wonder of the ancient world

The enigmatic Kailasa Temple at the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, India has fascinated researchers and tourists for centuries. It’s breathtaking construction points out that thousands of years ago, ancient cultures were far more advanced than what mainstream scholars are crediting them for. Everyone is trying to understand how the temple was built, ’cut from one piece of solid rock’, without the use of ‘modern’ technology.

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Great Pyramids of Giza

Giza, Egypt

29.979234, 31.134201

The Great Pyramids of Giza are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Dating back to 2580 BC, the Great Pyramid, the largest structure at the site, is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world and the only one to remain largely intact. With an estimated 2,300,000 stone blocks weighing from 2 to 30 tons each, the 481 foot pyramid was the tallest structure in the world for more than 3,800 years.

Great Wall of China - Jinshanling, China 

The section of the Great Wall at Jinshanling is 10.5km long, and features 5 passes, 67 towers and 3 beacon towers. Parts of the wall in Jinshanling have been restored to its original condition, while other parts have deteriorated to its natural state. 

This part of the great wall is great for hiking, and is less crowded than other sections. The walk from Jinshanling to nearby Simatai takes approximately 4 hours. There is a cable car which takes visitors up to the walls highest point.


The seven wonders of the ancient world by Te Hu
Hanging gardens of Babylon (Iraq)

Great pyramid of Giza (Egypt)
The lighthouse of Alexandria (Egypt)

Colossus of Rhodes (Greece)
Statue of Zeus at Olympia (Greece)

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Turkey)
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Turkey)

I watch a lot of documentaries. I think they are incredible tools for learning and increasing our awareness of important issues. The power of an interesting documentary is that it can open our minds to new possibilities and deepen our understanding of the world.

On this list of mind expanding documentaries you will find different viewpoints, controversial opinions and even contradictory ideas. Critical thinking is recommended. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy documentaries but I do like films that challenge consensus reality and provoke us to question the everyday ideas, opinions and practices we usually take for granted.

Watching documentaries is one of my favorite methods of self-education. If I find a documentary inspiring, I usually spend more time researching the different ideas and interesting people interviewed in the film. I hope you find these documentaries as enlightening as I did!

[1] Life In The Biosphere

Explore the wonder and interconnectedness of the biosphere through the magic of technology.

How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth
The Magical Forest
Ants: Nature’s Secret Power
Mt. Everest: How It Was Made
Mariana’s Trench: The Deepest Spot On Earth
Natural World: The Andes
Shining Mountains: The Rockies
Grand Canyon: How It Was Made
The Intelligence of Plants

[2] Creativity and Design:Advertisements

Learn about all the amazing things that people create with their imaginations.

Everything Is A Remix
The Creative Brain: How Insight Works
Design: The New Business
PressPausePlay: Art and Creativity in the Digital Age
Infamy: A Graffiti Documentary
Influencers: How Trends and Creativity Become Contagious
RIP: A Remix Manifesto
Design: e² – Sustainable Architecture
The Genius Of Design

[3] The Education Industrial Complex:

The modern school where young minds are moulded into standardized citizens by the state.

The College Conspiracy
Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk
The Forbidden Education
Default: The Student Loan Documentary
College Inc.
Education For A Sustainable Future
Networked Society: The Future of Learning
The Ultimate History Lesson With John Taylor Gatto
The Education System in Communist China
The War On Kids

[4] The Digital Revolution:

The Internet is now the driving force behind change and innovation in the world.

The Age of Big Data
Resonance: Beings of Frequency
Life In A Day
Networked Society: On The Brink
Us Now: Social Media and Mass Collaboration
WikiRebels: The WikiLeaks Story
The Virtual Revolution: The Cost of Free
How Hackers Changed the World


[5] A New Civilization:

We are at the dawn of a new golden age of human inventiveness.

THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?
Zeitgeist III: Moving Forward
Paradise or Oblivion
2012: Time For Change
The Crisis of Civilization
The Collective Evolution II
The Quickening: Awakening As One
2012 Crossing Over: A New Beginning
The Awakening

[6] Politics:

Explore the politics of power and control and how it affects your life.

