The Baptistère de Saint Louis and its Significance to European Culture

The Baptistère de Saint Louis was created by Malmuk craftspeople to be used as a luxury bowl to hold holy water during christenings, in fact King Louis XIII used the same object during his christening as an infant. Despite being created by Islamic craftspeople and depicting graphic violence of decapitation and limb severance, the Baptistère de Saint Louis was used for hundreds of years, seemingly without conflict between Islamic and Christian traditions and viewpoints. The object itself is a basin of metal and copper alloy which is inlayed with silver and was crafted in Syria or Egypt during the mid 14th century

 

China’s Influence Upon Foreign States and Their Associated Cultures

China has become highly adept at spreading its practices or at the very least, acquiring acceptance and tolerance of its practices, throughout the open markets of the world (e.g. American companies willing to do business with Chinese companies to access the Chinese marketplace despite the U.S. government experiencing continuous conflict with the Chinese government). Hollywood is perhaps the best example of this ideology taking shape. Hollywood’s business and by extension its profit model, is designed to produce blockbuster cinema for the box office, at regular intervals throughout each calendar year (e.g. for each holiday season etc.). China, due to its large population, has the worlds largest box office and as a direct result of this, in order to ascend to the level of becoming a major blockbuster film, movie studios are forced to capitulate and cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese government heavily censors cinema in China, however despite this, Hollywood movie production studios virtually always refuse to green light film scripts if they cannot be shown in China. This effectively means that the Chinese government has the ability to, and openly does, influence and shape the kinds of movies produced in the west simply by omission or refusal to accept a movie and its content. This means that in the future, China will become the cultural connoisseur and decision maker for the world, both in supply and demand of products and services (e.g. new films), solely due to the volume of the Chinese public and its appetite for western cinema

Technology Provided by the Iron Age

Iron was favored over bronze throughout history because it could be formed into thin and detailed structures which could not be achieved when casting bronze. This is important because it meant that iron blades could be worked and therefore sharpened to a much more refined degree than bronze which was brittle. Iron is also more readily found, a metal which could be found locally around the world and did not depend upon an immense, trading network. By 400 B.C., iron tools and iron objects became ubiquitous throughout various civilizations with the effects of this new technology felt upon the cutting edge of agricultural technology. Iron is more practical than bronze as bronze needs to be melted down and recast if broken in opposition to iron which could be taken to a fire, hit with a hard object, and repaired to the point at which it becomes functional once again. These aspects helped iron to gain favor worldwide as the metal of choice for building and advancing society. As the Iron Age progressed, knowledge about where iron deposits are found became better understood with more and more iron becoming available upon the open market. This is important because the more readily available a particular type of artifact is, the younger the item typically presents as. As time progressed, iron became akin to plastic of the modern day, being cost effective and readily available to manufacture virtually anywhere. Iron tipped wooden plows allowed for more difficult soils to be farmed, which meant that more land could be cultivated making iron truly an agricultural and commercial revolution in the ancient world. Despite lasting for an period of 1000 years, the Bronze Age was quickly replaced with the more effective and efficient Iron Age. The issue of total replacement is complicated as bronze was not only used for tool making, it also helped to create an elite class and was used for spiritual and ceremonial objects as well as visual displays of prestige and wealth. Iron tools several hundred years later, failed to achieve the same intrinsic value within society that bronze once had as it was less rare and precious and therefore less valuable. Iron tools however were highly practical unlike their bronze counterparts, a feature which plagued agriculture and society as a whole

The Business Rationale Behind Videogame Pre-Order Perks

Videogame production companies focus heavily upon pre-order sales as these provide the best path to generating revenue, income which is then re-invested to make even more profit. Production studios spend a lot of time and effort trying to come up with appealing pre-purchase packages because the quicker income is generated, the quicker it can be re-invested, but perhaps as important, pre-sales are sold at the full retail price point unlike delayed sales which are often sold at a discounted rate. Video game production companies spend an immense amount of time developing demonstrations for conventions (e.g. E3, Comic Con, Blizzcon etc.) because this is considered the best opportunity to attract gamers and have them purchase on the spot. These demonstrations are often over the top and include features which won’t be in the final version set for release (e.g. advanced graphical shading features), akin to a bait and switch technique in which the best face is presented with the actual product which is less polished actually being delivered. This deception is intentional as it helps generate revenue which helps fuel the production of future gaming titles and franchises

The Rationale Behind the President’s Chosen to be Depicted at Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore used a combination of dynamiting and jackhammering. It was the largest sculpture of its time. From left to right, George Washington was chosen as the father of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson as the father of U.S. law, Abraham Lincoln as the father of equality for all U.S. citizens, and Theodore Roosevelt who made the U.S. a world power

The 19th Century Discovery of Perfect Reverberation

The discovery and application of perfect reverberation within opera houses, theaters, university concert venues, etc. was devised by Harvard University physicist Wallace Sabine in the 1890’s. By playing the pipe organ and using a stop watch, Sabine took thousands of measurements and discovered the perfect ratio between room volume and sound absorbing materials. A reverb time of 1.9 seconds, an application of the Sabine Equation, allows for perfect reverberation so that speech and music is intelligible to all audience members, no matter their position in the venue which would otherwise be impossible (e.g. cathedral reverberation)

