The Nutlog

The Nutlog Archive

7th February
The Medea Game is a really interesting idea which makes you think, and is very enjoyable to work through.
'Euripides likes to give a twist to an old myth. Jason was a real man, a great hero, who had led the Greeks' greatest overseas adventure (this was long before the Trojan War). He'd married a beautiful and clever princess. But they dont "live happily ever after". Euripides imagines the couple years later, when Jason is beginning to show symptoms of the male menopause...'
'In this play Euripides boldy portrays normal masculinity in action, with the twist that the "male" is a woman...'
'Euripides is asking his male audience to reconsider their male fixation with honour - when pursued by Medea, a foreign woman with who they'd find it especially hard to empathise, this pursuit apppears dangerous and destructive. With the Athenian democracy voting to go to war almost every single year, it must be time for men to re-evaluate their traditional outlook...'
'Euripides highlights the way a just cause can lead to injustice. Medea's grievance against Jason is totally justified. She is in the right. But her actions in pursuance of that right are indefensible.'
Then check out the Classics Pages: Women in Greece and Rome.

Medieval English Towns. 'The aim of this site is to provide historical information about cities and towns in England during the Middle Ages, with particular emphasis on medieval boroughs of East Anglia and on social, political and constitutional history. ' Customs and capsule histories of particular towns; interesting site.

China Shadow Play Institute. 'We are just a group of lovers of this almost extinct chinese folklore art. We are connected with just the spirit of "researching, promoting and exchanging" this performing art among the people all over the world.'

The eSkeletons Project. 'The e-Skeletons Project website enables you to view the bones of a human, gorilla, and baboon and gather information about them from our osteology database.'

Amusement Park Physics. 'You've bought your ticket and boarded the roller coaster. Now you're barreling down the track at 60 miles per hour, taking hairpin turns and completing death-defying loops. Your heart is in your throat and your stomach is somewhere near your shoes. The only thing separating you from total disaster is a safety harness...but are you really in danger?' The physics of roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars etc. A fun and informative site.

What is a person? A poem. Via wood s lot.

Tiananmen Square Massacre June 4 1989. A photoessay.

' The remains of a city thought to be the oldest in the Americas, buried under Peruvian soil since the era of Egypt's pyramids, could be destroyed by erosion and exposure to the elements if the world community does not rush to the rescue, archeologists said on Wednesday.'

A piece on an interesting BBC TV programme about Caral in Peru, possibly the oldest city in the Americas. 'Caral in Peru hit the headlines in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilisation in the Americas and, at 2,627 BC, is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology - a 'mother city'. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology: why did humans become civilised? '

World Monuments Fund: Caral.
The World Monuments Fund 'is a New York-based non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered works of historic art and architecture around the world. ' The Fund produces a 'List of 100 Most Endangered Sites' every year; the website is pretty fab, too.

' A horse has given birth to a donkey in a scientific experiment that could point the way to saving rare breeds and endangered species. '

'Scientists in Denmark discovered how birds navigate at night by taking them to a planetarium.'

Mobile phone emissions increase worm fertility. 'The safety of mobile phones is under fresh scrutiny following the discovery that their emissions have an unexpected effect on living creatures. The finding throws out the strongest challenge yet to the widely held belief that heating from mobile phone signals is their only potential threat to brain cells. '

' The dream of teleporting atoms and molecules - and maybe even larger objects - has become a real possibility for the first time. The advance is thanks to physicists who have suggested a method that in theory could be used to "entangle" absolutely any kind of particle. '

' Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have uncovered the first genetic evidence that explains how large-scale alterations to body plans were accomplished during the early evolution of animals...'
'The achievement is a landmark in evolutionary biology, not only because it shows how new animal body plans could arise from a simple genetic mutation, but because it effectively answers a major criticism creationists had long leveled against evolution-the absence of a genetic mechanism that could permit animals to introduce radical new body designs.'

' An astonishing development is changing one of Africa's most remarkable land marks beyond recognition. The ice cap on Mt Kilimanjaro, one of the few places in the world where ice and snow can be seen on the Equator, is expected to disappear in the next 12 years. '

Are there other universes?

The Guardian has a Country Diary. On Wenlock Edge in Shropshire :- 'Here, two small rivulets meet. This is a rarely visited place, with no remembered name to claim it and only the faintest line of blue on a map. The trunks of small-leaved lime are covered in polypody fern and moss. It is dark and quiet except for the sound of migrating water. There is no ease in loitering here, only a quickening itch to follow. '
Via Wherever You Are.

Robert Hart's Forest Garden - a tribute. 'This site is a small celebration of the Forest Garden at Wenlock Edge, Shropshire on the Welsh Borders, created by Robert Hart, who passed away on the 7th March, 2000.'

Cheese racing. Via Pop Culture Junk Mail.

How to live in Seattle on $800 a month.
Guardian journalist tries living in London on a cleaner's wage.
Via Metafilter.

EU wrangle adding to the fridge mountain.

Scientists plan tea ceremony in space.

Tainted food clampdown call. 'Notable examples in food include a chocolate-covered mouse, a condom and half a wasp. '

' UK exterminators have seen significantly more mice giving poison baits a wide berth in the past decade, says Richard Strand, executive director of the British Pest Control Association. '

China's mines blight rural lives. 'Every morning, Zhu Tianzu walks the short distance to the well behind her house. It is a scene from any village in rural China. '
'Except that the water Mrs Zhu draws from her well is poison, dosed with deadly heavy metals.'

' Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address. '

6th February
The Epic of Gilgamesh, the online multimedia version. Needs :- Netscape Communicator 4.08 or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 SP1, Flash 4, RealAudio (if you want sound). It's very good.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, the text version. 'The Epic of Gilgamesh is, perhaps, the oldest written story on Earth. It comes to us from Ancient Sumeria, and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in cunieform script. It is about the adventures of the historical King of Uruk (somewhere between 2750 and 2500 BCE).'

The Shapwick Project. Excavation of a medieval village uncovers evidence that the village was planned; interesting, and well worth the quick read.

Myths of the Jicarilla Apaches. 'The following myths were related by Laforia, a very old woman, whose grandson Gunsi interpreted them to me. The Origin Myth differs from that told to Mr. Mooney by "Edward," and also from the version furnished me by Juan Quintana, a middle-aged Apache, who admitted that he did not know the legends as his father had known them.'

Visible Earth. From NASA. 'A searchable directory of images, visualizations and animations of the Earth.' Pretty huge.

Natural Hazards. 'Earth scientists around the world use NASA satellite imagery to better understand the causes and effects of natural hazards. The goal in sharing these images is to help people visualize where and when natural hazards occur, and to help mitigate their effects. ' Useful, and good pictures too. Via Metafilter.

Random Zen koan generator. Via Basic Buddhism, an interesting new web space from Cloud Nine.

Old Rip, the Horned Toad. A Texas tale. Via Reenhead.

Cats in Space.

The Cambodian Genocide Program. 'The Cambodian genocide, in which at least 1.7 million people (21% of the entire population) lost their lives, stands as one of the worst human tragedies of the modern era. In Cambodia, as in Nazi Germany, East Timor, Guatemala, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, extremist politics conspired with a diabolic disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale. The Cambodian genocide is unique, in that for many years, the crimes of the Khmer Rouge remained largely undocumented.'
'The Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale is studying these events to learn as much as possible about the tragedy, and to help determine who was responsible for the crimes of the Pol Pot regime.'

Astro pic of the day: Giant storm systems battle on Jupiter. Great picture.
The Great Red Spot.

Guardian Unlimited has a new country-by-country world news guide.

A maze to navigate with your arrow keys. One of's presents.

Tales of bizarre science.

The Tolkien Crackpot Theories Page. There are a lot of them! Via Camworld.

The Why Project. 'This website is the first dedicated international space for artwork about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States that used planes to attack the World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon.' Found on this archive page from Mental Breadcrumbs.

