Shared posts

16 Jul 16:15

Anti-immigrant protesters in Murrieta rely on sexist & racist stereotypes

by Juliana
Laura B

Depressing.

Image of two white protesters yelling at two brown children holding hands, with shirts that say "I survived death." Caption of image: "Nice going Amerrikka."

Image credit: Julio Salgado

In response to the increasing influx of migrants crossing the border into the U.S., a group of protestors blocked three buses filled with migrant women and children from entering the local Murrieta Border Patrol facility. The protests have continued for weeks, and the buses – which came to Murrieta in order to relieve overcrowded facilities in south Texas - are now being rerouted to San Ysidro.

These anti-immigrant protestors are using some of the oldest – and worst – stereotypes in the white supremacist, misogynistic handbook to attack people who even the UN has recognized as refugees fleeing violence. The chants and signs coming out of Murrieta range from sexist to xenophobic to violent.

Try this sign which pulls from the old favorite stereotype of Latinas-as-hyper-breeders: “Send them back with birth control,” says one sign. 

Woman protester's shirt reads: "If you can't feed them, don't breed them."

Anti-immigrant protesters in Murrieta. Image credit.

Others manage to misuse the term “rape,” demonstrate their ignorance about who actually pays taxes – undocumented immigrant do too! – and construe refugees fleeing violence as the “real” villains here: “Free loading illegals are raping U.S. tax payers.”

The bigotry did not stop there. Protesters threatened women journalists on the scene, and interrupted pro-migrant vigils yelling “We speak English here!” In other cases, arguments between the two sides became so heated that there was spit involved.

Some are trying to argue that these protests have nothing to do with identity. But the reality is that gender, race, and global power dynamics play a huge role in who is forced to migrate and who is considered “illegal” if they manage to make it here. Most of the child migrants crossing the Border today are fleeing a war that the U.S. created – that is gang violence started in the U.S. and fueled by U.S. drug consumption. Those Latinxs who do make it across the border are then marked as “illegal,” less than human and therefore undeserving of the protections of the state.

In response to these conflicts, the U.S.-Mexico Border and huge swaths of Northern Mexico have been completely militarized, exacerbating violence against women and making it ever more difficult for women to survive in such unsafe and unstable environments. Because of this violence, women now make up half of the migrants who come to the U.S. And this year girls composed 40% – an unprecedentedly high percentage — of all child migrants who arrived in the U.S.

The journey north is dangerous for anyone: only the lucky ones avoid violence at the hands of drug cartels and local police forces. But it is particularly hard for women and girls. The chances of a woman being raped on her journey up are so high that many women preemptively take birth control before leaving. 

Meanwhile, the Murrieta protests are inspiring others across the country to respond. Copycat protests have sprung up in Illinois and Arizona while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that his city will help to house detained migrant children and work to reunify them with their families.

President Obama is currently waiting on Congress to do the right thing (don’t hold your breath, dude) and approve his request for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the crisis. However, Murrieta residents better get used to those buses because our country is doing nothing to actually end the war it has created, the war these women and children are seeking refuge from.

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Juliana can’t stomach white people standing on what was once Mexico and yelling “Go home illegals!”

12 May 18:40

Wobbly cat

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

aw lil beby


This kitten has congenital cerebellar hypoplasia.
These cats are known for their "drunken sailor" walk, which is why they're known endearingly as "wobbly cats."

Unless a CH cat has other health issues, their life expectancy is the same as a cat's without CH. Since the condition is non-progressive, it will never get worse — and in some cases, owners say that their cats become more capable over time. 
Via Nothing to do with Arbroath.
06 Mar 17:38

Impressive trilobite fossil

by Minnesotastan

It's amazing to me how much is known about the trilobites.  Even just reading the Wikipedia summary is a lengthy endeavor.  The one above is an example of the truly remarkable ones that have been recovered in Morocco (awesome specimens at this gallery).  And assuming this one is real (there are lots of fake fossils), imagine the hours that were spent with dental tools to free it from the matrix.

More information at the New York Times.

