Archive for June, 2016

Frankenstein’s Endless Winter

Human-caused climate change has claimed its first mammalian victim.  R.I.P. little island dwelling melomys critter.


200 years ago we had a sudden climate change due to an erupting volcano. Nothing went extinct that we know of, but Frankenstein was born….


Detail from a hand-colored engraving of Byron’s Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva, by Edward Francis Finden, ca. 1833, after a drawing by William Purser

Detail from a hand-colored engraving of Byron’s Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva, by Edward Francis Finden, ca. 1833, after a drawing by William Purser


From The Public Domain Review,


Frankenstein, the Baroness, and the Climate Refugees of 1816


It is 200 years since “The Year Without a Summer”, when a sun-obscuring ash cloud — ejected from one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history — caused temperatures to plummet the world over. Gillen D’Arcy Wood looks at the humanitarian crisis triggered by the unusual weather, and how it offers an alternative lens through which to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a book begun in its midst.


Deep in our cultural memory, in trace form, lies the bleak image of a summer 200 years ago in which the sun never shone, frosts cruelled crops in the fields, and our ancestors, from Europe to North America to Asia, went without bread, rice, or whatever staple food they depended upon for survival. Perhaps they died of famine or fever, or became refugees. More likely, no record remains of what they suffered, except a faintly recalled reference in the tattered rolodex of our minds. 1816 has, for generations, been known as “The Year Without a Summer”: the coldest, wettest, weirdest summer of the last millennium. If you read Frankenstein at school, you probably heard some version of the literary mythology behind that year. Mary Godwin (later Mary Shelley), having eloped with her poet-lover Percy Shelley, joins Lord Byron on the shores of Lake Geneva for a summer of love, boating, and Alpine picnics. But the terrible weather forces them inside. They take drugs and fornicate. They grow bored, then kinkily inventive. A ghost story competition is suggested. And boom! Mary Shelley writes Frankenstein.


Given this terrific story behind “The Year Without a Summer”, how strange that interpretations of Shelley’s novel almost entirely avoid the subject of 1816’s extreme weather. Call it English Department climate denial. More tellingly, our too-easy version of Frankenstein — oh, it’s all about technology and scientific hubris, or about industrialization — ignores completely the humanitarian climate disaster unfolding around Mary Shelley as she began drafting the novel. Starving, skeletal climate refugees in the tens of thousands roamed the highways of Europe, within a few miles of where she and her ego-charged friends were driving each other to literary distraction. Moreover, landlocked Alpine Switzerland was the worst hit region in all of Europe, producing scenes of social-ecological breakdown rarely witnessed since the hellscape of the Black Death….”


For the rest, click here to go to The Public Domain Review.


“The paradise of fairy tales”

Have a glimpse into the magic of nature with these gorgeous photographs by Polish photographer Magda Wasiczek…


From Bored Panda,


Fairytale Macro World by Polish Photographer Magda Wasiczek


“My name is Magda Wasiczek, I am a flower & nature photographer based in Trzebinia, Poland. Photography to me is a tool of raising the awareness to the beauty of nature. I’ve learned to see invisible things, to enjoy million small details, which I did not pay attention to before.


I do not know who or why, what strength created the world that surrounds us. I know that it is an unusual and fascinating in every smallest detail.


Before I began photographing, I liked to draw, paint. Then I just changed the tool and instead of brushes and pencils I began to use lenses and I have learned to use their optical properties to achieve the desired effects.


I want to show the world of plants or insects in such a way that would impress an average person who has paid no attention to the world at his feet or even hated those “nasty bugs”.


When going to the meadow or the garden, I have no planned shots. I let the nature surprise me. I love the thrill when you find a theme in the open air. It’s like opening presents at Christmas.


I want to present my vision of the world, this idyllic paradise of fairy tales. I hope that looking at my pictures, a child inside of them wakes up, because the world in the eyes of a child is always more colourful, fascinating, mysterious and full of surprises…”




For the rest of the photographs, click here.


Boxes and boxes of strange mythical creatures…


Prediction: These photographs are going to be an elixir for your imagination for the the entire day at least…


From Design You Can Trust,


Bodies Of Strange Creatures Were Found In The Basement Of An Old House In London


“In 1960 in London at the time of clearing the site for construction of a new residential neighborhood, the old long-abandoned mansion belonged to Thomas Theodore Merlin was sent for demolition. In the basement of the home builders have discovered several thousand small wooden boxes tightly sealed. Imagine their surprise when they began to find inside the bodies of strange mythical creatures, which seemed to have been living only in fairy tales.




Thomas Theodore Merrylin was known as Crypto-naturalist, Fringe Zoologist and Xeno-Archeologist. Creatures and artifacts thought to be nothing more than myth. It is a mystery that challenges our understanding of biology, chemistry and the very laws of physics. But this is no fairytale, for he was a scientist, and empirical evidence and rational thought hold sway here. There is a lot to see and read, so please take your time to peruse the website (The Merrylin Cryptid Museum)…”


For more, click here.



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