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5th January
Guardian: The two faces of Rumsfeld. '2000: director of a company which wins $200m contract to sell nuclear reactors to North Korea. 2002: declares North Korea a terrorist state, part of the axis of evil and a target for regime change.'
Fortune: Rummy's North Korea connection. 'What did Donald Rumsfeld know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he talk about it? '
No War Blog: Rumsfeld, ABB and North Korea.
I find it personally gratifying that this story is now being given such wide coverage. Long-term plep readers may remember that an attempt at linking the issues together was dealt with here some time ago.
Take a look at my article for Unknown News, originally from around April 2002, which details the connections linking Rumsfeld to ABB and to North Korea. (A couple of the links are now broken - Rumsfeld's 'manager profile' connecting him to ABB is now here, and there is a resume of sorts for him on the NATO website).
There are also a few raw links connecting Rumsfeld with ABB and North Korea in the 17h April 2002 posting on this weblog, plep, from about the same time as I wrote for Unknown News and containing essentially the same information but without the editorialising.
At the time I did the original 'research' there seemed to be very little on the web 'joining the dots' between Rumsfeld, ABB and Korea; now it's all over the place ( Google for +rumsfeld +ABB to get an idea).

The Oxford Book of Ballads, 1910. 'These 176 selections by the master anthologist exhibit such lyrics familiar to this day as "I Saw Three Ships" and long epical ballads like the 3334-line Robin Hood Ballads.'

Japanese Architecture in Kyoto.

Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England. 'Taken down from oral recitation and transcribed from private manuscripts, rare broadsides and scarce publications.'

Viewing Japanese Prints. (I must have done this one before but it's good enough for another look - I do believe that the URL has changed since it was last posted here).

Find Wildflowers. 'The British flora possesses a wealth of interesting plants. This site is intended to help you identify them.' With images.

Master of Flemalle. 'Flemish painter (b. ca. 1375, Valenciennes, d. 1444, Tournai).' Examples/web gallery of his work.

Rogier van der Weyden. 'Flemish painter (b. 1400, Tournai, d. 1464, Bruxelles).' Great web gallery.

Jan van Eyck. 'Flemish painter (b. before 1395, Maaseik, d. 1441, Bruges).'

The Nonviolent Activist.

Off Our Backs. 'off our backs is a newsjournal by, for, and about women. It has been published continuously since 1970, making it is the longest surviving feminist newspaper in the United States. It is run by a collective where all decisions are made by consensus. Check out our timeline to learn more about our history.'

Icelandic Phallological Museum. 'The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country. Phallology is an ancient science which, until recent years, has received very little attention in Iceland, except as a borderline field of study in other academic disciplines such as history, art, psychology, literature and other artistic fields like music and ballet ... '

Hilda. Vintage pin-ups.

Wangden Meditation Weaving. Images.
'Wangden was once famous throughout Tibet for its unique style of carpet weaving, practiced nowhere else in Tibet, and in great demand by monasteries from Lhasa to Amdo to Ladakh. Wangden carpets were used as meditation mats by the Fifth Dalai Lama, and every year a new set of Wangden runners was woven for use by monks participating in the Great Monlam Prayer Festival in Lhasa, the first and largest religious gathering of the Tibetan Buddhist year ... '

Trance-Dancers of the Goddess Durga. 'A few miles south of Kathmandu, on a promontory of lush rice fields looking over the Bagmati River, lies the village of Harasiddhi, named after a Goddess of the same name. The inhabitants rarely venture beyond the village. White-robed priests pace the narrow cobblestone paths, women draw water from dark wells, and shy children peer at the rare visitors from behind carved wooden window panels depicting mythical creatures. In short, everything in this village gives the impression that it has been left behind by time. At the center of the village is a four-story pagoda temple housing the Goddess Harasiddhi. '
'Ancient Nepali chronicles agree that "no dramatic performance equals that of the Harasiddhi priests." The manifestations of the Mother Goddess and her retinue of deities possess the dancers, intoxicated on sacrificial blood and alcohol. A hypnotic musical score, punctuated by symbolic gestures accompanies the spectacle whose secret meanings remain closed to the non-initiate ... '

The Isle of Lewis Chess Men. 'Probably made in Norway, about AD 1150-1200. Found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.'
'The chess pieces consist of elaborately worked walrus ivory and whales' teeth in the forms of seated kings and queens, mitred bishops, knights on their mounts, standing warders and pawns in the shape of obelisks.'
'They were found in the vicinity of Uig on the Isle of Lewis in mysterious circumstances. Various stories have evolved to explain why they were concealed there, and how they were discovered. All that is certain is that they were found some time before 11 April 1831, when they were exhibited at the Society of Antiquaries at Scotland. The precise findspot seems to have been a sand dune where they may have been placed in a small, drystone chamber ... '

Ivory Chess Pieces from Samarkand and Egypt.

