ROME, Italy. Emma Morano, the world’s oldest person and the last one known to be born in the 1800s, has died at 117 – @AceHistoryNews

#AceHistoryNews – Apr.17: Emma Morano, an Italian woman believed to have been the oldest person alive and the last survivor of the 19th century, died Saturday at the age of 117, Italian media reported by ➖ @cnnbrk ➖ on Saturday

Morano, born on November 29 1899, died at her home in Verbania, in northern Italy, the reports said.

She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to move forward in life,” said Silvia Marchionini, the mayor of Verbania, a small village of some 2,000 residents.

According to the US-based Gerontology Research Group (GRG), Morano ceded the crown of the world’s oldest human being to Jamaican Violet Brown, who was born on March 10, 1900.

Morano’s death, at the age of 117 years and 137 days, means there is no one living known to have been born before 1900.

Her first love died in World War I, but she married later and left her violent husband just before the Second World War and shortly after the death in infancy of her only son. That was 30 years before divorce became legal in Italy.

She had clung to her independence, only taking on a full-time carer a couple of years ago, though she had not left her small two-room apartment for 20 years. She had been bed-bound during her latter years.

In an interview with AFP last year, she put her longevity down to her diet. “I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth,” she said in her home at the time, where the Guinness World Records certificate declaring her to be the oldest person alive held pride of place on a marble-topped chest of drawers.

She also refused to be taken to hospital, with the exception of a cataract operation. Her eyesight did become very poor and she spent much of her days sleeping. But she kept her sense of humour till the end.

How does my hair look,” she asked before blowing out the candles on her 117th birthday cake last year.

What impresses me most is her memory. She forgets nothing,” Yamile Vergara, her nurse for over 40 years, said at the time. “Her sense of humour is her therapy”.

The eldest of eight children, Morano outlived all of her younger siblings.

Robert Young, director of the Los Angeles-based GRG’s Supercentenarian Research and Database Division, said he had been following Morano ‘s progress for the past seven years, calling her an example of “super-ageing individuals who seem to age at a slower rate than normal — maybe even a few percentage points slower, but enough to make a difference”.

The world longevity record, he noted, remained with French woman Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 in 1997, having outlived both her daughter and grandson. “That’s superconfirmed,” Young said.

Emma Morano goes into the record books as the fifth longest life ever verified.

In 1900, when Violet Brown was born, Jamaica was part of the British West Indies, so her records are from the British government, in Queen Victoria’s time.

Unless a surprise candidate comes out of the trees, she is the oldest living Victorian,” said Young.

Contributions by CNN – Express Tribune to this report.

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CHRIST THE REDEEMER: The Crucifix by Cimabue at Santa Croce 1265 Painted in Distemper – @AceHistoryNews

#AceHistoryNews – Apr.14: The Crucifix by Cimabue at Santa Croce is a large wooden crucifix
painted c. 1265, one of two attributed to the Florentine painter and mosaicist Cimabue.

Painted in distemper, it was commissioned by the Franciscan friars of Santa Croce and is built from a complex arrangement
of timber boards. Displaying technical innovations and humanistic iconography, it is one of the first Italian artworks to break from the late medieval Byzantine style.

The gilding and monumentality of the cross link it to the Byzantine tradition. Christ’s static pose is
reflective of this style, while the work overall incorporates newer,
more naturalistic aspects. It presents a lifelike and physically
imposing depiction of the passion at Calvary.

Christ is shown nearly naked: his eyes are closed, his face lifeless and defeated. His body slumps in a position contorted by prolonged agony and pain. The painting is a graphic and unflinching portrayal of human suffering, and has influenced painters from Michelangelo to Francis Bacon.

It has been in the Basilica di Santa Croce since the late 13th century, and at the museum at Santa Croce since restoration following flooding of the Arno in 1966.

Courtesy of

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Featured: King Tut’s Beard brought back to life with a little beeswax

#AceHistoryNews – Dec.29: CAIRO—A 9-week restoration of King Tutankhamun’s golden mask has been successfully completed and the artifact is now once again on display in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

The mask’s elongated beard snapped off while museum staff worked on the display in August 2014. An attempt to restore the royal beard with epoxy followed. The latest conservation efforts began in October 2015. The objective was not only to reattach the beard, but the restoration taking 9-weeks will also to undertake a full-scale study of the mask using the museum archives as reference, which hasn’t been done before.

