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Blasdelb (2)

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

WWI in Color

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]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

From the Journal of Modern Illogical Studies

The new Sokal: Serbian academics hoax a scholarly journal into accepting their gag paper. (Scribd copy of paper)
posted by doctornemo on Sep 24, 2013 - 21 comments

Lee, who caught me in her cup of gold, Roland.

A few handwritten pages with poems and photographs from The road is wider than long
During July and August 1938, as Europe prepared for war, Roland Penrose and Lee Miller (slideshow) drove from Greece through the Balkans.
This was his record of the journey and declaration of love for her.
LEAVE YOUR TONGUE STUCK TO THE BARK
This will avoid all danger
of not meeting next year.

(Previous Lee Miller).
posted by adamvasco on May 21, 2013 - 7 comments

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West's 1941 account of the people, history, and politics of the doomed Kingdom of Yugoslavia, is available online in its flawed, majestic entirety.
posted by Iridic on Oct 11, 2010 - 9 comments

He drills three holes in the bridge, then penetrates each in order to guarantee fertility

Balkan sexual supersititions (NSFW) [more inside]
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out on Aug 29, 2010 - 64 comments

How to deal with Failed States

America & Nation Building: John Clint Williamson, a career federal prosecutor, now serving as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, gives a TEDx talk on how to rebuild failed states, from the Balkans to Iraq. Sounds similar to Thomas P.M. Barnett's call for a U.S.-run International "SysAdmin". Williamson's speech at Seton Hall: SLYT
posted by joetrip on Apr 25, 2010 - 5 comments

On the Trail of a Serial Killer in Macedonia

Then, in November 2007, exactly three years after the disappearance of Simjanoska, another woman from Kičevo went missing. Fifty-six-year-old Lubica Ličoska was, like Simjanoska, a custodian, and she also lived in the same section of town. When the similarities were noted, locals suddenly remembered Gorica Pavelska. She was seventy-three, a retired custodian who went missing in May 2003. No one had thought much of it at the time. She might have suffered a stroke in some remote place, they had speculated, or gone to work in Skopje. No trace of her was ever found and the whole business had been forgotten. But now it appeared that little Kičevo was home to a serial killer, and Vlado Taneski’s editors smelled a big story.
- The Mask of Sanity: On the Trail of a Serial Killer in Macedonia by Dimiter Kenarov. An account of the Kičevo Monster and the killer's surprising identity. [Warning: Descriptions of the murders include graphic details]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 5, 2009 - 20 comments

Justice postponed?

Newsfilter: Radovan Karadžić arrested today in Serbia. Trial to follow. Will Srebrenica and Vukovar finally see justice? Or will another suicide intervene?
posted by imperium on Jul 21, 2008 - 72 comments

Football is war.

Please, do mention the war. Really, it's hard not to. After all, in a sense football is war, as the General famously joked. Sometimes it's peace. Same goes for that other football, by the way.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jun 3, 2006 - 11 comments

Fojba 2000

The fojbas are basins near Trieste and the Adriatic Sea, which served as mass graves during the massacres that followed World War 2. Those accused of collaborating with the fascists, or of opposing the communists, or who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, were killed and then deposed there. In 2000, the Slovenian magazine Mladina, known for its irreverence, put a Tetris-style game called Fojba 2000(flash req'd) on its site. In the game, you drop the bodies of either partizani (partisans) or domobranci (fascist Slovenes) into a pit, while jolly oompah music plays in the background. (More Inside) (Shamelessly ripped verbatim from The Glory of Carniola)
posted by Ufez Jones on Mar 23, 2004 - 5 comments

Mass Grave

Bosnia. Here's a news story which has received precisely no attention over the last few days. We should all be joyful that international justice, still in its infancy, helped along by this man amongst others, has led Milosevic to trial.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Apr 3, 2003 - 12 comments

BBC's Newsnight reports on a massive security oversight that makes unencrypted NATO video surveillance available on the Internet

BBC's Newsnight reports on a massive security oversight that makes unencrypted NATO video surveillance available on the Internet "Nato surveillance flights in the Balkans are beaming their pictures over an insecure satellite link - and anyone can tune in and watch their operations live," reports Mark Urban of BBC2's late-night news analysis show. Near-realtime footage of NATO surveillance operations in the Balkans is routinely gathered by spy planes and returned to base as an encrypted signal and then forwarded to intelligence facilities in the US. However, when they are beamed back to Europe for analysis at NATO headquarters, no encryption is used. It is possible to tune into and watch these live video feeds (complete with map references and information about the type of aircraft in use) and so, in theory, an unfriendly agency could use the pictures to see what troops are up to and who they are watching. How long before this loophole is acknowledged and closed? Or should all surveillance data be made ever more available to whoever wants it?
posted by hmgovt on Jun 12, 2002 - 13 comments

Yugoslavia. Serbia-and-Montonegro.
posted by skwm on Mar 15, 2002 - 16 comments

West steps up threats against Yugoslavia

West steps up threats against Yugoslavia -- "The Democratic Opposition of Serbia has signed up to the platform of the G17, a think-tank of market economists again funded by National Endowment for Democracy [an adjunct to the CIA]. This economic blueprint calls for the adoption of the German mark as the main currency for all of FRY, following in the footsteps of the Montenegrin republic last year. Other proposals include reduction of public spending, ending subsidies on food and other forms of social protection. The continuation of US and European economic sanctions on the FRY is being cynically exploited to bludgeon the population into accepting these terms as the condition for ending their economic isolation...." [more...]
posted by johnb on Sep 25, 2000 - 11 comments

Government-sponsored cyber-terrorism? A few days ago somebody hacked a website that's been pretty outspoken against US intervention in the Balkans. Evidently it wasn't the first time.
posted by dcehr on Aug 9, 2000 - 1 comment

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