plep Archive

31st January
Malaysiakini, an award-winning Malaysian current affairs site which focuses on human rights and censorship issues, is having problems.
The day they took away our computers. 'When the police came to malaysiakini office last Monday, they gave us two options. Divulge Petrof's e-mail address or surrender our computers. '
'For us, option 1 was out of the question. We have given an undertaking that malaysiakini will protect the identity of our letter writers. Given the pervasive state of fear in Malaysia, the o­nly way to encourage readers to express their opinions openly is the assurance that malaysiakini will not disclose their identity should they want to remain anonymous ... '
More on Malaysiakini.

Keep off the grass: minister bans Hyde Park war protest. 'Organisers of a huge anti-war rally yesterday vowed that it would go ahead despite a decision by the culture secretary to ban the event from London's Hyde Park ... '
The people's park. (Guardian editorial) 'Only a minister with no concern for this country's history would go along with the attempt to keep next month's anti-war rally out of Hyde Park. Yet this, incredibly, is what the culture secretary Tessa Jowell has done in backing the ban by the Royal Parks on the February 15 demonstration. The state of the turf, ostensible reason for the ban, is surely less important than the state of the world. '
'The right of assembly in the heart of London was hard won - and it was won above all in Hyde Park and in Trafalgar Square. In both cases it was won in the face of persistent government and police opposition. A century and a half may have passed since the Duke of Wellington insisted it was "absolutely necessary to keep the parks, that is Hyde Park, the Green Park and St James's Park, clear from mobs". But not much else has changed ... '
Turf war over Iraq. 'To avoid damage to the royal lawns, I suggest the expected 500,000 anti-war protesters go to Grosvenor Square and meet on the steps of the US embassy. It worked last time. '
More on Hyde Park.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes. 'A native Ithacan and the nation's most notable ornithological painter since Audubon. '
'Cornell University holds a large collection of his bird illustrations, as well as his personal papers. You will find here a database with 2500 of these illustrations, as well as an exhibit based on the journal he kept during the 1899 Harriman Alaska expedition.'
Harriman expedition exhibit.

Rock Art in Bolivia.

Design Your Own Robot.

Virtual Fishtank.

Secrets of Ageing.

The Gettysburg Address. Cornell exhibit.
' Cornell University Library's copy of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is one of five known copies in Lincoln's hand, and the only copy owned by a private institution. The four other copies are owned by public institutions: two at the Library of Congress, one at the Illinois State Historical Library, and one in the Lincoln Room at the White House ... '

Letter of Advice to Queen Victoria by Lin Zexu, decrying the trade in opium in China.
'Although opium was used in China for centuries, it was not until the opening of the tea trade to Dutch and British merchants that China was able to import large quantities of the drug. By the early nineteenth century opium was the principal product that the English East India Company traded in China and opium addiction was becoming a widespread social problem. When the emperor's own son died of an overdose, he decided to put an end to the trade. Lin Zexu was sent to Canton, the chief trading port of the East India Company, with instructions to negotiate an end to the importation of opium into China ... '
Via Digital China/Harvard: the Opium War.

Paris Libéré! The history and images of the liberation of Paris.
'When `Paris Libéré !' went online seven years ago, it was to celebrate the 50th anniversary. The web was much less cluttered then, and we were the only web site to mark the anniversary. In fact these pages were created before the Netscape browser even existed - Netscape Corp had come into being only a few months before. So these pages are almost antique now. You'll notice that gif images are used throughout so download times may be a bit slower than otherwise. Back in 1994 however, it wasn't as easy to use gif/jpg images given that there was only one kind of browser (NCSA's Mosaic). Despite this, we hope you'll like these pages - and remember one of our planet's biggest fêtes last century - the Liberation of Paris, 25 August 1944. '

Women in the Literary Marketplace 1800-1900.
' The books and letters in this exhibition present a cross section of writing by English women in the nineteenth century-a period when women entered the literary marketplace in unprecedented numbers. While many women wrote and published books before 1800, few British women planned careers as writers until the nineteenth century. And although there were notable and celebrated exceptions, women were excluded from most areas of literature until the end of the eighteenth century. Less than one hundred years later, women wrote an estimated 20% of all material published, a remarkable change in just three generations ... '

From Domesticity to Modernity: What Was Home Economics?

