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May 22 2017

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May 21 2017

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May 20 2017

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How Food Looks Before It’s Harvested.



Sesame Seeds






Brussel Sprouts






exactly 1 minute ago i had absolutely no idea what the plants sesame seeds and peanuts came from look like and i am shocked and surprised

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These are Victorian aquariums from the 1880s. (Source)

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Medieval castle stairs were often built to ascend in narrow, clockwise spirals so right-handed castle defenders could use their swords more easily. This design put those on the way up at a disadvantage (unless they were left-handed). The steps were also uneven to give defenders the advantage of anticipating each step’s size while attackers tripped over them. Source Source 2 Source 3

Not really the best illustration since it totally negates the effect by having a wide open space for those ascending. Castle tower staircases tended to look like this:

Extremely tight quarters, with a central supporting pillar that is very, very thoroughly in the way of your right arm.

Wider, less steep designs tend to come later once castles moved away from being fortresses to simply noble family homes with the advent of gunpowder.

Oh! Pre-gunpowder military tactics are my jam! I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite little details about defensive fortifications, because the majority handedness of attackers isn’t usually something you think about when studying historical wars. But strategically-placed walls were used basically worldwide as a strategy to secure gates and passages against advancing attackers, because most of the world’s population is right-handed (and has been since the Stone Age).

Pre-Columbian towns near the Mississippi and on the East coast did this too. They usually surrounded their towns with palisades, and they would build the entrance to the palisade wall in a zigzag – always with the wall to the right as you entered, to hinder attackers and give an advantage to the defender. Here’s some gates with some examples of what I’m talking about:


Notice that, with the exception of the last four (which are instead designed to congregate the attackers in a space so they can be picked off by archers, either in bastions or on the walls themselves) and the screened gate (which, in addition to being baffled, also forces the attackers to defend their flank) all of these gates are designed with central architectural idea that it’s really hard to kill someone with a wall in your way.

In every culture in the world, someone thought to themselves, “Hey it’s hard to swing a weapon with a wall on your right-hand side,” and then specifically built fortifications so that the attackers would always have the wall on their right. And I think that’s really neat.

Ooh, ooh, also: Bodiam Castle in Sussex used to have a right-angled bridge so any attacking forces would be exposed to archery fire from the north-west tower on their right side (ie: sword in the right hand, shield on the useless left side):

These tactics worked so well for so long because until quite recently lefties got short shrift and had it trained (if they were lucky) or beaten out of them.

Use of sword and shield is a classic demonstration of how right-handedness predominated. There’s historical mention of left-handed swordsmen (gladiators and Vikings), and what a problem they were for their opponents, but that only applies to single combat.

A left-handed hoplite or housecarl simply couldn’t fight as part of a phalanx or shield wall, since the shields were a mutual defence (the right side of the shield covered its owner’s left side, its left side covered the right side of his neighbour to the left, and so on down the line) and wearing one on the wrong arm threw the whole tactic out of whack.


Jousting, whether with or without an Italian-style tilt barrier, was run shield-side to shield-side with the lance at a slant (except for the Scharfrennen, a highly specialised style that’s AFAIK unique.) Consequently left-handed knights were physically unable to joust.


There’s a creditable theory (I first read it in “A Knight and His Horse”, © Ewart Oakeshott 1962, 1998 and many other places since) that a knight’s “destrier” horse - from dexter, “right” - was trained to lead with his right forefoot so that any instinctive swerve would be to the right, away from collision while letting the rider keep his shield between him and harm. (In flying, if a pilot hears “break!” with no other details, the default evasive direction is right.)

The construction of plate armour, whether specialised tournament kit or less elaborate battle gear, is noticeably “right-handed“ - so even if a wealthy knight had his built “left-handed” it would be a waste of time and money; he would still be a square peg in a world of round holes and none of the other kids would play with him.

Even after shields and full armour were no longer an essential part of military equipment, right-hand use was still enforced until quite recently, and to important people as well as ordinary ones - it happened to George VI, father of the present Queen of England. Most swords with complex hilts, such as swept-hilt rapiers and some styles of basket-hilt broadsword, are assymetrical and constructed for right handers. Here’s my schiavona…


It can be held left-handed, but using it with the proper thumb-ring grip, and getting maximum protection from the basket, is right-handed only. (More here.) Some historical examples of left-hand hilts do exist, but they’re rare, and fencing masters had the same “learn to use your right hand” bias as tourney organisers, teachers and almost everyone else. Right-handers were dextrous, but left-handers were sinister, etc., etc.

However, several predominantly left-handed families did turn their handedness into advantage, among them the Kerrs / Carrs, a notorious Reiver family along the England-Scotland Borders, by building their fortress staircases with a spiral the other way to the OP image.


