plep Archive

25th June
Postcards from Iceland.

Bradfield College Art Department. Virtual gallery of artwork by secondary school students.
' The Bradfield College Art School is housed in what was the village primary school. Its picturesque setting makes for a useful and inspiring position. '
The Greek Theatre.
Bradfield College virtual tour.

Yasuko-san's Home Cooking. 'My mother, Yasuko-san, was born and grew up in Takaoka, Toyama, Japan. She is good at old home cooking - simmered vegetables etc. and also like to entertain some friends at dinner ... '
The story of my early life. 'I was born as the youngest child of five brothers and sisters. My father Masao was born in the Meiji Era (the name of a Japanese era from 1868 to 1912) as the third child of five brothers and sisters. My mother Kimi was born in the first year of Taisho Era (the name of a Japanese era from 1912 to 1926) as the eldest daughter ... '
An essay on sake.
Miso Online.

World Tibet Day 'will be held this year on Saturday July 6th, on the birthday of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. We created WTD as a vehicle to demand the restoration of basic freedoms to the people in occupied Tibet. At the same time, we are offering the event as a celebration of the unique beauty of Tibetan culture while also as a way to honor the birthday of His Holiness. In its fourth year, last July, we hosted observances in 56 cities in 22 countries - and we intend to celebrate WTD every year until the rights of the Tibetan people are restored. '

A history of the African National Congress.

The Berlin Wall at The art collection of the fall of the Wall. Presentation by Artists for Freedom.

Engineering Magic. 'No, engineering isn't magic, but magic is a combination of skill (art) and engineering. And, as you'll learn in this website, magic requires a knowledge of science and the help of engineering. Without science and engineering, it would be impossible to do magic.'
'In science we seek to understand our physical world and in engineering we put science to work to improve the quality of life--but who can have a quality life without having some fun!? Join us in taking a look at the science and engineering of magic!'

Parks Canada. 'On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations. ' A huge cultural and ecological resource.
Species at risk.
Aboriginal affairs.
Virtual tours.
Heritage railway stations.

Green Museum. A website of environmental art. From the about page :- ', a new online museum of environmental art, advances creative efforts to improve our relationship with the natural world. Our goal is to inform, inspire and connect people through environmental art and encourage the creation of new work that serves our communities and ecosystems'.
If frogs sicken and die, what will happen to the princes?
Via Ghost Rocket.

A visit to Antigua Ciudad Guerrero. Antigua Ciudad Guerrero, on the US-Mexican border, was flooded by a dam many years ago. About 8 to 10 years ago, the town's ruins were exposed by falling water levels. The town is now a regional tourist attraction, and the page includes photographs of this interesting place.
Related :- Water tussle at US-Mexico border. The exposure of Antigua Ciudad Guerrero highlights the water shortages in the area. 'Francisco Medrano Canto pointed a bony arm at his sorghum field, a wasteland of sun-blackened stalks barely four inches high, and let out a long, angry sigh.'
' ''It's a huge injustice,'' the farmer said of the government's intention to release 456 billion gallons of Rio Grande water to Texas from two dams straddling the US-Mexico border.'
'The hard-fought decision stems from a 1944 treaty that governs the use of water from the river and half a dozen tributaries. At stake is a liquid that has become as precious as gold for millions of farmers on both sides of the once-mighty Rio Grande ... '
A global shortage. A look at water shortages worldwide, with specific mention of the border region. Take a look at the world water scarcity map - most of the countries affected are in the developing world. The Middle East, South Asia and China are particularly badly affected. 'International water politics play a role in the Southwestern United States, where the Colorado River is shared by many states before its dregs trickle into Mexico. All along the river, water is diverted for irrigation and urban water -- with Arizona and California the biggest users. Because Mexico uses the dribble of water that reaches it for irrigation, virtually nothing reaches the river's once-fertile -- and now parched and polluted -- delta on the Sea of Cortez. '
You can donate water with a mouse click, for free, at

'A warmer world is in all likelihood going to be a sicker world for everything from trees to marine life to people, according to a new report by a panel of US scientists. But opponents remain unconvinced there is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion. '
'A team of researchers led by Drew Harvell at Cornell University have completed a two-year study into climate-disease links. "What is most surprising is the fact that climate sensitive outbreaks are happening with so many different types of pathogens - viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites - as well as in such a wide range of hosts including corals, oysters, terrestrial plants and birds," Harvell says ... ' (New Scientist)
Further coverage on this issue from the BBC.