Embedded image cropped (without change of content) from the original, credited to Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
25 Feb 16:45

The impressive nest of a snowy owl

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

metal


Birdwatchers in the Northeastern and Midwestern states have reported a huge increase in sightings of snowy owls:


What I found most interesting was the top photo of a snowy owl nest (credit J.F. Therrian).  In the center is a clutch of unhatched eggs, and surrounding them are dozens of dead lemmings

More details at Goldenrod Blog and the Washington Post.
30 Jan 21:44

Trailer for "How To Die in Oregon"

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

Did anyone see The Suicide Tourist? Super good. This looks good too.

20 Jan 16:19

The difference between dogs and cats

by Minnesotastan

A dog demonstrates to the puppy how to walk down stairs, then encourages it to do so.  In the second clip a cat demonstrates the feline equivalent of this encouragement.

A hat tip to Miss C at Neatorama for the via and for a much-needed laugh this morning.
06 Jan 02:41

SCENE | University of Vermont 1910-1930

by Lizzie

Photos of University of Vermont students and faculty and members of The Green Mountain Club via The University of Vermont Library's Center for Digital Initiatives.

Combing through University of Vermont's digital archives this weekend, I found all these incredible lantern slides of men and women exploring Vermont's backcountry (side note: UVM started to admit women as early as 1871 and was the first university to admit women to full membership into Phi Beta Kappa). With the expression of a painting and the haunting realness of a photograph taken almost 100 years ago, these lantern slides and the subjects they captured completely enveloped me.







06 Dec 14:55

Crash test dogs (dummies)

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

1. Now I guess I should start buckling in my dog
2. Demerit points?


This video demonstrates that the presence of an unrestrained dog in the back seat of a vehicle poses a risk of lethal injury to the dog and to the driver.  The brief but bizarre "hanging" scene at about 0:37 illustrates that conventional harness restraints are not sufficient to prevent the dog being propelled forward, even during a low-speed collision.
20 Dec 11:30

Absurd Creature of the Week: Enormous Hermit Crab Tears Through Coconuts, Eats Kittens

by Matt Simon
Absurd Creature of the Week: Enormous Hermit Crab Tears Through Coconuts, Eats Kittens
The coconut crab is the largest terrestrial arthropod in the world. Feeding its incredible growth is no small task, so this nine-pound hermit crab eats anything it can get its claws on. It has been observed hunting other crabs, young ...
    






06 Dec 14:30

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Fly Hijacks an Ant’s Brain — Then Pops Its Head Off

by Matt Simon
Laura B

mind-control parasitism autoshare

Absurd Creature of the Week: This Fly Hijacks an Ant’s Brain — Then Pops Its Head Off
The ant-decapitating fly burrows into ants, mind-controls them, and eventually severs their heads from the inside.
    






21 Oct 15:57

Sculpting with straw

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

wow so sculptures

It's fall in Japan. And like every fall, rice is harvested, leaving behind straw to be hung and dried. In some rural areas, though, the rice straw has a special use: Making giant beasts.

Kagawa Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture have the most famous "straw art festivals," which are large straw sculpture displays.

Traditionally, straw was used to thatch roofs. In much the same manner, these straw sculptures are thatched around wooden frames.
From Kotaka, which has many more examples assembled in a gallery, via Neatorama.
04 Nov 16:00

Mass Killings Can Haunt Elephants for Decades

by Virginia Morell, ScienceNOW
Mass Killings Can Haunt Elephants for Decades
African elephants that have lived through the trauma of their kin's killing may look normal enough to the casual observer, but socially they are a mess. That’s the conclusion of a new study, the first to show that human activities ...
    






18 Oct 10:30

Absurd Creature of the Week: Elusive Goblin Shark Has World’s Most Terrifying Jaws

by Matt Simon
Absurd Creature of the Week: Elusive Goblin Shark Has World’s Most Terrifying Jaws
The mysterious goblin shark sports a jaw that pretty much looks like it’s trying to escape from the animal’s face.
    






23 Oct 18:10

The microbiology of zombies, part I

by Tara C. Smith

(Spoilers below!)

For Walking Dead fans and readers of this blog, you probably know why I was all excited about some of the plot elements that have been included thus far this season: possible zoonotic disease, and in particular, a potential influenza outbreak that may have originated in pigs. I muse about this and other infections in an article for Slate.com, and will have additional thoughts about zombies and infectious disease more generally in the coming days.