Owned and Operated
The Power Principle
The True Story of Che Guevara
Earth Days
Capitalism Is The Crisis
WikiLeaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower
The Putin System
The War On Democracy
Rise Like Lions: Occupy Wall Street and the Seeds of Revolution

[7] Biographies of Genius:

The biographies of modern geniuses who pushed humanity forward.

Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
The Unlimited Energy of Nikola Tesla
The Missing Secrets Of Nikola Tesla
Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius
How Albert Einstein’s Brain Worked
The Extraordinary Genius of Albert Einstein
Leonardo Da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything

[8] War:

War is history’s oldest racket for stealing from the powerless and redistributing resources to the powerful.

Psywar: The Real Battlefield Is Your Mind
The Secret History of 9/11
Robot Armies in the Future
The Never Ending War in Afghanistan
Shadow Company: Mercenaries In The Modern World
Why We Fight
The Fog Of War
The Oil Factor: Behind The War On Terror

[9] Economics:

Learn about the financial system works and how people and societies are enslaved through debt.

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World
The One Percent
Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street
The Last Days Of Lehman Brothers
The Four Horsemen
Inside Job: The Biggest Robbery In Human History
Capitalism A Love Story
Money and Life

[10] Digital Entrepreneurship:

Profiles of the entrepreneurs who used technology to change the world.

The Life Of A Young Entrepreneur
Profile: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Profile: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
Starting-Up in America
Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
Steve Jobs: The Billion Dollar Hippy
Elon Musk: Risk Takers
The Story of Twitter

[11] Sports:

Watch the inspiring stories of amazing athletes.

Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story
Carts of Darkness
Usain Bolt: The World’s Fastest Man
Wayne Gretzky: The Life and Times
Mike Tyson: Beyond the Glory
The Legacy Of Michael Jordan
We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding

[12] Technology:

Find out more about the impact of exponential growth and the approaching Singularity.

Ray Kurzweil: The Transcendent Man
How Robots Will Change the World
Human 2.0
Trance-Formation: The Future of Humanity
The Venus Project: Future By Design
Bionics, Transhumanism And The End Of Evolution
The Singularity Is Near
Car Technology Of The Future

[13] Origins of Religion:

Explore the original religious experience of mankind at the dawn of civilization.

Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within
Manifesting the Mind: Footprints of the Shaman
Ancient Egypt and The Alternative Story of Mankind’s Origins
The Hidden Knowledge of the Supernatural
Re-Awaken: Open Your Heart, Expand Your Mind
Shamans of the Amazon
The Root of All Evil: The God Delusion
Ancient Knowledge
The Naked Truth
Before Babel: In Search of the First Language

[14] Western Religion:

The fascinating history of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Secret Quest: The Path of the Christian Gnostics
The Secret Gate of Eden
Forbidden Knowledge: Lost Secrets of the Bible
Banned From The Bible: Secrets Of The Apostles
The Road To Armageddon
Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet
A Complete History of God
Gnosis: The Untold History of the Bible

[15] Eastern Religion:

Expand your mind by also studying the entirely different religious worldviews of the East.

Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
The Life Of The Buddha
The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World
Mysteries of the Cosmic OM: Ancient Vedic Science
Where Science and Buddhism Meet
The Yogis of Tibet
Taj Mahal: Secrets To Blow Your Mind
Light at the Edge of the World: Tibetan Science of the Mind
Myths of Mankind: The Mahabharata
Ayurveda: The Art of Being

[16] Consciousness:

Learn about the basic unity of existence and the miracle of consciousness.

Athene’s Theory of Everything
Theory of Everything: GOD, Devils, Dimensions, Dragons & The Illusion of Reality
The God Within: Physics, Cosmology and Consciousness
5 Gateways: The Five Key Expansions of Consciousness
Return to the Source: Philosophy and The Matrix
The Holographic Universe
DMT: The Spirit Molecule
Neuroplasticity: The Brain That Changes Itself

[17] Mysteries:

Indiana Jones-style explorations into the unsolved mysteries of the past.