Loren has been writing about Thoreau recently. Please take a look.
'One afternoon, near the end of the first summer, when I went to the village to get a shoe from the cobbler's, I was seized and put into jail, because, as I have elsewhere related, I did not pay a tax to, or recognize the authority of, the State which buys and sells men, women, and children, like cattle, at the door of its senate-house. I had gone down to the woods for other purposes. But, wherever a man goes, men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions, and, if they can, constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society.' - Walden.

Rice Bowl Journals. A directory of weblogs from Asia.

Money laundering news. Via Sassafrass. A very good environmental/sustainable technology blog.

Perry-Castaneda Library map collection. Maps of many regions of the world.

Streakerama. A celebration of streaking. Not suitable for work, obviously.
Streaking news.
Via Lukelog.

How Saddam 'staged' baby funerals.

Laser propels paper plane.

On the road with the amiable army. 'England's fans have changed this World Cup. Vivek Chaudhary on a new lack of malice.' (Guardian) Via Fat Buddha.

Washington DC weblog map. By Maureen.

23rd June
The Principality of Sealand. 'Sealand was founded as a sovereign Principality in 1967 in international waters, six miles off the eastern shores of Britain. The island fortress is conveniently situated from 65 to 100 miles from the coasts of France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. The official language of Sealand is English and the Sealand Dollar has a fixed exchange rate of one U.S. dollar. Passports and stamps have been in circulation since 1969, however, contrary to many misleading websites and news articles, Sealand passports are not for sale, and anyone offering such are selling forgeries. Within a radius of 500 miles of Sealand live more than 200 million people who enjoy some of the highest standards of living in the world. This area also encompasses the financial, industrial and cultural heart of Europe. '
The Internet's first 'safe haven'? 'If your Web site has, or will have, risky, subversive or plain old anti-establishment material, the is the Web server system for you. The server farm is located on the Principality of Sealand, an independent state located six miles off the coast of England in the North Sea.'

Tibet Online. 'Welcome! Tibet Online is operated by the international Tibet Support Group community, providing information on the plight of Tibet and serving as a virtual community space for the movement. This movement is dedicated to ending the suffering of the Tibetan people by returning the right of self-determination to the Tibetan people. '
TibetNet. 'Tibetans' virtual homeland.'

London Labour and the London Poor. (1861) 'A cyclopaedia of the condition and earnings of those that will work, those that cannot work, and and those that will not work. By Henry Mayhew.'
London: A Pilgrimage. By Dore and Blanchard.
Models of the Crystal Palace.
Via Monuments and Dust: The Culture of Victorian London.

Dissent is not un-American. (San Francisco) 'The banners on the storefront of City Lights Books were installed on October 28, 2001. They are the result of a collaborative effort between City Lights and the San Francisco Print Collective. '
History of City Lights. 'Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where booklovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture's only "Literary Landmark." Although it has been more than forty years since tour buses with passengers eager to sight "beatniks" began pulling up in front of City Lights, the Beats' legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking continues to be a strong influence in the store, most evident in the selection of titles. '
The City Lights Zapatista Mural. 'A new mural has gone up in San Francisco's North Beach Neighborhood, on the Jack Kerouac Alley side of City Lights Bookstore near the corner of Columbus Avenue and Broadway. The mural is a reproduction of one that was painted by a Mayan community in Chiapas, Mexico and was destroyed by the Mexican Army in a military raid on their village in April 1998. Featuring images of revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata and Ricardo Flores Magon accompanied by skimasked rebel warriors watching over the daily activities of an indigenous community, the mural was first painted in the jungle village of Taniperla as a celebration of local autonomy ... '

Pomes All Sizes.

