Currently viewing the category: "Brevity and Complexity"

JF Ptak Science Books Post 1981

Paracelsus furnace [Image: the anatomical furnace for the distillation and diagnosis of urine. From: Walter Pagel, Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance , second edition, Basel/New York 1982, page 193/194. the image also found on line here.]

While the ancient aspects of the inspection of urine as medical discovery seem distant, it is not so, the practice continuing for thousands of years, deep into the 17th century. There are some surprises, though, here and there, in the recent history of uroscopy, particularly involving Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541), and specifically with his Anatomy, that is, the Dissection of the Living Body or of Distillation of the Urine, printed in 1577. This is one of the many of the works of Paracelsus printed posthumously–in his relatively short but very full life of 84 years, he published four books, but then in the 40 years or so following his death there were at least 14 more works that were published. (A general overview of the works by and about Paracelsus–who worked in the areas of medico-occult and philosophy, alchemy, astronomy/astrology, theology, magic and more–can be found by piecing your way through the always-useful OCLC/WorldCat, here).

In the practice of general uroscopy urine was seen as a window into the health of the body–rather the lack of health. For centuries urine was simply observed, its color plotted against color wheels. Paracelsus worked in a different vein, and although this approach seemed as antiquated as possible after hundreds of years of practice, he adopted a proto-scientific approach to his urine inspection. The idea of urine and his "anatomical furnace", wherein the urine was distilled in a cylinder the size of the subject for interpretation, was a wide but interesting sidestep in the history of uroscopy, filled with some slight hope and more-than-slight abundance of need in belief. The point though is that Paracelsus went about this scientifically–no longer just an observational inspection: the urine was distilled, and coagulated bits (the "morbid species") was separated from the urine, and the precipitated items were studied, a "chemical dissection" (according to Walter Pagels in his standard biography of Paracelsus 1982). The cylinder was graduated in proportion to the subject; there was careful collection and handling of the specimen, and attempts were made to see beyond the standard practice of centuries past. So there was some hint of scientific method in this work–something that Pagels notes but still labels the work "disappointing, albeit a subtle new brand of uroscopy".

JF Ptak Science Books Post 1980 Follow Me on Pinterest

With the endless images of the Land of Oz in our minds from the book and movie it is easy for the other lands generated by their creator L. Frank Baum to escape our attention Oz isn't the only place that Dorothy traveled to–far from it. She went very far and wide in the mind of Baum, who was extraordinarily prolific both inside and outside of the Oz series.

From 1900-1919, Baum (1856-1919) wrote 17 Oz books, as well as another 18 books in the non-Oz realm, plus 17 books in a juvenile series for girls under the pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne, plus six more books under the name of Floyd Akers, plus another seven other books under five other names, plus a pretty wide assortment (200+) of short stories, plus plays. Plus all of the stuff he wrote before 1900. That's a LOT of writing in 19 years.

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1963

Here’s a interesting piece of thinking communicated on the construction of a rapid recorder for musical composition, written by John Freke in 1753 to the Royal Society, and published as A
Letter from Mr. John Freke F. R. S. Surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s
Hospital, to the President of the Royal Society, Inclosing a Paper of
the Late Rev. Mr. Creed, concerning a Machine to Write Down Extempore
Voluntaries, or Other Pieces of Music
( on January 1, 1753) in the
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London; Philosophical Transactions
of the Royal Society,
volume 44, pp 445-450. (John Freke, 1688-1756, was a prominent and important early surgeon, served at St. Barts from 1729 to 1755 and was a Governor of the hospital from 1736 to 1756, and was perhaps the first ophthalmic surgeon). The device was proposed by the Rev. John Creed, a machine that was supposed to catch the delicacy and greatness of improvisation, of the moments of creation of music that would could normally be lost to memory or inexactitude. It was not the first of its kind, though it was an early attempt at finding the box of aether.

