plep Archive

30th June
The Treehouse Guide. By Patrick Fulton. Tree house construction guide, treehouse plans, treehouses around the world.
Patrick Fulton's treehouse. 'Over the past few years, I have built myself a treehouse in the nearby forest. After two extensions and a break-in, it is now over four metres long. ' History, diagrams and photographs and a special section on its fireplace!

Sirena's story. Guam's legendary mermaid.
Legend of the coconut tree.
The rainbow bridge.
Via Legends of Guam, a nice collection.

Dooms and the mouth of hell in the late medieval period. A pictorial essay on British church wall paintings. Really great, if gruesome, illustrations.
'A pitiful poor woman, shrunk and old
I am, and nothing learn'd in letter lore.
Within my parish cloister I behold
A painted Heaven where lutes and harps adore
And eke [also] an Hell whose damned souls seethe full sore:
One bringeth fear, the other joy to me. '
The Ecclesiological Society has a fine collection of pictorial essays from mostly British churches.

Tales from the Dark Side: Understanding Chinese Ghosts. 'In Chinese tradition, the seventh lunar month is "Ghost Month," when the gate separating the spirit world from the mundane world opens and wandering ghosts pass into the latter. Hold high the lantern, and help the wandering ghosts escape from their predicament! '
Part 2. 'Wang Yi-chia, who graduated in medicine from National Taiwan University, has an extremely unromantic theory about why female ghosts look for lonely men without partners. "The basic reason lies in the fact that men have nocturnal emissions," he avers.'

Virtual trips to black holes and neutron stars. 'Ever wonder what it would look like to travel to a black hole? A neutron star? If so, you might find this page interesting. Here you will find descriptions and MPEG movies that take you on such exciting trips. These movies are scientifically accurate computer animations made with strict adherence to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. '

Roosevelt ordered surveillance of Windsors. 'President Roosevelt personally ordered covert surveillance on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during the second world war after receiving intelligence that the duchess had been passing secrets to a top Nazi with whom she was alleged to have had a tempestous affair, according to documents released to the Guardian by the FBI. '
'The damning dossier - released for the first time by the intelligence agency - shows that the main reason why the Americans thought the abdication of Edward VIII had taken place in 1936 was because the duchess fervently supported the Nazi regime and this was totally unacceptable to the then Conservative prime minister, Stanley Baldwin. The official view has always been that he abdicated to marry the person he loved but could not stay on the throne because she was a divorcee. ' (Guardian)

How Big Sue became art's biggest muse. 'With bulky frame and unassuming manner, she seems an unlikely choice of muse to one of Britain's greatest living artists. '
'But this weekend, Sue Tilley, a 20-stone benefits officer from London, is being feted as one of the biggest stars of the British art world. '
'The 45-year-old basked in the limelight last week after the opening of a major exhibition at London's Tate Britain celebrating Lucian Freud's work spanning several decades. '
'But as she relaxed in her modest flat last week, Tilley, known as Big Sue, shrugged off the newspaper headlines and rave reviews. Speaking for the first time about her unique relationship with Freud, she said: 'I'm not a diva. I can't be bothered.' ' (Observer)
Tate Britain | Lucian Freud.

Ethel the Blog :- 'The older I get, the more I prefer live over studio albums. Good bands make good live albums. Bands that are not so good can make albums that initially sound okay, but which become increasingly sterile the more you listen to them. Here are some of the great live rock and/or roll albums. '

Walnut Street Gallery. Rock art! 'We dedicate the launch of this site to John Entwistle and his wonderful works.' Via gmtPlus9.

The Smith Family. 'The Smiths of Salt Lake City were living, by their own account, an idyllic life. In Steve, Kim had found the man of her dreams a pillar of the Mormon community and together they were raising their sons with faith. Secure in their church, their community, and in their love for each other, the Smiths had it all. '
'Then, on the couple's ninth anniversary, Steve revealed that he had been having sexual encounters with men. Three years later, Kim discovered that she was HIV positive; soon after Steve developed AIDS ... '
Via Pop Culture Junk Mail. Via Le Blogeur.

The 40 highest Blogdex-ranked British weblogs.

