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February 06 2018

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Map of California, by Francis DeFoy for Bank of America, 1938

Click through to zoom in and out and/or donload a high resolution copy from the David Rumsey Map Collection. (via Lauren Tierney via a RT by Dana Bauer)

February 04 2018

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Carolina Miranda on Instagram:

“Barulho de fondo,” by Renata Lucas features security camera footage of the Modernist Cicillio Matarazzo Pavilion in Sao Paulo, empty — except for the presence of loose wild animals. Part of “Condemned to be Modern” at @lamagbarnsdall.

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Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World”:

This video showcases the latest polar bear point-of-view footage to date along with an interview of the research scientist who is responsible for the project. Released in conjunction with a new scientific study led by the USGS.

I arrived at this video via “What Scientists Learned From Strapping a Camera to a Polar Bear: Hours of film showed the animals just living life—and suggested that, in the age of climate change, their day-to-day existence may get much harder,” by Robinson Meyer, who tweeted a framed passage of the article…

Scientists rarely get to observe polar bears just being polar bears—the Arctic is big, and also, uh, bears eat people—so they strapped special cameras to them.

They learned… polar bears are huge weirdos.

So the team’s footage—days of film of polar bears just being polar bears—was something special. The cameras showed bears spending hours of their day sitting near gaps in the sea ice, waiting for a seal to surface to breathe. The footage caught bears trying to sneak up on seals who were sunning themselves on the ice. It displayed, even more peculiarly, a bear trying to catch seals by swimming beneath the ice.

“One bear was throwing chunks of ice in the water,” Pagano said. The animal seemed to lift up a piece of ice above its head, stand on its hind legs, and chuck it into the water. “She did this repeatedly,” he told me. “It’s not clear why that individual was doing that.”

… and then followed with another framed passage:

I regret to inform you that while female polar bears are huge weirdos, male polar bear mating habits are… sub-optimal

Even more spectacularly, the team got to glimpse the polar-bear courting and breeding process. Courting?, I asked Pagano. Do the males bring fish to the females or something?

He paused. “Usually the males would simply harass the females until they would acquiesce,” he said. “It varied depending on the individuals, for sure. But most typically the bears would follow and harass the females—and the females would try to get them to create some space, would vocalize at the male and paw at the male—but the male would harass and dog the female until she gave in.”

The cameras faced to the front, so researchers couldn’t verify every instance of mating. “But in some instances, I could see shadows on the ice, shadows on top of the female,” Pagano said. “Which was, yep, quite interesting.”

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Arctic Foxes Destroy Filmmaker’s Camera”:

Curious arctic fox kits, having discovered one of our motion-sensor cameras, proceed to tear it apart.

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Animals with Cameras:

Go where no human cameraman can go and witness a new perspective of the animal kingdom in Animals with Cameras, A Nature Miniseries. The new three-part series journeys into animals’ worlds using custom, state-of-the-art cameras worn by the animals themselves. Capturing never-before-seen behavior, these animal cinematographers help expand human understanding of their habitats and solve mysteries that have eluded scientists until now.

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan and a team of pioneering animal behaviorists join forces to explore stories of animal lives “told” by the animals themselves. The cameras are built custom by camera design expert Chris Watts to fit on the animals unobtrusively and to be easily removed at a later point. From this unique vantage point, experience the secret lives of nine different animal species. Sprint across the savanna with a cheetah, plunge into the ocean with a seal and swing through the trees with a chimpanzee.

Play fullscreen

Un albero un anno - One tree one year

A “special” beech tree kept under observation for a whole year by a concealed eye, which never closes.Four seasons unfolding around a crossroad of smells, signals and messages left behind by the extraordinary wildlife of the Apennines. What you see here is just a small part of this incredible experience. In the past two years, we have understood that in the vastity of the forest each tree is unique. There are trees where to lay your eggs or where to find a safe cover; trees on which to look for food or, simply, to scratch your back and thus leave behind a trace of your passage. Who knows how many of such trees are around…

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Michael Oman-Reagan:

Le Guin’s dedication page in “The Dispossessed” speaks so much about that book, her ideals, and about the kinds of justice she imagined possible — it is dedicated to “the” partner, not “my” partner — removing the idea of property and ownership from love.

