plep Archive

18th January
Green Fairy. A good British news blog, newly discovered (by me).

Madelyn Murray O'Hair in Hell, by Kevin Guilfoile.

Funky Radical World; Real Tokyo Girls.
Via madamjujujive @ MeFi. (best viewed over a fast connection)

Broken Poem Generator. Also via MeFi.

John Pilger : 'Strange days in Australia. "Paranoia in the lucky country", say the headlines in Sydney, "Terror threat grips a nation". The government of John Howard has issued full-page advertisements calling on Australians to protect their "friendly, decent society" from terrorists within by spying on each other. More than a thousand people have used a hotline "to report things", causing grief to Muslim Australians. Asked if he thought it better that Muslim women made themselves "less conspicuous at this time" by not wearing their traditional headdress, Howard replied: "Obviously." ... '

' The snowfalls of the past week may be just a taster of what is to come, if the latest predictions from scientists are correct. The amount of ice melting from the surface of the Greenland ice sheet broke all known records last year, threatening a rapid rise in sea levels and a return of very cold winters to Britain because of a slowing down in the Gulf Stream. '

' Mobbed by adoring crowds, da Silva and 30 of his ministers walked down the narrow paths past the mud huts of the Irma Dulce shantytown, shaking hands and sharing hugs. Sweating in the intense heat, da Silva promised residents he would work hard to ease their misery through government programs to end hunger and provide clean water.'

' Villagers backed up reports of rape, looting and cannibalism in northeast Congo, the United Nations said Saturday after a weeklong investigation in the region. '

' The greater blue-ringed octopus cannot figure out the sex of its partner until a specially modified arm has checked out the target, according to the latest issue of Nature Australia magazine. '

Anger at quokka killings.
What is a quokka? This is.

17th January
Brazil's Canela Indians.
Via BookNotes.

Alice in Oxford. 'Discover the world of the real Alice The inspiration behind the most famous books in children's literature, Alice in Wonderland.'

Alice's Shop. Full of all manner of curious things.

Bedtime Story: The Making of Alice in Wonderland. "The beginning of Alice was told to me one summer afternoon when the sun was so hot we landed in the meadows down the river, deserting the boat to take refuge in the only bit of shade to be found, which was under a newly made hayrick. Here from all three of us, my sisters and myself, came the old petition, 'Tell us a story' and Mr. Dodgson began it.
Sometimes to tease us, Mr. Dodgson would stop and say suddenly, 'That's all till next time.' 'Oh,' we would cry, 'it's not bedtime already!' and he would go on. Another time the story would begin in the boat and Mr. Dodgson would pretend to fall asleep in the middle, to our great dismay." - Alice Liddell

A Life Divided: Johannes Matthaeus Koelz. The artist who refused to paint Hitler.

Map of Monuments & Museums of Paris. Interactive.
Museums of Paris.

Moulin Rouge. Official site of the Paris cabaret.
The French Cancan, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec. 'For the grand finale, the public discovered with overwhelming enthusiasm a new dance, the French Cancan with its dancers, the Chahuteuses (the unruly girls), and its boisterous rhythm, which, to the great d ispleasure of some people, really made the heads turn !!! ... '
More history.

Tour the Cosmos. Quick virtual tour of the Universe.
About. 'Nearly 400 years after Galileo first observed the heavens through a telescope, we continue to seek answers to age-old questions about the universe. And while the technology has evolved over the centuries, the inquiry remains essentially the same: What's out there, where did it come from, and what does it mean?'
'At the Space Telescope Science Institute, we're working hard to study and explain the once-unimaginable celestial phenomena now made visible using Hubble's cutting-edge technology. In the course of this exploration we will continue to share with you the grace and beauty of the universe- because the discoveries belong to all of us ... '

Museum of Evolution. 'The Museum of Evolution was established by the Institute of Paleobiology and is now operated jointly with the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The educational program of The Museum covers various aspects of the natural world: the Earth and the Universe, planetary dynamics and its influence upon the global ecosystem, history of life, global biogeochemical cycles and the biosphere, biodiversity - ancient and modern, vertebrate paleontology, some aspects of zoogeography, information on Polish paleontological sites ... '
South American fauna from collections of 19th century Polish explorers.
The Earth: A living environment.

The Russian Dinosaur Exposition. 'The Russian Dinosaur Exposition is the largest traveling dinosaur exposition in the world!'

Shambhala Art.

A Journey in Shikoku. A Japanese national visits Shikoku for the first time.

Black Ant's Journey to Japan: A Modern Tanka Journal.

