mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
I've touched upon this before with an article on the nanotubes present in Damascus steel, but that wasn't just a happy accident. The Romans indeed knew what they were doing:

This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers

The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s. The mystery wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.

The technique wasn't completely forgotten: red stained glass was very expensive to craft due to the requirement of crushed gold mixed into it.
mediaevalist: (LOL)
Kelburn, Scotland's graffiti castle

Not surprisingly, it's caused quite a stir. And so typically Glasweigan. We never take things seriously.

The Earl of Glasgow, whose family has occupied the castle for the last 800 years, invited four Brazilian graffiti artists to create a work of art on one of the walls in 2007 as a temporary measure. The so-called Graffiti Project involved 1,500 cans of spray paint to decorate the 13th-century castle. It put Kelburn Castle, which lies near the seaside town of Largs on Scotland's west coast, into the top 10 worldwide examples of street art - on the same list as Banksy's work in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro's Favela Morro da Providencia.

It's the kind of thing you typically see when the scaffolding starts going up around historic buildings in Scotland's usual springtime ritual, not to mention the world over when renovation's being done. The difference now is that the art itself has garnered so much attention that the family now wants to keep it up.

Fortunately, it seems like most share my opinion of "Let 'em keep it!"

Neil Baxter, secretary and treasurer of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), says Scots take their historic treasures seriously, but believes the right balance must be struck when dealing with old buildings such as Kelburn Castle.

"The graffiti's a bit of thumbing of the nose at the conservationists who are terribly precious about our environment, and that's always good fun but you don't want to cause the building permanent damage," he said. If the building is fine and stable, there is no harm to it, then fine - paint it bright pink."

Buildings shouldn't be considered museum pieces, he added, but should continue to contribute to society: "Buildings are useless if they are not alive."

I love that quote. I really do. In fact, I am shamelessly ripping it off.

June 2015



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