kybernetikos + history   43

Tyrannosaurus Redesign 2018 — Saurian
In August 2017 we began an effort to redesign our T. rex. Little did we know that it would become a year-long affair. We are proud to present our results: what we believe to be the most accurate Tyrannosaurus rex reconstruction ever. Here’s a look into the design process and research that went into this massive project.
history  dinosaur  tyrannosaurus 
5 weeks ago by kybernetikos
British Museum realises 'vase' is in fact an ancient mace-head displayed upside down | The Art Newspaper
Curators discovered old mistake during research for No Man's Land exhibition

As part of an exhibition showing the first recorded border conflict in the 3rd millennium BC.
history  museum  articles  exhibitions  mistake  mace  weapon  border  conflict 
5 weeks ago by kybernetikos
What Did Ada Lovelace's Program Actually Do?
Lovelace’s program is not easy to explain to the layperson without some hand-waving. It’s the intricacies of her program, though, that make it so remarkable. Whether or not she ought to be known as “the first programmer,” her program was specified with a degree of rigor that far surpassed anything that came before. She thought carefully about how operations could be organized into groups that could be repeated, thereby inventing the loop. She realized how important it was to track th...
history  programming  computing  lovelace  math  ada  byron 
august 2018 by kybernetikos
Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - The Atlantic
It’s not often that you write a paper proposing a hypothesis that you don’t support. Gavin and I don’t believe the Earth once hosted a 50-million-year-old Paleocene civilization. But by asking if we could “see” truly ancient industrial civilizations, we were forced to ask about the generic kinds of impacts any civilization might have on a planet.
science  civilization  archaeology  history  Astrobiology  geology  anthropocene 
april 2018 by kybernetikos
Subversive Pixel-Stained Technopeasant: An Interview with Jo Walton
I call that the Tiffany Problem.

Tiffany is a real attested medieval name, it's a variant of Theophania, it appears in twelfth century documents from Britain and France, and you cannot give it as a name to a character in a historical or fantasy setting because it looks too horribly modern.
tiffany  history  perception 
february 2018 by kybernetikos
ClippyJS - Add Clippy or his friends to any website for instant nostalgia
Clippy.js is a full Javascript implementation of Microsoft Agent (AKA Clippy and friends), ready to be embedded in any website. Pick an assistant below and mash some animation buttons! Our favorite is Links the cat.
javascript  history  humor  microsoft  clippy  library  web 
february 2018 by kybernetikos
The Invention Of Moral Narrative | Slate Star Codex
Maybe this good-vs-evil thing is just really attractive, and naturally replaces whatever was there before – but it’s just really hard to get exactly right. There was a 1500 year lag time between when people got the magic formula for religion (Zoroastrianism wasn’t good enough!) and when they got the magic formula for stories. Wasn’t the high-grade Colombian ultra-purified version of the good-vs-evil fantasy plot invented by Tolkien and CS Lewis sitting around in Oxford specifically trying to fig...
history  stories  christianity  good  evil  narrative 
january 2018 by kybernetikos
Cagot - Wikipedia
Cagots were shunned and hated. While restrictions varied by time and place, they were typically required to live in separate quarters in towns, called cagoteries, which were often on the far outskirts of the villages. Cagots were excluded from all political and social rights. They were not allowed to marry non-Cagots, enter taverns, hold cabarets, use public fountains, sell food or wine, touch food in the market, work with livestock, or enter the mill. Nobody really remembers why.
bigotry  hatred  oppression  caste  europe  france  history 
november 2017 by kybernetikos
"Jud, you're on fire, get out of there!"

