December 6, 2012
July 27, 2012
People have been posting this sort of picture onto Facebook and elsewhere with the message – “you know you are old if you recognise this”.
Here are a few from my childhood.
One of the slightly surprising things that this exercise has thrown up, is in fact how little things have changed in the last 50 years or so. Setting aside the computer/mobile phone/ television examples, it is hard to find much that has changed so much that they are unrecognisable.
Even some of the objects I have shown here are in contemporary use in some form. The hand sprayer, the can opener and even the mini-blackboard (slate) for example.
The fundamental objects around us have been refined and re-designed but are generally fairly recognisable.
By the way, the objects are -
drive-in cinema speakers, sardine can opener, hi-fi stylus, US 45-rpm record centre, school inkwell, Philips videocassette, school slate, car starter-handle, clothes wringer, two can-openers, Tonette, fly-spray
July 4, 2012
The US Geological Survey has published this graphic showing how much water there is on the earth. The bubble represents all the water on the planet.
Apart from the obvious message about the preciousness of water, it is also a fascinating illustration of how differently we perceive volume and (almost) area. Almost, because in relation to the size of the earth, the oceans are not very deep.
It is the reverse of the surprising effect of seeing how far one drop of oil can spread on water.
For the geeks amongst you, the calculations are here.
July 3, 2012
So, London turned on a typically cold and wet summer again so far this year. Not that I regard that as a particular problem when visiting the old town. That’s what its fabulous museums and galleries are for.
A particular favourite is the National Portrait Gallery. There is already a preponderance royal portraits at the best of times and during the Jubilee it was a bit overwhelmed with royal stuff. But there are fortunately still other exhibitions on show.
As is often the case, the most interesting exhibitions are the ones tucked away in corners or downstairs by the bookshop. This time was no exception.
Imagined Lives is a small collection of portraits of unknown people that were once thought be be others.
For example, this portrait which was once believed to be Mary Queen of Scots but which is now simply listed as a portrait of an unknown woman.
What makes this exhibition special is the very clever book that accompanies it. For each of the portraits a well-known author – John Banville, Tracy Chevalier, Julian Fellowes, Alexander McCall Smith, Terry Pratchett, Sarah Singleton, Joanna Trollope or Minette Walters has written a fictional account of what the lives of these sitters might have been like.
There are some wonderful portraits made all the more interesting by these stories.
September 23, 2011
What does it take to get this cyberslacker out of retirement? Why extraordinary wedding cakes of course.
Must have some Lego!
And some Scrabble.
More can be found here.
May 31, 2011
After having been dubbed one of America’s 10 “dying cities”, the good citizens of Grand Rapids, Missouri put together a wonderful video made by a collection of Grand Rapidians lip syncing to Don Mclean’s American Pie. It was paid for by local sponsors and produced by local volunteers.
I admire it both as a demonstration of civic pride and as a fabulous piece of filming logistics.
May 9, 2011
This blog is very dependent on the reproduction of other peoples work and I try to credit them when I know who is responsible. Often I copy photos and artwork from website where the creator is not named even though sometimes the identity of the originator is only a few clicks away. Nonetheless, I am aware of the possible risks associated with using people’s work without permission and the potential for accusations of hypocrisy in doing so.
Part of my justification is that I use these pictures, either to draw attention to the artist’s work or to comment on it in some way, and certainly there is no material gain for me in this.
An interesting angle on this is found via Fstoppers – a website for professional photographers. In a video entitled The Stolen Scream, photographer Noam Galai tells the story of how a single photograph of himself posted on Flickr has become a universal image.
Noam generously sees this circulation of his work as publishing rather than theft, though he draws the line at people making money out of his work (let alone his likeness). It does raise the question though of who owns an image and does the act of posting it online negate any claims. Noam himself gives the example of an artist not receiving any ongoing gain from a work hanging on the wall of a gallery.
I suspect that it is a forlorn hope to want to share in the profits from the use of work posted online.