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JF Ptak Science Books Daily Dose from Dr. Odd

Scales060
Grazing the issues for 1920 in the Popular Mechanics-esque popular-techno-magazine, Illustrated World, I found this superb near-Dadaist photograph. The image is for a free weighing station, where people could come and have their stuff weighed, and weighed for free. This no doubt came into being to help protect consumers from being under-weighted and over-charged for their weighed goods like butter and whatever, where their good grocer might have had a thumb or more on the scale or even used a crooked/salted scale when selling their goods. What someone would do at the point of being told that their stuff was overweighed, I don't know–I mean these are people walking around in the street with things in their pockets or bags….its not exactly "evidence" showing up at the weigh station (staffed by "a woman") saying that the half-pound blob roll in their hand was sold them as a pound on their word of the purchaser probably wouldn't stand up in court. In any event, I like the idea of the story of the world being told from the viewpoint of the person weighing stuff for free, and the people who came to them, and the stuff brought to be weighed. Maybe there were weighing-in groupies; maybe there were old people who would just kick up a rock or something and take it to the weigh station for a bit of conversation and complaint on the over-weighted state of geology. Maybe between 12:00 and 1:00 the weighers weighed stuff out-back, sotto voce, for fun.

If only there was a sign for "no waiting" this photo would be complete.

JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
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Fat and prison
The title of this quick post seems both irresistibly attractive and horribly repelling in an oh-g_d-is-this-what-we're-down-to dissertation for a moderately-good university. But really all this post is is a title–I stumbled upon this table looking for emigration figures to illustrate a dot-matrix map from the United States Industrial Commission (printed in 1900), volume 3, which concentrated on the statics and sociology of prison labor. So what this table shows is the effect of prisoners' labor on the price of pork and pork fat in the Chicago market for a ten year period at the end of the 19th century, and what we see is that the "free" labor in prison in this area produced cheaper prices in the fat market. There you have it. [Source: Internet Archive, here.]

JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 959, extended. Daily Dose from Dr. Odd
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Nothing
quite exceeds like excess said Mr. Wilde (and others) , and he/they could be no
more correct when looking at this picture of a Movable Maginot Line—it is a
mobile fort, complete with plane launching capacity, two dozen long canons, a
crane, and a host of other stuff.

000--win--land tank

It
looks as though it has ample room for all sorts of materiel though leaving
little room for, perhaps, an engine. I
just can’t see where it might be…perhaps it is near the
not-room-enough-for-it-either ammunition compartment. Maybe they were in a smaller armed cart being
pulled by the mothership? I reckon that
this beast was 66 feet high, 100 feet long and 60 feet wide, which is a very
big, heavy near-cube. Good luck with driving the thing in anything that was
less than perfect conditions. A big
profile like this, filled with guns and canons or not, also makes for a big
target profile—a tall, broad target with flat/non-inclined sides. ( I should
also point out that there are two 10’ loudspeakers mounted on the front of the
fort to instill fear in the people that the thing was approaching with loud
noise. The author points out that the
Nazis used noise against the French with their “screaming dive bombers”, and so
the fort would use the same tactics against the Nazis in the moveable fort—not
that the sound of the engines and the attendant noise wouldn’t’ve been enough
of a fear factor in themselves…)000--win--tubular ship

But
the image of such a monster, sensical or not, was enough for the purposes of
the pamphlet in which it appeared. The Brains to Win was a piece of British
spirit/hope propaganda issued at about the time of the Battle of Britain in
1940, and it listed the sorts of technological breakthroughs that were going to
push the nation over the top to victory.
Some of the stuff was real, some not—like the moving fort/Howl’s Castle
above, and the floating fort, below.

000--win--floating airport

I’m
not sure where a floating fort would make sense, especially one of that size.
(Iterating the figures on deck into distance, it looks as though the deck on
the floating platform was 150 or 200’ square.
It would’ve looked like a big target from above.) Given the time and
expense and material needed for such a
thing, it seems that it would’ve been cheaper to make a moveable fortress not
quite so big, with less of a profile, and more mobile—I think that this was
called a “destroyer” or “battleship”.

But
no matter, I’m just poking fun at some of the future vision that became archaic
the moment it was drawn, punk retro-future.
All the pamphlet was trying to point out in its 32 pages was that
overall the Brits were smarter than the Germans and that would be the balance
for victory in the war. “Hitler will get
some very unpleasant surprises before this is over” the author very politely
pointed out, no doubt with one eyebrow raised. The scientists agreed.

