Friday, April 23, 2021

A Historical Children’s Fiction Collection

From Canterbury Christ Church University:

The collection is richest in books from the late 19th century (post-1880), and the most recent publication (that I’ve found so far) is a book from 1972. The collection can be divided up into several areas (although they are in purely alphabetical order of author’s surname on the shelves)...From the tales of Charlotte Yonge, to Captain Frederick Marryat’s novel The Children of the New Forest set in the English Civil War, children’s historical fiction was burgeoning during the Victorian era. Inspired by the past, writers sought to educate as well as entertain, with sometimes turgid or moralistic accounts of the heroic deeds of our forebears. Unlike modern children’s authors such as Terry Deary who have focused on the humorous and sometimes grisly events of the past, the Victorian writers delighted or dismayed their readers with the derring-dos of knights, captains and adventurers, and there are plenty of examples of this type of fiction in the collection. There are several works by early fantasy fiction writers, such as George MacDonald (1824-1905) in the collection. He was a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister, and apart from being well-known in his own right, is famous for his influence on later writers such as C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, and J. R. R. Tolkien. (Read more.)


Pandemic Politics

 From The Federalist:

Little did I understand, however, that two weeks to slow the spread wouldn’t just morph into wait until there’s a vaccine. Now we appear to be in an endless lockdown where a population that doesn’t even take care of itself now demands life with absolutely zero risk at the expense of everyone else.

Thirteen months later and I’m finding it harder and harder not to blame Anthony Fauci and his allies in the political establishment for all the nights I never went out, the singles I never met, the dates I never went on, and the memories I never made. The drive-in raves are lame, distanced bars feel pointless, and most places are closed by an early hour anyway. These are all by the orders of Fauci, whose word carries the most weight in the country on coronavirus, like it or not, while he intimidates contrarian experts from speaking out by controlling their research funding. But Fauci’s not lonely, he’s not single, and at 80 years old, he’s likely not eager to go out.

There’s no evidence to prove the lockdowns prevent massive spread of the coronavirus. To the contrary, there’s plenty of research from elite academics finding otherwise, but to follow actual science would reject left-wing “science,” the only acceptable standard, which also characteristically carves out exceptions for those who say “Black Lives Matter.” (Read more.)

The Psychology Behind Overreacting

 From Boundaries:

When a person is hurt — emotionally, physically, traumatically, or in other ways — it causes a deep reaction inside. Withdrawal, fear, anxiety, and anger are typical reactions to being hurt. It can be about something far back in the person's past. It can be a pattern in the couple's connection. It can be a symbolic representation of something that has occurred before.

The normal process of resolving this sort of pain is through love, support, grief, forgiveness, and healing. Support and acceptance from a caring environment renders the person capable of expressing the pain, working through it, and letting go in the grief process. Over time, and with the right steps, most hurtful events can be transformed into normal memories that instruct, teach, and warn us about life. But when this healing process does not occur, those unprocessed memories are still experienced as occurring in the here and now. Whatever the specific cause, the overreactions you or your lover are experiencing could be mild or severe hurts that have not yet been healed. (Read more.)


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dhaka Muslin

Joséphine Bonaparte

From the BBC:

In late 18th-Century Europe, a new fashion led to an international scandal. In fact, an entire social class was accused of appearing in public naked.

The culprit was Dhaka muslin, a precious fabric imported from the city of the same name in what is now Bangladesh, then in Bengal. It was not like the muslin of today. Made via an elaborate, 16-step process with a rare cotton that only grew along the banks of the holy Meghna river, the cloth was considered one of the great treasures of the age. It had a truly global patronage, stretching back thousands of years – deemed worthy of clothing statues of goddesses in ancient Greece, countless emperors from distant lands, and generations of local Mughal royalty.

There were many different types, but the finest were honoured with evocative names conjured up by imperial poets, such as "baft-hawa", literally "woven air". These high-end muslins were said to be as light and soft as the wind. According to one traveller, they were so fluid you could pull a bolt – a length of 300ft, or 91m – through the centre of a ring. Another wrote that you could fit a piece of 60ft, or 18m, into a pocket snuff box.

Dhaka muslin was also more than a little transparent.

While traditionally, these premium fabrics were used to make saris and jamas – tunic-like garments worn by men – in the UK they transformed the style of the aristocracy, extinguishing the highly structured dresses of the Georgian era. Five-foot horizontal waistlines that could barely fit through doorways were out, and delicate, straight-up-and-down "chemise gowns" were in. Not only were these endowed with a racy gauzy quality, they were in the style of what was previously considered underwear.

In one popular satirical print by Isaac Cruikshank, a clique of women appear together in long, brightly coloured muslin dresses, though which you can clearly see their bottoms, nipples and pubic hair. Underneath reads the description, "Parisian Ladies in their Winter Dress for 1800".

Meanwhile in an equally misogynistic comedic excerpt from an English women's monthly magazine, a tailor helps a female client to achieve the latest fashion. "Madame, ’tis done in a moment," he assures her, then instructs her to remove her petticoat, then her pockets, then her corset and finally her sleeves… "‘Tis an easy matter, you see," he explains. "To be dressed in the fashion, you have only to undress."

Still, Dhaka muslin was a hit – with those who could afford it. It was the most expensive fabric of the era, with a retinue of dedicated fans that included the French queen Marie Antoinette, the French empress Joséphine Bonaparte and Jane Austen. But as quickly as this wonder-cloth struck Enlightenment Europe, it vanished. (Read more.)


Justice is Dead

 From Matt Walsh


The Rise and Fall of Númenor, Explained

 From Nerdist:

Amazon’s hard at work on their Lord of the Rings series, which is set to debut in 2021. But despite that fast-approaching debut date, we still know very little about the show. In fact, even calling it a Lord of the Rings series isn’t really accurate. (Thank you, Elijah Wood, for pointing that out.) We know that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, a land in the world of Arda, is still the setting. But the show won’t chronicle the same events depicted in Peter Jackson’s original film trilogy. Those movies—which followed Frodo and the Fellowship on their quest to destroy the One Ring—take place during the Third Age of Middle-earth. The Amazon show, on the other hand, takes place in the Second Age.

What’s special about the Second Age? Well, for starters, it’s probably the least documented timeline in Middle-earth history. That means it’s a rich era for creation. But due to some complicated rights issues, there are also plenty of limitations. From what we’ve been able to parse out, the show can only reference the Second Age as it appears in The Lord of the Rings novels and its appendices. It cannot reference Second Age events depicted in other Tolkien writings like The Silmarillion. It also can’t reference any First Age events, as those rights belong to The Tolkien Estate. Nor can it mention the specific events of the Third Age, as those rights belong to Middle-earth Enterprises. Additionally, when Amazon negotiated rights to the series, it also agreed not to contradict any of Tolkien’s writings. So while there’s room to explore in the margins, it can’t outright break canon.