Concern over Tut’s beard dates back to 1922, when Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered. “The study of the mask showed that its beard was detached and was not fixed back till 1946” says Christian Eckmann—the German expert who lead the mask’s restoration team—in a press conference that unveiled the mask after restoration. Eckmann is a conservator with a specialization in glass and metal, the two main components of the golden mask. He had previously restored and conserved several Egyptian artifacts, notably the two copper statues of King Pepi I, and the golden head of Horus.

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“The 2014 damage was exaggerated, since the beard was previously detached as the examination showed,” says Friederike Fless, the president of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, one of the German and Egyptian bodies that cooperated in the restoration process.

The restoration process started with a full 3D scan with a light pattern projection scanner to record and document the mask’s status, followed by the removal of the inadequately applied glue. No chemicals were used to remove the resin—instead, the team worked millimeter by millimeter with wooden tools after raising the temperature of the mask. This step alone took more than four weeks.

“The process has uncovered two surprises, the first is that beard has an internal tube that connects it to the mask’s face, and the second is that the 1946 reattachment of the beard was done using soft solder,” says Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian minister of antiquities.
Picture of King Tutankhamun’s golden mask on display

A picture taken in 2009 shows the mask on display, spotlighted in a specially darkened exhibition gallery, in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Photograph by KHALED DESOUKI, AFP/GettyImages

Ancient techniques were implemented in the restoration process; The team has used beeswax as an adhesive since it was a common material in ancient Egypt, and because it’s an organic material that poses less risk of damaging the metal of the mask.

The beard on the mask wasn’t how Tut’s actual facial hair looked. The false beard was an important symbol in ancient Egypt—it was one of the ways Egyptian kings identified themselves with Osiris, the god of the underworld. Unlike in real life at the time, where facial hair was considered a sign of a low social status, wearing a false beard with an upturned end, like King Tutankhamun, was a sign of divinity.

The information gathered from the scans of the mask and details of the restoration will be published in a forthcoming book.

During the restoration process, a 3D hologram of the mask was on display, but starting December 17, museum visitors can enjoy the real mask, and will be allowed to take photographs of it and the entire collection of the museum for one month.

2015 has been a big year for King Tut admirers. This summer, National Geographic grantee Nicholas Reeves theorized that hidden chambers in Tut’s tomb might lead to the burial place of Queen Nefertiti. Scans of the tomb reveal there may, in fact, be two rooms hidden behind walls, and further examination of the space is expected in the coming months.

Khaled El Samman is a staff writer with Rawi Magazine.
Source: National Geographic

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German “Ostpolitik” pioneer Egon Bahr dies at 93


#AceHistoryNews – Aug.20: Egon Bahr, the German statesman who helped pioneer the “Ostpolitik” policy of improving relations with the communist East under West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, has died. He was 93.

Social Democratic party leader Sigmar Gabriel told the dpa news agency Thursday that Bahr died overnight.

As a state secretary under Brandt, Bahr helped guide negotiations between East …

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How Keynes Almost Prevented The Keynesian Revolution

#AceHistoryNews – Aug.15: On October 30, 1929. A brisk autumn’s day in Manhattan. The Savoy-Plaza Hotel’s thirty-three stories cast a long shadow over Central Park. At the base of the hotel a financier lies freshly fallen, motionless, while his last breath, wrenched from the lungs by force of impact, is now a red mist of gore in the air.

Sirens and uniforms. The suicide spot quickly becomes crowded by spectators, who form a vision-impairing ring-fence of backs, much to the annoyance of elbow-throwers at the periphery. Winston Churchill stands at his hotel window looking down on the mess. To nobody’s surprise, the police will find an empty wallet and five margin calls in the dead man’s pockets.1

Churchill’s curtains flutter shut, and we are left to wonder whether anyone — Churchill included — can yet see his clumsy, cigar-wielding hand in it all; whether anyone realizes that, had Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer only restored the gold standard at a lower exchange rate, as Keynes had recommended, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 could have been averted (or at least ameliorated).

