My super talented cousin, Katie Benge, is an artist and designer. Katie explains, “Born on Anglesey, Wales I have lived quite a nomadic life. First with my RAF family and then with my New Zealand husband and for the past four years in the Forest of Dean… My latest work is influenced by my Forest of Dean location, drawing the nature that surrounds me, capturing it on recycled wood or slate. All the pieces are hand drawn with Indian Ink and a quill.”
From the New York Times, a story of the mafia’s decline:
After he had helped pull off one of the biggest cash robberies in American history — the Lufthansa heist of 1978 — and stashed millions of dollars, along with burlap sacks of gold chains, crates of watches, and diamonds and emeralds, in his cousin’s basement, Vincent Asaro thought first about the code: Protect the family.
“He says, ‘We got to be real careful now,’” his cousin testified. “‘Don’t spend anything. Don’t buy anything major.’”
He kept quiet, but another part of Mr. Asaro, a Mafia yeoman working his way up through New York’s Bonanno crime family, could not resist. He bought a Bill Blass-model Lincoln and a Formula speedboat — symbols of a man who wanted to belong.
Mr. Asaro did not realize his world was vanishing.
Growing up in Lancaster, the old Moor Hospital used to terrify me. Originally known as the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum, it was a large complex of imposing Victorian buildings, purpose built from the early 1800s onwards to house people not deemed fit to live with the rest of us. I dread to think how many people were taken there against their will for the flimsiest of reasons, and what kind of “treatment” they endured.
Today the site is being renovated. Already you can buy a luxury home at The Residence, as it is now is known, for upwards of £300k.
The photos above and below were taken by a team of urban explorers going by the names of Ben, Beardy, Travis and Chard in 2013, before the renovations began. I love their work. You should check out more here.
See more photos of the Lancaster Moor Hospital, and other locations, here.
I just saw this image flash up on the Face of Britain by Simon Schama. I love the style of illustration. After deciphering the signature, I discovered these 1920s cigarette cards were by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie. You can see more of his work here.
See more at the National Portrait Gallery website.
Every week the Atlantic publishes their photos of the week. I encourage you to check it out.
Roughly twice a year, the apparent positions of sun and moon coincide, and a fortunate few observers are treated to a solar eclipse. Watching such an event provides the opportunity to contemplate a strange coincidence: From the surface of Earth, the apparent sizes of the sun and moon in the sky are nearly equal. The sun is almost exactly 400 times larger than the moon, and it’s also almost exactly 400 times farther away.
There is no particular reason why they should appear the same size, and it wasn’t always that way. The moon has been retreating from Earth since the mega-collision that created it, 4.5 billion years ago. We’ve measured its rate of retreat with the help of equipment left on the surface of the moon by Apollo astronauts: It’s presently receding at about 4 centimeters per year. A billion years ago, it would’ve thoroughly covered the sun with every eclipse; now, depending on where the moon is in its elliptical orbit, some eclipses are total, but more are annular, with the moon appearing slightly smaller than the sun, leaving a “ring of fire” surrounding the moon (see image below). Fifty million years from now, the moon will have receded to the point that all eclipses will be annular.