NY Food Museum. "How New York Ate 100 Years Ago"

The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks. 'The name Yup'ik is the self designation of the Eskimos of Western Alaska and is derived from their word for "person" (yuk) plus the postbase -pik meaning "real" or "genuine." Like many indigenous people throughout the world, they consider themselves "real people" in contrast to presumably less-real outsiders. They are members of the larger family of Inuit cultures extending from Prince William Sound on the Pacific coast of Alaska to Bering Strait, and from there six-thousand miles north and east along Canada's Arctic coast into Labrador and Greenland ... '

The Lutes of the Santal. 'The tribal art of India is widely neglected in Europe and America. Its meaning is largely unknown and it is generally overshadowed by Classical Indian art. European artists at the beginning of the century made us aware of the arts of Africa and Oceania, and perhaps now we should learn to appreciate the formal language of Indian tribal art as well.'

The Last Blankets. 'The lack of respect received by American Indian art used to irritate me. I had a passion for the material, so I thought everyone else should be passionate too. It was only during the last couple of years that I realized how fortunate I was to be working and collecting in a field that gets scant institutional respect. Collecting art that everyone wants is, at best, an exercise in conformity. You may think that you're thinking for yourself, but your thoughts are really being produced by the crowd you're following. Prices are high, selection is low and a sense of discovery is long gone. Collecting art that nobody wants is just the opposite. Prices are low, selection is good and a sense of discovery is always with you. The story of the Navajo double saddle blanket is one I am still learning how to tell, but for me it began seven years ago, in the middle of the art boom, with an art form that nobody wanted ... '

The Park Avenue Cubists. 'Cosmopolitan and erudite, Albert Eugene Gallatin, George L.K. Morris, Suzy Frelinghuysen, and Charles B. Shaw were committed artists, passionate patrons, and close friends. All four worked to elevate the status of modernist abstraction during the Great Depression of the 1930s and its aftermath- when Social Realist and Regionalist painting held s way. Within the American Abstract Artists (AAA) group, in which the foursome became active soon after its formation in 1936, they were known as the "Park Avenue Cubists," a nickname that highlighted their patrician backgrounds, affluence, and class separateness. But for all the media coverage of their glamorous lifestyles and trappings- elegant apartments (on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, on and off Park Avenue), country houses, art collections, and trips abroad- they remained deeply committed to abstract art ... '

Subversive Secretaries. Workplace dissidence.

Cast and Chased Gold Medal of Mary I, by Jacopo da Trezzo, 1554-5.

Cast and Chased Gold Medal of Elizabeth I, by Nicholas Hilliard, 1580-90.

Queen Elizabeth I: Design for the Obverse of the Great Seal of Ireland.

Phagpa Lokes'vara of the Potala. 'In The Newark Museum collection is a small ivory figure representing a form of Avalokites'vara of a type that has long puzzled historians of Himalayan art. Figures displaying the stylistic eccentricities of this bodhisattva are, as evidenced here, relatively common. These stylistic eccentricities can be briefly catalogued as: a high three-lobed crown of rather simple design; the hair in an elaborate chignon which spills in two long buns on either side of the head and crown, and bell-like earrings. The images also show a remarkable lack of ornamentation; they stand on a small, square base in a relatively stiff pose, with, when complete, the right hand in varada mudra (gesture of bestowal) and the left close to the thigh in a gesture of holding a (missing) lotus ... '

The Synthesis of European and Mughal Art in the Emperor Akbar's Khamsa of Nizami. Images.

The Amazing Maize Maze. An American cornfield maze.

Unusual Gullies and Channels on Mars.

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy.

3rd January
Britain's Real Monarch. 'Startling new facts came to light in research for a Channel 4 programme on Richard III. The historian Michael K Jones had uncovered what appears to be strong proof that the 15th-century English monarch Edward IV was, in fact, illegitimate, thus throwing the legitimacy of all the kings and queens who followed into question. In fact, it appears that the royal line should have extended, not through Edward, but through his brother, George, Duke of Clarence, and his heirs.'
'Check out our royal family tree to see who should have been occupying the British throne since the 15th century – and who should be occupying it now.'

