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Today, there’s often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else’s home. Not surprisingly, the children didn’t always like it.
Around the year 1500, an assistant to the Venetian ambassador to England was struck by the strange attitude to parenting that he had encountered on his travels. He wrote to his masters in Venice that the English kept their children at home “till the age of seven or nine at the utmost” but then “put them out, both males and females, to hard service in the houses of other people, binding them generally for another seven or nine years”.
The unfortunate children were sent away regardless of their class, “for everyone, however rich he may be, sends away his children into the houses of others, whilst he, in return, receives those of strangers into his own”. It was for the children’s own good, he was told - but he suspected the English preferred having other people’s children in the household because they could feed them less and work them harder.
Paywall is down on this story.
Google just launched this treasure trove of old, extinct newspapers, indexed for the internet. Google says this new feature is best used by, typing ‘site:google.com/newspapers, followed by the search terms you’d like to use. For example, if you’re searching for a scanned article on the Berlin wall, you would typing in: site:google.com/newspapers “the Berlin wall”.’
Illustration: Jan. 1, 1910 issue of L’abeille de la Nouvelle-Orleans, a New Orleans-based newspaper that ran from Jan. 1, 1846 - Dec, 28, 1929, covering some of the most tumultuous times in the American South, including the end of slavery, the U.S. Civil War and Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929.
On March 12, 1989, British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposed an “information management” system that would become known as the Web. We celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his world-changing invention on the first edition of our new weekly feature, Newsweek Rewind. We dug through our archive and pulled our first article about the Web, from our October 31, 1994 issue. Below, you’ll find the full text of the piece, “Oh, what a Tangled Web,” by Barbara Kantrowitz with Adam Rogers and Jennifer Tanaka.
Oh, What a Tangled Web: New Hope for Navigating the Internet
By Barbara Kantrowitz, Adam Rogers and Jennifer Tanaka
This summer, while you were still trying to figure out how to plug in your PC, the technoliterati were tooling around something called the World-Wide Web and touring a piece of software called Mosaic. The web is a system for linking information through the Internet’s international network of computers; users have access to sound, graphics, and text not available through traditional Internet connections. Just a few months ago, Mosaic was hailed as the latest salvation of Western civilization (or, at the very least, a major technological breakthrough). Developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in Illinois, Mosaic was one of the first popular “browsers,” the term for software used to navigate the Web.
In reality, Mosaic can be cumbersome and frustrating to use. But don’t worry. Last week, at the Second International World Wide Web Conference in Chicago, the minds behind the Web and Mosaic concluded that even better stuff is coming to market. A new generation of more efficient browsers should help make the Web accessible to everyone. at the same time, the number of people inventing new ways to use the Web is increasing dramatically, creating a vibrant new Internet culture.
The father of the Web is Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist who was working at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland, when he first developed it in 1989. Berners-Lee was looking for a way to present scientific information using “hypertext.” With hypertext, certain pictures of words on the computer screen are highlighted; users click on them with a mouse and move to a linked image or page of information. With many choices on the initial screen, each reader would go through the information in a different way.
Berners-Lee originally designed the Web for scientists, but now cyberjocks of all persuasions have hopped on, creating Web “sites”—starting points for hypertext travel—for topics ranging from surfing to Elvis Presley to postmodernism. None of this bothers Berners-Lee. “The Web is designed to represent our knowledge and our communication,” he says. “It should be as diverse as we are.”
Each site opens with a “home page,” similar to a magazine’s table of contents. Highlighted pictures and words mark the spots where users can move on to other topics. Corporations, educational institutions and even individual users have set up their own home pages in the last few months. Each is a little world of its own. For example, the Presley home page features a tour of Graceland; you can move through the different rooms just by clicking. There’s even an evolving status system in individual home pages. Many people write up a short biography; high status comes not from being well-born, but from some sort of link to prestigious places, like MIT’s Media Lab.
In limbo: Mosaic became popular because it is relatively easy to obtain and because it is free. The NCSA estimates that 2 million people use their version of Mosaic. They just call up NCSA through their computer’s modem and transfer the software over the phone lines to their own computers. then the fun—and the hassles—starts. NCSA’s Mosaic works great if you have a very powerful computer and fast modem; if you don’t (and most people don’t), you can spend what seems like an eternity in limbo, waiting for an image on your screen.