So, what Second Age events can the Lord of the Rings series cover? The appendices are detailed, but not totally comprehensive, which is again where the whole creative element comes in. As long as the writers don’t disrupt canon, they have plenty of room for invention within the set parameters. But there’s one major event all but confirmed to occur in the series: the rise and fall of Númenor. (Read more.)


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

An Exuberant Milan Apartment

From Architectural Digest:

Two days later, an apartment on the third floor of a 1910 building with beautiful bones, a magnificent frescoed entryway, original marble intarsia floors, 4.5-meter-tall molded ceilings, and an extra-large balcony was mine. What to do? I couldn’t afford a decorator; I didn’t have a lot of money for expensive furnishings. My move-in date, March 1, 2020, was one week prior to Milan’s full lockdown, in which we were prevented from even leaving our homes.

 You know what I did? I surrendered to faith and fate. I gave the house over to my higher self, my creative self, and the part of me that believes intrinsically that all will be well and that I am capable of anything when I follow my heart. Guess what? The house danced to life in a way I could never have imagined. I have my friend Raimondo Garau, a vintage-store owner with the best taste in town, to thank for helping me channel my creative geyser into practicality. Yes, there wouldn’t be a single white wall in the place; no, we would not paint every room a different color. Yes, I would make a few splurges on new purchases—like the Arflex sofa in peacock-blue velvet—but, no, the house would not be precious. Raimondo dug up astonishing 1910s sconces and a 1990s vintage Poliform kitchen from an old signora’s home in Milan, which cost me less than a fully applianced cheapo. I also harnessed the power of IKEA for closets that have La DoubleJ printed-fabric curtain covers and a shoe closet made from an IKEA lacquered kitchen topped with rose-colored mirror, Raimondo’s genius invention that now displays my Murano-glass collection. (Read more.)


Dirty Jobs

 From The Federalist:

Well, Rowe may have never worked a dirty job for minimum wage, but I did. From when I was a toddler to age 17 when I left for college, my family home was a trailer in a run-down mobile home park in rural Wisconsin. To Erika the Socialist (and James Carville), I likely qualified as “white trash.” So, with the credential of a life originally lacking credentials, let me confirm my first minimum wage job was a rung — on which I didn’t stay on long.

Early on the following summer, while I was still only 14, my boss sent for me. Nervous I had unwittingly done something wrong, I went to his office. Contrary to my anxious expectations, he told me even though I had only worked a few weekends the prior fall, my work matched the more experienced girls returning to work at the summer camp. Then, he gave me a five-cent per hour raise to match their pay rate.

Over the next two years, I volunteered to fill in whenever needed, helping out the kitchen staff, and then, I climbed another rung, when my boss arranged for a professional baker at a neighboring summer camp to train me. From ages 16 to 21, I served as the head baker at the small Wisconsin camp, earning well above the minimum wage full-time in the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. The savings I accrued helped finance college, while the job experience and learned work ethic opened doors for me in the white-collar world when I needed a part-time job during the academic year. After college, I paid for law school, worked at a law firm, then made a career as a full-time faculty member and a part-time career law clerk. Now, I have my most important (and most difficult) job: Mom.

Reading now over Rowe’s S.W.E.A.T. pledge, I see I followed it. It wasn’t a pledge “to gratuitous abuse and disenfranchisement.” What Johnson, who mocked the pledge as “bourgeois propaganda” marketing “very basic human needs” misses, is that hard, honest work genuinely satisfies basic human needs. Indeed, that five-cent raise I earned at 14 still brings me more pride than most of my later white-collar job achievements. (Read more.)


Rarest of the Rare

From Live Science:

About 70 million years ago, an ostrich-like dinosaur brooding atop a nest of blue-green eggs met its doom, perishing with its nearly-hatched babies in what is now southern China. Now, the remains of that beast — an oviraptorosaur, or a giant feathered dinosaur that walked on two legs — represent the only dinosaur fossil on record to be found sitting on top of eggs that still contain dinosaur embryos, a new study finds. 

"Dinosaurs preserved on their nests are rare, and so are fossil embryos," study lead researcher Shundong Bi, a paleontologist at the Center for Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology at Yunnan University in China, said in a statement. "This is the first time a non-avian dinosaur has been found, sitting on a nest of eggs that preserve embryos, in a single spectacular specimen." (Read more.)


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mozart, Masonry and Catholicism

From National Catholic Reporter:

According to historians, Mozart was initiated into a Masonic lodge in Vienna at 28, and eventually became a Master Mason. He wrote at least eight pieces of music for the Masons. Conoscenti also detect influences of Masonry in his famous opera "The Magic Flute."

Mozart joined despite the fact that Pope Clement XII had prohibited membership in 1738, and this antipathy is still alive. In 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated: "Faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion."

One understands, therefore, why links between the pope's favorite composer and the Masons make Catholics nervous.

Yet Mozart also composed some of the most famous Roman Catholic Masses and other liturgical scores in Western history, more than 60 pieces of sacred music altogether. How to reconcile these two aspects of his biography has long been a puzzle.

Once again, Schönborn is at the center of the debate.

Speaking July 16 in Chieti, Italy, at the opening of a Mozart festival, the Austrian cardinal asserted that "there's no foundation for his frequently mentioned membership in the Masons." (Read more.)


From Catholic World Report:

Born on January 27, 1756, he was baptized the next day as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, at St. Rupert’s Cathedral in Salzburg. He would later drop the Johannes Chrysostomus (added by custom because he was born on the feast of St. John Chrysostom), and change the Greek Theophilus to the Latin equivalent Amadeus (one who loves God, or one who is loved by God).

Wolfgang and his sister were raised in a devout and strictly observant Catholic household. Their parents, Leopold and Anna Maria, encouraged family devotions and prayer, fasting, regular attendance at Mass, frequent confession, the veneration of saints, and other typically Catholic devotions.

Leopold was a moderately successful composer himself, and a teacher of music, working as a court musician for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. While Leopold and Anna Maria had seven children, all died in infancy except Anna Maria (affectionately called “Nannerl”) and young Wolfgang.

Herr and Frau Mozart were always concerned for the spiritual well-being of their children. Leopold once wrote to his wife and son on their way to Paris in 1777, “God must come first! From His hands we receive our temporal happiness; and at the same time we must think of our eternal salvation.” These words were written out of fear that Wolfgang had become “a little lax about confession.” Leopold saw it as his duty to impart to his children the truth of the Catholic faith, and to instill in them a personal piety that they would maintain throughout their lives. (Read more.)


