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Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

justice system

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.



The Code of Hammurabi was extensive and included rules and penalties pertaining to economic, family, criminal and civil law. On top of the stone sits a carving of the king receiving the laws from Shamash, the Mesopotamian god of justice and equity, implying that the laws are divinely ordained.

history channel

Nothing says official like a picture of you next to a god.

en.wikipedia.org


Historians only know of one earlier recorded law collection, created just 300 years before Hammurabi, and it was much less detailed by comparison. As Dawn McCormack, associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, explains, this was most likely due to the growing group of different peoples conquered during Hammurabi’s reign. “As the population diversified, the law codes adapted to meet the new circumstances.”


Some of the laws in the Code of Hammurabi might be seen as barbaric by today's standards, with punishments being the removal of the guilty party’s tongue, hands, breasts, eye or ear. On the other hand, many laws were quite progressive. Kelly-Anne Diamond, an assistant teaching professor of history at Villanova University, told History, the code provides the first recorded alimony payment law.

Diamond also notes that Mesopotamians “put a lot of emphasis on getting to the truth of a case,” and therefore mandated the use of witnesses, oral testimony and written evidence to prove guilt. They also established having individuals swear they were telling the truth by oath. “Oaths were particularly effective because of the people's profound belief that the gods would punish them if they lied under oath,” she explained.

Presuming innocence in today’s legal system has had its fair share of negative impact on victims, primarily in sexual harassment cases, not to mention the heavy use of media coverage for court cases of public figures, which can certainly sway public opinion. Still, the fact that evidence-based, fair and impartial justice has been a goal throughout history offers an encouraging outlook for humanity as a whole. Perhaps it’s an ideal that will never fully be achieved, but the fact that people continue to pursue integrity is something worth noting.

All photos courtesy of Biofinity Energys®

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The human eye reveals so much about who we are. One look can convey love, annoyance, exhaustion, or wisdom.

Our eyes tell the world if we are getting enough sleep, if we’ve been crying, or whether we are truly happy (or just faking it). When looking at the face, the eyes dominate emotional communication—after all, they’ve long been known as the “window to the soul.”

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via Pixabay

A good ol' fashioned strip bandage.

It's annoying to get a cut on your knuckles, because they're a hard place to put a Band-Aid. If you put it on too tight, you can’t move your finger and if you put it on too loose, it easily slips off. Of course, you can buy Band-Aids made to go over knuckles, but unless you have a MacGyver-level first-aid kit, you probably only have basic strips.

A new video shared by everyone's "mom hack bestie" Autumn Grace, aka HonestlyAutumnb, on Instagram shows an easy way to transform a run-of-the-mill strip Band-Aid into a fully-functional knuckle bandage. “This is one of the best band aid life hacks!” she captioned the video.

To transform a strip bandage into a knuckle Band-Aid, you must make two cuts with scissors, and voila! "The hack I never thought I needed to know until today!" VermillionChicago commented on the post.

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This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

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Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

Someday we'll all look back at this and laugh, right?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked folks to share a “funny or silly mistake” along with the hashtag #IfICouldTurnBackTime, in honor of what many consider to be the greatest mistake in all of human history—daylight saving time.

Since 1918, the chaos of DST has wreaked havoc across America—except in Arizona and Hawaii, that is—and the globe, causing us to spring forward, fall back, do the hokey pokey and shake ourselves about as we try to get a grasp on our schedules, energy and (seriously) overall health during that period of adjustment that comes twice a year.

Besides the topsy-turviness of it all, daylight saving time didn’t even fulfill its original purpose of saving electricity. In fact, a lot of evidence indicates that it actually costs more money. So yeah, it's pretty much one of history's biggest “oopsie-daisies."

We might not be able to look back on DST and laugh just yet, but at least we can at least find comfort in the silly stories shared by strangers on Twitter.

Below are some of the funniest answers people sent to Fallon, ranging from "might induce a relatable chuckle" to "oh my, that's delightfully cringey." Even if daylight saving time doesn't put a smile on your face, these mistakes might.

Without further ado, check out what other folks might have done differently if, like Cher once contemplated in her song, they could turn back time…

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Robin Williams—the comedic genius

We all know the late, great Robin Williams was a comic genius. Many people also know that he was classically trained in theater. In a recently unearthed clip from 1991, Williams combines those two talents, leaving people splitting at the seams even decades later.

Williams was a guest on “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson, when he and Carson began chatting about William Shakespeare, who Williams quickly quipped was a “man with a second grade education, [who] wrote some of the greatest poetry of all time, and sometimes I think, maybe not.”

Carson then asked Williams how he felt about other actors playing Hamlet (for context, Mel Gibson had recently starred in the role). Williams, being no stranger to the Bard’s work, then went into one of his delightfully creative frenzies, managing to effortlessly slide into the voices of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Nicholson while throwing out verses like it was nothing.

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