May 24, 2008
The Phillips Machine, also known as the Moniac, is a early analog computer for economic modeling with an unusual twist: all of the computation is done by water flowing through its pipes. The flows represent taxes, income, and so on, and the chambers represent balances held by various bodies. Floats attached to pens can provide graphical output such things as GDP and interest rates, and valves can be opened and shut to change the state of the system in real time. You can listen to a BBC radio segment on the origin of Phillips machine, or see a demonstration of one of the only extant working models at the University of Cambridge. [more inside]
A war widow at age 20. That is all.
Jack Chick and his cracktasticness has certainly been covered on Metafilter before. However, in one fell swoop, his cracktasticness has not only squared but cubed. Chick's pamphlet, Lisa (curiously absent from the tracts on his site), features a father who gave herpes to his little daughter and then pimps his daughter out to his similarly pedophilic neighbor (who thinks the "pretty juicy gossip" is "pretty kinky") in exchange for the neighbor's silence. Two months of abuse later, the family doctor discovers Lisa's herpes, and does not report the father to the police, because ... well, you'll see. (Makes the Old Ones look better and better.)
William Shakespeare wrote some of the world's finest sonnets. The website shakespeares-sonnets.com is a fine place to start delving into the poems. Here you can see scans of the first edition of The Sonnets as printed by Thomas Thorpe in 1609. If you wish there were more sonnets by Shakespeare, your jones might be eased by the Shakespeare Sonnet Shake-Up, which lets you remix them according to taste. And finally there's Shakespeare in Tune, a site where Jonathan Willby recites each of the 154 sonnets following a short improvisation on a German flute.
Shaft was so cool that he had his own theme song. Shaft walked across the street whenever he wanted to. Shaft was a complicated man. But not all Blaxploitation heros were Private Dicks. They could be a Pimp, a Power-Hungry Criminal, a Coke Dealer, or a Male Prostitute. One was a Former Green Beret, one was a Bounty Hunter, and one was a Prize Fighter. Some were Foxy Ladies, such as Vigilante Nurses, US Special Agents, or Escaped Convicts. They might even be a Karate Master or a Vampire. [more inside]
Developers Helm, Fuzzpilz, Ptoing, DarkStalkey, Lackey and Ghormak formed indie game development team, Umlautgames, around the 85% completion mark of Thrustburst. A stylish and beautiful take on an old game called UrthWurm (scroll down), Thrustburst is now complete.
NJ & SB Photography ― Just another photoblog? Perhaps. Keep clicking previous or go to browse. Then decide. [more inside]
Summer has arrived! It's the perfect time to experiment with flowers. Begonias, pansies, roses, violets, lavender and more are all edible. Throw some color in your salad and enjoy! Careful, though!
Start-up Junkies. An eight-part documentary on hulu about the genesis and growth of a multi-million dollar startup company.
Fifty Thousand Shirts. Creative guy Steve Paterson has teamed up with a number of other partners (and is still looking for more) to sell 50,000 t-shirts in memory of the more than 50,000 people who died in China's recent 7.9 magnitude earthquake in order to raise $1,000,000.
The highest recorded skydive was performed in 1960 by Joe Kittinger from 102,800 feet. That record may not stand any longer. After twenty years of planning and attempts, almost twenty million dollars, and a two hour ascent on May 26th, Michel Fournier, wearing only space suit and parachute, will step out of the gondola of a 650 foot helium balloon at 130,000 feet.... The Great Leap. [more inside]
Historian Robert Irwin reviews two books critical of Edward Said's Orientalism. Irwin's own critique received positive and mixed reviews. In this brief interview, Said explains what he was trying to do in Orientalism.
Don't Eat the Pictures! Sesame Street gets locked inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [more inside]
Robert Bruce is an American Poet who eschews Lit and Poetry Journals and instead posts a poem a week to his blog, Knife Gun Pen. [more inside]
Sanding down the thorny edges of new wave and post-punk, adult alternative dominated the airwaves in the 1990s. You couldn't go half an hour without hearing "mature rock" artists like Crash Test Dummies, Goo Goo Dolls, Blind Melon, and Gin Blossoms. Although the one hit wonders stacked up like cordwood, established, one-time indie bands like Soul Asylum, R.E.M. and Butthole Surfers (often billed as the "Buttonhole Surfers" when they played conservative towns) bolstered their airplay and sales during this decade. Hover over links for extended descriptions.
The editors of the Chinese lifestyle magazine New Travel Weekly thought it might be a good idea to shoot a fashion spread in the rubble of the Sichuan earthquake. The editors have now been sacked and the magazine is undergoing rectification.
When you are ascending the side of a building with your Boy Wonder, you really don't know who is going to pop out of that window.
One fine old day in old LA, in the year of nineteen and sixty, one Frederick Usher met Eddie "One String" Jones, heard him lay down some deep blues on his diddley bow, and was so taken with Jones' monochord masterpieces that he ran home, grabbed his tape recorder and recorded Jones in the alley. One other recording session ensued soon thereafter, which was released as an LP in 1964. By that time, however, the mysterious Eddie Jones (if that was even his real name) was long gone, and was never heard from again. [NOTE: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]