During the American Civil War, Confederate commandos and agents launched small attacks and engaged in clandestine activities from British Canada. Most famously, they robbed three banks in St. Albans, Vermont in 1864.
The Confederacy wanted to strike deep into the enemy heartland whenever possible. The industrial and economic centers along the Great Lakes were appealing targets. But reaching them was very difficult.
There was, however, an opportunity. In order to avoid an arms race on the Great Lakes, in 1817, the United States and Britain agreed to demilitarize them. In the Rush-Bagot Agreement, both nations agreed to maintain only a handful of small armed vessels on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. By 1863, there was only one American warship on the Great Lakes: the 14-gun steamboat USS Michigan, which is pictured above.
If the Confederate Navy could hijack the Michigan and crew it with skilled sailors, it could ravage Union infrastructure on the Great Lakes unopposed by the United States Navy.
That is precisely what Lieutenant William H. Murdaugh of the Confederate Navy proposed to do. Below is the letter that he sent to Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory detailing his scheme. I’ve added numbers to it and on an 1858 railroad map to illustrate his plan.
The art of seduction is generally lost on the classic monsters of filmdom, but when they’re asked to get in touch with their tender side and let it all hang out these sexy beasts don’t disappoint.
Luckily artist Erika Deoude was there to capture these baddies striking a seductive pose, pin-up style, and she put all of her illustrations together in The Calendar of Sexy Monsters- a set if 12 giclee prints featuring Godzilla, Zuul, the Predator, King Kong and more like you’ve never seen them before. They’re perfect for brightening up a dank cave, haunted house or swampside cemetery.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City owns this embossed steel helmet. It dates back to about 1530 and probably originated in the German city of Augsburg. A rooster protrudes from the visor, ready to peck and squawk at any foe who dares to approach. The helmet is six pounds and six ounces of pure meanness.
It’s perfect for brave Sir Robin from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Remember the days before Google instant search, where you still had to speculate about what strange searches people performed? These days, we all have experience typing in the beginning of a Google search only to get a suggestion popping up that makes us wonder "what the heck?"
And that is precisely what makes these hilarious illustrations of odd auto-searches so darned hilarious. They not only feature some seriously strange searches, but also help visualize how hilarious the ideas behind these searches are.
If you recall, we brought you the story of how Adam's great-grandfather Aloysius Koford created the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats in 1912, which became the inspiration for what we today call LOLcats.
The new book is self-published, which not only gave Koford more control over the project, but also means it doesn't cost as much as it would otherwise. The 144-page paperback has over 200 comics, including a few new renderings of some of John Hodgman's 700 Hoboes.
What's the turkey say? Apparently, meowbble and goof according to this fun Foodbeast article filled with all kinds of cats and dogs all decked out in their best turkey costumes. If you still haven't started feeling the vibe of Thanksgiving happiness permeating the air, this list will certainly help get you in the Turkey Day spirit.
Of course, this article might not get you ready for the physical demands of the food consumption required or even peak your appetite towards that purpose, but don't worry, we'll keep posting delicious food posts up until Thanksgiving so we have you covered there too.
It was 1917. Miss Ruth Worden, a librarian at the Missoula Public Library in Missoula, Montana, wanted to bring a world of knowledge and literature to lumberjacks at logging camps in her area. So she carted a few books into a camp operated by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.
The camp boss, Kenneth Ross, was annoyed. His men were fighters, drinkers and gamblers--not readers. But he let Miss Worden distribute the books to his lumberjacks. To Mr. Ross's surprise, they hungrily embraced the idea. They checked out the library books and asked for more. So he built a library for his camp in a railroad boxcar:
Ross saw the results – 4,000 checked out in the first year and, to his “great surprise,” a good number in the camps.
“The next thing I heard was that one of the men at the bunkhouse had been reading up on industry and economics, and got out of one of the books an argument that shut up one of these fellows that always seems to think it is a crime to give a day’s work for a day’s pay,” Ross told another reporter in 1922.
He was a convert, and when Worden came around again with the idea of a library car to circulate among the lumber camps, Ross was sold. He had one built – 14 feet wide, 40 feet long – and it was put into action in 1921 in the Ninemile camps, rotating to the next one usually on a weekly basis.
