earthstory
earthstory:

This Gif file, released by NASA, shows a series of images taken by the star-tracking camera on the LADEE spacecraft. LADEE is reached the end of its mission successfully and crashed into the Moon’s surface overnighte while I was sleeping on Thursday, so these images were taken while flying over the moon at only a few tens of kilometers height
Credit: NASA
http://sservi.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014-03-04_seriesb.gif

earthstory:

This Gif file, released by NASA, shows a series of images taken by the star-tracking camera on the LADEE spacecraft. LADEE is reached the end of its mission successfully and crashed into the Moon’s surface overnighte while I was sleeping on Thursday, so these images were taken while flying over the moon at only a few tens of kilometers height

Credit: NASA

http://sservi.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014-03-04_seriesb.gif

historical-nonfiction
historical-nonfiction:

The Varangians were the elite forces of the Byzantine army- much like the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome or the Ottoman Janissaries.  They were originally made up exclusively of Vikings (which the empire had been hiring as mercenaries since the 800s), but after the Norman Conquest of England a bunch of exiled Anglo-Saxons were added to the mix.  By the 1100s there were so many English that it was commonly being referred to as the ‘Anglo-Varangian’ Guard.  As the empire declined, the Varangians also fell on hard times.  By the middle of the 1300s they had largely ceased to function and the last mention of them is in the first decade of the 1400s.

historical-nonfiction:

The Varangians were the elite forces of the Byzantine army- much like the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome or the Ottoman Janissaries.  They were originally made up exclusively of Vikings (which the empire had been hiring as mercenaries since the 800s), but after the Norman Conquest of England a bunch of exiled Anglo-Saxons were added to the mix.  By the 1100s there were so many English that it was commonly being referred to as the ‘Anglo-Varangian’ Guard.  As the empire declined, the Varangians also fell on hard times.  By the middle of the 1300s they had largely ceased to function and the last mention of them is in the first decade of the 1400s.

distant-traveller
distant-traveller:

La Silla Poses for an ultra HD shoot


A curtain of stars surrounds the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in this new Ultra High Definition photograph from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. It was captured on the first night of shooting at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits at 2400 metres above sea level on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert.



The majestic telescope enclosure aligns perfectly with the Milky Way’s central region — the brightest section and the area which obscures the galactic centre. The distinctive octagonal enclosure that houses the NTT stands tall in this image — silhouetted against the glittering cosmos above and almost appearing to consume the Milky Way. This telescope housing was considered a technological breakthrough when completed in 1989.
Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible looming above Alpha and Beta Centauri.
La Silla was ESO’s first observatory, inaugurated in 1969. The NTT pictured above was the first telescope in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror and broke new ground for telescope engineering and design paving the way for ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

Image credit: ESO/B.Tafreshi

distant-traveller:

La Silla Poses for an ultra HD shoot

A curtain of stars surrounds the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in this new Ultra High Definition photograph from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. It was captured on the first night of shooting at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits at 2400 metres above sea level on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert.

The majestic telescope enclosure aligns perfectly with the Milky Way’s central region — the brightest section and the area which obscures the galactic centre. The distinctive octagonal enclosure that houses the NTT stands tall in this image — silhouetted against the glittering cosmos above and almost appearing to consume the Milky Way. This telescope housing was considered a technological breakthrough when completed in 1989.

Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible looming above Alpha and Beta Centauri.

La Silla was ESO’s first observatory, inaugurated in 1969. The NTT pictured above was the first telescope in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror and broke new ground for telescope engineering and design paving the way for ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

Image credit: ESO/B.Tafreshi

distant-traveller
distant-traveller:


Total Lunar eclipse







The United States was in a prime orbital position and time of day to view the eclipse on April 15, 2014. Depending on local weather conditions, the public got a spectacular view looking into the sky as the moon’s appearance changed from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and perhaps gray. The eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are in perfect alignment, blanketing the moon in the Earth’s shadow. The United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019. This image was taken in San Jose, Calif.

