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30th September


The Boobiethon. Breasts for breast cancer relief. A fine cause, believe you me.

Namaste! A weblog about an American Christian family who spent time in Nepal. Great photos, great articles which struck a chord with me (more on this at NePlep).

Improbable Research. A weblog all about strange science, with a link to the the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Harlem 1900-1940. 'Harlem has long symbolized the culture of the African-American experience in 20th-century America. Its history has been well documented in photographs, literature and other media. '
'Harlem 1900-1940: An African-American Community , is a history education portfolio that has been produced by the Educational Programs unit of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library. The scope of this portfolio is Harlem from the years 1900-1940. Various elements of the history of the urban experience in Harlem's early days as the Cultural Capital of African Americans are represented here by graphic and photographic images from the Schomburg Center collection. Some of the subjects include the Schomburg Center itself, political movements, education, sports, social organizations, religion, the Harlem Hospital, theater, business and music ... '

Calligraphy in Hong Kong Subway Stations.

Famous Trials in American & World History. Socrates, Galileo, Oscar Wilder, the 'Monkey Trial', Salem, Sacco & Vanzetti, the Chicago 'Black Sox', OJ Simpson, the My Lai courts martial, the 'Chicago Seven', etc.

Creepy Crawlies. What is this life that lives on man? 'Peace and quiet? Maybe. Empty? Not. There may not be any other people around, but you are far from alone. Dare you find out more about who may be sharing the HOUSE with you? Or who may be sharing your BODY with you? ... '

The Tarot of the Bohemians, 1892. 'Tarot of the Bohemians, along with the Pictoral Key to the Tarot, constitute the core literature of 19th and early 20th century 'Tarotism'. However, PTK is to the TOB as arithmetic is to differential calculus. If you have no experience reading occult literature of this period, you may find yourself profoundly lost after the first couple of pages, staring at the abundant and profoundly esoteric tables, charts and diagrams, trying to get a clue as to what Papus is talking about. Papus is after a 'Theory of Everything', and finds evidence for it in the Tarot and a set of correspondences with everything from the tetragrammaton to numerology and astrology ... '

Japan Window. Great photoblog from Japan.

Vigee Le Brun: Self Portrait in a Straw Hat. 'Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun achieved extraordinary success as an artist. Her status and wealth were particularly unusual because she was a woman working in an overwhelmingly male art world - how did she do it? All March, we focused on her stunning 'Self Portrait in a Straw Hat' ... ' more.

Titian: Bacchus and Ariadne. 'Titian's 'Bacchus and Ariadne' was our focus painting in February, showing the electrifying moment when a god falls in love with a heartbroken mortal woman. Heaven and earth collide in an explosion of colour and shapes - we even see stars ... '
The story of Bacchus and Ariadne. That feckless Theseus.

Meccapixel. Photoblog from Brooklyn.

Quarlo. NYC photoblog.

Fred's Head. Fantastic photoblog. Take a look at the Vermont, botanical gardens and 'commute' photofeatures.

Funny Pics. A funny picture archive project.

Whatever, Whenever. Weblog.

Zora Neale Hurston. 'Zora Neale Hurston is one of the greatest writers/ anthropologists of the 20th century. she could write about the most ordinary things and make them infinitely gorgeous. in Zora Neale Hurston's books, the reader empathizes, loves, hates, and mourns, because Zora makes her characters so real and human it is impossible not to. she has the rare power to write fiction that is timeless and vibrant. '

The History of Somerset. A collection of interesting articles about rulers, castles, churches etc.

Sinosplice. Interesting weblog from China.

Art Images from Films. A nice selection, including several from 'Prisoner of the Mountains', a great Russian film made in the 1990s about a young Russian conscript held as a prisoner of war held by Chechens.
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29th September


Turner: Ulysses deriding Polyphemus - Homer's Odyssey. 'This scene from the action-packed journey of the Greek hero Ulysses was our focus during Museums and Galleries month. Having blinded and outwitted the one-eyed giant Polyphemus, Ulysses makes his get-away in a splendid galleon. Turner shows him as a tiny figure in red on the upper deck, taunting the defeated giant who appears almost as a huge cloud formation, arm raised to hurl rocks at the ship. But does Turner reserve the real drama for his depiction of the sunrise?'
Greek myths and art.