Alas, by ignoring Keynes in 1925, Churchill triggered a calamity so severe that it not only inspired one man to kill himself beneath the British statesman’s very window but, more insidiously, also provided the impetus for the economics profession’s rejection of the “classical” axioms. As Keynes’s biographer Robert Skidelsky writes, Keynes “did not believe in the system of the ideas by which economists lived; he did not worship at the temple.” And while “in former times he would have been forced to recant, perhaps burnt at the stake, as it was … the exigencies of his times enabled him to force himself on his church.”

1925: Britain’s Return to the Gold Standard

The pound sterling’s link to gold was severed at the start of WWI. After eleven years of unfettered inflation, Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill restored convertibility at the pre-war level of 4.25 pounds per ounce of gold.

Keynes, quite rightly, took exception to this particular detail: expecting Britain’s global customers to go on paying the same gold-price for the weakened pound was unrealistic. At this exchange rate the pound would be overvalued, and the only cure would be a sustained period of deflation — which was “certain to involve unemployment and industrial disputes.” Indeed, in 1926 a general strike crippled Britain for nine days.

What Keynes did not predict, however, was how Churchill’s blunder would later bring about an easing of monetary policy in America. And even supposing Keynes had predicted this side effect, would he have understood its implications for long-run sustainability? (Recall that both F.A. Hayek and Keynes predicted a crash would occur in 1929: Hayek because interest rates were too low, Keynes because they were too high!)

1927: At the Fed (With Cap in Hand)

American sellers (in particular) were accepting British gold in exchange for goods, but were dissuaded from returning it due to the unfavorable rate of exchange. As a result, Britain’s gold supplies diminished at a rapid rate, which made the authorities understandably twitchy: how could they keep their pledge to convert pounds into gold if they had none?

In response, the Governor of the Bank of England, Montagu Norman, set off across the Atlantic and, with much pleading, persuaded the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy. By lowering interest rates and raising inflation, the Fed stemmed gold flows into America, giving the British a much-needed respite from the ill-effects of Churchill’s costly pound.

With this episode of soft-hearted internationalism came an upswing in the Wall Street boom and “from that date,” wrote Lionel Robbins, “according to all the evidence, the situation got completely out of control.”

In The Great Crash, a very popular account of the lead up to the Great Depression, John Kenneth Galbraith writes:

the rediscount rate of the New York Federal Reserve was cut from 4 to 3.5 percent. Government securities were purchased in considerable volume with the mathematical consequence of leaving the banks and individuals who had sold them with money to spare. The funds that the Federal Reserve made available were either invested in common stocks or … they became available to help finance the purchase of common stocks by others. So provided with funds, people rushed into the market.

Galbraith goes on to quote a member of the Federal Reserve Board who, with hindsight, called the operation “one of the most costly errors” committed by a banking system “in 75 years.”

Galbraith finishes: “the view that the action of the Federal Reserve in 1927 was responsible for the speculation and collapse which followed has never been seriously shaken.”

John Maynard Who?

When Keynes wrote against returning to the gold standard at pre-war parity in 1925, he did so with the expectation that he might actually influence policy. As a younger, unknown man he had worked at the Treasury for a brief stint, leaving a legendary impression; and by 1925, six years after his best-seller The Economic Consequences of the Peace, he was a famous man whose words carried weight.

It is not outlandish then to imagine a world in which Keynes got his way. In such a world, the Wall Street crash and ensuing depression might never have happened – without the costly pound, the Fed would have had no impetus to inflate. Keynes would subsequently have found the economics profession less rattled, less willing to abandon its “classical” axioms in favor of his new-fangled approach. Keynes might have averted Keynesianism.

Submitted by Mark Tovey via The Mises Institute,

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The History of Shampoo


MIMI is a Time Inc. property.

#AceHistoryNews – Aug.14: Shampoo is good for many things. It makes you smell good, it can give you an extra little bounce, and it’s a delightful substitute for bubble bath in a pinch. But where did this miracle stuff come from?

We owe a ton of gratitude to the people of ancient Egypt, who invented many of our favorite beauty products way, way back in the day — but shampoo got its start somewhere else: India.

