Museum Asks For Your Help Reassembling Medieval Cross

medieval
Replica of the stone, image courtesy WIkimedia Commons

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is asking for your help in reassembling an early medieval carved stone.

The Hilton of Cadboll Stone was carved in Scotland around 800 AD by the Picts, a mysterious people who have left little in the way of a written record but created some incredible art. The stone was carved shortly after the Picts converted to Christianity and includes one of Scotland’s earliest representations of Jesus.

This particular stone has had a rough time in the past 1200 years. At some unrecorded date it was snapped off from its base, then later defaced by Protestant reformers. In 1676, the Christian cross on one side of the stone was chipped off and replaced with an inscription commemorating a local man, Alexander Duff, and his three wives.

While one side is still impressive, as you can see here, it seemed the rest of the stone had been defaced beyond all hope of restoration until a recent excavation at the original site uncovered the stones’ base.Unfortunately it’s smashed into some 3,000 pieces, and that’s where you come in. The museum has put every piece through a 3D scanner and is launching a website where you can try your hand at reassembling it.

The project is part of the museum’s upcoming exhibition Creative Spirit Revealing Early Medieval Scotland, which will open October 25. It focuses on the Early Medieval period (around 300-900 AD), an time between Scottish and Viking influence and marking the arrival of Christianity and emerging powerful elites. The online reassembly will begin on that date at the special website Pictish Puzzle.

The museum is especially calling for gamers to help out because, they say, gamers are better at manipulating 3D images and finding patterns.

Might be a fun break from killing zombies.

Iconic Airports: Where Are They Now?

Original LAX airport design
Original LAX plan, courtesy LA World Airports Flight Path Learning Center

Yesterday, I went out to JFK Airport with no flight to catch and no visitors to greet. It was the annual Open House New York event, where private buildings and homes all over the city open to the public for a few hours, and it was a last chance to see the iconic TWA Flight Center before it is turned into a hotel. (You can see our photos from last year here.)

Native New Yorkers, retired flight attendants, tourists and architecture enthusiasts flooded the airy terminal, closed since TWA ceased operations in 2001, taking photos and sharing stories about the good old days of air travel. The mid-20th century was the high point in airport design; its airy and futuristic buildings can be appreciated by any modern day traveler who has ever had a layover at La Guardia.

We looked at some of the most iconic airport architecture in the U.S. and their current status. Is your favorite still flying?

%Slideshow-100872%DCA Terminal A – Washington D.C.’s first airport opened in 1941, and was considered to be the most modern in airport design at the time. In addition to its status as historic landmark and aviation icon, it’s also an archaeological site: the airport was built on a former colonial plantation and the birthplace of George Washington’s granddaughter.

Status: The original terminal was restored to its original look in 2004 and 2008, with the interior currently undergoing a massive renovation. You can still see many parts of the original lobby and building as it looked when President Roosevelt dedicated it. Check out some vintage postcards of the airport from the Boston Public Library.

IAD Main Terminal – One of Swedish architect Eero Saarinen’s airport designs, Dulles was designed in 1958 and dedicated in 1962, the same year the TWA terminal opened. The architect called the building and control tower “the best thing that I have done,” and inspired the design of Taiwan’s international airport. The “mobile lounges” were one of the most innovative concepts, carrying passengers in relative luxury from the terminal right to the plane

Status: Dulles wasn’t a popular airport from the beginning, as it didn’t allow jumbo jets until 1970 and the distance from the city is still off-putting, but it’s now one of the busiest in the country and is continuing to expand. The mobile lounges are still around, but the new Aero Train is more commonly used.

JFK Pan Am Worldport - The 1960 “flying saucer” was designed to bring the airplane to the passenger, sheltering the planes under the overhang for all-weather boarding. It was opened for Pan Am and renamed the Worldport in 1971 when it was expanded to accommodate the Boeing 747, and was the biggest passenger terminal in the world for several years. After Pan Am went bankrupt in the ’90s, Delta acquired the terminal and used it for many long-haul flights.

Status: Although it is on the list of the most endangered historic buildings and beloved by many airline and architecture enthusiasts, it looks like the Worldport is permanently grounded. While Delta just completed a major renovation of their other terminal at JFK, they need the room for airplane parking, and the flying saucer is already beginning to be demolished.

LAX Theme building – The distinctive Theme building is a perfect example of 1960s futuristic architecture, resembling something out of the Jetsons and actually inspiring the cartoon’s design. Part of the original ambitious plans for the airport was to connect terminal buildings with a giant glass dome, with the Theme Building serving as the main terminal, as in the picture above. One of the most famous buildings in the world, it’s photographed more than the Eiffel Tower.

Status: The Theme building has been a restaurant since 1997, and you can visit Encounter for a meal even if you aren’t flying. The free observation deck is open on weekends only if you just want to watch the planes taking off.

