Articles by Dattatreya Mandal

Stunning Geodesic Planters Levitate To Create Amazing Air Gardens-1

LYFE: Stunning geodesic planters that levitate to create amazing air gardens

Instead of relying on soil like normal greenery, Tillandsia, also called air plants, are known to absorb nutrients from air through their leaves, rendering their roots useless. A team of Swedish designers have come up with a new and innovative vessel for these unusual plants. Known as LYFE, the levitating vessels keep the plants floating…


Majesty_Ancient_Babylon_Superb_3D_Animations_1

Brilliant 3D animations show the sheer majesty of ancient Babylon

When it comes to the historically rich region of Mesopotamia, Babylon is arguably the most renowned of all cities. An ancient settlement that harks back to the dominions of Sargon of Akkad (circa 24th century BC), Babylon possibly started out as a small town in the backdrop of mighty cities like Ur, Uruk and Nippur.…



Archaeologists_cheerful_Skeleton_Mosaic_Turkey_1

Archaeologists come across a ‘jovial’ skeleton mosaic in Turkey

People did have sense of humor (with a dash of hedonism) in the 3rd century BC, or around 2,300 years ago. At least that is what is evident from an incredible ancient mosaic recently discovered in Hatay, a Turkish province that just borders Syria from the north. Th artwork in question features a seemingly 'cheerful'…


Designers At Bel & Bel Upcycle Vintage Vespas Into Trendy Chairs-1

Designers at Bel & Bel upcycle vintage Vespas into trendy office chairs

Bored of the furniture currently crowding your office? With the new Scooter Chair, you can now transform your work space into a trendy office of the future. Designed by the team at Spanish studio Bel & Bel, as part of a limited edition series, this brilliantly unconventional swivel chair uses the original parts of the Vespa motorbike.…




Central Park Envisions As Expansive Bedrock-Covered Landscape-1

New York Horizon envisions Central Park as a bedrock-covered structure surrounded by 1000-foot glass walls

While the rest of the world is moving towards “skyscraperization”, designers Jianshi Wu and Yitan Sun are promoting a radically different idea: digging New York’s Central Park to uncover the mountain-like bedrocks lying underneath. Winner of this year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition, their proposal, called New York Horizon, envisions the 1.3-square-mile urban park as a multi-functional…


Undersea Methane Explosions Linked With Bermuda Triangle Mystery-2

Undersea methane explosions blamed for Bermuda Triangle disappearances

Several decades have passed since the disappearances of ships and planes at the Bermuda Triangle were first reported by Edward Van Winkle Jones. Since then, people have come up with some bizarre explanations, including alien activity, supernatural forces and even the lost city of Atlantis. Also known as the Devil’s Triangle, the area roughly lies…



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LYFE: Stunning geodesic planters that levitate to create amazing air gardens

Instead of relying on soil like normal greenery, Tillandsia, also called air plants, are known to absorb nutrients from air through their leaves, rendering their roots useless. A team of Swedish designers have come up with a new and innovative vessel for these unusual plants. Known as LYFE, the levitating vessels keep the plants floating around in the air, against gravity.

Stunning Geodesic Planters Levitate To Create Amazing Air Gardens-2

The system, according to the developers, comprises of two parts: a six-by-six-inch base built using reclaimed wood, and a stunning 12-sided geodesic container that is made entirely out of silicone. The container, as the team points out, is equipped with an inner reservoir for drainage. Powerful magnets are present in both the parts, which repel each other to generate the spectacular levitating effect.

Stunning Geodesic Planters Levitate To Create Amazing Air Gardens-9

Allowing the owner to grow a levitating air garden, the LYFE system uses advanced Maglev technology to keep the suspended container rotating in the air. This, the developers believe, ensures that all the parts of the plant receive sufficient sunlight. This is especially necessary in Swedish climate, where sunlight is rarely available in the winters.

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The product is currently undergoing a crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter, where it has already crossed $80,000. To know more , click here.

