In the Victorian Era, "the language of flowers" (floriography) was all the rage. According to The Smithsonian Gardens History in Bloom summary (and activities sheets) for The Language of Flowers (PDF), "Nearly all Victorian homes would own at least one of the guide books dedicated to the ‘language of flowers.’ The authors of these guidebooks used visual and verbal analogies, religious and literary sources, folkloric connections, and botanical attributes to derive the various associations for the flowers." But where did it come from? (Google books preview) Istanbul in the Tulip Age (PDF, first chapter of Crime and Punishment in Istanbul: 1700-1800), and Turkish love-letters and harems ... somewhat. [more inside]
While Dr. Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University was examining letters sent by Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia (Google books preview) during her exile in the Hague, she discovered that some were filled with secret codes.... Akkerman was intrigued as to why the queen would require such covert correspondence. This was her first encounter with the 17th-century female spy.Within England, Dr. Akkerman uncovered a network of more than sixty female spies. [more inside]
‘Letterlocking refers to the folding and securing of any writing surface (such as papyrus, parchment, and paper) to function as its own enclosure.’ In their YouTube channel, Jana Dambrogio of MIT Libraries and her colleagues demonstrate a number of letterlocking techniques, from a simple method used by Russian soldiers in WWII, to more elaborate and ‘secure’ schemes employed by the likes of John Donne, Constanijn Huygens, Elizabeth Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I. [more inside]
It’s 20 or 30 years ago. You’re working on a videogame. You don’t get any credit for your work, blogs don’t exist, there’s no internet and no fanboys. It’s just you, a crusty old terminal, and got a few spare bytes left in the ROM. What now?