Murano, Venice glass

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pages: 254 words: 78,000

The Planet on the Table by Kim Stanley Robinson

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complexity theory, Murano, Venice glass

In no more than twenty minutes they were east of Murano, skirting its edge. Murano, like Venice an island city crossed with canals, had been a quaint little town before the flood. But it didn’t have as many tall buildings as Venice, and it was said that an underwater river had undercut its islands. In any case, it was a wreck. The two Japanese chattered with excitement “Can we visit to that city here, Carlo?” asked Hamada. “It’s too dangerous,” Carlo answered. “Buildings have fallen into the canal.” They nodded, smiling. “Are people live here?” Taku asked. “A few, yes. They live in the highest buildings on the floors still above water, and work in Venice. That way they avoid having to build a roof-house in the city.” The two faces of his companions expressed incomprehension. “They avoid the housing shortage in Venice,” Carlo said.

After the laughter receded, Carlo said, “Hasn’t all the rain drowned some of your cities too?” “What’s that here?” “Don’t you have some Venices in Japan?” But they didn’t want to talk about that. “I don’t understand… No, no Venice in Japan,” Hamada said easily, but neither laughed as they had before. They sailed on. Venice was out of sight under the horizon, as was Murano. Soon they would reach Burano. Carlo guided the boat over the waves and listened to his companions converse in their improbable language, or mangle Italian in a way that alternately made him want to burst with hilarity or bite the gunwale with frustration. Gradually Burano bounced over the horizon, the campanile first, followed by the few buildings still above water. Murano stiIl had inhabitants, a tiny market, even a midsummer festival; Burano was empty. Its campanile stood at a distinct angle, like the mast of a foundered ship.

He had to go where the waves were going, he realized; and if they missed Murano and Venice, that meant the Adriatic. As the waves lifted and dropped him, he grimly contemplated the thought. His mast alone acted like a sail in a wind of this force; and the wind seemed to be blowing from a bit to the west of north. The waves—the biggest he had ever seen on the Lagoon, perhaps the biggest ever on the Lagoon—pushed in about the same direction as the wind, naturally. Well, that meant he would miss Venice, which was directly south, maybe even a touch west of south. Damn, he thought. And all because he had been angered by those two Japanese and the Teotaca. What did he care what happened to a sunken mosaic from Torcello? He had helped foreigners find and cart off the one bronze horse of San Marco that had fallen… more than one of the stone lions of Venice, symbol of the city… the entire Bridge of Sighs, for Christ’s sake!


pages: 466 words: 146,982

Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden

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big-box store, buy low sell high, centre right, colonial rule, Columbine, Costa Concordia, double entry bookkeeping, facts on the ground, financial innovation, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Murano, Venice glass, spice trade, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning

Numerous other specialty industries also developed in the lagoon, including leatherwork and jewelry. Lace made on the island of Burano soon became coveted across Europe, just as it remains among tourists today. This century also saw the rapid development of the glass industry on Murano. Venetian glass gained a wide reputation for excellence and the artistic skill of Murano’s glassblowers became legendary. Aside from producing glassware and decorative items, the craftsmen also created precision hourglasses, crucial in an age of oceanic voyages. Education levels in Venice had always been among the highest in Europe. Merchants, after all, must be able to read, write, and count. By the late fourteenth century a humanistic education, preferably at the University of Padua, was becoming a standard for Venetian patrician men.

Likewise, in the movie Summertime (1955) another single American woman, Jane Hudson, played by Katharine Hepburn, is seduced as much by Venice as by the intriguing Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi). Summertime was the first mass-market film to use the cityscape of Venice as a crucial element in its story. Jane strolls through the Piazza San Marco, buys Murano glass, shops for fashionable clothes, and visits the brightly colored island of Burano. Yet, like the dark Venice of eighteenth-century myth, the romantic Renato has a terrible secret. He is married. Although Jane suspects that he has simply used her, she nevertheless remains with him until her departure. In these movies, as in works of fiction for three centuries, Venice retained its image as enchanting, mysterious, and decadent. It was a place that powerfully attracted its visitors, who quickly came under its seductive spell. In Summertime’s most famous scene, Katharine Hepburn, while attempting to take a photo, careens backward into a canal near San Barnaba.

Having thus manufactured both a hero and a villain, it sent a delegation to Murano, where a Liberty Tree was planted and the mortal remains of Doge Gradenigo scattered to the winds. The Venetian supporters of the Municipality were not traitors. They truly believed that Venice would rise again as a democratic city. As nationalism spread across Europe, it kindled the dream of a united Italy in Italians across the shattered peninsula. Venice’s democrats had every reason to believe that a new Venice, remade in the image of the Enlightenment and supported by the French, would rise to become the leader of a new Italy. They were, however, badly deceived. The French brought words of Liberal revolution, but in truth they remained in Venice only to safeguard it as diplomatic currency. In the Treaty of Campoformio, signed on October 18, 1797, Napoleon handed over all the former Venetian mainland territories to the Hapsburgs, just as he had promised in the Preliminaries of Leoben some months earlier.


pages: 570 words: 158,139

Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker

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airport security, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, BRICs, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, computer age, corporate governance, Costa Concordia, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, Masdar, Murano, Venice glass, open borders, out of africa, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, statistical model, sustainable-tourism, the market place, union organizing, urban renewal, wage slave, young professional, éminence grise

“We don’t see many Americans anymore. Welcome to our shop.” His name was Brian Tottle. He was British, married to an Italian, and a twenty-six-year veteran of the Venetian glass industry. After we bought a wine carafe, I asked him what had happened to the glass business in Venice. “Mass tourism,” he said. “Cruises, bus tours, they take tourists in boats to the island to so-called glass factories where they are taken into showrooms. Real glass factories are closed to the public,” he said. High-pressure salesmen tell tourists they can buy the glass at a “50 percent discount,” but still they pay more than twice what it’s worth. It isn’t Murano glass. It’s shoddy glass mass-produced somewhere else: Taiwan, China, Russia, the Czech Republic—who knows. “We’ve complained to the authorities that this is false merchandising.

First, they want authorities to enforce all the laws against cheap foreign copies pretending to be fine Venetian crafts. Murano blown glass has been undercut by cheap foreign copies, leading to more local unemployment. Kempinski Hotels recently bought up one of those abandoned factories on the island of Murano. The press release announcing this new hotel said: “This veritable gem of a building offers dazzling vistas across the lagoon to Venice and is directly connected to Rio dei Vetrai Canal. Apart from its outstanding location, the hotel will feature approximately 150 rooms and suites, a sun terrace, bar with a terrace, café, spa area and fitness center, a ballroom as well as meeting and convention facilities.” With factories transformed to hotels, “Murano glass” as well as souvenir masks are more likely to be mass-produced in China than made in Italy.

We wanted to buy a beautiful piece of Murano glass and instead we ran into blocks of brand-name fashion stores that rivaled the Champs-Élysées of Paris. Familiar Italian names like Prada, Armani, Gucci and Ferragamo were joined by Dior and Burberry. The night before, we had dined at the fabled Osteria da Fiore, an extraordinary one-star restaurant that uses Murano glasses, which enchanted Bill. He asked for the name of the shop where we could buy a good piece of glass. There it was—the Venetian gallery called L’Isola—the one local artisan showroom buried in the midst of those high-end boutiques that you can find in any major shopping city of the world. We walked in and were stunned. Bright oranges, purples, greens and yellows swirled in playful patterns on perfectly formed goblets, vases and water glasses. I spoke in my mangled French-Spanish hoping to hit upon a word that would sound Italian.


pages: 493 words: 172,533

Best of Kim Stanley Robinson by Kim Stanley Robinson

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Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, late capitalism, Murano, Venice glass, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman

In no more than forty minutes they were east of Murano, skirting its edge. Murano, like Venice an island city crossed with canals, had been a quaint little town before the flood. But it didn’t have as many tall buildings as Venice, and it was said that an underwater river had undercut its islands; in any case, it was a wreck. The two Japanese chattered with excitement. “Can we visit to that city here, Carlo?” asked Hamada. “It’s too dangerous,” Carlo answered. “Buildings have fallen into the canals.” They nodded, smiling. “Are people live here?” Taku asked. “A few, yes. They live in the highest buildings on the floors still above water, and work in Venice. That way they avoid having to build a roof-house in the city.” The faces of his two companions expressed incomprehension. “They avoid the housing shortage in Venice,” Carlo said.

