plep Archive

20th August
My Grandfather's Last Tale. 'The mission? To carry forward the musical legacy of a once-celebrated composer, as part of the duties of a musically ungifted oldest grandson. The stops along the way? The modernist frenzy of 1920s Vienna and Berlin and the artistic lassitude of 1940s and 1950s expatriate Hollywood. The culmination? The stage of an adventurous opera company in a little town in eastern Germany that was by turns an SS and a Stasi stronghold ... '

The Giddings. Great Gidding, Little Gidding and Steeple Gidding, Cambridgeshire, UK.
The site won the UK Villages Online Site of the Year Award. Interesting villages.
Photos, historical and contemporary. Virtual walk.

The Lott House Restoration Project. Brooklyn.
'The Lott House, built circa 1800, is one of the last Dutch-American farmhouses in New York City. It was occupied by descendants of Hendrick I. Lott until 1989 when the house was designated a New York City landmark.'
'The Lott House Preservation has secured permission to commence immediate stabilization work. The ultimate goal is acquisition by the City of New York/Parks & Recreation, with the house joining the Historic House Trust. The Association will continue to operate the site as a museum and community resource.'
House tour.

Digital Desert. The Mojave in California.
Stedman ghost town.
Darwin Falls. Desert waterfall.

Daioh Temple of Daioh Mountain. 'Welcome to Daioh Temple which is located in Kyoto, Japan. Head Priest Shokyu Ishiko cordially invites you to browse through the temple; visit the various buildings, take a stroll through the garden, and learn a little bit about its history and teachings. The various pages about Daioh-in represent an actual temple located in north-western Kyoto. The pages about Jomoh Temple, a sub-temple of Daioh-in, represent a virtual temple created for the Internet. Please take your time and enjoy the wonders of these two splendid temples.'

June 4th Tiananmen Virtual Democracy Wall for China Mainland.

Images of Colonial Africa. 'Welcome to a return trip to the early part of the 1900s through some of the photographs taken or gathered by missionary Laura Collins. The images displayed here are one woman's view, mostly of Kenya, at the beginning of the twentieth century, probably before 1914. They depict the country's society, customs, economics, and geography, as well as its growing Christian church, the missionary community assisting in that endeavor, and Collins herself. Also included are some photographs from Cameroon, the Belgian Congo and Uganda.'

The New Guinea Sculpture Garden at Stanford. 'During the summer of 1994, 10 master carvers from Papua New Guinea worked in residence to create a permanent outdoor sculpture garden of New Guinea Art at Stanford University.'
'Jim Mason, Project Director and graduate student in anthropology, is responsible for bringing the artists from the Middle Sepik River Region of Papua New Guinea to Stanford. '
'The project is not an attempt to recreate a traditional New Guinea environment but, according to Mason, "an opportunity to experiment with and reinterpret New Guinea aesthetic perspectives within the new context of a Western public art space." '

Nursebot Project. Robotic assistants for the elderly.

The Discovery of the Galilean Satellites. 'Probably the most significent contribution that Galileo Galilei made to science was the discovery of the four satellites around Jupiter that are now named in his honor. Galileo first observed the moons of Jupiter on January 7, 1610 through a homemade telescope. He originally thought he saw three stars near Jupiter, strung out in a line through the planet. The next evening, these stars seemed to have moved the wrong way, which caught his attention. Galileo continued to observe the stars and Jupiter for the next week. On January 11, a fourth star (which would later turn out to be Ganymede) appeared. After a week, Galileo had observed that the four stars never left the vicinity of Jupiter and appeared to be carried along with the planet, and that they changed their position with respect to each other and Jupiter. Finally, Galileo determined that what he was observing were not stars, but planetary bodies that were in orbit around Jupiter. This discovery provided evidence in support of the Copernican system and showed that everything did not revolve around the Earth. '

Development Gateway. A portal to many things green. Via this Metafilter thread.

Gravity control investigation raises hopes.
Nissan accelerates fuel cell vehicle plans.
Arctic environment melts before our eyes. (Via Booknotes).

Joseph Zoettl's Grotto. Cheers to jp.

Verba Volant has some interesting stuff.

Linkmachinego now has an RSS feed.

When I was muttering about the prehistory of weblogs the other day, I mentioned pillow books, cabinets of curiosities and so forth, but forgot to nominate the nineteenth century broadside as a forerunner of the twenty-first century poliblog. Take a look at An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera (Library of Congress) and the Penny Magazine (a nineteenth century politics and culture paper for the British working classes).

Who Does What. Via Booknotes. Quote :- ' "Blog" used to mostly mean someone's personal online diary, typically concerned with boyfriend problems or techie news, but after Sept. 11 a slew of new or refocused media junkie/political sites reshaped the entire Internet media landscape.'
'Blogs now refer to addictive web journals that comment on the news, usually in rudely clever tones, with links to stories that back up the commentary with evidence.'

Certainly the poliblogs form an important subset of blogging, but there are many other kinds of weblogs which are neither journals, tech-blogs nor overt political commentary. One subset is what I'd term (for want of a better word) 'curio-blogs' - weblogs which pick out pieces which are culturally interesting, much as collectors of the past curated their 'cabinets of curiosities'. Some of examples (there are many others) :- gmtPlus9, Bifurcated Rivets, the Museum of Online Museums, the Apothecary's Drawer and Portage. This type of weblog has been around for quite some time, in web terms.
Then there are the literary weblogs (e.g. wood s lot, In A Dark Time, sixth edition), pop culture weblogs (e.g. Pop Culture Junk Mail, Kookymojo), weblogs about visual arts (e.g. Obliterated), science weblogs (e.g. Honeyguide, one of the longest-running blogs on the web), medical weblogs (e.g. Nonharmful), linguablogs (e.g. Morfablog, Enigmatic Mermaid), photo blogs (e.g. Spitting Image), travel blogs, music blogs (e.g. New York London Paris Munich), film blogs (e.g. mises-en-scene), ancient history blogs (e.g. Bloggus Caesari), sex blogs, soccer blogs, comic blogs, green blogs, blogs that are sui generis (e.g. dumbmonkey, Abuddhas Memes, Dr Menlo) etc. And many which fall between several categories.

19th August
The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of London.

The Flight of Ducks. 'This is an Australian on-line documentary spanning more than 65 years. It began when my father (F.J.A. Pockley) travelled to Central Australia in January 1933 to take part in an expedition from from Hermannsburg Mission to Mount Liebig. He brought back cinefilm, photographs, journals and Aboriginal objects. This collection provides insights into the end of the frontier period, when there were still isolated groups of Aborigines yet to experience non-Aboriginal contact. His companions were also interesting men. They were: Hezekial, an Aboriginal guide; the remarkable T.G.H. Strehlow; artist, Arthur Murch and animal and skull collector, Stanley Larnach.'
'My father rewrote his journal three times before his death in 1990. His memories changed. He added a post script about his return in 1976 where huge changes can be seen, not only in Central Australia but in himself. Another layer was added in September 1996 when I took my own children (his grandchildren) on a journey which retraced the 1933 expedition.'
'The Flight of Ducks is a large evolving work. It is no longer just about expeditions into Central Australia, it is also a journey into the use of a new medium for which we have yet to develop a descriptive language. It is part history, part novel, part data-base, part postcard, part diary, part museum, part pilot, part poem, part conversation, part shed ... '

The Whole Brain Atlas.

Cultural Survival.

The Noh Mask Effect: A Facial Expression Illusion. 'The full-face masks worn by skilled actors in Japanese Noh drama can induce a variety of perceived expressions with changes in head orientation. Rotation of the head out of the visual plane changes the two dimensional image characteristics of the mask which viewers may misinterpret as non-rigid changes due facial muscle action. The figure below shows the same Edo-period Noh mask, Magojiro, at three inclinations ... '
Related :- Noh masks.

Hindu Temple of Atlanta.

Islamic and Geometric Art. '... You have reached a site that is dedicated to the beauty that is Islamic and Geometric design. '
'It has been designed with both entertainment and enlightenment in mind. You are free to wander around the site and simply view the delights that geometric design offers, or if, like the author, you are fascinated by the construction process an explanation of each design is also available.

Arms Around the World. (Mother Jones) Atlas of the arms trade.

A Short History of Axel Erlandson and his Tree Circus. 'Erlandson was born in 1884, the son of Swedish immigrants. He raised beans in Central California near Turlock. There, Inspired by observing a natural graft between two sycamore trees. (inosculence) He began to shape trees, by planting in specified patterns; then pruning, grafting and bending them. This began as a hobby for the amusement of himself and his family. '
'In 1945 Erlandson's daughter and wife took a trip to the ocean near Santa Cruz. There they saw people lined up to pay to see such oddities as tilted buildings and optical illusions. They returned home and convinced Axel that his trees could draw people who would pay to see them; if they were on a well traveled tourist route. Axel bought a small parcel of land in Scotts Valley on the main road between the Santa Clara Valley and the ocean; and started the process of transplanting the best of his trees to their new home. The Tree Circus opened in the spring of 1947 (See photo at left) ... '

Dorothea Lange Photos. 'Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) has been called the greatest American documentary photographer. She is best known for her chronicles of the Great Depression and for her photographs of migratory farm workers. Below are 24 pre-World War II photographs, taken for the U.S. Farm Security Administration (FSA), investigating living conditions of families hired to work in cotton fields and farms in Arizona and California. Many of the families had fled the Dust Bowl, the lengthy drought which devastated millions of acres of farmland in Midwestern states such as Oklahoma.'

