Inspiring and gorgeous patent drawings

Inventions are exciting, but the best ones are art.

This might be the world's earliest flowering life

fossil flower
David Dilcher of Indiana University writes that this 130 million year-old fossil may represent the first life on earth to flower and pollinate underwater.

Based on the many fossil examples we examined, Montsechia floated in freshwater lakes and was submerged in the water. It had a spreading growth, branching freely. This flowering plant didn’t display any of the showy blossoms we tend to associate with flowers. But because it contains seeds enclosed in a fruit, the basic characteristic of angiosperms, it is classified as a flowering plant.

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Memory Palace podcast about a Confederate monument honoring a real racist


Nate DiMeo, host of the always excellent Memory Palace podcast, points us to the new episode "about the history of the Nathan Bedford Forrest monument (and Confederate monuments in general) that the city of Memphis is planning on moving from a prominent place downtown to a nearby cemetery, because Forrest was, essentially, a racist monster."

The Memory Palace: Episode 73 Read the rest

Gallery: 13 images that helped define the look of the electronic age

In INSIDE THE MACHINE: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age [W. W. Norton & Company], cultural historian Megan Prelinger guides readers through the history of electronics.

Inside the Machine: a visual history of electronics, technology and art

Archivist Rick Prelinger writes, "It's been a long wait, but Inside the Machine, my spouse Megan's visual history of electronics, technology and art is finally out and propagating throughout the world, and we're having a release party in San Francisco at the McRoskey Mattress Factory on Monday, August 24!" Read the rest

Revealed for the first time: the seer stone that translated the Book of Mormon

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published photos of what they claim is their prophet's talking magical rock.

"The Computer Girls," 1967 Cosmopolitan magazine article on women working with technology

Back then, the women themselves were sometimes called “computers.” They used these machines to compute.

34 weird vintage photos of women in tiny miniskirts at huge old computers

Vintage Photos of Mini-skirts Behind Computers (4)
Enjoy ogling these broads' gams, and get a load of those ginormous mainframes.

How .uk came to be (and why it's not .gb)

Matt Locke writes, "It's the 30th anniversary of the .uk domain this week, so here's an oral history of the internet pioneers who made it happen, and how they fought with the US internet gurus to make it .uk, not .gb" Read the rest

The People vs Disneyland: tracing the impact of lawsuits on themepark design

The People V. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic is the latest from David Koenig, who wrote the excellent Mouse Tales books of true confessions from Disneyland staffers. Read the rest

Database: Old newspaper ads searching for loved ones lost to slavery

The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran its "Lost Friends" page from 1877 until "well into the first decade of the twentieth century."

The Historic New Orleans Collection has scanned 330 of these ads and made them available in a searchable database. They're not only an indispensable geneological and historical tool; they're also a powerful reminder of the bloody racial history of America.

Two dollars in 1880 bought a yearlong subscription to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper published in New Orleans by the Methodist Book Concern and distributed to nearly five hundred preachers, eight hundred post offices, and more than four thousand subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The "Lost Friends" column, which ran from the paper's 1877 inception well into the first decade of the twentieth century, featured messages from individuals searching for loved ones lost in slavery.

This searchable database provides access to more than 330 advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and December 1880. Digital reproductions of the Lost Friends ads are courtesy of Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate [Historic New Orleans Collection]

(via Making Light) Read the rest

Family records for slavery-era black Americans to be made available, free, online

4a39468u - Group of Contrabands - Library of Congress
The records will be online by late next year, to coincide with the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington.

The evolution of the word 'dude'


"Dude" was the "hipster" of the 1880s.

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Fun Orwell facts!

14 bits of interesting trivia about Nineteen Eighty-Four, including the fact that he was under surveillance for his communist sympathies while he wrote it. Read the rest

Collection of occult images was a last ditch blow against the Enlightenment [NSFW]

The Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros is an 18th century guide to the occult whose cover is inscribed "NOLI ME TANGERE" -- Do Not Touch. Read the rest

Watch footage of Amelia Earhart from 1937


This newly-discovered film footage of Amelia Earhart from 1937 was released in conjunction with an e-book titled "Amelia Earhart's Last Photo Shoot." Read the rest

Bach: The Well Tempered Clavier

x 2015-05-28 at 7.10.58 AM
"My film draws inspiration from minimalist sculpture and graphical notation, an alternative to traditional sheet music notation that evolved in the 1950s and often involves abstract symbols and experimental visual codes." Read the rest

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