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27th December

The illustration and cartooning weblog.

The Empire That Was Russia: The Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record Recreated.
'The photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) offer a vivid portrait of a lost world--the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population. '
'In the early 1900s Prokudin-Gorskii formulated an ambitious plan for a photographic survey of the Russian Empire that won the support of Tsar Nicholas II. Between 1909-1912, and again in 1915, he completed surveys of eleven regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation...'

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: Antique Atlases.
Old North American, world, celestial, and school atlases. Great collection.

Snowflakes and Snow Crystals.
'This site is all about snow crystals and snowflakes -- what they are, where they come from, and just how these remarkably complex and beautiful structures are created, quite literally, out of thin air.'

Vintage Cookbooks.
'Pictures of vintage cookbook covers and page illustrations, from wacky to wonderful.'

The Wartime Forties in Print.
'Celebrating the fabulous illustrators (and graphic designers) of the 1940s, and the illustrations and print design they created in (circa wartime) 1940s.'

The Jazz Age in Print (20s-30s).
'Celebrating the fabulous jazz-age illustrators and (graphic designers) and the illustrations and print design they created in the 1920s and 1930s.'

The Red Menace - Echoes of Communism & Cold War Fears.
'Anti-communist propaganda in posters and advertisements, products, pulp fiction book covers and jackets depicting communist and socialist themes (including Soviet-era espionage and spy novels), Soviet-era ephemera, from behind the Iron Curtain, Czechoslovakia, etc....'

Spiral Mandala.
Many, many excellent photographs of spirals.

The Ngadjonji.
History and culture of a Queensland rainforest tribe.

Bhakti - Pictorial Exhibition of Devotion in India.
Saints and gurus.

Germans from Russia.
Empress Catherine the Great of Russia invited Germans to settle the Volga basin in the 18th century; subsequently many of these 'Volga Germans' from Russia migrated again to North America. This is their story. There's also a nice old photo gallery.

The Pacific Northwest Olympic Peninsula Community Museum.
'A web-based museum showcasing aspects of the rich history and culture of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula communities.' Old photos and other good things.

The Gauss Rifle.
'This very simple toy uses a magnetic chain reaction to launch a steel marble at a target at high speed. The toy is very simple to build, going together in minutes, and is very simple to understand and explain, and yet fascinating to watch and to use. '

Panoramic Map of New York.
Circa 1939.

Map of the Internet.

Soviet Propaganda Carpets.
'Want to see how carpets looked in Soviet homes? Here they are, right from the Soviet Museum...'

Gardens in a Petri Dish.
Fun with fungus.

Tokyo Twilight.
Stunning photographs of the metropolis.

Scenic Mementos of Japan.
'In this electronic exhibition, images of scenes from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century Japan are digitized and linked together by region, period, and selected topics. It will be enable you to retrace the memories of Japanese scenes.'

Brown Sun Bubbling.

World War I Sheet Music.

'1. write two sentences. 2. create tension between them. 3. define "tension" any way you want. '

In Pictures: Robot Menagerie, Robot Lab.
'Japan is at the forefront of robotics research. Engineers in the country have created hundreds of robots for everything from entertainment to mine clearance...'

Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy.
'During the late 1920s, early 1930s, and 1990s the Library of Congress acquired a large collection of Arabic script calligraphy sheets. This presentation exhibits 355 Arabic calligraphy sheets, ranging from the 9th to the 19th centuries...'
'... Calligraphy was a skill to be mastered, and it was heavily used to express religious sentiment and many other aspects of personal and cultural life. This collection showcases stunning examples of calligraphic art.'

General Book of the Tarot.
(1930) 'There have been numerous attempts to construct systems of correspondence between the Tarot and the Sephiroth of the Kabbalah. Another fertile ground for this activity is to try to match the Tarot cards with astrology. This book was one of the first to try to make this connection. '

Presidents as Poets.
'Whether it be the anguished love poems of a youthful George Washington, the religious poetry of John Quincy Adams, the melancholy verse of Abraham Lincoln, or the sturdy, plainspoken poems of Jimmy Carter, many presidents of the United States have turned to poetry at certain points in their lives as an outlet for their feelings and thoughts, or to explore the resources of the English language. Presidents as Poets: Poetry Written by United States Presidents is a guide to the poetic endeavors of U.S. presidents.'

The Diaries of John Quincy Adams.
'This website presents images of the 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams' diary in the Adams Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Adams began keeping his diary, more than 14,000 pages, in 1779 at the age of twelve and continued until shortly before his death in 1848.'

