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Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Flapping-wing bio-inspired micro air vehicle

[V]Robo Raven[V] is a robot bird. So uncanny a hawk attacked it during testing. Other robot birds include the SmartBird, a flying robotic seagull, and AirPenguins. Robobee is a robot bee.
posted by stbalbach on May 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Nature in Slow-Motion Flight

High Speed Animal Flight Videos Show Hidden Aerial World. The Dutch Program Vilegkunstenaars (Flight Artists) sent high-speed video tools to amateurs around the world with the challenge: Capture nature in flight. They then picked the best from the over 2,400 slow-motion clips that were uploaded. [more inside]
posted by quin on Jan 16, 2012 - 11 comments

Southern California is for suckers

Tree of Bees? Hills that move? A reflective humorous post about living in Southern California via mockable.org
posted by will wait 4 tanjents on Apr 7, 2009 - 65 comments

Ask A Man?

Ask A Man? "You have come to the right place for love, relationship and dating advice. Ask a man will provide you with the love, relationship and dating answers you seek. Our staff of amazing men have agreed to break the "man code" and tell you the absolute truth about what your man is really saying to you." For example: "Men want respect. In a man's world, men are nothing without respect. In a relationship, a man needs to know his woman respects him. "
posted by feelinglistless on Oct 20, 2006 - 43 comments

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