Brilliant 3D animations show the sheer majesty of ancient Babylon

When it comes to the historically rich region of Mesopotamia, Babylon is arguably the most renowned of all cities. An ancient settlement that harks back to the dominions of Sargon of Akkad (circa 24th century BC), Babylon possibly started out as a small town in the backdrop of mighty cities like Ur, Uruk and Nippur. However by the time of the ascension of Hammurabi the Great (the sixth king of the Amorite dynasty) in 1792 BC, Babylon became the major capital of the city-state of ‘Babylonia’, known as Mât Akkadî or ‘the country of Akkad’ in contemporary Akkadian. The very term ‘Babylon’ is of Greek origin and it is possibly a rough translation of Babillu – which in Semitic pertains to the conjunction of two words Bâb (gate) and ili (gods), thus suggesting the location of Babylon as the ‘gate of the Gods’.

As for Hammurabi, while the ruler is known for his famous law-code in our present-times, the king in his contemporary prime was renowned as an exalted conqueror whose empire stretched across the entire region of Mesopotamia. That was a seriously impressive feat considering his initial city-state around Babylon was only around 50 sq km. Consequently, the expansion of the realm heralded the grandeur of Babylon, a city paradoxically admired and despised by different sets of people and cultures.

An overview of the scale of Babylon. Copyright: Reza Tayebi.

An overview of the scale of Babylon. Copyright: Reza Tayebi.

Now from the perspective of history it should be noted that Babylonia as an empire was soon eclipsed after the death of Hammurabi, with the empire being consequently annexed by the Hittites (who even sacked the city of Babylon in 1595 BC) and then Kassites. Finally the war-hardened Assyrians came to the fore and claimed the city by early 8th century BC. All of these conquests targeted towards the city do however prove the importance of Babylon to the proximate invaders of the region, a pattern aptly demonstrated by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal of Nineveh, who besieged and took the settlement (after a rebellion) and yet left it unharmed. The king even took the trouble to personally ‘purify’ Babylon from the evil spirits, thus justifying the royal city’s status as a place of culture and learning. Subsequently many Assyrian rulers treated Babylon as a ‘cultural’ capital, and advocated their inclination towards Babylonian civilization, institutions, and science. That was until king Sennacherib unceremoniously sacked the city in 689 BC, an act that was criticized by many contemporary people, including nobles of his own court.

But like a phoenix rising from its ashes, it was a native soldier named Nabopolassar who was destined to expel his Assyrian overlords and restore the glory of the royal city of Babylon in 626 BC. Thus the Neo-Babylonian empire was founded, and the city reached its architectural peak under Nabopolassar’s son – Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned from 605-562 BC. Forever attracting the ire of Biblical writers for his alleged role in destroying Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem (see the 3D reconstruction here), Nebuchadnezzar was also responsible (quite antithetically) for undertaking and renovating massive infrastructural and monumental projects inside the city of Babylon. The capital by then covered 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of land and boasted some the most imposing and majestic structures in all of Mesopotamia.

The view from behind Etemenanki, across the cityscape.

The view from behind Etemenanki, across the cityscape.

The architectural list included the completion of the royal palace (supposedly inlaid with ‘bronze, gold, silver, rare and precious stones’), an entire stone bridge that connected the two major parts of the city over Euphrates, the famed blue Ištar Gate, and the possible restoration of Etemenanki – a towering ziggurat dedicated to the Babylonian god Marduk (that has often been likened to the Biblical Tower of Babel). In fact, the fully refurbished Etemenanki would have been one of the tallest man-made structures from the ancient times, with its imposing height reaching around 298 ft or 91 m. Intriguing enough, a few ancient authors had also ascribed the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, to Nebuchadnezzar. However recent studies have revealed how this landscaped masterpiece was perhaps located in the city of Nineveh or just a figment of imaginative writing.

The video below presumably showcases the royal city of Babylon in its architectural peak during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar circa 6th century BC. And while the animation does flaunt a bevy of gorgeous 3D rendering techniques, it SHOULD BE NOTED that the creators have taken some artistic license to demonstrate the grandeur of Babylon. Few of these ‘anachronistic’ examples would relate to the dressing style of the inhabitants (which seems more akin to later Arab styles) and the portraiture of Achaemenid Persian motifs on some walls.

