Saturday, 24 January 2015


BioHashing generates a vector of bits starting from the biometric feature set and a seed which represents the "Hash key".
On the following day, many sledges went out to search for Artuk. And they found him, far out on the ice, torn to pieces, as is the way with those whom the spirits have punished for refusing to observe the customs of their forefathers. And the son, who was bound to the sledge, had not been touched, but he had died of fright.

chalk stream

Chalk streams are streams that flow through chalk hills towards the sea. They are typically wide, shallow, and due to the filtering effect of the chalk they are alkaline and clear. There are 210 chalk streams in the world, and 160 of those are in England.[1] Chalk streams are popular with fly fishermen who fish for trout on these rivers.
Chalk geology is porous, and rain falling onto chalk hills percolate directly into the ground, where the chalk acts as an aquifer. The water filters through the chalk, re-emerging lower down the slope in springs. The chalk acts as a temporary reservoir by regulating the amount of water supplied to the springs. This is why many chalk streams in the UK have stable flow regimes that vary only slightly over time. The temperature of the emerging surface water is fairly stable and rarely deviates from 10°C (50°F). On cold winter mornings, it can look as though steam is rising above the relatively warm river.
Chalk is a soluble geology in rainwater because rain is naturally slightly acidic. The products of chalk weathering are dissolved in rainwater and are transported in stream flow. Chalk streams transport little suspended material (unlike most rivers), but are uniquely mineral-rich. The surface water of chalk streams is commonly described as 'gin clear'. The channel bed consists of angular flint gravel derived from the natural flint deposits found embedded within the chalk geology that is characteristically free from fine sediment deposits.
The unique characteristics of chalk stream ecology are due to stable temperature and flow regimes combined with highly transparent water and lack of sand grade sediment particles.
The chalk streams have been intensively managed for many generations


blythe house

Monday, 19 January 2015

assemblage at the BM

Jones 1990
Goddess (registration no. 1959,0712B.96) and phallus (1959,0712B.97) from Grime's Graves
These two objects were found by A. L. Armstrong during his excavations at Grime's Graves in the late 1930s. The first to be discovered was the goddess, upright on a pedestal of flat chalk slabs near an original platform of closely packed blocks of mined flint, the apex of which pointed to the figure. On this were several antler picks and at its base a small, well-made chalk cup. Nearby were the chalk phallus and three natural flint nodules, arranged, according to Armstrong, 'in the form of a phallus'. The lack of any close parallels from other Neolithic sites has led some to doubt the authenticity of these pieces.
Indeed, it was rumoured at the time of discovery that they had been planted in order to fool Armstrong. It is unlikely that their status will finally be settled until similar objects are found elsewhere, or someone writes their memoirs.

During the inter-war years a number of individuals, particularly Leslie Armstrong, continued to try to find evidence for a Palaeolithic date, even after publication of the 1933 paper written by Clark and Piggott which conclusively demonstrated the Neolithic date of flint mining.
Armstrong's work at Grimes Graves reached its climax when he excavated Pit 15 between 1937 and 1939. This shaft was relatively shallow - the 'floorstone' was encountered at a depth of 6m - and nine galleries radiated out from the base of the shaft.
The excavation of this flint mine was one of the most controversial at Grimes Graves, particularly because of the discovery of the famous chalk 'goddess'. This carved figurine appeared to offer belated support for a Palaeolithic origin for flint mining, a view that attracted few supporters by the 1930s. However, although this figurine echoed the style of Palaeolithic carvings, it was greeted with scepticism - as were the Palaeolithic-style etchings found in 1921 - as the weight of evidence argued overwhelmingly for a Neolithic date.
Recently, the authenticity of the figurine has been questioned again, and there are strong grounds for believing that it was made during Armstrong's excavations by persons unknown, probably to deceive Armstrong. Armstrong held firmly to his belief in Palaeolithic mining - but this proved to be his last excavation at Grimes Graves.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Audio stuff
The largest online audio map, to which anyone who wants can upload their field recordings.
Listen to the sound of Wikipedia's recent changes feed.
Nic Collins shows how to turn speakers into microphones, microphones into speakers. From the DVD in "Handmade Electronic Music -- The Art of Hardware Hacking" (Routledge 2009).

prevent stress

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Inuit Cartography

Kuniit's three wooden (tree) maps show the journey from Sermiligaaq to Kangertittivatsiaq. Map to the right shows the islands along the coast, while the map in the middle shows the mainland and is read from one side of the block around to the other. Map to the left shows the peninsula between the fjords Sermiligaaq and Kangertivartikajik." From "Topografisk Atlas Grønland", published by Det Kongeglige Danske Geografiske Selskab, 2000 (pg 171).  

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

"The Natives of Florida worship the column," from Theodor de Bry, America (13 vols., Frankfurt, 1590-1634).

Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere and the Indian Chief Athore Visit Ribaut's Column, c.1570 (gouache on parchment, New York Public Library)


In 1562 Jean Ribaut of Dieppe led a French expedition to the New World, landing in Florida. Here he set up the column shown in this print, to indicate French claims to ownership. Such columns were often put up in Europe, to mark the boundaries between the possessions of different kings, and so it seemed appropriate to do this in the New World as well.Ribaut left some colonists at Charlesfort, but their settlement did not thrive, and they eventually returned to France in great distress. Two years later, when the religious wars had broken out in France, the Protestant René de Laudonnière led an expedition back to this site, hoping to found a colony. The Indians greeted him in a very friendly way, and took him to the column erected by Ribaut. Our plate shows the Indian chief Athore showing the column to Laudonnière, who is described as being much shorter than the majestic Indian. Indeed, European travellers often noted how tall and well-built the coastal Indians were; no doubt they were much better nourished than most Europeans of that time.Athore points to the column, which other Indians are worshipping as a cult-object, symbol of their alliance with the powerful king of France. The column has been wreathed with flowers; before it lie offerings of fruits and vegetables, a bow and some arrows. We know that this scene is likely to be accurate, because, uniquely for the roughly fifty images engraved by de Bry from this expedition, the original water-color made by Jacques le Moyne de Morgues has been found and closely resembles the engraving. 




For the early voyagers, wonder not only marked the new but mediated between outside and inside (Milton's 'sees|Or dreams he sees'). Hence the ease with which the very words marvel and wonder shift between the designation of a material object and the designation of a response to the object, between intense, almost phantasmagorical inward states and thoroughly externalised objects that can, after the initial moments of astonishment have passed, be touched, cataloged, inventoried, possessed.

Gleenblatt/ Marvellous Possessions/ 22

Sunday, 4 January 2015

cargo cult science / rich as croesus

Midas rejoiced in his new power, which he hastened to put to the test. He touched an oak twig and a stone; both turned to gold. Overjoyed, as soon as he got home, he ordered the servants to set a feast on the table. "So Midas, king of Lydia, swelled at first with pride when he found he could transform everything he touched to gold; but when he beheld his food grow rigid and his drink harden into golden ice then he understood that this gift was a bane and in his loathing for gold, cursed his prayer" (Claudian, In Rufinem).

 In a version told by Nathaniel Hawthorne in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1852), Midas found that when he touched his daughter, she turned to gold as well.
Now, Midas hated the gift he had coveted. He prayed to Dionysus, begging to be delivered from starvation. Dionysus heard his prayer, and consented; telling Midas to wash in the river Pactolus. Then, what ever he put into the water would be reversed of the touch.
Midas did so, and when he touched the waters, the power flowed into the river, and the river sands turned into gold. This explained why the river Pactolus was so rich in gold, and the wealth of the dynasty claiming Midas as its forefather no doubt the impetus for this aetiological myth. Gold was perhaps not the only metallic source of Midas' riches: "King Midas, a Phrygian, son of Cybele, first discovered black and white lead".[17]
Midas, now hating wealth and splendor, moved to the country and became a worshipper of Pan, the god of the fields and satyr. Roman mythographers asserted that his tutor in music was Orpheus.

Now it behooves me, of course, to tell you what they're missing. But it would be just about as difficult to explain to the South Sea islanders how they have to arrange things so that they get some wealth in their system. It is not something simple like telling them how to improve the shapes of the earphones. But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school--we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. 


The Vailala Madness also took a rigid line on the abandonment of the great cycle of initiations that were formerly a centre of social life in the Papuan Gulf. The cycle, known as hevehe and semese, would take over a decade to complete and involved the building of a huge man's cultic house, known as the eravo, in which were put ritual paraphernalia that were prohibited to women. The Vailala Madness destroyed the paraphernalia, and often the first step towards this was displaying the forbidden items to the non-initiated.