The story of Cliff Judkins who bailed out of a jet aircraft manually, had a parchute malfunction, but improbably managed to live to tell the tale.
disaster  flying  history  aviation  airplane  parchute  fall  survival 
october 2017 by kybernetikos
The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World
map  history  maps  roman  rome  GIS  reference  travel 
june 2017 by kybernetikos
A Lot of What Is Known about Pirates Is Not True, and a Lot of What Is True Is Not Known. | Humanities
In 1701, in Middletown, New Jersey, Moses Butterworth languished in a jail, accused of piracy. Like many young men based in England or her colonies, he had joined a crew that sailed the Indian Ocean intent on plundering ships of the Muslim Mughal Empire. Throughout the 1690s, these pirates marauded vessels laden with gold, jewels, silk, and calico on pilgrimage toward Mecca.
history  pirates  piracy 
may 2017 by kybernetikos
How to build a medieval castle | History Extra
The Norman Conquest triggered a boom in castle building, but the process of creating a fortress from scratch was far from simple, as John Goodall finds out...
castle  norman  construction  history 
february 2017 by kybernetikos
The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway
The first “signs” in the New York City subway system were created by Heins & LaFarge, architects of the IRT. In 1904 they established the now-familiar tradition of mosaic station names on platform walls. The name tablets were composed of small tiles in both serif and sans serif roman capitals. The BRT/BMT followed suit under Squire J. Vickers, who took over the architectural duties in 1908. Neither line had a uniform lettering style even though the designs were prepared in studio and then shipped in sections to the stations. Thus, there is a surprising amount of variety within the mosaic station names.
subway  history  typography  design 
may 2016 by kybernetikos
Egil's Bones
An Icelandic saga tells of a Viking who had unusual, menacing
features, including a skull that could resist blows from an ax.
He probably suffered from an ailment called Paget's disease

Note: This article is somewhat controversial
bone  viking  history  genetic  disease 
march 2016 by kybernetikos
The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews "God's Philosophers" | Strange Notions
The myth goes that the Greeks and Romans were wise and rational types who loved science and were on the brink of doing all kinds of marvelous things (inventing full-scale steam engines is one example that is usually, rather fancifully, invoked) until Christianity came along. Christianity then banned all learning and rational thought and ushered in the Dark Ages. Then an iron-fisted theocracy, backed by a Gestapo-style Inquisition, prevented any science or questioning inquiry from happening until Leonardo da Vinci invented intelligence and the wondrous Renaissance saved us all from Medieval darkness.
history  religion  science  atheism  conflict  medieval  dark  age 
may 2014 by kybernetikos
Systems Past: the only 8 software innovations we actually use - Technical Journal
I find that all the significant concepts in software systems were invented/discovered in the 15 years between 1955 and 1970. What have we been doing since then? Mostly making things faster, cheaper, more memory-consuming, smaller, cheaper, dramatically less efficient, more secure, and worryingly glitchy.
history  os  programming  software  advance  technology 
march 2014 by kybernetikos
Connare: Art, design & typography:Type Designs:Comic Sans
I started with the font drawing software Macromedia Fontographer, trying to make the capitals in a similar form as the lettering used in DC, Marvel and all other company's comic books. The Dark Knight Returns a Batman book was one of the books I referenced often. I took care not to copy the letters but looked at varying shapes in different styles. Also most samples only used capital letters so I had little reference for them. I printed it out so that the weight was about the weight of the Marvel and DC books.
font  typography  history  microsoft  comic 
march 2013 by kybernetikos
History of the browser user-agent string
.... And then Google built Chrome, and Chrome used Webkit, and it was like Safari, and wanted pages built for Safari, and so pretended to be Safari. And thus Chrome used WebKit, and pretended to be Safari, and WebKit pretended to be KHTML, and KHTML pretended to be Gecko, and all browsers pretended to be Mozilla, and Chrome called itself Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13, and the user agent string was a complete mess, and near useless, and everyone pretended to be everyone else, and confusion abounded.
browser  web  funny  history  useragent  detection 
november 2012 by kybernetikos
Letters of Note: Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?
Dear Phyllis,

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

With cordial greetings,

your A. Einstein
history  einstein  deism  atheism  theism  god  science  religion 
july 2012 by kybernetikos
More shell, less egg - All this
Very few people can obtain the virtuoso services of Knuth (or afford the equivalent person-weeks of lesser personnel) to attack nonce problems such as Bentley’s from the ground up. But old UNIX hands know instinctively how to solve this one in a jiffy.

