The Nutlog

The Nutlog Archive

31st January
Decameron Web. 'A growing hypermedia archive of materials dedicated to Boccaccio's masterpiece.'

The MacTutor History of Mathematics pages are great :-
A history of zero.
A history of pi.
Mathematics in various cultures.

A short history of musical notation in the Middle Ages.

Buddhist Art and Architecture. Online gallery.

Map of the Month. A great series of maps visualising different aspects of cyberspace. Thanks, John.

Mystery Object. 'Only one of the explanations below is the right description for the museum object shown in the picture. Can you guess which one?'

Giant panda cam at San Diego Zoo.

Our galaxy - from the outside.

' London's Millennium Bridge appears to have been cured of the alarming wobble that forced its closure only three days after it opened in June 2000. '

' Fossilised dinosaur tracks that are 163 million years old have revealed how large meat-eating theropod dinosaurs could break into a run when chasing their prey. '

Intact pterosaur fossil with long 'feather' discovered in China.

'A chip that will automatically create hundreds of cloned embryos at a time is being developed by a Californian biotech company, New Scientist has learned.'

' The Alps in Europe and the Himalaya-Karakorum-Hindu Kush mountain range, which spans northern India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan, are among ten ranges worldwide suffering severe ecosystem degradation, according to a major new report.'

Future Evolution. 'A scientist and an artist team up to portray a future of square tomatoes, kangaroo rats and universally brown-skinned humans who don't need food.'

Large number of cultural relics discovered in southwest China. 'The relics include a wide variety of stoneware, especially stone axes of different shapes, and examples of pottery such as pots, bowls and basins. '
'The relics can be dated back to the Xia and Shang dynasties ( approximately 21st-11th century BC) and will be of great help for research into the history of the Chinese nation, according to archeologists.'

' Cheap copies of drugs that can keep people with HIV/Aids alive have been imported into South Africa from Brazil by doctors and activists, in defiance of patent laws, in order to demonstrate to poor countries that they can afford to treat their dying populations, it was revealed yesterday. '

'Scientists are looking for a new kind of cattle fodder - one that will soothe the digestive tract and limit global warming. '
'The problem is the gas that bursts at intervals from the stomach and intestines of a ruminating cow. A cow cropping grass can produce 120kg of methane in a year. And as a greenhouse gas, methane is 20 times more troublesome than carbon dioxide. '

30 billion Earths? New estimate of exoplanets in our galaxy.

' Equations are the cornerstone on which the edifice of science rests. Yet, argues Graham Farmelo, they can be as exquisite as the finest poetry. '

30th January
It is a true honour to be Zippylog's Aortal Pick of the Week. Why not visit Zippylog?

More links soon.
In the meantime, you might want to consider visiting these sites, which allow you do some good with a mouse click :-
The Hunger Site.
The Rainforest Site.
The Breast Cancer Site.
Clear Landmines.
Free Donation.
Stop the Hunger.

Jish asked me to say HI! to my webloggers webring neighbours.
To the left of me (in more ways than one, but that's by no means a bad thing): First Blush.
To the right of me: The Ramblog.

29th January
Well, it's great when people send you brilliant links you just have to blog (providing motivation to find some links too!) :).

John passes on a simplified version of the medieval Mappa Mundi which I mentioned yesterday. The proportions of the continents are interesting, with Jerusalem at the centre of the world. What also struck me is the size of China relative to India, and the presence of 'Alexander's Wall' and the Tower of Babel!

Portraits. 'Traveling the world over the last two decades, Magnum photographer Steve McCurry has looked directly into the faces of people from all corners of this planet. From Afghanistan to Los Angeles and countless places in between, he has shot some of the most compelling photo portraits of our time. '
Also take a look at Journal E's 'stories' page.

The Kunisada Project. A very extensive gallery of print images by the prolific ukiyo-e artist.

The William Blake Archive.

Five new Martian meteorites have been discovered in Antarctica, Oman and the Sahara.

