Go time travelling by way of your old email messages

Wednesday, 8 April, 2015

I have emails, sent and received, going back almost thirteen years. That figure would be closer to eighteen, had I have not lost messages from the first computers I owned, lumbering desktop affairs, due to the backup discs they’d been stored on corrupting.

So if I wished to time travel as it were, by revisiting my earliest emails, to glean insights into the way my thought processes, and the way I communicated, may have changed over time, I may not draw quite the same conclusions, as Brooklyn based programmer Paul Ford, who did have access to eighteen years worth of correspondence.

It’s strange to see the conversations because we’re all still obsessed over the same things we were ten or fifteen years ago. We’ve gotten older, gotten married and divorced. Some of us are rich, some are poor, some like comic books, some are writing poems, some are writing novels, some are still wearing the same T-shirts. Children change us, and keep changing us. Divorce changes us, often for a while. We cling to life and resolve to do better and then just drift back to ourselves and the regular flow of life. Like a pile of rocks in a stream, time running around us. Occasionally it rains and a stone is knocked around. Change comes from without.

The thing is, it was the messages from those lost years, the late 1990s, that would make such a comparison meaningful, all the more pertinent.

I was making my first forays into web design, had become involved with the Australian Infront, a local web design community, and was contemplating the meaning of a certain chance meeting at a bar, of all things. Followed up by an equally (maybe) contingent… encounter, mere metres from said locale, just weeks ago, it should be added.

I expect I would cringe, a lot, if I could see those messages again, so I guess the test will come, if I’m able to review the emails I’m sending now, in eighteen years time. I may recoil a little, but maybe not so much.

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The return of The X Files

Wednesday, 1 April, 2015

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are set to reprise their roles as Mulder and Scully in a six episode series of The X-Files, that goes into production in the next few months. Little else is known about the new episodes, as producers are remaining tight-lipped for the moment.

And so they should, the return of Mulder and Scully will make for more of an event that way.

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For Richard III, a funeral befitting a monarch, finally

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

Richard III was King of England from 1483 until 1485, when he was killed during the Battle of Bosworth Field. His remains where discovered buried below what is now a car park in Leicester, in 2012, after archaeologists went looking for them.

A rather ignoble end for a monarch, even if the grave was within what was once a church, that was however demolished in the sixteenth century.

Last Thursday, 26 March, Richard III was reinterred at Leicester Cathedral, with, it is likely safe to say, a little more ceremony than his original funeral.

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A list of the best books of the twentieth century

Monday, 30 March, 2015

This has to be helpful for someone, a list of fiction and non-fiction best selling books for each year of the entire twentieth century, together with titles that were either critically acclaimed or historically significant.

The novelisation of The Phantom Menace, being episode one of the “Star Wars” film saga, comes in at number four on the fiction best selling list for 1999. Could that be down to “Star Wars” fans who were trying to find a little more… meaning to the film?

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Some elegant insults… for a more civilised age, via Martin Luther

Monday, 30 March, 2015

Indeed, gibes for a civilised age, sort of… some of more crass sentences penned by Martin Luther, priest, theology professor, and an initiator of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. Here’s one to get started:

You are an extraordinary creature, being neither God nor man. Perhaps you are the devil himself.

Ouch. You ought to know, by the way, that Luther’s… taunts have a certain context.

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Iconic photos, retaken

Thursday, 26 March, 2015

Photo by Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegge

Swiss photographers Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegge have an intriguing hobby or side project… they recreate iconic photos, by building intricate scale models and dioramas.

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A story of the origins of the percent sign

Thursday, 26 March, 2015

Ah, the % (percent) sign… why ever don’t we use something more like the ‰ (per mille) sign instead? Here’s an explanation by Keith Houston, together with a history of how the percent sign came to be.

I had assumed that the percent sign was shaped so as to invoke the idea of a vulgar fraction, with a tiny zero aligned on either side of a solidus ( / ), or fraction slash.

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I’ve been back in time with you and didn’t it change my life or what

Tuesday, 24 March, 2015

Back in Time is a documentary that takes stock of the not insignificant cultural impact of the Back to the Future films. This I am waiting for. In the meantime, here’s the trailer.

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Well known songs that you’ve never actually heard

Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

The tune, or tunes, that the Pied Piper was belting out the day he first lead all the rats from an Irish town, and then later its children, after the town’s people refused to pay for his pest control services, must be among one of the world’s best known songs. But here’s the thing, has anyone actually heard this music?

The answer is no, because the tune only ever existed as part of a written, or recited, story. And it is but one of a number of well known, yet mythical tunes, that many of us have heard of, but have not actually heard, as well.

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Can you name the oldest, still lived in city, in the world?

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

It may seem strange to some that identifying the world’s oldest, inhabited, or still lived in city, is far from a straightforward process. However, no sooner might one city be handed the gong, when new evidence is dug up showing that another town is more deserving of the honour.

It may be impossible to say with any certainty what is the world’s oldest city – for a very old argument, it is remarkably fluid, with new discoveries all the time – but for now it seems only right to give it to Aleppo, the oldest city currently being fought for and sacked, as all these cities have from the beginning.

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