Ingenious. 'Whereas the consequences of modern science and technology dominate our lives and thoughts, we have been slow to incorporate scientific concepts into our culture. We often resent the way science challenges our deeply-held assumptions and beliefs. Increasingly, people are being asked to question the judgment of scientists on issues ranging from nuclear power to GM foods. Will science continue to be the cultural 'superpower' in Western society? The collections of the Science Museum include many items used to teach and symbolise science, from the orrery to the chemistry set. We look to science for the solutions to our problems, yet have doubts about the answers scientists give us. Many people prefer to put their trust in religion or a love of nature. Concepts incompatible with mainstream science  astrology, homeopathy, even alchemy  still attract widespread support. The tensions of our relationship with science are revealed by popular films, which either portray scientists as heroes or madmen. In response to this growing distrust, scientists have sought to explain and justify their activities in simple terms...'

Blogumentary. 'My choice of weapons = this blog and a video camera. I am the media. We are the media. The revolution will be blogged. '

The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum. 'Douglas Dillon (19092003), former chairman of the Metropolitan Museum's Board of Trustees, became involved with Asian art out of his respect for Asia's importance in world affairs and the need to represent its cultures at the Metropolitan in a comprehensive manner. This exhibition, comprising more than 50 masterworks of Chinese painting acquired through the generosity of Mr. Dillon and The Dillon Fund, as well as several noteworthy gifts presented in his honor or memory, highlights his lasting contribution to the field of Chinese art. Spanning more than 1,000 years of Chinese painting, from the 8th to the 18th century, the exhibition constitutes a compelling survey of all the major schools and trends of the last four dynasties. '
Images.

Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan. Images here.

Chez John. A fine blog.

Collision Detection. 'I'm Clive Thompson, a writer on politics, technology, and culture. This blog collects weird research I'm running into, and musings thereon. '

Sluggy Freelance. Online comics.

Bobbins. 'Bobbins was the comic I drew from October 1998 to May 2002, when the top of my head came off like the lid of some wacky volcanic jar. A lot of people enjoyed it and if you're discovering it today, I hope you glean a crumb of comfort from its homespun tales.'

Francisco de Zurbarán: Saint Margaret of Antioch. 'Saint Margaret of Antioch was a strong-willed woman. She was a legendary 4th-century martyr, who was imprisoned for refusing to marry the prefect of Antioch. Swallowed whole by a satanic dragon, she used her holy cross to break free from the monster's belly. Since she emerged unharmed, she became the patron saint of women in labour. Francisco de Zurbarán's painting shows Saint Margaret as a determined character who has already tamed the snarling dragon by her feet.'

Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age.

Holbein: The Ambassadors. 'Resplendent in fabulous furs and silks, two men lean casually on a set of shelves laden with objects and instruments. Who are they, and why was this huge portrait of them painted? What do they tell us about themselves, their achievements and their ambitions? And just what is the strange shape that seems to float in the space at the front of the picture? '
More...

Candi. Online comic.

Bruno. Online comic.

Leo Szilard Online. 'Welcome to the world of physicist, biophysicist, and "scientist of conscience" Leo Szilard (1898-1964). How do you say it? Say SIL-ahrd ...'

Dawn of the Floating World. 'The 'floating world' (ukiyo) was the world of transient pleasure-seeking in Japanese cities, particularly Edo (modern Tokyo) after the shogun's new capital was rebuilt following the great fire of 1657. A new type of stylish imagery-'pictures of the floating world' (ukiyo-e)-quickly evolved that captured and stimulated the buoyant cultural self-confidence of the 'townsman' (chonin) class of merchants and artisans ...'

Return of the Buddha: The Qingzhou Discoveries.

Environment Cartoons by Chris Madden.

Privacy Cartoons by Chris Slane.

The Vatican and the Sex Scandal. Satirical cartoons.
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28th September


Oliver Byrne's Euclid. 'An unusual and attractive edition of Euclid was published in 1847 in England, edited by an otherwise unknown mathematician named Oliver Byrne. It covers the first 6 books of Euclid, which range through most of elementary plane geometry and the theory of proportions. What distinguishes Byrne's edition is that he attempts to present Euclid's proofs in terms of pictures, using as little text - and in particular as few labels - as possible. What makes the book especially striking is his use of colour ... '

The Sikh Cyber-Museum. History, people, places, gallery.