(Photo: Missoula Public Library)
The boxcar library had about 1,400 books, newspapers, magazines and a victrola. It was a huge hit and regularly circulated among the logging camps, generally spending a week at each camp. During one 7-month period in 1926, it had 5,010 visitors.
Where the library went, so did the librarian. One end of the boxcar consisted of an office and bunkroom where the librarian worked and slept.
The boxcar library was actively used until the late 1950s, when the logging company turned it over to the University of Montana's forestry department. Then, for many years, it served as a storage shed and bunkhouse for art students.
Amazingly, the boxcar library is still in good condition, as you can see from the above photo. It's been partially restored and is now on display at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The skylight roof and exterior steps reflect the original style. It has wheels and is back on tracks intead of wooden timbers.
But that's only the beginning. Don Spritzer, the librarian pictured above, hopes to equip it with furniture, a woodstove and books appropriate for the 1920s. He and his colleagues hope to complete the restoration by July 4 of next year.
If you’ve only seen the first movie, you probably know that the people in The Hunger Games are pretty hungry (unless they’re living in the Capitol), but you might not realize just how food is specifically mentioned in the books to illustrate the difference between the impoverished people living in the many districts and the wealthy urbanites in the Capitol. In fact, there are even a few cookbooks written about these foods.
If you’re ready to go check out The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere this weekend, consider getting in the spirit before you hit the theater with these delicious recipes inspired by The Hunger Games. I’d like to give a special thank you to Fictional Food, which specializes in recreating recipes from popular fictional sources.
Burnt Nut Raisin Bread
Easily the most famous food mentioned in The Hunger Games is the burnt bread Peeta gives to Katniss –even the movie showed this scene. Fictional Food has a great recipe for recreating these loaves, but you might want to skip the burning step unless you really want your food to be accurate to a fault.
The day before the reaping, Katniss goes out fishing, foraging and trading, returning home to a stew of fish and greens. She adds the strawberries and bread she collected while out to the meal, which makes Fictional Food's picture all the more authentic -and the recipe looks pretty accurate too.
Basil-Wrapped Goat Cheese
Only four pages into the first novel, Katniss’ sister, Prim, makes her a special treat for the reaping ceremony –basil wrapped goat cheese. Fictional Food’s recipe doesn’t just show you how to wrap basil around goat cheese (that would be way too easy), but also how to make your own goat cheese from scratch just like Prim.
Creamy Orange Chicken
Imagine living your whole life barely getting enough food to survive and then meeting with a stylist (Cinna) who pushes a button on a table to reveal this impressive spread. It’s no wonder Katniss immediately wonders “What it must be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button?”
While we might not be able to push a button and make our food appear, we can at least head to the store and buy all the ingredients for this luscious, creamy chicken and orange dish served with green peas and pearl onions and pudding the color of honey. In fact, the hardest thing for the chefs at Fictional Food to master was shaping the roll like a perfect flower.
Lamb Stew With Plums
In Katniss’ interview with Casear, he asks what impressed her the most since she arrived in the Capitol. When she answers “the lamb stew,” the host and audience laugh and Casear agrees that he too adores the stuff. This recipe by My Burning Kitchen adapted a Julia Child’s recipe to create this delicious-looking delight.
The WitStar is a Chinese-built concept car that premiered at the Guangzhou Auto Show in Guangzhou, China this year. It’s a self-driving car. You don’t have to look at the road. Instead, you can look at pretty fish inside. There’s a functional aquarium built into the backseat armrest.
There would be some logistical issues with the fish, such as excessive heat and cold, as well as the need for fresh water. But if you can afford this car, you can probably afford to deal with those problems.
Carl Jara goes far beyond sandcastles. This Cleveland-based artist who also goes by the name Grain Damaged sculpts sand into astoundingly complex and surreal images.
The journey to the incredible creations that you see above began with a chance encounter in high school. Mr. Jara was working on a stage crew with Tom Morrison, a master sandcastle builder. While attending art school for illustration and graphic design, he became involved with a thriving community of sand sculptors. After receiving critical acclaim for a 15-foot sand sculpture that he erected in the student gallery, Mr. Jara switched crafts.