As early as the 1500s, people in India used the pulp of a fruit called soapberries combined with some herbs and even hibiscus flowers to keep their hair on point. When British colonial traders were going back and forth between India and England, they knew a good thing when they saw it and brought the notion of shampooing your hair to Europe. Yes, it’s true, prior to that, strands in the Western world were left to their own — probably quite dirty — devices.

Even once shampoo arrived on European shores, it still wasn’t available in the mass market. Pretty much, it was only used by professional hair stylists — and it came in a solid form, similar to a bar of soap. Much to the delight of Jane Austen and her contemporaries, I’m sure, the ability to lather up at home became a thing in the 1800s, but people were still using the stuff very sparingly. We’re talking washing your hair only once a month sparingly. These were grim times.

The New York Times announced in a 1908 article that it was fine to wash your hair every couple weeks (one would hope). Then, in the late 1920s, liquid shampoo was finally invented, making it far simpler to wash that man right out of your hair.

Dermatologists and beauty experts alike advise against daily shampooing, saying it’s best to only lather up a couple times a week at most — and the NoPoo anti-shampoo movement has caught on with certain people — but I still say few things feel better and make me feel more confident than shiny clean hair.

This article originally appeared on MIMI.

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Meet the Man Who Claims to Be the Kissing Soldier in That Famous V-J Day Photo


#AceHistoryNews – Aug.14: When Alfred Eisenstaedt took a picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day, on Aug. 14, 1945, he knew he’d captured something special. But he likely didn’t realize that the photo would become one of the most iconic images of the 20th century—and one of its most enduring mysteries.

Though the identities of the sailor and nurse have never been confirmed, George Mendonsa, a 92-year-old veteran and retired fisherman, has no doubt the man in the photo is him. “I haven’t found a person yet that I haven’t convinced,” he told CNN, explaining that his large hands, a scar on his brow and his distinct memory of that moment are confirmation enough for him.

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Navajo Code Talkers Day celebrates crucial second world war contribution


#AceHistoryNews – Aug.14: From 1942 to 1945, hundreds of code talkers participated in every US marine assault in the Pacific, transmitting information in an unbreakable code

When Navajo servicemen used their native Indian language to create an unbreakable code, they helped the Allies get one step closer to victory over Japan in the second world war – a contribution celebrated on Friday as Navajo Code Talkers Day.

From 1942 to 1945, approximately 400 code talkers participated in every marine assault in the Pacific, as they transmitted important information by telephone and radio.


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‘Be happy I was here,’ 104-year-old Colonial Heights grandmother pens obit


#AceHistoryNews – Aug.11: A true gem was left in the obituary section of the local paper, written by Dorothy McElhaney, about Dorothy McElhaney.

She was born on Nov. 15, 1910, and died 104 years later, on August 8, 2015. She will be buried August 13, 2015.

However, many chapters were written in between those two dates, and Dorothy chronicled the highlights in her own obituary.

It begins, “It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away,” and ends with an invitation to walk with her on her final carriage ride.

“I was born at a time when everybody rode in a horse and buggy and I will travel to my final resting place in a horse drawn carriage,” Dorothy wrote. “You’re invited to walk behind me as I take my final carriage ride.”

The memories she shares are as clear as snapshots passed hand to hand.

“So many things in my life seemed of little significance at the time; they happened, but then took on a greater importance as I got older,” Dorothy wrote. “The memories I’m taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the gold and silver in my jewelry box. Memories where do I begin?”

So, I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honor.

But, I DID have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?

So in the end, remember, do your best, follow your arrow and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop smiling.

If you want to, you can look for me in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies. You know I’ll be there in one form or another. Of course that will probably comfort some while antagonizing others, but you know me…it’s what I do.

I’ll leave you with this, please don’t cry because I’m gone; instead be happy that I was here (or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).

Today I am happy and I am dancing.

Read the full obituary which chronicles her journey and memories, here.

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Article: A Vice Admiral and WWII Hero Condemns Nuclear Weapons 70 Years After Nagasaki and Hiroshima: Pamela Alma Weymouth

#AceHistoryNews – Aug.08: A Vice Admiral and WWII Hero Condemns Nuclear Weapons 70 Years After Nagasaki and Hiroshima: Pamela Alma Weymouth


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