plep Archive

30th December
Friends of Tuva.
What is Tuva? 'Tuva is arguably in the centre of Asia, nestled just north of Mongolia between the Sayan mountains in the north and the Tannu Ola mountains in the south, with an area of 171,300 square kilometres, somewhat larger than England and Wales. Tuva lies between 89 degrees and 100 degrees east longitude, and 49 and 53 degrees north latitude. '
Symbols of Tuva.

Tuva Philatelic Research Society.

Feynman Online. 'This web site is dedicated to Richard P. Feynman, scientist, teacher, raconteur, and musician. He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb, expanded the understanding of quantumelectrodynamics, translated Mayan hieroglyphics, and cut to the heart of the Challenger disaster. But beyond all of that, Richard Feynman was a unique and multi-faceted individual. Feel free to explore this site to find out about Feynman, what he was and why he remains one of the most celebrated and revered scientists of modern times.'

Dave Barry on 2002.

Year in Review: 2002. Satire.

'A hermit, whose sculpture garden was damaged by the oil spill which hit Spain's northern coast, has been found dead in his hut. '

Rugby, North Dakota, geographic centre of North America?

The Child Rescue Centre, Bo, Sierra Leone. Art by war children. Too sad for words.

Killing House, Kailahun, Sierra Leone. ' ... As he entered he saw that there was dried blood on every surface, right up to the ceilings. He was in a 'killing house' used by the RUF rebels during the twelve-year civil war for punishment beatings, trials and executions. He took the photographs in this gallery. '

The Ogoni Experience. 'Although Nigeria has major tribes such as Hausa, Yoruba and Ibo, yet oil in Nigeria is carefully placed by God on the land of the minority groups such as the Edo, Efik, Ibibio, Ijaw, Ikwere, Isoko, Isekiri, Kalabari, Ogoni and others which, because of their small numbers, have little or no say in resource allocation and development. However, the worst hit of the groups is Ogoniland ... '
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation: Ogoni.

The New Americans: Ken Saro-Wiwa. 'In 1958, the Ogoni world changed forever when Shell discovered oil in Ogoniland. Assisted by the policies of the colonial government, and later by the Nigerian military government, Shell's drilling operations in Ogoniland divided Ogoni communities and damaged Ogoni forests and water supply. Now a university student, Ken wrote several letters to Nigerian newspapers expressing his alarm. The creation of the newly-independent Nigerian government in 1960 did not help the situation ... ' ( The New Americans )
Ogoni Bill of Rights.
Ogoni Anthem.
The Funeral of Ken Saro-Wiwa, by Ken Wiwa. 'At around midnight on the night before my father's funeral, a gentle breeze began to blow in my home village. Easter Sunday on the southern coast of Nigeria had been a hot, muggy day. The breeze whispering through the tops of the palm trees carried the haunting dirge of the women outside my father's concrete bungalow and brought some relief to the crowd that had gathered in my father's compound to observe a vigil and the wake keeping rites ... '
Ken Saro-Wiwa: The War Against the Ogoni.

Quakers. Many links.

Interview with Ahmed Kathrada. 'South African Ahmed Kathrada served 26 years as a political prisoner of apartheid with Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. He is now a member of South Africa's Parliament.'
The ties that bind: profile of Ahmed Kathrada and Ben Shek. 'A political prisoner, a professor and a friendship remembered.'
Profile of Ahmed Kathrada.

'Baby-eating' artist sparks TV row.

Greek Creatures & Chimerae. Mythology and art.

