Sunday, 25 September 2022

muography (10. 168)

BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh, contributing correspondent for the Financial Times, introduces use to the physics of the elementary particle called the muon (ฮผ), how like the more elusive and slippery neutrino penetrates temple and turnpike alike (and even volcanos or exploring ruins) and gives civil engineers a new inspection tool to assess the internal state of infrastructure, a sort of structural x-ray, to help triage, prioritise repair and upgrades and identify imminent failures. 

 

Sunday, 21 August 2022

8x8 (10. 075)

west eigg: via property scout Messy Nessy Chic, this lighthouse and keeper’s quarters on Pladda island in the Firth of Clyde  

oled: a clever tinkerer makes dynamic LEGO computer consoles—see previously  

calling card: the true story of football pioneer, journalist, stock-broker and mermaid-hunter Arthur Pember—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump  

cinetimes: a free film and documentary aggregator with a familiar streaming-service interface—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

sad beige werner herzog: a master of the bleak-harvest aesthetic  

รงiftetelli: more on “Misirlou”—see previously 

the dolmen of guadalperal: drought in Europe reveals the “Spanish Stonehenge”—a circle of one megaliths almost always submerged 

 fresnel lens: a LEGO ideas kit allows one to create one’s own well-appointed beacon

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

7x7 (10. 050)

smokin’: Bill McClintock remixes Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’” (That’s What I Be Doing) with Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”  

s morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure, the ‘good parts’ version: wildly divergent book covers for The Princess Bride, via Super Punch  

we’re walking in the air: author and illustrator Raymond Briggs (previously) has passed away, aged 88  

development purgatory: more titles and properties never released by movie studios—see also—via Things Magazine   

scarborough faire: housing developer agrees to rebury unique Roman villa for future conservation a year after it was discovered  

the seventh seal: AI designs movie posters  

seona dancing: Ricky Gervais’ synth-pop group from 1983

Friday, 29 July 2022

arbeia (10. 024)

Though we did not get the chance to survey Hadrian’s Wall this go around, on our way back to the port of Newcastle on Tyne we got to see among other things such as successive traffic roundabouts the ancient Roman garrison which guarded the main sea route to the fortified border near the South Shields docks in Tyne & Wear, so named because originally skilled boatmen from Mesopotamia were stationed there following the conquest of Persia by Septimus Severus (see previously).

Command-and-control for attempted incursions on Scotland, Fort Arbeia ultimately became a logistics base to supply activities along the frontier and preventing Pictish infiltration and once hosted over six hundred troops. The western gate is a modern reconstruction (see also) and contains a museum of artefacts found here and an education centre.



Tuesday, 31 May 2022

6x6

not to put words in your mouth: Google’s collaborative incubator discreetly withdraws from deepfake research—via Slashdot  

mermay: a month-long (didn’t get the memo but for next year) sketching challenge to draw merfolk with daily prompts    

bubasteion: necropolis sacred to Ancient Egyptian feline goddess yielded a trove of two-hundred and fifty perfectly preserved sarcophagi  

now listen to my heart—it says ukrainia: the Scorpions update their lyrics to Winds of Change to stop romancising Russia 

joueur-animateur en direct: French ministry of culture reforms guidelines on gaming jargon to combat anglicisation—see previously  

monk tone scale: Google adopts a better classification system for skin pigment to combat baked-in biases (see previously) for its algorithms and artificial intelligence

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

7x7

conservation of momentum: a Newton’s Cradle performs Psy’s K-Pop classic  

the tweter: a sweater for two  

the elephant: an Ames inspired trainer—see previously  

trust-fall: a collection of Italian ex-votos (previously) depicting divine intervention during a stumble 

the bond bug: a three-wheeled two-seater produced by Reliant Motor Company—via Pasa Bon!  

amphorae: Ukrainian soldiers digging trenches outside of Odesa discover ancient Greek artefacts   

bill medley: the ending sequence of Dirty Dancing set to the theme of The Muppet Show—via Boing Boing

