The Worst Earthquake in Recorded History *
Yaodongs are dwellings made of packed earth or caves dug out of the side of a hill. They are the primary shelters used in the Shaanxi (shan-zee) Provence, almost smack in the middle of China. It is evening and most people are at home, asleep. Suddenly, an 8.0 earthquake strikes. Mountains move. Rivers change their course. A 500-mile-wide area of destruction wipes out 830,000 people as their homes collapse around them, burying them in earth. In some areas 60% of the population is wiped out in the span of a couple of minutes. It is the worst earthquake in recorded history.   
'The Troubles' of Ireland Are Just Beginning
With Queen "Bloody Mary" on the throne of England and Ireland, many Irish Catholics thought they would get a good deal from the new Queen, but no such luck. She has decided to split up Ireland into multiple small plantations and put her own English people on them. She kicks the O'Conners and the O'Mores right in their county seats and creates two new counties called Queens County and Kings County (now Leix and Offaly). The Queen is using this new system to reward her friends and punish those who tend toward rebellion... like those folks who just got kicked off of their land! She doesn't care what religion you are. In 1609 the Ulster Plantation will be established for the Scots-Irish and then you will really see the animal excrement hit the rotating oscillator. It will lead to "The Troubles," in the 20th century... a complex and violent conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.    
In Several Words: Borough, Ghetto and Divorce
The word "borough" comes from the Italian word borgo which means "settlement". A small settlement is a borghetto and this may be the source of the word "ghetto". It's not the only possibility though. The Italian word for "slag" is ghet and Venice dedicated an island to an iron foundry that they called Gheto Island or the Island of Slag. Since 1512 the island served as the Jewish Quarter. Whatever its beginnings the word ghetto became associated with the place where Jews lived.    
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1556, Wikipedia.
- * The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
- Earthquakes with 50,000 or More Deaths, earthquake.usgs.gov, 2014 [last update] (GOVERNMENT WEB SITE)
- CHINA HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKES. Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis (1969). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “The worse natural disaster in recorded history - at least in terms of lives lost - was caused by an earthquake in Hausien, in the Shaanxi Province of China in the morning of 23 January 1556. In Chinese historical record, this event is often referred as the 'Jiajing Great Earthquake' because it occurred during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming dynasty. The 'Shaanxi Earthquake' as it became later known, had an estimated magnitude ranging from 8.0 to 8.3 on the Richter scale (final assigned Moment Magnitude of 8), and had an estimated intensity of XI on the Modified Mercalli scale.”
- Yaodong - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “In the last decade, Yaodongs have been brought to the attention of scientists and researchers. These traditional dwellings have been regarded as an example of sustainable design. It has been suggested that the Yaodongs are a reflection of a key traditional Chinese concept -- the harmonious relationship between human beings and nature.”
- Green Home Building: Natural Building Techniques: Earthships. greenhomebuilding.com (2015). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “The primary retaining walls are constructed with used tires, filled with earth and stacked up like bricks. The interior surface of the tires is then plastered with adobe or cement so the tires don't normally show.”
- Earthship - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and recycled materials (such as earth-filled tires), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico. The term is a registered trademark of Michael Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture.”
- Staff Reporter (13 April 2015). Los Angeles shaken by 3.5-magnitude earthquake. Daily Mail Online. Retrieved on 13 April 2015.
- Magnitude 3.5 earthquake hits near L.A.. The Orange County Register (April 12, 2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “The Los Angeles Fire Department tweeted that it was on 'earthquake mode' after the second quake with fire companies from 106 stations checking for damage.”
- The 16th-17th Century Plantation of Ireland. Rutgers--Newark Colleges of Arts & Sciences (2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “Many of these plantations were not just tools of colonization; they were also punitive measures that were taken in response to attempted rebellions. Early attempts at small-scale plantations were somewhat unsuccessful, as the dispossessed Irish often took to guerilla raids on the new colonies, resulting in a number of revenge atrocities against the natives and a lack of enthusiasm among would-be English and Scottish settlers for the lands in question.”
- Plantations of Ireland - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “The final official plantations were established under the English Commonwealth and Cromwell's Protectorate during the 1650s, when thousands of Parliamentarian soldiers were settled in Ireland. Apart from the plantations, significant immigration into Ireland continued well into the 18th century, from both Great Britain and continental Europe.”
- The Troubles - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “In 1609, Scottish and English settlers, known as planters, were given land confiscated from the native Irish in the Plantation of Ulster. Coupled with Protestant immigration to 'unplanted' areas of Ulster, particularly Antrim and Down, this resulted in conflict between the native Catholics and the 'planters', leading in turn to two bloody ethno-religious conflicts known as the Irish Confederate Wars (1641-53) and the Williamite war (1689-91), both of which resulted in Protestant victories.”
- The Tudor Plantations in Ireland. History of Ireland (2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “At the start of the Tudor plantations new settlers were sent over from England to fill these confiscated lands but the native Irish fought back so much so that there was a suggestion put to the Government that all the Irish within these lands should be killed but it was rejected as being too expensive.”
- Plantation of Ulster - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 April 2015. “The Plantation of Ulster (Irish: Plandáil Uladh; Ulster-Scots: Plantin o Ulstèr) was the organised colonisation (plantation) of Ulster -- a province of Ireland -- by people from Great Britain during the reign of King James I. Most of the colonists came from Scotland and England. Small private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while the official plantation began in 1609.”
- Tom Clancy. Patriot games. Berkley Pub. Group. ISBN 9780425109724.
- Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “Venice, for instance, chose an island named Gheto for the purpose. This name means 'iron foundry,' for one apparently once stood on the island. In 1516, this island was converted into a Jewish quarter.”
- (1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003) "Ghetto". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “from Italian, perhaps shortened from borghetto, diminutive of borgo settlement outside a walled city; or from the Venetian ghetto the medieval iron-founding district, largely inhabited by Jews”
- Ghetto - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “Dictionaries list a number of possible origins for the originally Italian term, including 'gheto' or 'ghet', which means slag or waste in Venetian, and was used in this sense in a reference to a foundry where slag was stored located on the same island as the area of Jewish confinement (the Venetian Ghetto), and borghetto, diminutive of borgo 'borough'. Others theorize that the word is derived from the Hebrew word get, a divorce or separation document.”
- Modern Varieties of Judaism (BOOK), Lectures on the History of Religions, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231086687. “Not until after the breakdown of the medieval synthesis was the designation of special streets of Jewish residence made a legal requirement in many places in Europe; the Jewish quarter from which the very name ghetto is derived was that of Venice, established only in 1516. In part this is to be understood as a consequence of the passionate religious zeal that lay so close to the surface, the zeal of the 'counter-Renaissance.'”
- Ile aux Juifs - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 April 2015. “Ile aux Juifs, Paris, also called Ile des Templiers, was an island on the Seine in Paris situated just west of the Ile de la Cité. The island was named for the number of executions of Jews that took place on it during the Middle Ages.”