Roman boxing gloves discovered

With a protective guard designed to fit snugly over the knuckles, the gloves were packed with natural material which acted as shock absorbers. They date from around AD120 and were certainly made to last: they still fit comfortably on a modern hand. One of them even retains the impression of the knuckles of its ancient wearer.

From The Guardian.

The Breeders on Conan in 1993

A few interesting things here… I never knew the full line-up of The Breeders (I was a fan but not to the same degree as Pixies) so it was fun to discover bassist Josephine Wiggs is English, and was born very close to where I grew up. She gives Conan a lovebite in the clip above, which is guaranteed to make you nostalgic for the 90s. I didn’t spot it but apparently Kim breaks a string in the middle of the song but carries on pretty nonchalantly.

Thomas Hennell

Thomas Hennell was an English artist who contributed watercolours to the Recording Britain project, an initiative created to record ways of life that might be lost if Britain was defeated in World War Two. Hennell was passionate about country life and, as this BBC radio programme makes clear, was painfully aware of the imminent disappearance of many traditional crafts.

His watercolours and sketches are exquisite – though the subject matter may seem quaint to us, he was able to capture moments with a naturalistic fidelity that never veers into cliché.

He volunteered his services as a war artist, was part of the D-Day landings, and was later sent to the Far East where he was killed in strange circumstances close to the end of the war.

The work above was painted in 1941 and shows Scythe Smithy in Weybridge. The image below shows wheelwrights at work in Mr J.W Brunt’s shop in Newington. It was painted in 1940. Both were found on this more detailed description of Hennell’s life and work.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record…

The backlash against the corrosive effects of digital advertising continues apace:

“The central problem of disinformation corrupting American political culture is not Russian spies or a particular social media platform,” two researchers, Dipayan Ghosh and Ben Scott, wrote in the report, titled “Digital Deceit.” “The central problem is that the entire industry is built to leverage sophisticated technology to aggregate user attention and sell advertising.”

From the New York Times.

Diet Coke goes the way of the dodo

Many things are wrong with this but Mark Ritson hits the nail on the head:

Too much has already been written about why millennials fail almost every test of market segmentation so I will not bore you (again) with the same message. The only genuine advantage of millennials is that when you encounter a company that claims to be targeting them you know you are in the presence of a sub-optimal, strategy-by-the-numbers marketing team. The idea that Coca-Cola, once the vanguard of 20th-century marketing, would stoop so low makes me sad.

Metal Detector Man

And so, a year or so ago, Morris created the character of Metal Detector Man to help fund the £10,000 cost of the survey and attract attention to his cause. Besides appearing at local shows and events, he began to craft junk he found while detecting into pieces of art, hoping to raise both money and his profile: so far, he has secured a little over £1,000.

Batshit crazy amateur archaeologist somehow earns in-depth profile from the BBC.

Decline and fall

A surprisingly poignant piece in The Guardian on the launch of the UK’s largest ever warship:

His ship runs on outdated software (Microsoft Windows XP) and will take far fewer aircraft (the Lockheed Martin F35) than originally planned. Also, big ships are vulnerable unless heavily defended. This week a spokesman for the Russian defence ministry, reacting to some boastful remark by Fallon, said that the HMS Queen Elizabeth amounted to “nothing more than a huge, easy naval target”.

It is, apart from all that, a disappointingly ugly ship. Nonetheless, Britain managed to build it. That fact alone deserves a cheer from the little admirals who still survive in so many of us.

The Getaway Car

Leveraging the words of a Buddhist philosopher to sell cars is a pretty brazen move on Volvo’s part but I can’t help but admire the audacity. This is very well put together: