Weird Website of the Week: Kim Jong Il Looking at Things

It's crucial that the autocratic leader of an on-the-verge-of-starving population look like he knows what he's doing, lest the people turn against him. One of the top ways that Kim Jong Il seems to do this is by surveying his kingdom, as it were, which also gives the press corps that follows him a chance to publicize the various facilities and natural resources he surveys. This is good because it lets the people know that yes, we have bread factories! And yes, we have fields that grow things! And so on. Taken together, these photos give the impression that the leader of North Korea is on a perpetual guided tour of his own country. And so a blog was born: Kim Jong Il Looking at Things. Here are some of the things he looks at.

Tables of food:


Topographically accurate walls:

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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