Does Roman bread improve with age? It looks like it might

Wednesday, 18 November, 2015

What did Roman bread taste like, exactly?

Thanks to the efforts of British Museum researchers, who analysed the remains of loaf of bread buried in the Roman town of Herculaneum, when Mount Vesuvius erupted in the first century, they were able to supply Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli with a list of its ingredients. He was then able to bake a more or less identical loaf, two thousand years later.

The recipe is here if you wish to make your own Roman era bread as well.

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Peking, China, as seen by British photographer Thomas Child

Tuesday, 17 November, 2015

Imperial City, Peking/Beijing photo by Thomas Child

A selection of photos of late nineteenth century Beijing, then Peking, taken by Thomas Child, a British gas engineer, who worked in China from 1870 to 1889, for the Imperial Maritime Customs. The images were part of an exhibition that took place in London’s Chinatown last week.

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If you could interview yourself in 38 years, what would you ask?

Wednesday, 11 November, 2015

In 1977, at the age of eighteen, US writer, artist, and actor Peter Emshwiller, video-taped one side of an interview that he would eventually conduct with his older self.

He not only recorded a series of sometimes searching questions, but also a wide range of reactions, from good, to bad, to indifferent, that could be edited in, depending on the responses his older self would give to a particular question. At age fifty-six Emshwiller sat down with himself, as it were, to complete the interview.

Emshwiller had been looking to raise funds, which has since happened, so he can digitally restore the 1977 footage of himself, and complete production of the full length conversation. In the meantime, here is an excerpt, or trailer, if you like, of part of the interview.

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Queenstown, Ireland, 1912… based on a true story

Tuesday, 3 November, 2015

For many living in Britain and Ireland one hundred years ago, a ticket for passage on the Titanic, especially on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, was seen by some as a ticket to untold fame and fortune.

Best you take great care of that ticket then, even if it is for a berth in steerage.

Uisce Beatha, being Gaelic for Whiskey, or Water Of Life, a short film by Shaun O Connor, retells the fateful story of one of these third class ticket holders, as he prepared from to sail from Queenstown (now Cobh), aboard the Titanic.

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What price for even a small piece of the Titanic?

Friday, 30 October, 2015

Photo by M Linoenewald

A photo of the iceberg that the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic is reputed to have struck, was sold at an auction in England last week for US$32,000. The picture was taken by the chief steward of a German liner, the Prinz Adalbert, the day after the Titanic sunk, after he noticed red paint marks on the iceberg, although at the time he was unaware of the tragedy.

Also up for sale at the same auction was a cracker biscuit, that a passenger aboard the Carpathia, a ship that assisted in the rescue of many of the Titanic’s survivors, picked up from a rations kit from one of the Titanic’s lifeboats. The cracker went on to fetch about US$23,000.

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13,000 NASA photos from the Apollo Moon flights

Wednesday, 14 October, 2015

Photo via Project Apollo Archive

I was wondering why a post I wrote five years ago, linking to Kipp Teague’s Project Apollo Archive, was suddenly picking up hits again, when I learned that NASA had handed over some thirteen thousand photos taken during the crewed Apollo missions, between 1961 and 1972, to Teague, who has since posted them to Flickr.

Apparently the US space agency no longer has the budget to publish the images – hopefully that money has gone towards the Mars project – but made the right choice finding someone who would. A great resource for anyone writing about, or researching, the Apollo Moon flights.

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The Territories, curating all things Australian, past and present

Friday, 11 September, 2015

Image via The Territories

If the Australian Geographic and the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, were ever to marry, would the union be a match made in heaven? You know what they say, after all, opposites attract. But take a closer look at this would-be couple, and similarities quickly become apparent. For one, both are Australian institutions, not that nationality matters of course.

What is more salient perhaps though, is that both are curators, and highly regarded curators in their respective fields, at that. On one hand there is Australian Geographic, the wildlife and adventure journal first published in 1986, by Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith, that compiles stories of the Australian milieu, and the exploits of its people.

Image via The Territories

On the other, is MONA, based in Hobart, Tasmania, an art museum that was originally founded in 2001, when it was known as the Moorilla Museum of Antiquities, by professional gambler and art collector David Walsh. Today it houses some four hundred artworks, drawn from Walsh’s private collection, and includes works by Sidney Nolan, and Wim Delvoye.

So what if the two organisations were ever to procreate, and bring forth off-spring? What might we expect from such a lineage? Blue Mountains based commercial artist, researcher, and writer, Heath Killen is pretty sure he knows, and has no reservations in saying as much, such a lovechild would be his recently launched publication, The Territories.

Image via The Territories

How then to best describe this child, a multi-platform publication and curatorial project, coming forth from a gene pool so rich and diverse? In a word, precocious, not to mention one as opened minded as they are broad minded, a prerequisite when it comes to the far from straightforward matter of defining, and understanding, Australia’s history and identity.

It’s an ambitious project, with a wide scope, that takes in diverse topics ranging from local flora, fauna, and the environment, to art, film, culture, and history, along with comment on contemporary and historical subjects. To my mind The Territories is more of a curational companion to its would-be parents, but I’m sure “lovechild” is equally as apt.

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The question again, will travel by airship ever make a return?

Friday, 4 September, 2015

Might airships ever return to the skies, and convey us from one place to another, as an alternative to flying in an aircraft?

In 2013, the Aeros Corporation, based near San Diego, demonstrated a tethered flight of Dragon Dream – an airship measuring 90m (295ft) long and 27m wide. As big as this airship is, it is still only small sized prototype – the final design could be more than 169m long and be able to carry a cargo of 66 tonnes.

It’s something that’s been talked about for a long time though, so I don’t know if anything will actually come of it. That said, airship travel didn’t too bad at all. Take a look at these photos of the passenger decks of the Hindenburg, the dining rooms, lounge areas, and small bedrooms. If that’s not a comfortable way to fly, what is?

Unfortunately though, it was the tragic destruction of the Hindenburg in 1937, that brought the era of airship travel to an end.

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The cover song killed the original recording

Thursday, 3 September, 2015

A lot of songs end up being covered, or re-recorded, by another musician, sooner or later. I imagine it’s a compliment of sorts, from one artist to another, but that may not always be the case. Most music lovers will have little trouble picking out a cover from an original, but not all the time.

For instance did you know that the 1980 single Video Killed the Radio Star, by British band The Buggles, was a cover of a song performed by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club, in 1979? A cover of sorts anyway, as it happens Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, of The Buggles, co-wrote the song with Woolley a year or two earlier.

Well known songs by Joan Jett, Buddy Holly, and Kiss, are also among covers that many people assume to be originals.

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The Paleo diet was only the beginning, now there’s Paleo parenting

Thursday, 27 August, 2015

I’ve known of the Paleo, or Paleolithic, diet for sometime, that propagates the idea of consuming the sort of food that humans who lived in the order of ten thousand, to two million, years ago, ate. We’re talking meat, nuts, and berries, but not diary, here. The diet is favoured by some people, living today that is, but also has its critics.

What was new on me though, was the concept of Paleo parenting, or the latter day adopting of Paleolithic child rearing techniques:

Just as Paleo dieters assume a mismatch between human biology and the food culture of the postindustrial West, Paleo parents believe that modern parenting habits don’t support healthy child development. We can raise healthier and happier children, they argue, if we rear them more like early humans did 12,000 years ago.

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