Stardust, 'NASA's first dedicated sample return mission to a comet'.

Stuart England. Channel 4's online guide.

Myths and Legends of the Sioux, 1916.

John Dowling: Old Photos of Japan.

Private Eye Butterfly. Online comic 'noir'.

Atomic Pulp. Very noir, Fifties-style detective story/comic.

The Compleat Alice. Online comic; fantasy/noir.

The Nestor Makhno Archive. 'This site is dedicated to the Ukrainian anarchist, Nestor Ivanovich Makhno who was active in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution. Most of the documents are now included in this archive but several are still external. The content includes practically all the material regarding Makhno, the Makhnovist Movement and the Organizational platform which is available on the Web.'

Rithan Monastery, Tibet. 'This monastery, founded by Riwo Khyentse at the beginning of the "Later Diffusion", is rarely mentioned in Western sources because it is located near the former prefecture and fortress of Tsona, on the border with Bhutan, which has been out of bounds to foreigners for a long time. Leaving Tsethang southwards through the Yarlung valley, the road leads over the Yartö Drakla pass (4900m), where one catches a brief but awesome view of the sacred Yarlhashampo mountain above the western ridge. Then the road descends into a broad plain ringed with snowy mountains, and rises once more over the Sholpo Takla Pass (5100m), and down to the Rithang valley. (Tsethang to Rithang 152 km.)'

Beerstraaten: Winter Landscape. 'A limited palette captures the hush of a winter day, with roofs of church and homes covered in a velvety blanket of snow and skaters gliding over the canal. The skaters' activity and the townspeople engaging in their daily business at the left enliven the otherwise bleak scene. '

Croos: Landscape with View of Rhenen. 'In this view of the town of Rhenen, Anthonie Jansz. van der Croos combined topographical accuracy with a romantic, picturesque feeling. A follower of Jan van Goyen, van der Croos used muted colors to create luminous light effects and atmospheric freshness that imbue the scene with a poetic tranquility. '

Imaging Diary: Jupiter. Some great images.

The Southern Ocean. An online photo gallery of Antarctic seas and wildlife.

A Sampler of Scientific Instruments from the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

John Singleton Copley: Watson and the Shark.

Art Nouveau 1890-1914.

Thomas Moran. American artist.

Byzantine Art and Painting in Italy during the 1200s and 1300s.

Painting in Siena in the 14th and Early 15th Centuries.

Peace Rock. Rock 'n' roll posters.

Rock Posters by Jim Phillips.

David Kibuuka. Ugandan artist.

Hawkers in Lagos. 'They have no permanent sites. They move with the traffic, making a living thanks to the chaotic driving in Lagos and other towns in Nigeria, and the inexplicable hold-ups it causes. They walk the streets of residential areas, announcing their wares with high-pitched cries for anyone who cares ... '

Japanese Dolls & Mannequins. Photo gallery.

Japanese Dwellings & Interiors.

Stories of Bastar Travel. A travelogue amongst the tribals of India.

Halakki Farmers of Uttara Kannada. A farming tribe on India's west coast.

Alcatraz Island. 'Out in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, the island of Alcatraz is a world unto itself. Isolation, one of the constants of island life for any inhabitant - soldier, guard, prisoner, Indian, bird or plant - is a recurrent theme in the unfolding history of Alcatraz ... '

Architecture in California.

Swansea Heritage 'is a digitising project designed to aid access to the material evidence held in trust by Swansea Museum Service for the people of Swansea. Through a selection of images and textual information various aspects of the museum collections will be made widely available on the Internet and on interactive terminals in the museum venues.' South Wales history.

African Loxo: Map of Contemporary African Art. Click on each country for a selection of art and artists.

2nd January
Cities of Science. 'Welcome to a site which celebrates what science does for our cities and what these cities do for science. You can create and submit entries to the site. Use 'search' to find the science, technology and engineering topics featured on this site. '
'We are active in six cities or regions: Greater Manchester, Liverpool, London, South West, Tees Valley and the West Midlands. '

Monasteries of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors. 'Yorkshire is a wide, open county, so vast that it covers most of the North of England. Though its southern regions are now heavily urbanized, the north retains the raw rural landscapes that once made monks swam here like bees to the honey-pot. There is something magnetic about the high moors and sweeping dales which draws one close to mother nature and, for a monk no doubt, to his God ... '

Saints of Great Britain.

