Tag Archives | History

Ancient Clay Tablet Contains Customer Complaint — circa 1750 BC

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

There’s a clay tablet at the British Museum that contains something social media users know all too well: a customer complaint. Apparently the wrong grade of copper ore was delivered to Nanni, and this severely pissed Nanni off.

The above photo was uploaded to Reddit yesterday by tbc34. Another Redditor, labarna, shared this translation taken from Leo Oppenheim’s book “Letters from Mesopotamia”:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : “I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.” You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: “If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!”

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt?

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Wolfgang Grasse (1930 – 2008) – Temporal Misift

Wolfgang Grasse (1)

“Wolfgang Grasse is a temporal misfit, with artistic skills and attitudes that stand out, in our time, as a witch or an alchemist stands out… his work can be traced back to Bosch, Bruegel and Max Beckman.” — Art News

The world that Grasse created on his canvas is more than fantastic, it is magic. He was the wise-old magician. Through his paintings, he cast a spell on the viewer and in that perpetual moment of truth, revealed two thousand years of human degradations.

His painting possesses a haunting menace which appropriately reflect the moral and social values.

Wolfgang Grasse was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1930. After private artistic training first by his grandfather, Feidrich Grasse, and then later studying in Italy, he returned to a partitioned post-war East Germany. There he was imprisoned for his cartoons crtical of Soviet propaganda. He was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison.  After serving 8 years of this sentence, he was granted an amnesty and released.

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How your eyes trick your mind

Via BBC Future [Follow the link to see more optical illusions]:

Visual, or optical, illusions show us that our minds tend to make assumptions about the world – and what you think you see is often not the truth.

Throughout history, curious minds have questioned why our eyes are so easily fooled by these simple drawings. Illusions, we have found, can reveal everything from how we process time and space to our experience of consciousness.

Scroll down our interactive guide to find out why.

Early illusions

Illusions have a long history, going as far back as the ancient Greeks.

In 350BC, Aristotle noted that that “our senses can be trusted but they can be easily fooled”.

He noticed that if you watch a waterfall and shift your gaze to static rocks, the rocks appear to move in the opposite direction of the flow of water, an effect we now call “motion aftereffect” or the waterfall illusion.

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064. Daniele Bolelli | Taoism and Gravity-Defying Glorious D-Cups

Via Midwest Real

“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?” -Zhuangzi

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

TScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 7.29.32 PMaoism is, in a way, the anti-religion. Its very existence is a philosophical counter-punch to the jaw of the saintly pomp revered by most religions. Zhuangzi (widely regarded as one of the greatest Taoist minds) once told a curious man that if he wanted to understand the Tao, he should go take a close look at the nearest pile feces.

This is why Taoism is awesome.

As for the point of Zhuangzi’s poop story– if the questions you’re asking aren’t about making your way through every day life with full reverence and appreciation for each bite of food, puff of air and pile of dog shit you encounter, you’re missing the point.

Of course, there’s more to Taoism than cartoonish stories about excrement.Read the rest

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Dinosaurs on Acid

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Via Phillip Smith at Alternet

Was brontosaurus blissed out on prehistoric psychedelics as he munched the swamp grass in Southeast Asia 100 million years ago? Scientists who have analyzed a perfectly preserved amber fossil from a cave there say it’s entirely possible.

The amber fossil contains evidence of the earliest grass specimens ever discovered—about 100 million years old—and that they were topped by a fungus similar to ergot, which has long been intertwined with animals and humans. Ergot is known as a medicine and a toxin. It is also the source of the psychedelic drug LSD.

In animals, ergot can cause hallucinations, delirium, gangrene, convulsions, or the staggers. And this research provides evidence that the fungus, the grasses it lived on, and the dinosaurs who gulped down huge mouthfuls of them, coexisted for tens of millions of years. Imagine a multi-ton behemoth wrecked out of its dinosaur mind stumbling around the landscape.

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A Boomer Childhood in 25 Objects

Via Debbie Galant at Medium

From the transistor radio to Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book,” must-haves from the middle of the past century.

I never did visit the Museum of Childhood at the Victoria and Albert last time I was in London, even though I went so far as looking up the Tube stop. But I’ve always been fascinated with childhood as a lens for viewing different time periods. I’ve seen so many shows about the London Blitz that I almost feel sentimental for it, as if it were my own era. Likewise, I carry a romanticized notion of Laura Ingalls Wilder in my head.

Alas, though, the childhood I lived through was my own. I entered the 60’s in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C. as a 4-year-old and emerged to relative adulthood in 1977. There are baby boomers on either side of me: Hillary up ahead, Jon Stewart pulling up the rear.

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How Technicolor Changed Storytelling

Via Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic:

In the dawn of the age of cinema, adding color to black-and-white films was something like “putting lip rouge on Venus de Milo.” That is to say, it had the potential for disastrous, garish results. And that’s how the legendary director Albert Parker referred to the process of colorizing motion pictures in 1926, according to The New York Times that year.

Parker’s lipstick-on-the-Venus de Milo line wasn’t originally his—it was the same comparison famously used by silent film star Mary Pickford to lament the rise of talkies. As with sound, adding color to motion pictures represented a revolutionary shift in onscreen storytelling—and not everyone was convinced that change was worthwhile. Even those who were excited about color filmmaking felt trepidation.

“The color must never dominate the narrative,” Parker told the Times. “We have tried to get a sort of satin gloss on the scenes and have consistently avoided striving for prismatic effects… We realize that color is violent and for that reason we restrained it.”

Today, we’re accustomed to seeing color choices set the tone for a scene, a film—even an entire body of work.

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Timothy Leary and Marshall McLuhan, turned on and tuned in

learymc

By Lisa Rein and Michael Horowitz via Boing Boing:

“Man is about to make use of that fabulous electrical network he carries around in his skull”
Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, 1963

“Electric technology, by virtue of its immediate relation to our nervous system, is itself a sort of inner trip, with drugs playing the role of sub-plot or alternative mode. It may well appear a few years hence that the panic about psychedelic drugs relates less to the chemistry than to the hidden terrors which people feel in the presence of electric technology.”
Marshall McLuhan, June 1974 (From a previously unpublished letter, full text below.)

INTRODUCTION

There is no other 1960s intellectual figure whom Timothy Leary came to admire more than Marshall McLuhan. He considered McLuhan’s famous statement – “The medium is the message” — the most important cultural insight of the ‘60s, a decade saturated with insightful and lasting one-liners, some of the most famous coming from Leary’s own brain.

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Prehistoric High Times: Early Humans Used Magic Mushrooms, Opium

Sonja (CC BY 2.0)

Sonja (CC BY 2.0)

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe via LiveScience:

Opium, “magic” mushrooms and other psychoactive substances have been used since prehistoric times all over the world, according to a new review of archaeological findings.

The evidence shows that people have been consuming psychoactive substances for centuries, or even millennia, in many regions of the world, said Elisa Guerra-Doce, an associate professor of prehistory at the University of Valladolid in Spain, who wrote the review.

Guerra-Doce’s previous research showed the use of psychoactive substances in prehistoric Eurasia. The new review “brings together data related to the early use of drug plants and fermented beverages all over the world,” Guerra-Doce told Live Science.

For example, the evidence shows that people have been chewing the leaves of a plant called the betel since at least 2660 B.C., according to Guerra-Doce’s report. The plant contains chemicals that have stimulant- and euphoria-inducing properties, and these days is mostly consumed in Asia.

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