How Did Otto Warmbier Actually Die?
Photo by Susan Svrluga and Anna Fifield at the Washington Post, Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-NC2.0. When I was in my freshman year of college, the story of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who allegedly stole a North Korean flag, was all over the news. I remember the story always being very political from the start.Read full story
The Tragic Black Friday Stampede That Killed a Walmart Employee
“How could you take a man’s life to save $20 on a TV?” one Walmart employee said about Jdimytai Damour, his deceased co-worker. As a child, one local news story scared me like no other. It was a horror story about a stampede at a Walmart that killed an employee on Black Friday. The Walmart was in Valley Stream, New York, only about 20 minutes away from where I lived.Read full story
How The Mongols Perpetuated The Worst Massacre In History
“I have heard of such a quantity of slain that I did not believe the report and so have not recorded it,” — Historian Juvaini on the Sack of Urgench. There were many terrible massacres throughout history. According to Brandon Christenson at Real Clear History, some of the worst occurred during China’s Qing Dynasty.Read full story
The Miracle Mile Murder of a Korean Family
As an Asian-American, I’m aware of cultural enclaves where segments of the Asian community will live to have a smooth transition to life as immigrants. I grew up close to Flushing, New York, and we visited every week. Flushing feels the closest to China I’ve ever experienced — almost everyone there is Chinese or Korean (as a Chinese-American, we visit the Chinese part).Read full story
The Horrific Execution of History’s Most Famous Woman Warrior
I remember playing Age of Empires and using Joan of Arc as a character for the French. She was one of the only female characters you could play with, and she rode on a white horse, brandishing a spear.Read full story
Why Is It Called a Whistleblower?
Photo of Edward Snowden from Laura Poitras | Praxis Films. Recently, a Facebook whistleblower named Frances Haugen has been in the news, leaking thousands of pages of documents. Haugen’s whistleblowing showed the organization cares more for profits than safety. She revealed the company’s top executives knew how its products could harm users, like knowing Instagram was harmful to women’s body image.Read full story
What I Learned After Running Four Marathons
As of last weekend, I have run four marathons in my life. Actually, I have attempted to run five, but I dropped out of the 2020 virtual Boston Marathon (no surprise — I was very unprepared for it).Read full story
The Inspiration For Cersei Lannister Actually Wasn’t Like Cersei Lannister
Photo of Margaret of Anjou by Talbot Master — Public Domain. ‘She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France,” Shakespeare once said about Margaret of Anjou in Henry VI.Read full story
The Message Behind Eminem’s “Stan”: Don’t Take Your Idols Too Seriously
Eminem — taken by the Department of Defense, Public Domain. I’ve listened to Eminem’s Stan dozens of times. After all, Eminem has been a mainstay in popular culture for as long as I’ve been alive, and for good reason. He’s a good rapper, but no song strikes out to me as much as Stan for its disturbing lyrics, music video, and quality.Read full story
What Happened to Livestrong After The Disgrace of Lance Armstrong?
“We have done everything we can to talk to tell people that [Livestrong] is not about one person…We have a changing focus, a new mission and a new visual identity,” CEO Greg Lee of Livestrong said.Read full story
The Privilege of Knowing How to Read
When I was in college, everyone around me could read. In high school, everyone could read. In fact, now that I think back on it, everyone around me could read at a very high level. I was in advanced classes in high school, and I was always insecure about my reading.Read full story
Do We Really Need More Male Teachers?
Think about the teachers you had growing up. How many of them were men? How many were women? Now that I think of it, the vast majority of my elementary school teachers were women. When I got into middle school, there were more male teachers, but the majority were still women. In high school, the ratio was about 60–40 women to men.Read full story
In America, Is Veganism For The Privileged
I have often turned a blind eye to my friends’ plea for veganism. I have heard from some of my best friends that being a vegan helps the environment. I have heard that being a vegan helps conserve clean water. Above all, I hear and feel the concern for animal rights. And while I hear their cries, I feel conflicted. And I have read research and study after study that backs the assertions of a lot of friends. I have even seen PETA advocate for veganism as a solution for world hunger.Read full story
How The Mongols Killed People Without Spilling Any Blood
Most historical methods of killing and execution require spilling blood. You can’t behead someone, for example, without there being a lot of blood. I can’t imagine the firing squad doesn’t generate a lot of blood either.Read full story
The Mongols Helped Spread a Pandemic to Europe Through Biological Warfare
Photo of Jani Beg, the Khan of the Golden Horde. Public Domain. “If this account is correct, Caffa should be recognized as the site of the most spectacular incident of biological warfare ever,” Mark Wheelis, Emerging Infectious Diseases.Read full story
Fascinating Podcasts I’m Listening to Right Now
There’s a reason I don’t listen to music anymore, and that’s one simple reason: podcasts. People ask me if I listen to music when I run, especially when I run longer, 22 mile runs. I don’t listen to music. I listen to podcasts now — mostly because podcasts are so damn fascinating. When I run, I don’t want to distract myself. I do, however, want to get immersed in my thoughts, and immersed in a story.Read full story
Almost Everyone Is a Villain in "The White Lotus"
“What do you care? You make shit money. They exploit me, I exploit you.” — Armond. My fianceé and I just finished watching The White Lotus, and were both simultaneously fascinated and horrified at the show’s outcome and ending.Read full story
Hadrian’s Wall — The Inspiration Behind The Wall in Game of Thrones
Hadrian’s Wall — The Inspiration Behind The Wall in Game of Thrones. Hadrian’s Wall was used to “assuage the fears of those it supposedly guarded.”. Photo from Michael Hanselmann on Wikipedia Commons.Read full story
I Told My Students They Were In Special Ed
“So this is special ed,” I told my classes on the first week of school. “How does everyone feel about that?”. As a third-year special education teacher in Baltimore City, I teach in the most restrictive setting, self-contained. All my students have moderate to severe disabilities and most of them have less than 40% of their classes in the general education setting. Their disabilities range from ADHD, intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities, autism, and specific learning disabilities like dyslexia and dysgraphia.Read full story
Living Without Air Conditioning In The Summer Is Forcing Me to Check My Privilege
It took not living with AC (air conditioning) for three weeks in the smoldering heat to make me realize a couple things: AC is a first-world comfort and privilege, and not having it is a sobering reminder to check my privilege.Read full story