Archive for January 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Bristol whitebeam Sorbus bristoliensis, Avon Gorge SSSI, Bristol/Somerset
This tree is found nowhere in the world except the Avon gorge, where around 300 grow. They have small orange fruit, toothed leaves and are noted for their forked trunks. Limestone soil and rocks, open, scrubby habitats and steep cliff faces provide ideal conditions
Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr
“And so, within seven months, I lost my father, my brother, and my mother. I am the only one who survived. This is what the Germans did to us, and these are things that should never be forgotten. On the other hand, we had our revenge: the survivors were able to raise magnificent families – among them myself. This is the revenge and the consolation.”
The Holocaust was the murder by Nazi Germany of six million Jews. While the Nazi persecution of the Jews began in 1933, the mass murder was committed during World War II. It took the Germans and their accomplices four and a half years to murder six million Jews. They were at their most efficient from April to November 1942 – 250 days in which they murdered some two and a half million Jews. They never showed any restraint, they slowed down only when they began to run out of Jews to kill, and they only stopped when the Allies defeated them.
There was no escape. The murderers were not content with destroying the communities; they also traced each hidden Jew and hunted down each fugitive. The crime of being a Jew was so great, that every single one had to be put to death – the men, the women, the children; the committed, the disinterested, the apostates; the healthy and creative, the sickly and the lazy – all were meant to suffer and die, with no reprieve, no hope, no possible amnesty, nor chance for alleviation.
Most of the Jews of Europe were dead by 1945. A civilization that had flourished for almost 2,000 years was no more. The survivors – one from a town, two from a host – dazed, emaciated, bereaved beyond measure, gathered the remnants of their vitality and the remaining sparks of their humanity, and rebuilt. They never meted out justice to their tormentors – for what justice could ever be achieved after such a crime? Rather, they turned to rebuilding: new families forever under the shadow of those absent; new life stories, forever warped by the wounds; new communities, forever haunted by the loss.
Scott of the Antarctic: Hero or Failure? : Discovery News.Antarctica — A wood-framed hut perched on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf has remained a time capsule of sorts for the past century.
Its contents are testimony to the “Race to the South Pole” one hundred years ago this month between British naval officer Robert F. Scott (photographed here in 1900) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen. The race led to glory and death for Scott, victory (and near obscurity) for Amundsen.
But if Scott lost that incredible race, how did he become the hero and Amundsen a footnote to history?
“People are inspired by what he did even though he failed to get back from the South Pole,
The NASA studies on indoor pollution done in 1989 recommends 15 to 18 plants in 6 to 8-inch- diameter containers to clean the air in an average 1,800 square foot house. That’s roughly one plant per 100 square feet of floor space.
Most of the plants that remove pollutants, scientists found, come from tropical forests where they only get light filtered through the branches of taller trees. Their leaf composition lets them photosynthesize and move air efficiently in low light conditions of the average home.
Soil and roots also remove air-borne pollution. Bacteria and fungi in soil use pollutants as a food source to feed plant roots. If you remove lower leaves on plants to expose as much soil as possible, even more toxins are absorbed to feed plants. Don’t use the picked leaves to make a salad or compost them! Dispose of the leaves safely.
Common houseplants are the most efficient, NASA found. Some of my favorites like sansevieria, Lady palm and heartleaf philodendron are on the space agency’s top plants list. My hanging basket of philodendron crawls and snakes all over the windows, to the ceiling, in the sunroom. It verges on being a weed, but a weed that does an excellent job in keeping that room fresh.
Take a look at NASA Top 15 Plant List below. Add a few to your collection or buy a dozen to get started, knowing you are cleaning house sustainably. How green is that?
Spathiphyllum (Peace lily)
Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)
Bamboo, Lady or Reed palms
Sansevieria (Snake plant)
Selloum or tree philodendron
Elephant ear philodendron
Dracaena marginata (red-edged)
Cornstalk dracaena (also called Magic bamboo)
‘Janet Craig’ dracaena
Ficus Benjamin (weeping fig)
via Houseplants Clean Indoor Air Pollution Home Top Plants.
Raphael‘s Portrait of a Young Man was looted by the Germans from the Czartoryski Museum in 1939. Its current whereabouts are unknown.
While the Nazis were in power, they plundered cultural property from every territory they occupied. This was conducted in a systematic manner with organizations specifically created to determine which public and private collections were most valuable to the Nazi Regime. Some of the objects were earmarked for Hitler’s never realized Führermuseum, some objects went to other high ranking officials such as Hermann Göring, while other objects were traded to fund Nazi activities.
In 1940, an organization known as the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg für die Besetzten Gebiete (The Reichsleiter Rosenberg Institute for the Occupied Territories), or ERR, was formed, headed for Alfred Rosenberg by Gerhard Utikal. The first operating unit, the western branch for France, Belgium and the Netherlands, called the Dienststelle Westen, was located in Paris. The chief of this Dienststelle was Kurt von Behr. Its original purpose was to collect Jewish andFreemasonic books and documents, either for destruction, or for removal to Germany for further “study”. However, late in 1940, Hermann Göring, who in fact controlled the ERR, issued an order that effectively changed the mission of the ERR, mandating it to seize “Jewish” art collections and other objects. The war loot had to be collected in a central place in Paris, the Museum Jeu de Paume. At this collection point worked art historians and other personnel who inventoried the loot before sending it to Germany. Göring also commanded that the loot would first be divided between Hitler and himself. For this reason, from the end of 1940 to the end of 1942 he traveled twenty times to Paris. In the Museum Jeu de Paume, art dealer Bruno Lohse staged 20 expositions of the newly looted art objects, especially for Göring, from which Göring selected at least 594 pieces for his own collection. Göring made Lohse his liaison-officer and installed him in the ERR in March 1941 as the deputy leader of this unit. Items which Hitler and Göring did not want were made available to other Nazi leaders. Under Rosenberg and Göring’s leadership, the ERR seized 21,903 art objects from German-occupied countries. Other Nazi looting organizations included the Dienststelle Mühlmann, which Göring also controlled and operated primarily in the Netherlands, Belgium, and a Sonderkommando Kuensberg connected to the minister of foreign affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop, which operated first in France, then in Russia and North Africa.
Hitler later ordered that all confiscated works of art were to be made directly available to him. Art collections from prominent Jewish families, including the Rothschilds, the Rosenbergs and the Goudstikkers and the Schloss Family were targeted because of their significant value. By the end of the war, the Third Reich amassed hundreds of thousands of cultural objects.
In Western Europe, with the advancing German troops, were elements of the ‘von Ribbentrop Battalion’, named after Joachim von Ribbentrop. These men were responsible for entering private and institutional libraries in the occupied countries and removing any materials of interest to the Germans, especially items of scientific, technical or other informational value.
via Nazi plunder – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Image by paukrus via Flickr
Hot news today, of sorts: a team of Spanish medial researchers think that Chopin may have been an epileptic. And perhaps he was. His early death at 39 has never been explained, and that he had serious health problems is obvious. Maybe, along with tuberculosis and cystic fibrosis, epilepsy is a contender.But without claiming the slightest medical expertise here, I’m not convinced by the medics’ argument that his recorded instances of apparent hallucination are proof of epileptic seizure.
via Was Chopin really epileptic? Or just in the groove? – Telegraph Blogs.
Image via Wikipedia
Blue tit. This is the second winter in succession with a serious cold snap. Such extreme conditions have had a major effect on the populations of many of our birds, and the Birdwatch survey will begin to tell us which species have been left standing and how many there are.
It might sound peculiar, given all the cold weather, but the chances of seeing an unusual species in your garden over the next few weeks are high.