Archive for the ‘Art-Culture-Architecture’ Category

Pictures of a flipped iceberg

By 17th January 2015.       Find Article Here:-

San Francisco based photographerAlex Cornell captured these incredible images of a flipped iceberg when he travelled to Antarctica last month.

Icebergs flip over if the ocean melts away part of them, leading to an imbalance. A flipped iceberg is such a stunning colour because ice naturally absorbs red light, and reflects blue.

Mr Cornell told the iceberg looked “more like a galactic artefact than anything terrestrial.”

“These shots were taken at water level from a little Zodiac cruiser. Most likely, this was a very old glacier — the blue basically being the glacial equivalent of ageing white hairs,” he said.



Hugh Corr, a glacial geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey told he had rarely seen an image of a flipped iceberg that was so beautiful. “I suspect it’s legitimate – the colours may have been enhanced in some way,” he said. “This isn’t a big iceberg, it’s hard to tell its scale. I suspect it’s reasonably small, we’re not talking about the 6, 7, 8 miles long ones. The bigger they are the further out into the ocean they go. “

He said the process of an iceberg flipping can be very dangerous and create tsunamis, but added: “Watching icebergs roll over is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen.”


The Holocaust film that was too shocking to show.

By   9th January 2015.                  Find Article + Video Here:-

In 1945, overseen by Alfred Hitchcock, a crack team of British film-makers went to Germany to document the horror of the concentration camps. Despite being hailed as a masterpiece, the film was never shown. Now, in a documentary called Night Will Fall, the full story of its creation and suppression is being told.

The entrance to Auschwitz.
The entrance to Auschwitz. Photograph: Richard Blanshard/Channel 4

“In the spring of 1945,” says the narrator, over bucolic springtime shots of the German countryside, “the allies advancing into the heart of Germany came to Bergen-Belsen. Neat and tidy orchards, well-stocked farms lined the wayside, and the British soldier did not fail to admire the place and its inhabitants. At least, until he began to feel a smell …”

So begins a British film about the Holocaust that was abandoned and shelved for 70 years because it was deemed too politically sensitive. The smell came from the dead, their bodies burned or rotting; or from malnourished, often disease-ridden prisoners in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, near all those thriving German farms.

As allied troops liberated such camps across what had been German-occupied Europe, the British Ministry of Information’s Sidney Bernstein (who later founded Granada Television) was commissioned to make a documentary that would provide incontrovertible evidence of the Nazis’ crimes.

Alfred Hitchcock in 1939
Alfred Hitchcock in 1939. Photograph: Peter Stackpole/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

Bernstein assembled a remarkable team, including the future Labour cabinet minister Richard Crossman, who wrote the film’s lyrical script, and Alfred Hitchcock, who flew in from Hollywood to advise Bernstein on its structure. They set to work on a documentary entitled German Concentration Camps Factual Survey. As they worked, reels of film kept arriving, sent by British, American and Soviet combat and newsreel cameramen from 11 camps, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. As well as the dead, the footage showed starved survivors and human remains in ovens.

In one piece of film, from Majdanek concentration camp, we see huge bags containing human hair. Collected from the murdered, it would have been carefully sorted and weighed. “Nothing was wasted,” says the narrator. “Even teeth were taken out of their mouth.” Bernstein’s film then cuts to a large pile of spectacles. “If one man in 10 wears spectacles,” we are asked, “how many does this heap represent?”

Now, 70 years on, director and anthropologist André Singer has made a documentary called Night Will Fall, to be screened on Channel 4 later this month, telling the extraordinary story of filming the camps and the fate of Bernstein’s project.

A US combat cameraman from Night Will Fall
A US combat cameraman, featured in Night Will Fall. Photograph: Richard Blanshard/Channel 4

Singer tracked down and interviewed survivors who appeared in the original footage. Among them was Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, now 89, who recalled the day British troops arrived at Belsen-Bergen. “It was an unbelievable moment. Suddenly, you hear English spoken. ‘You should remain calm. Don’t leave the camp. Help is one the way.’ That sort of thing.”

