Friday, June 30, 2023

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Nungwi village in Zanzibar

Today we take a stroll in the village of Nungwi on the northern tip of Zanzibar. We start in what I think is a residential area with shops mixed in. Nungwi, because of its beach, is a tourist destination. As we walk towards the beach the local shops give way to more touristy stores which sell African themed art, clothes, jewelry and the like. There are also a lot of Europeans about. Eventually we make it to the beach where the bars and restaurants are much more upscale.

I've edited this post to add the below promotional video of Hotel Riu Jamba in Nungwi. You might want to turn the sound down so you don't get deafened by the happy musical soundtrack. As you can see, the resort area looks entirely different than the village. Two worlds colliding.

Sunday, June 25, 2023


Click any image to enlarge

One of the features of the Neolithic Age was the domestication of plants and animals. Two main economic styles resulted: farming and herding. Because of agriculture leads to a greater population of sedentary farmers it led to the creation of cities and much larger political units. We live in a civilization birthed by farming.

Herding leads to a different outcome. Herders need to follow their animals and so their range is much more transitory. It gives birth to a more nomadic lifestyle. 

The areas outside of the river valley and coastal civilizations was the home of the herders: Mongolia, the Maghreb, south central Africa and the American great plains. The two economic systems have long been in conflict, with nomads raiding villages while farms pushed into the grazing areas. Today, although some still exist, nomads have largely lost the battle for ground and they've been pushed to the fringes. 

With memories of barbarian raiding parties long past, nomads tend to be romanticized today. These are paintings and drawings of nomads. They are from various places and times.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Why Not?

Get ready for an aspirational weekend with Trúc Nhân and Mew Amazing
featuring Thùy Tiên and Tiến Linh.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Innards of a player piano

These days a player piano is little but a curiosity for a collector to own. However, prior to the phonograph they had a purpose in that they could reproduce a piece of music whenever desired and were popular for that reason. 

In the above video Chris Plaola takes off the covers of his player piano and explains it inner workings. It is quite a complicated device.


Sunday, June 18, 2023


Punt Gun

The world is full of people who will help you manufacture tornados
in order to blow out a match. ― Shaun Hick


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Asking an important question

Regular readers will know that I'm a huge supporter of the Green Party. Naturally, that means that I am also a vegan. I'll admit to backsliding here and there -- I probably ought to cut back on my consumption of bacon double cheeseburgers for example. However, the way I look at it pickles and catsup are vegetables, right? Baby steps. At any rate, let he/she/xir/it/they who is without sin cast the first stone.

That brings me to today's video on an issue that I, and I assume you as well, have long been concerned about. Namely, can vegans eat carnivorous plants?

From the video we discover that if you're walking down a path and you spot a Venus flytrap that you can pluck and eat it with a clear conscience. However, should you decide to cultivate Venus flytraps for food the act of feeding them bugs would violate veganism. Rats, there goes my dream of retiring to my 1,000-acre Venus flytrap plantation. 

She goes further off the rails, err... I mean she goes further into the discussion of vegan philosophy by discussing the ethics of using Venus flytraps as pest control. I don't know, I'm from Florida and I don't think that even a veritable palisade of Venus flytraps would do much to stop the creepy-crawlies, but who am I to question her wisdom and authority on the topic?


Sunday, June 11, 2023

Carl Gustav Carus paintings

Click any image to enlarge

Carl Gustav Carus was a 19th century German who, as was common among well-bred gentlemen of his day, was multitalented. He was physiologist, philosopher, biologist and a painter. These are some of his paintings. In his art he was of the Romantic school and was interested in capturing the workings of geology. Hence his paintings focus on the landscape, with a lot of ruins and small figures in them.

Carl Gustav Carus

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

A Tokyo middle-class neighborhood

In this Walking in Cities video we tour a nice-looking neighborhood in Tokyo. Most of the walk is through side streets, where only pedestrians, scooters and bicycles are about. There are a lot of store front businesses lining the streets. It looks like a pleasant neighborhood. 


Tuesday, June 06, 2023

June 6, 1944

They're murdering us here. Let's move inland and get murdered.
- Colonel Charles D. Canham, 116th Infantry Regiment commander, on Omaha Beach -


Sunday, June 04, 2023

Navigating twists and turns

Golf by Niwa Akiko
(click image to enlarge)

Life is not what you expect: it is made up of the most unexpected twists and turns.
- Ilaiyaraaja -


Friday, June 02, 2023