Titian, Venus with a Mirror. 'On 24 May, 2002, World Museum Masterpieces at the Hermitage (the Alexander Room (N 282) the Winter Palace) presented the exhibition of the famous Venus with a Mirror of one of the giants of Venetian Renaissance painting, Titian Vecellio (1477-1576)... '

The Magic of the White Rose: A History of One Festival. 'The festival that was called "The Magic of the White Rose" was held in Potsdam on July 13 1829 and was dedicated to the birthday of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Charlotta, the elder daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm III and Queen Luisa, having adopted Orthodox religion in Russia got the name Alexandra Feodorovna and in 1817 married brother of the Russian Emperor Grand Duke Nikolai Pavlovich (Russian Emperor since 1826) ... '

Hwasong Fortress in Suwon, Korea. Includes drawings make for the fortress. 'The book, which contains the construction process of Hwasong castle, is a book, which is as famous as The Law of Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China. This book called the Hwasong Seongyeok Uigwe ... or the Archives of the Construction of Hwasong Fortress, shows the construction of Hwasong castle (1794-1796) during the reign of Jeongjo (reigned 1777-1800). The book is now stored in Kyujangha (the cultural library of Seoul National University). Hwasong is also known as Suwonsong or the fortress of Suwon town ... '

Hymns of the Samaveda. 'The Samaveda, or Veda of Holy Songs, third in the usual order of enumeration of the three Vedas, ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rgveda or Veda of Recited praise. Its Sanhita, or metrical portion, consists chiefly of hymns to be chanted by the Udgatar priests at the performance of those important sacrifices in which the juice of the Soma plant, clarified and mixed with milk and other ingredients, was offered in libation to various deities. The Collection is made up of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, taken mainly from the Rgveda, transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the religious ceremonies in which they were to be employed ...'

Pictorial Calligraphy. 'The Pictorial Calligraphy is an unheard art which has survived more than few hundred years in Korea. Originally bamboo leaves and willow branch were used as brushes but few works from this early era is present today ... '

The Amazing, Adaptable Frog. 'Imagine traveling back through time millions of years to the age of the dinosaurs. Pterodactyls glide above a soggy marsh. Nearby, a colossal 80-ton Brachiosaurus munches on a tree. On the ground at its feet, something strangely familiar hops by: a frog. '
'Surprised? Few people realize just how ancient frogs are. For 190 million years, the ancestors of modern frogs have roamed (if not ruled) the earth, looking much the same as they do today. The secret to their success is their amazing adaptability ... '
More about frogs.

Catalog of the Scientific Community in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
'This catalog is a collection of 631 detailed biographies on members of the scientific community during the 16th and 17th centuries with vital facts about each individual and their contributions to science. '

Life Along the Faultline. Life and science in earthquake country.
The Great Shake: San Francisco, 1906.

Three from Incoming Signals :-
Photos from the Abandoned City of Pripyat, which was abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster.
Queen's Silver Magazine, early twentieth century pro-evolution magazine.
Photographs of Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination, from the Library of Congress.

' ... If each of the individuals who are about to die has an average of thirty-years of life ahead, this would be three million years snuffed out. More than a billion days. Let's say two hundred million moments of lovemaking, three-quarters of a billion bursts of laughter, and the same number of tears. A half-billion personal epiphanies, and six billion dreams ... '
Via Unknown News.

Part of Brighton's West Pier (opened in 1866, but closed since 1975) has fallen into the sea. Take a virtual tour of the West Pier and read a bit about its history, courtesy of the West Pier Trust.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
Tribal history.

Strangers, Partners, Neighbours? 'The Helluland Archaeology Project is an ongoing research initiative at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Helluland was the name given by the Norse to a barren land of rocks and glaciers to the west of Greenland, and likely refers to Baffin Island and adjacent regions of the eastern Canadian Arctic. The project is aimed at investigating relationships between the aboriginal peoples and early Europeans who met in the eastern Arctic in the centuries around A.D. 1000.'

Sun-a-Shine, Rain-a-Fall. 'Since the 1950s, when many Commonwealth citizens migrated to Britain, London Transport (LT) has reruited from newly arrived African-Caribbean, Asian and other groups. LTs workforce reflects the multi-cultural nature of London itself.'
'This display is taken from a touring exhibition producd by the London Transport Museum. It tells the stories of some of the men and women who came from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s ...'

