Shared posts

15 Jul 08:08

Mary Trump : le livre sur son oncle Donald libre de mettre le feu

by ng@actualitte.com (trimNicolas Gary))
AmN

The Trump book
I have seen some readers comments on amazon...

reading this : https://www.newsweek.com/trump-mom-mary-anne-macleod-insecurity-deep-president-white-house-ivanka-758644

Embarquée dans une procédure juridique, la nièce de Donald Trump a obtenu justice. Une ordonnance interdisant la parution de son livre avait été délivrée, qui finalement est levée. Le juge de la Cour Suprême de New York l’autorise à diffuser et parler librement de son ouvrage.

Donald Trump
 

Le juge Hal Greenwald a donné le feu vert au livre Too Much and Never Enough : How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, présenté dans les médias comme une incursion dans la vie du président des États-Unis. Mary Trump devient ainsi la première à s’ouvrir aussi largement sur qui est le POTUS en dehors des tweets qu’il assène. 

Le porte-parole de l’auteure est impatient que le public puisse lire ce brûlot, maintenant que les poursuites sont définitivement enterrées. 
 

Famille dessoudée


Chose amusante, c’est l’oncle de Mary, et deuxième frère du président, Robert, qui était à l’origine de cette attaque. Son père, Fred, est décédé en septembre 1981. Selon la plainte, le livre entrait en violation des accords passés en 2001, découlant de la volonté du père de Mary. Et tant que l’ordonnance n’était pas balayée, la jeune auteure ne pouvait assurer aucune promotion ni accorder d’interviews.

L’éditeur, Simon & Schuster, avait déjà obtenu de pouvoir publier l’ouvrage, en dépit d’une autre procédure, et décidait même d’en avancer la publication à ce 14 juillet.

Son avocat souligne que le Premier amendement plaidait en sa faveur, en ce qu’il interdit « les restrictions a priori, en tant qu’atteintes intolérables au droit de participer à la démocratie ». Désormais, le peuple américain pourra se faire une idée peut-être faussée, mais tout de même intime du président. 

Psychologue clinicienne, Mary Trump présente Donald comme le produit de la négligence d’une mère absente et d’un père totalement sociopathe. Le président souffrirait de plusieurs troubles psychologiques, desquels ont découlé mensonges et tromperie, tout au long de sa vie. 

Depuis la Maison blanche, on clame que « c’est un tissu de mensonges, et uniquement de mensonges. Ce sont des allégations ridicules et absurdes, qui n’ont absolument aucun rapport avec la vérité ». 

Largement en tête des meilleures ventes sur Amazon.com — sans que cela ne permette réellement de saisir ce que cela signifie en volume — la couverture médiatique est déjà exceptionnelle. 

« Le droit absolu de publier est une liberté américaine sacrée et un principe fondateur de notre république, et nous saluons la cour », ajoute l’éditeur dans une récente déclaration. Le livre doit sortir en France à l’automne, publié chez Albin Michel, sous le titre Trop et jamais assez.
 

Et concrètement ?


La presse s’est ruée, et traque désormais toutes les anecdotes encor inconnues, et Mary Trump pourrait ne pas décevoir les journaux. « Personne n’a remarqué qu’aucun membre de sa famille, à part ses enfants, son gendre et sa femme, n’a dit un mot en sa faveur, durant toute la campagne », pointe-t-elle. De quoi donner le ton. 

À l’acrimonie familiale s’ajoutent des histoires d’argent et d’héritage, évidemment. Et des rancœurs, exacerbées par les sommes en jeu, autant que les crises d’ego…

Installé dans le rôle d’héritier, après le décès de son grand frère Fred, et père de Mary, Donald se serait surtout retrouvé avec des habits bien trop grands pour lui. Un délire de grandeur qui s’est prolongé grâce à la fortune familiale, dont Fred tentait d’endiguer l’hémorragie. « Tout le monde dans ma famille a connu une combinaison de privilèges et de négligences », souligne le livre.

Dont acte.


photo : Gage Skidmore, CC BY SA 2.0
30 Jun 20:53

Snakes, Dragons, and the Power of Music: Strange and Wondrous 18th-Century Illustrations of Real and Mythic Serpents

by Maria Popova
AmN

something else : album covers and where the photo was taken
seems there are many old albums but quite interesting
http://www.musicalmaps.com.au/

“That there is not a wise Purpose in every thing that is made because we do not understand it, is as absurd as for a Man to say, there is no such thing as Light, because he is blind and has no Eyes to see it.”


In 1742, more than a century before Darwin parted the veil of creationist mythology to reveal the reality of nature, an English theologian by the name of Charles Owen published An Essay Toward a Natural History of Serpents — a curious artifact from the museum of sensemaking, a fossil from the tidal zone between ignorance and knowledge where the primordial waters of superstition are lapping at the slowly emerging terra cognita of science.

Available as a print and as a face mask.

Depicted as equally real alongside the common vipers familiar to every English child are the “poetick Griffins,” a “monstrous Serpent of four or five Yards long… very large and furious,” and the Ethiopian dragons, inherited from ancient Greek mythology and believed to kill elephants “by winding themselves about the Elephant’s Legs, and then thrusting their Heads up their Nostrils, fling them, and suck their Blood till they are dead.”

Available as a print and as a face mask.

What emerges is a kind of natural history tinted by supernatural inheritance — while Owen was inspired by the symbology of reptiles in a great many of the world’s religious traditions, he brought the mindset of a naturalist or “natural philosopher” (the word scientist was yet to be coined) to the endeavor. While his prefatory note to the reader is trapped in the mind and language of its time, speaking of the “Almighty Creator,” the “Divine Wisdom in the works of Nature,” and the immutability of species in their “Eternal Design,” he also advocates passionately for acknowledging the limits of our knowledge and savoring the rewards of observation, especially of looking more closely at what is commonly overlooked. Although his motive is theological, its end and effect are almost scientific:

That there is not a wise Purpose in every thing that is made because we do not understand it, is as absurd as for a Man to say, there is no such thing as Light, because he is blind and has no Eyes to see it.

For the Illustration of this, we may take a short View of Creatures, in vulgar account too diminutive and despicable as a Species, to deserve a close Attention.

Available as a print and as a face mask.

Even looking closely at the most “Noxious” of creatures, he suggests, brings us into more intimate contact with the consummate perfection of nature, for the more we consider them, the more we find not a particular reason why they should exist but no reason why they should not. A lovely notion to roll against the palate of the mind — a notion that sweetens a great many other contexts with its implications.

Available as a print and as a face mask.

Nestled between the serpents are other poison-wielding animals — spiders, scorpions, frogs, wasps, hornets, the tarantula (“a kind of an overgrown Spider, about the Size of a common Acorn,” against the deadly bite of which “the most effectual and certain Remedy is Musick.”)

Available as a print and as a face mask.
Available as a print and as a face mask.

And then, in one of those glorious metaphysical meanderings lacing pre-scientific works of “natural philosophy,” Owen turns to the belief that music mitigates the effects of poisons, physical and moral, and adds a reverie to the canon of great writers extolling the power of music:

Musick appears to be one of the most antient of Arts, and of all other, vocal Musick must have been the first kind, and borrowed from the various natural Strains of Birds; as stringed Instruments were from Winds whistling in hollow Reeds, and pulsatile Instruments (as Drums and Cymbals) from the hollow Noise of concave Bodies. This is the Conjecture.

Musick has ever been in the highest Esteem in all Ages, and among all People. Nor could Authors express their Opinions of it strongly enough, but by inculcating, that it was in Heaven, and was one of the principal Entertainments of the Blessed.

The Effects ascribed to Musick by the Antients, almost amount to Miracles; by means thereof Diseases are said to have been cured, Unchastity corrected, Seditions quelled, Passions raised and calmed, and even Madness occasioned.

Musick has been used as a Sermon of Morality… The Pythagoreans made use of Musick to cultivate the Mind, and settle in it a passionate Love of Virtue… made use of it, not only against Diseases of the Mind, but those of the Body. It was the common Custom of the Pythagoreans to soften their Minds with Musick before they went to sleep; and also in the Morning, to excite themselves to the Business of the Day.

This Cure of Distempers by Musick sounds odd, but was a celebrated Medicine among the Antients. We have already considered, how those wounded by the Tarantula were healed by Musick; the Evidence of which is too strong to be overturned.

Available as a print and as a face mask.

Couple with biologist and Native American storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer, writing a quarter millennium after Owen, on how the overlooked splendor of moss refines the art of attentiveness to all scales of existence, then savor other stunning scientific and natural history illustrations from Owen’s era: the consummate illustrations for the world’s first encyclopedia of medicinal plants, which the young self-taught artist and botanist Elizabeth Blackwell painted to bail her husband out of debtor’s prison; the self-taught German artist and astronomer Maria Clara Eimmart’s haunting blue-and-gold renditions of the Solar System as it was then known; Sarah Stone’s paintings of exotic, endangered, and now-extinct species; and some wondrous illustrations of owls from Darwin’s century.


donating = loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes me hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.


newsletter

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s most unmissable reads. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

30 Jun 18:48

Jesu : nouvel EP, nouveau morceau

by Clément Duboscq
AmN

there was a time it was very good, then I was deceived by Jesu
will try this one

(c) DR

Justin Broadrick est de retour avec Jesu, et annonce la sortie d’un nouveau mini LP/EP (selon ses dires). ‘Never’ sera disponible le 1er juillet sur Avalanche Recordings.

Un premier extrait, “Because Of You”, a été dévoilé sur YouTube :

30 Jun 18:47

Jónsi (Sigur Rós) : nouvel album, premier extrait en écoute

by Olivier
AmN

did not knew he went alone
have not listened to much music
discovered Bach (yes, Bach the great one)
and found that really enjoyable

 

Jónsi (Sigur Rós) sortira Shiver, son premier album en dix ans, le 2 octobre chez Krunk.

En voici un premier extrait :

15 May 18:58

Grêlons géants, T. rex endurants et aliments à éviter : l'actu des sciences en ultrabrèves

by Joffrey Onckelinx
AmN

biggest one, 23 centimeters

https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/nutrition/aliments/les-dozen-dirty-les-douze-aliments-les-plus-riches-en-pesticides_144347?refresh=1589553550266
12 worst for pesticids
not to confuse with worst for pollution (beef, coffee, avocado, lamb, chocolate, ...)

maybe dandelions are ok (we do a nice salad with them and eggs (sorry Alan)

Dans cette sélection du 15 mai 2020 : des scientifiques tentent de comprendre la formation de grêlons surdimensionnés, une étude sur les membres de théropodes révèle que les grands dinosaures couraient lentement mais longtemps et une ONG américaine livre sa liste des 12 aliments les plus riches en pesticides. 
15 May 18:44

Cheap eats: eight delicious dishes that cost less than $5 per serve

by Sharnee Rawson
AmN

I will try the quiche
will buy several rolls of dough, too lazy to do it
and fill them with every possible thing I can find (except snails)

These affordable recipes are light on the wallet but still packed with rich, satisfying flavours and wholesome ingredients

When trying to eat on a budget, sometimes inspiration is the hardest ingredient to muster. These recipes offer a fresh take on cheap staples, using basics such as legumes, seasonal vegetables and cheap cuts of meat to create something special.

Each of the dishes come in under $5 a serve – we ran the numbers using online prices from major Australian supermarkets . The prices have been approximated based on the quantities required for each recipe – so if a pat of unsalted butter costs $2.80, but the recipe only calls for half of it, it is costed at $1.40.

Continue reading...
15 May 16:40

Travel the World With 11 of Our Favorite Far-Flung TV Shows

by Atlas Obscura

After weeks of social distancing, you may want to distance yourself from your own house. Luckily, we've got just the thing to help you do that. We asked Atlas Obscura staff to share TV recommendations that showcase weird and wondrous settings, from 1920s Berlin to 19th-century Malacca to a futuristic, pessimistic São Paulo. Lose yourself in these 11 global shows that you can watch now.

