Monthly Archives: February 2015

Two uknown Cézanne sketches found on back of watercolors

Unfinished sketches have been discovered on the back of watercolors by Paul Cézanne in the collection of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. The watercolors, previously on display in room 20 of the Collection Gallery, had been out of their frames before, but the backs were hidden behind brown paper. It was that brown paper backing, ironically, that spurred the discovery of what it had been hiding for a century a so.

Brown paper is highly acidic. Over time the acid migrates from the backing into the original paper medium causing it to darken and become brittle. The Barnes Foundation knew that five Cézanne watercolor landscapes needed to have the brown paper backing removed and in January of 2014, all five of them were sent as part of a group of 22 works to the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), also in Philadelphia, for treatment.


The First Field Recordings (1890)

JF Ptak Science Books   Quick Post

Anthropologist Jesse Fewkes (1850-1930) was the first to use the Edison phonograph for recording legends, songs, stories, rituals and so on of North American Indians, making him a pioneer in field recording. Work like his was essential to the preservation of vanishing ways and stories and languages and music, and provided inspiration to people like Frances Densmore, John Lomax and Herbert Halpert.  

This came up just now looking for a paper by Lord Rayleigh in the journal Nature, and to my surprise bumped into this short note by Fewkes in that issue for April 17, 1890 (volume 41, # 1068). This was undoubtedly the first notice of his field work reported outside of the United States.  Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia (edited by William Forde Thompson) establishes Fewkes as making the very first field recordings of any kind (page XXX, chronology).  


What 1935 Looks Like, Tech-Wise

JF Ptak Science Books    Quick Post

As soon as I saw this pamphlet–and its cover–I thought that it was one of those perfect statements for a particular year:

Loco 1935721The pamphlet is a program for an international expo in Brussels:  Bulletin Officiel de l’Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles, and it is very heavily laden with trains and signals and track and such, all the properties of powerful movement and promise, gigantic power in a directed environment.  And beautiful.  

By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

The Little Robot That Keeps Time On Your Whiteboard

We’ve all been. Just one all-nighter too many—holed-up in a sticky note littered and whiteboard marker covered ‘war room’—and a normally diligent calm, collected and competent design professional (or team there of) can descend into a mania of complex over-contemplation and panicked wicked problem scab-picking.


In this absence of time spent outdoors in the real world, what we really need is something to keep us grounded. And what better moral guide for the post-it jockey on the edge of crazy, than a 3D printed robotic whiteboard companion that calmly keeps time?

Redditers have been gleefully upvoting the spectacle of this time keeping whiteboard attached robot arm this week. In a minor miracle of maker genius, the little contraption holds a maker pen to scrawl down the digits of the time at five minute intervals, before cleverly grabbing a purpose made eraser and wiping the board (almost) clean for it’s next reading.