Photo of the Day

House in Galveston on Avenue N, October 15, 1900

The Deadliest Disaster in American History

On September 8, 1900, the coastal city of Galveston, Texas was hit by a hurricane like none that the U.S. has ever experienced before or since. Winds of 120 mph slammed the city with flying debris that cut through homes like shrapnel. Waves crashed onto the streets, leaving the city 15 feet underwater at one point. And, worst of all, virtually nobody had the foresight to evacuate.

Galvestonians had experienced ocean flood waters from storms before but hadn’t ever done much more than board up windows and build beach houses up off the ground as prevention. This lack of preparation would cost them dearly.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in modern U.S. history, leaving behind an estimated death toll of 8,000-12,000 people.

The actual death toll will never be known because the magnitude of the disaster far exceeded the ability to accurately count and identify bodies. It is very likely that many of the dead were washed out to sea. Nevertheless, it was the deadliest natural disaster in America?s history.

The trouble began on Friday, September 7, when Galveston was issued a storm warning by the central office of the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service). A single-paragraph story with a headline that read “Storm in the Gulf” appeared in the following day’s newspaper but did little to cause the citizens much concern.

However, Isaac M. Cline, a Weather Bureau official, drove his horse-drawn buggy through Galveston’s neighbourhoods, urging people to seek shelter. Even Cline didn’t believe there was cause for serious concern, though, writing in 1891?that “it would be impossible for any cyclone to create a storm wave which could materially injure the city.” (It should be noted that Cline survived the storm, but of course, those words would haunt him dearly.)

But as the tides began to rise and the winds came, Galveston was punished with unmerciful hurricane winds that left sheer chaos in their wake.

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Photo of the Day

Orlando Villas Boas with two Kalapalo Indians with the supposed bones of Colonel Fawcett. 1952 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Lost City of Z

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was a famous British explorer who?s legendary adventures captivated the world

Lieutenant Colonel Percival Harrison Fawcett DSO (18 August 1867 ? during or after 1925) was a British geographer, artillery officer, cartographer, archaeologist and explorer of South America. He charted the wilderness of South America but then disappeared without a trace while exploring the Brazilian jungle in search of “The Lost City of ‘Z,'” his name for an ancient lost city, which he and others believed to exist and to be the remains of El Dorado, in the jungles of Brazil.

Danger appealed to Fawcett, and over the course of many years, broken only by a return to the army at the outbreak of the First World War, he ventured out on a succession of missions to map the unknown jungle ? sometimes alone ? and follow up the tantalising clues that the undergrowth masked a hidden civilisation to rival those of Greece or Rome.

During an expedition to find “Z” a place Colonel and South American explorer Percy Fawcett became increasingly engrossed by over the years, Fawcett vanished in the wilderness on his expedition in 1925, along with his two partners, his son Jack, and another friend. The case is one of the wildest mysteries in missing person cases today, and some believe the trio could have been eaten alive by wild animals.

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Photo of the Day

In 1919, a song called The Mysterious Axman?s Jazz (Don?t Scare Me Papa) was written by Joseph John Davilla. Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection Of Louisiana Folk Tales, a book with a chapter about the Axe-Man, was released in 1945.

The Axeman of New Orleans

?Legend has it that residents tried using jazz to appease the serial killer, but not before he claimed the lives of local Italian grocers

Who’ll be next?” is the question being asked by

detectives and Italians of New Orleans.

— The Times-Picayune

It was the night of March 19, 1919, and Jazz played in New Orleans.

Music poured out of private residences, where wealthy white New Orleanians hired bands to play music popularised in a mixed race Red Light District. Nightclubs and bars were packed to the point of overflow. In a city known for its lively atmosphere, this may have been one of the most gig-heavy nights in history.

Yet the musicians weren?t playing for love or money. These concerts were born of fear, ordered by an axe-wielding maniac who claimed to have come straight from Hell. The Axeman had declared that he would murder anyone in New Orleans who was not listening to live jazz music on a particular night.

History is littered with mysterious assailants who appear from the dark shadows and terrorise the community, only to disappear almost as fast as they came. However, a case in New Orleans in 1918 leaves no doubt that a madman was on the loose. An assailant only known as the Axeman cut a swath through the Italian community of New Orleans, leaving fear and death in his wake. There is no doubt that the Axeman was a real figure and not an artefact created?from common belief. Even so, his identity and motivations remain a mystery until this day.

The Axeman dispatched his victims with an axe and sent taunting letters to the press (a technique pioneered by the original evasive serial killer, Jack the Ripper).

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The First Muslim refugee

“Muhammad was once a refugee taken in by the Jewish City of Medina. Within 5-years, he had driven out, executed, or enslaved every Jew there.”


Muhammad was the first Muslim refugee. It didn’t turn out too well for the Jewish society that took him in. I think that there is a lesson in that story.

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Time to apply the same logic at our national borders as company recruiters



Nothing is quite so annoying as a person who says, ” do as I say, not as I do.” ?In this article we look at Silicon Valley companies that are opposed to strong borders to protect a country’s culture but are ruthless when it comes to the protection of their individual company culture.

Ask a startup?CEO what the most important thing at his company is, and you?re likely to hear something about the ?company culture? ? a?unique blend of values and workplace norms that give startups their unique vibe.