Itaewon Class

Seoul, South Korea; streaming on Netflix

Park Saeroyi is a teenager when his father is killed in a hit-and-run accident, setting off a chain of events that pits him against South Korea’s most powerful food company. What follows is a slow burn of revenge and redemption set in Itaewon, Seoul’s hip international district, where Park Saeroyi starts a food company of his own. Itaewon Class is a dramatic, sensory experience: The superbly dressed cast moves through the narrow, neon-lit streets of Itaewon to a memorable K-pop soundtrack. They also eat incredibly well. I found myself coveting (and attempting to make) their soft tofu stew, stir-fried pork, and kimchi.
—Cecily Wong, Senior Writer

Babylon Berlin

Germany; streaming on Netflix

This dark and stylish neo-noir, based on a series of novels by Volker Kutscher, will take you on a riveting ride through Germany's capital at the end of the Roaring Twenties. In the waning years of the Weimar Republic, a World War I veteran named Gereon Rath joins the murder department of the Berlin police. As it turns out, he can't investigate suspicious deaths without uncovering all kinds of other suspicious activities, from a local extortion ring to police shootings of Communist protesters. Meanwhile, Charlotte Ritter, a flapper from the tenements of Neukölln, rises through the ranks of the male-dominated police force, leading a double life that gives her access to the city's underbelly. Babylon Berlin's creators have a long history in German cinema: Their filmography includes Run Lola Run (Lola rennt) and Good Bye, Lenin! Their newest project is as edgy and eye-popping as it is mysterious and morally complex.
—Daniel A. Gross, Senior Associate Editor

article-image

Typewriter

Goa, India; streaming on Netflix

A quartet of precocious kids, a supernatural threat, a charming cop with a mustache who’s raising an adolescent girl by himself—stop me if you’ve heard this one. Typewriter has the same kind of horror pastiche that made Stranger Things so much fun, but this time with a malevolent, shape-shifting ghost instead of a faceless eldritch horror. It shows off the tropical, colonial, eclectic state of Goa, as well as some inventive, multilingual swearing. It’s a bit like a roller coaster missing the last section of track, but it’s still a goofy, fitfully frightening ride.
—Samir S. Patel, Editorial Director

Fortitude

Arctic Norway; streaming on Netflix

A friend convinced me to watch this British show by describing it as “like Twin Peaks, but in the Arctic.” Fortitude is the name of the show as well as its setting, a fictional town inspired by Svalbard, Norway. A man is found on a snowy beach in the jaws of a polar bear—but we soon discover he was tied up and left as bait. Stanley Tucci plays the investigator and finds the murder to be the first of many strange goings-on in this remote settlement. The show weaves themes of loneliness and community into an engaging and psychological thrill, and the drama unfolds against a bleak and beautiful backdrop.
—Nicola Beuscher, Software Engineer

article-image

The Ghost Bride

Malacca, Malaysia; streaming on Netflix

Set in late 19th-century Malacca, this Netflix original series revolves around a young woman named Pang Li Lan, who is asked to become a “ghost bride” for a family’s recently deceased son. While she weighs this decision, which could save her family from financial ruin, she finds herself deeply embroiled in a murder mystery that may implicate her childhood flame, an otherworldly entity, and even Li Lan herself. To find answers, she must venture into the afterlife.

The Ghost Bride crafts funny, tragic, and well-written characters, but even more, it captures fascinating details of 19th-century Malacca—particularly the colorful Peranakan culture, an intermingling of Chinese and Malay cultures in Malaysia. Light, delicate, and intricate kebayas are on full display; the camera often lingers on the dining table, panning over brightly colored kuih desserts. Even though the show is primarily in Mandarin with subtitles, the show captures the diversity of Malaysia with little flashes of the Malay language and different dialects. As someone who grew up in Malaysia, I felt transported to a mesmerizing place that also looks and sounds familiar.
—Samantha Chong, Senior Audience Development Manager

Crash Landing on You

North Korea; streaming on Netflix

When a high-strung business type from South Korea survives a parachute accident during a freak storm, she tumbles across the demilitarized zone and ultimately falls for a North Korean soldier. I was skeptical about watching this Korean romantic drama—the genre isn’t usually my cup of soju—but I’m glad that I did. Crash Landing On You is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history, and its writing team includes a North Korean defector, which creates a realistic peephole into a hidden world in the midst of an absurd, fanciful show.
—Larissa Hayden, Associate Director of Community Hosted Experiences

article-image

Dark

Germany; streaming on Netflix

Strange things are happening in the fictional town of Winden, Germany. When children start disappearing next to the town’s nuclear power plant, secrets about four local families begin to materialize. With an undertone of mystery and Cold War-era nuclear anxiety, Dark also ventures through Germany’s moss-covered, fairy-tale forests—and even the fabric of time. The show’s meticulously crafted storylines will send you racing to solve its puzzles alongside its characters.
—Jeanette Moreland, Supervising Producer, Video

Welcome to Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden; available for purchase on YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon Prime

This short-lived comedy from NBC is loosely based on the life of Greg Poehler, the creator of the show and the brother of comedian Amy Poehler. He plays an American accountant who meets a Swedish woman, falls in love, and moves to her homeland. Assimilating into everyday Swedish life proves a bit more challenging than expected. He struggles with everything from the language and customs to the sense of humor—which makes for some hilarious viewing while you get to see and appreciate parts of Stockholm.
—Alexa Harrison, PR Manager

Midnight Diner

Tokyo, Japan; streaming on Netflix

In this fiction anthology, a small, nondescript diner in Tokyo becomes an entry point into the lives of the city’s characters. Each episode explores the backstories of patrons through the dishes they order. You won't see too much of Tokyo itself, but you'll learn an awful lot about the city’s comfort food.
—Alexa Harrison, PR Manager

article-image

3%

Brazil; streaming on Netflix

Why not escape one dystopian world for another? 3% is a Brazilian post-apocalyptic thriller set in an unspecified future São Paulo, where most of the population lives in poverty. When young people come of age, they get one chance to pass a series of tests called the Process, and the top three percent get to live in a paradise called the Offshore. (It’s like The Hunger Games, but with less teen romance.) The first season focuses on the journey of a main character, Michele, and the wild twists, challenges, and corruption she encounters along the way. As a huge fan of dystopian and post-apocalyptic narratives, I liked seeing a familiar genre from another culture’s perspective—and how no matter where it's set, many of its elements remain the same.
—Ashley Wolfgang, Newsletter Editor

The Untamed

China; streaming on Netflix

The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, an online Chinese novel that was serialized in 2015 and 2016, is something of a phenomenon: It has inspired an animated series, heaps of merchandise, a line of Cornetto ice cream flavors, and finally The Untamed, a 50-episode television series that’s now streaming on Netflix. The show is an introduction to Chinese fantasy genre xianxia, which generally means magical weapons, characters seeking immortality, and monsters. And don’t forget about the undead: The main character, Wei Wuxian, might best be described as a manic pixie dream necromancer.

The Untamed begins with Wei Wuxian’s death and resurrection, then launches into a 30-plus episode explanation of how he died in the first place. You may find yourself humming the theme song for weeks. (There are a lot of plot-relevant flute solos.) The show will transport you to a high-fantasy version of China. Though the series can be heavy-handed with CGI, settings such as the Cloud Recesses and Lotus Pier, which are based in the real-life Chinese regions of Jiangsu and Hubei, are as pretty as they sound.
—Anne Ewbank, Gastro Obscura Associate Editor

05 Apr 17:00

A Loopy Library of Sounds Features Sprinklers, Sirens, and Freud's Toilet

by Claire Voon

Among the many curiosities owned by the Museum of Portable Sound, based in London, is an audio recording of the toilet flushing in Sigmund Freud’s former house in Vienna. Recorded in 2017, the rough gurgling initially resembles the grind of a garbage disposal, and then softens into pitter-patters.

“I've actually got three recordings of toilets in museums,” says John Kannenberg, the museum’s director, chief curator, and man responsible for this lavatorial relic. “It's really difficult to not come off as being someone who's obsessed with the sound of toilets.”

In truth, Kannenberg is obsessed with all kinds of sound. For more than 25 years, the London-based artist and researcher has recorded large and small sonic moments around the world, from an echoing call to prayer in Cairo to the hiss of an apartment radiator in Chicago. The museum does not try to fit its more than 300 field recordings into a building or a room; instead, they reside on a humble iPhone 4S.

Since its founding in 2015, the handheld institution has received more than 1,200 visitors. A typical trip requires booking an in-person meeting with the director, who simply hands over the device and waits nearby. Visitors guide themselves through the permanent collection with a physical map that visualizes four floors of 30 galleries—plus a “Frank Gehry Commemorative Wing” for temporary exhibitions. (A gift shop, hawking tote bags and tees, lives online.)

article-image

Now, with a growing number of people staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kannenberg has made the experience virtual for the first time, via video chat. For £10 an hour, you can request playbacks of sounds or ask to see anything from the museum’s collection of physical objects, which includes items such as the first commercially available Compact Disc and a mini music box that plays The Internationale.

The museum began life as an experimental museology project when Kannenberg was a PhD student at the University of Arts London. “I had been thinking a lot about why museums themselves don't tend to collect and display sounds,” he says. “I wanted to bring about more balance between the experiences of sound and the visual world. So I was thinking, how would you display sound as an object? Why would you do it? I was interested in making recorded sound feel like a museum-worthy object.”

Nearly five years on, the collection features over eight hours of ear-candy from 20 countries. It touches on broad topics such as natural history, science and technology, and architecture and urban design, offering a unique trip through time and cultures. You can listen to a 2017 recording of the final bongs of Big Ben (now under renovation) or the bustle of a lunch service in Azerbaijan. The options range from soothing (waves on Lake Erie, as heard from Pelee Island) to irksome (a broken fire alarm at the University of Michigan). Some are stirring, such as a recording of a crowd singing and whistling on the day that San Francisco legalized gay marriage. There are also a handful of auditory donations, including a scratchy 1910 recording of a nightingale from Cheryl Tipp, the British Library’s curator of wildlife and environmental sounds.

article-image

Most of these recordings aren’t particularly rare or remarkable, and last no longer than one or two minutes. There are galleries devoted to doors and windows, elevators and escalators, weather and water. One of the biggest sub-collections features recordings Kannenberg made while roaming other museums over the last decade: experiences for the ears, created in spaces designed for the eyes.

“My goal is to try to get people more comfortable with listening to things that aren’t music,” Kannenberg says. “I want this to be an exercise in attentive listening—actively paying attention to sound, not listening to it like background music.” For this reason, he refuses to make all the files accessible online or turn the museum into an app. “People would download it, play it while they’re doing dishes, then delete it as soon as they need more room on their phone for photos.”

While Kannenberg won’t be able to make any recordings outside his home for the foreseeable future, he says he still comes up with new ideas: “The Big Bang, any active volcano, a sonic boom,” he says. “The oldest door in London. The Chouontei Garden behind Kennin-ji temple in Kyoto.” He may get to them one day. For now, Freud’s toilet remains a personal favorite.

You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

05 Apr 16:57

How to cook the perfect vegetable tagine | Felicity Cloake

by Felicity Cloake

How to make the most succulent vegetarian version of this quintessential Moroccan stew

The idea of there being a single perfect formula for vegetable tagine is as absurd as there being just one way to make a good chicken casserole. A tagine is simply the name of the cooking pot in which the stews are traditionally made, rather than the name of a specific recipe (though these days, I’m assured, a saucepan or pressure cooker are more common in Moroccan homes).

And, as Nargisse Benkabbou explains in her book Casablanca, there are four popular styles, regardless of whether the main ingredient is goat, sardines or artichokes. These are mqualli cooked with olive oil, turmeric, ginger and saffron; mhammer made with butter, cumin and paprika; mchermel cooked with chermoula, a zingy herb paste; and one made with tomato, cumin and paprika. Each, Benkabbou says, “can be customised with seasonal vegetables, dried fruit, preserved lemons, olives and nuts”.

Continue reading...
05 Apr 15:32

Balm Well in Edinburgh, Scotland

Balm Well

This well is said to contain waters with healing properties and goes by many titles: St. Katherine's Well, Balm Well of St. Catherine, and the Oily Well. However, it's the last name that best describes the physical appearance of this natural spring.

Along the surface of the water floats a black, tar-like substance that is actually oil linked to the Pentland Fault and fed into the well by the oil shale below.