This fascinating animation (below) with some authentic depictions was made for the Mesopotamia exhibition of the Royal Ontario Museum, by the folks over at kadingirra.com


The article was originally published in our sister site RealmofHistory.

Top-down plans of the fictional residences showcased in 15 famous TV shows and movies

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The ‘Ted Mosby’ inside some of us has probably wondered about the architectural plan of our favorite TV character’s apartment (or if at all do they follow any plan). And while some like Seinfield’s New York apartment actually conforms to a simplistic overview, the complexity increases when it comes to some shows – unsurprisingly like that of Fraser. And oddly enough, most of these plans actually make sense, thus providing that practical spatial value that rather complements the movement of the characters and the progression of the shows (and movies). So without further ado let us take a gander at the overview architectural plans of famous fictional residences showcased in 15 famous TV shows and movies.

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Archaeologists come across a ‘jovial’ skeleton mosaic in Turkey

Archaeologists_cheerful_Skeleton_Mosaic_Turkey_1

People did have sense of humor (with a dash of hedonism) in the 3rd century BC, or around 2,300 years ago. At least that is what is evident from an incredible ancient mosaic recently discovered in Hatay, a Turkish province that just borders Syria from the north. Th artwork in question features a seemingly ‘cheerful’ looking skeleton casually holding a drink, while a Greek inscription by his head reads – “Be cheerful, enjoy life.”

(more…)

Designers at Bel & Bel upcycle vintage Vespas into trendy office chairs

Designers At Bel & Bel Upcycle Vintage Vespas Into Trendy Chairs-1

Bored of the furniture currently crowding your office? With the new Scooter Chair, you can now transform your work space into a trendy office of the future. Designed by the team at Spanish studio Bel & Bel, as part of a limited edition series, this brilliantly unconventional swivel chair uses the original parts of the Vespa motorbike. (more…)

Amazing graphic lists 45 of the most popular TV/movie characters according to their intelligence!

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If you are ardent TV show fans like us, you must have spent countless hours trying compare your favorite characters, either in terms of their dashing good looks, charisma or even intelligence. So, in case you are wondering who between Don Draper of Mad Men and Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman is smarter, DirectTV Packages is here with the answer! (more…)

Land of the Strays: A tiny haven in Costa Rica that is home to 900 adoptable dogs

This Tiny Haven In Costa Rica Is Home To 900 Adoptable Dogs-1

If you are an ardent dog-lover, no place holds great charm than Territorio de Zaguates or the “Land of the Strays”. Located in Costa Rica, this incredible refuge, run by a privately-funded organization, is home to as many as 900 adorable dogs that are allowed to roam the length and breadth of the lush, sprawling landscape. (more…)

New York Horizon envisions Central Park as a bedrock-covered structure surrounded by 1000-foot glass walls

Central Park Envisions As Expansive Bedrock-Covered Landscape-1

While the rest of the world is moving towards “skyscraperization”, designers Jianshi Wu and Yitan Sun are promoting a radically different idea: digging New York’s Central Park to uncover the mountain-like bedrocks lying underneath. Winner of this year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition, their proposal, called New York Horizon, envisions the 1.3-square-mile urban park as a multi-functional mega structure that lies 100 feet below the street level. (more…)

Undersea methane explosions blamed for Bermuda Triangle disappearances

Undersea Methane Explosions Linked With Bermuda Triangle Mystery-2

Several decades have passed since the disappearances of ships and planes at the Bermuda Triangle were first reported by Edward Van Winkle Jones. Since then, people have come up with some bizarre explanations, including alien activity, supernatural forces and even the lost city of Atlantis. Also known as the Devil’s Triangle, the area roughly lies between Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico. (more…)

Scientists make breakthrough in their attempt to store solar energy through rust

Scientists Develop Technology For Storing Solar Energy With Rust-1

Solar energy is the one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels. We receive plenty of it every day, we have the technology to harness it, we have used it to heat water, drive cars, even fly airplanes and it produces no green house gases. Except that, for about 12 hours every day, it is not available to us and there is simply nothing we can do about it. (more…)