Sunday, 8 May 2022

himmelsscheibe




Coming home from Saxony we took a detour and finally got the chance to check out the Arche Nebra—a museum and planetarium near the archeological site where the prehistoric skydisc was discovered. The actual artefact is usually kept in Halle and was presently on loan to the British museum as part of an ancient astronomy exhibit that couples it with the megalithic timepieces like Stonehenge and the nearby counterpart, the Goseck circle, a solar observatory from neolithic times—but there were plenty of detailed replicas on hand to study and gain an appreciation in situ of this rather overwhelming tool. From the perspective of the promontory where it was discovered (Fundort), the golden bands ringing the edge form an arc precisely corresponding with the Sun’s pendular journey between the peak of the Brocken and the peak of the Kyffhรคuser in the Harz rising and setting at the spring and autumn equinoxes and indicating by the appearance of the New Moon and its proximity to the Pleiades (see above) when to plant and whether the year will be a common year or will need an intercalary month inserted to keep the stars aligned with the cycle of the seasons, this earliest known representation of the Cosmos features no gods or heroes, only the calendar of the night sky. In the area, we also stopped at the village of Zingst on the Unstrut river to inspect this manor house by the road that looked like it had seen time conscripted as a factory with the addition of an industrial smoke-stack and the vista of the largest medieval castle complex—similar in scale and composition to the Wartburg—in middle Germany, Burg Querfurt, something to see another day.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

6x6

un robot quadrupede al servizio dell’archeologia: SPOT to patrol ruins of Pompeii and protect the site from looters—also raising a quandary for future archaeologists 

satanic panic: the full 1993 (!) cult awareness pamphlet (see previously)—via Weird Universe  

dans l’ombre du star wars kid: the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary on the internet phenomenon  

entrรฉe: a family-run Tbilisi-based artisanal bakery expands into East London 

the atlantean: after Dallas (debuting on this day in 1978), Patrick Duffy appeared as a merfolk-hybrid hero

intonarumori: Luigi Russolo’s experimental sound machines

Monday, 14 March 2022

7x7

be kind, rewind: the miniature dioramas of Marina Totino—via Waxy  

doobly doo: recreating a Hallstatt period hair-style  

wck: more on Josรฉ Andrรฉs’ World Central Kitchen (previously) and its work in Ukraine  

it is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it: solace from the Stoics and other timeless words of wisdom—via Messy Nessy Chic  

blogoversary: Kottke turns twenty-four  

the wife of ฯ€: a Pi Day (previously) round-up—plus this one  

family pictures: artist Martha Naranjo Sandoval reanimates antique stereoscopic photos

Thursday, 10 March 2022

7x7

stacy’s dad has got me down bad: a Fountains of Wayne cover from a different perspective  

imperial trans-antarctic expedition: the shipwreck of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 exploratory mission discovered  

beachcomber: eighteenth-century seaweed pressings speak to fecklessness and romance 

ithaca: an new AI model is helping scholars decipher and date ancient inscriptions  

x-wing: Star Wars space craft size comparison  

snowmen: David Lynch’s haunting images—evocative of Eraserhead from Boise, Idaho in the early ‘90s  

there’s a doll, inside of doll, inside a doll, inside a dolly: Robbie Williams’ 2016 Party Like a Russian was inspired by an encounter with the inner-circle of oligarchs when asked to perform at a New Year’s Eve party

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

milia passuum

Usually during lunch, I make a circuit around the neighbourhood of Mainz-Kastell and though I pass it every day, it still strikes me as a marvel and privilege that this ancient Roman milestone—among other archaeological artefacts—from 122 CE is just basically someone’s garden gnome. The highly abbreviated inscription reads as a dedication to “Emperor Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, Son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, Grandson of the deified Nerva, Pontifex Maximus in the sixth year of his tribunician [veto] power, Father of the Fatherland. Six miles (M·P VI) to Aquae Mattiacorum.” A near identical inscription (a decade older) was discovered near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem during an excavation in 2014, Hadrian being in power during the Revolt of Roman Judea—the rebellion and the effort to suppress it framed as Expeditio—expedition (see also) Judaica by the other side.

Friday, 26 November 2021

7x7

limerent limerick: help in recognising unhealthy obsessions and how to work one’s way out of intrusive think—hopefully through bawdy rhymes 

there and back again: Gene Deitch’s animated short The Hobbit—the first such adaptation  

roll for perception: a collection of resources, a florilegium from a Society for Creative Anachronism member for the LARP community—via Mx van Hoorn’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities  

avenue of the sphinxes: a restored promenade between Luxor and Karnak opened with fanfare  

opiate for the masses: drug use in Antiquity 

mlhavรฝ: Martin Rak’s fog-draped forests in Saxon-Bohemia—see previously 

here’s mud in your eye: a select glossary of beer and imbibing terminology—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump


 

