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Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday links

Early explosives, including cat and bird bombs, from 16th century illustrated manuscripts.

The Wool Brigades of World War I, When Knitting Was a Patriotic Duty.

The Deadliest Natural Disaster in U.S. History. The 1900 hurricane left over 6,000 dead in Galveston.

A subway-style map of the Roman roads of Britain.

Pigeons of War and their Double Decker Buses.

Puzzlewood – Tolkien’s Inspiration for Middle-earth.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include facial reconstructions of famous historical figures, the science of sword-swallowing, sunken Nazi gold, and Milton Friedman's birthday.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Early Explosives, including cat and bird bombs, from 16th century illustrated manuscripts

Illustrations from Unique at Penn and BibliOdyssey (and Google images, of course):

All of the illustrations here come from early explosives and warfare manuals copied and re-copied with alterations between the 16th and 17th centuries. The immediate originator of the idea behind these cat and bird bombs was Franz Helm of Cologne, an artillery master in the service of various German princes who likely served in campaigns against Turkish forces during the mid-16th century. He wrote a treatise on siege warfare (Buch von den probierten K√ľnsten) and artillery that circulated widely in manuscript, but was not published in print until 1625.
In the text accompanying the images is a section entitled “To set fire to a castle or city which you can’t get at otherwise” [4]. This section details how to use doves and cats loaded with flammable devices to set fire to enemy positions. On cats the text paints a grisly picture of attaching lit sacks of incendiaries onto the animals to have them return to their homes and set fire to them. In my awkward translation:
“Create a small sack like a fire-arrow … if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw it will be ignited.” 

From BibliOdyssey, some general (animal-free) illustrations of explosives:

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday links

It's free-market economist Milton Friedman's birthday: some favorite quotes and short videos. 

$130 million of Nazi gold may be in a sunken cargo ship.

10 facial reconstructions, using scans of skeletal remains, of famous historical figures. Richard III looks kind of like Jim Carrey, although not as much as this reconstruction of a Neanderthal looks like Chuck Norris.

The Science of Sword-Swallowing.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the invention of the Chilean Sea Bass, medieval fashion trends, examples of bad taxidermy, the proper names of 17 bodily functions, and, for Beatrix Potter's birthday, some of her gorgeous botanical drawings.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trailer for Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

The latest in the Sharknado series, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming premiers on August 6. Per IMDB: With much of America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado, Fin and his family must travel around the world to stop them.


Real-life Sharknado: 5 actual instances of animal tornadoes, including Gatornado.

Beyond Sharknado - here's a trailer for Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (because fracking!)

For whatever birthday or gift-giving holiday comes up next, or just because you want one, here's a Sharknado Action Figure.

Sharknado 3 will be set in DC and have Ann Coulter as VP, Marc Cuban as Prez.

Sharknado 2: The Second One on SyFy: here's everything you need to get ready.

This will be bigger than Sharknado: Monster vs Machine - Mega Shark Vs Mecha Shark (Trailer)

Old and busted: SharknadoNew and hot: SharkNATO.