January 4, 2010
In alpine Europe, Perchta the Belly-Slitter (a.k.a Berta/Berchta/Frau Percht) roams during the Twelve Days of Christmas, and if you piss her off, she'll cut out your entrails and stuff you full of straw and garbage. And you thought Krampus was all you had to dodge to get through the holidays! [more inside]
Fascinated by the Orient An exhibition of the letters, photographs and maps bequeathed to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences by the great explorer, archaeologist, geographer and Sanskritist Sir Marc Aurel Stein. Journeyer in the footsteps of Alexander, explorer of Central Asia and West China, surveyor of the antiquities of India and Iran; after a long life of journeying through and studying central Asia, Aurel Stein found his final rest in Kabul. He is also remembered for rediscovering the oldest dated printed book still in existence, a copy of the Diamond Sutra in the caves at Mogao. That the latter and many thousands of other manuscripts collected by Stein now reside in the British Library is of course, like his other 'treasure hunting', not without controversy.
"N.B.--In telling a ladies fortune, omit reading from cards that are intended to apply exclusively to men and vice versa" Instructions for over 7200 games from Hasbro (and Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley and Playskool, etc.) ranging from Venetian Fortune Teller [1909, pdf] and Hop in the Tub [1920, pdf] to the "how could I forget?" Don't Wake Daddy [1992, pdf] and Harry Potter Motion Activated Hedwig [pdf]. And don't forget Ouija [pdf]! [more inside]
The beauty of roots. From Dan Christensen and Sam Derbyshire via John Baez. If you like algebra: these are plots of the density in the complex plane of roots of polynomials with small integral coefficients. If you don't: these are extravagantly beautiful images produced from the simplest of mathematical procedures. Explore the image interactively here.
Chess Boxing, a hybrid sport which combines boxing with chess in alternating rounds, is growing in popularity. Inspired by fictional depictions of the sport in French comic book artist Enki Bilal's graphic novel, Froid Équateur, Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh brought the concept to life in 2001. Governed by the World Chess Boxing Organisation, whose motto is "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board", matches consist of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess with a one minute break between rounds. A photographic account of the sport. Further reading. Further viewing. Previously.
"The constant undertone of the singing formed the theme that bound her mind together, no matter how many different things she might do at one time."
"The Gentle Seduction," by Marc Stiegler. A non-techie lives before, through, and after the Singularity. (via Reddit) [more inside]
"Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."
Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.
Seamless rap in 5 Languages (SLYT)
The Things - The Thing from the point of view of the thing, by Peter Watts (previously, previously, previously)
The Vintage Ad Browser "aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine & comic book scans, and more." [more inside]
The Revolution Will Be Mapped. "GIS mapping technology is helping underprivileged communities get better services — from education and transportation to health care and law enforcement — by showing exactly what discrimination looks like."
An interview with Abraham Van Luik, US DoE geoscientist working on the nuclear waste repository under construction in Yucca Mountain. [more inside]