Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818, oil on canvas, 94.8 x 74.8 cm, Kunsthalle Hamburg. Source

The painting that defines the art of the German Romanticists, Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog is a depiction of the artist surveying a mountainous landscape bathed in fog from a rocky vantage point. The viewer is encouraged to immerse themselves in the sublime beauty of nature, just as Friedrich is doing, and to take a step back from the corruption and hollowness of modern society.

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The Russian Imperial family. Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei.

Colorized by: National Geographic ChannelApocalypse World War I.

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Askos with painted scenes and applied figures. 

Dating to about 270-200 BCE, this askos was found at Cuma in Campania, Italy, and was made at Canosa, Apulia (modern Puglia).

Vessels of this type were evidently not intended to be functional, and were often made to be placed inside tombs. The British Museum houses another Canosan vessel shaped like a head, which you may view here. Canosa was a highly important city of ancient Apulia, which, although influenced by the Greeks, was able to maintain its local culture through to Roman times.

This vase is basically an askos, a simple globular spouted vessel of a shape found in Italy for over two millennia. By the Hellenistic period askoi were over-burdened with a wealth of decoration. This example has two winged horses flying over a brown sea on a pink background. Three winged figures of Nike or Victory stand on the false spouts and handle, and foreparts of horses spring from the body of the vessel. The applied reliefs depict a winged head of the gorgon Medusa and a dancing maenad, a follower of Dionysos. (BM)

Courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London, GR 1862.7-12.2. Photos taken by SpirosK photography.

Was Our Planet Really Once a Hell on Earth?

For the first 500 million years of its existence, our planet was believed to literally be a hell on Earth. But new research shows that this early Earth may have been surprisingly similar to the present day, complete with oceans, continents and active crustal plates.

This alternate view of Earth’s first geologic eon, called the Hadean, is based on a comparison of zircon crystals formed four billion years ago with those formed during the same time period in Iceland. This icy country is supposedly what early Earth geological conditions were like, and so serves as a sort of blueprint for scientists studying the beginnings of our planet.

"We reasoned that the only concrete evidence for what the Hadean was like came from the only known survivors: zircon crystals — and yet no one had investigated Icelandic zircon to compare their telltale compositions to those that are more than 4 billion years old, or with zircon from other modern environments," lead researcher Calvin Miller of Vanderbilt University said in a statement.

Until 30 years ago, scientists thought the Hadean period was hellishly hot, and Earth was covered by a giant “magma ocean.” This view was based on the fact that they could never find rock formations from that time period, jumping to the conclusion that the intense heat melted the rocks, leaving behind no trace.

But then geologists discovered zircon crystals - a mineral typically associated with granite - preserved in younger sandstones. Radiometric dating and other analytical techniques allowed the researchers to study early Earth’s crust via these four-billion-year-old crystals, as well as extract information about the environment in which the crystals formed, including the temperature and whether water was present.

And after comparing these crystals with about 1,000 ancient zircons sifted from volcano and sand samples off Iceland, the researchers found that Icelandic zircons grew from much hotter magmas than Hadean zircons.

Despite the assumption that Earth was insanely hot, their analysis revealed that at some points during the Hadean period Earth’s crust cooled enough so that surface water could form - possibly on the scale of oceans.

"Our conclusion is counterintuitive," said Miller. "Hadean zircons grew from magmas rather similar to those formed in modern subduction zones, but apparently even ‘cooler’ and ‘wetter’ than those being produced today."

The findings were published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

This is the now-extinct American Lion. She had a large range — Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and northern South America. She hunted large mammals including bison and horses, so it was good she was 25% larger than the African Lion. Unfortunately the American Lion’s only predator — us humans of course — helped her into extinction by about 13,000 years ago.

On September 15, 1963, four Klu Klux Klan members bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a rallying point and meeting place and voter registration site.  The bombing killed four girls:  Addie Mae Collins, 14; Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robinson, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14.

via NAACP Facebook page.

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