West Point in the Making of America. 'In March 2002, the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, celebrated 200 years of producing leaders for the United States Armyand also for American science, education, engineering, exploration, public works, business, manufacturing, communications, and transportation ... '

Within These Walls... 200 years of the history of a house in Massachusetts.

Posted Aboard RMS Titanic. 'During Titanics frantic final hours on April 15, 1912, Titanics postal clerks, along with steward Albert Theissinger and several others, desperately tried to save the 200 sacks of registered mail by dragging them to the upper decks and possible safety. Theissinger was the only survivor to recall seeing the mail clerks alive. When he finally abandoned the seemingly suicidal task, the five mail clerks -- Americans Oscar Scott Woody, John Starr March, and William Logan Gwinn and British postal workers James Bertram Williamson and John Richard Jago Smith -- were still frantically at work, sloshing waist-deep in freezing water ... '

The Peacock Room. 'The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a wealthy shipowner from Liverpool, England. Leyland commissioned the American-born artist James McNeill Whistler (18341903) to paint the dining room. Between 1876 and 1877, Whistler brightened the room with golden peacocks, painting every inch of the ceiling and walls to create an elegant setting in which Leyland could display his blue-and-white porcelain as well as Whistler's painting The Princess from the Land of Porcelain ... '
Take a closer look.

Stamps and Stories. 'The National Postal Museum celebrates the beauty and lore of stamps, showcasing rare stamps and covers from the museum's renowned collection.'
Which way is up? 'A printing mistake occasionally turns a common stamp into a highly prized trophy. '

Airmail Service. 'In the 1920s and 1930s, funds from airmail contracts breathed life into the nation's fledgling commercial aviation industry. '

Playing Through: Golf, the Canadian Story. 'A sport enjoyed by over five million Canadians, golf has attracted a widespread interest across the country. Golf is an ancient game, and has a long history in Canada. Over the past hundred years, the perception of golf has shifted from being a sport of the rich and famous to being a sport that anyone - men, women, young and old - can play and enjoy, a game for all.'

Canvas of War. Exhibits from the Canadian War Museum.

The Mayor of Windows: A Fable for the New Millennium. By Dr Menlo.

Julie Burchill: Bad Blair Days. 'I've always fancied myself as a bit of a saint, and the Big Issue recently fixed it royally for me by doing a lovely drawing, with a halo and everything, to accompany a piece I'd written opining that anyone who didn't regularly buy the magazine should be shot, basically. I also objected to the way that the manky old modern Bible has changed St Paul's "charity" - in his letter to those pesky Corinthians - to "love". And that's the way Princess Tony read it at Diana's funeral: because while "love" can be kept nice and non-specific, and you don't have to put your money where your sweet nothings are, "charity" is very specifically about a bit of wealth redistribution. So the word is probably a bit too socialistic for our Glorious Leader, under whom the biggest gap between rich and poor ever recorded in this country has come about ... '

28th December
One In, One Out. BBC Radio 4 poll; choose one of five foreign nominees for British citizenship, and strip it from one of five British nominees.
In :- Aung San Suu Kyi, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Shane Warne.
Out :- Jeffrey Archer, Cherie Blair, Prince Charles, Paul Dacre, Sheikh Abu Hamza.
Profiles of each available. Remember, particularly for the 'in' vote :- you can decide to vote for the most saintly (Aung San Suu Kyi, obviously); or you can vote for the candidate who would benefit most from British citizenship (as a Rhodes scholar and someone who involved himself in the Northern Ireland peace process, Bill Clinton is certainly at home here, and Aung San Suu Kyi may gain some protection from a British passport; conversely, this could conceivably be used against her by the Burmese authorities and compromise the struggle for democracy in Burma); or the candidate who would benefit the world or Britain most by winning (which might not be the same as benefiting the candidate - British citizens are presumably ineligible as heads of state in most foreign countries, for example - this could be a reason for supporting either of the presidents, depending on your politics; Bush is sorely in need of the empathy he would gain by learning a little about life in another country, and the people of Iraq, the Middle East and the world in general would benefit even more greatly from being rid of Saddam; Saddam's execrable novels may be a bit much to live with, though); or indeed you can vote for someone simply for his or her entertainment value, or indeed for his benefit to English cricket (if you want). These categories aren't necessarily the same, which is what makes this such an interesting contest. (Remember, it's still the Christmas season after all, so it's ok to love your enemies).
Via dustbury.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Information for visitors. 'A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience. The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. It provides the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century in the collection. The museum also holds an extensive offer of exhibitions on various subjects from 19th century art history. '

Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam. 'The Stedelijk Museum has responsibility for a large part of the collection of modern art belonging to the City of Amsterdam. This diverse collection counts more than 100,000 objects from 1850 to the present: paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, graphic design, applied arts, industrial design and new media. Part of the permanent collection is always to be seen in changing combinations.'

Global Children's Art Gallery.

Astronomy Notes. By Nick Strobel, for a course he teaches. Great resource. 'Currently these notes cover: a brief overview of astronomy's place in the scientific endeavor, the philosophy of science and the scientific method, astronomy that can be done without a telescope, a history of astronomy and science, Newton's law of gravity and applications to orbits, Einstein's Relativity theories, electromagnetic radiation, telescopes, all the objects of the solar system, solar system formation, determining properties of the stars, the Sun, fusion reactions, stellar structure, stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, the structure of the Milky Way galaxy, extra-galactic astronomy including active galaxies and quasars, cosmology, and extra-terrestrial life. This site also has pages giving angular momentum examples, a quick mathematics review, improving study skills, astronomy tables, and astronomy terms.'

Southern African Star Myths. 'isiLimela or the Pleiades were the 'digging stars', whose appearance in southern Africa warned of the coming need to begin hoeing the ground. All over Africa, these stars were used as a marker of the growing season. 'And we say isiLimela is renewed, and the year is renewed, and so we begin to dig'. (Callaway 1970). Xhosa men counted their years of manhood from the time in June when isiLimela first became visible ... '

Eclipses at Greenwich. (Royal Observatory, Greenwich) 'The first recorded astronomical observation of the first Astronomer Royal was John Flamsteed's observation of a solar eclipse from his home in Derby at the age of sixteen on 12 September 1662. Solar astrophysics started at the Royal Observatory with Airy's observation of the solar eclipse of 1842. The two most famous sets of solar eclipse photographs in the archive are de la Rue's pictures taken at the solar eclipse of 1860 and the Sobral eclipse in 1919 ... '

Revealing the Star of Bethlehem. 'Could the purchase of an ancient coin have led to an important clue about the Star of Bethlehem? The above illustration is a Roman coin from Antioch, Syria which shows the zodiacal sign, Aries the Ram. In trying to understand the meaning behind this coin, I found that Aries was the sign of the Jews. Realizing that this is where ancient stargazers would have watched for the Star of Bethlehem, I embarked on searching for the celestial event that signified the birth of the Messiah in Judea ... '

The Laws of Manu, c. 1500 BCE. Via the Internet Indian History Sourcebook.

E-Yakimono. 'Welcome to e-yakimono, a learning center devoted to Japanese pottery. Yakimono means fired thing and we wish to make this word known worldwide. Enjoy your visit. Learn, shop and return often for updates. '
Photo tours.

Dragons in Ancient China. Dragons in Chinese architecture, paintings, and culture.

Yo Soy Hechicero: I Am A Sorcerer. Behind the scenes of a video about a practitioner of Afro-Cuban religion.
The coconut story.

Artists of Utah.

Utah Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. 'Welcome to my Web Page on Utah Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. This page is not a comprehensive list of all ghost towns in Utah, but consists of ghost towns that I have actually visited. I hope you enjoy.'

