Archive of: history
Text lasts. It’s not platform-dependant, you don’t just get it from one source, read it in one place, understand it in one way. It is not dependent on technology: it is what we make technology out of. Code is text, it is the fundamental nature of technology. We’ve been trying for decades, since the advent of hypertext fiction, of media-rich CD-ROMs, to enhance the experience of literature with multimedia. And it has failed, every time.
James Bridle – The New Value of Text.
You look at the shuttle, it’s not as if it’s this pristine, shining, gleaming piece of metallic technology – it looks like a ship, it’s got dents and burns and inside multiple crews have whacked the paintwork and you can see scratches and things. They are ships that have been operated and lived in and done these incredible voyages all with their individual characters.
Piers Sellers, meteorologist and NASA astronaut.
The first bank credit card, the BankAmericard, was unveiled when Bank of America gave out 60,000 unsolicited cards in Fresno, Calif., in 1958. Unlike in the past, when getting a loan might have meant taking a trip to the bank’s basement, this card was a ticket for anyone to spend freely and decide when was best to pay it back.
Times have changed that’s for sure.
Starting when she was 16, Ria van Dijk would go to the fair and play on the shooting gallery. Every time she hit the target a camera was triggered to take a picture, which the shooter would as a prize. “In almost every picture #7“ is the result. A chronological series of shots (pun intended) between 1936 and the present day.
Now 88, Ria van Dijk is still shooting.
Hat tip: Kottke.
In December of 1975, after a year of piecing together a bunch of new technology in a back lab at the Elmgrove Plant in Rochester, we were ready to try it. “It” being a rather odd-looking collection of digital circuits that we desperately tried to convince ourselves was a portable camera.
The story behind the world’s first digital camera
Getting the plane up and down was not the only challenge. Staying airborne — and alert — for countless hours, looking at nothing but sky, was another. I learned the hard way, for example, that you can get diaper rash from Gatorade.
The things you learn. From an interview with a retired U-2 pilot.
Despite being word-challenged, he manages to do a pretty convincing Little Richard impression and, surprisingly, had mad beatbox skills.
Things you didn’t know about Beaker, from Surprising stories behind 20 Muppet characters.
Bonus fact, Gonzo’s original name was “Snarl the Cigar Box Frackle”.
Italian astronomer and physicist. Galileo discovered the importance of acceleration, and established the law of parabolic motion. He invented the refracting telescope and used it to make astronomical observations. He saw the mountains on the moon and observed that the Milky Way was made up of stars. He was condemned by the Inquisition for his belief in the Copernican system of planetary movement which states that the planets, including the Earth, move around the sun, rather than believing the Earth to be the fixed centre of the universe. In the statue Galileo holds two lenses, one in each hand. Caen stone statue by Alexander Munro.
- Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Flickr have just announced a fantastic new project called The Commons. The idea behind which is to harness the collective power of the Flickr community by allowing us to tag reference collections of images from institutions around the world.
The Commons kicks off with a pilot scheme involving the U.S. Library of Congress. From their photo catalogue of over a million photos the Library team has chosen around 1,500 photos each from two of their more popular collections, 1930s-40s in Color and News in the 1910s.
As well as being a historical treasure trove for us to pour over, absorb and catalogue, these images are also under a “no known copyright restrictions” license. It doesn’t mean they’re Public Domain, but it should allow for all sorts of interesting re-use possibilities.
It’s very addictive once you get involved and reminds me a lot of Galaxy Zoo in a way. There’s an aspect of “…just one more picture…” to it, which is bad for me as you really don’t want to know how many hours I’ve lost to Galaxy Zoo.
For more commentary on the project, pop over to Adactio where Jeremy Keith has posted some thoughtful insight.
In practical terms, this was probably the least efficient form of locomotion ever invented…
Fun though. Efficiency isn’t everything.