Archives for category: Discoveries

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How nice that the names of the months, when arranged chronologically, happen to form this gorgeous curve! Thanks, serendipity, for making me smile at 4 AM.


I came across this stuff while digging around the internet for my thesis (yes, I think of thesis research as a hunting-and-gathering kind of process. Yes, there is definitely war paint involved), and was reminded of Ethan Zuckerman’s idea for an atlas of globalization. Thanks, Ethan, for pointing out the beauty and value of these maps!

Telegraph Lines

1891: Telegraph Lines

Internet Backbone Cables

2004: Major undersea Internet cables

I love how, because of the different legends used in the two maps, it looks like the connections around Africa/the Middle East/”the third world” have remained unchanged while infrastructure has gotten fatter and fatter inna di north. Inaccurate in actuality, but basically what’s happened proportionally anyway.

Idle, unscientific, unresearched musings, but that’s what you get at the end of the semester. Now all that’s standing in between me and “Senior Spring” is this thesis!

Uncovered this gem of a story just now while learning all about telegraphs for Chapter 2 of my thesis…

Jean-Antoine Nollet, the Abbot of the Grand Convent of the Carthusians in Paris decided to test his theory that electricity traveled far and fast. He did the natural thing on a fine spring day in 1746, sending 200 of his monks out in a line 1 mile long. Between each pair of monks was a 25-foot iron wire. Once the reverend fathers were properly aligned, Nollet hooked up a battery to the end of the line and noted with satisfaction that all the monks started swearing, contorting, or otherwise reacting simultaneously to the shock. A successful experiment: an electrical signal can travel a mile and it does so quickly. Of course, this is the kind of experiment you can only run once as your monks may prove less-than-cooperative the second time around. So, in another demonstration he discharged a Leyden jar in front of King Louis XV at Versailles by sending current through a chain of 180 Royal Guards. The King was both impressed and amused as the soldiers all jumped simultaneously when the circuit was completed.” (from this biography)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how totally unkosher is that by modern-day scientific standards??! Still, I have so much admiration for people who come up with ideas and just go for it. I suppose these people are called scientists and engineers, and I suppose that is why I like studying them so much.

A good thing to remember, 46 days before my thesis is due.

Lets Gooooo!

Let's Gooooo!

I just got this forwarded over the Harvard Caribbean Club list (I am such a poser, I know). A Jamaican “Bus Auntie” dis?

Bus Uncle was a video that got passed around like crazy in 2006, but most of you have probably never even heard of it. Although almost totally unnoticed in the traditional (white, suburban) meme-o-sphere of 4chan and Something Awful, this video of an angry Cantonese man “under pressure” delivering an unnecessarily long (and loud) diatribe at another guy on a bus gathered millions of views in China and spawned many popular catchphrases. It even has a page on Wikipedia. The whole situation has a number of remarkable points to it:

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