plep Archive

15th January
Happy (somewhat belated) birthday, young man.

Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. (Spanish)

Good Memory by Marcelo Brodsky. From Argentina, a school photograph with a story.
Group Photograph.
Memory Bridge. 'In October 1996, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora, and the Argentine Historical and Social Memory Foundation, together with the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires Students Association and a group of former students, organized a ceremony in memory of the school's disappeared, called Memory Bridge.'
'We began by compiling a list of the names of former students of the school who had been murdered. Names kept being added until the last minute, and even during the ceremony: they finally numbered ninety eight ... '

Memory and Forgetting by Alberto Manguel. 'While waiting for the act of justice now denied, the victims of Argentina's military dictatorship can, however, still hope for another, older form of justice - less evident but, in the end, longer lasting. The maze of a politician's mind has seldom held the promise of redemption, but that of a writer (especially that of a writer of Vargas Llosa's talents and poetic wisdom) is almost exclusively built on such a promise, and it allows no forgetting. The books of those years are being written, or will be written, or have been written and are awaiting their readers. The redemptive power of literature, apparent in every work that readers have called great, infinitely makes these assumptions - or this single assumption, again and again: that the human mind is always wiser than its most atrocious deeds, since it can give them a name; that in the very description of the most loathsome acts something in good writing shows them as loathsome and therefore not unconquerable; that in spite of the feebleness and randomness of language, an inspired writer can tell the unspeakable and lend a shape to the unthinkable, so that evil loses its numinous quality and is reduced to a few memorable words.'

Shuttle Views the Earth: Human Imprints from Space. 'The photographs of the Earth that have been brought back by astronauts since the 1960s have given us a new perspective on our home. In particular, these photographs convey two stark realities. First, the photographs reveal that much of the surface of our planet is inhospitable to human habitation. Saltwater oceans cover much of the Earth's surface, and freshwater bodies cover large areas on land. Vast deserts extend over portions of the globe in both hot and cold climates, from the Sahara to the Arctic. Mountain chains cross every continent, protruding high above the surrounding landscape; these are generally sparsely populated as a result of altitude and ruggedness. Second, these photographs dramatically document the high concentration of human development in those areas that are suitable for human habitation. Indeed, large portions of the surface of the Earth are managed by humans for the supply of their needs ... '

Volcano Expedition. 'Welcome to the official web site of an exciting scientific adventure that took place in Central America in January 2001. Join Scripps scientists and fellow researchers from their field sites amid the active volcanoes of Costa Rica. You will find detailed reports of research findings, video of scientists in action, and dramatic photographs of this spectacular tropical region. Enjoy!'

Typewriters. 'The evolution of the typewriter is part of the ongoing history of the human need to communicate. The development of the typewriter was the result of a desire both to speed up this process and to produce an aid for the blind in reading and writing. Gradually a machine emerged that revolutionised the work of the writer. Painstaking tasks that were normally carried out by hand could be carried out in minutes on the machine, leaving time to enjoy the 'finer things in life'. As the first Remington adverts declared; 'To save time is to lengthen life.' '

Virtual Museum of Contemporary African Art.

Images of China. Journeys with the ethnic minority groups of China; photography by Jenny Chu.

Tenzin Palmo Is Watering the Nuns. 'Tenzin Palmo is a Buddhist nun who is becoming known around the world as the English woman who spent twelve years in a cave, high in the Himalayas. She is also a Buddhist who has vowed to attain enlightenment in a woman's body, challenging the institutionalized belief that only the male form can reach liberation. '

Manjusri Tapestry. 'UTEP has only two Bhutanese tapestries; one smaller one in the University Library (acquired about 10 years ago) and this one. It was special ordered from a government workshop in Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The tapestry fits with the original Bhutanese architectural style of the university campus. More than decoration, the tapestry represents the ideal norms that humanity must strive for at different levels.'

Applause Southwest. Theatre history in the southwest of England.
Plymouth's Hidden Theatre.

British Pathe.

Big Orange: California Citrus Label Art. 'To make their brands recognizable to dealers across the country, California's citrus growers generated a new commercial art form. In the 1880s, citrus growers in southern California began working with lithographers in San Francisco and Los Angeles to create colorful crate labels. For the next seventy years approximately thirty-five lithography companies produced wine labels, but as the citrus industry thrived the major printers in San Francisco began to create fruit and vegetable labels for growers throughout California. The Schmidt Lithograph Company opened offices all along the West Coast including their headquarters at Second and Bryant Streets in San Francisco. The building's clock tower today remains a local landmark greeting thousands of commuters at the entrance to the Bay Bridge. '
Features a label gallery.

