Austria’s race against time to save anti-Nazi film

VIENNA (AFP).- One of Austria’s most important anti-Nazi films was thought lost for decades, until it was uncovered by chance last year. Now experts must race to keep from losing Die Stadt Ohne Juden/The City Without Jews again — this time from decay. Shot and screened in Vienna in 1924, the silent film proved disturbingly prophetic in its dark depiction of anti-Semitism clutching the Austrian capital in the wake of World War I.

stadt_ohne_judenBased on the eponymous bestseller by Austrian writer Hugo Bettauer, it tells the story of an anti-Semitic mayor who, reacting to rising social discontent, opts to expel all Jews. The decision leads the city to the brink of ruin as its economy declines and unemployment explodes. 668x501-fit-642x501In the end, the law is repealed and the banished Jews are welcomed back. The black-and-white movie broke ground as the world’s first cinematographic work to foreshadow the horrors of the Third Reich, according to the Film Archive Austria (FAA). It would also cost Bettauer his life: the liberal author and journalist was killed by a Nazi a few months after the movie’s premiere:outline2_142735668574987051myxekxzl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

Kupfertiefdruck nach Foto Weitzmann-Wien.

Kupfertiefdruck nach Foto Weitzmann-Wien.

“‘The City Without Jews’ is much more than a film: it is an anti-Nazi manifesto”, said Nikolaus Wostry of the FAA.400

The Vienna-based archive only possessed a fragmented version of the original until a French art collector stumbled across a near-complete reel at a flea market in Paris in 2015. Hitherto unknown scenes provided a much sharper articulation of the rising anti-Semitism in Vienna, which had been a prominent centre of Jewish culture at the start of the 20th century.

“This version is the missing link. We have many wonderful new takes giving an insight into the Jewish community in Vienna, but there are also scenes showing the pogroms,” Wostry said. screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-2-20-15-amThe copy also contained the final scene, revealing a slightly altered ending — albeit still a happy one — to that in the book. Capital ‘of anti-Semitism’ However, the FAA fears that the new reel could soon once again be lost as it shows serious signs of deterioration. The institute has launched a crowd-funding appeal until December 10 to raise money for the restoration of the highly flammable nitrate film. “We have to save it and make it available to the public, not just for its historic value but also for its current message against the walls we are building and the exclusion of people,” said Wostry. The archive has so far raised €60,253 of the required €75,500.

[I just donated €25 and will receive a digital copy of the film]

“It would be fitting to show this film in Vienna, which was the capital of political anti-Semitism,” Wostry said. At the time of the movie’s release, a dangerous wind of change was already blowing across the Austrian city. Home to great minds like Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig and Gustav Mahler, Vienna in 1897 voted in the openly anti-Semitic mayor Karl Lueger who would stay in power for 13 years.

In 1907, Adolf Hitler, aged 18, moved to the capital. His six years spent here would prove a highly formative time and steer his political views. Hitler greatly admired Lueger and later referred to him in Mein Kampf. Observers say the anti-Semitic backlash was fuelled by a steady influx of eastern European Jews drawn to “sparkling Vienna”. “At the turn of the century, anti-Semitism is a cultural code directed against the elites, the financial circles, the press,” historian Jacques le Rider told AFP. The situation turned critical after World War I as Jewish refugees fleeing violence on the Russian front stream into the capital. “Hyper-inflation and unemployment explode in Austria, already humiliated by the loss of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Xenophobia reaches a new dimension,” le Rider said.

Bettauer, a Jew converted to Protestantism, astutely captured these changes in his novel published in 1922. “He perfectly describes the climate of anti-Semitic terror which gripped Austria at the time,” says Werner Hanak-Lettner of the Jewish Museum in Vienna. The release of the film two years later sparked huge protests and would eventually force several of its Jewish actors to emigrate. Less successful than the book, the movie vanished after a screening in Amsterdam in the 1930s.
28488204Six decades later, a copy was found in the Netherlands Filmmuseum. Austrian experts say the emergence of the new version shows that the Dutch copy from 1991 had been edited for foreign audiences. “This seems to have been a ‘light version’ of the original, destined for export and cleared of the shock factor,” Wostry said.