The Daguerrotypes of Southworth & Hawes. 'Two partners in Boston--Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes--are today widely considered to be the first great masters of photography in America. Their partnership lasted from 1843 to 1862.'
'Southworth & Hawes were technical and creative innovators who sought to be recognized as artists. They produced their masterpieces using the daguerreotype process. Daguerreotypes are made on polished metal plates without a negative; each image must be exposed individually in a camera. The finished pictures are brilliant, mirror-like, and finely-detailed ... '

PhotoLondon. 'London's libraries, museums and archives possess a treasure house of modern and historic photographs of London. The photoLondon website exists to highlight and promote these collections. You can view a selection of photographs on-line and find out more about individual collections. You can seek answers to an enquiry or order a copy of a photograph ... '
Photo essay.

Journey of Life. 'The key moments of our lives are recorded by birth, marriage and death certificates. See if you can see track Frederick and Margaret Hall's 'Journey of life' through the documents they left behind ... '

Plymouth House Mystery. 'Discover what tracing the history of a house can reveal about a community's past by following the changing fortunes of Plymouth house and the people who lived there ... '

A Soldier's Tale. 'Do you know how to read the history from a wartime medal? Find out how family military memorabilia can help you piece together a soldier's past ... '

Map Reader. 'Discover more about maps and and their symbols with Map Reader or read the history of the Hampshire town of Alresford from a map ... '

Tracking a Street Through Time. 'Local history starts as soon as you step outside your own front door. Take a walk along a London street and follow the clues. Track a street though time ... '

27th December
Musee d'Orsay. Excellent.

Hellenic Culture. A website by the Greek Ministry of Culture.
'It is not possible to appraise Greek Culture as a whole, through a computer screen. Nevertheless, being aware of the force and the potentialities of new technologies, we tried to squeeze in this program the millennia of artistry, the centuries of outstanding art, the achievements of the human spirit, the routes on which the western civilization strode in order to reach its current form. '
'We tried to give you only a fraction of this great adventure that is called Greek Culture, from the antiquity up to our days. This fraction though is going to get larger and larger every day as we will keep on enriching our program with new data. '

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Galileo Galilei. Exhibition of Galilean artefacts, including his middle finger.

Tycho Brahe. 'A Danish nobleman, Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), made important contributions by devising the most precise instruments available before the invention of the telescope for observing the heavens. Tycho made his observations from Uraniborg, on an island in the sound between Denmark and Sweden called Ven ... '

A Science Odyssey. (PBS) People and discoveries. Huge site and highly recommended.
Then+now. 'A Science Odyssey takes you on a journey through the most spectacular 100 years in the history of science and technology. Here's an overview of how our understanding has grown from 1900 to today. Click each topic for greater detail and links that trace our journey from then to now! '

Kenboko - Hereditary Treasures of Kyoto Festivals. 'The kenboko is a ritual apparatus used to appease evil spirits. In festivals, it takes the lead position during the passage of mobile shrines. The shape of the kenboko has been linked to such ancient weapons as bronze swords and halberds, although the connection is by no means definite. '
'Of more certainty, is its association with belief in the spirits of the dead, during the Heian Period. In 869, during the first Gion Goryoe (meaning "service for souls"; later to become Gion Matsuri), 66 tall spears (hoko) were erected in Shinsen Garden, after which prayers were offered in the hope of driving away the pestilence then ravaging the city. Nenjugyoji Emaki, a series of picture scrolls depicting annual events from the Heian Period, show a festival hoko leading the passage of a mobile shrine during Gion Goryoe. Historical materials from around the beginning of the Muromachi Period show kenboko in forms close to those of the present day ... '

Hakone Geisha Association.

Kopan Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal.
Guided tour.

Durham Mining Museum. History of Durham mines and miners.

Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum. 'The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum tells the harrowing tale of the Martyrs arrest, trial and punishment, leading to the foundation of modern day trade unionism. '
'The museum has been re-designed into a modern, informative, and educational exhibition, using interactive touch screen displays new graphic panels telling the story in text and images. The museum sets out the Martyrs' story in four sections: Before the arrest, The Oath and Betrayal, Transportation, and the Homecoming. A new Book and CD-ROM have also been produced, all sponsored by trades unions and organisations.'
'The museum evolved out of the library which formed part of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Memorial Cottages, built in 1934 to mark the Centenary of the Martyrs' conviction. The library, meant for use by the workers living in the cottages, soon became a depository for various artefacts, documents and memorabilia relating to the history of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Over the years, a rather ad hoc display telling the story of the Martyrs had evolved into the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum ... '

The Life of a Coal Miner. ' "I'm twelve years old, goin' on thirteen," said the boy to the boss of the breaker. He didn't look more than ten, and he was only nine, but the law said he must be twelve to get a job. He was one of a multitude of the 16,000 youngsters of the mines, who, because miners' families are large and their pay comparatively small, start in the breaker before many boys have passed their primary schooling. From the time he enters the breaker there is a rule of progress that is almost always followed. Once a miner and twice a breaker boy, the upward growth of boy to man, breaker boy to miner, the descent from manhood to old age, from miner to breaker boy: that is the rule ... '
On Strike! 'This article was scanned from Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, November, 1900.'

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The 198 Gallery, Brixton, London.

Castell Henllys, an Iron Age fort in Wales.

Hadrian's Wall. "It is the land of far horizons, where the piled or drifted shapes of gathered vapour are for ever moving along the farthest ridge of hills, like the procession of long primeval ages that is written in tribal mounds and Roman camps and Border towers on the breast of Northumberland." - GM Trevelyan.

Chester Cathedral. 'One of the most popular places to visit in the North West, the Cathedral attracts over one million visitors each year. Entry is free of charge. Donations are invited from all who wish to help support the work of the Dean and Chapter to maintain the fabric and develop the ministry of this beautiful Cathedral.'

Coventry Cathedral. An old cathedral that was destroyed during World War II, and subsequently rebuilt. The ruins of the old cathedral remain, but the new cathedral exists as a symbol of both resurrection and reconciliation.
Coventry Cathdral: Death and Resurrection. This site includes images of both the old and new cathedrals. 'It was the air raid on Coventry on the night of the 14th November 1940 that destroyed the medieval Cathedral of the city and 568 of its citizens. The code name for that raid what was "Operation Moonlight Sonata", a romantic name for a ghastly reality. The empty shell of the old Cathedral, still standing adjacent to the glory of the new, is a stark reminder of that event.'
The baptistry window.
Coventry Cathedral stained glass.

Folktales from around the world, collected by Peace Corps volunteers. Via Enigmatic Mermaid.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys as a blog. Great! Via wood s lot.

Giving up the Ghost. 'You come to this place, mid-life. You don't know how you got here, but suddenly you're staring fifty in the face. When you turn and look back down the years, you glimpse the ghosts of other lives you might have led; all houses are haunted. The wraiths and phantoms creep under your carpets and between the warp and weft of fabric, they lurk in wardrobes and lie flat under drawer-liners. You think of the children you might have had but didn't. When the midwife says, 'It's a boy,' where does the girl go? When you think you're pregnant, and you're not, what happens to the child that has already formed in your mind? You keep it filed in a drawer of your consciousness, like a short story that never worked after the opening lines ... '
Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.

Via Speckled Paint :- Ugly Bug; Inflatable Church; Nameneko; Sheboygan Art Museum; Pinstruck - Digital Voodoo; Eric Conveys an Emotion has been updating again.

America's Culinary Heritage. Via Rebecca's Pocket.

Japannotations. 'Have you ever wondered what the ads on the trains, the tissue packages you get from the station or the housing plans from the real estate agents actually say? Japannotations is a collection of annotated posters, advertisements and magazines that helps you understand what's written in the world around you.' Via quirky japan.

