At the Stonecutters Island army base in Hong Kong, camouflage-clad Chinese soldiers lunge forward with fierce yells, making stabbing motions with their daggers. There's a communal shout of admiration from the crowd watching the display on the army's home territory, which is opened up once a year to the public as a goodwill gesture.
Shabazz Palaces emerged out of the ether, or at least that's what group leader Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler would have you believe. The former Digable Planets MC originally operated under a veil of secrecy, taking the alias Palaceer Lazaro, declining interviews and performing behind a head scarf and sunglasses. After self-releasing two critically lauded mini-albums in 2009, Butler has loosened the grips on his anonymity.
One of my favorite songs by Brazilian icon Chico Buarque goes: "Apesar de voce amanha ha de ser outro dia" ("In spite of you, tomorrow will be another day"). Released in 1978, "A Pesar De Voce" is a thinly veiled reference to the dictatorship whose ruthless grip was suffocating Brazil at the time. I think it also speaks to the power of the Tropicália movement (of which Buarque is considered a founding father): In spite of oppressive conditions, there was an explosion of film, literature and music that made an indelible mark on Brazil and the world.
"The test called upon the students to identify at least two of the contributions to the political, economic, or social developments of the United States by such famous Americans as Lincoln, Jefferson, Jackson, and Theodore Roosevelt," an article in The New York Times reports. "Only 22 percent of American students had mastered enough history in their high school days to identify two contributions made by Lincoln to this country."
More than a century ago, George Carmack stuck his arm into the frigid waters of Bonanza Creek in the Yukon Valley. What he came up with changed his life and many others: a gold nugget as big as his thumb.
After decades of searching, he was suddenly a rich man. And soon, the frozen, deserted Yukon was overrun. Hundreds of thousands of gold prospectors trekked to Alaska and Canada for the biggest gold strike in American history.
Just 10 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was working at a gas station in Dallas when he was shot in the face by a man named Mark Stroman.
Stroman was on a shooting spree, targeting people who appeared to be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent. Stroman is due to be executed July 20; Bhuiyan, the only survivor of the attacks, is fighting to save his life.
When Stroman entered the gas station, Bhuiyan initially thought it was a routine robbery.