Ruin value (German: Ruinenwert) is the concept that a building be designed such that if it eventually collapsed, it would leave behind aesthetically pleasing ruins that would last far longer without any maintenance at all. The idea was pioneered by German architect Albert Speer while planning for the 1936 Summer Olympics and published as "The Theory of Ruin Value" (Die Ruinenwerttheorie), although he was not its original inventor. The intention did not stretch only to the eventual collapse of the buildings, but rather assumed such buildings were inherently better designed and more imposing during their period of use.
The idea was supported by Adolf Hitler, who planned for such ruins to be a symbol of the greatness of the Third Reich, just as Ancient Greek and Roman ruins were symbolic of those civilisations.
- "Ruin Value" | 2021-09-16 | 26 Upvotes 2 Comments
Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A' and B', being presented as A,B,B',A'. Chiastic structures that involve more components are sometimes called "ring structures", "ring compositions", or, in cases of very ambitious chiasmus, "onion-ring compositions". These may be regarded as chiasmus scaled up from words and clauses to larger segments of text.
These often symmetrical patterns are commonly found in ancient literature such as the epic poetry of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Classicist Bruno Gentili describes this technique as "the cyclical, circular, or 'ring' pattern (ring composition). Here the idea that introduced a compositional section is repeated at its conclusion, so that the whole passage is framed by material of identical content". Meanwhile, in classical prose, scholars often find chiastic narrative techniques in the Histories of Herodotus:
"Herodotus frequently uses ring composition or 'epic regression' as a way of supplying background information for something discussed in the narrative. First an event is mentioned briefly, then its precedents are reviewed in reverse chronological order as far back as necessary; at that point the narrative reverses itself and moves forward in chronological order until the event in the main narrative line is reached again."
Various chiastic structures are also seen in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Quran.
- "Chiastic Structure" | 2021-09-13 | 41 Upvotes 12 Comments
A graphite bomb is intended to be a non-lethal weapon used to disable an electrical grid. The bomb works by spreading a dense cloud of extremely fine, chemically treated carbon filaments over air-insulated high voltage installations like transformers and power lines, causing short-circuits and subsequent disruption of the electricity supply in an area, a region or even an entire small country. The weapon is sometimes referred to as blackout bomb or as soft bomb because its direct effects are largely confined to the targeted electrical power facility, with minimal risk of immediate collateral damage. However, since water supply systems and sewage treatment systems depend on electricity, widespread outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne diseases, causing large numbers of civilian deaths, have in the past been the direct consequence of this bomb's use.
Epiousios (ἐπιούσιος) is a Greek adjective used in the Lord's Prayer verse "Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον" 'Give us today our epiousion bread'. Because the word is used nowhere else, its meaning is unclear. It is traditionally translated as "daily", but most modern scholars reject that interpretation.
Since it is a Koine Greek dis legomenon found only in the New Testament passages Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3, its interpretation relies upon morphological analysis and context. The traditional and most common English translation is daily, although most scholars today reject this in part because all other New Testament passages with the translation "daily" include the word hemera (ἡμέρᾱ, 'day').
The difficulty in understanding epiousios goes at least as far back as AD 382. At that time, St. Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I to renew and consolidate the various collections of biblical texts in the Vetus Latina ("Old Latin") then in use by the Church. Jerome accomplished this by going back to the original Greek of the New Testament and translating it into Latin; his translation came to be known as the Vulgate. In the identical contexts of Matthew and Luke—that is, reporting the Lord's Prayer—Jerome translated epiousios in two different ways: by morphological analysis as 'supersubstantial' (supersubstantialem) in Matthew 6:11, but retaining 'daily' (quotidianum) in Luke 11:3.
The modern Catholic Catechism holds that there are several ways of understanding epiousios, including the traditional 'daily', but most literally as 'supersubstantial' or 'superessential', based on its morphological components. Alternative theories are that—aside from the etymology of ousia, meaning 'substance'—it may be derived from either of the verbs einai (εἶναι), meaning "to be", or ienai (ἰέναι), meaning both "to come" and "to go".:172
- "Epiousios" | 2021-09-13 | 538 Upvotes 201 Comments
Dürer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut executed by German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer in 1515. The image is based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon in 1515. Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times. In late 1515, the King of Portugal, Manuel I, sent the animal as a gift for Pope Leo X, but it died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516. A live rhinoceros was not seen again in Europe until a second specimen, named Abada, arrived from India at the court of Sebastian of Portugal in 1577, being later inherited by Philip II of Spain around 1580.
