A scented tour of the exhibition will be followed by an interactive talk in which all the fragrances you experience will tell a part of the story: from the soliflore scents of the 19th century to the first ever mixed bouquet perfume and to technology which now enables perfumers to capture the whole aroma of a flower.
I just like the sound of Odette Toilette. The perfect drag name?
With government ministers reportedly considering a negative ad campaign to deter potential immigrants from coming to the UK, we asked you for your tongue-in-cheek suggestions for what aspects of Britain should be included in the campaign.
"According to the gents at Esquire of old, the rules of conduct for men, when women are concerned, boil down to just 10 things. I divided them into three categories: irrelevant, optional and mandatory."
According to the publisher Tor, Martin's contribution to the book, The Princess and the Queen, is a novella set in the Song and Ice and Fire world that "will reveal the origins of the Targaryen Civil War, otherwise known as 'The Dance of the Dragons.' A war that split a then fledgling Westeros in two, pitting Targaryen against Targaryen and dragon against dragon."
Sansa Stark, you have always been more than you seemed.
Haters are wrong. She’s better than their favorites. Hell, she’s better than my favorites, and my favorites are without a single constructional flaw. She just happens to have the single most impressively wrought arc in the entire four thousand pages of series. My kids are going to die gorgeous wrenching tragic deaths; she, I think, is going to live.
"In the Peruvian Andes, folks know how to celebrate the season right. What they do is, they put on a colorful ski-mask, dress up like Mad Max mountain bikers, tie a dead eagle to their heads, and get drunk and dance for about a week straight. Then, come Christmas morning, they all gather together in the middle of town and beat the baby bejesus out of each other."
The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind
"This relic is in fact the ancient fossil that inspired the extra-terrestrial antagonists in Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi horror, Alien."
The creator of Alien was Swiss surrealist artist, Hans Rudolf Giger, who was sought out by Ridley Scott to design the creatures after he saw Giger's artwork Necronom IV, one among his many designs that are said to have been based on the fossils.
Xenomorph design with Chinese characteristics: "Perhaps because China is often accused of stealing intellectual property, a cottage industry has sprouted up, with folks in China saying Western inventions are Chinese knock offs. Then, there's the bit about people making crap up on the internet."
"Exactly how it arrived in Oxford is unknown, Mabey explains, but it was as likely as not brought back deliberately as part of an 18th-century scientific expedition."
Within a few years the ragwort had escaped from the garden (which is sited opposite Magdalen College) and begun its westward progress along Oxford's ancient walls. Its downy seeds seemed to find an analogue of the volcanic rocks of its original home in the cracked stonework. It leap-frogged from Merton College to Corpus Christi and the august parapets of Christ Church, then wound its way through the narrow alleys of St. Aldate's. It got to Folly Bridge over the Isis, and then to the site of the old workhouse in Jericho, where, as if recognizing that this was a place of poverty, threw up a strange diminutive variant, a type with flower heads half the normal size (var. parviflorus). Sometime in the 1830s it arrived at Oxford Railway Station, the portal to a nationwide, interlinked network of Etna-like stone chips and clinker. Once it was on the railway companies' permanent ways there was no holding it.
On the journey to Rome to clear his name, Cantilupe unexectedly dropped dead. It was the best career move he had ever made.
In 1307, the sleepy town of Hereford was awoken with an inquiry called by the Church to investigate whether a dead English bishop was actually a miracle-worker and should be made into a saint after performing several alleged miracles that included the resurrection of a hanged man, executed by the state and hanged twice just to make sure he was dead and he somehow came back to life. A papal court would use all the instruments of legal process - witness statements, forensic evidence, cross-examination - to prove whether it was truly a miracle.
James Freeman Clarke - “How to Make the Most of Life” from Every-day Religion (1886)
"In the great storms which have lately swept over the north Atlantic, a steamer from our shores discovered another, dismasted and rudderless, drifting before the gale, its decks swept by terrible seas. The sailors volunteered to man a boat, and go to save those on the wreck. The labor was appalling, the dangers frightful; but they succeeded, and saved the lives of their fellow-men. Which has made the noblest use of life, the self-indulgent epicurean, who amuses himself with a little art, a little literature, a little criticism and a little vapid social pleasure, or these rugged, brave hearts, who bade defiance to storm and sea, and brought salvation to those in despair? To forget yourself is the secret of life; to forget yourself in some worthy purpose outside of yourself."