The Anthony Petullo Collection of Self-Taught and Outsider Art. 'The Anthony Petullo Collection of Self-Taught and Outsider Art is one of the premier collections of its kind in the country. Comprised of more than 450 works, two-thirds of which are European, and continually growing in size, the Petullo Collection includes work ranging from the 1890s to the present. The collection features works by many of the most renowned American artists in the field such as Bill Traylor, Henry Darger, and Minnie Evans. The distinguishing characteristic of the collection, however, is the strong emphasis on the work of European outsider artists including Adolf Wolfli, Alfred Wallis, Scottie Wilson, and artists from the Gugging psychiatric hospital near Vienna. Nearly every artist is represented by multiple works, illustrating the depth of the Petullo Collection.'
Artists in the collection.

Kettle's Yard. 'Kettle's Yard was founded by H.S. 'Jim' Ede as a place where visitors would 'find a home and a welcome, a refuge of peace and order, of the visual arts and of music.' '

Japanese Sculpture.

Ando Hiroshige. 'Hiroshige (1797-1858), Japanese painter and printmaker, known especially for his landscape prints. The last great figure of the Ukiyo-e, or popular, school of printmaking, he transmuted everyday landscapes into intimate, lyrical scenes that made him even more successful than his contemporary, Hokusai. ' With a small gallery.

Arms and Armour in Renaissance Europe.

Bronze Sculpture in the Renaissance.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. 'Pieter Bruegel I (ca. 1525/30-1569), commonly known as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, was the greatest member of a large and important southern Netherlandish family of artists active for four generations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A longtime resident of Antwerp, the center of publishing in the Netherlands and a vibrant commercial capital, Bruegel brought a humanizing spirit to traditional subjects and boldly created new ones. He was an astoundingly inventive painter and draftsman, and, due to the continuity of the family trade and the industry that developed in prints after his works, Bruegel's impact was widespread and long lasting ... '

Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement. 'The materials in this on-line archival collection document various aspects of the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States, and focus specifically on the radical origins of this movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Items range from radical theoretical writings to humourous plays to the minutes of an actual grassroots group.'

The Urban Landscape. Images.

Historic American Sheet Music.

Emma Spaulding Bryant Letters. 'Emma Spaulding Bryant wrote these ten letters to her husband, John Emory Bryant, in the summer of 1873. They recount Emma's activities during that summer when she and her daughter, Alice, were visiting relatives in Illinois and Ohio while her husband tended to his political affairs in Georgia.'
'In particular, the letters describe Emma's visits to a doctor in Cleveland for "uterine difficulties" that had been ailing her for some time. Although we do not have her husband's letters to her from this period, it appears that he accused her of adultery with the doctor and berated her for not being obedient to him. Many of Emma's letters from this period have markings in red pencil, presumably made by John to highlight the sections of her letters that he found suspicious. Emma's responses to John's accusations are indignant, and she rebuts each of his points eloquently and emphatically ... '

William Gedney Photographs and Writings. 'From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed throughout the United States, in India, and in Europe. From the commerce of the street outside his Brooklyn apartment to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, from the indolent lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury to the sacred rituals of Hindu worshippers, Gedney was able to record the lives of others with remarkable clarity and poignancy. These photographs, along with his notebooks and writings, illuminate the rare vision of an intensely private man who, as a writer and photographer, was able to reveal the lives of others with striking sensitivity. '

Medicine and Madison Avenue. 'This website explores the complex relationships between modern medicine and modern advertising, or "Madison Avenue," as the latter is colloquially termed. The Medicine and Madison Avenue Project presents images and database information for approximately 600 health-related advertisements printed in newspapers and magazines. These ads illustrate the variety and evolution of marketing images from the 1910s through the 1950s ... '

Cosmic Steel Sculptures.

The Art of Juanita Marie Hull. Concrete sculptures, paintings.

Burning Man Adventures. Photo-essays and a giant kaleidoscope.

The Spiral Art Garden, Arizona.

The Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. I was lucky enough to go there in 2002.

Mandala: Buddhist Tantric Diagrams. Illustrations.

The World Mandala.

The Mandala Project. Art and peace; submit your own mandala.

Art as Life: The Ifugao Bu-lul. Art of an indigenous people of the Philippines.

