Spring at last - hopefully - got to 56 F yesterday
…is a species of chromodorid nudibranch that occurs in the Atlantic ocean, ranging from Florida to Brazil. Like other chromodorids Felimida binza feeds almost exclusively on sponges.
Happy Christmas everyone! I’m falling way behind as usual in my Tumblr reading and blogging, but I will try to catch up this week.
I’m going to keep reblogging links to this article because it’s shocking, and also maybe 25 minutes from where I grew up, very comfortably, completely unawares.(via oxfordcommaforever)
From archives of Prague castle, photo by M.Peterka (Source: Lost and Found in Prague)
A reconstruction of the oikoumene, or known world, of Homer’s epic poems by Finnish illustrator Björn Landström, Vägen till Indien (1964). See a somewhat similar medieval depiction of a spherical oikoumene here.
A lion, tiger and bear recovered in a drug bust in 2001 have been living together ever since at an animal rescue center near Atlanta. Leo, Shere Khan and Baloo are like brothers; caretakers say separating them would bring depression.
- Leonardo Da Vinci’s wacky piano is heard for the first time, after 500 years:
A bizarre instrument combining a piano and cello has finally been played to an audience more than 500 years after it was dreamt up Leonardo da Vinci.
Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance genius who painted the Mona Lisa, invented the ‘‘viola organista’’ - which looks like a baby grand piano – but never built it, experts say.
The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans.
Full of steel strings and spinning wheels, Slawomir Zubrzycki’s creation is a musical and mechanical work of art.
‘‘This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba,’’ Zubrzycki said as he debuted the instrument at the Academy of Music in the southern Polish city of Krakow.
The instrument’s exterior is painted in a rich midnight blue, adorned with golden swirls painted on the side. The inside of its lid is a deep raspberry inscribed with a Latin quote in gold leaf by 12th-century German nun, mystic and philosopher, Saint Hildegard.
‘‘Holy prophets and scholars immersed in the sea of arts both human and divine, dreamt up a multitude of instruments to delight the soul,’’ it says.
The flat bed of its interior is lined with golden spruce. Sixty-one gleaming steel strings run across it, similar to the inside of a baby grand.
Each is connected to the keyboard, complete with smaller black keys for sharp and flat notes. But unlike a piano, it has no hammered dulcimers. Instead, there are four spinning wheels wrapped in horse-tail hair, like violin bows.
To turn them, Zubrzycki pumps a pedal below the keyboard connected to a crankshaft. As he tinkles the keys, they press the strings down onto the wheels, emitting rich, sonorous tones reminiscent of a cello, an organ and even an accordion.
The effect is a sound that da Vinci dreamt of, but never heard; there are no historical records suggesting he or anyone else of his time built the instrument he designed.
A sketch and notes in da Vinci’s characteristic inverted script is found in his Codex Atlanticus, a 12-volume collection of his manuscripts and designs for everything from weaponry to flight.
‘‘I have no idea what Leonardo da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made, but I’d hope he’d be pleased,’’ said Zubrzycki, who spend three years and 5000 hours bringing da Vinci’s creation to life.