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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 
18 days ago 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 
19 days ago 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.
map  history  geography  usa  australia 
19 days ago 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 
20 days ago 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 
28 days ago 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 
5 weeks ago 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 
6 weeks ago 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 
6 weeks ago 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 
7 weeks ago 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 
7 weeks ago 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 
7 weeks ago 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 
8 weeks ago 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 
8 weeks ago by terry
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 
8 weeks ago 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 
8 weeks ago by terry
Ancient Earth globe
What did Earth look like 240 million years ago?
geography  geology  history  science  earth 
8 weeks ago 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 
9 weeks ago 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 
9 weeks ago 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 
10 weeks ago 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 
11 weeks ago 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 
11 weeks ago 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 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 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 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
Topographische Anatomie des Menschen - Eduard Pernkopf
After he died suddenly in 1955, Pernkopf left behind the first three volumes of his monumental Topographische Anatomie des Menschen (The Topographical Anatomy of Man). The book was unlike anything attempted before—a watershed in the history in medical illustration. To many it was the most beautiful, detailed and important anatomical work ever published, but its troubled past eventually caught up with it and it became a contentious case study in biomedical ethics. Today the Anatomie is effectively banned; hidden away in library archives and listed as “out of circulation.”
books  science  history 
april 2018 by terry
Dare YOU face the orcs? 80s game books Fighting Fantasy return
Ian Livingstone calls it the “five-fingered bookmark”: that grip known to children of the 80s and 90s. You’d insert a finger into various sections of your Fighting Fantasy adventure game book in order to be able to return if, say, your choice to drink the “sparkling red liquid” and turn to section 98 turned out to be a bad one, or if attacking the Mirror Demon “from another dimensional plane” proved fatal.
books  games  interactive  history 
april 2018 by terry
The hulking, retro computers that made way for your iPhone
His delightful images present every dial, button and screen in exquisite detail. The computers in Guide to Computing are quaint—slow and stodgy by today's standards—yet fascinating. They are the precursor to the machines so central to your life. Appreciate their importance, but also their beauty.
computers  technology  history  photography 
march 2018 by terry
Your old gadgets are likely good enough
The TV I watch with my wife when I'm kicking back is close to 12 years old. It pushes out pixels in 1080p. I don't care about the fact that it doesn't provide me with the sharpest image or that it's not as thin as new models are. I love it because my wife and I can cuddle on the couch in front of it and share an experience together. A newer model wouldn't do much to change that. My smartphone is two years old. It takes decent photos and lets me stay in touch with people. Sometimes I watch a movie on it. I can't imagine myself saying anything different about this year's handsets. Would I love an iPhone X? Probably. Do I think that it's worth forking over $1,000 for? Not for a second. I'll use it until the wheels fall off because it's good enough.
technology  gadgets  history 
february 2018 by terry
Give us our eleven days - the English Calendar Riots of 1752
There remained the problem of aligning the calendar in use in England with that in use in Europe. It was necessary to correct it by 11 days: the ‘lost days’. It was decided that Wednesday 2nd September 1752 would be followed by Thursday 14th September 1752. Claims of civil unrest and rioters demanding “Give us our eleven days” may have arisen through a misinterpretation of a contemporary painting by William Hogarth.
time  calendar  history 
february 2018 by terry
Playing Soviet
In the selections featured here, the user can see first-hand the mediation of Russia’s accelerated violent political, social and cultural evolution from 1917 to 1953. These conditions saw the proliferation of new styles and techniques in all the graphic arts: the diverse productivity of the Russian avant-garde, photomontage, experimental typography, and socialist realism.
books  design  history  illustration 
february 2018 by terry
A digital archive of Soviet children's books goes online: browse the artistic, ideological collection (1917-1953)
But if you grew up in the Soviet Union, at least at one of the right times and in one of the right places, you might feel a now much-discussed nostalgia, not for the economic difficulties of your Soviet childhood, but for the sensibilities of the vanished society you grew up in. An online interactive database called Playing Soviet: The Visual Languages of Early Soviet Children’s Books, 1917-1953 provides a kid's-eye view into the early decades of that society.