Alchemy: Sacred Secrets Revealed
The Day Before Disclosure
The Pyramid Code
The Secret Design of the Egyptian Pyramids
Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill
Origins of the Da Vinci Code
Forbidden Knowledge: Ancient Medical Secrets
Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: The New Atlantis
Secrets in Plain Sight

[18] Mass Culture:

Learn about how our thoughts and opinions are influenced by mass culture.

The Century of the Self
All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
The Power Of Nightmares
Starsuckers: A Culture Obsessed By Celebrity
Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
Obey: The Death of the Liberal Class
Motivational Guru: The Story of Tony Robbins
Bob Marley: Freedom Road
Radiant City

[19] Corporate Media:

Discover how the mass media and advertisers channel our irrational impulses.

Weapons of Mass Deceptions
Secrets of the Superbrands
Orwell Rolls in his Grave
The Esoteric Agenda
The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
Symbolism in Logos: Subliminal Messages or Ancient Archetypes
Edward Snowden: A Truth Unveiled
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

[20] Art and Literature:

Explore the lives of famous artists and how art opens people’s minds.

Cosm: Alex Gray’s Visionary Art
Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop
New Art and the Young Artists Behind It
Salvador Dali: A Master of the Modern Era
The Day Pictures Were Born
Off-Book: Digital Age Creativity
This Is Modern Art

[21] Health:

Explore issues in health, how our bodies work and the incredible power of our brains.

The Human Brain
The Truth About Vitamins
How To Live To 101
America’s Obesity Epidemic
The War On Health
The Beautiful Truth
Food Inc.
The Truth About Food
The Living Matrix

[22] Drugs:

Documentaries on the effect of drugs — legal and illegal — on the body and mind.

The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
The Drugging Of Our Children
How Marijuana Affects Your Health
Making a Killing: The Untold Story of Psychotropic Drugging
Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
LSD: The Beyond Within
The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex
Are Illegal Drugs More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?
The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic
Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story

[23] Environment:

Thought-provoking documentaries on the environmental movement and the growing threats to our biosphere.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Shift: Beyond the Numbers of the Climate Crisis
All Things Are Connected
The Fight For Amazonia
Flow: For Love Of Water
Here Comes the Sun
The World According To Monsanto
The Story of Stuff

[24] Cosmos:

Expand your mind by exploring our indescribably large and beautiful Cosmos.

The Search for Planets Similar to Earth
Cosmic Journeys : The Largest Black Holes in the Universe
The Mystery of the Milky Way
Fractals: The Hidden Dimension
Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking: The Story of Everything
Pioneer Science: Discovering Deep Space
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos
The Strangest Things In The Universe

[25] Science:

The history of scientific discovery and how scientific instruments expand our perception.

The Complete History of Science
Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell
Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Time
Quantum Mechanics: Fabric of the Cosmos
The Light Fantastic
DNA: The Secret of Life
Parallel Universes, Alternative Timelines & Multiverse
What Is The Higgs Boson?

[26] Evolution:

The story of our evolution and the emergence of self-aware human beings.

The Origin of Life
Homo Sapiens: The Birth of Humanity
Beyond Me
The Global Brain
Metanoia: A New Vision of Nature
Birth Of A New Humanity
Ape Man: Adventures in Human Evolution
The Incredible Human Journey
The Human Family Tree

[27] Psychology and The Brain:

New research is shining a spotlight on how we can improve our brains.

How Smart Can We Get?
The Science of Lust
The Secret You
What Are Dreams?
A Virus Called Fear
Beyond Thought (Awareness Itself)
The Human Brain
Superconscious Mind: How To Double Your Brain’s Performance
How Does Your Memory Work?
Secrets of the Mind

[28] Modern History:

The story of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the modern world.

History of the World in Two Hours
The Industrial Revolution
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
The French Revolution
Big Sugar
The American Revolution

[29] Pre-Modern History:

The story of the Americas and European history in the pre-modern world.

Socrates, Aristotle and Plato
The Medici: The Most Influencial Family In The World
A History of Celtic Britain
The Crusades: Victory and Defeat
The Vikings: Voyage To America
Copernicus and the Scientific Revolution

[30] Current Events:

Become more informed about current events that are shaping the world.

