Cultrface – a blog dedicated to culture and how it enriches our lives.

Welcome to Igloo City

Alaska's Abandoned Igloo Dome

In Alaska, there’s an abandoned igloo-shaped dome called Igloo City.

It was built as a hotel in the 70s but developers never finished it and as time went on, the structure deteriorated to the point that it wasn’t worth fixing. So it’s just… stayed there, abandoned and decrepit. As with many abandoned building projects, it’s had a variety of different owners over the years (you can read an interview with its current owners on Curious Alaska) so who knows whether it’ll be open for vacancies.

As for the structure itself, it’s 4 stories tall, made of concrete, and the interior is full of concentric beams of timber. It kind of reminded me of The Globe Theatre in London but you wouldn’t find Shakespeare anywhere near The Last Frontier.

Alaska related: Why are some Alaskan rivers turning orange?

Alfred Molina on some of his greatest roles

Alfred Molina Breaks Down His Career, from 'Boogie Nights' to 'Spider-Man' | Vanity Fair

For Variety Fair, Alfred Molina broke down some of his greatest roles and discussed his life in between them. He’s such an underrated actor with a brilliant range and I enjoyed watching this. There’s also a really candid moment at the end where he talks about his dad and I’m sure a lot of people will relate to his anecdotes.

C'est n'est pas un banane

This is Not a Banana

A while back I wrote about how you can eat banana peels. Well, some chefs from a London restaurant called Fallow decided to make a zero-waste banana dessert and included the peel to make “caramelised banana skin crisps”. It looks amazing and a great way to use all parts of a fruit. The peel might be biodegradable but it’s much better in your stomach, right?

Banana related: turning banana stems into useful fibres in Uganda and a brilliant banana bread bottom cheesecake

Kiosk: The Last Modernist Booths Across Central and Eastern Europe

a red and blue kiosk in a wet polish street
Image: Zupagrafika

Kiosk: The Last Modernist Booths Across Central and Eastern Europe is a book about kiosks, those little shops you see dotted around European cities, selling everything from magazines to tobacco, chocolate, water, and chewing gum. Zupagrafika created the photobook to showcase these little buildings of convenience in all their wild and wonderful designs:

Mass-produced from the 1970s to the 1990s, modular kiosks like the seminal K67, designed by the Slovenian architect Saša J. Mächtig, and similar systems – including the Polish Kami, the Macedonian KC190, and the Soviet ‘Bathyscaphe’ – could be found anywhere throughout the former Eastern Bloc and ex-Yugoslav countries, from bustling city squares to socialist-era housing estates. They served as hot dog and Polish zapiekanka joints, farm egg and rotisserie chicken vendors, funeral flower shops, newsstands, car park booths, currency exchange offices, and more.

While this book covers European variants, kiosks originate from Persia where they were small pavilions and spread to India and Turkey from the 13th century.

JS KidPix: a free bitmap drawing program for kids

In 1989, Craig Hickman released a drawing program called Kid Pix for the Macintosh. Hickman said that his son inspired him to create it after struggling with MacPaint and he wanted something that was simpler to use for all children. Naturally, you can’t get it nowadays but we now have a JS-powered version of KidPix which is free to use. And you can save your creations to share with the world!

They were putting drugs in the carbonated water!

Yesterday, @xanindigo.bsky.social and @nameshiv.bsky.social taught me that not only did 7-Up used to contain lithium (specifically lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug) but there was also a fake medicine called RadiThor that contained radium.

The Conversation wrote about RadiThor in 2016 and its most notable drinker, Eben Byers:

In the end, Byers’ RadiThor addiction killed him. Unfortunately, ingested radium gets incorporated into bone and all of its radiation energy is, therefore, deposited in bone tissue. Over time, the radium delivered a whopping radiation dose to Byers’ skeleton. He developed holes in his skull, lost most of his jaw and suffered a variety of other bone-related illnesses. Ultimately, he died a gruesome death on March 31, 1932.