How to Start a War

 From Townhall:

Every new American president is tested to determine whether the United States can still protect friends such as Europe, Japan, South Korea and Israel. And will the new commander in chief deter U.S. enemies Iran and North Korea -- and keep China and Russia from absorbing their neighbors?

Joe Biden, and those around him, seem determined to upset the peace they inherited. Soon after Donald Trump left office, Vladimir Putin began massing troops on the Ukrainian border and threatening to attack. Putin earlier had concluded that Trump was dangerously unpredictable, and perhaps best not provoked. After all, the Trump administration took out Russian mercenaries in Syria. It beefed up defense spending and upped sanctions.

The Trump administration flooded the world with cheap oil to Russia's chagrin. It pulled out from asymmetrical missile treaties with Russia. It sold sophisticated arms to the Ukrainians. The Russians concluded that Trump might do anything, and so waited for another president before again testing America. (Read more.)


Medical Mystery of Usermontu

 From Ancient Origins:

When the Rosicrucian Museum acquired a sealed ancient Egyptian coffin back in the 1970s, they were unaware that it still contained a mummy. In addition, investigations revealed that this mummy was not the original owner of the sarcophagus – it belonged to a priest named Usermontu (‘the power of Montu’) – and that long after death, the mummy had been placed in Usermontu’s coffin. Nevertheless, the mummy of unknown origin has come to be known by the name of the original sarcophagus owner.

Analysis of the embalming procedure revealed that ‘Usermontu’ was an upper-class Egyptian male who lived during the New Kingdom of Egypt (between 16th–11th century BC). His mummified remains are 5ft (1.5m) tall and display traces of red hair.

In August 1995, Professor C. Wilfred Griggs from Brigham Young University, Utah, and a team of experts, carried out x-rays on six mummies housed in the Rosicrucian San Jose Museum in advanced of a lecture he would be giving there, including the mummy of Usermontu. They were stunned when the x-rays revealed that one of the mummies had a 9-inch metal pin in its left knee. Brigham Young University (BYU) reports that it was impossible to see that the metal implant was ancient from the x-ray alone, leading Professor Griggs to believe that the pin had been placed there in more modern times to reattach the leg to the rest of the body.

"I assumed at the time that the pin was modern. I thought we might be able to determine how the pin had been inserted into the leg, and perhaps even guess how recently it had been implanted into the bones," Griggs says in a report released by BYU. "I just thought it would be an interesting footnote to say, 'Somebody got an ancient mummy and put a modern pin in it to hold the leg together. (Read more.)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Love Letter to My Home

From Galerie:

The house is really exceeding expectations and has accommodated us all in a sustained way. There’s enough space, so we can all go in separate directions. We move all around, changing week by week. We didn’t expect to spend weeks on end here, and we change things around. The coffee table becomes the puzzle table, and it’s constantly changing. And we had to move things for the ducks. I’m learning to be easygoing about that in a way that I probably historically have not been. But the attic is the only place with a television. So making something out of that room is the next project—turning that into somewhere we can really hang out

My home makes me feel safe. That’s been the biggest gift—to seem safe and at ease. It seems corny, but it’s true. (Read more.)


How Catholic Men Can Rise Up

 From Crisis:

You may have to try a few different times to create something viable. Two years ago, I attempted to gather a men’s group precisely with the hope that these men would feel what I’m feeling and want to discuss these serious matters and sharpen each other for battle. It failed, for various reasons. But it was worth attempting. And I have found my “sharpening” in smaller, incidental interactions with men—other fathers in our homeschooling group, fellow men in my parish, online discussions, etc. 

I think that, optimally, you’d find at least two other like-minded people in your parish who see the same problems and have the same sense of urgency to do something about it. These allies, by the way, don’t have to be exclusively men. There are many women who feel the same and want the abuses stopped and the Gospel preached unabashedly. Work together—just don’t let the women do all the work. It’s unseemly and part of the problem. I know the phenomenon that tends to happen when the women come in—the men go out. We see it in sports and clubs and altar serving. Be aware of it and fight against the tendency to just let the women handle it. Get in and stay in the fight, even if you’re not leading it. (Read more.)

More HERE.


The Incompatibility of Catholicism and Feminism

 From Crisis:


Why the Middle Ground is So Elusive

  From Chronicles:

As with many terms, a lack of context distorts the true meaning. The assemblymen who sat on the right did indeed favor retaining the king, but for a reason that constitutes the opposite of “governmental power.” King Louis XVI was known in France at that time as “The Restorer of Liberty.” After the tyrannical reign of Louis “I am the State” XIV and the wishy-washy rule of Louis XV, Louis XVI extended freedoms to French entrepreneurs to an extent never before known. His predecessor had asked French businessmen what the state could do for them, and they had famously answered, “Laissez-nous faire”—“let us make our own way”—and this, of course, is the origin of “Laissez-faire,” the byword of free-market economics. But it was Louis XVI, not Louis XV, who acted on it, withdrawing regulations and lowering taxes so as to encourage the flourishing of businesses. That is why those sitting on the right wanted the king to remain connected to his head, so that he might continue to ensure the liberties of the French middle class. Freedom from government control was the desire of the right-sitters.

What did the left-sitters want? Equality.

For leftists then as for leftists now, there is no true freedom when people are divided by class and condition. Freedom as independence from state control is for them superficial freedom, freedom in name only. Until people are made equal—as the Terror made them equal under the blade of the guillotine, destroying wealthy businessmen, ordinary shop owners, landlords, servants, and priests—there can be no freedom, because the critical point is that equality is fundamental to true freedom. Neither “liberality,” nor “compassion,” nor any other shortcut definition of the left will do, because this is the common denominator: For the left, there can be no real freedom without equality as a starting place, while for the right, freedom is the starting place, the fundamental social condition required for a just world. Equality enters into it, but only in the sense that in a truly just society, every individual is free in a degree equal to all others; if one person has the right to pursue happiness, all people do.

By now it should be clear that a “middle ground” between left and right can no more be found than can a middle shape between a square and a circle. How could there be compromise between a view that sees freedom as the one essential ingredient of a just society, and the view that freedom is meaningless without the prior elimination of all inequalities? There simply cannot be. (Read more.)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

R House

I do not care for modernist design but this house in Malaysia is interesting. From Habitus Living:

When it comes to writing about residential architecture, one quickly becomes attuned to spotting the hallmarks of a good project story. Is it climate-responsive, for instance? Is it in keeping with the perennially popular ideals of modernist design? Better yet – is an architect’s own abode? In the case of R House by Ken Yeang, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ to all three.

