Deciphering the Phonetic Language of Incan Khipu

Dr. Sabine Hyland managed to decipher information contained in twisted chords called khipus, in which records were kept using knots of colored fibers from animals such as alpacas, llamas and deer.

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Anthropologist Sabine Hyland studies a khipu board, a colonial-era invention that incorporated earlier Inca technology.

Her exciting discovery has the potential to shed light on the mysterious South American civilisation of the Incas.

Dr Hyland has now discovered that the khipus, sometimes known as talking knots, were used in a logosyllabic system like Classic Mayan, where each logo represents a phonetic syllable.

“It had already been established that the khipus were used by the Inca to record numerical accounts, but until recently there was no evidence they had been used to record narratives,” said Dr. Hyland.

The Collata khipus, as they are known, contrast sharply with the regional accounting khipus.

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And they point to a widespread, shared writing system used in the Huarochiri province, east of Lima, in the 18th Century.

Dr Hyland added: “Analysis of the khipus revealed they contain 95 different symbols, a quantity within the range of logosyllabic writing systems, and notably more symbols than in regional accounting khipus.

So far she has phonetically deciphered two lineage names after being granted the privilege of examining two khipus from the remote village of San Juan de Collata in the Peruvian Andes.

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The Inca were highly organized and kept inventory on string records called khipus. More elaborate versions may contain encoded messages.

Village authorities invited Hyland to examine their closely guarded khipus, which were created in the 18th Century as letters exchanged by local leaders in a revolt against Spanish authority.

 

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Khipus were used by the ancient Inca in South America as a way to keep numerical records of their provisions. An example of an elaborate khipu is shown

“At the end of each khipu, three-cord sequences of distinct colours, fibres and ply direction appear to represent lineage names.

“The Collata khipus express syllables in a profoundly Andean fashion, using differences among the fibres of various animals, such as vicuña, alpaca and deer to indicate meaning.

“The reader must often feel the cords by hand to distinguish the fibre sources of these three-dimensional texts.”

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After partially deciphering the lost language, Hyland says the khipus were likely used in a logosyllabic system, like Classic Mayan. In this system, each pendant cord would represent a syllable

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It’s known that these cords were used to record numerical accounts, but now, researchers have discovered that they may also have acted as a form of phonetic writing, with specific combinations thought to convey particular syllables or words

 

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An Exhibit of Representations of ‘Melancholia’ in Mexican art

MEXICO CITY.- The Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL, National Art Museum of Mexico) presents ‘Melancholy’, an exhibition that delves into the manner that melancholy, commonly characterized by reflecting the darkest human sides of passion and affection, is represented in Mexican art through a selection of 137 works of art from the late 16th through early 21st centuries including paintings, etchings, sculptures and writings. The exhibit can be visited from April 4th through 9th of July 2017 at No. 8 Tacuba, Col. Centro, Mexico City.

Under the curatorship of Abraham Villavicencio Garcia, and comprised of the work of nearly 80 Mexican artists, this exposition reflects the way that human feelings are explained, interpreted and represented – revealing melancholy as a possible source for inspiration and artistic creativity.

In Villavicencio’s words, “This exhibition seeks to exalt the emotional charges evoked in the works of important novohispano, modern, and contemporary artists through themes such as sin, blame, mourning, lost love, death, spirituality, creation and magic.”

“’Melancholy’ manifests that in addition to sorrow, madness, and fear the sentiment is capable of producing creativity, heroism, intellectualism, and of the quests deep within the human psyche. To ponder upon it, through the Mexican artists’ hands that participate in this exhibition, is an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our age-old cultural roots that permit us to discover, under a new light, our potential for transcendence, salvation, and self-knowledge”, points out Sara Baz Sánchez, Director of the National Art Museum of Mexico. 
The exhibition is comprised by four thematic nucleuses. The first theme is given the name ‘The Loss of Paradise’ where the various manners that Christianity represents bitterness and hopelessness after the fall of Adam and Eve is reflected upon, brought on by the belief of original sin and a life deprived of divine contemplation. Melancholy is seen wandering endlessly through suffering because of reproach and self-punishment. Some of the pieces that make up this section are “King of Ridicule”, 17th – 18th Century, by Cristobal de Villapando, and “After the Storm”, 1910, by Diego Rivera.

