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The discovery of ‘zero’ and why it matters

Today it seems obvious and self-evident, but the existence of ‘zero’ escaped from the mathematicians’ and the philosophers’ imagination for centuries. It is not clear when it was first discovered (some might say invented), nor by whom, in part because its use has been subjected to many changes throughout centuries …

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The first Zionists were socialists

Zion refers to Jerusalem and is the goal of the general desire of Jews to return to their homeland, their historical space. The word Zionism was created by Nathan Birnbaum in the newspaper Self-Emancipation! (Selbstemanzipation!), in 1890. It was Theodor Herzl who gave it its modern meaning of creating an …

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Historical mysteries and conspiracy theories

Skepticism and science against superstition “It’s good to keep your mind open –but not so open that your brain falls out” Walter Kotschnig, 1940 – usually attributed to Carl Sagan In the dark years of medieval times, the unsuspecting population of Europe would systematically become witness of a magical phenomenon …

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The founding of Israel

“The only thing worse than having the British as your enemies, is having as your allies” Unknown In 70 AD, Israel stopped being considered as the country of Hebrews. It was the year when the Romans took over Jerusalem. Some time later, Hadrian (78-138 AD) changed the name of the …

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Replying to Holocaust deniers

“Even though Hitler and the Nazis made no secret of their war on the Jews, the SS operatives dutifully eliminated all traces of their murderous activities and instruments. No written orders for gassing have turned up thus far. The SS not only destroyed most camp records, which were in any …

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The origins of Christmas and Santa Claus

Jesus was born roughly between 2 and 7 BC, according to historians, theologians and the Pope himself. The mistaken calculation was made by Dionysius Exiguus (470 – 544 AD), the inventor of the modern calendar and the one responsible for splitting history in two, before and after Jesus’ birth, which …

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When Castro asked for a nuclear holocaust

“Without a doubt the Cuban people would have fought courageously but, also without a doubt, the Cuban people would have perished heroically.” Khrushchev to Castro During the short period known as ‘the Cuban missile crisis’, the planet approached more than ever the biggest catastrophe possible. Given the lauding of Castro …

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Hitler’s willing suicides – the German kamikaze

Fascism has repeatedly been defeated but it doesn’t usually surrender. It denies its defeat, it hangs on every last thread of hope, it sends every last one of its heroes to their deaths and it uses the citizens in peacetime as it does the soldiers at war: as mere means …

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Alexander the Great of the Quran

Alexander the Great didn’t leave a mark only in history books; soon after his death he entered the sphere of myth. The first mythical narration of the king’s adventures belongs to pseudo-Callisthenes, a name given to the writer of the manuscript called The Life of Alexander (the real Callisthenes, Alexander’s …

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