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The Wildlife On Film

Moving pictures of animals – domesticated, captive, and wild – have been a part of cinematic history from its earliest days. Some scholars, looking for cinema’s precedents(PRECEDE) in scientific motion-study photography and persistence(PERSIST) -of-vision mechanism, claim that moving images of animals predate cinema itself. However, the images of animals that reached early movie screens did not derive directly from motion studies but rather from the conventions(CONVENE) of precinematic visual technologies that had long been used to describe and delineate the boundaries of racial difference, sexual difference, and colonial power, as well as from the often conflictual(CONFLICT), occasionally overlapping efforts of scientists, naturalists, conservationists(CONSERVE), hunters, adventurers, and the film industry itself.

For many decades, capturing photographic images of animals, still or moving, was no easy task. In the first few decades of the photographic era, long exposure(EXPOSE) times excluded all moving subjects, and therefore most live, free-roaming animals. After about 1870, photographers could take advantage of increasingly(INCREASE) mobile equipment, with quick shutters and sensitive(SENSE) emulsions.

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The Legend of Atlantis

The legend of Atlantis has become one of the obsessions(OBSESS) of modern popular culture. Quite literally dozens of books appear every year in the English language alone, each of them promising dramatic(DRAMA) new revelations each of them claiming to have finally solved the riddle of the Lost Continent. Yet in was not always thus. Until the publication(PUBLIC) of Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis: the Antediluvian World in 1882, few paid attention to the strange story which had first appeared two thousand years earlier, in Plato’s political(POLITICS) dialogues, the Timaeus and Critias.

In these documents, Plato provides an all too brief description of the mythic(MYTH) island, its history and culture, and its final destruction. In Plato’s account, the end of Atlantis is presented as illustrative(ILLUSTRATE) of a number of beliefs expounded by the Greek philosopher himself, most important of which was the theory of the cyclic nature of civilizations and the notion of how excessive arrogance is an indicator(INDICATE) of a civilization’s impending collapse. It is true that in the immediate aftermath(AFTER) of the publication of Plato’s story, a good deal of interest was generated.