A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3.6 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, The Paris Review, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 3,000+ total posts
Given my non-existent Spanish skills, the closest I can come to interpreting this tiny pamphlet (published in 1943 and received by the Library of Congress three days before D-Day in 1944 and me in 1998) is that it was a word of caution. The warning is obvious--that Yugoslavia was of interest to the Soviet Union--but in 1943 given the state of the war and Yugoslavia being occupied by several Axis forces the concerns of being overtaken by Moscow seem to be way down the to-do list. The Soviets did provide limited assistance, and they did leave Yugoslavia at teh end of the war, and there was a Communist government established there in 1946--but by 1948 there was a break in relations between it and the USSR, and Yugoslavia attempted to remain non-aligned.
The map is simplified and very direct, which makes it pretty effective. Why it was printed in Spanish, I don't know.
Welcome to this piece of historical advertisement! Of all of the many ads I've seen in Nature (spending a fair amount of time in the journal years from 1869-1945) this one (for December 12, 1925) is among the top-percenters causing real pause. Beginning a few years after its discovery in 1898 (by Marie and Pierre Curie), radium had taken on a life of its own in the public sphere, as being a possible cure for diseases, problematic sexual potential, dull fingernails, luminous watch faces, and such. It entered popular culture and stayed there for decades, right up to being shoveled into firey furnaces that power ant-gravity something-or-there engines in a floating city in a Flash Gordon movie1, and suffered itself into the public conscience as a redeemer and restorer of youth2.
Evidently the source of the radium was for gunsights of rifles, to illuminate the sight (or scope?) at night, or in the dark.
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world." --Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
1. This is from one of the Flash Gordon serials, appearing in 1936. See here for a good summation and description.
2. This was a portable pack of a device called "Saratoga Springs" that utilized water and god-knows-what and radium salts into water that the purchaser would consume. This appeared in Popular Science Monthly for June 1929.
Well, not a chemical-chemical slide rule/computer, not a biological thing, "just" a push-pull homemade bit cut-out from an article on chemical equivalents from 1814. But very neat, and a major bit of thinking and articulation for the early 19th century. The original occurs in 1814 in a paper published by the Royal Society in the Philosophical Transaction by the eminent chemist William Wollaston, and a good description of the effort appears on Carmen Giunta's excellent Chemistry Classics site (http://web.lemoyne.edu/giunta/):
“In late 1813 he read a paper [published in 1814] that included an extensive compilation of "equivalent weights" or combining masses (closely related to molar masses) and a sort of chemical slide rule on which the weights were arranged. Wollaston's paper included not only a table of equivalent weights but a summary of data from which he compiled the table, mainly analyses published by other chemists...”
The copy of the slide rule that I'm using here is found in the great encyclopedia by Abraham Rees and which was published a few years later (1818)--its just a sharper copy with different design details than found in the original.
And a photograph of an antiquarian version from the Science Museum (U.K.): [Source, #2, below)
1. Full text of the 1814 paper: William Hyde Wollaston, "A Synoptic Scale of Chemical Equivalents," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 104, 1-22 (1814).
I picked up Bayard Tuckerman's History of English Prose Fiction (printed in New York City in 1886) part of my Borgesian-Eccoian anti-Library, and found this fantastic design on the free endpaper and pastedown:
And a close-up, which is about one square inch:
There are about 5000 of these on a 10x6" space, some 15,000 lines. That's a lot of work in a small space, about 289 squares per square inch. Tiny. Impressive.
Q: Oh: how many squares and rectangles are there here? A: a lot.