Splendide Californie. French artists' impressions of the Golden State, 1786-1900.

Skidoo Ghost Town. 'In January 1906 two wandering prospectors, John Ramsey and John (One-Eye) Thompson were headed towards the new gold strike at Harrisburg. Along the way a blinding fog came in and the two camped near Emigrant Spring for fear of getting lost. When the fog lifted they noticed some ledges with promising colors. They filed their claims and kept news of their strike quiet for a couple of months ... '

The California Gold Country: Highway 49 Revisited.

Crossing the Frontier. Photographs of the developing West, 1849-present.
'In real life, the "Crossing the Frontier" photography exhibition included more than 300 remarkable images of the American West dating from 1849 to the present. Many of these photographs had never been seen before by the public. Seen as a whole they documented astonishing changes in the ways we have represented and idealized the vast Western landscape over the last 140 years, from a place of boundless beauty and limitless opportunity, ripe for the workings of "American ingenuity" and technological mastery, to a landscape hemmed in by suburbanization and sometimes tinged with a tragic sense of loss ... '

Death Valley's Ballarat Ghost Town.
Montgomery City, California: A Real Ghost Town.

Calico Ghost Town. '1881 Marked the beginning of one of the largest silver strikes in California history and the birth of Calico. This authentic silver mining town lives on as one of the few original mining camps of the Old West.'

The Life and Death of America's Plastic Princess. Barbie exhibition. Via Everlasting Blort and Geisha Asobi.

Ghost ship packed with rotten fish found at sea.

Arctic Hamlet.

14th January
The World's First Photograph. Thanks, Languagehat!

Art and Life in Africa: Key Moments in Life. Newborn/infancy; childhood; initiation/education; marriage/eligibility; adulthood; religion; leadership; elderhood; death and re-birth.
Peoples of Africa, from Akan to Zulu.
Via Art and Life in Africa.

Ancient Egypt at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 'The Museum of Fine Arts houses one of the finest Egyptian collections of its kind in the world. A visit to the collection is a great way to learn about Egyptian art and civilization. It's also a chance to learn about history, language, religion, anthropology, and archaeology. There are approximately 40,000 objects in the collection. Ninety-five percent of these came from nearly forty years of scientific excavations in Egypt and the Sudan ... '

Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen.
Highlights. 'This exhibition brings together over 250 objects from museums all over the world--from Cairo and Luxor to Paris, Berlin, and Boston.'
'View twenty selected highlights that trace the story of Akhenaten, his city, and his legacy. Linked to each of these highlights are related objects with which to explore the exhibition further ... '

Recumbent Knight from a Tomb Sculpture. 13th century France.

Ganesha Dancing. 'Pot-bellied and elephant-headed, Ganesha is a widely worshiped Hindu god, for to the ordinary person he is the source of all success. As Lord of Obstacles he is extremely powerful; he must be invoked at the beginning of every undertaking. His is the power to put obstacles in the way---and to remove them ... '

Seated Bodhisattva. China, Tang dynasty. 'The youthful face, rounded shoulders, slim torso, elaborate jewelry, and flowing robes, all executed with a crisp definition of line, are examples of the sophisticated modeling attained in the best sculpture and painting of eighth-century China ... '

Reception Hall from a Nobleman's Palace. China, Ming dynasty.

Marie Curie and the History of Radioactivity. 'During the 19th century scientists knew little about what went on inside an atom. However, by the end of the century there were startling new ideas about the structure of the atom resulting from the discoveries of X-rays, radioactivity and the electron. The Modern Physics Collection at the Science Museum contains a number of objects used by the physicists who made and researched these discoveries, including some of those belonging to Marie Curie and her family ... '

The King George III Collection. 'The Science Museum's King George III Collection is one of the most comprehensive surviving collections of eighteenth-century scientific apparatus. Its diversity is shown by two contrasting groups of apparatus. First, there is the apparatus which King George III commissioned from the instrument maker George Adams in 1761. These instruments were used by the royal family for entertainment and instruction and are expensive and elaborate. Second, there is the apparatus assembled during the 1750s by Stephen Demainbray for use in his lectures to the public. Although this apparatus was designed to demonstrate many of the same principles as that commissioned by the King, it is cheaper, simpler and more hard-wearing ... '

The History of Computing Project. 'The purpose of this site is to tell the story of computing. What was needed to come to the computing machines we know today. What technology was used and who made that possible. What other developments drove the need for computing ... '
The prehistory of computing. 'The oldest known objects used to represent numbers were bones with notches carved into them ... These bones, which were discovered in western Europe, date from the Aurignacian period 20,000 to 30,000 years ago and correspond to the first appearance of Cro-Magnon man ... Of special interest is a wolf's jawbone more than 20,000 years old with fifty-five notches in groups of five, which was discovered in Czechoslovakia in 1937. This is the first evidence of the tally system, which is still used occasionally to the present day and could therefore qualify as one of the most enduring of human inventions ... '

Secretary Bookcase. Made in Philadelphia, 18th century.

