plep Archive

11th January
Notes for Writing to Prisoners.

Lucky wallet?

' We learnt that the famine that looms for eight million Zimbabwean citizens — more than half the population — is no natural disaster. There is indeed a drought. But Mugabe, in an act of pure evil, has taken advantage of this for his own loathsome purposes. Elderly and unpopular, he has one weapon left in his battle to hang on to power: the ability to use the power of the state to starve and terrorise. '

Adaptive Eyecare. Spectacles that are adjustable to any prescription.
'One aim of Adaptive Eyecare is to provide affordable corrective eyewear in the developing world, and to this end adaptive spectacles are designed to be manufactured to high quality but relatively low cost. The company is also developing adaptive spectacles specifically for presbyopes in more developed countries, as well as other specialised devices. '

Website pays price for Indian bribery expose. 'Tarun Tejpal is sitting amid the ruins of his office. There is not much left - a few dusty chairs, three computers and a forlorn air-conditioning unit. "We have sold virtually everything. I've even flogged the airconditioner," he says dolefully. '
'Twenty months ago Tejpal, editor in chief of, an investigative website, was the most feted journalist in India. He had just broken one of the biggest stories in the country's history - an expose of corruption at the highest l evels of government ... '

Real-Time Testing of Internet Filtering in China. (Though it wasn't working when I tried it). Also a list of some sites that have been inaccessible in China at one time of another. Warning - this is a large page, with a very diverse bunch of sites on it.

Help the People of Bali.

10th January
Australian Deserts: Their Songlines.

In Cahoots with Coyote. 'Rumor has it, Georgia O'Keeffe was walking in the desert; her long black skirt swept the sand. She could smell bones. With palette and paintbrush in hand, she walked west to find them. '
'It was high noon, hot, but O'Keeffe would not be deterred. She walked down arroyos and up steep slopes; her instincts were her guide. Ravens cavorted above her, following this black-clothed creature through the maze of juniper and sage. '
'Suddenly, O'Keeffe stopped. She saw bones. She also saw Coyote and hid behind a piñon ... '

The Original Arab: The Bedouin. 'He represents the best adaptation of human life to desert conditions. Wherever grass grows, there he goes seeking pasture. Nomadism is as much a scientific mode of living in the Nufud as industrialism is in Detroit or Manchester. It is a reasonable and stoic adjustment to an unfriendly environment. For the surface of Arabia is almost completely desert with only a narrow strip of habitable land round the periphery. The Arabians called their habitat an island, and an island it is, surrounded by water on three sides and by sand on the fourth. '

Surviving Salvation. 'The hostess call buttons were quiet throughout the flight. Those who were familiar with the normal routine of international air travel, the crew, translators, and other staff on the plane, were far too involved with their history-making mission to give much attention to such mundane issues. The vast majority of the passengers, however, had never been on a plane or at an airport and had only one thought: After generations of longing and praying, they would soon be in the Promised Land. They were Ethiopian Jews, and "Operation Solomon" was bringing them to their new home. '

Writing on Hands. Science in early modern Europe. 'Writing on Hands: Memory and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe focuses on the hand as a meeting place of matter, mind, and spirit. More than eighty images, dating primarily from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, concern the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge from such diverse realms as anatomy, psychology, mathematics, music, rhetoric, religion, palmistry, and alchemy. In addition, the exhibition addresses the relationship between the hand and the brain, sensory perception, the rhetoric of gesture, early forms of finger-spelling for the deaf, morality, and spirituality ... '

The History of Phrenology on the Web. Head bumps. 'Welcome to the most comprehensive website for the history of phrenology- the most popular Victorian science. This site provides an accurate overview of phrenology, the largest collection of phrenological images, and many digitized primary sources relevant not only to the history of phrenology, but also to the history of naturalism and evolutionary thought.'

Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature.

The Digital Michelangelo Project.

World Ceramics.

Restoring a Masterwork. Restoring Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione's The Immaculate Conception with Saints Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua.

Arts of Asia. China, Japan, Tibet.
Yamantaka Mandala.
Two Japanese rooms.

Images of Hakone.

Tales of the Punjab. Pub. 1894.

The Mary Rose. 'The Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. Built between 1509 and 1511, she was one of the first ships able to fire a broadside, and was a firm favourite of King Henry VIII. '
'After a long and successful career, she sank accidentally during an engagement with the French fleet in 1545. Her rediscovery and raising were seminal events in the history of nautical archaeology.'

CSS Alabama. 'CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederacy in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company, Liverpool, England. Launched as Enrica, it was fitted out as a cruiser and commissioned 24 August 1862 as CSS Alabama. Under Captain Raphael Semmes, Alabama spent the next two months capturing and burning ships in the North Atlantic and intercepting American grain ships bound for Europe ... One hundred and twenty years after its loss, the French Navy mine hunter Circe discovered a wreck under nearly 200 feet of water off Cherbourg, France. French Navy Captain Max Guerout later confirmed the wreck to be Alabama's remains ... '

Lincoln Cathedral.
Virtual tour.
The story of music at Lincoln Cathedral.

The Johndoe Neighbourhood of Journals. An online community of diarists.

London Canal Museum.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Lake District.

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.

Museums of the Potteries, Staffordshire.

National Railway Museum, UK.

An Amateur Guide to Architectural New York.
Via gmtPlus9 and Cheesedip.

'I've decided that I want to be like Lillian Hellman. Ten years from now, when I look back at these years of looming war and terrorism, of vague promises of future horrors if the U.S. cannot create safety by changing the world in its own image, I want to be proud of what I did and said. To quote Lillian Hellman's letter to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee of May 19, 1952, I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions. ... '
Via wood s lot and Brian Kane Online.

The Schoyen Collection. Great collection of manuscripts.
Via BookNotes.

Monticello: The Home of Thomas Jefferson.
'A typical day for Jefferson started early, because, in his own words, "Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun." He told of a fifty-year period in which the sun had never caught him in bed; he rose as soon as he could read the hands of the clock kept directly opposite his bed.'
Via BookNotes.

The Unseen Gulf War.
'I arrived at the "mile of death" the morning the day the war stopped. It was very early in the morning and few other journalists were present. When I arrived at the scene of this incredible carnage, strewn all over on this mile stretch were cars and trucks with wheels still turning, radios still playing, and there were bodies scattered along the road. Many people have asked the question "how many people died" during the war with Iraq and the question has never been well answered. That first morning, I saw and photographed a U.S. Military 'graves detail' bury in large graves many bodies. '
'I don't recall seeing many television images of the human consequences of this scene, or for that matter many photographs published. A day later, I came across another scene on an obscure road further north and to the east where, in the middle of the desert, I found a convoy of lorries transporting Iraqi soldiers back to Baghdad, where clearly massive fire power had been dropped and everyone in sight had been carbonized. Most of the photographs I made of this scene have never been published anywhere and this has always troubled me. '
Via BookNotes.

The Young Man's Book of Amusement, 1854. Via

The Mondrian Machine.
Via Uren. Dagen. Nachten. and Portage.

Polygon, the Dancing Bear. The weblog of Larry Kestenbaum of the Political Graveyard.

Spiritual Vision for Living with Aids. 'From 1987-1990 I lived in NewYork City. With a few friends we had started a support group for the homeless and people with AIDS. A friend dying of the disease left me a text he had written titeled: ''Aids - A Losing Battle? -Strength and Hope Through a Life of Conscious Exploration''. Though I can´t ask him I´m sure. he would be happy that his insights, published in this way, will not only benefit people with AIDS, but every reader.'

BBC Babes and CNN Babes. Via Geisha Asobi.

9th January
Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South. 'The following images are accompanied by excerpts of letters written by Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh between 1887 and 1889. The two artists wrote often to one another, friends, and relatives. Van Gogh's most frequent correspondent was his brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris in the late 1880s. The quotations reveal that both men were avid chroniclers of the subjects they painted: peasants, townspeople, landscapes, and houses. The painters' candid remarks about their own canvases, most of which had either just been completed or were still in progress, offer unique perspectives on the Arles period ... '

Beyond the Easel. Decorative painting, 1890-1930.

Requiem: The Song of the Murdered Jewish People.

Surfing for Sunbeams. 'A Hypermedia Tour of Our Sun' (Aimed at kids).

Australian Museum Fish Site. All there is to know about fish.

The History of Mathematics. Collections and original papers by/about Cantor, Riemann, Newton, Boole and others...

