Just Change the Caption!

The new, fully archived blog is now: www.cambridgeblog.org

Few newspaper pieces are so (ready for this one?) metatextual as this one about photograph manipulation.

Remember Iran’s swarms of test missiles? Remember how there were really only two? Does it matter anymore how many there were, since you saw an intimidating picture with a bunch of missiles?

Photoshop analysis by Charles Johnson, Little Green Footballs

Photoshop analysis by Charles Johnson, Little Green Footballs

As it happens, seeing something is usually enough to ingrain it in your mind, even if you know that it is false.

Better yet, don’t bother with the task of digital alteration:

The rest of the article includes a fascinating interview with digital expert Hany Farid. And yes, they bring Godzilla into it. Definitely worth a read.

The US has been at it too, especially during the Cold War. And that kid thinks that JFK is hilarious, apparently.


Darwin Letter Friday

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Bishop Gene Robinson a Presence at Lambeth

The new, fully archived blog is now: www.cambridgeblog.org

Once every ten years, bishops from across the Anglican communion (that’s the Episcopalians here in the US) meet at Lambeth palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury. This time around things have radically shifted, since the 2003 elevation of Gene Robinson to bishop of New Hampshire.

Robinson is openly gay, and in a decades-long relationship. This has sparked the ire of conservatives from around the world, including here in the US, and especially in the growing Anglican churches of Africa. In many of these countries, homosexuality is punishable by death or imprisonment. My vote for the creepiest clergy member in the world would have to go to Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria (read a summary of an Atlantic Monthly report here). The guy is pretty much conflating Islamophobia with homophobia, and shipping it around the world, and is likely complicit in the massacre of Muslims by Christians in Nigeria.

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Darwin Letter Friday

The collector bug strikes early.

At the age of twelve, in addition to being stinky, Charles Darwin reminds himself that if he is going to be a great naturalist, he’ll need a place for his stash.

That’s right, he’s building a fort.

In Summer, 1823, he says, the work must start!

January 12th, 1822–

remember next summer to make two cave one for warlike instruments, the othe<r> for relicks. Note spoon, old spear knife squirt if it can be found, and the name cut on the ash tree over the seat in the bank by the nut tree I beliefe that is all ove[r] the ief a plan of a machine

Read carefully to see Darwin's letter notation. When you see the red flag, come to Charles!

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Andreas Daum on All Things Considered

Last week, Time turned to Andreas Daum to discuss Obama’s possible choice of the Brandenburg Gate as a speech location during his current tour abroad.

All Things Considered brought Daum on the air last night to discuss some of these same issues. There’s a lot involved here! Do Kennedy, Reagan and Obama face some of the same challenges? What differences are immediately apparent?

For the love of God, was John F. Kennedy a jelly doughnut?!

The conspiracy theories abound.

Click here to hear the show archive >>

The same page features a clip that answers the “Ich bin ein Berliner” jelly doughnut question too, by the way. I sincerely hope that it puts some of us at ease.

Darwin Letter Friday

This week: Stinky, stinky, 12-year-old Darwin

Charles Darwin, at the age of 12, wrote several letters into a ‘Memorandum book’ while on vacation from school. He was staying at his family home in Shrewsbury, and apparently not bathing much. Ah, the days when washing was a chore!

Please be advised that the spelling mistakes and lack of punctuation are his, not mine.

To Dear Friend, January 4, 1822

My Dear friend,

you must know that after my Geography, she said I should go down to ask for Richards poney, just as I was going, she said she must ask me not a very decent question, that was whether I wash all over every morning no then she said it was quite disgustin then she asked me if I did every other morning, and I said no then she said how often I did, and I said once a week, then she said of cour you wash your feet every day, and I said no, then she begun saying how very disgusting and went on that way a good while, then she said I ought to do it, I said I would wash my neck and shoulders, then she said you had better do it all over then I said upon my word I would not,

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Neil Kent’s Swedish History Smorgasboard

Carl von Linne, better known as Linnaeus. Look at those pointy shoes!

Today: Merchant marine milk cows keep the corrupting Chinese commerce coming!

As well, as a colonies on the North American mainland and in the Caribbean, Sweden established a foothold in China at Canton in the eighteenth century. The Swedish East India Company, founded in 1732 to capture the eastern end of trade, was highly successful for much of the eighteenth century.

Swedish ships plowed the seas around the Cape of Good Hope to India and China. Cows, with sea legs, which provided milk on board, sometimes made the crossing a remarkable number of times. Perhaps the most famous person who travelled to China from Sweden in the English speaking world was the architect William Chambers (1726-96), a native of Gothenburg but of Scottish parentage, who was knighted by the Swedish king in 1755.

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