The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia.

The Changing of the Avant-Garde. (Definitely best viewed on a fast connection).

Personal Edens: The Gardens and Film Sets of Florence Yoch. 'During her career as a landscape architect, from 1918 to 1971, Florence Yoch adapted traditional landscape designs to American needs. In her gardens. she combined patterns studied on annual pilgrimages to Europe with childhood recollections of California's country avenues, flowered meadows, and fruitful orchards. Going well beyond regional limitations, her more than 250 projects ranged from Cuernavaca to Carmel, including courtyards for historical adobes and social clubs in both Northern and Southern California, parks in Orange County and at Idaho's Shoshone Falls, the grounds for the faculty club and student housing at the California Institute of Technology, and landscapes for stately manors in Pasadena and San Marino ... '

James Madison Alden: Watercolours and Drawings. 'The stream of ships carrying Argonauts to the gold fields of California plied waters fraught with danger. The Pacific coastline, charted only sketchily by early explorers, proved to be deadly for many bound for the calm waters of San Francisco Bay. In response, the United States government initiated the Coast Survey, mandated to accurately map the myriad offshore hazards, as well as the inlets, capes and bays that defined the western edge of the continent. Aboard the vessels that plotted the coast were not only surveyors and scientists, but artists like James Madison Alden - who recorded both faithfully and as interpretations - the views they beheld. '

The Old Dowlin Mill. 'The sound of water cascading over the immense wooden wheel is sometimes barely audible over the traffic on Ruidoso's main street. But the wheel turns as steadily as it did more than a century ago. Inside the adobe walls of the old Dowlin Mill, two flint millstones slowly grind a handful of dried yellow corn into fine meal ... '

The Giants of Jal - Lasting Legacy in 400 Foot Sculpture. '... The completed artwork stretches an impressive four-hundred feet across the horizon and can be seen from five miles on all sides. It's the artist's hope that "people won't be able to resist it." "If people stop to look at the sculpture and take pictures, they're more likely to want to stop in town to eat, fill up with gas, etc.", says Norwood.. '

Mogollon - Off the Beaten Path. 'Flatlanders need not apply. The road to Mogollon, known as the Bursum Road, climbs 2,080 feet from the San Francisco River Valley to the old ghost town, nestled in the Mogollon Mountains ... '

Chinese Graphic Art & Printing Technology. Images, including one of the Diamond Sutra.
Jiuzhang suanshu (or Chu Chang Suan Shu, Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art).

A Is For Love. 'This is a set of Flash Cards for learning Chinese. The face card shows a Chinese word. Click on the word will flip the card over, where the pronunciation and meaning are given. Click on Arrow for the previous or the next word.'
Via China the Beautiful.

It's always great when Le Blogeur comes to visit.

Glow in the Dark Monkey Protest Bumper Stickers. Thx, jp.

National Philistine.

Mona. (Thx, Julie).

The Wodehouse Society. Thx, hama7.

Charles Philipon: the Father of Political Caricature.
Via the Apothecary's Drawer.

Havel era ends in Czech Republic.(CS Monitor) 'It is the end of an era. Czech President Vaclav Havel, the last of the anticommunist heroes still in power in Central or Eastern Europe, leaves office Sunday. '
'A renowned playwright and political prisoner before the 1989 "Velvet Revolution," Havel was catapulted into the president's chair by his charisma and the proverbial circumstance of being in the right place at the right time. After 13 years at the helm, first of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic, he remains the only figure most Czechs can envision in the castle overlooking Prague ... '
The king of Bohemia. (Guardian) 'A glass of beer is lifted from a plain wooden table by a suprisingly small, delicate hand. A smile passes briefly across the lips, under the walrus moustache, as a deep voice rumbles out some wry observation, before he takes another draught of good Czech beer. So much has changed in the two decades I have known him - his life, from dissident to president, his dress, from jeans to dark suits, his health, from bad to worse, the whole world around, from communism to capitalism, Warsaw pact to Nato - but this image remains, in my mind's eye, the constant, the irreducible Vaclav Havel. '
Czechs bid farewell to their philosopher-king. (Globe & Mail)
Radio Prague: Vaclav Havel.