Lasker-Wallfisch and her sister, Renate, had been moved from Auschwitz as the Nazis retreated from the advancing Red army the previous year. At Auschwitz, Lasker-Wallfisch had been a member of the camp orchestra, playing cello as the slave labourers left camp for work each day and again when they returned. She also performed at concerts for the SS.

“It is difficult to describe,” Lasker-Wallfisch says of her liberation. “You spend years preparing yourself to die and suddenly you’re still here. I was 19. Every British soldier looked like a god to us. It was not what we expected, to be still alive – but there we were.” The sisters settled in Britain after the war. Anita played in the English Chamber Orchestra and became renowned as a solo cellist.

The sisters were exceptional. “I should have known this but didn’t,” says Singer. “Some of those who were liberated remained in those camps for five years after liberation. Often they had nowhere else to go – certainly not to Britain or the US. We didn’t want them.”

A British soldiers sprays DDT on a woman liberated from Bergen-Belsen
A British soldiers spraying DDT on a woman liberated from Bergen-Belsen in May 1945. Photograph: George Rodger/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

Singer also interviews another illustrious Holocaust survivor, a Croatian named Branko Lustig. He was a child in Belsen, so sick at the time of liberation that when he heard a strange noise he thought he’d arrived in heaven to a chorus of angels’ trumpets. In reality, they were the bagpipes played by Scottish soldiers.

Many years later, Steven Spielberg chose Lustig, by then a film-maker, to be a producer for Schindler’s List. Lustig has a theory about why British authorities suppressed Bernstein’s film. “At this time, the Brits had enough problems with the Jews.” By that, no doubt, he means that Britain was dealing with Zionists agitating for a Jewish homeland in the British mandate of Palestine – and seeing the full extent of Jewish suffering would only inflame them.

Singer says he’s already had flak for including Lustig’s theory. “Why the film was scuppered is not very well documented,” he says. “But Branko may well have a point.” Singer points out that in 1945, the incoming Labour government’s foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, was anti-Zionist and unsympathetic to the foundation of a Jewish state. But he concedes there is no strong proof. “The only documentary evidence we have is a memo from the Foreign Office saying that screening such an ‘atrocity film’ would not be a good idea.”

Part of the reasoning for that memo, Singer argues, is that the British thought the Germans needed to be nurtured as allies against the growing power of the Soviet Union. But were such compunctions realistic? Would showing the film to postwar Germany have been a propaganda reverse for the British, serving to alienate the Germans and tip the emerging cold war in the Soviets’ favour? Singer doubts it.

No matter. The film, which some have called a forgotten masterpiece of British documentary, was shelved for 70 years. Bernstein died in 1993 and, according to Singer, one of his regrets was not completing his Holocaust documentary.

Josef Kramer, known as the Beast of Belsen
Josef Kramer, AKA the Beast of Belsen. Photograph: Imperial War Museum

Footage from his unfinished film, however, proved key to the prosecution of camp commandants at the Nuremberg and Lüneburg trials in 1945. Anita Lasker-Wallfisch recalls testifying at Lüneburg against, among others, Bergen-Belsen commandant Josef Kramer, known as “the Beast of Belsen”. Her evidence was supported by film that contradicted the accused’s defence. “Kramer had said he didn’t have the food to feed his prisoners and that was why they were in such a state. The footage destroyed that,” says Singer. Kramer and other officers from Bergen-Belsen were hanged that year.

Bernstein’s film never got the chance to be as revered as later Holocaust documentaries, including Lanzmann’s Shoah, Resnais’s Night and Fog, and Ophüls’ The Sorrow and the Pity. As Singer explains, an incomplete version was shown at the Berlin film festival in 1984 and on PBS in the US in 1985 under the title Memory of the Camps. Only recently did a team from the Imperial War Museum complete and digitise the picture.

