Dusting Off a Police Trove of Photographs to Rival Weegee’s

21 Mar

A Police Department photo from 1959 showing the scene of a stabbing on the Upper West Side. Credit Jake Naughton for The New York Times

 

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words (selfies excluded?). Perhaps these New York City crime scene photos support the claim: Dusting Off a Police Trove of Photographs to Rival Weegee’s – NYTimes.com.

1637 Tulipmania

20 Mar

Twee tulpen, een schelp, een vlinder en een libel, blad in het Tulpenboek van Jacob Marrel, 1637-1645

Here in Orange City, Iowa, the annual Tulip Festival is about 2 months away. Not close, but getting close. Further, today is the first day of spring.

Thus, this wonderful Tulipmania digital display from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam seems timely: 1637 Tulipmania – Timeline Dutch History – Explore the collection – Rijksmuseum.

An Ancient Civics Lesson

19 Mar

The ancient Greeks and Romans; for most of us, I’d guess that they don’t seem all that relevant to our daily lives.

However, Melissa Lane, professor of politics at Princeton, suggests they are more relevant than we might think in regards to what to do about the contemporary gap between the wealthy and the poor. You can find her op-ed at the New York Times here: An Ancient Civics Lesson – NYTimes.com.

Will the Real St. Patrick Please Stand Up?

17 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day calls for sorting out Patrick and all the lore and blarney since Patrick. Terry O’Hagan at JSTOR Daily does a concise job of sort here: Will the Real St. Patrick Please Stand Up | JSTOR Daily.

Wild Irish Foes

12 Mar

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.loc.gov/loc/files/2015/02/03244v.jpg

St. Patrick’s Day nears. Jennifer Gavin at the Library of Congress describes some things that happened on the borders of the U.S. and Canada in 1866 that tie to Ireland and to the Civil War:

Fenian. It’s a noun that describes a member of an Irish or Irish-American brotherhood dedicated to freeing Ireland from British dominion. The name was taken from the “Fianna,” a group of kings’ guards led by the legendary Irish leader of yore, Finn MacCool.

Bet you didn’t know that in 1866, large numbers of Irishmen (back in Ireland) and Irish-American men mustered out of service in the Civil War staged military-style actions in the name of their Fenianism, including a couple of attacks on Canada. (t was one of a handful of episodes in history of arms being taken up from within the U.S. against our northern neighbor – more on that shortly). The idea was to draw out the British military to focus on the Canadian trouble (Canada, at that time, being a British colony), making it easier for the Irish rebels to seize power back in Ireland and declare it a separate, self-governed nation.

Read the rest of her post here: Wild Irish Foes | Library of Congress Blog.

‘The American Yawp,’ a free history textbook published online

11 Mar

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world,” Walt Whitman declares in Leaves of Grass. How he ended the line without an exclamation point always puzzled me, but maybe it was implicit. The poet sang “the body electric,” and every line was meant to zap the reader into a higher state of awareness.

Whitman would have been pleased to see the new American history textbook called The American Yawp — and not just for its allusive title. As a sometime school teacher and educational reformer, he wanted “free, ample and up-to-date textbooks, preferably by the best historians” (to quote one discussion of this aspect of the poet’s life). Yawp’s 30 chapters cover American history from the last ice age through the appearance of the millennial generation. It has plenty about the founders and the origins of the U.S., but avoids a triumphalist tone and includes material on inequality — including economic inequality — throughout. It was prepared through the collaborative efforts of scores of historians. And the creators have published it online, for free.

Find out more about this free online U.S. history text from an interview with the editors at Inside Higher Ed here: Interview with editors of ‘The American Yawp,’ a free history textbook published online @insidehighered.

How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked–and Played

11 Mar

Xerox founder Joe Wilson with the 914, which could make copies up to 9 by 14 inches. (Courtesy of Xerox Corporation)

 

As 3-D printing gets cheaper and cheaper, how will it change society? What will it mean to be able to save and share physical objects—and make as many copies as we’d like? One way to ponder that is to consider the remarkable impact of the first technology that let everyday people duplicate things en masse: The Xerox photocopier.

For centuries, if you weren’t going to the trouble of publishing an entire book, copying a single document was a slow, arduous process, done mostly by hand. Inventors had long sought a device to automate the process, with limited success. Thomas Jefferson used a pantograph: As he wrote, a wooden device connected to his pen manipulated another pen in precisely the same movements, creating a mechanical copy. Steam-engine pioneer James Watt created an even cruder device that would take a freshly written page and mash another sheet against it, transferring some of the ink in reverse. By the early 20th century, the state of the art was the mimeograph machine, which used ink to produce a small set of copies that got weaker with each duplication. It was imperfect.

So begins a fascinating article by Clive Thompson at Smithsonian. You can read the entire piece here: How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played- page 1 | History | Smithsonian.

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