It?s something that tech companies are very proud of, particularly in Silicon Valley

….Valley startups?understand the importance of culture to an organisation?s success. Indeed, tech companies take company cultures so far that they turn into borderline cults.

Some would argue that a company?s culture is even more important than the skills and experience of senior hires. Indeed, it?s now?accepted practice for potential employees to be rejected because hiring managers don?t think they?d be a ?good fit? in the company?s atmosphere.

Which of course?makes sense. Different companies work differently and no one culture is the perfect fit for every startup.

…Every startup CEO knows?this and takes pride in his company?s?distinctiveness. Many believe that it is precisely their company culture that affords them a competitive edge.

CEOs often?hire a small percentage of??bad fits? on purpose, in order to avoid groupthink in long-established teams ? say, 2.5 to 5 per cent. But any more than that starts tearing the company apart, causing it to lose its edge and flavour.

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The Genocide of the Hindus, a story you haven’t heard about



I know very little about Pakistan. I recently learned during my visit to New Zealand’s largest mosque that many Ahmadiyya Muslims have been killed there and their worldly goods stolen without repercussions but other than that I knew nothing about the country.

Pakistan was carved out of India to create a Muslim country. In 1971, Muslims murdered 2.4 million Hindus and raped 200,000 Hindu women?but in the West very few of us know about this attempted genocide.So why is it that we are so ignorant of these historical facts?

…The Israeli?s and Hindus are the largest victims of perpetual Islamic invasions and violence lasting for more than 1,000 years. Muhammad Ali Jinna, a member of the Indian National Congress and later of the All-India Muslim League (a Khilafat movement that also germinated the Palestine conflict), demanded a two-state partition, creating the Lahore Resolution, which formed the separate creation of Pakistan.

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As a country, we’ve had other wars


My daughter is named Te Ahipourewa after my great-grandfather’s sister. My ancestor, Te Ahipourewa, is thought to have fought and died in the Waikato wars.

My late granduncle recalls a story he was told as a child about a staunch woman who took to her horse with her gun during the land confiscation in the King Country and rode with the rebels defending our lands.

I haven’t been able to verify this story through historic documents but as an oral piece of history it is pretty impressive.

If Te Ahipourewa did fight and die in the Waikato wars she would be one of an estimated 2990 men and women who died on New Zealand’s battlefields. It is thought about 730 British and colonial troops and 2254 M?ori lost their lives. Read more »

So re-writing history is now an investigation?


The Nation is one of the more dishonest media organisations out there.

Now they are claiming a special investigation which is in reality a re-writing of history from a liberal elite, guilt-laden 21st century view.

An investigation by The Nation has uncovered some unpleasant history behind many of New Zealand’s public statues.

Genocide and racism can be linked to some well-known and celebrated colonial figures.

Governor Grey’s statue has stood since 1912, only now attracting some closer scrutiny — is this still a figure to be honoured?

“He did some very, very nasty things. He basically oversaw what some people would call today a genocide,” says historian Damon Selesa.

Historians say he has blood on his hands, leading an aggressive attack in Waikato and beginning the Waikato war.

On Auckland’s One Tree Hill, the monument erected by John Logan Campbell is dedicated to Maori. But Mr Campbell’s intention was that it would memorialise the Maori race, which he believed was dying out. ? Read more »

A gripping true story of Socialism in action


People forget that Hitler’s party was the?National Socialist German Workers? Party. His party was a true socialist party. It provided free healthcare,equal rights for women, employment, soup kitchens for the poor and hungry, law and order and nationalised secular education. Sunday became National Youth day and the youth were given two hours of political indoctrination every week and then were rewarded with sports for the rest of the day.It was compulsory and parents were punished if they did not send their children.

Later it became compulsory for young men and women to work in the labor corps for one year.With the mothers out working, the state took over childcare. Tax rates went up to 80% of income.Child care and education were free.High Schools were taken over by the government and agencies were created to monitor business including farmers.The State was controlling everything. Free enterprise was abolished.

Disabled adults were taken away from their families by the government on a pretext and the families were then informed that they had all died. Next came gun registration which was quickly followed by the government demanding that gun owners all surrender their guns to the state.

?By this time there was no freedom of speech. Anyone who spoke out against the government was taken away. It only took five years for Socialism to transform into?Totalitarianism.

I love history because I choose to learn from it. Can you see any of the above happening right now in the West? I can see the appeal. Being looked after by the State sounds great but when you hand over control for your life to a government, you are handing over your freedom.

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This bloke sounds like he is onto something

My kids learned more from Horrible Histories than anything they learned in school, my son in particular.

They still can recount exact details from the series. They were a very effective and fun teaching tool, and I have to confess I would read them too.

Now the author of Horrible Histories explains his drivers in creating the series.

With titles such as Terrible Tudors, Rotten Romans and the Measly Middle Ages, author Terry Deary has never been one to sugar coat the Horrible Histories of the world.

He has now admitted deliberately littering his books with subversive messages for his young readers, as he condemns school a ?waste of time?.

Deary, who has sold around 25 million copies of his Horrible Histories series across the world since they were first published in 1993, said laced his stories with radical ideas in the same way ?sneaky propagandists? do, insisting: ?I?m poisoning the minds of children.?? Read more »