Renovation

Scientific advances in materials science and image analysis enable the work of renovation tackle more ambitious challenges. A recent example of this is the Hudson Theatre in Manhattan.

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One of Broadway’s oldest surviving theatres, first opened 114 years ago, has been renovated and reopened earlier this year –

05HUDSON3-jumbo-v2.jpg— with Jake Gyllenhaal in the revival of “Sunday in the Park With George”. It becomes Broadway’s 41st and newest playhouse, 114 years after it became one of Broadway’s first. Then, it opened with a production of “Cousin Kate” starring Ethel Barrymore.

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The theater was built by Henry B. Harris, above left, who ran it until 1912, when he perished on the Titanic. His wife, Renée, also above, survived and returned to New York to operate the theater. She became one of Broadway’s first female producers but she lost it to foreclosure in the Depression.

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Located on 44th Street just east of Broadway, the ornate theater has led a life as various as Manhattan itself, with stints as a TV studio (1950s), a reborn theater and then a porn palace (’60s), a rock venue (’80s), and, for the last 20 years, an event space for Millennium Hotels.

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After the renovation by the Ambassador Theatre Group of Britain the Hudson is ready to be a showplace again and one of the few new theatres on  Broadway.

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Hokusai’s volcano

At the British Museum, there is an exhibition of the popular paintings by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). There are several images of the Fuji volcano.hokusai_highlight_fuji_1000.jpg

They are symbols of natural power and human vulnerability.  Hokusai’s infatuation with Mount Fuji was much more than an admiration of its beauty. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter told that a goddess placed an elixir of life at the top of the peak, and thus the mountain was a secret source of immortality, as well as a secret reason for Hokusai’ obsession with the mountain.

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This gave him a chance to explore and experiment with its beauty. hokusai_highlight_snowy_1000.jpg

A section through a present-day volcano shows its hidden structure:

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Cross-section through a stratovolcano (vertical scale is exaggerated):

  1. Large magma chamber
  2. Bedrock
  3. Conduit (pipe)
  4. Base
  5. Sill
  6. Dike
  7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano
  8. Flank
  9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano
  10. Throat
  11. Parasitic cone
  12. Lava flow
  13. Vent
  14. Crater
  15. Ash cloud

By Jupiter

Some early findings from NASA’s Juno mission are published today in Science magazine (papers by SJ Bolton et al and JEP Connerney et al). They present some of the pictures from the orbiter that arrived at Jupiter last July. The familiar stripes appear to be hot bands seen through layers of cloud:

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The top and bottom of Jupiter are pockmarked with a chaotic mélange of swirls that are immense storms hundreds of miles across.

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The planet’s interior core appears bigger than expected, and swirling electric currents are generating surprisingly strong magnetic fields.

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Auroral lights shining in Jupiter’s polar regions seem to operate in a reverse way to those on Earth. There appears not to be an entirely solid or gaseous core to the planet. One clue to what is at the core is a belt of ammonia that may be rising around the planet’s equator.

What they report is nothing like Jupiter Ascending, the 2015 film, written, produced and directed, by The Wachowskis.

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By Jupiter was a Rogers and Hart musical production in New York during 1942. Such human creativity is not a patch on what NASA is finding.

Ice

USM Modular Furniture presents an exhibition by Swiss photographer Daniel Schwartz. The black and white photographs can be viewed from May 4-26, 2017 in the USM, New York Soho Showroom. ds.jpg.1280x680_q90_crop.jpgThe images feature glaciers in Switzerland, Pakistan, Peru and Uganda.

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Glaciers form a dynamic system. Due to man-made climate change, they are rapidly losing surface area and mass with far-reaching consequences. Glaciers serve as reservoirs of water as well as serving as an archive of climate history.

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Daniel Schwartz presents the glacier as a place of remembrance – confronting loss by exposing the past – and as a stage that reveals the future as it recedes.

Long Exposures

Jason Shulman photographs entire movies with ultra-long exposures, creating impressionist photographic images:

Alice in Wonderland 1951 –

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Dr Strangelove 1964 –

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Le Voyage dans la Lune 1902 –

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 –

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The Wizard of Oz 1939 –3543-3.jpg

Mandibles

Last week, Nature (vol. 544, page 417) reported on a fossilised creature with huge pincers resembling can-openers, a hinged two-piece shell and more than 50 pairs of legs.  C. Aria and J-B. Caron call this Tokummia katalepsis and argue that its evolution led to insects, crustaceans, millipedes and centipedes. They are among the few fossils that show early links between these familiar groups.

The creature lived about 507 million years ago during the Cambrian period, It was about 10cm long and would have been found walking on the seafloor.

The creature was about 10cm long and would have been found walking on the seafloor.
 Photograph: Jean-Bernard Caron. Copyright: Royal Ontario Museum

Prey would have been caught by the animal using its two large pincers. It would then have been passed to the animal’s many legs under the body which have spine-like features at their base which may have crushed the prey. This could then have been brought back to the mandibles and be cut into small pieces to help digestion.

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Photograph: Lars Fields. Copyright: Royal Ontario Museum

This is an artist’s reconstruction of Tokummia katalepsis showing a pair of large pincers to capture prey, with much of the multisegmented body protected by a broad carapace. The small mandibles and subdivided, spine-like bases of the legs were critical characters for resolving the evolutionary significance of Tokummia.

Book of Miracles

The recently discovered Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs reveals a 16th Century society gripped by anxieties that we can relate to today, The illustrated manuscript is now available, edited by T. Borchert and J.P. Waterman.