Monday, April 27, 2009

Crescent Moon with Earthshine over Israel

Crescent Moon with Earthshine over Israel

World's greatest spectacle yesterday (April 26, 2009) was taking place at dusk, high above all of us in the western sky. At that time, the crescent Moon, Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster had gathered for a three-way conjunction, potentially visible to the naked eye even from light-polluted cities. This was not an everyday event, as described by Dr. Tony Phillips from Science @ NASA:
The show begins before the sky fades to black. The Moon pops out of the twilight first, an exquisitely slender 5% crescent surrounded by cobalt blue. The horns of the crescent cradle a softly-glowing image of the full Moon. That is Earthshine- dark lunar terrain illuminated by sunlight reflected from Earth [...] Shortly after the Moon appears, Mercury materializes just below it [...] To the naked eye, Mercury looks like a pink 1st-magnitude star. The planet itself is not pink; it only looks that way because it has to shine through dusty lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere.
But wait, according to Dr. Phillips, there was even more:
Next, do nothing. Spend some quiet moments absorbing the view. As the twilight deepens, your eyes will dark-adapt and - voilà! There are the Pleiades [...] The brightest stars of the cluster are only 2nd magnitude, not terrifically bright. Nevertheless, the Pleiades are compelling in disproportion to their luminosity. Every ancient culture -- Greek, Maya, Aztec, Aborigine, Māori and others - put the cluster in its myths and legends. On April 26th you may discover why, even if you cannot articulate your findings.
So, we are no astronomy photo experts but below are a few photographs we managed to take yesterday night, in spite of some pretty bad air pollution over the nearby western city of Netanya. Just as Dr. Phillips said, it's very hard to articulate our findings... We think we did capture our own Crescent Moon plus, we suspect we got a view of the so called Earthshine. Yet, what a bummer - we could not have identify any materializing Mercury below the moon... Can you see any?


8:05 PM + detail. No materializing Mercury...

A wide angle shot including some of the area, 8:15 PM


8:30 PM + detail

OK, we also see there is something else there, we are not that blind. The problem is that, according to Phillips, the Pleiades are "a cluster of young stars about a hundred light years from Earth" forming "a miniature Little Dipper located, on this particular evening, halfway between Mercury and the Moon." (See infographic). Therefore we don't believe the small cluster of lights shown in the below detail is actually the Pleiades, but we thought it might worth adding nevertheless. Just in case anyone of you kind readers can help us find out what it was.

Another 8:30 PM detail (cropped from left side) showing a bright cluster of lights. Probably not The Pleiades...
  • Article by Dr. Tony Phillips via RedOrbit
  • Photos by CultCase, April 26, 2009
  • Taken with Nikon CoolPix 8800
  • Kfar Netter, Israel

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 English Words and their Biblical Hebrew Origin


English is the world's unofficial "lingua franca" - a language used to communicate between people not sharing a mother tongue. Some English words are used in almost every country and by every nationality. We say OK and Cowboy knowing these words will be understood just as if they were in the listener's native language. The English language originated from several dialects which were brought to the British Isles by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the beginning of the 5th century. It was heavily influenced by the Old Norse language of Viking invaders. However, there are also English words originating in other languages, sometimes very ancient ones. The following are 7 interesting English words and examples from their Biblical Hebrew origin.



The English word Armageddon derives from the Hebrew word combination of Har Megido (הר מגידו) meaning Megido Mountain, the biblical location of an apocalyptic battle.
See also:



The English word Botany derives from the Greek word Botane, meaning a plant or herb. Yet, an earlier source for this word is the Boten – a spoken Hebrew word for Peanut that also appears in the bible. The word Batata, BTW, means Sweet Potato in both Arabic and spoken Hebrew.



Hebrew-Phoenicians were great traders throughout the known world and this is clearly seen in the English word Market that comes from the Latin word Mercari meaning to trade. But hey… where did Mercari came from? Right from the Hebrew-Phoenician word Mokher (מכר) meaning sells or someone who sell. This original Hebrew word has turned into many associated modern words including Commerce, Market, Mart, Mercantile, Mercenary, Merchandise, Mercer, Merchant, Mercury and even Mercy.



The English word Maven comes from the Hebrew word Mevin (מבין) meaning understands or one who understands.



Yes. We are not sure if that is a big surprise but as if inventing the word marketing is not enough, the ancient Hebrew people were also the first to come up with the word Money that comes from the Hebrew word, Mone (מונה), meaning counts or counter. Also the Latin word Moneta meaning Mint and Money comes from a Phoenician Hebrew origin.



The English word Mystery comes from the Biblical Hebrew word Mistor (מסתר) meaning a secret hiding place. The word Mistorin (מסתורין), BTW, means Mystery in both Biblical Hebrew and modern spoken one.



Lastly, the English word Satan comes from the Biblical Hebrew word… Satan (שטן) meaning, well… Satan as we know it.
For more about the English and Hebrew languages see:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The End is Near (but looks cool) if you Ask Aleix Gordo Hostau.