Syria: The Reckoning
Empire: Putin’s Russia
The New Arms Race
The Killing of Yasser Arafat
Egypt In Crisis
Inside Obama’s Presidency
The Untouchables: How Obama Protected Wall Street
Behind The Rhetoric: The Real Iran
A History of the Middle East since WWII
Climate Wars

[31] Ancient Civilizations:

Fascination explorations into the ancient civilizations of our past.

The Persian Empire : Most Mysterious Civilization in the Ancient World
What The Ancients Did For Us
What the Ancients Knew
Egypt: Beyond the Pyramids
Secrets of the Ancient Empires
Graham Hancock’s Quest For The Lost Civilization
Atlantis: The Lost Continent
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

I hope you enjoy watching some of these mind expanding documentaries! If you have a personal favorite, please share it with everyone in the comments.

Credits: DIY Genius

Machu Picchu- Peru

Machu Picchu is the 15th century site of the Inca empire in Peru. It is 2430m above sea level and over looks the Sacred Valley. 

The Inca’s abandoned the site after the arrival of the Spanish Conquest, but seeing as the Spanish Conquest were not aware of the site, it is thankfully still very intact and preserved.It is believed around 1200 people lived in the ‘city’, and they were mostly occupied as farmers, farming grain.

The city includes a temple, which historians believe was used to offer sacrifices to the Gods. 

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, sometimes called the Pharos of Alexandria, was built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, for many centuries it was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world at about 120-137 meters. Badly damaged by 3 earthquakes between AD 956 and 1323, it became an abandoned ruin. It was the 3rd-longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Great Pyramid of Giza) until 1480, when the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on site. In 1994, French archaeologists discovered remains of the lighthouse on the floor of Alexandria’s Eastern Harbor. The Ministry of State of Antiquities in Egypt planned in 2015 to turn submerged ruins into an underwater museum.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins Thoughts and Stuffs

As you might know by now, possibly from me screaming so loud you could hear it where you live, the next Assassin’s Creed game, Origins, was officially announced yesterday, and it looks like that year Ubi took off from the franchise was put to good use. You can find an extensive amount of detail on the game in any number of places (most notably Game Informer), but I wanted to get beyond what we saw and into the wonderful realm of speculation and analysis. Here is a mostly unorganized mix of ten thoughts, suggestions, hopes and dreams for what looks like a series-altering entry in the AC lineage. Warning: Minor spoilers if you aren’t at least past Assassin’s Creed II.

1. Let’s get back to the story
Yes, I’m aware there’s a vocal part of Assassin’s Creed’s community that hates the over-arching meta-story about an ancient precursor race and Apples of Eden and whatnot. It certainly isn’t perfect—and if you’ve made it through ACIII you know there’s a fairly massive hole in the logic involved—but after two entries in which the larger story was all-but-irrelevant, I think we’re ready to get back on track with something to tie the games together.
Furthermore, if Ubi is set to reveal the origins of the Assassins, they need to have something epic cooked up, especially after they mostly botched the French Revolution in terms of narrative.

2. Speaking of those origins…
If you delve into AC’s extended fiction (and I can’t blame you if you don’t; it can get pretty strange), you find that both Assassins and Templars existed well before the time Origins is set in. Note the very specific wording in the tagline: “As an empire falls, a Brotherhood rises”. Nowhere in the as-yet-released information does it say the Assassins didn’t exist, just that they weren’t yet organized. In fact, one of those statues in the headquarters in Assassin’s Creed II (remember those?) explicitly identifies three Assassins active well before Origins’s day, and since the game is set in the 40’s BCE, that means it is in the very decade that Assassins, according to the in-game fiction, took down Julius Caesar.
The death of Caesar rocked the Roman world of the time in many ways, and it seems unlikely it won’t be essential to the game’s story…especially since we know said story involves the rise and reign of Cleopatra VII.

3. About those Templars…
If the story is going to get into the origins of the Assassins, it seems likely we’ll also get an early look at the formations of the modern Templars. Throughout the games, the upper hand in any one era and area has shifted between the two groups, but the Templars have generally had the upper hand. They’re usually depicted as having their fingers in every pie, and empire, on the planet, like the Illuminati meets the mafia. It would be fascinating to see a time when both groups were in their formative years, and the Templars not quite the Hydra-level threat they would later become. The two groups are so diametrically opposed in goals and means, in fact, that it would be a particularly devious twist to show them as more chummy in the beginning—and merely hint at what caused the massive divide as a topic for future games.

