Thursday 3 February 2011

Palavra de intérprete.

My old friend Maria's translation and intepretation blog.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Oversharpening a blade causes its edge to be lost.
Line your home with treasures and you won't be able to defend it.
Amass possessions, establish positions, display your pride: Soon
enough disaster drives you to your knees.
This is the way of heaven: do your work, then quietly step back.

- from the Gender-Inclusive Tao Te Ching ( ).

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Perry-Castaneda Library: Historical World Maps.

Quite a collection from around the world.

Family Portraits of All 56 Ethnic Groups in China.

'This is a “Family Portrait” of China’s 56 ethnic groups. Chen Haiwen, a photographer, recently lead a team of 14 photographers to create a book entitled, “Harmonious China: A Sketch of China’s 56 Ethnicities.” The team spent one year travelling all over China to complete the project. They ended up taking over 5.7 million photographs.'

Subway Architecture Worldwide.

'london’s underground became the first subway system in the world when it began operation in 1863.
since then, underground subways have been built in almost every major city of the world. from new york
and paris to hong kong and dubai, subways are an essential part of public transportation in cities.
within these systems, architecture plays a big role in defining the environment of the subway. here is
a collection of some of the most architecturally interesting subway stations. '

Iranians, You Are Not Alone!

'In reply to Iran’s cry for freedom, Italian Graphic Design Association (Aiap) gathered these posters overtime, and eventually, Social Design Zine, a daily blog published by Aiap, released them. Recently, the thumbnails of these posters have been widely distributed in Iran via mass email messages. The heartwarming gesture of empathy from the international community has been felt throughout Iran and continues to reverberate in-kind.'

The Oberammergau Passion Play.

'"Gripped by war, poverty and plague, the villagers of Oberammergau, in Bavaria, southern Germany vowed to put on a 'passion play' every ten years… That was back in 1633. They survived, and performed the first Oberammergau Passion Play in 1634. Ever since, their descendants have carried out that pledge. For the past four centuries the tradition has continued, every ten years. Only villagers have been allowed to take part.'

Berlin's East Side Gallery.

'The Berlin Wall at Muehlenstrasse was painted by about 100 artists from all over the world in the beginning of 1990.
The gallery has become famous as East Side Gallery and is the world's largest open air gallery.
The photographs were taken between 1990 and 2001. '

The Winter War.

Photos of the Finno-Soviet war of 1939-1940 (preceding the German invasion of the USSR and following the German and Soviet invasion of Poland).

How to Host Your Christmas Party, 1964.

'"From Refresh Your Table Manners", by Luella Cuming, 1964 Family Circle.'

Sawing Off of Manhattan Island.

'The sawing off of Manhattan Island is an old New York City story that is largely unverified. It describes a practical joke allegedly perpetuated in 1824 by a retired ship carpenter named Lozier. According to the story, in the 1820s a rumor began circulating among city merchants that southern Manhattan Island was sinking near the Battery due to the weight of the urban district. It was believed that by cutting the island, towing it out, rotating it 180 degrees, and putting it back in place that Manhattan would be stabilized, and that the thin part of the island could be condemned. Surprisingly the main concern was not the futility of the idea but of Long Island being in the way. '

Facing History: Drawings by Iranian Artist Saeed Siadat.

Lord Ganesh on a Wall Painting.

Red Rock Cinema, Reykjavik.

'While searching for some evening entertainment in Reykjavík I came across a list of times for The Volcano Show at Red Rock Cinema. I was intrigued but struggled to find any further details or reviews, eventually I found one description online - "a bit of an oddity that attracts geologists and curious tourists alike". That sold it for me.'

Astro Pics.

Himalayan Skyscape.

Ice Moon Tethys.

Butterfly Nebula.

Route 66.

'U.S. Highway 66 -- popularly known as Route 66 or the Mother Road -- holds a special place in American consciousness and evokes images of simpler times, mom and pop businesses, and the icons of a mobile nation on the road. This travel itinerary aids the public to visit the historic places that recall those images and experiences that are reminders of our past and evidence of the influence of the automobile. The Route 66 Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary was produced by the National Park Service's Heritage Education Services and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, in partnership with the American Express and World Monuments Fund Sustainable Tourism Initiative and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.'

