In a matter of hours on Friday, Typhoon Haiyan completely devastated parts of the central Philippines. It was one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The death toll is estimated up to 10,000 with hundreds of thousands more displaced. The country has declared a “state of calamity.”
To everyone else, please help those desperate for clean water and food by donating to the UN World Food Programme:
- USA: Text
27722to donate $10
- UK: Text
70303to donate £3
- Canada: Text
45678to donate $5
- Donate online
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Spooky mask discovered in wall
This object is not a book, but it’s just too special not to show you. It’s a 16th- or 17th-century “visard” or disguising mask from England, which was found in a most unusual place: buried inside a thick wall, where it was hidden to ward off evil (a common practice back then). Its use at the time is equally remarkable. According to one contemporary source it was worn by ladies who had to go out after dark. The mask gave them the appearance of the devil, scaring off any evil-doers:
Writes Phillip Stubbes in his 1583 Anatomie of Abuses: “When [ladies] use to ride abrod, they have invisories, or masks, visors made of velvet, wherwith they cover all their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they look. So that if a man, that knew not their guise before, should chaunce to meet one of them, he would think hee met a monster or a devil; for face hee can see none, but two brode holes against her eyes with glasses in them”.
The mask was discovered in 2010 and still had its glass bead attached, which the wearer held in her mouth to keep the mask in place while pretending to be the devil. Spooky, yes, but also a most intriguing artifact from ancient times.
More details about this particular mask here (via @wynkenhimself) and here (via @DerBuddler). The item was found in the Welcome to the Portable Antiquities Scheme website by @wynkenhimself, whose tweet and link sparked this post. More information about visard masks in this blog. Added note (EK): the latter blog refers to Randle Holme, a 17th-century scholar, who claims the masks were (also?) used for protection from the sun.
This is actually astoundingly cool. But all I can think is “Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead!”
New Vincent Van Gogh painting discovered
The New York Times: Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum has unveiled a newly-discovered painting by the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, the first major canvas of the artist’s work that has been found since 1928.
The work, titled ‘Sunset at Montmajour,’ was painted in Arles in 1888 during a period that is considered to be the height of Van Gogh’s career.
If you’re as excited about Sony’s new Smartphone Lenses as we are, you’ll want to watch this video!
- Works wirelessly with iPhone and Android
- 18-20MP, Optical zoom, Carl Zeiss optics
- MUCH larger built-in sensor than your phone’s camera
Add your name to the Sony Smart Lens Notification List and we’ll email the moment they’re available for pre-order. (No spam, no way)
US Ready to Attack Syria (by SourceFed)
Tensions are high regarding Syria. The US and Britain are ready to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons as the Syrian government adamantly denies the accusations.