It was only the second time through this comic from Lunarbaboon that I saw the eyebrows and the time-shift, which makes it a lot more meaningful. Your outlook on everything is changed when, as someone once told me "your heart is now walking around outside of you." In some instances, it makes you braver than you ever thought you could be.
Love donuts and barbecue? How about both at the same time? Thanks to Gourdough's Donuts in Texas you now can. While the image above might look like some sort of strange Buffalo chicken and blue cheese concoction, it's actually the Boss Hogg donut -a cake one covered in potato salad, pulled pork and BBQ sauce.
If that doesn't suit your fancy, maybe the Mother Clucker will. This monstrosity is a cake donut topped with two fried chicken strips and honey butter.
Of course, if you like boring old non-meaty donuts, maybe you'd enjoy the Funky Monkey that is topped with cream cheese icing, bananas and brown sugar -essentially a banana foster donut. Bourbon and Boots has descriptions and photos of these delights and more.
A barn cat goes to see a horse. As adorable as this is, it's only one of a sequence of pictures. A little nuzzling ends with the cat realizing just how much bigger and more powerful a horse really is. See the rest of the photos at Livin' the Peanut Butter Life. -via Buzzfeed
Miles Scott is a 5-year-old boy who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, diagnosed when he was only 18 months old. The Make-A-Wish Foundation found out what Miles' dream was -he wanted to be Batman. So they made it happen!
With the help of thousands of volunteers, they transformed San Francisco into Gotham City, and asked Miles to save their city from various super villains and criminals. Today was the day. Accompanied by a full-size Batman, Miles saved a damsel in distress, rode in the Batmobile, rescued the San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal, foiled the Penguin and the Riddler, and even received the key to the city from the mayor. All accompanied by the cheers of thousands of fans, many who wore Batkid t-shirts that were sold with proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Miles received his last round of chemotherapy in June, and his cancer is in remission.
If my kids ever learn that other parents prepare lunches like this, I'll be in trouble! We've seen a lot of lunch art prepared for kids by creative parents, including on bags and napkins. I'm not up to competing with any of them.
The two boys in the Kirby family are fortunate to have both parents as artists. Every day, they make entertaining cartoons on napkins for the boys' bagged lunches. You can see their complete gallery here.
Look at these adorable new babies! They are twins, but obviously not identical, as one has a full head of hair. Watch them snuggle with each other as they get a therapeutic bath called the Thalasso Baby Bath (Thalasso Bain Bébé), a technique developed by French pediatric nurse Sonia Rochel. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
If super heroes had part-time jobs, what would they do? They might each go into something they are uniquely suited for.
Artist Chow Hon Lam (Flying Mouse 365) took that idea and ran with it in his series of illustrations called Part Time Job. Each job is perfect for the talents each comic book hero has to offer. Continue reading to see more of them.
Peacay, the guy behind BibliOdyssey, also has a Tumblr blog, where he posts extra content with less in-depth research -because there are more great pictures from literature of the past than there is time to prepare them! Today, he posted some watercolors he's saved for ages from a Marine Atlas dated between 1820 and 1840, by by Mori Jiang Yuan Shou. See more of them at BibliPeacay.
Thor is arguably one of the most manly Avengers, so it seemed all to appropriate to celebrate the release of the new Thor movie with a roundup of something decidedly less manly –crafts. Here are some of the best crafts dedicated to our favorite Norse-god-turned-comic-book-hero.
My Little Thory
These days, anyone who is anyone in the pop culture world has inspired a My Little Pony version of themselves and Thor is no exception. Here is DeviantArt user EatToast’s take on Thor as a resident of Equestria.
There are actually a few owl-versions-of-Thor crafts out there, but I’m a particularly big fan of Jill Tow’s owl Christmas ornament, not only because she also did other Avengers, but because she used his feathered helmet in such a clever and cute way.
Black is such a powerful word because it conveys darkness, extremity, and the unknown. We've added the descriptive word to many subjects, sometimes to denote its color, but often to convey danger or mystery. It's time to shed some light onto those subjects.
Neatorama is proud to present excerpts from entries in The Book of Black: Black Holes, Black Death, Black Forest Cake, and Other Dark Sides of Life, the newest book by author and Renaissance man Clifford A. Pickover. Like his previous books The Math Book, The Physics Book, and The Medical Book, The Book of Black has a page on each topic, with a full-page illustration to accompany each one. Unlike those previous books, this one covers a wider range of topics, from history to philosophy to science and the arts, all with one thing in common -the word black. They are presented in chronological order from the Black Diamonds that formed millions of years ago to the distant future when the universe fades to Black. Let's look at a sampling of just a few of the 100 topics in The Book of Black. The images are much higher resolution in the book, which also contains the figure descriptions and credits.
Black Widow Spider (c. 250 million B.C.)
Spiders with spinnerets (silk-spinning organs) at the end of their abdomens came into existence more than 250 million years ago. When an insect is trapped in the black widow spider’s web, the spider wraps the prey and then injects its victim with venom from its chelicerae, or fangs, to paralyze the prey. Males are less venomous than females.
The phrase black widow spider often refers to the three North American species known for their dark bodies and red hourglass patterns on the females’ abdomens. The male spiders are sometimes less than half the size of the female and have hourglass markings with a variety of colors. The brightly colored markings may have been evolutionarily advantageous because they warn predators to avoid the spider. For example, if a bird eats a black widow, the bird usually does not die but becomes sick and may begin to associate the sickness with the spider’s coloration.
Contrary to legend, the female only rarely eats the male after mating. “Husband cannibalism” was indeed observed in studies from the 1920s when females and males were kept together in small containers. However, in more natural settings, the male is usually able to safely leave the female’s web after mating.
Black Pepper (1213 BC)
Ramesses II (reign 1279–1213 BC)
1213 BC is a special date in the history of black pepper because we have definitive proof that black peppercorns were jammed into the nose of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, immediately after he died during this year. The peppercorns may have helped the mummified nose retain its shape and also served as a preservative.
Pepper was used in India since prehistoric time, and virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe during the Middle Ages came from India. Through history, pepper was sometimes viewed as sufficiently valuable as to serve as a form of money. We owe the discovery of America by Europeans to the value of pepper and other spices, and the desire to find a new route to India.
Spice expert and researcher P. N. Ravidran writes, “It is difficult for us now to appreciate the extent or influence that pepper and other spices had on nations and people during the chequered history of human civilization. Wars were fought, kingdoms were built and demolished, cities grew, flourished and declined—the density of humankind was influenced so much—all for the sake of spices.”
You might remember the strange Chinese meme of dogs wearing pantyhose. Cats were jealous, and decided to get in on the act -but a cat wearing human clothing doesn't have quite the same effect. After all, the average cat is way too short to wear our tights. Which is actually a good thing, because most cats don't care for tight-fitting clothes. This may not be as sexy as the dogs, but still funny! See lots more pictures at the blog meowtfit of the day. Yeah, it's all the same cat. The other cats of the household are presumably not into this sort of thing. -via Joanne Casey
Once I read that caption, I just had to post this image from Turning the Book Wheel, the tumblr blog of the Smithsonian Libraries. It’s an illustration by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598), a master engraver and illustrator from what is now Belgium.
In 1590, he published Wunderbarliche, doch warhafftige Erklärung von der Gelegenheit und Sitten der Wilden in Virginia, a collection of images showing life in America. As you can see, little has changed over the centuries.
Camila Carlow, an artist based in Bristol, UK, shapes plants into the forms of human organs. Her series “Eye Heart Spleen” has remarkably life-like results. She scours the countryside for the right plants—and occasionally animal parts—to replicate organs with vibrant, verdant colors and textures. Acorns can become heart valves and ferns turn into intestines.
This clever ad for the Honda CR-V shows a wide array of clever optical illusions. As the viewer’s perspective shifts, objects change size, arrangement and dimension. The ad uses these impossible images as metaphors for the car’s fuel efficiency. Chris Palmer directed it for the Mcgarrybowen agency in London.
Tottie the pug is more of a hip hop fan. But this year, her owner, McKenna, dressed her as the wrecking ball from Miley Cyrus’s controversial music video “Wrecking Ball.” Yes, Barbie is nude. But, then, so was Miley Cyrus.