' Back in the day, everything was text based. To learn about someone else on the net, one of the first things you could do was to 'finger' them. When you fingered someone, you'd get a basic set of info they had written to identify themselves. One of the files that could be used was known as the .plan file [ ... ] In my mind, these .plan files were the true origin of weblogs. ' Via Rebecca's Pocket.
(Not forgetting cabinets of curiosities, pillow books and Samuel Pepys).

Kunstkamera. 'Located on the banks of the Neva in the center of St.Petersburg, the Kunstkammer has been the symbol of the Russian Academy of Sciences since the early 18th century. Founded to Peter the Great's Decree, the Museum opened to the public in 1714. Its purpose was to collect and examine natural and human curiosities and rarities. Today, collections of Peter the Great's Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkammer) are among the most complete and interesting in the world. These collections contain over one million artifacts and reflect the diversity of traditional cultures in the Old and New World ... '

'Yes, we need a 'regime change' in this rogue state...' 'Its government has no majority. It refuses arms monitoring. Its opponents are locked up without trial ... ' (Who could he be talking about?)

17th August
British Lawnmower Museum.
The world of lawnmower racing. 'The modern sport of lawn mower racing has its origins in a meeting of enthusiastic beer drinkers at the Cricketers Arms, Wisborough Green, West Sussex, one evening in 1973. At the time, motor sport consultant Jim Gavin had just returned from a rally reconnaissance in the Sahara, and talk naturally turned to other forms of motor and motorcycle sport. The main point of discussion turned around the horrendously escalating costs involved in all branches of motor sport, whether it be rallying, racing, scrambling or whatever. So a few beers later, minds began to explore thoughts of an alternative form of motor sport with the main criteria since it is competitive, lots of fun and above all cheap ... '
US Lawnmower Racing Association at

St. Laurence's Chapel, Bradford-on-Avon. 'This website results from work on one of the best-preserved early church buildings in England, the chapel of St Laurence at Bradford-on-Avon, to mark the millennium of the gift of Bradford to Shaftesbury Abbey in 1001. It is composed of a series of self-contained sections, three that give background about the building, one that describes an excavation carried out in 2000 and another that gives the detailed interpretations that result from it. The final section describes and shows a three-dimensional computer reconstruction model of the building as it might have looked. '

The Mammal Society. 'The voice for British mammals.'
Garden mammal distribution maps.

Fossil Horse Cybermuseum. Gallery of fossil horses.

International Forgiveness Institute.

A Virtual Visit to the Archives of Tibet. (UNESCO) 'The Tibetan literature, emerging in the 7th century, covers, in addition to the rich corpus of religious texts, a wide range of literature from legend and tales, to historiography and philosophy. These documents were mainly kept by monasteries where there were subject of research and of tools of furthering Tibetan culture and traditions.'

Comfort Women. Korean sites.
In photos.

Passport to Paradise. 'Passport to Paradise is an exhibition program concerning arts of the Mourides, a mystical Muslim movement originating in Senegal, West Africa.'
Some murals.

' More than 100 public figures have sent a protest letter to the BBC protesting at the ban on atheist contributors to the Radio 4 Thought for the Day slot.' (This isn't a new thing, though). Via nullzilla.
' Almost half of all adults in the UK say they have no religious affiliation, according to a new survey. ' (BBC, 28 Nov 2000).
BBC - Your licence fee, paid by the British public.
British Humanist Association.

Mock cyberwar fails to end mock civilisation. Via Linkmachinego.

International Dark-Sky Association. " To preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting."

John Baeder. Wonderful paintings of roadside Americana.

Weird Wisconsin.
Weird stories.

National Geographic - Remembering Pearl Harbor.

A Slave Ship Speaks. 'The Henrietta Marie sank near Key West in 1701 after delivering a consignment of African captives to the island of Jamaica. These two essays thoughtfully explore the history of the ship and the nature of slavery. '

Virginia Colonial Records Project. 'A fully-searchable index to nearly 15,000 reports that survey and describe documents relating to colonial Virginia history that are housed in repositories in Great Britain and other European countries. The survey report images are available online, and there are references to microfilm reels for the original documents. '

16th August
The Book of Deer Project. 'The Book of Deer is a tenth century illuminated manuscript from North East Scotland. As the only pre-Norman manuscript from this area known as "former Pictland" it provides us with a unique insight into the early church, culture and society of this period. '
'Amid the Latin text and the Celtic illuminations there can be found the oldest pieces of Gaelic writing to have survived from early Medieval Scotland. '