Frederic Remington: The Color of Night.
'Frederic Remington (1861-1909) has long been celebrated as one of the most gifted interpreters of the American West. Initially, his western images appeared as illustrations in popular journals. As he matured, however, Remington turned his attention away from illustration, concentrating instead on painting and sculpture. About 1900 he began a series of paintings that took as their subject the color of night. Before his premature death in 1909 at age forty-eight, Remington completed more than seventy paintings in which he explored the technical and aesthetic difficulties of painting darkness. '
'Surprisingly, Remington's nocturnes are filled with color and light- moonlight, firelight, and candlelight. These complex paintings testify to the artist's interest in modern technological innovations, including flash photography and the advent of electricity, which was rapidly transforming the character of night. The paintings are also elegiac, for they reflect Remington's lament that the West he had known as a young man had, by the turn of the century, largely disappeared. Although immediately recognized as extraordinary works, Remington's late nocturnes have never before been the subject of an exhibition. Frederic Remington: The Color of Night gathers together for the first time the finest of these mysterious, often deeply personal paintings. '

Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

America Bashing. Satirical cartoons by French-born, Thailand-resident cartoonist Stephane Peray. These made me laugh out loud. (I was also tickled by the comments in the associated Metafilter thread).

Degas: Beach Scene. 'This is a picture filled with wonderful observations of beach activity: people hugging towels around themselves for warmth, and standing gingerly at the water's edge. But Degas boasted that he'd created this convincing beach scene by spreading his jacket on the floor of his studio, and carefully posing paid models. Why did he choose to do this, when his fellow artists were eagerly painting out of doors? Find out more about Degas' aims and working practices in our Special Online Feature.'

Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Lake Keitele. 'The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela made a hauntingly beautiful painting of silvery light on the waters of Lake Keitele, where he spent the summer of 1904. It draws on ancient poems about the mythic origins of Finland, as well as using the silent emptiness of the landscape itself to full evocative effect.'

The Armed Humanist. Aka dash_slot of Metafilter.

Scary Cheney. Satirical cartoons.

Arts of Lanna. 'Arts of Lanna presents fine antiques and crafts from Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and India. We offer seven years of living in Asia and collecting "Sacred Arts" to our scholar-collector clients. '

Indonesian Textile Arts. 'We offer a selection of fine Indonesian textiles. Connoisseurs of the Indonesian textile arts know the spell these rich earthy colors and scintillating patterns can cast. '

Astromeeting. Astronomy pix.

The Drudge Retort.

Raw Story. 'Liberal news with an edge.'

My First Stories: America 1971-75. Photography.

The Wall. Photographs of Israel's 'security wall' and the surrounding area.
' "For security reasons" Jusuf Ramzi has lost about 40 dunums of his land. I met him in his truncated orchard removing the weeds from a newly planted citrus tree, already in the shadow of the 8 meter high concrete wall which has transformed the town of Qalqilya into a veritable prison. The residents of Qalqylia (40,000 pop.) can come into and leave this agricultural community through only one point which is controlled by the Israeli military. The old man explained to me that not only had a considerable amount of land been confiscated (40% according to the Palestinian NGO Pengon) but also most of the artesian wells. Indeed, Qalqilya is considered to possess the largest amount of ground waters in the western region of the West Bank. "Once you lose control of the water...then you lose the land." The battle for water has never been far behind the battle for land in this part of the world ... '

The Face of Texas. Photography and interesting stories.

Spa Journeys. 'Linda Troeller, the photographer for this book, first visited a spa twenty years ago. "I was going through this awful breakup and I went to Mexico to do black-and-white photography -- I was a student of Ansel Adams and that was what all the art photographers were doing at the time," she says. Once there, Linda's mind was still centered on her relationship, trying to fathom why it wasn't working. "I met the great surrealist painter Leonora Carrington and she said to me, 'You can't be sad in Mexico. You should try some magic mushrooms or visit some hot spring.'" Linda decided to pass on the mushrooms, but she did go to a spa in Ixtapan, Mexico. There a local Indian healer led her to a treatment room in which little jars of mud lined the walls. The healer told her to cover her body with the mud. "It will draw all your sins from you," she said. "And the water from the hot springs will wash them all away." ... '