On its behalf, ‘The Night of the Soul’ – the second nucleus of the exhibition – brings together artistic representations that refer to the lost of love such as through the death of children for mothers, widowhood, being an orphan, and love that was lost, which upon occasion lead to suicide and lifelessness. “The Empty Crib”, 1871, by Manuel Ocaranza; “Repented Margarita”, 1881, by Felipe Ocádiz; “Portrait of Sofía” ,1991, by Julio Galán; “The Lady of the Violets”, 1908, by Germán Gedovius and “Weddings from Heaven and Hell”, 1996 by Arturo Rivera are some of the works that make up this selection.

Saturn, the historic God who personifies time and identified as the most somber of the planets, was considered responsible for melancholy. Its powers gain strength in ‘The Shadow of Death’, the third nucleus of the exhibition, though which pieces like “Mary Magdalene”, c.a. 1690-1700, by Juan Tinoco; “This is the Mirror that Deceives You”, also known as “Allegory to Death”, 1856, by Tomás Mondragón; “That’s Life”, 1942, by Robert Montenegro, and “Death and Resurrection”, c.a. 20th century, by José Clemente Orozco address the reality of the world by those that bear witness to melancholy. Death becomes its greatest obsession – like a faithful dialectics and necessary for life.

Finally, ‘The Children of Saturn’ – the last of the parts of the exhibition – alludes to the idea of a renaissance by claiming that those who are born under the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius and Aquarius, regented by Saturn, are impregnated with a cosmic wisdom and artistic genius for which these individuals stand out among humanity as ascetics, prophets, saints, mystics, poets, artists, philosophers, and alchemists. They were the proof that melancholy was the pathway to ascend to the clarity of the human soul and mindfulness of the universe. Among the works that conform this section “Pierrot Doctor”, 1898, by Julio Ruelas; “Woman at the Window”, 1948, by Alfonso Michel; “The Illuminated”, 1982, by Rufino Tamayo and “Magus”, 2010, a bronze sculpture by Leonora Carrington, stand out.

The selection of masterpieces come from the collection of the National Art Museum of Mexico in addition to the priceless participation of 44 private and institutional collections, among which those highlighted are the Pinacoteca de la Profesa (Profesa Art Gallery); Isabel and Agustín Coppel, A.C.; the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Autonomous Benemérita Museum of Puebla); the Museo Regional de Querétaro (Regional Museum of Querétaro); the Franz Mayer Museum; the Andrés Blaisten Collection and the collection of Pérez Simón, amongst others.

Melancholy will be accompanied by a Spanish language catalogue, graphic images of the pieces that make up the exhibit and enriched with texts by specialists Roger Bartra, Heli Morales, Marcela Martinelli Herrera, Ángel Octavio Álvarez Solís, Jaime Ruíz Noé, Sara Baz, Mónica López Velarde and a curatorial text of Abraham Villavicencio García. This catalog can be purchased at the museum shop.
Within the framework of the exhibition, and in order to broaden the visitor experience, the museum will present a program of parallel activities consisting of a mediation room, talks with specialists, a film cycle, and a dance activation. All activities will be free and can be consulted in the page and the social networks of the museum.
Talks with academics and specialists in art, literature, history and sciences will be presented in collaboration with the Philological Research Institute of UNAM, El Colegio Nacional and the Interdisciplinary Group on Neurosciences and Arts. They will take place from April 26 to June 21, in the Adolfo Best Maugard Auditorium of the National Art Museum.

