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Showing posts from February, 2008

atlas of the millennium

Welcome to the 21st century. Which were once towns, are cities now and cities are turning into sprawls. People who live in these growing cities enjoy movies, electronic arcades, electronic games and a plethora of activities - all interconnected through a global, ever expanding network made accessible by the use of many different forms of wired as well as wireless computers. So, this is the age of electronics - there is no doubt about that! As some people say it, "The world has changed into a global village - with communication so efficient, all countries are connected to one another in a massive web of information". Hmm.. but let us take a break for now - and see what previous centuries were like.

brand [new] war

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It was a dreamscape. I had been walking for almost a hundred miles. I was fatigued and exhausted to the limit. Alone in the haunting vastness of the endless desert I felt as if I was about to explode. No sign of human habitation could be seen, not even a bird chirped anywhere, not even a tree whistled!

Suddenly, a soothing breeze swept by; but it was strange because I could almost hear it saying softly HOW ARE YOU. At first I could not believe my ears, after all who could be talking to me in the middle of the desert? It must have been just a passing thought. I tried to ignore it and moved along. After a few steps, I heard the same voice for the second time. It said CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD. I felt afraid for a moment because this time I was definite about the voice. Nobody was in sight but it was a strange fear that crept up in me. I stood still for a few seconds, gathered my senses and tried to carry on but immediately following a third breeze, the fell-voice said, COME TO WHERE THE …

our evolving culture - ships

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Isn’t it the inherence of curiosity in humans that have led to explorations? And what tools have been invented for the same? Here’s an interesting chronology of how a mere curiosity to know about other lands; has fertilized a saga of human culture on this planet.

c. 850The Vikings’ longboats were versatile: they could either be rowed or moved by sail, maneuvered by a steering oar on the right side. They struck fear throughout Europe.

12th CenturyThe mariner’s compass was used by the Chinese well before 1050, the year the instrument made its appearance in European ships in Mediterranean waters.

c. 1200 – The steering oar was slowly replaced by the rudder, a maritime invention from East Asia that had made its way to Europe via Arab mariners.

1295Marco Polo described huge ships in Chinese seaports with separate watertight bulkheads. Without the compartments, ships with pierced hulls would sink. A half-century would pass before Western naval engineers adopted the technology.

1417– Pri…

our evolving culture - architecture

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It is always about the tallest or highest, the biggest, the smartest, the longest and the most sophisticated. It should always appeal to the eye, providing a reflex full of awe, wonder and praise. It is always about building, moving, climbing and so many different verbs that grudge against one another trying to stand out as the superlative. Time (1999.12.31 issue) focuses on build this time – done in the past millennium.

11th centurySan Marco, Venice. The Doge’s chapel was modeled on a now destroyed church in the rival – and more splendid – metropolis Constantinople. But as it prospered, Venice both updated and preserved San Marco’s splendor: five shallow Byzantine brick domes were covered over by metal ones. The 320-ft campanile, foreground, raised in 912, collapsed in 1902. It was rebuilt in 1912 – on its 1,000th birthday.

1113 – 1150Angkor Wat, Cambodia (213 ft. tall). Part holy mountain, part city, the sprawling temple built by King Suryavarman II was intended to be proof of his …