History in maps. Online now is a fantastic series of maps showing the history of the Middle East, the spread of various civilizations, and the borders established at various points by outside powers. Other maps show ethnic, language, and religious divisions within the region and within particular countries. The 40 maps and accompanying text help explain how the region became what it is today.
Crafty fences. Urban X Stitch beautifies old chain link fences in Lyon, France, with cross stitch designs of cartoon characters.
Note by note. Each week, the website All of Bach plans to post one of Bach’s 1,080 works performed by the Netherlands Bach Society. So far, seven pieces are available, including Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, filmed in a cathedral and lasting about nine minutes. The camera zooms in to capture the organist’s feet as they dance across the pedals and his fingers pounding on the keys.
Fitness in photos. In The Fitness Republic of China, photographer Christopher Wahl takes short videos of Chinese senior citizens practicing their daily fitness routines outdoors. Click on a picture to start and stop each video. In The Heather Project, he shows the incredible training and physical discipline required for ballet. It’s a series of short looping videos featuring Heather Ogden, principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada.
Happy home, happy writer. This terrific PG Wodehouse interview appeared in the Winter 1975 Paris Review. He touches on advice for young writers, his happy life, and other writers he admired. Wodehouse was 91 when the interview took place and had just finished another novel. He attributed his productivity in part to his happy home life: “I’ve always had great luck with the things that really matter in life. I should imagine an unhappy marriage would simply kill a man.”