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West Asian food – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:40:08+00:00September 13th, 2017|Food, West Asia|

Sumerians sipping beer through straws (ca. 2500 BC) The people of West Asia traditionally divided themselves into two groups who had very different eating and drinking habits. These two groups thought of themselves as enemies, even though they also traded with each other and married each other all the time. One group lived in [...]

Why is the sky blue? A science project

By |2017-08-20T14:53:06+00:00August 20th, 2017|Physics|

A cloudy glass of water You can see for yourself that blue light scatters more than red light. This is the same way that John Tyndall showed why the sky was blue in 1859. Fill a drinking glass with water, and then add two spoonfuls of milk - almond milk is okay if you are dairy-free [...]

Challenges and disabilities in the ancient world

By |2018-04-24T11:07:10+00:00August 16th, 2017|Medieval, Romans, Science|

(Bosch, the Ship of Fools) In the ancient and medieval worlds, many more people were physically and mentally challenged than there are in the United States, or practically anywhere, today. There were no operations to fix club feet, or cleft palates, or heart murmurs. There were no antidepressants or antipsychotics for people who heard [...]

Bronze Age in northern Europe

By |2018-08-13T04:50:25+00:00June 27th, 2017|History, Northern Europe, Where|

Bell beakers (ca. 2000 BC) About 3000 BC, a new wave of Central Asian people migrated west into northern Europe; these were the Indo-Europeans, also called the Yamnaya. The Indo-Europeans brought with them new inventions, including woven plaid fabric, and their Celtic language (the ancestor of modern Welsh, Irish, and Breton). They also [...]

Chocolate and sugar: Chocolate comes to Europe

By |2017-06-21T00:54:27+00:00June 21st, 2017|Food, Modern Europe|

Aztec man serving a cup of cocoa When Spanish invaders came to the court of the Aztec ruler Montezuma in 1519, Montezuma naturally served them chocolate in gold cups. The Spanish soldiers didn't like chocolate very much, but they drank it to be polite. When they realized that chocolate had caffeine in it [...]

History of Cheese – Central Asia

By |2018-04-19T09:26:55+00:00June 12th, 2017|Central Asia, Food|

History of cheese: There are lots of different kinds of cheese. How to preserve milk? If you don't have a refrigerator, there's no way to keep milk from going bad within a few hours. Even WITH a refrigerator milk goes bad in about a week. But ancient cows and sheep and goats only [...]

Food in Early Central Asia

By |2018-04-16T10:38:08+00:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Food|

Dried sour yogurt balls in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (thanks to Jeff and Becca Zanatta) The nomads who lived in Central Asia, like the Scythians, the Mongols and the Turks, mostly lived on the meat and milk from their big herds of cattle. They ate a lot of yogurt and cheese and steaks, and dried strips [...]

How to make yogurt – Prokaryote project – Biology

By |2018-04-16T10:27:53+00:00May 28th, 2017|Biology|

A girl making yogurt in Mongolia: how to make yogurt! Yogurt and bacteria To see some prokaryotes in action, you can make your own yogurt. Yogurt is what happens to milk when bacteria get into it and reproduce. The bacteria eat the sugar(lactose) in the milk for energy to live and reproduce themselves. [...]

What are Mammals – Biology

By |2018-04-21T11:56:43+00:00May 26th, 2017|Biology|

Rat from New Zealand About 200 million years ago, when all the land on Earth was stuck together in one big continent called Pangaea, some animals related to reptiles living on Pangaea gradually evolved into a new group called mammals (MAMM-elz). The mammals were different from the earlier reptiles in several ways. First, [...]