4. Life on the River
The Nile may be no Caribbean Sea, but it’s no stream, either. Your vision of what Ancient Egypt looked like probably involved plenty of wooden barges sailing up and down it, possibly with ruins visible along the shoreline, small villages dotted on the course, and of course the annual floods that defined life in the Egyptian desert. It would be a shame if you weren’t free to explore this waterway.

5. An Already Ancient Land
To most of us, Egypt’s time of mattering is thousands of years past, and we just think of it as one lump of history all packed into a short time span. But the Egyptian empire had already been going strong for thousands of years by the time of Origins…in fact, the game is explicitly set in the empire’s waning days. The country’s past is probably as mysterious and alluring to protagonist Bayek as it is to us, and illuminating the history of his own ancestors should not just be a side activity saved for tomb raiding—it should be an integral piece of the story, especially if the First Civilization is again a major element.

6. The R Word
One notable thing no one seems to be talking about is that Origins will be the first AC game to take place in a timeframe during which Christianity and Islam are not the world’s dominant religious forces—in fact, they don’t even exist yet. Although religion hasn’t been a major or specific element in those entries, the characters and situations have often been defined by the cultural, moral and supernatural ideas that stemmed from them, if only in the sense that they were breaking away from them.
At the time in which Origins is set, however, religion is still a matter more of regional practices than national or global ones, with multiple pantheons full of multiple gods being specific to Rome, Egypt and a whole lot of smaller places. Could the characters in these times being more pantheistic actually mean they have a greater knowledge of the First Civilization, possibly identifying them with their gods?
And of course, the big question: set less than a century before the Crucifixtion, will Origins or the games that potentially follow it work the rise of Christianity into the narrative? The potential, both for fascinating narrative developments and for pissing lots of people off, would be huge.

7. What about the Jews?
I’m addressing this separately from the other two Abrahamic religions because the Jews had transcended a faith alone to become a recognizable culture well before Christianity and Islam showed up. If Ubi wants to do the period up right, they can’t possibly ignore them. Though the rebellions of the Jews in the Roman empire wouldn’t happen for decades yet, the uneasy co-existence of the two—monotheists and polytheists living side-by-side in conquered provinces—must have been felt by both. How much this touched Egypt at the time is hard to say, but if you go by the Jews’ own accounts, they had quite the sordid and complicated history with the country in its own right. I don’t usually get political, but with the growing number of Nazi-lite “movements” around the world, showing the Jews as a fully formed and individual, thriving culture in their game would also be a great middle finger from Ubi to a bunch of racist jerks.

8. About Bayek’s Age
It’s not going to mean a lot to you if you’re under 25, but if you started playing AC when it first came out and you were at least 18 (and shame on your parents if you weren’t), you’re at least 28 now and you may have started to notice that main characters in games are almost all kids, and those that aren’t generally act like they are. That’s why Ubi making Bayek in his mid-thirties, with a position in life to match, is a big deal. People are more active at higher ages than ever before, but protagonists in games rarely crack their early twenties, and hopefully Bayek will be a change from that.
Or his age could turn out to be a meaningless number. We’ll see.

9. The Most Varied AC World Yet?
A look at the gameplay trailer shows deltas teeming with reeds and (shudder) crocodiles, glistening cities of white stones, palaces built into hills, and oases in vast deserts. With Unity and Syndicate being based almost entirely in a single huge city apiece, the wide open world is a welcome return. Hopefully, it is as packed with hidden secrets and things to do as II’s Italy and BF’s Caribbean were.

10. The Seven Wonders of the World
Another historical thing possibly overlooked by fans in their excitement: at the time of Origins, six of the seven (Man-Made) Wonder of the (Ancient) World were still standing in some form. From The Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Golden Statue of Zeus, these were some of the most gorgeous constructions the considerable minds of ancient humans could accomplish. We’re obviously going to visit quite a lot of pyramids already, and very likely the Pharos Lighthouse, located as it was in Egypt, but the remaining four (and maybe even the ruins of the fifth) would make great locations for those special side missions AC’s devs often like to sneak in.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins releases on video game stuff everywhere October 27th. What would you like to see in the game?