See also:

Part II: ineffective treatments and how not to survive the apocalypse

Part III: “We’re all infected”

Part IV: hidden infections

15 Oct 20:00

Open Call / Coloring Book Vol. 3

by OKAT N/A
Laura B

submit your drawings for a coloring book!

Woohoo! It's that time of year again, where we open the floor and collect submissions for our annual coloring book. Every year the artwork and participation blows us away.

For those of you that are new to Doodlers Anonymous, last year alone we received over 350 incredible drawings (watch the teaser video), and narrowed our selection down to 60 for print.

We want everyone to participate, grab your pens and sharpies and get to it. We've set an aggressive deadline that is fast approaching (November 5th, 2013), so if you're interested in participating go here for complete details �



To celebrate the open call, we are discounting a combo-pack of our volume one and two coloring books by 15% (shop here).
10 Oct 18:10

A tour through isolation

by vaughanbell

Photo from Wikipedia. Click for source.The BBC World Service just broadcast an amazing radio documentary on the experience of isolation – talking to people who have experienced intense remoteness from other humans including polar base residents, astronauts, prisoners and people who completed the Mars-500 simulated mission.

Firstly, it’s just beautiful. If there’s such a thing as an ambient documentary, this comes sublimely close to achieving it at times.

But the programme is also a fascinating look at the subjective psychology of separation.

A doctor explains how it feels to see the last plane leaving an Antarctic research base for nine months of separation from the rest of the world.

A British drug smuggler explains what it was like to be sent to an Argentine prison when he spoke no Spanish – unable to communicate with anyone.

Astronaut Al Worden has been the most isolated human in history, during his time on a Apollo mission, and explains the experience of ultimate remoteness.

The programme reminded me of another form of modern isolation the 21st century hermits who hide themselves away due to fear of the effects of modern technology – like the mythical ‘health damaging effects of WiFi’.

An article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine made the comparison between these modern day hermits with their ancient brethren.

The World Service documentary is wonderful, however. As is normal with the internet-impaired BBC Radio pages, you have to get the podcast from a completely different page but you’re probably better off downloading the mp3 directly.
 

Link to BBC World Service documentary Isolation.
mp3 of the same.


29 Aug 16:07

Map Monsters

by peacay
Medieval & Renaissance 
Cartographic Sea Monsters

"The sea monsters on medieval and Renaissance maps are one of the most visually engaging elements, and yet they have never before been carefully studied. The subject is important not only in the history of cartography, art, and zoological illustration, but also in the history of the geography of the marvellous and of Western conceptions of the ocean. Moreover, the sea monsters depicted on maps can supply important insights into the sources, influences, and methods of the cartographers who drew or painted them."
{Book jacket liner notes 2013 ©The British Library}

For various reasons, I turn down almost all offers of review books. Slogging through them seems like actual work; I often fear that I won't like the book or - worse - I'll find it boring; there's that whole sense of feeling somehow beholden or else guilty, no matter what write-up I churn out; I'm almost certainly not qualified to judge the quality of the material anyway, and besides, reviewing new books was never meant to be part of this site's admittedly random, but vaguely confined, scope.

But there are very rare occasions when I'm convinced ahead of time that a review copy is irresisitible: the curious and esoteric subject matter means that the book will have fabulous illustrations backed by an interesting story, and knowing that there's a high calibre publishing team backing the project brings gravitas and confidence.

So it is here. Medieval and Renaissance map scholar, Chet Van Duzer, backed by The British Library as publisher, have teamed up to produce a spectacular new book, 'Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps', a topic, oddly enough, for which there is little by way of real precedent. This book will become the sea monster authority by default. Although this beautiful book is a product of academic quality, it is very readable and accessible and requires no prior knowledge.

Rather than sully the waters with my own pedestrian attempt at distillation of the book, I've taken the liberty of scanning a representative range of book images below, along with - hopefully - sufficient text excerpts to give a fair overview of the book's feel and coverage. The quotes and scans appear here courtesy of the author and The British Library but without specific clearance. The images come from major institutions around the world and accompanying citations should be searched or followed for further information. Many of these works are available online.

I first heard of the book some two years ago when a friend of the author wrote with an enquiry and mentioned the project as an aside. So I've had a long-held curiosity about this book even before Chet Van Duzer finally contacted me several months ago with more formal information. I'm only sorry that I've been unavoidably occupied these last couple of months and it has taken until now before I was able to cobble something together.


