This is Charles's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Charles's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Recent Activity
I was intrigued and had to look this up. It's US Patent 5408 dated 1871. On Google Books you can search for "Key to Baillairgé's stereometrical Tableau" and find his 1876 book explaining the entire system. It seems to be a reference for finding surface areas and volumes for irregular solid shapes. It is definitely a very eccentric approach to solid geometry, but upon casual examination, it seems to be perfectly valid.
cf. Betteridge's Law.
I am pretty certain those are not photos, they are technical drawings. And yes, masterpieces.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2015 on Beautiful Ball Bearings, II at JF Ptak Science Books
You should read "The Cyberiad" by Stanislaw Lew, it's my favorite book. One of the short stories is about the construction of an Electronic Bard. The truly amazing part is the poems it writes. Lem wrote them in Polish, and his translator wrote entirely new poems in English under Lem's direction. And they are brilliant.
I have heard of the "One Breath Method" of entering a toxic environment by inhaling deeply (even hyperventilating a bit first) and then entering, holding one's breath as long as possible, exhaling, holding, then only inhaling again after exiting the toxic environment. I use the One Breath Method frequently in my darkroom, when I process photographic prints with an antiquated process that liberates a lot of hydrogen sulfide gas. I can keep the door shut and the vent fans on, only entering long enough to pour out the chems, exit to breathe, put the prints in tray, exit, put the prints in the water wash, exit, then pour the chems back in the bottle. Unfortunately, this isn't very safe. Sometimes you hear of industrial accidents when someone was overcome by fumes inside a tank, and someone goes in to rescue him and is also overcome. Perhaps people overestimate their ability to hold their breath.
The rarity of large black areas in old prints has a simple technical explanation. 1. It's hard to get nice smooth blacks. The plates get damaged during a large print run, or accumulate dirt. This is evident in your first two images, there are lots of pock marks in the plate that print as white spots. You can conceal this with textures (like the other pics) but that has its own set of problems. 2. More black = more ink = more money.
That reminds me of the Emoskop. Oh I have lusted for an Emoskop for years. Everyone needs a pocket microscope/telescope. Well, I do at least.
A 1Mhz Z80 clone, in 1984?!?!? The Z80 shipped in 1976 and the basic unit was 4Mhz. It was almost completely out of production by about 1985. For a more direct comparison, consider that the original Macintosh shipped about the same time as this single-board computer.
1 reply
I recall seeing apocalyptic diagrams like this before. So I did a little web searching and there are several diagrams predating this one, that are so similar, they had to be the source. Here's one dated 1919.
That Perret illustration reminds me a lot of Rachel Whiteread's sculpture "House," where she filled an old house with concrete and then stripped away all the house structure from around the hardened concrete.
You might be interested in similar artworks and detailed analysis at the MIT website "Black Ships & Samurai." It was created by Pulitzer Prize winning historian John Dower for his class "Visualizing Culture." It caused some considerable controversy when it was released, Dower's wikipedia bio goes into some of the details.
Wow, that second image is strikingly similar to Le Corbusier's "Modulor Man." I checked the dates, it appears that Kiesler's publications pre-date Corbu's. They are so similar, I suspect that Kiesler was the direct inspiration for The Modulor.
Nice collection of images. Of course you know that "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" (there is a version II) is a well-storied painting. It was confiscated by the Nazis and was at the center of one of the greatest legal battles ever attempted at repatriation of stolen art. The case even went before the US Supreme Court. The heirs won and they sold the portrait for $135 million, a record price for any painting. Now it's the centerpiece of the Neue Gallerie in New York City.
It is always fascinating to see your presentations of the microscopic details of engravings, as they reveal the finer aspects of creating a visual illusion. But your illustrations, especially the first one of the eye, and the astronomical diagrams, show an interesting intersection of the arts and sciences through linear perspective and projective geometry. I spent many hours studying and practicing this in art school. One of the basic theories of linear perspective is that the drawing is a projection of a 3D scene onto a plane, and that projection implies a specific viewpoint. This was widely shown in early perspective instructional diagrams like this one: This quickly became the scientific metaphor for vision, as in this diagram by Descartes: These diagrams look quite similar to the astronomy diagrams that trace the rays projected from the sun. But more interestingly (to me at least) the diagrams are viewed from "God's Eye" which looks down at the astronomical objects from above. The illustrators and engravers would have been aware of what they were doing, it is clearly demonstrated in the final illustration in your post. This is such a powerful metaphor for vision, in both science and art, that it is still common today. These diagrams constructed how we think about vision.
Ha, I worked on a similar project in 1977. This idea of mobile computing with a big truck had surprising longevity, even into the microcomputer era. Many a career has foundered in pursuit of this great white whale.
Ooh, I used to have one of those. I remember the swirly plastic, I thought it distracted your eyes away from the image.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2012 on 35mm Slide Show In Your Pocket at Retro Thing
1 reply
This type of site shots always reminds me of new work by Michael Weseley. He has a new take on architectural site photography: point the camera at a construction site and open the shutter for 3 years. It seems to get at the essentials of the object being constructed, while all the activity of the construction itself is invisible.
That is kind of awesome, and the handshake makes it work even better than the original PT reader I used on an old IMSAI 8080A microcomputer. I remember you had to continuously pull the tape. If you stopped, it would corrupt the data. You were supposed to pull the tape evenly using a hand-cranked spool, but we didn't have one so we'd just grab the end of the tape and walk out the door and down the hall. The faster you walked (or ran) the smoother the data was read. But if you stopped or paused, the data would fail the checksum.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2011 on 21st Century Punched Tape Reader at Retro Thing
1 reply
It may be worth noting that Apple is the world's largest Open Source software company. They drive development of some of the most essential Unix software like WebKit and CUPS. Darwin, the Unix foundation of MacOS X is Open Source.
1 reply
You might be interested in the use of clouds in classical Japanese art. Many of the cloud forms were linear with specific curves that had a known meaning. Other times, the clouds were used as framing devices to separate sections of a story, as in the top image of these two byoubu (folding screens).
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2011 on History of Lines: Clouds at JF Ptak Science Books
You are correct, the Wireless Walkman was never released in the US. The FCC considers them illegal transmitters, they operate on a reserved frequency. I remember seeing Sony's Wireless Discman players in Akihabara in 1996, none of those models have ever been released in the US either. Now if you want to see a really amazing portable cassette player, check out the Toshiba KT-AS10. It is actually SMALLER than a cassette, it clips onto the cassette. It also came with a AM/FM tuner pack that you could use instead of a cassette. I had one of these, it was incredible. But it burned batteries rapidly, and was very fragile. I dropped it one day and it was ruined.
Toggle Commented Oct 7, 2011 on The Wireless Walkman... From 1988 at Retro Thing
1 reply
My grandfather told me stories of using a portable Hollerith Type 001 keypunch during the 1940s. He was a cattle inspector for the USDA, he'd ride the ranges throughout Wyoming and Montana on horseback, collecting statistics on cattle herds. He carried cards and the punch in his saddlebag, punched his data on to cards while in the field, and mailed them in to the office for processing. So that's always been my image of a cowboy: packin' a Hollerith instead of a Winchester.
I would quibble with your description of the Large Glass, of Duchamp's "finishing it after many years of labor." He abandoned work on the Large Glass for years at a time, and finally declared it had "reached a definitive state of incompletion." I think I finally understood the Large Glass (insofar as that is possible) when I read an interview with Duchamp, accompanied by a photo of him looking through a New York bookstore's shop window. He talked about how a window was a "transaction" between the viewer and the shop display.
I've seen Wiltshire's work, that is a phenomenon all of its own. I personally don't think Corot was at that level of photographic memory, but it's the sort of legend that develops when you draw every leaf with such certitude. That cliche verre is just stunning, it has a whole different type of certitude, I didn't expect that from Corot. Alas, I can't really show my own cliche verre work (btw, is that plural cliches verre or cliche verres?) because they are irreproducible in any other media. I use transparent metallic inks that have a strange reflective sheen, you can't really see the effect except firsthand. I can't scan them or photograph them. Well, I could scan them, but they would be lifeless. But in person.. I had one viewer tell me the prints shined so brightly, they gave her a migraine! You know, the funny thing is, I didn't even know that my prints were cliche verre until I met up with my old art school photo professor, several decades after I studied with him. He said I should see his cliche verre, and I was surprised that it was the same technique I used. I swear I didn't learn it from him, I developed it (oops pun unintended) all on my own. BTW, that was a hell of a collection of paintings, with my favorite Futurists, and I didn't think anyone had ever heard of Rayonism.
Thanks for that Corot. I use the cliche verre process myself, it's my primary work process. I read that Corot had a photographic memory and could look at a landscape once and then draw it from memory so accurately, he could remember every leaf. Of course they say a lot of crazy things about artists.