Even well-ordered, apparently stable societies can quickly break down

It’s rather that my family history warns me that even well-ordered, apparently stable societies can quickly break down. Neighbour can be set against neighbour.

BBC radio presenter Adrian Goldberg, a British citizen and son of a Holocaust survivor, explains why he will apply for a German passport. Read it on BBC. The setting is related to Brexit and the context is very contemporary. However, the Holocaust relevance is obvious, and he has heavy doubts about this move.
But when he visits the old German-come-Polish town where his ancestors lived, he gets an epiphany. The basic insight is timeless. (No, I don’t think it is just a convenient excuse. I think this is a real timeless insight.) Repeat:

… even well-ordered, apparently stable societies can quickly break down. Neighbour can be set against neighbour.

It can happen in any country.
It is already happening.

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UNESCO adds new heritage sites around the world

UNESCO World Heritage Center adds new heritage sites to its World Heritage List.

“A World Heritage site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural,[1] historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.”

Here is the full list with descriptions, for the nine sites added in 2018. Also briefly covered on BBC and CNN.

Aasivissuit – Nipisat
Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea (West Greenland / Denmark)

Located inside the Arctic Circle in the central part of West Greenland. The site contains the remains of 4,200 years of human history, large winter houses and evidence of caribou hunting. There are also sites from Paleo-Inuit and Inuit cultures. It bears testimony to the resilience of the human cultures of the region and their traditions of seasonal migration.

Al-Ahsa Oasis
(Saudi Arabia)

It is the largest oasis in the world, located the eastern Arabian Peninsula. It includes gardens, canals, springs, wells, a drainage lake, historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites. They represent traces of continued human settlement in the Gulf region from the Neolithic to the present, as can be seen from remaining historic fortresses, mosques, wells, canals and other water management systems. It also has 2.5 million date palms!

Ancient City of Qalhat

The site is located on the east coast of the Sultanate of Oman. The city developed as a major port on the east coast of Arabia between the 11th and 15th centuries CE, during the reign of the Hormuz princes. Today it bears unique archaeological testimony to the trade links between the east coast of Arabia, East Africa, India, China and South-east Asia.

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

Located in the north-western part of Kyushu island, there are ten villages, Hara Castle and a cathedral, built between the 16th and 19th centuries. They reflect the earliest activities of Christian missionaries and settlers in Japan. These sites bear unique testimony to a cultural tradition nurtured by hidden Christians in the Nagasaki region who secretly transmitted their faith during the period of prohibition from the 17th to the 19th century.

Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries
(South Korea)

The Sansa are Buddhist mountain monasteries located throughout the southern provinces of the Korean Peninsula. The have common characteristics that are specific to Korea – the “madang” (open courtyard) flanked by four buildings (Buddha Hall, pavilion, lecture hall and dormitory). These mountain monasteries are sacred places, which have survived as living centres of faith and daily religious practice to the present.

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai

Having become a global trading centre, the city of Mumbai implemented an ambitious urban planning project in the second half of the 19th century. It led to the construction of ensembles of public buildings, first in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style and then, in the early 20th century, in the Art Deco style. The Victorian ensemble includes Indian elements suited to the climate, including balconies and verandas. The Art Deco edifices, with their cinemas and residential buildings, blend Indian design with Art Deco imagery.
a – Image from BBC

Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site

Situated in the Lake Victoria region, this dry-stone walled settlement was probably built in the 16th century CE. It seems to have served as a fort for communities and livestock, but also defined social entities and relationships linked to lineage. Thimlich Ohinga is the largest and best preserved of these traditional enclosures. It is an exceptional example of the tradition of massive dry-stone walled enclosures, typical of the first pastoral communities in the Lake Victoria Basin, which persisted until the mid-20th century.

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region

Eight archaeological sites situated in three geographical parts in the southeast of Fars Province: Firuzabad, Bishapur and Sarvestan. These fortified structures, palaces, and city plans date back to the earliest and latest times of the Sassanian Empire, which stretched across the region from 224 to 658 CE. Among these sites is the capital built by the founder of the dynasty, Ardashir Papakan, as well as a city and architectural structures of his successor, Shapur I. The archaeologic landscape reflects the optimized utilization of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and of Roman art, which had a significant impact on the architecture and artistic styles of the Islamic era.

Hedeby and the Danevirke

The archaeological site of Hedeby consists of the remains of a trading town – containing traces of roads, buildings, cemeteries and a harbour dating back to the 1st and early 2nd millennia CE. It is enclosed by part of the Danevirke, a line of fortification crossing the Schleswig isthmus, which separates the Jutland Peninsula from the rest of the European mainland. Because of its unique situation between the Frankish Empire of the South and the Danish Kingdom in the North, Hedeby became a trading hub between continental Europe and Scandinavia and between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Because of its rich and well preserved archaeological material, it has become a key site for the interpretation of economic, social and historical developments in Europe during the Viking age.
b – Image from dw.com

Images are from UNESCO World Heritage Center, except when marked otherwise.
Text summarized from UNESCO World Heritage Center.

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A breakthrough on Huntington’s desease

Amazing things are happening around us.
This one is so much worth noticing:

“Huntington’s disease (HD), also known as Huntington’s chorea, is an inherited disorder that results in death of brain cells” (see Wikipedia article).

“Huntington’s is one of the most devastating diseases.
Some patients described it as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neurone disease rolled into one.” (BBC)

The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time, the BBC has learned.

An experimental drug, injected into spinal fluid, safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brain.

The research team, at University College London, say there is now hope the deadly disease can be stopped.

Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years.

See the full article on
BBC: “Huntington’s breakthrough may stop disease
The Guardian: “Excitement as trial shows Huntington’s drug could slow progress of disease
CNN: “Drug trial shows promising results to fight Huntington’s disease

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Robert Guillaume: Benson

Robert Guillaume (born Robert Peter Williams; November 30, 1927 – October 24, 2017) was an American actor, known for his role as Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night and as Benson DuBois on the TV-series Soap and the spin-off Benson, as well as for voicing the mandrill Rafiki in The Lion King. In a career that spanned more than 50 years he worked extensively on stage (including a Tony Award nomination), television (including winning two Emmy Awards), and film. (Text from Wikipedia).

A great actor. !!! Thanks for all the laughter and the smiles you brought us.

See more at IMDB.org

Obituary in the New York Times

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Vive la France

Vive la France ! Bon Appétit !

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Cleaning the Watch

“Having my Watch cleaned” by JP Appleton.

There is something inspiring about this picture. An a bit philosophical.

This picture was featured on the BBC In Pictures gallery.
See more of JP’s artistic photographs on his website jpappleton.com and at the 500px.com photo community.

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La Marseillaise

Mireille Mathieu performs La Marseillaise on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower (1989).

La Marseillaise is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792.

Performance from 1988:

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