The Haitian Revolution. "In overthrowing me, you have cut only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring again from the roots for they are numerous and deep." -- Toussaint L'Ouverture, 1802
'In August 1791, a massive slave uprising erupted in the French colony Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti. The rebellion was ignited by a Vodou service organized by Boukman, a Vodou houngan (High Priest). Historians stamp this revolt as the most celebrated event that launched the 13-year revolution which culminated in the independence of Haiti in 1804 ... '

The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803. A historical essay in four parts.

Tullie House, Carlisle.
From the 'about' page :- 'Established by Carlisle Corporation in 1893, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery houses considerable collections of fine and decorative art, human history and natural sciences. The museum underwent a major redevelopment in 1990, involving expansion within existing buildings and the construction of a new wing housing the new Border galleries, an Art Gallery, and shop, lecture theatre and restaurant spaces ... '

Follow the Yarn. The story of cotton in Preston, Lancashire.

Perthshire Herbarium.

Museum of Oxford. 'The only museum in Oxford to tell the unique story of the city and its people, from prehistoric times to the present day. Exhibits range from a mammoth's tooth to a "Morris Motor" car engine. Treasures from archaeological excavations include a preserved Roman pottery kiln, a wealth of Medieval pottery and a whole pavement of cattle bones. '

Harry Potter. British Tourist Authority site; Potteresque tour of Britain.
'The magical world of the young apprentice wizard Harry Potter provides the perfect introduction to the history and beauty of Britain.'
'With the arrival of the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the strange and wonderful locations, people and creatures in Harry's world are brought to life. That world is filled with ghosts, giants and monsters; he travels by steam train to his new school from an invisible train platform, and at his massive, rambling school there are hidden passageways, stairs that shift around and portraits that just won't sit still - it is a world that enjoyably reflects the myths and legends of Britain. '

Westminster Abbey.

Photographs from China 1932-1938.
Via No Sense of Place.

Russian Space Art.
Via gmtPlus9.

Pedal-powered email in the jungle. 'Early next month, a villager in the mountainous jungles of northern Laos will climb onto a stationary bicycle hooked to a handmade, wireless computer and pedal his people into the digital age. '
Thanks, jp.

China blocks Blogspot sites. 'China has blocked an Internet site used by more than one million people worldwide to post on-line diaries, known as blogs, users and its developer said Wednesday. '
'The U.S.-based "blogspot" Web site, where people write about their daily lives up to several times a day, has been inaccessible through Chinese networks for a week, they said. '

Sacked for blogging.
Via Reflections in D Minor.

Blog Iran.

The Stargazers' Mothership. An odd bunch.

Armageddon Online. Different ways the world could end.

' Pham Xuan Nhan, 69, is reliving his glory days when he was Vietnam's bantamweight boxing champion as the sport makes a return to the ring after the government removed a ban on it for being too violent and crime-ridden. '
' "I'm so happy to see boxing coming back," said Nhan after sitting through five days of a national boxing championship in Vietnam's capital city in December, the first since the seven-year ban was lifted ... '

Cash-poor police to get free cars that carry ads. 'This murder scene investigation is sponsored by America's favorite laundry detergent and this drunk-driving arrest is brought to you by the cola that has brought smiles and safe driving to millions worldwide. '
'In coming months, these scenarios may not seem so far-fetched as cash-strapped U.S. police departments receive shiny new cruisers in exchange for sporting advertisements on those vehicles ... '

South Africa's gleaming beaches no longer white.

' Sarajevo is preparing to put history ahead of ethnic divisions and reinstate a memorial recalling the shots that carried the city's name around the world long before its ordeal in the Bosnian war of the 1990s.'

16th January
Ethiopian couple defy tradition, refuse circumcision. 'Genet Girma's decision not to be circumcised has made her something of a heroine in her home region of Kembatta, southern Ethiopia.'
'Equally brave was her high school sweetheart and now husband Addisie Abosie's decision to marry his uncircumcised bride at a public ceremony ... '

The Australian diaspora. 'There are around one million Australians living outside the country, according to figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. That's more people than live in Adelaide, or twice the population living on Sydney's North Shore. These far flung million are the great Australian diaspora. As a member of the diaspora, I am becoming increasingly curious about its nature and what it means for my homeland ... '

Cup fever hits Farnborough. 'Farnborough fans started queuing in their masses on Tuesday in an attempt to get their hands on tickets for the glamour FA Cup tie with Arsenal ... '
Farnborough fan plans to donate betting winnings to hospital. 'Sir Ray Tindle, chairman of the Patrick Appeal at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, which is close to Farnborough, has placed bets totalling 1,000 on the non-league minnows.'
'He has placed a 650 bet on them to beat Arsenal at 40/1; 250 for Farnborough to score the first goal of the game at 12/1 - and a rather optimistic 100 on the team to win the FA Cup - at odds of 10,000/1.'
Farnborough Town FC fan site.

