Posts tagged history

going-medieval.com going-medieval.com
image from going-medieval.com
Sometimes you need to read a good rant about medieval history and this is one of those.
"In fact, medieval people loved a bath and can in many ways be considered a bathing culture, much in the way that say, Japan is now. Medieval people also very much valued being clean generally in an almost religious way."
Someone should tell Dennis.
Mrmrs Mrmrs
I really enjoyed this history lesson / manifesto / questioning. (lesfesquesto?) As the author says, "I find that both building and designing is a constant cycle of having a question and trying to find the answer." This offers some interesting questions including: what potentially important ideas have we forgotten and how can we use computers to iterate faster?
The New Yorker The New Yorker
image from The New Yorker
"It is the choice between thinking that whatever is happening in reality is, by definition, acceptable, and thinking that some actual events in our current reality are fundamentally incompatible with our concept of ourselves..."
I think this is an important concept that I'm trying to understand. I wish there was a term for this idea: If the problem was really bad someone would have stopped it already. My hunch is this line of thinking is pervasive.
git.sr.ht git.sr.ht
Nice throwback idea—syndicate a few posts from weblogs you like on your own weblog. This is a bit of code to accomplish that but it shouldn’t be too hard to put something similar together in any environment.
Kickstarter
image from kickstarter
This is so good! This album let me hear these worn-in 70s soft rock favorites with new ears and you can feel JoCo’s joy emanating from every layer. It’s too late to back the Kickstarter, but I think you can still get some groovy swag. It’s also on Spotify and the like. RIYL: feelings.
Google Arts & Culture Google Arts & Culture
image from Google Arts & Culture
This Google site is a fun tour of some of the details in Vermeer's paintings. It works well on a small phone screen too. I also use the Google Arts & Culture new tab extension that shows me a new painting when I open a blank browser tab.

Link Pattern: Music

Generative.fm was at the top of the link charts this week. It's a site that offers endless computer generated ambient music. The crisp design pairs well with the sounds and it's fun to explore. It's also disquieting in light of some other articles I read this week:

A brief history of why artists are no longer making a living making music is a concise history of popular music by Ian Tamblyn. He argues that simultaneous advances in technology and labor rights helped fuel a golden age of music craft that has ended.

Another article I ran across about the end of music as we knew it from September, 2018: No more heroes: how music stopped meaning everything. This one describes the end of music as a countercultural force and describes the current age as musical wallpaper. (ouch.)

And just to put too fine a point on all of these, we had Mother Jones with: What Will Happen When Machines Write Songs Just as Well as Your Favorite Musician? It's an oddly unsettling discussion of using machine learning to aid or directly compose music. It argues that music could be affected by AI like photography has been by Instagram. The idea of musicians being replaced by musicgram influencers is bleak.

On a positive note I discovered some fantastic new (to me) music this week by King Buffalo. Check out Morning Song. It was not composed or played by computers. It is similar to music I love from the height of the golden age of recorded music but what are you going to do?

College Admissions Fraud

If you haven't been following the college admissions fraud cases you have a lot of catching up to do. It's a rich mine of awfulness that you can dive into if you want to feel even worse about wealth, finance, education, the youths, the parents, and so on. I don't recommend it. I do work for a large land grant university with a mission to educate the public—which is not the type of institution people are conspiring on crimes to enter. However, there is a tangential connection that is annoying: one of the fraudsters used a picture of an Oregon State building on their Twitter profile. Our local paper covered it: Weatherford photo used in admissions scam. Apparently they picked a random college-esque photo and Weatherford fits that bill perfectly. I take pictures of Weatherford all the time as I walk by because it's so darn photogenic. So instead of going down the evil rabbit hole of awfulness that this story is churning, I'm looking at historic images of Weatherford Hall. It's an iconic college campus building that even scammers appreciate.
Page Not Found abandonedrails.com
"Thousands of miles of railroads have been abandoned in the United States, much of it in the last 40 years."
This is a fun site to browse. You can look for abandoned tracks via maps and read about the history of failed business ventures. Then you might follow that up with Extreme Railbiking which triggered my fear of heights in 30 seconds.
Collaborative Fund Collaborative Fund
image from Collaborative Fund
"If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognize the world around you." I've been thinking about this quick essay about the evolution of the American economy quite a bit since I first read it.
the1959project.com the1959project.com
This looks like another great day-by-day project to follow in 2019. This is my favorite year in jazz music and it's already fascinating a few days in. [via kottke] I mean look at these albums! Don't like jazz? That's jazz!
dnd.wizards.com dnd.wizards.com
image from law.duke.edu
I got this fun nostalgia bomb of a book as a Christmas present. It includes the visual history of iconic D&D monsters, campaign settings, and pop culture crossovers. I'm probably the target market. I grew up in the 80s playing this game and I play the latest version today. Seeing the evolution of the game over time is fascinating.

For an online equivalent, follow Old School FRP which posts art and ephemera from 80s role playing games.
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