The energy of Dr. Johnson must have been heroic--had to have been. In addition to all of his other work, he sat down and wrote a dictionary--the first of its kind for the English language: A Dictionary of the English Language, which was printed in 1755.
I've collected what he had to say about the letters of the alphabet, which is in itself a small and remarkable thing of sweep and brevity. He sites the "labial" P, the "canine "R", the unhappy hissing of S, the "note of aspiration" in H, and so on, in a forceful march to recording the language. His book is a work of high beauty.
All of the material below comes from the JohnsonDictionaryOnline site, here.
~ A ~
A, The first letter of the European alphabets, has, in the English language, three different sounds, which may be termed the broad, open, and slender.
The broad sound resembling that of the German a is found, in many of our monosyllables, as all, wall, malt, falt; in which a is pronounced as au in cause, or aw in law. Many of these words were anciently written with au, as sault, waulk; which happens to be still retained in fault. This was probably the ancient sound of the Saxons, since it is almost uniformly preserved in the rustic pronunciation, and the Northern dialects, as maun for man, haund for hand.
Here are two useful sets of biblographic references to publication on black holes. Mostly it is cobbled together, except for part two (the chronological part) which is taken from the University of London, Queen Mary College, School of Mathematical Sciences site and streamlined a bit for quick reference.
(1) Spacetime Singularities and Gravitational Collapse
H. Bateman, The transformation of coordinates which can be used to transform one physical problem into another, Proc. London Math. Soc. 8 (1910), 469-488.
E. Cartan, Sur les espaces conformes généralisés et l'Univers optique, C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 174 (1922), 857-859.
E. Cartan, Sur les variétés à connexion affine et la théorie de la relativité généralisée I; I (suite); II, Ann. Sci. École Norm. Sup. 40 (1923), 325-412; 41 (1924), 1-25; 42 (1925), 17-88. 1983.
I'm more interested in how this hole was dug and how it got filled up again than in what is filling it. I estimate the "filled" aspect of this reverse-and-inside-out-upside-down monastery to be about 25,000,000 cubic feet, or about two-thirds of the volume of the Empire State Building (which was just being constructed when this article was published). The 40-storey building would about 500' low, and the surrounding supporting structures seem to make the whole of it at least 75' in diameter--finished. That makes for a big hole in the digging of the thing, substantially multiples the volume of the Empire State Building removed in order to achieve the construction needs. That is a lot of dirt.
And so how do we remove the dirt/rock from the 450' level of a 75'-wide hole in 1931? I doubt that it is being hauled out by crane systems, and the hole is certainly wider than 75' at the bottom. I guess these questions could only be answered with the information on what the material is that these folks would be working with. But suffice to say--it would be a big project.
Also: I don't know why this structure would be "earthquake proof", though that is the impetus behind the construction of this monster--the Japanese architects who dreamed this building still had the 140,000 deaths of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake fresh in their minds. The building looks like it has the capacity to sustain major damage in an earthquake, making it perhaps a flaming and inescapable tomb. It would certainly make a neat if not inexpensive cemetery.
These are particularly fine and relatively early printed images depicting a specific kind of line of sight--this one, a positioning, rather than a line of sight in fire control, or radial velocity, EM radiation or acoustics wave propagation, or targeting...this instrument was used to establish an imaginary line in perceived objects.
This is a detail from Andrew Wakley's The mariner's compass rectified : containing tables, shewing the true hour of the day, the sun being upon any point of the compass ; with the true time of the rising and setting of the sun and stars, and the points of the compass upon which they rise and set ... With the description and use of those instruments most in use in the art of navigation. Also a table of the latitudes and longitudes of places, published in 1763 and reprinted many times after that. (Full text is available from Google books and also from the Haithi Trust which offers a text version of the book as well.)
In the history of raffles and lotteries, tontines and lottos, few would rank so high in the Department of Forbidden Weirdness as this 1912 Parisian lottery of babies.
This image is a detail from the following photograph that appeared in Popular Mechanics for January 1912, and in spite of how this reads and in spite of it being a real-and-true story, it is still difficult for readers in the 21st century to appreciate as a news article rather than a piece of dark fiction:
Now the story of the deep history of child abuse and abandonment and infanticide is thousands of years old, and the issue of the rightness of abandoning newborns to the street as a condoned and necessary social activity to ensure the plasticity and survival of a society has been argued by Aristotle and Quintilian and Pliny the Elder. The movements to provide public institutions to help save the exposed and deserted children really didn't begin in earnest until the 17th and 18th centuries--that is with Louis XIII and Louis XIV in France and with the creation of the Foundling Hospital in London in 1741. It is with the creation of these early orphanages that abandoned babies are saved as babies, and although these children would be trained early on to be mechanics'-helpers and domestics at relatively young ages (early 'teens), they were not subjected to being sent to workhouses as very young children as in the older practices--or being left to die lying in the streets by exposure to the cold or hunger or being trampled underfoot.