Images of Kamakura. 'Kamakura is a nice little city at the ocean only about one hour from Tokyo and Yokohama. The city was of great importance during the historical period named after it that lasted from 1185 to 1333. Today it is a very popular tourist destination. '

300 Tang Poems. 'In Chinese literature, the Tang period (618-907) is considered the golden age of Chinese poetry. Tang Shi San Bai Shou [300 Tang Poems] is a compilation of poems from this period made around 1763 by Heng-tang-tui-shi [Sun Zhu] of the Qing dynasty. Sun's motivation for compiling the collection sprang from his dissatisfaction with the then popular textbook, the Qian Jia Shi [Poems by A Thousand Poets], an earlier collection from the Tang and Sung (960-1279) periods . Sun made his own selection of Tang poems based on their popularity and effectiveness in cultivating character. Because it represented equally well each of the classical poetic forms and because it represented the best works by the most prominent Tang poets, Sun's collection became a "best seller" soon after its publication. It has been used for centuries since to teach elementary students to read and write, and also in cultivating character ... '

Dharma Sutras. Translated 1879.

Thomas Jefferson. 'This exhibition focuses on the extraordinary legacy of Thomas Jefferson--founding father, farmer, architect, inventor, slaveholder, book collector, scholar, diplomat, and the third president of the United States. It traces Jefferson's intellectual development from his earliest days in the Piedmont to an ever-expanding realm of influence in republican Virginia, the American Revolutionary government, the creation of the American nation, and the revolution in individual rights in America and the world. '

The Water-Babies: Illustrations by Jesse Willcox Smith. 'The large, lavish drawings Jessie Willcox Smith produced as color plates for The Water-Babies in 1916 are among her most loved and admired works ... Her works evoking the innocence of youth and demonstrating the artistry of illustrated books are among the Library's great graphic treasures.'

The Wizard of Oz. An American fairytale. 'Since its publication in September 1900, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale. The first totally American fantasy for children, it is one of the most-read children's books ... '

Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers and Broadcasters During World War II. 'The women featured in this exhibit were chosen because of the strength and variety of their collections in the Library of Congress. Like their colleagues, the women followed various paths to their wartime assignments. '

Yorkshire Dialect Verse.

The Yorkshire Coast.

Oakworth Village Morris Men.

Crofton Silver Band.
History. 'The band was formed as Crofton Brass Band in December 1873 in the old mining village of Crofton, four miles South East of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The band was composed of men and boys employed by local collieries. The first recorded engagement was the re-opening of Crofton Parish Church on 11th April 1875 ... '

Poverty in Elizabethan England. 'Elizabethan England often conjures images of the Royal Court with splendid costumes, banquets and extravagant entertainment. But for many people life was very different. During the 16th Century the population rose dramatically and this, added to other economic pressures, meant that an increasing number of people were unable to support themselves. As the standard of living dropped, the problem of vagrancy worsened and this was to have repercussions for the country as a whole ... '

Malagan Pole. (Papua New Guinea)
'The people of Lesu (LES-sue) fled their New Ireland homes to a nearby island to escape a frightening monstrous pig named Luana (loo-AH-na). Luana ate people. The people left behind the old woman Tsenabonpil, fearing that her severely swollen leg would sink their boat.'
'Tsenabonbil gave birth to twin boys, Daror (DAH-roar) and Damuramurari (dah-moo-rah-moo-RAH-ree). When they were older, Tsenabonpil told the boys they must kill the evil pig, Luana. After many adventures they managed to capture and kill the pig. Tsenabonpil then attached some of the pig's hair to a coconut and floated it out to the exiled Lesu people to let them know that Luana was dead ... '

GeoURL 'is a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor's blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you.'

The Sharpeworld Before and After Museum.

' Adding a virtual brain to a computer model of a singing bird has allowed scientists to figure out how birds compose their songs. The feat hints that we might one day be able to map some of the complex circuitry in an animal's brain just by listening to its calls.'

Poet laureate joins doubters over Iraq. 'In a rare step for a poet laureate, Andrew Motion today speaks out in his newest poem against the momentum towards a US-led invasion of Iraq using British forces who would be serving nominally under the Queen. '
'In the 30-word poem, Motion, who was appointed by the Queen in 1999, sides with those who are "doubtful" about a war - and against the political leaderships of Britain and America. '

Causa Belli by Andrew Motion
They read good books, and quote, but never learn
a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.