Tuesday 1 December 2009

The Abysmal Calendar.

'theAbysmal Calendar has been developed as a replacement for the Gregorian calendar in its role as the global standard. It was developed anonymously from December 21st 2005 to December 20th 2007 in Vancouver Canada.
theAbysmal Calendar seeks to harmonise a number of different Calendars' features in order to provide the most eloquent means of translating dates between one Calendar system and another, and for communicating dates across the world's cultures...'

'... theAbysmal Calendar combines Calendar features from the Hebrew, the Hellenic, the Chinese, the Buddhist, the Mesoamericans and the Mesopotamian Calendars, which support its claim as a more globally relevant Calendar than the Gregorian. '

Alternative and proposed calendars:

The prospects for calendar reform:

The implementation of the Abysmal Calendar :

Demonstration of Mars in retrograde.

An interesting discussion.

'The Moral Dimensions of Ditching a Mortgage: University of Arizona law professor Brent T. White has written a provocative new paper (pdf) that urges homeowners with "underwater" mortgages" to walk away by strategically defaulting on their mortgage debts. '

Quote : 'In a society where you and your family are treated like expendable garbage by Wall Street, as a "business decision", why should only corporations be allowed to make "business decisions" that hurt you? Why shouldn't individuals be allowed to commit the same economic violence done to them on a regular basis? These are the questions people are now starting to ask.'

(Note - this is obviously a very US-centric discussion. I believe that the law in the UK, for example, is much more favourable to the consumer, so therefore this kind of discussion would be quite different on the other side of the Atlantic).

Fading Ad Campaign.

'Fading Ad Campaign is a photographic project documenting vintage mural ads on building brickfaces in New York City spanning nearly a century. It has become a metaphor for survival for me since, like myself, many of these ads have long outlived their expected life span. Although this project doesn't deal directly with , it is no accident I've chosen to document such a transitory and evanescent subject. Of the hundreds of ads I've photographed, many have already been covered up, vandalized, or destroyed. But still many silently cling to the walls of buildings, barely noticed by the rushing passersby.'

A Chinese Construction Worker's Notes.

'A young migrant worker updates a post of his raw, yet I found to be truthful and insightful notes while working at a construction site of soon to be multi-million luxury homes in Sanya, Hainan.'

Green Screams: Slogans on Walls in Iran.

'In the aftermath of the June uprising and the brutal ways in which peaceful protesters were beaten, murdered, imprisoned, raped, and tortured, Iranians have begun to define their own forms of civil disobedience from boycotting products advertised on state run IRIB, to nightly chanting Allah-o-Akbar on their rooftops, to turning off their electricity during state officials' TV appearances. One of the most effective methods of public disobedience for Iranians has become writing their thoughts on city walls. '

Moscow Postcards, 1890.

Moscow Postcards, 1927.

Moscow Postcards, 1967.

The Seven Liberal Arts.

'"The areas of secular education considered liberal have their foundation in classical antiquity and were codified in the medieval period into a distinct set of seven, with two subdivisions. The upper division, the quadrivium, consists of Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music; while the lower division, or trivium, is made up of Grammar, Logic (or Dialectic), and Rhetoric. [..]'

French Children's Books of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Eye of Argon.

'The Eye of Argon is a heroic fantasy novella that narrates the adventures of Grignr, a barbarian. It was written in 1970 by Jim Theis and circulated anonymously in science fiction fandom since then. It has been described as "one of the genre's most beloved pieces of appalling prose",[1] and has subsequently been used as part of a common science fiction convention party game.'

Dr. Bronner.

'He was born in Heilbronn, Germany, to the Heilbronner family of soap makers.[1] He emigrated to the United States in 1929, dropping "Heil" from his name. As his father was Jewish, he pleaded with his parents to emigrate with him for fear of the then-ascendant Nazis, but they refused. His last contact with his parents was in the form of a postcard saying, "You were right. —Your loving father."'

A Monkeyfilter post about him :

Querying the Hive Mind.

'Inspired by this, does anyone know of other interesting locations that can be explored using Google Street View?'