Music machine graphic
It was a very interesting idea, especially given the time 260 years ago. I wonder if this was influenced at all by the construction of mathematical machines? Blaise Pascal (1623-1662–I don’t have any idea how he did what he did and live to be only 39) constructed his machine that was capable of doing addition and subtraction problems more than 110 years before this machine, and perhaps there was this hopefulness in the mechanically-reasoned approach to saving lost memories of composition. Perhaps there was the belief that since calculations seemingly so impossible as the Earth’s (periodic 304-day that turned out to be 428-day) wobble (by Leonhard Euler, or the illustrated collection of human knowledge in the vast and controversial Diderot/d’Alembert encyclopedia, or the capturing of nature iin the systematic binomial nomenclature of the Swedish Carl Linnaeus–all taking place in this year or so brought something to bear on this seemingly inescapable problem of recording quick and complicated thought?

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1914

Changing the Mind's View of Simple and Complex Ideas via Different Image Perspectives

I’m always very interested in curious things, or standard, “average” things pictured in non-standard ways, as theDsc04588
change in perspective can lead to entirely new observations and discovery. Seeing this illustration in an article by J. Norman Lockyer ( Nature 1881) I was shocked by its clarity and usefulness—Lockyer was simply showing the arrangement of his apparatus for his solar spectrum experiments but the angle of observation (being at such an oblique angle as is normally found) was just, so, well, “correct”. The image I thought was perfect for the reader—not only that, it was designed artistically and with grace, and one can see exactly what Lockyer was up to. Diagrams would’ve worked almost as well, but there is just something so extraordinary here that you could just about work from the image if there was no description.


Looking at things differently is hard work—that’s why I think it is always good to refresh the neuronal sap and look at great examples of unusual , insightful imagery.

Sometimes it works to read the description of what the image is before actually viewing it to see the differences of the image that you form in your brain before seeing the thing itself. For example, when reading about the Dogon, a cliff-dwelling people of the plateau of Bandiagara, south of Tombouctou, and how they would make houses and then towns out of the rocks fallen from cliffs, you get what is probably a pretty benign image. When you see photographs of these structures it seems as though the brain just simply isn’t ready for their impossible nature, though you quickly, instantly, recover (once you convince yourself the photo is real) and—voila—your mind has been expanded. (This photo is from an expansive work by Bernard Rudofsky, Architectures without Architects, Doubleday, 1964.)

The (internally) spectacular Etienne Boullee can greet us in the same way with some of his eye-popping architecturalBoulle1
creations (unbuilt architecture by an architect, in this case, compared to the built architecture of the non-architects above). Boullee’s “Plan du Cenotaphe de Newton”, a gigantic memorial to Newton that was dancing with necessary privacy in Boullee’s brain during the French Revolution (and also during a particularly un-Newtonesque time in on-your-knees-to-Cartesian-principles France) is another superior example. Reading the description of the structure just doesn’t quite do, and it seems whatever grand comes of that is tarnished and stripped away by the obesely florid sentiment of none other than Ledoux’s poetic sentiments “…O Newton! Sublime Mind! Vast and profound genius! I conceived the idea of surrounding thee withBoulle2
thy discovery…”. Oy. Boulle adds to this inspirational atrocity by saying of the sphere: “…we must speak of a grace that owes its being to an outline that is as soft and flowing as it is possible to imagine…” And once the demand of “oh dear god just please show me the picture” is met, we are left with a turned-around brain and another heavenly exaltation, or profanity. The Cenotaph is just Grand-Canyon-Spectacular.