"The Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis became most famous at the moment of its demise. The thirty-three high-rise towers built in the 1950s were supposed to solve the impending population crisis in inner city St. Louis. It was supposed to save the urban poor from the indignities of the downtown slums that lacked natural light, water and fresh air. And for a short while, it worked. It was a housing marvel."
"For most Rolls-Royce or Mercedes owners, removing the iconic ornaments or badges of their luxury vehicles would completely ruin the effect. But back in the 1920s and '30s, it was not the famous badges of these revered cars which the powerful and rich of France wanted to display."
An exhibition of Ice Age "art" and art historical projection/mind-reading is underway at the British Museum and I am most likely to miss it. The collection looks interesting. The curatorial waffle, not so much.
The great cathedrals were engineering marvels of the medieval world built with not much more than pulleys and ropes, chisels and hammers and set squares. Architectural historian Jon Cannon searches for answers on how these structures were built and the ambition that it took when looking at Gloucester, York, Norwich and Ely.
Matthias Schulz points to evidence suggesting Britain is more German than it thinks. I never laboured under the misapprehension it was anything else; teaching archaeology gives you the long view.
And that sound you hear is just a little bit of history repeating.
The estimated 200,000 intruders faced an overwhelming number of Britons, about a million, and yet the invaders triumphed. The kingdoms that soon developed, like East Anglia, Wessex (West Saxony) and Essex (East Saxony) were run by robust chieftains like Sigeric and Cynewulf.
The Celts were no match for these roughnecks. The Romans had taught them how to play the lyre and drink copious amounts of wine, but the populace in the regions controlled by the Pax Romana was barred from carrying weapons. As a result, the local peoples, no longer accustomed to the sword, lost one battle after the next and were forced to the edges of the island.
"For there is no doubt about it, it was. A mere thousand bureaucrats in the Colonial Office managed an empire so large that the sun never set on it, an empire that included a subcontinent. How was this possible?
"One reason, I think, is that the colonies weren’t informatically connected. No phones, no text messages, no Skype, no e-mail, no conference calls, no webinars, no meetings. Therefore, no micromanagement."
Iris van Herpen, MIT Media Lab scholar Neri Oxman and Stratasys created 3D printed clothes for Paris Fashion Week.
"The ability to vary softness and elasticity inspired us to design a "second skin" for the body acting as armor-in-motion; in this way we were able to design not only the garment's form but also its motion," explains Oxman. "The incredible possibilities afforded by these new technologies allowed us to reinterpret the tradition of couture as "tech-couture" where delicate hand-made embroidery and needlework is replaced by code."
She means the patterns are replaced by code; the software was in the pattern cutters.
Also handy: "Filabot promises to help turn your plastic crap into 3-D printed fanciness, alleviating one of the biggest sustainability problems for 3-D printing."
“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
"In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
- Michael Crichton
The Tomorrow People - The Blue and the Green (1974)
"John and Stephen find themselves with two mysteries to investigate-the possibility that Stephen's new teacher Elizabeth M'Boah is a Tomorrow Person and some worryingly accurate paintings of alien planets."
Being both men of elevated minds, they agreed to fight in balloons... Each, attended by his second, ascended his car, loaded with blunderbusses, as pistols could not be expected to be efficient in their probable situations.
"Unsinkable Sam (also known as Oscar) was the nickname of a German ship's cat who saw service in both the Kriegsmarine and Royal Navy during the Second World War, serving on board three vessels and surviving the sinking of all three."
Connected thought: "A Mayfair businessman has revived the fortunes of London's oldest perfume house after discovering it was founded by his great-great grandfather. Simon Brooke had no idea of his link with Grossmith perfumers, which made scent for Queen Victoria, when he began researching his family tree six years ago."
And this: "But yesterday was a big Axe day, I can tell you," Veronique Ferval, IFF's creative center manager, tells me. "You could walk around and could smell . . ."
. . . a high-school locker room? But she's cut off by Ann Gottlieb, the woman who oversees all Axe scents. IFF is currently trying to win the contract for Axe's 2014 scent (it releases at least one a year), competing against other fragrance houses. No detail should be spilled. "It paid off," Gottlieb tells Ferval. "Your submissions were really good."
Given the clauses describing ownership of the recovered goods, one might wonder whether the Company has a claim to the One Ring. After all, Bilbo has expressly agreed that he has only a right to 1/14th of the profits, to be paid in a form determined by the Company, and no right to the treasure itself. So could it be that the One Ring merely forms part of the treasure? The contract seems to indicate otherwise.
