July 2010 Archives

Night Spiders

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Last night I did some experimenting with off-camera flash and a spiderweb
Spider and Web.jpg

And a closer shot in BW
Spider and Web closeup BW.jpg

More are available



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From Tom Warner and ZT Research comes some video of Lightning at approx 9000 frames per second.  That works out to .4 second in the 90 second clip

Besides high-speed work, they also have some excellent time-lapse video.

From a different source comes the night illumination photographed by An-My Lê in "29 Palms: Night Operations III"

In this photograph of night artillery practice in Twenty-Nine Palms, CA each line is the path of a shell in flight.
When your business is selling high-resolution LCD displays to doctors for medical imaging, you use a different approach to the time-worn "promotional pin-up calendar"
Eizo Pinup 2.png
Some of them maybe not safe for some workplaces, but see all 12 months of Eizo goodness


Anderson, Gary A. Sin: a History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 2009

Sin traces the evolution of the Jewish concept of sin from the 1st Temple through the Roman period and then in early Christian conceptions, focusing somewhat on the east.  The final bit is a somewhat unusual digression on St. Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th Century philosopher.  The overarching idea is that the way a religion thinks of an abstract idea, like sin, can be explored through the metaphors they use for it. 

The first bit of the book traces the evolution of the metaphor from one of a burden one must bear into the Second Temple idea of a debt, which must be repaid.  Then the ideas surrounding the repayment of debt are explored, including the borrowing against a heavenly treasury built up by one's charity as well as that of the preceding generations. 

Anderson's chapters on early Christian thought draw strongly from contemporary Aramaic texts, working from the idea that it was probably Jesus' native tongue.  He then provides an interesting, and compelling answer to the question "How did Jesus' death on the cross actually redeem mankind from sin?", one which is not really explained by early Christian dogma the way that other foundational concepts are (The divine/humane nature for eg.).  There is also some comparison between the writers of the early Christian east and the contemporary writers of the Talmud concluding with the importance of the specific act of almsgiving for repayment of the debt of sin.

Overall it is a complex, but well argued book.  Though Anderson takes care to try and make it available to the layperson, some knowledge of the Bible as well as textual criticism is useful.  I was only a bit disappointed that he didn't explore the concept of sin as polluting the land, in the laws of murder and the cities of refuge.

Jerusalem 1, part 2

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From Christopher Rollstone comes more information about the Jerusalem 1 fragment (previously referenced).  I recommend the entire article though I've excerpted a few salient points:
  • The clay from which the tablet was made matches the soil of Jerusalem, so the tablet was probably made locally
  • The signs use partially match several tablets from the Amarna corpus that come from King Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem, but there are a number of differences
Even more interesting is a brief note from John Huehnergard, probably one of the most well known current Akkadian scholars:

An additional factor is that the reading of line 2 as tab-ša 'you are' is problematic. The traces of the signs as copied don't conform well to the reading. If the tablet was written in Amarna Canaano-Akkadian (which is not certain given the fragmentary state of the text), the reading is also unlikely grammatically: all examples of the verb bašû listed in the Knudtzon glossary are based on the durative ibašši, none on the preterite ibši; further, 1st- and 2nd-person forms of bašû in such Amarna texts are what are called mixed forms: the base is the durative ibašši but the person is marked by suffixes, as in i-ba-ša-ta 'you are' in EA 73:40. So I doubt that line two has a form meaning 'you are'; and that leaves us even less on which to judge what type of text it is.

So basically we are sure it's a tablet, pretty sure it is from the late bronze-age and from Jerusalem, and not sure of much else...


An oil pipeline in Dalian China, near the Yellow Sea, exploded and burned for about 15 hours before firefighters could get it under control.

Before it was brought under control someone managed to snap this photo of workers approaching the blaze.  More pictures available from the Boston Globe's Big Picture feature.  Who'd have thunk that they would figure out a way to be relevant int he 20th century.


Zenith Pocketwatch

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Zenith is one of the multitude of Swiss watchmakers that was founded in the last quarter of the 19th Century (Omega and Tissot date from the same period), and made some excellent chronometres in the early 20th Century.  It fell on hard times (called Thierry Nataf) in the early part of this century but under new leadership seems to be heading back to its roots. 

