Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Happy Thursday! It’s like Friday here, because (weather permitting) I’m NYC bound tonight. So this is a bonus links from others day!

From Julie: If you want fewer insect bites, wear stripey clothes. Or paint yourself with stripes, which works even better!

From Holly: Behold, the Gothicat. (Bonus video of Kittens of Mercy performing “This Purrosion” here!)

From Cassandra: “Party (and publish) like it’s 1923.”

Via Matt Staggs on Twitter: King Tut’s tomb is being restored to its full grandeur. 

Who were Sherlock Holmes’s contemporaries in Victorian mystery-solving? Some deserve to be rediscovered! 

Have a safe and spiffy few days, everyone! I’ll be back later next week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

So I’m going to be in NYC for a few days (updates will be erratic), and I was looking at the TSA website to see if there would be any delays or other strange happenings, and I found their A-Z list of what one can bring on a plane. It’s quite practical and dry…until they get to light sabers! A toast to whatever Star Wars geek managed to get this on the official record.

If you love maps and you’re not reading The Map Room blog, you should remedy that right away. From there, I found GeoLounge, which has this great post on medieval travel guides and maps.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Good morning! Did you see the Super Blood Eclipse Wolf Moon thingy over the weekend? B. was very disappointed he didn’t transform into a werewolf upon seeing it.

In other planetary news, the magnetic north pole keeps moving, which is confusing our cell phones. 

James Turrell is getting ready to open the Roden Crater to visitors, even though it’s not finished (and won’t be for a long time). This looks like something out of a Jodorowsky film.

Kids of the 1980s (hey, that was me) predicted what the year 2020 would be like. Some visions were surprisingly accurate, others…not so much. (From the same site: You can relive the past by going on old Disney rides via YouTube!)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Happy Friday!

From Zazoo: “Macaulay Culkin and Michael Jackson. What's surprising is that they had a completely normal friendship...” 

For Holly: This may be the oldest surviving print of the periodic table! 

I knew some of Mary Oliver’s work, but never realized she was from Ohio and also lived in Massachusetts. No wonder her world seems familiar! 

Have a safe and spiffy weekend, everyone. We’re off on Monday but will be back Tuesday.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Yesterday was Museum Selfie Day, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History observed the day with some animal friends. 

Quiz time! How well do you know Edgar Allan Poe, and can you tell the difference between his writing and emo lyrics? I got 12/16 right (with the comment: “You know your Poe—and are very in touch with your emotions. *Applauds somberly*”).

If you want a more personal quiz, there’s yet another personality test out there. According to this, my openness to experiences score is 75 out of 100. My extraversion: 17 out of 100. Ha! (It’s true.)

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology has online exhibits as well as in-house displays, and this online exhibit of different fabrics is super interesting.

You may have heard that China sent a robotic lander to the far side of the moon. But do you know the significance of the Chang’e name? (The Wikipedia article is short on mythology, but completely worth reading for the section on the  1969 Apollo mission conversation.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hello! Today’s my birthday, and I found a painting expressing my attitude toward middle age (and 2019 in general) perfectly.

Many thanks to Cassandra for her birthday sentiments. I agree! 

Also many thanks to Julie for this long, super fascinating article on CERN’s plans for an even larger hadron collider! (I mean, what could possibly go wrong?)

Lynsey Addario’s photos of life during wartime are heartbreakingly beautiful. Definitely worth a look.

Via Retronaut: Female motorcycle riders! Including Amelia Earhart on a scooter and an amazing English mail carrier with enviable shoes on a Triumph.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Occasionally I go on about how the Hadron Collider has (unintentionally, I hope) split us off into an alternate universe akin to Back to the Future II, where anything goes. I don’t really believe that, but I am fascinated with the Collider and with CERN, and was delighted to discover that there’s an arts residency at CERN! Who knows what secrets could be unlocked? 

In the meantime, however, we are stuck in the present. A theory about Bird Box (including spoilers, be warned) suggests that the monsters are really social media. Oooo, interesting.

Fortunately, there are places like Hookland, accessible via both social media and our imaginations, full of mystery and potential.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Happy Monday! Please enjoy the Embroidered Computer, and consider adopting a HeroRat! 

(These two things are not connected, I’m just pressed for time today.)

Friday, January 11, 2019

It’s Friday! It’s also the first day of my phone being out of commission (temporarily, hopefully), and wow, do we get used to technology fast. I feel totally unmoored, albeit not in an entirely bad way. (Obviously, if you want to get hold of me over the next few days, email me!)