Good is its own reward, it seems. Via Fortean Times.
Actually, this isn't really news, as fans of Prisoner's Dilemma know.
Play Prisoner's Dilemma and see what it's all about.

Test tube kidneys created.

' Zbigniew Libera's Lego concentration camp will be among artworks on display at the "Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent Art" exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York. The spring show explores contemporary artists' views of the Holocaust. ' Thanks JP.

An eerie play of light and shadow. Thanks JP.

28th January
Lost Villages. 'Thousands of villages have simply vanished from the map of Britain, wiped out by disasters, both natural and man-made - from plague to forcible clearances. But though the villagers have gone, the marks they left can still be seen. '

Cinderella. A collection of folk tales from Europe and Asia.

Historic California US Highways. 'The two lane roads stretches out to the horizon littered with abandoned buildings. In the distance the Interstate highway is visible, the epitome of modern road building. Once, traffic now going on the Interstate went on the narrow two lane road, an old US highway. What was its history? What was it like to drive on it? The Historic California US Highways page is about questions such as these. It is a repository of information about the 18 US highways which were once traversed California. '

The Mappa Mundi, a large and elaborate medieval world map. You can get a better look at it here.

Volcanoes of Other Worlds. Volcanoes on the Moon, Venus, Mars and Io. (Good pages about Venus and Mars, though the page about Io looks like it could do with a little more work).

Translating poetry is impossible but worthwhile. (Which is why English language haiku rarely work well).

Is Richard II's grave under the site of a pedestrian shopping centre in Stirling?

'Washington State law would outlaw evolution.' Actually, that headline should be '... would outlaw _the teaching_ of evolution.' Hopefully no politician is quite _that_ important.

' It is well known that thousands died, accused of witchcraft in Europe fromt he 1400s through the 1700s. But sometimes skepticism was applied. Such is the case of an interesting story of attempted revenge and false charges, The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Deception, Witchcraft, Murder, and the King of England...'

A watering jug found in a nineteenth-century cistern in Albany, NY.

World Heritage Sites. 'With 721 cultural and natural sites already protected worldwide, the World Heritage Committee is working to make sure that future generations can inherit the treasures of the past. ' An extensive list; virtual tours.

NSSDC Photo Gallery. NASA images of planets, asteroids, comets and other astronomical objects.

Welcome to Maggil Country. 'Maggil is a word from the Yugarubul language of the Jagara people. It means 'home of the water dragon'. Moggill Creek in the western suburbs of Brisbane, is the home of a little Eastern Water Dragon, Maggil. He would love to tell you about the fascinating place he lives, just click on his small image as it appears on each page.'

Music of the Ghettos and Camps. 'Ghetto songs served three major purposes: documentation of ghetto life, a diversion from reality, and the upholding of tradition. The ghetto songs reveal the capacity for suffering and the elemental will to survive and the urge to create, to sing and even to laugh. The ghetto had its street singers, its coffee and teahouses. It had its beggars and madmen. '
From Music of the Holocaust.

Interesting Metafilter thread on preserving traditional ways of life versus modernisation. Good arguments on both sides - diversity is a good thing in itself, on the other hand cultures change (nobody speaks Anglo-Saxon any more, after all). Some links I found interesting :-
Why preserve and revitalize aboriginal languages?
Scientific American : Languages, Disappearing and Dead. This article includes a map of endangered languages.
The Rosetta Project 'is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone. '

The next couple of days might be relatively quiet as far as updates go.

27th January
Unicorn Jelly 'is a philosophical science fiction manga strip which tells a metaphoric and purposeful story with a definitive beginning and ending.' There's even a card game.

Language of the Month. A series of pages documenting Australian Aboriginal languages. My personal favourites - a wedding ceremony at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, with text in Ngiyampaa and Wangkatha stories from Western Australia.

On week 4 of the frustratingly addictive puzzle-story Planetarium...