The well is situated in an outlining suburb of Edinburgh known as Liberton, which is a modification of the name "Leper Town." Several centuries ago, there was a leper colony located nearby. The well gained a reputation across the country for its curative properties and was used to treat the disease and other skin ailments.

The water's properties not only attracted peasants, but also captivated the attention of royals from near and far. King James IV of Scotland was said to be a regular visitor, as were dignitaries from Denmark and Pomerania. A stone well house was erected around the site during the 16th century by King James VI, although Oliver Cromwell's army had it demolished in 1650.

What visitors see today is a crude 19th century reconfiguration, though the well still maintains a portal dated 1563.

05 Apr 11:45

44 modèles d’avions en papier avec des instructions très détaillées

by Kaonashi
AmN

here: https://foldnfly.com/index.html#/1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2

44 models of plane (origami)

Sur le même principe que celui présenté ici précédemment, qui expliquait 200 modèles de nœuds, Fold and Fly propose 44 modèles d’avions en papier. Il contient ainsi des instructions extrêmement détaillées avec notamment des photos de chaque étape, un PDF imprimable et la présentation des mouvements en vidéo.

Il est possible d’afficher les modèles d’avions selon plusieurs critères selon qu’on souhaite un modèle décoratif, efficace ou avec un certain niveau de difficulté.

28 Mar 11:55

Une non confinée parle aux confinés

by Lost in London
AmN

covidiots = new word

Le retour du blog ! Décidemment, ce virus est celui par lequel tout arrive.
28 Mar 11:53

Wes Anderson’s Shorts Films & Commercials: A Playlist of 8 Short Andersonian Works

by Colin Marshall
AmN

can't wait for the film filmed in france

You may have noticed certain brands, over the past decade or so, going for a "Wes Anderson aesthetic" in their advertisements. But as all the younger filmmakers Anderson inspires inevitably find out, replicating the director's signature mise-en-scène — the distinctive color palettes, the rigorous geometry, the carefully curated objects — is no easy task. To achieve the cinematically Andersonian, it seems you really need Anderson himself. Fortunately for certain marketing departments, the auteur of RushmoreThe Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and other pictures (including the upcoming The French Dispatch) has occasionally made himself available for commercial work.

But as anyone who has seen one or two of Anderson's movies might expect, the man appears to have little interest in making straightforward commercials. Even when directing short spots for the likes of American Express or Stella Artois, Anderson brings us into his very own aesthetic and cultural realm: in the former he satirizes a certain idea of his own process on set, and in the latter he creates comedy from his penchant for (and mastery of) early-1960s European design. In other instances he's taken the opportunity to indulge his cinephilia more directly than usual, as in his Jacques Tati-inspired commercial for Japanese cellphone service provider SoftBank. You can see all these and more on our Youtube playlist of eight of Anderson's short films.

Commercial directors often discuss their projects in the same terms they would use to discuss short films. But it seems that every time Anderson makes a commercial, he really does make a short film. Sometimes he makes both: after he directed a 44-second ad for Prada, he went on with the fashion house's sponsorship to direct the seven-minute Castello Cavalcanti. But ever since making the thirteen-minute black-and-white short that would become his debut feature Bottle Rocket, Anderson has also used short films in service of his long ones. Cousin Ben's Troop Screening makes for a fun introduction to Moonrise KingdomHotel Chevalier is practically required viewing before The Darjeeling Limited. Both remind us that, however solid the work a brand can get out of him, Wes Anderson promotes nothing quite as delightfully as he promotes Wes Anderson. Watch the playlist of 8 commercials and short films here.

Related Content:

A Complete Collection of Wes Anderson Video Essays

Wes Anderson Explains How He Writes and Directs Movies, and What Goes Into His Distinctive Filmmaking Style

Watch the Coen Brothers’ TV Commercials: Swiss Cigarettes, Gap Jeans, Taxes & Clean Coal

Wim Wenders Creates Ads to Sell Beer (Stella Artois), Pasta (Barilla), and More Beer (Carling)

David Lynch’s Surreal Commercials

Fellini’s Three Bank of Rome Commercials, the Last Thing He Did Behind a Camera (1992)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Wes Anderson’s Shorts Films & Commercials: A Playlist of 8 Short Andersonian Works is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

28 Mar 11:47

Coup de chaud et records en série en Europe du Nord

by AFP
AmN

HOT IN NORTH
in Stockholm cherry trees in bloom in january!

"L'hiver qui n'arrive jamais": les pays nordiques ont connu des poussées de fièvre et sont en passe de boucler l'une des saisons hivernales les plus chaudes jamais enregistrées. A quelques encablures du cercle polaire, la neige a brillé par son absence et le mercure s'est emballé, faisant sortir prématurément bourgeons et semis. A Stockholm, les cerisiers ont fleuri dès janvier, du jamais vu.
28 Mar 09:28

Take a Virtual Tour of the Paris Catacombs

by Josh Jones

The Paris Catacombs is “one of those places,” wrote photographer Félix Nadar, “that everyone wants to see and no one wants to see again.” If anyone would know, Nadar would. He spent three months in and out of the underground city of death, with its macabre piles of skulls and crossbones, taking photographs (see here) that would help turn it into an internationally famous tourist attraction. In these days of quarantine, no one can see it; the site is closed until further notice. But if you’re the type of person who enjoys touring necropolises, you can still get your fix with a virtual visit.

Why would anyone want to do this, especially during a global outbreak? The Catacombs have attracted seekers after morbid curiosities and spiritual and philosophical truths for over two hundred years, through revolutions, massacres, and plagues.




A stark, haunting reminder of what Nadar called “the egalitarian confusion of death,” they witness mutely, without euphemism, to the future we are all assured, no matter our rank or position. They began as a disordered pile of bones in the late 18th century, transferred from overcrowded cemeteries and became a place where “a Merovingian king remains in eternal silence next to those massacred in September ‘92” during the French Revolution.

Contemplations of death, especially in times of war, plague, famine, and other shocks and crises, have been an integral part of many cultural coping mechanisms, and often involve meditations on corpses and graveyards. The Catacombs are no different, a sprawling memento mori named after the Roman catacombs, “which had fascinated the public since their discovery,” as the official site notes. Expanded, renovated, and rebuilt during the time of Napoleon and later during the extensive renovations of Paris in the mid-19th century, the site was first “consecrated as the ‘Paris Municipal Ossuary’ on April 7, 1786” and opened to the public in 1809.

It is a place that reminds us how all conflicts end. To the “litany of royal and impoverished dead from French history,” writes Allison Meier at the Public Domain Review, Nadar added in his essay on the Catacombs “the names of revolutionary victims and perpetrators like Maximilien Robespierre and Jean-Paul Marat.” Ruminations on the universal nature of death may be an odd diversion for some, and for others an urgent reminder to find out what matters to them in life. Learn more about the fascinating history of the Paris Catacombs here and begin your virtual visit here.

via Boing Boing

Related Content:

Behold Félix Nadar’s Pioneering Photographs of the Paris Catacombs (1861)

Notre Dame Captured in an Early Photograph, 1838

19th-Century Skeleton Alarm Clock Reminded People Daily of the Shortness of Life: An Introduction to the Memento Mori

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Take a Virtual Tour of the Paris Catacombs is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

28 Mar 09:27

The National Emergency Library Makes 1.5 Million Books Free to Read Right Now

by Colin Marshall
AmN

seems there are some rare Miyazaki available on netflix now
for kids, big and little ones !
some rare studio ghibli I should say, not all is Miyazaki

The coronavirus has closed libraries in countries all around the world. Or rather, it's closed physical libraries: each week of struggle against the epidemic that goes by, more resources for books open to the public on the internet. Most recently, we have the Internet Archive's opening of the National Emergency Library, "a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed." While the "national" in the name refers to the United States, where the Internet Archive operates, anyone in the world can read its nearly 1.5 million books, immediately and without waitlists, from now "through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."

"Not to be sneezed at is the sheer pleasure of browsing through the titles," writes The New Yorker's Jill Lepore of the National Emergency Library, going on to mention such volumes as How to Succeed in Singing, Interesting Facts about How Spiders Live, and An Introduction to Kant’s Philosophy, as well as "Beckett on Proust, or Bloom on Proust, or just On Proust." A historian of America, Lepore finds herself reminded of the Council on Books in Wartime, "a collection of libraries, booksellers, and publishers, founded in 1942." On the premise that "books are useful, necessary, and indispensable," the council "picked over a thousand volumes, from Virginia Woolf’s The Years to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and sold the books, around six cents a copy, to the U.S. military." By practically giving away 120 million copies of such books, the project "created a nation of readers."




In fact, the Council on Books in Wartime created more than a nation of readers: the American "soldiers and sailors and Army nurses and anyone else in uniform" who received these books passed them along, or even left them behind in the far-flung places they'd been stationed. Haruki Murakami once told the Paris Review of his youth in Kobe, "a port city where many foreigners and sailors used to come and sell their paperbacks to the secondhand bookshops. I was poor, but I could buy paperbacks cheaply. I learned to read English from those books and that was so exciting." Seeing as Murakami himself later translated The Big Sleep into his native Japanese, it's certainly not impossible that an Armed Services Edition counted among his purchases back then.

Now, in translations into English and other languages as well, we can all read Murakami's work — novels like Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, short-story collections like The Elephant Vanishes, and even the memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running — free at the National Emergency Library. The most popular books now available include everything from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to the Kama SutraDr. Seuss's ABC to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (and its two sequels), Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart to, in disconcerting first place, Sylvia Browne's End of Days: Predictions and Prophecy About the End of the World. You'll even find, in the original French as well as English translation, Albert Camus' existential epidemic novel La Peste, or The Plague, featured earlier this month here on Open Culture. And if you'd rather not confront its subject matter at this particular moment, you'll find more than enough to take your mind elsewhere. Enter the National Emergency Library here.

Related Content:

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

The Internet Archive “Liberates” Books Published Between 1923 and 1941, and Will Put 10,000 Digitized Books Online

11,000 Digitized Books From 1923 Are Now Available Online at the Internet Archive

Free: You Can Now Read Classic Books by MIT Press on Archive.org

Enter “The Magazine Rack,” the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

Use Your Time in Isolation to Learn Everything You’ve Always Wanted To: Free Online Courses, Audio Books, eBooks, Movies, Coloring Books & More

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The National Emergency Library Makes 1.5 Million Books Free to Read Right Now is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

14 Mar 18:32

Restocking your pantry? Don't neglect the acid

by Palisa Anderson
AmN

I'm a fan of acid (taste, not test) need to know this one

Sour tastes are often needed to round out a dish. Try tamarind, the legume that makes everything from HP Sauce to pad thai sing

Look into your dry pantry. Of all the unadulterated seasoning agents, I’m guessing you may have salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar and soy sauce?

You’re probably pretty well covered for all the flavours: salty, sweet, bitter, spicy and sour. And I’m guessing most of you will have two or more ingredients to emphasise saltiness, sweetness and spice in your cooking – but acidity and bitterness often get a little neglected.

Continue reading...
08 Mar 16:40

Greg Dulli : “A Ghost” en écoute

by Julien
AmN

will listen to all this a bit later

(c) Maciek Jasik

Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs) annonce la sortie de son second album solo, Random Desire, le 21 février chez Royal Cream/BMG.

Nouvel extrait :


08 Mar 16:39

Mark Lanegan : nouvel album, premier extrait en écoute

by Olivier

Straight Songs Of Sorrow, le nouvel album de Mark Lanegan, sortira le 8 mai chez Heavenly Recordings. Pour en savoir plus sur celui-ci, lisez notre interview du bonhomme dans new Noise #52 en kiosque actuellement.

En voici un premier extrait :

20 Feb 13:51

« La nation écossaise s'est construite dans la lutte contre l'Angleterre »

by Thomas M. Devine
AmN

to read all this in french is long I reckon
to translate via google is hum...

L'Histoire : Qui sont les « Écossais » ?

