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Your next Lego masterpiece is a $120 NASA Saturn V rocket

Lego has been inspired by NASA lately. Last month, the toymaker paid homage to women who made great contributions to the space agency, and now it’s revealing an Apollo Saturn V set that also looks incredible. As seen in the picture above, this rocket…

By: Engadget RSS Feed
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“Why I Hate My Uncle,” by William Hitler (Look magazine, 1939)

A copy of Look Magazine from July 4, 1939 will cost you $950, because it has a a six-page photo-illustrated feature by William P. Hitler, called “Why I Hate My Uncle.”

William Patrick Hitler was born in Liverpool in the UK in 1911. His father was Adolf Hitler’s brother Alois Hitler. William moved to Germany in 1933 in an attempt to benefit from his uncle’s position of power. It appears William, who was familiar with Adolf’s family background, was an embarrassing thorn in Adolf’s side during the 1930s. Moving to the United States in 1939, William served in the US Navy in World War II. After the war, William Hitler changed his last name to Stuart-Houston.

Look’s article is written by William and reveals what it was like to be Adolf Hitler’s nephew. Here are some excerpts:

  • “Being very close to my father at the time, he (Adolf Hitler) autographed this picture for me. We had cakes and whipped cream, Hitler’s favorite desert. I was struck by his intensity, his feminine gestures. There was dandruff on his coat.”
  • “When I visited Berlin in 1931, the family was in trouble. Geli Raubal, the daughter of Hitler’s and my father’s sister, had committed suicide. Everyone knew that Hitler and she had long been intimate and that she had been expecting a child – a fact that enraged Hitler. His revolver was found by her body.”
  • “I published some articles on my uncle when I returned to England and was forthwith summoned back to Berlin and taken with my father and aunt to Hitler’s hotel. He was furious. Pacing up and down, wild-eyed and tearful, he made me promise to retract my articles and threatened to kill himself if anything else were written on his private life.”
  • “This is Hitler’s new Berchtesgaden home which I first saw in 1936. I drove there with friends and was shown into the garden. Hitler was entertaining some very beautiful women at tea. When he saw us he strode up, slashing a whip as he walked and taking the tops off the flowers. He took that occasion to warn me to never again mention that I was his nephew. Then he returned to his guests still viciously cracking his whip.”
  • “I shall never forget the last time he sent for me. He was in a brutal temper when I arrived. Walking back and forth, brandishing his horsehide whip, he shouted insults at my head as if he were delivering a political oration.”

The July 4, 1939 issue of Look Magazine is scarce with just the single copy listed for sale on AbeBooks. It is offered by Rare Non Fiction, a seller located in British Columbia, Canada.

Look was a rival to Life Magazine, and was published between 1937 and 1971. Prominently featuring eye-catching photography and well known people, Look employed Stanley Kubrick as a staff photographer from 1946 to 1951.

Originally priced at 10 cents, this copy features Hollywood film stars Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor on the cover, and also has articles on America’s most wanted criminals, nurses, and horse racing. It is comfortably the most expensive copy of Look listed for sale on AbeBooks.

By: Boing Boing
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Prison Camp Music of Stalag VIII B (1944)

JF Ptak Science Books  Post 2693

I found this unexpected leaflet this morning, the title of which is enough to stop anyone: A Grand Concert by the Massed Bands & Choirs of Stalag VIII B. 80 Bandsmen, 80 Choristers. PRISON CAMP MUSIC and the Part Played by the Red Cross & St. John. It was printed in London in 1944, and printed by by the Red Cross and St. John War Organization and is a leaflet (20x13cm, 4pp, single sheet folded vertically) which I reproduce in full below.  (Provenance: Library of Congress, received by them September 1944, with their rubber stamp on the front cover.)

There are no listings for this item in the WorldCat/OCLC, and a google search has one hit, finding the leaflet at the National Army Museum in London–outside of this, I cannot find it. This is a little surprising given that it was sued to raise awareness and funds; that said, it was also highly ephemeral, meaning it was probably thrown away very easily and often.  

