The Vanished Grandeur Of Accounting, in which Jacob Soll argues that it was the Dutch, and certainly not the Venetians or Florentines who are responsible for the spread of that moral and mathematical revolution: double-entry accounting. [more inside]
"If there is an assassination planned for the meal, then it is seemliest that the assassin should be seated next to he who is to become the subject of his craft" - Leonardo da Vinci: head of the kitchen, designer of horse-pulled nut-crushers, inventor of napkins, and assassination etiquette expert.
Marie-Henri Beyle was a French novelist, better known by his pen name Stendhal. Though he is now known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology and he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism, during his lifetime his reputation was largely based on his books dealing with the arts and with tourism. He is also notable for personal experiences he recorded in Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio. There he wrote that his "heart was beating fast at the thought of entering Florence," then when in the Basilica of Santa Croce, he "experienced the most intense pleasure art has ever bestowed upon me ... a sort of ecstasy." Later, he "was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart;" he "walked in constant fear of falling to the ground." This was the first recorded case of hyperkulturemia, also known as the Stendhal or Florence Syndrome, a psychosomatic reaction to art and/or scenes of beauty. Similar psychosomatic experiences have been recorded in Paris and Jerusalem, though the former largely linked to cultural shock and disconnect at the imagined and real Paris, while the latter most often associated with evangelical Christian tourists who are overwhelmed by their experiences and come to believe they are the Chosen One. The good news for people who suffer from any of these syndromes: the symptoms generally diappear once the person leaves the location or region that set off the psychosomatic illness.
"But Freud had a second fear: a fear of Rome's layers. In formal treatises, he compared the psyche to an ancient city, with many layers of architecture built one on top of another, each replacing the last, but with the old structures still present underneath. In private writings he phrased this more personally, that he was terrified of ever visiting Rome because he was terrified of the idea of all the layers and layers and layers of destroyed structures hidden under the surface, at the same time present and absent, visible and invisible. He was, in a very deep way, absolutely right." [more inside]
To document the amazing beauty of the moment, Photographer Brady Dyer had his girlfriend Emma take a 360 panorama at sunset from their rooftop in Florence, Italy, it ended with unexpected sweetness. [slyt | via]
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
Everything you never wanted to know about the American prison-industrial complex. Part 2: Prison Nation.
Cooking with Vincent Price! Delicious mushrooms & stuffed eggs! Roast pork sirloin with prunes, onions & red wine! Small boys in a spectacular curry! Cooking not your thing? Well, would you prefer learning about cricket? Or perhaps Florentine art? Voilà, my friends!
Arounder has an ongoing collection of high-quality full screen Quicktime VR panoramas of European cities, focusing on famous artistic and cultural landmarks (in Rome, Florence, Köln, Barcelona, Cyprus), with interactive maps and travel information. A collaboration with national tourist offices by Swiss company Vrway Communication, which also publishes Vrmag, a bi-monthly review of panorama photography, and the FullscreenQTVR directory in collaboration with the well-known panoramas.dk (previously mentioned on metafilter: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Gee, stupid me. I thought it was a pretty good statue, myself. Seems someone with a laser beam and time on his hands has worked out that the statue of David squints. Wow. Thanks a lot, mister! I can rest a lot easier knowing that. Why, I might have been misled into believing it was some kind of masterpiece or something. What, he couldn't find anything more useless to do with his sabbatical?