Ken Yeang describes himself as “an ecologist first, an architect second”. So, when it came to designing his family house in Malaysia, a climate-responsive design was imperative for the house to be at one with its tropical context. Treating the project as an exercise in bioclimatic experimentation, Ken created a comfortable, modern family home with passive solar design at its core.

Originally designed in 1985, R House was ahead of its time in terms of sustainable architecture – and belies the modest abode one might expect. Heralding a distinctly modernist design, R House comprises a sprawling, linear form. It’s a far cry from the small footprint commonly expected when the motive of sustainability is involved, but accommodating a family of eight – three generations of one family, plus a housekeeper – the house’s scale might be grand, but not superfluous.

With windows for walls; a seamless flow between indoors and out; and a show-stopping swimming pool splicing the floorplan in two, R House is deeply grounded in its tropical environs. It’s climate-responsive design elements like these that grant the residence its passive design credentials as well as its powerful sense of place. “The swimming pool serves as an evaporative cooling device,” says Ken, adding, “for good cross-ventilation, the side walls at the ground floor are sliding glass panels that can be adjusted to control airflow throughout the house.” (Read more.)


America's Media-Poisoned Well

 From Michelle Malkin at Chronicles:

On Monday, as vandals and looters tore apart Minneapolis again in the wake of a cop-involved shooting, a suburban police chief tried to report on the dangerous conditions outside his station.

"Just so that everybody's clear, I was front and center at the protest, at the riot," Brooklyn Center (Minn.) police chief Tim Gannon told the media. He was there. They were not. This did not, however, deter the know-it-alls from castigating Gannon for using the word "riot." Cue the collective outrage and the ululations of the aggrieved.

"Don't do that!" one journalist exclaimed. "There was no riot," another propagandist retorted. "It was not a riot!" another indignant media wag chimed in.

Gannon did what reporters are supposed to do: Report. In a rare show of public courage by an elected official in these hellish days, Gannon remained undeterred. Several officers were injured; 40 demonstrators were arrested, and 20 businesses were invaded and robbed. "The officers that were putting themselves in harm's way were being pelted with frozen cans of pop, they were being pelted with concrete blocks. And yes, we had our helmets on and we had other protection and gear, but an officer was injured, hit in the head with a brick ... so we had to make decisions. We had to disperse the crowd because we cannot allow our officers to be harmed."

Outraged journo-activists apparently disagree. These same types of professional word massagers who bark at police not to call riots "riots" are the same types who've been calling the deadly conflagrations of every major American city since George Floyd's death last May "mostly peaceful protests." Our airwaves and newspaper pages have been saturated with loaded language and warped narratives about every high-profile police encounter exploited by Black Lives Matter and antifa from George Floyd to Ahmaud Arbery to Jacob Blake and now Daunte Wright.

Not only are these "protests" immune from criticism about their violent criminal nature, but they are also miraculously immune from COVID-19. When citizens in flyover country have gathered to resist lockdowns and mask mandates, the national media pounces on these peaceful protesters as selfish, reckless menaces to public safety. When inner-city thugs burn down auto repair shops, firebomb courthouses and police precinct offices, cart off diapers from Walgreen's, and raid liquor store shelves in the name of social justice, pandemic paranoia and condemnatory headlines suddenly evaporate.

Rigged media coverage. Rioters run amok. The threat of violence hanging overhead like thick cumulonimbus clouds. How is it possible for anyone accused in a riot-triggering incident to obtain a fair trial? In a remarkable act of self-delusion, the presiding judge in the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin rejected a defense request to immediately sequester the jury in the aftermath of this week's new bumper crop of riots. Stating the gobsmackingly obvious, defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that the violent outbreaks would be at the "forefront of the jury's mindset."

Judge Peter Cahill, however, shrugged off the threats and ruled that the jury doesn't need to be shut off from media and social media exposure until closing arguments begin next Monday. Never mind the barricades and barbed wire outside the fortified courthouse. Never mind the half-billion dollars in damage already done by George Floyd's vigilantes. Never mind the blaring, front-page stories about shopkeepers preparing for bloody chaos if the jury doesn't rule the "right" way.

Instead, Cahill nonchalantly advised the jury to simply avoid the news during the trial. Sure, just ignore the acrid smell of anarchotyranny permeating the air. Take no notice of wall-to-wall coverage of Gannon's resignation Monday afternoon after he pushed back against the media. Pay no attention to the journalists raging at police officials calling out rioters. Tune out the black-clad militants screaming "All Cops Are Bastards" and "No Justice, No Peace." Pretend away the pretrial publicity and nightly news jeremiads from racial demagogues Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump painting Chauvin as an evildoer on par with Ted Bundy or Adolf Hitler. (Read more.)


Alexander the Great's Tomb

 From Greek Reporter:

The location of the tomb of Alexander the Great is one of the greatest mysteries in history. Theories abound, with the most consistent being that the King of Macedonia is buried in Alexandria, the city in Egypt that he founded.

Now a Cambridge University history professor says that the tomb of Alexander the Great is definitely buried there, dismissing multiple theories that the remains of the great general had been transferred elsewhere.

In fact, he says there are four possible locations of the remains in the Egyptian city.

Professor Paul Cartledge claims that Alexandria is the only city in which Alexander the Great could possibly have been buried. Furthermore, his remains have never since been moved from there.

“He died in Babylon. That much is undisputed,” the professor says in a “History Extra” website podcast. “His corpse was mummified so that it could be transported back ultimately to the capital of Macedonia, a place called Pella in northern Greece.

“But as it was passing Damascus in Syria, one of his successor rulers, future King Ptolemy I of Egypt, interrupted the procession when he grabbed the coffin and hijacked the corpse. He took it to what was then his capital, which was Memphis,” Cartledge relates.

Memphis is the old capital of Egypt, the first city Alexander and his army conquered from the Persians in 332 BC. He was the one who designated Alexandria as the new capital of the country. (Read more.)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

An Apartment in Lisbon

From ArchDaily:

When transformed into an individual fraction of housing, the apartment was occupied by Pedro Espirito Santo known as the host of the best parties and dinners in Lisbon, and the 11 rooms served this purpose perfectly. In 2019 the apartment acquired a new owner, with a clear family structure. The intervention program in the space was based on the maintenance, conservation, and restoration of all the architectural heritage of the property, but adapting it to family needs - from 1 bathroom we now have 6 independent bathrooms.

 All the work was based on the premise that the interventions should be silent enough not to be noticed, or to dispute the attention for the pre-existing. If the recovery works were to be silent in the form and choice of materials, the interior design project chose a careful selection of timeless design pieces - as if from the height of 18th-century art we could in the same space and suddenly travel to what is best produced in 21st-century design. History is written today in a different language. With other objects, and arguments even if the principle remains present: a house to live and be lived in. (Read more.)


