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5 Unanticipated Facts About the Middle Ages That Prove History Can Be More Exciting Than “Game of Thrones”

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The Middle Ages are believed to be one of the darkest times in European history: multiple wars, diseases, and a lack of hygiene — are all things that led to many problems. But the Middle Ages were also a really interesting historical period that we don’t know enough about. For example, do you know why wearing striped clothing was a bad thing or why knights fought with snails? If you don’t, you have to read this article.

Bright Side wants to dispel the myth that the Middle Ages was a time when nothing interesting happened.

Striped clothes were a bad sign.

Wearing striped clothing in the Middle Ages was not safe. In 1310, a shoemaker from Rouen was actually executed for wearing striped clothing. Wearing stripes was only legally allowed for actors, musicians, prostitutes, heretics, jesters, and other people who didn’t have a stable position in society: these clothes were a way to tell them apart from the noble folk.

Modern scientists don’t really know the root of the reason for why stripes were considered bad. Some experts believe it was because striped clothing can hide the shape of the body and could be taken as an attempt to change one’s true appearance.

Why was there a beak on the plague doctor mask?

The famous plague doctors wore special masks with a beak. However, the beak wasn’t there to intimidate people: it was used to carry substances with a strong odor: for example, a cloth soaked in vinegar, flowers, herbs, or something like that. It was believed that the plague could be stopped by this type of filter. The only question is when exactly the plague doctor costume was created. Even though a popular opinion is that it was created during the plague outbreak during the 14th century, there is no exact evidence of that. Some experts believe it wasn’t invented until the 17th century.

The first plague pandemic that we know of broke out in the middle of the 6th century and killed more than 125 million people in Europe and Asia. There was also a pandemic in the 14th century: it was brought from China to Europe and reached Russia where it killed the population of several towns. In Europe, more than 25 million people were killed by the plague. At that time, this was 1/3 of the entire population of Europe.

Why were there openings in the walls of cathedrals?

During their restoration, experts found small openings in the walls of the cathedrals that were built in the Middle Ages. These openings are called hagioscopes and people could use them to see what was happening inside. They were for people who couldn’t enter the cathedral for some reason, for example, those who had leprosy.

These types of openings were found to be differently shaped depending on the cathedral, some were round, rectangular, and even cross-shaped. The openings faced either cemeteries or sparsely-populated districts. In the 16th century, most of these openings were sealed once the leprosy pandemic was eradicated.

Why did spiral staircases always go clockwise?

Spiral staircases in the castles of the Middle Ages were always built to follow a clockwise path. They were built this way in case the castle was under siege: the thing is, a defender coming down the stairs would be able to fight with his right hand, and most people are right-handed. And an attacker, coming up the stairs, would have trouble doing the same.

Spiral staircases had another trick to them too: the stairs were different in height and width. This caused attackers who were unfamiliar with the specifics to trip and fall. And the owners of the castle knew every single step and could move very fast.

Of course, this rule has very rare exceptions, for example, one of the Waldstein castles had counterclockwise staircases because most members of the family were left-handed.

Why did knights fight with snails?

At the end of the 13th century, manuscripts that were created in the north of France had pictures of knights fighting with snails. Scientists don’t know exactly why these creatures were not loved by the artists of the Middle Ages, but there are several versions of this story. One of them says that a snail appearing from a shell is a symbol of resurrection and the picture is just a metaphor.

Another version says that a snail is a symbol of cowardice that artists placed in the manuscripts. And the most trustworthy theory is that a snail is a symbol of the Lombards who were at war with the French.

Bonus: Women were not as good-looking as they are on TV-shows.

Of course, women in the Middle Ages were beautiful too. But they didn’t have cosmetics or access to showers and other facilities. So, when you are watching Game of Thrones, remember that this is only a show, the reality was way more harsh. Here are several examples:

  • When women needed fake eyebrows, they used rodent hair.
  • All marks on the skin (like moles and freckles) were believed to have been received from the devil, and all of them had to be hidden. So in order to remove these “stains of witchcraft,” women would use willow tree water, the blood of a rabbit, and other strange substances.
  • It was fashionable to be pale, so women used mercury, acid, and lead to whiten their faces.
  • And about their hygiene: There weren’t any fancy cosmetic products, so women had to use soap that was made of ash and fat. It was the medieval version of a catch-22, either have a dirty face or use this gross substance to wash it.

Did you know any of these facts?