After the laughter receded, Carlo said, “Hasn’t all the rain drowned some of your cities too?” “What’s that here?” “Don’t you have some Venices in Japan?” But they didn’t want to talk about that. “I don’t understand… No, no Venice in Japan,” Hamada said easily, but neither laughed as they had before. They sailed on. Venice was out of sight under the horizon, as was Murano. Soon they would reach Burano. Carlo guided the boat over the waves and listened to his companions converse in their improbable language, or mangle Italian in a way that alternately made him want to burst with hilarity or bite the gunwale with frustration. Gradually, Burano bounced over the horizon, the campanile first, followed by the few buildings still above water. Murano still had inhabitants, a tiny market, even a midsummer festival; Burano was empty. Its campanile stood at a distinct angle, like the mast of a foundered ship.

He had to go where the waves were going, he realized; and if they missed Murano and Venice, that meant the Adriatic. As the waves lifted and dropped him, he grimly contemplated the thought. His mast alone acted like a sail in a wind of this force; and the wind seemed to be blowing from a bit to the west of north. The waves—the biggest he had ever seen on the Lagoon, perhaps the biggest ever on the Lagoon—pushed in about the same direction as the wind, naturally. Well, that meant he would miss Venice, which was directly south, maybe even a touch west of south. Damn, he thought. And all because he had been angered by those two Japanese and the Teotaca. What did he care what happened to a sunken mosaic from Torcello? He had helped foreigners find and cart off the one bronze horse of San Marco that had fallen… more than one of the stone lions of Venice, symbol of the city… the entire Bridge of Sighs, for Christ’s sake!


pages: 470 words: 118,051

The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

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invisible hand, Murano, Venice glass, trade route

One topped by a winged lion, the other by Saint Todaro slaying a dragon. It was here that traitors died. “Why kill them if they know nothing?” “What do you know about Murano?” “Little enough. You don’t encourage strangers.” “The glassmakers’ island has its own courts and cathedral, its own coinage, its own bishop. It even has its own Golden Book. A good portion of Venice’s wealth comes from its secrets.” Captain Roderigo paused to let that sink in. “It’s the only place in the world where artisans are patrician and skill with your hands earns you the right to wear a sword in public.” “This comes at a price?” Honesty kept Roderigo from lying. Glass-blowers couldn’t leave Murano without permission and the penalty for a Muranesq caught trying to abandon Venice was death. “Didn’t you need your Prior’s permission to leave Cyprus?” he added, refusing to concede the point entirely.

An ornate one on the Grand Canal and a slightly less grand, but more often used, one on Rio della Fornace. While the land door was close enough to Dogana to be walked in minutes. Of course, everywhere in the city was within walking distance of everywhere else. Since Atilo didn’t trade, which made him rare in Venice, his colonnaded cortile was empty and his servants few. He entertained in the piano nobile, a wood-panelled first-floor reception room with alternating black and white tiles, huge fireplace and long windows stretching from floor to high ceiling. Furniture was sparse but the walls had Murano mirrors. And a painting of Atilo as a young admiral, by Gentile da Fabriano, held pride of place among round-faced madonnas and anguished saints. A huge Persian carpet covered much of the tiling. Directly above one corner of the piano nobile were the separate chambers where Atilo and Desdaio slept.

Atilo shut his mouth, wondering where Alexa was and why he was alone with the Regent, without even the duke swinging his feet and humming to provide legitimacy for this meeting. “Not in so many words,” Alonzo added. “She said you seemed surprisingly fond of him for you. I simply read between her words. Although your response confirms it.” The Regent beamed, pleased with his cunning. “My lord… The reason I’m here?” “All in good time,” Alonzo said, picking a honey-glazed almond from a Murano glass salver and sucking off its sweetness. “The duchess would be upset if I started without her.” As if on cue, halberds slammed on the marble outside as guards came to attention and a door swung open. Duchess Alexa took one look at Alonzo behind the table and Atilo standing there in front of it and scowled. “I thought the meeting was at six.” “Did we say that?” The Regent sounded surprised. “I confess, I thought it was half an hour earlier.


pages: 615 words: 189,720

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson

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clockwork universe, dark matter, Dava Sobel, gravity well, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres

“Mother of God.” There in the middle of the glass swam the old man’s wrinkled face, half-bright and half-shadowed, as close as if Galileo could touch him, and they were fifty feet apart or more. The image burned into Galileo’s mind—the artisan’s familiar gap-toothed grin shimmery and flat, but big and clear—the very emblem of their many happy days in the workshop, trying new things. “My God!” he shouted, deeply surprised. “It works!” Mazzoleni hurried out to give it a try. He rotated the frames, looked through it backwards, tipped the frames, moved them back and forth on the tube. “There are blurry patches,” he noted. “We need better lenses.” “You could order a batch from Murano.” “From Florence. The best optical glass is Florentine. Murano glass is for colored trinkets.” “If you say so.

After everyone had had a first look, he spotted terra-firma towns even more distant than Padua, which itself was twenty-five miles away: Chioggia to the south, Treviso to the west, even Conegliano, nestled in the foothills more than fifty miles away. Moving to the northern arches, he trained the glass on various parts of the lagoon. These views made it clear that many of the senators were even more amazed to see people brought close than they had been buildings; perhaps their minds had leaped as quickly as Galileo’s servants to the uses of such an ability. They gazed at worshippers entering the church of San Giacomo in Murano, or getting into gondolas at the mouth of the Rio de’ Verieri, just west of Murano. Once one of them even recognized a woman he knew. After that round of viewing, Galileo lifted the device, helped now by as many hands as could touch the tripod, and the whole assembly shifted together to the easternmost arch on the southern side of the campanile, where the glass could be directed over the Lido and the fuzzy blue Adriatic.

Now he wandered around through the familiar faces, moving by habit. But he was distracted. It would be a good thing to be able to see distant objects as if they were close by. Several obvious uses sprang to mind. Military advantages, in fact. He made his way to one of the lens-makers’ tables, humming a little tune of his father’s that came to him whenever he was on the hunt. There would be better lenses in Murano or Florence; here he found nothing but the usual magnifying glasses that one used for close work. He picked up two, held them in the air before his right eye. St. Mark’s lion couchant became a flying ivory blur. It was a poorly done bas relief, he saw again with his other eye, very primitive compared to the worn Roman statues under it on either side of the gate. Galileo put the lenses back on their table and walked down to the Riva San Biagio, where one of the Padua ferries docked.


pages: 266 words: 78,689

Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Las Vegas by Mary Herczog, Jordan S. Simon

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Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Maui Hawaii, Murano, Venice glass, Saturday Night Live, young professional

The Caesars Palace entrance is a riot of gilt bas-relief, carved and mirrored ceilings, friezes, and reclining marble nudes alongside black marble floors and crystal chandeliers. After more than 30 years, it’s still Vegas glitz at its best. But for sheer camp, nothing exceeds the excess of Excalibur, with its mock medieval stained-glass ceiling, glowing dragons, brightly colored heraldic flags, suits of armor on wooden horses, and amazing turreted chandeliers. The majestic 70-foot rotunda dome in the Venetian’s lobby glistens with 24K gold leaf and a montage of 21 Renaissance paintings. The tile floors are the real thing, scavenged from condemned palazzi. Marble and Murano glass gleam everywhere, and a photo of Venice canals provides a trompe l’oeil effect behind the reception desk. Less awesome, but handsome all the same, is New York–New York’s registration area, with its Art Deco bronze touches, ’40s Times Square photos, and a marvelous mural of the New York skyline at dawn.

Expect descriptions of “my infamous cavity searches with both hands tied behind my back” and the like. Go, girl. Restrooms... Every hotel casino and lobby has facilities, some quite ornate. Favorites: Via Bellagio (the hotel’s shopping arcade), with gold-plated fixtures; New York– New York’s Rockefeller Restroom (Murano glass chandeliers and wall sconces, gilded mirrors, silk flowers, custom tile work, and portraits of Mae West over marble and painted fireplaces); and the beaded, translucent glass bathrooms with TV screens outside Mandalay Bay’s China Grill. Taxis... Several taxicab companies serve the Las Vegas Valley. Fares are fairly stratospheric (meters drop at $2.70, generally, and then $1.80 for every mile thereafter or min. of waiting time). Try Desert Cab Company (tel 702/3862687); Yellow/Checker Cab/Star Company (tel 702/8732000); and Whittlesea Taxi (tel 702/384-6111).

