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Viral history Twitter threads: 2018 was the year historians embraced the platform.
Historians used the Twitter thread to add context and accuracy to the news cycle in 2018. Here’s how they did it.
news  twitter  politics  history 
yesterday by terry
Steven Pinker: The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences
News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a journalist saying to the camera, “I’m reporting live from a country where a war has not broken out”— or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as bad things have not vanished from the face of the earth, there will always be enough incidents to fill the news, especially when billions of smartphones turn most of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.
news  history  journalism  mentalhealth  psychology 
7 days ago by terry
Hundreds of Japanese firework illustrations now available for free download
In the early 20th-century English fireworks company C.R. Brock and Company (now known as Brocks Fireworks) published colorful catalogs displaying designs from Japanese companies such as Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks. Six catalogs of diverse pyrotechnic diagrams have been digitized and made available for download thanks to the city of Yokohama’s public library.
japan  history  illustration  drawing 
12 days ago by terry
The once-a-century refurbishment
York Minster’s Grand Organ is currently undergoing a major, £2m refurbishment, the first on this scale since 1903.

The instrument, which dates back to the early 1830s, is being removed – including nearly all of its 5,403 pipes – and will be taken to Durham for repair and refurbishment by organ specialists Harrison and Harrison.
york  music  history 
13 days ago by terry
Toward a More Radical Selfie
But I don’t mean to bemoan social media (boring, it’s been done, everyone’s worried but no one will change). Really, I want to use that labyrinth to try to find a route back to an entirely different type of self-portraiture, one that offers an alternative (and more positive) interconnection between character, work, and the female subject.
art  portraits  painting  history  society  celebrity 
13 days ago by terry
An Underground Sensation Arrives - The Chronicle of Higher Education
To be clear, this is not the story of a publisher’s dusting off an obscure gem: The Common Wind has long been revered by historians. Over the years, it’s been passed around, first in photocopies and later as a PDF. In 2008 the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor held a conference inspired by The Common Wind. It’s made its way onto required-reading lists and been cited hundreds of times. Not bad for an unpublished book in need of revision.
books  bookreviews  research  history  publishing 
13 days ago by terry
The last VCR to be made this month
Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will end production of VHS videocassette recorders (VCRs) at the end of July, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This will also mark the end of the format as a whole 40 years after it began production.
technology  history 
20 days ago by terry
Sound Mirrors' Portraits - Piercarlo Quecchia
They consist of concrete parabolas with a diameter of a few meters. In the twenties of the last century, their use combined with microphones, allowed to intercept planes directed towards the coast, discovering in advance any possible attacks. The need to be positioned near the coasts mainly in raised areas, the strong materiality of the concrete and their huge dimensions make them spectacular and extremely fascinating structures, able to dominate the entire surrounding landscape.
sound  sculpture  history  photography 
22 days ago by terry
Acoustic defense: photo series reflects on derelict British "sound mirrors"
“They represent an incredible demonstration of how sound can generate a physical form: both the curvature radius and the dimensions of the dishes are studied and designed according to the sound frequency that they must reflect,” explains the photographer. He hopes the series will continue to raise awareness of these artifacts.
sound  sculpture  history  photography 
22 days ago by terry
The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit
The other crucial idea here is the vertiginous fall from “heart of Empire” to “occupied colony”. In the imperial imagination, there are only two states: dominant and submissive, coloniser and colonised. This dualism lingers. If England is not an imperial power, it must be the only other thing it can be: a colony.
brexit  europe  history 
23 days ago by terry
Why people still use fax machines
When the New York Daily News covered this incident in April, readers were incredulous: The Department of Corrections could have its operations stymied by a broken fax machine? Who even uses fax machines anymore, let alone depends on them?

A lot of people. Fax, once at the forefront of communications technologies but now in deep decline, has persisted in many industries. Law-enforcement agencies remain heavily reliant on fax for routine operations, such as bail postings and return of public-records requests. Health care, too, runs largely on fax. Despite attempts to replace it, a mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns, and stubbornness has kept fax machines droning around the world.
technology  history  offices  work 
23 days ago by terry
Download 437 issues of Soviet Photo Magazine, the Soviet Union's historic photography journal (1926-1991)
The early years of the Soviet Union roiled with internal tensions, intrigues, and ideological warfare, and the new empire’s art reflected its uneasy heterodoxy. Formalists, Futurists, Suprematists, Constructivists, and other schools mingled, published journals, critiqued and reviewed each other’s work, and like modernists elsewhere in the world, experimented with every possible medium, including those just coming into their own at the beginning of the 20th century, like film and photography.

