Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Low-tech Magazine.

'Doubts on technology '. Some interesting articles :

Email in the 18th century : http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2007/12/email-in-the-18.html

Heat your house with car types and earth : http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2007/12/heat-your-house.html

If water, sewage, gas and oil can be transported through underground pipelines, why not consumer goods as well? : http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/02/a-world-without.html
A steam-powered fish : http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/08/submarines-1.html

Computing without electricity : http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/05/computers-antiq.html

Scottish Highlands Photographs.

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods.

A who's who of American folk monsters, originally published in 1910.

Danger Dogs from Nepal.

Handpainted signs. 'Here are samples of the Danger Dogs from Nepal. All are approximately 1 foot square, enamel on metal. I have worked with 55 different artists from across Nepal. Here are some examples of their different styles. '


Robot sculptures made from stuff from thrift stores.

Circus Slang.

'Every trade has a history, a culture and secrets, all most vividly expressed in the special terms used by its workers. Here are the unique words used on the carnival lot, a language that defines a world of wonders. You can dip into this glossary to seek individual terms, but you can also read it as a whole, using it as a detailed guide to the carnival/sideshow/circus/vaudeville worlds (distilled to eliminate the average book's cute anecdotes and to concentrate the essence).'

Cinderella Stamps.

'unearthed my collection of Cinderella stamps in the Summer of 2008. These are unofficial stamps not issued by any country for mailing letters.'

Picturing the Century: The Great Depression and the New Deal.

Photographs. 'The prosperity of the 1920s ended with an economic catastrophe of unequaled length and severity - the Great Depression. By 1933 industrial production had fallen to one-third its pre-Depression levels, thousands of banks were closed, and almost 13 million Americans were jobless...'

A New Deal for the Arts.

'During the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s and into the early years of World War II, the Federal government supported the arts in unprecedented ways. For 11 years, between 1933 and 1943, federal tax dollars employed artists, musicians, actors, writers, photographers, and dancers. Never before or since has our government so extensively sponsored the arts...'

Rococo Works on Paper.


Old Vintage Calendars.

Mao Badges.

The Midwest.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Some of us have jobs we've imagined having since we were kids (doctor, lawyer, ballerina...). And some of us have jobs with weird titles we never imagined having or somehow stumbled into (acquisitions editor, paid search marketer, partner services representative, circulation manager, health services coordinator...). Many of us in the latter category love our jobs - either because we're good at them, we get paid well, we like the people we work with, value the company's mission, or all of the above. I want to hear from you happy people with weird job titles.'

'Can anybody recommend some traditional black gospel recordings?'

'How can I test and build up my strength, tenacity, and courage.'

'How cheap is it to build a small house in the middle of the woods?'

'What podcasts do you listen to?'

'I'm having a hard time understanding just what is happening to the US economy and why. I'm completely in the dark, I'm not familiar with the terminology, and I'm afraid.'

Ecuador's new constitution grants rights to nature.

Robert Peston.

Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor, covers the collapse of capitalism.

What was it like during the Great Depression?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Grange Hill!

'Entertaining several generations of British kids, it depicted a typical north London school with for the time a revolutionary level of gritty realism and later gaining controversy with violence, racism, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction and er nudity stories. Though oddly it was only this scene that was cut from all future broadcasts...'


A simple pen-and-paper strategy game for two players.

Florida Folklife Postcards.

The Classic Microgames Museum.

Old roleplaying games. I think I played 'Car Wars' once, it was quite good fun.

A Number a Day.

Take 23. '23 is the ninth prime number, the smallest odd prime that is not a twin prime... For 23 or more people in a room, the probability that two people have the same birthday is greater than 50% ... 23! is 23 digits long.' And the list goes on.

The Hmong in Minnesota.

'THE 150,000 HMONG PEOPLE living in the United States traveled thousands of difficult miles to get here. Many settled in St. Paul, Minnesota, giving it the largest urban Hmong population in the world. Today these Hmong are wrestling with issues of culture and identity, with maintaining ties to the past and seeking to thrive in modern urban America.'

Who are the Hmong? Some background here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hmong_people .

Islamic Calligraphy and Manuscript Collection.

Book of Short Stories.

Short stories written by fifth graders in 1931.

Fed by Birds.