Here's a PW from their first golden period.  The case is somewhat unusual in being a single piece, the bezel unscrews and the movement comes out the front. 
Zenith One Piece Dial.jpg
The dial is a nice painted enamel with unusual Germanic numerals.  The hands have sadly corroded, and left some residue on the sub-second dial
Zenith One Piece Mvmt.jpg
The movement is a rather middle-grade 15J piece, but at least it has Zenith's unusual patent regulator.


Jean Dunand's Palace

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Jean Dunand is a tiny watch brand, perhaps <500 pieces per year, that is tightly coupled to the movement maker Christophe Claret.   They don't make usual watches, or simple, time-only pieces, only strange complications.  Their new Palace model is a perfect example of that, a tourbillon chronograph with some unusual linear indications, one as the power-reserve and the other a 24-hour scale for a second time zone. 
Despite what one may think of the aesthetics of the watch, Claret is technically exceptional.  The second pictures shows the bicycle-like chain(perhaps 1mm thick) that drives the minute counter, the unusually cut and painted sapphire chapter ring and the tranverse shafts (they run from the top to the bottom, 90 degrees from the usual front to back orientation) that drive the 24 hour and power-reserve indicators

They keep referring to the design as Steam-Punk, but I'm not really seeing it.  This in mind the Palace of the name is the Crystal Palace, built in London in 1851, and the side of the case does have an "iron truss" feel to it.

(pictures from Timezone)

I think the following video gives a better impression of the unusual mechanics of the piece.  I can't quite figure out why the first picture in their press pack has a huge glare across the crystal, but....

Jerusalem 1

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In the current excavations of the old city of Jerusalem a small, but interesting fragment has been found, dubbed Jerusalem 1.  In the midst of Iron Age fill was a small fragment of a 14th C Akkadian tablet, making it roughly contemporary with the Amarna tablets.  Hebrew University, which sponsers the work has released a nice high-res photo:

The tablet is only about 2x2.8cm, and, according to the report in the Jerusalem Post:

the symbols appear to be insignificant, containing simply the words "you," "you were," "them," "to do," and "later," the high quality of the writing indicates that it was written by a highly skilled scribe.

That not withstanding, I'm sure we'll hear all sorts of crazy speculation (tablet sent from the Amarna court, early copy of Hebrew scripture, fragment of the tablets of the covenant), since ANYTHING leads to that sort of madness


A Miscelaney of Links

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  • As a followup to a previous post, here's more marketing spin on the Celsius X VI II Tourbillon phone
  • A fantastic story of criminal failure, or why the inept don't realize it.
  • Maison Margiela -- Not terribly interesting jewelry, but amusing web design, mimicking the auto-generated index of files that one sees if there is no index file present
  • La Morra -- An Early-Music ensemble out of Basel has several of their works, including a lovely Danse de Cleves, online

Sleepy Snowy Tiger

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An HDR shot of the recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland by Tony Prower.




This diamond, sapphire and garnet elephant comes from another animal-themed collection by VC & A, the Voyages Extraordinaires (Extraordinary Voyages) This one was released in support of the Peace Park Foundation, specifically to raise funds for ranger stations for the Lumbobo park in Mozambique.  I particularly like the use of the contrasting princess (square) cut diamonds on the head of the elephant as contrast to the brilliant and oval shaped diamonds in the pavee.


Harried Harrier

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In one of the current exhibits in the Duveen Galleries at the Tate museum, Fiona Banner has repurposed two decommissioned British fighter-planes.  The more eye-catching was a carrier-based Sea Harrier, suspended by the tail.  The top of the wings have been etched with a feather pattern, an homage to the plane's avian namesake, the Harrier Hawk.

The second was a Jaguar (a joint Anglo-French fighter), flipped on it's back to render it defenseless.  The skin has been polished to a mirror-like shine and presents the viewer with a changing reflection of the gallery.


Endgrain Banner

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From the fine collection of scanned wooden typefaces at EndGrain comes the most recent title banner.


I realize that I presented Louis Vuitton's second jewelry collection without presenting their first.  Also by Lorenz Baumer, L'Ame du Voyage (the soul of travel) consists of a series of openwork necklaces in gold and set with multi-colored stones.  It was revealed in the mid fall of 2009 and there was even a bit of video for it, with Mr. Baumer describing his concept and design process for the collection in French and some excellent close-ups of the pieces showing the LV-patterned openwork.


Five of the necklaces follow. All are 18k gold, pink, white or yellow and are set with diamonds and some of the following: Yellow, Blue and Papradasha Sapphires, Rubies, Spinels, Aquamarine and/or Tsavorite Garnet.






(image source, other source)


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