« May 18, 2013 | Main | May 20, 2013 »

May 19, 2013

"Test Gas Attack Is Coming to the Subway" — New York Times headline ("Operation GREYWATER")


You could look it up.

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 3.36.48 PM

Long story short: Once again Gotham residents get to be guinea pigs while riding the rails, just like back in the 60s when the C.I.A. and a special Army unit from Fort Detrick "that specialized in biological and chemical warfare came to New York in June 1966 and secretly dropped light bulbs loaded with what they regarded as harmless bacteria onto the tracks of stations along Avenue of the Americas and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. Another technique was to drop the light bulbs on the sidewalk ventilation grates, and let the little cloud of bacteria drift down below in a kind of mist. People waiting for trains got doused with the stuff."

"'When the cloud engulfed people, they brushed their clothing, looked up at the grating apron and walked on,' according to Leonard Cole in the book 'Clouds of Secrecy: The Army's Germ Warfare Tests Over Populated Areas,' an account of the Army’s experiments in populated areas."

"Other scientists brought meters in satchels and handbags to measure how quickly the stuff spread. Concerned that they might have to explain what they were doing, they brought fake letters of identification. Only one had to explain himself: a scientist who walked into a station smoking a cigarette and was stopped by a police officer. Elsewhere, nosy bystanders were given icy glares, and backed off."

"Although the bacteria were generally believed to be harmless, there were reports that some people were sickened by them. But it was years before anyone realized that the Army had carried out this and other experiments."

This time, 47 years after the top-secret June 1966 operation later revealed in Congressional hearings in 1975 that exposed the C.I.A.'s "Family Jewels," "The N.Y.P.D. will release small amounts of harmless, colorless gas in 5 boroughs and 21 subway lines."

Why don't you feel better knowing this?

May 19, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Leather Beanbag Chair (this ain't your dorm room)

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 2.03.35 PM


From $9,375.

Apply within.

[via the New York Times]

May 19, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The rise of Latin on Finnish radio: "Nuntii Latini" — News at VI

Screen Shot 2013-05-19 at 11.44.51 AM

Wrote John Tagliabue in an April 8 New York Times story, "... on Friday evenings before the main news broadcast, the Finnish Broadcasting Company presents five or six short news stories in Latin."

More: "Not even Vatican Radio, which broadcasts some prayers each day in Latin, reports the news in the ancient tongue."

Listen to Friday's broadcast here.

More from the article below.


Tuomo Pekkanen, a retired professor of Latin who helped start "Nuntii Latini," or "Latin News," as the program is known, said the language is very much alive for him and for many educated Finns of his generation deeply influenced by Edwin Linkomies, his Latin professor at Helsinki University and prime minister during the difficult years of World War II. For them, Latin was a part of Finnish identity as well as of a sound education.

"In order to be educated," said Mr. Pekkanen, 78, who is proficient in not only Latin but also ancient Greek and Sanskrit, "it was once said that a real humanist must write poetry in Latin and Greek."

Mr. Pekkanen helped start the news program almost on a lark, then saw it steadily gain popularity. "Picking the subjects, that is the most difficult part of it," said Mr. Pekkanen, who in his spare time has translated all 22,795 verses of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, into rhymed Latin verse. "One principle is that we don't want to count the bodies of how many were killed in this or that country," he said. "That is dull."

It may be no coincidence that the broadcast began in 1989, the year Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe and the Finns turned toward Western Europe. For educated Finns, Latin had long been the country's link to Western culture, and they were required to study the language in school.

While the broadcasts once went out over the airwaves, with shortwave reception for listeners outside Finland, more and more listeners tune in to the program's Web site, through podcasts and MP3 downloads.

It also reinforces a global trend among lovers of Latin to try to speak it, not just read it.

Antti Ijas, 27, a graduate student writing a thesis on Old English poetry, helps Mr. Pekkanen translate news spots and field emails from listeners across the world. "We do get linguistic feedback," he said, "especially from Germany," where Latin studies have a deep tradition.

Most comments, he said, focus on pronunciation. There are endless debates about how Cicero would have sounded as he addressed the Senate — and about the choice of words for modern things like "golf course" ("campus pilamallei") or iPad (they haven't found one).

The most common complaint about the broadcast is that at five minutes, it is far too brief. Mr. Pekkanen demurs. The choice of subjects and translation, he said, "takes much time."

"In my opinion, five minutes is quite suitable," he said.

Joonas Ilmavirta, a graduate student in mathematics and a regular listener, understands the challenge. "It's very labor intensive," he said. Mr. Ilmavirta, 25, who studied Latin in high school... keeps up his Latin by reading comic books in the language.

Many Finns know the broadcast because it precedes the popular Friday evening news, even though most these days cannot understand it.

Mr. Ilmavirta acknowledged that few of his contemporaries share his passion for Latin. "I don't really know of young people interested in Latin," he said. "And by young, I mean under 40."


Why didn't my advanced Latin class at Milwaukee Washington High School do this?

Miss Shaw and Mr. Johnson — bless their impedimentum impedimenti souls — would've loved it.

May 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Tesoro is the unpublished ceramic objects tray with a secret money box"


More from the website: "Is the domestic Island which greet you when you are back and say goodbye when you leave. A place to find your glasses, your mobile phone, the keys or other small objects." [sic]

A 2011 design by Giovanni Levanti for Diamantini & Domeniconi.

Those Italians....


[via reader Jo Woo Bay, suddenly fired up and sending me all manner of great stuff. Keep it up: can't get enough of your love.]

May 19, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fuhgeddaboudit ("Do they really tawk like that?")


"Not now" wrote the headline writer for Ginia Bellafante's May 11 New York Times story (below).

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 5.16.54 PM copy

Brooklyn readers are welcome to weigh in.

The sign up top was placed at the behest of the Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz.

May 19, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cotton Clock


Aka the soft machine.


Love it.


A 2008 design by Benedetta and Carlo Tamborini for Diamantini & Domeniconi.

From Italy (where else?).

[via reader Jo Woo Bay who all of a sudden is on a roll — more like this, please.]

May 19, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« May 18, 2013 | Main | May 20, 2013 »