Source: Austria’s race against time to save anti-Nazi film

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The Flaming Star Nebula

Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Univ. Arizona


Explanation: A runaway star lights the Flaming Star Nebula in this cosmic scene. Otherwise known as IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula’s billowing interstellar clouds of gas and dust lie about 1,500 light-years away toward the constellation of Auriga. AE Aurigae, the bright star at upper left in the frame, is a massive and intensely hot O-type star moving rapidly through space, likely ejected from a collision of multiple star-systems in the vicinity of the Orion Nebula millions of years ago. Now close to IC 405, the high-speed star’s ionizing ultraviolet radiation powers the visible reddish glow as the nebula’s hydrogen atoms are stripped of their electrons and recombine. Its intense blue starlight is reflected by the nebula’s dusty filaments. Like all massive stars AE Aurigae will be short-lived though, furiously burning through its supply of fuelfor nuclear fusion and exploding as a supernova. The colorful telescopic snapshot spans about 5 light-years at the estimated distance of the Flaming Star Nebula.

Source: APOD: 2016 December 1 – Flaming Star Nebula

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Black Panther Party for Self Defense at 50

I just visited the exhibition celebrating the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense 50 years ago this past October.BPP50.jpg

Presented with the theme, “Where do We Go From Here?” it presents the full picture of the revolutionary group from its inception through its organizing and actions like the BPP Free Breakfast Program, BPP Free Food Program, and BPP Free Clinics throughout the African American communities across the US. (Two free clinics they established, in Portland and Seattle, are still open)screen-shot-2016-02-08-at-112042-ampng-772ae1b3912b8552.pngtumblr_ntitnmugsn1upw3nvo1_400Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 5.54.08 PM.pngblack-panther-boston-clinic-1970bpp6-cr-center-250

It is full of many unique items such as the original notes for their 10 Point manifesto.


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A bronze replica of the of the chair that Huey P. Newton sat in for this iconic portrait that decorated hundreds of college dorm rooms:screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-5-52-31-pm20161201 141837 resized

That you can sit in:

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Some old radical

There’s too many cool things, including moving contemporary and vintage art like this mirror and Black Power jack-in-the-box.

A quilt, “We The People” made from discarded prison uniforms and the only weapon out of the scores confiscated illegally that was returned, a Winchester Model 1873.

It presents the bloody and murderous response by the government and police across the US and the covert and often illegal COINTELPRO program that spread false rumors and dissent through agents provocateur.

But the best part is when it follows through with many former Panthers today and asks modern activists what impact they had on their lives.

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It’s at the Oakland Museum of California until February 12* and l highly recommend it.

[*no idea if the idea of ending it on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is intentional or an ironic coincidence]

And, l just noticed that l was given a Senior discount without asking for it. First time that happened, don’t know whether to enjoy the fact or not.

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About that Header Image of San Francisco Bay

The image at the top is from the webcam of the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California. It sits high in the Berkeley Hills

about_lhs_portrait.jpgand is one of the sites I visit daily. It’s an excellent ‘weather report’ of what the day is going to be like.

Today’s view is spectacularly clear, revealing details like Sutro Tower


which is only about 30m (100′) wide and not solid. july-david_sutro-tower-center-straight-up.jpg

Unfortunately there are no currently publicly accessible webcams from the tower.

You can also make out the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge which is only about 10m (32′) thick and also a lattice girder construction.


The LHS webcam page also has a very cool time lapse of the previous 24 hours.

Here are some images from my screensaver file as a slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



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The Lovely Preservation of a 17th Century Map

A huge wall map, about 1.5m x 2.15m (5’x7′) found stuffed into a chimney in Aberdeen, Scotland last spring, was handed over in a plastic bag to the National Library of Scotland.2345557ff4f74990a47f0ba9ab8f0bbb

Resembling a bundle of rags, the map was severely damaged after being attacked by vermin and insects, a far cry from it’s hey-day, where it would have been hung on a wall to be admired by visitors.

The map of the world, by the Dutch engraver Gerald Valck, similar to this one is one of only three known copies in existence, but it almost landed in a trash bin during renovation on the Aberdeen property where it was discovered.

Resembling a bundle of rags, the map was severely damaged after being attacked by vermin and insects, a far cry from it’s hey-day, where it would have been hung on a wall to be admired by visitors.nls2.gif

It was about to be trashed for good but, luckily, someone had second thoughts and it was gifted to the National Library of Scotland.