All the blue text in this post was written by me. All the black text (except for the final quote) was written by Chet Van Duzer^ and are direct quotes and part-quotes from the book. In the majority of cases, the text excerpts are incomplete and there is often much more in the book itself to the back stories and explanations for the different eras and critters and maps and cartographers and significance that the sampling here only hints at. The images are not in the order they appear in the book.

'Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps' 
2013 by Chet Van Duzer -
Amazon | The British Library | The University of Chicago Press





Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
{Title page} - "The circumfluent ocean full of mythical islands and invented sea monsters in the world map in a manuscript of Jean Mansel's 'La Fleur des Histoires' that was made c. 146-1470 (Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, MS 9260, f. 11r)"
{Another version is available online in full, see: Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 64}



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"King Manuel of Portugal riding a sea creature off the southern tip of Africa, symbolizing Portugal's control of the seas, on Martin Waldseemüller's 'Carta Marina' of 1516 (Library of Congress)"
"This symbolic political image is very different from the scientific legends about sea monsters on Waldseemüller's 1507 map, and in fact represents a complete and striking repurposing of sea monsters on maps: instead of indicating the dangers to human navigation on the sea, the monster is part of an image that expresses control over the sea."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Bottom [L]: "An extravagant sea monster with an elephantine trunk spraying mist, from Gerard Mercator, 'Europae descriptio, emendata' (Duisburg, 1572) (Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Kt 080-44 S).

Bottom [R]: "An icthyocentaur playing a viol on the map of Scandinavia in Ortelius's 'Theatrum orbis terrarum'* (Antwerp, 1571) (British Library, Maps.C.3.c.5., map 45)"



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"The fullest and most influential collection of sea monsters of the sixteenth century, in the northwestern portion of Olaus Magnus's 'Carta Marina' of 1539/1572 (from the 1572 edition of the map, Stockholm, Sveriges nationalbibliotek shelfmark KoB 1 ab)"
"The most important and influential sea monsters on a Renaissance map are those on a nine-sheet map of northwestern Europe by Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) titled 'Carta marina et descriptio septemtrionalium terrarum ac mirabilium' (Nautical Chart and Description of the Northern Lands and Wonders), which was published in Venice in 1539, and survives in just two copies, one at the Bavarian State Library and the other at the Uppsala University Library in Sweden.

The map [..] contains a wonderful number and variety of sea monsters, many of which are helpfully identified with names; the Latin text on the map provides more information about them, and there are also detailed descriptions of the monsters in [..] Olaus's 'History of the Northern Peoples'. [..] The sea monsters on his 1539 map reflect an intriguing mixture of invention and information from books. [..]

There are several images of whales on the map, which are illustrated with large tusks and twin tubes on the tops of their heads through which they spout; this fanciful style of depicting whales would prove very influential. [..]

His map is also noteworthy for the distinctive visual style of its sea monsters, a style thoroughly of the Renaissance, and very different from the medieval images of sea monsters - more dynamic and also more whimsical.
Luigi de Anna has suggested that the sea monsters on the map were intended not only to excite the curiosity of the viewer, but also to dissuade fishermen from other countries from entering Scandinavian waters. If this intriguing suggestion is correct, the sea monsters on the map have an innovative economic function not shared by those on other maps."


-
Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"A ship landing on a whale mistaken for an island in an early thirteeth century bestiary (London, British Library, Harley MS 4751, f. 69r, c. 1230-1240)."
"In the Indian Ocean there are whales which are so large that they seem to be islands. And sometimes because of the soil they have on them plants grow on their backs. Men crossing the sea sometimes land on these whales, which, when they feel the movement of men on them, hurry down into the depths, and so the men are drowned."
{Translation - by Chet Van Duzer (our modern sea monster book author) - of a Latin quote from a lost Medieval chart whose legends are preserved in a 15th century manuscript in Genoa: Biblioteca Universitaria MS B. 1. 36.}
"The myth that whales could be mistaken for islands goes back to the 'Physiologus', an anonymous book about animals, plants and magic stones composed sometimes between the second and fourth centuries, and appears in medieval bestiaries."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Bottom [L]: "A winged sea dragon with huge rabbit ears on Gastaldi's 'Cosmographica Universalis et Exatissima iuxta postremam neotericorum tradio[n]em' of c. 1561 (British Library, Maps C. 18.n.1)."

Bottom [R]: "A menacing sea monster on Gastaldi's map of Africa in the 1563 edition of Ramusio's 'Navigazioni', f. 261 (in British Library, G.6820)"



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
[L]: "A single-horned aquatic bull from the twelfth century painted ceiling in the Church of St Martin in Zillis, Switzerland."

[R]: "An aquatic elephant, probably intended for a walrus, from the twelfth century painted ceiling in the Church of St Martin in Zillis, Switzerland."
"[T]he ceiling, though not a map in the modern sense of the word, is [..] {like} an image of the world as a stage for the playing out of a Christian history. The ocean surrounding the earth in the ceiling at Zillis abounds with sea monsters, including sirens and many hybrid creatures such as wolf-fish, goat-fish, rooster-fish, stag-fish, lion-fish, horse-fish, elephant-fish, and so on, which reflect the medieval theory [..] that every land creature had its equivalent in the sea. Here the sea monsters certainly indicate that the edges of the world are full of exotic wonders and dangers [..] {like some other ~contemporary mappa mundi manuscripts, but} [t]he monsters on the ceiling in Zillis may also allude to the diversity and fullness of God's creation."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"The dynamic, Renaissance-style dolphins on the 'Typus Cosmographicus Universalis' by Sebastian Münster in the 'Novus orbis regionum ac insularum veteribus incognitorarum' (Basel, 1532/1555). (British Library, G. 7034)."
"The book 'Novus orbis..' (The New World of Regions and Islands Unknown tot he Ancients) [..] 1532, is an important collection of travel literature, including accounts of the voyages of Columbus, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, Ludovico di Varthema, and others.
The Basel edition includes a world map title 'Typus cosmographicus universalis' made by the cartographer Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) and the artist and engraver Hans Holbein the Younger (1498-1543). The borders of the map have images of cannibals, exotic animals, and spices; within the map itself there is a pair of stylized dolphins in the Southern Ocean off the eastern coast of Asia - the traditional location of sirens on maps. 
These creatures exemplify a new Renaissance imagery of sea monsters [..] but the dolphins on Sebastian Münster's map are different. They were inspired by classical images of dolphins, and show no resemblance to medieval images of these animals. They are rendered with shading to indicate their three-dimensionality, and are shown in motion, making waves in the water. [..] The visual dynamism [..] and the use of classical sources are typical of Renaissance art, and these monsters mark a new stage in the development of sea monsters on maps."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"A marine chicken on the Gerona Beatus mappamundi 
(Museu de la Catedral de Girona, Num. Inv. 7 (11), ff, 54v-55v)."
{nb. image is rotated 90 degrees; ie. it is part of the horizontal  map border}
"The mappa mundi in the 'Gerona Beatus' stems from the one now missing from the Tábara codex. Its general characteristics are its rectangular shape, the representation of Adam and Eve instead of the four rivers of Paradise, and likewise the location of Paradise at the top of the maps, the appearance of the two possible courses of the Nile, a figuration of the Jordan, the representation of the Danube with many tributaries, the mention of the names of Cappadocia, Mesopotamia and the Arabia Gulf; a legend referring to the land of the Amazons and the new wording of legend about the fourth transequatorial continent."




Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
A siren beside a ship in the southern ocean in the 'San Andrés de Arroyo Beatus', c.1248; the siren's dancing gesture probably indicates that she is singing to the sailors on the ship (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS nouv. acq. lat. 2290, ff. 13v-14r).
"The map in the 'San Andrés de Arroyo Beatus' [..] is circular as opposed to the rounded rectangles of the Gerona and Manchester maps. It is artistically more sophisticated than the two other maps, with many images of cities, and the mountains as imaginatively depicted as piles of rocks; and it has a dramatic colour palette different from those of the other Beatus maps: the earth is burgundy, and there are stripes of white in the water. [..]
[W]e are no doubt to understand that they {the sirens} are singing seductive songs to the sailors on the ships as the sirens did to Odysseus in 'The Odyssey' - and as sirens are said to do in medieval bestiaries."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Bottom [L]: "Whales attacking a ship on Olaus Magnus's 'Carta marina'; the sailors jettison barrels and a man on the ship plays a trumpet in order to scare the monsters away. (Stockholm, Sveriges nationalbibliotek, shelfmark KoB 2 ab)".

Bottom [R]: "A sea monster eating an unfortunate sailor - perhaps Jonah - in the Mediterranean off the northern coast of Africa in Sebastian Münster's 'Cosmographia' of 1540 (British Library, Maps.C.1.c2., No. 15)".



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"The mappamundi in a miscellaneous manuscript of c. 1180, which shows a huge Leviathan with the earth in its grip, and four enourmous hybrid sea monsters coursing the outer ocean (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, CLM 7785, f. 2v)."
"{This} small manuscript [..] contains a miscellany of theological, exegetical, devotional and eschatological texts. [..]

{One section}, [t]he zonal mappamundi, presents a striking vision of the circular disk of the earth (divided into climatic zones) [..] surrounded by an enormous serpentine monster which is devouring its own tail (known as uroborus {or ouroborus}, from the Greek for 'tail-eater'), and beyond the uroborus in the ocean there are four hybrid sea monsters with human heads and piscine bodies and tails - {two have terrestrial origins or features, two have aquatic origins or features}.
Outside the circle of the ocean there are demonic personifications of the four rivers of Paradise, each of whom pours water from an urn that flows into the circumfluent ocean. The four sea monsters in the ocean are mermen or male sirens with very long noses."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Bottom [L]: Jonah being cast overboard to the sea monster, from Ortelius's map of the Holy Land in his 'Theatrum orbis terrarum'. There is a similar image on John Speed's 'Canaan, as it was Possessed Both in Abraham and Israel's Days' (London 1595). (British Library, Maps 9.Tab.9., map 97).

Bottom [R]: A huge sea monster attacks a galley in the Aegean, while the seamen try to fend it off with spears, on Nikolaos Sophianos's 'Totius Graeciae Descriptio' of 1545 (Basel, Öffentliche Universität Bibliothek, AA 89).



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Two sea dogs, one with forelegs and the other without; a sea rabbit, and a sea pig, on a map in the Madrid manuscript of Ptolemy's 'Geography' of c. 1455-60 (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, MS Res. 255, the lower half of f. 98v).
"{The Ptolemy manuscript} in Madrid contains a truly remarkable number and variety of sea monsters - in fact the richest collection of of sea monsters in any one manuscript. [..] There are a total of 476 sea creatures on these maps; of these, 411 are generic sea serpents, lampreys, fish, flounders and crabs. If we subtract the generic creatures, this leaves an impressive 65 more or less exotic creatures. [..]
The folios {including the above image} with the highest concentrations of exotic creatures were apparently so decorated simply because they contained large expanses of open water and because the artist felt inspired, rather than because he had read reports of exotic creatures in those areas."
{The whole of this 1450s Madrid Ptolemy manuscript is available to view in-browser as a .pdf -- search on *Ptolomeo* at Biblioteca Digital Hispánica}



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
Bottom [L]: "A somewhat more lifelike representation of a walrus, but still some distance from reality as the creature is shown as having four legs. From Olaus Magnus's 'Carta marina' of 1539/1572 (from the 1572 edition of the map, Stockholm, Sveriges nationalbibliothek, shelfmark KoB 1 ab)."

Bottom [R]: "A walrus in the northwest Pacific on Mercator's globe of 1541, which clearly derives from Olaus Magnus's image, but now the cartographer has placed the creature in the water. (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, no shelfmark)."



Sea Monsters on Medieval + Renaissance Maps by Chet Van Duzer (British Library 2013)
"An image of the world in the late-eleventh century St-Sever Beatus, with fish, a sea goat, and an aquatic lion in the circumfluent ocean (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Lat. 8878, f. 119r)."
"The map supplies no geographical details about the earth, but instead presents it as a stage for the playing out of Christian history, as some other mappemundi do: specifically, it is an illustration of the part of hte Apocalyptic drama described in Revelation 7:1-8. It shows the 'four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor any tree', and an angel comes from the east carrying the seal of God gather in the centre of the map. The earth is labelled terra, and the circumfluent ocean mare; there are several large fish in the ocean and at the left hand side of the map, that is, in the north, there are two sea monsters."



