Saturday, April 21, 2007

Limbo, book covers and lyric poets

  • It's now official. Although
    In the 5th century, St. Augustine declared that all unbaptized babies went to hell upon death. By the Middle Ages, the idea was softened to suggest a less severe fate, limbo,
    this concept is set to be rejected in official Catholic theology.
  • At ...By It's Cover, Jim has a wonderful collection of old book covers, such as

    and many others.
  • Rogue Classicism gives us a lovely fragment from the Greek lyric poet Praxilla. From her 'Adonis in the Underworld':
    Of all the pleasures in the upper world
    what I miss most is sunlight
    after that the stars, a full moon
    summer's late season harvest of fruits
    cucumber, apple, pomegranate, pear.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oddest book title

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Textfiles and right turns

  • Jason Scott is a beautiful writer. Even if you have no interest in the subject matter (the early BBS scene, the demoscene, etc, which is actually damn interesting), reading his essays is still a joy. Here is a lovely piece on early software crackers (from this essay):
    And with these skills came two types of personality; the quiet get-it-done utilitarian software cracker, and the Oompah-Band-Playing Showboater, who would be more than happy not just to crack the software but tie it into a little bow, fixed up and optimized, and better than when you found it initially. At the risk of a totally silly analogy, imagine a car thief that returns your car a day later with better shocks and fuel efficiency. And photos of all the women he picked up in your car. Including your daughter. That's hubris, that's in-your-face. It's rude, crude, but it contains panache.
  • Me and UPS both avoid left turns.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Random numbers, flickr photos

  • Best regards for First Day of the Writing of the Book of the Law, and blessings upon our Holy Prophet.
  • It seems that if one asked to pick a number between 1 and 20, 17 is the number most often chosen, by far:
    ...the number 17 was picked much more often -- almost 18 percent of the time, compared to the 5 percent you might expect from this sample.
    and interestingly, prime numbers are also picked disproportionately often.
  • I've just uploaded a few more snapshots of the 1988 Cape Town Castle excavations to flickr:
    View from castle CT Castle Excavation - screening CT Castle Excavation - glassware CT Castle Excavation - dirt CT Castle Excavation - climbing down and a previous uploaded snapshot from the restaurant at Tsitsikamma National Park: Tsitsikamma - birdies on the table

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Eat the sorcerer

  • Dieneke's Anthropology Blog has a summary of a couple of posts on cannibalism. The first is from the Smithsonian magazine, and regards the Korowai of New Guinea, and their practice of consuming people suspected of being khakhua (malevolent male sorcerers):
    ...Bailom shakes his head. "Human flesh tastes like young cassowary," he says, referring to a local ostrich-like bird. At a khakhua meal, he says, both men and women—children do not attend—eat everything but bones, teeth, hair, fingernails and toenails and the penis. "I like the taste of all the body parts," Bailom says, "but the brains are my favorite."
    He also mentions this story from Eitb24, the 'Basque News and Information Channel', regarding cannibalism among the Aztec. A caravan of about 550 Spanish were captured at what is now known as Tecuaque:
    The caravan was apparently captured because it was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519, and so was moving slowly.
    The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests selected a few each day at dawn, held them down on a sacrificial slab, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods. Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen.
    ...
    On hearing of the massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque -- meaning "where people were eaten" in the indigenous Nahuatl language -- and sent an army to wipe out its people. When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims' possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for the archaeologists.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Early modern Homo sapiens from China

Exciting analysis of early modern Homo sapiens remains from Tianyuan Cave, China. From the BBC:
Researchers found 34 bone fragments belonging to a single individual at the Tianyuan Cave, near Beijing.
...
Radiocarbon dates, obtained directly from the bones, show the person lived between 42,000 and 39,000 years ago.
...
The Tianyuan remains display diagnostic features of modern H. sapiens. But co-author Erik Trinkaus and his colleagues argue, controversially, that the bones also display features characteristic of earlier human species, such as relatively large front teeth.
The most likely explanation, they argue, is interbreeding between early modern humans emerging from Africa and the archaic populations they encountered in Europe and Asia.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

Stuff I Collect - Militaria WW2 WWII First 1st Allied Airborne pin OPA ration token (1 blue) WW1 U.S. Shipyard Voluntee...