The 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Cold War archives.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
'Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a commanding figure in the cultural life of nineteenth-century America. Born in Portland, Maine, in 1807, he became a national literary figure by the 1850s, and a world- famous personality by the time of his death in 1882...'

'How did people describe "electric" experiences before electricity?'

21st December

Voyager's Golden Record.
Messages to space.
'The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth ... Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages...'

Her Secret Past - So Dainty, Perky and Fresh!
1950s fashion advertising for women.
'How ever did she get her skin so clear, her bust so lifted (and pointy), her scent so fresh, her waist so exquisitely slim, her skin so hairless, her feet so corn-free? '
'The most refined woman of the past knew how important the practice of complete hygiene was to her chances of attracting and maintaining that perfect husband in order to live forever in pure marital bliss.'

His Secret Past - So Powerful, Potent and Popular!
1950s fashion advertising for men.
'How does he attain that perfect he-man voice and body, stay rugged or smooth, so slender and/or buff? How ever does he perfect his many roles as man's man, dream date, husband, father and provider? How ever does he do it?'

Moscow 1927.
Black and white photographs.

Moscow Decorated for Soviet Holidays, 1932.
'During Soviet holidays many Russian cities were decorated with different Soviet propaganda stuff.'

A Child's Experience: My Experience of the Atomic Bomb.
By Hiroshima survivor Tadataka Kuribayashi.

The Cliff House Project.
A fantastic house.
'The goal of this website is to preserve the visual imagery of Adolph Sutro's Victorian Cliff House. It was neither the first structure nor the last to carry the name of Cliff House, but it was certainly the most grand. Sadly, its existence was short-lived. It was constructed in 1896 and, like so many wooden structures of that era, burned completely to the ground in September of 1907. '

John Leech Cartoon Archives 1841-64.
'From the first Punch magazine in 1841 until his death in the 1864 John Leech's cartoons were a major feature. This is an online archive already containing over 600 chosen cartoons of his from Punch over the period ... The cartoons are very interesting, and cover all sorts of interesting historical events including the Great Exhibition, the Crimean War, the Chartist Movement, changing fashion and changing attitudes to class, servants and women. '

Vintage Christmas Recipes.

'There are three glasses on the table - 3, 5, and 8 oz. The first two are empty, the last contains 8 oz of water. By pouring water from one glass to another make at least one of them contain exactly 4 oz of water.'

Pythagora Switch.
Complicated and fun devices.

'How long would it take for the Empire State Building to vanish without a trace?'

'What was my grandmother's childhood like?'

Why do junior doctors work so many hours?

Vintage Sheet Music.
'Novelty, Parlor songs (or Parlour music), American Popular Song (as well as other countries), Newspaper supplements with sheet music, Music of "Tin Pan Alley," etc. The majority of which should be late 1800s through the 1950s.'

Atlas of Japanese Festivals.
'Japan was traditionally an agrarian society centered on the cultivation of rice and other crops. People lived by the rhythm of the seasons, and the harvest was a major landmark in farm life. Village festivals gave farming families the chance to take time out from work and enjoy themselves for a while. At some temples and shrines, festivals go back several hundred years. '

Apollo 17 Panorama.
An astronaut's image of the barren Moon.

Pop-Up and Movable Books: A Tour through Their History.

Portraits of Eminent Citizens of Mysore State.
'King of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (a.k.a Mummadi Krishnaraj Wodeyar), during his prosperous rule of the Mysore State during the 19th century, commissioned a large project to document the portraits of some of the most eminent citizens of his kingdom. This included poets, athletes, musicians, scholars, and accomplished artists. '

11 Hour Star Trails.
'Fix your camera to a tripod, lock the shutter open, and you can make an image of star trails - graceful concentric arcs traced by the stars as planet Earth rotates on its axis. '

Car Plates from Latvia.

Del Corazon!
Latino voices in American art.

Birthday Cakes of the Past.

Haiku Movie Reviews.
2001: A Space Odyssey - 'Great special effects, / without help from computers! / (Except HAL, of course.)'

In Pictures: Botswana's Bushmen.
'Botswana's San people, known as bushmen, have won the legal fight against their eviction from a game reserve in the Kalahari, their ancestral homeland for more than 20,000 years.'

Gerald and Betty Ford Historical Photographs 1884-1974.
'The primary focus of the collection is President and Mrs. Ford's lives prior to their move into the White House. Included are photographs covering his childhood, high school and college years, service in World War II, and homes in which he lived. Another facet of the collection is early photographs of Betty Ford's family and her early life. '

Dear Bess: Love Letters from the President.
Collection of personal letters between Harry and Bess Truman.