Women in Iran.
Naghme Jaberi's Photos from Daily Life of Carpet-weaver Women in Northern Regions of Iran .

The Witness of Elie Wiesel: Elie Wiesel and the Question of Palestine. (Tikkun magazine) An interesting profile of the intellectual, human rights advocate and Nobel prizewinner.
'In his 1986 Nobel lecture, Elie Wiesel spoke with characteristic gravity on any attempt to reckon with the Holocaust: "There are no theological answers, there are no psychological answers, there are no literary answers, there are no philosophical answers, there are no religious answers. The only conceivable answer is a moral answer." The moral themes of silence and being a bystander before atrocity have been central to Wiesel's work as a public intellectual in his adopted homeland of the United States over the last four decades ... '

A Japanese Story-Teller. By Laurens van der Post.
' The not inconsiderable group of people, so absorbed that they did not notice our arrival, were there at the feet of a man sitting on a yellow mat talking in a low, clear voice. He was dressed in a golden kimono, held with a broad sash woven of green and red round the middle. It was a far more abundant garment than usual, and lay with ample folds around him that overruled any shape or movement of his body within, and fell wide to the ground to disguise even the way he sat. In this sense he was more like a monument of singular authority rather than the man himself. This authority was immeasurably increased by the head and face above the dress. It was the face of an old man with features of a cast so old that it seemed beyond measure of antiquity that I possessed regarding the history of Japan ... '

The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth.
'The people of the Six Nations, also known by the French term, Iroquois Confederacy, call themselves the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee) or People of the Longhouse. Located in the northeastern region of North America, originally the Six Nations was five and included the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The sixth nation, the Tuscaroras, migrated into Iroquois country in the early eighteenth century. Together these peoples comprise the oldest living participatory democracy on earth. Their story, and governance truly based on the consent of the governed, contains a great deal of life-promoting intelligence for those of us not familiar with this area of American history. The original United States representative democracy, fashioned by such central authors as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, drew much inspiration from this confederacy of nations. In our present day, we can benefit immensely, in our quest to establish anew a government truly dedicated to all life's liberty and happiness much as has been practiced by the Six Nations for over 800 hundred years. '

Live Aid - A Celebration. 'Band Aid was the name of the group which recorded the original single "Do They Know It's Christmas? / Feed The World". Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, the song was recorded on November 25th 1984 by a group consisting of almost 40 of the UK and Ireland's best-known pop stars of the time. Originally Geldof hoped to raise 72,000 for charities from sales of the single, but that estimate was exceeded almost immediately the record went on sale; it went on to sell over three million copies in the UK, becoming the best-selling record ever, and to raise over 8 million worldwide. '
Band Aid and Live Aid.

Michael Moorcock: Epic Pooh. Shall we say, an alternative view of Tolkien...

26th December
Earth at Night.

The King William's School quiz is very difficult indeed.

Is Anybody Out There? 'Viewed from the Moon, Earth hangs delicately in the sky, an oasis of life in the black emptiness of space. Nothing could be more beautiful-or more lonely. '
'But are we really alone? Though this question has long been asked, only now can we hope to answer it. Here, in New Scientist's second Millennium Special, we focus on the search for life beyond Earth. First, where to look? If we find another Earth, will it be just as fecund? There's nothing in the known laws of nature that says life is inevitable. But perhaps the life force comes from a new field of science, one that we're just beginning to understand. And if another Earth is what we need, there is a strikingly simple way to find one. There could even be a vast ocean teeming with aquatic aliens right on our doorstep ... '

The Measurers: A Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century.
From the introduction :- ''The Measurers: a Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century' was a Special Exhibition displayed at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford during 1995. The exhibition was centered around a very unusual and important painting in the Museum's collection, known simply as 'The Measurers'. The painting depicts a range of practical activities, foremost among them mathematical instrument making, and is used in the context of the exhibition both as a starting point for a discussion of the practical mathematics movement of Renaissance Europe and as a means of organizing the display of a large number of scientific instruments, texts and other related objects ... '

Brain Biodiversity Bank Atlases. Atlases of human, sheep, dolphin and axolotl brains.