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20 Awkward Cats Who Fall Asleep in Crazy Ways

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Cats have mastered the art of sleeping, which is not surprising since they spend most of their day asleep. The thing that surprises us is the law of physics-defying positions they fall asleep in. They often leave us amazed or even a little freaked out, but they’re comfortable so we shouldn’t complain. They make for some of the funniest pictures after all!

Bright Side wants to show you 20 pictures of some furry knots that truly amazed us. Also, we have a little puzzle for you in the last picture!

20. When you don’t have a blanket, so you need to cover yourself with your own legs

19. In the newest cat bed, you can roll around while sleeping.

18. Pocket kitten taking a little nap

17. Who needs cat beds anyway?

16. When you’re so tired that you can’t even make it to bed:

15. As if we needed more proof that cats defy the laws of physics…

14. Not sure if the cat is dreaming of sunbathing or flying.

13. This cat read about a sleeping position called “the snail”.

12. Someone had an exhausting day at work.

11. A cat’s mission is to find every spot suitable for sleeping.

10. We can tell that this cat is very comfortable.

9. A fur spiral

8. Another cat that doesn’t need a blanket to cover itself!

7. Enjoying the sunshine

6. When your nap is so good, you start melting:

5. Always be camouflaged, even when you’re sleeping.

4. When you don’t exactly fit, but it doesn’t stop you from taking a nap:

3. We think this cat is dreaming of flying like Superman.

2. Bones are overrated anyway.

1. Here’s your puzzle! How long did it take you to find its head?

Cats are adorable when they sleep and they never fail to amaze us with their quirkiness! Have your cats fallen asleep in strange positions? We need to see them! So please, make our day and everyone else’s by showing us!

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Bernie Sanders’s reparations comments could hurt DSA 2020 endorsement

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’s refusal to give a full-throated endorsement of reparations is throwing a wrench into his long-expected endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America.

The DSA’s AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus, a section within the organization focused on race and people of color, is asking the DSA’s national political committee to withhold its endorsement of Sanders’s presidential campaign over his stance on reparations. The independent Vermont senator has declined to back reparations for the descendants of slaves in the United States, arguing that broader anti-poverty programs will help address inequality and that it’s not clear what the term means.

DSA’s members already voted 76 percent to 24 percent to endorse Sanders in a poll conducted by the organization’s leadership earlier this month. The 16-member national political committee is set to vote on the endorsement on Thursday evening. The AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus is pushing for them to withhold that endorsement.

The caucus laid out its reasoning in an open letter to the political committee and explained that while they believe Sanders has advanced in his stance on race, “there is still a disconnect in his approach to economic issues often failing to comprehend how race and class are intertwined.”

“Should the organization move forward with an endorsement of the Sanders campaign, despite his failure to adopt specific policy stances to address matters of persisting racial injustice and despite his unwillingness to champion reparations to specifically address the experience of the descendants of African slaves, it will risk alienating not just members of color within the organization, but people of color in the communities in which the DSA works,” the letter reads. “We ask that the DSA withholds endorsement of the Bernie Sanders campaign for the presidency until Sanders finally acknowledges the validity of black demands for reparations in America.”

Democratic Socialists of America, which claims to be the largest socialist organization in the US and has gained significantly in prominence in recent years. (Jeff Stein laid out for Vox in 2017 what DSA is all about.) It has more than 50,000 members nationwide.

The letter has caused some internal consternation within DSA, which has been criticized for being a heavily white and male organization.

“There is a lot of really frustrated white comrades right now and comrades of color, to be quite honest, about how this is a stupid strategy, and what’s going on, but I think their hearts are in the right place,” Bianca Cunningham, co-chair of New York City’s DSA chapter, told me. “Sometimes, having these discussions is uncomfortable, and it means you even have to challenge comrades who you see as allies.”

What Sanders has said about reparations

Reparations has become a topic of conversation in the 2020 Democratic primary, and multiple candidates — including Sanders — have been asked to weigh in.

It’s worth noting that reparations polls poorly among the general public, but is more popular with younger voters and voters of color — prime parts of the Democratic base. It has thus gained credence among those on the left as the Democratic Party becomes more aware of and responsive to issues like the racial wealth gap. Black voters make up about 25 percent of Democratic primary voters, a constituency Sanders struggled with somewhat in 2016 but one with which he has been gaining support more recently.

At a CNN town hall event with journalist Wolf Blitzer in February, Sanders was asked about reparations. He said that there are “massive disparities that must be addressed” but did not come out in favor of reparations. Sanders pointed to legislation he likes, including Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-SC) 10/20/30 anti-poverty program, which he has endorsed. It calls for more federal resources to be sent to communities with high, sustained levels of poverty.

