Currently viewing the tag: "culture"

Civilization existed before money, but probably wouldn’t have gotten very far without it. Ancient humans’ invention of money was a revolutionary milestone. It helped to drive the development of civilization, by making it easier not just to buy and sell goods, but to pay workers in an increasing number of specialized trades—craftsmen, artists, merchants, and soldiers, to name a few. It also helped connect the world, by enabling traders to roam across continents and oceans to buy and sell goods, and investors to amass wealth…

In the centuries that followed, trade routes forged more cultural connections between nations and regions. Besides exchanging money and goods, traders also spread religious beliefs, knowledge and new inventions, creating cross-pollination among far-flung cultures. –The Journey of Humankind: How Money Made Us Modern By Patrick J. Kiger

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that shows how money spreads between cultures.

Journaling Prompt: How does money exchange feel to you? 

Art Prompt: Spread of civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story of how trade and money created today’s world.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Chard  on Flickr

On the 20th of March in 2019, Life Pharmaceuticals finally received Food and Drug Administration approval to market their new product LifereNew. This revolutionary product used micro-machines called nanites to repair cells. The nanites were so small, they could actually repair DNA, reverse the aging process, repair body damage and maintain the body. The promise was that after taking the product, you would lead a long life in a fit, young body. Most of humanity had dreamed of such a product. Needless to say, when LifereNew was approved, there was a rush on the market. People lined up to pay the $1,500,000 for the treatment, which potentially would extend their life hundreds and maybe thousands of years, while looking and feeling young and fit. New ReLife loans were set up so anyone could afford treatment, even though some folks would be paying back the loans for decades to come. Within six months, more than four million Americans experienced this life-changing procedure, the majority of those being rich retirees desperate to fend off death and start life anew. Not having to wait for a loan, they were the first to receive treatment. They became known as the New Lifers. –ZomoSapienS by David Moon

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a society where some people can afford to live as a young person forever but most people can’t.

Journaling Prompt: If you could afford this kind of treatment, would you have it? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Fountain of Youth

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the current research in nanotechnology.

Photo Credit: Aida diLeto Lundquist on Flickr
12/21/1982 view White House Christmas decorations in the Green Room

12/21/1982 view White House Christmas decorations in the Green Room

The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present — they are real. –Shards of Honor by Louise MacMaster Bujold

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a calm man in a green room who suddenly realizes the consequences of his decisions.

Journaling Prompt: If you were in a position of power, what is the first thing  you would change?

Art Prompt: The Green Room

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience your opinion of a current event and how it was handled by the authorities.

Photo Credit: White House Green Room on Wikimedia

diwali

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set during Diwali or create a festival for the world you have created.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what candles and lights symbolize to you.

Art Prompt: Diwali

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Diwali and compare it to a festival or holiday that you celebrate.

Photo Credit: Aeikesh Ghosh Dastidar on Flickr

cowboy_shootout

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was a 30-second shootout between lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws called the Cowboys that took place at about 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. It is generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West. The gunfight was the result of a long-simmering feud, with Cowboys Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, and Tom and Frank McLaury on one side and town Marshal Virgil Earp, Special Policeman Morgan Earp, Special Policeman Wyatt Earp, and temporary policeman Doc Holliday on the other side. All three Earp brothers had been the target of repeated death threats made by the Cowboys, who were upset by the Earps’ interference in their illegal activities. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed. Ike Clanton claimed that he was unarmed and ran from the fight, along with Billy Claiborne. Virgil, Morgan, and Doc Holliday were wounded, but Wyatt Earp was unharmed. The shootout has come to represent a period of the American Old West when the frontier was virtually an open range for outlaws, largely unopposed by law enforcement officers who were spread thin over vast territories. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in the American Old West with an outlaw protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: If you could travel back to the Old West, where would you go and who would you like to meet?

Art Prompt: Gunfight in the Old West

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of the gunfight at the OK Corral.

Photo Credit: Cowboy Shootout by Donald Scott Lee on Wikimedia

indus

The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilisation (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) mainly in the northwestern regions of South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilisations of the Old World, and of the three, the most widespread. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, and along a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. Aridification of this region during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but eventually also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation’s demise, and to scatter its population eastward.

At its peak, the Indus Civilisation may have had a population of more than five million people. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin). The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in this area and time.