Kunisada and Kabuki. Virtual gallery of Kunisada's prints of kabuki actors. There are quite a lot of them - good for people who like ukiyo-e.

Aeneas in the Underworld. A multimedia path.
'The sixth book of Vergil's Aeneid is one of the poet's most original achievements. In it he synthesizes traditional stories about the Underworld and philosophical and religious allegories with his own religion and philosophy. Yet his picture of the Underworld fits perfectly into the epic, whose hero, Aeneas, must emulate earlier mythological heroes (Heracles, Theseus, Odysseus) by conquering Death through visiting the Underworld and returning unharmed to the world of the living...'
This site tells the story with historical background; 48 pages of text and images.

RemoteBot. A remote-controlled robot in a maze.

Hereford Cathedral. Centre of the oldest see in England.

Jellyfish jackpot found on fossil beach. 'Palaeontologists have hit a jellyfish jackpot in a Wisconsin quarry, giving scientists an unusual glimpse of ancient sea life.'

' Fifty Vietnam cooks plan to make a monster sticky rice cake capable of feeding 20,000 people to celebrate Vietnam's lunar new year next month.'

' Russian defence systems faced a crisis on Saturday when power supplies were cut to a centre monitoring military satellites and some operations of the International Space Station. '

'Marjan, the lion who survived years of conflict and ill-treatment in Afghanistan and touched the hearts of animal lovers abroad, has died at Kabul zoo.'

Enron: History of Human Rights Abuse in India (Human Rights Watch Press release). "Enron is now being widely accused of arrogance and lack of transparency, but the people of Dabhol have known that all along. Enron was complicit in human rights abuse in India for several years." - Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch . Via Metafilter.

26th January
Death knell to cloning movement? Via Follow Me Here.

New theories dispute the existence of black holes. 'Two U.S. scientists have questioned the existence of black holes and suggested, in their place, the existence of an exotic bubble of superdense matter, an object they call a gravastar.'

Welcome to Paper Engineer's Workshop. 'It doesn't matter whether you are clever with your fingers or not. Just enjoy the sight of the works of a paper enthusiast. I hope you will find a new aspect of this old material.' Via gmtPlus9.

Institute for Naming Children Humanely. Via dutchbint.

Our Nature.

Insects of Minnesota. Lots of photos - I really like this page. Raphael Carter also runs Honeyguide, a weblog about science.

American Samizdat. Must-read.

Mars Meteorites. Many images.
Meteor Shower Database. Searchable.

Josephine Baker official site.
Josephine Baker photo galleries.

A Map of the Various Paths of Life. B. Johnson, Philadelphia, 1805. (From Cartographical Curiosities).

Borobodur Temple. 'The Borobodur Temple complex is one of the greatest monuments in the world. It is of uncertain age, but thought to have been built between the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century A.D. For about a century and a half it was the spiritual centre of Buddhism in Java, then it was lost until its rediscovery in the eighteenth century. ' A gigantic map of the Buddhist universe.

Map of Dante's Hell.

John Bunyan Museum, Bedford. Interesting site about the life and times of the author of 'Pilgrim's Progress'.

Journey: A Shaman's Tale.

Secular Humanism Online Library.

Mountains snapped from space. 'This remarkable aerial view shows the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas as seen from the International Space Station (ISS). '

Ancient artwork may be oldest zodiac mural. 'The researchers have found what they believe is a tiger-headed, human figure on the eastern wall of Nara Prefecture's Kitora tomb, according to agency officials. The tiger is one of the 12 animals in the more than 3,000-year-old Chinese zodiac, once used to indicate time and direction but now used to designate the names of years.'
Via GoodShit.

Are brains wired for music better built to last?

'The British Big Cat Society says sightings of strange beasts in the countryside are on the increase.'

India lacks suitable warheads for tested missile.

Ebola outbreak continues unmonitored. 'Negotiations to allow international medical experts back into a remote village in Gabon to monitor an outbreak of Ebola have failed.'

