Tuesday, May 19, 2009

picture of the day

from wikipedia: Koko (born July 4, 1971, in San Francisco, California) is a lowland gorilla who, according to Francine 'Penny' Patterson, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language,[1] and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English.[2]

Koko is one of the few non-humans known to keep pets of a different species. She has cared for several cats over the years and Koko's relationship with All Ball was featured in the 1987 book Koko's Kitten, which was written by Patterson.

"Koko: A Talking Gorilla" is a 1978 documentary directed by Barbet Schroeder that focuses on Dr. Francine 'Penny' Patterson and her work with Koko, the gorilla Patterson claims to have taught to communicate with humans using symbols taken from American Sign Language.

i found the documentary on youtube. below is part 1/9 (it's in english with italian subtitles):

Monday, May 18, 2009

photography of hans silvester

Photographs by Hans Silvester, taken in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia

The people of the Surma and Mursi tribes are body painters: they paint their bodies with pigments made from the earth as an immemorial and quotidian practice – mothers paint babies, children and adults paint themselves and each other in a tradition that seems unchanged for thousands of years. Their paintings range from abstract designs of circles, lines, dots and swirls, sometimes focused on specific body parts, to all-over patterns of flowers, zig-zags and fingerprints that form a dazzling array on the entire body. White, yellow, orange and ochre; the natural pigments that they use are derived from the soil and rocks of their surroundings. The tribes’ daily paintings are an essential expression of their lives – more elemental to them than music or dance. Fascinated by the Surma and Mursi tribes’ painting practices and astounded by the beauty of their ephemeral art, Silvester captures the diverse and extraordinary effects that they achieve through their ancient tradition. (text found here.)


Tribus de L'OMO / Hans Silvester Tribus de L'OMO / Hans Silvester Jose Gil Aux confins de l’Ethiopie ... le fleuve de l’Omo ... Ils ont le génie de la peinture, et leur corps de deux mètres de haut est une immense toile.

picture of the day

Baobab trees, found in Madagascar

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

otters holding hands

(missin mike & lisa.)

picture of the day

alexandre orion. skulls in sao paolo.
Etching skulls on the side of the tunnel with nothing but water and a cloth.

Hailing from Brazil, Alexandre sees his art work as a way of getting an environmental message across to those who ordinarily wouldn’t listen. A few years ago he adorned a transport tunnel in Sao Paolo with a mural consisting of a series of skulls to remind drivers of the detrimental impact their emissions have on the planet.

The Brazilian authorities were incensed but couldn’t actually charge him with anything so they instead cleaned the tunnel. At first the cleaned only the parts Alexandre had cleared but after the artist switched to the opposite wall they had to clean that too. In the end, the authorities decided to wash every tunnel in the city, missing the irony completely, it seems.

--from environmental graffiti

Friday, May 8, 2009

elephants swimming

picture of the day

Downtown Cleveland, Ohio, in winter, from the air. The Cuyahoga River winds through the flats. December 1937.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

close encounters: BiGFooT

this past weekend my parents & sisters and i headed down to old washington, ohio (barely a dot on the map) to celebrate my sister Hannah's 13th birthday. for her birthday hannah wanted to go horse-back riding, so my mom found this totally random remote place 2.5 hours away that offered trail-rides pretty cheap. (The horseriding adventure is a story in and of itself...) We stayed in a cabin for the night at Salt Fork State Park... and when we went to the lodge there to check in, we discovered that we had unknowingly managed to get a reservation for a cabin during the most anticipated weekend of the year at Salt Fork State Park Lodge in the middle of Ohio... The 21st Annual International Bigfoot Conference!

The lodge was packed with BigFoot extremists, all in their element... you could tell they were all very excited to have found their niche, crazies united together, almost like a support group. The conference had many speakers who spoke of their first hand encounters with the alleged creatures as well as many researchers who presented their evidence, cast footprints, weird hair samples, pieces of bone, etc. The conference room spilled out into the hallways with ear & eye strained believers and curious spectators. We decided to join them on a 30 car caravan out to one of the alleged encounter sites. (they used the word "alleged" alot considering that nothing has ever been "proven".) Don Keating, renowned Ohio Bigfoot Researcher & documentarian, led the group to a picnic table in a field where an unsuspecting couple of picnickers had once seen a large hairy creature in the woods that freaked their dog out. We walked into the tree line where the creature was supposedly seen, and our tour group was delighted to have found what appeared to be a giant footprint in the mud. Don Keating instructed everyone to ignore the footprint, stating that people in the area aware of the BigFoot convention found satisfaction in pranking the researchers with fake footprints. The tour group did not find the prank amusing...

here is a picture of one of the most recent original authentic prints found by a family a picnickers in the same area that we went to check out with the convention goers. The family had outlined the print in ketchup...

main BigFoot website for Salt Fork State Park
an article about the conference
good BigFoot research website

now i'm gonna have to go rent "Harry & the Hendersons", it's been too long...

picture of the day

Félix Tournachon dit Nadar (1820-1910)
Marie Laurent, de dos

i don't speak french

Friday, May 1, 2009


i absolutely adore this video...

picture of the day

A frozen baby mammoth, which lived 37,000 years ago, with the son of the reindeer farmer who found the body in the tundra. Photo May 2007. where if found the pic.

"Lovely" Baby Mammoth Found Frozen in Russia
July 11, 2007—Talk about a mammoth surprise.

A Russian hunter traipsing through Russia's remote Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region in May noticed what he thought was a reindeer carcass sticking out of the damp snow. (See a map of Russia and its remote Siberian regions.)

On closer inspection, the "reindeer" turned out to be a 40,000-year-old baby mammoth, perfectly encased in ice.

The six-month-old female mammoth is the most well-preserved example yet found of the beasts, which lumbered across the Earth during the last Ice Age, 1.8 million to 11,500 years ago.

"It's a lovely little baby mammoth indeed, found in perfect condition," Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science's Zoological Institute, told the Reuters news agency.

At 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and 51 inches long (130 centimeters long), the baby is the size of a large dog, Reuters reported.

Scientists are banking on the female—named "Lyuba" after the Russian hunter's wife—to reveal some of the genetic secrets of the prehistoric giants.

That's because Lyuda's excellent state—intact except for her shaggy locks—makes her a veritable treasure trove for research.

Emerging DNA technologies have already allowed some scientists to consider resurrecting the mammoth. (Read about the resurrection debate.)

Meanwhile, the newfound body will undergo three-dimensional computer mapping at Japan's Jikei University, followed by an autopsy at the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg. The Ice Age toddler will end up on display in the Russian Arctic town of Salekhard.

—Christine Dell'Amore
national geographic article.