29th June
Xerox hit by fresh scandal.
Useful :- Wall Street scandals at a glance.
The cookbook any firm can follow. 'Accountancy rules on both sides of the Atlantic are complex but you don't need to be WorldCom to bend them.' (Guardian)
G8 rescue plan labelled 'recycled peanuts'. 'Aid agencies rounded furiously on the world's richest countries last night, describing the G8's much-vaunted rescue plan for Africa as a squandered opportunity and "recycled peanuts". ' (Guardian)
Indian PM rules out war with Pakistan. Good news.
RIP John Entwistle, of The Who.
Eccentric people more extreme as they age.
How calypso changed Britain.

Quick comparison :-
Aid allocated annually to Africa under the new G8 'rescue plan' :- $6bn.
Possible size of Xerox accounting 'black hole', according to the Wall Street Journal :- $6bn.

Sea Serpents. 'On August 6th, 1848, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Daedalus was cruising near the Cape of Good Hope when the Officer of Watch spotted an object in the sea. He drew the attention of the Captain and several crew members on deck to it. It was a large sea snake, or sea serpent, that they estimated to be sixty feet long, 15 inches in diameter, and moved through the sea with it's head some four feet out of the water ... '

The Pied Piper of Hamelin. By Robert Browning, 1888. The illustrations are great.

ArtBots. The robot talent show. 'The first annual ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show took place on Saturday, May 25th at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. '
'The show was a great success! We had a terrific audience turn out (about 600 people!), all of the bots survived the arduous six hour event, and everyone had a nice time. '
Related NY Times news story. ( requires free registation, login).

Map showing the language families of the world.

Language map of the North Pacific. A very nice map of the indigenous languages of eastern Siberia, Hokkaido, Alaska and the far north-west of Canada, with discussion of the relationships between the various languages.
' ... Sirenikski is now remembered by only two elderly persons at Sireniki. All but replaced by Chaplinski, Sirenikski is a relic of the Eskimo language earlier spoken more widely on the southern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula. Sirenikski shows evidence of having been so different from C haplinski that it should perhaps be classed not only as a separate branch of Yupik but also as a coordinate subbranch of Eskimo, with Yupik, as shown in figure 177, or even as a third branch of Eskimo ... '

Old Crow: Land of the Vuntut Gwitch'in. From the introduction :- 'Old Crow is a First Nation settlement of Vuntut Gwitch'in people located 770 km north of Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, and 112 km north of the Arctic Circle. Old Crow has a population of approximately 300 people. The ancestors of the Old Crow people settled at New Rampart House near the Alaska (U.S.A.) border in the 1870s. They moved up from there to the muskrat breeding grounds at the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine rivers in the 1930s. The present community of Old Crow is named after Walking Crow, a revered chief who died in the 1870s.' Some nice photos.
Yukon language map.

Benjamin Franklin: Glimpses of the Man. "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."
About Benjamin Franklin, and his London connections. 'During his tenure at the house at 36 Craven Street, Benjamin Franklin interacted and formed lasting friendships with the eminent thinkers and political leaders of his day including James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Alexander Carlyle, William Cullen, John Fothergill, Lord Howe, David Hume, Lord Kames, Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestly, Sir John Pringle, William Robertson, the Earl of Shelburne, Lord Shipley, Adam Smith, William Strahan, and Thomas Walpole. '
'In those London years, Franklin conducted many important experiments such as the 'smoothing' of water with oil, canal depths and their implication, and the effects of the Gulf stream (the first to do so); developed an alternative alphabet and penned his autobiography; invented an "economical" clock with three wheels to ensure a perpetual 24-hour cycle, a popular fireplace draught, and the glass armonica (or harmonica), for which Mozart and Bach composed; and sent seeds to America for planting, which introduced new trees and vegetation to the colonies. '
Benjamin Franklin House, London. 'Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London, England, is the only Franklin home remaining in the world today. Phase I, the structural repair of the House, was completed in October 1998. The interior conservation and the establishment of a centre dedicated to Franklin - his ideals and his extensive contributions to the Age of Enlightenment - will complete Phase II and carry forth Franklin's influence and legacy, which has lasted for two and a half centuries, into the next millennium. '

Horror ukiyo-e. Yoshitoshi's apparitions. 'Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) studied under the late Edo period print genius Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and was strongly influenced by his master's prints of warriors. His own bloody and brutal works soon attracted attention. He suffered a nervous breakdown at the beginning of the Meiji period, and his works from this period are both dramatic and somehow starkly silent. He is unique style of blending traditional Japanese subjects with western depiction methods, and his works have suddenly become quite famous in recent years. The images of the spirit world introduced here amply demonstrate this artist's particular quality. These prints were published from 1890 to the year of his death, 1892. '
The Moon by Yoshitoshi.
Kuniyoshi's women.
Sightseeing in the town of Edo.