Highlands Art of New Guinea. Masks, shields and figures. 'The island of New Guinea has long been visited by European traders seeking the plumes of the bird of paradise. As early as the late fifteenth century Europeans began sporadic visits, and in 1528 the Portuguese explorer Alvaro de Saavedra sailed along the entire north coast of New Guinea, naming it "Isla del Oro." No doubt he saw the vast mountain ranges in the distance and assumed, as everyone did for the next 400 years, that they were inhospitable and uninhabited ... '

Jay Goodrich. Nature photographer.

Lovin' Alaska: Finding the Meaning of Life. Travelogue with photos.

Modelled Human Skull from the New Hebrides.

Navajo Blanket.

1st January
Japanese Art in the Collection of the Tokyo National Museum. 'Here you can select a work for viewing from approximately 500 of our collection's most outstanding pieces, classified according to region and period, through the following steps. Click on the region or country to bring up the list of pieces from that area. Click on "Detail" for more information about a particular object. From the "Detail" page you can view enlarged images of the piece and in some cases images from different angles as well.'

Anatomy in the Renaissance. 'Italian Renaissance artists became anatomists by necessity, as they attempted to refine a more lifelike, sculptural portrayal of the human figure. Indeed, until about 1500-1510, their investigations surpassed much of the knowledge of anatomy that was taught at the universities. Opportunities for direct anatomical dissection were very restricted during the Renaissance. Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists states that the great Florentine sculptor, painter, and printmaker Antonio Pollaiuolo (1431/32-1498) was the "first master to skin many human bodies in order to investigate the muscles and understand the nude in a more modern way." Giving credence to Vasari's claim, Pollaiuolo's highly influential engraving of the Battle of Naked Men (17.50.99) displays the figures of the nude warriors with nearly flayed musculature, seen in fierce action poses and from various angles. The later innovators in the field, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Michelangelo (1475-1564), who are known to have undertaken detailed anatomical dissections at various points in their long careers, set a new standard in their portrayals of the human figure (Studies for the Libyan Sibyl, 24.197.2). The patrons commissioning art in this period also came to expect such anatomical mastery. In the words of the Florentine sculptor Baccio Bandinelli (1488-1560), who was trying to impress a duke to hire him, and who also appears to have run an academy for the teaching of young artists, "I will show you that I know how to dissect the brain, and also living men, as I have dissected dead ones to learn my art" (The Academy of Baccio Bandinelli, 17.50.16). Circumstantial evidence suggests that a number of other artists also attempted direct dissections. Some later great masters produced écorchés, studies of the peeled away or ripped apart forms of muscles, to explore their potential for purely artistic expression (Two Flayed Men and Skeletons, 49.95.181; Anatomical Studies of the Torso and Arms, 1996.75). The majority of artists, however, limited their investigations to the surface of the body-the appearance of its musculature, tendons, and bones as observed through the skin-and recorded such findings in exquisitely detailed studies after the live nude model (Standing Youth, 36.101.1) ... '

Europe and the Age of Exploration. Art history. 'The great period of discovery from the latter half of the fifteenth through the sixteenth centuries is generally referred to as the Age of Exploration. It is exemplified by the Genoese navigator, Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), who undertook a voyage to the New World under the auspices of the Spanish monarchs, Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) and Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516). The Museum's Jerkin (26.196) and Helmet (32.132) beautifully represent the type of clothing worn by the people of Spain during this period. (To learn more about Columbus's voyage to the Americas, link to Gold of the Indies.) The age is also recognized for the first English voyage around the world by Sir Francis Drake (ca. 1540-1596), who claimed the San Francisco Bay for Queen Elizabeth; Vasco da Gama's (ca. 1460-1524) voyage to India, making the Portuguese the first Europeans to sail to that country and leading to the exploration of the west coast of Africa; Bartolomeu Dias' (ca. 1450-1500) discovery of the Cape of Good Hope; and Ferdinand Magellan's (1480-1521) determined voyage to find a route through the Americas to the east which ultimately led to discovery of the passage known today as the Strait of Magellan ... '

Architecture in Renaissance Italy.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University. 'This site provides access to over 80 early manuscripts now in institutions associated with the University of Oxford. Please read the information about using this website. '
'Between 1995 and 2000 the Early Manuscripts Imaging Project created high resolution digital images from manuscripts which were selected as major treasures from their respective libraries, to create wider availability for originals which may otherwise be too fragile for handling. '

Yard Dog. Folk art of the American South.

National Parks Magazine. American conservation.

Justice Denied: The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted.

Indian Sculpture Gallery. 'Discover the ancient artistic heritage of India on this Virtual Gallery of Indian Sculpture. '

The Eskimo of Siberia, by Waldemar Bogoras, 1913.

