Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’ll be on vacation for part of this week and next, so posting will be erratic and theme-free. Regular posting resumes June 13th.

Burying the forgotten among us is an invisible (but weighty) responsibility. Here’s a look at one man who handles the job. 

Related, in a way, is the job of identifying John and Jane Does who are found dead. I had not heard of NAMUS before.

In sunnier news, Bill Lucey discovers the best places to read this summer. 

William T. Horton was an illustrator and a contemporary of Aubrey Beardsley, but few have heard of him. This is a shame, because his art is stark and spooky and beautiful. Go and learn!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy Friday!

From Bunny: Beautiful Brutalist buildings! 

From Julie: Vintage photos of equally vintage bookmobiles! 

Also from Julie: Using embroidery to repair vases? Yes! 

Our video this week looks at how transportation options transformed American society:

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! We’re off on Monday and will be on vacation soon, but we should see you next week.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It’s Spelling Bee season again!

The Guardian has a neat series called Public Streets by Public Books going on, and one of the more recent entries about a street in Rangoon is really interesting.

The Brooklyn Museum has an “Ask” app that connects you to real live people. Fun concept.

Time capsules can be amazing. They can also be somewhat embarrassing. Extrapolate that out to intergalactic time capsules, and, well…

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It’s Towel Day! It’s not Thursday, but we’ll manage somehow.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, is World Dracula Day. So now you’re prepared.

Continuing our theme of awesome women which started yesterday: today’s heroine is Rose Mackenberg, who worked with Houdini to flush out spiritualism frauds.

Does your city have a flag? Is it terrible? That can be fixed! (Also, per Eddie Izzard, if you have a decent flag you can then go forth and conquer other cities. Theoretically.)

And finally, if you like creeping yourself out, here’s a handy list of weird Wikipedia pages.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Have you heard of Marianne North? She was a Victorian-era woman who lived a life of fierce independence. She sounds like the inspiration for Amelia Peabody. 

Imagine hearing this in 1906 while shopping for a phonograph. I think I’d have nightmares.

The above link came from the fantastic Public Domain Review, and so does this examination of automata throughout the years.

Monday, May 23, 2016

It is Monday once more, and we turn our attention to the arts. Well, literature, mostly.

There’s a new book on the Romanov dynasty which looks like great fun, if you’re into history.

There’s also a new book on Edith Piaf, focusing on the world around her and her life.

Shakespeare’s plays address the problem of hunger in Elizabethan times.

And if you’re not into literature, how about the concept of pigeons creating art in the Brooklyn evening sky? It’s happening right now!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Friday!

From Julie: An altar cloth may be part of a gown which belonged to Elizabeth I. Thrifty!

From This: some gorgeous photos of early computers. 

This week’s Folderol features haunted musical instruments! Take a look!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Remember last week’s post about whether physical library cards are disappearing? Well, on the other side of the spectrum, the Los Angeles Public Library has a new card designed by Shepard Fairey. See, they can be pieces of art!

Today’s Google Doodle in the U.S. celebrates the life of Yuri Kochiyama. Here’s some more about this amazing woman. 

Arrrr, pirate libraries be on the rise. (Not that sort of pirate; it’s just fun to say.)

Do you live in a nerdopolis? Would you like to? Springwise examines the rise of the knowledge cities. (Incidentally, if anyone’s hiring in Zurich, I’m available.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Today, we bring you maps!

First of all, National Geographic has a new weblog, called All Over the Map, which does what it says on the tin.

Thrillist has produced some maps of the U.S. and Europe, delineating what each state/country is best at and worst at. Come to Ohio for the libraries, but don’t drink the water, evidently.

Pathetic.org is not a website dedicated to existential despair, but instead to the obscure motorways in and around the UK. (Driving down one of these may cause existential despair, though. I’m not saying it won’t.)

Role-playing games are full of maps, just absolutely chock full of them, and here are some details about one person’s process in creating them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Do you read the Two Nerdy History Girls? You should, because they have great stuff. Example 1 is this post on double rings, a jewelry trend right now which is not new at all.

Also, from their links: Victorian Commons, which is profiling the members of Parliament between 1832 and 1868.

Also also from their links: Nourishing Death’s post on Swedish funeral candy. Perhaps some enterprising funeral home could reignite this trend.

In more “everything old is new again” items, Paleofuture examines the 19th century’s equivalent of the Hyperloop concept. (They were stymied by curves and height.)