Complex can turn on the simple in this way, where we can have those “a-ha” moments from, say, early efforts at picturing the fourth dimension or non-Euclidean geometry to a new perspective of looking at Roman ruins. The arrival on the non-Euclidean geometries in the 19th century posed new issues, not the least of which was representing the ideas. Our saintly Hermann von Helmholtz believed –contrary to most elevated opinions—that the human mind could indeed intuit complex space and figures of these geometries. (The difficulty not only from the obvious intellectual hardships in picturing the concepts but also because the geometry of Lobachevsky was called somewhat into doubt when some of its results were cast in doubt by contemporary astronomical observations.—and this even though so far as the great Gauss was concerned there was no deviation in Euclidean values.) Helmholtz did this by employing the three-dimensional pseudosphere model of Beltrami. (Reluctance to these ideas would end soon enough, for, as Linda Dalrymple Henderson points out with such sotto voce, “the convenience of Euclidean geometry would prove inadequate once Einstein” hit in 1905.)

The work of Beltrami and H.P. Manning ( Geometry of Four Dimensions, 1914), and Jouffret ( Traite elementaire de geometrie a quarte dimensions, Paris 1903) in illustrating these complex ideas (the titles of which were in themselves daungting as with Jouffret’s “plane projections of the sixteen fundamental octahedrons of an ikosatettrhroid”) would in themselves prove to be entirely irresistible to the world of the arts. Charles Howard and Maurice Princet I think had as much to do with the creation of cubism and abstract art and the imaging of time than anyone, including the painter (I shudder to say his name) of Les Demoiselles (1907) or the lovely Georges Braque ( Houses at Estaque, 1908) or Jean Metzinger or even the sublime comedian Duchamp’s Nude DescendingDsc04584
(1914). The hypercube starts to show up a lot in some Bauhaus genres and even into the palette of Frank Lloyd (“Stinky”) Wright (with his St. Mark’s Tower plan, NYC, 1929).Dsc04589 I can only imagine the shock to the brains of these creative geniuses in seeing the display of such a novel idea. (For the ultimate treatise on this see Linda Dalrymple Henderson’s The Fourth Dimension and Non Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, Princeton 1983). And no the art didn’t come first.


But coming back to the simple, and in the same frame as the first example that we mentioned in Lockyer, we have the unlikely find of Giovanni Piranesi. In my opinion his most spectacular work is found in his frammeni (the diverse bits and pieces of architectural and sculptural bric-a-brac found objects that are collected together on one stage) and in his archaeological detail. His attention to new perspective in showing the crucial aspects of structure and building in Rome is tremendous andDsc04590
unexpected—as an example we see here the child’s-eye-height view of three steps of the reconstruction of the theatre of Pompey. I must say that I’ve seen a lot of architectural images in my time but nothing quite comes to me so surprisingly as this step-level view of the reconstruction of a Roman theatre, This happens throughout the lesser-known Piranesi, with great details of tools, and cross sections of the very deep Dsc04591
footings of bridges, and so on. It is really refreshing, lovely, unexpected work.

We’ll return to this subject from time to time as I have hundreds of interesting examples to draw from—for example, the remarkable Emily Vanderpoel’s Colour Problems (which has surfaced in this blog from time to time) which is ostensibly an undecipherable attempt to quantify color arrangement in art but through the lovely examples displaying this attempt pre-date the modern re-invention of non-representational art by at least a dozen years. Stay tuned! Dsc04592

JF Ptak Science Books Post 1899

Putting objects of different classifications into the same scale for the sake of comparison is a relatively recent idea in the history of printing. It really wasn't until Etienne Durand's architectural textbooks of the 1850's that buildings by different architects were displayed on the same scale on the same page. Likewise, too, the cartographic depiction of mountain heights and islands and lakes and rivers side-by-side and on the same scale didn't take place in earnest until mid-19th century.

My favorites relating to geographical items are those that take, say, all of the major islands in the world and remove them to a single sheet of paper, all in scale, so that it would be easier to compare their sizes without the distraction of the rest of the map.