Black hole mystery mimicked by supercomputer.

' Astronomers have identified a telltale signature of plant life in light reflected from a planet for the first time - but the planet is Earth. Researchers at the Haute Provence Observatory in France collected light from Earth that had bounced back down from the shadowed side of the Moon.'
'The discovery provides a low-cost way to simulate the way that light might be reflected from a distant planet that had vegetation similar to the Earth's. This cannot be done with satellites in low Earth orbit because of the way the atmosphere affects the reflection of light.'

' King Herod the Great, the bloody ruler of ancient Judea, died from a combination of chronic kidney disease and a rare infection that causes gangrene of the genitalia, according to a new analysis of historical records. '

' Researchers from the University of Amsterdam have demonstrated that the climate in South Mexico changed following the collapse of the Maya empire. From preserved pollen grains the paleoecologists could deduce that the climate quickly became dryer. '
'The climate becoming dryer, explains the decrease in the population following the collapse of the Maya empire. The climate researchers have therefore helped to solve an archaeological mystery. '
Source :- Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research.

Antarctic lakes show climate effects. 'A 20 -year study of lakes on an Antarctic island has revealed dramatic ecological changes caused by a one degree Celsius rise in temperature. '

25th January
mises-en-scene, a new weblog about independent films. The right-hand links column is a great resource in itself.

Classical Myth: The Ancient Source. Images and texts relating to the Greek pantheon.

The Silkroad Foundation. 'The Silkroad Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1996, to promote the study and preservation of cultures and art on Inner Asia and the Silk Road.' Articles, maps and timelines relating to the history of the Silk Road.

The rec.puzzles Archive. Hours of fun with word, logic and lateral thinking puzzles.

Online Los Angeles photography and art galleries. Part of the Angeleno Stories arts site.

Cradle of Humankind. 'Welcome to the Cradle of Humankind, a listed World Heritage Site in the provinces of Gauteng and the North West in South Africa. We invite you to explore the amazing finds that have led leading palaeo-anthropologists and archaeologists to suggest that humankind first appeared in this corner of Africa and from there spread out to populate the world. Meet the famous "Mrs Ples", the lesser-known but equally-significant "Mr Ples", and the amazing "Little Foot", the 3.3m year old skeleton that could be the missing link between hominids (human beings) and apes.'

Churches of Umbria. Many photos and texts.

Virtual Cemetery. 'The Virtual Cemetery Project is a collection of tombstone photos and a fully searchable archive of transcriptions. Members of the community contributed all of the tombstone photographs in this collection, and we encourage you to add your own. '

What lies beneath a sunspot?

Only the cute will survive. 'Scientific bias towards the cute, unique or spectacular may be helping condemn a substantial proportion of the world's plants and animals to extinction, suggests an Australian ecologist.'

DreamBank. A searchable collection of dream reports.

The Quantitative Study of Dreams. 'This Web site contains everything needed to conduct scientific studies of dream meaning using a system of content analysis. '

Kremlin's bailiffs pull the plugs on last independent television network.

Interesting rock carvings in northern Greece. Via Archaeology.

Find reveals ancient trade links between Japan and China, Korea.

'In a pair of pioneering studies, a French and American team of social-cognitive neuroscientists have identified a network of brain regions that are involved in human imitation and specific brain areas that enable a person to distinguish the self from others.'

Some days are longer than others.

Milkman hero doused fire with 320 pints of milk.

Outed satirist is forced to quit job. 'Spoof Portadown website attacked for 'sectarian bias'.' Oldish news, but new to me.

Picture to HTML. Thanks to le Marquis.

24th January
Virtual Visit to Goree Island, Senegal. 'Listed on UNESCO's World Heritage register since 1978, Gorée Island, the historic site on the West African coast, has been the place of transit for hundreds of thousands of men, women and children into slavery. "This infamous spot is now a universal shrine, where all of us, from every continent, may come and commemorate, in sorrow, the tragedy once inflicted by human beings like us on so many of our own kind." says UNESCO's Director General, Koichiro Matsuura.'
Via Unesco's Global Heritage Pavilion.