When Byers died, he was put to rest in a lead-lined coffin, to block the radiation being released from the bones in his body. Thirty-three years later, in 1965, an MIT scientist, Robley Evans, exhumed Byers’ skeleton to measure the amount of radium in his bones. Radium has a half-life of 1,600 years, so Byers’ bones would have had virtually the same amount of radium in them as they did on the day he died.

[…]

Ultimately, in the interest of protecting public health, the federal government closed down the Bailey Radium Laboratories – the company that made RadiThor – and radium-containing energy drinks disappeared from the consumer market by 1932.

Nowadays, caffeine is the drug of choice for energy drinks. It won’t erode your jaw away but it can certainly give your heart a workout so take care!

Related: JSTOR Daily asks ‘who took the cocaine out of Coca-Cola?’

For the last day of Pride...

I think I found this on MLTSHP but can’t remember now. Someone’s been painting rainbows on abandoned houses in Asheville, North Carolina. ABC News 13 called it vandalism but the house is being demolished anyway:

The property was recently acquired by Pisgah Legal Services, a nonprofit that assists Western North Carolina residents with free civil legal aid and anti-poverty advocacy. Because the house is a safety hazard, it is scheduled for demolition next week. The demolition, however, was planned before the painting occurred.

“We are allies to the LGBTQ+ community, so we certainly don’t want folks to think the house is being destroyed because of the rainbow design,” said Evie White, communications director for Pisgah Legal Services. “That is certainly not the case.”

Let the LGBTQ+ community have this without criminal accusations, you bums! (News 13, not Pisgah Legal Services)

a black t-shirt with a print that says The Thing at the top and JOHNCARPENTER on the bottom. the main design in the middle shows a deformed alien girl with arms/legs(?) protruding out of her face and a two headed dog, next to Kurt Russell's character
Available as a shirt for all genders, and as other accessories (via MLTSHP)

Chrome Hearts's sterling silver Rubik’s cube

a sterling silver Rubik’s cube

Chrome Hearts is a luxury brand from Hollywood and in 2017, they created a Rubik’s cube in 0.925 sterling silver. While incredibly flashy, it is usable and has six sides marked with symbols such as daggers, hearts, and stars in replacement of colours.

It was originally priced at $6,600 (USD) on the Chrome Hearts website but it has long since been sold. I did find a Depop listing for one, priced at $12,500 (USD).

JSTOR Daily on the olive trees of Palestine

For JSTOR Daily, May Wang looked at the history of olive trees in Palestine, and how their importance has been used against Palestinians by the State of Israel:

[…] Through numerous interviews and anecdotes borne out in legal cases, economics, and statistics, Braverman outlines how the Palestinian identification with the olive tree “is not only the result of its economic, cultural, and historical significance within this particular culture, but is increasingly a product of the olive’s brutal targeting by the State of Israel and by certain Jewish Israeli settlers.”

As the genocide has continued, I’ve learnt more about parts of Palestinian culture I’d never heard about previously. I didn’t know that Palestinians relied so much on olive trees, economically, culturally, and religiously. Or that olives were used to make soap!

I’ll end this post with an excerpt from a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye titled ‘Different Ways to Pray’:

Under the olive trees, they raised their arms —

Hear us! We have pain on earth!

We have so much pain there is no place to store it!

But the olives bobbed peacefully

in fragrant buckets of vinegar and thyme.

At night the men ate heartily, flat bread and white cheese,

and were happy in spite of the pain,

because there was also happiness.

Fuck AI Cheesy Glue Pizza Sticker

If you want to support an indie creative and put one of five human fingers up to AI, considering grabbing a Fuck AI Cheesy Glue Pizza Sticker by @obicynkenobi.bsky.social.

We all saw the news stories – googling ‘cheese not sticking to pizza’ in certain countries served up AI search results that recommended users add non-toxic glue to their pizza to make the cheese stick. Fuck AI, because this is not the future we asked for.