Maneki Neko - the lucky beckoning cat. 'According to ancient legend, this cat stood in the doorway of the Gotoku-ji temple and raised her paw in the traditional Japanese beckoning gesture to a feudal lord who was passing by. The feudal lord followed the cat into the temple and instantly, a lightning bolt struck the place where the lord had been standing. Thus the cat had saved his life. From then on, the Maneki Neko has been considered an incarnation of the Goddess of Mercy. '

Punch and Judy. Fun history of the puppet show.

The Mandela Page.
ANC historical documents archive. 'This section contains documents that were either produced by the ANC, about the role of the ANC and its allies in the struggle for liberation or directly concerned with the ANC.'
Mandela for President. 1994 election poster.
Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Interactive mathematics miscellany and puzzles; fun site.
Virtual polyhedra.
Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics. Extremely comprehensive online mathematical encyclopaedia; over 10,000 entries.

' Welcome to, your best online source for everything EVIL. If you are a supervillain, mad scientist, warlord, dictator, or despot, then this is the place for you.'

Utopia on the Internet. Communities and literature, classic and modern, on the subject of Utopia.
Functions and claims of Utopia.
The Commonwealth of Utopia by James Harrington, 1656.
Views of Utopia at the New York Public Library. New York, September 14, 2000 -- 'Is a perfect society attainable in an imperfect world? While the question may never be answered definitively, it won't be for lack of trying. Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World, the multi-dimensional exhibition opening at The New York Public Library on October 14, examines the various manifestations -- from the biblical Garden of Eden to metaworlds in cyberspace -- of that search throughout Western history. Jointly organized by The New York Public Library (NYPL) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Utopia boasts some 550 objects, including a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson's hand; "The Green Globe" (circa 1506), on which the Americas are shown as a separate continent for the first time; and a first edition of Thomas More's Utopia (1516). '

Svanholm. An intentional community, 60 km from Copenhagen.
Acorn Community. 'We are Acorn Community, a group of people living, working and playing together to build a joyful, connected life for ourselves and others in central Virginia. Started in April, 1993, our community is building a close-knit extended family, with all the joys and struggles that implies. Acorn is an independent group, but enjoys a close relationship with Twin Oaks Community, seven miles down the road. '
Findhorn Foundation, an eco-village in Scotland. The site includes a virtual tour.
Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

CIA World Factbook: St. Helena. 'Uninhabited when first discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, St. Helena was garrisoned by the British during the 17th century. It acquired fame as the place of Napoleon BONAPARTE's exile, from 1815 until his death in 1821, but its importance as a port of call declined after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Ascension Island is the site of a US Air Force auxiliary airfield; Gough Island has a meteorological station. '
Ascension Island Heritage Society. Ascension's museum. Ascension's history and a stamp display.
Ascension Island's Post Office Philatelic Bureau. 'Ascension Island was known as the Sailor's Post Office as early as the seventeenth century. Ships passing Ascension would call at the island and leave letters for others going in the right direction to deliver. The eastern head of the Island is called Letterbox, although no trace of the spot used to deposit letters remains today. ' The island has red letterboxes, too. Stamps from Ascension and St. Helena can be bought from the online store.
The Islander is Ascension's excellent newspaper.

First pictures of secretive carnivore. 'An African carnivore that has not been spotted for 70 years has been captured on film for the first time, in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania.'
'Known as Lowe's servaline genet, the three-foot long animal is a relative of the mongoose. It was previously known only from descriptions and a single skin collected by hunters in 1932 ... '

Churchyard lichens. 'It is estimated that there are 20,000 churchyards in England alone, each taking up roughly an acre of land. In lowland England, where natural outcrops of rock are absent, the churchyard is the most important site for lichens growing on stone. To date, over 160 churchyards and the precincts of two cathedrals (Salisbury and Winchester) have each been found to contain more than 100 species. Some species rarely occur in other habitats.'