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Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

RotJJtHFilmmaker Jamie Benning created this short about the fascinating creation of of Star Wars’ most infamous (and my favorite) character.
He interviewed puppeteer Toby Philpott, one of the three men who crawled inside the Hutt to bring him to life. Benning’s 20 minute documentary brings together Philpott’s words with concept sketches and behind-the-scenes footage. “Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt” is entrancing. It’s fascinating to see the various methods used to make Jabba come to life.
To whet your pallet, here’s a few screen captures of the early concepts from the film:

At any given moment there were as many as 5 people inside and 2 or 3 more outside working remote controls.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/118751672″>Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt – @Jamieswb</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/filmumentaries”&gt;
The first item in my Jabba/Leia collection was Avon Bubble Bath that I found at a thrift store. (I thought it ironic that Avon thought that children bathing in the liquid contents of a beast who liked to feed slavegirls to his rancor was a good idea)

Here are some captures of the mechanical aspects of what into bringing him to life.

And, for purely gratuitous purposes, here’s some pictures of Princess Leia:

And, playing breath games with her fella:

And here’s Carrie Fisher speaking candidly about her slug-ish costar:love

And, as a footnote, here’s some more Star Wars stuff:

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The Last Leg – A BRILLIANT UK comedy panel SHOW

The Last Leg started as a one-time color commentary on the Special Olympics but was such a success that it was picked up and turned into a hit series. It stars Aussie Adam Hills (who has had one leg since birth), Alex Booker (who has a variety of physical birth defects), and ‘posh’ British comedian Josh Widdicombe.

 
It is one of the funniest and most daring comedy panel shows I’ve ever seen. Their wit is often acerbic and they go places that no other comics would dare to venture and poke fun at themselves and their own foibles, both physical and social.

As a Yank I admit that I am often not familiar with the guests (which is fine because that inspires me to go and look the people up) and don’t get many of the UK-specific cultural and political references (which is embarrassing given their breadth of knowledge of what’s going on in the US)
But that being said, even with my own limitations, this is STILL consistently one of the most brilliant shows I have ever enjoyed.
 
This episode is the most recent, the 12th show of the 10th season but there are many more available on YouTube and they’re all worth watching.

 

 

 

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Watch a Badger Bury a Cow – Scientific American

This is exactly how I want to be interred after I die:

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GoFundMe Collection for Medicine & First Aid to Venezuela 

This fund has been set up by my beautiful (inside and out) daughter to send medical supplies to Venezuela.

82% of people in Venezuela are living in poverty. People are starving, babies are malnourished, there is little food, and no medicine. Everyday this week, the public has gone to the streets to peacefully protest Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship and has been met with bullets, tear gas and violence. Venezuela needs freedom NOW.

Venezuela is being governed by drug kingpins and criminals. The situation affects every Venezuelan- regardless of socioeconomic or educational status. 100% of ALL funds of this campaign will go toward first aid materials, medicine or shipment costs.

The first aid supplies will be delivered directly to a group of medical students at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. These brave young students have been taking to the streets to help anyone that has been hurt by the oppressive armed forces.

About me: I am a Venezuelan living in NYC. I am saddened everyday by what is happening in Venezuela and sending first aid is just one of the ways that I can help from NY. I will be gathering first aid supplies from other Venezuelans in New York this week, and will use these funds to send the shipments to Caracas (or Miami- where an organization is gathering supplies). Any money that is not used for shipping costs will be used to buy extra first aid supplies and medicines.

Source: Medicine & First Aid to Venezuela by Aurora Kearney – GoFundMe

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Small Things Come in Good Packages Too

Gulliver’s Gate, opening next month in New York City’s Times Square, spans an entire city block and transports guests throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, all through its whimsical and humorous miniature displays.

Created by model-makers from around the globe, the exhibit includes everything from Beijing’s Forbidden City to the destroyed Colossus of Rhodes in Greece, all 87 times smaller than their original size.

Inside this huge display of miniatures, America’s largest, everything is fascinatingly tiny.

One of the most exciting interactive elements to the exhibit is the 3D scanner that allows you to create a mini version of yourself and your friends.

Those who want to live in the model world can get their figurines placed in one of 20 locations of their choice, and have an extra copy to take home.

In the New York City model, the focus lies on buildings’ first five stories to mimic the street view you’d typically see when strolling through the city.

Details radiate throughout, from a replica of the intricate ceiling of Grand Central Terminal to tiny little screens against the windows that showcase what you’d see inside each of the structures.

