Saturday, 23 February 2013

Should have been Friday 22nd February!

Traver Circle Swing: 1905
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Traver Circle Swing: 1905
New York circa 1905
“Luna Park circle swing, Coney Island”
8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Doer and dreamer, realist and romantic: Charles de Gaulle was an exceptional – and exceptionally arrogant – character...more

Quite a zoo
via Prospero by P.W. | NEW YORK
Despite the cold, the snow and the sleet, New York in late January becomes a hotbed of art and antiques dealers and collectors from around the world. During a slump in the tourist season, the city cleverly plays host to the Winter Antiques Show (from January 25th until February 3rd), Master Drawings New York (from January 26th until February 2nd) and a series of Old Master auctions at Sotheby’s and Christies.
Both the above sites were still available early in February but ...
Continue reading from the Prospero blog where you will find a number of pictures, including this one.

(It’s the second one in the slide show.)

Why put magnetic paint on ants?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

It seems like a weird past-time, magnetizing ants, but it has some practical purposes. At his blog, media engineer Andrew Quitmeyer explains how he mixed magnetic powder into insect-safe enamel paint, and what he was able to do with it.
The big benefit to something like this is that it could allow scientists to easily alter the populations of social insect groups. Each colony of ants functions, in many ways, like a single organism. So what happens to that hive mind if you remove all the ants doing one particular type of task? Instead of painstakingly picking out each worker with a pair of tweezers every time you want to try this, you could create a colony in which all the workers have had magnetic paint daubed onto their abdomens. Then, you could quickly and easily collect some of them, or all of them, using a magnet. Hunting ants with a tweezer once > hunting ants with a tweezer over and over and over.
Another, possibly less legitimate, use of the paint is demonstrated by Quitmeyer in this video. (Quitmeyer, for the record, is not a social insects researcher.) Using single painted ants in a population of unpainted ants, he plays around with the way colonies remove unhealthy members of their own community. When a magnetized ant starts flopping around erratically in response to a nearby magnet, nearby ants quickly react. As Quitmeyer says in the video, this demonstration quickly passes from science into mad science (or, at least, YouTube science).
Thanks to Leah Shaffer!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Hallucinations can be brilliant, bothersome, even frightening. Imagine hearing Bing Crosby sing White Christmas for days on end... more

The LumiPotti® night-time toilet for children
via Steve van Dulken (Information Expert, BL Research Service)
I recently came across the LumiPotti toilet to help children use a toilet at night. I have written on the topic of toilets with aids for children before, in my post Toilet training aids for children.
The LumiPotti website says that two mothers, Rachael and Kerry, thought of the idea over “coffee morning banter”. The site announces that they have received a granted UK patent, Childs pot. Its main drawing is given below.
LumiPotti nightime training aid for children patent image
Continue reading to discover more information about the LumiPotti and its patent (or not as the case might be).
Then you could always read about the iPad potty

Hoare’s RIB
It is a cold January morning. A retired Rear Admiral stands on the parapet of some forgotten castle casting a glinty eye over the eternally churning grey swell of the Bristol Channel.
The wind is biting; perhaps it reminds him of other patches of treacherous cold water, other dark days at sea. One thing he is certain of - this piece of coast is one of the world’s worst.
The currents and eddies, the momentous slop as the Atlantic ocean slews from one side of its rim to the other, give the Bristol Channel and the Bay of Fundy, on the other side, the highest tidal ranges anywhere in the world.
St Donat's Castle The Wreck of the Rothsay Steam Packet 1832 (picture courtesy of National Library of Wales)
St Donat’s Castle The Wreck of the Rothsay Steam Packet
(picture courtesy of the National Library of Wales)
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The Bell Jar was published in England on January 14, 1963. Sylvia Plath killed herself 28 days later. A good career move, Anne Sexton observed... more

Some notes on the Shia-Sunni conflict
via 3quarksdaily by Omar Ali
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”
Karl Marx
Sarmad 03-786777
Full article - very interesting and, to me, informative piece of writing.

Genetic evidence suggests that, four millennia ago, a group of adventurous Indians landed in Australia
via 3quarksdaily by S. Abbas Raza
Full story from the print edition of The Economist includes this lovely map.

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