To return to Knuth’s paper: Everything there—even input conversion and sorting—is programmed monolithically and from scratch. In particular the isolation of words, the handling of punctuation, and the treatment of case distinctions are built in. Even if data-filtering programs for these exact purposes were not at hand, these operations would well be implemented separately: for separation of concerns, for easier development, for piecewise debugging, and for potential reuse.

The simple pipeline given above will suffice to get answers right now, not next week or next month. It could well be enough to finish the job. But even for a production project, say for the Library of Congress, it would make a handsome down payment, useful for testing the value of the answers and for smoking out follow-on questions.
unix  knuth  shell  history  programming  mcilroy 
july 2012 by kybernetikos
How we die (in one chart)
The New England Journal of Medicine looks through 200 years of back issues to understand how we die differently
change  death  development  history  medicine  mortality  disease 
june 2012 by kybernetikos
BBC News - Earliest music instruments found
The flutes, made from bird bone and mammoth ivory, come from a cave in southern Germany which contains early evidence for the occupation of Europe by modern humans - Homo sapiens.

Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.
flute  music  history  earliest  old  bone  origin 
may 2012 by kybernetikos
Dear friends, if you're interested in travel into the past, I will try to help you. But be warned, the history often hides a very scary pages, and return to the present is much more pleasant than to travel into the past.
art  history  photography  war  russia  merge  superimpose  photo  picture  image 
may 2012 by kybernetikos
The Lisp Curse
Lisp is so powerful that problems which are technical issues in other programming languages are social issues in Lisp.
history  lisp  programming  expressiveness  language  development  scheme 
april 2012 by kybernetikos
the BIG Map Blog
I came across many of the maps you'll see on the Big Map Blog while doing research for a film I'm working on. While searching, I found thousands of old, beautiful maps that are sadly being kept from the public that deserves them — sometimes by clumsy or unwieldy government ftp sites, and other times by archives with steep fees for research, and steeper fees for reproduction. I felt strongly that something should be done about this.
maps  map  history  cartography  blog 
march 2012 by kybernetikos
The myth of the eight-hour sleep - BBC News
In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
history  sleep  society 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Infovore » A Year of Links
I thought it would be interesting to produce a kind of personal encylopedia: each volume cataloguing the links for a whole year. Given I first used Delicious in 2004, that makes for eight books to date.

Each link is represented on the page with title, URL, full description, and tags.
archive  books  physicalism  links  link  history  delicious  pinboard 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Scott and Scurvy
Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times. Scott left a base abundantly stocked with fresh meat, fruits, apples, and lime juice, and headed out on the ice for five months with no protection against scurvy, all the while confident he was not at risk. What happened?
history  medicine  science  scurvy  deficiency  vitamin  germ  theory  scott  antarctic 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Mozi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mozi was a carpenter and was extremely skilled in creating devices, designing everything from mechanical birds to wheeled, mobile "cloud ladders" used to besiege city walls (see Lu Ban). Though he did not hold a high official position, Mozi was sought out by various rulers as an expert on fortification. He was schooled in Confucianism in his early years, but he viewed Confucianism as being too fatalistic and emphasizing too much on elaborate celebrations and funerals which he felt were detrimental to the livelihood and productivity of common people. He managed to attract a large following during his lifetime which rivaled that of Confucius. His followers – mostly technicians and craftspeople – were organized in a disciplined order that studied both Mozi's philosophical and technical writings.
history  religion  china  philosophy  goldenrule  ethics  carpenter 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
Roll over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans
Themistocles – the man who actually defeated Xerxes. the Persian emperor, during his brutal invasion of Greece, after the Spartans failed so miserably at Thermopylae. 
greece  ancient  history  300  sparta  athens  miller  thermopylae  themistocles  militia  persia  persian  xerxes  invasion 
february 2012 by kybernetikos
War Between Democracies
Have two democracies ever gone to war? Here are a few probable examples.
war  history  government  democracy  poltiics  propaganda  soundbite  factoid 
january 2011 by kybernetikos
The palimpsest
Archimedes was an amazing guy, and we've only just learnt how amazing through the recent work on this palimpsest.
archimedes  history  math  mathematics  physics  philosophy  science  hidden  mystery  book 
december 2007 by kybernetikos

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