The Planet Remade: frank, clear-eyed book on geoengineering, climate disaster, & humanity's future

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1051
Since its publication in late 2015, science writer Oliver Morton's The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World has swept many "best book" (best science book, best business book, best nonfiction book) and with good reason: though it weighs in at a hefty 440 pages and covers a broad scientific, political and technological territory, few science books are more important, timely and beautifully written.

Incredible miniature recreations of iconic photos

5315-3

Swiss artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreated iconic photos from history in miniature, from cardboard, cotton wool, and other craft supplies. Above, "Making of AS11-40-5878 by Edwin Aldrin, 1969, 2014."

"Making of Nessie by Marmaduke Wetherell, 1934, 2013":

"Making of Concorde by Toshihko Sato, 2000, 2013":

"Making of Tiananmen by Stuart Franklin, 1989, 2013":

"War and fleece: DIY recreations of iconic photographs – in pictures" (The Guardian, thanks Plastic Ants!)

Previously:

• "Hoax photos of real events" Read the rest

Medieval music recreated and performed for the first time in 1000 years

medieval
'Songs of Consolation,' performed at Pembroke College Chapel in Cambridge last month, was the first airing in a 1000 years of a medieval tune the way it would have been.
...reconstructed from neumes (symbols representing musical notation in the Middle Ages) and draws heavily on an 11th century manuscript leaf that was stolen from Cambridge and presumed lost for 142 years... Hundreds of Latin songs were recorded in neumes from the 9th through to the 13th century. These included passages from the classics by Horace and Virgil, late antique authors such as Boethius, and medieval texts from laments to love songs. However, the task of performing such ancient works today is not as simple as reading and playing the music in front of you. 1,000 years ago, music was written in a way that recorded melodic outlines, but not ‘notes’ as today’s musicians would recognise them; relying on aural traditions and the memory of musicians to keep them alive. Because these aural traditions died out in the 12th century, it has often been thought impossible to reconstruct ‘lost’ music from this era – precisely because the pitches are unknown.

They believe they've pieced together about 80-90% of the melodies. The performers are Benjamin Bagby, Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen. Here's more:

Read the rest

Walt Whitman was into paleo and wrote a “Manly Health and Training” guide with sex tips

It me, Walt Whitman.
Leaves of Grass? He probably ate them now and then.

A scholar at the University of Houston in Texas has discovered a 13-part, 47,000-word series by Walt Whitman, published by the New York Atlas in 1858, under the pseudonym Mose Velsor.

Under that most macho of aliases, “Manly Health and Training” amounts to a "part guest editorial, part self-help column," a “rambling and self-indulgent series” that reveals Walt Whitman's thoughts on a variety of manly-man topics. Including sex.

Read the rest

A look back at the D&D moral panic

animation (1)

Retro Report did a short feature on the moral panics about D&D in the 1980s. It's a fun, 13 minute look back at the moment when D&D totally changed a bunch of kids' lives, only to be vilified and literally demonized by opportunistic members of the religious right. Read the rest

Churchill got a doctor's note requiring him to drink at least 8 doubles a day "for convalescence"

Dr.-Pickhardt-Letter_CHAR-01-400A-046

What do you do if you're a powerful, belligerent, racist drunk who's used to getting your own way, and you're visiting Prohibition-wracked America? Read the rest

Tooth worms: yesteryear's explanation for cavities

056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8e96df290c5-1020x1029

Before we understood about microbes and their relationship to tooth enamel, we imagined that the painful holes in people's teeth were caused by burrowing toothworms (previously), something we confirmed by yanking out the especially sore teeth and observing the fiber-like "worms" (that is, raw nerves) that were left behind. Read the rest

Last chance to help fund series on history's most defiant women

ada lovelace

With a couple of days left, Feminist Frequency is about to hit their funding goal for Ordinary Women, a lavishly animated series about women who dared defy their times--and who history hasn't given their dues. Below is the complete set of preview videos for Ida Wells, Ching Shih, Emma Goldman, Murasaki Shikibu and Ada Lovelace; go help push them over the line at Seed & Spark.

Ida B. Wells (by Sammus)

Ada Lovelace (by Teddy Dief)

Ching Shih (by Jonathan Mann)

Emma Goldman (by The Doubleclicks)

Murasaki Shikibu (by Clara Bizne$$)

The creators of the series are Anita Sarkeesian (of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games fame), Laura Hudson (recently of Boing Boing and Offworld) and Elizabeth Aultman (producer of Yosemite) Read the rest

Second North American Viking site suspected

si-vikings
L'Anse Aux Meadows was the first, and until now the only site widely accepted as evidence of Viking settlement in the Americas. But then there were two—maybe.
A team of archeologists has found what may be the remains of a previously unknown Viking settlement on a south west shore of the Island of Newfoundland. If the remains can be confirmed, the site would make it just the second ever discovered that has given proof of Vikings inhabiting parts of North America. The team has been videotaping their work and a documentary of their efforts will be presented this month on PBS. Leading the research is archeologist and National Geographic fellow, Sarah Parcak, who has been described as a "space archaeologist" because of her groundbreaking use of satellite technology to uncover Egyptian ruins. In this latest effort, she and her team have altered their methods to uncover what appears to be evidence of Viking iron smelting.

