Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Satirical Illustrations

Pawel Kuczynski, an iconographer from Poland, depicts with a child like style serious themes with an interesting and clever way. He has received 92 awards during the course of his career. All the pictures here are relevant to the current global political and economic situation, which affects millions of people; however they also emphasise how our society functions in a modern globalised manner.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The World's Oceans are plasticised

According to a recent expedition of environmentalists, the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" extends even further than previously known. The expedition sailed from the Marshall Islands to Japan through a synthetic soup of plastic in the North Pacific Ocean . The area is part of one of the ocean's five tropical gyres, regions where bodies of water converge, with currents delivering high concentrations of plastic debris. Aim of this expedition is to look for plastic pollution and study its effect on marine life. 

Besides documenting the existence of plastic pollution, the expedition intends to study how long it takes for communities of barnacles, crabs and molluscs to establish, whether the plastic can serve as a raft for  species  to cross continents, and the prevalence of chemical pollutants. Scientists are worried that the marine organisms that adapt to the plastic could displace existing species. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

London 2012 Olympic Films

Today is the day. Today we will all see the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the biggest Sporting Event in the World. 
Here are a couple of Olympic Games Films.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olympic Flame in N.W. London

The Olympic Flame is in London, just a couple of days before the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. It is an opportunity for the community to get together and embrace the Olympic Spirit, uniting people from all backgrounds. 

A very precise ritual for the lighting of the Flame is followed at every Games. It is lit from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the ancient Games. After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is handed over to the new Host City at another ceremony in the Panathinaiko Stadium, in central Athens. 

The Flame is then delivered to the Host Country, where it is transferred from one Torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship. It ends its journey as the last Torchbearer lights the cauldron at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, making the official start of the Games. The Flame is finally extinguished on the final day of the Games, at the Closing Ceremony.

The Torch for the London Games was designed by East Londoners Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who won the opportunity through a competitive tender run by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council. 

The Torch is made up of an inner and an outer aluminium alloy skin, held in place by a cast top piece and base, perforated by 8.000 circles. Representing the inspirational stories of the 8.000 Torchbearers who have and who will carry the Olympic Flame, the circles which run the length of the body of the Torch also offer a unique level of transparency. Thus it is easy to see right to the heart of the Torch and view the burner system.   The circles also help ensure heat is quickly dissipated, without being conducted down the handle, and provide extra grip. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Great Meteoron

The Great Meteoron, also known as the Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis (Transfiguration of the Saviour), is a male monastery  and is the oldest and largest of all the monasteries of Meteora, in Central Greece. It is built on the greatest rock of the complex, the Platys Lithos or Playtlithos. 

The monastery was established in 1340 by Athanassios of Meteora, who gave the name "Meteoron" to the rock, meaning meteor or mid-air, since it was higher than all the other rocks in this area. The name was later established and used for the entire complex of monasteries and rocks of the area. 

Athanassios first built the church of the Virgin Mary, to whom he dedicated the entire monastery. However, he later built another church in honour of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, which became the katholikon of the monastery, after which the monastery was named. 

The church is built in the Athonite style, cruciform with a twelve-sided dome and conchs at the sides. It was decorated with hagiography in 1552, forming one of the most remarkable monuments of post-Byzantine painting. 

The Great Meteoron and all the other monasteries in Meteora still have nets, supported on timbers wedged into crevices, which was the way with which the ascetics ascended the rocks. Later, they were replaced with immensely long hanging ladders which induced fits of vertigo in some climbers. Nevertheless, in 1922 steps were cut out of the rock face, that is the current way of ascending onto the rocks where the monasteries stand proudly. However, the net is still being used for the carriage of food and other necessities of the monastery. 

Moments of the monk's everyday life can be reproduced by the visitors at the area of the Estia, the kitchen, which has been refurnished into an exhibition are with old equipment of the monastery. Also its rich library is one of the most significant libraries that one can find in monasteries . 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Obelisks in Rome and Vatican City

Rome still retains its imperial feel and one way of emphasising this is the fact that the Eternal City is full of  Obelisks. There are more obelisks in Rome than anywhere else in the World, 8 ancient Egyptian, 5 Roman and a number of modern ones. Ancient obelisks are made from a single piece of stone, whereas modern ones tend to be made from several stones and are often hollow. Despite the fact that the oldest known obelisk is Egyptian and the whole concept comes from this ancient civilisation, the word itself is of Greek origin, since it was Herodotus (the Father of History) who first described them. Due to the Christian Faith, many if not all the obelisks in the Italian capital have a cross on the top (as is evident in the pictures), in order to emphasise the victory of Christianity over an ancient pagan religion.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Beaulieu Palace House and Gardens

The Beaulieu Palace House and Gardens are situated in the Beaulieu Estate, near Southampton. Formerly the 13th century Great Gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House is set in glorious grounds and gardens with immaculate spreading lawns and walkways overlooking the Beaulieu River. 

This house, kept in the style of its later Victorian additions, has been in Lord Montagu's family since 1538. 

The monastic origins of the House are evident. The visitor can of course see the family treasures, portraits, photographs and memorabilia. The Palace House still remains a family house, still lived in by the present Lord Montagu and his family. 

The Beaulieu name means "beautiful place" and the gardens certainly live up to the name. The gardens have developed into a mixture of formal and informal design, filled with various and wonderful sculptures, scattered all around the Estate.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


David Smith visited numerous European countries in 3 months, giving us this fantastic Euro-Timelapse. He visited: Vilnius, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Riga, Crete, Fira (Santorini), Milan, Cinque Terre. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Stadium of Delphi

The Stadium of Delphi hosted the athletic contests of the Pythian religious festival. Initially in the 5th century B.C. a racing track was formed by levelling the ground. The spectators would sit on the ground. In the 2nd century A.D., under the Roman emperor Hadrian, the Stadium was ameliorated with funds of the wealthy Athenian Herodes Atticus. The marble seats and the three arched entrance, visible to this day, were added at that time. It is estimated that 17 or 18 runners could compete in a race. The distance between start and finish was one Pythian stade, equivalent to 178.35 m. 

The monumental arched entrance at the east side of the Stadium, in front of the starting point of the racetrack, is unique in Greece. The three arches were supported by four pillars; the two central pillars had niches for statues. 

The Pythian athletic contests were performed in the Stadium on the fifth day of the festivities, which lasted six to eight days. The Pan-Hellenic Pythian Games were second in importance only to the Olympic Games. The Pythian winners were awarded with a palm tree twig or a wreath of laurels. Some of the events performed in the Stadium were the dolichos (a long distance running race of 24 stades), the stadion (one-stade race), the diaulos (two-stade race), wrestling, jumping, discus throwing and javelin throwing. The athletic contests were completed with the hoplite, a race of 2-4 stades, during which the athletes ran wearing only a helmet and greaves, whilst carrying a shield.