In the Ways of Seeing post, commenter Frederick_Hagemeiste suggested the 1980 series Shock of the New. The first episode makes a compelling case that engineering had a vast influence on 20th century art. Read the rest
Canadiana Village is an hour north of Montreal and sports 45 buildings that are intended to recreate rural Quebec life in the 19th century (though only one is habitable); and once served as a destination for school groups and film-crews. Now it's for sale for CAD$2.8M. Read the rest
Ada Palmer -- novelist, singer, historian -- just dropped a 10,000 word essay on the nature of progress and historical change that has provided some of the most significant perspective on our own strange moment that I've yet to read -- and in so doing, has provided a set of mental tools for figuring out how to survive 2017 and beyond. Read the rest
Historical novelist Debra Daley posts a master guide to the intoxicants of 18th century England, which ranged from modern favorites (laughing gas, cannabis) to historic classics (laudanum) to ratafia, "a sweet liqueur flavoured with peach or cherry kernels," which contained cyanogenic glycosides that broke down into fatal, insanity-causing hydrogen cyanide. Read the rest
A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest
Randy sez, "Maccabees and Menorahs is a one page RPG played with a dreidel and gelt. Designed to run over 8 short sessions, one for each night of Hanukkah." Read the rest
The implicit appeal of these, I think, is that they were originally intended to be creepy, but have become unintentionally creepy. The primary amused-children creepiness of an one era becomes the unsettled-adults creepiness of another, but it's not really the same thing performing the work in each case. And, maybe, the real creepiness is in our appreciation of how the object slowly acquires its secondary creepiness. Read the rest
Kameron "Geek Feminist Revolution" Hurley notes that writers like Octavia Butler crafted stories that feel eerily prescient of our present moments with books like Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents -- but not because they were fortune tellers, but because trumpism -- corrupt confiscation of wealth, overbroad policing powers, discriminatory hiring practices, impunity for violent abusers -- has been a daily fact of life for brown people, women and queer people. Read the rest
As part of her Ordinary Women series, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency examines the impressive achievement of Ada Lovelace, the “mother” of computer programming.
You can also watch the Ordinary Women profiles on Ching Shih and Ida B. Wells:Read the rest
In a thoughtful New York Times editorial, science fiction giant William Gibson mediates on the difference between the privacy that individuals have and deserve, the privacy that governments assert ("What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens?"), and what this will mean for the historians of the future. Read the rest
Nadieh Breme's Royal Constellations is a delightful starry visualization of a millenium of familial connections between European royals, and it gets right down to business: "Royal & aristocratic families are known for their fondness of marrying within their own clique."
Pick any two and it draws a line between them, revealing ancestral lines going back to the beginning—from the kings of medieval Wales all the way to the Windsors. Read the rest
The Grammy nominations were announced today and along with Beyonce, Drake, Adele, and Kanye there was a nomination that went to music recorded by Ira D. Sankey, Winfield Weeden, Silas Leachman and the Rittersville Singing Club. No, those are not artists from today… In fact, those performers lived 125 years ago and their recordings have been newly compiled by a husband/wife team dedicated to bringing back to life the music of the post-Industrial Revolution 19th century.
Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey have one collective dream, and that is to preserve, expose and celebrate the earliest eras of recorded sounds for new generations of listeners. Their label Archeophone Records has produced dozens of releases showcasing music created even before electricity got in the way. These are acoustic recordings created when the music industry was still “cutting wax” and "the business” was in its infancy. John Phillips Souza’s marches were chart toppers, along with sappy ballads and jocular tunes. The world was introduced to “Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight,” and of course, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.”
Richard and Meagan collect the cylinders for each release, digitize the music found in the 100+ year old grooves, painstakingly master the tracks, rabbit-hole copious amounts of research about the recordings, the artists, and the era, and bring forth a truly amazing product that takes any listener back to a time long forgotten..an almost alien world.
And while in many circles they are known for their Grammy-winning expert work, nothing can prepare an enthusiast for their latest epic deep dive. Read the rest