Adam Davidson,The V.C.s of B.C.
Through a series of incredibly unlikely events, archaeologists have uncovered the comprehensive written archive of a few hundred traders who left their hometown Assur, in what is now Iraq, to set up importing businesses in Kanesh, which sat roughly at the center of present-day Turkey and functioned as the hub of a massive global trading system that stretched from Central Asia to Europe. Kanesh’s traders sent letters back and forth with their business partners, carefully written on clay tablets and stored at home in special vaults. Tens of thousands of these records remain. One economist recently told me that he would love to have as much candid information about businesses today as we have about the dealings — and in particular, about the trading practices — of this 4,000-year-old community.[more inside]
The Mystery of ISIS
The problem, however, lies not in chronicling the successes of the movement, but in explaining how something so improbable became possible. The explanations so often given for its rise—the anger of Sunni communities, the logistical support provided by other states and groups, the movement’s social media campaigns, its leadership, its tactics, its governance, its revenue streams, and its ability to attract tens of thousands of foreign fighters—fall far short of a convincing theory of the movement’s success.[more inside]
If fifteen houses are built on top of one another, which one is the most important? The Big Dig, a long read about shipwrecks under Istanbul, archaeological "surplus", Neolithic footprints, elephants fed to lions, and the collision of modern city planning imperatives with a glut of priceless antiquities. SLNewYorker. [more inside]
Why Istanbul Should Be Called Catstantinople: The city has long been famous for its large population of street cats, as reflected in a popular Instagram feed and upcoming documentary. “Being a cat in Istanbul is like being a cow in India,” said Sibel Resimci, a musician and confessed cat junkie who says her husband often walks nearly 2 miles to work rather than disturb street cats sleeping on his moped. “For generations, they’ve had a special place in the city’s soul.” [more inside]
Why Turkey is bombing the Kurds more than Islamic State - "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party's absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely." [more inside]
What do an alpaca, a turtle, a snake, a pig, and a turkey have in common? They're all animals that New Yorker writer Patricia Marx passed off as emotional support animals, with varying results.
"Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight." --a comprehensive piece by Eliza Griswold (SLNYTMP.)
"Turks go to the polls on Sunday in the closest parliamentary election in more than a decade, one that could pave the way for President Tayyip Erdogan to amass greater power or end 12 years of single-party rule for the AK Party he founded." [more inside]
Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey When the invaders came, Cappadocians knew where to hide: underground, in one of the 250 subterranean safe havens they had carved from pliable volcanic ash rock called tuff. [more inside]
"The new dawn lights the eastern sky; Night shades are lifted from the sea": British and French ships entered the Dardanelles and opened their attack on Turkish forces, one hundred years ago today. This bold naval assault, planned by Winston Churchill, will falter, leading to the brutal Gallipoli campaign, an Allied defeat and Turkish triumph. [more inside]
The Üçtelli is a small Turkish string instrument that produces a lovely, delicate, chiming sound. Here is an utterly captivating duo performance by Osman Kirca and Ali Ulutaş. Here is another one. Here is a solo by Ali Ulutaş, and a solo by Osman Kirca. Here is a double neck version, played splendidly by Necati Arslan. And finally, one more solo performance from Ali Ulutaş featuring some very closeup camera work on his fingers as he plays his Üçtelli. Enjoy!
The Nameless Turkey from a dimension beyond that which mortals can comprehend, which brings madness to all who gaze upon its unholy visage.
What do you get when you cross a cello with a Zube Tube and let someone who knows what he's doing play it? You get the Yaybahar, built and played by Turkish musician Görkem Şen. [more inside]
South African artist and activist Gabrielle Le Roux is in San Francisco for the first time to show the "Proudly African & Transgender" portrait and story series she co-created with trans* activists from Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya in 2008, together with a selection of portraits from the "Proudly Trans* in Turkey" collaboration with eighteen trans* activists from across Turkey. The portraits and stories will show at the SF LGBT Center at the invitation of the Queer Cultural Center and SFSU Sociology Dept. Galería de La Raza will be showing the 18 part video installation of the Proudly Trans* in Turkey exhibition, through which trans* activists from across Turkey explore the issues they want to discuss on film. [more inside]
Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
The Imperial Kitchen
Among the kiosks, halls, reception chambers, and harem baths, I suspect that visitors today spend the least time of all in the palace kitchens—unless they have an interest in Chinese porcelain, which is displayed in there. Otherwise there’s nothing much to see, just a series of domed rooms. Outside you can count the ten pairs of massive chimneys, but there’s no smoke. It’s a pity that the building is so quiet, because it was in here, over four centuries, that one aspect of Istanbul’s imperial purpose was most vividly expressed.
