Tag Archives | Architecture

400-Year-Old Masonic Secret Chamber Uncovered In Historic British Manor

Do the rituals of freemasonry go back further than anyone has realized? The BBC reports:

A secret chamber, hidden for 400 years and with possible links to early freemasonry, has been discovered.

The entrance to the room, which has plastered walls, was found inside a cupboard at the National Trust-owned house Canons Ashby, near Daventry. It is a paneled room with walls showing crests of local families and enigmatic symbols.

Laura Malpas, community manager of the trust, said there was “speculation” the room had been an early masonic lodge. Ms. Malpas said it was “a fascinating and puzzling space” with walls that include “frankly odd Latin texts.” She added: “There has been speculation that this room was used as an early form of Masonic lodge before Freemasonry was established in England some 130 years later in 1717.”

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The Hidden Geography Of Optical Calibration Targets

The Center for Land Use Interpretation on symbols strewn across the American landscape which make sense only to airborne machines:

There are dozens of aerial photo calibration targets across the USA, curious land-based two-dimensional optical artifacts made mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, and many are still in use, though their history is obscure.

Most of them follow the same form established by the Air Force and NASA. The pattern painted on the targets is sets of parallel and perpendicular bars that function like an eye chart at the optometrist. For aerial photography and satellites, it provides a platform to test, calibrate, and focus aerial cameras traveling at different speeds and altitudes.

Many of these resolution test targets are found in the Mojave desert of California, one of the principal development and test areas for surveillance aircraft. The largest concentration in one place is on the grounds of Edwards Air Force Base, where calibration targets run for 20 miles.

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Designing A City Impenetrable To Drones

Chapati Mystery lays out plans for the hypothetical Shura City, a place of beauty and atmosphere and freedom of movement, but no fear of U.S. drone strikes:

Drones work by detecting patterns, identifying individuals, and extracting data. I dreamed up Shura City to fight against drones with humanity and community. The city is a “black box” impenetrable to data miners and military-trained individuals but it is not a prison.

It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb. Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor. Its windows are protected by computerized mashrabiyas that blink and recombine into various QR codes to jam leering cameras. Its expansive courtyard is protected by latticework with backlit (by color-changing LED) windows that allow for sunshine for children and stars for young lovers, but also make face detection tricky with color blocks and changing shadows.

Badgirs and minarets do their part to provide wild fluctuations of temperature (so that individual bodies are difficult to identify with infrared) and to provide high-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication.

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Balloon-Like Space Dwelling To Be Tested On International Space Station

Reuters on the silvery space pod in which you’ll be spending future vacations:

A low-cost space dwelling that inflates like a balloon in orbit will be tested aboard the International Space Station, opening the door for commercial leases of future free-flying outposts and deep-space astronaut habitats for NASA.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), developed by privately owned Bigelow Aerospace and about 13 feet long and 10.5 feet in diameter when inflated, is scheduled for launch in mid-2015 aboard a Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon cargo ship, said Mike Gold, director of operations for Bigelow Aerospace.

A successful test flight on the space station would be a stepping stone for planned Bigelow-staffed orbiting outposts that the company plans to lease to research organizations, businesses and wealthy individuals wishing to vacation in orbit.

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Scientology Has Secret Alien-Themed Doomsday Compound In The New Mexico Desert

A science fiction movie sprung to life — the vast bunker is where Scientology’s elite will hide out when civilization breaks down, and the gigantic etched symbols, visible from above, likely are messages intended for the extraterrestrials who created humanity. Via Live Science:

A secret bunker hidden deep within the deserts of New Mexico is reported to be the “alien space cathedral” of the Church of Scientology, according to a BBC reporter. The site is marked by a large symbol etched onto the desert floor: two diamonds surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles, according to the British newspaper The Sun. A private airstrip, built to serve the controversial church’s leaders, is within walking distance of the symbol.

Journalist John Sweeney claims the church designed the underground site to withstand a nuclear holocaust. Hidden within the complex’s vaults are titanium caskets that hold gold disks inscribed with the original texts of Scientology founder L.

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Man In China Created Fleet Of Floating Doomsday Pods

The best thing to come out of rumors that the world would end this past week? A former furniture maker, Liu Qiyuan of the small village of Qiantun became obsessed with the possibility of a Mayan calendar apocalypse and was driven to build what you see below for his family. The fiberglass pods cost $48,000 each to create and are equipped with oxygen, seat belts, food, and supplies allowing 14 people to survive inside for at least two months. I foresee a future in which we all float through life in these:

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Experimental Architect Lebbeus Woods Dies

He exemplified the idea of the architect as someone whose role is to challenge the status quo, confront serious issues of human vulnerability, and expand the public imagination. Only one of Woods’s projects, the Light Pavilion in Chengdu, China, was actually ever built, yet his designs and ideas were highly influential, the New York Times writes:

In an era when many architecture stars [...designed] high-rise condominiums or corporate headquarters, Mr. Woods conceived of a radically different environment, one intended for a world in conflict.

He conceived a post-earthquake San Francisco that emphasized its seismic vulnerability. He flew to Sarajevo in the 1990s and proposed a postwar city in which destruction and resurgence coexisted. He imagined a future for Lower Manhattan in which dams would hold back the Hudson and East Rivers to create a vast gorge around the island, exposing its rock foundation.

Mr. Woods’s work was often described as fantasy and compared to science-fiction imagery.

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Secrets in Plain Site: Burning Man

via Scott Onstott at SecretsInPlainSight.com

I was invited to go to Burning Man when it was at Baker Beach in San Francisco in 1989. At the time I remember wondering what would

Burning Man Black Rock City

inspire people to ritually burn an effigy of a man on the beach, and thinking it particularly chthonic (which didn’t appeal to my Apollonian nature) I didn’t go. After being hassled by the “authorities” in San Francisco, Burning Man moved to the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada in 1990 and has been hosted there ever since. 51,515 people attended burning man in 2010 and attendance was capped at 50,000 thereafter. The maximum attendance reminds me of the Great Pyramid slope angle of 51 deg 51 min but maybe that’s “just a coincidence.”

The reason I’m writing about Burning Man is because I looked at it in Google Earth and was amazed that this annual pilgrimage site in a remote desert occurs within a temporary urban design called Black Rock City (BRC) that appears to be a magical diagram.

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Archaeologists Discover Subterranean Pyramids Attributed to Etruscans

Picture: Fraaxe (PD)

Via Discover.com:

A team of American and Italian archaeologists have uncovered a most unusual find: a series of underground Etruscan pyramids buried beneath a wine cellar. Cue the Indiana Jones theme…or drink some nice Pinot Grigio. Or both.

Carved into the rock of the tufa plateau –a sedimentary area that is a result of volcanic activity — on which the city stands, the subterranean structures were largely filled. Only the top-most modern layer was visible.

“Within this upper section, which had been modified in modern times and was used as a wine cellar, we noticed a series of ancient stairs carved into the wall. They were clearly of Etruscan construction,” David B. George of the Department of Classics at Saint Anselm, told Discovery News.

As they started digging, George and co-director of the excavation Claudio Bizzarri of the Parco Archeologico Ambientale dell’Orvietano noted that the cave’s walls were tapered up in a pyramidal fashion.

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