The Lighthouse Keeper. Vasily Ivanovich Ilchenko is a lighthouse keeper in Russia's Far East.
'Down a steep, rutted dirt road at the very southern tip of Vladivostok's Egershelde Peninsula, two identical green houses sit side- by-side, surrounded by rows of the summer's final harvest: potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, beets. The houses sit facing the dark waters of Tokarevsky Cape, where a lone white lighthouse has stood since 1910. Vasily Ivanovich Ilchenko walks along the narrow path leading from the houses through the garden rows, his shoulders hunched and his hands stuck into the pockets of his gray pants. He walks out the wooden gate surrounding the plot of land, pauses to light a cigarette, and starts down the narrow, curving path that leads out into the water toward the lighthouse.'
One Hundred Years of Revolution. 'She has been witness to famine, war and persecution, seen the rise and fall of an entire political system, and raised a family that extends now to her great-great-grandchildren.'
One Soldier's Story. The letters of a Russian soldier killed in Chechnya.
' "For this stupidity my son died," says Zhenya's mother, Natalya Dmitrievna, of the Chechnya conflict. "It's all the worse that his death was for nothing at all. For nothing!" '
'As Natasha sees it, "does it really matter where he died? Or what he was fighting for? The only thing that matters is that he's gone. The only thing that matters is that we have lost him." '
Via Road Stories, a collection of real life stories from Russia.

Love poems of the sixth Dalai Lama. 'The Great Fifth Dalai Lama was a prolific scholar and philosopher and, also, a serious buddhist monk who decided, towards the end of his days, to retired from public life and political functions and to devot himself to a more intense spiritual life. When the 5th died (in 1682) his regent kept his death a secret. He run the Tibetan country as if nothing has happened maintaining that the 5th had entered a strict meditation retreat that cannot be interrupted. Consequently, the regent did not announce that the search party found a young boy (the 6th Dalai Lama) who was the reincarnation of the 5th. '
'Tsangyang Tshomo Gyatso -- the Sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706) -- did not receive the traditional monastic training that often starts at the age of four or five. He began his training as a novice monk relatively late, he never took the full monastic vows, and eventually he renounced his novice vows, too. He carried little for pomp, official duties, and politics. He continued his life openly as a lay person cavorting in the town with his lovers.'
Songs of Xanadu. Not the movie.

' Moon Base Clavius is an organization of amateurs and professionals devoted to the Apollo program and its manned exploration of the moon. Our special mission is to debunk the so-called conspiracy theories that state such a landing may never have occurred. ' A big site, well worth exploring. Via AntiQuark.

Mathematical Lego sculptures. Via AntiQuark.

28th June
'When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. ' - Benjamin Franklin.
'The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. ' - Benjamin Franklin.
'I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.' - Benjamin Franklin.
'Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.' - Benjamin Franklin.
'Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.' - Benjamin Franklin.
More Franklin quotes on Positive Atheism's page.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in American public schools has been ruled unconstitutional due to the inclusion of the words 'united under God'. Furious reaction from some quarters. Where would Franklin stand on the issue?

American Highway Project. 'The American Highway Project uses photography to document vanishing Americana such as motels, billboards, service stations, highway signs, tourist attractions, drive-in theatres and diners. We are a photographic resource for those interested in the history of transportation and architecture.' Great links page.

The Wagiman online dictionary. 'Wagiman is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in Australia's Northern Territory. On this web site you will find an online dictionary of Wagiman, as well as some general information about the language and its speakers, three texts, and some links and references to more material on Wagiman and other Australian Aboriginal languages.'

The Temple of the Immortal Spirit. A Taoist temple in cyberspace.

Stained Glass Photography.

