Craft, History

Antikythera Mechanism 07 / Clickspring

The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 7 – Making The Saros & Exeligmos Train

In this video Clickspring makes the gearing that drives the eclipse prediction function of the mechanism. Be sure to check out the reference links below for more info on the Saros cycle, and other eclipse related stuff.

[EDIT: At 2:57 there is a typo – the final number in the denominator of the upper expression should be a 30 as per the sketch rather than 90 – Cheers 🙂 ] — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Fragment 06 / Clickspring

Antikythera Fragment #6 – Making A Hand Powered Drill

The precision of the holes in the Antikythera mechanism is one of the most fascinating aspects of its construction. In this video Clickspring makes a tool that is capable of creating holes to the required standard, yet is consistent with the level of technology known to have existed in the period — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Fragment 05 / Clickspring

Antikythera Fragment #5 – The First Precision Drill Bit

There are a number of cutting tools implied in the wreckage of the Antikythera Mechanism, and one of the most interesting is the drill bit. In this video Clickspring explores a possible method of how an effective and precise drill bit could have been made in antiquity — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Fragment 04 / Clickspring

Antikythera Fragment #4 – Ancient Tool Technology – The First Hardened Steel

One of the key tool technologies that needs to be explored around the Antikythera mechanism is the simple hand held file. So this is the second of two Fragment videos relating to the making and hardening of a set of custom files, using materials and processes consistent with the period — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Mechanism 06 / Clickspring

The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 6 – Making The Metonic Calendar Train

In this video, the gearing that drives the Metonic, Callippic and Olympiad pointers is made. Clickspring recommends an article on the Athenian calendars for further detail on the ancient Greek approach to calendars — via Youtube

Design, History

1967 Gyro-X Prototype

This video is about the most particular vehicle of the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza of Villa d’Este in Italy. It’s called Gyro-X and it’s a 2-wheeled prototype able to stay and drive perfectly balanced thanks to a gyroscope (55 cm in diameter) fitted in the front.

The project was born in 1967, designed by Alex Tremulis and gyroscope specialist Tom Summers, with a budget of $750,000 (about $6 million today) but it was soon abandoned due to Gyrocar Company’s bankrupt, ran out of funds to perfect the product.

After all these years, Gyro-X chassis had a complicated history, losing its gyroscope too, until it ended up in the hands of Lane Motor Museum in Nashville — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Fragment 03 / Clickspring

Antikythera Fragment #3 – Ancient Tool Technology – Hand Cut Precision Files

There are quite a few very interesting tools still to come in this Fragment series, but Clickspring has to admit he has been super excited about these: A set of hand cut files suitable for constructing the Antikythera Mechanism — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Fragment 02 / Clickspring

Antikythera Fragment #2 – Ancient Tool Technology – The Original Dividing Plate?

One thing about this machine that is truly surprising, is just how small the teeth are.

There’s a well established theory as to how the tooth divisions were marked out, but employing that process to mark out multiple wheels has forced Clickspring to question whether it can reasonably be applied to the Antikythera Mechanism.

So in this video Clickspring proposes an alternative process of wheel division, using only the non precision tools of the period — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Mechanism 03 / Clickspring

The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 3 – The Plates And Main Bearing, by Clickspring.

In this episode the basic structure of the mechanism comes together, and Clickspring puts forward a theory on a simple method for achieving the extremely close clearances observed in the original device — via Youtube

Craft, History

Antikythera Mechanism 01 / Clickspring

The Antikythera Mechanism Episode 1 – Greeks, Clocks and Rockets, by Clickspring.

In this first episode of the Antikythera Mechanism project, Clickspring lays out the plan for how he intend to proceed with the reproduction — via Youtube

History

Gilbert Hugh headstone / Red Wolf

— originally uploaded by Red Wolf

Design, History

Chrysler Building / William Van Alen

New York City’s famed Chrysler Building is up for sale for the first time in over 20 years. According to the Wall Street Journal, the art deco office tower’s current owners officially placed it on the market, though the building’s value has yet to be released. Designed by William Van Alen, the building was bought by Tishman Speyer in 1997. As an iconic part of the New York skyline, the building is admired for its distinctive ornamentation based on Chrysler automobiles — via ArchDaily

History

Evolution of the Alphabet / UsefulCharts

From Matt Baker of UsefulCharts, this chart traces the evolution of our familiar alphabet from its Proto-Sinaitic roots circa 1850-1550 BC. It’s tough to see how the pictographic forms of the original script evolved into our letters; aside from the T and maybe M & O, there’s little resemblance — via Jason Kottke

History

How to fight in full 14th century harness / Ola Onsrud

This video is made as an attempt to answer some of the many questions about the use of harness (armour) received after the publication of our video dressing in 14th century armour. This is therefore not a video showing harnischfechten techniques, but a video showing the weakness of a 14th century harness — via Youtube

History

Bargylia / Bogaziçi, Turkey

The ancient Greek city of Bargylia, which is located in what is now known as Bogaziçi, Turkey, is looking for a buyer. Priced at 35 million Turkish lira, or about $7.5 million, the 33 hectare city includes a Grade 1 archaeological site comprising a theatre, acropolis, fortification walls, and necropolis that are at risk of decaying and looting by treasure hunters — via Curbed

Design, History

Hearthstone / Ron Fleming

In 1939, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, erected a huge brick incinerator to dispose of the city’s trash. It was only in operation for a year before they passed an ordinance prohibiting trash burning within the city limits. So the building was abandoned, unused for decades. Nature took over, until the building was barely visible. In 1979, artist Ron Fleming discovered it.

Fleming and his wife went to work making the incinerator a home and a glorious piece of art. The building, now on the historical register, has plenty of light, open spaces, and modern amenities, while still retaining its historical quirkiness. After his wife died, Fleming decided to sell his masterpiece. The Incinerator House can be yours for $275,000 — via Neatorama

History

How Black Flag, Bad Brains, and More Took Back Their Scene from White Supremacists

Every hardcore band you loved in the ’80s and beyond, from Black Flag to Minutemen to Fugazi, had one unfortunate thing in common: Nazi skinheads occasionally stormed their concerts, stomped their fans, gave Hitler salutes in lieu of applauding, and generally turned a communal experience into one full of hatred and conflict. Punk rockers had flirted with fascist imagery for shock value, with the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux wearing swastikas in public, but, as early San Francisco scenester Howie Klein, later president of Reprise Records, recalls: Suddenly, you had people who were part of the scene who didn’t understand fascist bad.

By 1980, a more violent strain of punk fans was infecting punk shows. Pogoing became slam-dancing, now known as moshing, and some of ’em didn’t seem like they were there to enjoy the music, as much as they were there to beat up on people — sometimes in a really chickenshit way, says Jello Biafra, whose band, Dead Kennedys, put out a classic song about it in 1981: Nazi Punks Fuck Off — via GQ

History

Found: the real Bullitt Mustang that Steve McQueen tried (and failed) to buy

Steve McQueen made one last effort to buy his favourite Mustang in 1977. He sent a letter, typed on a single piece of heavy off-white vellum, to the car’s owner in New Jersey. The logo for his movie company, Solar Productions, was embossed in the upper left corner and opposite that resided the date, 14 December 1977. The letter is just four sentences.

Again, it begins, I would like to appeal to you to get back my ’68 Mustang. McQueen offered no specifics as to why this particular Ford was important to him, except to say that he wanted to keep it unrestored and that it was simply personal with me.

McQueen’s star may have dimmed by 1977, but he remained an icon, a rare actor loved by both genders. McQueen was also one of us, an aficionado and a racer, someone who understood the instinctual joy of automobiles and motorcycles and indulged in both. And with that ’68 Mustang, McQueen gave us a gift, one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, a duel with a Dodge Charger up, down, and around San Francisco. The Bullitt chase is coveted for the usual crashes and jumps, but it had something more: Unlike most cinematic chases that feature cars performing impossible feats, the one from Bullitt was every bit as exciting, but the driving was obviously real. Those who know cars knew. It’s 10 minutes of film nirvana. McQueen wanted the Bullitt Mustang back.

The rich and famous are often allergic to the word no, and so was McQueen. His impatience over being rebuked in his quest emerged in the last sentence: I would be happy to try to find you another Mustang similar to the one you have, he wrote, if there is not too much monies involved in it. Otherwise, we had better forget it.

The owner was just fine with forgetting it, and then the Bullitt Mustang made an exit, stage left, from recorded history — via Hagerty

Design, History

Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Becomes The World’s Most Expensive Wristwatch

Well, it happened. The hammer has fallen on Paul Newman’s very own Paul Newman Daytona, and it has become the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, fetching $17,752,500 (including buyer’s premium) at Phillips in New York City. While many people thought the iconic watch would surely break records, likely beating the most expensive Daytona ever sold and the most expensive Rolex ever sold, it is still a surprise to see the iconic chronograph break the record for most expensive wristwatch — via Hodinkee

History

Australian huskies on Mawson expedition immortalised in Antarctic place names

The man who wrote the Australian Antarctic manual for husky team training has welcomed the commemoration of the dogs’ critical roles on maps.

The Antarctic Place Names Committee is naming 26 islands, rocks and reefs after the beloved dogs, that were depended on during Australia’s heroic era of ice exploration a century ago, and had a role into the 1990s.

The dogs were all on Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-14, but the naming is a tribute to all the huskies that underpinned Australian exploration in the icy continent — via ABC News

History, Technology

Scrap dealer finds Apollo-era NASA computers in dead engineer’s basement

A pair of Apollo-era NASA computers and hundreds of mysterious tape reels have been discovered in a deceased engineer’s basement in Pittsburgh, according to a NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Most of the tapes are unmarked, but the majority of the rest appear to be instrumentation reels for Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, NASA’s fly-by missions to Jupiter and Saturn.

The two computers are so heavy that a crane was likely used to move the machines, the report concluded.

At some point in the early 1970s, an IBM engineer working for NASA at the height of the Space Race took home the computers — and the mysterious tape reels. A scrap dealer, invited to clean out the deceased’s electronics-filled basement, discovered the computers. The devices were clearly labelled NASA PROPERTY, so the dealer called NASA to report the find.

Please tell NASA these items were not stolen, the engineer’s heir told the scrap dealer, according to the report. They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them.

You can read the entire report; the engineer’s identity has been redacted — Ars Technica UK

History, Science

Scientists uncover Ancient Roman recipe for world’s most durable concrete

Ancient Roman concrete marine structures built thousands of years ago are stronger now than when they were first built.

So how has Roman concrete outlasted the empire, while modern concrete mixtures erode within decades of being exposed to seawater?

Scientists have uncovered the chemistry behind how Roman sea walls and harbour piers resisted the elements, and what modern engineers could learn from it.

Romans built their sea walls from a mixture of lime (calcium oxide), volcanic rocks and volcanic ash, a study, published in the journal American Mineralogist, found.

Elements within the volcanic material reacted with sea water to strengthen the concrete structure and prevent cracks from growing over time.

It’s the most durable building material in human history, and I say that as an engineer not prone to hyperbole, Roman monument expert Phillip Brune told the Washington Post — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Art, History, Science

History’s deadliest colours / JV Maranto

When radium was first discovered, its luminous green colour inspired people to add it into beauty products and jewelry. It wasn’t until much later that we realized that radium’s harmful effects outweighed its visual benefits. Unfortunately, radium isn’t the only pigment that historically seemed harmless or useful but turned out to be deadly. JV Maranto details history’s deadliest colours — via Youtube

Mediaeval Yorkshirefolk mutilated, burned t’dead to prevent reanimation

Archaeologists investigating human bones excavated from the deserted mediaeval village of Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire have suggested that the villagers burned and mutilated corpses to prevent the dead from rising from their graves to terrorise the living.

Although starvation cannibalism often accounts for the mutilation of corpses during the Middle Ages, when famines were common, researchers from Historic England and the University of Southampton have found that the ways in which the Wharram Perry remains had been dismembered suggested actions more significant of folk beliefs about preventing the dead from going walkabout.

Their paper, titled A multidisciplinary study of a burnt and mutilated assemblage of human remains from a deserted mediaeval village in England, is published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science — via redwolf.newsvine.com

Entertainment, History

Blue Monday / Orkestra Obsolete

New Order’s Blue Monday was released on 7 March 1983, and its cutting-edge electronic groove changed pop music forever. But what would it have sounded like if it had been made 50 years earlier? In a special film, using only instruments available in the 1930s — from the theremin and musical saw to the harmonium and prepared piano — the mysterious Orkestra Obsolete present this classic track as you’ve never heard it before — via Youtube

History

Discovery of Rare Bronze Age Weapon Hoard

GUARD Archaeologists have recently recovered a very rare and internationally significant hoard of metalwork that is a major addition to Scottish Late Bronze Age archaeology.

A bronze spearhead decorated with gold was found alongside a bronze sword, pin and scabbard fittings in a pit close to a Bronze Age settlement excavated by a team of GUARD Archaeologists led by Alan Hunter Blair, on behalf of Angus Council in advance of their development of two football pitches at Carnoustie.

Each individual object in the hoard is significant but the presence of gold ornament on the spearhead makes this an exceptional group. Within Britain and Ireland, only a handful of such spearheads are known — among them a weapon hoard found in 1963 at Pyotdykes Farm to the west of Dundee. These two weapon hoards from Angus — found only a few kilometres apart — hint at the wealth of the local warrior society during the centuries around 1000-800 BC — via redwolf.newsvine.com

History, Politics

Against Normalisation: The Lesson of the “Munich Post”

The Trump-Hitler comparison. Is there any comparison? Between the way the campaigns of Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler should have been treated by the media and the culture? The way the media should act now? The problem of normalisation?

Because I’d written a book called Explaining Hitler several editors had asked me, during the campaign, to see what could be said on the subject.

Until the morning after the election I had declined them. While Trump’s crusade had at times been malign, as had his vociferous supporters, he and they did not seem bent on genocide. He did not seem bent on anything but hideous, hurtful simple-mindedness — a childishly vindictive buffoon trailing racist followers whose existence he had main-streamed. When I say followers I’m thinking about the perpetrators of violence against women outlined by New York Magazine who punched women in the face and shouted racist slurs at them. Those supporters. These are the people Trump has dragged into the mainstream, and as my friend Michael Hirschorn pointed out, their hatefulness will no longer find the Obama Justice Department standing in their way.

Bad enough, but genocide is almost by definition beyond comparison with normal politics and everyday thuggish behaviour, and to compare Trump’s feckless racism and compulsive lying was inevitably to trivialize Hitler’s crime and the victims of genocide — via redwolf.newsvine.com

History

Unravelling the Chimney Map / Trina Mckendrick

The continuing story of a huge 17th century map found stuffed up a chimney is told by a conservator, a map curator, a historian and an explorer. As the map is painstakingly conserved at the National Library of Scotland, it unfolds stories of exploration, battles, slavery, kingship and knowledge — via Youtube

History

The Grave of the Man Who Never Was: Operation Mincemeat / Tom Scott

In a cemetery in Huelva, in Spain, is the grave of Major William Martin, of the British Royal Marines. Or rather, it’s the grave of a man called Glyndwr Michael, who served his country during World War 2 in a very unexpected way… after his death — via Youtube

History

Updating a classic / Charles Stross

In 1944, the Office of Strategic Services — the predecessor of the post-war CIA — was concerned with sabotage directed against enemies of the US military. Among their ephemera, declassified and published today by the CIA, is a fascinating document called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual (PDF). It’s not just about blowing things up; a lot of its tips are concerned with how sympathizers with the allied cause can impair enemy material production and morale:

  1. Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
  2. Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.
  3. Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  4. Telephone: At office, hotel and local telephone switchboards, delay putting calls through, give out wrong numbers, cut people off “accidentally,” or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.
  5. Transportation: Make train travel as inconvenient as possible for enemy personnel. Issue two tickets for the same seat on a train in order to set up an “interesting” argument.

— via Charlie’s Diary