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Just got back last week from a trip to Washington DC, which as you no doubt know, is full of museums, galleries and history. We were staying in Alexandria, Virginia, fairly close to the Old Town area which is quite nice and an easy Metro ride away from the heart of DC.

Details of where we went and what we saw behind the cut )
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Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the achievement of women in the fields of science and technology.

As I see the origin of the field of science (and thus technology) in philosophy, here are some interesting philosophers from the Ancient world:

Aesara of Lucania, a Pythagorean philosopher, of whom only a page of her work survives (referenced by a Roman writer). In that she wrote: Human nature seems to me to provide a standard of law and justice both for the home and for the city. Which seems a very good starting point for me as well.

Hipparchia of Maroneia, a Cynic philosopher, who fully embraced the lifestyle of the Cynic school, denying the need for material comforts and living in the streets to elevate the life of the mind.

And go take a look at 2D Goggles for fun with a steampunk adventuress version of Ada Lovelace.

(Crossposted to Sea of Stars RPG Design Journal.)
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My occasional collection of interesting and inspiring articles from various places on the web. For this time we have a wide ranging mix of subjects:

For SF gamers, a beautiful display of our Solar system and nearby stars from Exosolar and a more humous look at our place in the galaxy.

Interesting things from our modern world: The Essentials of the World's New Tallest Building, Burj Dubai. What a place for a superbattle.

From the new to the old, Opacity, charting urban ruins, abandoned places can provide a fascinating backdrop for many urban adventures.

An interesting look at some of Israel's women soldiers.

Back in the 19th Century, some Europeans kept 'Human Zoos'. Another creepy piece from our past.

A good resource for Modern Shamanism, Wildspeak including an impressive list of totem animals and their symbolism.

Cross-posted from my gaming journal
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Spiegel Online has an article on Touring the Horrible, various site in Germany where terrible things happened or that symbolize such. Naturally the majority are Nazi oriented but some tie to the Cold War and one to just a serial killer. Some good building blocks for modern occult or superhero games there.

In Russia, there are the Stone Trees of Yakutsk also called the Lena Pillars. These would make an excellent border for some nation, tied up, perhaps, with a legend of how the Earth itself raised up these pillars to guard the nation from invaders.
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It has been pointed out to me that tonight is the 45th anniversary of the premier of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. series (on NBC). The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a spy series, an action series and a hope for a better world. A series known to me only through reruns and novels. But it was ground breaking in its time.

There is a lovely tribute to the show at St. Crispin Day Society's LJ page which is well worth reading.
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Ending up with a lot of interesting links to share, figured that I had better do so before they got lost.

Using trees to build structures, proves to be a more interesting technical challenge than you would think.

Medieval records of British soldiers who served in the Hundred Years War go online. Such fascinating resources are becoming available in the digital age.

Italian Concept Cars Past and Present,the top one is very cyberpunk and the lower one need to show up in a Heroes Inc game (if I ever run 1960s superheroes again).

Abandoned Places Blog, mostly modern cities that have been abandoned, quite interesting and eerie. Good fodder for modern games.
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Spectacular papercrafting from Wataru Itou, really quite amazing.

The British Library has partly opened its archive of 19th C newspapers to the public. Sadly, much of it requires a fee to access but still very cool.

Mostly been working on the Sea of Stars RPG Project, have several new posts up at the Design Journal and trying to get people to come by the Forums (hint hint).
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Been a fairly quiet week but very hot, no day in the last week has failed to reach the 90s (30s for my centigrade using friends) and with high humidity too. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

The University of Edinburgh has recreated the Lituus, a horn last used in the 18th C.. Technology is doing such fun things with history these days. A video presentation where you can hear the lituus in action.

Crazy flesh eating robots! OK, not as exciting as that sounds, very primitive robots that are powered by capturing pests and digesting them for energy. Still, rather interesting.
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Been a bit lax about these of late. But there you go.

First off, a WordPress Blog for my Sea of Stars RPG Project. Since, I am told, a little self promotion never hurts.

The biggest hole in the world! The Mirny Diamond Mine these shots give a better impression of the scale. The Udachnaya Pipe is similar and Wikipedia Commons has some beautiful shots from inside.

Comrade Couture: Revisiting Communist Germany's Fashion Scene, a look at the underground fashion scene in East Germany.

Graffiti from Pompeii, people are people it seems.
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From around the web!

PLAN B!, a tale of love, revenge and supervillany (warning: lots of cursing in the dialog).

Hypercities, a project by the MacArthur foundation that allows you to layer historical maps to see how cities developed. (Which I learned about from this article which show some of the thing you can do with it and discusses other similar projects.)

And in a similar theme, find out what lurks beneath the waters of NYC's harbor, quite fascinating.

Short but interesting Spiegel interview with Michael Palin (the former member of Monty Python). Best line: "Generally speaking, comedy thrives in times of despair."
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2D Goggles, dangerous experiments in comics. A steampunk comic starring Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace!

Mapping the Catacombs under Rome using computer scanners. Wish they were planning on scanning the entire catacomb system.

Changing the Times, an alternate history webzine.

Teller (of Penn and Teller) looks at Magic and the Brain, quite amazing and awesome. Be sure to watch the embedded videos.
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Observed, in Georgia today. For those of you in or around Athens, GA, be informed that the original Constitution of the Confederate States of America is on display today until 5pm on the 3rd floor of the University of Georgia Library. This is the only day of the year that the Hargrett Library puts it out for public display and there are letters and other Civil War artifacts on display as well.
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Lots of photography this time around.

Two nifty photos of mantis: Spiny Flower Mantis and Big and Small.

Victorian photos of China.

A visit to the closed City Hall Station of the NY Subway built back at the turn of the 20th Century (with links to other sites about the NYC subways).h
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From the University of Nottingham, The Periodic Table of Video. Click on an element and it takes you to a short video about that element. How cool is that?

American History in Video, a lot of it is pop history but still a useful resource.

And on to more history, Great Myths of the Depression. Interesting article, certainly has a certain resonance to the political situation today.
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Lost revision of Hamlet found!

There used to be a stringed instrument called the epigonion, modern researchers have digitally reconstructed it. You can listen to it here at the ASTRA project.

One dimension over, Gygax and Arneson decided to use the Greek myths as a based for their ground breaking fantasy gaming system Mazes and Minotaurs!

"Al Gore you've doomed us all."
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A Roman era aqueduct in Syria has been discovered that is simply amazing, including a 91-kilometer long stretch of tunnel through solid rock. The Roman engineers accomplished crazy things.
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Was visiting wikipedia, as one is wont to do, and found this article about the AIR-2 Genie, an air-to-air missile packing a 1.5 kiloton nuclear warhead. Designed to "break up" massed formations of Soviet bombers back in the early days of the Cold War. Fascinating
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The Music of Athens (Georgia) is wikipedia's featured article for today!

The future of online news, c 1981, a total blast from the past. We have come a long, long way is a pretty short time.

The Protocols of Science Fiction, the hows and whys of the way science fiction is written the way it is.

More of Real Life Superheroes, yes, there are people who dress up in spandex and do good deeds. We need more of them.

Amazing photo of the ice sheets on the Elbe during the recent freeze in Europe.

January 2015

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