Alices (when male: "Alistairs" or, of either sex: "Fools") are unlike other adventurers in that they are actively sought by adventure. Alices forever find themselves falling into cursed rabbit holes, accidentally killing witches, having their half-brothers stolen by goblin kings, being willed magic rings, finding demons inserted in their chests or having armored knights ride through their homes while they are trying to sleep.
"How would you know a Fierce Gentleman walking down the street, and how would you tell him apart from just another Joe Schmoe (excuse me — a Man who has not yet come to the realization that the current global situation was calling him urgently to become a Fierce Gentleman)?"
“Richard obviously had no choice after he was killed as to where his remains were taken, but today we have the opportunity to right the many wrongs that have been done to this unjustly maligned king, by correcting the distorted picture that has been painted of Richard over the centuries, and by bringing his remains home to Yorkshire, and to York Minster as he wanted.”
Harvey has been looking at the effects of such surveillance on culture for some time. Last year he designed a kind of face makeup called CVDazzle to avert face-recognition software.
In the spirit of fooling cameras – and messing with surveillance – Harvey has now come out in a set of hoodies and scarves that block thermal radiation from the infrared scanners drones use. Wearing the fabric would make that part of the body look black to a drone, so the image would appear like disembodied legs. He also designed a pouch for cell phones that shields them from trackers by blocking the radio signals the phone emits. For those airport X-ray machines, he has a shirt with a printed design that blocks the radiation from one’s heart.
"Maîtres du Temps is a pantheon where teams of independent master watchmakers at the very pinnacle of haute horlogerie collaborate to develop innovative, interesting, and very exclusive timepieces. Founded by Mr. Steven Holtzman and based in Switzerland, Maîtres du Temps crafts limited-series mechanical masterpieces, each the synthesis of the experience, art, and techniques of the Masters who create it."
"... don’t stay at the job for safe salary increases over time. That will never get you where you want – freedom from financial worry. Only free time, imagination, creativity, and an ability to disappear will help you deliver value that nobody ever delivered before in the history of mankind."
Related observations: Young people are screwed... here's how to survive.
Designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides to show -- spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.
You don't have to like it. I don't like it when it rains on my birthday. It rains anyway. Clouds form and precipitation happens. People have needs and thus assign value to the people who meet them. These are simple mechanisms of the universe and they do not respond to our wishes.
If you protest that you're not a shallow capitalist materialist and that you disagree that money is everything, I can only say: Who said anything about money? You're missing the larger point.
Brutalism, as a style of building, doesn’t try to endear itself to the public, which is why, perhaps, it’s consistently shunned by it. Sure, Brutalist architecture is difficult to love; it can be alienating, it’s overly large, and it refuses to back down. But when you fall for it, you fall hard.
"What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a 'religion for atheists' -- call it Atheism 2.0 -- that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence."
"25 September 1066. The Saxons really had the Vikings by the balls now."
It had all started earlier that year, when King Edward the Confessor kicked the bucket without first having the good sense to nail some babe and leave England with a living heir. Anglo-Saxon bigwig Harold Godwinson was already in the neighborhood of the throne room so he went ahead and grabbed the crown for himself, but this kind of pissed off the Norwegian King, a massive badass Viking known as Harald Hardrada.
Amazingly, Lovecraft managed to fit the answers to the questions on the postcard in an even smaller hand. Sherwood told me that he’d guessed that Lovecraft used a magnifying glass and a sewing needle dipped in ink.
Sacrificial: "Residents of a town under siege by the Roman army about 2,000 years ago buried two hoards of treasure in the town's citadel — treasure recently excavated by archaeologists."
Accidental: "A new study of objects lost down the drains in the bathhouses from the Roman Empire reveals that people got up to all sorts of things in these gathering places. They bathed, of course, but they also adorned themselves with trinkets, snacked on finger foods and even did needlework."
"Manhattanhenge – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice – is a circumstance which occurs twice a year, during which the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City."
Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis - No Laughing Matter (2007)
Martin Amis discussed the mild anti-semitism of his own father, and gave his thoughts on Israel. He read from Saul Bellow's book on Israel, and suggests that there is a great deal of anxiety among Jews about the future of Israel.
Christopher Hitchens, who only discovered he was Jewish in 1989, talked about the place of Judaism in history: about Voltaire, suspicion, Israel, and the Jewish diaspora.