Sunday, 7 November 2021

facce di bronzo

Via the always superb Everlasting Blรถrt, we are not only introduced to the sensational discovery of the so-called Riace bronzes in the early 1970s but how the Italian mayor of the namesake town is planning a museum and further excavations on the fiftieth anniversary of their recovery from the waves off the Calabrian coast to see if there are more Greek warrior statues yet to be uncovered. Made in the fifth century BCE using the lost wax casting technique are among the few surviving examples of Greek artistry, most being melted down, and were found by accident by a snooping chemist called Stefano Mariottini in 1972 and are conjectured to be either anonymous Delphic soldiers as part of an ensemble monument to the Battle of Marathon or possibly as depictions of Erechtheus, foster son of Athena and legendary king of Athens, and Eumolpus, son of Poseidon and inventor of viticulture.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

newfoundland

The clue possibly lying in the name of the province, researchers, using new dating techniques and studying the remnant of an ancient solar storm, have pinpointed the first transatlantic crossing and settlement of Viking explorers to exactly a millennium hence, nearly five hundred years prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus, marking the first encounter and reunion with inhabitants of the New and Old World, the aboriginal population having migrated the long way around. A known flare event in the year 992 unleashed a burst of high-energy cosmic rays that left a marker in the growth rings of trees, felled twenty-nine years after the storm whose timber was used for construction of shelters, sod longhouses (reconstruction pictured in L’Anse aux Meadows), demonstrating that the encampment was set up in 1021. The Viking chronology suggested their journey took place in the eleventh century (see also) but before there was no corroborating evidence—which makes one wonder what other truths might be in the epic sagas.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

cyrus charter

Though in possession of the British Museum, the ancient clay cylinder bearing the declaration of king Cyrus the Great, outlining his genealogy and conquest of Babylonia as favourite of the god Marduk and documentation of the end of exile of the Jewish people and allowing them to resettle within the empire was loaned to Tehran on this day in 1971 for a period of sixteen days for the gala celebration of the two-thousand-five-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Persia—see previously, beginning mid-month ten days later. The artefact recovered in 1829 (in Mesopotamia, in modern day Iraq) is considered by many historians as the pioneering attempt to administer and multicultural state with universal human rights and was made the official symbol of Iran in absentia.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

iceman

Discovered on this day in 1991, the human, natural mummy named ร–tzi (previously) was found by a pair of German tourist on the east ridge of the ร–tztal (Venoste) Alps spanning the Italo-Austrian border believing that this five thousand year old corpse was the remains of a more recently departed mountaineer and immediately summoned the authorities, the forensics department turning the case over to the archeologists. Frozen and exquisitely preserved, scientist were able to study his clothes, shoes and tools as well as the contents of his stomach, bodily composition, toxicity and glean a lot of about his civilisation’s lifestyle, diet and technical prowess.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

wadi musa

Familiar to only a few locals and unknown to the West until its rediscovery on this day in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, the capital of the Nabataeans called Raqmu by its denizens is commonly referred to Petra (Al-Batrฤสพ) after its designation as a client state of the Empire after Rome annexed their kingdom as Arabia Petaea.

The settlement in southern Jordan between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqada is only accessible via a narrow gorge and was a major regional trading hub in antiquity, controlling routes from Gaza to Damascus and onto the Persian Gulf. Accustomed to privation and periods of drought and deluge, the Nabatean city includes advanced methods of gathering and storing rainwater and flood control, allowing the population to thrive and supporting numbers approaching twenty-thousand residents at its height. A marvel of engineering and with many cameos in popular culture, in most years, Petra greets over a million international tourists annually.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

fava beans and a nice chianti

Our gratitude again to Nag on the Lake for the update on this incredibly, impeccably preserved ancient thermopolium (see previously) excavated on the site of Pompeii is opening to the public. With only the wealthy cooking at home, most Romans would have patronised such snack bars, with more than eighty found in the rubble of this ill-fated city alone. Much more to explore at the links above, including an amazing gallery of frescos advertising the menu.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

dama de elche

Discovered just south of the eponymous private estate on this day in 1897, the intricate limestone bust known as the Lady of Elx is a fourth or fifth century BC Punic-Iberian artefact depicting the Carthage goddess Tanit, the equivalent of Astarte—Romanised as Juno Caelestis. Possibly used as a funerary urn, the originally sculpture would have been polychromed and the coils of her elaborate headdress are called rodetes and once featured on the one peseta bank note.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

queenhithe

The Gentle Author of Spitalfield’s Life directs our attention to a new, epic mosaic along the Thames path that illustrates two millennia and more of human history with the estuary’s natural course at the inlet named ‘the Queen’s Harbour’ after Matilda granted around 1104 the establishment of a dock there and the excise of duties on goods delivered. Learn more at the link above, including a treasury of panels from the procession, pictorial chronicle of the ages.