There's a fatalistic joy to looking through old pictures, especially those we have some connection to. It's an encounter with our mortality. The mundane made sacred by perspective.
"So there I was in our C.F.O.’s office with a P. & L. that just eked out a 7 percent return. He looked at that piece of paper dubiously. He looked at me dubiously. I made some weak noises about literary excellence, backlist sales, commitment to authors. He continued to look at me dubiously. Then, with that wry and sad expression with which financial people have regarded liberal arts people since at least the invention of movable type and perhaps even written language, he signed off on my shortfallen P. & L. and said to me, 'You know, we could make more money by just putting this advance into a certificate of deposit.'"
How many objects in our lives do we know nothing about? How many kinds of scissors can you think of? When were they invented? By whom? Thank His Noodly Appendage for Wikipedia.
This section of the Internet Archive collects a bunch of super retro video games for anyone to play. There is also a section of vintage PC games, including Wolfenstein and Doom. In coming years, they expect to add more and more games. Great time killer (like anyone needs help killing more time these days) and reminder that graphics aren't everything.
In New York City, there's an ongoing tunneling project to build a new spur of track to connect the Long Island Railroad Main Line to Manhattan Island. Here are some really impressive pictures of what the project looked like last in 2013. It's expected to be finished in 2023. Which sounds like a ridiculously futuristic year to me but is only eight years away.
Between zero and one, there are an infinite number of decimals. If that's infinite, then between zero and ten, there are 10 infinities.
There is no shortage of little infinities, and we have nearly infinite time in which to explore them. Fun stuff to think about. Here's a video that helps us to think about the very long infinities of time that await us, and maybe a concept even weirder than infinite time at the end.
A series of posts that surveys some interesting photos from the atomic testing age (and the bombings of Japan). There are some excerpts from survivor testimonies and cool facts. The title of this post is a reference to a book by the same name that is recommended.
"Perhaps I hesitated there for about 20 minutes, but I finally summoned up the courage to take one picture. Then, I moved 4 or 5 meters forward to take the second picture. Even today, I clearly remember how the view finder was clouded over with my tears. I felt that everyone was looking at me and thinking angrily, “He’s taking our picture and will bring us no help at all.” Still, I had to press the shutter, so I harden my heart and finally I took the second shot. Those people must have thought me duly cold-hearted."
"In biology, a reliable guide to understanding function is to study structure. Francis Crick and James Watson proved this idea spectacularly in 1953. They inferred the key function of DNA, the molecule of heredity—that is to say, storing and copying genetic information— from its double-helical chemical structure. Half a century later Crick, by then biology's most respected sage, tried his hand at the same game, linking a structure—the claustrum—to a function—the emergence of integrated, conscious experience."
"In order to see the true nature of gravity, we have to remove the air."
NASA's crazy awesome vacuum chamber is put to work showing how gravity works when air resistance is removed from the equation. The result it very cool.
This interesting clip fowards the cool theory that this lamenting song "Alabama" was written after the cadence of a Martin Luther King speech delivered after the murder of four girls in Birmingham, AL in 1963. From a radio doc called "Tell Me How Long Trane's Been Gone."
Recent studies have indicated that three servings of Jack Hostrawser per day may help to prevent sudden comas.