Archive for December, 2016

The Deadly Crinoline: A Victorian History of Death by Fashion

The best new vocabularly word we’ve learned in a while: “Crinolinemania” —




From The Vintage News,

Crinolinemania: The dangerous Victorian fashion garment that killed around 3,000 women


“The crinoline was perceived as a signifier of social identity, with a popular subject for cartoons being that of maids wearing crinolines like their mistresses, much to the higher-class ladies’ disapproval.
Unlike the farthingales and panniers, the crinoline was worn by women of every social class; and the fashion swiftly became the subject of intense scrutiny in Western media.


The questions of servants in crinoline and the related social concerns were raised by George Routledge in an etiquette manual published in 1875, where he criticised London housemaids for wearing hoops at work.


As the girls knelt to scrub the doorsteps, Routledge described how their hoops rose to expose their lower bodies, inspiring street harassment from errand boys and other male passers-by.


Routledge firmly opined that servants ought to save their fashionable garments for their leisure periods, and dress appropriately for their work.


However, this was challenged by some servants who saw attempts to control their dress as equivalent to controlling their liberty, and refused to work for employers who tried to forbid crinolines…”


For the rest, click here.


Hidden in plain site for eons, the oldest known musical composition…

A magical discovery! (This is definitely something that could inspire a novel..)




From Ancient Origins,


“It’s the song that ensured the stele would truly be an everlasting memorial because he didn’t just have the lyrics engraved, but rather also included the melody in ancient Greek musical notation.”


Song of Seikilos: Oldest Known Musical Composition Lay Hidden on a Flower Stand in Turkish Garden


“The Song of Seikilos is the oldest complete surviving music composition in the world engraved in a marble stele that served as a flower stand. The beautiful composition, also known as the ‘Seikilos epitaph’, dates from around the first or second century AD, and was inconspicuously being kept in the garden of a Turkish woman prior to its current placement in the National Museum of Denmark.


The Song of Seikilos was discovered carved on a marble column-shaped stele in Tralleis, near Ephesus in Turkey, in 1883. Although short in length, this piece of the past has remarkable historical value in its rarity as an artifact. It is not the oldest song in the world, which is attributed to a Sumerian hymn, but it is unique as the sole composition which has remained complete throughout history.


The song of Seikilos was originally engraved on a tombstone, a stele, accompanying the message ‘from Seikilos to Euterpe“, together with a poem. Most researchers seem to agree that the song was a dedication by a man, named Seikilos, to his wife, possibly named Euterpe, who had passed away.


There are two different translations of the poem but the message remains the same: enjoy life to the fullest because death will come for all of us. The first translated version of the poems reads as follows:…”


For the lyrics, more pictures, and even a resurrection of the song itself, click here.



Through the looking glass: The case against reality…

When reality is hard to swallow, remember, this scientist says that the world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality at all…




From The Atlantic,


The Case Against Reality
A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
by Amanda Gefter


As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.


Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.


Getting at questions about the nature of reality, and disentangling the observer from the observed, is an endeavor that straddles the boundaries of neuroscience and fundamental physics. On one side you’ll find researchers scratching their chins raw trying to understand how a three-pound lump of gray matter obeying nothing more than the ordinary laws of physics can give rise to first-person conscious experience. This is the aptly named “hard problem.”…


For the rest, click here.


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