The House I Hide In

 From Tom Piatak at Intellectual Takeout:

How quaint, I thought, that Americans used to believe that. The list of topics that can be discussed in public, even in moderate and respectful ways, shrinks by the year. Americans, at least conservative ones, are increasingly reluctant to express their beliefs in public, even on the internet, a medium whose early proponents often championed unfettered freedom of expression.

Indeed, many on the right had seen the internet as the key to bypassing leftist domination of other media. In 2020, however, the internet became just another venue in which the left could assert its cultural dominance, as tech monopolists used algorithms, content warnings, suspensions, and bans to limit the spread of ideas they didn’t like, a process that came to include even the president of the United States. The impact of such open censorship is amplified by massive self-censorship, as people learn about careers sidetracked and even ended by the discovery of stray remarks made years before.

Consider the case of Donald G. McNeil, Jr., the widely respected science reporter for The New York Times. McNeil’s 25-year career at the paper came to an end after it was reported that McNeil had said the wrong word out loud when responding to a student’s question about racial slurs. The student had asked McNeil whether a classmate should have been suspended for a video containing a racial slur, the N-word, that the classmate made when she was 12 years old. McNeil asked whether the classmate had directed the slur at someone else or was merely quoting a book title or a song. A relevant question, you might think, but a career-ending one, too, since in asking his question McNeil said the slur itself, rather than the abbreviation.

Something similar happened to Chris Harrison, the host of the ABC dating game show The Bachelor, after he wondered aloud whether it was fair to bar a contestant for attending a party in 2018 in which the guests dressed like planters from the antebellum South. Harrison was forced to take a leave of absence and will be replaced in the show’s future seasons.

Even more absurdly, a member of a contemporary folk-rock band, Mumford & Sons, was forced to take a leave of absence after it became known that he had dared praise Andy Ngo’s book, which is critical of Antifa. (Read more.)


New Study About Mars

 From NASA:

Billions of years ago, according to geological evidence, abundant water flowed across Mars and collected into pools, lakes, and deep oceans. New NASA-funded research shows a substantial quantity of its water – between 30 and 99% – is trapped within minerals in the planet’s crust, challenging the current theory that due to the Red Planet’s low gravity, its water escaped into space.

Early Mars was thought to have enough water to have covered the whole planet in an ocean roughly 100 to 1,500 meters (330 to 4,920 feet) deep – a volume roughly equivalent to half of Earth’s Atlantic Ocean. While some of this water undeniably disappeared from Mars via atmospheric escape, the new findings, published in the latest issue of Science, conclude it does not account for most of its water loss.

The results were presented at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) by lead author and Caltech Ph.D. candidate Eva Scheller along with co-authors Bethany Ehlmann, professor of planetary science at Caltech and associate director for the Keck Institute for Space Studies; Yuk Yung, professor of planetary science at Caltech and senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Danica Adams, Caltech graduate student; and Renyu Hu, JPL research scientist.

“Atmospheric escape doesn’t fully explain the data that we have for how much water actually once existed on Mars,” said Scheller.

Using a wealth of cross-mission data archived in NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS), the research team integrated data from multiple NASA Mars Exploration Program missions and meteorite lab work. Specifically, the team studied the quantity of water on the Red Planet over time in all its forms (vapor, liquid, and ice) and the chemical composition of the planet’s current atmosphere and crust, looking in particular at the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (D/H).

While water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, not all hydrogen atoms are created equal. The vast majority of hydrogen atoms have just one proton within the atomic nucleus, while a tiny fraction (about 0.02%) exists as deuterium, or so-called “heavy” hydrogen, which has a proton and a neutron. The lighter-weight hydrogen escapes the planet’s gravity into space much easier than its denser counterpart. Because of this, the loss of a planet’s water via the upper atmosphere would leave a revealing sign on the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere: There would be a very large amount of deuterium left behind.

However, the loss of water solely through the atmosphere cannot explain both the observed deuterium-to-hydrogen signal in the Martian atmosphere and large amounts of water in the past. Instead, the study proposes that a combination of two mechanisms – the trapping of water in minerals in the planet’s crust and the loss of water to the atmosphere – can explain the observed deuterium-to-hydrogen signal within the Martian atmosphere.

When water interacts with rock, chemical weathering forms clays and other hydrous minerals that contain water as part of their mineral structure. This process occurs on Earth as well as on Mars. On Earth, old crust continually melts into the mantle and forms new crust at plate boundaries, recycling water and other molecules back into the atmosphere through volcanism. Mars, however, has no tectonic plates, and so the “drying” of the surface, once it occurs, is permanent. (Read more.)

Friday, April 16, 2021

La Machine de Marly

From World in Paris:

La Machine de Marly was built between 1681 and 1684 to pump the water from the Seine River and then bring it to Château de Versailles and Château de Marly (the King’s weekend castle). This technical challenge was taken up by engineers from Liège, who applied pumping techniques used in the Liège mining industry at Marly but in unprecedented proportions. La Machine de Marly was a marvel of civil engineering. It was located on the Seine River banks, at the foot of the Hill of Louveciennes in Bougival. It was considered a World Wonder at the time, and it may have been the most extensive system of integrated machinery ever assembled to that date.

Fourteen wheels (like Louis XIV), twelve meters in diameter, moved more than two hundred and fifty pumps to bring up 5,000 m3 of water per day. The water was then directed by gravity through an aqueduct (Aqueduct de Louveciennes) to three successive reservoirs used to feed Versailles and Marly’s water games. This super machine – also called the Eighth World Wonder -, soon became a manifesto of King Louis XIV’s grandeur, a propaganda tool. The Machine of Marly was visited by tsars, queens, American presidents, and other important people. (Read more.)



 From The National Pulse:

Sixty-two percent of US Likely Voters believe that voter ID laws are not discriminatory, and 60 percent say that it is more important to prevent cheating in elections than to make it easier to vote, according to the results of a new Rasmussen Reports survey.

The telephone and online survey results, collected April 11-12, 2021, show only 29 percent of Likely Voters believe that photo ID requirements at polls are discriminatory against some voters, compared to 62 percent who say the requirements are not. Furthermore, 51 percent think it “likely that cheating affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election,” of which 35 percent think it Very Likely.

The number of Republicans who think the 2020 presidential election affected by cheating is 74 percent, with 30 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of non-affiliated (with a major party) voters agreeing.