Prison camp orchestra _1_I am not an expert in this field, though one thing that can be said for sure was that overall British and U.S. held as POWs by the Germans were treated much more humanely than other nationalities of soldiers (particularly the Russians), and so it was possible for some POWs to enjoy receiving Red Cross packages while interned. I did not know about an orchestra with 80 instruments and a choir of 80 voices. At first blush this seems like a work of home front propaganda, an attempt to establish hope for normalcy for the families of soldiers taken prisoner, though it seems as though these accommodations were made by the Nazis in deference to the British and Americans. (Again, this is a broad generalization and no doubt those enjoying POW music at Stalag VIII B were in the distinct minority. At Stalag VIII B it looks as though the main group of POWs were British, and then segregated in different parts of the camp were Indians, and then another section for Greeks, Cypriots, and Palestinians, and then in an entirely different section of the camp under lights and interior barbed wire was a camp for the RAF. British airmen were treated “differently” than the rest given at that time the terrific damage being inflicted upon Germany from endless nighttime British bombing raids. 

On the reception of Red Cross packages at Staalg VIII B and other Stalags in general, from “MEDICAL SERVICES IN NEW ZEALAND AND THE PACIFIC: CONDITIONS AT STALAG VIIIB, LAMSDORF”, from New Zealand Electronic Text Collection:

Prison camp orchestra _2_

“Owing to a Red Cross parcel bottleneck at Lisbon there was a complete parcel failure from January 1942 until May 1942…Regarding Red Cross parcel shipments: “The year 1943 was relatively full, except for three months following the German occupation of Italy…During early 1944 Red Cross supplies were adequate, and, in fact, most camps, both large and small, endeavoured to build up a three months’ reserve of their Red Cross food. Unfortunately, on …17 September 1944)…most Wehrkreise (war districts) came an order from the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht: ‘All prisoner of war tinned food must be destroyed forthwith.’ This order was ruthlessly enforced, particularly on the many (over 600) working parties of Stalag 344 [part of Stalag VIII B], with the result that, whilst there was a week’s feasting on salmon, sardines and meat roll, lean and hungry months followed. Even in the Lazarett at Lamsdorf, where the patients and staff enjoyed community messing, much of their tinned food was destroyed, with the resulting onset of semi-starvation, which did not abate till the end of the war.”

Prison camp orchestra _3_

“The Russian prisoners had no Red Cross food and they were starved on bread and turnip soup. In vain did the British medical officers at Cosel plead with the German medical authorities for food, rather than drugs, to treat their Russian patients. Only after a change of senior German medical officers and the start of the Russian offensive towards the Reich in March 1943 did the German attitude change and the health of those miserable Russians improve.”–


Also this story at the end of the war should be shared (although it has nothing to do with this leaflet): “In January 1945, as the Soviet armies resumed their offensive and advanced into Germany, many of the prisoners were marched westward in groups of 200 to 300 in the so-called Long March. Many of them died from the bitter cold and exhaustion. The lucky ones got far enough to the west to be liberated by the American or British armies. The unlucky ones were ‘liberated’ by the Soviets, who instead of turning them over quickly to the western allies, held them as virtual hostages for several more months, until the British agreed to release to the Soviet Union POWs of Soviet origin who had been fighting on the German side, which left the British Government with little choice on the matter, even though they were understandable reluctant to hand these men over to the Soviet Union for their inevitable execution. These soldiers from states such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia for example, had fought with the Germans in an effort, as they saw it, to release their own homelands from Soviet occupation and oppression.”–lamsdorf dot com


By: JF Ptak Science Books
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Think or be Damned–1899

JF Ptak Science Books  Post 2694

This work—“The Last Stand, Science versus Superstition”, a chromolithograph by Udo J. Keppler (close!)–appears in Puck in the issue of July 19, 1899.  It is a very strong statement and also one that I’ve never seen it before (my thanks to Thony Christie of Renaissance Mathematicus and Whewell’s Ghost for surfacing it), and appears to me on the day of the global marches in support of scientific thought against tyrannies of illogical and sodden belief.

Last stand

[Image: Library of Congress,]

I guess the greatest aspect of this print is the flag “Think or be Damned” that flutters in the background of The Fact Men as they prepare to defend themselves against the “Believe or be Damned” crowd, “Medieval Dogmatism”, just advancing. It is a voracious print, and leaves nothing to spare in the choice of science and facts and inquiry against not-so. Interestingly, the men fighting this battle aren’t scientists, but theologians.

The “Think” group is identified by the LC as (Richard Heber) Newton (1840-1914, an Episcopal theologian and forward thinker;  (Lyman) Abbott (1835-1922, American Congregationalist theologian); (Charles A.) Briggs (1841-1913, Presbyterian scholar and theologian); (Minot J. ) Savage (1841-1918, Unitarian), and (Felix) Adler (1851-1933, professor of political and social ethics, rationalist). They are surrounded by cartridge boxes for their Gatling gun labeled “Scientific Facts”, “Historical Facts”, and “Rational religion”, theologians prepared for the fight of rationalism against obedient belief. 