The Fictional and Real Usage of Area Code “555” for Telephone Numbers

Not all phone numbers that begin with “555” are fictional. The phone number “555-1212” is one of the standard numbers for directory assistance throughout the United States of America and Canada and only “555-0100” through “555-0199” are specifically reserved for fictional use with the other numbers being reserved for actual assignment

The Traditional Practice of the Japanese Geisha

Japanese geishas, referred to as “geiko” (pronounced “gay-ko”) first appeared 300 years ago during the Edo period, an era when Japan was closed to the rest of the world allowing its indigenous culture to flourish. There were once 80,000 geisha but that number has dropped to just 1000 during the modern day. It takes 5 long years to become a geisha, this time spent with no smartphone, no romantic relationships, and only 2 days off per month. Geishas undergo lessons in music and dance as well as tea making and etiquette. All food and lodging is provided by the geisha training institution so that students become completely and totally immersed within the geisha lifestyle. Geishas wear white masks of makeup as symbolism that what is concealed is more desirable than that which is revealed. Pink is painted onto the earlobes as a way to hide embarrassment from blushing, and bare skin is left in a “W” or “V” shape upon the back of the neck to accentuate the neck which is considered highly beautiful, sexual, and erotic in Japanese culture. Geishas are only supposed to entertain their client with highly cultured activities, and the profession is not supposed to be associated with sexual interaction

The Oldest Artwork in Human History

Near the Ardeche River (pronounced “arr-desh”) in southern France, less than 0.5 kilometers away, 3 explorers set out a few days before Christmas in 1994. While seeking drafts of air emanating from the ground which would point to the presence of caves, these explorers found a subtle airflow which was blockaded by rocks. The explorers found a narrow shaft which was cut into the cliffside, so narrow in fact that their bodies could just barely squeeze through it. Deep inside the cave the explorers stumbled upon the oldest known cave paintings in human history, twice as old as any other artistic depiction made by human hands. The cave itself had been perfectly sealed for tens of thousands of years which is why this 32,000 year old artwork was found in pristine condition. In honor of the lead discover Jean-Marie Chauvet (pronounced “zhan mah-ree sho-vee”), the cave was named “Chauvet Cave”. The French Ministry of Culture controls all access to the cave, an intervention which was rapidly implemented as this discovery was immediately understood as an enormous scientific find, perhaps one of the greatest anthropological and artistic discoveries ever made. Scientists and art historians are typically the only members of the public permitted access to Chauvet Cave, with archeologists, paleontologists, and geologists being the most common interdisciplinary teams provided entry

The Hijacking of Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog Character by the Fringe Political Movement of the Alt Right

The Pepe the Frog character and meme rose to ascension during the presidency of Donald Trump because of the 4Chan.org website which was created by Christopher Poole. Poole’s system leveraged Darwinian survival as the base for his new forum system in which posts with a lot of traction would float to the top, allowing even more people to become exposed to them, and posts which had little traction sinking to the bottom where they would inevitably die out. This method of selection and rejection is immensely conducive to creating memes as users, overwhelmingly adolescent males, would compete upon 4Chan to create the most bizarre and outrageous memes and replies possible. 4Chan exacerbates this behavior by allowing users to remain anonymous and therefore able to express opinions and/or ask questions or provide answers to material which they normally would not engage in conversation in, during their day to day life, for fear of retribution for deviating outside of typical social convention. Pepe the Frog became a meme circulated almost exclusively upon 4Chan as the other major social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) did not observe spikes in content related to this meme due to the user base that uses these platforms being unaware of it as 4Chan is a relatively obscure online forum. Pepe the Frog eventually became adopted by those within society who did not feel marginalized, people who visited 4Chan in search of Pepe the Frog memes, rather than for communication with 4Chan members, which ascended Pepe the Frog into popular culture. Those who initially propelled Pepe the Frog into the counter culture of 4Chan felt overlooked and as a direct result, this marginalized group started to produce increasingly offensive content related to Pepe the Frog, with the hope that it would deter others from using the meme which was believed to be exclusively reserved as a 4Chan character, despite having been stolen from the original artist Matt Furie, who created the character in 2005 for his comic book publication Boys Club, a storyline about 4 friends, including Pepe the Frog, who spent time together. Pepe the Frog was depicted upon 4Chan as a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, crashing into the World Trade Towers, with tattoos of German Nazi and white supremacist symbols etc. (e.g. swastika, Celtic cross, 14/88 which refers to Adolf Hitler etc.). These derivative depictions and memes began to become widely circulated upon 4Chan and other websites found online, as Pepe the Frog displays both innocence in his depiction but also malevolence while engaging in horrific acts (e.g. abhorrently forcing a gas mask onto an unfair, stereotypical characterization of a Jewish person). It is Pepe the Frog’s smile while performing these actions which allowed his popularity grow online as virtually any despicable act could be depicted as a joke because of the juxtaposition between Pepe the Frog and the victim being attacked. This emboldened those making these offensive memes as the work started to become viewed as hyperbole and comical, which acted as a defense for creating new content as those engaged believed that their work could always be interpreted and defended as satire, therefore free of scrutiny from authorities or those who reject the Alt Right ideology (e.g. law enforcement investigating a hate crime etc.)