Into the gap left in 1945 by the suppression of Bernstein’s film came another documentary, made by the great Hollywood director and exiled Austrian Jew Billy Wilder. But Wilder’s Death Mills was a hectoring piece of propaganda, keen to indict Germans, while Bernstein and Crossman had attempted to make their film a warning to all of humanity. “Bernstein’s was a work of art by comparison,” says Singer, “mainly because of Crossman’s lyrical script.”

Certainly, German audiences didn’t enjoy Death Mills. Wilder recalls that when it was screened in Würzburg, there were 500 in the audience at the start and only 75 at the end. Whether German Concentration Camps Factual Survey would have had a similar reception is debatable. It would have been anything but easy viewing, not least when Crossman’s script indicted those who lived near Dachau concentration camp but affected ignorance of the barbarism that took place there: “Germans knew about Dachau but did not care.”

Crossman’s script ends with these words: “Unless the world learns the lessons these pictures teach, night will fall. But, by God’s grace, we who live will learn.” Does Singer go along with that? “I wish they had proven to be correct, but since 1945 there have been a number of genocides that have not been stopped by lessons from the past.”

That said, Singer still thinks such deeply upsetting and horrific images should be seen. “I was born on 4 May 1945, so I’m of a generation who knew about these things, but I have sons of adult age who knew little. We need images like this for the new generation.”

So does he think Night Will Fall should be shown in schools? “I do,” he says, “but there’s a strong body of opinion against. It’s seen as too upsetting. But we’re in an age where such imagery is so prolific. I think the imagery in Bernstein’s film and mine, if used in the right context, can only help understanding.

“We can only truly understand the horror of war if we use images like this.”

Night Will Fall is on Channel 4 on Saturday 24 January 2015 at 9pm.

Charlie Hebdo: Not Exactly A Model Of Freedom Of Speech.

Diana Johnstone wrote the following yesterday concluding her extended report from Paris:

Charlie Hebdo was not in reality a model of freedom of speech.  It has ended up, like so much of the “human rights left”, defending U.S.-led wars against “dictators”.

In 2002, Philippe Val, who was editor in chief at the time, denounced Noam Chomsky for anti-Americanism and excessive criticism of Israel and of mainstream media.  In 2008, another of Charlie Hebdo’s famous cartoonists, Siné, wrote a short note citing a news item that President Sarkozy’s son Jean was going to convert to Judaism to marry the heiress of a prosperous appliance chain. Siné added the comment, “He’ll go far, this lad.” For that, Siné was fired by Philippe Val on grounds of “anti-Semitism”.  Siné promptly founded a rival paper which stole a number of Charlie Hebdo readers, revolted by CH’s double standards.

In short, Charlie Hebdo was an extreme example of what is wrong with the “politically correct” line of the current French left.  The irony is that the murderous attack by the apparently Islamist killers has suddenly sanctified this fading expression of extended adolescent revolt, which was losing its popular appeal, into the eternal banner of a Free Press and Liberty of Expression.  Whatever the murderers intended, this is what they have achieved.  Along with taking innocent lives, they have surely deepened the sense of brutal chaos in this world, aggravated distrust between ethnic groups in France and in Europe, and no doubt accomplished other evil results as well.  In this age of suspicion, conspiracy theories are certain to proliferate.

Boston time capsule: Sealed box buried in 1795 by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere finally reveals its treasures.

By Adam Withnall  7th January 2015.               Find Full Article + Photos Here:_

Museum officials say ‘this is the stuff of history’.

Historians have opened up America’s oldest time capsule – buried more than 200 years ago by some of the US’s most iconic Revolutionary figures – and they had every right to be excited.

“This is the stuff of history,” said Boston museum director Michael Comeau as the contents of the box were painstakingly removed on Tuesday.

The capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the “New” Massachusetts Statehouse when its construction began in 1795.

According to a plaque, it was buried by renowned figures of American history including the early industrialist Paul Revere and the then-Massachusetts governor Samuel Adams.