In November 2020, a Rasmussen survey found that 47 percent of voters overall believed that Democrats likely “stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots.”  Furthermore, “An overwhelming majority of GOP voters believe Democrats cheated in 2020.” (Read more.)


The Unicorn and the Keys

 From New Alba:

The Stuarts were as zealous supporters of the Catholic Church as their predecessors had been. But, as we know, James IV and V were successively defeated by the English, culminating in the Protestant revolt, the tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots, the high-jacking of the Scottish Church by John Knox and his associates, and eventually the Protestant James VI succeeding England’s Elizabeth as James I. In those tempestuous times, most Scottish Abbeys were wrecked, and the Royal tombs destroyed. But at the same time, as with the Irish and English, a network of Catholic Scots monastic and educational foundations sprang up in Italian, French, Belgian, Spanish, and German exile.

In the reign of Charles I began the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; as in his other two realms, Scotland’s Catholics fought loyally for the King; they made up a large chunk of Montrose’s army. They suffered for it, as they would again, fighting for James VII and II. From that time on, the Stuarts assumed leadership of the network of exiles’ institutions earlier referred to (and began their own wanderings); but they did not neglect their loyal Protestant subjects in diaspora either. It was James VIII and III who received Papal permission to found the Protestant Cemetery in Rome for his courtiers of that religion who died attending him. James VII and II, incidentally, had his cause for beatification introduced at Rome: since it has never either been acted upon or officially closed, he may be called a “Servant of God” – as may Mary Queen of Scots, whose own cause was introduced in the late 19th century, and supported by Leo XIII and Benedict XV.

At any rate, Scotland’s Catholics rallied again to the old standard for the ’15, the’19, and the ’45, and were caught up in the general ruin. When James VIII and III died in 1766, Bonnie Prince Charlie – now de jure Charles III – came to Rome to take up his father’s inheritance. But Pope Clement XIII had recognised George III as King of Great Britain at James’ death, and forbade his being greeted by his subjects at Rome as King. The rectors of the Pontifical English, Scots, and Irish Colleges did so anyway, and were fired as a result. Despite Charles’ younger brother, Henry, Cardinal York’s protest at his sibling’s treatment, the Pope nevertheless gave him rather than Charles the power of ecclesiastical appointments in the English-speaking world that their father had exercised. When Charles himself died in 1788, the Cardinal-King asserted his rights to the three thrones in a letter of protest to the Courts of Europe. In time, however, Papal recognition of George III led to some easing of the Penal laws – allowing the Vicars Apostolic in Scotland to operate openly. As result, Robert Burns’ friend, John Geddes, Vicar Apostolic of western Scotland, was able to convince the Scots monasteries of Regensburg and Würzburg and the Scots colleges of Paris, Douai, and Valladolid (now Salamanca, Spain) to subscribe to the 1787 Edinburgh edition of Burns’ poetry. This latter would make Scotland’s national bard a Europe-wide star.

The French Revolution and resulting invasions of Italy impoverished Henry IX; but his Hanoverian cousins did come to his aid financially. George IV would pay for the impressive monument and tomb of the three Stuart Kings at St. Peter’s after his cousin’s death in 1807. Without a doubt, this pro-Stuart feeling on the part of George IV was supported heavily by that great rehabilitator of Jacobitism’s reputation, Sir Walter Scott. As is well-known, he stage managed the King’s Scottish visit in 1822, the first such visit by a Protestant Monarch since 1650. In the event, it was as great a success as had the King’s Irish visit the year before. Despite his many failings, George IV did have a great appreciation of his Celtic Kingdoms. In any case, as is well known, his niece Queen Victoria would continue the Royal fascination with things Scottish – not only beginning the annual Holyrood stay, but purchasing Balmoral(Read more.)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Classic Car Revivals

  From Wallpaper:

Jaguar has an archive brimming with legendary machines, with a strong secondary market of restorers and refurbishers who keep their most famous cars on the road and up to date. Unsurprisingly, the company also wants a piece of that action, established the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works facility to maintain, enhance and recreate legendary models from the two brands, from the original 2-door 70s-era Range Rover to the Jaguar E-Type, D-Type and XKSS. This Spring, Classic Works is launching the E-Type 60 Collection – a pair of open and closed examples of the Series 1 E-Type to celebrate the car’s 60th anniversary. It’s also delved into its racing history with eight examples of the Jaguar C-Type, based on the car that won Le Mans in 1953. Authenticity is key – there’s a strong racing community for cars like this – so original engineering drawings have been deployed along with CAD technology to ensure the new car is worthy of the name. (Read more.)


Conserving Nothing On Principle

 From Tom Piatak at American Remnant:

There is no political type I find more annoying than Never Trump “conservatives.” Taken as a whole, they are smug, self-righteous, unable to comprehend the nature of political power, and unwilling to use political power to advance the interests of ordinary Americans, whom they regard with indifference or contempt.

It is this last point–their unwillingness to use political power to help ordinary Americans–that they call “having principles.” They spend an inordinate amount of time praising each other for being “principled.” Indeed, their intellectual output consists almost entirely of attacking any effort to aid Middle Americans, smearing any politician inclined to champion them, and congratulating each other on resisting any effort to turn conservative politics into something that would actually benefit conservative voters.

Their impact on the American right has been wholly negative: they have done nothing to conserve anything worth conserving, they have provided no real opposition to the left, and–other than enriching themselves–the only thing they have accomplished is to hinder the progress of conservative figures who actually cared about preserving the country they inherited and the ideas that would make that possible. (Read more.)


Scottish Gothic

 From New Alba:

Russell Kirk did not like science fiction. Or, at least, he seems to have thought that everything done in the genre after H.G Wells was superfluous and derivative: artificers following artists. Although he might acknowledge the speculative intelligence that shines through Wells’ adventure stories (which all good science fiction has), he found this kind of writing inherently limited. For Kirk, modern science fiction was hampered by its materialism and mechanistic view of nature; its curiosity about the far-flung rocks in the inhuman wastes of the solar system and its ignorance of the soul. Literary interest (let alone real belief) in “martians and jovians” is what modern man resorted to after Heaven and Hell slipped from his imagination and he began looking for something, anything, to colour the wan universe now it had been drained of the lamb’s blood. To save his heart from the desiccation that follows from the knowledge that reality is mere atom and space—endless granularity and emptiness —he imagines that there is life clinging to those rocks, peeping at us through nebulas with technology that ignites the same wonder that his ancestors once derived from the transformation at Cana.