These two mediums, along with radio, also happened to serve as the primary means of propagandizing Soviet citizens and carrying the messages of the Party in ways everyone could understand. And like much of the rest of the world, photography engendered its own consumer culture.

Out of these competing impulses came Soviet Photo (Sovetskoe foto), a monthly photography magazine.
history  photography  russia 
26 days ago by terry
You can browse 437 complete issues of 'Soviet Photo' magazine online
Dig deep enough, and you’ll find some really interesting (and surprisingly familiar) things in there. From standard street photography, to architecture, rooftopping, and (unfortunately) train track portraits, to conflict photography, even some pretty amazing photojournalism, and gear/equipment ads.
russia  photography  history 
26 days ago by terry
Letterlocking: Mary Queen of Scots last letter, a butterfly lock, England (1587)
Modelled after images of Mary Queen of Scots’ letter to her brother-in-law Henri III, King of France in the National Library of Scotland
paper  letter  history  video 
4 weeks ago by terry
The last letter of Mary Queen of Scots
Sire, my brother-in-law, having by God's will, for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years, I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates. I have asked for my papers, which they have taken away, in order that I might make my will, but I have been unable to recover anything of use to me, or even get leave either to make my will freely or to have my body conveyed after my death, as I would wish, to your kingdom where I had the honour to be queen, your sister and old ally.
letter  paper  history 
4 weeks ago by terry
Before envelopes, people protected messages with letterlocking
But it’s not the words that fascinate Jana Dambrogio, the Thomas F. Peterson conservator at MIT Libraries. For more than a decade, Dambrogio has been studying “letterlocking,” the various systems of folds, slits, and wax seals that protected written communication before the invention of the mass-produced envelope. To guard her final missive from prying eyes, the queen used a “butterfly lock”—one of hundreds of techniques catalogued by Dambrogio, collaborator Daniel Starza Smith, and their research team in a fast-growing dictionary of letterlocking.
paper  letters  history 
4 weeks ago by terry
Richard Baker: The birth of TV news
"All I did in that first programme, at 7.30pm on 5 July 1954, was to announce, behind a filmed view of Nelson's Column: Here is an illustrated summary of the news. It will be followed by the latest film of happenings at home and abroad. We were not to be seen reading the news because it was feared we might sully the pure stream of truth with inappropriate facial expressions, or (unthinkably) turn the news into a personality performance."
television  news  history 
4 weeks ago by terry
The little-known reason pencils are yellow
Amidst this myriad of spectacles was a rather less dramatic—but no less influential—innovation from a Czech manufacturing company named Hardtmuth Pencil. Its latest creation was formed, as all pencils are, of a graphite core housed in a protective wooden sheath. What stood out was its color—Hardtmuth’s “luxury pencil” was painted yellow.
design  colour  history 
5 weeks ago by terry
What can a linguist learn from a gravestone?
The key running theme of gravestone inscriptions is that they are for the living, and even for a more specific task: they reaffirm and reiterate membership in a group, and the beliefs that are part of the culture of that group. This does not necessarily mean that they are particularly informative about the life of the specific deceased, but they are full of useful, sometimes subtle cues about the community the deceased belonged to, and what they valued. [...]

Gravestone linguistics are shifty and unclear, for all their definitiveness. How much do you really trust the veracity of the statements? When was the last time you saw “in life, he was a real jerk” on a gravestone? But there’s information there, historical data to be pored over and analyzed. Spooky but productive.
death  language  writing  history 
6 weeks ago by terry
The myth of whiteness in classical sculpture
Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction.
art  sculpture  history 
7 weeks ago by terry
The Spirit Photographs of William Hope
Known as “spirit photographs”, they were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope. Born in 1863 in Crewe, Hope started his working life as a carpenter, but in 1905 became interested in spirit photography after capturing the supposed image of a ghost while photographing a friend. He went on to found and lead a group of six spirit photographers known as the Crewe Circle. Following World War I, support for the group, and demand for its services, grew as the grieving relatives of those lost to the war sought a means of contacting their loved ones. ... Later the same year Price published his findings, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote The Case for Spirit Photography, in response to Price’s claims of fraud. Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure, until his death in 1933.
