Modern Society

Areas of interest in the modern political, legal, economic, and technological worlds, where such items bear directly on the living history community

Canadian knight promotes chivalry

"I am a knight. I'm trying to be that symbol of something that is incorruptible... and never to fail my duty, which is to be a knight and be good and be an example," said Quebec resident Vincent Gabriel Kirouac about his cross-Canada right to promote chivalry.

What's missing from Olympic fencing? Inigo Montoya

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” says Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride. Joe Posnanski, writing on JoeBlog about the 2012 Olympic Games, laments that there was not more Inigo Montoya in the competition.

St Winefride's Well on your smartphone

Developers at the Centre for Advanced Software Technology (Cast) at Bangor University in Wales hope that their new smartphone technology will allow visitors to really enjoy the detail of the historic site.

Xena inspires modern armor design

The increase in the number of female soldiers in combat has prompted American engineers to design better-fitting body armor for women. Their inspiration: Xena: Warrior Princess, "with more curves in the chest and hips."

Using a fire extinguisher safely

While slightly off-topic, this blog article from ABC News could save a life, especially with Pennsic coming. The article by Elisabeth Leamy teaches How to Use Fire Extinguishers Correctly: Think P.A.S.S. (You do keep a fire extinguisher in your camp, right?)

Spring 2012: Duct tape at the prom

Spring is prom season, and for the 12th straight year, Duck Tape Brand has encouraged teens to use their creativity to win scholarships in the Stuck at Prom contest by designing innovative duct tape promwear. (photos)

Their homes are their castles

Across the United States, people have longed to live out their medieval dreams by owning castles, and some have achieved their dreams. Marti Attoun of American Profile has the story.

Online series filmed at Ozark Castle

Catherine Koehler reports that Epilogue, an online series dealing with plague and time travel, premiered on July 1, 2012. The series was partially filmed at the Ozark Medieval Fortress before it closed earlier this year.

Return to the Shire

Cassie Carpenter, a reporter for the Daily Mail, takes a look at the set of the upcoming Peter Jackson film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, set to be released December 13, 2012. The article includes a trailer for the film. (video)

Welsh castle fails to deflect 80's TV star

Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff has been visiting castles in Wales. Welsh news outfit the Caerphilly Observer tracked the star as he visited Caerphilly Castle, Cardiff Castle, and Castell Coch.

O Fortuna: What you think you heard

OK, it isn't period to the Middle Ages, but we all love O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, right? It's the soundtrack from Excalibur, after all. But do you know the lyrics? Or only think you do...

Lizzie Stark leaves Mundania

Freelance journalist Lizzie Stark wrote the book on LARPing, literally. Her Leaving Mundania explains the fantasy world of Live Action Role Playing games from D&D-types to Nordic avant-garde art LARP. She explains the appeal in a short video for the BBC.

Kickstarter Campaign for Realistic Sword Combat Games

Neal Stephenson and the members of Subutai Corporation want your support to make a martial combat game that doesn't rely on pulling a plastic trigger to simulate sword strokes. The goal for the first iteration of the project will be to realistically simulate two-handed longsword combat.

Pennsic Mayor responds to concerns about Cooper's Lake hydraulic fracturing contract

The owners of Cooper's Lake Campground, site of the SCA's Pennsic War, have signed a mineral rights contract that allows hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") on the property at some future time. The contract has led to concerns from some Pennsic attendees, and a blog post by this year's Pennsic Mayor responding to those concerns.

Championshipship archery on YouTube

Archery enthusiasts may wish to watch a video clip, posted on YouTube, of the 2012 Indoor Archery World Championships in Las Vegas.

Tudor costumes and weapons stolen from Northampton re-enactor

The education of school children in Northampton, England will be poorer after the theft of a van containing costumes and equipment belonging to re-enactor Steve Parish. Parish, who runs Past Alive, teaches children about English history.

Swan Hellenic cruises are a history geek's dream come true

The cruise ship Minerva offers more than just sun and sea. With on-board historians, a 5,000 volume library, and obscure port locations, the cruise line offers dream vacations for history buffs who have time and a lot of money to spare.

Wiki for time travelers

Morgan reports that Mistress Eithni has created a new wiki for travel recommendations targeting the historically minded. The wiki includes travel tips, discussions, and a page for photos and videos.

"Disgusting attack" on York's medieval hospital appalls local police

"This is a disgusting attack on York's heritage and those responsible should be deeply ashamed," said a North Yorkshire Police spokesman about recent graffiti inscribed on the ruins of York's 12th century St Leonard's Hospital. (photo)

Gladiators banned from Colosseum

Performers dressed as gladiators will no longer be able to make money having their photos taken with tourists, according to city officials. NPR commentator Renee Montagne has the brief audio report for Morning Edition.

Living the monastic life at Penn

In a world where the college experience usually involves football and parties, students of Justin McDaniel's religious studies class at the University of Pennsylvania should expect something differrent: a firsthand experience of what it's like to be a monk.

Heart of St Laurence O'Toole stolen from Dublin cathedral

Police in Dublin, Ireland are puzzled by the theft of the heart of St Laurence O'Toole, a 12th century relic housed at Christ Church Cathedral. The heart, in a wooden box, was stolen March 2, 2012 when the protective metal bars were cut.

"Hunger Games" creates interest in archery

The hit film The Hunger Games, whose heroine is proficient with a bow, has sparked interest in the sport of archery.

Re-enactor with spear bashes bad guys

Rochdale, England pub manager and re-enactor Neil Ashton never expected to enlist his medieval skills to defend his home until two robbers climbed in a window, causing Ashton to reach for the nearest weapon, his six-foot spear.

From Electronica to Elizabethan

Damon Albarn, frontman of Blur and Gorillaz, is turning his attention to an even more arcane topic than animated musical monkeys: 16th century intellectural John Dee.

H&R Block offers donation program to SCA for new customers

Thomas W. Hughes, President of the SCA Inc., has announced that H & R Block, a major income tax preparation firm in the U.S., has agreed to make a donation to the SCA Inc. for each new customer who has the company prepare their tax return this year.

JStor to offer open access to its online database

Kevin Guthrie, the president of Ithaka, the nonprofit organization that runs JStor, the online database which archives 1,400 academic journals, has annouced that the subscription service will allow users to view 70 journals after registering with the website.

Knight of the Spreadsheet

Come tax season, many of us feel like we are going into armored combat. This is easy for Duke Maynard von dem Steine, featured in an advertising campaign for accounting firm Freed Maxick.

Child's burial slab missing from Herefordshire church

Police in the village of Foy, near Ross-on-Wye, England, are looking for a medieval burial stone stolen from St Mary's Church on January 5, 2012. (photo)

Wikipedia to cover life in Monmouth

Roger Bamkin, of Wikimedia UK, has invited the public to take part in an experiment: chronicle life in Monmouth. The online encyclopaedia will create Monmouthpedia, a site where citizens and visitors can "contribute articles and photographs on interesting and notable places, people, artefacts and other aspects of Monmouth life."