Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Are cats smarter than we think? A paper, published in the journal Animal Cognition, described the case of an 11-year-old cat named Ebisu, living with her owner Fumi Higaki in Ichinomiya, Japan.  Higaki had trained Ebisu to imitate her. The cat apparently has the ability to map the different body parts and movements of the human demonstrator into her own body parts and movements.


Read more: Gizmodo

Psycho Magpie

 A magpie terrorizes a little boy on his scooter.


The Eyes of Animals Up Close


Armenian photographer Suren Manvelyan takes macro portraits of animal eyes, from chinchillas to crocodiles.

Long-Eared Owl

Alaskan Malamute

Nile Crocodile

How To Make A Bread Mold Of Your Own Face

Matt Merkel Hess made these self-portrait baking dishes for a 2014 fundraiser.

Time Required: >16 Hours

Difficulty: Moderate

Price: $60–$70 plus $10–$30 for kiln firing 

Complete instructions at Make

Intricate Lace Mural Covers French Fashion Museum

The French port city of Calais was once a destination for lace manufacturers who made it an industrial hub for the lace industry. Warsaw-based artist NeSpoon celebrates rich history through a huge mural that envelops the facade of  Cité  de la Dentelle et de la Mode, the city’s fashion and lace museum.

Via Colossal

NeSpoon previously on NOTL here and here

Bike Ballet

Gymnast and freestyle cyclist Viola Brand performs unbelievably graceful moves on her bicycle.


Pic Of The Day

Via Duck Soup

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tweet Of The Day


Size comparison of fictional starships

MetaBallStudios has recreated their 2015 starship size comparison video, adding the Earth for scale and including some additional models.


Via Geekologie

New Album From 60s Band Ace of Cups

From 1967 to 1972 all woman band Ace Of Cups played with The Band and The Grateful Dead and opened for Jimi Hendrix. Now they're back together  and are putting out a double album.

Ode to Desolation

Jim Henterly is a naturalist, illustrator, and fire lookout. He is dedicated to holding his post as the eyes and ears of Washington’s Desolation Peak Fire Lookout.

New Book Documents The Flora and Fauna Of The Devon Countryside

Illustrator Jo Brown’s home in Devon provided the inspiration for her Nature Journal, now reproduced in a new book, Secrets of a Devon Wood

More: Colossal

Pressure Washer Art

Photographer and nature lover Ron Burkett used a power washer to sketch a wildlife illustration in his driveway.

Via The Kid Should See This
Dario Fontanella, the inventor of spaghetti ice cream, invites us into his dessert shop in Mannheim, Germany to sample this ice cold treat. 

Introduction to the Great Loop

The Great Loop is a 6000 mile circumnavigation of the eastern U.S. and part of Canada.  The route includes the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the New York State Canals, the Canadian Canals, the Great Lakes, the inland rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Thanks Bruce!

Orange Shirt Day

September 30 is Orange Shirt Day. It was launched in 2013 to call attention to 165 years of residential school experiences in Canada (1831-1996). Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad wore a beautiful orange shirt to her first day of school in 1973. It was stripped from her and never seen again. The removal of the orange shirt was the first of a series of destructive methods enforced to deplete her sense of self-worth, erase her culture, and suppress her spirit. Her story is just one of the experiences described by countless survivors, but many others did not live to tell their own story. 

In recognition of Orange Shirt Day the National Film Board has published a playlist of five films about residential schools. Below is Christmas In Moose Factory by legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin.

Christmas at Moose Factory, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Monday, September 28, 2020

Tweet Of The Day


A Categorization of Conspiracy Theories

Climate science student Abbie Richards has organized conspiracy theories in an inverted pyramid structure from most to least reality-based.

Larger Image

Mailing Letters In Unlikely Places

Meet a man in the Netherlands who collects messages-in-a-bottle and love secretaries in Italy who read and respond to love letters. Dive down to the world’s first underwater mailbox and climb up to the world’s highest post office.

World's Biggest Rooftop Greenhouse

At 163,800 square feet, Lufa Farms' new rooftop greenhouse in Montreal is the largest in the world, capable of harvesting 25,000 pounds of tomatoes and eggplants every week, year-round. It is the size of three (American) football fields.


It minimizes the transportation of vegetables because people are fed exactly where they live.