Journaling Prompt: If you could travel in time and space, would you like to visit the Bronze Age civilization in the Indus Valley? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Indus Valley Civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Bronze Age civilization in the Indus Valley.

Photo Credit: Indus Valley Major Sites on Wikimedia

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Drunkenness wa not condemned in the ancient world. It makes men feel like gods, and the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germanic, Slav and Scandinavian peoples not only felt (like the Amerindians) that they were part of a group of friends and allies in that state, but also that mead was the drink of immortality. No god in any of their pantheons denied himself that liquor. In final homage to the fallen kings whom the Irish sent to their fathers, they were drowned in a vat of mead and their palaces set alight. (If the Celtic mead-maker, particularly in Wales, was not really a seer and healer, he was credited with those powers. Healing, like fermentation, was a magical operation, both of them graciously granted by the gods to the specialists who mediated between them and mankind.) –A History of Food by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat

Fiction Writing Prompt: How does your character view drunkenness? Add to your character sketch.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about public drunkenness? Private drunkenness?

Art Prompt: Drunkenness

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about differing cultural views on drunkenness.

Photo Credit: Fyodor Petrovich Tolstoy on Wikimedia

japanese-postcard

In 2015, Penn Ph.D. candidate Robert Hegwood, a scholar of Japanese/American cultural relations in the mid-20th century, purchased a rather innocuous looking “Scrap Book” at a used book store during a stay in Tokyo. Inside this commercially-produced scrapbook is a collection of postcards, welcome booklets, travel ephemera, and training documents collected by an unidentified Japanese sailor of the Renshu Kantai 練習艦隊, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s Training Fleet, during a 1936 voyage to the United States. From 1903 to 1940, the Renshu Kantai took such training deployment cruises almost every year, with graduates of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, the Naval Engineering Academy, and the Naval Paymasters Academy spending several months traveling around the Pacific Ocean, occasionally venturing as far as the Mediterranean Sea or the East Coast of the United States. The 1936 cruise (lasting from June 9 to November 3) saw Vice-Admiral Zengo Yoshida commanding the ships Yakumo and Iwate as they sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Yokosuka to Seattle, down along the West Coast and up through the Panama Canal as far as New York City. –Japanese Naval Cruise Books and the Renshu Kantai by Michael P. Williams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character that finds a vintage scrapbook that uncovers a mystery.

Journaling Prompt: How do you save things that you want to remember?

Art Prompt: Vintage Scrapbook
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the value of keeping memorabilia and how they can easily and inexpensively get started.

Photo Credit: Charlton Clemens on Flickr

mon-polydactyly

A unique prehistoric Pueblo culture thrived in the high desert of Chaco Canyon about a thousand years ago. Scientists have known about polydactyly among these people for years, based on images and skeletal remains showing extremities with extra fingers and toes. But past research revealed only hints about its importance to the ancient culture.

Initially intrigued by the divine powers attributed to polydactyls among the Maya, researchers led by anthropologist Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico conducted a comprehensive review of evidence for the condition at the canyon’s sacred Pueblo Bonito site.
The findings, published today in American Antiquity, indicate that the society did not view six-toed individuals as supernatural, but this form of polydactyly did grant them exalted status in life and in death.

“We found that people with six toes, especially, were common and seemed to be associated with important ritual structures and high-status objects like turquoise,” says Crown, who is also a past National Geographic grantee. –Extra Fingers and Toes Were Revered in Ancient Culture by Aaron Sidder

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a religion for your world that reveres some physical attribute that few people have. 

Journaling Prompt: What part of your body do you wish you could change?

Art Prompt: Polydactyly

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Pueblo culture of Chaco Canyon.

Photo Credit: ReSurge International on Flickr

tuesday virgin

Wolves populated Nero’s court, Flavia had learned. At first, they’d seemed friendly—concerned for the poor virgin held hostage in the palace. But swiftly Rome’s aristocracy had turned, circling her with hungry eyes, hearts pounding with envy, drooling for her devastation. –Suzanne Tyrpak, Vestal Virgin: Romantic suspense in ancient Rome

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a vestal virgin in Nero’s Rome.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever felt like you were being held hostage? How did you feel about the situation? 

Art Prompt: Held hostage

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about vestal virgins in ancient Rome.

Photo Credit: Michael Day on Flickr