'Creep me out! Lately I've been on an "unsettling stuff" kick -- I like feeling unsettled and I find it creatively inspiring -- but I'm running low on things to explore.'

Leon Czolgosz, assassin of William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was electrocuted for his crime on October 29, 1901, at Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York. Among the personal effects found in his cell was a U.S. quarter stamped with the date 2218. The face in profile on said quarter was not George Washington, but rather a face which has yet to be identified.

'What are some cool math and number facts that would blow the mind of a seven year old?'

Phi :

'Seeking fire department incident response websites from anywhere in the world – updated on the fly (e.g. Toronto) or whenever they get the chance (Shropshire), it doesn't matter. Does your area's fire service do this?'

Old Penny Memories, Bridlington.

'Just off the sea front in Bridlington you can walk around the corner from the promenade and experience a different type of amusement arcade. Old Penny Memories allows you step back in time and play coin-operated arcade games from the heyday of British seaside entertainment.'

Roadside Art in Downstate Illinois.

'Downstate Illinois: You can't beat a region that boasts a House of Stuff!'

Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils.

Astro Pics.

Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars.

Giant Cluster Bends, Breaks Images.

Filaments of the Veil Nebula.

Princeton University Historical Postcard Collection.

'The Historical Postcard Collection documents the buildings and environs of the Princeton University campus in the form of picture postcards. Featuring both monochrome and color postcards , the bulk of the collection ranges in date from 1900 through the 1960s. Both unmarked and canceled postcards exist in the collection, and several postcard makers are represented. '

Sword Hilt Designs.

'A set of plates by Antoine Jacquard representing designs in blackwork for sword handles, dagger hilts and pommels, decorated with abstracted foliage, grotesques, chimeric figures and drolleries. Produced between about 1610 and 1630.'

Sati and Shiva in Indian Art.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

'The reverse side also has a reverse side.'

Japanese Prints.

'SESSHU'S LONG SCROLL is the masterwork of the 15th-century artist whom Japan honors as her greatest. Famed not only as a painter but also as a Zen priest and a great traveler, Sesshu found inspiration for his wonderful landscapes both in China and Japan. This magnificent scroll, which pictures the procession of the seasons, is essentially religious painting with a strong atmosphere of Zen Buddhism. Nature, rather than man, is dominant, although the human touch is charmingly evident from time to time.'

'One can take this fascinating Zen landscape journey again and again, and always find new delights along the way.'

'Here Be Dragons'.

'Hadji Muhiddin Piri Ibn Hadji Mehmed, ( 1465–1554/5) was an Ottoman-Turkish Admiral, Privateer, Geographer and Cartographer more commonly known as Piri Reis. In 1521 he finished his Kitab-I Bahriye or Book of Navigation This is an exquisite C17th - C18th revised and expanded version.'

Margaret and Helen's Thanksgiving Letter to the Family.

'This year I am thankful to have you as my family rather than a normal American family. I say that because Sarah Palin is fond of talking about her family being a normal American family.'

Astro Pics.

Annapurna Star Trails.

Ancient Layered Hills on Mars.

Enceladus Venting.

Crescent Earth.

Milky Way Panorama.

Faith, Science, and the Flood.

'Faith and reason, usually jostling for primacy over one another, unite on this map to describe [t]he Earth-sphere after the Deluge in its broken state, shown with Mountains and valleys, great Sea-Bosom and Islands and Shallows of the same. The map was produced for Willem and Jan Goeree’s (1) immensely popular book Introductions to Biblical Knowledge (2), and apparently is based on a similar hemisphere map illustrating Thomas Burnet’s Sacred History of the World (3).'

Flowcharting 'The Lord of the Rings'.

'Equally delightful, if not as yet as iconic, is this flow chart of Lord of the Rings. It charts the itinerary of the story’s main characters, individually and in group, showing when they meet, separate and rejoin each other. The progression is from left to right, not only in tune with the traditional (Western) reading direction but also mirroring the trajectory in the story itself, which starts in the Shire on Middle-Earth’s western edge and leads to Mordor in the east.'

Light and Shadows of a Shattered City.

Kabul photo-essay.

The World Calendar.

