The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a US federal research facility based in California, has spent the last five years digitising thousands of film clips of nuclear bomb tests conducted by the US, between 1945 and 1962.
The footage had been classified by the US government, but now several hundred recordings of nuclear detonations have been made public. This is footage that you want to see, that you don’t want to see. Isn’t what we’re witnessing here – such as this explosion, that was part of Operation Teapot – terrifying?
If you pine for the Cold War decades, and the USSR, or Soviet Union, let Soviet Logos take you on a trip down memory lane, through a growing collection of logos of Soviet era companies and enterprises, curated by Lithuanian brand designer Rokas Sutkaitis.
Apollo astronauts weren’t just heroes, they were fantastic photographers. So believes Dutch designer Simon Phillipson, and that’s not something I’m going to argue with.
To make his point, Phillipson has collected two hundred and twenty five photos, taken by thirty three NASA astronauts, during the Apollo Moon flights, and published them in a book, Apollo VII – XVII, that he wrote with Floris Heyne, Joel Meter, and Delano Steenmeijer.
Although work on the production had started in earnest in 1945, eight months in, the Walt Disney Company ran into financial problems. It wasn’t until 1999, when Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, was working on Fantasia 2000, that the project was rediscovered.
I know films can take a long time to make, but a lead time of nearly sixty years must be a record. A story about a young girl in search of true love, you can watch Destino here. It makes me wonder how many other part completed film projects there are, started by well known filmmakers, that sit, forgotten, in cupboards somewhere.
In this instance, Mercator’s efforts relied more on imagination than facts, and the would-be endeavours of an English monk, who wrote of travelling to the Arctic in the fourteenth century.
By the 1500s, not very many people had ventured up to the Arctic – no explorer would set foot on the Pole itself until 1909. This didn’t stop Mercator, who dug into some dicey sources to suss out what he should include. The most influential, called Inventio Fortunata (translation: “Fortunate Discoveries”) was a 14th-century travelogue written by an unknown source; in Mercator’s words, it traced the travels of “an English minor friar of Oxford” who traveled to Norway and then “pushed on further by magical arts.” This mysterious book gave Mercator the centerpiece of his map: a massive rock located exactly at the pole, which he labels Rupus Nigra et Altissima, or “Black, Very High Cliff.”
Even if you’ve not heard of the Septentrionalium Terrarum, you probably know Mercator’s name. That’s because he devised the Mercator projection, the cylindrical map projection that shows maps of the world as being flat on charts.
Directors Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass, and Lawrence Kasdan, examine the impact World War II had on cinema, and the effect cinema had on the conflict, in Five Came Back, a three part documentary produced by Netflix.
There’s nothing new about the washing machine. A patent for a device, or engine, for the “washing of cloathes”, and other purposes, such as “milling of sugar canes, pounding of minerals”, was issued in 1691.
The illustration above is taken from a book published in 1766, by Jacob Christian Schaeffer, a German pastor and professor. For their labour saving virtues, isn’t it strange then that washing machines didn’t come into wide use until almost two hundred and fifty years after their advent?
It’s not as if there was some other option hindering their uptake either. Like the humble washboard, for example. They were first patented in 1833, quite some time after the washer.
So what gives? I know there are people averse to things shiny and new, but isn’t holding off on adopting what will surely save much time and effort, taking matters a little too far? Of course, the earlier versions predated the supply of electricity, and required manual operation.
But that would only have been an imposition, if you allowed it to be. For instance, you could have recited some verse as you churned the machine through its cycle. Come on now, at least you weren’t getting your hands dirty.
It was only with the invention of the electric washing machine by Alva Fisher in Chicago in 1907 that something dramatically better than the washboard came along, and even then it took decades more for the machines to become cheap and reliable enough to change how people cleaned their clothes (and of course in much of the world, washboards still rule). In the U.S., according to a 2013 paper by Benjamin Bridgman of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the big gains in household productivity enabled by the washing machine, dishwasher and other such devices occurred between about 1948 and 1977.
Late Australian composer Ron Grainer wrote the music for many TV shows and films, between 1960 and 1980. Perhaps one of his best known scores was the theme music to the BBC’s long running sci-fi show, Doctor Who, which he wrote in 1963.
What we learn from them is fascinating, considering that compositions like this are now created in powerful computer systems with dozens of separate tracks and digital effects. The Doctor Who theme, on the other hand, recorded in 1963, was made even before basic analog synthesizers came into use. “There are no musicians,” says Mills, “there are no synthesizers, and in those days, we didn’t even have a 2-track or a stereo machine, it was always mono.”