A link I had on my desktop for long time... "Examples of Beautiful Maps"...
"Up until a week ago, here is something you could have learned from Wikipedia: From 1640 to 1641 the might of colonial Portugal clashed with India's massive Maratha Empire in an undeclared war that would later be known as the Bicholim Conflict. Named after the northern Indian region where most of the fighting took place, the conflict ended with a peace treaty that would later help cement Goa as an independent Indian state Except none of this ever actually happened..." (read more rom the Daily Dot).
(I adore the first photo, where he plays chess with his first wife: it looks like a scene taken fro À bout de souffle.The last photo is also great: Misha Tal and Tigran Pertrosian playing ping-pong).
The Wall Street Journal has a long, charming article on the ups and downs of a Russian letter that is fading from the vernacular. The Cyrillic-alphabet letter, ë, is pronounced “yo.” Apparently, people are starting to drop the dots, even though the resulting e is pronounced “ye” in Russia. The distinction does matter: it’s why Russians know their former leader as Nikita Khrushchov rather than Khrushchev, as he is commonly called by the rest of the world.
The letter’s slow decline is apparently provoking a movement to save it, according to the Journal’s story. That means a “cultlike following that has honored [the letter] with monuments in two provincial towns, written books about its use and computer programs to make sure the dots are never left out.” But the preservation campaign’s leading figure, an 80-year-old former engineer named Viktor Chumakov, believes quite firmly that ë is falling out of usage as a result of secret efforts by the Central Intelligence Agency. (read more in Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2012).
Unknown drawings of Hermann Hesse were found in the National Library in Jerusalem... I like to hear about such happy discoveries.