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Ancient Games of Daldøsa. How did an Islamic Game Travel to the North?

Editors note: this is an updated version of an article I published here nearly three years ago. Ancient Games Go North Here’s a study I stumbled across that combines three of my favorite things: The Arctic, the Arab world and cultural connections in the ancient world. The question is, how could a board game that [...]

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Parc Montjuic Barcelona – Birthplace of the Meter’s Hidden Error

Méchain took his initial measurements from the fortress in what is now Parc Montjuic Barcelona and then the Spanish arrested him. France and Spain were at war again. From the inn room where they confined him, Méchain took a second measurement on the latitude of Barcelona and found that his initial calculation was off. He [...]

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The Ghosts of San Francisco

I remember reading a story about a policeman who wandered the streets of the city in a daze just after the 1906 earthquake. He had been on the third or fourth floor of one of the San Francisco hotels when it collapsed and had somehow survived and then dug himself out. Out in the streets [...]

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Walking the Cova de Montserrat

Hitler thought the Holy Grail was hidden somewhere inside a mountain in Catalonia. According to Wolfram von Eschenbach,  Titurel safeguarded the Grail at Munsalvaesche. The Benedictine monks of Montserrat, however, always claimed the Grail was hidden in the caves and tunnels under the sanctuary northwest of Barcelona. Montserrat juts up from the edge of the [...]

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Famous People Dead : Five Incorrupt Saints You Have to Meet

Of course the Portuguese had gotten all out of control. Timayya had done his work well and the Bijapur kings were out of the way. Goa belonged to Portugal and everyone was rich from slaving and spices. Other than to wait for next year’s spice fleet, there was not much to do beyond bearing the [...]

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Archaeology, Environment, Travel and Obscura – News Roundup

Probably the best headline of the week: French Polynesia denies cannibals ate German tourist. Good thing that. I guess. I do wonder, however if eating a German can give you some of the weird side effects our normal diets do or if you’d have to eat an Australian for that. Maybe the German should have [...]

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Archaeology, Environment, Travel and Weirdness – Friday News Roundup

It is snowing on the mountain this morning and I’ll be heading out to take pictures soon after the light. All yesterday the sky spit rain and tiny balls of ice. The wind blew. The air was chilly. I’ll be back in Finland next March…when it is still so cold. Most Finns just embrace it. [...]

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Obscura Day 2011 at the Saltstarumen Sound

In celebration of Obscura Day 2011, famed Finnish architect Sami Rintala and your humble photographer led a group of boys to the Saltstarumen Sound in northern Norway. Located in Norland, the Saltstarumen Sound is the strongest tidal current in the world. Over 400 million metric tons of seawater slam through a three kilometer long and [...]

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