The Rest Is History

Lightning, floods, and the earliest known evidence of surgery.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, September 09, 2022

Lightning over Brooklyn, c. 1880. Photograph by Breading G. Way. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection.

• “Yet by definition, there is no free speech if one person is allowed to make an argument and another is not allowed to object to it. Nor has there ever been a time in American history when freedom of speech was not threatened with proscription by the state, or when one could express a controversial opinion and not risk social sanction. In short, the culture of free speech is always under threat. In almost every era of U.S. history, the bounds of free expression have been contested.” (

• On the Peutinger Map. (Aeon)

• “The complexities of teaching Indigenous history.” (High Country News)

• “31,000-year-old skeleton missing its lower left leg is earliest known evidence of surgery, experts say.” (The Guardian)

• The early history of taming lightning, featuring Benjamin Franklin. (History Today)

• “One of the world’s oldest preserved human settlements has been significantly damaged by torrential rain in Pakistan as the country battles the worst floods in its history.” (CNN)

• Readings on class: “You won’t learn, for instance, that Gertrude Vanderbilt warned her progeny against men who make their money from oil and farm animals because, as she put it, it takes three generations to wash off the oil ‘and two to exterminate the smell of hogs.’ ” (The New York Times Book Review)

• “DNA has now revealed just how ancient humans’ relationship with donkeys really is.” (Science News)

• This week in obituaries: Barbara Ehrenreich, Bernard Shaw, Anne Garrels, Moon Landrieu, Ronald Glasser, Marilyn Loden, Stanley Turkel, Angus “Drummie Zeb” Gaye, Newton Harrison, Archie RoachDiane Haigh, Earnie Shavers, Frank Drake, Peter Straub, Richard Roat, Sterling Lord, Kazuo Inamori, Charlie Finch, Harold Chapman, Peter Davison, Lars Vogt, Cyrus Mistry, Tony Hunt, Don Gehrmann, and Queen Elizabeth II.