That infuriating wait could soon be over with the new browsers. One of the most promising was created by some of the programmers who developed the original Mosaic. Led by Marc Andreessen (an undergraduate at the University of Illinois when he began working on Mosaic in 1992), they’ve formed Mosaic Communications Corp., based in Mountain View, Calif. They expect to start selling their browser, Netscape, sometime in the next few months. Andreessen says Netscape is a completely new product, not just a souped up version of Mosaic. A test version, shown at the Chicago conference with many other new browsers, looks promising; it appears to be much faster and more reliable than NCSA’s Mosaic. It also has snazzier graphics and is easier to use.
Another spinoff is Enhanced NCSA Mosaic, produced by Spyglass, Inc., in Illinois. The company, formed four years ago to commercialize NCSA products, says it has sold Enhanced Mosaic to such major corporations as IBM and AT&T, which means that millions of office workers will soon get to try it. Enhanced Mosaic, though faster than the original version, doesn’t appear to be as quick as Netscape.
At the Chicago conference, developers agreed these products are just the beginning. Several commercial online services plan to include Web browsers in their Internet connections in the next few months and new computer operating systems will probably have tools for Web access. The Web may be still evolving, but it’s definitely worth watching.
For Japanese, the disaster of the Tohoku great earthquake is a nightmare that never goes away. Three years ago the 9.0 magnitude quake struck the Sendai region on March 11, 2011.
In Tokyo, the word “Jishin,” meaning earthquake, is a big part of daily life and culture. Signboards on the streets indicate the nearest emergency shelters and an earthquake forecast alert app, made by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), is on everyone’s smartphones. The people try to stay alert for the next big disaster.
Former child actress and diplomat Shirley Temple Black has died at the age of 85. Here she is pictured with her daughter Lori Black, meeting the Beatles. Our sympathies go out to Lori and her family.
Lori was a bassist for the Melvins and dated frontman Buzz Osborne, who recounts his interactions with Shirley in my book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge:
BUZZ OSBORNE (Melvins singer/guitarist) When I went to San Francisco, I moved directly into Lori’s house. Now, bear in mind, I started going out with her long before I ever knew who her mom was. Months and months later, she said, “My mom is somebody famous.” I was like, “What are you fucking talking about?” It was crazy. I couldn’t believe that her mom was Shirley Temple.
Lori’s dad was Charles Black, who came from oil money, I think. And Shirley is a self-made woman. Shirley’s parents squandered every dime she ever made as a child before she had a chance to spend any of it. She got nothing. Zero. So she’s a pretty tough broad, you know? She’ll rip your head off and eat you for breakfast. She was the ambassador to Czechoslovakia at that point, after being the ambassador to Ghana.
Their house was unbelievable. Lots of stuff from the Hearst collection. Amazing shit—they had really great taste. And there was an Oscar sitting there. Shirley talked about her acting a lot. At one point they had her playing drums, and she had a recording of her playing drums when she was a kid, and she sounded like fucking Buddy Rich. And then she showed us how tap dancing is really just drumming. She tap-danced for us, and she was fucking amazing.
DALE CROVER (Melvins drummer) Shirley was like, “Yeah, my mom made me give away my drum set because it wasn’t ladylike to play drums.” I was like, “Oh, you couldn’t spread your legs with a dress to play drums. I get it.” She was sad about it.
The family was kind of weird and straight and conservative. Proper. I remember we’d line up outside the dining room and all kind of walk in together for some reason. I didn’t really understand it. But they were nice to me.
BUZZ OSBORNE They probably thought that I was some leeching weirdo and that their daughter went out with me just to screw with them. Her dad was never nice to me. Shirley was nice to me to some degree, but they’re very guarded people. I’m sure they thought I was going to write some book or something. And believe me, without going into any graphic details, there are massive skeletons in that closet.
One thing that Shirley said to me was, “Working in the government, you can always get somebody audited.” I took that to heart. They never did anything to me personally, or even threatened me, but they didn’t need to. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. They were über-right-wing. Now, I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh; I’m talking about the people who make life-and-death decisions. And it’s not necessarily evil; it’s more realistic. Charles was ex-CIA. It’s weirder than you can possibly imagine. I certainly never got the truth.
Since then, everything that’s happened—from Nirvana going crazy and on and on and on—none of that holds a candle to how weird that situation was. That’s David Lynch weird.
Newsweek head of product Alex Leo would like to note that Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress turns 40 this year. If you’re in Los Angeles, there’s an exhibit at the Wilshire May Company building through April 1, 2014.