Saturday, 21 July 2012

10 stories and links I found educative, interesting or just weird!

London Markets, 1961 via Retronaut by Chris

All images by Charles W. Cushman
Source: Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection
See the rest of Chris’s selection here and marvel at the amount of social history that each picture contains. I can recognise SmithfieldBerwick Street and Shepherd Market and possibly Covent Garden but there is not a wide enough panorama for the others – Church Street was my Saturday late afternoon regular for cheap food but I can't find a decent picture!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
From psychoanalysis to neuroscience, Eric Kandel has been driven to ask: How could people listen to Mozart one day and beat up Jews the next?... more

The secret lives of citrus fruit
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Okay, I had no idea that lemons and grapefruit are actually hybrid mixes of other fruits. How did I get to age 31 and miss this? Better yet, both citruses were born accidentally, of illicit love affairs not arranged by human hands. Lemons are the love child of citron and orange. Grapefruit the natural daughter of Asian pomelo and Barbados sweet orange.
Via David Despain

Cave Club, Hollywood, 1959
via Retronaut by Chris

Images by Ralph Morris
Source: Los Angeles Public Library
See the rest of Chris’s selection here.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Date night with God. What if the Almighty isn’t a distant, foreboding figure of judgement, but a regular guy who enjoys quiet dinners and cuddling?... more

Camera Traps Reveals Surprising Wildlife Behavior by Conor Myhrvold (an editorial intern at MIT Technology Reviewvia Technology Review Feed - TR Editors’ blog
The use of camera traps in remote wildlife areas is on the rise, and it’s helping with efforts to preserve endangered species. The past few months have seen a number of cool camera trap discoveries; this article [Yale environment news, December 2011] also describes how conservation scientists are increasingly relying on the technology.
In Iran, camera traps recently photographed a female cheetah at two separate wildlife reserves 130 km apart (Siahkouh National Park and Hare Anjir Wildlife Refuge), inferring long distance cheetah movement across train tracks and roads. This is part of a larger monitoring system created by the Iranian Cheetah Society, which captured images of … continue reading

A Lost City, Found With Lasers
via Technology Review Feed - TR Editors’ blog
Honduran ruins discovered through remote sensing.
Deep in the jungles of Honduras lies one less secret.
Read the story which I thought was disappointingly short.
Try this one instead.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The thesaurus has been derided as “a calculator for the lexically lazy”. Yet Plath treasured hers. Dylan Thomas, too. Best keep it on a high shelf... more

After the velvet divorce
via Eurozine articles by Martin M. Simecka
Differences between the Czech and Slovak national cultures begin with language and range from newspaper circulation to attitudes to corruption. Yet they don’t justify seeing the Czecho-Slovak split as blueprint for dismantling the EU, writes Martin Simecka.
Full text (PDF 8pp)

Atlantis: The Lost City Beneath a Swamp?
via Britannica Blog by Kara Rogers
It was said to lie in the sea, somewhere beyond the Pillars of Hercules in the Strait of Gibraltar. It was supposed to have been a lost underwater kingdom, the ruins of its ivory and gold palaces faintly lit by downwelling shafts of sunlight, fishes darting between collapsed barnacle-encrusted statues and pillars. But if recent satellite imagery and archaeological observations are correct, then the legendary city of Atlantis is not under the ocean after all. Instead, it is buried beneath the wetlands of Coto Doñana National Park in southern Spain.

The island of Atlantis, as depicted in an engraving in Athanasius Kircher's Mundus Subterraneus (1664; “Subterranean World”). This map, based on Egyptian maps, is oriented with the south at the top (note the compass arrow pointing down), so America and the Atlantic Ocean lie to the right of Africa and Spain. The text in the legend on the upper right, translated, states, “The site of Atlantis, now beneath the sea, according to the beliefs of the Egyptians and the description of Plato”.
Credit: ©
While lying under a swamp might dampen the romance that comes with the notion of a lost city beneath the sea, the evidence supporting Atlantis’s new supposed location is provocative. The city’s concentric rings, described by Plato in the 4th century BCE in the Timaeus dialogue, were identified in 2004 in satellite imagery taken over a region of the southern Spanish coast. That region, also the suspected site of the Biblical city of Tarshish, presumably was struck by a natural disaster, perhaps a tsunami, sometime between 800 and 500 BCE.

Wetlands in Coto Doñana National Park, southwestern Spain.
Credit: Marc Ryckaert (MJJR)/Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 (Generic)
Scientists have since probed the suspected site using electrical resistivity tomography and ground-penetrating radar. Among the sub-surface structures revealed by these technologies is a canal system that connected the city to the Guadalquivir River. Artifacts have been recovered from the swamp as well, including pieces of wood believed to have belonged to ships that sailed the canals. There are some, however, who question whether the city beneath the swamp is in fact Atlantis. Ireland, after all, is approximately the same size as Atlantis, and it is an island. For that matter, Atlantis could be any of several islands in the Mediterranean Sea. More extreme arguments have placed the lost city somewhere in Finland or the Bermuda Triangle. Then, of course, it may not exist at all, such as legends go.

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