Mona Lisa Images for a Modern World.

White on White. A history of artists who paint white paintings.

Mucha Museum. 'The world's first Mucha Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the world-acclaimed Czech ART NOUVEAU artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), is housed in the Baroque Kaunicky Palace in the very heart of Prague. '
'A selection of over 100 exhibits comprising paintings, photographs, charcoal drawings, pastels, lithographs and personal memorabilia provides a privileged view into the universe of the artist who is most widely known for the posters he executed for Sarah Bernhardt in the fashionable world of fin-de-sicle Paris. '

Kamimura Gallery. 'Specializing in Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints, modern prints and other fine Japanese antiques. '
Ukiyo-e prints.

Tokugawa Gallery. Woodblock prints.

The Muktinath Website, Nepal. 'Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa is a great example to our world of a sacred place shared in harmony by devotees of two world religions. The traditonal caretakers of the place are the 21 Muktinath Nuns. In spite of the tourists and pilgrims visiting Muktinath up till two years ago they did not get any support on a structural base outside Muktinath Valley ... '
Muktinath nuns.

Egypt Interactive. Whose mummy is it? Plus Egypt interactive tour.

FDR Cartoons. Cartoons from Franklin Roosevelt's administration.

Remembering Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 'The Washington Post received more than 800 submissions from readers who responded to our request to share their memories and memorabilia of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his era. Many of those we heard from loved FDR; a few hated him. In letters, faxes and e-mail, people from the region and across the country told us poignant and sometimes humorous stories of the Depression and World War II and of how FDR's presidency affected their lives or the lives of loved ones ... '

FDR's Little White House, Georgia.

The Astor Place Riot. 'On the evening of May 10, 1849, a crowd some 15,000 strong gathered outside the Astor Place Opera House to protest the appearance of the English Shakespearean actor, William Charles Macready. A symbol of British aristocracy, Macready (1793-1873) had not endeared himself to Americans, most of whom he considered boorish and uncultured. In expressing its distaste for Macready, the crowd championed Edwin Forrest (1806-1872), an American-born Shakespearean actor who shared their fierce working-class determination not to be dominated by elite outsiders. '
'Members of the crowd, primarily young males, began pelting the theater with paving stones, the debris from a nearby construction site. The stones rained down on the building and on the unarmed police called in to protect the theater and the English actor. Assault followed assault. The crowd would not be repulsed. Policemen were injured. Finally, the militia were summoned to quell the disturbance. When the echo of gunfire quieted, 23 people lay dead or dying, and over 100 were wounded, some seriously ... '

Looking North. Upper Manhattan in photographs 1896-1939.

The City of Greater New York. The story of the consolidation of the five boroughs.

Stickball Hall of Fame.

Last Letter of Mary, Queen of Scots. 'At 2am on Wednesday 8 February 1587, Mary Queen of Scots picked up her pen for the last time. Her execution on the block at Fotheringay Castle was a mere six hours away when she wrote this letter, addressed to her former brother-in-law, Henri III of France. '

Parliament of Australia: Hansard. (Not to be confused with Hansard in the UK). 'Hansard is the name given to transcripts of parliamentary proceedings. The Senate and House of Representatives Hansards are available on the Internet each morning following a sitting day. Hansards of Committee hearings are also available online. These transcripts are published shortly after the committee meets. '

Especially good links at Unknown News today.

Last Christmas. From dumbmonkey.

Star wars missiles may be based in UK. 'The US is privately urging the government to allow the basing of missile defence interceptor rockets on British soil as part of the next, expanded, stage of the Bush administration's controversial "son of star wars" programme. '