'Fed by Birds is a South London haven for strange creatures, complicated clothes and forgotten books. And robots.'

Visualising the Bible.

'The bar graph that runs along the bottom represents all of the chapters in the Bible. Books alternate in color between white and light gray. The length of each bar denotes the number of verses in the chapter. Each of the 63,779 cross references found in the Bible is depicted by a single arc - the color corresponds to the distance between the two chapters, creating a rainbow-like effect. '

African Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1963-74.

Photo archives.

Rich People Rooftops in NYC.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'How can I force myself to write?'

'How do I keep warm this winter in an unheated apartment?'

50 Greatest Villains in Literature.

Herblock's Great Depression Cartoons.

'Herb Block published his first editorial cartoon six months before the 1929 New York Stock Exchange crash that plunged the country into the Great Depression. His concern for the national physical environment broadened into concern for the economic
and international environment. He also warned throughout the decade of the danger represented by Fascist political gains in Europe and Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany at the head of the Nazi Party.'

Monday, 22 September 2008

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Built St. Louis.

'A site dedicated to the historic architecture of St. Louis, Missouri -- mourning the losses, celebrating the survivors.'

Childhood Box of Curiosities.

'Recently my parents brought me something from my early years which I hadn’t seen in a long while — a metal handled box with the Berenstain Bears printed on top. The box itself is pretty unassuming, but what was collected inside the box was part of something that occupied a good chunk of my leisure time in the ’80s...'

The Face (1980-2004).

Cover gallery. 'The magazine, often referred to as the "80s fashion bible", was influential in championing a number of fashion music and style trends, whilst keeping a finger on the pulse of youth culture for over two decades; its best selling period was in the mid-1990s under editor Richard Benson.'

Looking through a Window in Africa.

'Caroline Vallieres's composite of happy children, in northern Uganda, peeping out of a hut kicks off a series of shots themed Through a Window, sent in by BBC News website readers in Africa.'

The Future of Nepal's 'Living Goddess'.

'Many sensational articles have recently appeared in the Western media, some with titles such as “Kumari in Peril,” “Kumari Sacked from Her Throne,” “Nepal’s Living Goddess Retires,” and “Nepal’s Living Goddess May Die Soon.” The last title may prove to be prophetic because Kumari, as a tradition, is about to become extinct, if elements of Nepal’s new government and some Western human rights groups have their way. '

Ooishi Hyoroku Monogatari Picture Scroll.

'The Ooishi Hyoroku Monogatari, a largely fictional story featured in picture scrolls in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, tells of a young warrior and his encounters with trickster foxes posing as yokai. According to the National Museum of Japanese History, the story takes place in 1624 in Kagoshima, where a group of notorious young warriors have assembled. When a rumor circulates about shape-shifting foxes that have hoodwinked some people in the area and shaved their heads, the men decide to test the courage of one of the young warriors, Ooishi Hyoroku, by sending him on a mission to capture the mischievous creatures.'

Dime Novel Covers.

Pulp fiction art.

Veridicus Christianus.

'Veridicus Christianus was the first Jesuit emblem-book. It was published in 1601 by Jan Moretus at the famous Plantin workshop in Antwerp. It had evolved from a catechism consisting of a hundred questions and answers written by Father Jan David, rector of the Jesuit Colleges at Courtrai and Ghent. An unillustrated version of the text, in Dutch, had previously been printed in Brussels, in 1597. David had the idea of accompanying these with a hundred engravings, a commission assigned to the studio of Phillips Galle, and probably executed by Philips’ son Theodoor.'

Fashion Plate Collection.

'Many of these plates are from some of the leading French, British, American, and other continental fashion journals of the 19th century and early 20th century: Belle assemblée; Le bon ton; Le Follet, courrier des salons; Journal des dames and des modes; Godey's lady's book and magazine, and others. They are primarily hand-colored engravings although some of the plates after 1885 are colored lithographs.'

Astro Pics.

Two Giant Galaxy Clusters Collide.

The Colliding Spiral Galaxies of Arp 271.

Searching for Meteorites in Antarctica.

The Marvel and Measure of Peru.

'When Francisco Pizarro and his fellow Spanish conquistadors first encountered Peru in 1524, they were shocked by the wholly unfamiliar world. The people, flora, fauna, topography, and cities begged for description and communication back to Europe. This exhibition explores the ways that artists depicted Peru and the new visual categories for classifying information they developed.'

