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A Christmas card, the Victorian England craze that the world “bought”



On Christmas Day 1995, e-mail inboxes became carriers of a new type of message. On the network, which was promoted with a pioneering spirit by ordinary citizens at the time, the new email notifications sounded in the form of an e-card. Each new day, between 19 and 20 thousand e-cards were sent from the servers of the Mit Media Lab, installed at the North American Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the recipients’ homes. A few months earlier, new technology researcher Judith Donath came up with an idea that revolutionized the future of Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. Judith, born in 1962, introduced an online service called The Electric Postcard in 1994. The operating principle of the service was simple. Subject A accessed a database of digital postcards posted on the site, edited them as he saw fit, and sent them to Subject B. The simplicity of the process won over a growing number of users. First, there are no more than 10–20 people a day, and in 1996 this amounted to more than 1.7 million people.

What Judith presented in the 20th century as a revolution in the tradition of addressing the holidays is recreated nearly 150 years later by the invention of the commercial paper-sized Christmas card. Its introduction to the market changed the way Victorian England, and then other European countries and North America, expressed appreciation and respect in the form of images and text in the 19th century. In 1843, Henry Cole, an English civil servant and inventor under the pseudonym Felix Summerlee (among his creations is the new teapot), realized that the British postal service was offering a welcome business opportunity. The man who commissioned the Great World Exhibition in London in 1851, and the first director of London’s Vitória e Alberto Museum in 1852, saw a business opportunity in the massive distribution of holiday letters sent at Christmas.

Cole was not an illustrator, but his compatriot John Callcott Horsley, born in 1817, was a historical painter from the 17th and 18th centuries, inspired by masters such as the Dutchman Johannes Vermeer. Callcott was also a designer, so Henry Cole’s proposal sparked interest. 1843 was the perfect year for the artist. He won a competition to decorate part of the interior of the Palace of Westminster in the English capital with a sketch that recreates the Sermon of St. Augustine. For the first commercial Christmas card in history, John Callcott chose a more mundane theme. On the eve of the holidays, two lots of postcards were put up for sale, one in color, the other in black and white, with a total circulation of 2,500 copies. The one-sided postcard featured a triptych: a large family greeted the table surrounded by two charitable scenes. Like 20th century email, John Callcott’s postcard has reserved spaces for sender and recipient addresses. The rest is nothing more than a simple message “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.” Henry Cole was overjoyed when he realized that he had sold all of his postcards to a society that made Christmas a visual fusion of novelty and nostalgia.

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In the nineteenth century, ink, crayons, collages, and rudimentary and household printing techniques served as support for letters addressed to Christmas. Items that have joined other ephemeral everyday materials such as newspaper clippings, business cards, brochures, dried flowers, collected and organized according to one of the Victorian pleasures: memory albums. Memorabilia that motivated the contests, prompted by publishers to choose the most beautiful. The proliferation of Christmas cards in the coming years will serve as a source of inspiration and raw material for a growing number of scrapbooks.

In the era of steam, the postcard “mechanizes”

Despite being well received, the commercial Christmas card had to wait another five years, until 1848, to receive a new edition, this time by artist William Mo Egley. A second card that introduced holly into Christmas symbolism at a time when religious themes were rare in Christmas vows. Flowers, fairies, butterflies, insects sitting on forest berries, hinting at spring and summer, and not at the darkness of winter, caused the addiction of postcard buyers, as well as cartoon scenes with cats (the love that the twentieth century catapulted to videos on the Internet) , anthropomorphisms with dogs and children in festive outfits.

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Bank of Portugal sees risk of falling house prices | Bank of Portugal



After four months of war in Ukraine and at a time when inflation reaches its highest level in decades, Banco de Portugal (BdP) is raising the tone of its financial stability risk warnings. Among the main risks now is the possibility of a “significant correction in market prices for residential real estate”, a scenario that, if confirmed, could have a direct impact on banks’ balance sheets.

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World’s largest bacteria found in Caribbean swamps



Scientists have discovered the world’s largest bacterium in a Caribbean swamp, which, unlike most, is not microscopic and can be seen with the naked eye, according to Science magazine.

The thin white thread, about the size of a human eyelash, is “by far the largest bacteria known to date,” said Jean-Marie Folland, a marine biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-author of the paper citing the discovery. made.

Olivier Gros, a co-author and biologist at the University of the French West Indies and Guyana, discovered the first specimen of this bacterium, named Thiomargarita magnifica, or “magnificent sulfur pearl,” clinging to underwater leaves in the Guadeloupe archipelago in the Caribbean. Sea, 2009

The scientist did not immediately determine that this is a bacterium, due to its surprisingly large size, since these bacteria reach an average length of 0.9 centimeters.

Only more recent genetic analyzes have shown that the organism is a single bacterial cell.

“This is an incredible discovery. It raises the question of how many of these giant bacteria exist in the world and reminds us not to underestimate bacteria,” said Petra Levin, a microbiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study. .

Olivier Gros also found bacteria attached to oyster shells, rocks and glass bottles in the marshes of Guadeloupe.

Scientists haven’t been able to grow it in the lab yet, but researchers say the cell has an unusual structure for bacteria.

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The principal difference is that it has a large central compartment, or vacuole (a cavity in cellular protoplasm), which allows some cellular functions to be carried out in this controlled environment rather than in the entire cell.

“The acquisition of this large central vacuole definitely helps the cell bypass the physical limitations (…) of cell size,” said Manuel Campos, a biologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research who was not involved in the study.

The researchers also noted that they are not sure why the bacterium is so large, but co-author Jean-Marie Folland suggested that it may be an adaptation to help it avoid being eaten by smaller organisms.

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Jose Eduardo dos Santos hospitalized in intensive care – News



José Eduardo dos Santos has been admitted to a hospital in Barcelona, ​​the city where he has recently been living, and his condition is considered very serious, promotes business magazine.

This information was also confirmed to Lusa by a source close to the ex-head of state.

The internment came after the deteriorating health of the former president of Angola, who left power in 2017 after 38 years in office.

José Eduardo dos Santos, or “Zedu” as he was called in Angola, began his government work on November 11, 1975, as part of the country’s first government and then minister of foreign affairs.

For more than 40 years in power, in 1979, after replacing António Agostinho Neto, the first president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos ruled in peacetime for less than a decade and a half and only participated directly in elections twice (1992 and 2012). apart from legislative elections (2008).

Born on August 28, 1942 in Luanda, José Eduardo dos Santos lived until his youth in the Sambizanga region, in the Angolan capital, but left the country at the age of 19 when he was already part of underground groups opposed to the Portuguese colonial regime.

He is one of the founders of the MPLA Youth, which he coordinated abroad, and in 1962 he joined the People’s Army for the Liberation of Angola (EPLA), and the following year became the party’s first representative in Brazzaville, the capital of Angola. Republic of the Congo.

In September 1975, he joined the elite of the party, being an elected member of the Central Committee and the Politburo of the MPLA, naturally moving into the government of Agostinho Neto after the declaration of independence.

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It was as head of Angolan diplomacy that he achieved the first national goal for the then People’s Republic of Angola, which was at war. In 1976, after a tense diplomatic struggle, the country was recognized as a full member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations (UN).

In the meantime, he served as First Deputy Prime Minister in the government until December 1978, when he was appointed Minister of Planning until his call to the presidency, a position he held for 38 years.

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