One Cab’s Family (1952)

This is adorable.

One Cab's Family (1952) from Batraaf on Vimeo.

Thanks Bruce!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Orchestra performs for people quarantining in former Soviet sanatorium

Georgia’s Kutaisi Opera Symphony held an open-air concert at the Tskaltubo Spa Resort for those quarantining at the hotel.The resort, a former Soviet spa located in the town of Tskaltubo, has been turned into a quarantine facility for Georgians and foreigners isolating after entering the country.

Tweet Of The Day

Thanks Bruce!

Happy Blortiversary!

Happy blogiversary to my friend and fellow old-school blogger Everlasting Blort who has been offering up truckloads of blortiliciousness for two decades! I baked her a virtual cake!

Sunday Links

Qantas Bar Cart

Qantas is selling fully-stocked bar carts from its retired 747 fleet. There will be 1000 carts up for sale, which include champagne, red and white wine and Qantas pyjamas.

Capturing the Loire Valley's Fairy Tale Castles with an Infrared Drop-In Filter

The Saga of Midori Naka: How and why the harvested body parts of atomic bomb victims spent decades abroad before being returned to Hiroshima. Via Miss Cellania

The Mystery of "The Jet-Propelled Couch"  The most interesting psychiatric case in history.

Fly Me Off The Handel by The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Via Memo Of The Air

Newspaper Navigator enables you to search and explore 1.56 million  historic newspaper photographs. Via Things Magazine

Interviews with people who have unusual jobs: Lily Yeagley, Contact Tracer 

One of my favourite guilty pleasures is to cram a handful of greasy, salty potato chips in my mouth. These chips I'd eat very slowly, one at a time. The World's Most Expensive Potato Chips Will Run You $15 Per Chip

 TIME 100: The Most Influential People of 2020. I think Jacinda Ardern should have been included in the Leaders category. Glad to see Ady Barkan included - he's one of my heroes.

The  history of "jaywalking" A forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers redefined who owned the city streets.

Mundane Machines by Max Siedentopf : “It’s only a matter of time until the most mundane machines around us take on a life of their own.” Via Perfect for Roquefort Cheese

Footways is a network of walking routes that utilises low traffic streets for walkers to get around central London.

Do you remember Wishbone, the Jack Russell terrier who daydreamed his way into literary masterpieces? My younger son was a member of the Wishbone fanclub. 
An Oral History of ‘Wishbone’

How to Blur Your House in Google Maps' Street View  Via

The Potato Chip That Destroyed The Bowels Of America: Stools are like timberwolves: certainly an important part of the ecosystem, but you really don't want a loose one appearing when you put out a bowl of chips at a cocktail party.

Good story:  Looty, the Famous Pekingese who travelled from the ransacked halls of Beijing’s Summer Palace to Queen Victoria’s home.

New York City Ballet Four weeks of digital performances will be streamed free of charge.

The Lace Collar: This post was written for young women who haven’t studied history and for those, no longer young, who, in the words of George Santayana, refuse to remember the past and are thus condemned to repeat it.

Female Green Army Men, Finally! Only Took Over 90 Years.

The London Underground model railways Facebook group is a treasure trove for tiny train enthusiasts.  The videos are especially cool. Via Londonist.

Dance of Uranus and Neptune

CaptainGranit is a computational designer/game developer who creates computational video series. 

Music For Sunday Morning


Lydia Lee - Grey to Green from Marcos Sánchez on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Pic Of The Day


Japanese Fire Engine 1950s

Thanks Bruce!

Tweet Of The Day

How Small Can A Home Be?

What is the smallest area required to live in? ArchDaily offers a glimpse into the smallest houses in the world. A couple of them (i.e The One SQM House above) look like boxes where you can lay your head down. The Etno Hut by Ema Butrimaviciute (below) is 14m² and actually looks livable.

Heygate was Home

Charting the broken promises of regeneration. "Rather than bringing people together and giving them a bright new future, the community here has been broken up and fragmented."


Via Things Magazine

(If you're interested in public housing issues you might like to watch East Lake Meadows, a documentary produced by Ken Burns that tells the story of a public housing project opened by the Atlanta Housing Authority in 1970 and demolished a generation later. I found it very moving.)

