In 1996 Frenchman Michel Guyot set out to build a XIII century castle the medieval way1
-- using hammers and chisels to carve the stones, horses to cart the rock and no power tools. Ten years later it is one third completed and if all goes well will be finished by 2023, after which the plan is to build an abbey, then a village.2
1. Guyot, Michael (1996). "Guedelon: Chantier Medieval". Online project home page. Multi-lingual.
2. Doland, Angela (August 31, 2006). " Stone by stone, craftsmen build medieval-style castle". Associated Press, via CNN.
posted by stbalbach
on Sep 3, 2006 -
I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all
[maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa
. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
posted by wendell
on Aug 14, 2006 -
work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying
posted by tellurian
on Aug 2, 2006 -
90 years ago today, whistles blew around the river Somme in France as British troops prepared for an attack on German trenches. By the end of the day they had suffered 57,470 casualties. By the battle's end in November, there were over 600,000 Allied casualties, with perhaps the same number of German casualties. The Imperial War Museum
has launched an online exhibition, where you can find out more about how the battle was planned, personal stories
of those involved, and myths
about the attack. Elsewhere you can find copies of Army reports on the first day
, look at film
of the attack, diaries and letters
home from the troops, go on tours
of the trenches
, listen to contemporary songs and music
inspired by the battle, and see some more modern responses
posted by greycap
on Jul 1, 2006 -
The French Democracy
is a short film on the recent riots in France. It was made by Alex Chan
, Parisan-born but of Chinese parents, to "to correct what was being said in the media, especially in the United States" about the riots. He used a techinique
--using a video game engine to make his movie.
posted by LarryC
on Dec 16, 2005 -
Joblessness is a major motivating force of these riots, which is why the politicians and the press turn endlessly around the question of job creation in the banlieues. [...] An injection of vigorous enterprise, a big deregulating kick, and racial discrimination would evaporate in the tremendous, creative release of market forces. No race riots in an untrammelled market economy: that’s what Sarkozy really means. It’s an ingenious, high-pressure sales pitch for the ‘Anglo-Saxon model’ – indeed, it’s bordering on blackmail.
Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books
goes among the arsonists in Paris and offers some insights on the economic factors and political consequences of the riots.
posted by funambulist
on Dec 3, 2005 -
Asterix gets political.
After over four decades of defending his lone holdout village from Roman attack, French children's book icon Asterix
is taking on America in the latest novel. The village is besieged by an alien army whose leader is named Hubs, (a thinly veiled anagram of the U.S. President). The aliens invade seeking non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
posted by jonson
on Nov 25, 2005 -
Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades.
An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.
- Barricaded in Paris, Part 2
- Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax
on Nov 21, 2005 -
Why Paris Is Burning
Officially, the French state doesn't recognize minorities, only citizens of France, all of them equal under the law. But that republican ideal has seemed especially hollow over the past week as the children of impoverished, largely Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa fought running battles with police throughout the banlieues, or suburbs, to the east and north of the French capital...
posted by Postroad
on Nov 5, 2005 -
Rioting continues in the suburbs of Paris. In Clichy-Sous-Bois
, a predominantly (80%) North African muslim banlieu of about 28,000 people, night battles have been raging
(video) between youths and the police after two muslim youths died by electrocution while they thought the police were chasing them, a charge the police denies. That was 5 nights ago. Since then, 27 people have been arrested, 3 convicted, numerous cars destroyed and property damaged, and 23 police officers wounded in street battles involving "up to several hundred" participants. The muslim community now accuses the police of firing tear gas into a mosque
, and things look far from calming down. These tensions are hardly confined to Paris, however - In Lyon, 800 cars have been burned
in "low level" violence this year; Across France, 9,000 police cars have been "stoned" this year, and 20-40 cars are destroyed a night
(!!!), according to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy
. I knew that relations between "the French" and the "Beurs
" were somewhat less than pleasant, but am I the only one that was unaware that France has been in a state of low-level but direct civil and religious war
for the last few years?
posted by loquax
on Nov 1, 2005 -
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail.
Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château
, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere
. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code
Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code
. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont
on Sep 16, 2005 -
Solutions For Grandeur Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good. via
posted by Kwantsar
on Sep 9, 2005 -
Le Viaduc de Millau
on the A75
between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers in France is the world's tallest and most technologically advanced bridge. At 2,460m long and 343m tall, its multi-stayed spans are suspepended from seven pylons.
It is not only an engineering marvel, but a work of art
. It took 14 years of preparation, but the bridge was built in only 3 years. This film
shows how it was built. Here
is a live view from the webcam. Previous Metafilter discussion in August 2004 before the bridge opened in January 2005 here.
posted by three blind mice
on Sep 1, 2005 -
Flaubert on Structural Unity.
"I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo
on Jul 29, 2005 -
The French experience of counter-terrorism
(PDF): from the "sanctuary doctrine" to active prevention, a detailed history of how France learned counter-terrorism the hard way. Since
[the French revolution] France has been on the bleeding edge of terrorism, confronting terrorism in all its guises, from bomb-throwing anarchists to transnational networks. In the last 20 years, France suffered repeated waves of terrorism of both domestic and foreign origin, each which spawned a variety of reforms to an already complex system for combating terrorism. As a result, France has developed, largely by costly trial and error, a fairly effective, although controversial system for fighting terrorism at home.
posted by elgilito
on Jul 9, 2005 -
the Algerian novelist
and filmmaker was elected to fill the only vacancy at the Académie Française
, the august French institution that watches over the French language. Ms. Djebar, 68, is the first North African to join the 40-member academy.
Most interesting in light of recent discussions here on Dutch/Muslim relations. Comments from those who've read her books or know her from her work at LSU
or elsewhere would no doubt be appreciated
posted by IndigoJones
on Jun 17, 2005 -
Red State/Blue state France
. Les résultats département par département
. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
posted by jfuller
on May 30, 2005 -
It's exactly one week to The Referendum
. Will there be a Europe this year or won't there? The European Union was more France's project than anyone else's; if the French suddenly say Non there's going to be lots of polyglot arm-waving and excitement. The media
are all a-twitter, all the European ministers
are breathing heavily, Libération
, in the person of Jean Baudrillard, sees state fascism approaching (but then Libération always sees fascism approaching, it's their gig.)
My magic 8 ball points to Oui
. Oh wait, it changed its mind, now it says "reply hazy, ask again later."
posted by jfuller
on May 22, 2005 -