'The World Calendar is a proposed reform of the Gregorian calendar created by Elisabeth Achelis of Brooklyn, New York in 1930.'

The Sugar House, El Paso, Texas.

'Started in 1973 by Rufino Loya, a retired Levi Strauss worker, it has been growing ever since. The inspiration for the house was a promise he made to his wife that he would make something beautiful for her. Drawing from memories of the churches he saw growing up in Mexico he created a magical corner of the world in El Paso - an oasis of beauty sitting incongruously beside Highway 54. It's a true labour of love...'

Victorian Toilets, Rothesay.

'The gentlemen’s toilets in Rothesay are a veritable palace of public convenience. Described by Lucinda Lambton, architectural historian and well known cludgie connoisseur as “jewels in the sanitarian’s crown”, they are one of the finest examples of late Victorian lavatories left in the UK.'

Variations of Green.

Tallulah Bankhead.

'My recently acquired copy of Tallulah Bankhead's autobiography (which looks as if it's still in print) turns out to be an ideal winter evening read. She describes her notoriously rackety life with total insouciance: "Let's face it, my dears, I have been tight as a tick! Fried as a mink! Stiff as a goat!" "I've rejoiced in considerable dalliance, and have no regrets... I found no surprises in the Kinsey Report." ...'

The Report from Iron Mountain.

'The Report From Iron Mountain is a book, published in 1967 (during the Johnson Administration) by Dial Press, that states that it is the report of a government panel. The book includes the claim that it was authored by a Special Study Group of fifteen men whose identities were to remain secret, and that it was not intended to be made public. The best selling book purportedly details the analyses and conclusions of a government panel that states that war, or a credible substitute for war, is necessary for governments to maintain power. Report from Iron Mountain was on the New York Times bestseller list and was translated into fifteen different languages. Controversy exists concerning whether the book is the result of a hoax authored by Leonard Lewin or the real result of a secret government panel.'

Drinking in Ancient Karnataka.

'Drinking was undertaken leisurely, with a method under pleasing surrounding and decorated pavilions. Goddess of wine (Madhudevate) was invoked and the Mother Earth was propitiated. Draughts of liquor were put on the head (as mark of respect). Then it was poured into artistically shaped bowls with bird heads and carved from mother pearls, beautiful shells etc. and offered to elders. Then it was turn of youngsters to help themselves. '

Food and drinks in medieval Karnataka:

Christmas in Buffalo, 1910.

Soviet Storefronts.

'In Soviet times there were no privately owned shops. All the outlets belonged to the state and were managed according the general trading rules from the Federal center. You could meet absolutely same design of two shops in two totally different cities. Storefronts were often also identical. Like these ones on those photos, back from the Soviet times: '

The Discordian Calendar.

'Yün Kiang, rambling to the east, having been borne along on a gentle breeze, suddenly encountered Hung Mung, who was rambling about, slapping his buttocks and hopping like a bird. Amazed at the sight, Yün Kiang stood reverentially, and said to the other, 'Venerable Sir, who are you? and why are you doing this ?' Hung Mung went on slapping his buttocks and hopping like a bird, but replied, 'I am enjoying myself.' Yün Kiang said, 'I wish to ask you a question.' Hung Mung lifted up his head, looked at the stranger, and said, 'Pooh!' Yün Kiang, however, continued, 'The breath of heaven is out of harmony; the breath of earth is bound up; the six elemental influences do not act in concord; the four seasons do not observe their proper times. Now I wish to blend together the essential qualities of those six influences in order to nourish all living things;-- how shall I go about it?' Hung Mung slapped his buttocks, hopped about, and shook his head, saying, 'I do not know; I do not know!' '

Alcatraz Is Not an Island.

From November 1969 to June 1971, Alcatraz Island was occupied by Native American activists.

Three Iranian Sopranos.

International Robot Exhibition 2009.

Which chess piece are you?

Tuesday 17 November 2009

World Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images.

'Exploring the world, one vista at a time...'

Photos of 19th Century Russia.