history  russia  books  illustration  children 
february 2018 by terry
Tracing the tangled tracks of humankind's evolutionary journey
Wait ... we interbred with another species? Yes, genetics shows that the ancestors of everyone outside of Africa interbred with Neanderthals, probably more than once. There was also interbreeding with another archaic group called the Denisovans. We don’t know much about what these other ancient cousins looked like as their fossils are so fragmented. But from a finger bone found in a cave in Siberia, scientists were able to extract high quality DNA belonging to a Denisovan girl who lived about 41,000 years ago.
history  science  evolution 
february 2018 by terry
Windrush 65th anniversary 2013
On May 27, 1948 the Empire Windrush sailed from Jamaica for Trinidad before setting its sights on England. On June 22, the West Indians landed and became the people who changed a nation. This is a must read feature for all who want to understand the black and Asian experience in the United Kingdom.
history  immigration  windrush 
february 2018 by terry
First ancient Britons had black skin and blue eyes
Dr Tom Booth, a scientist from the museum said that the findings that there was a 76 per cent chance that Cheddar Man was ‘dark to black’ – was ‘extraordinary’. He said in the documentary: ‘If a human with that colour skin wandered around now, we’d call him black, and a lot darker than we’d expect for Europe as well. He added: ‘It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions that are really not applicable to the past at all.’ Dr Rick Schulting, an archaeology professor at Oxford University said: ‘It may be that we may have to rethink some of our notions of what it is to be British, what we expect a Briton to look like at this time.’
history  science 
february 2018 by terry
“Our weapon is public opinion” - Posters of the women’s suffrage movement at the University Library
“These posters are fantastic examples of the suffrage publicity machine of the early twentieth century,” says Chris Burgess, exhibitions officer at the Library. "They were created to be plastered on walls, torn down by weather or political opponents, so it is highly unusual for this material to be safely stored for over a hundred years.”
design  posters  politics  history 
february 2018 by terry
First modern Britons had 'dark to black' skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals
The discovery shows that the genes for lighter skin became widespread in European populations far later than originally thought – and that skin colour was not always a proxy for geographic origin in the way it is often seen to be today.

Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who worked on the project, said: “It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all.”
science  history 
february 2018 by terry
Why have mildly erotic nymphs been removed from a Manchester gallery? Is Picasso next?
Hylas and the Nymphs is no masterpiece. Its mildly erotic vision of a Greek myth is very silly, if you ask me, and if we were in front of it now I’d be poking fun. Yet we’d be looking, talking, perhaps arguing. Remove it and the conversation is killed stone dead. Culture falls silent as the grave.
art  painting  history  politics 
february 2018 by terry
‘A sign that you’re not keeping up’ – the trouble with Hotmail in 2018
With the passage of time and the absence of a brand overhaul, the word “hotmail” near your name started to be quite ageing; like “ntlworld” or “blueyonder”, it was a sign that you weren’t keeping up. It was a deduction that wouldn’t stand up in a court of law, but online it is inference, not certainty, that drags you down. When you could have an ageless Yahoo address, there is just no call to leave this kind of footprint, unless “incredibly old” is your calling card.
e-mail  technology  history 
january 2018 by terry
The entire history of the world—really, all of it—distilled into a single gorgeous chart
The 5-foot-long Histomap was sold for $1 and folded into a green cover, which featured endorsements from historians and reviewers. The chart was advertised as “clear, vivid, and shorn of elaboration,” while at the same time capable of “holding you enthralled” by presenting: "the actual picture of the march of civilization, from the mud huts of the ancients thru the monarchistic glamour of the middle ages to the living panorama of life in present day America."
history  infographic  maps 
january 2018 by terry
What happens when a Japanese woodblock artist depicts life in London in 1866, despite never having set foot there
And the affinity goes both ways. When Prince Fushimi Sadanaru made a state visit to England forty years after Utagawa made his prints, he hoped to catch a performance of The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan's hit comic opera set very much in the Japan of the English mind (and one that faces accusations of cultural imperialism to this day). Alas, the British government had preemptively canceled all performances during the Prince's stay for fear of offending him.
japan  england  painting  history 
january 2018 by terry
Britain's Bayeux Tapestry
Here you can read the tale told by the Bayeux Tapestry - The story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex, the men who led the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066. William's defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings ensured the success of the Norman invasion of England.
art  history 
january 2018 by terry
The Bayeux Tapestry – historic, yes, but is it any good?
