Exclusive Interview W/ Wednesday Mourning (Oddities – San Francisco)
-MAD: Ms. Wednesday, it’s a pleasure to speak with you today! I’m a big fan of ODDITIES, and ODDITIES: San Francisco, of which you are a cast member. Haven’t missed an episode yet! For those who aren’t yet familiar with the show, can you please give a brief run-down of what people can expect, air time and station?
-WM: “Oddities San Francisco” follows the staff and transactions of Loved to Death, a oddity store located in the unusual Height-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Our second season finale will air October 29th at 10 pm on the Science channel.
The highly detailed paintings of Valerio Carrubba offer an unexpected combination of styles that strangely complement each other. His scenery and figures seem to emerge from a Renaissance and Baroque tradition. Mysterious hands pull and cut at the flesh revealing each subject’s inner anatomy in a nearly cold way very similar to modern anatomy atlases. The scene as a whole, however, bears the definite influence of surrealism. Carrubba works these various styles and aesthetic sensibilities as skillfully as the oil paint. The boundaries are seamless and carefully worked. VIA: -BEAUTIFUL DECAY-
In July 1968, ethologist John B. Calhoun built a “mouse utopia,” a metal enclosure 9 feet square with unlimited food, water, and nesting material. He introduced four pairs of mice, and within a year they had multiplied to 620. But after that the society began to fall apart — males became aggressive, females began neglecting their young, and the weaker mice were crowded to the center of the pen, where resources were scarce. After 600 days the females stopped reproducing and the males withdrew from them entirely, and by January 1973 the whole colony was dead. Even when the population had returned to its former levels, the mice’s behavior had remained permanently changed.
There were no predators in the mouse universe; the only adversity was confinement itself. Calhoun felt that his experiment held lessons as to the potential dangers of human overpopulation, and he urged his colleagues to study the effects of high population density on human behavior. “Our success in being human has so far derived from our honoring deviance more than tradition,” he said. “Now we must search diligently for those creative deviants from which, alone, will come the conceptualization of an evolutionary designing process. This can assure us an open-ended future toward whose realization we can participate.”
The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, or Pinus longaeva, is a long-living species of tree found in the higher mountains of the southwest United States. Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves in the arid mountain regions of six western states of America, but the oldest are found in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California. These trees have a remarkable ability to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environment. In fact, they are believed to be the some of oldest living organisms in the world, with lifespans in excess of 5,000 years.
Wadi us-Salaam, which literally means the Valley of Peace, is an Islamic cemetery located in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery covers an area of 1485.5 acres and contains millions of bodies, making it one of the strongest contender for the title of the largest graveyard on earth. Najaf itself is one of Iraq’s biggest cities, with a population of nearly 600,000. But the adjoining city of the dead holds the remains of millions, stretching for up to 10km along the valley. Wadi Al-Salam cemetery is also the only cemetery in the world where the process of burial is still continuing to day since more than 1,400 years.
This surreal-looking ice cave is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. The almost kilometer long tunnel was formed by a hot water spring flowing beneath the glacial ice fields on the flanks of the nearby Mutnovsky volcano. Because glaciers on Kamchatka volcanoes have been melting in recent years, the roof of this cave is now so thin that sunlight penetrates through it, eerily illuminating the icy structures within.
Photographer Martin Rietze travels around the world in pursuit of Earth’s greatest fiery spectacle – volcanoes. Recently, he went to Japan to photograph the Sakurajima Volcano in southern Kyushu as it spewed smoke, fire, and lava. During the shoot he captured some incredible lightening storms that are known to accompany volcanic eruptions. How lightning forms in general is still debated among scientists, and volcanic lightning is even less well understood. One hypothesis holds that catapulting magma bubbles or volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create these separated areas. Other volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust.
After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945, with landscapes demolished, soils charred and radiation rampant, Dr. Harold Jacobsen, a scientist from the Manhattan Project, told the Washington Post that Hiroshima will be barren of life and nothing will grow for 75 years. But nature had other plans. The following spring, to everyone’s surprise and delight, new shoots were seen springing up amongst the debris of the city. Those new saplings provided a powerful message to the survivors of the atomic bomb and gave them hope that they could rebuild their city.
Eric Franklin‘s sculpture’s glow with a certain life. Though the series focuses on skulls and skeletons, it isn’t exactly dead. These skulls are carefully made of flameworked glass, or glass melted and shaped with a torch. The hollow skulls are then filled with ionized neon, krypton, and mercury gases. The ionized gases cause the skulls to glow from within complimenting their eery shape. [via]