Martin Amis then discussed the Jewish concept of manhood, before going on to contemplate the effect of 9/11 on the Jewish community.
Hitchens then touched on some moments that betray a prejudice against Jews that still lingers even after the Holocaust, including the claims made in America in 1989 that Jewish doctors were deliberately injecting black babies with Aids. He suggest that prejudice against Jews is different from other kinds, because it takes a pseudo-intellectual, as opposed to superficial and ignorant form.
Amis then seeked to define the actual concept of anti-semitism, before Hitchens considered the perception of Jews as masters of finance.
"At last week’s Men’s Fashion Week, the American designer Tom Ford showed a collection of glossy rich evening wear with fox furs and patent slippers, while Northern Irish designer JW Anderson – winner of the British Fashion Council’s Emerging Talent Award – wowed the crowds with camel-coloured, skirt-length ruffled shorts.
"But nothing was as impressive as the striking plywood plank creations debuted on Londoner Craig Green’s catwalk. As an ardent supporter of eccentric fashion, I didn’t want to wait until the autumn/winter 2013-14 collection is released before styling The Plank myself. So I had one made."
"Ignore the hipster douchebag affectations and pay attention to what he's saying. He lays out a process by which irresistible force can be resisted even when the media is NOT on your side. It's not theoretical, it worked."
"Inspired by mythological human-animal hybrids, this utterly unique chair is completely handmade and designed to be anthropomorphic down to the last detail, with carved hoof legs, a textured paint finish that mimics fur, and specially selected and patterned leather."
"Professor Richard Dawkins reveals how he came to write his explosive first book The Selfish Gene, a work that was to divide the scientific community and make him the most influential evolutionary biologist of his generation. He also explores how this set him on the path to becoming an outspoken spokesman for atheism."
The gripping hand: I wanted to know how he met Lalla Ward.
In March 1992 Douglas Adams, the writer, had a surprise 40th-birthday party. It was a very showbizzy type of party and I hadn't met many showbusiness people before. Douglas took me over to meet Stephen Fry, and Lalla was standing there. Fry and Adams are both about seven foot tall, and they were talking to each other, forming a sort of arch over the top of our heads, with Lalla and me facing each other under the arch.
"A lot of sci-fi adventures feature the idea of a 'cultured' society which has become so formalized and ossified in ritual that it's dishonest, corrupt, and barbaric in its purported civility, and it takes the Barbaric Outsider's rude truth to puncture the Sham Civility (which is Actual Primativism). That it happens in books doesn't make it false, though: It's a real thing. Sometimes -- often -- it takes either an outsider or at least a stubborn contrarian to point out we've moved past 'polite manners' and into the realm of barbaric habit."
Backgrounder: Twenty-emotions for which tere are no words in the English language.
"Bestselling author of the A Song of Ice and Fire cycle, George R.R. Martin, joins students and faculty to discuss his celebrated novels' adaptation to the small screen as HBO's Game of Thrones. This Higher Learning event was held on March 13, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox."
"Green is among London’s new crop of design talent, having graduated from Central Saint Martins’ Master’s Program only a year ago, and his lineup today proved a remarkable step in the evolution of his DIY, blue-collar aesthetic. Utilizing hyper-crinkled fabrics, cut-and-rolled-at-the-ankle trousers and oversized layerings, Green essentially crafts his own silhouettes, anchored somewhere in an intangible alleyway between high fashion and utilitarian (he cites workwear and labor uniforms as an inspiration)."
Looking to London: "Since launching his line with Fashion East last season, 26-year-old Central Saint Martins MA graduate Craig Green has struck an impressive balance between conceptual and wearable design."
"Strength and honour my friend. Those 8 drams took 15 years to make, imagine how sweet your life will be in 15 years. In the making of that scotch parts of it were burned, chopped, boiled and pressured and with each stage gave it character and its appeal. Just like the scotch, life is better with character. Win or lose, never ever stop fighting."
"The Serpent in the Sword is a paper by Lee A Jones studying early medieval pattern-welded swords. This video shows how to create a pattern-welded sword that actually has a serpent at its core. The processes while using modern tools are similar to the ones employed by anglo-saxon or viking-age smiths."
"Medicinal tablets retrieved from a 2000-year-old shipwreck suggest that classical Mediterranean civilizations had sophisticated drugs."
