When Reagan fired the air traffic controllers

It was assumed that Reagan would cave to the aggressive labour action. He didn't

When Reagan fired the air traffic controllersSomething unusual happened in August 1981. Ronald Reagan, then president of the United States, fired the country’s illegally-striking air traffic controllers. Most observers were astonished. This wasn’t part of the normal political playbook. Increasing union militancy had become a prevalent feature of the economic landscape since the 1960s. And when faced with aggressive labour action…

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice age

U of A-led international team estimates the flood from Glacial Lake Agassiz may be largest known in Earth’s history

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice ageA flood of epic proportions drained at a rate of more than 800 Olympic swimming pools a second from a glacial lake that spanned the Prairie provinces more than 12,000 years ago, according to a University of Alberta-led study. The finding bolsters a theory that the event may have propelled the warming Earth back into…

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacy

Inspired the founding of the Orange Order

William of Orange was no charmer but he left a lasting legacyAs the marching season in Northern Ireland rolls around again, William of Orange (1650-1702) comes to mind. The memory of William – or King Billy – inspired the founding of the Orange Order almost a century after his death. Steadfast and stubborn in its championing of Irish Protestant identity, the Order remains committed to maintaining…

Richard Nixon’s shocking summer and its big payoff

He wanted to be seen as a man of action, someone taking charge

Richard Nixon’s shocking summer and its big payoffIn the summer of 1971, Richard Nixon demonstrated how his charismatic deficiencies didn’t preclude daring moves. His detractors were taken by surprise. Nixon was in the third year of his first U.S. presidential term and he came into that summer on the back foot. The inherited Vietnam War was grinding on and the policy of…

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliation

They’re not guilty of the crimes of their ancestors but they are responsible for building a more peaceful and tolerant country

What the Germans can teach us about reconciliationWhen Germany talked about reuniting as one country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, many world leaders were quite concerned, especially British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President François Mitterrand. But Germany wasn’t the same country it was in the first half of the 20th century, and today it isn’t…

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armies

Author Steve Tibble’s message is that much of the crusader narrative is simplistic caricature. But it can’t erase facts

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armiesAs imperial enterprises went, it was a stunning performance. Coming from apparently nowhere, an extensive Islamic empire was born in the century following the Prophet Muhammad’s 632 death. Arab armies swept out of the remote Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East and North Africa, subsequently crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Spain and establishing…

Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation Barbarossa

Stalin never lost his penchant for executing his officers. In the catastrophic early days of the German invasion, he shot eight generals

Stalin, Hitler and the fatal mistakes of Operation BarbarossaAdolf Hitler launched the German invasion of the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa – in the early hours of June 22, 1941. Initially, it looked like a triumph. The Soviets were caught flatfooted and German troops advanced 480 km into Soviet territory within the first week. It looked like an eastern version of the blitzkrieg…

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with Khrushchev

Because of the Bay of Pigs disaster, Khrushchev pegged Kennedy as a pushover

J.F.K. dug a deep hole in his relationship with KhrushchevThings didn’t go well when U.S. President John F. Kennedy met with Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in June 1961. Or at least they didn’t from Kennedy’s perspective. Speaking to American journalist James Reston after the Vienna summit’s second and final day, Kennedy described it as the “roughest thing in my life.” Khrushchev, he said,…

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the world

The choice should seem obvious, yet around the globe governments still spend astonishing amounts of our money building military might

We can buy weapons or educate children all over the worldWhen discussing global issues, there’s a proverbial, weaponized elephant in the room. The topic is central to human suffering yet we seem unwilling to discuss it: the military-industrial complex. There’s a myth that there are good guys and bad guys and if we blow up the bad guys, the world will be safer. But the…

Ancient sand reveals missing piece of 3.2-billion-year-old continent

U of A researchers shed new light on the structure and formation of Earth’s earliest continents

Ancient sand reveals missing piece of 3.2-billion-year-old continentScientists have found evidence for a missing piece of a 3.2-billion-year-old continent, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists. The research identifies the only remnant of ultra-hot lavas within this ancient landmass, located within tiny mineral grains preserved in sandstone. “Our research developed a method to identify and date pieces of our…
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