Sea Monsters (C van Duzer) 017
"St Brendan's ship on the back of a whale, and his men praying, in Honorius Philoponus, 'Nova typis transacta navigatio' (Linz: s.n., 1621), p.12 (British Library, G.7237)."
{See previous post on BibliOdyssey for more background & images from this the extraordinary work}

The following quote comes from the Online Gallery at the British Library:
"Religion and entertainment could merge in medieval saints lives. One of the best examples is the story of the voyage of an Irish saint, Brendan, who visits a series of islands with nearly surreal inhabitants and fauna. His journey is a kind of imaginative and even humourous reflection of the life and prayer of a monk. In the 12th century, the bride of King Henry I, Aeliz of Louvain, asked a monk named Benedeit to write a poem of the voyage of St Brendan in Anglo-Norman French. This manuscript has a copy of Benedeit's poem followed by a 'Voyage of Brendan' in Latin prose.

The Latin 'Voyage of St Brendan' is a separate work, not a translation of the French poem. In the middle ages, this manuscript belonged to the priory of Durham cathedral--this is known from an inscription in a part of the manuscript that is now bound in another volume. Monks and canons enjoyed saints' lives as much as anyone else, and they had to read them as part of their daily devotions." {link}


25 Sep 21:30

How Was Everyone’s Day Today?

by Kelly Conaboy

As the leaves turn from green to fall colors, the air turns from warm to crisp, and the night sky turns from bright until late to dark pretty early, it’s important to remember that it is still very nice outside and that you should go outside! QUICK, BEFORE WINTER COMES! Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen went to CONEY ISLAND today and had a HOT DOG, for goodness’ sake. Though, the fact that Sir McKellen has a sweater on and Sr Stewart has a sleeveless t-shirt on makes it is a little hard to judge the appropriateness of the summer afternoon they enjoyed. What was the temp, guys? Next time you tweet, how about tweeting the temp so we know which one of you was right about your clothing choice. C’mon, dudes, that’s just basic Twitter stuff. It looks like they’re having a wonderful day, though. A wonderful Hat Day. How’s your day? Also wonderful? Mine has been fine, thank you for asking! (Via PatrickStewart.)


    






06 Sep 14:21

Half of the people in the United States...

by Minnesotastan

... live in the counties colored in blue.  Amazing.

I love maps.  They can convey information much more effectively than text and data.  Found this one at The Land of Maps.
21 Jun 01:20

Pens, Paper, Colored Tape, and Stickers

by OKAT N/A
Laura B

I like the last one a lot.





What can I say? I'm a sucker for this type of art. Naomi Vona is an Italian artist living in Dublin, who reinterprets vintage found photos with simple lines, circles and marks of color. Of course she's not the first to do it, but it always boils down to the composition of the artwork for me and she's got it down quite well. Take a look through her flickr archive to see how her style has evolved.







11 Jul 16:20

Another real-life ouroboros

by Minnesotastan
Laura B

this is really sad


One explanation for this unusual behavior was offered in the Reddit thread discussing the gif:
Snake-owner here. One reason snakes do this is because they are agitated from getting too hot. Judging by the fact the snake is in the water bowl I would suspect this is the reason. EDIT: Snakes are cold blooded so their metabolic rate is controlled by how they regulate their body temperature, a hot snake has an increased metabolism and would likely feel hungry if it hasn't eaten recently, which could drive this behaviour. Turning off the heat-lamp and spraying them with cool water will cause them to spit themselves out.  I hope in this case it was ok :(
Another example was posted in 2009.  For details about the mythical Ouroboros, see my 2008 post.
05 Jun 15:53

A sealed-bottle garden

by Minnesotastan
Gardener David Latimer, 80, from Cranleigh in Surrey, first planted his bottle garden in 1960 and finally sealed it tightly shut 12 years later - yet it's still going strong...

It absorbs solar energy from daylight, water from the moisture it creates, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the composted leaves that it drops and produces oxygen in the cycle...

After he sealed the 10 gallon bottle with a bung three of the species faded and died, but the fourth flourished and continues to grow... The retired electrical engineer has only watered the plant twice, the last time in 1972 when he oiled the plastic stopper so that it wedged so tightly it hasn't been out since. 
I tried to do this many years ago and failed miserably.  Some details on the methodology at the link, via Nag on the Lake