Cool Links for June 4th

Lost Watercourses of D.C.

I’m leading a Knowledge Commons DC class on Saturday, Hidden Rivers and Lost Neighborhoods, a Tour by Bicycle. We’ll be talking about the hydrologic history of D.C., tracing old streams, looking at the city’s water supply infrastructure, and poking around old neighborhoods like the Irish-American Swampoodle.

Old Church Converted into a Modern Bookstore

Built in 1294, the cathedral features large open spaces boasting three-story bookshelves. Being that the church contains 1,200 square meters of shopping space with only 750 square meters of floor space, the architects decided to design vertically. They incorporate the modern scheme of the shop without obstructing the religious motifs or structure of the ancient venue. Within the space, there is also a cafe. As a nod to the bookstore’s past-life, there is a long table shaped like a cross in the eating area, which is conveniently located where the choir formerly situated themselves.

A celebrity mastectomy, two hundred years before Angelina Jolie

In 1811, Burney had a mastectomy in France. This being 1811, she was conscious throughout the procedure, and described it in a letter to her sister nine months later. It took her three months, by her own admission, to write, and she couldn’t bring herself to reread it when it was finished.

I’ll Have My Aronia Cocktail Now, Please. I can’t wait until my chokeberries have enough fruit on them to try this!

Then she brought me over to the booth next to hers, where somebody had stashed away a bottle of aronia juice, and I got a taste. Wow! Imagine something between cranberries and wild, tart blueberries, and you’re close enough. It was rich, tart, and delicious.

Fanged, carnivorous plant pals up with swimming ants

It ain’t exactly a match made in heaven, but it’s a friendship forged in the steamy peat swamp forests of Borneo.

That’s where the fanged pitcher plant, or Nepenthes bicalcarata, teams up with a plucky, fluid-diving ant that makes its home nowhere else in the world but on the stalks and leaves of the carnivorous plant. The ant, Camponotus schmitzi, even swims around in the plant’s lethal pools of digestive fluid!