Pakistan’s Moenjodaro is crumbling away | Pakistan | Al Jazeera

“If our estimates are proven correct, Moenjodaro was probably a cosmopolitan city of its times. I have said it time and again that, 5,000 years ago, when people in Europe and other places lived in caves and jungles, people in Moenjodaro lived in brick houses in a civilised and planned city,” Qasim says.

 

Source: Pakistan’s Moenjodaro is crumbling away | Pakistan | Al Jazeera

Totally Off Topic But Fascinating: Why Are Bananas Berries, But Strawberries Aren’t?

Despite its name, the strawberry isn’t a true berry. Neither is the raspberry or the blackberry. But the banana is a berry, scientifically speaking, as are eggplants, grapes and oranges. So what’s the deal? Why are berries so very hard to define?

Source: Why Are Bananas Berries, But Strawberries Aren’t?

Dressing Up in a Panda Suit Can Really Make a Difference – Bloomberg

Combo of cute pictures and admiration for dedicated personnel. Who could ask for more.

This month, the giant panda, the black and white icon of the world’s threatened species since the WWF adopted it as a logo in 1960, has finally managed to crawl off the endangered list. Thanks to a network of more than 60 nature reserves in the mountains of China’s Sichuan province, a successful captive breeding program and a clampdown on poaching, the numbers of the big lovable bears have been rising. The monochrome mammals are still listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So China’s latest step to conserve its national mascot is to release captive-born bears back into the wild. And for that, you have to look like a panda… Photographs by Adam Dean/Panos Pictures

Source: Dressing Up in a Panda Suit Can Really Make a Difference – Bloomberg

These Are the Best Architecture Images from the NYPL’s New Public Domain Collection | ArchDaily

These Are the Best Architecture Images from the NYPL’s New Public Domain Collection,Woolworth Building construction. Image via The New York Public Library

 

Last week the New York Public Library made over 180,000 images from their digital archives available in the public domain, and free for high-resolution download. Not only are the images available for download, but since they are in the public domain and free of any copyright restrictions, users have the freedom to get creative and alter, modify, and reuse the images in any manner they see fit. Featuring a wide variety of images including drawings, engravings, photographs, maps, postcards, and in some cases, digitized copies of entire books, the collection has been noted for fascinating historical artifacts such as a set of color drawings of Egyptian gods and goddesses, and a digitized book from the 18th century containing over 400 color plates depicting various current and historical fashion trends.

Source: These Are the Best Architecture Images from the NYPL’s New Public Domain Collection | ArchDaily

British Library Releases Millions of Images for Public Use on Flickr | ArchDaily

British Library Releases Millions of Images for Public Use on Flickr, "Through China with a Camera ... With ... illustrations". Image Courtesy of The British Library
“Through China with a Camera … With … illustrations”. Image Courtesy of The British Library

The British Library has continued to release images from its digitized collection, now bordering over one million images on public image-sharing platform Flickr, reports Quartz.  Since 2013, the institution’s “Mechanical Curator” has been randomly selecting images or other pages from over 65,000 public-domain books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

 

 

Source: British Library Releases Millions of Images for Public Use on Flickr | ArchDaily

María Moliner: Darned Socks and Wrote Dictionaries

But the figure who stands out in the period was María Moliner (1900–1981). A librarian under the  Second Republic, Moliner had established a  groundbreaking network of rural libraries in Spain in the 1930s, part of the Second Republic’s short  but intense period of educational reform. At the  time, only four million of the twenty-three million Spaniards had access to books and newspapers. By 1934, she had already opened 5,000 libraries, and had plans for 5,500 more in primary schools and small towns.

Unlike other left-wing intellectuals, María Moliner, a mother of four, did not run away from Franco. She and her family suffered for the decision. Her husband, a professor of physics and left-wing  activist, was suspended from his job for three  years. Moliner stayed on the government’s payroll but was demoted eighteen ranks. By 1946, she was  working way below her abilities, as head librarian at the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers.

The idea to write a dictionary was born in 1952, when Moliner’s son, who was living in Paris, sent her a copy of The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Conscious of the decline of the Real Academia’s dictionary under Franco, Moliner began taking notes to write a small Spanish dictionary similar to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. She understood the methodology. Thirty years earlier, while she was studying at the University of Zaragoza, Moliner had been part of a team working  on a dictionary of Aragonese. She thought she  could write it in two years. 

In 1966, after fifteen years of solitary work, Moliner finally published her landmark Diccionario de Uso del Español (Dictionary of Spanish Usage). It was an immediate success: since 1967, it has sold almost two hundred thousand copies. Gabriel García Márquez called it “the most complete, useful,  diligent and entertaining dictionary of the Castilian  language.”  Moliner based her corpus on the Academia’s  dictionary, augmented with what she gleaned from newspapers. The Academia had accepted words such as record, test, and film but it ignored technical  terms that were becoming common, including  cibernética, entropía (entropy), reactor, and transistor. Striving to be clear and up-to-date, Moliner included foreign words, colloquialisms, slang, and  acronyms that were part of common usage. Moliner also refused to treat ch and ll as separate letters (the Academia followed her example in  1994). 

When Moliner died in 1981, Gabriel García Márquez wrote her obituary. He said her dictionary was “twice as big as the Academia’s and, in my  opinion, twice as good.” Its only drawback, he declared, was the absence of profanities, “the words Spaniards have used the most since time immemorial.” In 1972, the great philologists Rafael Lapesa and Dámaso Alonso nominated Moliner for membership in the Real Academia and it was widely believed she would become Spain’s first female academician. The Academia instead chose the  philologist Emilio Alarcos Llorach, even though his  best work (Gramática de la lengua española) was  still twenty-two years in the making. Moliner’s biog-  rapher, Inmaculada de la Fuente, wrote, “Her work questioned the dictionary of the Real Academia. She was admired, but not valued.” 

On learning that her candidacy was rejected, María Moliner commented ironically, “What could I have said? I spent my life darning socks.” 

The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

Are You Ready for Some Hard Truths About the Birth of Our Nation? Brace Yourself | Alternet

Cutting edge historians are breaking new ground to help us understand the dogged persistence of white racism…

So much so that historian Gerald Horne poses a radical reinterpretation of the founding of the nation’s origins, in his trailblazing book, The Counter-Revolution of 1776. “Ironically, the founders of the republic have been hailed and lionized by left, right and center for—in effect—creating the first apartheid state,” he writes.

Citing previously ignored evidence, Horne argues convincingly that a combination of alarm over the growing abolition sentiment in Britain, well underway by the late 1700s, and the deep-rooted fear of potential British support for slave uprisings were major motivating forces behind the desire for “independence” in the first place.

Source: Are You Ready for Some Hard Truths About the Birth of Our Nation? Brace Yourself | Alternet

The Jewish-Polish Broker Who Saved America

Solomon arranges some of the most crucial loans of the war effort and, working in concert with Robert Morris – the Revolution’s chief banker – becomes central to the colonials’ eventual victory. When George Washington sees his one-in-a-million opportunity to trap and destroy Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, it is money that is wanting and Solomon comes through. Washington can’t move his army into siege position to capitalize on Cornwallis’s historic error because an army on the march must be fed. Robert Morris turns once again to Solomon the broker, who comes up with the vital $20,000 when the Treasury itself is empty. Within a day, the French and American armies, flush with the funds necessary, make their way to Yorktown and surround the city. Cornwallis is cut off from supply lines and promptly gives up.

Source: The Broker Who Saved America