The Scientist Who Believed In Bigfoot

Image: Estate of Grover S. Krantz/Chip Clark

The skeleton of anthropologist Grover Krantz and his dog, Clyde, is on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Krantz, who died in 2002, spent decades as a professor of anthropology at Washington State University but his legacy is complicated. His work as a cryptozoologist, or a person who studies mythic creatures and tries to prove their existence, was serious, public and professionally damaging.

Read more: Smithsonian Magazine


Creating a Photorealistic Portrait

This time-lapse video shows how Australia-based illustrator Neeyellow creates his  hyperrealistic  illustrations.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Tweet Of The Day


Dissolving M&Ms

4K time-lapse video shows M&M candies dissolving in water.

Thanks Bruce!

Unique Tree House Built with Reclaimed Materials

Thanks Bruce!

DIY Origami Dragon

Feeling crafty? Jo Nakashima shows us how to fold this gorgeous origami dragon.


Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest marketplaces in London, dating as far back as the 14th century when it was established as a place to sell fish, meat and herbs. It is also situated in what was once the centre of Roman London.


More here

(What is not mentioned in the article is that the market was used as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The entrance to wizard’s pub, the Leaky Cauldron, is in real life an optician in Bull’s Head Passage in Leadenhall Market.)

Face of 4000-Year-Old Dog Revealed

A reconstruction, commissioned by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), has revealed the face of a Neolithic dog for the first time in over 4,000 years.

The reconstruction has been created from the skull of a dog discovered in Cuween Hill chambered cairn on Orkney.

More here

Thursday, September 24, 2020


Acadiana gathers scenes from a day at the state’s annual crawfish festival in Breaux Bridge. It has a lovely dreamlike quality.

Acadiana from SPIRA on Vimeo.

Via Aeon 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hand-making An Ornate Coffee Spoon

South Korean maker Yong-Moo Lee takes us through through the process of creating a gorgeous coffee bean scoop.

Via Boing Boing

400 Flavors of Kit Kat

Occasionally I crave a Kit Kat bar and I'll snap off a dark chocolate finger.  Now I've discovered that there is a whole new world of Kit Kat experiences I've been missing. In Japan Kit Kat bars have been made in more than 400 flavours! 

Via Neatorama

And apparently there is a Kit Kat Chocolatory in Toronto that allows customers to use touch screens to create their own Kit Kat from a selection of special edition chocolates and ingredients; they are made while the customers wait. Currently, the Special Edition flavours are:
  • Delightfully, Coffee & Donuts
  • Totally, Butter Tart
  • Seriously, Blueberry Streusel
  • Absolutely, Candy Cane
  • Whoa, White Cranberry

A Wooden Church in Ukraine Hides Space Treasures

The Museum of Space Exploration is housed in a small wooden church 80 kilometers outside of Kyiv. It is one of 30 historical buildings open to visitors at Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi’s ethnographic park. Its small collection boasts several rare objects including Gagarin’s red training parachute, the scaphanders of various cosmonauts, and a real-scale model of the space capsule.

1960 Ford Spaceliner Concept Car

Via Pasa Bon!

Tweet Of The Day

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Magical Dutch Town

I posted a link to Giethoorn in my Sunday Links a while back but I just saw some photos of the village on a friend's Facebook page and decided to give it a post of its own. It’s a mostly car-free village known for its boat-filled waterways, footpaths, bicycle trails and centuries-old thatched-roof houses


The Beijing Silvermine Archive

For more than a decade French artist Thomas Sauvin collected discarded negatives from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing. The result is the Beijing Silvermine archive, which holds over 850000 anonymous photographs spanning the period from 1985 to 2005.

1930s Havana Travelogue

Via Miss Cellania

Beautifully illustrated letters by artists

It seems the hand can access what the computer screen never will.
More Than Words, by Liz Kirwin, which is available for purchase from Princeton Architectural Press and Amazon, contains more than 170  artist-made letters.

Vincent Van Gogh

Frida Kahlo

Man Ray

Monday, September 21, 2020

Washington National Cathedral Bell Tolls for 200,000 Covid-19 Victims

The mourning bell 200 times - once for every 1,000 dead - on Sunday (Sept. 20).


Via Kottke

Pic Of The Day

From the set of Fellini's Intervista (1987)


A Day in the Life of the Queen's Double

Ella Slack is Queen Elizabeth's professional stand-in. For the past 30 years, Slack has been waving, sitting and standing in lieu of her majesty, allowing cameras and event managers to adequately prep for the live event.