1.    The feel of cool marble under bare feet.
2.    How to live in a small room with five strangers for six months.
3.    With the same strangers in a lifeboat for one week.
4.    The modulus of rupture.
5.    The distance a shout carries in the city.
6.    The distance of a whisper.
7.    Everything possible about Hatshepsut’s temple (try not to see it as ‘modernist’ avant la lettre).
8.    The number of people with rent subsidies in New York City.
9.    In your town (include the rich).
10.    The flowering season for azaleas.
11.    The insulating properties of glass.
12.    The history of its production and use.
13.    And of its meaning.
14.    How to lay bricks.
15.    What Victor Hugo really meant by ‘this will kill that.’
16.    The rate at which the seas are rising.
17.    Building information modeling (BIM).
18.    How to unclog a rapidograph.
19.    The Gini coefficient.
20.    A comfortable tread-to-riser ratio for a six-year-old.
21.    In a wheelchair.
22.    The energy embodied in aluminum.
23.    How to turn a corner.
24.    How to design a corner.
25.    How to sit in a corner.
26.    How Antoni Gaudí modeled the Sagrada Família and calculated its structure.
27.    The proportioning system for the Villa Rotonda.
28.    The rate at which that carpet you specified off-gasses.
29.    The relevant sections of the Code of Hammurabi.
30.    The migratory patterns of warblers and other seasonal travellers.
31.    The basics of mud construction.
32.    The direction of prevailing winds.
33.    Hydrology is destiny.
34.    Jane Jacobs in and out.
35.    Something about feng shui.
36.    Something about Vastu Shilpa.
37.    Elementary ergonomics.
38.    The color wheel.
39.    What the client wants.
40.    What the client thinks it wants.
41.    What the client needs.
42.    What the client can afford.
43.    What the planet can afford.
44.    The theoretical bases for modernity and a great deal about its factions and inflections.
45.    What post-Fordism means for the mode of production of building.
46.    Another language.
47.    What the brick really wants.
48.    The difference between Winchester Cathedral and a bicycle shed.
49.    What went wrong in Fatehpur Sikri.
50.    What went wrong in Pruitt-Igoe.
51.    What went wrong with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
52.    Where the CCTV cameras are.
53.    Why Mies really left Germany.
54.    How people lived in Çatal Hüyük.
55.    The structural properties of tufa.
56.    How to calculate the dimensions of brise-soleil.
57.    The kilowatt costs of photovoltaic cells.
58.    Vitruvius.
59.    Walter Benjamin.
60.    Marshall Berman.
61.    The secrets of the success of Robert Moses.
62.    How the dome on the Duomo in Florence was built.
63.    The reciprocal influences of Chinese and Japanese building.
64.    The cycle of the Ise Shrine.
65.    Entasis.
66.    The history of Soweto.
67.    What it’s like to walk down the Ramblas.
68.    Back-up.
69.    The proper proportions of a gin martini.
70.    Shear and moment.
71.    Shakespeare, etc.
72.    How the crow flies.
73.    The difference between a ghetto and a neighborhood.
74.    How the pyramids were built.
75.    Why.
76.    The pleasures of the suburbs.
77.    The horrors.
78.    The quality of light passing through ice.
79.    The meaninglessness of borders.
80.    The reasons for their tenacity.
81.    The creativity of the ecotone.
82.    The need for freaks.
83.    Accidents must happen.
84.    It is possible to begin designing anywhere.
85.    The smell of concrete after rain.
86.    The angle of the sun at the equinox.
87.    How to ride a bicycle.
88.    The depth of the aquifer beneath you.
89.    The slope of a handicapped ramp.
90.    The wages of construction workers.
91.    Perspective by hand.
92.    Sentence structure.
93.    The pleasure of a spritz at sunset at a table by the Grand Canal.
94.    The thrill of the ride.
95.    Where materials come from.
96.    How to get lost.
97.    The pattern of artificial light at night, seen from space.
98.    What human differences are defensible in practice.
99.    Creation is a patient search.
100.    The debate between Otto Wagner and Camillo Sitte.
101.    The reasons for the split between architecture and engineering.
102.    Many ideas about what constitutes utopia.
103.    The social and formal organization of the villages of the Dogon.
104.    Brutalism, Bowellism, and the Baroque.
105.    How to derive.
106.    Woodshop safety.
107.    A great deal about the Gothic.
108.    The architectural impact of colonialism on the cities of North Africa.
109.    A distaste for imperialism.
110.    The history of Beijing.
111.    Dutch domestic architecture in the 17th century.
112.    Aristotle’s Politics.
113.    His Poetics.
114.    The basics of wattle and daub.
115.    The origins of the balloon frame.
116.    The rate at which copper acquires its patina.
117.    The levels of particulates in the air of Tianjin.
118.    The capacity of white pine trees to sequester carbon.
119.    Where else to sink it.
120.    The fire code.
121.    The seismic code.
122.    The health code.
123.    The Romantics, throughout the arts and philosophy.