Visualize a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. Now translate it. Derek Abbott of The University of Adelaide (previously) has compiled "the world’s biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds, commands, and pet names.
"The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’"A report by Seymour Hersh alleges that Turkish PM Erdoğan's National Intelligence Organization is responsible for last August's sarin attack in Syria, in an attempt to force Obama's hand on air strikes. [more inside]
Step inside this surreal world where religious piety meets psychedelic softcore porn, led by the world’s foremost Islamic creationist. "Followers of Harun Yahya (1, 2, 3) wear drag make-up and practice a “sexed-up, Disney version of Islam” that helps promote conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of a modern, Muslim Turkey."
Turkey: The Erdogan-Gulen showdown - "A political fight to the death had just broken out between Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, and his former allies in the movement of Mr Gulen... The prime minister argues that the Gulenists have set up a 'parallel state' within the bureaucracy, following orders from Pennsylvania and pursuing an agenda of their own." [more inside]
Alex Boese is interested in hoaxes, as you can tell from his Museum of Hoaxes website (lots previously), but he also enjoys tracking down weird science stories like Evan O'Neill Kane's self-appendectomy and Allan Walker Blair's black widow bite experiment on himself, as collected at the Mad Science Museum online.
The Panamanian golden frog that lives near loud waterfalls and the people of both Kuşköy (a small village in Turkey) and La Gomera (an island off the coast of Morocco) have something in common: creative communication in challenging situations. Where the golden frogs communicate by waving, the people of Kuşköy and La Gomera overcome difficult terrain by whistling. The Turkish people call their language "kuș dili" or "bird langage," as it originated in Kuşköy, which itself means "bird village," and the Silbo Gomero language is so organized and thorough that every vowel and consonant can be replaced with a whistle. [more inside]
The Far Post is a journalism series by Roads and Kingdoms and Sports Illustrated on global soccer culture that will run every other week until the start of "the largest theater that has ever existed in human history," the World Cup. So far there are five articles: Brazil 2014 Starts Now by Laurent Dubois gives an overview of the history of the World Cup and what it means now. Messi in Kolkata by Kanishk Tharoor is about a visit by the Argentine national team to Kolkata and the state of the game in India. Afghanistan United By May Jeong is the story of the incredible triumph of the Afghan national team at the 2013 South Asian Championship. Soccer and the Street in Istanbul by Izzy Finkel reports on the links between soccer and politics in Turkey. The Long Revolution of the Ultras Ahlawy by Patrick Kingsley is the account of how hardcore soccerfans in Egypt, at the center of the 2011 revolution, have fared in the aftermath.
Occurring once before in 1888 and possibly not again for another 77,798 years (really), the two holidays of Chanukah and Thanksgiving will overlap. The result? Chefs, food blogs, and nearly everybody else scrambling to create distinct fusion menus that draw from the delicious traditions of each holiday (NYT). Buzzfeed's massive Thanksgivukkah menu. Gothamist: Four Easy Fusion Dishes. Food 52's recipe challenge (in comments). Serious Eats' response ( Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Turkey Schmaltz Gravy) . NY Daily News asks Chef Zach Kutsher for ideas.
World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
Some sites are calling this the oldest brain found. However, there have been other finds and at least one major site in Florida that holds older remains. The trick now is to extract DNA and information that can aid in medical advances.
The utter failure of the Lone Ranger movie - the 1981 one, that is.