Via Messy Nessy

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Ailing Architectural Gem Is Placed In Intensive Care

The Hill House is one of the masterpieces of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scotland’s most celebrated architect. “Here is the house,” Mackintosh proclaimed upon its completion in 1904. “It is not an Italian Villa, an English Mansion House, a Swiss Chalet, or a Scotch Castle. It is a Dwelling House.”
The building has deteriorated over the years and it has been enveloped in a vast steel shelter to protect the house during the necessary restoration. The Hill House Box — a sort of architectural intensive-care unit — is itself an atypical project, though very different to the structure it encloses. 

Read more: Medium

The Cameraman's Revenge

Dead insects play the lead roles in this 1912 stop motion animation by Ladislas Starevich.


They Call Me… High Octane

When James Lanham first laid eyes on the sweat and glory of WWE’s WrestleMania as a teenager, his heart was set on dedicating himself to professional wrestling.


Premature Obituaries

A premature obituary is an obituary of someone who was still alive at the time of publication. Wikipedia has provided us with a very long list.
  • Ian Dury: The English musician was pronounced dead on Xfm radio by Bob Geldof in 1998, possibly due to hoax information from a listener disgruntled at the station's change of ownership. The incident caused music magazine NME to call Geldof "the world's worst DJ". Dury died in March 2000.
  • Steve Jobs: On August 27, 2008, Bloomberg accidentally published a 17-page obituary. During a subsequent keynote address, Jobs joked about the accident by displaying on screen an imprecise quotation of Mark Twain (who was also the recipient of a premature obituary) reading "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated". Jobs actually died of pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56.
  • Rudyard Kipling: His death had been incorrectly announced in a magazine, to which he wrote, "I've just read that I am dead. Don't forget to delete me from your list of subscribers." Kipling died in 1936.
  • Alfred Nobel (arms manufacturer and founder of the Nobel Prize): in 1888, the death of his brother Ludvig caused several newspapers to publish obituaries of Alfred in error. A French obituary stated Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead") and that Nobel "became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before" through his invention of dynamite. This distressed Nobel, who was concerned that when he truly died he would not be remembered well. This event led him to bequeath the bulk of his estate to form the Nobel Prize in 1895. Nobel died in 1896.
  • Grady O'Cummings, civil rights activist and political candidate had his own obituary published in the New York Times in 1969. Four months later he held a news conference at which he stated that he had faked his own death due to threats against him and his family by members of the Black Panther Party. O'Cummings died on June 2, 1996.

Spice Chess

Spice Chess  was created by Japanese artist Takako Saito. These were one of a variety of unique chess sets made for the Fluxus art movement of which she was a member. The Spice Chess was originally manufactured winter 1964-65, and offered for sale March 1965. Each piece is a box containing a spice. There are pawns filled with cinnamon, ginger knights and cayenne pepper queens. A player of spice chess had to memorize the smells of each piece before playing. 

Via FB friend Simon

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Pic Of The Day

Leyton High Road in east London is like a work of art Londonist

Tweet Of The Day


Built To Last

I had a conversation about the planned obsolescence in modern appliances with Bruce, a frequent contributor to this blog. He sent me this photo. 

Image Source: Reddit

Music For Sunday Morning

Via  3 Quarks Daily

Sunday Links

Painting credit: Lawren S. Harris (1885–1970), Houses, Gerrard Street, Toronto (detail), 1912, © Family of Lawren S. Harris

How to Escape From a Volcano Eruption : If you had been in Pompeii in 79 AD, you might have tried to hunker down or escape by sea. This would be a mistake.

I need this face mask 

Czar Peter House in Zaandam: Long before the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and many other sights, one of the earliest tourist attractions in the Netherlands was a simple wooden house with an interesting royal history.

Rank Country: Search thousands of country-based indicators across all categories of the built and natural world.

 Spectacular Ceilings Via Memo Of The Air

This is a beautiful poem: Eden Rock

Cat Plates handcrafted by TanikoGa Ceramics.