The End is Near (but looks cool) if you Ask Aleix Gordo Hostau

With no formal art education but with strong background in urban street art and graffiti, Aleix Gordo Hostau began holding a pencil before he "was able to speak" and managed to evolve from drawing for publishing companies to advertising and fashion illustration, comic books and painting. Today, amongst the clients of this talented illustrator and painter based in Barcelona, Spain, are leading firms such as Vans, Pepe Jeans London, Montana Colors and Panini Comics. "My iconography is based in Nordic mythology, masonry and some other personal developed stuff about the Apocalypse" says Hostau when asked about inspiration. The following samples of Hostau's work are published with permission of the artist.

Fashion Illustration

The above fashion Illustration is made by colour pencils and watercolour. Theme is based in the Funk of the 70's, Hip-Hop and urban culture in general. Below: Detail.

Fashion Illustration (detail)

The End is Near

The End Is Near

The End is Near (above) is part of an in-process series of paintings Hostau has been working on. Same as other items in the series the above piece is made of spray paint and paint marker on canvas. Size: 100x100 cm.

Don't Panic

Don't Panic

The Spanish version of the famous Don't Panic magazine will publish a 42x59.5 cm poster designed by Hostau this year. Themed after The End of The World, 25,000 copies of this poster are due to be distributed with the magazine in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia before the end of 2009. Below: Detail.

Don't Panic (detail)

Mural Mariachi


This mural was done in collaboration with several other artists including Inocuo, TvBoy, Juan Carlos Noria and Sonos for the 24x24 Graphic Design Marathon - a happening organized by IDEP in Barcelona where - how cool - 24 designers create 24 illustrations during 24 hours. Hostau's part included the Mariachi element. Technique included paint, paint markers, and spray paint on wall. Below a detail of Hostau's Mariachi.

Mural (detail)

La Troupe #2

The first graffiti comics in Spain and a unique of its kind in the world, La Troupe is published by Montana Colors and British Panini Comics, hosting the works of 52 of the most well known graffiti artists and writers in Spain.


Art takes time so Hostau has been working on his La Troupe #2 project since 2004. If all goes well, we can all get our La Troupe #2 copy later on this year, after it will be published in France. For more about La Troupe check on their Facebook group.

For more art by Aleix Gordo Hostau:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Polar Bears Prefer (Unstable) Chubbiness

Polar Bears Prefer (Unstable) Chubbiness

We already know Lions Prefer Blondes and make great Photojournalism dramas but other than the Grizzly Man we had very little explicit visual information about the human oriented culinary preferences of bears in general and polar bears in particular. Thanks to CNN News, we can now report that polar bears prefer unstable chubby young women. This preference is clearly demonstrated here with a German 32-year-old lady during a casual visit to the Berlin zoo and, well... after climbing into the moat surrounding the bear pen during feeding time.

Swimming towards the bear

Swimming. watching (via

Woman is mauled. Bear is eating...

According to local police the woman jumped into the water-filled ditch that separates visitors from the enclosure that houses the bears. Not surprisingly we should say, one of the bears dived into the water and "mauled the woman" a little bit causing "serious injuries". Above: bear is eating (via nydailynews)

Saved from Polar Bear (1)

Luckily for our young friend a few brave Zoo workers came to the rescue and tossed their always waiting rescue rings to hoist her out.

Saved from Polar Bear (2)

The polar bears swam nearby and the whole scene was captured on cameras, video included.

Saved from Polar Bear (3)

Official police spokesman said that "The woman has proved herself to be careless by jumping into the enclosure." adding that "Logic tells us that polar bears will do this type of thing in this situation." We tend to agree with the German police in this case only we are not sure if that's a matter of logic or a simple appetite for a chubby meal. Rescue video below.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Enjoy Subprime Lending

Enjoy Stimulus Package

If you live in New York City you may have noticed a new street-art campaign in the last couple of months, commenting the current state of economy via stickers and posters. Thanks to Patrik from The Big Apple for sharing Enjoy Subprime Lending with CultCase.


Just in case you are not a great fan of Subprime lending, perhaps you'd enjoy a small Stimulus Package.

More at:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Parking policy in Portugal

Parking policy in Portugal

In most cases, transportation and parking issues included, having no policy is better than not being sure about it. Take this street corner in Portugal for example. Details below.

Parking policy in Portugal

Above: Detail, left side. Below: Detail, right side.

Parking policy in Portugal

By António Flórido, via Opalhetas

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Contend Fear

She was born, raised and received her BFA in photography from Parsons School of Design and Technology in New York but six months ago Mollie Delaria moved to Israel for her Masters degree. She began working on Contend Fear, a self-portrait project exploring different scenarios of people’s mental attitudes, in 2005 and completed it in 2008.



By utilizing herself as the main subject of the composition, Delaria invites the viewer into the image, to connect with her, to confront their own personal hidden fears, suppressed memories and perspectives.



Her compositions are used to create a surrealist scene which is then being enhanced with a narrative using props and gestures, and using facial expressions to establish a feeling.



We think she got the hang of living in Israel four years ago already, when she was in New York.

More here: