Thursday 30 April 2009

Whither Druids

Historical facts about the Druids are few, yet this very lack of tangible evidence has allowed their image to be reworked and appropriated by the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh for over 500 years. Ronald Hutton examines the modern history of an ancient order.
"they prove again their staying power as a part of modernity, simply because of, rather than despite, the paucity and unreliability of the historical references to them. As they are so insubstantial as historical figures they can be pressed into all manner of contexts."

Friday 24 April 2009

For sale, on Loch

Boleskine Bay, on Loch Ness at Foyers, was part of an estate renowned at the start of the 20th century as "a centre of black magic, evil and sorcery" under the ownership and influence of satanist Aleister Crowley.

The "Beast of Boleskine", who died in 1947, owned Boleskine Estate between 1899 and 1913, during which time he tried to smother the Highlands in black magic by coaxing out the forces of evil.

The estate, once the home of millionaire rock star Jimmy Page, has been linked to a number of incidents over the years, including at least two violent deaths.

As well as black magic rituals to invoke the four princes of evil, Crowley and his devil-worshipping followers used the estate to make talismans and offered animal sacrifices to Satan.

"The demons and evil forces had congregated round me so thickly that they were shutting off the light. It was a comforting situation. There could be no more doubt of the efficiency of the operation," Crowley wrote of his experiments at the estate.

Now, a 1.9-acre plot on the former estate has been put on the market for ??176,000 with planning permission for a three-bedroom log house, and 140ft of the Loch Ness foreshore.

At least this is the official history; a tad more due dilligence will turn up Mr Crowley as an operative for British Intelligence, which may also explain the strange tales told to keep petty snoopers away from his lair.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Old School

No effects or sampling was used. What you see is what you hear

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Interview

"keeping good music alive, keeping alive music in the hands of those where it belongs, talented trained individuals who know what you want and need."

Sunday 19 April 2009

The Shpleem Dome

jonpalmer > Collections >

"When you go to a LEGO conventiontypically the larger models get most ofthe attention. Not good or bad, just theway it is. I wanted to make somethinglarge to take to shows that used thesmallest amount of parts, so a geodesicdome sounded right.

"I built this for Brickfest DC 06. Thegeodesic dome took about 6 months ofdesign and prototyping in my spare time.I wouldn???t have been able to build itwithout the awesome dome calculator It was a surrealproject because I learned (a little bit)about how real geodesic domes are madeand then got to figure out how to makeit with LEGO."

more pics in his photoset on

Top form

Tied for top marks for the 2009 Kiwanis Music Festival and earned himself a scholarship for the summer music camp! Well done Kaelin!


It's probably safe to say Kaelin plays better at age 9 than either his teacher or his adjudicator, and runs circles around anything I ever got out of the clarinet.

Friday 17 April 2009

A new Q

RT@mocost MI5 seeks a part-time Q:

BBC News has learned that the appointment is intended to assist MI5 in harnessing developments in science and technology that will help the service combat terrorism and support field officers in counter-intelligence activities.
BBC asked Professor John Beddington, the top scientific adviser in the UK government, if the job involved designing cool gadgets.

"I think it's unlikely that the person will be required to develop a weapons system for the latest Aston Martin," was his reply.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Planet Earth - 51??33'N 5??5'E - Sept 21,2008


"we hereby declare ourselves to be another Order of Being,
an Astro Nation of the United Worlds of Outer Space"

Let's watch

It's our anniversary of our first date, so I say "Let's watch a movie!" and May says ok, which one, and I say, "How about Attack of the Mushroom People?" and May says, "What's it about?"

and I say listen, it's TOHO, it's 1963 and it is called Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People -- how could there be anything else to know?  well, if you must know, there's where we learn how the film was nearly banned in Japan because the makeup was very reminiscent of how many people looked after the atomic bombing.

Gettin the beat


Looking more groovy by the minute. Nice clean design, posts easily from phones, ties into other services, hosts media. But where is their business plan? Is this another flickr trap?

Multiple channels


I wonder how it knows its me?

First light

like everyone else, just testing out what could well be the simplest
multimedia blog-hosting system yet invented, and if it works, maybe


this is the way to maintain an easy and timely web-logbook. I do like but it annoys me with the jumping of hoops to put images into a simple post, the lack of any storage for sound or video. Does Posterous do any better?

Wednesday 15 April 2009

The Strangest Species

Humans: "Humans are arguably the most bizarre creatures in the animal kingdom. The proof is in the many gross, unnecessary, contradictory and simply inexplicable things we do. And of course we're different in our capacity to ponder all these oddities and sometimes figure a few out."
Oddles and oodles of links on everything you ever wanted to know (and some that you didn't) on what our best research has found about being a you.

Friday 10 April 2009

Greenback Dollar


How Lincoln Averted Financial Crisis: "legal-tender U.S. Notes or 'Greenbacks' represented receipts for labor and goods delivered to the United States. They were paid to soldiers and suppliers and were trade-able for goods and services of a value equivalent to their service to the community. The Greenbacks aided the Union not only in winning the war but in funding a period of unprecedented economic expansion. Lincoln's government created the greatest industrial giant the world had yet seen"
When I was a little baby, my momma said,
"Hey, son. Travel where you will and grow to be a man
And sing what must be sung, poor boy.
Sing what must be sung.

And I don't give a damn about a greenback dollar,
spend it as fast as I can.
For a wailin' song and a good guitar,
the only things that I understand, poor boy,
the only things that I understand.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Goats in overcoats


Mind Hacks points out this mindblowing item in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience: "A Roman chariot, the rider dressed in gold, flashed across the curtain several times. On the ward, tropical vines grew from the foot of her bed. A man stood with thick brown tree trunks for legs and thick green branches for arms. Nurses??? heads would shrink and then expand before melting into the floor. Brightly coloured fairies carrying wands invited her for walks around the hospital grounds."
Charles Bonnet Syndrome sufferers can experience complex colour patterns, images of 'little' people animals, plants or trees and inanimate objects that blend into the person's surroundings.
Given the astounding 17% prevalence of these illusions, I wonder if there may be corresponding phenomenon in other modalities, brushings by of ghosts on the arm, or vivid personal perceptions of phantom time, meter and pitch. While the cause is not yet known and there is no treatment beyond reassurance, the good news is the effect generally fades away after a few years.
the basic official theory explaining the visions associated with visual impairment like macular degeneration is that the brain, on receiving incomplete visual data through the eyes, 'fills in' the missing elements as best it can -- a kind of 'best fit' process. In fact, there is evidence that it is only the input of a constant visual stream through our eyes that prevents the brain making up its own imagery in any case.
[ Eye Spirits: Fortean Times UK ]

Friday 3 April 2009

Maurice Ravel plays his Bolero

Maurice Ravel plays his orchestral piece Bolero. From a piano roll in the 1920's. The photograph is also from the 1920s; Ravel is playing the piano along with Éva Gauthier, on the far right is George Gershwin.