March 14, 2008
This bizarre (and grossly oversized) alarm telephone looks like it's about 100 years old. It never fails to catch my attention when in the Paris Musee d'Orsay RER stop: I always wonder if it even works. And why it has to be so big!
Click on the above photo for a wallpaper-sized version (though I apologize for the graininess of the photo: it was dark).
This photo (to left) may give some context.
June 03, 2007
A New Eye
A few years back, I discovered a box of false glass eyes in an antique store. Their detail – down to the smallest capillary – was near perfect. I bought one of the eyes for only a few bucks.
For a long time, I kept it sitting around on my desk: it's craftsmanship was somehow inspiring. But the best part of my glass eye: it was perfect for playing pranks on unsuspecting friends and relatives, many of which were horrified as one of my eyes seemed to inadvertently pop forth from its socket (a favorite of my kids)!
Then, one day, the eye smashed to pieces. Shattered. I don't remember how. A sad day indeed. (I probably punched a hole through the nearest wall or something).
And just today, I discovered the answer! Occularist, Kim Erickson: he labors with the same level of dedication and craft as those occularists of old. Take a look at this amazing video journal describing his work.
May 14, 2007
Highway in the Sky
Do you love mod streamline? Do you love elegant 1960s duotones? Do you love vintage Disney? If so, If so, The Republic of Tinselman highly recommends this 1966 Disney Story Guide and Operating Procedures manual. A handsomely designed, 31 page pamphlet: it's the finest kind of manual for Walt Disney's finest kind of Disney attraction. I promise, you'll get your fill of some fascinating reading. Like this paragraph from page 5, "The Story Behind the Story:"
The Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System was unveiled at Disneyland June 14, 1959 by Walt Disney and Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Mrs. Nixon and their daughters, Tricia and Julie, also participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies, which were viewed by a national television audience watching the special "Disneyland '59'" TV show. Since that time, the Monorail trains have carried most of the heads of state–kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers–who have visited Disneyland, as well as millions of other Disneyland visitors from every state and nearly every nation.
Of course, this is just the beginning. There are also the intriguing (and detailed) procedures. And maps. And diagrams and photographs throughout. Stuff from the park has posted this Disney treasure in its entirety. Take a look!
Note: Stuff from the park's server is now overloaded and the operating procedures are temporarily unavailable. However, Tinselman has kindly saved a few photographs from the manual for your viewing pleasure (click all images to enlarge). Enjoy.
May 08, 2007
It was grand. It was colorful. It was futuristic. It was the 1964-1965 New York Worlds Fair! In a 25 page photo spread, National Geographic called the fair, "A journey round the world. A look back in time, and a window on the
future. A treasure house of religious faiths. A procession of products.
And a dream of 'Peace through Understanding.'" Modern Mechanix has been kind enough to post the article in it's entirety, and it's stunning.
Looking through the photos, you can't help but notice It's a Small World, the Disneyland ride which made it's premier at the fair and is still popular at Disneyland. It wasn't the only Disneyland attraction (or technology) that made it's premier at the fair: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Carousel of Progress, introduced at the fair, were popular at Disneyland for a long time after. Most importantly, the animatronics and the omnimover transportation, introduced at the fair, are still in use today at all the Disney parks.
March 14, 2007
Defining Our Future, Yesterday
On the left is HDTV. On the right, is the much beloved, piece-o'-crap TV (standard 525 scan lines). What's surprising is that these comparison photos were made in 1981, only a few years after HDTV was developed.
This fascinating Popular Science article (Nov,1981), describes the "cinerama-type" style HDTV sets and the "extraordinary clarity—more than five times the detail of television pictures you see on conventional home receivers."
January 10, 2007
Birth and Evolution
Having been an early Apple Newton adopter, I've been waiting for something like the announcement of yesterday for a long time. Here's some links you might find interesting...
• Old Newton T.V. advertisement.
• Iphone advertisement at Apple website.
Still curious? Here's some more links...
November 25, 2006
This is my favorite kind of invention; it breaks the mold. I assume Sainul Abideen had to completely unthink everything he knew about high-capacity storage before he invented the solution to all his problems.
And his problems were these: how could storage be made dirt cheap... and biodegradable. His "Rainbow Format" proved to be the answer, which is as simple as printing a big, colorful barcode onto paper. According to The Arab News...
A high quality DVD, which is very expensive can store only about 4.7 gigabyte (GB) of data. In contrast, the Rainbow Versatile Disc (RVD) can store 90 to 450 GB.*
Now let's hope his technology catches on; soon we'll all be "printing" high-capacity storage onto biodegradable paper (if it really works)!
* Engadget reported storage amounts less than those reported by The Arab News.
November 14, 2006
Ride the Skies in Luxury
Believe it or not, this behemoth is not lighter than air! As this Popular Science article explains,
Its 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body—driven by huge rearward propellers—generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising.
But you have to admit... it sure is ugly. Looks like a giant bean.
I'll be sticking with Norman Bel Geddes Airliner No. 4.
October 25, 2006
Killer Robotic ChairRobotic Chair.
It may look innocent enough. Not so. I warn you... if you see this Robotic Chair, DO NOT make yourself comfy! This furniture is programmed to destroy all of humankind! And then regenerate itself to do it again!
It's creator, Professor Raffaello D'Andrea, feigns innocence: "It has no utilitarian value. It is an art piece."
Take a look at this death-dealing "art piece" in action!...
September 25, 2006
Can blimps learn, adapt and evolve? Yes... when they've been designed by Qarl. After senseless pillaging by certain vicious Second Life land owners, Qarl had finally had it up to here! His solution: artificial life. Now his blimps lead much happier lives (sort of). Qarl explains:
blimps who (by chance) wander into dangerous areas will die, and their genes will disappear from the gene pool. blimps who (by chance) avoid danger will reproduce more often, and their genes will dominate the gene pool.
the blimps will “learn” to avoid danger. they evolve. by some definitions, they are alive.
Read more on on Qarl's blog.
Reader comment: Qarl adds,
one of the most compelling examples of artificial evolution was done by Karl Sims in the early 90s. he created virtual organisms comprised of simple boxes, each box having a virtual muscle between them.
from generation to generation, he allowed both the body shape and the muscle motion to change - he rewarded creatures that could move.
from these simple rules his system created snakes and fish and creatures with legs - rediscovering the forms created by mother nature millions of years ago.