The Loch Ness Monster cam. 'News Flash! UFO radiation suspected in Loch Ness...'
The Skeptic's Dictionary has an interesting page on Nessie which sets out The Known Facts.

Marsupial robots.

Some nice old maps of England and Wales. This one is from the thirteenth century.

Erroneous predictions and negative comments concerning scientific and technological developments is interesting. See them scoff at aircraft, canals, electricity etc. 'The following material was originally taken from a Congressional Research Report on Erroneous Predictions and Negative Comments Concerning Scientific and Technological Developments, CB 150, F-381, by Nancy T. Gamarra, Research Assistant in National Security, Foreign Affairs Division, May 29 1969 (revised). '

Tom Tomorrow's weblog. Via several different places.

Hamster-powered car wows idea judges. Via Honeyguide.

' Archaeologists working in the Peruvian Andes have found evidence that a trade route used by locals dates back more than 4,000 years.'

' Scientists camping out in the Mongolian snow at minus 30 oC have made the first recordings of an elusive sound: the crackle and pop of a meteor shower. Their observations defy all current explanations of what happens when debris burns up on entry to the Earth's atmosphere.'

' The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo came as no surprise to Dieudonne Wafula. Two years ago, Mr Wafula, a Congolese vulcanologist, noticed a big build-up of lava in its crater. '
'He published an emergency warning three months ago, two weeks ago, and then two days before the disaster. "Nobody took much notice," he said. '

' A Canadian roadside zoo operator wants to donate a pair of young lions to Afghanistan to replace the legendary Marjan of the Kabul Zoo who died this month amid wide publicity. '
' A wildlife park on the outskirts of Beijing has offered Kabul's decimated zoo a lion to replace Marjan, the long-suffering big cat who died last month, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.'

' As a young girl, her eyes spoke of the suffering of a nation. But no one has ever known what happened to the child with the shocked, staring eyes whom award-winning photographer Steve McCurry fleetingly met in a refugee camp in Pakistan in 1983. Her picture has appeared countless times on the front of magazines, on posters, even on carpets, yet no one has ever been able to trace her. '
'But now the hunt is on again and it involves the CIA, journalists, some of the most lawless lands on earth, Osama bin Laden and a sizeable dose of South Asian mystery.'
(The famous photo is here).
Via Metafilter.

' Manic Miner, one of the most famous computer games of the 1980s, is due to return in a new format. '

Where Berlin goes to forget: welcome to the robo pub.

' From the infant mouth of the year 2002, the first new words and phrases have begun to croak out into the ears of dictionary editors - and they do not bode much better than the last century's new words. ' Via Blue Ruin.

Beijing has the world's best public toilets.

Survival International : ' The Botswana government has intensified its campaign to drive the Gana and Gwi Bushmen off their ancestral homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve by cutting off all water supplies. Survival is calling on them to reverse this decision - which could spell the destruction of these tribes. '
'The Gana and the Gwi have lived for thousands of years on their ancestral land, which was declared a reserve in the 1960s to provide a secure home for them. But over the last 16 years, the Botswana government has conducted a campaign of harassment to drive them out.'
The article goes on to give an address to write to to protest this.

' Futuristic space "hotels" that would employ planetary gravity to rocket between Earth and Mars are on the drawing board at Purdue University, researchers at the school said on Tuesday. '

Today in pictures. Don't miss the poetic policeman and the man with the world's longest ear hair.

' The key to helping developing countries with hungry populations is not just providing more food - it is eliminating war and providing stable, democratic governments.' University study finds hunger more a political than a supply problem.

' Slobodan Milosevic had cordial relations with Bill Clinton and was apoplectic when the daily newspaper meant to be his mouthpiece savaged the then-U.S. president in a bungled editorial, according to transcripts of his phone calls. '

America too patriotic, says Norman Mailer.