The cozy oak-paneled warren of rooms at Mon Ami Gabi set the stage for l’amour; there are atmospheric black and white photos of sidewalk cafes inside, and the real thing outside, beneath the “Eiffel Tower” with a breathtaking view of Bellagio’s dancing fountains across the Strip. Water walls and fountains provide a soothing backdrop for conversation at Café Lago, especially on or beside the patio, which overlooks Caesars’ illuminated Garden of the Gods pool complex. Another romantic touch: top-flight pianists, including acclaimed David Osborne (a Bobby-Short-in-the-making). Posh Valentino features dimly lit private nooks, rose or tangerine velvet curtains, and Murano glass flowers and lighting fixtures. Lovers can lock gazes here over a superlative bottle of Gaja Barbaresco and refined risotto (perhaps with dried berries and bacon-wrapped quail). DINING 68 brass-and-wood sconces, and towering floral arrangements impart the feel of a plush boardroom; for serious dealhammering, head for the Swan Court area, just nine tables and four booths surrounded by picture windows overlooking a waterfall, swan-filled pool, and gardens.


pages: 618 words: 159,672

Fodor's Rome: With the Best City Walks and Scenic Day Trips by Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.

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call centre, Donald Trump, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mason jar, mega-rich, Murano, Venice glass, urban planning, young professional

There’s a fun, unique, and diverse inventory of 1960s- and ’70s-style apparel and googly sunglasses at Vestiti Usati Cinzia, beloved by private clients, costume designers, and fashion designers and stylists alike. You’ll find lots of flower power, embroidered tops, and psychedelic clothing here, along with trippy boots and dishy bubblegum pink shoes that Twiggy would have loved. | Via del Governo Vecchio 45 | 00186 | 06/6832945. Ceramics and Decorative Arts Arte del Vetro Natolli Murano. Specializing in handblown Venetian art glass pieces, including Murano glass jewelry (necklaces and pendants), tableware, glass vases, and extravagant chandeliers, at Arte del Vetro Natolli Murano every individual piece is handcrafted from the furnaces of master glassmakers using ancient techniques kept alive by the island’s artisans since 1291. Some limited-edition designs show not only the craftsman’s mastery of the art form but the artisan’s love for the vibrant aesthetic of the glassmaking tradition. | Corso Rinascimento 53/55 | 00186 | 06/68301170.

Rome in the summer has an abundance of stone fruits and seasonal treats (fresh plums, apricots, and figs are nothing like their dried counterparts and should be tasted to be believed), and great citrus in cooler months, like the sweet-tasting, beautiful blood oranges arriving daily from Sicily, which are often fresh-squeezed and served in tall glasses at Roman caffè. EATING LOCAL Like the Florentines with their cuisine and the Milanese with theirs, Romans go out to eat expecting to “eat local.” Forget about Thai stir-frys or Brazilian-style steaks, even the bollito (boiled meats) from Bologna or the cuttlefish risotto from Venice are regarded as “foreign” food. But Rome is the capital city, and the influx of immigrants from other regions of the country is enough to insure there are more variations on the Italian theme in Rome than you’d find anywhere else in the country: Sicilian, Tuscan, Pugliese, Bolognese, Marchegiano, Sardinian, and northern Italian regional cuisines are all represented.

Film Da Venezia a Roma Festival. Immediately following the finale of the Venice Film Festival in September, Da Venezia a Roma brings the award-nominated films to Rome for a two-week review. Widely distributed films and art house specials like Melancholia make fleeting screen appearances months before international release in Italy. Films are shown in original language with Italian subtitles when necessary. The festival has grown to include lectures and appearances by directors, producers and actors. Check out the local press or the website for more details. | www.agisanec.lazio.it/venezia.html. Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma. In October, cinephiles head to Rome for the International Festival of Film, designed to compete with Venice, London, Cannes, and New York. Two dedicated weeks see award-winning and art house films, blockbuster and experimental movies, shorts, celebrity sightings, technical lectures, and awards for best films and silver-screen icons both past and present.


pages: 363 words: 108,670

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love by Dava Sobel

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion

Soon after Galileo’s departure, Marina married Giovanni Bartoluzzi, a respectable citizen closer to her own social station. Galileo not only approved of their union but also helped Bartoluzzi find employment with a wealthy Paduan friend of his. Still, Galileo continued sending money to Marina for Vincenzio’s support, and Bartoluzzi, in turn, kept Galileo supplied with lens blanks for his telescopes, procured from the renowned glassworks on the Island of Murano, within the waterways of Venice, until Florence proved a source of even better clear glass. Galileo rented a house in Florence “with a high terraced roof from which the whole sky is visible,” where he could make his astronomical observations and install his lens-grinding lathes. While waiting for the place to become available, he stayed several months with his mother and the two little girls in rooms he let from his sister Virginia and her husband, Benedetto Landucci.

Thus Bodies in Water not only challenged Artistotelian physics on the behavior of submerged or floating objects but also defaced the perfect body of the Sun. Galileo further flouted academic tradition by writing Bodies in Water in Italian, instead of the Latin lingua franca that enabled the European community of scholars to communicate among themselves. “I wrote in the colloquial tongue because I must have everyone able to read it,” Galileo explained—meaning the shipwrights he admired at the Venetian Arsenale, the glassblowers of Murano, the lens grinders, the instrument makers, and all the curious compatriots who attended his public lectures. “I am induced to do this by seeing how young men are sent through the universities at random to be made physicians, philosophers, and so on; thus many of them are committed to professions for which they are unsuited, while other men who would be fitted for these are taken up by family cares and other occupations remote from literature. . . .

Though few Italians had seen one firsthand, spectacle makers in Paris were already selling them in quantity. Galileo immediately grasped the military advantage of the new spyglass, although the instrument itself, fashioned from stock spectacle lenses, was little more than a toy in its first incarnation. Seeking to improve the spyglass by augmenting its power, Galileo calculated the ideal shape and placement of glass, ground and polished the crucial lenses himself, and traveled to nearby Venice to show the doge, along with the entire Venetian senate, what his contrivance could do. The response, he reported, was “the infinite amazement of all.” Even the oldest senators eagerly scaled the highest bell towers of the city, repeatedly, for the unique pleasure of discerning ships on the horizon—through the spyglass—a good two to three hours before they became visible to the keenest-sighted young lookouts.


pages: 111 words: 33,121

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

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Murano, Venice glass

He remembered reading about a film producer in Rome who had fallen off a houseboat into the Tiber and who had died the next day from swallowing water. Would that happen in Venice? Was the whole city surrounded by poison? And then what was it that the proprietor of the restaurant had said about the sea? Was that poisonous too? He walked on, but the image of the two men in white stayed in his mind, and he resolved to ask the manager of the hotel all about it if he had the opportunity that evening. Then he could warn the Prinzels about swimming, if need be. No opportunity presented itself to talk to any of the hotel staff before dinner, so the topic did not come up at the table. The Prinzels had had an exhausting day, with a trip to Murano and several circumnavigations of the city on vaporetti. Ophelia had insisted upon a gondola ride, which Prinzel had eventually agreed to, but it had not been a success as the gondolier had apparently deliberately splashed Prinzel with water, or so Prinzel alleged.

Von Igelfeld felt a warm rush of satisfaction; he knew that to the proprietor he was no more than a client whose name had happened to lodge in the mind, but he felt as if he was amongst friends. A bottle of chilled wine from the hills was produced and the proprietor filled a glass for himself as well as for von Igelfeld. ‘We are so glad to see you,’ he said, raising his glass in toast. ‘There are fewer people coming these days. This summer there were virtually no Germans in Italy. It was terrible!’ ‘No Germans!’ Von Igelfeld was astonished at the hyperbole, but the proprietor seemed serious. ‘They are keeping away from Venice for some reason,’ he went on. ‘They say it is something to do with the sea.’ ‘Is there anything wrong with the sea?’ von Igelfeld asked, thinking of the beach at the Grand Hôtel des Bains. There had been people on it, hadn’t there?

His mind was on his meeting with Malvestiti – normally such a warm occasion – this year an encounter which left him filled with nothing but feelings of foreboding. He had realised that his friend had not in fact provided the answers to the real question which he had asked. Everybody knew that Venice was sinking – that was not the point. The real question was what was wrong with the water? He gazed out at the sea, now becoming dark with the setting of the sun. It looked so beautiful, so maternal, and yet there must be something very wrong with it. Von Igelfeld sipped on his drink, a cold glass of beer, noticing with satisfaction that the label on the bottle said ‘Brewed in Belgium’. That must be safe; there was nothing threatening about Belgium. Ineffably dull, perhaps; but not threatening. Taking a further sip of his beer, von Igelfeld glanced down the terrace.

Fodor's Dordogne & the Best of Southwest France With Paris by Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.