Sir Thomas M. Devine : Les Scots sont des Celtes gaéliques originaires d'Irlande, ils se sont installés sur la côte occidentale de ce qui est devenu l'Écosse à partir du IIIe siècle. Au départ, ils ne sont qu'un groupe au côté d'autres Celtes ou de populations d'origine nordique, établies lors des incursions vikings. Progressivement, deux peuples prennent l'ascendant dans la région : les Scots et les Pictes. Ces derniers sont soumis par les Scots au milieu du IXe siècle : ce sont les débuts du royaume d'Alba, dont les souverains étendront leur domination jusqu'à atteindre, au XIe siècle, des limites très proches de celles de l'Écosse actuelle. Plusieurs dynamiques ont contribué à l'expansion des Scots, en particulier le féodalisme (les structures du pouvoir sont plus stables), la diffusion de la culture gaélique, en particulier la langue, et l'affirmation d'une Église écossaise, soutenue par le pape.

Mais il ne faut pas faire de ce pouvoir un gouvernement centralisé. Les grands seigneurs écossais jouissent d'une certaine autonomie et nombre de ce qu'on pourrait nommer des « microcultures » persistent dans l'ensemble du royaume. Cela se traduit notamment par des variétés dans les accents et les façons de parler - d'ailleurs, cela continue en partie : quand j'ai fait venir des étudiants américains à l'université d'Édimbourg, ils étaient très étonnés de voir une aussi grande variété dans un pays plus petit que la Virginie ! Dans certains territoires, l'autonomie laissée aux aristocrates est liée à la géographie et à la distance, en particulier dans l'ouest des Highlands. Dans d'autres, cela relève plutôt de la stratégie politique, ainsi à la frontière avec l'Angleterre. Cette zone joue un véritable rôle de tampon pendant de longues périodes, y compris après l'invasion normande.

N'oublions pas que Guillaume le Conquérant a envahi le sud de l'Écosse en 1072 et contraint le roi Malcolm III à se soumettre et à lui verser un tribut. Mais il reste un roi indépendant, dont les relations avec les souverains anglo-normands sont pour le moins tumultueuses jusqu'à la fin de son règne, en 1093. L'Écosse connaît cependant une forme de « normannisation » (d'influence normande) : de nombreux nobles continentaux s'installent, contribuant à la féodalisation du pays, et y bâtissent des châteaux semblables à ceux qui sont élevés en Angleterre. Mais en même temps l'Écosse est aussi restée le refuge des derniers soutiens de la dynastie du Wessex, qui s'oppose à Guillaume en Angleterre...

Les Écossais ne sont donc, au Moyen Age, ni totalement soumis ni totalement indépendants vis-à-vis des Anglais ?

Pendant une longue période, les relations anglo-écossaises oscillent entre la soumission (souvent gagnée par les armes) et l'indépendance ; et cela dure au fond jusqu'au début du XVIIIe siècle. Mais là réside probablement le dernier élément de la solidification des liens entre les Écossais : la lutte contre l'ennemi anglais. Il faut bien mesurer que les rois anglo-normands puis les Plantagenêts, qui dominent l'Angleterre à la suite de Guillaume, sont des souverains très expansionnistes, dans les îles Britanniques et sur le continent. Cette recherche de terres nouvelles a créé dans les esprits écossais une tradition de protection défensive contre la menace venue d'Angleterre. En atteste le fait que, pendant un demi-millénaire, l'accès des Écossais au commerce, à la culture ou aux mouvements de populations ne se fait pas par le sud, mais par l'est, créant une connexion européenne très forte dès les derniers siècles du Moyen Age. L'Écosse est certes une terre assez pauvre, mais sa laine et ses poissons s'exportent relativement bien vers le continent. C'est dans le domaine intellectuel et culturel que certains Écossais acquièrent une solide réputation, par exemple en matière musicale. Un chiffre, également, est tout à fait révélateur : dans le monde des universités médiévales, marqué par d'intenses circulations des professeurs et des étudiants, la prestigieuse Université de Paris a connu pas moins de dix-sept recteurs écossais entre sa fondation, au début du XIIIe siècle, et la Réforme écossaise, au milieu du XVIe siècle. Les Écossais, cependant, ne peuvent alors lutter seuls contre la pression anglaise et les rois ont trouvé des alliés ; d'abord le pape, qui reconnaît l'Écosse comme un royaume indépendant de l'Angleterre en 1320 par la déclaration d'Abroath signée par Jean XXII ; puis, comme les ennemis de nos ennemis sont nos amis : les Français.

C'est la fameuse Auld Alliance ?

Cette alliance a été signée en 1295, dans un contexte très troublé pour l'Écosse. La reine Marguerite Ire étant morte en 1290 sans descendant, le roi d'Angleterre Édouard Ier a joué un rôle d'arbitre entre les prétendants, en particulier entre les Balliol et les Bruce (deux grandes familles aux origines normandes). Grâce à son appui, c'est Jean Balliol qui monte sur le trône en 1292. Édouard Ier a voulu en profiter pour affirmer sa suzeraineté sur l'Écosse, ce qui n'était pas du goût de Balliol. En 1295, celui-ci renonce officiellement à son allégeance et signe avec la France une alliance défensive contre l'Angleterre, nommée Auld Alliance à partir de la seconde moitié du XIVe siècle. En cas d'invasion anglaise d'un des deux royaumes, l'autre promet d'envoyer des troupes pour le défendre. Cette alliance a joué un rôle important pendant certains épisodes de la guerre de Cent Ans. Surtout, même si peu de troupes françaises ont finalement débarqué en Écosse pour défendre le pays, elle a donné aux Écossais un allié de poids sur le continent, certainement plus important d'un point de vue diplomatique que purement militaire.

Plus profondément, ces liens ont aussi facilité la connexion franco-écossaise jusqu'au XVIe siècle au moins, et notamment les mouvements de personnes (universitaires, étudiants, clercs, artistes...). Les Écossais acquièrent également une solide réputation en tant que mercenaires ; engagés par plusieurs monarchies continentales, ils ont l'avantage, pour les Français, de bien connaître l'ennemi anglais !

Même si le traité d'Édimbourg de 1560 met fin à certaines dispositions de l'Auld Alliance sur fond de Réforme protestante (les protestants écossais préfèrant se rapprocher d'Élisabeth Ire), cette « vieille alliance » n'a jamais été légalement et formellement abolie. De Gaulle lui-même, en juin 1942, en a rappelé le souvenir dans un discours prononcé à Édimbourg, où il célèbre - en anglais ! - la « plus vieille alliance du monde » : « Dans tous les combats où, pendant cinq siècles, le destin de la France était en jeu, il y avait toujours des hommes d'Écosse pour combattre aux côtés des hommes de France. » Il n'est pas impossible que les événements actuels tendent à redonner à cette Auld Alliance une certaine vigueur !

Pourtant, Angleterre et Écosse ont fini par s'unir ?

L'Acte d'union de 1707 est le fruit d'un processus complexe : l'union parlementaire entre l'Écosse et l'Angleterre n'était en rien prévisible, d'autant plus que l'Église presbytérienne écossaise, craignant d'être soumise à l'Église anglicane, a d'abord attisé la méfiance contre l'union.

Repartons de la fin du XVIIe siècle : l'Angleterre est en guerre contre la France de Louis XIV (c'est la guerre de la Ligue d'Augsbourg, ou guerre de Neuf Ans). Une des préoccupations premières de Guillaume III, roi d'Angleterre, est de sécuriser sa frontière nord pour éviter d'être pris à revers. Mais l'alliance franco-écossaise, alors, ne va plus de soi : ce sont les jacobites - opposants catholiques qui veulent faire revenir Jacques Stuart sur le trône - qui ont reçu le soutien de Louis XIV. Au contraire, plusieurs éléments ont convaincu les élites écossaises de basculer du côté de l'union avec l'Angleterre. Les protestants, d'abord, sont inquiets à l'idée qu'une contre-réforme puisse être encouragée par la France. Ajoutons que la guerre porte un coup dur au commerce écossais, qui s'est en outre déjà partiellement ouvert au marché anglais au XVIe siècle. La situation n'arrange pas la très grande instabilité du Parlement écossais, où les voix unionistes commencent à peser. Aux yeux des unionistes, l'Écosse demeure un petit pays, assez pauvre, doté d'une faible armée et d'une maigre flotte : l'union avec l'Angleterre paraît une meilleure perspective dans un monde où l'autre rive de l'Atlantique s'ouvre - et l'accès à l'Amérique passe par une alliance avec les Anglais. Et, dans une Écosse où l'autorité est fondée sur la terre, mais où règne la primogéniture dans sa transmission (seul l'aîné hérite), trouver des débouchés pour les autres fils est indispensable - l'armée et l'Église n'y suffisent pas.

Les travaux pour rédiger le traité d'union commencent en 1706, alors que l'anglophobie est encore forte dans le pays. Les négociations sont difficiles ; un des arguments clés est que l'Angleterre risque d'enclencher une intervention armée si un accord n'est pas trouvé... Mais, en 1707, l'Acte d'union est signé : il est décidé que les députés écossais siégeront désormais à Westminster ; l'Écosse conservant cependant des particularités, notamment en matière de droit, de religion et d'éducation.

La mise en place de cet Acte d'union est-elle si simple ?

Cela dépend de quel point de vue. Du côté des jacobites, cela ne change rien à leur position, et même cela la consolide. Plusieurs soulèvements largement stimulés par ce parti ont lieu dans les années qui suivent l'Acte d'union, notamment en 1715 et en 1719. Ceux-ci sont d'autant plus importants qu'une partie de l'opinion publique reste hostile : des révoltes précèdent l'Acte et d'autres l'ont suivi, incitées en particulier par l'imposition aux Écossais de taxes nouvelles. Pendant une quinzaine d'années au moins, la situation reste un peu incertaine. Un important mouvement a encore lieu en 1725-1726 à la suite de la création de la malt tax, un impôt sur le malt (utilisé pour la fabrication du whisky et de la bière). Parti principalement de Glasgow, il a également touché Édimbourg, Stirling, Dundee et d'autres villes. Ce mouvement montre surtout la distance qui s'est installée entre les élites écossaises, de plus en plus liées à l'Angleterre, et le peuple. A Glasgow, les manifestants détruisirent la maison de Daniel Campbell, député à Westminster : ce marchand qui a notamment fait fortune dans le commerce du tabac et des esclaves avait voté pour la taxe... Les autorités locales sont incapables de calmer la colère et Londres envoie cinq troupes de dragons pour calmer le jeu, au prix du sang.

Si l'on change de point de vue maintenant : les élites protestantes d'Écosse, elles, se sont bien acclimatées à l'union avec l'Angleterre et en ont même tiré de larges bénéfices. Plusieurs éléments sont à prendre en compte. La britishness de ces élites se renforça d'abord à cause de la guerre quasi continue contre la France catholique au fil du XVIIIe siècle (guerre de Sept Ans, guerre d'Indépendance américaine...). Les Anglais ont aussi su lâcher du lest là où les grands propriétaires terriens trouveraient un bénéfice : le Patronage Act de 1711-1712 voté par Westminster leur rend le « patronage » (c'est-à-dire le droit de nommer les ministres du culte) des églises locales, comme c'était le cas au XVIe siècle, renforçant leur pouvoir sur la société. C'est une mesure très populaire en Écosse.

Enfin, et surtout, les Écossais profitent largement de l'empire britannique. Ce sont les Anglais qui le dirigent mais les Écossais sont présents partout et dans tous les domaines : commerce, armée, médecine, éducation... Les Anglais leur doivent beaucoup ! Du point de vue écossais, ce sont d'abord les fils des élites qui trouvent outre-mer les clés de leur réussite, notamment dans l'armée - ils sont très nombreux parmi les officiers de l'East India Company. Un chiffre est éloquent : les Écossais représentaient 10 % des hommes de l'empire, mais un tiers des officiers de l'armée britannique au XIXe siècle. Cette intimité entre les Écossais et l'empire est un sédiment très fort de l'union.

Il me semble qu'un événement assez récent en est un bon symbole : en 1997, lors de la cérémonie de rétrocession de Hongkong, qui était la dernière colonie d'importance, ce sont les soldats écossais du régiment Black Watch, habillés en kilt, qui ont fait entrer une dernière fois les couleurs britanniques sur le sol hongkongais, au son des cornemuses. Leur costume témoigne aussi de la véritable hybridation entre la scottishness et la britishness depuis le XVIIIe siècle : le costume des Highland soldiers a une origine mixte entre la tradition écossaise et la tenue classique du soldat impérial anglais. On a tendance, à tort, à ne retenir que le premier élément.

L'empire, c'est aussi un débouché économique ?

Tout à fait et ce point est essentiel. Car la société politique écossaise reste très élitiste et exclut largement les classes moyennes : or l'empire profite quand même aux classes moyennes aussi. Je crois que cela explique pourquoi le système, malgré quelques soubresauts, a tenu d'un point de vue politique. Les élites protestantes écossaises ont développé dès le XVIIIe siècle toute une rhétorique pour expliquer que l'industrialisation du pays et la croissance économique étaient pour une grande part les conséquences de l'Acte d'union de 1707. Et ce point n'est contesté par les historiens que depuis les années 1950...

Il faut d'abord mesurer la vitesse à laquelle la société écossaise a changé entre le milieu du XVIIIe et le milieu du XIXe siècle. Walter Scott écrit à raison qu'« il n'y a pas de nation européenne qui, au cours d'un demi-siècle, ou un peu plus, ait subi un changement aussi complet que ce royaume d'Écosse ». Pour l'Écosse, je crois qu'on peut véritablement parler de révolution industrielle à partir des années 1760-1770. L'ouverture du marché intérieur anglais, l'enrichissement de celui d'Écosse et les perspectives impériales ont stimulé l'industrialisation la plus rapide d'Europe - et avec elle une très importante urbanisation. En 1851, 43 % des hommes écossais travaillaient pour les mines ou l'industrie manufacturière : à cette date, le chiffre est de 41 % en Angleterre, ce qui fait de l'Écosse le pays le plus industrialisé du monde au milieu du XIXe siècle. Les mines de charbon du Sud stimulent la sidérurgie ; la construction ferroviaire est un autre fleuron et ce sont surtout des trains fabriqués en Écosse qui roulent en Inde. Ce lien avec l'empire a une autre conséquence, que j'appelle le « paradoxe de l'émigration écossaise » : bien que le pays soit un des plus industrialisés, il a un taux d'émigration élevé, similaire à celui du sud de l'Italie ou de l'Irlande.

Les historiens expliquent aujourd'hui ces évolutions par des raisons complémentaires à l'Acte d'union. Le marché anglais et impérial est un facteur important certes, mais il n'est pas le seul. Un aspect, un peu tabou, a été mis au jour dans les années 2000 seulement : le rôle des Écossais dans le commerce des esclaves, qui a doté certaines grandes familles de moyens économiques colossaux. Par ailleurs, je crois que la mentalité calviniste a joué pour beaucoup. Les intellectuels écossais ont amplement accompagné la marche. Car, au fond, il y a un paradoxe dans le fait qu'une société pauvre comme l'Écosse au début du XVIIIe siècle ait accouché d'un mouvement intellectuel aussi important que les Lumières écossaises.

Ce mouvement des Lumières, en Écosse, naît-il de contacts avec le continent ?

Il est en partie le résultat des prolongements de la connexion intellectuelle traditionnelle entre l'Écosse et le continent que j'ai déjà évoquée. Que ce soit avant ou après 1707, des étudiants continuent d'aller sur le continent et les échanges se poursuivent avec les universités françaises, italiennes, baltiques... La vocation internationale des universités écossaises est une constante. Comme pour l'industrialisation, certains ont fait de 1707 le « déclic » de l'Écosse en matière intellectuelle, mais à nouveau c'est faux, c'est le résultat d'une combinaison de plusieurs facteurs, plutôt internes.

Tout d'abord, l'Écosse du XVIIIe siècle hérite d'un tissu éducatif et universitaire très dense. Elle compte cinq universités (dont deux à Aberdeen), alors que l'Angleterre n'en a que deux. A l'échelle locale, le système éducatif paroissial (parish school system) a permis au pays d'atteindre un taux d'alphabétisation certainement supérieur à celui de l'Angleterre à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, même si les chiffres sont difficiles à établir. Ce qui est certain, en revanche, c'est qu'en 1810 l'Écosse a le taux le plus important d'étudiants d'Europe pour une classe d'âge.

Ces universités sont très différentes de celles d'Oxford ou de Cambridge : si ces dernières sont des « school for gentlemen », les institutions écossaises prônent plutôt le savoir utile, à commencer par la médecine et le droit. Cela se voit aussi dans la sociologie des étudiants : vers 1830, les deux tiers des étudiants de Cambridge viennent des milieux ecclésiastiques et des grandes familles nobles de propriétaires terriens, tandis qu'en Écosse les fils de la bourgeoisie urbaine et des marchands forment la cohorte des étudiants. A cet égard, le parcours d'Adam Smith est emblématique : il commence ses études à Glasgow, puis, profitant d'une bourse, les poursuit à Oxford. Dans une lettre écrite à sa mère, il s'étonne de la différence entre les deux systèmes, et notamment du fait que les professeurs d'Oxford ont « abandonné jusqu'à toute intention d'enseigner » ! Il faut dire que le système écossais reposait non pas sur un salaire fixe comme en Angleterre, mais sur le nombre d'étudiants assistant aux cours : ceux-ci signaient un « class ticket » à partir duquel l'enseignant était ensuite rémunéré. Autant dire que les professeurs ont développé des techniques pour les attirer, et ont acquis une solide réputation à l'étranger - en Europe, mais aussi en Amérique, d'où viennent beaucoup d'étudiants en médecine d'Édimbourg.

Un autre point est crucial pour comprendre l'essor des Lumières en Écosse, et surtout leur audience dans la société. Contrairement à ce qu'il se passe en France, les élites ne sont pas critiques vis-à-vis du régime politique. Elles sont intellectuellement progressistes mais politiquement conservatrices, ne faisant jamais front contre le pouvoir. Bien au contraire, les autorités lisent, patronnent et supportent financièrement les intellectuels.

Autre aspect qui différencie les Lumières écossaises de leurs homologues françaises : le rôle du calvinisme. Les intellectuels écossais, dont beaucoup sont pasteurs de l'Église d'Écosse quand l'anticléricalisme est très présent en France, ont hérité de toute une tradition d'interrogation sur la relation de l'homme à Dieu et d'études de philosophie morale. D'où leur intérêt pour la société humaine et son organisation ainsi que la place de l'homme dans l'univers. Cela explique la réputation de l'Écosse dans les prémices de ce que nous appelons aujourd'hui les sciences sociales (économie, histoire, sociologie, anthropologie...).

Au total donc, outre les grandes figures que sont David Hume, Adam Smith ou Adam Ferguson, Édimbourg mais aussi Glasgow sont vite devenus des centres de débats intellectuels intenses, où circulent livres et pamphlets. Surtout, dans les rues médiévales de l'Old Edinburgh notamment, se multiplient des howfs (tavernes) qui contribuent au « social enlightenment » caractéristique des Lumières écossaises. L'art de la conversation - souvent stimulée par le vin français certes - est érigé en modèle. Un proverbe dit même que, si vous vous tenez devant la croix centrale d'Édimbourg, dans l'espace d'une journée vous pouvez parler à 40 génies !

Essor économique et urbain, Lumières... le lien avec l'Angleterre semble donc acquis : comment des doutes en viennent-ils à réapparaître ?

Le premier élément est bien sûr la fin progressive de l'empire britannique, qui conduit à la fermeture de beaucoup d'opportunités pour les Écossais, ce qu'accentuent les deux guerres mondiales et la crise économique de l'entre-deux-guerres. Après, tout est question d'équilibre. Rappelons-nous que l'accord de 1707 a été accepté par les élites écossaises en grande partie parce qu'il était présenté - et vécu par une grande majorité d'entre elles - comme un partenariat. Au XIXe siècle, Wesminster existe bien comme autorité mais les affaires locales sont gérées par des Écossais : il aurait été inconcevable qu'un changement majeur se fît sans l'accord de la société politique écossaise (ou au moins une discussion avec celle-ci). La façon dont William Wallace est présenté dans l'Écosse du XIXe siècle est comme un symbole de ce mouvement. Ce héros de l'indépendantisme écossais de la fin du XIIIe siècle - dont Braveheart raconte le parcours - est alors transformé en héros unioniste, en l'honneur duquel est érigée une statue financée sans aucun problème de souscription... Mais c'est logique : Wallace est alors valorisé comme celui qui a empêché la vassalisation de l'Écosse et qui donc a permis l'union postérieure - ce qui n'était pas vraiment son programme politique !

Dans la deuxième moitié du XXe siècle, ce partenariat est progressivement battu en brèche, en particulier par le gouvernement de Margaret Thatcher. Ainsi, en 1989, quand elle impose la poll tax, une capitation, que les Écossais sont les premiers à payer, un an avant les Anglais, se développe l'idée que l'ancienne nation partenaire est devenue un laboratoire des tories. L'équilibre se trouve remis en cause : la britishness aurait attaqué la scottishness. En conséquence, les gens se pensent de plus en plus comme d'abord Écossais puis Britanniques - cette dernière identité n'étant pas détruite. Or les Anglais font exactement de même depuis quelques décennies. La conséquence est l'essor du Parti national écossais (SNP) depuis les années 1960, au point qu'il devient le premier parti du pays en 2007.

En 1997, le gouvernement de Tony Blair accorde à l'Écosse, à la suite d'un référendum où le « oui » l'emporte très largement, le rétablissement d'un Parlement en Écosse. En 2014, le SNP organise un référendum sur l'indépendance de l'Écosse, remporté par le « non » (55,3 %). Mais, loin de fragiliser le parti, il suscite la réaction inverse : aux élections générales de 2015, le SNP a obtenu 56 des 59 sièges en Écosse (contre 6 en 2010).

Comment le Brexit a-t-il jeté de l'huile sur le feu ?

On peut avoir l'impression que, dans l'histoire des relations anglo-écossaises, la parenthèse XVIIIe-XIXe siècle, dopée en particulier par l'empire, se ferme pour revenir à des relations plus tendues. Les sondages, actuellement, montrent qu'un nouveau référendum sur l'indépendance aboutirait certainement à une victoire du « oui ». Mais tout n'est pas lié au Brexit. Certains éléments résultent de la vie politique écossaise elle-même et le ferme désaccord des Écossais avec les conservateurs anglais y est pour beaucoup : Boris Johnson, vu comme un privilégié déconnecté de la réalité, est véritablement haï en Écosse. Lors de sa première visite à Édimbourg, il a été contraint de quitter la résidence des Premiers ministres par la porte arrière pour ne pas affronter les manifestants... Ainsi le Brexit est-il perçu d'abord comme une affaire anglaise plutôt que britannique. « English first »...

Tout cependant n'est pas si simple. Vu les difficultés rencontrées par le Royaume-Uni pour sortir de l'Union européenne, qu'en serait-il de celles pour l'Écosse de quitter le Royaume-Uni ? Plusieurs questions se posent : la sécurité (une Écosse indépendante serait un défi pour la dissuasion nucléaire de la Grande-Bretagne), les frontières (si l'Écosse rejoint l'UE comme l'a promis le SNP, une frontière dure entre l'Écosse et l'Angleterre serait nécessaire), et le commerce (le reste du Royaume-Uni est le principal partenaire commercial de l'Écosse). Sans oublier la fatigue du référendum qui pourrait également jouer un rôle. Même si, dans leur coeur et leur identité, nombre d'Écossais souhaitent l'indépendance, ces questions ne manqueraient pas de surgir lors d'une campagne. Malgré les sondages, je ne suis pas sûr que le résultat du vote serait si net qu'on pourrait le penser... Mais, encore une fois, le métier d'historien n'est pas de prédire l'avenir !

(Propos recueillis par Fabien Paquet.)

17 Feb 07:54

What Tiny Snail Poop Could Mean For Latin America's Coffee Farms

by Luke Fater
AmN

And something else about Mexico (and the fact that avocado has become the new cocain for drug cartels :
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/03/mexico-second-monarch-butterfly-sanctuary-worker-found-murdered

and this (article is bad, does not link enough with avocado culture as mexico as become the 1st producer in the world and it leads to a dramatic deforestation, better article on Le monde but it's in french) :
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/30/mexico-activist-monarch-butterflies-dead-homero-gomez-gonzalez

Please people reduce avocado, talk about it too. I'm sure there a other countries that raise them in better ways.