124.    How to listen closely.
125.    That there is a big danger in working in a single medium. The logjam you don’t even know you’re stuck in will be broken by a shift in representation.
126.    The exquisite corpse.
127.    Scissors, stone, paper.
128.    Good Bordeaux.
129.    Good beer.
130.    How to escape a maze.
131.    QWERTY.
132.    Fear.
133.    Finding your way around Prague, Fez, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Kyoto, Rio, Mexico, Solo, Benares, Bangkok, Leningrad, Isfahan.
134.    The proper way to behave with interns.
135.    Maya, Revit, Catia, whatever.
136.    The history of big machines, including those that can fly.
137.    How to calculate ecological footprints.
138.    Three good lunch spots within walking distance.
139.    The value of human life.
140.    Who pays.
141.    Who profits.
142.    The Venturi effect.
143.    How people pee.
144.    What to refuse to do, even for the money.
145.    The fine print in the contract.
146.    A smattering of naval architecture.
147.    The idea of too far.
148.    The idea of too close.
149.    Burial practices in a wide range of cultures.
150.    The density needed to support a pharmacy.
151.    The density needed to support a subway.
152.    The effect of the design of your city on food miles for fresh produce.
153.    Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes.
154.    Capability Brown, André Le Nôtre, Frederick Law Olmsted, Muso Soseki, Ji Cheng, and Roberto Burle Marx.
155.    Constructivism, in and out.
156.    Sinan.
157.    Squatter settlements via visits and conversations with residents.
158.    The history and techniques of architectural representation across cultures.
159.    Several other artistic media.
160.    A bit of chemistry and physics.
161.    Geodesics.
162.    Geodetics.
163.    Geomorphology.
164.    Geography.
165.    The Law of the Andes.
166.    Cappadocia first-hand.
167.    The importance of the Amazon.
168.    How to patch leaks.
169.    What makes you happy.
170.    The components of a comfortable environment for sleep.
171.    The view from the Acropolis.
172.    The way to Santa Fe.
173.    The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
174.    Where to eat in Brooklyn.
175.    Half as much as a London cabbie.
176.    The Nolli Plan.
177.    The Cerdà Plan.
178.    The Haussmann Plan.
179.    Slope analysis.
180.    Darkroom procedures and Photoshop.
181.    Dawn breaking after a bender.
182.    Styles of genealogy and taxonomy.
183.    Betty Friedan.
184.    Guy Debord.
185.    Ant Farm.
186.    Archigram.
187.    Club Med.
188.    Crepuscule in Dharamshala.
189.    Solid geometry.
190.    Strengths of materials (if only intuitively).
191.    Ha Long Bay.
192.    What’s been accomplished in Medellín.
193.    In Rio.
194.    In Calcutta.
195.    In Curitiba.
196.    In Mumbai.
197.    Who practices? (It is your duty to secure this space for all who want to.)
198.    Why you think architecture does any good.
199.    The depreciation cycle.
200.    What rusts.
201.    Good model-making techniques in wood and cardboard.
202.    How to play a musical instrument.
203.    Which way the wind blows.
204.    The acoustical properties of trees and shrubs.
205.    How to guard a house from floods.
206.    The connection between the Suprematists and Zaha.
207.    The connection between Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha.
208.    Where north (or south) is.
209.    How to give directions, efficiently and courteously.
210.    Stadtluft macht frei.
211.    Underneath the pavement the beach.
212.    Underneath the beach the pavement.
213.    The germ theory of disease.
214.    The importance of vitamin D.
215.    How close is too close.
216.    The capacity of a bioswale to recharge the aquifer.
217.    The draught of ferries.
218.    Bicycle safety and etiquette.
219.    The difference between gabions and riprap.
220.    The acoustic performance of Boston Symphony Hall.
221.    How to open the window.
222.    The diameter of the earth.
223.    The number of gallons of water used in a shower.
224.    The distance at which you can recognize faces.
225.    How and when to bribe public officials (for the greater good).
226.    Concrete finishes.
227.    Brick bonds.
228.    The Housing Question by Friedrich Engels.
229.    The prismatic charms of Greek island towns.
230.    The energy potential of the wind.
231.    The cooling potential of the wind, including the use of chimneys and the stack effect.
232.    Paestum.
233.    Straw-bale building technology.
234.    Rachel Carson.
235.    Freud.
236.    The excellence of Michel de Klerk.
237.    Of Alvar Aalto.
238.    Of Lina Bo Bardi.
239.    The non-pharmacological components of a good club.
240.    Mesa Verde National Park.
241.    Chichen Itza.
242.    Your neighbors.
243.    The dimensions and proper orientation of sports fields.
244.    The remediation capacity of wetlands.
245.    The capacity of wetlands to attenuate storm surges.
246.    How to cut a truly elegant section.
247.    The depths of desire.
248.    The heights of folly.
249.    Low tide.
250.    The Golden and other ratios.