Among them was a small tin cylinder known at the time as a "pyxis," that contained five tablets that were about 4 cm in diameter and had been preserved from the elements by a tight-fitting lid. Italian scientists recently analyzed fragments from one tablet and found primarily two zinc-rich materials (hydrozincite and smithsonite), as well as various animal and plant residues, pollen grains, beeswax, and pine resin.
It was the second century B.C., and at the outlet of the small gulf of Populonia and a few hundred meters from the port of the ancient Etruscan city, there sank a Roman ship with a cargo that was homogenous and somewhat mysterious. Of particular importance is the discovery of objects relating to the probable presence of a doctor on board the ship.
"Pierre Manent has put it best: In America, as in every Western polity, we are expected to be 'atheists under the one God, the God in whom we believe.' This is the intolerable paradox that the partisans of Liberty have foisted upon us—and with spectacular success. They have hypnotized an entire civilization, which need only awaken from its trance in order to realize the ridiculousness of its situation."
John Morrison and Harold Burdekin photographed London "as it was before smog, before the Blitz changed the face of the city forever, and before the brutalist concrete monoliths of post-war rebuilding."
Library Time Machine: "There was another London, before clean air, before the Blitz, before post-war reconstruction. It was a night time London."
"British Intelligence is a 1940 spy film set in World War I. It was directed by Terry O. Morse and starred Boris Karloff and Margaret Lindsay. Released in the USA in January 1940, the Warner Bros. B picture was based on a 1918 play Three Faces East written by Anthony Paul Kelly that was produced on the stage by George M. Cohan."
"Every evening at 10pm, students living in the Flogsta neighborhood of Uppsala, Sweden stick their heads out the window and scream. No one knows how it started, but most accounts say it began in the 1970s and has been going on every night since."
The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit (1985)
"The Hobbit (Russian: Сказочное путешествие мистера Бильбо Беггинса Хоббита, Skazochnoye puteshestviye mistera Bilbo Begginsa Khobbita, 'The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit') was a 1985 Soviet film adaption of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 book The Hobbit by Vladimir Latyshev."
Worth the price of admission for Russian Smaug's hand gestures!
"Hobitit (literally The Hobbits) is a Finnish live action fantasy television miniseries originally broadcast in 1993 on Yle TV1. Produced by Olof Qvickström, it is based on the events of the books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien."
"To answer the question of why Jews do not write fantasy, we should begin by acknowledging that the conventional trappings of fantasy, with their feudal atmosphere and rootedness in rural Europe, are not especially welcoming to Jews, who were too often at the wrong end of the medieval sword. Ever since the Crusades, Jews have had good reasons to cast doubt upon the romance of knighthood, and this is an obstacle in a genre that takes medieval chivalry as its imaginative ideal."
Shore describes his affection for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, his special creative relationship with the London Philharmonic, and how his new score reprises themes from his Oscar-winning music for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, as well as defines new themes for this new adventure. Plus, Shore weighs in with his response to the film’s unusual 48-fps viewing presentation.
In which we discover Shore has heard the word "warg" spoken with a New Zealand accent but not seen it (recently, at least) in print. Which presents a problem with his claim he reads Tolkien for pleasure. Then again, he has a reader's pronunciation of Smaug so I'd guess he had read the books at some point.
"The 19th-century American firebrand preacher Henry Ward Beecher once said, 'Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.' And that is exactly what we celebrate in the annual GQ best-dressed list, in association with Mercedes-Benz, where we name the British men we think really make it big in the sartorial stakes."
New Zealand author and film-maker Ray Waru has uncovered a series of tests conducted by the United States and New Zealand during World War II toward creating a tsunami bomb in case the atomic bomb failed to convince the Japanese.
The tests were carried out in waters around New Caledonia and Auckland during the Second World War and showed that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 large offshore blasts could potentially create a 33-foot tsunami capable of inundating a small city.
The top secret operation, code-named "Project Seal", tested the doomsday device as a possible rival to the nuclear bomb. About 3,700 bombs were exploded during the tests, first in New Caledonia and later at Whangaparaoa Peninsula, near Auckland.
The 25-minute film called Black Angel was the directorial debut of Star Wars art director Roger Christian, made with financial assistance from George Lucas. It centers on a knight returning from the Crusades who is transported to a mystical realm where he must rescue a princess from a black knight. “When George read the script, he felt it was very suitable to go with the Star Wars legacy,” Christian says. (It was shown in 1980 as a short in Europe and Australia, before Empire Strikes Back.)