Michoacan is also one of the main places for drug mafias, in addition to being the first place for avocados :(

Zachary Hajian-Forooshani never expected to find snails in the mountainous, coffee-producing heart of Puerto Rico. In 2016, when he was a University of Michigan masters student, he and his peers noticed some curious excrement on the undersides of coffee plants, which they eventually traced to the invasive Asian tramp snail. “Cool things pop out and you follow up with them,” says Hajian-Forooshani, who has made the snails and their colorful poop the subject of his doctoral research. “I just followed a trail of excrement.”

The oddly colored snail poop was, not coincidentally, the same bright-orange color as coffee rust, a parasitic fungus that’s coming for your morning buzz.

article-image

Coffee leaf rust has been a menace for more than a century. After appearing on Sri Lanka in the late 1800s, it enveloped the island within 20 years, ridding what was once the world’s greatest coffee exporter of its cash crop in near entirety. Traveling on the wind across Africa’s coffee belt, coffee rust reached the Atlantic coast by the 1950s. Its arrival in Brazil in 1970 sowed panic in a heavily coffee-reliant economy, and within 12 years, no coffee-producing region in Latin America, where seven-eighths of the world’s joe is produced, was rust-free. Today, 70 percent of Central American farms are infected, costing the region $3.2 billion in damage and lost income.

Much to Hajian-Forooshani’s delight, these tiny mollusks were eating coffee leaf rust without damaging the plant itself. Along with two fellow researchers, he has published a new study that explores the role this invasive land snail may play in the war against coffee leaf rust. Ironically, this gastropod, which has a reputation for feeding on crops and gardens, may be an unexpected hero for coffee farmers and consumers alike.

article-image

Historically, attempts to stop the spread of rust have proved short-term solutions at best. “It’s a relatively fast-evolving fungus,” says Hajian-Forooshani. Honduran farmers tried planting rust-resistant hybrid coffee plants several years ago. “It was going to be the coffee leaf that saved us from rust,” he says, “but within a year it started to lose its resistance.” Not even 80-mile “safety zones” and diesel-fuel laced herbicides were enough to contain the spores that—let’s remember—crossed the Atlantic Ocean on wind alone.

The efforts thwarted by the rust make Hajian-Forooshani’s findings all the more shocking. “We didn’t have it anywhere in our minds that such a small snail could be eating rust like this,” he says. His team was stationed in the buggy, verdant mountains of the country’s Utuado region, collecting data on rust, or roya as it’s known locally, from farm to farm. “We noticed this kind of orange squiggle on the undersides of the leaves. Once we realized it was poop, we started finding the snails all over.”

After gathering samples of snails and rust-infected leaves, the team returned to their makeshift laboratory in the basement of their homestay. “We conducted the experiments in pie tins,” says Hajian-Forooshani. “It was no CDC.” The lack of state-of-the-art facilities, however, didn’t keep the team from conducting unprecedented research.

Their newly released paper, titled “Insights From Excrement,” explores the implications of the snails' unlikely Carribean diet. Despite being one of the most widely distributed invasive land snails, it reads, the species is known to be strictly herbivorous. In Puerto Rico, however, the snails pass on leaves for a larger helping of rust, imparting its poop with the telltale bright-orange tone. The shift is unheard-of, and significant: The study shows that when placed alone with a rust-infected leaf, a single snail can reduce spore coverage by 30 percent in 24 hours. While digestion may not render the spores inviable, Hajian-Forooshani notes that, at the very least, snail poop is far less wind-dispersible than naked spores.

article-image

While the snails may be a solution to coffee leaf rust, scientists advise against deploying an army of gastropods across the continent just yet.

Oliver Windram is a Research Fellow at the Imperial College London who studies fungal pathology. He distinguishes between specialists and generalists in the realm of biological controls, the former being, say, parasitic wasps who evolved alongside host caterpillars and cannot reproduce outside of their native ecosystem. “The chances of the wasp finding a new host in another location and becoming a problem are extremely minimal,” says Windram.

Snails, on the other hand, “are terrible generalists—they’ll eat almost anything." They changed their diet in Puerto Rico, so who knows what economically important crop they could ravage in Colombia, Brazil, or Peru?

article-image

“I’d be very worried about moving snails around the world,” says Windram. He advises simple biodiversity. “If you plant non-host trees around an infected area, when the wind blows, the spores are more likely to just land on a non-host plant, germinate, and die.” A quiet ending to a centuries-long, global scourge.

Hajian-Forooshani has similar concerns about scaling the miniscule champion to such a gargantuan threat. As unsure as we are of the snail’s potential benefits, we’re still unsure of the potential danger it may pose. “There’s such a long history of people making a relatively simple observation in the field and saying, ‘This snail can save everything, let’s introduce it into every coffee-producing country in the world,’” says Hajian-Forooshani, “and then it just messes everything up.” Believe it or not, there are worse things than running out of coffee.

13 Feb 08:18

Pablo Escobar’s Hippo Herd Is Treating Colombia's Lakes Like One Big Toilet

by Jessica Leigh Hester

Pablo Escobar, the late Colombian drug lord who founded the notoriously violent Medellín Cartel, had a thing for hippos. He once installed a quartet of them on his extravagant Colombian estate, Hacienda Nápoles, where they joined a lavish menagerie. When Escobar was killed in 1993, the other creatures were schlepped off to zoos, but the huge hippos were deemed too unruly to wrangle. Free to roam, the four multiplied into dozens that have been ambling around the Magdalena River Basin ever since. They’ve been spotted more than 90 miles from Escobar’s estate, leaving prodigious droppings all the way.

The hippopotamus is native to sub-Saharan Africa and grazes on land but spends most of its life in water, and treats rivers and lakes as big toilets. Each year, a single hippo can dump more than 1,650 pounds of carbon and other nutrients into the water—and it does so mainly by pooping, says Jonathan Shurin, an ecologist at the University of California, San Diego.

A few years ago, Shurin started wondering what all that poop was doing to a smattering of small lakes on Escobar’s old estate in northwestern Colombia. To figure it out, he and his collaborators needed to get close. The poop doesn’t stink up the air, Shurin says, and “the lakes are all pretty green and soupy” to begin with.

article-image

In 2017 and 2018, Shurin and seven collaborators sampled water from 14 humble lakes dotting Hacienda Nápoles. Some were known to harbor hippos. The researchers assessed water quality, oxygen levels, and signatures of stable isotopes. They found that hippos were hauling a lot of carbon into the water, and that, in the lakes where the ungulates wallow, the amount of dissolved oxygen sometimes dipped below the level that fish can handle. In hippo-studded lakes, researchers also detected larger quantities of cyanobacteria, which can cause stinky, harmful algae blooms. “Our results suggest that ongoing population growth and range expansion by hippos may use a threat to the quality of water resources in the Magdalena Basin,” Shurin and the other researchers write in a new paper in the journal Ecology.

Bowel movements aside, hippos also change the environment when they tromp along. They sometimes wind up making channels or compacting sediment, which can give water more places to pool. That can make life harder for plants and animals that have adapted to an ecosystem without the big, toothy mammals. “The lakes are mostly quite small, so a small number of hippos makes a big difference,” Shurin says.

Many more could be on the way. The herbivores have plenty to munch on in Colombia, where people are their only predators. They can live for several decades and welcome a calf every 18 months, once females reach reproductive age. Because things are going swimmingly for the hungry, hungry hippos, there could be between 400 and 800 individuals pooping up a storm by 2050, according to research published in the journal Oryx in December, and led by Amanda Subalusky, now a biologist at the University of Florida. (If their population growth rate were to reach 11 percent, a scenario Subalusky and company describe as “not unrealistic,” the authors estimate that there could be closer to 5,000 hippos.)

So how do you manage an introduced species that is thriving in its new home, and has the feces to prove it? “The only choices are sterilizing them, catching them and sending them somewhere, or killing them,” Shurin says. “The last one is unpopular with the public, and the first two are expensive and dangerous." (It cost 15 million pesos, around $4,500 USD, to relocate a single juvenile hippo to a Colombian zoo in 2018, National Geographic reported.) The hippos have also become a tourist draw. “There is no easy option,” Shurin says. As the population continues to balloon, Subalusky and her collaborators call for closer attention to the current and future population size, as well as research into the borders of its range and the local species most affected by a proliferation of poop. In the meantime, the current gaggle will keep on fouling the place up.

You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

05 Feb 01:53

An Ancient Australian Volcano Is a Haven for Giant Pink Slugs

by Jessica Leigh Hester
AmN

no escapen they are here too :)

The Mount Kaputar pink slug is marvelously unsubtle. A screeching, fluorescent pink and up to eight inches long, it looks like an enormous tongue stained with Kool-Aid.

Despite its loud appearance, the slug typically leads a pretty chill life, marooned at least 3,280 feet up, on the remains of an ancient volcano near Narrabri in the Australian state of New South Wales. On misty nights or mornings, when it slides out from a rocky hideout or blanket of leaf litter to forage, the slug inches up rock faces or the trunks of snow gum trees or other eucalypts, hankering for lichen, algae, and fungi. Then, as day breaks, it usually disappears again to avoid finding itself in the beak of a laughing kookaburra or pied currawong. This penchant for retreat probably helped the flamboyant introvert survive when fires tore through parts of its habitat in Mount Kaputar National Park at the end of last year.

Across the country, scientists are still taking stock of the impact of the ongoing, devastating bushfires—which have burned tens of millions of acres—on animals. Certain species, including the platypus and the Mount Kaputar slug, pose particularly maddening challenges for study, because they can be elusive even under normal circumstances. Scientists aren’t entirely sure exactly how many of the slugs there were before the fires.

article-image

Researchers have fanned out to survey Mount Kaputar’s hot pink denizens several times over the past 13 years, but counts can vary widely depending on the weather. “Mollusks generally like it rather wet,” says Frank Köhler, a malacologist at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

“If you’re surveying on a wet afternoon, you might see 60,” says Isabel Hyman, the museum’s scientific officer of malacology. “On a dry night, you might see two.” In 2010, researchers tallied 63 slugs in 10 minutes on a spritzing November night. The very next evening, which was drier, they hardly spotted any. Anja Divljan, a technical officer in mammals at the Australian Museum, witnessed the slug’s vanishing act firsthand a few years ago, while surveying mammals such as kangaroos, greater gliders, and common ringtail possums. When the landscape was slick with rain, the slugs “were suddenly everywhere and very conspicuous,” Divljan writes in an email. “As the land dried, they disappeared back into their hiding spots.” And during droughts, it can be hard to gauge whether there are few slugs to be seen because the population has dipped, or they’re simply staying hidden in a blessedly humid cranny. Köhler and Hyman both suspect that somewhere around 10,000 pink slugs called the park home before the fire.

Between October and December 2019, fires burned more than 44,000 acres of land in the park, according to The Guardian—close to half of its total area. Still, the fire there appeared to be patchier and less intense than some of the other bushfires, and some of the slug’s habitat was relatively unscathed, while other areas were only lightly burned. “They were lucky in that way,” Hyman says.

article-image

Still, any fire on the mountain is a scary scenario for the survival of species endemic to the area, Hyman adds, and the slugs are thought to live nowhere else. When a species is confined to a single, small, isolated habitat, any disturbance there could wipe them off the face of the Earth. The Mount Kaputar pink slug is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an inventory of at-risk creatures around the world. The peak is home to a menagerie of other mollusks as well, including 18 species of native snails, according to a 2019 paper in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. Of those, eight seem to have no other sliming grounds. On the basis of its slugs and snails, the state government designated the area an endangered ecological community in 2013, and called for plans to manage fire risks, road and path planning, and feral pigs and goats.

Slugs avoid fires the same way they avoid birds, Köhler says: They’re too slow to flee, so they hide. At their usual clip, the slugs travel maybe 20 to 40 feet an hour, according to the authors of the 2019 paper. They might be able to go a little faster to elude a predator, Köhler says, but probably not for long.

