Travel Videos: “The Most Beautiful Libraries In The World” (Architecture)

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

While We All Know That You Shouldn’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, This is One Case in Which Evaluating Something on Its Appearance is Not Only Accepted, but Encouraged, These Libraries Are Known for Noteworthy Exteriors—think Soaring Architecture With Inspiring Interiors, and That’s Nothing Compared to the Millions of Books Housed Within Their Walls. So Whether You’re a Bookworm or an Architecture Lover, Start Adding These Beautiful Libraries to Your Must-visit List.

The Library of El Escorial, San Lorenzo De El Escorial, Spain Not Only is This Spanish Library a Work of Art, It’s Also Part of a Unesco World Heritage Site. Originally Commissioned by King Philip II, the Library’s Most Dazzling Feature is a Series of Seven Frescoes That Depict the Liberal Arts (Music, Rhetoric, Astronomy, and So on). The Town of San Lorenzo De El Escorial, Which is About 45 Minutes Outside of Madrid, Has Long Been a Favorite of Spanish Royals, and There’s Plenty More to See Here Beyond the Library, Including a Monastery, Gardens, and the Pantheons of Former Princes and Kings.

Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria The Austrian National Library is the Largest Library in Austria, With More Than 12 Million Items in Its Various Collections. The Library is Located in the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg in Center of Vienna, One of the Austrian National Library’s Most Jaw-dropping Features is the Huge Fresco on the Ceiling, Which Was Created by Painter Daniel Gran. The Dome is Also Decorated With Statues by Sculptor Paul Strudel That Pay Tribute to the Habsburg Rulers, Among the Exhibits Are Two Exquisite Venetian Baroque Globes: One for the Earth and One for the Sky, Each With a Diameter of More Than One Meter.

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland The George Peabody Library (Part of Johns Hopkins University) Contains Over 300,000 Volumes Stacked in Five Decorative Tiers. The Books Are Impressive, Sure, but the Cathedral Like-atrium, Marble Floors, and Wrought-iron Details Are the Main Draw Here. Is It Any Wonder the Library Has Become One of the Most Popular Wedding Venues in Baltimore?

Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic The Strahov Monastery in Prague Was Originally Founded in 1143. Despite Wars, Fires, and Other Disasters, the Order Endured and Built Its Library in 1679. The Library’s Best-known Features Are Its Remarkable Ceiling, Which is Covered in Biblical Frescoes, and the “Compilation Wheel” That Can Turn and Rotate Shelves in Order to Make Books Easier to Find Without Knocking Any of Them Over.

Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina), Egypt Alexandria Was Once Home to the Most Famous Library in the World. Now, Egypt Pays Homage to Its Biblio-heritage With This Sleek Granite Building. The Circular Structure, Designed by Norwegian Firm Snøhetta, is Covered in Carvings Done by Local Artists and Sits Next to a Large Reflecting Pool. Although There Are Plenty of Books in Three Languages (Arabic, French, and English), There Are Also Museums, a Planetarium, and a Lab Dedicated to Restoring and Preserving Ancient Manuscripts.

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New Art Books: “Cherry Blossoms – Sakura Collections From The Library Of Congress”

Cherry Blossoms Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress book February 11 2020“Cherry Blossoms” reflects on the long tradition of flower viewing in Japanese culture with vivid color woodblock prints by ukiyo-e master artists, photographs, color lithographic posters and Kōkichi Tsunoi’s exquisite watercolor drawings from 1921. The book highlights the rich connections between Japan’s centuries-old traditions and contemporary counterparts. The American public’s affection for the blossoms is revealed in vintage and contemporary photographs of the Tidal Basin, collections related to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Cherry Blossom Princess Program, as well as decades’ worth of creatively designed festival posters.

Vibrant springtime traditions of cherry blossom viewing in Japan and Washington, D.C., are explored in the new book “Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress,” published today by Smithsonian Books, in association with the Library of Congress.

Visual art, including prints, drawings and photographs from the Library’s collections, provide a fresh look at the tradition of cherry blossom celebrations that originated more than 1,200 years ago. Japan shared the tradition with the United States when they presented the nation’s capital with 3,020 cherry trees in 1912. Ever since, D.C. residents and visitors have been mesmerized by the trees and have joined in the festivities of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws more than 1.5 million visitors each year.

Fascinating Facts about Cherry Blossom Traditions:

