is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars
. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama
(and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica
), vanished civilizations
, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art
, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other'
, Europeans as 'Other,' Redux
and Early Chinese World Maps
Europe according to...
is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
is a beautifully organized, practical site for information about traveling to cities in Europe. All the information is in one place: info about specific cities
, overview information
, a variety of cultural interests from English Christmas Markets
to Hungarian culture
. And, best of all, finding the cheapest/best places to stay. [more inside]
has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists
are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features
and Savouring Europe
, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts
, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers
, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch
, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution
, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole
, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy
, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists
, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id
, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
A Moroccan man whose wife wears a veil has been denied citizenship
on the basis
that he has failed to assimilate
into French society. [more inside]
is a project by Swiss artist Roland Roos, who traveled through Europe for over two years to repair broken, displaced or damaged things in the public space - without an assignment, but also without asking for permission. He documented his endeavor with photographs. (Coral Cached Link
from above (Google Maps links): Alba Iulia
, Arad Fortress
, Neuf Brisach
The Eurovision Song Contest
Grand Final airs tonight, 21:00 CET. A live stream can be found here
. [more inside]
Alles Turisten, Teknischen Und Nonteknischen Lookenpeepers!
Relaxen Und Watschen Der Blinkenlichten!
Projekt PIWO (Poland): video Mikontalo Lights (Finland): video Schönherz Matrix (Hungary)
Project Blinkenlights (Germany, France, Canada...) (previously)
The European map is outdated and illogical. Here's how it should look.
Do you like free music, and a whole lot of it? You might want to check out netlabels.
23seconds is a netlabel from Sweden,
ranging from introspective but fun indietronica
to brash electroclash
to feel-good Gothenburg disco,
all for free (as in beer.)
But what's a real goldmine is their massive netlabel catalogue, with a listing of over 150 labels.
Happy downloading! [more inside]
On the eve of the 65rd anniversary of the end of World War II, RIA Novosti
presents images in memory of WWII heroes compiled from photographs taken by war correspondents in 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. Ships trains planes
"Au Soleil" is based on my memories of a cycling trip I undertook across Eastern Europe from Berlin to Istanbul.
Vimeo video. A (surprisingly relaxing) short multimedia documentary, created using open source 3D animation software and a keen artistic eye. [more inside]
Medieval funerary effigies
provide a valuable and fascinating look at the fashion, heraldry, and armor of the Middle Ages. [more inside]
Italians cheer as police move African immigrants out
of a small town in Calabria, following clashes
in which immigrant farmworkers were shot at, severely beaten and run over. Rosarno is said to be a hotbed of the 'Ndrangheta
, which controls the labour market of illegalized seasonal day labourers living in inhuman and desperate conditions
. While the Pope urges Italy to respect migrants
, leftist newspaper 'il manifesto' put this
on the front page.
Sometimes, the full meaning of a moment isn't realized until years later. Dick Brookins certainly had no idea what would come of that December day, back in 1944. Brookins and other members of the U.S. Army's 28th Infantry Division Signal Corps were in Wiltz, a small town in Luxembourg, just days before what would turn into the Battle of the Bulge. This U.S. soldier stood in for an absent Saint Nicholas
... it was to change his life and help him find some meaning for the war in Europe. As it turns out, someone was filming that day when an Army jeep carried the American St. Nick through the streets
giving treats to the local children. It brought him back 65 years later.
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
The Guardian recently published a beautiful article
about Danish Dynamite, the '80s Danish national soccer (football) squad
. Rob Smyth and Lars Eriksen write about how the success and failure of the national team highlighted national traits that Denmark has. The writing about the matches is among the most inspired I have ever read. [more inside]
Latvia's Tiger Economy Loses Its Bite
: Less than a year after Latvia joined the E.U. in 2004, its growth rate topped all of Europe. As global stock markets overheated and competition for investment opportunities intensified, Scandinavian banks showered Latvia with cheap credit.
Now, with the highest unemployment in Europe
, and propped up by $10 billion in IMF loans
, Latvia's economy struggles to stay afloat.
