Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Trivia (should have been 9 May)

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders
via 3 Quarks Daily: William Dalrymple in The Guardian
ScreenHunter_1051 Mar. 05 16.41
One of the very first Indian words to enter the English language was the Hindustani slang for plunder: “loot”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this word was rarely heard outside the plains of north India until the late 18th century, when it suddenly became a common term across Britain. To understand how and why it took root and flourished in so distant a landscape, one need only visit Powis Castle.
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An eco-system inside your home
via BBC by LJ Rich
Imagine having a garden and self-contained eco-system inside your home with fish making fertiliser for the plants and the plants filtering the water clean for the fish. The system will help you grow fresh healthy food and even improve your air quality.
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Piero di Cosimo: Renaissance “Madman” for the Modern Age
via Big Think by Bob Duggan
Half a millennium later, you would think the Italian Renaissance could hold no more secrets from us, no “codes” to decipher. And, yet, secrets hiding in plain sight continue to startle modern audiences with the depth and breadth of that amazing era. One of the well-kept secrets, at least until now, was the work of Piero di Cosimo, subject of his first major retrospective, Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Called “a madman” for his personal and artistic quirks by Renaissance chronicler Giorgio Vasari, Piero’s ability to paint in multiple genres all with a dizzying amount of detail may have seemed madness to contemporaries, but appeals to modern audiences conditioned for such visual assaults. There may have been a method to Piero di Cosimo’s madness after all.
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A festival of colorful emotions
via OUP Blog by Kiyokazu Okita
It is as if a massive color palette fell on earth from the hand of the Almighty. The whole atmosphere is painted with bright colors – red, pink, yellow, blue, green, and purple. Young and old, men and women – all are soaked in colored water, running around, laughing loudly, shouting, and throwing mud on each other. It is a war where a water gun is your weapon, colored water is your bullet, and colored powder is your smoke screen. If you are a foreigner, locals tell you not to go out on this day. If you are unable to control your curiosity, they will have no mercy on you.
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50 Great Genre-Bending Books Everyone Should Read
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
Sometimes, it seems as though the arguments about genre – be it poetry vs. fiction, fiction vs. nonfiction, literary fiction vs. SF vs. fantasy vs. mystery vs. vs. vs. – will never end. So why not just take yourself off the board entirely? After all, marketing professionals aside, does anyone really care what genre they’re reading if the book is good? After the jump, 50 genre-bending novels guaranteed to enthrall you, whether you’re a literary fiction snob or a die-hard fantasy nerd.
Enjoy without judgements!
It seems that I have a lot of reading to do! Although some of these have been recommended to me by my daughter and/or granddaughter I have actually read not a single one.

Beautiful photo of impact basin on Mercury
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ. APL, Arizona State U., CIW
NASA' Astronomy Picture of the Day is of the Caloris basin on Mercury.
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Ten fun facts about the Irish Fiddle
via OUP Blog by Miki Onwudinjo
Even though the harp is Ireland’s national symbol, the fiddle is the most commonly played instrument in traditional Irish music. Its ornamental melodies are more relaxed than the classical violin and improvisation is encouraged. The fiddle has survived generational changes from its start as a low-class instrument popular among the poor. Now, the Irish fiddle is playing an instrumental role in preserving traditional Irish music and culture.
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Behemoth: 1943
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Behemoth: 1943
January 1943
“Freight operations on the Chicago & North Western between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa. The crew, with exception of the fireman, chat while waiting for orders to pull out.”
Photo by Jack Delano
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30 3D Pavement Drawings To Blow Your Mind
via Lifehack by Amy Johnson

Julian Beever is a talented artist who has mastered the art of creating unbelievably life-like optical illusions in the street. A master of perspective and creativity, Julian creates unique art using a technique called anamorphosis.
The art is drawn from a certain perspective, so you can see the picture perfectly from one angle. And when standing in the right place, these mind-blowing pavement drawings leap off the street, looking so life like it’s hard to believe they’re just drawings.
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10 fun facts about the harp
via OUP Blog by Miki Onwudinjo
The Harp is a string instrument of very ancient lineage that is synonymous with classical music and cupid’s lyre. Over the years, the harp has morphed from its primitive hunting bow shape to its modern day use in corporate branding. Across the globe, each culture has its own variation of this whimsical soft-sounding instrument.
Check out these ten fun facts about the harp.

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