Image credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day

distant-traveller:

Total Lunar eclipse

The United States was in a prime orbital position and time of day to view the eclipse on April 15, 2014. Depending on local weather conditions, the public got a spectacular view looking into the sky as the moon’s appearance changed from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and perhaps gray. The eclipse is a phenomenon that occurs when the Earth, moon and sun are in perfect alignment, blanketing the moon in the Earth’s shadow. The United States will not be able to witness a full lunar eclipse in its entirety again until 2019. This image was taken in San Jose, Calif.

Image credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day

earthstory
earthstory:

Aurora and star trailsOn the 19th of February this year, a solar storm sent charged particles towards the Earth, photographer Manbharat Singh Dhadly set up his camera to catch a time lapse picture of start trails in order to make a movie, but the camera battery died in the extreme cold. Instead, he stacked the 139 images he managed to take in order to create this eerie image of shimmering green plasma combined with the stars revolving around the north celestial pole.LozImage credit: Manbharat Singh Dhadly

earthstory:

Aurora and star trails

On the 19th of February this year, a solar storm sent charged particles towards the Earth, photographer Manbharat Singh Dhadly set up his camera to catch a time lapse picture of start trails in order to make a movie, but the camera battery died in the extreme cold. Instead, he stacked the 139 images he managed to take in order to create this eerie image of shimmering green plasma combined with the stars revolving around the north celestial pole.

Loz


Image credit: Manbharat Singh Dhadly

earthstory
earthstory:

Meet David Latimer and his 54 year old bottle garden- We like David.On Easter Sunday in 1960, David, using a ten gallon carboy, decided to make a bottle garden. He filled the vessel with compost, about 200ml of water and then delicately lowered in a spiderwort seedling (Tradescantia) using a piece of wire. He then placed the bottle near a window and let nature take over.12 years later, David introduced another small amount of water, closed the container and it hasn’t been open since.As you can see from the image, David’s bottle garden is thriving, but how has it flourished so much?David has had very little to do with it. Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are really running the show; there is an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem at play here, with sufficient nutrient recycling. The plants release oxygen and offer decaying plant litter, which allows soil microorganisms to flourish. The microorganisms (as well as the plants at night) release CO2 through cellular respiration which is utilised by the plants. The water within the bottle is taken up by the plant roots and is then released back into air during transpiration and then condenses back down into the soil where the process starts again.Talk about low maintenance!The bottle stands on display under the stairs in the hallway of his home in Cranleigh, Surrey, England.David plans to pass it on to his children after he is gone or if they do not want it, he will leave it to the Royal Horticultural Society.If that fails, I’ll take it!-JeanIf you would like to make your own bottled garden, here’s some tips: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bottle-Garden/

earthstory:

Meet David Latimer and his 54 year old bottle garden- We like David.

On Easter Sunday in 1960, David, using a ten gallon carboy, decided to make a bottle garden. He filled the vessel with compost, about 200ml of water and then delicately lowered in a spiderwort seedling (Tradescantia) using a piece of wire. He then placed the bottle near a window and let nature take over.

12 years later, David introduced another small amount of water, closed the container and it hasn’t been open since.

As you can see from the image, David’s bottle garden is thriving, but how has it flourished so much?

David has had very little to do with it. Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are really running the show; there is an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem at play here, with sufficient nutrient recycling. The plants release oxygen and offer decaying plant litter, which allows soil microorganisms to flourish. The microorganisms (as well as the plants at night) release CO2 through cellular respiration which is utilised by the plants. The water within the bottle is taken up by the plant roots and is then released back into air during transpiration and then condenses back down into the soil where the process starts again.

Talk about low maintenance!

The bottle stands on display under the stairs in the hallway of his home in Cranleigh, Surrey, England.

David plans to pass it on to his children after he is gone or if they do not want it, he will leave it to the Royal Horticultural Society.

If that fails, I’ll take it!

-Jean

If you would like to make your own bottled garden, here’s some tips: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bottle-Garden/

medievalpoc

medievalpoc:

rj-ames:

medievalpoc:

Master of the Antiphonar of Padua; The Divine Comedy

f. 117r: A Griffin pulling a triumphal chariot with the Three Graces, four Virtues and Luke and Paul.

