Monthly Archives: June 2016

“The Reich is Split Up/Further Resistance is Senseless” 1945

JF Ptak Science Books   Quick Post

I’d hate to have been in some Wehrmacht hellhole foxhole in March 1945 and have this fall on me from the sky–I imagine there was little doubt that even the lowest ranking soldier knew that they were in the grip of some enormous vise.  

Leaflet reich is split up467

By: JF Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries
Source: http://j.mp/290Xp69

Nolli App of Rome: Use a Classic Map as a Modern Travel Guide

[ By WebUrbanist in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

nolli map complete panels

The Nolli Map of Rome is one of history’s most famous works of cartography, and now a new iPhone and iPad app lets you use it to navigate in realtime, helping you both lose and find yourself in one of Europe’s most marvelous ancient cities.

nolli app of rome

Finished in 1748 after 12 years of research  by Italian architect and surveyor Giambattista Nolli, this innovative map represented a novel approach to figure-ground representation.

nollithennow

Streets and open public spaces were depicted as voids, but so to were enclosed civic spaces like the Pantheon. The original engraved city map consisted of 12 copper plates spanning 40 square feet, and, at the time, was the most accurate representation of the city to date.

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Sketching Celestial Observations

Why, and how, you should sketch your observations through a telescope.

A sketch of the Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 884 and NGC 869). D. Rennie

A sketch of the Perseus Double Cluster, NGC 884 and NGC 869.
D. Rennie

In the late-1990s, I wrote an essay for a literary journal and cited two quotes: one from an 1851 anonymous French book collector (“Owning a book puts it in your possession, but only reading a book makes it yours”) and the second from renowned literary critic Edmund Wilson (“No two persons read the same book”) Both quotes relate to why I made sketching a regular component of my observing routine.

When you locate and observe a celestial object, it produces a visual experience and another checked box on your “objects seen” list. You move on to the next target, and just as quickly to the one after that. The impression of the object you observed only minutes ago is already dim and quickly being forgotten.

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Odd View of Manhattan, as Seen Under a Flirting Flying Cop, 1898

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

I’ve been looking at early flying machines–real and imagined–and came upon this at the Library of Congress. There is very little information provided there, and I can’t find anything useful online, so I’m going with this being a poster for J.M. Gaites’ “musical farce comedy” The Air Ship, which was copyrighted in 1898.  The cover shows a “Fly Cop” making a rather forward advance on a young woman with babies in a basket fashioned as a part of the stern of a delicate self-propelled flying machine. The cop is attached to a min-dirigible that has a small fan for its propulsion, as does the remorseful-looking butcher bringing up the rear to the scene. And the whole thing takes place high over Manhattan, looking to be well north of midtown, and probably 3k feet high.  Looking south over the island we see the rivers (and a hint of the Brooklyn Bridge) and then in the harbor a suggestion of the Statue of Liberty.  

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A Bad Place to Be in 1917

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

“From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”–Randall Jarrell, formerly of the USAAF

Jarrell explains the poem so: “A ball turret was a plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24 and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose.”–(Wiki)

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A Bad Place to Be in 1917

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

“From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”–Randall Jarrell, formerly of the USAAF

Jarrell explains the poem so: “A ball turret was a plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24 and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose.”–(Wiki)

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