Which is why his preferred genre was the ghost story. Often relegated with science-fiction to the dusty shelf of unserious literature by the kind of reader who reads James Joyce and nothing else (and then misunderstands him), Kirk preferred the elder of these poor brothers because, while the two are usually (and nobly) intended to delight and entertain, the ghost story feeds, rather than destroys, man’s spiritual nature. Consonant with a Christian view of reality, the ghost story derives its power to move and chill from the idea (as comforting as it is disturbing) that there is life after the body’s death. But it isn’t simply this metaphysical difference between science fiction and the ghost story (or gothic writing as a whole) that made the Catholic Kirk prefer the latter, but rather the moral ramification of this metaphysic. Involve as they do hauntings that follow on from catastrophes and great sins, and evil represented as a powerful supernatural force, gothic tales are the supreme literary expression of the Christian sensibility. The world of gothic fiction is not only fallen but haunted with the idea of inevitable retribution; they present evil as the supreme fact of worldly existence and the necessity of great strength to resist it.

And it is a Scot who stands among the first rate in the genre. Although he was probably an atheist, Robert Louis Stevenson’s stories are a compelling bit of evidence for the claim that he never really escaped from the pessimism and obsession with man’s bestial side that marked the Calvinism of his Edinburgh upbringing. While this might be commonplace in Stevenson's criticism, it’s an indispensable fact for anyone trying to grasp the nature of his particular style of horror. The moral climate of his early years was the perfect condition for a sort of second sight to germinate inside him, which at the time of full maturity had grown strong enough to allow him to see the darker reaches of human nature that mellower souls must strain to glimpse. The material for gothic fiction is mined from seams in that zone, and Kirk would likely agree that it was Stevenson’s Christ-haunted outlook that let him get at it.

Let’s take his most famous short tale, Jekyll and Hyde. A wayward scientist harbours a lifelong irritation on the subject of man’s duality (part good, part evil: partly divine and partly animal). He invents a drug that will unchain the two sides so the desires and ambitions of each can achieve their goals without frustration. Dr Jekyll’s transformation into Mr Hyde (who “alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil”) becomes irreversible at the end, as the force of all that is base and cruel within his soul inexorably achieves supremacy; once tasted, sin will not be left unindulged, and the sinner slides further down into damnation. The narrative itself follows the growing knowledge of Dr Jekyll’s friend John Utterson, who slowly comes to know the truth about Mr Hyde and his precise relationship to Jekyll—a bloody catastrophe that thrusts onto the living a horrible revelation. (Read more.)


At the Frick Madison

 From Vogue:

At the Frick Madison, as it’s been styled, the collection comes directly to the fore; both revealing its richesse and its oversights. (Focused on the tastes of one very rich steel-and-coke man, the collection is, all things considered, pretty narrow in scope.) Moving through the galleries, with their staid gray backdrops and minimal identifying details—like on 70th Street, there are no wall texts here, so you’d do well to use the Frick’s audio guide on the Bloomberg Connects app—one can’t help but see the works differently. Ignore, if you can, the “dings” from the elevator, and you just may find yourself absorbed by a piece that once rather faded into the damask. There’s no jostling for space in this building, or competing for attention with a molding or a Renaissance-era couch. The breathing room abounds, serving up an altogether different kind of splendor.

While working on the building, Breuer told the Whitney’s leadership that a Manhattan museum “should transform the vitality of the street into the sincerity and profundity of art,” and indeed, he managed to create a sense of lightness and brightness to revitalizing effect. There are, in the old Frick as here, certain obvious highlights: Fragonard’s The Progress of Love panels in full, glorious flower; Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert, bathed in the light of one of Marcel Breuer’s famous trapezoidal windows; Rembrandt’s magisterial self-portrait. But quite suddenly, I could hardly tear myself away from Titian’s Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap; I was dazzled by the red-ringed eyes of the mourners in Gerard David’s The Deposition, and by Hans Holbein’s crazy velvet sleeves in Sir Thomas More; I loved the funny, little faces (and the ducks!) in Turner’s The Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile​, and the curl of Julia, Lady Peel’s hair in a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence. And goodness, where had Chardin’s Still Life with Plums, so tidy and splendid, been hiding? And the 17th-century Indian carpets? I’d seen—even studied!—so many of these artworks before, but never quite like this. (Read more.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Sophia Loren’s Vintage Beauty

 From Vogue:

You will have spied Italian actor Sophia Loren in British Vogue’s April issue as part of the Hollywood Portfolio, which features 27 of the world’s biggest stars. Photographed looking as glamorous as she has always been, the 86-year-old silver-screen legend has long been a fan of a glamorous look and her attitude to beauty is refreshing. She once said: “Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

It only goes to show that Loren feels as good on the inside as she externally looks. Her penchant for Italian glamour has always been a whole beauty mood – it is timeless. There is the trademark feline flick and voluptuous eyelashes; the bold lipsticks, from red to pink; glamorous blow dries; and her bold eyebrows, expertly filled in. These are looks that many of us still imitate today and she is regularly name-checked backstage at fashion shows. Here, we take a look at some of her most show-stopping vintage beauty looks over the years. (Read more.)


Child Sex Abuse At Border Alleged

 From Jeffrey Lord:

“Texas officials are investigating allegations of child sex abuse and neglect at San Antonio’s Freeman Expo Center, where thousands of migrant children who crossed the border are being held.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made the alarming announcement at the center Wednesday night, according to News4SA.

The Republican said there are four complaints being investigated: child abuse, understaffing, unfed children and a failure to separate kids with COVID-19 from healthy children, the report said.”

The Governor added this obvious point: “These products are a bi-product of President Biden’s policies.”

Governor Abbott is exactly right.

The real tragedy here is that none of this is rocket science. Why is all this happening? The American Military News headlined the reason right here:

The story cites a report from ABC’s Martha Raddatz and says this:

“An illegal immigrant told ABC News on Saturday that he unlawfully crossed the border into the United States because Joe Biden is president, noting that he would not have attempted the journey if Donald Trump still held office.

When ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked the illegal immigrant father – who traveled from Brazil with his wife and three children – if he would have tried crossing the border when Trump was president, the man responded, ‘Definitely not.’

ABC’s Martha Raddatz to illegal alien who crossed the border: ‘Would you have tried to do this when Donald Trump was president?’

Illegal alien: ‘Definitely not.’

Raddatz: ‘Did you come here because Joe Biden was elected president?’

(Read more.)


Romanticizing Death: Art in the Age of Tuberculosis

 From The Collector:

Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted from microscopic droplets released in the air. It prompts symptoms including pale skin, a high temperature, and the tell-tale sign of coughing up blood. From Hippocrates through to the nineteenth century, the disease was also known as phthisis and consumption. These are terms derived from their Greek and Latin origins, with the former meaning “to waste away.” And ‘waste away’ its sufferers do: without medical intervention tuberculosis is routinely fatal.

