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Posts Tagged ‘House of Commons

“A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England”*…


With his collaborator John Morrison, Harold Burdekin photographed the streets of the city of London in the dark for his book London Night, published in 1934. In a time before stricter air pollution controls, the pair chose foggy nights to make their images, giving the light in the photos a sense of weighty presence.

The book was printed a year after the much more famous photographer Brassaï published his influential project Paris de nuit (Paris at Night). Unlike Brassaï and the British photographer Bill Brandt, who published a book of nighttime photos of London in 1938, Burdekin and Morrison chose to record only scenes with no people in them. The resulting images are forebodingly empty…

More (photos and background) at “Spooky, Beautiful 1930s Photos of London Streets at Night.”

* Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed


As we penetrate the pea soup, we might recall that it was on this date in 1940, during the Battle of Britain, that the German Luftwaffe launched a massive attack on London as night fell. For nearly 24 hours, the Luftwaffe rained tons of bombs over the city, causing the first serious damage to the House of Commons and Tower of London.

One year later, on this date in 1941, the day after the air attack on Pearl Harbor, Great Britain joined the United States in declaring war on the Empire of Japan.

The House of Commons, Parliament, after the attack



Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 8, 2015 at 1:01 am

Queen takes Knight; checkmate…

Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia, Grandmaster and Women’s World Chess Champion (source)

We explore the relationship between attractiveness and risk taking in chess. We use a large international panel dataset on chess competitions which includes a control for the players’ skill in chess. This data is combined with results from a survey on an online labor market where participants were asked to rate the photos of 626 expert chess players according to attractiveness. Our results suggest that male chess players choose significantly riskier strategies when playing against an attractive female opponent, even though this does not improve their performance. Women’s strategies are not affected by the attractiveness of the opponent.

From a recent IZA research paper “Beauty Queens and Battling Knights: Risk Taking and Attractiveness in Chess” (pdf download here).  Via Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution.

As we are reminded by headlines (today as everyday) that chess is a metaphor for life, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor CH, was elected to Parliament.  She was the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.

Lady Astor, as painted ten years before her election by John Singer Sargeant (source)

Constance Georgine Markiewicz was actually the first woman elected to Parliament, one year earlier.  But Countess Markiewicz was a staunch Irish patriot who refused to take her seat.  Rather, along with other Sinn Féin TDs, she formed the first Dáil Éireann, and subsequently became one of the first women in the world to hold a national cabinet position (Minister of Labor).

Countess Markiewicz (source)

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