and even during the summer on occasion due to the topography and geography of Iran which includes high altitude mountains. Iran is a mountainous state referred to as a “plateau”. Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is a primary example of Iran’s ability to produce snow. With an elevation of 18,403′ in height, Mount Damavand always has snow to some degree, even if relatively minute, with snow occurring even during the peak summer months of June, July, and August

The Physics of the Pac-Man Universe


The game of Pac-Man allows players to exit the world on one side, and re-enter upon a completely different side without delay. Pac-Man’s universe appears to be a flat, two dimensional, rectangular shape, but in reality it must be cylindrical like a pipe, only with the 2 ends of the pipe touching, making Pac-Man’s universe actually in the shape of a donut

The Abhorrent​ Canadian Chinese Head Tax Law of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century


97,000 people paid the Chinese Head Tax when implemented in Canada in 1885. The tax was effectively a discriminatory practice in which only those of Chinese descent would pay a fee when entering Canada. The purpose was to deter Chinese immigrants from coming to Canada. The fee started out as $50.00 in 1885 which was equivalent to 1 year worth of salary, but by 1904 the price had ballooned to $500.00, a modern day equivalent of 2 years salary