Vaclav Havel's homepage.
' ... he greeted Chancellor Kohl with the words: 'Why don't we work together to dissolve all political parties? Why don't we set up just one big party, the Party of Europe?' ' Hmm, maybe not his finest hour...
' The 1977 arrest and trial of a Czechoslovakian rock band called "The Plastic People of the Universe," named for Frank Zappa lyrics, had a profound effect on Havel's outlook. Many Czech artists and intellectuals signed a manifesto (Charter 77) protesting the situation ... '

Happy Chinese New Year.

Netnotes on the 'special relationship' between the UK and the USA.

30th January
Cornell University Collection of Political Americana. 'The heart of the project is the preservation, digitization, and cataloging of items in the Susan H. Douglas Collection of Political Americana. Acquired from an individual collector between 1957 and 1961, the Douglas collection includes approximately 5,500 items of American political campaign memorabilia and commemorative items dating to between 1789 and 1960. Mrs. Douglas characterized them as: ballots, "bric-a-brac" (larger three-dimensional objects), broadsides, buttons, cartoons, maps and charts, pamphlets, "paper miscellaneous," parade items, posters, prints, ribbons, sheet music, songbooks, textiles, "trinkets," and wearing apparel ... '

Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection.
History. 'The Cornell University Library owns one of the richest collections of anti-slavery and Civil War materials in the world, thanks in large part to Cornell's first President, Andrew Dickson White, who developed an early interest in both fostering, and documenting the abolitionist movement and the Civil War. Even before his arrival at Cornell, White used his lectures at the University of Michigan to respond to the issues of the War by pointing out to his students as many examples as he could of societies that valued the rights of free men over the shallow benefits of slavery ... '

Ezra Cornell Materials. 'The Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collections maintains an extensive digital collection of materials pertaining to Ezra Cornell and other notable figures from Cornell University's history. '
Cornell family genealogy.
Ezra Cornell: A Nineteenth-Century Life. Online exhibit.

The Pale Worker, by the Yiddish poet Morris Rosenfeld about sweatshop labour in New York's Lower East Side, 1907.

Child Labour During the Holidays.
The History of a Christmas Box. Examination of the child labour that went into the preparation and delivery of a Christmas box, 1906. 'A handsomely dressed woman entered a candy shop and ordered a Christmas box made up from the finest stock. About her there was an air of magnificent refinement, not unmixed with self satisfaction ... '
The Grind Behind the Holidays, from 'Children in Bondage', 1906.
The Sprite Who Makes the Christmas Wreath, cartoon, 1912.
A Victorian Christmas - Stereoviews 1897-1903. The idealised Christmas.

Ghost Towns in Canada.

Sandon, British Columbia, a ghost town. 'Known in the 1890s at the "Monte Carlo of North America," the City of Sandon lies in the Selkirk Mountain Range high in the heart of the "Silvery Slocan." Famed for its unbelievably rich deposits of silver-lead ore, following the 1891 discovery of silver by Eli Carpenter and Jack Seaton, thousands of men soon filled the small valley almost to bursting.

The Old Nipissing Road. 'The Nipissing Road is The Ontario Ghost Trail. It was once home to many settlements of hopeful pioneers, now is guarded by their abandoned log cabins and weathered barns. The road runs through the centre of the Parry Sound District between highways 69 and 11. It can be reached on any cross highway including 141, 518, 520, 124, 522 and 534. It winds along 120 km of gravel road, bush trail and paved highway (#510) from Rosseau on Highway 141 to Nipissing on Hwy. 534. Parts of the road surface are now paved with tar and stone. This tour begins in Rousseau, but you can start it any place along the trail ... '

Ghost Towns and Settlements in Hamilton County, Iowa. Descriptions of many sites; text only.

Nevada Ghost Towns Directory & Guide.

Save the Giraffe. Recording the rock carvings of Niger, including the famous giraffes.
Saving the 9,000 Year Old Rock Art Giraffe Carving; great picture.
The Giraffe Gallery.
Tuareg culture.

