Dig into the Instruments for Science (1800-1914) pages which reproduce for your geeky pleasure the scientific trade catalogs in the Smithsonian collections. Includes, but is by no means limited to: levers, pulleys, manometers, balances, air pumps, barometers, drawing instruments, electric machines, extensometers, telescopes, spectroscopes, photometers, tuning-forks, dissecting instruments, metallurgical equipment, galvanometers, turbines, electromagnets, theodolites, sextants, microscopes, globes, and glass prisms. Pictured above is Amslers Polar Planimeter. Enjoy… you big dork.

The online world of linguistics is fast, funny, and bears no resemblance to hours spent in a classroom. Linguists and wordsmiths (including Grant Barret from Double Tongued Word Wrester) talk about new words, new blogs and new usage. NPR audio: How the Web Is Changing Language. Via.

“A picture must be painted in such a way that the viewer can understand its meaning. If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning, no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture.” -Kim Jong-il. Art in North Korea.

Card Culture. On the design impact of credit cards and “affinity” cards. Via.

An interesting paper on: Life (Briefly) Near a Supernova (pdf). Via.

Proverbial wisdom from around the world in the form of 12,000 proverbs from 300 different countries. Search by keyword or browse by country.

The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age, circa 1996, and The Olduvai Theory: Energy, Population, and Industrial Civilization (pdf) circa 2006. Can’t wait for post-industrial civilization.


07.16. filed under: link dump.

Oh Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, you have saved us all from the bourgeois excesses of ancien-regime effete post-modernism and perverted capitalist abstract-expressionism fit only for the entry foyers of corporate stooge front organizations and corrupt businesses grown fat like ticks from sucking the people’s blood and vital theoretical praxis! Down with the navel-gazing parvenu honi soit qui mal y pense mademoiselle from Armentieres, parlez vous! If understanding art can increase tractor production, then we will all understand art until we lie dying in the trenches, happy of our privilege to sacrifice for Dear Leader!

Unfortunately, it is with bitter regret and sorrow that one of us must inform Dear Leader that the mission to kidnap Bob Ross has failed, due to the fact that his instructional videos are rather old and he is dead. But we believe Thomas Kinkade will be an acceptable substitute!

posted on 07.16 at 09:43 PM.

I read the Olduvai Theory links. I’ve had the same thought for some years, although I didn’t know there was a name for it. My pet name for it was the ‘low-hanging fruit’ problem; i.e. we use resources that are easy to get, and as we use those up, it gets harder to extract resources. It takes millions of years to make coal, gasoline, etc. and we’ve extracted the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in a very short time. If civilization collapses, only some of the technologies would be usable, even assuming the know-how is preserved, because so little of the easily reached resources remain. But I had thought that, perhaps, after a longish time (thousands or millions of years) the resources would refresh themselves. Vain hope, it seems; we’re well into the Sun’s lifetime. Even another hundred million years from now, things get severely overheated hereabouts.

posted on 07.17 at 09:10 PM.

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