This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
After months of misshapen strands of pasta-like plastic, Chuck Hull had his cup. What he’d created that night in March 1983 was a modest object by almost any measure, but it was one that marked a concept decades ahead of its time, a sci-fi notion birthed into this world on a machine that — as the inventor would later tell The New York Times — “was so kludged together that it looked post-apocalyptic, like some of the equipment they used in that movie Waterworld.”
The strange little cup is the world’s first successfully 3D-printed object, a real-world manifestation of the concept he would deem “stereolithography,” based on the notion of adding an extra dimension to lithography, an 18th-century printing technology.
The absence of important technical inventions between the prehistoric age and comparatively modern times is truly remarkable. Almost everything which really matters and which the world possessed at the commencement of the modern age was already known to man at the dawn of history. Language, fire, the same domestic animals which we have to-day, wheat, barley, the vine and the olive, the plough, the wheel, the oar, the sail, leather, linen and cloth, bricks and pots, gold and silver, copper, tin, and lead-and iron was added to the list before 1000B.C.-banking, statecraft, mathematics, astronomy, and religion. There is no record of when we first possessed these things. At some epoch before the dawn of history perhaps even in one of the comfortable intervals before the last ice age-there must have been an era of progress and invention comparable to that in which we live to-day. But through the greater part of recorded history there was nothing of the kind.
Robots and theater may seem like an odd pairing until you remember that robots got their name from a 1920 play by the Czech playwright, Karel Čapek.
R.U.R. — which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots — tells the story of the rise and fall of a race of worker robots. It is credited with establishing many of the cultural tropes about robots and for applying the name (which in Czech means “drudgery”), that sticks to this da
This explains why prophecy in 1929 is bound to be different from prophecy in 1879. We don’t look into our hearts or read old books or go into trances, to prophesy, nowadays. We observe what is being done, and push the idea further. In the case of science, this is a little dull: you simply say, “More electricity! More radium! More atoms!” You can’t go wrong
the Hartford Woman’s Friday Club, who in 1878 decided that “electricity was too uncertain and dangerous to be put to any practical use
the automobile, also known as “the machine that changed the world.” Cars succeeded through the widespread construction of highways and gas stations. Those things created a global supply chain of steel plants and refineries. Seemingly unrelated things, including suburbs, fast food and drive-time talk radio, arose in the success
Three “general purpose technologies”—rare innovations that transform not only one industry but the entire economy—were developed within a few months of each other in 1879. Thomas Edison invented the first properly working light bulb, Karl Benz built the first reliable internal combustion engine and, two decades before Marconi, David Edward Hughes sent a wireless signal. … The second industrial revolution was “multidimensional.” The internal combustion engine meant cars and thus motorways, which led to wholesale distribution networks. Electricity meant light, air-conditioned offices and the service economy. US productivity grew by an average of 2.36 per cent a year from 1891 to 1972.
In contrast, Gordon says, the computer revolution of the past 40 years has been “one-dimensional,”
aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle…
As early as 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused a patent on a knitting machine for fear it would put “my poor subjects” out of work.
In the 1930s, the great John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread job losses “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses
Before 1950, journalism in [the US] was lots of competing organizations in every city… when William Seward left Auburn, New York, population 10,000, there were 11 daily newspapers. Why were there 11 daily newspapers? Because they were being printed one sheet at a time, and each newspaper was tailored to a different audience. … There were a hundred daily newspapers started and closed in Washington during the 19th century. They came and they went, and they were almost all voices or mouthpieces of political organizations and powerful people. And they all competed vigorously, and people tended to read what they were interested in—much as they now watch Fox News and MSNBC today, depending on their views. That was the norm until the middle of the 20th century, when the technologies had adapted to the point where you could run a printing press really fast… The 18th-century norm has become the 21st-century norm. The fragmentation, the niche audiences
The Vatican Apostolic Library has announced it will digitize all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections…. That’s 41 million pages spanning nearly 2,000 years of church history
(In the 1930’s) Long-playing record technology was still in its infancy, and didn’t sound very good for recorded music. But the LP was perfectly fine for the spoken word… given the strange intellectual property agreements hammered out at the time, it was essentially illegal for anyone but blind people to use an LP record player in the 1930s.
Holder of 55 patents and a 2008 inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Ruth R. Benerito was an American chemist best known for her invention of “easy-care” permanent press cotton, a staple of modern fabrics. Her work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Orleans focused on chemically bonding cotton fibers in a way that would prevent wrinkling. Today, many think of her inventions as having saved the cotton industry. Benerito passed away at age 97 on Oct. 5, 2013