Italy (c. 1330-40)

Illuminated Manuscript, 390 x 260 mm.

[x] [x]

Isn’t this is taking the term “person of colour” a little literally? During the procession in Dante’s Inferno, he sees a chariot pulled by a griffin with three very peculiar women inside: one snow-white, one emerald green, and one fire-red. [x] [x] [x]  He also describes four dancing women in the chariot beside them.

I mean, I’m not saying it’s not interesting.  This is a really cool piece of art, and you can never have enough illuminated manuscripts.  Or Dante, for that matter. And I suppose green people everywhere appreciate the representation… 

Yes, and I’m aware of this. And honestly I really want to be rude to you because of the totally unnecessary and baiting last sentence, but instead I’m just going to loudly ignore it. Mostly I’m just fed up with people who make assumptions that I’m just being ridiculous, and that I don’t have fairly sound reasons for posting what I post. They’re relevant, they have precedent, and they start discussion.

Were you aware that varying skin tones were often represented with bright blue, purple, or green skin in Medieval art? There are several reasons for this and I’m gonna talk about them.

One example is because of the limitations of certain forms of media. This woman is obviously meant to be Black, but there was no existing glaze to represent dark brown or Black skin in the time and place it was created. So she is blue:

image

Stained glass windows often used green, blue, or purple glass to demonstrate different skin colors, because it was symbolically significant, and because it was very difficult to render a realistic and clear brown glass color for skin and still have facial features be clear to the viewers. It’s also possible they just liked the effect, as well.

Examples include the Queen of Sheba before Solomon and her attendant in this German Stained Glass Window (1270):

image

For comparison, you can see the difficulty they had with brown glass becoming muddled in this German work from c. 1290:

image

They’d improved this a great deal by 1500:

image

In Illuminated Manuscripts, people of color, including people intended to be Black, were colored blue for a few reasons. This is the title illustration for a Bohemian manuscript’s Song of Solomon, for “I am Black, but/and beautiful”:

image

Here’s some more from art historian Esther Schruder or representation of elevated African figures painted with blue skin:

image

This little book of hours comprising 253 folios measures approximately five by seven centimetres. Fourteen of these folios are decorated with full page miniatures and margin decorations, the latter in Ghent-Bruges style. A striking feature of this illumination, in addition to its small format, is the fact that the Ethiopian King is not depicted here as black or brown but as blue.

This colour is found in representations of black people in a number of manuscripts: a splendidly elegant blue King or Magus can be seen, for example, in the Flemish book of hours from circa 1480 –1489 in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (MS M. 234 fol. 083v), while a miniaturist working on the Bijbel van Evert van Soudenbalch in Utrecht around 1465 painted a blue Ethiopian Chamberlain in a scene relating to The Baptism of the Chamberlain (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek). The latter figure is probably the first Ethiopian dignitary from the Bible to be represented in the Netherlands.

Not all the dark-skinned figures in the Vienna manuscript were given a blue hue, however: the dark bride kissed by King Solomon in the Old Testament book Song of Songs, for example, is depicted by the miniaturist with a brown skin.

The artists chose to use blue for the Kings and Chamberlains.

Verses in the exceedingly popular poem Cursor Mundi may well have contributed to the emergence of blue Kings and blue Chamberlains, for the series of legends surrounding the Holy Cross in this early fourteenth-century work includes the story of King David’s conversion of four Saracens who are described ‘as black and blue as lead’.

Hopefully people can read this and see what I mean when I talk about evidence, and interpretations. Is any of this for sure and certain 100% Absolute Truth? OF COURSE NOT. That’s the thing about Medieval European art…so much of it is symbolic and its symbolism can totally override any sense of representational images when it comes to human or humanoid figures.

You speculate, you form questions, you compare, you research, you revise, revisit, and reformulate, and you present your research.

Honestly there are very few things in life that *don’t* seem absurd when you reduce their context and appearance to an absurd degree.