In this case, the slugs may already have been holed up. “Fires don’t just jump out of nothing,” Köhler says. The slugs are particularly vulnerable to the hot, dry conditions that set the stage for bushfires, since, unlike shell-hauling snails, they’re entirely exposed to the elements. In hot, dry periods, Köhler says, they’re not likely to be out and risking desiccation. They would seek out places such as the rotting trunks of fallen trees, Köhler says, and hunker down deep inside.

article-image

In the aftermath of the blaze, the park is closed to visitors, but staff have been roaming around and cleaning up. Already they’ve noticed the understory growing back in and leaves beginning to reappear—and, so far, they’ve made more than 60 sightings of the hot-pink residents, including live creatures and the distinctive, bauble-shaped trails they leave on tree trunks, writes Adam Fawcett, a New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife service project officer, in an email. Researchers don't yet have an estimate for how many slugs died or how the population is recovering, he writes; systematic surveys will take place between March and May, when temperatures are more slug-friendly.

Even with the fire behind them, the slugs aren’t in the clear—they still have to deal with feral pigs trampling their habitat, the beaky maws of predators, and a more existential woe that could simply squeeze them off the planet. The slugs have adapted to life in this “small landscape pocket which is surrounded by hotter, drier, lowlands,” Köhler says. As the climate changes, the little parcel of cool, moist land they call home could shrink and shrink until it disappears completely.

02 Feb 16:14

Brexit : les Anglais sont-ils trop fiers ?

AmN

it's an article about a guy who wrote a book about those 3 brexit years by an irish journalist, his analyse seems interesting

C’est un malaise que l’on n’avait pas vu venir… Et si, comme le suggère le journaliste Fintan O’Toole dans son livre “Three Years in Hell. The Brexit Chronicles”, le Brexit n’était que le fruit amer de la résurgence du nationalisme anglais ?
24 Jan 20:52

Enfants : regarder les écrans le matin est lié aux troubles du langage

by Camille Gaubert
Regarder les écrans le matin avant l'école et peu discuter de leur contenu avec ses parents est lié à un risque 6 fois plus élevé de présenter un trouble primaire du langage, d'après une étude de Santé Publique France.
24 Jan 20:51

Foot: L'Ecosse va interdire aux enfants de faire des têtes

by AFP
AmN

FORBIDDEN now: using your head under 12 yo in Scotland when you play football
risk of dementia!

Les apprentis footballeurs écossais n'auront plus le droit de faire des têtes à l'entraînement avant 12 ans à cause des risques de démence à l'âge adulte, affirment jeudi des médias britanniques. Selon la BBC, la Fédération écossaise de football (SFA) prévoit d'annoncer en janvier cette interdiction. L'Ecosse serait la première en Europe à mettre en place cette mesure, après les Etats-Unis qui l'ont lancée en 2015, à la suite de scandales retentissants d'anciens sportifs professionnels frappés de démence, notamment dans le football américain.
09 Jan 13:24

Favorite Children’s Books of 2019

by Maria Popova
AmN

I follow Diana Sudika on insta
it's you, Simon, who made me know her. She was the artist who draw around real stamps, and it striked me and pleased me a lot 2 or 3 years ago.

An emotional intelligence primer in the form of a tender illustrated poem, an empowered retelling of Cinderella, a meditation on what it means to have enough, a serenade to the art of listening as the gateway to self-understanding, and more.


Great children’s books are really miniature cartographies of meaning, emissaries of the deepest existential wisdom that cut across all lines of division, scuttle past the many walls adulthood has sold us on erecting, and slip in through the backdoor of our consciousness to speak — in the language of children, which is the language of unselfconscious sincerity — the most timeless truths to the truest parts of us.

Here are the loveliest such truthful, timeless treasures I savored this year. (And in this spirit of timelessness, here are their counterparts from years past: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.)

WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW

“Mingle the starlight with your lives and you won’t be fretted by trifles,” Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818–June 28, 1889) often told her Vassar students — the world’s first university class of professionally trained women astronomers — having herself become America’s first professional woman astronomer, thanks to her historic discovery of a new telescopic comet on October 1, 1847, after sixteen tenacious years of sweeping the sky night after night.

Mitchell (whose extraordinary life was the seed for what became Figuring and to whom the inaugural Universe in Verse was dedicated) not only went on to blaze the way for women in STEM but used her prominence — she was arguably America’s first true scientific celebrity, welcomed in England, Italy, and Russia as a dignitary of the New World — to become one of the nineteenth century’s most ardent advocates for social reform, advancing women’s rights and abolition.

The epoch-making discovery that became the platform for Mitchell’s modeling of possibility and far-reaching influence is the kernel of the lovely picture-book What Miss Mitchell Saw (public library) by author Hayley Barrett and illustrator Diana Sudyka — a splendid addition to the most inspiring picture-book biographies of cultural heroes.

Barrett’s lyrical prose opens with a clever and tender solution to the common pronunciation confusion — Mitchell’s first name is spelled like my own but pronounced the presently atypical traditional Latin way:

On the first day of August, in a house tucked away on the fog-wrapped island of Nantucket, a baby girl was born.

Like all babies, this baby was given a name.
Her parents whispered it to her like a gentle breeze, ma…RYE…ah

Names become a central creative trope in the book — the dignifying, truth-affirming act of calling all realities by their true names. We see the young Maria learn to recognize the ships of this whaling community by name and come to know the local shopkeepers by name.

Finally, after her father apprentices her as his astronomical assistant, she learns the stars by name — a testament to bryologist Robin Wall Kimmerer’s astute observation that “finding the words is another step in learning to see.”

Sudyka’s beautiful gouache-and-watercolor illustrations weave together hand-lettered words from the story with the three great animating forces of Mitchell’s early life: the enchantment of the cosmos, the whaling culture of Nantucket, and her family’s Quaker values. (In Figuring, writing about the factors that fomented Mitchell’s unexampled ascent above the common plane of possibility for women in her era, I point to the original use of the word genius in the term genius loci — Latin for “the spirit of a place” — and wonder whether, despite her incontrovertible natural gift for mathematics, she would have so soared had she not grown up in a secluded whaling community, where matriarchs ruled while men spent months and years on whaling trips, where Quakers lived by the then-countercultural ethos of equal education for boys and girls, where a barren landscape and long winter nights turned astronomy into cherished popular entertainment.)

The book ends with the motto emblazoned on the gold medal Mitchell received from the King of Denmark for her landmark discovery — “Not in vain do we watch the setting and the rising of the stars” — a sentiment that echoes the dying words of the great astronomer Tycho Brahe, which Adrienne Rich incorporated into her exquisite tribute to Caroline Herschel, the world’s first professional woman astronomer: “Let me not seem to have lived in vain.”

See more of it here.

LAYLA’S HAPPINESS

“What is your idea of perfect happiness?” asks the famous Proust Questionnaire. Posed to David Bowie, he answered simply: “Reading.” Jane Goodall answered: “Sitting by myself in the forest in Gombe National Park watching one of the chimpanzee mothers with her family.” Proust himself answered: “To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater.”

The touching specificity of these answers and the subtle universality pulsing beneath them reveal the most elemental truth about happiness: that there are as many flavors of it as there are consciousnesses capable of registering it, and that it is a universally delicious necessity of life, which we crave from the day we are born until the day we die. And yet, as Albert Camus lamented, “happiness has become an eccentric activity. The proof is that we tend to hide from others when we practice it.”

Half a century later, as we wade through a world that gives us ample reason for sorrow, as existential credibility seems meted out on the basis of how loudly one broadcasts one’s disadvantage, the savoring of happiness has become an almost countercultural activity — an act of courage and resistance, and one the practice of which is a whole life’s work, as George Eliot well knew when she observed that “one has to spend so many years in learning how to be happy.” Why, then, not make the learning of happiness as essential a part of young people’s education as the learning of arithmetic? Or even stand with Elizabeth Barrett Browning in deeming it our moral obligation?

All of that — the personal nature of happiness, the daily practice of it, its centrality to participating meaningfully in the world — is what poet Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie explores in her vibrant and vitalizing picture-book debut, Layla’s Happiness (public library), illustrated by artist Ashleigh Corrin.

Like Sylvia Plath, who composed The Bed Book for her own children, Tallie — who describes herself in A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader as “the mother of three galaxies who look like daughters” — has written the book for her youngest galaxy, the book she wished she’d had to read to the elder two.

Tallie constructs the story like a good poem, where the personal is the most welcoming gateway to the universal. We see seven-year-old Layla — whose name means “night beauty” — tally her exuberant everyday sources of happiness.

Happiness leaps at Layla from the color purple, from the succulence of fresh plums, from the constellations of the night sky, from the mischievous delight of slurping spaghetti without a fork. It unspools from her lips as she hums while feeding the chickens at the community garden and names all the trees and greets the neighbors at the farmers’ market where she sells the vegetable she has grown from seeds. It pours forth from the poetry her mother reads to her under a makeshift tent and from the tales her father tells her of his own childhood in the South.

There is a heartening countercultural undertone to the book — these happinesses are not things to be purchased at the store or attained with a click, but embodiments of what Hermann Hesse held up as “the little joys” at the heart of a rich life lived with presence, the simple delights Wendell Berry’s childhood friend Nick savored even amid his hardship.

The book ends with an open question to the reader — a gentle bow to the sundry, deeply personal meaning of happiness.

See more of it here.

CINDERELLA LIBERATOR

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge,” Bertrand Russell wrote in his 1925 treatise on the nature of happiness shortly after Freud asserted that love and work are the bedrock of our mental health and our very humanity. In the century since, this notion has been taken to a warped extreme — love has been industrialized into the one-note Hollywood model of romance and work has metastasized into aching workaholism. Russell, one of the deepest and most nuanced thinkers our civilization has produced, was closer to the subtler truth, which we as a culture are still struggling to enact: that, while love and work are central to the good life, romantic love is not the only or even necessarily the most rewarding pinnacle of love; that a sense of curiosity and purpose, rather than the mechanistic drive for reward in exchange of effort, is the richest animating force of work; and that these two faces of life-satisfaction must face each other. Just as work alone is not enough for a fulfilling life, love alone is not enough for a fulfilling relationship, romantic or otherwise. No partnership of equals — that is, no truly satisfying partnership — can be complete without each partner recognizing and respecting in the other a sense of purpose beyond the relationship, a contribution to the world that reflects and advances that person’s deepest values and most impassioned dreams, in turn adding creative, intellectual, and spiritual fuel to the shared fire of the relationship.

We may know this intuitively, and we may have even demonstrated it empirically — that is just what Harvard’s landmark 75-year study of what makes a good life indicated — yet we remain trapped in the millennia-old cultural mythologies that have permeated even our most enlightened and progressive belief systems so deeply and so invisibly that their precepts remain largely unquestioned.

Rebecca Solnit offers a mighty antidote to those limiting precepts in Cinderella Liberator (public library) — an empowered and empowering retelling of the ancient story, which dates back at least two millennia and has recurred in various guises across nearly every culture since, reflecting and perpetuating our most abiding cultural myths about love, work, gender, success, waste and want, the measure of prosperity, and the meaning of purpose.

Governed by her conviction that “key to the work of changing the world is changing the story” and by her lifelong love of books as “toolkits you take up to fix things, from the most practical to the most mysterious, from your house to your heart,” Solnit retells the classic story, illustrated with century-old silhouettes by the great Arthur Rackham from a 1919 edition of the tale, in a way that liberates each character from the constrictions imposed upon him or her by someone else’s story and confers upon each the dignity of a complete human being with agency and autonomous dreams. Emerging from these simply worded, profound, richly rewarding pages is Solnit the literary artist, Solnit the revolutionary, Solnit the enchanter, Solnit the subtle and endlessly delightful satirist, Solnit the sage.

In one of the loveliest passages in the book, she wrests from the sad small lives of the two stepsisters, Pearlita and Paloma — who are later redeemed as mere victims of a cultural hegemony, and liberated — insight into and liberation from some of our most limiting beliefs. In consonance with Frida Kahlo’s touching testament to how love amplifies beauty and with my own conviction that there are infinitely many kinds of beautiful lives, Solnit writes of the stepsisters’ preparations for the great ball:

Pearlita was doing her best to pile her hair as high as hair could go. She said that, surely, having the tallest hair in the world would make you the most beautiful woman, and being the most beautiful would make you the happiest.