International Peace Garden, on the border between North Dakota (USA) and Manitoba (Canada). ' "What a sight greeted the eye!" he exclaimed after viewing the location from the air. "Those undulating hills rising out of the limitless prairies are filled with lakes and streams. On the south of the unrecognizable boundary, wheat everywhere; and on the north, the Manitoba Forest Reserve. What a place for a garden." '

Geologic Time. 'The Earth is very old -- 4.5 billion years or more -- according to recent estimates. This vast span of time, called geologic time by earth scientists, is difficult to comprehend in the familiar time units of months and years, or even centuries. How then do scientists reckon geologic time, and why do they believe the Earth is so old? A great part of the secret of the Earth's age is locked up in its rocks, and our centuries-old search for the key led to the beginning and nourished the growth of geologic science. '
Relative time scales of the history of the Earth - fascinating stuff.

Rekishi Kaido. The history and traditional culture of the Kansai region.
'Since the opening of the Rekishi Kaido web pages in 1994, information on the region's cultural and historical assets associated with the Rekishi Kaido project has been provided to people in and outside Japan through the Internet. '

The Cultural Conservancy. 'The Cultural Conservancy is a Native American nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of indigenous cultures and their ancestral lands. ' Lots to see here.

Thirtieth anniversary of Apollo 11. 'On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body ... ' (NASA)

Photos of a disused aerodrome in Shropshire. 'To the north of Wheaton Aston between Marston, Little Onn and the Shropshire Union Canal, is a disused World War 2 aerodrome. '
'It opened in December 1941 and eventualy closed on 31st July 1947. It was used for training foreign - mainly American pilots - and educating them into British flying conditions. The main aeroplanes based there were Airspeed Oxfords at at one time there were almost 150 onsite ... '

Aidan's London pub crawls. 'All of these pub crawls have been extensively tested by myself and various other crawl 'teams'.'

Cat and Girl. Nice comic. Via Tanquelogue.

Neanderthal butchery site uncovered.

Japan plans in-car satellite communications service.

Brazil and Germany have never played each other in any previous World Cup tournament, despite being the two most successful teams in the history of the Cup. (via World Cup Archive).

27th June
Surreal Seal Campaign. 'The theory of a Seal with a long neck was proposed in its modern form by Dr Bernard Heuvelmans, a zoologist, in the late 1950s as an attempt to explain sightings of long necked `Sea Serpents` that typically described some mammalian and very seal like characteristics. These included descriptions of hair, fur and even whiskers, accounts which could have been describing seals except for the fact that these creatures appeared to have longer necks than presently known Pinnipeds.'

Historic asylums of America. 'This web site is an attempt to catalog and present America's historic state hospitals (insane asylums) founded in the latter half of the 19th century. The site focuses on the facilities built on the "Kirkbride plan", but it is not necessarily limited to the Kirkbride hospitals ... ' [ ... ]
'To some, the asylums of the 19th century represent a darker period in mental health care, with involuntary incarceration, barbaric and ineffective treatments, and abuse of patients. '
'However, there is also a legacy of progressive institutional treatment left by Dorothea Dix, Thomas Story Kirkbride, John Galt, and others represented by these buildings and sites: treatments and philosophies which seem rather outdated today, but at the time were a great improvement in the treatment of the mentally ill. '

Tokyo photo diary. Some great images. Don't miss :- philosophical palace, Harley Davidson.

Veasta. The sea monster of Chesil Beach, Dorset. 'Vesta is a rather nice name for a monster. The root of the word stems from old Dorsetshire dialect, meaning a feast - the olden-day beach gathering that was held on warm summer evenings on the neatly shelved banks of the Chesil Beach. This area once had well-established trade links with Spain. Depending upon the pronunciation, Vesta sometimes sounded like "vista" - that is the Spanish for "sighting". And so Vesta has been sighted, several times now, off of Chesil Beach on summer nights - sighted in all her splendour, bathing off the hidden shores of this mystical coastline ... '

Dateline Moon. An entertainining history of the media's role in the space race.

Refurbishing a gypsy vardo.

Beyond Ukiyo-e: Modern and Contemporary Japanese Prints. Library of Congress exhibit. 'From the early twentieth century, the Library of Congress has collected Japanese graphic art. The Library's substantial collection is particularly strong in woodblock prints from the Shin Hanga and Ssaku Hanga movements that dominated Japanese printmaking through the 1960s. '

Jiwarli. A language of Western Australia. 'This site aims to introduce you to the Jiwarli language, culture and region. You can hear Jiwarli being spoken by the last native speaker, see photos and maps of the area in which it was spoken and much more. We hope that you enjoy learning about Jiwarli, and that through sites like these we can all help reverse the current process of the loss of Australian Aboriginal language and cultural heritage.'