This video from Digg shows a machine making drop candy as they did in ye olden days. It’s sort of mesmerizing.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Psst! Did you know good storytellers make great partners? It’s true!

A Milan street artist is transforming abandoned manholes into tiny secret rooms.

A Burglar’s Guide to the City is not really a guide for a modern thieves’ guild, but is, instead, a new way of looking at urban infrastructure.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Friday the 13th!

It’s a sad and unlucky day for readers of the Toast: they’re closing down the site July 1st. But they’re going out on top, so that’s something to celebrate.

From Julie: the truly great Star Wars escalator in Tel Aviv. 

From Zazoo: Sometimes, antiques appraisers can get carried away… 

From Twitter: Squirrels get annoyed when you lock walnuts in a box. Well, of course they do!

This week’s Folderol brings you some strong female characters from young adult fiction! Have a look!

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone. See you next week.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Are library cards, as physical objects, becoming historical items? Well, we definitely save them as souvenirs…er, some of us do, anyway.

If you’re near Brooklyn this weekend, you can attend the unveiling of a headstone for a long-gone baseball player who always wanted something reflecting his commitment to the Knickerbockers. Rest more peacefully now, Too Late Davis! 

For American law librarians, it’s the end of an era – THOMAS is going away (to be replaced by Congress.gov). Here’s a remembrance and an appreciation.

It’s tornado season around here, and storm chasers are riding high on adrenalin. Hyperallergic has some photos taken by crazy intrepid 19th century storm chasers. 

Quiz time! Can you identify the pen names? I got 20 out of 25; I started guessing wildly at the end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Some items to ponder today:

What is this giant sphere in the Bosnian forest? Is it nature at work, or an ancient civilization?

What do you think of clouds? And did you know there is drama in the science of clouds? 

How much did Victorian experimentation with psychedelics influence Alice in Wonderland?

And, finally, how amazing would it be to attend Festival 23? If anyone’s near Yorkshire this summer, go and report back!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Over the weekend, I was introduced to the Hydraulic Press Channel, where a Finnish couple smash things with a press. It’s hilarious and highly recommended. Stick around for the bonus content of “very dangerous” clay animals!

The Week has a very cool article on how to recognize languages quickly. Helpful in many areas!

From 1924: A Russian journalist remembers her encounters with Rasputin. I’m fascinated by this era in history.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Hello! Today is a bit hectic. For now, take a look at the (amazing) European Music Archaeology Project, and we'll be back tomorrow!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Happy Friday!

From Julie: Here’s a map of Middle Earth, annotated by Tolkien himself.

From Cassandra: Should everyone go to college? Also, what happened to journalism? And also also, why are people so awful? 

Our Friday Folderol video answers none of the above questions, but it does take you around the world to see some pretty neat places.

Have a spiffy weekend, everyone! See you next week.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Welp. America is on fire metaphorically, Canada is on fire literally. It’s a rough time here in North America.

Bill Lucey scrutinizes the numbers for hints as to how the 45th president will be.

Hey, now you can pay someone to name your baby. What could possibly go wrong?

The other night, I had a dream that I got in an elevator and it suddenly plunged into a coal mine tunnel (see above for why it may be an anxious time in dreamland). At any rate, FiveThirtyEight has tracked down every elevator and escalator in New York City. Lots of interesting factoids are in this study, such as the answer to why there are so many six-story buildings in the city!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Jane Jacobs, who believed cities should be fun, was born 100 years ago today.

Speaking of city fun (well, sort of), have you ever heard of Detroit agate, also known as Fordite? Thousands of years from now, archaeologists and/or alien explorers will be so confused by our civilization.

Want to go to Hell’s Half Acre? You have oodles of choices! 

MessyNessy Chic (which is my new favorite website) goes through all the wacky different kinds of Ouija boards that were around back in the day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Hola. Today is filled with stuff to do, so this will be quick!

If you haven’t checked out Early Modern Women’s Work, do so. It’s incredibly interesting stuff.

Word of the day: Holloways! They’re roads which have sunk into the earth over decades/centuries of use, and make for gorgeous photos.

The Glasgow of 1980 was a pretty bleak place. Here are photos and some details.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Happy May! It's busy here, but here are some quick links.

If you’re casting about for something to read, why not check out this list of must-read sci-fi/fantasy novels?

Right as the Beijing Olympics were happening, a major historical discovery was happening next door. 

What can our wacky dreams teach us? Quite a lot, perhaps!

I really like Spinoza, and I’m not alone. 

What’s it like behind the scenes at the Met? Here’s a peek behind the curtain.