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Signs of Ships in the Clouds”:

Ships churning through the Atlantic Ocean produced this patchwork of bright, criss-crossing cloud trails off the coast of Portugal and Spain. The narrow clouds, known as ship tracks, form when water vapor condenses around tiny particles of pollution that ships emit as exhaust or that form from gases in the exhaust. Ship tracks typically form in areas where low-lying stratus and cumulus clouds are present.

Some of the pollution particles generated by ships (especially sulfates) are soluble in water and serve as the seeds around which cloud droplets form. Clouds infused with ship exhaust have more and smaller droplets than unpolluted clouds. As a result, the light hitting the polluted clouds scatters in many directions, making them appear brighter and thicker than unpolluted marine clouds, which are typically seeded by larger, naturally occurring particles such as sea salt.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on January 16, 2018. Some of the criss-crossing clouds stretch hundreds of kilometers from end to end. The narrow ends of the clouds are youngest, while the broader, wavier ends are older.

Image Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

(via Deb Chachra)

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One Take: Incoming: A new video installation from Richard Mosse investigates the refugee crisis”:

When compared to the inadequately covered bodies of refugees in life rafts, or the wispy fabric that migrants in a truck convoy struggle to use to protect their faces from dusty roads, or their few garments hung out to dry at shelters, it’s a reminder of the physical barriers between those with shelter and those without it. Incoming documents a contemporary Odyssey of humans displaced from their homes. Mosse effectively repurposes thermal technology, ordinarily reserved for states and the military, to expose the susceptibility and vulnerability of the human body, and the rights we take for granted as inalienably assigned to it, when those bodies become stateless.

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Black Monolith, II: Homage To Ralph Ellison The Invisible Man, Jack Whitten, 1994 (acrylic and mixed media on canvas: molasses, copper, salt, coal ash, chocolate, onion, herbs, rust, eggshell, razor blade; via “Jack Whitten, the Pioneering and Inventive Abstract Painter, Dies at 78”)

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Sammy Harkham illusration for “Rambling Through Time

January 21 2018

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Ian Hamilton Finlay, “You/Me,” lithograph from The Blue and the Brown Poems (photo via Hyperallergic)

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Plumes (1907-1910),Adolphe Philippe Millot

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from Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, part of Atlas for the End of the World

Oriental White-eye That Died from Light Pollution [top]

Artificial lighting in Singapore has taken a toll on bird populations. Scientists used to believe that light pollution affected only nocturnal birds. In recent years, diurnal birds have also been found dead as a result of flying into brightly lit towers. Whole flocks have also been reported to collide with buildings. Diurnal birds are often woken up by sudden loud noises, causing them to fly in confusion towards these bright lights as they believe dawn has arrived.

FLycatcher Thar Migrated in the Wrong Direction [bottom]

Scientists believe that global warming is affecting the way that birds use the magnetic poles to navigate long distances. Some birds have been migrating to the North instead of the warmer South during winter, resulting in mass bird graves found in the Arctic.

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The David Collection:


Fritware dish, painted in black under a transparent, turquoise glaze
Syria, Raqqa; beginning of 13th century
H: 10,5; Diam: 37 cm

Raqqa pottery from the 13th century is distinctive for the vitality of its painted decoration, which is essentially different from the far more meticulous style that characterized contemporary Iranian ceramics.

This bowl is decorated with a leaping panther with a little head and extremely long legs, rounded in elegant curves. It is a further development of the kind of animal depictions found on Tell Minis ware).

Four-legged predators are classical symbols of power and are frequently found in Islamic art.

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“#Photobomb! This bird made a surprise appearance in @MarkTamayoKTVU weather report today [12 Jan 2018]!” —KTVU (Click through for video.)

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Fragrance-coded card catalog”:

In 1974, the public library in Upper Arlington, Ohio added scratch-and-sniff scents to its card catalog. They called it the “Stick Your Nose in the Card Catalogue” program.

The idea was that the card in the catalog would have a scent, and then the book on the shelf would have a matching scent. So you could find your books by smell. There were about 60 scents in total, including apple, chocolate, garlic, lemon, roses, root beer, leather, pizza, orange, strawberry, candles, pine, cheddar cheese, clover, and smoke.

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