The Tale of Genji. 'The Tale of Genji (Genji-monogatari), written in the eleventh century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the court, is the product of an aristocratic culture that flourished during the height of the Heian Period (794-1192) in Japan. The Tale of Genji, one of the oldest novels in the world, has been narrated and read in a variety of forms for over one thousand years. '

Neanderthal Flute. The oldest discovered musical instrument is around 40-80,000 years old and can play four notes.
Related :- Neanderthal Museum.

Danish Medieval Art. Wall paintings in Danish medieval churches; lots of images and an interesting essay on Danish medieval plays.

' What's it like to change your race? Here, Daniel de Gannes, a black hairdresser, reflects on swapping his skin colour - and marching with the National Front as a white man - for a BBC documentary on how race affects our feelings and attitudes. '

Jennie has set up an Amazon wishlist for a good cause (a middle school), which you might like to take a look at.

A science primer for evildoers. Scientific American does its bit to thwart the terrorists.

Rover the robotic sheepdog.

Antique dealer sick of appraising smurf collections.

Researchers implant spinach gene into pig.

Enron scandal gives rise to new verb.

Kandahar's army of widows eat cattle feed.

Press freedom debate flares at Canada newspapers.

Email to test 'six degrees of separation'.

'Pope John Paul II is leading 200 other religious leaders in a day of prayers for peace in Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis.'
'Roman Catholic cardinals, Muslim clerics, Jewish rabbis, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais, Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians and members of African traditional religions are among those assembled for prayer. '

UK snooping laws in disarray. 'Internet snooping laws in the UK have not been implemented and are proving ineffectual in the fight against terrorism and crime. ' Via Unknown News.

'The US government is blocking an international drive led by Britain to increase aid for the world's poorest countries in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks. '
'With less than two months to go before a crucial UN summit on global poverty in Monterrey, Mexico, US officials are trying to neuter the draft declaration which calls for rich countries to raise the amount they spend on helping the 2.8bn people who live on less than $2 a day... '
'Washington is already one of the least generous donors - despite being the world's largest economy - devoting just 0.1% of national output to its international aid effort. '
Via wood s lot.

Brief military blackout in Russia. 'The power company cut service Thursday to several military facilities in and around Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok because they hadn't paid the bill.'

23rd January
Oxfam's page on the Goma volcano disaster, with information on how to donate.

The Virtual Babel Encyclopedia. Art, fiction, mythology, philosophy and history connected with the Tower of Babel.

Megalithic Sound and Landscape. A research project to investigate whether ancient monuments were built with acoustic effects in mind, and how they related to the landscape around them.

Harshbarger's Maze Applet. 'This applet randomly constructs a 'perfect' maze, where 'perfect' means that not only is the maze solvable, and well-connected such that any point within it is reachable from any other point, the maze also contains no loops. '

Map of the Roman Empire. Click on a province to discover web resources related to the history of that province... great idea.

British Columbia First Nations.

Some poems by Tu Fu.

Defining a 'living human treasure'.

Virtual Reality Tour of the Real Tokyo. Via Bifurcated Rivets.

Big Things. Giant roadside attractions from Australia. Via Lukelog.

The Pagan Prattle is good; a weblog devoted to debunking fundamentalists of all stripes. Via Boing Boing.

'Canadian scientists have sent electric pulses over long ranges at speeds faster than light for the first time.'

' The Sun's activity is increasing again, with more sunspots peppering the star's surface. '
Sunspots and the Solar Cycle explains how this works.

A judge has ruled that fingerprint evidence is scientifically unreliable.

Jonathan Carroll's magic lands. I've recently discovered Jonathan Carroll. These books are great, richly textured but deeply unsettling and scary! They remind me a bit of Grimm's fairy tales, but in a contemporary setting.