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call centre, glass ceiling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute couture, haute cuisine, Murano, Venice glass, urban planning, young professional

Pros: large rooms great for families; Wi-Fi; easy walk to the Marais and Les Halles districts. Cons: on a very busy, noisy street; not the most attractive part of central Paris; drab decor. | 39 rue de Turbigo,Beaubourg/Les Halles | 75003 | 01–48–87–45–60 | www.hotelbellevue75.com | 59 rooms | In-room: no a/c, Wi-Fi hotspot. In-hotel: bar | AE, DC, MC, V | BP | Station: Réaumur-Sébastopol, Arts et Métiers Murano Urban Resort. $$$$ | As the epicenter of Parisian cool migrates eastward, it’s no surprise that a design-conscious hotel has followed. On the trendy northern edge of the Marais, this cheeky hotel that dares to call itself a resort combines Austin Powers playfulness with serious 007-inspired gadgetry. A psychedelic elevator zooms guests to ultraviolet-light hallways, where they enter pristine white rooms via fingerprint sensor locks.

Hot–cool Pershing Hall (49 rue Pierre Charron, Champs-Élysées, 8e | 75008 | 01–58–36–58–36 | Station: George V) has a stylish lounge bar with muted colors and an enormous “wall garden” in the courtyard. Colin Field, the best barman in Paris, presides at the Hemingway Bar & The Ritz Bar (15 pl. Vendôme, Louvre/Tuileries, 1er | 75001 | 01–43–16–30–30 | Station: Opéra), but with a dress code and cognac aux truffes on the menu, Hemingway might raise an eyebrow. Across the hallway is the reopened Ritz Bar (formerly the Cambon), a soigné setting where Cole Porter composed “Begin the Beguine.” Murano Urban Resort (13 bd. du Temple, République, 3e | 75003 | 01–42–71–20–00 | Station: Filles du Calvaire) is Paris’s epitome of space-age-bachelor-pad-hipness du jour with a black-stone bar, candy-color walls, and packed nightly with beautiful art and fashion types. Previous Chapter | Beginning of Chapter | Next Chapter | Contents Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Contents The Best Shopping Neighborhoods | Department Stores | Markets | Shopping Arcades | Specialty Stores Updated by Jennifer Ditsler-Ladonne THE BEST SHOPPING NEIGHBORHOODS AVENUE MONTAIGNE Shopping doesn’t come much more chic than on Avenue Montaigne, with its graceful town mansions housing some of the top names in international fashion: Chanel, Dior, Céline, Valentino, Krizia, Ungaro, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more.

George V,Champs-Élysées,8e | 01–44–43–00–44 | Station: George V | 6 Galerie Vivienne,Opéra/Grands Boulevards,2e | 75002 | 01–42–86–05–05 | Station: Bourse) first made headlines with his celebrated corset with the ironic i-conic breasts for Madonna, but now sends fashion editors into ecstasy with his sumptuous haute-couture creations. Designer Philippe Starck spun an Alice in Wonderland fantasy for the boutiques, with quilted cream walls and Murano mirrors. GIFTS FOR THE HOME Maison de Baccarat (11 pl. des États-Unis,Trocadéro/Tour Eiffel, 16e | 75016 | 01–40–22–11–00 | Station: Trocadéro) was once the home of Marie-Laure de Noailles, known as the Countess of Bizarre; now it’s a museum and crystal store of the famed manufacturer. Philippe Starck revamped the space with his signature cleverness—yes, that’s a chandelier floating in an aquarium and, yes, that crystal arm sprouting from the wall alludes to Jean Cocteau (a friend of Noailles).


pages: 444 words: 103,367

The Outcast Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

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Murano, Venice glass, trade route

Smoke from a torch on an opposite wall had frozen to twists of black marble. The bowman crouched unmoving in his high window, his actions still hidden from those below. A cittadino hesitated in the act of lifting wine to his lips. As Tycho watched him the goblet lifted enough to let the first drop touch. “See? We have all the time in the world.” The glass masters of Murano said glass was a liquid and windows flowed downwards over the decades, so they became thicker along the bottom. If glass was a liquid so was this smoke. It shifted on its old trail at a fraction of the speed. Cold, green eyes watched him. Ancient and knowing, carrion-cruel. “It seems you met my oldest sister. She liked you.” The bare-breasted woman with the crow was A’rial’s sister? Everyone said A’rial was Alexa’s stregoi. Tycho wasn’t quite sure what a stregoi was but he strongly suspected this wasn’t really one of them.

He examined his half-emptied wine glass with anger. Here it comes, Alexa thought. “The Red Crucifers have written to me.” Iacopo thought it best to wait until one of them told him who the Red Crucifers were and why they made the Regent cross. It turned out they were a group of Teutonic knights that Venice had hired to fight heathens in Montenegro, who now claimed to have founded a new order. “They look for a commander.” “My lord…” Roderigo sounded appalled. “Indeed, Roderigo. Traitors inviting me to fight heretics! I’ve a good mind to set sail immediately to destroy them both… I could do with a good battle before I get old. All this politicking wearies me. All these council meetings about monopolies and taxes. All this grubbing after money. Even when Venice does fight, it’s off Cyprus, which we practically own.

Now the double coffin would be lowered into a trench. The fact the coffin was lead-lined had two advantages: it helped seal in the smell of corruption, and its weight would stop the coffin from trying to float to the surface and ruining the mosaics the next time Venice had an aqua alta. Prayers having been said, the trench would be filled, the earth compacted and the underfloor replaced. After which a master mosaicist would reset the tiny glass tiles removed to allow this burial. That a mosaic in the floor of San Marco had been disturbed showed how seriously Venice took this crime. “Soon,” Tycho whispered. Pietro looked at him. “It’s ending. You’ll be free to go.” The boy nodded gratefully. It had cost Tycho gold to buy out his apprenticeship, and have evidence of the boy’s earlier crimes removed from the records.


pages: 295 words: 89,430

Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom

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autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, big-box store, correlation does not imply causation, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, Richard Florida, rolodex, self-driving car, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, too big to fail, urban sprawl

Above all else, it seemed, jewelry was an essential talking point when two women were trying to establish an emotional connection. Despite its un-euphonious name, Trollbeads is an extremely successful jewelry company with a presence in 35 countries, including Holland, Italy, Switzerland and China. Trollbeads’ handmade bracelets, rings and necklaces vary in size and are made from Murano glass, freshwater pearls, gemstones, leather, glass and Swarovski crystal. Still, when I began consulting for the company, I wasn’t quite prepared for the fanaticism of Trollbeads’ core customers. Most were middle-aged, with a competent, slightly tough manner about them. None, overall, were especially trusting, and a few expressed unease about having an interviewer come into their house and ask them questions. Many told me they’d felt excluded as children, or as high school or college students.

Another woman displayed a Murano glass bead she’d bought to commemorate her daughter’s middle-school graduation. Trollbeads, then, symbolized many things. Via Trollbeads, women could tell the world that despite their age or appearance, they were still interesting and creative. Wearing a Trollbeads necklace was also a socially acceptable way to showcase in public a private obsession. Nothing illustrated this better than a German woman who, during our interview, held up what she called her “Ocean Bead.” A lifetime fan of water and the seaside, she told me a story about a trip to the beach she’d taken years earlier with her father, her husband and her children. “It was the best beach day I have ever had in my life. I can still see my dad holding my kids’ hands as they picked up seashells and sea glass.” She passed me her Trollbeads bracelet.

One short answer is the car industry, whose brands include Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti and Maserati, but the Italian fashion industry provides another answer. What aspirational clues do Italian brands convey so powerfully that even Hong Kong businessmen line up to emulate them—and could it possibly provide me with a clue that could help me turn around Devassa? Years before I worked for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, I found the epicenter of aspiration in Tiene, Italy, a small city outside Venice, while helping a company, Cristiano di Thiene—which owns the licensing rights to a brand called Aeronautica Militare—figure out who made up its core audience. With lines for men, women and children, Aeronautica Militare’s clothing is characterized by patches, symbols and “good luck” icons borrowed from the military and connected to real-life stories. In conversation with the brand’s design team, I found that more than any other fashion demographic, and like Trollbeads fans and Jenny Craig customers, Aeronautica’s core audience was both intensely loyal and more superstitious than average.


pages: 322 words: 88,197

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern

The legendary decadence of the late Roman Empire wasn’t just about moral decline; those spice-laden feasts had economic costs as well. If pepper helped trigger the collapse of one of Europe’s great cities, it helped build others. A modern visitor to the canals of Venice or Amsterdam, admiring the palazzos along the Grand Canal or the elegant town houses ringing the Herengracht, would do well to pause for a moment and consider that much of this worldly sophistication was originally funded by spices. Venice became the central European distribution point for pepper and other spices in the mid-thirteenth century, after Muslim traders had brought the spices to the Adriatic from India in caravans. The profits Venice made from the sale of its legendary Murano glass were an afterthought compared to the tariffs it charged as a middleman in the spice trade. By the 1600s, the direct sea routes to India had already started to lower the price of pepper on the open market, though it was still precious enough to inspire a new age of empires and global corporations.