'Maksim Dmitriev was born in 1858 in Tambov province. At the age of 15 he became an apprentice of the famous photographer of that time - M.P. Nastiukov, where he obtained basic knowledge about the art of photography. He became famous at the beginning of the 90-s of the XIX century after representation of the exposition called “Bad harvest in Nizhny Novgorod region”, where he showed ruined villages and sick and starving peasants. With this exposition he became the founder of the photo report genre in Russia.'


Fiction in 2 dimensions. "How does gravity curve space? Well, imagine that the world is two dimensional, like a rubber sheet..."

The French Republican Calendar.

An attempt to decimalise time, amongst other things.

More at Preserving the French Republican Calendar :

Street Art in Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales.

My old stomping ground.

S_P_A_M Haiku.

Going back some years.

There's even a section

On cannibalism.

The Great Moon Hoax.

' "The Great Moon Hoax" was a series of six articles that were published in the New York Sun beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, perhaps the best-known astronomer of his time.'


Autumn in the NY Times.

Green in 1953, Iranian Protests.

'Photo essay: Anti-establishment protests before 1953 coup'.

Cham Village and Yazd, Iran.

'Images of the village of Cham and Yazd in April 2009. Emphasis is on "Dakhmeh" or "towers of silence" which are no longer used and the surrounding landscape.'

Towers of silence ( ) - used by Zoroastrians for the exposure of the dead.

Vision On.

(UK) 'Readers of a certain age will remember the delight that was Vision On. Presented by avuncular art legend Tony Hart who died last year, it ran from 1964-1976 on the BBC and showcased art and animation from artists and kids alike. '

George Orwell on The Perfect Cup of Tea.

Museum of Firecracker Label Art.

'Thanks for checking out my site. I have over 400 labels available
for you to enjoy. Most are from my personal collection,
although some have been loaned to me so that I could share them.
Click on the links for the different classes to load the links to the individual labels. Have fun and hopefully some will bring back nice memories.'

The World Stone Skimming Championships, Scotland.

Japanese Toy Designs.

'By turns scary and intriguing (much like Japanese game shows and the garbled translations below) the selection of images above comes from the sixty albums in the Kyosen Guangucho section of the website.'

The Theatre of Cruelty.

(16th century illustrations of religious persecution in England). 'Verstegan's book attempted to record, in gruesome detail, the cruelty, torture and murder of Catholic martyrs in Europe - including English victims under the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I* - at the hands of Protestant heretics. Upon publication, the author was arrested and imprisoned for libel against the Crown and all books were confiscated and destroyed (a single page has been saved). Through the intervention of friends in the clerical hierarchy, Verstegan was able to secure his release and he fled the country, ultimately settling in Antwerp.'

Venezuela, 1905.

'Circa 1905. "Country store, Venezuela." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.'

Candy Factory Kids, 1913.

'October 1913. Dallas, Texas. "A few of the young workers in Hughes Brothers Candy Factory, South Ervay Street. I counted five going and coming at night and at noon, that appeared to be from 12 to 15 years old. One girl told me that she is 13 years old, 'but we have to tell them we're 15. I run a chocolate machine.' "'

Vietnamese Contemporary Art.

' is the combined, online gallery for three galleries in Saigon. '

Astro Pics.

Halloween's Moon.

M83's Centre.

Milky Way over the Badlands.

Querying the Hive Mind.

A very sweet thread.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Too Late for Flowers.

Short story from Liberia.

'Theresa was in her seventies, lean, gray-headed, with a wrinkled face and almost toothless mouth when I moved into her house as a tenant. She had suffered a stroke that left her right leg crippled and her left arm useless. Besides the meager rent Theresa received from me, she sold pepper and palm oil on a ramshackle table at Red Light market...'

Soviet Soldiers of WW2 in Colour.

'Such photos always fascinate me. I mean the color photos from the past, the older the better. These ones is no exception. We got used to see only black and white photos from the World War 2 - the color photography was very expensive at that times and actually was not widely implemented, and especially usually nobody took the expensive equipment to the battlefront. Still there are some color photos from the times where our grandfathers were young, like 70 years ago.'

British Dialects.

