15 December 2018

Award-winning travel photography


The Guardian has posted a gallery of about a dozen winning entries in their annual travel photography competition.  This was the winner in the "single image, faces, people, or culture" category.

Hallam's family's bookcases


"The first image is a very poor-quality scan of a print showing my late father, Charles 'Bud' Payne, a self-described 'steam-age horticulturalist' in his office in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe with an unnamed colleague, and roughly one third of his library on deciduous fruit. It also clearly illustrates the pack-rat gene common to many of the male members of my family."
"The second shows him in front of about one-fifth of his and my mother's general non-fiction collection. He was an amateur archaeologist, among many other things, and she a professional ornithologist and later a high-school biology teacher. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of his extensive (around fifteen metres of shelf length) fiction collection, which included a great deal of Penguin paperbacks, hence the Christmas present from my sister. The shelves are homemade and rather utilitarian, but travelled with my father through three successive households

Further images of family members with the pack-rat gene (and one rather hidden bookshelf, or rather bookpile), are in an article written by my brother Brett, the historian of my generation, in his vintage photography blog."

Bruce and Carol's bookcase

"We moved from Southern California to Vancouver, WA a few years ago and trimmed our belongings mightily-- distilling by donation a couple of thousand books down to the easily re-readable few. This primary case has hardback Terry Pratchetts on the top row and halfway along the second, then a mix of Christopher Moore, Eric Sloane, Twain, political, religious, history, bio and autobigraphical books, computer graphics, dog guides and a few strays. We are serious readers but not always serious stuff.
Maybe weirdly, it was the Pratchett books I was concentrating on in the photo. A dear friend hooked me on the series years ago and we've shared Discworld anecdotes, enjoyed his signings, and then feasts featuring potatoes afterwards. So those books have become a vital refuge from the almost inescapable now. And then, I didn't want to slight the other books, and that opened the framing down to include the rows below."
Blogger's note:  After scanning the rows below, my eyes were drawn to the top of the photo, where sharp-eyed readers may note on the bookcase the bases of some trophies.  I emailed Bruce back to inquire whether they would be of interest to TYWKIWDBI readers.  The answer startled me.  See if you can guess/recognize what those statuettes are before peeking at the answer below the fold...

Wolves fishing at Voyageurs National Park


In another stunning revelation of wolf behavior from northern Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park, researchers Thursday announced they have confirmed park wolves hunting for and eating fish out of streams as a regular part of their diet.

The researchers released the first-ever video of wolves eating freshwater fish, and said GPS data shows one pack spent about half their time during several weeks in April and May “hunting” in creeks for spawning suckers and northern pike...

Wolves are known to eat spawning salmon in coastal British Columbia and Alaska, but wolves hunting freshwater fish has not been described in detail before. 

Peachtree, Georgia runs on golf carts



Stick with the story at least until you see the parking lot at the local high school.

14 December 2018

Roy's bookshelf

"I do about two-thirds of my reading electronically or through using books on audio (nothing is better than going on a long bike ride while enjoying a good book). Over the last couple years, I have assimilated a rather odd collection of books. About half of these came from garage, library, or bookstore clearance sales.

 My favorite book on here is The Princess Bride. I loved the movie, but had no idea that the book existed at all. As in most cases, the book is far superior to the movie. It is both excellent to read to children, and delightful to read as an adult.

The far left shows my recent selection which I read to my two boys. I had to purchase new copies, as those that I devoured during my childhood were completely tattered. We're about halfway into the Fellowship of the Ring.

The far right shows my push to develop a little more self-sufficiency. We're in an area that I can do a bit of gardening, and we tend to lose power due to winter storms, wind damage, and tornadoes Much like myself, the book selection is a tad eclectic."

Capewood's bookcase

"I actually built this beast myself about 30 years ago to consolidate my books. Some of the dimensions were specifically for my Encyclopedia Britannica. Since then I've also added Encyclopedia Britannica year books, I have most of them back to my birth year in 1951.It now contains most of my hardback collection and odd-sized books. Lots of atlases, a shelf of religious books, my leather bound Lord of the Rings, and Science Fiction Book Club of the month selections from the late 1960s. Plus knick-knacks. This lot represents a bit less than half of the books I currently own."

Steve Miller's bookcases

"I build book cases, but I can't keep up with the books. This one in the kitchen holds the "more-frequently referred-to" cookbooks. There are five shelves' worth elsewhere. I started cooking (and collecting) seriously after designing several cookbooks. I didn't know then I'd start designing furniture. Yes, the legs do curve on both outer surfaces."
"Nope, not more cookbooks. Not too sure what's in the boxes... This case is based closely on a Stickley D-handle bookcase, so it holds woodworking books. Occasionally, it's unloaded and hauled out for demos, since I now teach woodworking."
[Blogger's note:  I Googled Stickley + bookcases and found them being auctioned by Sotheby's !]

13 December 2018

Stan B's bookcases

Except for the books on the floor and the last shelf, bottom right (the wife's interior design books), this is my collection of photography books (mostly monographs) that I've purchased since the late '70s. They're basically like poetry books that can be repeatedly seen and contemplated depending on mood- glean what you will. I buy only those of photographers whose various styles appeal to me, not because of potential value.

All the stuffed stuff and other crap "art objects" are also the wife's. The three and one half legged cat's name is Flynn- Nelson, our one eyed cat would not participate. The Hank Hill action figure on the upper right is mine...

Phone photo by: Lisa Wood (aka- "The Wife")

Nolandda's bookcases


Right bookshelf - more "serious" (i.e. pretentious) stuff
  • Right bookcase, top shelf right : Only surviving photo of my maternal grandparent's wedding.
  • Right bookcase, top shelf left : A photo of my paternal grandparent's wedding.
  • Right bookcase, 2nd shelf from the top : literature. Here some mingling of my lovely and brilliant wife's books is evident.
  • Right bookcase, 3nd shelf from the top : Philosophy, religion, etc
  • Right bookcase, 4th shelf from the top : Languages (German, Spanish, Latin), travel guides, photo of vacation in Puerto Vallarta
  • Right bookcase, 5th shelf from the top : Some non-fiction and Tolkien for some reason. A telegraph sounder I picked up at an antique store for 20 USD. Photo of wife's grandfather.
  • Right bookcase, 2nd shelf from bottom : photos of wife's family, fossilized trilobite.
  • Right bookcase, bottom shelf : Textbooks that might be useful as reference some day. Here the wife's neurology / psychology books have begun to creep in from the right.
·  Left shelf - More guilty pleasures:
  • Left bookcase, top shelf : Mostly general si-fi. Other misc stuff. Notebook used to record borrowing from my shelves.
  • Left bookcase, 2nd shelf from top : Marcus Didius Falco series (Lindsey Davis), Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
  • Left bookcase, 2nd shelf from bottom : Misc books, stack of dense European Literature left by Dutch exchange student
  • Left bookcase, bottom shelf : Graphic novels / comics
·  Of course the Dungeons & Dragons stuff has its own bookcase in the back (with the board games) where it isn't immediately visible to visitors as these shelves in the parlor are.

Canada is sparsely populated


This visualization may be slightly distorted by the projection for the map, but the point would still be valid.  Canada has about the same area as the United States, but only 1/10 the population.  And "Toronto is not a particularly dense city. A study released earlier this year ranked Toronto 19th out of 30 major cities in high-income countries in terms of density. It's not even the densest city in Canada, with Vancouver and Montreal both packing more people in per square mile."

Map via the dataisbeautiful subreddit.

Not as robust as you might think


This photo of "a dog who just had a cast removed" was posted to start a" Photoshop battle."  There were some clever creations, but I'm posting the photo as a reminder to myself and others that animals are not always as sturdy as they might appear.  Anyone who has seen a sheep sheared (or a wet cat or bird) knows that underneath all that fur or feathers or fat are some remarkably gracile bones.

Seismic change in college curricula

As an English major, I found this story in The Atlantic a bit unnerving:
...in 2015, when Governor Scott Walker released his administration’s budget proposal, which included a change to the university’s mission. The Wisconsin Idea would be tweaked. The “search for truth” would be cut in favor of a charge to “meet the state’s workforce needs.”

To those outside Wisconsin, the proposed change might have seemed small. After all, what’s so bad about an educational system that propels people into a high-tech economy?...

And one of the state’s institutions, the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, is the epicenter of that change. In mid-November, the university announced its plans to stop offering six liberal-arts majors, including geography, geology, French, German, two- and three-dimensional art, and history. The plan stunned observers, many of whom argued that at a time when Nazism is resurgent, society needs for people to know history, even if the economy might not. But the university said it just was not possible: After decades of budget cuts, the most extreme of which came under Walker, Stevens Point no longer had the resources to sustain these six majors...

The proposal planned to add majors in chemical engineering, computer-information systems, conservation-law enforcement, finance, fire science, graphic design, management, and marketing. By focusing more on fields that led directly to careers, the school could better provide what businesses wanted—and students, in theory, would have an easier time finding jobs and career success...

By the time the final proposal was released in mid-November 2018, it was less expansive, though still forceful. Six programs would be cut, including the history major...

One thing is sure, however: Financial realities such as those facing Stevens Point are not far off for many regional institutions. “The reality is that we just can’t be everything to everyone, regardless of the public-good value of some of the coursework,” Summers said. “Those constraints are very real.” There are few encouraging signs—if any—that states will once again pump dollars into state colleges to get them back to 2008 levels...

... our role here in central Wisconsin is to anticipate what jobs are going to be needed and to develop programs accordingly." The problem, he fears, is that that alone will never be enough.
The national conversation around higher education is shifting, raising doubts about whether the liberal arts—as we have come to know them—are built to survive a tech-hungry economy.
More in the longread at the link.

12 December 2018

Zoomorphic weight

"Zoomorphic weights were widespread in the ancient world. Weights in the shape of frogs and toads were rare in the Near East, but they do occur in Egypt. This frog weight is dated to the second millennium B.C. on the basis of the four line Akkadian inscription under its throat: "a frog [weighing] 10 minas, a legitimate weight of the god Shamash, belonging to Iddin-Nergal, son of Arkat-ili-damqa." The mina was the Mesopotamian unit of measure, weighing about 500 grams (18 ounces)."
Carved from diorite or andesite in Mesopotamia ca 2000-1600 B.C. From the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, via Uncertain Times.

Adrian's bookcase

"Just showing what's on my main bookshelf at the end of 2012. Not every title is legible, but it's the best of several takes. There's one more shelf underneath (containing textbooks and magazines) which I chose not to include.
Happy to answer any questions."
p.s. - a video like this is a quick way to create documentation for insurance purposes in case of fire, flood, tornado, or other biblioholocaust.
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