— Every grade school history textbook will tell you that the spice trade played a pivotal role in world history. But it is worth pausing for a moment to contemplate how many key developments and customs—many of which persist to this day—have spices at their origin: international trade, imperialism, the seafaring discoveries of Columbus and da Gama, the fall of Rome, joint-stock corporations, the enduring beauty of Venice and Amsterdam, global Islam, even the multicultural flavor of Doritos. Having a taste for spice is not just one of the luxuries that the modern world affords us; having a taste for spice is, in part, why we have a modern world in the first place. The most perplexing thing about that legacy is not the fact that spices were once fabulously expensive and are now cheap. (The pattern of luxury goods becoming mass commodities is in some sense the macro-narrative of capitalism: from cinnamon to cotton to computers.)

Imagine an alternate scenario in which pepper grows naturally in Spain, and cinnamon abounds in France, and clove trees dot the foothills of the Italian Alps. The course of human history would likely be completely redirected: Europe remains far more insular; Columbus and da Gama never bother to set off in search of a direct route to the East. Without the immense markup of a global spice network, the accumulated wealth of Venice and Amsterdam and London dissipates, along with all the pioneering works of art and architecture that wealth funded. Without a vibrant pepper trade with India, calico fabrics never make it to the drawing rooms and garment stores of London; without a booming market for cotton textiles, the industrial revolution is delayed for decades. The extent to which the spice trade had bound the globe together was perceived sharply by many of the participants—even those who never boarded a vessel and set sail for the Far East.


pages: 482 words: 125,429

The Book: A Cover-To-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston

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clean water, Commentariolus, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, invention of movable type, Islamic Golden Age, knowledge economy, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, paper trading, Ponzi scheme, wikimedia commons

Beginning in 1833, he embarked on a series of journeys across Europe and the Near East, publishing accounts of his travels to some acclaim, and it was during a tour of Italy that he had visited libraries in Naples, Siena, the Vatican, and more.63 Curzon prefaced his article with an anecdote about the origins of printing that he had come across in an Italian newspaper. An Italian scribe named Panfilo Castaldi, Curzon said, who lived from 1398 to 1490, had been employed in copying legal documents for the town of Feltre, near Venice. Castaldi was said to have eased his workload by means of glass seals or stamps, made on the Venetian island of Murano, which he used to print outlines of elaborate capital letters before further embellishing them with quill and ink. Sometime before 1426, Castaldi allegedly got wind of books brought back from Asia by the late Marco Polo, which had been neatly printed with wooden blocks. Seizing on this information (and perhaps having seen the books firsthand), Castaldi “caused movable wooden types to be made, each block containing a single letter.”64 Stop the presses!

“Counterfeiters will be decapitated,” warns the text.57 Venice and Genoa settled their feud in 1299, releasing Polo and his compatriots from the Palazzo di San Giorgio, and the wandering merchant returned to his home city to stay. His father and uncle had managed the family’s wealth ably in his absence (the trio had returned from Asia with a small fortune in precious stones) and Marco, by all accounts, lived out the rest of his days as a well-to-do but otherwise unexceptional merchant. He died in 1324.59 Copies of Rustichello’s record of Polo’s travels circulated widely among scholars and historians during the century that followed Polo’s death, and for many years the text stood as Europe’s primary source of knowledge on the lands and peoples of the mysterious East. Legend has it that a manuscript copy was chained to Venice’s Ponte di Rialto so that the traders and customers who thronged the bridge could lose themselves in Rustichello’s excitable account of Polo’s journey.60 Even saddled with the nickname “il Milione,” after the million lies it was said to contain, Polo’s narrative was translated and retranslated, copied and recopied, and finally, when Western technology had caught up with the China of Polo’s memory, printed and reprinted.61 The cult of Marco Polo, world traveler, had taken root.

It seems that he muddled along as a scholar and teacher until his forties, writing a modest Latin grammar and tutoring two young princes from the city-state of Carpi, where he inveigled himself into the graces of their family, the Pios. When Aldus moved to Venice in the late 1480s, a city brimming with enthusiasm for the printing press, he called in favors and founded a printer’s workshop. Andrea Torresani, who had printed Aldus’s Latin grammar, was tapped to provide technical know-how, while Pierfranceso Barbarigo, son and nephew to a succession of Venice’s doges, and Alberto Pio, one of the grown-up princes of Carpi, were induced to provide financial backing.29 As an ardent student of Greek texts, Aldus knew that the language presented typographical challenges. Greek scribes often combined letters, and many letters and combinations of letters were further accessorized with accents and breathing marks.


pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

He wouldn’t be equipped to buy any of these things, or even to communicate intelligibly to the salesmen—but he’d know where to find the goods all the same. Like any emergent system, a city is a pattern in time. Dozens of generations come and go, conquerors rise and fall, the printing press appears, then the steam engine, then radio, television, the Web—and beneath all that turbulence, a pattern retains its shape: silk weavers clustered along Florence’s Por Santa Maria, the Venetian glassblowers on Murano, the Parisian traders gathered in Les Halles. The world convulses, sheds its skin a thousand times, and yet the silk weavers stay in place. We have a tendency to relegate these cross-generational patterns to the ossified nostalgia of “tradition,” admiring for purely sentimental reasons the blacksmith who works in the same shop as his late-medieval predecessors. But that continuity has much more than sentimental value, and indeed it is more of an achievement than we might initially think.

Our minds may be wired to look for pacemakers, but we are steadily learning how to think from the bottom up. PART TWO StarLogo slime mold simulation (Courtesy of Mitch Resnick) Look to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways and be wise: Which having no chief, overseer, or ruler, Provides her meat in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. —PROVERBS 6:6–8 2 Street Level Say what you will about global warming or the Mona Lisa, Apollo 9 or the canals of Venice—human beings may seem at first glance to be the planet’s most successful species, but there’s a strong case to be made for the ants. Measured by sheer numbers, ants—and other social insects such as termites—dominate the planet in a way that makes human populations look like an evolutionary afterthought. Ants and termites make up 30 percent of the Amazonian rain forest biomass. With nearly ten thousand known species, ants rival modern humans in their global reach: the only large landmasses free of ant natives are Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, and Polynesia.

The system of Europe shifts from a network of cities and towns to a scattered, unstable mix of hamlets and migrants, with the largest towns holding no more than a thousand inhabitants. It stays that way for five hundred years. And then, suddenly, just after the turn of the millennium, the picture changes dramatically: the continent sprouts dozens of sizable towns, with populations in the tens of thousands. There are pockets on the map—at Venice or Trieste—that glow almost as brightly as ancient Rome had at the start of the tape, nascent cities supporting more than a hundred thousand citizens. The effect is not unlike watching a time-lapse film of an open field, lying dormant through the winter months, then in one sudden shift bursting with wildflowers. There is nothing gradual or linear about the change; it is as sudden, and as emphatic, as turning on a light switch.

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

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Murano, Venice glass, working poor

They followed their host back down the corridor and into the large, formally furnished drawing room. Angus Lordie busied himself with the opening of a bottle of champagne, which he took from a concealed fridge in a walnut cabinet. Then he poured a glass for each of them and they stood in the middle of the room, under the Murano chandelier, and raised their glasses to each other. “To the successful sale of the Vettriano,” said Angus Lordie, chinking his glass against Matthew’s. “That is assuming that you will be selling it. Vettriano, of course, is not to everybody’s taste. But the point is there’s a strong market for them and it seems to be getting stronger.” Matthew looked into his glass. He did not like to talk about financial matters, but he was very curious to know what value Angus Lordie might put on his painting. “You wouldn’t have any idea,” he began. “Of what it’s worth?”

But there was more to come about that particular week. “On the final day,” he continued, “we had a visit from a really important person from the art world in Edinburgh. Really important. He came to speak to us on the Saturday afternoon, and we were told all about it the day before. The inspector who was in charge of the course said that we were very lucky to get him, as he was often away in places like Venice and New York. That’s where these people go, he explained. They feel comfortable in places like that. And that’s fair enough, I suppose. Imagine if they had to go to places like Motherwell or Airdrie. Just imagine. “He arrived in the afternoon, an hour or so before he was due to give his lecture, which was at three. It was a fine day – broad sunshine – and most of us were sitting out at the front after lunch, as we were off-duty until the lecture.