It wasn’t the “Last Stand”, as I think there is always a stand to be made, especially in times like these where preposterous and Bie Lie-sized ideas are formed at the extreme head of state. Who would have thought it possible that a stand must be made against “alternative facts”, climate change denial, manipulation of the scientific record, “FAKE ______”, and so on? Images like this from Puck from 118 years ago show that there is a history of “last stands” of coherent and inquisitive thought against feeble sloppiness of such sugary mindless dogmatisms, and that there will be a future to them, as well.


The image above appears in a fine post by Peter Harrison on the conflict between science and religion here:  I just wanted to add some information on the print itself.  


By: JF Ptak Science Books
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sketches at Buam-dong village, Seoul

[By Lee Yong-hwan in Seoul, Korea]

   Changuimun Gate/

   Mugyewon (Korean Traditional Culture Facility)
    the front view of Jahamun Tunnel scene
the panoramic view of Buam-dong village
 Buam-dong street scene viewed from Seoul Museum
 Seoul Museum
Whanki Museum in Buam-dong residential neighborhood

 Yoon Dong-ju Literary Museum
 the scenery of Buam-dong seen from Bugaksan Seoul Fortress Wall
 a village scenery viewed from Changuimun Gate Pavilion
the cityscape viewed from the hillside of Buam-dong
 (26 x 37cm sketchbook, pen and watercolor)
Last week, I visited Buam-dong village in my neighborhood and sketched various scenes for two days. Buam-dong is a charming village in central Seoul that was once 
occupied mostly by artists and writers. Today, modern galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants stand side by side with old mills and barber shops on the narrow alleyways. The old historic village harmonizes with  Bugaksan Mountain and Inwangsan Mountain, 
and is famous for various tourist attractions.
I was absorbed in sketching colorful sceneries of important places here and there around Buam-dong village all day long. It was a very pleasant sketch time in the beautiful village.

By: Urban Sketchers
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The End of the War for Engalnd: Nazi Propaganda, 1941

JF Ptak Science Books    Post 2694

Blog--May 24--map2

The Admiralty Regrets to Announce… was for years the standard beginning to an official British announcement concerning the loss of ships and sailors.  The phrase is used as the title to this work (by an unattributed writer known only as “an expert”) to immediately introduce the reader to the failings of the British navy.  It is of course a piece of Nazi propaganda, issued some time in 1941. (My copy is he U.S. copyright deposit copy and is stamped with a transfer date of September 1942; the pamphlets reads to me as though the U.S. had not yet entered the war.)  The great strengths of the German air force and navy are extolled and the failings of the British mercantile elaborated at great—and sometimes greatly imagined—lengths.  The booklet was published in French (except for the title) and answers its own repetitive question: “quelle est donc la situation relle de la marine commerciale anglais?”

Blog--May 24--map1

 The pamphlet’s 32 pages (illustrated with 24 photographs of various explosions and bombings, plus one graph and three maps) are dedicated to winning the French hearts and minds, trying to convince the conquered population that there really wasn’t any help coming, and that the British could not even supply themselves with the necessaries to run a country, let alone a war.

In the map above we see the  ports and shipping centers that were bombed by the Luftwaffe (with London located by a big red dot).  Another map (at top) shows the stockade-like presence of the Nazi navy securing its impregnable wall against the arrival of foreign trade and supplies to Britain.  

This post is one of a series on propaganda maps which occasionally appear in this blog.   Like Thomas Nast political cartoons and war photography, a map can instantly and overwhelmingly display not only data but sentiment as well. The maps published in this pamphlet by the Nazis are were certainly immediately understandable to just about anyone, French-reading or not, literate or not–the images needed no words, especially when surrounded in the text by vicious images of German military might.  Overrun
or not, Petain-ized as it was, France was still offering aid to its allies and resistance to the Germans–the more minds that could be won over with propaganda of this sort meant one less to have to worry about as an active enemy.

