Duke academic claims Columbus was Polish

Christopher Columbus, the Italian navigator who sailed from Spain and discovered America, may have actually been the son of an exiled Polish king, according to a Duke University academic.

An international team of distinguished professors have completed two decades of painstaking research into Columbus’ beginnings, with the evidence revealed in a new book by Duke’s Manuel Rosa.

Rosa says the voyager was not from a family of humble Italian craftsmen as previously thought, but the son of Vladislav III, an exiled King of Poland.

‘The sheer weight of the evidence presented makes the old tale of a Genoese wool-weaver so obviously unbelievable that only a fool would continue to insist on it,’ Rosa told the Daily Mail, adding that the only way Columbus persuaded King Ferdinand of Spain to fund his journey across the Atlantic Ocean was because he was royalty himself.

Congaree CEO signs three-year deal

Charles A. Kirby, who took over as chief executive of Congaree Bancshares earlier this year, recently signed a long-term contract with the West Columbia community banking company.

Kirby, who is also CEO of subsidiary Congaree State Bank, signed a three-year agreement last month that will pay him an initial base salary of $150,000.

In addition, he’ll be eligible for a cash bonus of up to 50 percent of his previous year’s base salary, in addition to a country club membership, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kirby has his work cut out for him. Congaree made a slight profit of $11,138 during the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, but has lost $542,000 over the first nine months of the year.

Continue reading

‘We all fall down; you get to pick us up’

As a bit of car enthusiast, particularly older pre-1970 American cars, watching General Motors’ implosion has been particularly painful.

How the company could have squandered the name recognition and customer loyalty built up over the decades in its Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands, for example, to the point that those venerable lines would be phased out seems inconceivable even now, more than half a decade after the last Olds rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Mich.

So Russ Roberts’ post at Cafe Hayek about a rather odd GM television ad caught my attention:

Continue reading

‘You’ll die and know all, or cease asking’

It was 100 years ago that Russian literary giant Leo Tolstoy died at age 82. In recognition of his immense contribution to the world of literature, this blog is reprinting excerpts from his works.

Tolstoy is probably best known for his epic work War and Peace, which details the events leading up to Napoleon’s ill-fated invasion of Russia and its impact of that country’s high society, as seen through the eyes of several aristocratic families. 

War and Peace has become noted first and foremost for its famous length, which is unfortunate because it’s a wonderful work of art. A brief example:

Continue reading

Major airline CEO knocks 787 program

The chief executive of Qatar Airways expressed displeasure with the lack of progress with Boeing’s 787 program and threatened to shift extra business to Europe’s Airbus, according to Reuters.

Akbar Al Baker had harsh words for the Chicago-based aerospace manufacturer, saying it has failed in development of its 787 Dreamliner, which is seen likely to suffer a further delay following a fire on a recent test flight.

“I was really taken aback by the (787) program,” he said during a news conference. “I never expected a program could be delayed so much with a company like Boeing, which has pride in its quality. They have very clearly failed.”

Continue reading

Rare Anglo-Saxon coin to be sold

A rare penny made in England in 1066 – the same year as the pivotal Battle of Hastings – is scheduled to go on the auction block next month.

Made in Oxford, the silver coin is set to fetch up to £1,500, or about $2,400, during the Dec. 2 sale in London.

The 944-year-old coin was made in Oxford by a so-called moneyer named Aelfwig during the 10-month reign (Jan. 5, 1066- Oct. 14 1066) of King Harold II, according to the Oxford Mail.

Continue reading

Banning air travel would cut risk, too

Some interesting commentary from Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek regarding the ongoing maelstrom created by the Transportation Security Administration’s new enhanced security procedures:

I was listening to Tony Kornheiser’s AM radio show this morning and referring to people who are upset about being groped patted down he said something like they were missing the goal of the whole thing which was to keep the plane from being blown up. But we know that’s not the goal. If that were the goal, we would ban air travel. That is the only certain way of achieving the goal. (And it would be very successful if that really were the goal.)

Continue reading

‘The Cossacks:’ beauty, perception and reality

One hundred years ago this month, Russian author Leo Tolstoy died in a western Russia at age 82. In recognition of his immense contribution to the world of literature, this blog is reprinting excerpts from his works over the next few weeks.

While best known for such voluminous works as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s shorter pieces are no less brilliant, such as his 1862 novella The Cossacks.

In The Cossacks, a young Russian aristocrat, dissatisfied with high society, buys a commission in the army and commences on an adventure in the east, serving at a remote Cossack outpost in the Caucasus.

Continue reading

Pictish language mystery expands

A linguistic mystery centered on a long-extinct language continues to baffle researches studying symbol-inscribed stones in Scotland.

The stones are believed to have been carved by members of an ancient people known as the Picts, who lived in what is now Scotland from the 4th to the 9th centuries, according to the BBC.

But these symbols are probably “words” rather than images, researchers say, which has raised criticism from some linguists.

Pictish is a term used for the extinct language or languages thought to have been spoken by the Picts, the people of northern and central Scotland in the Early Middle Ages.

Continue reading

How not to make friends, influence people

Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I don’t think these pro-temperance ladies were doing their cause any favors.

It’s likely this dour, humorless bunch probably drove as many men to hit the bottle as it did to convince them otherwise.

While there is some conjecture that this may have been a spoof, one can imagine some poor man married to one of the above battle axes purposefully upping his alcohol consumption after seeing this, as a way of keeping his “beloved” at bay, even if it does incur her wrath.