This was, after all, the Hot Cool and it sounded inappropriate. So she said: “I’ll wait for him. And I’ll have a glass of white wine.” The barman went off to fetch a glass, and Pat, her hands resting nonchalantly on the counter, glanced at the other drinkers. They were mostly in their mid-to late-twenties, she thought; clearly affluent, and dressed with an expensive casualness. One or two older people, some even approaching forty, or beyond, were occupying the few available bar-stools, and were talking quietly among themselves; to the other drinkers in the bar these people were largely invisible, being of no sexual or social interest. The barman returned with her drink, which was served in a smoked-green glass, inexplicably, but generously, filled with ice. Pat sipped at the chilled wine and then glanced over her shoulder.


pages: 469 words: 97,582

QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

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Ada Lovelace, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, clean water, double helix, Etonian, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549

Its colour was less important to them than temperature, and they found it was best served in their most famous invention of all: fine porcelain, or ‘china’. Since they had no particular use for it, early Chinese glass was thick, opaque and brittle. They mainly used it for making children’s toys – and soon gave up on it altogether. For almost 500 years, from the end of the fourteenth century until the nineteenth, no glass was made in China at all. Meanwhile, in 1291 the Republic of Venice, concerned about the fire risk to its wooden buildings, moved its glass furnaces offshore to the island of Murano. Here, inspired by migrant Islamic craftsmen, the inhabitants learned to make the finest glass in the world, giving them a monopoly that lasted for centuries The impact of high-grade glass on Western culture cannot be overstated. The invention of spectacles towards the end of the thirteenth century added at least fifteen years to the academic and scientific careers of men whose work depended on reading.

This is a scale measuring the energy that a material loses on impact. It runs from 0 for all energy lost, to 1 for no energy lost. Hard rubber has a COR of 0.8, but a glass ball can have a COR of up to 0.95. That’s providing it doesn’t smash on impact. Astonishingly, nobody really knows why and how glass shatters. The Third International Workshop on the Flow and Fracture of Advanced Glasses, a conference held in 2005 involving scores of scientists from all over the world, failed to reach agreement. Many of the unique qualities of glass are a result of its not being a normal solid, but an amorphous (or ‘shapeless’) solid. Molten glass solidifies so quickly that its molecules don’t have time to settle into a regular crystalline lattice. This is because glass contains small amounts of soda (sodium carbonate) and lime (calcium oxide) that interfere with the structure of the silica (silicon dioxide) atoms as they cool.

Many archaeologists believe that the Stone Age – which is itself split into three eras (the Old, Middle and New Stone ages) – was probably more of a Wood Age, but that wood’s predominant role in pre-history has been hidden by the fact that wooden artefacts rot, while stone ones don’t. What was not Made in China and not made of china? Glass. Though the Chinese invented the compass, the flushing toilet, gunpowder, paper, the canal lock and the suspension bridge long before anyone else, the scientific revolution that transformed the West between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries completely passed them by. The reason for this is that they also invented tea. The earliest known glass artefacts are Egyptian and date back to 1350 BC, but it was the Romans who first produced transparent glass. They liked the way it enabled them to admire the colour of their wine. By the time the Egyptians worked out how to make glass, the Chinese had been drinking tea (traditionally they began in 2737 BC) for almost 1,400 years. Its colour was less important to them than temperature, and they found it was best served in their most famous invention of all: fine porcelain, or ‘china’.


pages: 313 words: 92,907

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are Thekeys to Sustainability by David Owen

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, delayed gratification, distributed generation, drive until you qualify, East Village, food miles, garden city movement, hydrogen economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, linear programming, McMansion, Murano, Venice glass, Negawatt, New Urbanism, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, placebo effect, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, unemployed young men, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city, zero-sum game

Zoning is the practice of sequestering like civic uses in discrete zones, or districts: single-family residences here, apartment buildings there, stores over there, and factories off in the distance, with everything connected by roads. This concept was by no means entirely new, since people all over the world had made similar divisions, both formally and informally, for centuries. (In 1291, the government of Venice moved that city’s entire glassmaking industry to the island of Murano, in the Venetian Lagoon, both to limit the danger that the glassmakers’ furnaces would touch off a catastrophic citywide fire and to make it less likely that the secrets of Venetian glassmaking would be stolen by outsiders.) But the internal combustion engine—combined with the crucial fact that so much of the raw land in the United States remained untouched, and therefore could be developed to suit automobiles, something that was less true in Europe—had made genuine isolation feasible, by enabling people to separate daily activities by greater distances than could easily be covered on foot, with the help of horses, or by existing networks of trains and trolleys.

It also, typically, has exterior walls that are mostly window.28 Windows are a lot more energy-efficient than they used to be, but even very expensive, high-tech windows are poor insulators, in comparison with other building components. Sunlight streaming through large glass surfaces fights air conditioners during hot weather, and heat escaping through large glass surfaces undercuts heating systems during cold. Some of the huge windows in the Wired house are equipped with elegant-looking gauzy blinds, which can be pulled down on hot, sunny days, but all that glass still represents a significant source of heat gain during the day and of heat loss during the night. Nevertheless, as the Wired house shows, many people have been led to believe that a good way to make a house greener, or appear greener, is to use more glass. Big glass walls have a clean, modernist look, consistent with popular impressions of environmental responsibility, but using more glass necessarily means using less insulation, and, as the Department of Energy has explained, “structures with high glazing areas are less likely to comply with the energy code.”29 Another reason for the belief that glass is green is that the most widely discussed green structures in recent years have tended to be office buildings, which often have lots of glass for reasons that mainly have to do with aesthetics.

Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room • Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out. • Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. • Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. 2. Clean-Up Steps for Hard Surfaces • Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag. • Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder. • Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag. • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces. That’s just the beginning. For the complete protocol, see: http://energystar.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/energystar.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?


pages: 578 words: 168,350

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West

Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, British Empire, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, continuous integration, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Guggenheim Bilbao, housing crisis, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of agriculture, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Marchetti’s constant, Masdar, megacity, Murano, Venice glass, Murray Gell-Mann, New Urbanism, Peter Thiel, profit motive, publish or perish, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, working poor

The oldest verified person ever was the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the remarkable age of 122 years and 164 days. Just to get a sense of how exceptional this is, the next oldest verified person was the American Sarah Knauss, who lived more than three years fewer than Jeanne, dying at the age of 119 years and 97 days. The next super-champs of long life lived almost two years fewer than Sarah, while the oldest person still alive today is the Italian Emma Murano, who is “only” in her 118th year. The search for life extension can therefore be boiled down to two major categories: (1) The conservative challenge: how can the rest of us continue the upward march toward a longer life and approach the extraordinary achievements of Jeanne Calment and Sarah Knauss? (2) The radical challenge: is it possible to extend life span beyond the apparent maximum limit of approximately 125 years and live, for instance, to 225 years?

