Tweeting to preserve history

D Sami Reindeer 12

I suppose Twitter still has its good use cases. Tweeting to preserve history isn’t one of them. I came across this fascinating Twitter thread by Marina Amaral about the Sami people, who’ve been living in what’s now Finland for thousands of years:

The thread runs for several tweets, and it includes wonderful resources such as maps, old photos, and more recent photos that illustrate how these people have adapted to a modern world.

As much as I enjoyed reading Marina’s wonderful overview of these people’s history, I couldn’t help but wonder why she chose to tweet this, instead of blogging it? She has a remarkable blog that covers a range of historical events, and themes.

When it comes to digital preservation of these sorts of cultural and historical legacies, surely publishing it to a blog would be a far better medium?

Photo credit: D Sami Reindeer 12 by Michiel van Nimwegen, licensed CC BY NC ND 2.0

Colourful computer history

Liked Guide to Computing — docubyte by an author (docubyte)

I love James Ball’s colourful photographic history of computers.

These machines are grossly under-powered compared to the devices we use today. Still, they’re a wonderful reminder of how far we’ve come, and what lies ahead for us in technological terms. This Telefunken RA770 (circa 1970) is one of my favourites:

Via The Stylish & Colorful Computing Machines of Yesteryear by Jason Kottke

How Humans first walked on the Moon in Apollo 11

Aldrin Looks Back at Tranquility Base during the Apollo 11 mission

Vox has a terrific video that explains how the Apollo 11 mission worked, and how the astronauts that took part in the mission made their way to the Moon and back.

If you’re into old footage of historical events like this, also be sure to check out the CBS coverage of the lunar landing (also courtesy of NASA):

My blog-Twitter stats synchronicity

I just noticed that there is a little synchronicity between my blog stats and my Twitter stats. 4,022 blog posts alongside 40.2k tweets … See? 😁

Blog stats
4,022 blog posts already … boy, where did the time go?

My Twitter stats
40,2k tweets and more than a decade on Twitter. Where did that time go?

I doubt very much that there are any stars and/or planets in alignment for this one. Just the same, it’s a fun little thing for me.

Organ music and roller skating at the Moonlight Rollerway

Dominic, the owner of Moonlight Rollerway, playing organ music
“Dominic, the owner of Moonlight Rollerway, plays the organ there every Tuesday night.” – Lisa Whiteman

I love stories like this one about the Moonlight Rollerway by Lisa Whiteman. Mostly I enjoy the photographs of what seems to be to be fragments of Americana/American nostalgia that speak to a very different time.

Every Tuesday night, Lillian Tomasino laces up her roller skates, puts her arms around her partner, and glides in sweeping circles across the floor of Moonlight Rollerway. Holding each other like ballroom dancers, she and Tom Clayton move effortlessly to the jaunty, classic tunes played live on a Hammond organ above the Glendale, California, rink.

Via “Throwback: LA roller rink still has a weekly organ night” on Kottke.org (one of my favourite blogs).

The camera phone was invented to share a newborn baby photo in 1997

We take for granted that we can take photos with our phones and share them instantly. We don’t really think about it and that this capability is only 20 years old.

Did you know that Philippe Kahn is credited with inventing the first camera-phone and he did it to capture the birth of his daughter? Here is his story:

This is the first photo taken with Kahn’s prototype camera phone:

Philippe Kahn's first camera phone photo, taken in 1997
Philippe Kahn’s first camera phone photo, taken in 1997

As incredible as his creation was at the time, I am even more impressed with his wife. There she was, pregnant and about to give birth, and she encouraged him to build the critical connection he needed to connect his camera to his phone and laptop.

Image credit: Alice Donovan Rouse

The story behind Comic Sans – take a deep breath

We’ve all encountered Comic Sans and probably have mixed feelings about this controversial font. Did you know the history behind it and how it came to be so popular? Great Big Story has a short “origins” video titled “Comic Sans: The Man Behind the World’s Most Contentious Font” that is worth watching if you are as touched by Comic Sans as most of us are:

It turns out he was inspired by two iconic comics at the time: Batman and Watchmen. I’m not sure if that revelation makes much of a difference to those of us who have been traumatised by seeing so much inappropriate use of the font but it is an interesting factoid.

Credit to The Drum for its story that inspired this little share.

Image credit: Snowdog, published on Wikimedia Commons and released into the Public Domain.

Genius – The story of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics photograph.

National Geographic has produced a scripted series about Albert Einstein titled “Genius” that starts in April 2017. I just watched the trailer and I definitely want to watch this.

From Executive Producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, the premiere season of National Geographic’s first scripted anthology series, GENIUS, will focus on Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein. Based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed and best-selling book, Einstein: His Life and Universe, and adapted by writer Noah Pink, GENIUS follows the brilliant scientist through the ups and downs of his life, from failing to get his doctorate to developing the general theory of relativity.

In the meantime, I have slowly been reading Walter Isaacson’s book that became the basis for this series. I think it’s time to return to the book and finish it. Here is the trailer for the series. It looks terrific!

There is so much good stuff available from National Geographic lately. I really want to figure out how to gain access to the channel at home. Our TV supports terrestrial TV but we haven’t connected it to either an antenna or to some sort of cable or satellite service. We basically watch whatever we can on YouTube or Netflix through our Chromecast.

If you’re interested, the Internet Archive has a collection of works about and by him that is worth exploring. One of my favourite photos featuring him and a collection of other top scientists of the time is this colourised version of a group photo taken at the 1927 Solvay Conference.