Ivorian mothers brave curfew to give birth. 'Lying on a dusty trolley in the gloomy maternity ward, Safiatou Idroussou is all smiles.'
'Not only has she just given birth to a healthy baby girl, but despite breaking a dusk-to-dawn curfew that covers war-torn Ivory Coast, she managed to reach the hospital safely.'

'As time runs out for Carol Leahy, her husband and son struggle to survive the devastation of Alzheimer's.'
Thanks to Gael, posting on Metafilter.

Israel embassy a lonely fort of hope in Jordan. 'For all the encrypted computer systems, metal detectors, ram-proof barricades and kosher kitchen appliances at the Israeli embassy in Amman, its busiest machines these days are the two treadmills in the underground gym.'
'Staffers ranging from ranking diplomats to guards pound them around the clock, having been barred from venturing out to the Jordanian capital's airy avenues for fear of attack by locals sympathetic to the Palestinians or Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.'

American Indian colleges embrace native heritage. 'In old photos, the American Indian boys wear military-style jackets, while the little girls wear simple dresses and aprons. An iron-barred shack serves to punish those who try to flee.'
'The scenes testify to the history of the Haskell Indian Nations University, an institution founded in 1884 by the U.S. government to indoctrinate American Indian children into the ways of the white man, stripping them of all things Indian.'
'But the images from the school's archives bear little resemblance to life today on the Haskell campus, where graduation ceremonies include pow-wows and eagle feather headdresses and students prepare for mid-term tests by seeking spiritual strength in sweat lodges ... '

Mystery, mangrove and mudslides shape Ecuador city. 'The eery chords of a ghostly guitar echoing through the thick mangrove at twilight set the hair prickling on the back of the elderly fisherman's weather-beaten neck. '
' "I knew it was him, the duende!" says Francisco Reyes, his eyes widening at the memory. "I'd never believed in him before but ... I rushed back to my boat and got out of there as fast as I could." ' 'Half-forgotten stories of the legendary duende, a mischief-making elf said to roam Manabi province in western Ecuador, have like the resort town of Bahia de Caraquez itself made a comeback since El Nino storms and an earthquake devastated the Pacific region five years ago ... '

Anti-war Germans fight US army in Bavarian forest. 'Exploding artillery shells and the sound of tank fire regularly echo throughout the night in this rural Bavarian town. '
'Now plans by the U.S. army to expand its biggest battle training grounds in Germany have hit bitter resistance from local residents who fear more sleepless nights, more extensive ground water contamination and irreparable damage to the environment ... '

China tries dancing way out of prisoner's dilemma. 'The male dancers at The Beijing Prison put on quite a show.'
'One minute they tiptoe like ballerinas to tinny Revolutionary notes. The next they stomp bow-legged to drum beats, their arms orbiting their heads.'
'But in a prison system rights groups rank among the world's cruellest, the dancing has a much deeper meaning ... '

South Africa's income disparities widening. 'As tyres burned in the background, an angry black woman lashed out at South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress.'
' "We voted ANC...They said we're going to get the better life!" shouted Sophie Morweng, a 52-year-old domestic worker, as residents of the teeming township of Alexandra north of Johannesburg protested against the forced removal of families for non-payment of rent ... '

'On Thursday, the UN announced the inspectors had found empty chemical warheads during an inspection of a storage area, the Reuters news agency reported. '

Bodie, California. 'for those of you that maybe have been to the ghost town of bodie, ca. you need no introduction to it. for those that haven't experienced it, read on but trust me you've got to go. i'll try to evoke some semblance of what it is like there, but believe me when i say it is the most surreal - and alive - place i have ever been to ... '
Great photos. Courtesy of Bobby G.

The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela.

Nyingma Deity Paintings. Himalayan art.

Avalokiteshvara. 'Made famous in the Sutras as a bodhisattva, an aspirant to enlightenment, in the Vajrayana system of the Tantras he is acknowledged as a fully enlightened Buddha manifesting in a vast array of meditational forms for the benefit of others. ' (Having achieved enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara has delayed nirvana while there is suffering in the world).

Licchavi Caityas of Nepal: A Solution to the Empty Niche. 'Among the curious puzzles of early Nepalese sculpture and architecture are the empty niches of the lovely Licchavi stone caityas that dot the Kathmandu valley. These elegant caityas are fully decorated, often with exquisitely detailed carvings, but the niches where one might suppose the figures of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would normally reside, are vacant ... '

Forty Years On: An Anniversary Volume. Forty years of computing at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1957-1997.
Souvenir song book.

