45 thoughts on “Whadizzit?

      1. Aren’t the four sides showing the top part of spandrels?

        And… I remember a paper or commentary somewhere about why what Gould and Lewontin called spandrels aren’t really architectural spandrels. But I can’t place where I saw it.

        1. There was an article in the American Scientist (don’t recall the date or author) some years back that pointed out that G & L’s spandrels were actually pendentives; but apparently pendentives are a subcategory of spandrel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spandrel), so G & L weren’t wrong.

          1. I stand corrected. I thought spandrels were just those spaces above arches, but wiki indicates that, as you point out, pendentives like those shown in the picture above are considered a type of spandrel as well. So, once again, I learned something new on this website.

    1. Is that the tangential connection? I’ll buy that.

      But other than it’s looking up into the cupola of some building (cathedral/temple/mosque, court or museum?), I haven’t a clue.


  1. I agree that it is likely a cathedral and the nexus is spandrel – all we have to do if figure out where JC traveled ‘a couple of years ago’ – yeah, right!! 🙂

  2. Looks like a compass rose. Perhaps the line through it represent the Prime Meridian, so you were in Greenwich, England?

    1. The Prime Meridian is defined as the plane of rotation of the transit telescope at Greenwich Observatory. The building’s roof has a viewing slot through it.
      Off the top of my head, the transit telescope was installed in the late 1700s (with subsequent upgrades) and formed the baseline for the Ordnance and Royal Hydrographic Surveys. Similar observatories and survey meridians were established in (At least) Paris and Berlin, and probably others.
      Amongst other things, the global astronomical effort to observe the 1867 (-ish) transit of Venus, and thus measure the size of the universe really threw this confusion of meridians into stark highlight as being stupid and confusing (I did some work curating the online records of a Scottish expedition some years ago ; it’s full of checking of clocks and disagreement about the location of cities), and was (presumably) one of the driving forces behind the establishment of one Prime Meridian and one UTC.
      Anyway – it ain’t Greenwich.

    1. Actually, the award ceremony is in the Konserthus. The banquet afterward is in the Town Hall (Stadshuset).

      1. Cool, hope you’re right. And if you are, now I have an excuse to go back to see it.

        Stadshuset is such a wonderful example of architectural artistry, with its little balconies tucked here and there, gold-leafed celestial symbols from the roof, huge doorways that still keep a human scale. Medieval, mythical, Italianate, and more, all nicely balanced in one package. Also (to me, anyway) amazing that a Norwegian architect, Ragnar Östberg, was selected, given that Sweden and Norway had only separated ~15yrs earlier.

        Anyone visiting Stockholm will do themselves a favor by visiting Stadshuset. And do climb the tower – there are surprises to be seen that you’ll miss if you take the elevator. And tour the building. The blue room that isn’t blue, the giant mosaic with gold tiles, and more. The restaurant in the cellar, at least last I was there, is great, too!

        1. And do climb the tower – there are surprises to be seen that you’ll miss if you take the elevator.

          My wife and I climbed those stairs in late July or early August, 1976. Northern Europe was having a warm, dry summer, and we ascended the tower in our shirtsleeves. When we got to the top we got a surprise alright, in the form of a blustery little storm with snow flurries. We’d left our jackets in our hotel room. Brrr.

  3. It looks to me like the inflatable roof of an athletic stadium. I would say it’s not a compass rose, because it is six sided, not eight. Maybe it’s a sports stadium in Israel?
    BTW, has anyone else noticed the swastika in the roof of the Metrodome in Minnesota, USA?

    1. BTW, has anyone else noticed the swastika in the roof of the Metrodome in Minnesota, USA?

      No, never been to Minnesota, but why would it surprise. Until some got-up Austrian corporal chose it as his political symbol it was a perfectly respectable icon for “good luck”. Before about 1931-2 it would have had no significant negative connotations.
      Defacing it in 1942 would have been as rational as digging up the Regicides and beheading them. Sure, it happened a lot; but that makes it no more rational.

  4. I live about ten minutes from Stadshuset and jog to it each morning (well, each morning when it isn’t snowing!) If you go there don’t miss the various statues in the grounds close to the water (the building is right on the edge of Mälaren – the lake in which the various islands of Stockholm are located.

    1. Sigmund – first, wimp 🙂 Second, we are waiting for your inside scoop on the next president of BioLogos. I am betting they will take an even sharper right turn.

  5. It looks like some kind of quilted fabric. The shape is reminiscent of the inside of a coffin, too. That’s about all I have.

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