Monday, 24 December 2012

Another miscellany! Real beauty in here.

Beautifully made tiny miniature 18th century toolchest with tiny, working tools
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

On The Toolchest Site, an astounding miniature replica of the 18th century Hewitt chest at Colonial Williamsburg, created by miniaturist William Robertson. Robertson's work is mind-boggling in its detail and virtuosity. The article notes that this was a 1,000-hour project.
There are also cast brass Rococo drop handles as well as beaded backplates. It should also be noted that the miniscule lock actually works, and the label on the underside of the lid is printed on 18th century paper – in lettering to perfect scale of course.
As you would expect from something so masterfully created, the tool chest was made with the same construction as the original chest. Tool trays and drawers are fully dovetailed with hand-sawn dust boards. The dividers are v-notched and crosslapped and the lid sides are tongue and groove.
Robertson’s tool chest contains all the same tools that were found in the original. All the tools work, even the plane’s tote (handle) is set a scale 1/8″ to one side as the original. The saw has 160 teeth to the inch. Robinson says that the hardest tool to make was the folding rule with 5 leaf hinge. It is about .030″ thick and hand engraved on boxwood. Things like the shears and dividers also have nice little joints.
William Robertson Miniature Tool Chest (via Make)

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Jazz and the Great American Songbook – think Irving Berlin, Cole Porter – evolved together. Then the Songbook style withered, and so has jazz... more

What makes wind?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Image: wind, katarinahissen, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from mararie’s photostream
It can be a nice breeze, or a destructive storm, but either way wind is just moving air. And moving air is just moving molecules.
In an explainer for kids that’s actually pretty helpful for grown-ups, too, Matt Shipman reminds us that the air around us isn’t totally weightless. It weighs something, because molecules all weigh something:
They don’t weigh very much (you couldn’t put one on your bathroom scale), but their weight adds up, because there are a LOT of molecules in the air that makes up our atmosphere. All of that air is actually pretty heavy, so the air at the bottom of the atmosphere (like the air just above the ground) is getting pressed on by all of the air above it. That pressure pushes the air molecules at the bottom of the atmosphere a lot closer together than the air molecules at the top of the atmosphere.
And, because the air at the top of the atmosphere is pushing down on the air at the bottom of the atmosphere, the air molecules at the bottom REALLY want to spread out. So if there is an area where the air molecules are under high pressure (with a lot of weight pushing down), the air will spread out into areas that are under lower pressure (with less weight pushing down).
Read the full story at Carolina Parent

Belemnites, bones and bickering
via The Royal Society – The Repository by Katherine Ford
Richard Owen FRS (1804-1892) appears to have had an almost exceptional ability to offend those around him, especially those working in his own field. Whether by insulting their work, or by behaving in a decidedly underhanded and ungentlemanly manner, he had a knack for making enemies, even out of friends.
Gideon Algernon Mantell FRS (1790-1852) was one such fellow. A geologist and palaeontologist, Mantell was to cross swords with Owen in the mid-nineteenth century, notably over the award of a medal which they both received.
Continue reading this fascinating story and find links not only to the main characters but also some beautiful images of belemnites and bones!!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The psychopathic society. Our era is marked by a casual callousness. Empathy is down, narcissism up. What good news!... more

Pssst, hey kid. Wanna see some sea lice eat a dead pig?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Come on. It’s for science.
In fact, it’s meant to help people.
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, put a dead pig in a shark-proof (and octopus-proof, as you’ll see) cage and stuck it in the ocean in order to learn more about how human remains decompose underwater. That knowledge will help forensic scientists interpret crime scenes.
Most of the work is done by maggots known as sea lice, but towards the end, after the maggots have eaten the good bits, you can watch some fat, red shrimp move in to pick apart the cartilage.
Read the full story about this research at New Scientist [where you'll find the video that seems to have come un-embedded in the Boing Boing post]
Via Deep Sea News

Coming and Going: 1908
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Coming and Going: 1908
Circa 1908
“Suburban station, Petoskey, Michigan”
Yet another glimpse of this bustling burg
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Benoit Mandelbrot set out to alter our view of the world. He succeeded, discovering fractal geometry. He was in his own mind a second Kepler... more

Ziegfeld Dames: 1907-1931
via Retronaut by lostsplendor
Ladies who need sweaters (as some of my Twitter friends refer to those who flaunt their bodies) but these ones are, of course, entertainment not s e x!

See a few more here

Incredible 180-Degree Panoramas of NYC Churches
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
We don’t know about you, but any time we walk into a majestic building, one of the first things we do is lean our heads back to take in the ceiling, and to really feel the building’s size and shape. That’s exactly what Richard Silver’s panoramas of gorgeous New York City churches feel like, at least if you add a few degrees of lower back flexibility. Silver’s panoramas, which we spotted over at PetaPixel are actually frankenphotos, consisting of 6-10 photos stitched together in Photoshop — a beautiful way to experience these beautiful buildings.
Click through to see a few of Silver’s churches, and then be sure to head on over to his website to check out some more of his work.
And my favourite is:

Be aware that these pictures could make you feel a bit queasy!

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