Via the always entertaining Now I Know: The VA has a wide variety of emblems for tombstones, depending on one’s beliefs. There’s even a Druid symbol! (Also one which looks very Star Trek, but is actually the Kohanim Priestly Blessing…although Leonard Nimoy used it as the inspiration for the Live Long and Prosper gesture!)

The London Transport Museum is giving overlooked female artists their due in an exhibit showing their work for the public transit network. I really like Dora Batty’s art! 

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

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Confused by world events? Well, there’s not much I can do about that, but I can point you to a handy A-Z explainer of the Brexit chaos, at any rate. (For the US chaos, WTF Just Happened Today is still one of the best I’ve found.)

If you live in New York City or know someone who does, chances are you can find the building in these property tax photos from the 1930s and 1940s, now fully digitized by the NYC Municipal Archives. 

“Virtually unraveling” does not mean having a nervous breakdown online…or, at least, not always. At Cardiff University, they’re using this method to rediscover damaged materials. 

What would you wear at your funeral? Some morticians have stories! (If the zombie apocalypse happens, people will be…badly dressed, apparently.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Hooray, we’re not in the middle of a national emergency! (Yet, anyway. It’s the little things.) 

Creepbay is the spooky auction site I’ve always hoped to see.

Dungeons and Dragons is not only more popular than ever, it’s gone multi-generational! I would have loved to see my dad and aunt playing D&D. It would have been hilarious.

Via Strange Maps: You can now compare the true geographic size of countries using The True Size site. You can pick a nation and then drag and drop it over the rest of the world to compare. Brazil is huge!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

What happened to the incredibly expensive Salvator Mundi, possibly painted by Leonardo da Vinci? It’s…very complicated, and involves Saudi Arabia, Russia, the Mueller investigation, and god only knows what else.

Haggard Hawks’ word(s) of the year reflect(s) the state of mind of many English speakers, it seems. 

As a form of escapism, check out this amazing “Fake Britain” map, showing nearly all the fictitious places in England, Scotland and Wales. From Misselthwaite Manor and Castle McDuck to Dibley and Broadchurch, it’s all there!

Here’s a lovely look at academically-inspired tattoos on people at VCU, and what the tattoos mean to them. (Includes art by Charon Henning, artist extraordinaire and art director of March Mammal Madness! You’ll know her work when you see it.)

Monday, January 07, 2019

Here we are again, another Monday to conquer…

Fine art: Art heists tend to be described in oddly romantic fashion, and this story of a recent theft (and possible destruction?) of five paintings in Paris is no exception.

Art and literature: Did you know Edward Gorey was born in Chicago? Count me among those who thought he was British!

Sound: Kristen Gallerneaux explores the surreal world of soundscapes. She’s also a curator at the Henry Ford Museum! 

Science fiction: Who are the forgotten greats? The article lists several, but the comments (nearly 150 so far) lead to many, many others.

Friday, January 04, 2019


The MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) went viral in 2018 over its “absolute unit” sheep. Here’s some more about the museum and how it uses social media (I am a big fan of the MERL).

Did you ever wonder what music the Apollo 11 astronauts listened to? Now there’s a playlist and some stories about how they came to be.

Music news from Zazoo: Bootsy Collins is hanging up his bass (for live performances), and Duran Duran once took on Spandau Ballet in a televised pop quiz!

David Maurer was fascinated with language, especially crime-related slang, and we’re lucky he wrote (most of) it down for us.

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

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Happy Folklore Thursday, everyone! There are lots of stories about what to do in the new year, plus stories about Epiphany and Befana. (I remember Befana from Tomie dePaola’s book.)

Brazil’s Museu Nacional was ravaged by fire, but you can take a virtual tour of how it was before the flames. 

The Free Music Archive was on life support, but it’s been revived, hooray!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Hello and Happy 2019!

Yesterday was Public Domain Day, the first time in a long while that several works were released into the public domain. Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has all the details. 

Bestsellers often don’t stand the test of time, and classics often aren’t appreciated until much later. Lithub lists the biggest fiction bestsellers of the last hundred years, alongside the publication dates of some now-loved stories.

What countries have dominated U.S. news since 1900? The Pudding has created an interactive chart, using NY Times headlines. 

Also interactive, in its own weird way, is the Choose Your Own Band-Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” song! (I know the season is over, but this was too good to save until next December.)