And
they were right, which is all that matters.

JF Ptak Science Books Daily Dose from Dr. Odd
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This cure-all from G. Anston looks simple, but the hydraulics of his nerve juice pumper is actually a little involved, or more involved than it needed to be given the fact that the machine didn't actually do anything productive. That said, Anston was setting out to "move fluids" and cause all manner of cure-alls for "air stagnation" in the body, without the trouble of losing any time except for sticking those tubes into your nostrils. I do not know why the artist has the subject standing on #44 (the nerve-waste elimination tube) which was basically the tail-pipe of the cure-waste that was supposed to be flushed from a window. It seems as though stopping the exit of the stagnated brain-air and nerve-fluid effluvia might've made the subject's head pop off a little, which would be problematical.

[Source: Google Patents, here.]

JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [Part of the Daily Dose from Dr. Odd series]

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Just two days ago there appeared in this blog a bit on an image I had never seen before–dogs acting as biological book reviewers, doing with books one of the things dogs do best. And then, this, ("Kudgello collecting materials to improve our morals") printed around 1766 and another scatological review of books, this based on morals and highly scented books of a sexual nature, all seemingly removed with fire tongs from the wastebucket of an outdoor privy.

Outhouse books
{Source: the Library of Congress]

The books on the floor, the rescued books, include Dialogue
… Married Lady … A Maid, Aretine
(Mansfield, William Murray, Earl of, 1705-1793), Sodom, a play, and Memoirs of a woman of pleasure (Cleland, John, 1709-1789)

The verse at bottom includes: "Thou Grub street author, fit for Bawds to
quote / If Bawds themselves with Honor safe may do't / Disgrace to
libels! Foil to very shame / Whom 'tis a Scandal to vouchsafe to name." Also: "M. Midnight * her mark ; Publish'd as the Act directs, Price 6d."

Of course the principal interest here is what the semi-smug Kudgello is hoisting from the pit, Essay on Woman, which was written by Thomas Potter in about 1755 with the assistance of John Wilkes This was a take-off of Alexander Pope's Essay on Man, though without the intelligence, art, insight or writing ability. I've included this image in the blog because it is so unexpected–and that it comes fast on the heals of a similarly-unexpected scatological book review found only 48 hours earlier.

JF Ptak Science Books Daily Dose from Dr. Odd

Plastic war899
This puts me in mind of the work of Albrecht Durer's (1471-1528) revolutionary drawing
of a geometrical man, compartmentalizing the body into distinct
chunks–these and other woodcuts appeared in his Symmetria partium…humanorum corporum
and must have been an amazing, startling site for the new reader to
such things in 1537.

.

Perspectiva (Lautensack) 1564 e

To me this looks like visionary thinking in trying
to understand the motions of living beings with no actual way of
capturing the image in motion. There's also Erhard Schoen who published Unnderweissung der proportzion unnd stellung der possen, liegent und stehent…,which showed that the human form was reducible to connected but discrete Euclidean solids. This must've been an intriguing concept in the 16th century, this associate of form and function and the geometry of substance, all wrapped around the still-developing European re-discovery of perspective. (A post on this subject appeared earlier in this blog here.)

I really just like the red background of the Plastic Durer Man.

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JF Ptak Science Books Daily Dose from Dr. Odd

I've made a post here before on the location of the Garden of Eating, um, "Eden", here, which I guess might be the ultimate of all Apple Maps, The Big Eat; but I've found these two (below) that are entertaining and probably not interetsing though they are without the overwhelming consequences of the first map. They're just about apples, and not what apples might represent (which I think was an unwieldy way for a Creator of the Universe to test the future of humankind with).

Apple map897 detail[Source: "Choice Variety of Apples", in American Agriculturist, New York, 1848, vol VII/no. III, page 79.]

And of course the route of Small Things Internally Eating Apples:

Apple map[Source: Maps Incohate, here.]

Eden 2359
[Source:private collection, Tabula Paradisi Terrestris justa Systema Auctoris incisa a P. Stark-Man was
printed late in the 18th century, probably around 1775, and locates the
GOE far in the north country, near the Dead Sea, deep in old Armenia,
near Mount Ararat (where Noe and his family were supposed to have landed
after the creator flooded the world killing everything, where
everything else, young and old, infant younger, men women children,
beasts and ants, were killed by a wrathful OT maker.).]

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