Kaurna Warra. 'In Adelaide, 1840, a remarkable event occurred. Reverends Teichelmann and Schrmann published their work Outlines of a Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phraseology of the Aboriginal Language of South Australia. The amazing feature relates to its creation. Two German priests recorded essentially the language of the Kaurna people for the English speaking colonists to read. Indeed, these two remarkable men began teaching the Kaurna children in their own vernacular until forbidden to do so by the government ... ' Interactive dictionary of the Kaurna language, and a history of the Kaurna people.

Clementine Lunar Image Browser 1.5. 'Below is an image of the moon derived from data accumulated by the Clementine satellite. This interface allows you to view an image of the moon, centered on whatever point you indicate by clicking on the image below. In addition you may select from a variety of resolutions and image sizes. You may also retrieve a copy of the actual data returned by the satellite from which the multi-resolution images are derived by using the form in the bottom section of this page. More information and help are available for this interface. '
Related :- atlas of the Moon.

JRR Tolkien in Oxford. A site about his life in the city. Related :- Tolkien's Oxford.

The Pledge of Allegiance: a short history. 'Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).'
'Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all ... '
The original pledge ran as follows : 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' Bellamy wanted to include 'equality' in the pledge, but dropped the idea because certain officials on the committee were opposed to equality. The words 'under God' were added in 1954, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus.

26th June
Hee Won Korean Garden looks like an attractive and peaceful place.

Project Full Moon. 'The missions of the Apollo astronauts to the surface of the Moon and back yielded 32,000 extraordinarily beautiful photographs, the record of a unique human achievement. '
'Thirty years later, NASA has allowed a selection of 1200 of its master Apollo negatives and transparencies to be taken offsite for electronic scanning, rendering the sharpest images of space that we have yet seen.' 'Fungi Perfecti is a family-owned, environmentally friendly company specializing in using gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve the health of the planet and its people. We are leaders in a new wave of technologies harnessing the inherent power of mushrooms and fungal mycelia worldwide. Fungi Perfecti is Certified Organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. In business since 1980, we offer everything for the mushroom enthusiast ... '

Wimpole Parish Churchyard. The site has burial registers going back to 1560, which are interesting to browse. There are also limited registers of baptisms and marriages.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

Kanji Names Project. 'Bill Pellowe's students in Japan wrote English explanations of the meanings of their Japanese names. All of the kanji is given in caligraphy-style images. Their names are written vertically, with family name on top, in the traditional Japanese style.'

Japanese Autumn. A story in photos.

Utopian socialist societies in 19th century America.

Australian Monsters. Bad Dreamtime.
'Every self-respecting nation has monsters. They are as much a matter of national identity and pride as heroes -- conceivably more. And I'm not talking about buying 'Golem of Prague' T-shirts or toy tartan Loch Ness Monsters in the appropriate places. That's the type of domesticated, sanitised 'creepiness' that is considered suitable for children and suburbanites. I'm talking about monsters. '

' William McGonagall is Dundee's best remembered nobody. He was a man without talent who thought he was a great poet and tragedian and only needed an opportunity to prove it. This made him the perfect target for practical jokers who abounded in his day. He was engaged to give entertainments in small halls just so his audience could make a goat of him. His teetotal drink was spiked with alcohol.'
'McGonagall had passed middle life before he got the idea he had been visited by the muse. He was born in Edinburgh in 1825 and grew up in Dundee, to which his father moved in search of work. William also laboured long hours in the weaving trade.'
'All his life he was the butt of cruel jokes, but his faith in himself could not be shaken.'
'His remains were dropped into a paupers' grave nearly a hundred years ago, but his memory holds up ... '
(The site includes a selection of his poetry).

Creating art with GPS. Some very nice examples.
A spider in Oxford.
Related Wired article.

Tarantula webcam.

Rocketry Online. DIY rockets.

The Spillings hoard. Interesting piece on a Viking hoard discovered on a farm in Sweden, which includes many Arabic coins.

Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923. A genuinely interesting collection, with maps of the Persian Empire, the Roman Forum, rural medieval deaneries, the ground plan of a monastery ...

The Rainforest Foundation. Lots to see here. Via UK Environment.