France’s loan of this mighty thing to Britain is truly generous and exciting. The Bayeux Tapestry is much more than a chronicle of faraway events or a symbol of national identity. It is a disarmingly human window on a world that is not so different from ours after all – an age of cruelty and comedy, small pleasures and sudden deaths. Like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, this medieval treasure speaks eloquently to the modern world because it is a true picture of life in all its joy and sorrow.
art  history 
january 2018 by terry
The history of the hotel Venets: a 22-storey metaphor for Soviet utopia
Venets. Welcome to the Ideal explores the hotel as an allegory for Russia and the fall of the Soviet Union. It presents a fictional narrative, based on the true story of a journalist who once spent a year in the hotel, told through archival photography, images of the hotel as it exists now and a text by Grigor Atanasian. To complete the project, Kirill spent one night on every floor of the hotel, documenting his surroundings and interviewing the hotel’s workers.
history  photography  russia 
january 2018 by terry
A spreadsheet way of knowledge
There is no doubt that the electronic spreadsheet saves time and provides insight; there is no doubt that even greater benefits will one day be derived from these grids. Yet all these benefits will be meaningless if the spreadsheet metaphor is taken too much to heart. After all, it is only a metaphor. Fortunately, few would argue that all relations between people can be quantified and manipulated by formulas. Of human behavior, no faultless assumptions – and so no perfect model — can be made.
history  spreadsheets  business 
january 2018 by terry
The "Amen Break": the most famous 6-second drum loop and how it spawned a sampling revolution
Long before the Amen Break’s crude use in advertising, it was a keystone in such diverse cultural moments as black nationalist group Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”---from their ferocious 1988 groundbreaker It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back---to N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton,” to the theme song of Matt Groening’s Futurama.
music  history 
january 2018 by terry
A digital archive of the earliest illustrated editions of Dante's Divine Comedy (1487-1568)
These images, from Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library, represent a 1497 woodcut edition, at the top, with a number of hand-colored pages; an edition from 1544, above, with almost 90 circular and traditionally-composed scenes, all of them probably hand-colored in the 19th century; and a 1568 edition with three engraved maps, one for each book, like the carefully-rendered visualization of purgatory, below.
art  history  books  libraries 
january 2018 by terry
Hear The Rite of Spring conducted by Igor Stravinsky himself: a vintage recording from 1929
But this record, as Peter Gutmann writes at, is "not by the composer of the Rite. No, I haven't uncovered a fraud. It's indeed Stravinsky who wields the baton, but in the 16 years since the premiere he had undergone a vast change of artistic personality. No longer the wild firebrand who had scandalized musical society, he had converted to neoclassicism, and that's just the type of reading he leads here – dispassionate, manicured and reticent, with the final sacrificial dance downright labored."
music  history 
december 2017 by terry
Behind the scenes in Britain's crumbling Houses of Parliament
Photographer David Levene toured the obscure passages and dusty basements of the Palace of Westminster as part of our investigation into its desperate state of disrepair – and parliamentarians’ chronic indecision over how to fix it
politics  architecture  history  photography 
december 2017 by terry
'A tale of decay': the Houses of Parliament are falling down
As politicians dither over repairs, the risk of fire, flood or a deluge of sewage only increases. But fixing the Palace of Westminster might change British politics for good – which is the last thing many of its residents want.
politics  architecture  history 
december 2017 by terry
Cheeky, cartoonish … and under threat: why our postmodern buildings must be saved
As a movement, postmodernism has been unfairly vilified because of what it came to represent. It emerged in the 1970s as a radical riposte to the bland hegemony of modernism, which had seen cities covered with increasingly mundane concrete slabs, often thrown up with little sensitivity to their context. It set out to return historical reference, context and meaning to architecture, shaking up a staid discipline with humour and verve. It celebrated surface, pattern and iconography, favouring stagey fittings in moulded fibreglass, pink plaster and leopardskin laminate over raw timber and exposed concrete.
architecture  design  history 
november 2017 by terry
CompuServe’s forums, which still exist, are finally shutting down
Before there was a World Wide Web, a sizable chunk of all meaningful conversation between computer users happened in the forums at CompuServe, which was the dominant online service until AOL came along. There was a CompuServe forum for everything from PC hardware to comic books, the signal-to-noise ratio was generally high, and if you had a question chances were that a fellow member would answer it–just to be helpful.