The Fairmont Park Houses. 'Within Philadelphia's extensive Fairmount Park lands stand a group of 18th and early 19th century historic houses, established during the period by prominent families of the city as "country seats" or rural retreats. Located in William Penn's suburban "Liberty Lands," which lie to the north and west of Philadelphia, these houses were, for a gentleman-merchant, within an easy ride from the city's commercial center. The elevated, forested banks of the Schuylkill River, described by one 18th century observer as being "finely situated for prospect, health and pleasure," provided beautiful locations for the establishment of these early domestic retreats ... '
Links to pages for each of the houses, for example Lemon Hill and Strawberry Mansion.

San Francisco Theatrical Memories. 'San Francisco's very first entertainment was given by Stephen C. Massett, better known as "Jeemes Pipes of Pipesville," who on June 22nd 1849, at the Police Office, rendered a program consisting of vocal music and recitations. The front row was reserved for ladies. Four attended ... '

Red, Hot & Blue. The Smithsonian celebrates American musicals.
Musical posters. South Pacific!

Vaudeville at the Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, California, September 12 1915.
Theatre programme.
Bathing girls at Palm Beach.
Coming attractions.

Langston Hughes: The Black Bard at 100. 1902-2002.

George Orwell Materials at Brown University.

The Robert S. and Margaret A. Ames Collection of Illustrated Books. 'The Robert S. and Margaret A. Ames Collection was assembled over a thirty year period and built around three distinct but related ideas; the history of illustration, particularly nineteenth century books illustrated with woodcuts, wood or steel engravings or by lithography; the literature of travel and exploration, with a preference given to the North American continent; and pictorial representations ofareas in which the Ames family lived before their arrival in Providence in 1970. This exhibit is confined to that portion of the Ames Collection pertaining to westward expansion across North America.'

The Quintessential G.B.S. Great online collection of George Bernard Shaw-related material; novels, plays, politics, portraits etc.

13th January
Lie of the Land: The Secret Life of Maps. 'Fascinating and unexpected stories in maps, old and new'

Modernism. 'The term Modernism commonly applies to those forward- looking architects, designers and artisans who, from the 1880s on, forged a new and diverse vocabulary principally to escape Historicism, the tyranny of previous historical styles. The foundation of this online project is a group of over 250 objects representing nine Modernist movements.'

Cloister with Elements from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines.

Pythons Wreck Prince Manuhar's Ship. 'The Rose Garden of Love, by the seventeenth-century court poet Nusrati, is one of the major works of the Muslim mystical Sufi sect written in an Indian language. Through the poem's introduction runs the Sufi theme of the world as a creation of God's love, which is manifest in many forms, including seemingly endless suffering and separation from the source of love. The poem is also imbued with the hope that all earthly obstacles will be overcome and finally union with God in love will be achieved. The story tells of Prince Manohar, who searches the world over for his love, the princess Madhumalati ... '

Mandala of the Six Cakravartins. 'This Nepali painting, compact in design and strong in color contrasts, contains a mandala--- a large circle enclosing a square---which is a symbolic diagram of a divine "temple." Such images are used by Buddhist worshipers to help them reach a state of focused concentration through meditation and prepare them for their ultimate encounter with the Absolute, symbolized by the central image of the Buddha ... '

Kyoto Museum for World Peace.

The Computer Conservation Society.