America on Stone: 19th Century American Lithographs
is a browsable collection of lithographs on topics from advertising
. The viewer includes pan and zoom functions. (Harry T. Peters, who amassed this collection, was particularly interested in Currier & Ives
very quickly after its discovery
at the end of the eighteenth century, rapidly finding its way into such commercial uses as sheet music covers
. Needless to say, it also came in handy for far more exalted applications
. (For previous MeFi adventures in lithography, try these posts
Few things in history are as compelling as the duel. Refined and barbaric at the same time, this practice has had a checkered history.
The rules of dueling were codified by the Irish in 1777 in the Code Duello (summarized here
), which was codified at Clonmel Summer Assizes in 1777. As evidenced by these documents
, dueling was in practice prior to the Irish rules being drafted. The procedure and philosophy behind duels is illustrated in this article
Dueling gained some traction in America in the 19th century
, culminating in the famous Burr-Hamilton affair. There are many more resources to find out more here
. For a list of famous duels, you can check out this list
Lest you think men were the only ones dueling, here are a few short anecdotes
of women dueling.
Reportedly, dueling is still legal in Paraguay
, as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
offers a staggering amount of reviews, publishing news and other information on crime fiction written by european authors.
Food, cooking and meals in the Middle Ages. [more inside]
The economy is abjectly terrible, right? It's so bad that nowadays, a picture is only worth 200 words
. On the other hand, the recession is over in Germany and France
, and in the United States, the unemployment
rate dropped just a smidgen
last month. [more inside]
The NAVIS project
is a multilevel international database for ancient ships of Europe. The database has very detailed information
of ships from the 2nd millenium BC to the 12th century AD (found whilst trying to answer this AskMe
). [more inside]
From 1864 to 1904, the Russian Empire tried to quelch the nationalism of Lithuanians by ordering all Lithuanian texts to be printed with Cyrillic characters instead of in the Latin-derived Lithuanian or Polish alphabets. But they didn't count on the Knygnešiai - the Booksmugglers
. [more inside]
Wild Wonders of Europe
"wants to show that Europe really is not about just highways and cities. But today, many seem to know more about nature in Africa or in America, than in Europe, because that is what’s on TV. The European natural wonders are still very little known to the World. We want to change that." 58 nature photographers
are working on the project, and there are 29 galleries representing 16 countries
thus far, with more to come. [via
The Czech Republic offers surgical castration
as a "voluntary" option to sex offenders, whose rate of recidivism in some studies then drops precipitously. Officials at the Council of Europe
, calling the punishment "invasive, irreversible and mutilating." Atul Gawande noted 10 years ago
that, despite his reservations, castration works - at least against a subclass of offenders: the pedophiles and sadists.
arming at breakneck speed, England
lost in a pacifist dream, France
corrupt and torn by dissension, America
remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill
, 1935. The World War II Database
, and other elements of history
in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.
"Habsburg! A vile being, heir to an illustrious name, born to a fortune, to honours, to soldiers, to prestige, and who finished as the lowest of Montmartre pimps, living from the money of a poor and unstable girl whom he sent to commit his foul deeds in his place!"
That was after
this Polish scion of the most famous family in Europe and commander of a soi disant
"Ukrainian Legion" failed to finagle the crown as a Socialist king of The Ukraine, and became instead a patron of the rent boys of Paris who "handled women by necessity and men for pleasure"
. And all that before
he turned successively a Nazi sympathizer, a British spy, and finally came, for the first and last time, to Ukraine's capital Kiev as a victim of Stalin and the Twentieth Century.
Human fat was supposed to alleviate rheumatism and arthritis, while a paste made from corpses was believed to help against contusions.... For some Protestants,... , it served as a sort of substitute for the Eucharist, or the tasting of the body of Christ in Holy Communion. Some monks even cooked "a marmalade of sorts" from the blood of the dead.
. . . . The assumption was that all organisms have a predetermined life span. If a body died in an unnatural way, the remainder of that person's life could be harvested, as it were -- hence the preference for the executed.... In 1492, when Pope Innocent VIII was on his deathbed, his doctors bled three boys and had the pope drink their blood. The boys died, and so did the pope.
When we read about Burundians
and Tanzanians murdering albinos
to make "medicine" of their victims, we should not forget that European Medical Cannabalism
was an accepted practice as late as the 18th Century.
― travel photography from more than 20 countries by Catalin Marin. [more inside]
Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children?
More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
― prose, poetry, illustrations, photography, video, and music from a wide assortment contemporary artists. [contains some nude art images] [more inside]