From the Smithsonian.com magazine (via David Pescovitz at BoingBoing) comes the unique history of what has been called “the Kleenex of paper cups,” The Dixie Cup.
Their story starts with a Boston inventor named Lawrence Luellen, who crafted a two-piece cup made out of a blank of paper. He joined the American Water Supply Company, the brainchild of a Kansas-born Harvard dropout named Hugh Moore. The two began dispensing individual servings of water for a penny—one cent for a five-ounce cup from a tall, clumsy porcelain water cooler.
Dixie cups offer something at once refreshing and profoundly sobering, a pioneering product that ushered in the wave of single-use items—razors, aerosolized cans, pens, bottles of water and the paper cups you can find at doctor’s offices, backyard barbecues and, of course, the office water cooler.
Who doesn’t remember the drudgery of brushing ones teeth as a kid, only to realize that at the end of the ordeal, you got to swirl and spit from one of these entertaining cups? My collection varied between Disney panel comics and those with a joke- or riddle-a-cup (which my parents were oh-so patient to listen to).
The ominous mysteriousness of a creature living in Scotland’s Loch Ness is nothing new to history. Earliest accounts of skepticism and wonder date back all the way to AD 500, where strange ‘creature-like’ illustrations were carved into standing stones around the body of water. May 2, 1933, however, marks the first modern day journalistic account (published and circulated in newsprint) of a real-life sighting of the aloof beast.
We celebrate you today, Nessie, for alluding scientists, world-class hunters, divers, and everyone but those who’s honesty already has a reason to be doubted. What have you been eating all these years? McDonald’s delivery? That sweet gourmet cafe that’s only accessible through the time portal at the bottom of the Loch? I don’t blame you for staying underwater. Avoiding the paparazzi is the perfect way to stay sane when you’re so infamous.
[on needing an original musical score] You don’t, if all you want is to listen and enjoy the music. But to a pianist performing the piece, or a composer who wants to study it or arrange it for different instruments, the original score is valuable.
It’s possible, up to a point, to reverse-engineer new source code from a published video game, much as a capable musician can transcribe a musical score from listening to a performance. But in both cases, there’s no substitute for the original document as a direct line to the creator’s intentions and work process. As such, it has both practical and historical value, to the small subset of the game-playing/music-listening community that cares.
Just as the Archival community gradually embraces and incorporates linked data, online finding aids, and digital exhibits into their everyday workflow, they understand that maintaining the life of the original item-that very origin of idea-is essential to the longevity of any other surrogate.
Last week Larry Weimer wrote a great blog post for the Brooklyn Historical Society, in which he documented a major BHS processing project: the records of the Brooklyn Bureau of Sewers (ARC.235).
Larry explains a bit about the collection and it’s benefits to the community:
The bulk of the collection consists of the documents compiled by the Bureau of Sewers principally for the purpose of establishing the tax levy to be assessed on those connecting to newly-laid sewer lines from the late 19th century to about 1960. So in addition to information about the expanding sewerage infrastructure in Brooklyn, the collection also includes documents concerning property ownership and maps showing blocks, lots, streets, and sewer paths. In short, the collection can be useful to house and neighborhood researchers.
He’s not kidding either. According to the final tallies:
…The collection holds over 50 feet of documents sprawling across 109 oversize manuscript boxes, record cartons and flat boxes. The variety of material and the changes in sewerage administrative structures over the course of a century also make for a complex collection. We hope to enhance the description with a block level index to the content to make the collection more efficient to use.
I have a copy of Geek Love that I would need a few extra hands to count its re-reads. Notes and exclamation marks in the margins, dog-eared pages, and a covers that are holding on for dear life. This, in a world of modern mass-publishing is my way of showing my love to a book. In a time when book manufacturing was both costly and time-prohibitive, books were treated as precious items. How can we tell, in a time when biblio-respect was close to that of religious piety, how/which books were loved the most? The University of St. Andrews, Scotland, has a few ideas:
Although Alan Turing is celebrated for his contributions to code creation and translation, his personal relationship with Britain was not always as favorable. Finally his papers, which recently went untouched at auction, have found a new home thanks to aid from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.