Yungdrung Bön. The indigenous religion of Tibet.
History of Bön. 'It is said that in a past age there were three brothers, Dagpa (Dag-pa), Salba (gSal-ba) and Shepa (Shes-pa), who studied the Bön doctrines in the heaven named Sridpa Yesang (Srid-pa Ye-sangs), under the Bön sage Bumtri Logi Chechan ('Bum-khri glog-gi-lce-can) ... '

History of a Thangka, Buryatia, Russian Federation.
'Padmasambhava, the Lotus-born-popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Master-is revered throughout the Himalayan ranges as a Second Buddha. Invited from India in the eighth century to subjugate the forces inhibiting the spread of Shakyamuni's teachings, he managed to transform hitherto hostile powers into guardians and protectors of the pure dharma and, in the process, left an indelible mark on the entire Himalayan region.'
'In quite a literal sense, Guru Rinpoche's mark is to be found throughout the Himalayan ranges in and around the many caves he used for meditation. At these sites one can still see handprints and footprints of the Precious Master impressed into solid rock, mute testimony to the extraordinary power this fully accomplished yogi and tantric magician exercised over the external and internal elements ... '

The Tibet Game: Play Your Way to Nirvana!

EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal.

Pieces of Science. 'Mouse along the colored buttons to see all sixteen Pieces of Science.'
'Click on an object in the gallery window to explore the piece.'

The Franklin Institute Braindrops. 'Expand your knowledge of the science around you with a daily Braindrop. '

Dog Barking at the Moon, Joan Miro, 1926.

Three Musicians, Pablo Picasso, 1921.

The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), Marcel Duchamp, 1915-1923.

Mandela Blasts Bush on Iraq, Warns of 'Holocaust'.
'Mandela said action without U.N. support was unacceptable and set a bad precedent for world politics. '
' "Are they saying this is a lesson that you should follow, or are they saying we are special, what we do should not be done by anyone," he said in his speech to the International Women's Forum on the theme of Courageous Leadership for Global Transformation. '

Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@. (In These Times) 'As war against Iraq looms, I asked Vonnegut, a reader and supporter of this magazine, to weigh in. Vonnegut is an American socialist in the tradition of Eugene Victor Debs, a fellow Hoosier whom he likes to quote: As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free. '

Idleworm Games: Gulf War 2. Thx, jp.

Anti-Europeanism in America. (Thx, Miguel).

29th January
Genocide Warning: Sudan. 'An estimated two million people, mostly civilians, have died in Sudan and four million have been displaced in the past 17 years as the result of civil war. Primary responsibility for this devastation belongs to the Sudanese government, a military regime based in the north. The principal victims include the Dinka and Nuer peoples in southern Sudan and the Nuba of central Sudan ... '

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

Japan, An Attempt at Interpretation, Lafcadio Hearn, 1904.

Insect Safari. 'For 100 years, Orkin Pest Control has been a leader in educating people about the wonders of insects. So, Orkin proudly joins the Smithsonian Institution to present the Smithsonian O. Orkin Insect Safari, a traveling educational exhibit created to teach humans about the vital role insects play in the environment.'

Human Face. How the face works.

Mount Athos, Where "Every Stone Breathes Prayers". 'Mount Athos, a sheer formation of marble and limestone, drops dramatically down from a summit of 6,660 feet and juts 35 miles into the Aegean Sea. A semiautonomous state, it is governed by an assembly of monks who work with a civil governor responsible to the Greek government, and consists of 20 monasteries, a dozen smaller dependencies called sketes, and a few hermetic caves and solitary huts ... '

Andrew Jackson's Duel with Charles Dickinson. 'Andrew Jackson had a fierce will and sometimes savage temper, both illustrated in the following, in which some background is provided as it illustrates the society Jackson lived in ... '

The American Experience: The Duel.

A Tragic Duel. 'At dawn on the morning of July 11, 1804, political antagonists and personal enemies Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey to settle their longstanding differences with a duel. The participants fired their pistols in close succession. Burr's shot met its target immediately, fatally wounding Hamilton and leading to his death the following day. Burr escaped unharmed. This tragically extreme incident reflected the depth of animosity aroused by the first emergence of the nation's political party system ... '

Alexander Hamilton: The Duel with Aaron Burr.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Friends of Mount Athos.
A pilgrim's guide to Mount Athos.