Impossible Objects.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'What's a trade I can learn now, as a hobby, that will be useful if/when the economy collapses?'

'What's your secret tip for saving money at the grocery store?'

'Nabokov's Lolita was once hailed as "a love letter to the English language." I'm looking for modern and contemporary authors with similar aspirations.'

'Help a clueless student eat on a $100/month budget.'

'What are your favourite pieces of creative nonfiction?'

Seattle's Hooverville.

'Seattle's Hooverville, named for the Depression era president, was established in 1931 by unemployed men of varied ethnic backgrounds. The settlement consisted primarily of unskilled laborers who had worked previously in a number of industries, including logging, fishing and construction...'

To Love the Beautiful: The Story of Texas State Parks.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Urban Legends about Barack Obama.
(33 entries - 20 false, 4 true, 9 mixed or undetermined).

Urban Legends about John McCain.
(6 entries - 2 false, 3 true, 1 undetermined).

Urban Legends about Joe Biden.
(1 entry - undetermined).

Urban Legends about Sarah Palin.
(7 entries - 3 false, 4 mixed or undetermined).

Urban Legends about Bill and Hillary Clinton.
(Lots of entries, mainly false. Still not as many entries as there are about Obama though!).

Friday, 12 September 2008

Ellen Pronk.

Between 1997 and 2006, Ellen Pronk (a Dutch web designer) updated her website as a daily creative diary. She's been quiet of late but it's still fun to click through the archives.
('Lfs' means something like 'with love', as a way of signing off a letter, in Dutch, apparently).

Mrs Schofield's GCSE.

'The poem Carol Ann Duffy penned in response to her work being removed from a GCSE curriculum'.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.

'Now, as for centuries, tourists behold those ruins with awe and wonder. Yet today, a vast and history laden ruin site passes unnoticed, even despised, into oblivion.'

'Come, travel with me, as I guide you on a tour through the fabulous and vanishing ruins of my beloved Detroit.'

Transitions and Seeking Refuge.

'A fascinating story of the first known, Western transsexual, Tibetan Buddhist novice monk: Laurence Michael Dillon (born Laura Maude Dillon, May 1, 1915 - May 15, 1962) was a British physician and the first female-to-male transsexual to undergo phalloplasty. His brother, Sir Robert Dillon, was the eighth Baronet of Lismullen in Ireland. The editor of Debrett's told Time Magazine that Dillon was unquestionably next in line for the baronetcy: The unwanted press attention led Dillon to flee to India, and then to a Tibetan monastery.'

Nigel Molesworth: The Roleplaying Game.

'the roll-playing game of british educashun.'

Background here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Molesworth

In similar vein, there's Watership Down: The Roleplaying Game - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunnies_&_Burrows

Texts from 1980s BBSes

'A wonderful thing happened in the 1980s: Life started to go online. And as the world continues this trend, everyone finding themselves drawn online should know what happened before, to see where it all really started to come together and to know what went on, before it's forgotten. '

Here's an interesting collection of ASCII art - http://www.textfiles.com/art/


Record of an Aboriginal language.

'This page leads to some data for Nhirrpi, an Australian language once spoken in the Stony Country of the North-Eastern corner of South Australia. The language is also called Palpamadramadra and it is very close to Yandruwandha. The data were recorded by the late Professor Stephen Wurm in 1958 from Mrs Alice Miller.'

Obama Supporter Buttons.

On a whole range of themes - 'beards for Obama' etc.


The sketchbook of designer Wil Freeborn.

Kim Jong Il Jokes by Chinese Bloggers.

Soviet Writers, American Images: Ilf and Petrov Tour the United States 1935-36.

'Ilf and Petrov began their careers in journalism with short pieces written for humor magazines. In the early 1930s, after the success of their two satirical novels, they were invited to write for more prestigious publications like "Pravda" and "Ogonek." Occasionally they were sent abroad to report on events of interest to the Soviet public; the most significant of these trips was their American tour, undertaken in the winter of 1935-35 as correspondents for "Pravda."...'

Dafne and Ofelia.

A labour of love, with Blythe dolls.

Mundane Details of Everyday Life.

Log Cabins in America: The Finnish Experience.

Log cabins built by Finnish settlers in the American West.

'Log cabins are as American as Fourth of July fireworks, baseball, and the bald eagle. Think of a pioneer and chances are you think of a log cabin: could Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett have lived in any other kind of house? Can you imagine the 1840 election--"Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!"--without remembering the log-cabin-and-cider campaign? Would we be so impressed with Abe Lincoln if he had learned his letters under a crystal chandelier in a brick, Georgian-style house? Is it conceivable that Laura Ingalls Wilder's little house on the prairie was anything but a snug log structure? Assuredly, log cabins are enmeshed in American history, folklore, and myth. '

Querying the Hive Mind.

'One of my sisters suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. And that sentence is true -- she does suffer from it. And so did each and every one of us siblings, and my parents, and anyone else whose life touched hers.'
A personal look at understanding paranoid schizophrenia.

'How did you find your passion?'

Personal account of Hurrican Gustav, Louisiana.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Hurricane Katrina, Three Years Later.

'It’s the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. For new readers who may not have followed this blog from the beginning, Life Without Buildings was conceived in a French Quarter alley and born on a Garden District Balcony into the depressing heat of a New Orleans summer and post-architecture school ennui. Then came Hurricane Katrina and for a while it became a rarely-udpated travelogue of evacuation, the end result of which was an apartment in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood. Leaving New Orleans might have been the hardest decision I’ve ever made and not one single day has passed where I haven’t wondered if I chose wrong.'

EyesCoffee: Nepal.

Black and white photographs of Nepal and its people.

300 Love Letters.

A Brief History of Female Robots.

Cigarette Cards: ABCs.

'Nearly 600 series (totaling thousands of individual cards) whose titles begin with the first three letters of the alphabet, from before 1900 to the mid-20th century. Viewable front and back.'

The Aurora Borealis Photo Pool.

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae: 16th Century Engravings of Rome and Roman Antiquities.

'In 1540 Antonio Lafreri, a native of Besançon transplanted to Rome, began publishing maps and other printed images that depicted major monuments and antiquities in Rome. These images were calculated to appeal to the taste for classical antiquity that fueled the cultural event we call the Renaissance. After Lafreri published a title page in the mid-1570s, collections of these prints came to be known as the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, the "Mirror of Roman Magnificence." Tourists and other collectors who bought prints from Lafreri made their own selections and had them individually bound. Over time, Lafreri's title page served as starting point for large and eclectic compilations, expanded and rearranged by generations of collectors...'

Gorgeous Guitar Art and Decoration.

Photos of an Anti-Ballistic Missile Complex in North Dakota.

'Significance: It is believed that the plans for deployment and initiation of construction of this facility were instrumental in obtaining Soviet agreement to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and a subsequent decline in Cold War hostilities between the Superpowers.'

Neo-Ruins: Lithographs of Post-Apocalyptic Tokyo.

'Hisaharu Motoda’s “Neo-Ruins” series of lithographs depict the cityscape of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where familiar streets lie deserted, the buildings are crumbling and weeds grow from the broken pavement. The antique look of the lithographic medium effectively amps up the eeriness of the futuristic setting. “In Neo-Ruins I wanted to capture both a sense of the world’s past and of the world’s future,” says Motoda on his website. '

Historic Chess Games.

Click through, with light commentary.

Querying the Hive Mind.

'What online shopping experiences have left you absolutely delighted? As in "I laughed with delight when I opened the box?" I want to start building a list of *great* places to buy gifts for my friends/family, and I'm sure some of you know some great places.'

'What is the most awesome, smile inducing, envy inspiring thing I can hang on my cubicle wall? '

'What science fiction films are there, iyho, that really measure up to the best of written work in that genre?'

'I want to read more novels about women descending into madness and then getting well again. Any suggestions?'

'I'm pregnant, and having a horrible time coming to terms with this new maternal identity. I know having a baby changes everything, etc., etc., but is it possible to become a mom and still stay, well, yourself?'

Sculpture Photoset.

Wisconsin Decorative Arts.

'The Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database is a new online resource for the study of craft traditions, manufacturing, state and local history, and material culture. This searchable archive brings together examples of furniture, ceramics, textiles, and other 19th and early 20th century material culture artifacts from the collections of museums and historic sites across Wisconsin.'

Wednesday, 3 September 2008