Here's another, just recently found in the warehouse:

Thematic europe in Russia 782_edited-3

This map, "Relative Sizes of the United States and the European Powers" was published by the People's Handy Atlas of the World in ca. 1920, appearing in print just a couple of years after the map of Europe was changed by WWI. (As a matter of fact this map very liberally used and without credit an earlier version published by the Geo. F. Cram company in their war atlas of 1914; it again appeared in the European War Book (by Canfield, published in 1917), calling on the information in this version and adding color. The People's History also published a 1913 version of this map though I cannot find an example of it.) Here's the map in full:

Thematic europe in us782

It really does put things into perspective, giving the reader a good, strong look at just how small some of these countries were in comparison with the United States. Many of the combatants of WWI are here–and its quite sobbering to think of the enormous casualties incurred in some countries and the very small area that those millions of dead and wounded would have taken if placed in a similar locale in the U.S. An excellent example of this is Belgium, fitting very nicely into less than a tenth of the state California, where so much killing and suffering occurred. Thinking of France as battlefield that was limited to about 60% of the size of the combined four states of New Mexico, Arizon, Utah and Colorado, and then thinking of most of the largest battles of WWI taking place in an area about a quarter of that is, well, incredible. Using this as a guide, less han half the state of Colorado would've been the seat of the battles of Verdun (976,000 casualties), Marne (750,000), Somme (1.2 million), Cambrai (700,000) Arras (278,000), the Spring Offensive (1.5 million) and the Hundred Days Offensive (1.8 million),plus all of the rest of the action, and you get a little bit of a better idea of the bloodiness of that acreage.

Placing things in comparison in the same scale, side-by-side, is an excellent means of insight.

Casualties in World War One (taken with thanks from the site First World War

Country Dead Wounded Missing Total
Africa 10,000 - - 10,000
Australia 58,150 152,170 - 210,320
Austria-Hungary 922,000 3,600,000 855,283 5,377,283
Belgium 44,000 450,000 - 494,000
Britain 658,700 2,032,150 359,150 3,050,000
Bulgaria 87,500 152,390 27,029 266,919
Canada 56,500 149,700 - 206,200
Caribbean 1,000 3,000 - 4,000
France 1,359,000 4,200,000 361,650 5,920,650
Germany 1,600,000 4,065,000 103,000 5,768,000
Greece 5,000 21,000 1,000 27,000
India 43,200 65,175 5,875 114,250
Italy 689,000 959,100 - 1,424,660
Japan 300 907 3 1,210
Montenegro 3,000 10,000 7,000 20,000
New Zealand 16,130 40,750 - 56,880
Portugal 7,222 13,751 12,318 33,291
Romania 335,706 120,000 80,000 535,706
Russia 1,700,000 5,000,000 - 6,700,000
Serbia 45,000 133,148 152,958 331,106
South Africa 7,000 12,000 - 19,000
Turkey 250,000 400,000 - 650,000
USA 58,480 189,955 14,290 262,725

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1812

There are in the histEvolution eve557ory of belief and art instantaneous evolutions of various sorts–most famously of course in creation myths, and these most easily followed today in their images relating Old Testament belief, such as in the creation of the world, or more specifically in the example1 (left) the creation of light. But here we see the post-creation part, the vision of creation, the achievement. It seems as though we don't really get to see the instantaneous creation half-way-through, or rarely so, the instant-evolution not quite complete.

I guess that we are recommended to believe the stuff in the middle, to assume it complete, to accept the Angel of Presumption to fill in the necessary blanks. (And here I'm not talking about the "Angel of Presumtpion" of Caedmon who refers to Satan in this way–I'm just taling about the Angel that bridges the missing bits in neural napping parts of real and suspect stories and events, the aid to continuity in imagination).

There are exceptions of course, though it seems like there are not many–one good example is the creation of Eve. In many Renaissance examples illustrating the Old Testament story we see Eve as she is emerging from the side of Adam, a snapshot of the process of the creation of woman that is also in some special way also a product of evolutionary development, only instantly. This would seem to remove this from consideration of being an "evolutionary" development, though there are more modern examples of a "faster" evolution, quicker and more reactive adaptation (as in the case of Galapagos finches study by Peter and Rosemary Grant2 (Princeton), or the mercurial DNA changes to white flies in response to the introduction of certain bacteria.