Sounds of Light and Hope. 'Early on a summer afternoon, the central hallway of An-Nour wal Amal Association, in Cairo, Egypt, is quiet and empty. Shafts of sunlight, thickened slightly by dust, filter in from open doors on either side, leaving most of the corridor awash in dark shadows, a refuge from the blistering heat outside. It's Saturday, and almost time for a rehearsal of the Association's Orchestra. One by one, the musicians, women between the ages of sixteen and forty, drift in from school or from outside jobs. Most of them wear a headscarf or "veil," which has become the sign of conservative Islam. For all its modesty, however, their clothing reflects considerable care in the cut of the long dresses, the matching of colors, and the drape of the scarf. Despite the dimness, many of the women wear sunglasses ... '

Joaquin's Town. 'Each year the town of Three Rocks, a tiny settlement in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, hosts a pilgrimage to the death site of a 19th century bandit named Joaquin Murrieta.'
'Reviled by some, revered by others, Murrieta was a bandit who -- some say -- plagued the state of California in the 1850s. Rumor has it that he was killed by a bounty hunter just a few miles from the now fertile fields of Fresno County.'
'Today, Murrieta's life and his violent death are being transformed into a symbol of resistance. During the annual pilgrimage, the town of Three Rocks celebrates this idea, and momentarily escapes the monotonous drone of the modern agricultural system which surrounds it.'

Patrolling Despair. 'Waiting for the cover of darkness, a small group of migrants look down on the Tijuana river valley. Beyond these swamps and the vigilant eyes of the U.S. border patrol lies San Diego, and the possibility of a minimum-wage job ... '

Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Bath Postal Museum. British stamp history.

The Mekong. Photos of southeast Asia.

Vietnam. Photos.

Under New York. 'Looking beneath a city street is like peeking under your skin: the terrain upon which your well-being depends is so close, yet so full of secrets. Under New York City there are more than 32 million miles of utility lines, 22 tunnels in all and 443 miles of subway tracks. The gas mains and steam pipes would reach across the United States and back three times. Maps of this underworld are so tangled with diagrams of cables and tunnels and pipes and mains - there are 750,000 manholes alone - that they look as if someone spilled bottles of colored inks on a sheet of paper. A fair number of people still choose to live underground, and once a year a whole herd of elephants pass through. It's another world, one that's frightening and fascinating at the same time ... '

Alcohol. Photos of alcohol and its effects.

Reflections on a Mote of Dust. 'We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam ... '

Earth, Moon and Jupiter, as Seen from Mars.

Cheesecake and the Art of the Pin-up. 'This page is dedicated to the art of cheesecake and the pin-up. "Cheesecake", as I'm using the term here is a particular school of art, predominantly of the last hundred years. One that I think is often misunderstood. As I'm defining the term, it refers to pictures that are primarily of provocatively clad, sexually attractive women. The male equivalent would probably be "beefcake". These pictures generally focus only on the subject, with background and props kept to a minimum ... '

Bushido, the Soul of Japan. By Inazo Nitobe, 1905. An interesting read.

Mongolia Photo Gallery. All about Mongolia.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by Arthur Edward Waite, 1910.

The Prophecies of Nostradamus.

The Trojan Women by Euripides, translated into English rhyming verse.
'If ever wars are to be ended, the imagination of man must end them. To the common mind, in spite of all its horrors, there is still something glorious in war. Preachers have preached against it in vain; economists have argued against its wastefulness in vain. The imagination of a great poet alone can finally show to the imagination of the world that even the glories of war are an empty delusion. Euripides shows us, as the centre of his drama, women battered and broken by inconceivable torture - the widowed Hecuba, Andromache with her child dashed to death, Cassandra ravished and made mad - yet does he show that theirs are the unconquered and unconquerable spirits ... '

Bikini History 101. 'Most of what we know about fashion before the invention of photography we became familiar with through surviving art and written works. In a villa outside of Sicily's Piazza Armerina mosaics dating as far back as 200 A.D. were found showing about a dozen women at play, wearing what are unmistakably fur bikinis (and make-up) ... '

Blues Links. 'Blues is a feeling - the mother of all blues links collections.'

The National Enquirer. Inquiring minds need to know.

Stair-stepped Mound. 'This April 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a stair-stepped mound of sedimentary rock (right of center) on the floor of a large impact crater in western Arabia Terra near 11.0°N, 4.4°W. '

This weblog is exactly four years old today.