So. In comparison with some bitter early histories of the want of tenderness int he care of children, and keeping in mind the great leap forward in the creation of the foundling hospitals and what they represented in the face of not having anywhere for unwanted and impossible babies to go, the idea of the lottery for cute babies in 1912 doesn't look so bad when placed in its historical context.
It is still a very uncomfortable idea and idea, this sort of placement of babies--but with the terrible history of infanticide and exposure not too dimly removed from this time, the lottery seems far less horrible than its antiquarian components.
This paper, "The Eugenic and Social Influence of the War" by Prof. J.A. Lindsay, published in The Eugenics Review in October 1918, ends with the words that I will begin this post with:
"There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distil it out"
It is a paper that seems a logical extension of something from somewhere, and some of the points are common sensical--but the it is published in this eugenics thing, which pretty much dooms it to eugenics and itself. The qualities of some of his opinions are sometimes of lofty incredulity:
"The loss of life in war is a question not only of quantity, but of quality."
"War, for obvious reasons, tends to depress the birth rate."
"A remarkable and unexpected result of the war has been a decided decline in the rate of suicide."
"A very unexpected feature of war-time has been the decline of insanity."
"Perhaps the most fundamental gain from the war will be interest in education, and the larger measure of attention devoted to it."
Somehow here at the end of a war in which since 100 million people were killed or wounded Prof Lindsay seems to have written a piece on that great conflict without being somewhat cognizant of the human value of such loss.
And that, as they say, is that.
Full text is located here, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
I've collected a dozen maps here showing an animorphization of battlefield Europa over a period of about 40 years, from the Franco-Prussian War to the beginning of WWI. They are biting and vicious, and no one seem to receive this bitter sword more savagely than the Russians. The maps basically need no commentary, so I won't contribute any. (Thanks to Mark Dylan Sieber's Les Curiosites de Cartes, whose Twitter feed started this interest.)
Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The Dungeon of thy self; thy soul
(Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)
Imprisoned now indeed,
In real darkness of the body dwells,
Shut up from outward light
To incorporate with gloomy night
For inward light alas
Puts forth no visual beam
(--John Milton, lines 155–163, Samson Agoniste, published with Paradise Regain'd, 1671)
[Geological map of the U.S. from the 1870 U.S. Statistical Atlas, here.]
Even though I have used (and owned) these atlases over a long time I've never collected them together in any of the 2600+ entries (2036 longer posts and 500+ Quick Posts) that I have made to this blog. So today I include links for the atlases in their entirety, as found on the sumptuous site of the Library of Congress. The books are interesting, fascinating, captivating, and beautiful.
Michael Beschloss posted this remarkable photograph of the Lower East Side on Mulberry Street, a rare color photo made around 1900. There is a lot of life going on here--people posing for the photographer (standing on an elevated platform with a large view camera, no telling who or what he was imaging), people caught in their daily lives, people. Under the Paper Microscope the image reveals all sorts of sub-images, photos-within-photos, making it a fascinating exercise in exploration.
For example, the two men hiked-up on the back of a moving wagon on the bottom-right seem to be enjoying themselves in expectation, the man on the left about to toss something underhanded, the guy on the right in a bow tie getting ready with a smile to enjoy what was going to happen. To their right: a man with a sales platform draped from his neck, watching a girl rush by, his pocket stuffed with paper.
Washing machines no doubt have been called many things, and they have been named after many great concepts and desires--but I think in the history of naming household appliances, the popular washer produced by Thomas Bradford & Co Laundry Engineers (High Holbron, London and Cathedral Steps, Manchester) in the last part of the 19th century may have had the oddest of them all. It was the Vowel A--the "Vowel" being the washer and the "A" being the model. But, still--that was the name of the machine, and it has a definite flavor of the Absurdist to it.
Which is a detail in:
[Source: Una Roberston, The Illustrated History of the Housewife, 1650-1950, St. Martin's Press, 1999, pp 86-87.]
There was also the Vowel Large E and the Vowel Y--the "A" seems the best of the lot though, for simplicity and symmetry.
These washers were evidently great aids in the kitchen delights department, and provided for no disappointment.