Watch the exquisite work as it is being done in this film by Trina McKendrick. It is quite lovely:

A similar map from the same period is shown in the famous painting by Vermeer called Painter in his Studio.afa6c22e7c814facb23a8304450f2d26.jpg

The complex renovation involved a number of key stages:

• opening and flattening the map;
• separating it into its original eight sections;
• removing the linen backing;
• dry cleaning and washing the paper;
• re-assembling the cleaned sections onto a new paper lining.


This article in the National Library’s magazine explains the process in detail:


Materials collected from the National Library of Scotland, filmmaker Trina McKendrick, and the Scottish Daily Record.

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Fly Like an Eagle…

I suggest you play this amazing video on full screen:

La Patrouille de France et les trois Jetman Yves Rossy, Vincent Reffet et Fred Fugen volent ensemble dans une chorégraphie aérienne encore jamais vue.
Deux mondes aéronautiques différents s’associent pour une même aventure, au-delà de la beauté du vol humain.

En Anglais:

The Patrouille de France and the three Jetmen Yves Rossy, Vincent Reffet and Fred Fugen fly together in an unprecedented aerial choreography. 
Two different aeronautical experiences come together as one adventure, portraying the beauty of human flight and beyond.

The planes are Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jets, a co-development and product of the Luftwaffe and Armée de l’air. You can see in the video that they are right at the edge of their stall speed of 167 kph (104 mph). Though Yves Rossy jet wing packs have a top speed of 304 kph (189 mph) they cruise at an average speed of 200 kph (120 mph).


Video credits, etc.

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Twas the Night Before Drumpf

Twas the nineteenth of January, when all through the house
Not a creature was Tweeting, not even this louse.
Effigies were hung on the lampposts with care,
A sign that insanity soon would be there.

The children were hiding under their beds,
While visions of Klan rallies danced in their heads.
And mom took her wine and I took a pill,
Hoping our terrors soon would be stilled.

Out on the street an Uzi did chatter,
So we sprang from the bed to duck the lead spatter.
Away from the window when we heard it go crash,
I felt my heart shudder as I threw up in the trash.

The flames from a cross on the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of whiteness to the rally below.
When appeared to my wonder a small-fingered man,
With the hilarious spray of a fake orange tan.

With one little Twitter, so lying and thick,
I knew in a moment he must be a prick.
More rapid than weasels his Cabinet came,
He dog-whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now, Sessions! now, Priebus! now, Rudy and Ross!
On, Carson! On, Pence! on, Betsy DeVos!
To the top of the heap! to the Mexican wall!
Now go away! Run away! Flee away all!”

And then, in an email, I read of his plans
The typing and tweeting of each little hand.
Oh bigots!  Oh racists! Oh fascists and clowns.
Til down came America, with a terrible sound.

His flesh was all orange, from his toes to his crown,
Where a cheap looking comb-over looked like that of a clown .                               A monkey of hate he had flung on his back,
Like a sort of a peddler of lousy street crack.

His eyes-how they squinted! his stare oh so glary!
His face was not hiding the anger he carried!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a sneer,
His look was not happy as he stirred up the fear.

His jaw was clenched like his sphincter and teeth,
And the comb-over circled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and little round digits,
On hands that were tiny, just like a midget’s!

He was a hostile old grump, a joyless old elf,
And I winced when I thought: “This is Satan himself!”
The look in his eye showed the twists in his head,
And soon gave me to know we had something to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled up his cabinet with nothing but jerks.
And using his short fingers in a gesture perfidious,
He gave a salute from a history so hideous!

And went back to his text to send out epistles,
And let a terrified world know he had HUGEST of missiles.
But by Tweet he exclaimed, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Sieg heil America, we smash kristall tonight!”

Stan Flouride 28 Nov 2016

This is published with a Creative Commons license, feel free to share it.

I wrote that to add to a great collection of humorous Amazon reviews of this genuine Drumpf Christmas tree ornament: (it can be yours for a mere $209.00!)


In an homage to the fantastic Raven-inspired gallon milk review from 2008 I composed it (and edited and resubmitted twice it when it was rejected but it was still not allowed–Oh well.)

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T160k is Ceasing Operations

Saying good-bye to one of my favorite crowd-funding sites. This is why and how it was begun:

xavier rossi@gamma Mal 00042003 Boujbéha le chemin de l'encre Vieille caisse ou sont entreposés les manuscrits dans la bibliothèque.

Photo Credit: Xavier Rossi Old crate where the manuscripts are stored in the library.