Global warming interpretation irks scientists. 'One study showed that while other continents are warming, major parts of Antarctica are cooling. The other demonstrated that the glacial "ice streams" that feed the Ross Ice Shelf in West Antarctica appear to be growing, not shrinking. '
'To the scientists involved, the studies suggest that the effects of global warming on Antarctica may prove harder to forecast than anticipated. But to their dismay, some newspaper editorial writers interpreted the reports as evidence that the global warming theory itself is in trouble -- even though that was the furthest thing from the scientists' minds. '
Via Ghost Rocket and JP.

'Axis of evil' announces single currency.

5th February
Norman Mailer - 'Machismo isn't that easy to wear.' Via Linkmachinego.

Forgotten NY. 'The past is all around us in New York. It's on the buildings high above and in the subways and tunnels deep below. It's even in the paths the streets take. This site is your gateway to a New York City that existed long ago -- and still exists in a hidden form today. We'll show you the past in lampposts, advertisements, bridges, buildings, signs, and things you pass every day in the street that bear silent witness to the NYC that once was. '

Cupid and Psyche. Beautifully illustrated myth.

A nice collection of palindromes and palindromic poems.

100 Views of the Moon. Prints by Yoshitoshi. 'The son of a merchant, Yoshitoshi grew up in Edo (Tokyo) where he studied art under the ukiyo-e print master, Kuniyoshi (1798-1861). Yoshitoshi published his first print in 1853, the same year the Tokogawa government opened trade negotiations with the west, initiating a period of rapid social and political change in Japan. Yoshitoshi's erratic career and personal life, punctuated by periods of mental instability and depression, mirrored the tumultous period during which he lived. '

Gloucester Cathedral. Virtual tour.

Woman briefly at helm of Kuwaiti parliament. 'A female Indian parliamentarian surprised her hosts and sat on the speaker's chair in Kuwait's parliament -- an elected assembly opposed to granting political rights to women in the Muslim conservative state. '

' Environmentalists in Estonia, which will play host to the Eurovision Song Contest, say they'll simultaneously stage a competition to pick Europe's most beautiful bird song.'

Britain's 'rainforests' need protection. 'Urgent measures are required to save what are left of the UK's ancient woodlands. '

Robot wars for real. 'Robots are being let loose in a colony of machines in an attempt to find out whether they can learn from their experiences. '

Australia dumps on whaling. 'Australian scientists have found a novel way to study whales without killing them. '
'They say analysis of the whales' faeces lets them examine their stomach contents minutely. '

Lots of archaeology and ancient history news today - check out Archaeology Magazine and Anthropology in the News. Some of the most interesting news is linked below :-
In Peru highlands, temple remains offer window on pre-Inca civilization.
Faults suggest a high calling for Delphi priestesses. '... evidence is growing that the priestesses, known as pythia, were ripped on hydrocarbon gases, especially ethylene, a sometime anesthetic which, taken in modest doses, can induce lively conversation of a somewhat incoherent nature.'
' Olympic bribery is nothing new, a Penn archaeologist says. The original contests even led to war between Greek city-states.'
Rare historic sites unearthed in Oman. 'Archaeologists at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) have uneathed some rare histrorical sites dating back to 2000 BC in the remote Manal village in the Wialayat of Samail...'
Archaeologists say they unearth Ptolemaic temple and houses in Egypt.

World forum scientists: Grim future. ' "Extreme pessimism seems to me to be the only rational stance," said Sir Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal, at a session devoted to the future threats and opportunities presented by scientific advances. '

Red tide wipes out Kenyan fish.

Genetically-modified superweeds "not uncommon".

Scientific winds blow hot and cold in Antarctica.

Johns Hopkins scientists find brain's nose plug.

Cave men diets offer insights to today's health problems, study shows. Eat meat to be healthy, but only the right kind.

How to live on 7,000 pounds a year in London.

A US$24,000 cellphone? How many minutes do I get?

Working longer, producing less? 'British employees work more than three hours longer per week than workers in Europe, a new report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) showed on Monday. '
'Britons on average worked 43.6 hours a week, compared to the 40.3-hour average in Europe, the report said. But government figures show they are less productive than workers abroad despite the longer hours. '

The Quotable History of Industrial Action.

Afghanistan proceeds to tear itself apart.