Medieval kids’ doodles on birch bark
Here’s something very special. In the 1950s archeologists made a great discovery near the city of Novgorod, Russia: they dug up hundreds of pieces of birch bark with all sorts of texts written on them. The 915 items are mostly letters, notes and receipts, all written between the 11th and 15th century. Among the more notable scraps is a marriage proposal from a man called Mikita to his beloved Anna: “marry me - I want you and you want me, and the witness to that is Ignat Moiseev” (item 377).
The most special items, however, are the ones shown above, which are from a medieval classroom. In the 13th century, young schoolboys learning to write filled these scraps with alphabets and short texts. Bark was ideal material for writing down things with such a short half-life. Then the pupils got bored and started to doodle, as kids do: crude drawings of individuals with big hands, as well as a figure with a raised sword standing next to a defeated beast (lower image). The last one was drawn by Onfim, who put his name next to the victorious warrior. The snippets provide a delightful and most unusual peek into a 13th-century classroom, with kids learning to read - and getting bored in the process.
More information - On the scraps in general, see here. Here is a full inventory, in Russian. On the excavation, see here and here. More kids’ doodles here and here. Some letters in this Flickr stream. The Leiden scholar Jos Schaeken published a book in Dutch on this material, which can be downloaded for free here (English translation to follow next year).
A glimpse in to medieval Novgorod.
According to a 2012 report by the Human Rights and Criminal Sentencing Reform Project for the University of San Francisco School of Law, the United States is one of only 22 countries that doesn’t guarantee what’s called “retroactive ameliorative relief” in sentencing. Which means that when a law such as one legalizing marijuana is passed in America, those already convicted of marijuana crimes don’t automatically have their sentences relaxed. This puts us in the company of such bastions of social justice as Pakistan, Oman and South Sudan.
Researchers are launching a new project to monitor California’s kelp forests for radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Scientists will fan out along the California coast to collect kelp and find out if it has absorbed any radiation from the 2011 meltdown.
Learn more from Molly Samuel at KQED Science.
Morning On Mars
Martian sunrises, as seen by the HiRISE orbiter
GUYS I figured these were BS computer renderings and not at all real BUT THEN I LOOKED IT UP AND IT’S 100% REAL
THESE ARE REAL PHOTOS AAAAA
The change is long overdue. No European capital has been quite so ruined by motor vehicles as Brussels, which even last year was scorned by the French as a “sewer for cars.” And the new plan is going over well with locals, meaning Brussels might finally gain its deserved place as a likeable European city.
Always nice to see politicians considering well-being as much as wealth. Even better when the public supports them.
Well, he was sorta asking for it, dressing in such flammable clothing.
if he didnt want to get set on fire, he should have stayed indoors
He was probably drinking that night, alcohol makes you susceptible to fire.
If it’s a legitimate inferno, the male body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
He shouldn’t be able to get treatment for his burns, everything happens for a reason