  • It started over 1,200 years ago…with plum blossoms! The Japanese custom of flower viewing, or hanami, is thousands of years old. Beginning in the 9th century, saplings and trees were brought down from the mountains to grace the gardens of the aristocracy. The practice was first associated with plum (ume) blossoms before it became linked almost exclusively with cherry blossoms during the Heian period (794-1185).
  • A feudal warlord threw some of the most lavish parties. Before it became popular with people at all levels of society, cherry blossom viewing in Japan was reserved for the elite. Legendary feudal warlord and samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-98) sponsored some of history’s most lavish cherry blossom-viewing events. His 1594 celebration at Mount Yoshino included a poetry party, a nō play, and a hanami party with 5,000 guests. In 1598, he built hillside teahouses to accommodate guests for his party at Kyoto’s Daigoji temple and transplanted 700 cherry trees to the site.
  • Blossoms Symbolize Fleeting Delights in Life. Cherry blossoms are heralds of spring, but their short blooming period also evokes the ephemeral beauty of life. Edo period (1603-1868) hanami celebrations featured the pleasure of food and drink, poetry and music – tinged with wistful appreciation of the fleeting beauty of both blossoms and earthly delights. This tradition continues. The transitory beauty of life becomes vivid when gusty spring winds end the blooming season with showers of drifting petals, an effect the Japanese call hanafubuki (cherry blossom blizzard).
  • A “Field of Cherries” in Potomac Park? It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three decades to transform the low-lying area known as Potomac Flats into Potomac Park. A 1914 sightseer map of Washington features the new park and labels the road around the west end of the Tidal Basin as the “Speedway.” U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist David Fairchild and cherry tree advocate Eliza Scidmore promoted the site as an ideal place for a “field of cherries.”
  • Not all cherry blossoms are pink. Cherry blossoms varieties include multiple colors: white, pink, yellow – even green. Twelve different varieties of cherry blossom trees were sent from the city of Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912. While most were the white-pink Somei Yoshino, there were also 10 different varieties of double-flowered (or manifold) trees, one variety with green blossoms, called Gyoikō, and some varieties with fragrance. The trees around today’s Tidal Basin are limited primarily to Somei Yoshino and Kwan-Zan.

Authors Mari Nakahara and Katherine Blood, both curators in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, present a comprehensive view of the history of this annual celebration, illustrated by prints, posters, photographs and artifacts from the Library’s rich collections.


Healthcare: “Open Heart Surgery – Inside The OR” (Northwestern Medicine)

Tough to beat! Head #InsideTheOR with S. Christopher Malaisrie, MD, and witness open heart surgery by one of the best cardiology and heart surgery programs in the nation as ranked by US News and World Report.

Truck Tech: “2020 Nikola Badger” Electric Pickup Will Have 600 Mile Range

Nikola Badger LogoThe Badger was designed to handle 0-100 mph launches with minimal loss of performance and to operate on grades up to 40% through advanced software blending of batteries and fuel-cell. With a fully loaded trailer and combined vehicle weight of 18,000 lbs., the Badger will be able to launch from a standstill on a 30% grade without motor stall.

PHOENIX, AZ (February 10, 2020) — Nikola Corporation is excited to announce the product launch of the Nikola Badger electric pickup truck with an estimated range of 600 miles.

Unlike anything on the market, the advanced electric pickup is designed to target and exceed every electric or petrol pickup in its class. The Badger is engineered to deliver 980 ft. lbs. of torque, 906 peak HP and 455 continuous HP. The Badger will be built in conjunction with another OEM utilizing their certified parts and manufacturing facilities.

Nikola Badger Electric Hydrogen Truck Specifications February 10 2020

The electric pickup is designed to handle what a construction company could throw at it and is engineered to outperform all electric pickup trucks on the market in both continuous towing, HP and range. The Badger will be outfitted with a 15-kilowatt power outlet for tools, lights and compressors, which is enough power to assist a construction site for approximately 12 hours without a generator.

“Nikola has billions worth of technology in our semi-truck program, so why not build it into a pickup truck?” said Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Corporation. “I have been working on this pickup program for years and believe the market is now ready for something that can handle a full day’s worth of work without running out of energy. This electric truck can be used for work, weekend getaways, towing, off-roading or to hit the ski slopes without performance loss. No other electric pickup can operate in these temperatures and conditions.”

Nikola Badger Hydrogen and Electric Truck Interior February 10 2020

Heavy D, a reality TV star from the “Diesel Brothers,” has partnered with Nikola to design, build and test the Badger in real world environments, which is anticipated to attract millions of viewers and followers through the process. The partnership will follow the Badger build from concept through production.

“My audience, hard-core truck enthusiasts, has expected me to push the limits of truck power and capabilities since my beginnings,” said Heavy D, AKA Dave Sparks. “Being able to pull back the curtain of a production truck build is a rare opportunity where we can include the everyday truck owner to participate in the final outcome of design, exterior choices and performance specs. I wanted to be part of that story and now I have the opportunity with Nikola.”

“The Nikola Badger is a game changer. The program will help drive down the cost of the fuel-cell components on our semi-truck while accelerating the hydrogen station rollout. Giving customers the option to order a fuel-cell or battery electric version will ensure we drive the cost down for everyone across our lineup,” said Mark Russell, president of Nikola Corporation.

The Nikola Badger will make its first appearance at Nikola World 2020 in Phoenix. Prototypes will be available for select customers and media to ride in at Nikola World.

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Technology Podcasts: “CES 2020” Highlights With Samsung And Sony Execs


CES 2020 featured remarkable innovations from both long-time exhibitors and companies you might not typically think of as tech companies. We also unveiled our Global Tech Challenge, calling on innovators to use their tech for good. There was so much to see and do over just a few short days. Join us as we look back on highlights from this year’s show with leaders from Samsung and Sony, two of the most talked-about brands at CES 2020.