They've found an iron hearth, full of old slag, surrounded by turf walls, and dated it to the Viking age. Further excavations are planned, and the researchers hope to reveal more evidence of a complete settlement. Read the rest

Crusade against Cthulhu

robert-altbauer-abscheulich-ding

Robert Altbauer created this series of illustrations depicting crusaders meeting the HP Lovecraft's monsters, annotated in medieval Middle High German. Read the rest

King Arthur's grave was a hoax invented by cash-strapped 12th C monks

19900647443_49598fa61c_b

Since the 12th century -- and up to this very day -- tourists venture to Somerset's Glastonbury Abbey to see the grave of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, allegedly buried in the churchyard by 12th century monks who discovered their skeletons in an underground tree-trunk. Read the rest

Nixon started the War on Drugs because he couldn't declare war on black people and hippies

800px-Elvis-nixon

Nixon aide/Watergate jailbird John Ehrlichman confessed to Dan Baum that Richard Nixon started the War on Drugs because "We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities." Read the rest

An animated series about women who dared defy history

635930333258573548-MurasakiWorldShot

Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History is a video series about women overlooked by history raising production funds at crowdfunding site Seed & Spark. Creators Anita Sarkeesian, Laura Hudson (recently of Boing Boing and Offworld) and Elizabeth Aultman plan to feature Murasaki Shikibu, credited as the first modern novelist, 19th-century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, womens' rights advocate Emma Goldman and others.

Unusually for a crowdfunded production, the series will be lavishly animated, reports Bustle, creating a work of art in its own right.

It's an exploration of women throughout history who have decimated gender stereotypes and contributed to humanity in truly impactful ways. The series will seek to remind us not only that these kinds of women — the rabble-rousers, the undercover reporters, the activists, the pirates — are extraordinary individuals, but also that women doing extraordinary things is actually quite ordinary. And that's a good thing. Here's why.

Women kicking ass and taking names shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, because we've been here all along, propping up society with our accomplishments. Unfortunately, the telling of history has a way of being whitewashed, male-focused, and more, excluding the contributions of far too many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized groups. With this new video series, Feminist Frequency hopes to address that glaring imbalance by bringing to life the stories of some of history's most rebellious and remarkable women.

USA Today reports that the creators hope it will inspire more women.

“We want to normalize these women in history,” says Sarkeesian.
Read the rest

Medusa's Web: Tim Powers is the Philip K Dick of our age

91L9Ld-st9L
Tim Powers is a fantasy writer who spins out tales of wild, mystic conspiracy that are so believable and weird, we're lucky he didn't follow L Ron Hubbard's example and found a religion, or we'd all be worshipping in his cult. Along with James Blaylock and KW Jeter, Powers was one of three young, crazy genre writers who served as Philip K Dick's proteges, and Powers gives us a glimpse of where Dick may have ended up if he'd managed to beat his own worst self-destructive impulses.

Awkward metal band photos

metal1

Join me in the liminal space between deep culture horror and ironic satisfaction: Awkward metal band photos Read the rest

Poet/bureaucrat's moving report of the 1921 demise of America's most notorious wolf

Dixon_Lanier_Merritt01

In 1921, the Custer Wolf -- a predator so prolific and terrifying that it rated its own documentary and biography -- was finally killed. Read the rest

Timeline: a visual history of our world

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

I love the tidbits of history, the unique visual style, the subtle humor, and the breadth of coverage in Timeline: A Visual History of Our World. On each 10x29-inch page spread are whimsical curved text blocks filled with simply written – yet intriguing – historical facts. And each spread addresses one era of time. The book, which targets children 7 to 12-years old, starts with The Beginning of Life and includes a miniature image-based timeline of stromatolites, trilobites, ammonites and more. The author offers spreads dedicated to the major geological periods, as well as more brief and recent timespans. Our current decade is the last timeline covered, concluding with “As time goes by. . .” along with a person spreading black paint across the page.

The illustrations are fabulous. Goes uses a minimalist color palette that differs for each of his timelines. The Dinosaurs are on a wheat-toned page with black silhouettes accented by red and gold. The Ming Dynasty appears on a dusty rose background with dark pink and white accents, again using black as the major illustrative color. Goes' technique of black with two accent colors artfully draws the eye to visual vignettes on the page, while the curving text leads you to the next image. Wonderful. Engaging. Amusing.

This book makes for great conversational fodder. Did you know that, according to the page spread on 18th Century in Europe, “Mont Blanc was called Mon Maudit, or ‘cursed mountain,’ until the Enlightenment, when people stopped believing in curses”? Read the rest

More posts