Evolution eve551

[Source:woodcut from Biblia cum postillis, Nicolai de Lyra, printed in Venice in 1489.]

But the creators of creations myths from which the stories of Adam and Eve have descended are long and very old, and the process of change in these cases didn't concern them–it was the outcome that was important.

We do see this process displayed elsewhere to be sure, but it is a very uncommon peep into the creation of certain states of affairs. Here's a another good example again coming from the Adam and Eve saga, this one showing the creation of man from clay–"Erschatflung des Menschen aus Lehm", from the great Liber cronicorum, and printed by Anthonis Koberger in Nurnberg in 1493:

Evolution eve556
The images showing partial development of a theme do seem to rest more heavily on the shoulders of Eve than anything else I can think of, presently.
Evolution eve550There are many images that show events simultaneously, where on a single panel or canvas we will see a painting depicting multiple periods of time in a person's life, or a depiction of the Fall of Man showing temptation/apple-eating/Archangel banishment–but this is not a depiction of the instantaneous event in the process of creation.

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1807 Part of the series The History of Blank, Empty and Missing Things

Carroll cipher536
Lewis Carroll created a lovely, simple cipher in the midst of his Alice and Snark and Logic and Sylvie publications. It really is just a simple bit of polyalphabetic substitution, bu tit gets the job done. (Many others have walked this royal road: Leon Battista Alberti , A Treatise on Ciphers, [De componendis cyfris]; Giovan Battista Belaso, La cifra del Sig. Giovan Battista Bel[l]aso, gentil’huomo bresciano, nuovamente da lui medesimo ridotta à grandissima brevità et perfettione, Venetia 1553 (and also his Novi et singolari modi di cifrare de l’eccellente dottore di legge Messer Giouan Battista Bellaso nobile bresciano, Lodovico Britannico, Brescia 1555); Giombatista Della Porta, De furtivis literarum notis vulgo de ziferis, G. M. Scoto, Neapoli 1563; Galileo Galilei, Intorno a due nuove scienze, Opere, . Vol. VIII, Firenze; Blaise de Vgenere, Traicté des chiffres ou secrètes manières d’escrire, Abel l’Angelier, Paris, 1586; and so on…its a very wide literature, even pre-18th century). Louis Carroll. Louis "Cipher" Carroll. Comes sort of goofily close to "Louis Cipher". Lucifer. Not the case, of course unless you were trying to figure out one of his tricky puzzles.

Perhaps it is the cipher's presentation and design and simplicity, its elegance, that I like so much. It reminds me in some ways of the Henry Holiday masterpiece of nothignness created for Carroll's Hunting of the Snark–and that of course would be the Bellman's map, a map of nothing, a map showing nothing at all to the sailors who must follow it and who were all happy that the map had nothing to obstruct their vision of possibility and blank expectation. (I wrote about that in The Most Beautiful Map in the World, here). It is interesting to note that none of the illustrators who followed Holiday chose to illustrate the nothing map with such nothingness as in Carroll–there would be hands on it, or the map would be oblique, or not the central image of the illustration. Holiday's map was just that–straightforward, simple, strong).

I've decided to make this a part of the History of Blank, Empty and Missing Things series simply because everything is missing unless you have the missing key–here you have all the parts of the puzzle, and then some, everything that you need to solve it, save for the integral part of ordering.

From Carrolls's text:


Each column of this table forms a dictionary of symbols representing the alphabet: thus, in the A column, the symbol is the same as the letter represented; in the B column, A is represented by B, B by C, and so on.

To use the table, some word or sentence should be agreed on by two correspondents. This may be called the 'key-word', or 'key-sentence', and should be carried in the memory only.

In sending a message, write the key-word over it, letter for letter, repeating it as often as may be necessary: the letters of the key-word will indicate which column is to be used in translating each letter of the message, the symbols for which should be written underneath: then copy out the symbols only, and destroy the first paper. It will now be impossible for any one, ignorant of the key-word, to decipher the message, even with the help of the table.