via:joeo10  computers  internet  history  technology 
november 2017 by terry
Unearthing a masterpiece
“It seems that the Minoans were producing art of the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of producing,” explained Davis. “It shows that their ability and interest in representational art, particularly movement and human anatomy, is beyond what it was imagined to be. Combined with the stylized features, that itself is just extraordinary.”
history  art  sculpture 
november 2017 by terry
What horrors it must have witnessed: Steven Isserlis on how a Trench cello found its voice again
Like several other musically inclined soldiers, he had taken his instrument with him when he went to war, and played it in the trenches, presumably to alleviate the hours of stultifying inactivity, as well as providing entertainment for official occasions. The insignia of his regiment are painted on the front of the cello and on the inside is a note scrawled onto the wood at the back written in 1962 by war poet Edmund Blunden, expressing his pleasure at being reunited with the cello, almost 50 years after hearing it in the trenches.
music  history 
november 2017 by terry
Dead grasshopper discovered in Vincent van Gogh painting | Art and design | The Guardian
It was spotted by paintings conservator Mary Schafer. She told a local broadcaster that she found it in the work’s lower foreground. “Looking at the painting with the microscope ... I came across the teeny-tiny body of a grasshopper submerged in the paint, so it occurred in the wet paint back in 1889. We can connect it to Van Gogh painting outside, so we think of him battling the elements, dealing with the wind, the bugs, and then he’s got this wet canvas that he’s got to traipse back to his studio through the fields.
art  painting  history  vangogh 
november 2017 by terry
W.E.B. Du Bois’s little-known, arresting modernist data visualizations of black life for the World’s Fair of 1900
Since he became the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Du Bois had amassed a formidable set of statistics on the socioeconomic plight of black people in America in the decades since the transition from enslavement to freedom. But Du Bois had one pressing problem: How would he make statistics fit for an exhibition and compelling enough to compete for attention with such marvels of invention and showmanship as the talking films, panoramic paintings, escalators, and world’s largest refractor telescope, all of which made their debut at the 1900 Paris Exposition?
history  sociology  politics  datavisualisation  data 
november 2017 by terry
The improbable origins of PowerPoint
Remarkably, the founders of the Silicon Valley firm that created PowerPoint did not set out to make presentation software, let alone build a tool that would transform group communication throughout the world. Rather, PowerPoint was a recovery from dashed hopes that pulled a struggling startup back from the brink of failure—and succeeded beyond anything its creators could have imagined.
history  microsoft  powerpoint 
november 2017 by terry
Man Booker prize goes to second American author in a row
“For us, it really stood out because of its innovation, its very different styling, the way it, almost paradoxically, brought to life these almost dead souls in this other world. There was this juxtaposition of the very personal tragedy of Abraham Lincoln and the death of his very young son next to his public life, as the person who really instigated the American civil war. You’ve got this individual death, very close and personal; you’ve got this much wider issue of the political scenario and the death of hundreds of thousands of young men; and then you’ve got this weird state across the cemetery, with these souls who are not quite ready to be fully dead, as it were, trying to work out some of the things that plagued them during their lives.”
books  usa  history 
october 2017 by terry
Softer: Jenny Holzer review – Blenheim Palace becomes a house of LED horrors
With her exhibition Softer, Jenny Holzer has transformed Blenheim Palace into a house of horrors as creepy as an old Hammer movie, though the blood and pain here are real. Centuries lie between the present-day soldiers and the duke, but the implication is clear: the glorious victories on which his reputation and family fortune were built are no less traumatic and horrific than the wars of today.
history  art  politics 
october 2017 by terry
An archive of 3,000 vintage cookbooks lets you travel back through culinary time
But what of "home economics" itself, that curious banner that combines a definition of economics nobody now quite recognizes with the less-than-fashionable concepts of domesticity, practicality, and necessity? You can get a sense of the field's history with a visit to the Cookbook and Home Economics Collection at the Internet Archive.
history  books 
october 2017 by terry
The first web apps: 5 apps that shaped the internet as we know it
Something clicked one hot July afternoon, waking Graham up after another 4AM coding session. "Hey, maybe we could make this run on the server and have the user control it by clicking on links on a web page," thought Graham. The software could run on the server, with a web page as the interface customers would use. "I sat up in bed, like the letter L, thinking, 'We have got to try this.'"
history  web  internet 
september 2017 by terry
Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?
