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August 10, 2017

By Lily Rothman

As nuclear tensions between the U.S. and North Korea ramp up, Americans might be forgiven for feeling something of a Cold War flashback. But this particular conflict has its own distinct history.

The development of atomic weapons has been a goal of North Korea’s since the Korean War, and is inextricably entwined with the nation’s unusual past. That conflict also saw its own discussion of whether the U.S. ought to consider the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea. (Here’s more about what we can learn from the fact that the country’s military leaders decided it wasn’t worth the risk.) And when President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury,” we took a look at the circumstances surrounding President Truman’s 1945 threat of a “rain of ruin” on Japan. It turns out that Truman’s take on atomic weapons was a lot more complex than that one ultimatum.

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

HISTORY ON TIME.COM
The Letters That Left New Yorkers Terrified of the ‘Son of Sam’

He was finally arrested 40 years ago

50 Years Ago This Week: Explaining White Privilege in the 1960s

Also in this issue: hair dye and a vow of silence

The White House Used This Moment to Support Immigration Cuts

Its real history is more complicated

The History Behind That Controversial Google Memo

An expert in the history of computing explains how and why coding went from a mostly female job to a field with a major gender problem

LIFE’s 25 Most Meow-Worthy Pictures of Cats

See 25 of the most meow-worthy cats in LIFE Magazine's archive of iconic photography—with appearances by Fred Astaire and Ernest Hemingway

FROM THE TIME VAULT

Aug. 10, 1981

Today in 1981: We All Scream…

“Never mind gin and tonic —well, perhaps a short one —and forget the return of baseball's prodigal sons. We are dealing here with primal matters, with a current in the national psyche far deeper and more powerful than our tropism toward corn on the cob and Japanese cars. Ice cream is our drug of choice, and butterfat—the word itself is dizzyingly lovely and globulous—is the occasion of our guiltiest and most delicious sin.” (Aug. 10, 1981)

Read the full story

Aug. 10, 1959

Today in 1959: Hawaiian Statehood

“In downtown Honolulu (est. pop. 311,000), impromptu motorcades crisscrossed the crowded streets, as passengers happily shouted campaign cries and drivers leaned heavily on their horns, all drenched with the celebrated spirit of aloha, that flavorsome catchall Hawaiian term that means peace, warmth, kindness, hello and goodbye, and good luck. And this time, even aloha had an added special flavor injected by the general awareness that Hawaii was on the threshold of a new epoch, sharpened by the fact that there were 81 different elective offices at stake.” (Aug. 10, 1959)

Read the full story

Aug. 9, 1982

35 Years Ago This Week: CNN

“[Ted] Turner has vaulted past those pursuits to what he calls, with characteristic bombast, ‘the most significant achievement in the annals of journalism.’ Although considerably less than that, his Cable News Network (CNN) is nevertheless a catalyst for a burgeoning revolution in television. Turner has shown that there is a substantial and eager audience for news all the time, not just in the confined hours at the beginning and end of the workday.” (Aug. 9, 1982)

Read the full story

HIGHLIGHTS FROM AROUND THE WEB

All Roads Whether or not you’ve been following the recent dust-up over the BBC’s depiction of ethnic diversity in Roman Britain, here’s a great resource for learning about why the show in question wasn’t just being “PC”: the Cambridge faculty of classics and Professor Mary Beard lay out some reading recommendations that show just how diverse that period really was.

Psyched Out Gizmodo’s Rae Paoletta places this week’s controversial memo on diversity at Google in the context of the long history of the use of pseudoscience to justify prejudice.

Mob Rule In examining the extremes of anti-immigrant sentiment, Steve Ross at Slate turns to an ugly 1927 moment in which Filipino workers were violently driven from Washington State’s Yakima Valley.

Buried Evidence At the New York Times, Michael Wilson has the story of how a 19th-century diary has led historians to believe slaves might be buried at a vacant lot in Brooklyn that’s now scheduled for redevelopment.

Old Ways Another one from the Times looks historical but comes with a modern twist: Melissa Eddy goes inside the world of the journeymen who keep medieval traditions alive in Europe.

 
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