Greenpeace has a weblog. Via Rebecca's Pocket.

Desertification Information Network of China. 'Desertification is one of the major environmental issues in the world today. At present, two third of the countries and districts in the world, one fourth of the global land territory and nearly 100 million world population are threatened by desertification. China is one of the countries with serious disasters of desertification in the world. '

Civil wrongs. 'Since September 11, President Bush's war on terror has highlighted issues of immigration, nationality, race and culture, and widened the divide between 'insiders' and 'outsiders'. And what that means, according to law professor and author Patricia Williams, is that a great many Americans have more to fear than ever.'
[ ... ]
'She quotes aghast from an article by Harvard law professor Richard Parker in the Harvard Journal Of Law And Public Policy, advocating a "four-point test for love of country" to rival David Blunkett's compulsory "citizenship tests" for would-be migrants. Set out in the nationality, immigration and asylum bill, those entail exams in the English language and British institutions. Parker, meanwhile, ranks subjective reactions to the September 11 attacks according to whether people felt it was an attack on the US which should now defend itself (patriotic) or worried more about US "past misdeeds" and "the way our actions are perceived abroad" (unpatriotic). '
'For Williams, the test exemplifies a new xenophobia. "It says, 'Love of country involves drawing a line between insiders and outsiders, Americans and others. It privileges one over the other.' I think I might fail a couple of those tests; they could make suspects out of Quakers, or people with dual citizenship, or people who like to travel, or who are as concerned about 'outsiders' as 'insiders' because they all fall into the category of 'human'. In the question of what's unpatriotic, the American psyche is very fragile now. I appreciate the fear of terror, but trying to define the inside from the outside in a moment as diasporic as ours, and a country as diverse as ours, could splinter us even further." (Guardian)

' From Papua New Guinea to Harvard, Tim Flannery has made his mark exploring the relationships between plant, animal and human societies. He has discovered more than 20 new species. He believes the environment helps define national characteristics, from American individualism to Aussie mateship, and claims Australia is heading for trouble unless it adopts a "green" population policy. Now director of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, his latest endeavour may be his toughest yet. As Rachel Nowak learned, he wants white Australians to cast off their European shackles and finally embrace the land they call home.' (New Scientist interview)

Spielberg: Big Brother's already watching. 'In directing his new thriller, Minority Report, Spielberg has had a lot of time to contemplate where mankind is headed, and he's come to the conclusion that the loss of privacy to the peering eye of law enforcement is inevitable. '
'In the new movie, Tom Cruise plays a police officer in a futuristic Washington, D.C. He leads a "pre-crime" unit that employs infallible psychics and surveillance technology to arrest killers before they commit crimes. '
'That may seem like farfetched science fiction, but Spielberg is not so certain. He's worried that America's war on terrorism has set in motion new high-tech methods to try to find criminals before they can carry out their crimes. '
' "They have a computer program that they're developing that's going to try to predict human behavior and be able to spot terrorism in airports," the filmmaker says. '
' "What they're looking for is anomalies in behavior. It's sort of a mean average of how people behave when they're simply walking down the street and they're going to compare that to people whose behavior is more erratic," he says. '
'And that makes the Oscar-winning director distinctly uneasy ... ' (ABC) (via Unknown News).

Possibly related to the story above :-
Surveillance cameras to predict behaviour. 'CCTV cameras that can predict behaviour could play a vital role in the fight against crime. '
'Camera software, dubbed Cromatica, is being developed at London's Kingston University to help improve security on public transport systems but it could be used on a wider scale. '
[ ... ]
' "It could detect unattended bags, people who are loitering or even predict if someone is going to commit suicide by throwing themselves on the track," said its inventor Dr Sergio Velastin. ' (BBC)
(A useful development in some ways, profoundly disquieting in others. There is a huge potential for abuse in this technology, especially in the current climate).

In pictures: Mafia boss buried. (BBC) John Gotti's funeral. Related links are on the right hand side of the page.

