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Decoding the Morse: The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Adam Green - June 14, 2017 in carta marina, conrad gessner, Culture & History, Featured Articles, morse, olaus magnus, Religion, Myth & Legend, walrus

Amongst the assorted curiosities described in Olaus Magnus' 1555 tome on Nordic life was the morse — a hirsuite, fearsome, walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth. Natalie Lawrence explores the career of this chimerical wonder, shaped both by scholarly images of a fabulous north and the grisly corporeality of the trade in walrus skins, teeth, and bone.

Gustav Wunderwald’s Paintings of Weimar Berlin

Adam Green - May 31, 2017 in 1920s, Art & Illustrations, Berlin, Featured Articles, flâneur, gustav wunderwald, industrialisation, industry, interwar, neue sachlichkeit, new objectivity, Painting, roaring twenties, walter benjamin, working class

The Berlin of the 1920s is often associated with a certain image of excess and decadence, but it was a quite different side of the city — the sobriety and desolation of its industrial and working-class districts — which came to obsess the painter Gustav Wunderwald. Mark Hobbs explores.

Stuffed Ox, Dummy Tree, Artificial Rock: Deception in the Work of Richard and Cherry Kearton

Adam Green - May 17, 2017 in bird photography, birds, cherry kearton, early wildlife photography, Featured Articles, first wildlife photographer, kearton brothers, keartons, Photography, richard kearton, spy in the wild

John Bevis on the various feats of cunning and subterfuge undertaken by the Kearton brothers — among the very first professional wildlife photographers — in their pioneering attempts to get ever closer to their subjects.

Woodcuts and Witches

Adam Green - May 4, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, christianity, crone, Culture & History, demonology, demons, devils, Featured Articles, king james, occult, persecution, printing, printing revolution, Religion, Myth & Legend, sorcery, witchcraft, witches, wizards

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding crone — complete with cauldron and cats — so familiar today.

Woodcuts and Witches

Adam Green - May 4, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, christianity, crone, Culture & History, demonology, demons, devils, Featured Articles, king james, occult, persecution, printing, printing revolution, Religion, Myth & Legend, sorcery, witchcraft, witches, wizards

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding crone — complete with cauldron and cats — so familiar today.

Lofty Only in Sound: Crossed Wires and Community in 19th-Century Dreams

Adam Green - April 5, 2017 in civil war, Culture & History, dream, dreams, Featured Articles, paranormal, poetry, psychology, Science & Medicine, telepathy, us civil war

Alicia Puglionesi on a curious case of supposed dream telepathy at the end of the US Civil War, and the important role dreams played in how a traumatised nation responded to the conflict.

Defoe and the Distance to Utopia

Adam Green - January 25, 2017 in Books, captain singleton, daniel defoe, Featured Articles, gulliver's travellers, jonathan swift, Literature, new atlantis, robinson crusoe, thomas more, utopia

In the wake of recent shifts in the political landscape and, what has been for many, a distinct turn to a more dystopian hue, J.H. Pearl looks to the works of Daniel Defoe and the lessons they can teach us about bringing utopia home.

The Many Lives of the Medieval Wound Man

Adam Green - December 7, 2016 in Art & Illustrations, early modern medicine, Featured Articles, injury, medieval medicine, Science & Medicine, surgery, wound man

Sliced, stabbed, punctured, bleeding, harassed on all sides by various weaponry, the curious image of Wound Man is a frequent presence in the world of medieval and early modern medical manuscripts. Jack Hartnell explores this enigmatic figure’s journey through the centuries.

Astral Travels with Jack London

Adam Green - November 22, 2016 in astral projection, astral travel, Books, Featured Articles, hallucination, jack london, Literature, reincarnation, solitary confinement

On the centenary of Jack London’s death, Benjamin Breen looks at the writer’s last book to be published in his lifetime, The Star Rover — a strange tale about solitary confinement and interstellar reincarnation — and how it speaks to us of the dreams and struggles of the man himself.

“Let us Calculate!”: Leibniz, Llull and Computational Imagination

Adam Green - November 10, 2016 in artificial intelligence, calculating machine, calculator, computation, Culture & History, Featured Articles, language, leibniz, Philosophy, ramon llull, Science & Medicine, the first calculator, universal language

Three hundred years after the death of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and seven hundred years after the birth of Ramon Llull, Jonathan Gray looks at how their early visions of computation and the “combinatorial art” speak to our own age of data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.