The Life and Works of John Cooke Bourne. 'John Cooke Bourne is best known for his lithographic railway work produced as bookplates for the London & Birmingham Railway in 1838 and the Great Western Railway in 1843. However, Bourne did not limit his subject matter to the railways. Other bookplates depicted "The History of Steam Navigation" with text by Bennet Woodcroft and "Illustrations of Cairo" with text by Robert Hay. He also worked on drawings of the road bridge across the Dnieper in Kiev, Ukraine, for the engineer Charles Vignoles ... '

Hinterland Who's Who. 'The Hinterland Who's Who wildlife vignettes have been part of Canadian television and popular culture for nearly 40 years. The series was created in the early 1960s as a groundbreaking effort to use the new medium of television to interest the public in wildlife conservation. The Who's Who are the longest-running series of 60-second educational vignettes in Canada today, and their haunting flute melody is one of the most widely identified musical themes on Canadian television ... The Hinterland Who's Who fact sheets have also been part of the educational experience of many Canadians. Each fact sheet describes the appearance, life history, and habits of a Canadian bird or mammal or else discusses a wildlife-related topic such as bird feeding or endangered species. Many people who write to the Canadian Wildlife Service requesting the Who's Who fact sheets for their children have told us that they remember sending for the information themselves when they were young ... '

American Vaudeville Museum.

Vaudeville in Ohio. 'The era from 1903 to 1911 was a time without radio, without television, and without video stores. Phonograph records, both disc and cylinder types, were just beginning to be developed for primitive, non-electric gramophones and graphophones. Also, short five- and ten-minute silent moving pictures were just beginning to be available as extra novelty features during magic lantern shows.'
'Thus, the primary form of entertainment in small-town America was live entertainment, such as home talent shows, lecturers, travelling vaudeville shows, minstrels, musicals, and dramas. To accomodate this need many towns established a theatre and community center, often called an "opera house." '
'Chicago Junction, Ohio (later renamed Willard) was no exception, and the variety of live entertainment provided by the "Chicago Opera House" was unbelievable by late twentieth-century standards for a town with a population of 3000. The original Chicago Opera House (known later as Hoffman House or Maple Opera House) contained 440 removable seats and offered some form of activity almost every night, including dances, dance classes, concerts, banquets, wrestling, and illustrated lectures. It was truly Willard's "window to the world." ... '
Two advertisements.

Vintage Vaudeville & Ragtime Show.

Picture Book Families and Women and Family in Prison. Via the Australian Family.

You've Got Buckley's ... Escaped convict William Buckley lived in the Australian bush for 33 years in the 19th century.

The New Norcia Museum and Art Gallery. A Benedictine monastery in Western Australia.
'The Benedictine Community of New Norcia was established in 1846 and in the years since has played a significant role in various aspects of Western Australian life. The purpose of a Benedictine monastery is to develop and maintain a community of prayer - liturgical prayer celebrated in common - nourished by personal study and piety and balanced by some kind of work which serves partly as recreation and partly to make to make the community self-supporting.'
'In pursuit of these goals monasteries through the ages have run farms, schools, hospitals and libraries, or have become centers of scholarship and home bases from which a network of parishes or missionary stations have been established and staffed by clergy. While Benedictine monks are active in such work in New Norcia and beyond, important facets of our lives also take place in seclusion behind the walls of the monastery ... '

Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Large site; rewarding browsing.
Drawings of mouthpieces for brass instruments.

The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, Oxford.

Tate St Ives.

Angolan Art Gallery. Hosted by the Angolan embassy in Washington.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
By Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing.

12th January
RIP Maurice Gibb.

The Racine de Monville page has been revamped. Check it out.

Berlin and Prague by Philip Greenspun.
'Join Greenspun as he searches for traces of Jewish history among the shell-pocked ruins of East Berlin, visits the luxurious digs of Frederick the Great, takes a pleasure cruise past the birthplace of the Final Solution, rides up the Elbe River valley to Prague, dates a beautiful young Czech, wrests his bicycle from the Czech bureaucracy, tries desperately to impress two Dutch sisters, visits the last battleground of World War II, and is trapped over Heathrow with a New York philosopher.'
A visit to Terezin.

Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Glienicke Bridge, Berlin. The 'bridge of spies'; it has an interesting history dating back to 1660.

Woman in the Moon. 'There is a Woman in the Moon but many people have never seen her. She is much more obvious than the "Man in the Moon." Seen in profile, the appearance of The Woman in the Moon changes with varying light ... '

Atomic Firsts. 'Physics was a relatively new subject of research in the nineteenth century. As a result there was little funding, and many who wished to explore this area had minimal facilities to do so.'
'However, around the end of the century, new university laboratories began to open and many discoveries were made in the field of physics. The first such university laboratory for physics teaching and research was set up in the late nineteenth century following the pioneering work of Lord Kelvin in Glasgow ... '

Atomic Clocks. 'The first atomic clock, Caesium I, designed by Louis Essen, was built at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington in 1955. Although it was not the first machine to use atoms for timekeeping, it was the first to keep time better than the best pendulum or quartz clocks.'
'It was also the first clock whose timekeeping was significantly more constant than the rotation of the Earth. Modern atomic clocks are even more accurate than Caesium I and time is now defined in terms of atoms rather than the Earth's motion ... '

The Quest for Entertainment and Enlightenment in Tokugawa Japan's Urban Centres. Interesting essay; includes fictional diaries of two Edo residents, a bell-ringer and a merchant. Some great ukiyo-e images. (The page is slow-loading but well worth it).