See animals Manchester, England, 223–24 Mandelbrot, Benoit, 130–31, 132, 138–45, 152, 364 Mandelbrot set, 143–44 manufacturing, 211 Marchetti, Cesare, 333–35 Marchetti’s constant, 334–35 market capitalization, 379, 389–90 market share, 408–9 Marx, Karl, 228, 332 Masdar (Abu Dhabi), 256, 258, 299 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Newton), 181 mathematics, 8 biology and, 85–86, 87 Euclidean geometry, 130–31, 141–42 matryoshka, 128 maximal Krogh radius, 160 maximum life span, 6, 188–94, 202–3 maximum size of animals, 158–63 Maxwell, James Clerk, 109, 115, 428 McCarthy, Cormac, 425 McKinsey & Company, 404, 405 McMahon, Thomas, 198 Mead, Margaret, 239 Meadows, Dennis, 231–32 measurement process, 135–41 mechanical constraints, 122, 158–63 mechanistic theory, 12, 85, 111–12, 144, 145, 182, 408 Medawar, Peter, 86 medical research, 52–55 Medical Research Council Unit (MRCU), 437 medicine, scaling in, 16, 51–57 megacities, 7, 215, 223–24, 267–68 Meier, Paul, 403 mergers and acquisitions, 33, 403–4 survivorship curves, 396–97, 399 metabolic energy emergent laws and hierarchy of life, 99–103 growth and, 165–66 metabolic rate, 13, 18–19, 124–26, 201, 234 of animals, 2, 2n, 3, 13, 18–19, 25–26, 91–92, 285–86 of average human, 88–89 of bacteria and cells, 93, 94, 96 of companies, 391–92 definition of, 13 Kleiber’s law and, 26–27, 90–93, 117, 145 in mammals, plants, and trees, 18–19, 118–22 natural selection and, 88–90, 151 scaling of, 90–91, 173 metabolic theory of ecology (MTE), 115–16, 173–78, 203–4 metabolism of cities, 371–78 energy, and entropy, 12–15 social, 13, 373–74, 415 Metabolism (architecture), 247–48 metaphysics, 179–80 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), 356, 462n Mexico City, growth curve, 375 mice, 6, 12, 16, 52, 114 caloric restriction and survival curves, 205, 206 Milgram, Stanley, 296–97, 301–4 Milgram experiment, 301–2 Milky Way, 79 Millennium Bridge (London), 298–300 minimum size of animals, 155–58 mitochondria, 100–102, 101, 113 mobile phone data, as detector of human behavior, 337–45, 351–52, 439 modeling, 62–63 modeling theory, 35, 71–75 Modena, Italy, 249 momentum, 20–21 Moore, James, 249 mortality. See aging and death mortality curves companies, 397, 398–400, 400–402 human, 189–90, 192, 192–94, 193 Moses, Robert, 260–61, 266 Mother Earth, 211–12 motion and dynamics, 37 Mount Everest, 135 movement of people in cities, 346–52, 349–50 movies, fractals in, 144 Mumford, Lewis, 259–60, 373 Munich, 278, 340, 406 Murano, Emma, 188 music, fractals in, 144 musth, 52–53 NASA images of Earth, 211–12 National Institute on Aging, 183 National Science Board, 434 National Science Foundation, 183, 385 National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, 292 “natural” environment, 213, 236, 411 natural philosophy, 181 natural resources, 213, 236–37. See also resource limitation natural selection, 23–24, 79, 87, 143, 428 allometric scaling laws and, 26–27, 98, 103–4 death and, 84–85 life expectancy and, 194 Malthus and, 228 maximum size, 162–63 metabolic rate and, 88–90 optimization and, 115 terminal units and, 114, 151–52 Navier, Claude-Louis, 71 Navier-Stokes equation, 71–72, 75, 131–32 Nazi Party, 290, 292, 301 neo-Malthusians, 229–30, 238, 414–15, 422–23 network science, 296, 319 network theory, 27–28, 159–60, 407–8 cities and, 247, 250–51, 319–20 ontogenetic growth and, 165–66 origins of allometric scaling and, 103–5, 111–18 New Orleans, 359 New Science of Cities, The (Batty), 294–95 Newton, Isaac, 37, 38, 63, 71, 107–8, 181, 339, 428 New Towns in the United Kingdom, 263–65 New Urbanism, 259–60 New York City, 10, 251, 278, 358 economic diversity, 366–68, 367 growth curve, 377, 418–19, 419 infrastructure networks, 252 Jacobs and, 253–54, 260–62 pace of life, 327 pollution, 275 population size, 310 water system, 362–63 New York Stock Exchange, 390 New York Times, 241, 258, 300 New York University, 260, 261 Niemeyer, Oscar, 257–58, 259 “night-lights,” 212 Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, 406 Nobel Prizes, 78–79, 86, 111, 160, 177, 369–70, 383, 436, 437 nodes, 296–98, 298 nonlinear behavior and scaling, 15–19 normal (or Gaussian) distribution, 56, 313–15 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), 364–65, 370 Northridge earthquake of 1994, 46, 47 nuclear energy, 242–44 nuclear fusion, 242–43 obedience experiments, 301–2 obscenity, 20 Oklahoma City, 17–18 bombing, 47 zoo, 52–53 olive oil, 189 Olympic Games (1956), 49 On Growth and Form (Thompson), 86–88 On Man and the Development of His Faculties, or Essays on Social Physics (Quetelet), 56 ontogenesis, 164–65 ontogenetic growth, 165–73 open-ended growth, 31–32 of cities.

In support of this Marchetti wryly remarked, “Even people in prison for a life sentence, having nothing to do and nowhere to go, walk around for one hour a day, in the open.” Because walking speed is about 5 kilometers an hour, the typical extent of a “walking city” is about 5 kilometers across (about 3 miles), corresponding to an area of about 20 square kilometers (about 7 square miles). According to Marchetti, “There are no city walls of large, ancient cities (up to 1800), be it Rome or Persepolis, which have a diameter greater than 5km or a 2.5km radius. Even Venice today, still a pedestrian city, has exactly 5km as the maximum dimension of the connected center.” With the introduction of horse tramways and buses, electric and steam trains, and ultimately automobiles, the size of cities could grow but, according to Marchetti, constrained by the one-hour rule. With cars able to travel at 40 kilometers an hour (25 mph), cities, and more generally metropolitan areas, could expand to as much as 40 kilometers or 25 miles across, which is typical of the catchment area for most large cities.


pages: 1,590 words: 353,834

God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican by Gerald Posner

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, credit crunch, dividend-yielding stocks, European colonialism, forensic accounting, God and Mammon, Index librorum prohibitorum, liberation theology, medical malpractice, Murano, Venice glass, offshore financial centre, oil shock, operation paperclip, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

His father, a bricklayer, spent years as a migrant worker in Switzerland and Germany before getting a regular job as a glassblower on the Island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon.28 Luciani was only eleven when his devout mother entered him into a minor seminary at Feltre.29 Ordained a priest on July 7, 1935, the twenty-two-year-old Luciani spent two years as a chaplain and teacher at Agordo’s Technical Mining Institute.30 In 1937 he received his doctorate in theology from Rome’s Gregorian University.31 And that year he became the vice rector at the Seminary of Belluno, where for the next decade he taught everything from canon law to philosophy.32 In 1958, John XXIII consecrated him bishop of Vittorio Veneto, a small city south of Belluno. It was another eleven years, December 15, 1969, before Paul VI appointed him the Patriarch of Venice, in part because he was a likable administrator not hobbled by too great an ego and ambition.33 After three and a half uneventful years as Venice’s Patriarch, Pope Paul gave him his red hat in 1973.34 The man who once told a friend, “Had I not become a priest, I would have liked to have been a journalist,” was a traditionalist when it came to church dogma.35 He agreed with his predecessor on every major issue except for the ban on all artificial birth control.

Neither of them seemed bothered that it was illegal in Italy for a bank to buy its own shares on the open market.23 Their goal was to acquire control of the bank, but to do so in small enough increments that no government regulator or Ambrosiano official would notice.24 But the matter that most consumed their time was a year-long deal over whether to buy one of the church’s most prestigious holdings, the Banca Cattolica del Veneto. It was Sindona’s idea. He discussed it first with Massimo Spada, before encouraging Calvi to make a formal bid.25 The Cattolica was the Ambrosiano’s sister bank in Venice, one of Italy’s most important Catholic institutions since its 1878 opening, and intertwined historically with the Venetian clergy and Black Nobles.26 Sindona and Spada thought Banca Cattolica was a natural fit with the Ambrosiano’s expanding empire. But they also knew that the two banks were fierce competitors.27 Calvi thought it unlikely that the church would part with the Cattolica. Albino Luciani, Venice’s Patriarch, whose archdiocese owned a minority share, was almost certain to object. Nevertheless Calvi pitched the idea to Marcinkus in 1971. In a letter, Calvi offered to purchase up to 50 percent of the bank at a hefty premium.28 The offer posed little downside risk.

The money was paid in five installments, in a convoluted back-and-forth of offshore transfers that had become a hallmark of Calvi, Sindona, and Marcinkus deals (the IOR put all its proceeds into Calvi’s Bahamian bank, bringing Marcinkus’s deposits in Cisalpine to a dizzying $112.5 million).34 Not everyone was happy with the sale of a controlling block of Banca Cattolica. Venice’s Luciani complained to Pope Paul and to the influential deputy Secretary of State, Archbishop Giovanni Benelli, that the deal was against the church’s long-term interests. Luciani reminded Benelli that not only was he the chief prelate of the diocese that owned part of the bank, but that the Cattolica was also headquartered in Venice. He felt he should have been more involved in the decision over whether to sell. Luciani was also upset since Calvi canceled the bank’s preferred interest rates to Catholic institutions.35 Benelli tried palming Luciani off to Marcinkus.