The Hidden History of the Internet. PreText mag, March 1998.
Present at the creation. An oral history of the early days of the net.

The History of Project Delta. 'Project Delta was an incredible learning experience that introduced thousands of Delaware high school students to computing in the 1960's and 70's. Delta was founded on the radical idea that computers in education can be run by the students. At Delta, the students ran the computer, installed the terminals at the schools, improved the operating system, and invented early versions of things like e-mail and on-line chat. This web site is dedicated to recording and preserving the history of Project Delta. '

Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici as Orpheus. 'Cosimo I de' Medici, sixteenth-century ruler of Florence, is here personified as the mythological poet and musician Orpheus at the mouth of Hades, where he had gone to reclaim his dead wife Eurydice. '

Still Life with a Hare. 'The traditional game piece of seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painting is a highly colored, elaborately detailed, and often gory trophy of the hunt, where mounds of slaughter, slippery with blood and viscera, spill from laden tabletops. '

The Birth of Venus. Nicolas Poussin, French, 1594-1665.

Ramsgate Tunnels. 'The London Chatham & Dover Railway Company opened their extension from Margate to a terminus at Ramsgate Harbour in 1863. The last section of the line ran in a 1124 yard tunnel from Dumpton Park to the terminus on the seafront, close to the harbour. In 1926, Southern Railways built a link from their line at Dumpton Park to the former South Eastern Railway station at Ramsgate Town, a mile inland. The link was built because of cramped conditions at the terminus and the steep gradient which caused some difficulty for steam locomotives. The Harbour Station and the tunnel were closed from 2nd July that year ... '

Virtual Norfolk. A fascinating project site about the history of the East Anglian county. (Parts of the site look as though they are still under construction).
The English Diaspora. 'From 1629 to 1640 something between 14,000 and 21,000 people departed England and crossed the Atlantic bound for the New England colonies. The majority of these emigrants were drawn from the five eastern counties of Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, and Norfolk. These counties comprised the most educationally and economically advanced area of Britain ... '
The 'Commotion Time' in Norfolk: Kett's Rebellion of 1549. 'The year 1549 saw the last significant, large-scale risings in East Anglia and southern England. Prior to that year, the East Anglian region had possessed a long tradition of rebellion, riot and demonstration ... '

Norfolk Windmills Trust. With interactive map.

Victorian London Cemeteries.

The Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green Cemetery, London. The story of a single cemetery.

Hampstead Garden Suburb 'is located in North West London, England, approximately 7 miles from the centre of London and was founded in 1907 by Dame Henrietta Barnett. It is internationally recognised as one of the finest examples of early twentieth century domestic architecture and town planning and is home to approximately 13,000 people. '
The tour. 'This tour is based on "an architectural appreciation of the Garden Suburb" written for the Hampstead Garden Suburb conservation study and published in 1971. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust. '

The Construction and History of Medieval Timber-Framed Houses in England and Wales. 'These pages are meant to be a starting point for students and anyone else interested in old houses. They describe the history of timber-framed houses in England and Wales, their method of construction and the people who lived in them, starting with the 13 th Century and ending with the 19 th. The emphasis is not on Great Houses or Stately Homes but on the simpler dwellings of cottagers, merchants and yeomen, although many of the last two were wealthy ... '

Land of Golden Dreams. California in the Gold Rush decade; a presentation of manuscripts, drawings and rare printed materials.
' "Boys, I believe I have found a gold mine!" With these simple words, James W. Marshall set the California Gold Rush in motion - a chain of events that would shape California and the American West ... '

The Huntington Virtual Reality Tour. Library, art collections, botanical gardens.

The Hajj. An interactive guide.

Ukrainian Postcards. Via

The United States of America has gone mad by John Le Carre. 'I cringe when I hear my Prime Minister lend his head prefects sophistries to this colonialist adventure. His very real anxieties about terror are shared by all sane men. What he cant explain is how he reconciles a global assault on al-Qaeda with a territorial assault on Iraq. We are in this war, if it takes place, to secure the fig leaf of our special relationship, to grab our share of the oil pot, and because, after all the public hand-holding in Washington and Camp David, Blair has to show up at the altar. '

Cloudy, strong chance of rain. 'A number of friends and neighbours have expressed some concern about my proximity to the Bouffant Brigades across the DMZ, and asked me for my take on the latest developments here in Korealand. I am happy to oblige ... '
Fine, provocative commentary from stavrosthewonderchicken.

'The call to active military duty that has put tens of thousands of Americans back in uniform ahead of a possible war with Iraq has left sudden holes in the workplace. Some are easily replaced, others are not.'