22nd January
Breaking Volcano Eruption News is being updated with news of the disaster in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ukiyo-e Gallery. Quite a large gallery of work by Hiroshige, Utamaro, Hokusai, Sharaku and others; part of a personal website.

Virtual tour of Winchester Cathedral, one of the most interesting English cathedrals.

The Natural and Unnatural History of Gargoyles.

Mad Scientist Network. The 24-hour exploding laboratory. 'MadSci Network represents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure we provide a variety of oddities and other ends as well. '

A Field Guide to Critical Thinking. Debunkers' handbook.

Nanofictionary. The card game of telling tiny stories. This looks like fun.

Abandoned Stations on the New York Subway.

Poems on the Underground. 'When Poems on the Underground was launched in 1986, we hoped that London's two million commuters would be charmed to discover poems by Shelley and Burns, Seamus Heaney and Grace Nichols enlivening their daily Tube journeys. We little guessed that our dream of scattering poetry about in public places would be adopted by mass transport systems in New York, Paris, Dublin, Stuttgart, Barcelona, Athens, Shanghai, Moscow and St. Petersburg, in capital cities in Scandinavia and Australia, and in scores of smaller cities in the UK and abroad...'

Online Screening for Personality Disorders. Interesting test.

Planet Finder. 'This applet shows the locations of the planets, stars, moon, and sun in the sky from any location and for any date and time. '

Old Arcadia. Elizabethan poets and dramatists.

The Megalithic Temples of Malta. Very old and interesting indeed, although after the recent discovery off the coast of India, possibly not 'the world's most ancient stone architecture'.
'The Megalithic Temples of the Maltese islands are on the prestigious World Heritage Sites list, but a few people know about these prehistoric free-standing stone structures in the world which are much older than the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. This Web site is being constructed to give information about these sites and the other temple sites in Malta that are not on the UNESCO list. '

' Ancient Babylonian trading markets were as volatile as our own, says an economic historian. Prices of agricultural goods in the city fluctuated hugely, and the death of Alexander the Great triggered two decades of economic instability.'

Is Mikhail Gorbachev in love?

Mari-chan. Quirky and funny cartoons. Via Boing Boing.

'Since September 11, Leslie Robertson has not slept easy in his bed. Michael Ellison talks to the man who designed the World Trade Centre.' Via Linkmachinego.

Beer you can chew.

Microbes turn mud into electricity.

Dead Sea keeps falling.

21st January
Human Rights Watch World Report 2002. Some good news, lots of bad news. Sections for every part of the world.
Human Rights Values as an Antidote to Terrorism.

Medieval Manuscript Leaves. Fifty-one leaves from medieval manuscripts. 'These manuscript leaves were selected to illustrate the art of the manuscript during the period of its greatest development and influence. They have been taken from books written in various European scriptoria by Benedictine, Franciscan, Carthusian, Dominican, and other orders of monks.'

London's Transport Museum website has virtual tours of the disused Down Street and Aldwych stations, among other things.

The Alphabet's Bastard Children. 'Ever since Alef and Bet, we have taken their existence for granted. But the letters are beset by mutation. They writhe, they shift, and in the end they succumb to the erosive force of changing media. They have had to retrofit to survive. Steal to flourish. Hack upon hack. It was inevitable that this would happen. Witness now their twisted progeny. '

Why is the Moon round?
Why is the sea salty?
Why are carrots orange?

Android World.

The smallest robot ever.

Why Cats Paint. Feline art. Part of the Museum of Non-Primate Art.

People's experiences of the volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo, posted to BBC Talking Point.

' A rare blonde hedgehog that was facing almost certain death has been saved after being found by a 12-year-old girl. '

' A scientist says he has discovered a tiny island submerged off the central California coast, more than 16,000 years after it slipped from view during the waning years of the last ice age. '

World Carrot Museum.

Pin-Ups Revisited.