France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams

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active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Georges Pompidou commissioned Paris’ Centre Pompidou in 1977; Valéry Giscard d’Estaing transformed a derelict train station into the Musée d’Orsay; while François Mitterrand commissioned the capital’s best-known contemporary architectural landmarks, including IM Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre, the Opéra Bastille, the Grande Arche in the skyscraper district of La Défense, and the national library Click here, as well as Jean Nouvel’s fabulous riverside architectural icon, the Musée du Quai Branly. * * * TOP PICKS: URBAN DESIGN The best of dreamy venues for urban-design buffs: Paris’ Hôtel Le A Click here, Murano Urban Resort and Kube Hôtel Lyon’s Hotelo and Collège Hotel Hôtel HI and Hôtel Windsor, Nice Hôtel Le Corbusier, Marseille Les Bains Douches, Toulouse Hôtel 3.14, Cannes Zazpi, St-Jean de Luz L’Hermitage Gantois, Lille Hôtel La Pérouse, Nantes Seeko’o, Bordeaux * * * In the provinces, notable buildings include Strasbourg’s European Parliament, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’s Euralille and Jean Nouvel’s glass-and-steel Vesunna Musée Gallo-Romain in Périgueux, a 1920s art-deco swimming pool–turned–art museum in Lille and the fantastic Louvre II Click here in unknown Lens, 37km south of Lille.

Hôtel du Vieux Saule (Map; 01 42 72 01 14; www.hotelvieuxsaule.com; 6 rue de Picardie, 3e; Filles du Calvaire; s €120, d €140-160, tr €180; ) The flower-bedecked ‘Old Willow Tree’, a 28-room hostelry in the northern Marais bordering Ménilmontant, is something of a find because of its slightly unusual location. The hotel has a small sauna, there is a tranquil little ‘garden’ on display behind glass off the lobby, and breakfast is served in the 16th-century vaulted cellar. TOP END Murano Urban Resort (Map; 01 42 71 20 00; www.muranoresort.com; 13 bd du Temple, 3e; Filles du Calvaire; s €360, d €440-650, ste €750-1200; ) This 52-room hotel’s subtitle, ‘Urban Resort’, suggests that you should come, kick off your shoes and sink your toes in the hotel’s figurative sand. And with public areas like a new spa with heated pool, a glass-roofed courtyard restaurant, a cool jazz and DJ bar, and guestrooms that allow you to change their colour scheme, that’s easily accomplished. Gare de Lyon, Nation & Bercy The neighbourhood around the Gare de Lyon has a few budget hotels as well as an independent hostel.

Local Vitalis ( 05 49 44 66 88) bus 9 links Futuroscope (Parc de Loisirs stop) with Poitiers’ train station (the stop in front of Avis car rental; €1.30, 30 minutes); there are one to two buses an hour from 6.15am until 7.30pm or 9pm. Marais Poitevin Within the protected Parc Naturel Interrégional du Marais Poitevin, these tranquil bird-filled wetlands are dubbed Venise Verte (Green Venice) due to the duckweed that turns its maze of waterways emerald green each spring and summer. Covering some 800 sq km of wet and drained marsh, the marshlands are interspersed with villages and woods threaded by bike paths. * * * SLEEPING GREEN IN FRANCE’S ‘GREEN VENICE’ To get even closer to nature in the Marais Poitevin, choose from one of 10 rooms at the waterside Maison Flore ( 05 49 76 27 11; www.maisonflore.com; rue du Grand Port, Arçais; s/d/tr/q €48/63/76/85; ), which are themed after local marsh plants such as pale-green Angelica and purple-hued Iris.

Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications

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banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Displays help visitors untangle such complicated mid-20th-century events as the Algerian war and the creation of the Fifth Republic, and consider the ways in which De Gaulle’s years in power (1958–69) affected French culture, style and economic growth. Audioguides are available. The site affords breathtaking, sublime views of the Haute-Marne countryside. Colombey-les-Deux-Églises is 72km east of Troyes along D619; taking A5 to exit 23 (88km) is a bit faster. BAYEL POP 868 Thanks to the Cristallerie Royale de Champagne (adult/child €6/3; 9.30 & 11am Mon-Fri) , established by a family of glassmakers from Murano, Italy, this quiet village has been a centre of crystal manufacture since 1678. To see the production process, take a factory tour. Tours are in French unless the group is predominantly English-speaking. For even more insight into how crystal is made, tie this in with a visit to the Musée du Cristal (Crystal Museum | Écomusée; adult/child €4/2, combined with tour €8/4; 9.15am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5.30pm Sat, 2-5.30pm Sun) ; a 15-minute film highlights the different stages involved in crystal production.

Push south next along the Atlantic coast, stopping in Nantes if you like big cities (and riding mechanical elephants), or continuing to the peaceful waterways of Green Venice, aka the Marais Poitevin . Bordeaux is your final destination for day six, from where a bevy of Bordeaux wine-tasting trips tempt. End the journey on a high atop Europe’s highest sand dune, Dune du Pilat , near oyster-famed Arcachon . One Week A Week Around Paris Start in Paris , from where a journey of magnificent French icons, Renaissance châteaux and sparkling wine unfurls. Day one has to be France’s grandest castle, Château de Versailles , and its vast gardens. The second day, feast on France’s best-preserved medieval basilica and the dazzling blue stained glass in Chartres , an easy train ride away. Small-town Chantilly is a good spot to combine a laid-back lunch with a Renaissance château, formal French gardens and – if you snagged tickets in advance – an enchanting equestrian performance.

Certain rail services between France and its continental neighbours are marketed under a number of unique brand names: Elipsos (www.elipsos.com) Luxurious ‘train-hotel’ services to Spain. TGV Lyria (www.tgv-lyria.fr) To Switzerland. Thalys (www.thalys.com) Thalys trains pull into Paris’ Gare du Nord from Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. Thello (www.thello.com) Overnight train service from Paris to Milan, Brescia, Verona and Venice in Italy. SAMPLE TRAIN FARES Route Full Fare (€) Duration (hr) Amsterdam–Paris 89 3¼ Madrid–Blois 153 12½ Berlin–Paris 189 8 Brussels–Paris 69 1½ Dijon–Milan 80 7 Paris–Venice 100 11¾ Geneva–Marseille 50 3½ Vienna–Strasbourg 153 9¾ EURAIL PASS Rail passes are worthwhile if you plan to clock up the kilometres. Available only to people who don’t live in Europe, the Eurail Pass (www.eurail.com) is valid in up to 21 countries, including France.


pages: 768 words: 291,079

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, full employment, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, wage slave, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

The men and youths, then, with whom we have to deal return from their work jaded and tired. . . . They Explanatory Notes are thus deterred from studying or practising in the evening. To such we say, “Come let us reason together”’ (pp. 162–3). 114 blouse: a workman’s loose upper garment, usually belted at the waist; a protective work-shirt. 116 muranese obscured glass: from Murano, the island location of the Venetian glass-works. Here, the trade name for a particular style of ‘starburst’ patterned glass used for door panels; it allows light through, but cannot be seen through. half-plate: 4.75″ × 6.5″. 117 Norfolk suit: widely worn by both men and boys at the end of the nine- teenth century and into the early decades of the twentieth; modelled on a shooting suit worn by the Duke of Norfolk. It consisted of a high- buttoned jacket with vertical pleats at the front and back for freedom of movement and an integral belt in the same material (often a tweed), worn with knickerbockers tucked into long socks.

Frederick Engels, Condition of the Working Classes in England. Foundation of the Liberation Society, working for Church disestablishment. 1845–50 Irish Famine. Repeal of the Corn Laws, instituting era of Free Trade. Factory Act (‘Ten Hours Bill’) limits working day for women and children. Evaporated milk invented. Band of Hope Temperance Organization founded. Year of European Revolutions: Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Venice, Milan. Sequence of Public Health Acts begins. Karl Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto. F. D. Maurice founds Christian Socialist movement. Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton. Henry Mayhew writing on the London poor for the Morning Chronicle. Public Libraries Act; Factory Act. xliv Chronology Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace. More Britons now live in towns and cities than in the countryside.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists 11 hands and brains Rushton & co.’s premises were situated in one of the principal streets of Mugsborough and consisted of a double-fronted shop with plate glass windows. The shop extended right through to the narrow back street which ran behind it. The front part of the shop was stocked with wall-hangings, mouldings, stands showing patterns of embossed wall and ceiling decorations, cases of brushes, tins of varnish and enamel, and similar things. The office was at the rear and was separated from the rest of the shop by a partition, glazed with muranese obscured glass.* This office had two doors, one in the partition, giving access to the front shop, and the other by the side of the window and opening on to the back street. The glass of the lower sash of the back window consisted of one large pane on which was painted ‘Rushton & Co.’ in black letters on a white ground.