Just How Depraved was Ancient Rome? – L.J. Trafford: The History Girls

Rome was not a society that was destroyed by perversion and depravity, it was a society that liked to complain that it was being destroyed by perversion and depravity. It had done so as far back as 184 BCE when Cato the Elder ran for censor promising to purify the city of the stench of immorality and continued unabated right through the era when Rome could be rightly considered at its height. Remember Livy writing in his introduction about his disgust at how far the national character had declined? He’s writing that under the reign of Augustus, a time every history book will tell you was a golden era.

The History Girls: Just how Depraved was Ancient Rome? By L.J. Trafford

I’ve read Trafford’s non-fiction works as part of my research for “Pompeii Fire” (I promise I’ll finish it eventually). This article is an excellent overview about the legends and, in some cases, lies about the behavior of ancient Romans.

The Problematic Myth of Florence Nightingale – Literary Hub

Nightingale is probably the most famous nurse who ever lived, but she had a less-celebrated contemporary named Mary Seacole. The two women’s motivations for wanting to nurse in the Crimean War of 1853–56 were parallel, but the legacies of their wartime nursing are remarkably different. Those differences are telling, even today. Both Nightingale and Seacole were experienced nurses, though with vastly different styles and goals. Both were deeply moved by patriotism and compassion to nurse British soldiers during the notoriously bloody war fought mainly on the Crimean Peninsula, in what is now Russian-occupied Ukraine.

The Problematic Myth of Florence Nightingale ‹ Literary Hub

I’ve always been fascinated by Florence Nightingale; I even incorporated some information from her Notes on Nursing into In The Eye of The Storm. But the history of nursing goes much further.

Eat Like an Ancient Roman by Recreating Bread From Pompeii

Between archaeological evidence, written records, and fresco paintings, not to mention scientific experimentation, the story of Panis Quadratus slowly revealed itself. It’s been a long time coming, and some of the loaves’ characteristics have stumped archaeologists for decades. But Monaco has come to a few conclusions.

For starters, there’s the shape of the bread—a round piece that appears to have been imprinted so diners could easily break it into eight triangular sections. She believes this was meant to help the portioning of the bread in a time when serrated knives for this purpose weren’t widely available.

Panis Quadratus also showed evidence of a band wrapped around the outside of each of the loaves. Most experts still don’t know for certain what ancient bakers used it for, but Monaco believes it likely served two purposes: keeping the pieces from spreading during baking in commercial ovens where space was at a premium, and making it easier for porters or bread hawkers to loop loaves onto poles and carry them around town.

Eat Like an Ancient Roman by Recreating Bread From Pompeii

Recycled Glass, Turned into Sand, Is Restoring Louisiana’s Shrinking Coastline

The founders of Glass Half Full, though, found a particularly urgent need: They are using the glass to restore New Orleans’ shrinking coastline. In the last decades, Louisiana has lost roughly the size of the state of Delaware, from its eroding beaches and marshes, and continues to lose the size of a football field every half hour due to erosion, hurricanes and rising sea levels.

Together with the Pointe au Chien Indian Tribe and Tulane University, with funding from the National Science Foundation, Trautmann and Steitz are working to restore some of the marshes at the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain as part of their ReCoast initiative with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL). There is actually a global sand shortage, and efforts to restore coastlines often involve dredging, which impacts ecosystems. Bolstered by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, scientists conducted tests to make sure the glass-sand is not harming the environment and no chemicals are leaching into the flora. Turns out that the natural sediment found along the Mississippi River Delta and most beaches along the Gulf Coast is mostly silica, just like the recycled glass.

Recycled Glass, Turned into Sand, Is Restoring Louisiana’s Shrinking Coastline

I talked about coastal erosion in Bayou Fire. Nice to see something like this happening.

Water Tank Beneath Palais Garnier – Paris, France – Atlas Obscura

Beneath the opera house, Palais Garnier, there sits a water tank, and some folks say that once a man lived there who had no face. “The Phantom of the Opera” was based upon this place.

That tank, which has been referred to as a lake and a lagoon, inspired Gaston Leroux, a crime reporter and theatre and opera critic, to use it as a setting in his classic novel. In the book and hit musical that followed, the cellar serves as the tragic figure’s dark and eerie lair. But originally, it was a purely practical part of Charles Garnier’s opera house design.

When the foundation was being built in 1862, a combination of wells and steam pumps operating 24 hours a day could not keep the groundwater away for long enough to lay the substructure. Garnier incorporated a cistern into his design to redistribute the water and relieve the water pressure on the basement walls. It also kept the water available in case of a fire.

Water Tank Beneath Palais Garnier – Paris, France – Atlas Obscura

I refer to the lagoon throughout the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, as well as in A Light Across the Lake.