Japan's Ancient Architecture and Gardens.

Tales of Tennalirama. An Indian court jester. 'Almost all Hindu monarchs have had jesters attached to their Courts. The names of Birbal and Bilhana are known to every one. Our present day Zamindars maintain jesters to please them in their leisure hours. In almost every Sanskrit drama the fool acts a prominent part. The fool in the Toy-cart is a character whom every student of Indian literature should be proud to know. Thus the Court Jester is a very ancient institution and has not yet did out, as far as India is concerned ... '

John Keats (1795-1821). 'John Keats, one of the greatest English poets and a major figure in the Romantic movement, was born in 1795 in Moorfields, London. His father died when he was eight and his mother when he was fourteen; these sad circumstances drew him particularly close to his two brothers, George and Tom, and his sister Fanny. '
'Keats was well educated at a school in Enfield, where he began a translation of Virgil's Aeneid. In 1810 he was apprenticed to an apothecary-surgeon. His first attempts at writing poetry date from about 1814, and include an `Imitation' of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. In 1815 he left his apprenticeship and became a student at Guy's Hospital, London; one year later, he abandoned the profession of medicine for poetry ... '

Victoria and Albert Museum, London - 'the greatest museum of applied and decorative arts in the world.'

Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. 'The Whitworth Art Gallery, in the North West of England, is home to internationally famous collections of British watercolours, textiles and wallpapers as well as an impressive range of modern and historic prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. An ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions also runs throughout the year, with the Mezzanine Court serving as an exciting new venue for showing sculpture.'

Portrait Miniature of Elizabeth I, Nicholas Hilliard.

Elizabeth's Spy Network. 'The long and successful reign of Elizabeth I proved that a woman could be as effective and popular a monarch as any King. But there existed around the Queen a critical support structure which was made up almost exclusively of men. This was her network of spies supervised by Walsingham, one of Elizabeth's most loyal ministers, and their aim was to safeguard the life of the Queen. The efficiency of this network unearthed a series of plots to overthrow Elizabeth and replace her with the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. It is a testament to the success of this secret service that Elizabeth died peacefully of old age and not at the hands of an assassin ... '

Mary, Queen of Scots and the Earl of Bothwell. 'On the night of February 9th 1567, a trail of gunpowder was lit in the cellar of a house in the backstreets of Edinburgh. The explosion reduced the house to rubble and Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered. Ever since, historians have debated whether Mary was involved and only recently has incriminating new evidence come to light. At the heart of the mystery lies treacherous politics of the Scottish Court and love letters written by Mary to her secret paramour, James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell ... '

King Henry V. 'Henry V, in English myth, is the ideal Englishman: plucky and persevering, austere and audacious, cool-headed, stiff-lipped and effortlessly superior: 'simply the greatest man,' as my generation of undergraduates learned, 'ever to rule England'. Elizabethan dramatists boosted the image. With a bit of help from deluded historians and mythopoeic film-makers, Shakespeare turned Henry into a box-office hero and a romantic lead. The myth became more important than the man - just as well, for those who like their past to be comforting or inspiring. The reality, stripped out of the myth, is vicious and dispiriting.'
'Entombed in Westminster Abbey, Henry presents himself as he wanted us to remember him: a pious king, almost a saintly one, buried above Edward the Confessor, in a unique space, exclusively dedicated to the cult of the king's soul. A true king, crowned by God. A warrior-king, helmed and mounted. A chivalrous king, riding into history in hallowed company. Swan-badges allude, by a Latin pun, - signo, 'by a sign' echoes cygno, 'by a swan' - to a vision of the cross: 'by this sign, conquer!' Yet Henry's kingship was tainted. His usurping dynasty had no right to the crown. His victories were triumphs of hype, stained by the blood of war-crimes. His piety was remarkable, especially in zeal for burning heretics, but a saint he ain't.'

Monster Puppets. Great stuff (a bit slow, though).

Lumbee River Pathways.

Time poll: Who is the biggest threat to peace?