Dürer's woodcut is not an entirely accurate representation of a rhinoceros. He depicts an animal with hard plates that cover its body like sheets of armour, with a gorget at the throat, a solid-looking breastplate, and what appear to be rivets along the seams. He places a small twisted horn on its back and gives it scaly legs and saw-like rear quarters. None of these features is present in a real rhinoceros, although the Indian rhinoceros does have deep folds in its skin that can look like armor from a distance. Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer's woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following three centuries. It was regarded by Westerners as a true representation of a rhinoceros into the late 18th century. Eventually, it was supplanted by more realistic drawings and paintings, particularly those of Clara the rhinoceros, who toured Europe in the 1740s and 1750s. It has been said of Dürer's woodcut: "probably no animal picture has exerted such a profound influence on the arts".
- "Dürer's Rhinoceros" | 2021-09-09 | 68 Upvotes 9 Comments
In aviation, the sterile flight deck rule or sterile cockpit rule is a procedural requirement that during critical phases of flight (normally below 10,000 feet (3,050 m)), only activities required for the safe operation of the aircraft may be carried out by the flight crew, and all non-essential activities in the cockpit are forbidden. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed the rule in 1981, after reviewing a series of accidents that were caused by flight crews who were distracted from their flying duties by engaging in non-essential conversations and activities during critical parts of the flight.
One such accident was Eastern Air Lines Flight 212, which crashed just short of the runway at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in 1974 while conducting an instrument approach in dense fog. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that a probable cause of the accident was lack of altitude awareness due to distraction from idle chatter among the flight crew during the approach phase of the flight.
- "Sterile Cockpit Rule" | 2021-09-11 | 13 Upvotes 1 Comments
Musaeum Clausum (Latin for Sealed Museum), also known as Bibliotheca abscondita, is a tract written by Sir Thomas Browne which was first published posthumously in 1684. The tract contains short sentence descriptions of supposed, rumoured or lost books, pictures, and objects. The subtitle describes the tract as an inventory of remarkable books, antiquities, pictures and rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living. Its date is unknown: however, an event from the year 1673 is cited.
Like his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, Musaeum Clausum is a catalogue of doubts and queries, only this time, in a style which anticipates the 20th-century Argentinian short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges, who once declared: "To write vast books is a laborious nonsense; much better is to offer a summary as if those books actually existed."
Browne however was not the first author to engage in such fantasy. The French author Rabelais, in his epic Gargantua and Pantagruel, also penned a list of imaginary and often obscene book titles in his "Library of Pantagruel", an inventory which Browne himself alludes to in his Religio Medici.
As the 17th-century Scientific Revolution progressed the popularity and growth of antiquarian collections, those claiming to house highly improbable items grew. Browne was an avid collector of antiquities and natural specimens, possessing a supposed unicorn's horn, presented to him by Arthur Dee. Browne's eldest son Edward visited the famous scholar Athanasius Kircher, founder of the Museo Kircherano at Rome in 1667, whose exhibits included an engine for attempting perpetual motion and a speaking head, which Kircher called his Oraculum Delphinium. He wrote to his father of his visit to the Jesuit priest's "closet of rarities".
The sheer volume of book-titles, pictures and objects listed in Musaeum Clausum is testimony to Browne's fertile imagination. However, his major editors, Simon Wilkin in the nineteenth century (1834) and Sir Geoffrey Keynes in the twentieth (1924), summarily dismissed it. Keynes considered its humour too erudite and "not to everyone's taste".
Browne's miscellaneous tract may also be read as a parody of the rising trend of private museum collections with their curios of doubtful origin, and perhaps also of publications such as the so-called Museum Hermeticum (1678), one of the last great anthologies of alchemical literature, with their divulging of near common-place alchemical concepts and symbols.
- "Musaeum Clausum" | 2021-09-09 | 17 Upvotes 1 Comments
The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector produced by the British company Advanced Tactical Security & Communications Ltd (ATSC). Its manufacturer claimed it could detect bombs, guns, ammunition, and more from kilometers away. However, it was a scam, and the device was little more than a dowsing rod. The device was sold for up to US$60,000 each, despite costing almost nothing to produce. It was widely used in the Middle East, and may have led to numerous deadly bombings in Iraq due to its inability to detect explosives. Its inventor, James McCormick, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2013 for fraud.
- "The ADE 651 is a fake bomb detector, sold for up to US$60k each" | 2021-09-08 | 127 Upvotes 85 Comments
In genetic engineering, a gene gun or biolistic particle delivery system is a device used to deliver exogenous DNA (transgenes), RNA, or protein to cells. By coating particles of a heavy metal with a gene of interest and firing these micro-projectiles into cells using mechanical force, an integration of desired genetic information can be induced into cells. The technique involved with such micro-projectile delivery of DNA is often referred to as biolistics.
This device is able to transform almost any type of cell and is not limited to the transformation of the nucleus; it can also transform organelles, including plastids and mitochondria.