Alchemical Illustrations

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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La Boite Verte's post Des illustrations de manuscrits d’alchimie has a good collection of Alchemist illustrations. These images, and those after the jump, are a sample of some of those images. Their esoteric nature makes them fascinating, with a hint of magic and the dark arts about them.

La Boite Verte is in French, but it is easy to find the links to their sources, which are in English. Also, there are many more -- and larger -- images at La Boite Verte.

Ain't No Sunshine

Sunday, August 20, 2017

To get you in the mood for the solar eclipse here's Hillary Wallace And The Death's cover of Ain't No Sunshine.

The World's Littlest Skyscraper

Saturday, August 19, 2017
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In the early years of the 20th century Witchita County, Texas was experiencing an oil boom. Many people were moving there for jobs and the local infrastructure was stressed, with office space in particular being in short supply.

To solve that problem J.D. McMahon, a Philadelphia developer, proposed building a skyscraper in the town of Witchita Falls and started selling stock in his venture. Investors poured some $200,000 into the venture.

However, when the towering skyscraper was built it was only 40ft tall, rather than the 480 feet the investors expected. Alas for them, the scale on the blueprints was in square inches, not square feet as they thought, and there was no remedy for the swindle.

In its day you could barely fit four desks into one of its floors and it fell into disuse. However, it somehow managed to avoid demolition over the decades, and in 2000 it was renovated and now serves as a tourist attraction and antique shop.

From Oddly Historical's post The World’s Littlest Skyscraper.

Folsom Prison Blues

Friday, August 18, 2017

Get ready for a weekend of doing time with this cover of the Johnny Cash song by Josh Turner and Carson McKee.

Western Saloons

Thursday, August 17, 2017
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In the old west, after a hard day of herding doggies, gunning down buffalos and dodging Apache arrows, a man needed a place to wet his whistle. The saloon was just such a place. Here, and after the jump, are some old photos of those iconic drinking holes.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This video is filmed forwards, but made to look like it is being ran backwards. I found it looking for an old Steve Allen Tonight Show clip of the same sort of thing. He used to do a bit where they would act out a scene backwards, and then run it backwards to see how it looked going forwards. I never did find a clip of that gag from his show, so this will have to do.

Crown Shyness

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
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Crown shyness is an interesting effect among certain species of trees. When the trees grow in proximity their crowns will not touch, leaving a slight gap between them.

The causes of crown shyness are not known. It may be caused by abrasion between the outer twigs and leaves, a strategy to maximize sunlight, a barrier to the spread of parasitic insects, or some other reason altogether.

Found via Colossal Art

An eagle's view of a flight

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Freedom Conservation is a group, operating out of France, that breeds birds of prey and teached them to hunt before releasing them to the wild. They've attached cameras to some of the birds to create amazing videos of the birds in flight.

Stained Glass Windows

Saturday, August 12, 2017
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It seems like I would have done a post about stained glass windows already, but I've looked through the archives and can't find one.

At any rate, the enormous mosaics of colored glass are amazing in their detail and artistry. These images show effects of the settings of stained glass windows, as well as details from them. There are more examples after the jump.

Space Oddity

Friday, August 11, 2017

Get ready for a celestial weekend with Gabrielle Aplin's cover of  Space Oddity.

When you need music for a seduction

Thursday, August 10, 2017
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A dapper fellow brings his portable radio to set the mood for a seduction in the woods. The young lady appears to be falling for the cad's suave move.

Picture swiped from Beachcombings' Bizarre History Blog, which is well worth a visit.

Landing in Fukuoka Japan at the end of the war

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A story about a U.S. cargo plane landing at Fukuoka Japan at the end of the war and being confronted with armed Japanese soldiers and a single low ranking Japanese officer. There is something off kilter about it -- it is hard to believe the civilian Japanese girl knows the war is over, but not the Japanese lieutenant. I would be curious to hear her version of the night. Still, it is a fascinating vignette from the end of WWII.

The Landau Roof

Monday, August 07, 2017
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I had forgotten about the Landau roof --  the fake convertible tops that used to be ubiquitous. The style, which was meant to look like the movable tops of horse drawn carriages, started in the 1920s but quickly faded out of favor.

It returned in the 1960s and 70s as a styling touch which was meant to invoke luxury. As explained in Motoring Research's article A brief history of the vinyl roof, covered:
In 1955, Ford had created a so-called ‘Personal Luxury Car’ segment with the Thunderbird – a car majoring on style and luxury, rather than performance and handling. If any car was able to provide a suitable platform for the second coming of the vinyl roof, it was the T-bird.

Step forward the 1962 model, which offered more than 100 improvements compared to the previous Thunderbird, along with the option of a vinyl-covered hardtop coupe. It even re-introduced landau bars as a styling touch – a feature not seen since the 1920s.

Suddenly, the vinyl roof developed ideas above its station (certainly above a car’s roofline). No longer positioned as styling garnish, the vinyl roof was now a must-have option for the style-conscious and drivers of good taste. As least that’s what the manufacturers wanted us to believe.

Ford claims the Thunderbird “reached its pinnacle as a personal luxury car” with the 1975 model, offering features such as concealed windscreen wipers, an opera window, solid-state ignition, electric windows, automatic seat-back release, white-wall tyres and – you’ve guessed it – a dense-grain vinyl roof.

Tick the ‘Silver Luxury Group’ option box and “discriminating owners” could enjoy “exterior accoutrements” such as a padded Silver Odense grain half-vinyl roof, or a full-vinyl roof when combined with an electrically-operated glass moonroof. Opt for the ‘Copper Luxury Group’ and the vinyl roof was finished in a shade of copper. Americans had never had it so good.
However, like most ghastly 1970s styles, they again lost popularity and these days are mainly considered as pointless and faintly ludicrous details. Regardless, there is an aftermarket for Landau roofs if you have a hankering for one.

The Back Streets of Delhi

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Long-time regulars will know I have a fascination for videos of people just walking down streets. In this video an Australian (I think) fellow films some back streets in Delhi, India. It is interesting how many people say hello to him on his little jaunt.

Official WWI Art of the American Expeditionary Forces

Wednesday, August 02, 2017
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Upon entering WW1 the U.S. Government selected 8 artists and commissioned them as Captains to record the war for the public. From Picturing World War I: America's First Official War Artists, 1918-1919:
By spring 1918 the artists were in France, busy at work. Both the American and French high commands gave the artists carte blanche to travel where they would in the war zone and to draw whatever they saw. They took full advantage of their freedom to create images of men, machines, and landscapes from the ports of debarkation to the front lines. Ultimately they produced more than 700 sketches, drawings, and paintings. Their work fell into four broad categories: warscapes, which depicted devastated landscapes and damaged buildings, usually with little or no human presence; soldier life and activities, both at work and at rest behind the lines; military technology and engineering, with particular attention to such novelties as tanks, planes, and motor vehicles, as well as the AEF’s logistical underpinnings; and combat.
These images of saome of their work are from the Smithsonian Institution archives collection:  Official Art from the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. There are more pictures after the jump, and of course many more at the link.

There but for the Grace of God

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

If you've ever had a hankering to quit your day job and take up the carefree life of a hobo, now's your chance. Hobo Tough Life is a city survival simulation where you can test your mettle on the mean streets. Beg for money, dumpster dive, try not to smell like a pig or freeze to death, and more!

The game is much sillier than the trailer makes it out to be. Below is some gameplay from it.