This would seem to be a bad idea, since the attackers (coming upstairs) no longer have their right arms cramped against the centre pillar - however it worked in the Kerrs’ favour because they were used to this mirror-image of reality while nobody else was, and the defender retreating up the spiral had that pillar guarding his right side, while the attacker had to reach out around it…

For the most part Reiver swords weren’t elaborate swept-hilt rapiers but workmanlike basket-hilts. Some from Continental Europe have the handedness of my schiavona with thumb-rings and assymmetrical baskets, but the native “British Baskethilt” is a variant of the Highland claymore* and like it seems completely symmetrical, without even a thumb-ring, which gives equal protection to whichever hand is using it.


*I’m aware there are those who insist “claymore” refers only to two-handers, however the Gaelic term claidheamh-mòr - “big sword” - just refers to size, not to a specific type of sword in the way “schiavona” or “karabela” or even “katana” does.

While the two-hander was the biggest sword in common use it was the claidheamh-mòr; after it dropped out of fashion and the basket-hilt became the biggest sword in common use, that became the claidheamh-mòr.

When Highlanders in the 1745 Rebellion referred to their basket-hilts as claymores, they obviously gave no thought to the confusion they would create for later compilers of catalogues…

Well if left-handed swordfighting was good enough for the Hero of Time…

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There’s nothing to dislike about this photo 10/10

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We are watching this man have a mental break down from trying to be Trumps hype man.

May 19 2017

Cøffe – das neue Café am Carlsplatz

Ich bin ja gebürtiger Düsseldorfer und zu Schulzeiten (lang ists her) in Freistunden öfters mal am Carlsplatz gewesen. Früher war der noch gar nicht hip und cool, dafür gab es da noch einen McDonald’s dort, wo jetzt das Café vom jungen Herrn Kamps ist. Auch das Reformhaus an der Ecke ist mir nie aufgefallen. Erst seit es Yomaro Frozen Yogurt gibt, ist mir dieses kleine, charmante Geschäft aufgefallen. Wenn ich bei Yomaro in der (meist nicht so kurzen) Schlange stand, schaute ich meist in das angrenzende Reformhaus hinüber, das immer etwas verstaubt und merkwürdig wirkte. Aber nicht negativ, sondern eher so wie der Buchladen in „Die unendliche Geschichte“. Ein kleines Geschäftchen, in dem die Zeit stehen geblieben ist. Cøffe - Café am Düsseldorfer Carlsplatz Cøffe - Café am Düsseldorfer Carlsplatz

Seit den 50er Jahren war das „Diät- und Reformhaus“ Carlsplatz eine Institution. Im Sommer 2016 schloss Besitzerin Evelyn Worthoff, die das Geschäft seit den 70ern führte, den Laden. Passend zu den ganzen neu angesiedelten Cafés und Geschäften musste etwas neues, angesagtes her. Mit dem Cøffe wurde hier die perfekte Wahl getroffen. Das Cøffe verbindet hippes Szene-Café mit dem alten Charme des Reformhauses. Die Einrichtung ist fast komplett geblieben, alles neue passt perfekt ins Bild. Cøffe - Café am Düsseldorfer Carlsplatz

Statt schnellem Frozen-Caramel-Macchiato-To-Go gibt es in dem kleinen Geschäft, das sich mit dem beliebten Frozen-Yogurt-Laden Yomaro einen Eingang teilt, schonend gerösteten Kaffee aus der Rösterei Schvarz Kaffee. Dass man hier Kaffee liebt, sieht und schmeckt man. Ich gebe zu, von Kaffee habe ich nicht viel Ahnung und meistens trinke ich ihn mit sehr viel Milch, aber der hier servierte Kaffee schmeckt anders, das ist sogar mir aufgefallen. Fruchtig, mild und fast ohne Bitterstoffe.

Passend zum Nachmittagskaffee gibt es hier eine kleine Auswahl an Gebäck und für die heißen Tage auch noch Getränke aus dem Kühlschrank. Sowohl Zubehör wie Kaffeekannen oder Becher als auch Kaffeebohnen können erworben werden. Die hauseigene Marke „Eveline“ (benannt nach der Vorbesitzerin des Geschäfts) habe ich mir auch direkt mitgenommen und zuhause aufgebrüht und was soll ich sagen – ich hab den Kaffee schwarz getrunken, was ich sonst gar nicht mag, und er war wirklich lecker.

Wenn ihr mal in der Düsseldorfer Altstadt unterwegs seid und es euch nach einem Kaffee ohne viel Schnickschnack gelüstet, lasst die ganzen Starbucks links liegen und besucht das Cøffe am Carlsplatz. Und holt euch zum Nachtisch einen Frozen Yogurt bei Yomaro!

Name: Cøffe
Adresse: Benrather Straße 6b
Webseite: Facebook/Instagram
Hashtag: #dascoffe

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