It acts by first affecting the air passages of the lungs known as pulmonary alveoli where the bacterium replicates. This causes the symptoms such as weight-loss (cachexia) and labored breathing (dyspnea) to manifest, which weaken the patient and cause their gradual deterioration. Despite the fact that it can now be managed by antibiotics, tuberculosis remains to this date a highly dangerous disease and is listed as the tenth leading cause of death worldwide.

This disease has been present and documented since antiquity but peaked in Western Europe in the early modern period. By the nineteenth century, tuberculosis had become an epidemic in Europe. Between the years of 1851 and 1910 in England and Wales alone, a staggering four million died from tuberculosis, with more than one third of those aged between 15 to 34, and half between 20 to 24. This earned the disease another apt title: “the robber of youth.” 

It was not until 1944, when streptomycin, the first antibiotic drug for the disease was founded that it could be managed. This was made possible by the discoveries made in earlier centuries by one of the main founders of modern bacteriology, Robert Koch (1843 – 1910), who in 1882 had successfully discovered and isolated the tubercle bacillus organism that caused the disease. (Read more.)


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Echo and Narcissus: A Story About Love And Obsession

Echo and Narcissus (1903) by John William Waterhouse
 From The Collector:

One of the women that fell in love with Narcissus was the nymph Echo (which derives from the Greek word for ‘sound’). Echo was once a woman who enjoyed talking and was known for interrupting others in conversation. However, she did the mistake of helping Zeus, the King of the Greek Olympian gods, in hiding his love affairs from his wife, Hera. Whenever Hera was close to catching Zeus with someone else, Echo disoriented the goddess with long stories giving Zeus time to leave. As soon as Hera realized what Echo was doing, she cursed her to never be able to speak her mind out loud again. Instead, Echo would only be able to repeat the last words spoken by someone else. One day, Echo saw Narcissus in the woods and, enchanted by his looks, began spying on him. Echo followed the boy and became more and more attracted to him, but there was one problem. Echo was unable to speak to Narcissus. The only way to let him know of her feelings was to wait for him to say something. (Read more.)


Interview With America's General Michael Flynn



Duking It Out

 From Steyn Online:

At Buck House that night, we discussed the European Union. And all I can say, without betraying confidences, is that the events of the last year would not have dismayed those of us around the table that evening. Initially, I was unsure of how forcefully to disagree with His Highness, but The Hon Sir Angus Ogilvy, sitting next to me, kept goading me sotto voce: "Go on... He enjoys it."

He did. As Diana Mosley said to me many years ago of the Duchess of Windsor, he "always returned the ball". As a Canadian, I was somewhat distracted by the referendum Down Under, which I kept trying to slip into the conversation. But the Duke was inscrutable on that front - or perhaps, as I now think of it, quietly confident about victory. The Romanovs, the Habsburgs, the Hohenzollerns and his family's own throne in Greece were long gone, but the House of Windsor endures, thanks in part to his sharp stewardship. The young Queen was shy and unconfident; he was shrewd, witty, widely read, and stoic about the accumulated frustrations of a manly man stuck as permanent second banana.

Toward the end of that night, as he walked us to the door before my carriage turned back into a pumpkin, I made an offhand remark contrasting the 1901 Aussie constitution with the 1867 Canadian one, and the subject evidently engaged him, because he launched into a remarkably well informed disquisition on the differences between the two: The Australian states are sovereign entities in a way the Canadian provinces are not, etc.

There were a half-dozen or so of us at dinner that night - an earl, a viscount, a baron, a knight, plus a plain old mister (me). All are now gone: Sir Angus (Alexandra's hubby), Viscount Younger (former Defence Secretary), the Earl of Carnarvon (known to viewers of The Crown as "Porchy", the Queen's racing manager), Lord Blake (the great historian of the Tory Party), to whom I was presented by the Duke with the minimalist introduction: "Mr Steyn writes. Do you read?" Lord Blake averred that he did.

I'd assumed upon acceptance of my invitation that we guests would be there as unpaid jesters to amuse our Royal hosts. But, in fact, HRH was a quickwitted chap; we were hard put to keep up with him, and I would have to say he had the best lines of the night. (Read more.)

Cold War Military Project Found in Greenland

 From Live Science:

Frozen soil that was collected in Greenland during the Cold War by a secret military operation hid another secret: buried fossils that could be a million years old. Recent analysis revealed plants that were so well-preserved they "look like they died yesterday," researchers said.

U.S. Army scientists dug up the ice core in northwestern Greenland in 1966 as part of Project Iceworm, a covert mission to build a subsurface base concealing hundreds of nuclear warheads, where they would be within striking range of the Soviet Union. An Arctic research station named Camp Century was the Army's cover story for the project. But Iceworm fizzled; the base was abandoned and the ice core lay forgotten in a freezer in Denmark until it was rediscovered in 2017.

When scientists investigated the core in 2019 they discovered fragments of fossilized plants that may have bloomed a million years ago. Greenland's present ice cover was thought to be nearly 3 million years old, but the tiny plant fragments say otherwise, showing that at some point within the last million years — possibly within the last few hundred thousand years — much of Greenland was ice-free. (Read more.)


Monday, April 12, 2021

An Eclectic, Imaginative World

From W Magazine:

Anyone who needs some guidance on that front can now turn to Beata Heuman: Every Room Should Sing, out today from Rizzoli, to explore ten of Heuman’s projects, from her own elegant townhouse to a writer’s jewel-like pied-à-terre. As much as the book is a record of some of Heuman’s most dazzling interiors, it is really a treatise about how to create a practical space that also feels individual and alive, no matter the budget or square footage. “You get so much more joy and fulfillment from your home when you connect with it on a personal level,” she says.

 Growing up in the countryside in Sweden, Heuman wasn’t really aware that becoming an interior designer was an option. “Hiring an interior designer is highly unusual—people are really into doing it yourself,” she says. (But there were hints of her future career there: As a child, she did constantly rearrange her room “to various degrees of success.”) In her early 20s, she moved to London, where a friend introduced her to Nicky Haslam, the decorator and man-about-town. She worked for Haslam’s design studio for nine years, absorbing his unique combination of refinement and irreverence like a sponge. While Haslam is known for his high-society clientele, Heuman notes that there’s a cheeky side to his work that many don’t fully appreciate: In the book, she tells the story of how he once became enamored with a piece of oxblood-red sandpaper they found on the floor, which he then decided to use as a wall covering in a stately home, overlaying the humble material with leather panels. “I love doing things that are a bit unexpected, and not necessarily considered the ‘right’ thing,” Heuman says. “I love taking some risks in that regard. He really showed me how to do that.” (Read more.)