Manx Scenes.
Landscape photographs of the Isle of Man.

Christmas Trees.

Canterbury Tales.
'These letters spell out the first seven lines of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. They were photographed in order, west to east, as I walked the Pilgrims' Way from Winchester to Canterbury, 28 July-6 August 2006. '

Vintage Pulp Fiction Covers.

Unfortunate Books and Records.

Pictures I've Take Of Superstars.
Not me, but him!

Intimate strangers.
'There are people you see every day but never meet. Urban living is full of these close encounters where we never make contact...'

14th December

Urban Ruins in Japan.

Disfarmer: Black and White Photographs of Rural America in the 1940s.
'In the small mountain town of Heber Springs, the Arkansas artist known as Disfarmer captured the lives and emotions of the people of rural America between 1939-1945. Critics have hailed Disfarmer's remarkable black and white portraits as "a work of artistic genius" and "a classical episode in the history of American photography." ...'

Czech Book Covers of the 1920s and 1930s.

Stoolball History.
'The game of stoolball, over 500 years old, is the forerunner of cricket. It's played with similar equipment on any grass area with a 90 yard diameter boundary...'

Presidential Playing Cards.

The Ghosts of Shanghai.
'A vibrant Jewish community appeared on the banks of the Huangpu River in old Shanghai, for a brief flash in history. Now scholars and former refugees of this amazing enclave are trying to make sense of it all...'

Two dimensional worlds.
'How does gravity curve space? Well, imagine that the world is two dimensional, like a rubber sheet..." '
'Sure, you've heard that before. But have you really thought about life on that two dimensional sheet, or wondered where that analogy came from? When I was 8 years old an older cousin of mine introduced me to Flatland and Sphereland, and I was hooked. Of course, at the time, I missed the satire and was merely enthralled by the animate polygons, but it was a start....'
The illustrated 'Flatland'.

Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s.
'Political, economic, and social turmoil shaped Germany's short-lived Weimar Republic (1919–1933). These pivotal years also witnessed an incredibly creative period in German literature, art, music, film, theater, and architecture...'

Dennis Kunkel Scientific Photography through the Microscope.
Images of microscopic things.

1960s Concert Posters & Tickets.

Images from the Prohibition Era: 1890s-1933.

The Ayatollah's Book of Etiquette.
'From "A Clarification of Questions," by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, published in 1985 by the Westview Press. Khomeini's treatise sets out his position on 3,000 questions of everyday life. Translated by J. Borujerdi...'
'... 112. Industrial alcohol used for painting doors, tables, chairs, etc., is clean if one does not know it was made of something inebriating...'

Presidential Campaign Memorabilia.
'This small exhibit in the lobby of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum features political pins and other political memorabilia almost exclusively from the Museum's collection. Although the entire exhibit is housed in one case, it features rare and special items from campaigns from Abraham Lincoln to Al Gore and George W. Bush. '

Pink Christmas.
Thanks, iconomy!

The 1984/85 Miners' Strike.
A photographic presentation. Via the Cartoonist.

Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.
Photographs of American life from around the middle of the twentieth century.
'Charles Weever Cushman, amateur photographer and Indiana University alumnus, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater. The photographs in this collection bridge a thirty-two year span from 1938 to 1969, during which time he extensively documented the United States as well as other countries.'

Cartoon America: A Library of Congress Exhibition.

Designs for Democracy.
American government advertising, propaganda, etc.
'Over the course of its history, the U. S. Government has prepared, commissioned, received, or approved designs for millions of objects. From bridges to ships, from forts to flags, from monuments to costumes, the Federal Government has had a hand in the artistic and utilitarian outcome of myriad projects. These designs were created in fulfillment of a wide range of Federal policies and programs. Each represents the Government`s need for a rendering of an object...'

Russian Collection - Passport Application Album.
'At the beginning of the 20th century Hawaii sugar plantation owners began to recruit laborers of European background. Former Secretary of the Territory of Hawaii and Director of the Bureau of Immigration, Alatau L.C. Atkinson, and a somewhat questionable Russian entrepreneur A. V. Perelestrous, traveled to Harbin, Manchuria to recruit Russian workers, primarily from the area around Vladivostok. Perhaps as many as 2,000 Russians and Ukrainians came to Hawaii...'
'... The album contains the passport applications for 165 people who wished to return to their native country. Every person was required to submit a photograph, and details on where they were born and when, what work they did in Russia, year and name of ship on which they came to Hawaii, what work they did here, how many children, and their religion.'

