Boom Computing

He kept his homemade, oversized, “nuclear weapon effects computer” in a room packed floor to ceiling with puzzles. To me, smugly distanced from the fearful zeitgeist of the atomic age (and its pragmatic preparations) this choice seems perfectly fitting. I can think of none better in fact. Circular slide rules manufactured to calculate the various effects and time lengths of a post nuclear landscape were once fairly common items. If you handed me one today and expected an important calculation in return you might as well hand me a icosahedron-shaped rubik’s and expect in return a nice slice of strawberry pie.

09.16. filed under: design. history. humanity. science. 12

KATHMANDU (Reuters)- Officials at Nepal’s state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft. Nepal Airlines, which has two Boeing aircraft, has had to suspend some services in recent weeks due the problem. The goats were sacrificed in front of the troublesome aircraft Sunday at Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu in accordance with Hindu traditions, an official said. “The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,” said Raju K.C., a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been. (It’s really not necessary for me to make any snide comments on this one is it? Humanity just rules so fucking hard!)

09.05. filed under: headlines. humanity. wtf. 2

“There were only occasional cigarette wrappers or paper towel like toilet paper with no pencils or ink available for communication. You could manufacture ink out of brick dust and sundry such elements and use bamboo slivers for pens. The only sure way of communicating thusly was to drop a note in an emptied toilet bucket, float a note out on your manure, hide a note at a wash trough, or scratch a message on the bottom of a rice bowl. But you had to contact the guy first to tell him all this. The preferred, most secure and most reliable method was to tap on the walls or floor pad in a rhythmic code known to us as the Tap Code.”

TALK TO ME! or The Origins of the Prison Tap Code.

08.23. filed under: history. humanity. people. 1

Quote, “Some books are ahead of their time. Some books convey a message which threatens prevailing notions, and are therefore brushed away. Some books are mixtures of profound insights and garbled speculations. Hamlet’s Mill, An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (1969) partakes to varying degrees in all of the above. Hamlet’s Mill began a revolution in understanding the profound sources of ancient mythology. Although it tottered on the edge of oblivion for years, it has reemerged as the fundamental inspiration for many progressive researchers who find the precession of the equinoxes lurking within ancient creation myths around the world.” - From an intro to the complete online text of Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend. (Via.)

12.10. filed under: belief. history. humanity. ideas.

Gk. hysterikos, “of the womb.”

From wikipedia: An ancient Greek myth tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. This theory is the source of the term hysteria, which stems from the Greek word for uterus, hystera. A prominent physician from the second century, Galen, wrote that hysteria was a disease caused by sexual deprivation in particularly passionate women: hysteria was noted quite often in virgins, nuns, widows, and occasionally married women. The prescription in medieval and renaissance medicine was intercourse if married, marriage if single, or massage by a midwife as a last recourse. It was a popular diagnosis in the Victorian era for a wide array of symptoms and treatment came in the form of a “pelvic massage” — manual stimulation of the woman’s genitals by the doctor to “hysterical paroxysm”, which is now recognized as orgasm.

Links: Female hysteria, Why Only Women Get Hysterical, In the History of Gynecology, a Surprising Chapter, Freud, Charcot and hysteria: lost in the labyrinth, Hysteria’s Notorious History, Medical texts and other fictions, The wandering wombUnbalanced Drive ShaftHistory of the vibrator, For pleasure, Come again?, Nerves and Narratives, The Wandering Libido and the Hysterical Body, and finally…

12.09. filed under: history. humanity. ideas. 12

Normal: the romanticized average

What percentage of the time is the concept of “normalcy” referenced in relation to human fears I wonder?

I am wary of the adjective “normal,” as I’m sure many people are, when used to describe anything other than geometric relationships or chemical solutions. It is a dishonest sort of adjective I think, seeking, at worst, to describe something which does not exist, or, at best, to pretty-up something which does exist, but which ought to be called by another name entirely.

11.01. filed under: !. humanity. observations. 9

Solomon D. Butcher and the Nebraska pioneers.

Or: homing-in on the homesteaders.

The mud was high, the sod-roofs were damp, the watermelon was sweet, and in the lens of newfangled camera’s men never smiled. It was Nebraska in the late 1800’s and at “only one-ninth of principle due annually, beginning two years after purchase” it was destination soon crowded with homesteaders. One of them was Solomon D. Butcher who arrived in Nebraska in 1880 to farm. After five years of struggle he realized that he was not tough enough to meet the demands of the homesteader’s life but having in those five years developed a genuine love of the life, and realizing that the period of settlement would soon be over, he set out instead to create a photographic history of what it was to be a pioneer. Between 1886 and 1912 Butcher generated a collection of more than 3,000 photographs. Like most men “he died believing himself a total failure.” His work, however, for its breadth and specificity, has proven to be one of the most important chronicles of homesteading ever exposed to the light.

07.08. filed under: art. !. history. humanity. people. 3

Some ramblings about appearances

Shabby-chic or just plain shabby?

How is it that the average man of the 21st century has been raised up, in wealth, in holdings, in leisure time, in education, in rights, to levels on par with court members and landed gentry of earlier ages, but in respect to finery has sunk to the level of serf? Were even the least noble member of the humblest nation’s aristocracy of 5 centuries ago to meet a working man of today, though perhaps on par with him in wealth and below him in education, the noble would be forgiven for mistaking this average Joe for a barrowman.

06.17. filed under: !. humanity. inquiries. observations. 2

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