photography  history  ghosts 
7 weeks ago by terry
100 websites that shaped the internet as we know it
Next year will be the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s first proposal to CERN outlining what he originally called the “WorldWideWeb” (one word). Since then, Berners-Lee has had a few regrets about what’s become a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, and who knows what the future holds. Below you’ll find our somewhat arbitrary idea of the virtual destinations that mattered most, ranked and curated by the Gizmodo staff and illustrated with screenshots that exemplify their history, as we’ve played, shared, fought, and meme’d our way into the current millennium.
computing  history  internet  web  timbernerslee 
7 weeks ago by terry
On its 30th anniversary, IRC evokes memories of the internet's early days
I used IRC in the early 1990s, when there were all kinds of fun things to do. There was a server with a bot that played Boggle. I was the know-it-all music snob who got kicked out of a chat channel someone set up at Woodstock ’94. I created keyboard macros that spewed out ASCII art. I skipped Mike Tyson’s pay-per-view boxing match in 2006 to watch someone describe it on IRC.

<jon12345> lewis connects again
<jon12345> arg
<jon12345> on the ropes
<CaZtRo> HES GOIN DOWN
<CaZtRo> tyson is DOWN
<DaNNe_> no!
<CaZtRo> DOWN DOWN DOWN
<DaNNe_> why ..
internet  history  computing 
8 weeks ago by terry
This vintage anti-distraction helmet looks like a creepy horror show prop
Distractions are all around us, whether it's ambient noise or the colorful items around you, and it's sometimes extremely difficult to concentrate on the task you need to finish. A 1920's anti-distraction helmet, known as the Isolator, was invented to address this issue.
productivity  gadgets  history  design  strange 
8 weeks ago by terry
Internet Relay Chat turns 30—and we remember how it changed our lives
There was a moment of silence, and then something odd happened. The channel went blank. The list of users disappeared, and NetCruiser politely played the Windows alert chime through the speakers. At the bottom of the IRC window, a new message now stood alone: "You have been kicked from channel #descent for the following reason: f*** off newbie". I guess the Internet of 1995 wasn't that different from the Internet of 2018.
internet  history  computing 
8 weeks ago by terry
Retro TV Channels from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are on the internet for all posterity
This website of vintage TV also features crappy, snow-filled static screens, a mechanical-sounding TV channel switch and a slight delay when you change the channel before it appears on the screen. This is truly delightful and a nice way to spend an evening reminiscing about what TV used to mean for you (i.e. something significant and important in the pre-internet era).
history  video  television  retro 
9 weeks ago by terry
Native cartography: a bold mapmaking project that challenges Western notions of place
‘More lands have been lost to Native peoples probably through mapping than through physical conflict.’ Maps have been used not only to encroach on Native Americans lands, but to diminish their cultures as well. With every Spanish, French or English placename that eclipses a Native one, a European narrative of place and space becomes further entrenched. In an effort to help reclaim his region for his people, Jim Enote, a Zuni farmer and the director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center in New Mexico, has organised a unique project intended to help bring indigenous narratives back to the land.
maps  america  culture  geography  history 
9 weeks ago by terry
Yahoo Japan is shutting down its website hosting service GeoCities
The company said in a statement that it was hard to encapsulate in one word the reason for the shut down, but that profitability and technological issues were primary factors. It added that it was full of “regret” for the fate of the immense amount of information that would be lost as a result of the service’s closure. [...]

The fact that GeoCities survived in Japan for so long speaks to the country’s idiosyncratic nature online. Despite the fact that Yahoo—which purchased GeoCities in 1999 for almost $4 billion at the peak of the dot.com boom—has fallen into irrelevance in much of the world, the company continues to be the dominant news portal in Japan. It still commands a sizeable market share in search, though it has steadily ceded its position to Google over the years.
internet  computing  web  history  japan 
10 weeks ago by terry
Sonic Territories: the Beishan Broadcast Wall exhibited
While standing on a frontier, the broadcast wall also abolishes it. Sound blurs boundaries and reaffirms the porosity of space. In August 2018, invited by Augustin Maurs and Ada Kai-Ting Yang, a group of five Taiwanese and international artists will re-activate and re-invent the Beishan broadcast wall in the course of an artist-run research residency. During this investigation, the loudspeaker construction will become a twofold instrument where outer and inner voices cross, and where artist voices merge with the voices of local participants.
art  china  history  taiwan  music  propaganda 
10 weeks ago by terry
ArtAsiaPacific: Sonic Territories Performance Recap
For “Sonic Territories,” five artists took over the still partially functioning Beishan Broadcast Wall. Comprising deeply site-specific performances, curator Ada Kai-Ting Yang’s ensemble rippled with resonances that spoke of peace while stirring at shared memories of displacement and conflict. 
china  taiwan  propaganda  music  history  art 
10 weeks ago by terry
Aural exhibition inspired by Kinmen’s Beishan Broadcast Wall bound for Berlin
Yang said instead of focusing on the pain caused by war, the exhibition emphasizes blessings, peace and the need to cloak the former battlefield with a sense of spiritual calm. It is also an attempt to heighten international awareness of Kinmen’s complicated history and the development of democracy in Taiwan, she added.
china  taiwan  propaganda  music  history  art 
10 weeks ago by terry
Beishan Broadcast Wall: Taiwan’s eerie sonic weapon
A stronghold of ‘sonic power’ has been brought back to life. Vivienne Chow talks to the artists behind a new project about different forms of propaganda – and the politics of silence.
taiwan  china  propaganda  art  music  history 
10 weeks ago by terry
"A Geological Parable" - Futility Closet
The Archaeopteryx was feeling pretty gloomy, for at that morning’s meeting of the Amalgamated Association of Enaliosaurians he had been blackballed. He was looked down upon by the Pterodactyl and the Ichthyosaurus deigned not to notice him. Cast out by the Reptilia, and Aves not being thought of, he became a wanderer upon the face of the earth. ‘Alas!’ sighed the poor Archaeopteryx, ‘this world is no place for me.’ And he laid him down and died; and became imbedded in the rock.
dinosaurs  history  fossils  science  humour 
11 weeks ago by terry
At the Newark Public Library, shopping bags carry local history
he Newark Public Library in Newark, New Jersey, has an unusual collection that can’t be found in its stacks. Stored in the library’s Special Collections department, in one filing cabinet and 61 archival Solander boxes—some of which are so full their latches barely close—are over 2,000 shopping bags. Meticulously cataloged by geographic location, size, and theme, the collection records the history of graphics, culture, and everyday life from the mid-20th century to the current day.
history  design  shopping 
11 weeks ago by terry
Pass the tortoise shell: Eve Houghton explores reading and writing across time and space
The history of the book does not always involve the study of either history or books. As James Raven shows in this slim, engaging volume, the question of what sort of object might count as a book remains very much up for debate. The history of the book in the Western world has traditionally made “book” synonymous with “codex” – gatherings of leaves folded or stitched together – but in Professor Raven’s geographically and chronologically wide-ranging account, it takes a variety of material forms: Chinese tortoise shells inscribed 3,000 years ago; Sumerian clay tablets impressed with cuneiform scripts; knotted string records, or khipus, used for record-keeping by South American Incan officials. The boundaries of the book seem even less clearly defined in the era of the blog post and Kindle.
books  history  reading 
11 weeks ago by terry
The breeds, personalities, temperaments and physical traits of the beloved pet dogs of Ancient Rome
In a tail-wagging video essay, Julien Blarel of Invicta History takes a look at an often ignored facet of daily ancient Roman life – their pet dogs. Blarel explains the type of breeds available along with their physical traits, personality and temperament with the help of wonderful illustrations by Beverly Johnson.
history  animals  dogs  rome 
11 weeks ago by terry
Conserve the sound
»Conserve the sound« is an online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds. The sound of a dial telephone, a walkman, a analog typewriter, a pay phone, a 56k modem, a nuclear power plant or even a cell phone keypad are partially already gone or are about to disappear from our daily life.
audio  history  sound  museums 
12 weeks ago by terry
How the index card cataloged the world
Carl Linnaeus, the father of biological taxonomy, also had a hand in inventing this tool for categorizing anything.
history  information  records 
12 weeks ago by terry
12 letters that didn't make the alphabet
You know the alphabet. It’s one of the first things you’re taught in school. But did you know that they’re not teaching you all of the alphabet? There are quite a few letters we tossed aside as our language grew, and you probably never even knew they existed.
writing  alphabet  history  language 
september 2018 by terry
Recently digitized journals grant visitors access to Leonardo da Vinci’s detailed engineering schematics and musings
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London recently published scans of two of the Leonardo da Vinci notebooks so website visitors can digitally zoom and flip through the drawings and musings of the Italian Renaissance painter, architect, inventor, and sculptor. Jumbled together in the delicate journals are thoughts on both science and art—detailed charts and speculations contained on the same pages as observational sketches of hats or horse hooves.
davinci  notebooks  books  history  engineering 
september 2018 by terry
In 1988, Acid House swept Britain. These fliers tell the story.
Mr. Little started doing sleeves for a friend’s record label, which led to the work on fliers. The Spectrum job did not pay well, he said — “I think about £100 and free entry to the club for life” — but he put a lot of effort into its fliers. He was told that the design had to feature an all-seeing eye, and he tried to give the flier a direct link to ’60s psychedelia, filling it with coded references to the Grateful Dead’s artwork. “Maybe three out of the 10,000 people made the reference,” Mr. Little said. But everyone who picked up one kept it, he said. “No one threw it in the street.”
music  design  history 
september 2018 by terry
Caerleon Amphitheatre
This Roman amphitheater is said to be King Arthur's legendary Round Table.
wales  history  newport 
september 2018 by terry
In 1900, photographing an entire train required the world’s biggest camera
Lawrence quickly went to work designing a camera that could hold a glass plate measuring 8 feet by 4 1/2 feet. It was constructed by the camera manufacturer J.A. Anderson from natural cherry wood, with bespoke Carl Zeiss lenses (also the largest ever made). The camera alone weighed 900 pounds. With the plate holder, it reached 1,400 pounds. According to an August 1901 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the bellows was big enough to hold six men, and the whole camera took a total of 15 workers to operate.
history  photography 
september 2018 by terry
K10k - Web Design Museum
Year: 2003; Categories: Design & Art, Magazines; Style: Pixel Design, Creative.
internet  design  history  webdesign 
september 2018 by terry
Web Design Museum
At present, Internet Archive keeps the visual form of over 327 billion websites, the oldest of which date back to 1996. This service is undoubtedly a great aid to anyone who would like to look at the internet past. Unfortunately, it does not enable to follow past trends in web design or to go through websites originating only in a certain period. The thing is that Internet Archive is not a museum with carefully sorted exhibits that would give visitors a comprehensive picture of the web design past with the use of selected examples. It is more like a full archive of the internet.

Therefore, Web Design Museum sets the main objective to trace the past web design trends, and to give general public the full picture of the web design past with the use of selected exhibits. At the same time, it seeks to use selected websites to outline the development of websites from the most distant past until present.
internet  design  history  webdesign 
september 2018 by terry
How the smiley face became a counter-cultural symbol
The yellow smiley face as we know it has been around for over half a century, but where did it come from? And how does it continue to grin when the general consensus says there isn’t much to smile about these days? Here, we trace the origins of the iconic graphic, from its corporate beginnings to its counter-cultural adoption.
design  history 
august 2018 by terry
The twenty-five-year journey of Magic: The Gathering
To change more rules, you needed to buy more cards. Many of the most powerful cards were rarely printed, which drove fans to crack open even more packs. By November of 1993, under the headline “Professor’s Game Casts Magic Spell on Players,” the Seattle Times reported that ten million cards had been sold in a few months. “I’ve wasted—no not wasted—I’ve used all my money just buying Magic cards,” an eleven-year-old boy named Jake told the Washington Post. He carried his deck around with him everywhere he went in case a game broke out. By 1997, Magic: The Gathering was so successful that Wizards of the Coast acquired Dungeons & Dragons. Newsweek noted that Wizards had sold two billion cards. A game like Magic, Garfield told the reporter, could “take over your personal operating system, like a virus.”
games  history  cards 
august 2018 by terry
'Spectacular' ancient public library discovered in Germany
It is not clear how many scrolls the library would have held, but it would have been “quite huge – maybe 20,000”, said Schmitz. The building would have been slightly smaller than the famed library at Ephesus, which was built in 117 AD. He described the discovery as “really incredible – a spectacular find”.
libraries  history  archaeology 
august 2018 by terry
Cosmography manuscript (12th Century)
This wonderful series of medieval cosmographic diagrams and schemas are sourced from a late 12th-century manuscript created in England. Coming to only nine folios, the manuscript is essentially a scientific textbook for monks, bringing together cosmographical knowledge from a range of early Christian writers such as Bede and Isodere, who themselves based their ideas on such classical sources as Pliny the Elder, though adapting them for their new Christian context.
astrology  diagrams  history  science  maps 
july 2018 by terry
Famous landmarks, before they were finished
It isn’t always possible to find an unusual perspective on famous landmarks, but photos taken during their construction can often provide one. In black-and-white or grainy color, they’re filled with promise but not yet substance—scaffolding around a skyscraper skeleton, pieces of a sculpture in a workshop, the foot of a tower reaching into nothing.
