Wikipedia articles of interest

i. English Civil War.

“The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians (Roundheads) and Royalists (Cavaliers). The first (1642–46) and second (1648–49) civil wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third war (1649–51) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The Civil War ended with the Parliamentary victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

The Civil War led to the trial and execution of Charles I, the exile of his son, Charles II, and replacement of English monarchy with first, the Commonwealth of England (1649–53), and then with a Protectorate (1653–59), under Oliver Cromwell’s personal rule. The monopoly of the Church of England on Christian worship in England ended with the victors consolidating the established Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.”

There’s a lot of stuff here, this subject and related areas of inquiry are very well covered by wikipedia. See for instance also links like this, this, this and this (I’ve read most of the article on Oliver Cromwell at another point in time, because his name came up online and I didn’t know who he was – but no, I’ve not read all of that stuff I just linked to; those other links were just included to give you a sense of the scale of what’s available. Anyway, I think the Cromwell article is good and the wikipedia community agrees with me.).

ii. Ostrich. Did you know that these birds have a max speed of almost 100 km/h? – I knew they could outrun humans, but I was thinking more like 40 or 50 km/h. It’s the world’s fastest two-legged animal.

“Unlike all other living birds, the Ostrich secretes urine separately from faeces.” […] “Ostriches typically avoid humans in the wild, since they correctly assess humans as potential predators, and, if approached, often run away. However, Ostriches may turn aggressive rather than run when threatened, especially when cornered, and may also attack when they feel they need to defend their offspring or territories. Similar behaviors are noted in captive or domesticated ostriches, which retain the same natural instincts and can occasionally respond aggressively to stress. When attacking a person, ostriches kick with their powerful feet, armed with long claws, which are capable of disemboweling or killing a person with a single blow.”

iii. Bodiam Castle. This is the “Swamp Castle” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (compare the shot 4-5 seconds into this clip with the fourth picture in the article)

iv. Endorheic basin – “a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans.” Lots of links.

v. Mob football.

“Mob football is the name given to some varieties of Medieval football, which emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Mob football distinguished itself from other codes by typically having an unlimited number of players and very few rules. By some accounts, any means could be used to move the ball to a goal, as long as it did not lead to manslaughter or murder.”

I think I’d find that kind of football much more entertaining than the type that’s currently in vogue.

October 17, 2011 - Posted by | Biology, Geology, History, Wikipedia, Zoology


  1. Have you ever seen rugby or australian football? There are of course rules shaping those games, but compared to especially american football but also soccer and even handball, it at least aesthetically* seems more violent, without as much protection for the players, when they with no protection gear are mantackled in brute fashions.

    While they all (except handball) descend from this mob football, rugby and especially aussie rules have the feeling of the mob intact, in my honest opinion.

    * I don’t necessarily take for granted, that it actually is more violent. Soccer, handball and american football players get bad injuries all the time, and rules, regulation and gear doesn’t always increase security, it can also have the opposite effect. I don’t know of any usable comparisons, so I’ll just leave at that.

    Comment by info | October 18, 2011 | Reply

    • No, I have not.

      I don’t know much (/anything) about the sports you mention but when it comes to the NFL, it’s a long running-debate whether the players are actually more likely to get hurt by the addition of more protective gear, and/or whether there’s a tradeoff between number of injuries and number of serious injuries (i.e. ‘less injuries = more serious injuries when they do happen’) and if so, how that tradeoff looks like and how it should be dealt with. I don’t really care much about that stuff anymore but I remember that it came up a couple of years ago because of a game where one player had to be carried away from the field and people thought he might have broken his spinal cord (don’t remember the name of the player and I’m too lazy too look it up).

      All I know today is that if I sit down at my parents and watch a game of soccer, my eyes will become very heavy after just a few minutes. Some people surely feel the same way about a chess game between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. Anyway, soccer is not the sport for me and I think it’s likely the entertainment value of it would improve by adding baseballbats, broadswords and shields to the gear the players walk around with.

      Comment by US | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. Heh, looks like I am not the only European (of sorts) who does not get soccer. I played it as a kid, and mostly played defender – that is, stand around, chat with the goalie, and get in the way of people charging us. I find American football marginally more entertaining, partly because of the “violence”, but mostly because progress is tracked all the time (one team drives, another defends until a score or turnover) and because I can bet on it. To me, soccer is mostly ballet.

    I feel the same way, incidentally, about boxing. Bo-o-o-o-ring. I can watch ultimate fighting, but enjoyed it a lot more in its early days (circa 2000) when the fights were not limited in time, and the only rules were no eye-gouging and no strikes/grabs to the groins. It still amuses me to no end how many people do not realize that the gloves in boxing were initially much smaller – because their purpose was not to protect the head of the opponent, but to prevent you from breaking your knuckles on your opponent’s head or elbows. Then the size of gloves slowly expanded, as protection of the opponent was deemed important – can’t have men knocking each other out too easily, no sir, too brutal and violent.

    In my humble opinion, there have been very few positive developments in sports since the Ancient Olympics and gladiatorial combat.

    Comment by Plamus | October 22, 2011 | Reply

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