22nd June
Painting the Weather. Over 100 paintings of British weather, from 50 galleries and museums.

Nubia. The geography, history, culture and economy of an ancient African civilisation; from the Egyptian State Information Service.
' Nubia is located in today's southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The land has one of the harshest climates in the world. The temperatures are high throughout most of the year, and rainfall is infrequent. The banks of the Nile are narrow in much of Nubia, making farming difficult. Yet, in antiquity, Nubia was a land of great natural wealth, of gold mines, ebony, ivory and incense which was always prized by her neighbors ... '

The yew tree & holy well, Hope Bagot. 'The churchyard at Hope Bagot, Shropshire must be one of the most holy places in Britain, but it is little known. The yew tree is on the very edge of the churchyard, on the north side, about 24 feet in girth and perhaps 35 feet high. It is hollow on one side but gradually being reinforced by spiral or aerial stems reaching towards the base of the hollow trunk. There is a spring or holy well just below the yew, down the bank and near the roadside; and another source across the road, with Victorian stonework ... '
Some holy wells and springs of Britain.
Landmark and sacred trees of Leicestershire and Rutland. 'Almost universally trees have been venerated and believed to be the dwellings of Tree Spirits, sometimes called Dryads. Deliberately planted groves of sacred trees, such as oak, elder, ash, rowan and hawthorn, were probably the earliest man-made sacred sites. Greek and Roman temples with their columns and decorated capitals may be thought of as an architectural continuation of such groves. Tacitus described the sacred groves in Germany during the Roman period. Closer to home, the importance of tree mythology to the ancient Celts is well-known, in part through Robert Graves' imaginative reconstruction in The White Goddess which explores in detail the tree alphabets and related lore ... '
Trees, glorious trees. British trees and their traditional uses.

A collection of Zen koans. From Ordinary Mind.

An Atlas of cyberspaces. 'This is an atlas of maps and graphic representations of the geographies of the new electronic territories of the Internet, the World-Wide Web and other emerging Cyberspaces. '
Peopling Siberia.
Railroad map of the US, 1854. Via Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection - Transportation. Historic rail and road maps from the US, from the 19th and early 20th centuries (tending to concentrate on Georgia and surrounding states).

Words and Pictures Museum. A really excellent museum about cartoons and comics, worldwide.
Elektra: Assassin.
' The Dreams of the Red Chamber, considered as the greatest novel of Chinese literature,tells us a love tragedy.The mainline of the novel is the love story between Jia Bao yu and Lin Dai Yu with prosperity and collapse of Jia's faimily as its background. We present you an interesting part of the novel with beautiful Chinese paintings.'
Shekhar Gurera's cartoons. Caricatures and editorial cartoons from India.
Baha Boukhari Cartoon. Palestinian cartoons.

Planting trees for the Golden Jubilee.

Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco. Good stuff here, such as an exhibit on the art of Spiderman.

Favourite Poem Project. Americans choose their favourite poems.

Potted history of football, in all its forms.

21st June
Midnight sun hike at Carcross, Yukon, June 21 2001. 'On June 21, 2001, the fourth annual summer solstice hike up Montana Mountain took place at Carcross, Yukon. This was by far the most successful hike yet, with 47 people turning out. Although most were from Whitehorse, there were people from many other areas as well, including Washington State, Oregon, Louisiana and Florida. '
Summer solstice in Anchorage.
Winter solstice in Antarctica.

Mingei: Japanese folk toys. 'Toys for adults? You better believe it. Welcome to the playful side of Mingei. A far reach from mere child's play, the "playful arts" are loaded with great depth and history, as well as mythological and religious connotations which persist into the present day. Each figurine tells a unique story. Whether serving to ward off evil spirits, to bring good fortune, or to protect a rightful owner, Japanese folk toys are a respected and integral part of Japanese folklore. The following examples are but a small fraction of a collection numbering more than 500 pieces maintained by the department of Anthropology.'
Anthropology on-line exhibits, from the Pacific voyages of Rollo Beck to the Victorian kitchen.