photography  architecture  history 
july 2018 by terry
Indigenous geographies overlap in this colorful online map
FOR CENTURIES, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND their traditional territories have been purposefully left off maps by colonizers as part of a sustained campaign to delegitimize their existence and land claims. Interactive mapping website Native Land does the opposite, by stripping out country and state borders in order to highlight the complex patchwork of historic and present-day Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages that stretch across the United States, Canada, and beyond.
history  geography  usa  australia  maps 
july 2018 by terry
Now That’s What I Call an oddly important document of British visual culture: Now releases its 100th CD
Older than the Macintosh PC, the Air Jordan, and the entire World Cup winning French squad, the Now series has finally notched up 100 editions, each stuffed to the gills with the kind of pop hits that pack a potent enough nostalgic punch to floor unwitting listeners.
music  history 
july 2018 by terry
How the Blog broke the Web
The old web, the cool web, the weird web, the hand-organized web… died.

And the damn reverse chronology bias — once called into creation, it hungers eternally — sought its next victim. Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest, of all things. Today these social publishing tools are beginning to buck reverse chronological sort; they’re introducing algorithm sort, to surface content not by time posted but by popularity, or expected interactions, based on individual and group history. There is even less control than ever before.
culture  history  internet  web  webdesign 
july 2018 by terry
The epic story of the map that gave America its name
Contrarily, according to a letter dated 1504 from Vespucci to Duke Renè that was reprinted in Introduction to Cosmography and describes his four voyages from 1497 to 1504, he reached the mainland a year earlier than Columbus. Historians have called the authenticity of this letter into doubt, but Waldseemüller and Ringmann took Vespucci’s letter at face value, basing their naming of the new continent on its contents.
geography  maps  history 
july 2018 by terry
Below the Surface - Archeologische vondsten Noord/Zuidlijn Amsterdam
Rivers in cities are unlikely archaeological sites. It is not often that a riverbed, let alone one in the middle of a city, is pumped dry and can be systematically examined. The excavations in the Amstel yielded a deluge of finds, some 700,000 in all: a vast array of objects, some broken, some whole, all jumbled together.
archaeology  archive  history 
july 2018 by terry
A visual history of the future
“A Visual History of the Future” will explore how imagery in advertising, magazines, and other media has been used to inspire, sell, and build our ideas of the future. We’ll look at everything from the home to infrastructure to the cities we live in — at ideas that ranged from the insightful to the absurd. And we’ll be looking at the times in which these images were created: what was happening in the world that formed “the future” of that time?

When we celebrate progress, we often talk about scientists, engineers, and designers who developed theories or built tangible things. Artists are often overlooked, and their contributions — the production, visualization and distribution of ideas — are less tangible. This series will shine a light on these creators and how they reached the audiences of the day.
advertising  future  history  technology 
june 2018 by terry
Why Hitchcock’s Kaleidoscope was too shocking to be made
Determined to catch up with Europe’s most innovative directors, Hitchcock wanted to apply their radical methods to one of his own typically dark narratives. If he had succeeded, we might currently be celebrating the 50th anniversary of a boundary-pushing, taboo-shattering masterpiece. But it wasn’t to be. Kaleidoscope was deemed so transgressive that not even the man behind Psycho was allowed to make it.
film  history  movies  hitchcock 
june 2018 by terry
Putting time in perspective
Humans are good at a lot of things, but putting time in perspective is not one of them. It’s not our fault—the spans of time in human history, and even more so in natural history, are so vast compared to the span of our life and recent history that it’s almost impossible to get a handle on it. [...] To try to grasp some perspective, I mapped out the history of time as a series of growing timelines—each timeline contains all the previous timelines.
time  charts  history 
june 2018 by terry
Best YouTube videos of all time, ranked
As you scroll through the cavalcade of videos on this list, you'll encounter viral videos you definitely remember, viral videos you definitely forgot, selections that have aged like fine wines, and a few relics from less enlightened times that, on their own terms, still have merit. Not every viral video is great, and not every great video goes super-viral. We've almost certainly left off your personal favorite. At the end of the day, what makes a YouTube video great? Like most treasures online, you know it when you see it.
history  video  youtube  humour 
june 2018 by terry
UK makes Windrush Day official with £500k grant to support events
Windrush Day will take place on 22 June, the day when around 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 aboard the MV Empire Windrush.

[...]