'"It is the business of educated people to speak so that no-one may be able to tell in what county their childhood was passed." Despite efforts by Victorians to eradicate them, dialects of English in Great Britain continue to vary greatly, much to the consternation of many traditionalists. But a recently acquired archive is giving new insight into old dialects--some of which no longer exist. Recorded in a WWI prisoner of war camp on shellac disks, the archive was part of an effort by German linguists to study regional variation in the English language. A report by PRI's The World includes a brief synopsis--and a powerful rendition of a beloved Scottish ballad by a homesick soldier. '

Japanese Postcards from the Year of the Monkey.

Marc's International Pringles Can Collection.

18th Century 'Hyakki Yako' Scroll.

'An 18th-century picture scroll featuring a procession of Japanese demons and monsters is for sale on eBay. This 11.25 meter (37 ft) long work depicts the Hyakki Yakō (lit. “Night Parade of One Hundred Demons”) — a deadly parade of demons and yōkai (traditional monsters) that, according to Japanese folklore, would often take place on summer nights. The Hyakki Yakō was a popular theme in Japanese visual art during the Edo period, and portrayals of these processions, while frightening, often incorporated a sense of humor.'


'In the culture of South Asia, a hijra, is usually considered a member of "the third gender" — neither man nor woman. Most are physically male or intersex, but some are physically female. Hijras usually refer to themselves linguistically as female, and usually dress as women.'

Laura Lean's Photos of South Kensington Tunnel.

'A project photographing the South Kensington tunnel that links the underground station with a number of museums. '

The Sphinx.

'Featured here are John Buckland Wright's illustrations for "Le Sphinx" by the Belgian Symbolist Iwan Gilkin. Richard Sica gives the back story to these rare illustrations from his collection: '

Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914-1939.

Interesting to compare this style with the style in 'The Sphinx' above.

God's Man.

Another set of prints worth comparing, from about the same time period...

Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Paintings.

Looking In: Robert Frank's 'The Americans'.

Astro Pics.

Saturn after Equinox.

Art and Science in NGC 918.

Galaxy Merger from Hubble.

Stickney Crater.

Ring Nebula Deep Field.

Russia's Seven Wonders.

'There are seven wonders of the world, but most of them were already destroyed either by the hands of humans or by the cruel passing of time. And last year a group of some Russian TV-channels, newspapers and radio stations hold an official opinion poll and discovered what kinds of real wonders Russia has. Anyone could participate in the poll taking votes via internet or SMS services. So, the seven best-looking and really fascinating places were chosen. Here they are:'

The Soviet Calendar.

'The Soviet calendar added five- and six-day work weeks between 1929 and 1940 to the Gregorian calendar adopted by Russia in 1918. Although the traditional seven-day week was still recognized, a day of rest on Sunday was replaced by one day of rest sometime during each work week. Many sources erroneously state that the weeks were organized into 30-day months.'

Amorita, 1900.

Asbury Park, 1905.

'New Jersey circa 1905. "Boardwalk, Asbury Park." '

Dictionary of British Slang.

'A monster online dictionary of the rich colourful language we call slang... all from a British perspective, with new slang added every month. '

Russian Fairy Tales.

'These illustrations come from Russian Fairy Tales (Pantheon, 1945), translated by Norbert Guterman, with "folkloristic commentary" by Roman Jakobson (yes, that Roman Jakobson). Eudora Welty blurb: "These Russian tales are rambunctious, full-blooded and temperamental. They are tense with action, magical and human, and move in a kind of cyclone of speed. These tales are gorgeous."'

Shusei Nagaoka's Sci Fi Illustrations.

'In the 1970s and 1980s, the sci-fi art of Japanese illustrator Shusei Nagaoka graced numerous album covers and appeared in a variety of advertisements, magazines, and movie posters. Here is a small sample of his fantastic work.'

Basoli's Alphabet.

'n Bologna, in 1839, the decorative artist Antonio Basoli published his Alfabeto Pittorico, ossia raccolta di pensieri pittorici composti di oggetti comincianti dalle singole lettere alfabetiche (‘Pictorial Alphabet, or, a collection of pictorial thoughts composed of objects beginning with the individual letters of the alphabet’). This was an album of twenty-five elaborate lithographs, each one featuring an alphabetical character cast in some fantastic architectural form, in a setting contrived to illustrate any number of figures and objects for which there were Italian words beginning with that same letter.'