Timbuktu is a legendary name, but it’s also a real city on the edge of the Sahara desert in Mali. In medieval times, trade made it wealth and powerful. Gold, gems, spices, and more were traded there. But its greatest treasure was books—tomes, scrolls, and writings of all sorts from across the world were collected there. In time, the gold disappeared, but the books remained.

When heavily-armed militants took over the city in 2013, a courageous band of librarians, archivists, and couriers smuggled these manuscripts out of the city by car, donkey, boat, and on foot. More than 400,000 manuscripts were saved. Treasures that could not be evacuated, like the great Mosque and the tombs of Timbuktu’s 333 saints, were destroyed by the invaders.

That’s not the end of the story! Today, the manuscripts are safely in storage. Now the Mamma Haidera Commemorative Library, a Malian organization, is working to catalog this body of work so they can share it with the world

Dear friends and supporters of T160k,

We are very sorry to announce that T160k will be ceasing operations at the end of this year. Since our founding as a Washington State Social Purpose Corporation in 2014, we have collected over $25,000 to help our partners in Africa build a better future through cultural projects.Closing T160k fills us with sadness, but we’re thankful for the success we have had. Unfortunately, T160k’s revenues are not sufficient to pay our operating costs. T160k will cease processing donations on December 31, 2016.

One volume sits in a plastic box with my name on it. To be conserved because of my small donation:

for-stannous-flouride_p2 for-satnnous-flouride_p1

As a historian I was appalled by the destructive actions of those religious zealots and proud of the acts of my fellow humans in Mali in caching what documents and literature they could.
I also hope that in the future some local researcher will look at those tomes with their obviously western donors’ names
on them and smile knowing that there were a lot of decent folks out there that cared.
And I love looking at the plastic box with my made-up art name on it. I’ve used it as a profile picture on FB and G+ and other social media sites.
I’d love to know what ‘my’ book is about but I’ve accepted that unless I’m willing to go to Timbuktu I never will.
In addition to the Timbuktu T160k has arranged for crowdfunding for several other worthy projects:

Source: T160k is ceasing operations

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Blind Rescue Goat with Anxiety Only Calms Down in Her Duck Costume


It all started when Leanne Lauricella went shopping at Marshalls before Halloween. She was browsing the aisles when something caught her eye — a child’s duck costume, complete with a big orange bill and two webbed feet.

Lauricella runs a goat rescue group called Goats of Anarchy in New Jersey. She thought the duck costume would look cute on her baby goats, especially the newest rescue goat named Polly. So she bought the costume and took it home, not thinking too much of it. Little did Lauricella know just how much Polly would love that duck costume.

Now, whenever Polly has an anxiety attack, Lauricella puts her into the duck costume, and voila — instant calm. “She just calms down and goes to sleep,” Lauricella said. “Instantly. It’s become a thing that she’s known for.”

The duck costume is also useful when Lauricella has to run errands, but can’t leave Polly alone at home. When Lauricella once stopped at a local store, she put Polly into her duck suit, and the little goat snoozed in the shopping cart.

Over on her animal rescue site The Dodo, author Elizabeth Claire Roberts fills in the Polly tale: Rescue Goat With Anxiety Only Calms Down In Her Duck Costume with many more images of Polly in all her costumed glory:

And shares the story of Polly’s new companion Pocket, another disabled rescue goat who calms her down too.

To help pay for Polly’s future needs, you can make a donation to Goats of Anarchy here.

When I was 5-6 years old I lived in the US Virgin Islands on a small cay between St Thomas & St John called Lovango that was home to 16 humans (including my grandparents and me) and about 250 goats. I was too young to appreciate them, in fact I came to resent them because the billys would regularly sneak up and butt me and knock me down.

But now I count myself as a caprinophile and like and admire them. For you of a similar inclination here’s an album of goats:

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The Fukuoka Sinkhole, How a Government SHOULD work

Since government is (supposedly) operated with the consent of the governed and is expected to provide for the common good, you’d think that dealing with a disaster like this one as well as the Japanese did would be commonplace.

Here’s video from several angles as the street in Fukuoka, Japan opened up and collapsed on Nov. 8, 2016:

And here is a time-lapse of its 7 day repair condensed into 2 minutes and 19 seconds ending on 15 Nov:

Having seen first hand how my nation’s own government dealt with the repair of the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the WTC after 9/11, I see that such action is, here at least, the exception rather than the rule.

And sadly, given the recent election I don’t see attention to repair of our infrastructure increasing in the near future.

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