The communities minister, Lord Bourne, said the annual celebration will help to “recognise and honour the enormous contribution” of those who arrived between 1948 and 1971.
windrush  politics  history 
june 2018 by terry
The khipu code: the knotty mystery of the Inkas’ 3D records
But, after more than a century of study, we remain unable to fully crack the code of the khipus. The challenge rests not in a lack of artifacts – over 1,000 khipus are known to us today – but in their variety and complexity. We confront tens of thousands of knots tied by different people, for different purposes and in different regions of the empire. Cracking the code amounts to finding a pattern in history’s knotted haystack.
language  writing  numbers  history 
june 2018 by terry
Side-eye
It is sufficient to turn this opening in the direction of whatever one wishes to observe and the curiosity is immediately satisfied. Its usefulness is confined to letting us see surreptitiously a person we seem not to be observing. This lorgnette may have been called a decorum glass because there is nothing more rude than to use an ordinary opera glass for looking at some one face to face.
gadgets  history  opera 
june 2018 by terry
Studying the Middle Ages through its monsters
Artefacts such as illuminated manuscripts and tapestries are adorned with unicorns, dragons, antelopes with forked tails, blemmyes—humanoids with no heads, their faces instead on their chests—and more. These images inspire awe and a keen respect for medieval artists’ use of colour, but it is the undertones of racial and gendered prejudice that make the exhibition more than a spooky show and tell.
history  art  painting 
june 2018 by terry
Ancient Earth globe
What did Earth look like 240 million years ago?
geography  geology  history  science  earth 
june 2018 by terry
The fleeting tale of great lost books, now gone forever
And fire too (perhaps) destroyed the papers Walter Benjamin is said to have carried with him in a black suitcase on his failed flight from France to Spain, escaping Nazi persecution. The novelist Bruno Arpaia, thinking wishfully in The Angel of History, imagines that Benjamin gave the suitcase to a Spanish partisan to carry across the border. Van Straten suggests, rather, that Benjamin might have used his papers to light a bonfire to keep him and his fellow exiles warm in the cold night of the Pyrenees. Or, he asks, almost as an afterthought, “is it too much to hope that sooner or later – by chance, scholarship or passion – someone will discover those pages and enable us to read them at last?”
books  history  libraries  literature 
june 2018 by terry
Dante and The Divine Comedy: He took us on a tour of Hell
Right there that suggests this view of the afterlife is coloured by authorial wish-fulfillment: Dante gets a personal tour from his father-figure of a literary hero and the woman on whom he had a crush. In the parlance of contemporary genre writing, Dante’s version of himself in The Divine Comedy is a Mary Sue, a character written to be who the author wishes he could be, having experiences he wishes he could have. Sandra Newman, author of How Not to Write a Novel, has said that “The Divine Comedy is really a typical science fiction trilogy. Book one, a classic. Book two, less exciting version of book one. Book three, totally bonkers, unwanted insights into author’s sexuality, Mary Sue’s mask slipping in every scene.”
history  religion  literature  italy 
june 2018 by terry
The Vermont town that has way too many organs
In its heyday, the Estey Organ Company factory was the beating, bleating heart of Brattleboro, Vermont. It produced more than half a million organs in total and, at its peak, employed more than 500 people. On a fateful day in 1960, however, the assembly lines shut down and workers departed. After nearly a century in operation, the organ factory had gone silent. And then, like the most improbable boomerangs, the organs started coming back.
music  history  museums 
june 2018 by terry
Gleanings from the past #54
The French sailors, of course, manned the yards of their ships, and shouted ‘Vive l’Impératrice!’ The American Admiral knew that it was impossible to teach these words to his men in the time left to him, so he ordered his crew to shout ‘Beef, lemons, and cheese!’ The imperial yacht came on, and as it passed the fleet there was a mighty roar of ‘Beef, lemons, and cheese.’ And the Empress said she had never received such an ovation before.
humour  history  france 
may 2018 by terry
An interactive map shows just how many roads actually lead to Rome
No one can give you exact directions to Milliarium Aureum (aka the Golden Milestone). Just a few carved marble fragments of the gilded column’s base remain in the Roman Forum, where its original location is somewhat difficult to pinpoint. But as the image above, from interactive map Roads to Rome, shows (view it here), the motto Emperor Caesar Augustus' mighty mile marker inspired still holds true. All roads lead to Rome.