Sanders said we have to do “everything that we can do end institutional racism in this country” and “put resources into distressed communities and improve lives for those people who have been hurt from the legacy of slavery.” But he wouldn’t come out in favor of reparations, and he said it’s not clear what the term even means.

“But what does they mean? What do they mean?” he said. “I’m not sure that anyone’s very clear. What I’ve just said is that I think we must do everything that we can to address the massive level of disparity that exists in this country.”

The DSA caucus calling for the organization to withhold its endorsement cited Sanders’s comments at the CNN town hall. They said he appeared “defensive” and “the dismissive nature of the response effectively shut down the opportunity for meaningful conversation on this issue.”

Sanders was also asked about reparations in a subsequent appearance on the talk show The View and again declined to back them. “I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check,” he said.

That Sanders is not supportive of reparations is not a surprise — he did not support them in 2016 either, claiming they were “divisive” and nearly impossible to get through Congress. (President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not support reparations, either.) More broadly, Sanders has struggled with his messaging on race. In 2015, Black Lives Matter activists disrupted one of his speeches.

A Sanders spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the DSA’s reparations debate.

Reparations have become an important issue in the 2020 primary

The issue of reparations has become a notable topic of conversation among 2020 Democrats.

Vox’s P.R. Lockhart recently delved into the debate and what candidates have said about it. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for example, have expressed some level of support for reparations, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is running on a proposed “baby bonds” program that would help close the racial wealth gap.

But as Lockhart notes, the issue — and the discussion around it — isn’t clear-cut:

Some candidates have also noted that reparations — the process of apologizing and providing restitution to those harmed by slavery and its legacy — would serve as payment for a debt America has yet to truly acknowledge 150 years after emancipation.

But they’ve stopped short of actually calling for reparations programs. Instead, experts say that some candidates have muddied the waters by framing universal programs that would help black communities as a form of reparations — which they aren’t.

The discussion has touched on a longstanding debate about what the United States owes to the descendants of enslaved men and women — a population that has been systematically denied wealth and opportunity in a country built with the stolen labor of their ancestors.

Sanders’s approach to racial issues has historically been centered on economic inequality and the idea that communities of color would benefit most from his proposals such as Medicare-for-all and free education. Nelini Stamp, who heads strategy and partnerships for the Working Families Party and supports reparations, in a recent interview told me that’s not enough.

“Similar to having capitalism be a bad word, we need reparations to be a good word,” she said.

Stamp added that people who back Sanders should pressure him on the issue as well. “There should be actual outrage from Bernie’s strongest supporters about his reparations comments,” she said.

Sanders will probably still get the DSA’s endorsement

It’s not clear what, if any, effect the DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus’s letter will have on the organization’s decision on backing Sanders. Its membership appears to overwhelmingly support the move, though there has been some debate about whether it’s the right move.

The national political committee is set to debate and vote on the endorsement on Thursday at 9 pm.

Beyond this vote, the discussion about reparations and, more broadly, race, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, in the context of the Sanders campaign or among democratic socialists more broadly.

“I don’t think the problem is that they’re pushing for this, I think the problem is the way that people receive it,” Cunningham, from New York’s DSA, said of the AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus’s letter. “And so, we hear some people saying, ‘This is going to tear apart the organization.’ Well, it doesn’t have to. You can receive this in good faith and really engage in this in a good faith way.”


The news moves fast. Catch up at the end of the day: Subscribe to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast, or sign up for our evening email newsletter, Vox Sentences.

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#MBCTrending – بمناسبة افتتاح الاولمبياد في أبو ظبي.. نجوم العرب والعالم بأوبريت غنائي

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بمناسبة افتتاح الاولمبياد في أبو ظبي.. نجوم العرب والعالم بأوبريت غنائي
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؟ لأن الازدحام ليس فقط في الشوارع، إنما في كل ما تتلقاه في “السوشيال ميديا” عبر هاتفك الذي لا يفارق يدك . زحام في المعلومات، الصور، الفيديوهات، الملابس، المطاعم، الأفكار، السيارات والمشاهير الذين لا تنتهي يومياتهم بكل ما هو مثير.
نحن نختصر كل ذلك في برنامج واحد يقوم بتلخيص كل ما هو جديد، وإيصاله إليك بدون ازدحام . ابق أمام شاشة MBC4 وانتظر الساخن في تمام الساعة 8 مساء بتوقيت السعودية .

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