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Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron is a public property: although the scientific encyclopedia is already outdated in science and technology, many of its articles still represent an exceptional historical value.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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Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

Photo taken on December 31, 2010 shows Chuck performing at the Congress Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Chuck Berry died Saturday, March 18, 2017 at the age of 90. Police in Missouri where he has been living said, “The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry,”

Chuck Berry, one of the creators of rock ‘n’ roll whose dance-ready rhythms and energetic stage performances helped define modern youth culture, died Saturday. He was 90. Police in the St. Louis area, where Berry was born and lived most of his life, said that first responders found the guitar legend unresponsive when they responded to an emergency call at his home.

Here’s a collection of Mr Berry’s greatest hits that should swallow the next 2 hours of your existence:

Berry became a sensation in the years after World War II as he brought together rhythm and blues, country guitar and a consummate stage showmanship. His 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” was so influential and recognizable that the US space program chose it to represent rock music for potential extraterrestrial listeners on the Voyager* spacecraft. “Roll Over Beethoven” from 1956 was almost a manifesto of rock ‘n’ roll as the charismatic Berry urged the DJ to switch off the classical records and turn to the new genre of the youth. Other hits included “Maybellene,” one of the pioneering rock songs that gave a guitar edge to a popular fiddle tune, and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” in which Berry hailed rock ‘n’ roll’s sweep across the United States.

But Berry, one of the first African Americans to find a widespread white audience, saw his career crumble in 1959 when he was arrested for taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for “immoral purposes” under an obscure 1910 law. Berry defended himself against the allegations he slept with the young waitress. But he was convicted by an all-white jury and served a year and a half in prison.

Associates would later describe the laid-back and fun-loving Berry as a changed man, and the conviction has long been viewed in the African American community as a warning sign for artists on the rise. Berry mostly avoided the media limelight as he resurrected his career. In a rare 1987 interview with NBC television, Berry declined to describe himself as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, listing others including his contemporary Elvis Presley as well as Fats Domino and Little Richard. “We’re all I think just a cog in the wheel. We all got the ball rolling,” he said.

Berry late in his life stayed low-profile in St. Louis where he played two decades worth of shows at the Blueberry Club, with his son Charles Berry Jr. in his backup band.

In a surprise, Berry last year celebrated his 90th birthday by announcing that he had recorded his first album in 38 years. Entitled simply “Chuck,” the album is slated to be released sometime this year. In a statement as he announced the album, Berry dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.

The newlywed couple, 1948

August 1972: Chuck Berry arrives at Heathrow Airport with his wife Themetta.

“My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

Source: Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

*At the time of this posting, Chuck Berry’s voice is about 20,600,362,260 km (12,800,471,658.02 mi.) away from the sun and getting farther at about 20 km per second.

ADDENDUM: I just found this 1980 interview in the St Louis punk zine Jet Lag where Chuck reviews several punk bands of the day:


The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”:

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

The Clash’s “Complete Control”:

Sounds like the first one. The rhythm and chording work well together. Did this guy have a sore throat when he sang the vocals?

The Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”:

A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.

The Romantics’ “What I Like About You”; 20-20’s “Oh Cheri”; The Beat’s “Different Kind of Girl”:

Finally something you can dance to. Sounds a lot like the sixties with some of my riffs thrown in for good measure. You say this is new? I’ve heard this stuff plenty of times. I can’t understand the big fuss.

The Gladiators’ “Sweet So Still”; Toots & The Maytals’ “Funky Kingston”; Selectors’ “On The Radio”:

This is good, real smooth and soulful. Real good to bump and shuffle to. Sounds a bit like my old buddy Bo Diddley, only slower. I tried something similar on a song called “Havana Moon”.

Dave Edmunds’ “Queen of Hearts”:

This is more like it. This guy’s got a real touch for rock and roll, a real gut feeling. Has he ever made it big? Well, if he ever needs a job, I could use him.”

Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”:

A funky little number, that’s for sure. I like the bass a lot. Good mixture and a real good flow. The singer sounds like he has a bad case of stage fright.

Wire’s “I Am the Fly” and Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures”:

So this is the so-called new stuff. It’s nothing I ain’t heard before. It sounds like an old blues jam that BB and Muddy would carry on backstage at the old amphitheatre in Chicago. The instruments may be different but the experiment’s the same.

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Old files reveal wartime tale of ‘Bolivian Schindler’

LA PAZ (AFP).- Old files have revealed the story of a businessman hailed as the “Bolivian Schindler” for helping thousands of Jews flee to the South American country to escape the Nazis. Piles of documents had stood stacked for decades in the headquarters of a mining company formerly run by German Jewish Dr. Moritz (Don Mauricio) Hochschild.In his time Hochschild was vilified as a ruthless tycoon, but when researchers started sorting through the paperwork decades later, they began to unravel the tale of how he helped Jews flee from persecution in the 1930s. “He saved many souls from the Holocaust by bringing them to Bolivia and creating jobs for them,” Carola Campos, head of the Bolivian Mining Corporation’s information unit, told AFP.  Along with fellow magnates Victor Aramayo and Simon Patino, Hochschild had his mining company nationalized in 1952 by the Bolivian government. It accused them of plundering the nation by mining its tin reserves for their own profit. But the documents revealed what else Hochschild had been up to. They include work contracts drawn up for Jews from Europe by the mining firm in the 1930s, says the head of the corporation’s archives, Edgar Ramirez.