You’ll also see modern buildings like the Standard Hotel, complete with glass windows showcasing figurines lounging in their room and even a group of mini partiers on its rooftop bar.

Visitors will also walk through the vast landscape of Asia, where they’ll see iconic landmarks like India’s Taj Mahal, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the historic Pearl Theater in China, Mount Everest, and Japan’s famed Mount Fuji.

Guests will be able to control all of the interactive scenes through a RFID key.

With the turn of the key, visitors can watch a monk descend in a tiny basket down a cliffside to join in on the celebrations in Santorini below, or watch zombie mummies chase after tourists in the ancient pyramids that lie within the Africa exhibit.

Each of these interactive depictions has clever audio and lighting elements, from little specks that light up when tourists are “taking photos” to musical figurines that range from the Rolling Stones and The Beatles to Adele and The Clash, all of whom you may catch performing a song during your tour through Great Britain.

The entire exhibit will also have a day and night cycle that will allow guests to see what the buildings look like in the “sunshine” during the day and lit up in the evening.

The exhibit’s model-makers come from the United States, Montreal, Italy, Russia, Israel, Denmark, Germany, and other nations across the world.

“We see this as being a truly global project and completely inclusive, so when any visitor comes here, whether they are a resident of the U.S. or a visitor to the U.S., we want them to see themselves in the models,” Hackett said.

Sources:  Gulliver’s Gate, Travel & Leisure Magazine

And here’s my most recent album of wrong-sized stuff:

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Illustrations from the Russian Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (1890-1907) |

From Runiverse, a sort of Russian Google Books:
Dear users! 
Again we present you the “Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron”. We carried out work to restore the integrity of the publication. The volumes XXVIIa and XXVIII, dedicated to Russia, and also volume XXVII have been scanned, processed and published again. 
Sincerely, Runivers

The largest pre-revolutionary Russian universal encyclopedia, issued by the joint-stock publishing company “F. A. Brockhaus – IA Efron ». It consists of 86 volumes (82 basic and 4 additional) that were issued during the 1890-1907 period. The first 8 volumes (before the letter “B”) came under the general editorship of Professor IE Andreevsky and mainly contained translations into Russian of the articles of the famous German encyclopedia Brockhaus “Konversations Lexikon”.

After the death of Andreevsky, the new editorial board headed by KK Arseniev and FF Petrushevsky significantly increased the number of original articles and attracted a wide range of liberal political figures ( PN Milyukov , VI Ger’e, NI Kareeva to the legal Marxists PB Struve and MI Tugan-Baranovsky, the division of philosophy was led by the largest Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Solovyov ), as well as by such prominent scientists as DI Mendeleev, A. I. Beketov, AI Voeikov, DI Anuchin, Yu. M. Shokalsky, NM Knipovich, AO Kov Alevsky, AI Sovetov, VS Soloviev and others.
Today the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron is a public property: although the scientific encyclopedia is already outdated in science and technology, many of its articles still represent an exceptional historical value.

Here is the site in English (via Google Translate)

The 86-volume encyclopaedia features 7,800 pictures, 121,240 articles and 235 maps. It is steadily being scanned and posted online.
So far they have posted 47 volumes.

You might note this wtf?! one: Volume XXXIV (67). Trump – Carbon Calcium

 

List of volumes

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Serendipitous Saturday Find

While giving a walking tour I spotted this:1$

At first I thought it might be one of those tracts designed to fool sinners but:2$3$4$6$

I plan on keeping this one in my wallet but making 10 more and leaving them out in the world to make others smile the way I did.

Et voilá:

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DON’T Look Down!

Oleg Sherstyachenko is clearly missing the part of his brain that in the rest of us keeps us, if not earthbound, certainly well away from the edge of precipices that might mean our doom. I was unable to watch any of the 3 videos below straight through.
Here he is skipping along on the tops of pilasters on the 43rd floor of a Dubai hotel:

Here he performs acrobatics that I would not try on level ground surrounded by nice soft mats.

 

And finally here, if you’ve still not lost your lunch, is a compilation of his insanity:

And here’s an album I’ve collected of equally vertigo-inducing images:

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