New York in the 70s. Photography.
'Dirty, dangerous, and destitute. This was New York City in the 1970s. The 1960s were not yet over, and war still raged in Viet Nam, fueling resentment against the government. Nixon and the Watergate scandal created even more resentment, cynicism, and skepticism. Economically, stagnation coupled with inflation created a sense of malaise. The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 delivered another blow to the U.S. economy, and brought the misery of long lines to buy gasoline. Conditions in Harlem and Bed-Stuy were horrendous, with abandoned buildings and widespread poverty. The subways were covered everywhere with ugly graffiti and they were unreliable. It seemed as if the entire infrastructure was in decay. Political corruption, sloppy accounting, and the cost of the war were killing the city. Times Square, the crossroads of the world, was seedy and sleazy. Pimps, hookers, and drug dealers owned the night there. Crime was rampant, and the police were powerless to stop it. Random killings by the "Son of Sam" made New Yorkers even more fearful. The parks were in decay, with and litter and bare lawns, and it was home to muggers and rapists. When the proud City of New York had to beg the Federal Government for a financial bail-out, the President said no. The Daily News headline said it all: "Ford to City - Drop Dead." ... '

Remembering Ronald Reagan. Photography.
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27th September


African Tears. Letters from Zimbabwe.

Gado. Editorial cartoonist from Kenya.

Wizna, Poland. In memory of a Jewish shtetl.

The I Ching, translated by James Legge, 1899. Illustrated. 'An I Ching interpretation is performed by making six binary decisions (a hexagram). This is called 'casting the I Ching'. These are written down as a stack of six solid or broken lines. This was traditionally done either by tossing yarrow stalks or coins, although there is no reason why the hexagrams can't be generated by some other means (such as a computer program).'

Notebook: Africa. Infrequently updated, but a fascinating archive of feature articles. The Infamous Monty Hall Problem.
Highly fiendish - play and enjoy.

Mandela Cartoons. Cartoon strip from South Africa. Not updated in a while but well worth a browse.

Vermeer in Washington. Great Art. 'The exhibition "Johannes Vermeer", on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. November 12, 1995 through February 11, 1996 before moving to The Hague's Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, was the first ever exclusively dedicated to the paintings of the celebrated seventeenth-century master of Delft. This show brought together twenty- three of the thirty-six works attributed to Vermeer, presenting a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a thorough survey of his stunning work ... '

Marcus Garvey. 'He was both a visionary and a manipulator, a brilliant orator and a pompous autocrat. In just ten years following his emigration to the United States as a laborer in 1917, Marcus Garvey rose to lead the largest black organization in history, was taken to prison in handcuffs, and was eventually deported. Marcus Garvey is the dramatic story of the rise and fall of an African American leader who influenced politics and culture around the world.'

IranFilter. Group weblog about Iranian politics and culture (along the same lines as Metafilter and Monkeyfilter). Many great posts.

Magic Square.

Quirky Japan.

Welsh Castles of Edward I.

Books, Printers and the Information Revolution in Early Modern Europe. 'The invention in the mid-fifteenth century of a practical method for mechanically reproducing books was a transforming event in western society. On one level, printing changed the physical and intellectual structure of the book, making its contents and circumstances of production more readily apparent to the reader than had been true when all books were manuscripts and most readers were specialists. On a deeper level, the immense increase in the number of books that printing made possible altered the intellectual, political and religious climate of Europe. Because of printing, progressively wider and wider circles of people gained access to books and the ideas they expounded about the human past and present, about peoples of other lands, and about the natural and metaphysical worlds ... '

Border Cultures: Conjunto Music. 'The music of the Mexico/United States border region is one of the most vibrant expressions of this unique culture. The links on this page provide starting points for learning about the conjunto musical style, its history, cultural significance, and artistry,;'

Booming Out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York.

Books That Were New When We Were New: An Exhibit Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Founding of the Florida State University. 'In putting together this exhibit, we selected books from the Florida State University Libraries' collections published in 1851, the year of the legislative act that established the Seminary West of the Suwannee. In January of 1851, four schools advertised for students in the Tallahassee paper The Floridian: the Leon Female Academy, the Quincy Male and Female Academy, the Atheneum Classical Institute at Bradford, and Tallahassee High School. From territorial days until 1857 when the West Florida Seminary was finally located in Tallahassee, a series of private schools, tutors, and governesses educated the local white children. Schools for boys came and went until 1850, when the City Council established a Free School for the education of boys. The Free School evolved into the Florida Institute whose lands and buildings were deeded to the State as part of the arrangement for the establishement of the West Florida Seminary at Tallahassee. The education of girls during the same period was more stable due to the existence of the Leon Female Academy which was founded in 1844 and absorbed by the Seminary in 1858, when instruction was opened to girls as well as boys. In that year, the City Council agreed to pay $6.26 per quarter for every child in the city over the age of seven to be taught at the Seminary. The education offered was typical of the times. For boys, classes in mathematics, the classics, Greek and Latin, natural history (the biological sciences) and natural philosophy (the physical sciences), history, English (which included rhetoric, composition, declamation, and literature), and logic. For girls, a modern language (generally French), arithmetic, English, history, piano, and the ornamental arts (drawing, painting, needlework, and wax work) ... '

Heroes and Killers of the 20th Century. One set of opinions.
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25th September


New blog :- plep's puzzles. Just a bit of fun. I will try and update weekly as I used to do this sort of thing on a MUD I used to frequent. The current puzzle is an old one (I'm sure you could find the answer if you searched the Internet, and I won't pretend to make these all up by myself, although I may use some of the better ones I created for the MUD).

Also - NePlep has been updated. If time allows, I may turn this into a sort of political and cultural blog about Nepal.

The Rational Enquirer.

Yedwabne, Poland: History and Memorial Book. 'This book is dedicated entirely to the remembrance of the brethren of our town, Yedwabne. '
'One of the main goals in publishing it, is to acquaint our "landsleit", their children and friends with the horrible facts of wholesale murder, immolation, and slaughter committed by the Nazis and Poles against our sisters and brothers ... '

Chinese Poems. 'This site presents Chinese, pinyin and English texts of poems by some of the greatest Chinese poets. Most of the featured authors are from the Tang dynasty, when culture in China was at its peak, but writers from other periods are also included.'

Hugo Brehme: Postcards from Mexico. 'German photographer Hugo Brehme is considered one of the outstanding photographers of Mexico. He was born in Germany in 1882 and died in Mexico in 1954. For over 40 years Brehme celebrated Mexico's natural beauty in his scenic landscapes. More importantly, he portrayed with considerable sensitivity and artistry the rich ethnic mixture of the Mexican people and their built environment -- a testimony to the converging of diverse cultures and influences in an intriguing country that became his own.'

The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s: An Oral History Project. 'The 1930s saw the flowering of a unique mathematical community at Princeton University with the construction of a luxurious new building Fine Hall (now Jones Hall) dedicated to the mathematician and Dean Harry Fine and designed to facilitate a real community of mathematicians engaged in research and closely linked with mathematical physicists in the attached Palmer physics laboratory to which it was connected and shared a joint math-physics library. This community was unlike any other in America before that time and perhaps afterwards, and had important consequences for American mathematics. With the planning and founding of the Institute for Advanced Study at the beginning of the decade, originally having only a mathematics department, which then shared Fine Hall with the university mathematics department as a single institute during the period 1933 to 1939, starting with three of the university's leading mathematicians joined by Einstein and Gödel and attracting many visitors, a very exciting environment developed which many students and faculty were loath to leave ... '

Lao Tzu's Tao and Wu Wei, 1919. 'Why post yet another translation of the Tao te Ching? This one is by Dwight Goddard, the author of A Buddhist Bible, and it is a very transparent and readable version. This translation was the predecessor of one which Goddard slipped into later editions of the Buddhist Bible, one of the few explicitly non-Buddhist texts in that collection. The versions of the Tao te Ching already online are by 19th century scholars who, although very capable, tend to be a bit pedantic. The concepts of Taoism are very lucid, and wrapping them in too much verbiage, as Legge et al did, add an unneeded layer of obscurity. Goddard, who was a Zen Buddhist and studied eastern philosophy extensively, comes much closer to the essence of the text, even if he occasionally moves portions of it around. This book also includes a translation of an extended essay by Henri Borel on Taoist philosophy and aesthetics.'

On Lesotho. A weblog about the southern African nation.

Free Quonsar! Amusing and scatological.

Cheek. Great weblog.

Space Waitress Gate A.
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