Paloma was sewing extra bows onto her dress, because she thought that, surely, having the fanciest dress in the world would make you the most beautiful woman in the world, and being the most beautiful would make you the happiest. They weren’t very happy, because they were worried that someone might have higher hair or more bows than they did. Which, probably, someone did. Usually someone does.

But there isn’t actually a most beautiful person in the world, because there are so many kinds of beauty. Some people love roundness and softness, and other people love sharp edges and strong muscles. Some people like thick hair like a lion’s mane, and other people like thin hair that pours down like an inky waterfall, and some people love someone so much they forget what they look like. Some people think the night sky full of stars at midnight is the most beautiful thing imaginable, some people think it’s a forest in snow, and some people… Well, there are a lot of people with a lot of ideas about beauty. And love. When you love someone a lot, they just look like love.

There is love, then there is work: Along the way, we meet persons of various animations and occupations, unhinged from gender — the town blacksmith and the painter are each a “she,” the bird-doctor is a “he,” the dancing teacher is a “they,” and all are content making their particular contribution to the world. We learn that Cinderella is living with her evil stepmother because her own mother is a sea captain lost at sea. We see Cinderella and Prince Nevermind become friends rather than romantic partners, magnetized by a sincere curiosity about each other’s dreams rather than a possessive demand for romantic bondage. We find out that the prince would rather labor in an orchard than idle in a castle and Cinderella would rather open a farm-to-table cake shop that feeds refugee children from warring kingdoms than be court lady whose sole value is as a prince’s spouse and who has ceased to work because there are servants to do everything.

On the other side of the enchantment, the lizards-turned-footwomen and the mice-turned-horses and the rat-turned-coachwoman are each asked whether they actually want to remain footwomen and horses and a coachwoman for perpetuity — some do and some don’t, being individuals who dream different dreams and have different notions of self-actualization.

Solnit wrote the book for her beloved great-niece Ella, to whom her classic Men Explain Things to Me is also dedicated and whose name, Solnit realized with a shock only in the course of writing the story, is Cinderella liberated of the cinders. In the afterword to the book, on the cover of which Rackham’s cake-holding Cinderella resembles The Statue of Liberty and her torch, Solnit considers how these century-old silhouettes resonated with her broader motivations for the retelling:

I was also touched by Rackham’s image of the ragged child at work and thought of unaccompanied minors from Central America and immigrant domestic workers, who are a strong presence where I live, of foster children, and of all the children who live without kindness and security in their everyday lives, all the people who are outsiders even at home, or for whom home is the most dangerous place, or who have no home.

I liked the spirit of the silhouette-girl that Rackham portrayed. Even in rags she is lively, and she labors with alacrity, and runs and frolics wholeheartedly. She is stranded but not defeated. When it came time to write her story for our time, it seemed to me that the solution to overwork and degrading work is not the leisure of the princess, passing off the work to others, but good, meaningful work with dignity and self-determination — and one of the things the cake shop gives Cinderella, aside from independence, is the power to benefit others, because it’s also a meeting place.

Solnit reflects on the more personal roots of her story, inspired also by her two grandmothers, “both of whom were motherless girls, neglected, undereducated; neither of whom quite escaped that formative immersion in being unloved and unvalued.” She writes of one of them, a real-life Cinderella of the most tragic kind:

My paternal grandmother, Ida, was an unaccompanied refugee child who, after years without parents, made it from the Russian-Polish borderlands to Los Angeles with her younger brothers when she was fifteen. There, her long-lost father and stepmother also treated her as a servant.

Their tragedies were a century ago and more, but this book is also with love and hope for liberation for every child who’s overworked and undervalued, every kid who feels alone — with hope that they get to write their own story, and make it come out with love and liberation.

See more of it here.

THE FATE OF FAUSTO

In his short and lovely poem penned at the end of his life, Kurt Vonnegut located the wellspring of happiness in a source so simple yet so countercultural in capitalist society: “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

A generation later, artist and author Oliver Jeffers — one of the most beloved and thoughtful storytellers of our time — picks up the message with uncommon simplicity of expression and profundity of sentiment in The Fate of Fausto (public library) — a “painted fable,” in that classic sense of moral admonition conveyed on the wings of enchantment, about how very little we and all of our striving matter in the grand scheme of time and being, and therefore how very much it matters to live with kindness, with generosity, in openhearted consanguinity with everything else that shares our cosmic blink of existence.

Inspired by Vonnegut’s poem, which appears on the final page of the book, the story follows a greedy suited man named Fausto, who decides he wants to own the whole world — from the littlest flower to the vastest ocean.

Building on Jeffers’s earlier illustrated meditation on the absurdity of ownership, the story is evocative of The Little Prince (which I continue to consider one of the greatest works of philosophy) and its archetypal characters, through whom Saint-Exupéry conveys his soulful existential admonition — the king who tries to make the Sun his subject; the businessman who, blind to the beauty of the stars, is busy tallying them in order to own them.

Perhaps Jeffers is paying deliberate homage to the beloved classic — the first two objects of Fausto’s hunger for ownership are a flower and a sheep.

One by one, he demands the surrender of sovereignty from all that he comes upon. The flower, being delicate and choiceless, assents to being owned by Fausto. The sheep, being sheepish, puts up no objection. Threatened, the tree bows down before him. (Oh how William Blake would have winced.)

When the lake questions Fausto’s self-appointed authority, he throws a tantrum to show the lake “who’s boss,” and the lake surrenders.

But when the mountain, grounded in her autonomy, refuses to move, Fausto flies into a fit of fury so menacing that even the mountain breaks down and submits to being owned.

Restless with not-enoughness, not content to own the flower and the sheep and the tree and the lake and the mountain, Fausto usurps a boat and heads for the open sea.

Alone amid the blue expanse, he bellows his claim of ownership. But the sea is silent. Fausto yells louder still, unsure quite where to aim his fury, for the sea stretches in all directions.

Finally, the sea responds, calmly questioning how Fausto can wish to own her if he doesn’t even love her. Oh but he does, he does, the riled Fausto insists. The sea, in consonance with the great humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm’s observation that “understanding and loving are inseparable,” tells Fausto that he couldn’t possibly love her if he doesn’t understand her.

Anxious to stake his claim, Fausto scolds the sea for being wrong, barks that he understands her deeply, then swiftly demands that she submit to his ownership or he will show her who’s boss.

“And how will you do that?” asks the sea. By making a fist and stamping his foot, Fausto replies. With her primordial wisdom, having witnessed human folly since the dawn of humanity, the sea invites Fausto to show her just how he plans to stamp his foot, so she can understand. And Fausto, “in order to show his anger and omnipotence,” perches overboard and aims his foot at the sea.

Swiftly, inevitably, the laws of physics and human hubris take hold of Fausto, who disappears into the fathomless sea — a sinking testament to Ursula K. Le Guin’s cautionary charge that unbridled anger “feeds off itself, destroying its host in the process.” (How fitting, too, that Jeffers should choose the world of water — one of his supreme fixations as an artist, subject of some of his most haunting conceptual paintings — as the arena on which this final existential battle between the human animal and its ego plays out.)

Jeffers’s subtle, powerful message emerges with the tidal force of elemental truth: When all is said and done and sunk and swallowed, there is only the realization at which Dostoyevsky arrived in his stark brush with death: that “life is a gift, life is happiness, each moment could have been an eternity of happiness,” had it been lived with a sympathetic love of the world.

The sea, Jeffers tells us, feels sorry for Fausto, but goes on being a sea, as the mountain does being a mountain.

And the lake and the forest,
the field and the tree,
the sheep and the flower,
carried on as before.

For the fate of Fausto
did not matter to them.

We are dropped safely ashore to contemplate the fundamental fact that our lives — along with all of our yearnings and fears, our most small-spirited grudges and most largehearted loves, our greatest achievements and deepest losses — will pass like the lives and loves and losses of everyone who has come before us and everyone who will come after. Temporary constellations of matter in an impartial universe of constant flux, we will come and go as living-dying testaments to Rachel Carson’s lyrical observation that “against this cosmic background the lifespan of a particular plant or animal appears, not as drama complete in itself, but only as a brief interlude in a panorama of endless change.” The measure of our lives — the worthiness or worthlessness of them — resides in the quality of being with which we inhabit the interlude.

See more of it here.

OVER THE ROOFTOPS, UNDER THE MOON

“You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people,” Olivia Laing wrote in her lyrical exploration of loneliness and the search for belonging. Our need for belonging is indeed the warp thread of our humanity, and our locus of belonging — determined in part by our choices and in part by the cards chance has dealt us in what we were born as and where — is a pillar of our identity. For those who have migrated far from their homeland, and especially for those of us who have migrated alone, without the built-in social support structure of a community or a family unit, this rupture of belonging can be particularly disorienting and lonesome-making. “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place,” Maya Angelou told Bill Moyers in their fantastic 1973 conversation about freedom — a freedom the conquest of which can be a whole life’s work.

Poet JonArno Lawson, author of the wondrous Sidewalk Flowers, and artist Nahid Kazemi take up these complex questions with great simplicity and thoughtful sensitivity in Over the Rooftops, Under the Moon (public library) — a spare, poetic meditation on belonging and what it means to be oneself as both counterpoint and counterpart to otherness, as a thinking, feeling, wakeful atom of life amid the constellation of other atoms.

We meet a melancholy young bird, lonesome even among the other birds, lonesome while soaring above the cityscape, above houses filled with innumerable lives that feel so impossibly distant and alien.

Lawson writes:

You can be far away inside,
and far away outside.

One day, something subtle but profound shifts in the bird — the gaze of a young girl sparks a quickening of heart, a certain opening to the possibility of belonging, a new curiosity about the nature of life — about what it means to be.

We see the bird’s plumage suddenly explode with color — the radiance of awakening, evocative of poet Jane Kenyon’s piercing line: “What hurt me so terribly all my life until this moment?”

Color arrives,
sometimes when
you least expect it.

The story unfolds with a poet’s precision and economy of words, punctuated by Kazemi’s sprawling, stunning watercolors. What emerges is a gentle invitation to what Bertrand Russell so beautifully termed “a largeness of contemplation.”

The bird moves through seasons of change, floats wordlessly across landscapes of possibility, alighting at last to a vastly different world — more colorful, more alive. In this foreign-looking land, which Kazemi’s palm trees and Middle Eastern architecture contrast with the deciduous crowns and Western cityscapes of the melancholy world, the bird finds a homecoming among other birds — a newfound joy in being “alone and together, over the rooftops and under the moon.”

See more of it here.

MY HEART

“How is your heart?” I recently asked a friend going through a trying period of overwork and romantic tumult, circling the event horizon of burnout while trying to bring a colossal labor of love to life. His answer, beautiful and heartbreaking, came swiftly, unreservedly, the way words leave children’s lips simple, sincere, and poetic, before adulthood has learned to complicate them out of the poetry and the sincerity with considerations of reason and self-consciousness: “My heart is too busy to be a heart,” he replied.

How does the human heart — that ancient beast, whose roars and purrs have inspired sonnets and ballads and wars, defied myriad labels too small to hold its pulses, and laid lovers and empires at its altar — unbusy itself from self-consciousness and learn to be a heart? That is what artist and illustrator Corinna Luyken explores in the lyrical and lovely My Heart (public library) — an emotional intelligence primer in the form of an uncommonly tender illustrated poem about the tessellated capacities of the heart, about love as a practice rather than a state, about how it can frustrate us, brighten us, frighten us, and ultimately expand us.

23 Dec 18:45

Sleater-Kinney : “Can I Go Home” chez James Corden

by Julien

22 Dec 15:59

Nouveau clip pour Kim Gordon

by Julien
AmN

no pension for Kim!

22 Dec 15:58

This Guy Knits ‘Ugly Sweaters’ for Every Place He Goes

by Francky Knapp
AmN

fascinating ugliness

This Guy Knits ‘Ugly Sweaters’ for Every Place He Goes
“My Baltimore Light Rail sweater.” Sam Barsky /