Museum officials had believed that the contents were shifted to a copper box in 1855 before being replaced in the building foundations. On Tuesday, that box was discovered to in fact be brass.

Paper chain: thousands of Latvians unite to move books to new national library

By George Berridge  21st January 2014.         Find Article Here:-

On Saturday 18th January, Riga held the mass event to celebrate its year as a European Capital for Culture

Children pass books from one to another at an event in Riga on Saturday

Children pass books from one to another at an event in Riga on Saturday 18th January 2014.

On Saturday, thousands of Latvians marked the start of Riga’s tenure as one of two European Capitals of Culture by forming a human chain and moving 2,000 books by hand to the new national library building.

Around 15,000 people braved freezing temperatures – as low as -14C – to form a chain stretching more than a mile across the capital, deliberately echoing 1989’s Baltic Way when some two million protesters formed a human chain across Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to fight for independence from the Soviet Union.

Organiser Aiva Rozenberga said the event had deep symbolic significance for Latvians.

“The people who stood in the Baltic Way remember that feeling of being shoulder to shoulder with complete strangers,” she told AFP.

“The people taking part in the book chain who are prepared to stand here on a cold winter day are taking this seriously too – we are literally standing up for culture.”

The opening of the new library forms parts of a greater move by Latvia to make its presence felt in Europe, having joined the single currency at the start of January.

This year Riga, along with Umeå in Sweden, is a European Capital of Culture.

People in the chain passed along books from the city’s existing 150-year-old national library across the River Daugava to a new national library building which opens in August.

The building, a huge concrete, glass and steel construction which resembles a mountain with a crown on top, was designed by Latvian-born architect Gunnar Birkerts.

Kirsten Petersen, a journalism student from Washington, DC, told the Telegraph: “Seeing this event brought me so much joy.

“I had just visited the Occupation Museum where I learned about how the communist regime had suppressed Latvian culture. Walking out of the museum to see an event organised by the people to celebrate their culture gave me hope for the city as it continues to emerge from the devastation of Soviet times.”

Fireworks over the new national library building in Riga, Latvia. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

But reaction to the event or building has not been wholly positive. Mayor Nils Usakovs has in the past likened the building – which cost of more €166 million – to a giant supermarket.

Speaking to the Telegraph via Twitter, user @StreetGred, posting from Riga, said: “A bunch of idiots hauling books no one will read one by one across a bridge on the coldest day of the year.

“Latvia has no living wage, but a state of the art library, makes you think.”

The first book to be placed on the shelves in the new building was a copy of The Bible.

The remainder of the library’s more than 4 million books and printed items will be moved by motorised transport.

This woman singing multiple notes at once is a total ‘I didn’t even know humans could do that’ moment.

By Christopher Hooton  6th October 2014.      Find Article & 5 Minute Video Here:-

It gets real at 3:25.

While most of us struggle to voice one clear, distinct note, polyphonic overtone singer Anna-Maria Hefele can sing two at once, and  move them around in separate scales.

The technique, also known as throat singing (usually associated with a less aurally pleasing type) allows her to establish a fundamental note and then move the overtone above it through different notes, creating an astounding, ethereal effect.

The first example Anna-Maria gives at 0:25 is impressive enough, but the video gets truly jaw-dropping between 3:17 and 3:25 when she hits a range of notes in quick succession much like a guitar solo, and at 3:25 when she moves the overtone and fundamental in opposite directions.

(Wear headphones if you can, the notes will be easier to pick out)

The style of singing originates from Mongolia where it is known as “Sygyt”.

Aside from being a classically trained singer who can provide her vocal orchestra, Anna-Maria also plays the harp, mandolin, piano didgeridoo and Schwegel.

Mysterious Georgia Guidestones Get Strange ’2014′ Update.

By Paul Joseph Watson  September 22nd, 2014.         Find 4 minute video here:-

New block added to controversial ‘American stonehenge’.

The mysterious Georgia Guidestones, which some see as an elite manifesto for neo-eugenics and population reduction – have received a strange 2014 update.