LGA Marine Air Terminal – For a passenger who arrives at one of La Guardia’s many dim and low-ceilinged gates, it’s hard to imagine that an Art Deco beauty is part of the same airport. Opened in 1940 and funded by the post-depression Works Progress Administration, the Marine Air Terminal originally served the glamorous Clipper planes, carrying 72 passengers on long transoceanic flights with sleeping berths and a high-end restaurant. The second World War made such flying boats obsolete, and the terminal sat unused for several decades.

Status: It’s now the main hub for Delta’s shuttle service to Boston, Chicago and Washington, even after a massive renovation to Delta’s other terminal at LGA. While it might have less modern facilities, it’s the only terminal to feature an original mural dedicated to flight (with a secret message).

LGB Main Terminal – The first trans-continental flight landed at Long Beach in 1911, but the Streamline Moderne terminal wasn’t built for another 30 years. The modernist building was considered avant garde at the time, but now feels classic and a bit romantic among airports, the kind of place you can imagine passengers boarding with hat boxes and cat eye sunglasses. Much smaller than nearby LAX, JetBlue made it a west coast hub in 2001 and put the California airport back on the map.

Status: Last year, LGB was fully modernized to make it more green and “resort-like,” with outdoor spaces outfitted with fire pits and cabanas. The renovation uncovered more of the mosaic tile art by WPA artist Grace Clements, then 28 years old, and covered by carpet for 70 years.

World’s First Remote Control Tourists Explore Melbourne, Australia



Imagine if you could taste-test of a city before taking the plunge and buying your airline ticket. You could watch a performance, grab a cup of coffee or visit a market in the destination –- all from the comfort of your home. Well that’s the idea behind a tourism campaign that’s aiming to lure visitors to the Australian state of Victoria. The state’s tourism board has chosen four people who they’ve dubbed “Remote Control Tourists” because you and I can tell them exactly what we’d like them to do -– and they’ll go out and do it.The four tourists are outfitted with cameras and microphones mounted to a helmet, and all the footage captured is streamed live online. The two male and two female tourists have been exploring the Victorian capital, Melbourne, based on viewer requests sent via social media. So far, they’ve visited popular tourist attractions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Federation Square, but they’ve also taken part in activities like busking and hugging random strangers, following the wishes of audience members.

The campaign is designed to encourage young, tech-savvy travelers to visit Melbourne, which is known for its hip restaurants and shops and its vibrant culture. The remote controlled tourists have already acted upon thousands of tweets and messages and will continue to do so until the campaign ends on Sunday.

5 Lesser-Known Things To See In Brooklyn


The buzz about Brooklyn has been building for years and while newbies to the borough keep moving in and exploring, some lesser-known things to see in Brooklyn remain just that. Iconic Brooklyn is wonderful –- Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and the like. But these lesser-known Brooklyn destinations are certainly worth the trek.

1. Green-Wood Cemetery, in Greenwood Heights, where you’ll see a large colony of wild monk parakeets living in the Gothic entrance gate.

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2. Masstransiscope, the tunnel from the Dekalb Station to Manhattan is outfitted with panels that seem to make the wall come alive as you’re passing by if you’re looking.

3. Mosaic House, in Cobble Hill, where you can gaze upon a house completely decorated in mosaic art on its first floor.

4. Sunset Park in Sunset Park, where you can take in one of the best views around of not only Manhattan, but Downtown Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.

5. Floyd Bennet Field, near Marine Park, where you can explore New York City’s first airport in its current abandoned and eerie state.

'America: Facts Vs. Fiction': Brooklyn Bridge Cable Scandal

5Pointz Will Officially Be Destroyed And Replaced With Luxury Condo


It was more than two years ago that I wrote about the possibility of 5Pointz, an artistic hub of a warehouse owned by the Wolkoff family, being demolished. I called the article 5Pointz Is Coming Down And It’s A Shame and I ranted about the pure audacity and soullessness of anyone who would rather see condos in its place.

All of that vitriol has been revived in me today upon learning that the City Council made a final decision to demolish the Long Island City building. That final decision was influenced in part by councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was previously opposed to demolishing the building, but changed his tune and helped damn the beautiful space to hell with comments about how there’s “not a way to save the building” and “the building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building.” (These quotes are from Animal.)

It’s not that he was necessarily wrong. Maybe the Wolkoff family really was going to tear 5Pointz down no matter what. It’s that the effort to preserve 5Pointz deserved support from our leaders.

%Slideshow-80364%The “deal” struck last night isn’t a deal at all –- unless you consider developers agreeing to allow curated graffiti on their shiny new buildings as an exploitation of 5Pointz under the guise of “keeping the 5Pointz legacy alive” a deal. That’s right, the residential buildings that will take the place of 5Pointz will so generously grant artists the ability to paint on designated panels and other areas in a clean-cut, not-at-all-representative-of-5Pointz way.

Look, despite my unabashed admiration of street art, I don’t consider myself a proponent of vandalism. But this is a Big Money way to add insult to the injury of local artistic culture and no matter the “special painting areas” that will be allocated to approved artists, the fact remains: 5Pointz is going to be destroyed and replaced by a luxury condo and I don’t think a luxury condo, no matter how you paint it, can preserve the 5Pointz legacy.