Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcome the Winter Solstice

Image Source:  Bentobjects via Dark Roasted Blend.

Today (17:11 UTC) marks the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night, and the onset of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. You can see the gradual lengthening of days, second by second, here.  The winter solstice occurred this year in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21.

On this day, Stonehenge is a magnet for tourist groups, neo-pagans, Wiccans and neo-Druids. From Stonehenge Tours:
Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise). It is thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The Winter Solstice was a time when most cattle were slaughtered (so they would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.The exact time for the Winter Solstice is December 21st, 17.11pm (UK time).
See 2006 and 2009 videos of the great Neolithic and Bronze Age site below the jump. The earliest possible date for building at Stonehenge dates from around 3100 BCE. And to bring us back to the present, there's also a video for a 2008 Canadian winter tire ad.

Image Source: Mount Washington Observatory via Greetings May All Your Dreams Come True.

Image Source: Out of Ashes.

Lighthouse covered in ice in Cleveland, Ohio, on Lake Erie (16 December 2010). Image Source: National Geographic.

Image Source: Forum Garden
Snow in Athens (February 2008). Image Source: Kim Trathen / BBC.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cryptic Messages

Image Source: Live Science.

Live Science reports on a crypt which has been uncovered in the Sudan, in the old Christian Kingdom of Makuria, which reached its golden age from 750 to 1150 CE. The crypt is located in what was the capital city, Old Dongola, once an important centre in medieval Nubia (see a brief history of the region here). The Live Science report is based on a research publication from 2009. The archaeologists from the University of Warsaw who excavated the crypt and environs in 2009 have a Website here; you can see their 2012 excavation of the city's royal palace, here.

From the Kingdom of Aldoia, south of the Kingdom of Makuria, north of Khartoum: "Bishop Marianos (1005-1039) and Virgin with Child, after 1005 [CE]." Image Source: Early African Christianity.

Ruins of a Coptic Christian church in Old Dongola, Sudan. Image Source: SuperStock.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Photos of the Day: Microworlds

Humped, or Creeping, Bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) (click to enlarge), First Place in the Olympus BioScapes Imaging Competition (2013). Image Source: Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, VA via NPR.

For today, a glimpse of tiny worlds! Above, see the fantastic First Prize winner of the Olympus BioScapes Imaging Competition. This is a digital microscopic photo, taken by Igor Siwanowicz, of the "[o]pen trap of aquatic carnivorous plant, humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba). The floating plant digests microinvertebrates that are sucked into its trap a millisecond after they touch its trigger hairs." NPR explains how Siwanowicz took the picture:
Igor Siwanowicz, a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus ... magnified the plant 100 times using a laser scanning confocal microscope and used cellulose-binding fluorescent dye Calcofluor White to visualize the cell walls of the plant.
Siwanowicz's personal gallery of microscopic photos is here; the gallery has an e-card function, in case you need to scare (or delight) your friends over the holidays.

The Humped Bladderwort to the naked eye. Image Source:  Go Botany.

Directly below, see more microimages from Igor Siwanowicz.

Two male African mantis Pseudempusa pinnapavonis square off. Image Source: Igor Siwanowicz via HuffPo.

"A Giant Malaysian Shield Mantis cleans its tarsus (the last segment of an arthropodís leg) in Igor's home studio in Munich, Germany." Image Source: Igor Siwanowicz via HuffPo.

Desmids (a type of algae). Image Source: Igor Siwanowicz.

Cross section of a Juncus sp. leaf (a type of rush grass). Image Source: Igor Siwanowicz.

Below the jump, see more winners and honourable mentions from the Olympus BioScapes competition. The images are taken from the Olympus BioScapes 2013 Winners Gallery. All images here are copyrighted by the original photographers and are reproduced under Fair Use for non-commercial discussion and review only.

Photos of the Day: China's Moon Mission

Image Source: Xinhua/Wang Jianmin via Yahoo.

Caption for the above photo: "BEIJING, Dec. 14, 2013 (Xinhua/IANS) -- Photo taken on Dec. 14, 2013 shows a picture of the moon surface taken by the on-board camera of the lunar probe Chang'e-3 on the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China. China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, with the country's first moon rover onboard, landed on the moon on Saturday night, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body."

Here are some photos from AP and Reuters via the Daily Mail and Yahoo of the Chinese lander, Chang'e, and its Jade Rabbit (Yutu) rover on the lunar landscape. The full moon in December, which occurs today, is called the Cold Moon or the Long Nights Moon; its names mark the run up to the solstice.

 The Yutu rover, photographed by the Chang'e lander.

The lander, as photographed on the lunar surface by the Yutu rover.