Isis Pharia, copper drachma of Hadrian, minted in Alexandria in 133/4 C.E.

Today, April 25, marks the annual ancient Roman rite in honor of Isis Pharia, the protector of the Pharos, or Lighthouse, of Alexandria. Regarded as one one the wonders of the ancient world, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was designed by Sostratos of Knidos and completed in 270 B.C.E. during the reign oft Ptolemy II.

Isis Pharia is the protector of light houses and harbors. Pharos is the name of the island on which the lighthouse stood, and pharos is the Greek word for sail, which Isis is said to have invented, so the image of Isis holding a billowing sail while standing next to the lightbouse is a visual pun which would have been understood by the illiterate.

Apuleius of Madauros praised Isis with these words in his novel, The Golden Ass

 On land as well as at sea, you are She who chases away all storms and dangers from our lives by your right hand. Likewise you restrain the fatal dispositions, appease the great tempests of fortune and keep back the course of the stars. 


So, I recently found myself reading about Ephesus a city which was established after the Mycenaean collapse: much like the nearby Ionian island of Samos and the city of Miletos which also sat on the coast of Anatolia (modern day Turkey).

And, obviously, this lead to reading a bit more about the Temple to Artemis at Ephesus. This is the temple in which the Goddess is depicted with a multitude of breasts. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!

And, according to some Greek and Roman authors like Pausanias and Strabo, it existed before the city of Ephesus had even been established.

Because it had already been built (at least supposedly) by …

… Amazons.

“All cities worship Artemis of Ephesos, and individuals hold her in honor above all the gods. The reason, in my view, is the renown of the Amazones, who traditionally dedicated the image, also the extreme antiquity of this sanctuary. Three other points as well have contributed to her renown, the size of the temple, surpassing all buildings among men, the eminence of the city of the Ephesians and the renown of the goddess who dwells there.”

- Pausanias. (4.31.7)

I just watched Wonder Woman

What a fantastic film.

Comic book glory translated into a cinematic masterpiece with Greek mythology, brutal war, memorable characters and beautiful, powerful women.

Every single one of you go out and watch Wonder Woman this weekend and support the good stuff that DC Comics and Warner Brothers are making.