This costume secured Tottie the $25,000 grand prize from Petco’s annual Halloween costume contest.
It’s like those animated maps showing the rise and fall of empires. A swarm of Jennifers consume the country, only for their star to fall and that of Jessica to rise. Jessicas rule the land until the forces of Emily rise up and overthrow them. Look upon my works, ye mighty, and become Sophia.
With data from the Social Security Administration, Reuben Fischer-Baum of Jezebel created maps showing, state by state and year by year, the most popular baby names for girls from 1960 to last year. So far, none have been bizarre, invented spellings, for which I and the English language thank you.
The Kannesteinen Rock is an unusual rock formation on the Norwegian island of Vågsøy. The slab of eclogite has been weathered by the waves for thousands of years. From the sea side, it’s about 3 meters tall. At its widest, it’s about 10.4 meters in circumference.
Some people say that it looks like a goblet, but local people refer to it as a chair. Perhaps that’s why tourists often climb on top and sit on it. It’s a hard climb, but so some even more daring people prefer to jump to the summit from an adjoining rock.
When I saw the original headline late last night, I predicted waking up to an internet storm this morning.
Slate published an article by Emily Yoffe entitled College Women: Stop Getting Drunk. It references several studies that link sexual assault on college campuses with alcohol consumption. Well, duh. While it's good to have such studies with hard numbers, the real problem is what to do about it. College students are, by and large, adults who are on their own for the first time. And some are more naive than others. An excerpt:
And who is it purveying alcohol? In some cases it’s a type of serial predator who encourages his victim to keep pouring the means of her incapacitation down her own throat. Researchers such as Abbey and David Lisak have explored how these men use alcohol, instead of violence, to commit their crimes. Lake observes that these offenders can be campus leaders, charming and well liked—something that comes in handy if they are accused of anything. “They work our mythology against us,” says Lake. “We would like to see our daughters hang out with nice boys in navy blue blazers.”
The three young women I spoke to who were victims of such men attended different colleges, but their stories are so distressingly similar that it sounds as if they were attacked by the same young man. In each case the woman lost track of how much she’d had to drink. Then a male classmate she knew took her by the hand and offered her an escort. Then she was raped by this “friend.” Only one, Laura Dunn, reported to authorities what happened, more than a year after the fact. In her case she was set upon by two classmates, and the university declined to take action against either one.
Although the facts are not in dispute, the tone of the article verges on blaming the victim. If the fastest way to stop campus rape is for women to stop drinking, then doesn't that put the responsibility for crime prevention solely on women's shoulders? So a young woman has one too many and wakes up to realize she's been sexually assaulted. Is it all her fault? That's not the message we want to send to young people.
Rape is a societal problem, not a self-help issue. Parents can tell their own daughters not to get drunk, but even if those women follow instructions, it won’t keep other people’s daughters safe. It will just force campus rapists who rely on alcohol to execute their crimes to find other targets. As Yoffe notes, the research of David Lisak suggests that most rapes are committed by a small group of predators who claim a large number of victims. We can prevent the most rapes on campus by putting our efforts toward finding and punishing those perpetrators, not by warning their huge number of potential victims to skip out on parties.
The controversy pits what is best for one person against what is best for society as a whole. Our culture would be better off placing the blame squarely on those who commit rape, but we have little control over other people before they act. Until men are specifically trained in how to properly seek consensual sex, starting at a fairly young age, we will have to deal with the "misunderstandings" and peer pressure that lead to rape, in addition to serial predators. Of course, we warn our daughters against putting themselves in situations where they may be raped. But if and when they do, they often feel responsible and might never seek justice. After all, they know they will be blamed for putting themselves in that situation, meaning they failed to protect themselves the way we told them to. Young men internalize this idea, too.
Treating our daughters as potential victims is only a short-term solution. Making nonconsensual sex as recognizable and shameful as say, burglary, and raising our sons as if they are going to date our daughters is the longterm solution. So I will continue to shares stories of cases like those in Steubenville, Ohio, and Maryville, Kansas, with my teenage daughters both as a warning and as a talking point about my anxieties regarding the difference between the way things are and the way they should be.