Edgar Ramirez, the head of the archives in the Bolivian state mining company COMIBOL, shows unearthed documents which reveal that Jewish-German tin baron Mauricio Hochschild helped thousands of Jews escape Nazism, in El Alto, Bolivia, on January 19, 2017.
The documents were declared “Memory of the World” by UNESCO on October, 2016, and Hochschild is now called the “Schindler of Bolivia”.

There is a letter from a kindergarten housing Jewish children in La Paz asking for Hochschild’s help to expand the facility “in view of the number of children who are here and others who want to come.”

One letter was from French authorities, asking him to receive a thousand Jewish orphans. There are letters sent at the time by the British embassy to Hochschild with blacklists of companies linked to the Axis powers, whom he was forbidden to do business with. ‘Bolivian Schindler’ Of the many Jews who fled from repression under Adolf Hitler in 1930s Germany, thousands came to Bolivia. For many it was a stepping stone on to the United States, Brazil, Argentina or Israel. “In 1938 Hochschild calculated that he had brought between 2,000 and 3,000 Jews over. But seven months later, in 1939, he calculated that he had brought 9,000,” said historian Robert Brockmann. That is several times more than the 1,000 or so that the German industrialist Oskar Schindler is estimated to have saved from deportation to a death camp. Ramirez and Udler echo the phrase used by the Bolivian media to refer to Hochschild: “the Bolivian Schindler.”  Brockmann is writing a book about Hochschild and his friendship with German Busch, Bolivia’s military president from 1937 to 1939. He says Hochschild helped persuade Busch to open up the country to Jewish migrants in 1938. Hochschild told Busch the measure would bring laborers to Bolivia to help its agricultural development. But it also allowed Hochschild to save the lives of fugitive poets, writers and historians, Ramirez says. Hochschild paid the Jews’ passage to Bolivia and housed them to begin with after they arrived. Refugees welcomed In the 1940s there were an estimated 15,000 Jews in Bolivia, says Ricardo Udler, president of the Bolivian Israelite Circle. Some of them arrived with Hochschild’s help, while others arrived in Bolivia by different means. Many moved on to other countries, and today the number of Jews in the country has sunk to just 700, Udler says.

Circulo Israelita de Bolivia is the highest synagogue on earth, located at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet in La Paz, Bolivia. The synagogue serves 700 Jews

“We are very grateful to Bolivia. It was one of the few countries that opened its doors to refugees from the war,” said Monica Blankitny, whose father Jacobo came to Bolivia after surviving internment at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Hochschild documents were certified in October by the United Nations’ cultural heritage body UNESCO. It has listed them in its Memory of the World documentary preservation program, Campos said. Bolivia’s Mining Museum plans to publish them online in March. Hochschild was born in Biblis in western Germany 1881 and migrated to Bolivia in 1921. He died in 1965 in Paris, four decades before the story of his help for his fellow Jews would come to light.

Source: Old files reveal wartime tale of ‘Bolivian Schindler’

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Spiders eat 400-800 million tons of prey every year

A jumping spider Phidippus regius preying on a bush cricket (Tettigoniidae). Credit: David E. Hill, Peckham Society, Simpsonville, South Carolina

Jumping spider Phidippus mystaceus feeding on a nematoceran prey. Credit: David E. Hill, Peckham Society, Simpsonville, South Carolina

Compare this to the fact that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the worldwide human population consumes around 400 million tons of meat and fish every year. The spider’s eating habits can even be compared to those of the whales (Cetacea) in the world’s oceans, which eat an estimated 280-500 million tons of prey a year.
With more than 45,000 species and a population density of up to 1,000 individuals per square meter, spiders are one of the world’s most species-rich and widespread groups of predators. Due to their secretive lifestyle – many spiders are nocturnal or live well camouflaged in vegetation – it was previously difficult to demonstrate their ecological role, but zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University (Sweden) have now used calculations to conclude that spiders indeed have an enormous ecological impact as natural enemies of insects.

Spiders kill vast numbers of insects

The researchers used two calculation methods based on different models, which consistently showed that the global spider population (with a weight of around 25 million tons) wipes out an estimated 400-800 million tons of prey every year. More than 90% of that prey is insects and springtails (Collembola). Furthermore, large tropical spiders occasionally prey on small vertebrates (frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, birds, and bats) or feed on plants. The large range of the global prey kill estimate is due to the fact that rates of prey kill can vary widely within specific ecosystems, and these variations must be taken into account for ecological projections.