The Highland Clearances. First hand accounts, photographs, passenger lists.
'The website will tell some of the stories from the Highland Clearances, their aftermath and consequences. There is no shortage of literature on the subject but most of it concentrates on the what and the why. This site is more concerned with the who: whether one considers the Clearances ethnic cleansing or economic necessity or something in-between, the whole is made up of many different stories: most sad, some happy; of greed, of despair and, occasionally, of altruism. Some of them are not even narrative - a passenger record, 'died on board, aged 8'. One account cannot reconcile them. Form your own conclusions or reinforce prejudices you already hold but all the stories are important, to our past, our present and our future. '
Highland cottages: the taigh dubh or black house.
' The clearances in Assynt were the result of cunning strategy on the part of William Young and Patrick Sellar acting for the Sutherland estate and the naivety of local tacksmen. In November 1811 Young organised an auction at the Golspie Inn for five sheep farms in Assynt. The Assynt tacksmen crossed the country to attend and, it is said 'promised anything rather than lose the land'. This promise entailed taking on the responsibility of clearing the people and of paying economically unaffordable rents. The evening ended with much revelry and Sellar singing Auld Lang Syne. '
The voyage of the Jupiter.
Some of the emigrants from the Higlands went to Pictour, Nova Scotia.
Trees for Life.

The Sad Tale of a Buran Space Shuttle. A Russian space shuttle displayed in Australia is stranded there because the company exhibiting it is no more. Photographs.
'Most Australians, myself included, had or have no idea that the Russians had even developed a spacecraft that is re-usable for tasks such as launching satellites. That was until November last year, when the covers came off a Buran located in the centre of Australia's biggest city, Sydney.'
'A very sad story indeed of a company with grand ideas of displaying the massive ship to the paying public, going into administration.'
Buran official site in Russian and English.

Musical Sand. The science of singing beaches.
'The colloquially called "singing sand" in the beach is small scale phenomenon and "booming sand" in the desert is very large scale one, but the sounding mechanism and the quality of the sounds are, essentially, same. '
'Here we call "musical sand" which includes above both sands. '
'As the peculiar sound was lovely one, the sand have called as musical sand. Since the nineteenth century, discoveries of this sand have been reported by excited scientists and researchers all over the world.'
Musical sand world map.

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. 'Japan is a country filled with ramen fans, ramen connoisseurs, and certifiable ramen maniacs, and now the city of Yokohama has opened an entire museum devoted to the ubiquitous Chinese noodle. More than just an ordinary museum, it's also part historical theme park and part hyper-specialized restaurant mall. And, unlike your usual dusty museum, it stays open till 11pm to accommodate hungry concertgoers returning from the nearby Yokohama Arena. '
More pictures of the museum on another site.

The Stories of 4 Nuns. 'The first two nuns are from Nichungri Nunnery, near Lhasa, and were released from prison in Tibet and are now studying at Dolma Ling. Here are their stories... '
Tibetan Nuns Project. Supporting Tibetan nuns in exile.

Jane's Papua New Guinea. A personal site with articles and photographs.
Historical images.
Papua New Guinea postcards. 'The following are a random collection of ceremonial images from Papua New Guinea.'

Carhenge. 'Just north of Alliance Nebraska, along Highway 87, stands a replication of Stonehenge, England's ancient mystical alignment of stones that chart the sun and moon phases. Stonehenge stands alone on a plain in England. Carhenge, created from vintage American made automobiles, towers over the plains of Nebraska.'

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames. Influential American designers of the 1950s.
'Charles and Ray Eames practiced design at its most virtuous and its most expansive. From the 1940s to the 1970s, their furniture, toys, buildings, films, exhibitions, and books aimed to improve society--not only functionally, but culturally and intellectually as well. The Eameses' wholehearted belief that design could improve people's lives remains their greatest legacy. Even more remarkable is how they achieved their seriousness of purpose with elegance, wit, and beauty.' (Library of Congress)

18th Century Islamic Erotic Pictures. For sale, on Antiques Online. (Possibly not suitable for work).

Photographic Views of Dresden, Germany.
Aerial view of Zwinger Palace, 1933 and Zwinger Palace Crown Gate, 1967.
Dresden floodwaters break record.

Two Little-Known Museums of the Macabre in Rome.
'... The somewhat grandiosely-termed Museum of the Souls of Purgatory is housed entirely in one small room next to the sacristy in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Sufferance. The church itself faces onto the Lungotevere Prati and is easily recognized because, although it was built as recently as 1927 (or 1890, by some accounts), it is in Rome a unique example of clearly Gothic inspiration. It was actually built in an eclectic style that borrowed bits and pieces from all the previously important architectural styles, but the dominant characteristic is Gothic. '
'What exactly is on display? There are objects or photos of objects that show tangible traces of apparitions made by various souls in Purgatory to those left behind on earth. All are hung on the left wall of the display room. There are several images of hand or fingerprints on book pages, wooden boards or articles of clothing ... '