Art & Culture

Jerry Gretzinger’s Map

August 21, 2013
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Jerry Gretzinger’s Map

It started as a doodle 50 years ago. Since then, Jerry Gretzinger has added a new hand-drawn panel to his map of an imaginary world every day. At 2000 sq feet and counting, the map includes fictional towns, cities, rivers, railroads…an entire world detailed on 2600 individual cards. New facilities and landmarks archived on a…

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The oldest surviving film

August 7, 2013
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Louis Le Prince's Camera, on which the oldest known moving picture was shot.

While Thomas Edison and/or the Lumiere brothers are popularly credited with the invention of the moving picture – something which Edison, a notorious credit taker did little to discourage – history suggests otherwise. As, indeed, does this very short film clip, shot in Roundhay, near Leeds in 1888 by inventor Louis le Prince.

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The Life of Edward the Confessor

February 17, 2013
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The Life of Edward the Confessor

The only known illustrated copy of the Life of St. Edward the Confessor (1003-05 – 1066), written in England c1230-1240, is held by Cambridge University. Considered a masterpiece of mid-13th-century English illumination, the text is a hagiography describing Edward’s life, visions and miracles, his patronage of Westminster Abbey, how his rule benefited the people of…

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The most expensive photos in the world…

January 29, 2013
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The most expensive photos in the world…

It’s amazing to think that one of the most expensive photographs ever sold should be of the inside of an ultra-cheapo 99c store, but life’s funny like that. Andreas Gursky’s “99 cent II Diptychon” sold for the not-insignificant sum of $3,346,456 at Sotheby’s in London back in February 2007. A second print sold for $2.5…

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The Voynich Manuscript

January 28, 2013
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The Voynich Manuscript

Since its re-discovery 1912, the early 15th century ‘Voynich Manuscript’ has defied the best efforts of cryptographers, linguists, anthropologists, mathematicians and code-breakers…Nobody knows what any of it means. Or even if it means anything at all. Filled with botanical, anatomical, scientific and astronomical illustrations – most of which have no known matches – the book…

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First photograph of a human being c.1838

January 25, 2013
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First photograph of a human being c.1838

Boulevard du Temple was taken in Paris in 1838/1839 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerrotype process – the first commercially successful photographic process. The picture’s of a street scene, but the 10+ mins exposure time captured the man getting his boots polished in the bottom left of the shot – the only thing (other…

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The Mechanical Galleon

January 24, 2013
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The Mechanical Galleon

Dating from c1585, Hans Schlottheim’s mechanical galleon was a clock with a difference… Designed to ‘sail’ down a long banqueting table, it had model sailors hammering bells from the crow’s nest, a small organ for added musicality and, just in case it hadn’t caught your attention, a drum skin stretched across the base of the…

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