Memphis, Tennessee: Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.
'I've lived in Tennessee all of my life and had never seen the western half of the state. So, last week I set out to fix that with a road trip to Memphis ... Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll, and Elvis's Graceland... at least that what the brochure said...'

Digital Sheet Music Collection.
'The University of Colorado at Boulder Music Library has a large sheet music collection with approximately 150,000 items including examples from the late 18th through the 20th centuries. This web site provides access to digital versions of some of the categories of sheet music within our physical collections, a new avenue to this interesting genre. The sheet music digitized and presented here was originally published between 1890 and 1922. '

The Daily Bleed.
Alternative historical vignettes.

The Cornell Daily Sun Digitisation Project.
Old issues of Cornell University's daily newspaper, online.

Star Trails at 19,000 Feet.
'In myth, Atlas holds up the heavens, but in this stunning view a mountain appears to serve as the southern night sky pivots around a snowy peak. '

20 Drawings.
A professional cartoonist draws family and friends.

Imagine planting a line running 100 paces east. Then from the end of that line, plant a line 100 paces north, then 100 west, 98 south, 98 east, 96 north, 96 west, and so on. This makes a square spiral path 2 paces wide. How long is the path?

'On December 5th, a Croatian man named Nico awoke to find a map his girlfriend had left him featuring a specific path she wanted him to take to work; along the way he saw stencils, paint, aerosol, collage wheat pastes & other art she had laid out in the pre-dawn hours letting him know how much she loved him. The sights Nico saw, in order, are collected here.'

Road Trip 2K6.
'My photographic adventure spanning five weeks and 16,148 miles of the Western United States.'

What is this mystery object?

7th December

The Williamson Tunnels.
'Welcome to the fascinating world of the Williamson tunnels - a strange underground kingdom which has lain beneath the city of Liverpool in north-west England since the early 1800s.'
'... The purpose of their construction is not known with any certainty. Theories range from pure philanthropy, offering work to the unemployed of the district, to religous extremism, the tunnels being an underground haven from a predicted Armageddon.'

19th Century Bavarian Maps.

Cover Art from 'American Girl' Magazine 1927-38.

Mildred's House of Signage.
A fine selection of eccentric signs.

Vintage Christmas 1945-70.

Barcelona Street Graffiti.

The Meguro Parasite Museum.
'In the city of Meguro in Tokyo there is a place called the Kiseichuu Hakubutsukan or in English...'

Slang of the 1920s.
'The twenties were the first decade to emphasize youth culture over the older generations, and the flapper sub-culture had a tremendous influence on main stream America; many new words and phrases were coined by these liberated women. Many of these are still used today!'

Stanislav Petrov.
'... is a retired Russian Strategic Rocket Forces lieutenant colonel who, on September 26, 1983, averted a potential nuclear war by refusing to believe that the United States had launched missiles against the Soviet Union, despite the indications given by his computerized early warning systems... The Soviet computer reports were later shown to have been in error, and Petrov is credited with preventing World War III and the devastation of much of the Earth by nuclear weapons. '

Veterans' Day Parade, 5th Avenue, NYC, November 2005.

Living in Three Centuries.
'101 years ago, his family came to America on a boat; he remembers his mother negotiating for food for his family and waving at the Statue of Liberty...'
Photographs of the very old.

The Wood Book.
'Martinus Houttuyn (1720-1798) was trained in medicine but established his own printing firm in his native Holland to publish natural history books.'
'In 1773 the first 6 plates of 'Houtkunde'* ['A representation of inland and foreign wood'] were released as an unbound book with hand coloured prints.'
'Houttuyn combined with the printer JC Sepp and ultimately 106 illustration plates were made and released in book form accompanied by their species and common names in english, dutch, german, french and latin...'

A Fine, Useful Booklet and Instruction in the Art of Measurement.
'In 1525, Albrecht Dürer published his manual Underweysung der Messung ('Instruction in Measurement'), a pioneering German-language treatise on geometry and perspective. Dürer's target audience were young, well-educated artists, but, as the use of perspective became more widespread, a need arose to instruct less well-educated artisans in the rudiments of the technique. The incipient market for a Persepective for Dummies was recognised by one Hieronymus Rodler, who, in 1531 published Eyn schön nützlich büchlin und underweisung der kunst des Messens, ('A Fine, Useful Booklet and Instruction in the Art of Measurement')...'