Carlo Vidua and the travellers of 1800 in Egypt. 'An exhibit of writings and names of travellers engraved on monuments in Egypt'. A lovely, fascinating exhibit.

Jane's Addictions. Outsider and visionary art, and folk art environments. One of the best outsider art sites I've seen.

Beating swords into plowshares; converting ICBMs into peaceful space launchers.
What's inside a rocket?
Space rocket launch sites around the world.

Rebuilding Poplar Cottage, a wattle-and-daub thatched cottage. An interesting site which covers the reconstruction of various buildings.
Hangleton Cottage 'This reconstruction of a flint cottage is based on archaeological evidence obtained from excavation of the deserted medieval village of Hangleton. The cottage was probably built in the 13th century and abandoned in the early 15th century. It has two rooms: the main room, containing an open hearth, and the inner room, which has an oven.'
' The Thatched Cottage of Du Fu is located at the side of the Flower Washing Brook in the western suburbs of Chengdu. The cottage is the former residence of the famous Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu. In the year 759 A.D., at the age of 47, compelled by poverty and social upheaval, he moved from Gansu to the outskirts of Chengdu and built a thatched hut. During his stay of nearly four years, he composed more than 240 poems reflecting upon the misery of the people ... '
The Historical Thatched Cottage, Centerport, NY.

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden near Summerville, GA. 'Howard Finster is a virtual paradigm for the rural southern "20th Century folk artist." Before turning to art at god's command he was a preacher and a bike repairman, among other things, who made tramp-art-like clock cases. Once he got going, his art was prolific, interesting, visionary and cheap. He built an environment that was stunning in whole and in many of its parts ... '

The science of superheroes.

Australia's Antarctic stations. 'The Australian Antarctic Division maintains four permanent research stations; Mawson, Davis and Casey on the Antarctic mainland, and Macquarie Island in the subantarctic. All four stations are occupied year-round by scientists and support staff. You can find out about the scientific research programs being conducted at the stations on the station home pages below, as well as some historical information on the establishment of the stations, and what it's like to live on an Antarctic research base.'

The Simple Living Network. 'The Simple Living Network is a small home-based business that provides resources and community services that may help you live a more simple lifestyle.'

The Not So Big House. 'The inspiration for The Not So Big House was a growing awareness that new houses were getting bigger and bigger but with little redeeming design merit. The problem is that comfort has almost nothing to do with how big a space is. It is attained, rather, by tailoring our houses to fit the way we really live, and to the scale and proportions of our human form. '
(Like several other links today, I found this on Metafilter).

Burning Man timeline.

A tour of Quaker Country. 'In July 1998 a friend invited me to go on a walking holiday in northern England. We stayed in a 17th century farmhouse called Cold Keld, in a valley between Sedburgh and Kirkby Stephen.'
'This area is in wild country - between the limestone hills of the Pennines and the steeper volcanic fells and small mountains of the English Lake District. It is a hard land. The hills attract heavy rain in summer, snow in winter. Even in August we needed wet weather mountain clothes and strong boots. The sound of rivers and streams is always near. But when the sun shines the hills and dales (valleys) are incredibly beautiful and peaceful.'
' In the year 2002 Quakers are celebrating the 350th anniversary of George Fox's first visit to the region, and the gathering of the "seekers" that resulted. This page is offered as a directory to any other sites about the original 1652 country and about events to celebrate the anniversary.'
Britain Yearly Quaker Meeting.

Asteroid's near-miss with Earth.

Oldest intact sarcophagus found in Egypt.

CowParade London. 'Monday 17 June saw the first of the London CowParade 2002 cows hit the streets with 25 of our most colourful cows paraded on Trafalgar Square for a media photo call. Following the photo call some 100 cows were placed in their locations to the delight of Londoners and visitors alike. A map will be produced giving all cow locations and this will be available shortly. Also, we will provide a downloadable list of all of the grazing cows this week. This list will be updated on a regular basis. '

Interviews with failed suicide bombers.

Introducing Monday. Whoops! link