Source: Spiders eat 400-800 million tons of prey every year

And for my fellow arachnophiles, an album of 8-legged beauties:


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Never-before-seen gatherings of hundreds of humpback whales

In a mysterious change to their normal behaviour, humpback whales are forming massive groups of up to 200 animals.Humpbacks aren’t normally considered to be terribly social. They are mostly found alone, in pairs, or sometimes in small groups that disband quickly.But research crews have spotted strange new social behaviour on three separate cruises in 2011, 2014 and 2015, as well as a handful of public observations from aircraft.

These super-groups of up to 200 were spotted feeding intensively off the south-western coast of South Africa, thousands of kilometres further north from their typical feeding grounds in the polar waters of the Antarctic.

What has led to such a drastic change in whale behaviour? We don’t know for sure yet. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Ken Findlay, lead author of the study from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa.

The whales could be shifting their behaviour in response to changes in the available prey.

Humpback whales were found feeding in this area off the south-west Cape coast of South Africa once before nearly a century ago, but whaling has reduced their numbers by around 90 per cent. “It’s possible that the behaviour was occurring but just not where it was visible,” says Findlay. “Because there were so few of them, we may not have seen it.”

So it could be that this is a restoration of their natural behaviour as the population abundances re-establish to more natural levels.

The humpback whale population has seen an unexplained resurgence in recent years. “For the last few decades, suddenly they seem to have overcome some threshold and have begun to increase very fast,” says Vikingsson.

This is a different group of whales feeding in Norway but the beautiful footage shows their feeding frenzy in all its glory:

Source: Never-before-seen gatherings of hundreds of humpback whales | New Scientist

And along with that remarkable discovery, here’s an album of wet mammals:



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San Francisco Bay from the Berkeley Hills in a slideshow

Nearly every day I visit the webcam for the Lawrence Hall of Science. In the morning it provides a quick look at the coming weather and at night it shows the beauty of where I live.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Someday Funnies XIX

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Frieda reaches out to Georgia



When Alfred Stieglitz found out that his protégé Georgia O’Keeffe had accepted a commission to paint the women’s powder room at Radio City Music Hall without his approval he was furious.

Having met Diego Rivera and his wife Frieda Kahlo and was entranced with the idea of working on a monumental scale. Stieglitz on the other hand referred to such works as the ‘Mexican Disease.’

Donald Deskey, the interior designer of the new Radio City Music Hall thought her by then well known floral designs would be a perfect fit for the women’s powder room of that masterpiece of art deco architecture and invited her to do the murals. He was aware that Stieglitz would probably object and had Edith Halpert negotiate with her directly.
The fee he could offer, $1500.00 was nominal even in the days of the Great Depression but it was the same amount he had been allotted for all of the artists working on the project.

When he returned to New York and discovered what he described to their friends as ‘a betrayal’ he went to Deskey and demanded that her fee be increased. Deskey refused, pointing out that the contract had been signed and was binding.

Stieglitz responded by claiming that O’Keeffe was a “child” and not responsible for her actions but Deskey held his ground.

In the summer of 1932 O’Keeffe decided to forgo her usual trip to New Mexico and stay in New York to work on the mural design and keep her eye on the frequently straying Alfred.

The work came to symbolize the ongoing power struggle between the two headstrong artists and when neither would yield became a non-verbal war.

When they went to their vacation house at Lake George to escape the summer heat of the City, Stieglitz invited a coterie of younger writer friends including Ralph Flint, Frederick Ringel, and Cary Ross with the sole purpose of undermining O’Keeffe’s determination to go through the mural.

In her journal she wrote, “No one in my world wants me to do it, but I want to do it.”

Throughout the summer, Stieglitz kept up the pressure and when she returned to the City she was also distressed to discover her sister Catherine Klenert was displaying her own flower paintings that were noticeably similar to Georgia’s.

In October Georgia returned to Lake George to be alone for the month where she wrote, “My Gawd won’t I get Hell if I can’t make a go of it.”

The powder room was not ready until November 16th, sis weeks before the scheduled Christmas opening of Radio City. While she and Deskey were in the powder room discussing her ideas the canvas surface that had been applied to the walls for her mural began to peel away from the walls.

“O’Keeffe became hysterical and left in tears,” Deskey reported. “The next day Stieglitz telephoned to say that she had had a nervous breakdown, was confined to a sanitorium and hence would be unable to fulfill her contract.”

He brought in Japanese American artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi to complete the mural that is still in place today:fkgok5

On March 1st, 1933 Frieda Kahlo wrote this letter to her fellow artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The American artist had been hospitalized with ‘psychoneurosism’ and been despatched to Bermuda to recover. She would not paint until 1934 after a 13-month hiatus.

Kahlo, staying in Detroit while her husband Diego Rivera worked on 27 frescoes at the Institute of the Arts, heard of O’Keefe’s malaise.

The artists had met in 1931, when Kahlo and Rivera can come to New York for a retrospective on Rivera’s paintings at the Museum of Modern Art.

Kahlo, who had not long before miscarried, been hospitalised and buried her mother, wrote in the spirit of comradeship:



Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask Stieglitz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you ? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you

every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words. I like you very much Georgia.



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