maps  history  italy  rome 
may 2018 by terry
This 11-Foot 'ribbon map' puts the whole Mississippi River in your pocket
It wasn’t just a marketing gimmick, though. By choosing this particular form, Coloney and Fairchild leaned into a particular depiction of the Mississippi that took shape during the Civil War. “There was this idea that because the river went from north to south, it was a great unifier for the country,” Luarca-Shoaf says—that it tied the divided North and South together like, well, a ribbon. At the same time, they took pains to include important battle sites, like Vicksburg. That these sites made it onto the map just a year after the war ended “shows that the war had marked the landscape in more than physical ways,” she says. “It had become part of the history of the place.”
usa  maps  history 
may 2018 by terry
If kottke.org were a book — by Craig Mod
There are so few websites that have been around for twenty years. Certainly so few that are not explicitly commercial in intent, built on a singular voice and point of view. Because of that, sites like kottke.org have a special emotional ressonance not often found online. For those of us who have not just used the web but built on the web for decades, a place like kottke.org becomes almost physical in its emotional resonance.
internet  design  webdesign  books  history 
may 2018 by terry
History: Georgian–Abkhaz conflict
Tensions between different ethnic groups living in Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast, erupted in violent conflict in 1992-93. These tensions centred around competing historical claims by Georgians and Abkhaz on the territory of Abkhazia, fuelled in part by different interpretations of the Soviet past.
russia  history 
may 2018 by terry
The secret libraries of history
“The new technique is amazing in that it shows us fragments – medieval text – that we could otherwise never see because they are hidden behind a layer of parchment or paper,” wrote Kwakkel in a blog post about his Hidden Library project. While the technology needs to be improved, it hints at a process that could reveal a secret library within a library. “We might be able to access a hidden medieval ‘library’ if we were able to gain access to the thousands of manuscript fragments hidden in bindings.”
archives  books  history  libraries 
may 2018 by terry
A photographer’s journey through the former spas of Soviet Georgia
Van de Velde didn’t know what to expect once he finally got into Abkhazia. “You enter a country no one ever visits, no one ever sees. You enter this fascinating entity secluded from the outside world. It’s unspoiled, its unknown, it’s subtropical, it’s war-torn, but it’s also incredibly beautiful and pristine,” he recalls. Evidence of violent conflict is still impossible to escape. “All the roads remain severely damaged and potholed, many homes are abandoned, and when you inspect them up close you see the impacts of bullets and shelling.”
photography  history  architecture 
may 2018 by terry
Napoleon's Kindle: see the miniaturized traveling library he took on military campaigns
This prefigured in a highly analog manner the digital-age concept of recreating books in another format specifically for compactness and convenience — the kind of compactness and convenience now increasingly available to all of us today, and to a degree Napoleon never could have imagined, let alone demanded.
books  kindle  history  libraries 
april 2018 by terry
Windrush: Who exactly was on board?
The former passenger liner's journey up the Thames on that misty June day is now regarded as the symbolic starting point of a wave of Caribbean migration between 1948 and 1971 known as the "Windrush generation". Many were enticed to cross the Atlantic by job opportunities amid the UK's post-war labour shortage. But, despite living and working in the UK for decades, it has emerged that some of the families of these Windrush migrants have been threatened with deportation, denied access to NHS treatment, benefits and pensions and stripped of their jobs. The UK government has been forced to apologise and offer compensation.
history  immigration  windrush 
april 2018 by terry
The Classic Typewriter Page : all about typewriters
I'm Richard Polt, the creator and webmaster for The Classic Typewriter Page. I grew up loving typewriters and have been collecting them in earnest since 1994. I'm the editor of ETCetera, the magazine of the Early Typewriter Collectors' Association. I've been blogging with and about typewriters since 2010. And I'm the author of a book, The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century.
history  technology  typewriters 
april 2018 by terry
Further Adventures of the Celestial Sleuth: Using astronomy to solve more mysteries in art, history, and literature
From the author of "Celestial Sleuth" (2014), yet more mysteries in art, history, and literature are solved by calculating phases of the Moon, determining the positions of the planets and stars, and identifying celestial objects in paintings. In addition to helping to crack difficult cases, these studies spark our imagination and provide a better understanding of the skies. Weather archives, vintage maps, tides, historical letters and diaries, military records and the assistance of experts in related fields help with this work.
books  art  photography  astronomy  history  literature 
april 2018 by terry
Go Medieval by Attaching a Book to Your Belt
Girdle books were once common enough that they appear more than 800 times in paintings and other art of the period. But today there are just 26 girdle books known in the world. In her book, a catalogue of what she calls “relics of an age long gone by,” Smith has measured, photographed, and investigated the history of each one.
books  history 
april 2018 by terry
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