Space Art in Children's Books 1950s-1970s.
'With the discoveries by Robert Goddard and Hermann Oberth of liquid-fueled rockets in the 1930's and the use of V-2 rockets in the 1940's, rocket travel went from science fiction to science fact in the public's mind. In post-World War II America anything seemed possible, even going to the Moon! There appeared in 1949, a book The Conquest of Space , which led to a new trend in children's books...'

Microbes in the Environment.
'Microbes are everywhere, sometimes more apparent than others. This group is for everyone fascinated by microbes and their mesmerizing and colorful features, a way to see microbes without a microscope (at 1X magnification!) and appreciate their role in the environment.'

Antique Farm Tools.
'Peter Charles Dorrington collected and restored over 750 antique farm tools between 1985 and 2001. Most of these tools were agricultural hand implements and fenland tools that were used in England, Wales and Scotland, dating from about 1600 to 1940, for example: "chaff cutters", "flails", scythes", "dibbers" and "breast ploughs". Photographs of roughly half of the tools that are still in the collection are included here.'

History of the Peace Symbol.

The Soviet Photomontage 1917-53.
Soviet photo art.

Signs around Iran.
'I just came back from Iran and I'm sending you photos of funny, interesting, odd, and random "signs" I saw all around the country.'

Photographing History: Fred J. Maroon and the Nixon Years, 1970-74.
Photographs of Richard Nixon's presidency.

Images of Islamic Calligraphy and Sacred Sites.

A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico.
'The art and artifacts in this exhibition present a sampler of Puerto Rico's history and culture over centuries. They are part of a vast collection created by Teodoro Vidal ... who began a personal quest in the 1950s to document the people, history, and culture of Puerto Rico from the 1700s to the present. '

Japanese Road Signs.

Everything I Learned at MIT.
'One day I decided to scan in the notes from all the courses/classes I took at MIT, in my four years there (1995-1999). Perhaps some of them will be of use to you?'
A scientist's notes on electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, and chemistry.

The Chicago Manual of Style.
Tips on good writing.

Soul Sides: Music for Rhythm Addicts.

Digitised Arabic Manuscripts.

Rapa Nui News.
All about Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and its famous moai (stone heads).
More on moai.

The Treasures of Timbuktu.
'Scholars in the fabled African city, once a great center of learning and trade, are racing to save a still emerging cache of ancient manuscripts...'
Article and photographs.

In Pictures: China Tea-houses, Struggling to Survive.
'Traditional Chinese outdoor tea-houses are under threat from the country's rapid modernisation. '
'Only a few remain in the western city of Chengdu...'

A Smoke Angel from Airplane Flares.

Project Matterhorn Publications and Reports 1951-58.
Early research into nuclear fusion.
'Project Matterhorn was the code name for the controlled thermonuclear research effort started by Princeton University in 1951 under the leadership of Lyman Spitzer. In 1951, Spitzer outlined the basic concept for creating the stellarator, a device for confining and heating ionized hydrogen gas to release fusion energy for the production of power. He was able to receive support from the US Atomic Energy Commission as well as Princeton University which lay the foundation for starting Project Matterhorn.
More here.

The Policeman's Blog.
' "This blog will do more to put people off calling the police than anything, other than actually calling the police." '

Christmas News Letters.
'Bragging Christmas letters: We have all gotten them. You may have sent them. Jason's soccer team led the division. Tiffany played the lead in the term play, made the honor roll, again, and was elected homecoming queen. Bill got a promotion and a raise. Madge is quite busy chairing three community charities...'

Random Acts of Reality.
A London ambulanceman's life.

Life in a Caracas Barrio.

Triple Sunrise.

Virtual Tours of the US House of Representatives.

Marksman called in to kill Kingston's pigeons. Funny reader responses e.g. 'They are a nuisance, and also the flying wizards of Satan.'

The Christmas Set.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Collection of Pelican Books.

Chinese Kids' Art.

Best Word Book Ever, 1963 and 1991.

Inle Lake, Burma.

Ten letters are placed in ten pre-addressed envelopes at random. What is the probability that exactly nine letters were placed in the proper envelope?

'In movies, when a tire comes off of a speeding car, it begins to move faster than the car. Why does the velocity increase? This is a topic of debate among some of the post-doc Physicists in my lab....'

'What is this clear-cut path across southern Indiana?'

'How does one prove that all humans see the same colors? Is it possible?'
'In a much-discussed and debated 1969 book called Basic Color Terms Berlin and Kay argued that color names in languages are not random, but rahter exsit along a constant continuum. That is, if a language has only 3 color wors they will always be black, white, and red. If it has 5 they will always be black, white, red, yellow, and green. And so forth. It progresses like this...'