In the 17th century an ungrounded conspiracy theory gripped England and Scotland with an anti-Catholic hysteria.Via perfect for roquefort cheese

Something that I didn't know but have wondered about: The Internet Lives in a Huge Hotel in Manhattan

Looking for a fixer-upper?  Cheap Irish Houses Via Things Magazine

Cronobook is a world map of geolocated pictures that you can filter by the time you want to see. The pictures are accompanied by a date and a description added by the user who uploaded them. 

Now I want to find out more about Ethiopian jazz. The Honky Tonk Nun  via Austin Kleon's newsletter

The RIAA's  Filthy Fifteen  perfect for roquefort cheese

The Off-Kilter History of British Cuisine: Fanny Cradock built an entertainment brand on her putative brilliance in the kitchen, but also her superciliousness, hectoring her husband, mistreating her colleagues, and patronizing her audience, the great British public, whom she regarded as gastronomic philistines.

64 Things People Always Forget to Clean I have never, ever cleaned my tea kettle, my tv screen or my car keys. Have you?

Teacher fired for in-class castration This is even more disgusting than the title indicates.

The most scenic airports in the world for takeoffs and landings.

How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer

The right trailer can turn any movie into a smash hit.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Pop Culture Scenes In Polly Pocket Cases

Do you remember the Polly Pocket toy line from the 80s? They were plastic clamshells that contained miniature scenes featuring Polly. The Toy Zone worked with CGI artist Jan Koudela to create six pop culture settings in cases, from Stranger Things to The Simpsons to The Shining and more.

The Byers Residence (Stranger Things)

The Simpsons residence

The Overlook Hotel (The Shining)

Bees Encase Embroideries In Honeycomb

Toronto-based encaustic painter and embroiderer, Ava Roth, collaborates with bees to encase her mixed-media pieces in honeycomb. She weaves organic material into embroidery hoops which she places inside comb frames, and allows the bees to complete the artworks. 

Pic Of The Day

Friday, September 18, 2020

Liziqi: The Ancient Methods Of Sericulture

I've posted a couple of videos in the past of Liziqi, a food and country-life blogger who lives in rural China. Frequent contributor Bruce just sent me a couple more and, like all her videos, they are so beautiful I can't resist posting this one about the art of making silk:


The life of blue calico dresses hand-dyed by Liziqi and
 Riding a Horse to Find Magnolia Blossoms (I think this one is my favourite)

Trailer: My Octopus Teacher

In 2010 nature filmmaker Craig Foster began freediving in the kelp forests off South Africa. This film is a year-long diary of his friendship with an octopus he met there. I'd like to see it.

Pic Of The Day

Tweet Of The Day

Via everlasting blort

Sailing from Rotterdam to Amsterdam in just 10 minutes

This 2013 video gives us a view of the old Dutch waterways in 4K.

Claustrophobic cave video

I don't consider myself to be claustrophobic but this ten minute compilation of people crawling through tight passages in underground caves made me feel uncomfortable.


Dramatic footage of Mont Saint-Michel

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Double Indumnity

The inimitable Cathy Jones playing Babe Bennett. In this video Babe gets mistaken for a dummy, and almost taken like a dummy, but in the end, catches the dummy.


The 100th Meridian, Where Wet Meets Dry

Scientists are examining how the 100th meridian has played out in history, and what the future may hold. They confirm that the divide has turned out to be real, as reflected by population and agriculture on opposite sides. They say also that the line appears to be slowly moving eastward, due to climate change, and that it will probably continue shifting in coming decades

Read More 

Thanks Bruce!

Making beauty in a pandemic

The Breathe. Project started as a Facebook group by two Métis women, Lisa Shepherd and Nathalie Bertin, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group called on Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to use their beadwork and crafting skills to create a face mask that's not necessarily intended to be wearable.
45 of the masks will be exhibited as artwork and part of the "Breathe. Collection" at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff this October.

Eliza Firth’s 'Delta Rose' mask will be on display as part of the
Breathe. Collection in Banff, starting in October.
(Tony Devlin/Black Fly Studios)

King's daughter, Isabella, wears her art mask.
45 masks will be displayed as part of the collection.
(Submitted by Christina King)

Recollections in America: Family Parties In the 70s and 80s

In 2018 photographer David LaChapelle constructed “neo-collages” from snapshots taken during family gatherings in America during the 1970-1980s. I thought my family knew how to party but these families put us to shame (they also put themselves to shame).

See more: Flashbak