This is the back cover of the pamphlet, showing the final disposition of the British fleet:


Blog--May 24--map2 001

And the front cover:

Blog--May 24--regrets

By: JF Ptak Science Books
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A Glorious Episode in Outsider Literature–“the Great Scope Ever to be Attempted in a Work on Paper”, and a Peep into the Year One Billion A.D…

JF Ptak Science Books    Post 2691

There are some things that stand to be admired simply because exist. They may be mundane, but they are the magnificent mundane, brought to life by sheer force of will. Such I think is the case of Mr. Hoerger’s Poemusicdramuraliterature Epic Poem the Immortal memory in the Glorious Tragedy of Life (1946). The work is billed as a “Valentine Day Classic, quintuple of Art”, the “greatest scope ever attempted in a work on paper”.  It is a big claim made by a little book–bound in red cloth, it measures 4″x2.5″ and is 86 pages long, though the word count for all of the little pages only makes it to about 8000 words, or about 20 type pages. I don’t think that the book ever actually catches up to itself, as for what I can see of it, it is always one step ahead of itself and one step behind.

Outsider poemliterature _1_

(I’m guessing that Mr. Hoerger could have lived at 160 Bleeker Street–it is the Mills Building No. 1, and was built in 1910, where today you could easily spend 4.5k/month for a one-bedroom place…unless the printer for this book was in the basement, and Mr. Hoerger lived elsewhere. This copy by the way came to me via the Library of Congress and is one of the Copyright Deposit copies. There are at least five other works copyrighted by Mr. Hoerger; Highroad Number Z, Vintage One (1941),  Immortal Aid (1946), The Daze of Forty-Nine (1958), and Deep Surprise, post-Abstraction, Space-age Understatement (1961).)

We are reminded of the new sort of “work on paper” this is on the half-title page (identified so), as well as the non-sequitur “art & university libraries, esp”, which seems like an enormous emotion of some unidentifiable sort that the author brings to bear on the possible reader:

Outsider poemliterature _2_

The extraordinary cover:

Outsider poemliterature _3_

And a sample of the writing, which is, at the very least, quite something; it seems a major attempt at producing and communicating ideas that are just too far in an unreachable zone for me, though I have to give credit to the author for his imagination and for completing a project.  

I should point out that in the last section of the last page reproduced here something is “calibrated” at “50 septillion light years”, which is a pretty big number in the scale of the base -illions, especially when you think about the universe being “only” 13 billion years old–that means that the width of the universe in 26 billion light yeas wide  or 156 billion light years in the altogether or some such, but 26,000,000,000 is crushed by the 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 light years being discussed here. Of course there’s also the fast-forward to the future part, introducing the year 1,000,000,000. That would be impossibly far into the future, considering that Homo sapien has been around for 150,000 years or so, and that there have been about 7,500 generations in that time. The Year Ten Billion would entail 400 million generations (and that’s assuming that we haven’t started to “live” forever after the year 3000 or 2500 or whatever) since we have been brought to our present medical modernity in the scant eight or nine generations since Joseph Lister invented the idea of sterilizing operating instruments, and considering again that we are just three or so generations removed from DNA (1953) and the first successful heart transplant (1967) and how far the replacement of human bits has come since then, it is impossible to say where medicine might be in a 50 generations or a thousand years, let alone in ten billion years. 

I do have to commend the author for thinking big. And: he does make you think. 

Outsider poemliterature _4_


Outsider poemliterature _5_

Outsider poemliterature _6_

Outsider poemliterature _7_

By: JF Ptak Science Books
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Were Those Cheerios Seeds Really So Bad? An Investigation

Last month, we told you not to plant the wildflower seeds that Cheerios is giving away to help “bring back the bees,” because they seemed to include invasive species that could harm your local environment. Soon afterward, I received some emails about those seeds that pulled me into a much deeper story.

Read more…

By: Lifehacker
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Incredible Photomontages of Density in Hong-Kong

Le photographe et artiste Wing Chan réalise, depuis janvier 2013, la série Urban Tapestry contenant des photomontages de paysages urbains, allant des conteneurs maritimes aux affiches murales. L’approche de l’artiste consiste à modifier ses clichés afin de dévoiler l’énergie de Hong-Kong et sa forte densité de population.

By: Fubiz Media
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Beautiful Ceramic Easter Eggs by Juliette Clovis

L’artiste pluridisciplinaire Juliette Clovis interprète le savoir-faire séculaire de la céramique avec élégance, technique et fantaisie en lui insufflant un esprit résolument moderne. Sa vision à la fois minutieuse et minimaliste fait de ces objets des véritables oeuvres de design. Son art tourne autour de trois thématiques centrales : l’opposition entre la vie et la mort, le rapport de l’homme à la nature et le dialogue entre modernité et tradition. À quelques jours de Pâques, une sélection de ses merveilleux oeufs en porcelaine de Limoges.

By: Fubiz Media
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