Let Us Dot the ‘i’ and Cross the ‘t’: Insurgence and the End of ‘Tough Love’ Politics in Turkey: As I type out these words, it is the tenth day of the anti-government protests in Turkey. Beginning at that rather inconspicuous and under-visited park, protests have gone viral and spread to more than twenty provinces. For now, activists occupy the park and most of Taksim Square. Despite relentless police brutality aiming to subdue the blessedly unruly crowds, thousands of citizens remain in the streets. Activist youth have already come up with a whole new series of tear gas-related jokes. Abdullah Cömert, a young activist in Hatay,,was killed when shot by a tear gas canister in the head. Another young worker from Ankara, Ethem Sarısülük, is in a coma from a riot police officer that shot a bullet which ricocheted and hit Sarısülük in the head. There were protesters who lost their eyes to tear gas or to canisters shot in their face. In general, riot police deliberately targeted individuals by means of gas grenade launchers. Whatever the political prospects of Turkey’s “Occupy moment” will be, the Ministry of the Interior has a lot to answer for. [more inside]
The History of the Tulip: an educational animated short video for the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam. [via]
"This morning, Turkish police surrounded protesters in Taksim Gezi park, the central square in Istanbul, blocked all exits and attacked them with chemical sprays and teargas. An Occupy-style movement has taken off in Istanbul." [more inside]
Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought.[more inside]
What makes a sweet street treat even better? Awesome artists. From Southern China, Sugar Painting makes elaborate, edible toffee masterpieces by carefully draping hot sugar onto cool marble. In Chongqing they make super floral sugar floss in a rainbow of colours. This artist from Xian blows hot sugar as if it were glass. From Istanbul, Tarihi Osmanlı Macunu (aka Traditional Ottoman Candy) is made with five different flavors of thick taffy spiraled deftly around a stick, creating a delicious lollipop. Dragon Beard Candy from Thailand is not only tasty but a great way to learn about geometric progression. And while a Thai banana pancake may seem pretty straightforward, there are always ways to jazz it up. [more inside]
Mozart in Turkey is film made of three distinct, but related, elements. First, it is a look into Mozart at the time of his courting Constanze, a bit on his new patron, the "enlightened monarch" Joseph II, and other influences, including the Turkish music and culture, along with thoughts on Mozart's opera as a work created in the Age of Enlightenment, all through the running commentary by opera director Elijah Moshinsky, who also interviews Alev Lytle Croutier, the author of Harem: The World Behind the Veil. Then there is the production of an opera in Turkey, specifically set in and around the Topkapi Palace (virtual tour; Wikipedia). And the last piece is the performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, or The Abduction from the Seraglio. You can watch the entire film online on Vimeo, thanks to Directors Cut Films.
Sometimes called the "Alan Lomaxes of India," the founders of Amarrass Records are on a mission to record and revitalize interest in traditional music from India, Turkey, and beyond. Over 100 videos on their YouTube channel chronicle their field recordings and festivals featuring artists like Lakha Khan, the Barmer Boys, Bombino, and many others. [more inside]
Nicholas Victor Artamonoff was a talented Russian amateur photographer who lived, studied and worked in Istanbul from the 1920s to the 1940s. He took many photos, mainly black-and-white, of architecture, archaeology, and street scenes, in Istanbul and also elsewhere in Turkey. A collection of images has now been made available by the Dumbarton Oaks Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives. [more inside]
Iraq, Kurds, Turks and oil - A tortuous triangle The governments of Turkey, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan play a dangerous game [more inside]
Pinar & Viola are two Dutch post-internet artists whose work explores new totalitarian impulses and the decadence of global culture through what they call "ecstatic surface design". Pinar Demirdag and Viola Renate’s latest work takes inspiration from popular culture to lambast the absurdity of contemporary society using beach towels. They also cover Turkey's anti-evolutionist showgirls and interpret Frieze through Instagram. NSFW&Sanity warning before... Our website refers to little gif animations, kittens, lolcats, ‘Welcome to my homepage’, glitter, all the little decorations that make our daily lives more beautiful and joyful.
A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.[more inside]
Maximum gravy: Vi hart, daughter of George & mathemusician at The Khan Academy, cooks mathematical potatoes to go along with a symmetrical Turduckenen. Have a delicious Thanksgiving. [more inside]
It may be the most notorious Thanksgiving promotion of all time. It is the 40th best television episode of all time. It's available in (semi-)entirety on HULU. And the classic TV blog offers an oral history. Happy thanksgiving, and, as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
December was Christmas. January was New Years. April was Easter. And the Fourth of July. But now it's Thanksgiving! Which is held on a Thursday, not a Friday.
Perry Anderson's book length three part series on the history of India from the beginnings of its independence movement, through independence and partition into its recent history as a nation-state is the latest in a series of erudite, opinionated and wordy articles in The London Review of Books by the UCLA professor of history and sociology on the modern history of various countries, so far taking in Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, Taiwan and France. [more inside]
Byzantium1200 is a project to create a 3d digital map of Constantinople and its famous monuments. The Hippodrome and Agia Sophia have been modeled as they would have appeared at their height. You can even watch a video of a Hippodrome race or see the results in book form.
Q: What's the connection between heroin in Glasgow and a dead goat in Turkey? A: Anthrax.