For example, let the key-word be vigilance, and the message 'meet me on Tuesday evening at seven', the first paper will read as follows—

 v i g i l a n c e v i g i l a n c e v i g i l a n c e v i
m e e t m e o n t u e s d a y e v e n i n g a t s e v e n
h m k b x e b p x p m y l l y r x i i q t o l t f g z z v

The second will contain only 'h m k b x e b p x p m y l l y r x i i q t o l t f g z z v'.

The receiver of the message can, by the same process, retranslate it into English.

If this table is lost, it can easily be written out from memory, by observing that the first symbol in each column is the same as the letter naming the column, and that they are continued downwards in alphabetical order. It would only be necessary to write out the particular columns required by the key-word, but such a paper would afford an adversary the means for discovering the key-word.

JF PTtak Science Books Post 1796 [Part of the History of the Future series.]

I came across this fantastic representation of the stages of human life in the beautifully-named book by Bartholomaeus Anglicus, All the Properytees of Thyings, which was published in Westminster in 1495 (and also known as De proprietatibus rerum, also translated as On the nature of things, or On the properties of things), and which was originally written around 1225). The book was a bestiary, a marvelous encyclopedia, a collection of all things as known in the 13th century–it would be interesting to represent all that is know today and compact it into a workable, logical, usable (printed !) book of a thousand pages. One of those many images was this:

File:Stages of Life by Bartholomeus Anglicus 1486.jpga simple, compact reminder to the book’s readers about the progression of life. Infant, toddler (in a Renaissance walker), child (at games), teen (adopting some of the trappings of adulthood), prime-of-life, middle aged and then the leaning elder.

It strikes me that the idea of “stages” is what most of what experience might be–the ideas of “stages” and “progression” are everywhere, even perhaps in the places they shouldn’t be. There are simple things like rockets that keep releasing smaller and smaller stages of itself until it gets down to the (satellite etc.) nub; sleep has its five stages resulting in the final resting state of r.e.m.,; there are recognized stages of development for psychology (Erikson), and cognition (Piaget) and need (Maslkow) and moral (Kohlberg), and spiritual (Fowler), and economic (lots) and on and on into the progressive stages of the sunset. Progression and series belong in arithmetic and geometry (and etc.) and in the scientific method, as well as music (succession of chords) and disease (more so than health). Examples are limitless. But for right now, I just wanted to post a few images of these antique reminders of progression and mortality…

The Stages of Life, broadside published by James Catnach, London c. 1830. British Museum.

File:The Stages of Life BM 1992 0125 31.jpg

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1790

I stumbled into an unintentionally iconic time capsule, a collapsible bit in the brevity and complexity department, that sifted out the "extraneous" artistic matter of early motion picture entertainment and got straightaway to the crux of the film-making biscuit, which was finding people to fill the roles in a film. It sounds simple enough in a simpler time, but it wasn't simple for them–and the residue of the difference between the two is interesting.

In looking through some early documents on sound-on-film motion pictures (that's simultaneous sound-on-film) I came across this nostalgic wonderful insight: The Standard for March 1923. The Standard Casting Directors Directory was a film exec's handbook, an advertising vehicle for actors and their favored parts, a picture directory of offerings of all scales of applied talent. In addition to the lovely photos are the descriptions of what their casting specifications might be–including the titles of the specialties.

For "supporting cast/specialty people" for men, the titles include (with actors' names appearing underneath): acrobats, bald headed men, bankers, bearded men (old), bellhops, bit men, boxers, butlers. character men, chauffeurs, Chinamen, Colored Members of the Profession, comedians, cowboys, dancers, detectives, divers, doctors, Englishmen, entertainments, Europeans, evening clothes men (old) , fat men, female impersonators, fencers, footmen, Frenchmen, German types, Hawaiians, Hindus, hunchback, Indians, Irishmen (old), Italians, Japanese, Jewish (old), jockies, judges, juveniles, Mexican, monks, policemen, priests, Russian types, sheriffs, slickers–cake eaters, small town men, Spanish, stunt men, swimmers, tall men (over 6 feet), twins, underworld types, waiters, and well dressed men".


