These days, July 4th is all about barbecues, fireworks and a healthy dose of red, white and blue excesses. And as the most well-known symbol of U.S. patriotism, the American flag is often a prominent feature of Fourth of July parades and parties. Yet today’s flag has come a long way since the first design created more than two centuries ago. Here’s an intriguing look at the evolution of the American flag over time.
1940s Harlem. The Harlem of Malcolm X, of Duke Ellington, of Zora Neale Hurston. Prohibition is over, and African Americans are fighting a war at a time when they are still regarded…
So let’s get all Salt-n-Pepa and talk about sex, baby. Better yet, let’s talk about sex throughout human history. After all, Iwan Bloch, considered by many to be the first sexologist, believed that “historical knowledge offered an important key to understanding contemporary problems of sexuality”. History can also provide valuable perspective on how attitudes about sex and sexual mores have changed over the centuries, and how religion has shaped some ideas we might have about sex today. Here are eight things you never knew about sex in different cultures and eras and were afraid to ask.
Sex Attitudes: Rome And Orgies
Let’s start in ancient Rome, which has the reputation for being permissive when it came to all things sexual. Its anything-goes rep might be somewhat warranted. In ancient Roman culture prostitution was legal; what might be considered “pornographic” art was collected in upper-class households; it was not uncommon for Roman men to be attracted to teenagers of both sexes; and pederasty—the homosexual relationship between a male adult and an adolescent male—was commonplace and acceptable so long as the younger partner was not a freeborn Roman. Though effeminacy was frowned upon in men, there was no distinction in Roman society between homosexuality and heterosexuality. In fact, the language did not even contain words for the concepts.
Invented in 1925 by Italian M. Goventosa de Udine, these swimming aids were made from bike tires and allowed the wearer to move at speeds of up to 93 mph. And while they’re a far cry from being fashionable—or even remotely comfortable—at least you could move faster than a running cheetah. Right?
Ice Age-Resistant Boats
Irrationally afraid of an impending ice age? Live in Holland in the year 1600? Fear no more. This boat, which was designed in Holland, had (as the inventors believed) the capacity to transport goods over frozen rivers and lakes.
Three boys scavenge peer down New York City grates for change in 1930. During the first years of the Depression, approximately 250,000 young people were homeless. As this photo suggests, one of the few constants in these kids’ lives was a sense of desperation.