'The long and winding road leads to an old Byzantine tower by the sea and a sleepy village sprawled around it... '
'The picturesque village of Ouranoupolis with its small fishing harbor and fortified tower lies at the threshold of the unique monastic community of Mount Athos, on the peninsula of Halkidiki. Its name translates "City of the Heavens". With a backdrop of rolling green hills descending to a sparkling sea of the deepest blue, it is a most beautiful corner of Greece. '

The Treasures of Mount Athos.

On This Day in history, from BBC Online. Via Portage.

Smithson's Sovereigns.
'Their value isn't intrinsic: after all, they are merely two British gold sovereigns, with Queen Victoria as a teenager on one side, the royal coat of arms on the other. About the size of a nickel, they were worth only a pound sterling each a century and a half ago when they were in circulation. But to the Smithsonian, which keeps them in its National Numismatic Collection ... they have a significance beyond any monetary value. '
'The story begins in 1826 with the writing of a will by an Englishman named James Smithson. Born in 1765 and educated at Oxford, Smithson studied chemistry and mineralogy and became a notable amateur scientist. He chemically analyzed minerals and plants, and was the first to distinguish between zinc carbonate and zinc silicate, both then called calamine. Since 1832, zinc carbonate has been known as smithsonite. In 1787, only a year out of college, he was elected to the Royal Society of London "for Improving Natural Knowledge." ...'

From Smithson to Smithsonian: The Birth of an Institution.
'In 1829 English scientist James Smithson left his fortune to the people of the United States to found an institution for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge." Smithson's impetus in providing for a research and educational institution in a new country on another continent remains a mystery. His bequest sparked widespread debate over what such a national institution might be. Once established, the Smithsonian Institution became part of the process of developing the U.S. national identity. '
'This exhibition highlights the life of James Smithson, the English scientist who bequeathed his fortune to the United States to establish an institution "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The exhibition tells of the retrieval of the bequest from Great Britain, and describes the controversy this bequest provoked in the United States, up until the 1846 founding of the Smithsonian Institution. It concludes by tracing the early years of the Institution as it grew and developed under the leadership of its first two Secretaries ...'

An Odyssey in Print: Adventures in the Smithsonian Libraries.

Discourse on the Wheel of Dhamma.

Kalama Sutta: The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry.

Down the Drain: Chicago's Sewers - The Historic Development of an Urban Infrastructure.
Via Speckled Paint.

Confessions of a Young Lady Laudanum-Drinker, 1889.
Via Speckled Paint.

A Tour of LA Through Vintage Postcards.
Via Speckled Paint.

Asia Grace.
Via Douze Lunes.

More than 1000 historians announce national antiwar network.
'At the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in January, historians from more than forty colleges and universities agreed to form a new national network, "Historians Against the War." A committee was appointed to draft the following statement, which has been circulated for other historians to sign ... '
Via BookNotes.

Arundhati Roy - Come September.
'In India, those of us who have expressed views on Nuclear Bombs, Big Dams, Corporate Globalization and the rising threat of communal Hindu fascism - views that are at variance with the Indian Government's - are branded 'anti- national. '
' While this accusation doesn't fill me with indignation, it's not an accurate description of what I do or how I think. Because an 'anti-national' is a person who is against his or her own nation and, by inference, is pro some other one. But it isn't necessary to be 'anti-national' to be deeply suspicious of all nationalism, to be anti-nationalism. Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead ... '

The Haunted Weblog.
Via Out of Lascaux.

Witch-hunts in the Democratic Republic of Congo :-
' At a church in Kinshasa the children sat glassy eyed and nervous as they waited to be exorcised by the priest. '
'One by one they stood up and explained how they became witches, were kicked out of their homes and ended up at the church ... '

Prehistoric 'star chart'.

The Good Wife's Guide, Good Housekeeping Guide, 1955.
Via Incoming Signals.

Eukanuba Tournament. Now, there's a real beauty contest!

Via a moveable beast.

Via Cheesedip.

Help stop illegal wildlife trade in the UK.