Ah, for the days of fact-free linguistics! The pre-scientific era might have produced a lot of codswallop and hogwash, but how entertaining it is to look back upon. Scholars erred in ways that few modern linguists ever would.
language  history 
september 2017 by terry
Why violins have f-holes: the science & history of a remarkable Renaissance design
F-holes have "twice the sonic power," The Economist reports, "of the circular holes of the fithele" (the violin's 10th century ancestor and origin of the word "fiddle").
classical  music  history  violins 
september 2017 by terry
The Falling Man
The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame—the Falling Man—became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen.
history  photography 
september 2017 by terry
Behold a beautiful archive of 10,000 vintage cameras at Collection Appareils
It is the history of an object that defined the 20th century, and that may fully disappear sometime soon in the 21st. And while we can spend several hours a day marveling over the products of these fine devices, it’s a rare treat to see the things themselves in such an astonishing variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of design ingenuity. Take some time to get acquainted with the evolution of the handheld camera before digital technology finally renders it extinct.
history  photography  design 
september 2017 by terry
Man, woman, boy and girl
MAN originally meant ‘human’. WOMAN literally means ‘wife-man’. BOY originally meant ‘servant’. GIRL originally meant ‘child’.
language  words  history 
september 2017 by terry
Mondo 2000, influential 90s cyberculture magazine, returns online
I honestly have to say, when I first saw the launch, I thought it might be a simple exercise in nostalgia (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). But this looks far more promising than that. I love hearing these old voices from the magazine again, filtered through Sirius's unique editorial eye.
history  cyberculture  magazine  technology 
august 2017 by terry
Sigmund Fraud?
"That is where his ‘genius’ will be found," Crews writes, "not in having understood anyone’s mind but in having created an impression of success from stories that, regarded objectively, constitute evidence of his own obsession, coercion, and want of empathy."
books  psychology  history  science 
august 2017 by terry
Requiem for the iPod Shuffle
But though the Nano was a more significant product than the Shuffle, losing that simple, low-cost music player hits the hardest for me. The iPod Shuffle was something unique for Apple: a device stripped down to a single function. It was a statement that underlined the importance of the shuffle function, something I loved so much that I actually “shuffled” the chapters in my iPod book, shipping four versions of the book, each with a unique sequence of chapters.
apple  history  ipod  music  technology 
august 2017 by terry
Eadweard Muybridge's motion photography experiments from the 1870s presented in 93 animated gifs
"One inserted a disc with images around the edge into the device, which rotated and projected the images onto a screen. The discs were usually painted glass based on Muybridge’s photographs. The effect was to give the audience an impression of movement, bringing Muybridge’s work to life." Imagine how that would have looked to someone who'd never seen — who'd never even imagined — organic-looking movement in manmade art?
history  photography  movies 
july 2017 by terry
Pinboard acquires Delicious
In December of 2010, Yahoo announced it was ‘sunsetting’ Delicious, an adventure I wrote about at length. The site was sold to the YouTube founders in 2011. They subsequently sold it to Science, Inc. in 2014. Science sold it to Delicious Media in 2016, and last month Delicious Media sold it to me. Do not attempt to compete with Pinboard.
history  pinboard  bookmarks 
july 2017 by terry
What does innovation sound like? For a century, typewriters chattered an evolving story
A collaboration between the Spanish artist Ignacio Uriarte and the US sound-effects artist Michael Winslow, best known for his roles in the Police Academy film franchise (1984-1994), History of the Typewriter as Recited by Michael Winslow traces 88 years of typewriter sounds, from 1895 to 1983, when the personal computer began rendering the world-changing machines obsolete. Beyond showcasing Winslow’s incredible capacity for impeccable vocal imitation, Uriarte’s film is a time capsule of forgotten, once ubiquitous sounds, and a uniquely creative exploration of the arcana of technological change.
technology  history 
july 2017 by terry
WWII Enigma machine found at flea market sells for $51,000
While the flea-market vendor thought the machine was a unique typewriter, the mathematician knew exactly what he was buying, and felt “compelled to purchase it.”
history  antiques  typewriters 
july 2017 by terry
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