Before Tesla: New York City’s fleet of Electric taxis


The Fritchle Garage full of new electric cars to sell.

By 1900, electric cars were so popular that New York City had a fleet of electric taxis, and electric cars accounted for a third of all vehicles on the road.

One of the many Fritchle electric cars manufactured in the early 20th century

For a brief period in the early 20th century in the United States, the electric car was high society’s hottest commodity, sought after by socialites and businessmen alike.

Full article found on Curbed.

Abandoned suitcases of insane asylum patients

Case with green enamel hair brush set strapped to lid. Abandoned suitcase with yellow alarm clock, straw broom, small Scotty dog figure, shoe polish cream and booklet.

These fascinating images show abandoned suitcases which belonged to patients who were residents of the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane between the 1910s and early 1960s. The institution stored the cases when patients passed away; when it closed in 1995, staff came across the forgotten cases, and thoughtfully gave them to the New York State Museum for preservation. This incredible collection was featured in a recent article by Hunter Oatman-Stanford on Collectors Weekly, in which he provocatively asks: “If you were committed to a psychiatric institution, unsure if you’d ever return to the life you knew before, what would you take with you?”

The suitcases were photographed by Jon Crispin as part of a larger artistic project documenting abandoned mental hospitals. However, in the context of the Collectors Weekly article, these fascinating suitcases were presented first and foremost as museum or personal objects, and only secondarily as contemporary art images. (Oatman-Stanford does, however, go on to conduct a very interesting article with Crispin about the Willard institution and its patients, which you can read here). This is probably unsurprising considering the slant of the publication, but it nonetheless brings up an interesting blurriness between museum object, artwork, so-called ‘outsider art’ and personal possessions.

Each suitcase is, itself, almost like a mini museum about the owner: a small collection which can give you a glimpse into his or her life and interests. Of course, they were not compiled for this reason, but I think that just paints an even more alluring portrait of the person and what their objects might say about them.

Open suitcase with vintage family photos, clock and fork and knife. Suitcase with old notebooks, books, metronome and small bear figurine. Four little drawers with sewing patterns and hair curling irons. Abandoned suitcase with old family photographs, buttons, wallet, and Camay soap. Open suitcase with black hat and blue shoes. Suitcase with handwritten list of fabrics, sequins, toothbrush, luggage tag, gloves, comb. Old, battered black suitcase. Case with Bible, Christian philosophy booklet, dog figurines, record and rulers.
Suitcase showing war porait and ration book, other personal items
// All images by Jon Crispin, from Collectors Weekly.

More Beautiful Libraries from Around the World

 Library of the Benedictine Monastery, Admont, Austria

 library of El Escorial Monastery , Madrid, Spain

 National Library of Finland in Helsinki

 Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Toronto, Canada

 George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland


University of Coimbra General Library, Coimbra, Portugal.

Beautiful Libraries from Around the World

The Morgan Library & Museum, NY, USA

  Library of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada

 Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, CT

Hall of legal literature of the Public Library of Iowa City, USA

 Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington

Istanbul says farewell to favorite feline with a tatue

 Tombili was the most famous street cat in Istanbul thanks to her round physique and laid-back attitude. So when she died, locals put up a statue to make sure she was never forgotten ❤️  

The famous photo of Tombili, now a meme for cat lovers everywhere is the spirit of the Aegean, not just chilling but always ready to take on the world. It was a photo of a chubby, white-bellied cat with one arm hugging the pavement as if he were imitating a man. The photo became an instant hit on social media, shared thousands of times with captions, comments and add-on images such as raki (the anise-scented traditional alcoholic beverage of Turkey) glasses, worry beads, teacups and backgammon sets.

Tombili's transformation from a neighborhood mascot to a national phenomenon was so complete that the news about the statue received coverage in all of Turkey's media outlets.

Cats are loved in Turkey, although the majority live on the streets, where residents help feed them. Cats are seen as clean animals, also helpful in decimating the rodent population in their vicinity. There are several sayings in Turkish about cats and folkloric beliefs that anyone deliberately harming a cat commits a sin that can only be repented for by paying the expense of building a mosque.

Lemurs can sing with rhythm just like us

On the island of Madagascar, the musical calls and howls of the native lemurs contribute to the bustling natural chorus.

And now new research has revealed that one of the world’s largest lemurs, the indri, actually shares similar musical traits to us humans.

The 12-year study found the primates’ distinctive songs, which can last as long as three minutes, actually have categorical rhythm (1:1 or 1:2 rhythm).

“This is the first evidence of a ‘rhythmic universal’ in a non-human mammal,” Dr. Chiara de Gregorio, from the Life Sciences and Systems Biology department at the University of Turin, explained.

Lemurs can sing with rhythm just like us, new study finds

Lemurs can sing with rhythm just like us, new study finds. Picture: Alamy

The research was conducted to investigate how rhythm capacities originated in humans, with 636 recordings of vocalisations from 39 lemurs analysed.

As well as showing classic rhythmic categories, researchers also found a ‘ritardando’ in their songs too. Male and female vocalisations had a different tempo, but still had the same rhythm.

Describing the sound of their songs, Alanna Marron, lead educational technician at the Duke Lemur Center, told USA Today: “It’s incredibly beautiful and haunting.”

So why were these large wet-nosed primates specifically chosen for the experiment?

“In the primate family tree they’re on the exact opposite end from us,” Marron explained.

She added: “In studying lemurs and studying primate evolution, that allows us to look at the history of primates and how we evolved.”

Gorillas Seen Dismantling Deadly Poacher Traps [via Nina Reznick]

By Bazi Kanani

ht gorilla snare ll 120725 wblog Gorillas Seen Dismantling Deadly Poacher Traps

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

The discovery that younger gorillas are also learning to recognize and disable the dangerous snares was especially heartening to research center staff because it came while they were still grieving over the death just two days earlier of an infant gorilla named Ngwino who was caught in a snare.

On July 17 field staff and some tourists in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area that is home to more than half of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas witnessed a group of gorillas getting close to a snare.

One of the staff members reported he moved to dismantle the snare when a silverback (adult male) in the group grunted at him warning him to stay back.  Then two youngsters named Dukore and Rwema and a blackback (teen male) named Tetero ran toward the snare.  Together they jumped on the taught branch attached to a rope noose and removed the rope.  They then ran over to another nearby snare and destroyed it the same way.  Pictures the staff members took show the young gorillas then examining broken sticks used to camouflage the noose on the ground.

Every year, Fossey Fund field staff remove more than a thousand such simple but deadly snares set by bush-meat hunters.  They speculate the younger gorillas learned to destroy snares by watching the older silverbacks do so.

Fossey Fund staff cannot teach gorillas how to dismantle snares because it is against their policy to intentionally change gorillas’ natural behavior, but they are pleased to know the gorillas are apparently teaching each other to protect themselves.

“Our battle to detect and destroy snares from the park is far from over,” said Vecellio.  “Today we can proudly confirm the gorillas are doing their part, too.”

Staff at a gorilla research center are getting some unexpected help to save the lives of the critically endangered animals: Gorilla youngsters are jumping in to disable poachers’ traps.

Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda recently witnessed two 4-year-olds and a teenage mountain gorilla work together to destroy the types of snares that have killed at least two young gorillas this year.  It was also the first time staff members have been able to see up close exactly how gorillas dismantle the snares.

“We knew that gorillas do this, but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks,” said gorilla program coordinator Veronica Vecellio.  “How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill.”