Of all the places I never expected to learn anything cool about the Apollo astronauts, number one would have to be the blog run by ukinsurance.net. ("For many years we have provided buildings and contents insurance for home owners, landlords and business premises.") I mean, it doesn't exactly promise a light, zippy read, does it? But it delivers one, and this week's post on "The Apollo Astronauts' Fascinating Insurance Covers" actually is fascinating. It details the extraordinary measures taken to provide financial security for families of the Apollo crews, who were literally uninsurable: Before every flight, from 11 to 16, the crews would autograph and leave behind a number of commemorative post cards, the idea being that, should the flight end in an untimely fashion, the cards' value would skyrocket. ("No pun intended," ukinsurance.net notes brightly.) It's a weird, unexpected look into a neglected corner of our history in space. (Via Coudal.)
Japanese historian Nick Kapur unearthed "Osanaetoki Bankokubanashi" (童絵解万国噺), a wonderfully bizarre illustrated Japanese history of the USA from 1861, filled with fanciful depictions of allegedly great moments in US history, like "George Washington defending his wife 'Carol' from a British official named 'Asura' (same characters as the Buddhist deity)."
Stanford folklorist and science historian Adrienne Mayor has a fascinating-sounding new book out, titled “Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology.” It’s a survey of how ancient Greeks, Romans, Indian, and Chinese myths imagined and grappled with visions of synthetic life, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robots. From Mayor’s interview at Princeton University […]
Tim Wu (previously) is best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality" but the way he got there was through antitrust and competition scholarship: in his latest book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, Wu takes a sprightly-yet-maddening tour through the history of competition policy in the USA, which has its […]
Use a single password for every website, and you’re compromising your security. Use a different one each time, and you’re bound to lose track of them. The solution? RoboForm Everywhere, a catch-all tool that will not only manage the passwords on every site you visit but generate better ones. As a simple password database, it’s […]
Just a reminder: Print isn’t dead. And now that printers are becoming as portable as cell phones, it might be around for quite some time. Enter the MEMOBIRD Mobile Thermal Printer, a mini-printer that is versatile, portable – and most importantly, never needs a refill on ink or toner. Measuring just a few inches around, […]
What do Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google all have in common? Somewhere in their framework, they all use MySQL, that most versatile (and free!) of database management systems. And they’re not alone. If your company or the one you’d like to work for wrangles data (and who doesn’t?), they’re going to need someone with a […]