Timbuktu, Mali and its Cultural and Commercial Traditions

Timbuktu-MaliTimbuktu, Mali is located at the precise point where the Niger River flows northward into the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, which is an incredibly difficult place to reach and is why it is often used in the English language as a representative of a far away place. In Timbuktu, men keep their faces veiled while in the presence of women at all times, not even lowering their veils to eat, instead taking in food from underneath the veil. Women predominantly make familial decisions and hold the position of power within society. Timbuktu is made up of various ethnic tribes including the Kel Tamasheq, Songaï (pronounced “sore-eye”) (sometimes spelled as “Songhai”) and Arabs primarily. Timbuktu was founded by the Tuareg people however their numbers are vastly outweighed by the 3 main tribes of Timbuktu during the modern era. Despite once being a trading hub of both of salt and gold, Timbuktu now primarily trades in salt as the price of gold has made gold inaccessible for the average inhabitant. Timbuktu is slowly being buried in the sands of the Sahara Desert as these sands blow in and slowly but surely bury Timbuktu’s structures a little bit at a time. Fortunately, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has been helping to preserve the city of Timbuktu and its buildings from the elements of sand, wind, and rain which have eroded its structures made from natural materials, mainly adobe and mud brick

The Japanese Replica Home of Beatrix Potter

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Beatrix Potter’s work is highly popular in Japan as her stories were translated into Japanese relatively early on with the first translation released in 1917. Potter’s stories were used to teach English primarily but also served to entertain young children which is why her works are considered culturally important in Japan. A replica of Potter’s English countryside home has been erected in Tokyo, Japan upon the grounds of a children’s zoo situated near Daito Bunka University. The replica home is of Potter’s former home, Hill Top Farm and is exactly 33% larger than the actual home Potter lived and worked in

The Decaying Sewage Infrastructure of Calcutta, India

Calcutta-India-sewer-cleanerKolkatan sewers were once the envy of the world, built during the Victorian era and spanning 90 kilometers below the city. Because the Kolkatan sewer system is now 130 years old, it no longer functions as it should, especially when accounting for the increasingly large modern day population of Calcutta, India. Due to this, teams of workers with buckets enter the sewers every night all over Calcutta to shovel and remove excrement so that blockages don’t occur. Workers typically work 11:00 PM – 5:00 AM because this is when the least amount of people are awake to use the bathroom. The problem is becoming increasingly worse as time progresses, being that more and more people are now connecting into the central city sewage line as incomes and quality of life increases throughout India

 

The Physics of the Pac-Man Universe

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The game of Pac-Man allows players to exit the world on one side, and re-enter upon a completely different side without delay. Pac-Man’s universe appears to be a flat, two dimensional, rectangular shape, but in reality it must be cylindrical like a pipe, only with the 2 ends of the pipe touching, making Pac-Man’s universe actually in the shape of a donut

Possible Hidden Message Within Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

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Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel depicts God enthralled in a red cape like textile, but what’s truly interesting is that the outline of this image directly matches that of a bifurcated brain if observed from the side (e.g. either hemisphere of the brain separated from its other half). Whether or not this was intentional is debatable. It has also been suggested that this shape is designed to represent a uterus, that from which all life is sprung

The Etymology of the Term “Baroque” and “Rococo”

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The term “Baroque” is derived from the Portuguese term “barroco” which means a “misshapen pearl” as it was thought that the baroque period was similar to the Renaissance, but not as perfect as the Renaissance, a sort of wonky replica of sorts. The term “Rococo” is derived from the French term “rocaille” (pronounced “rock-eye”) which means “shell work” and typically refers to the late Baroque period. Rococo implies an art form which is shapeless and overloaded with detail, and the term was originally meant as an insult towards the Baroque and Rococo artform, as is the case with many forms of artwork when they first emerge (e.g. graffiti etc.)

Skyscraper Preparations​ in China for Typhoons​

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A level 16 typhoon is capable of dumping up to 7” of rain per hour. Because of this, all skyscrapers on the Chinese coastline (e.g. Shanghai, China, Hong Kong, China, Macau, China etc.) must have specially trained workers dangle off of the side of the building from support lines, with high pressure water hoses. These workers spray random windows for 5 minutes as inspectors scrutinize the windows for leaks

The Ancient City of Cappadocia in Modern Day Derinkuyu, Turkey

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The underground cave site of Derinkuyu, Turkey, commonly referred to as “Cappadocia”, is an underground network of caves and tunnels which date back to the prehistoric era, as evidence of stone tools have been uncovered at the site. Experts believe that 20,000 – 60,000 people inhabited the Cappadocian caves with indication of air vents and water wells making it theoretically possible to live underground for extended periods of time, spanning years even. Stone wheels made of volcanic basalt were fashioned to create what’s referred to as “self sealing doors”. The rocks would be rolled in front of a pathway making entry impossible for invaders due to the inability to gain leverage. The only possibility of entry would be to cut through this wheel, often up to 1’ thick in width, which would waste valuable time giving those upon the other side time to prepare a counter attack

Giorgio Vasari; The Person Accredited with Creating the Term “Renaissance”

giorgio-vasari-renaissance

The person who is accredited with creating the term “renaissance” is Giorgio Vasari. Vasari published a book entitled “Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori” which means “The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects” in Italian. The book is often shortened in its title and called “The Lives of Artists”. This book has over the centuries become the most influential art book of all time. Within the preface of the book, Vasari uses the term “rinascita” which means “rebirth” in Italian, to describe what was going on around him. Vasari stated that under the ancient Greeks and ancient Roman’s, art and civilization reached it’s highest levels of perfection, and that when the barbarians which are modern day Germans, arrived in Italy, the arts as a whole fell to ruins. The Renaissance is considered to have occurred between 1400 – 1600, with the beginning and end dates being slightly vague on each end

The Freemasonic Society

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As of 2012, there are an estimated 6,000,000 (6 million) Freemasons worldwide. It is believed by some experts that the Freemason fraternity was established during the building of Solomon’s Temple, which occurred in 1000 B.C.. The original universal symbol of the Freemason society has a geometric compass at the top, letter “G” in the middle, and a squared ruler at the bottom. The compass is considered the main tool of the Freemason and stands for the perfect circle it draws in which a Freemason can stand. It is believed by the Freemasons that when having gone outside of this circle, a Freemason will find trouble and lose control. The only way to enlarge the circle is to seek knowledge. The square is iconography designed to represent wisdom and virtue. The letter “G” represents the “grand architect of the universe” but also can be interpreted as God or geometry, as it is believed by some experts that God is a grand architect and that geometry, specifically sacred geometry is the language of the universe. The goal of the Freemason organization is to promote free thinking, as it is believed that doing so is the only way to inoculate oneself from any tyrannical person or organization set out to enslave civilization