Here's an interesting set of delightful photographs (and one painting) of some great scientists as babies and kids. Many of them are obvious, I think, and you can see their developed and mature faces in themselves from very early on. For example in the first photo is Niels Bohr, his arched eyebrows and halfways-kinda-grin already there at age 4 or 5. Paul Dirac is gorgeous as a kid and he keeps those eyes throughout his life. The Einstein is an uncommon images, plucking him from a class photo--I guess you can see him in there, somewhere, though it isn't as Einstein-y as some of the other early photos of him where his eyes are just unmistakable. Feynman looks like Feynman, sly and smart-as-hell; and the impish and sparkling Turing seems as he would be decades on. On the other hand the fabulous Kurt Goedel baby could be almost anyone--though I have to say it isn't often you see photos with the baby's arm raised.
Four of these came from a very nice post on exactly this topic at Kuriositas: (http://www.kuriositas.com/2011/10/famous-scientists-as-children.html) though even at the outset there are more science babies and kids together here than I can find elsewhere.
Niels Bohr, 1890, age about 5. Source: http://www.nbi.ku.dk/english/www/niels/bohr/barndom/
Years ago when I still had a big, open bookstore specializing in books in used/rare physics/maths I had several bookcases dedicated to quantum mechanics. In general I had the standard works and great classics, and few were more "standard" and "classic" at the same time than P.A.M. Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics.
On rare occasions I would have all four editions (the first of 1930 is very scarce and valuable nowadays) but usually there would be editions 2, 3, and 4. In order to respond intelligently to the differences between the editions I went to the library and photocopied reviews of each (this in the pre-intertubeweb days). Today I managed to bump into the most interesting of the reviews (for the second edition of 1935 and published in the September 14, 1935 issue of Nature) which I reproduce below.
My friend Jeff Donlan (who writes a fine and insightful blog, At the Library) cent (ha!) me this article on the false tyranny of the penny--rather it is about getting rid of the penny, which the author claims has run its course of usefulness, swallowed by the history of economic need for it. Maybe it takes more money to deal with the one-cent piece than it is worth, I don't know--the author of the article goes through that along with a short history of other currencies dumping their minuscule and antiquarian denominations.
What I wonder about is what happens to the number "9"?
My made-up statistical reference notes that about half of all prices on all the stuff in the U.S. use at least one nine; many use two. What happens to people excitedly advertising ",..and all your's for only three small payments of $19.99!!! And what about gasoline prices which are $2.89 and 9/10? Assuming that we keep the nickel, prices will have to re-adjust to accommodate the five-cent piece, dropping the "9" in millions of prices. No doubt tens of millions of people will think that prices have been raised across-the-board.
And what will we do with this enormous surplus of 9s?
Seriously though why not just get rid of the whole lot of less-than-a-dollar currency? I know that would be very problematic, but no doubt it there will be less time between the introduction of the penny to its demise than there will be from now to the elimination of all coin-and-paper currency, After all, in for a penny, in for a pound.
Sometimes there's nothing better in finding the absurdity in quiet mundane than actually finding it, rather than creating it. This is the case with the following images, all of which have a certain flat, blatant, absurd quality to them--for their conversation (or lack of it), poses, stares, direction of vision, and so on. All of them come from "Maintaining Good Relationships" a chapter in the provocatively-named Tested Selling Methods (1939). None of the following conversations say very much, and on the face of them (presented without their captions) most are about nothing, or seem to be.
Women of course are approached differently from the men, almost like children, though mostly salesmen were warned to place women in the position of making decisions for the household.
This is a picture of the future--the main square, Eger, Czechoslovakia in June 1938, from the page of the Illustrated London News. It depicts the massive outpouring for two slain Sudeten farmers, supposedly murdered by Czech border guards. If you look a little closely, you'll see that everyone is giving the Nazi salute. This comes just a few months after the Nazi seizure of Austria in the Anschluss (March 11-13, 1938), and a few months before the Sudetenland was handed away to Hitler in the Munich Agreement (September 29, 1938). Then it would all be over.
It is a picture of the future--the very near future. Hitler would be in that same square in a few months, on a "goodwill tour"; the next year he would return as the conqueror. Six years later, the war would be over, and the great figurative majority of the people in this photo would be gone.
It is a big picture of a big group of people making a big mistake.