I haven't looked to see if there are any cross referenced for, say, bald-headed fencing cake eater footmen.

Movie466There were 50 categories for the women (compared to 56 for the men), and included quite a lot of overlap, particularly in the stereotyping department. The more-or-less exclusive categories for women included cooks, dancers, flappers, ingenues, maids, matrons, models, mothers, nuns, nurses, old maids,
stenographers, waitresses, witch types and tall old women. I doubt that there was very much money to be made playing a tall old woman (or a fat/matronly/old maid/tall old woman) but evidently it was more than could be made by playing a woman lawyer/doctor/insert other professional position here _________ .

Movie465I realize that this was a simple and useful way of getting things done, of finding the necessary actors for movie roles, but taken slightly out-of-context this pamphlet becomes a little more than that–a small, swallowable capsule of what "normalcy" might have looked like for entertainment folks in a relatively mature medium in 1923.

JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

I was just thinking about the period of 1876-1900 or so and a few of the advancements in technology–telephone, motion picture–and how they changed the landscape of how people saw things in the present, and how they altered the very way in which memory worked. I've come up with a couple of questions:

Man with Cane, plate 49

1. When was the first time that a person was able to see a dead person–personally known to them–appear "alive" in a motion picture? How disorienting could that be, say, to see Uncle Henry or Mother walk past a camera at the Columbian Exposition in 1893, have Uncle or Mother die in 1894, and then see them, again, strolling, in 1899?

1.1 Would the dead-preserving daguerreotype have prepared people for the experience of the next step of seeing the dead people, this time in motion?

1.12 Daguerre's and later photographic processes would have allowed people to clearly see the faces of the Departed even decades after death. Certainly this was a triumph of technology and a change ways a hundred centuries old of remembering what dead people looked like. What did this mean to the people in the first generation of humans who were able to experience this?

1.2. I wonder if it would have been possible to operate a business–say, in 1895–that specialized in making simple one-reel motion pictures of family members and then contracting to save the movie for decades.

1.2.1 The movie house would become a Morgue. Family members or whomever could come and see these motion pictures with dead people in them. It would be like a moving, visual cemetery.

2. What did the invention of the telephone mean to people who now could with utmost ease communicate via voice without being face-to-face with the other person?

2.1 The telephone was also a great democratizer–it meant that anyone with access to a telephone could talk to anyone at the number that was dialed. In the age of introduction and more-visible class warfare, this was a novel idea.

3. What was it like for the first time people were able to experience interrupted motion? That is, for people in a cinema, or seeing a motion picture somewhere, that they could be among the first humans in the history of humans to be able to slow or stop human action as filmed in a motion picture, to see motion frame-by-frame, or (perhaps, if not too explosive) to see that action stopped, and started, at will?

3.1. And what did people think when they could see such things as interrupted and suspended motion, that they could see it all backwards? And over and over again? It had to have been an overwhelming sensation of newness and the unexpected.

3.2 It certainly meant a lot scientifically, with Marey instituting a study of locomotion; and also for the arts, as there is really no telling what impact these sorts of images would have had on people who were read/studied by those like M. Duchamp and his Nude Descending, or to the creation of alternative narratives in literature.

How did these inventions alter the way in which we remembered things, and how we remembered them?

If we fast forward (!) to the present, what might it mean to the way our memory works if we can commit so much of what we come into contact with to the cloudy intertubes? Obviously we today come into contact with x-orders of magnitude more data/information than ever experienced in the course of human history (and perhaps we experience more data input than the "average" person would have experienced over a period of a collective century or centuries or _________), and so I wonder about how the brain discriminates between necessary and allocated memory?

Again, just some thinking-out-loud notes…