Whenever you need to explain something technical…
Then do anything else. ;)
Yup, there goes 1:49 of a perfectly good morning. (From Barbara Inge Karsch via @edyong209.)
Image: Henri Testelin Colbert (No. Not that one. Philistines!) Presenting Members of the Royal Academy of Sciences to Louis XIV, c. 1677.
I just got this interesting book:
Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society.
It’s a collection of essays edited by Bill Bryson. I love reading about scientific discovery.
You want another cool, weird book about scientific discovery that no one’s ever heard of? Check out Jan Golinskis’ British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment.
Golinski’s a historian of science at UNH, and this is a work of professional history. But it’s well written, full of odd, wonderful stuff, and is just well worth a read if you like thinking about the Enlightenment.
Great moments in product manuals. I just bought a new camera, and while reading through the user manual (I know, mistake #1 right there), I found this:
Really? This is a camera, not a Red Ryder BB gun.
Maybe the turbo encabulator can help scientists figure out the recipe of the oldest drinkable beer known (it was in an early 19th century shipwreck in the Baltic. They really are trying to figure out how it was made. They really made real people drink some.)
One of the best and very easy to understand books that will open your eyes to not just past sciencifitic discoveries but all of history (and the why as well as a very clear how) is in the (now) classic “Guns, Germs, and Steel” book. A must read (and fun).
If anyone is a fan of good old-fashioned 19th century naturalists, or interested in the history or natural landscape of California, check out Up and Down California. As field leader of the California Geological Survey, Brewer traveled over 14,000 miles around California from 1860-64; for the 150th anniversary, I’m posting excerpts from his letters in real time +150, accompanied by present-day photos of the places he describes. (And if you want to catch up, you can start at the beginning.)
Heh, that video is right up there with Star Trek: Voyager in nonsensical technobabble.
Many thanks for the laughs.
Villago Delenda Est
You know, Jack, you just stole my comment on that video.
I hate you!
c u n d gulag
This is kind of how the new Congressman from FL, West, explained the AOL takeover of HuffPo!
Anyone know where I can buy a “Dingle-arm?”
I’m unemployed, and my ass is getting so fat, I could use an extension.
For a living I repair machines for people who have no idea how they work. Turbo Encabulator will be entering my repair tech lexicon soon as shorthand for “I have no idea what’s wrong.”
And don’t forget the Turbo Encabulator’s big brother, the Retro Encabulator. Just don’t watch it if you’re isomorphic to a localized chronosynclastic infundibulum.
Brian S (formerly Incertus)
I has been interviewed at a place called Used Furniture Review.
And Jack, I think your statement could hold true for just about any sci-fi show in the last forty years.
This is, of course, just a refinement and elaboration of Newton’s Linear Encabulator.
Where can I get me one of them hydrocoptic marzel veins?
Thanks, love Bryson. Just finished ‘Thunderbolt Kid’ for the second time.
Speaking of science, just read two bits of news that have me awake and spitting nails this morning:
First, GOP Reps Wolf and Rogers want to protect manned spaceflight from the idiotic “cut to 2008 levels” by transferring funds from climate change research Their motivation is not to avoid finding out things they don’t want to hear, oh no! (even though they complain about “excessive spending” on climate change in other parts of the budget), it’s that “We must not put ourselves in the position of watching Chinese astronauts planting their flag on the moon while we sit — earthbound by our own shortsightedness.” I’m a fan of manned spaceflight, but geez, it’s not at all “shortsighted” to ignore a massive long-term problem while trying to recreate the Space Race with those Commies!
Second, in my own state (VA), Republicans and coal-country Dems have apparently succeeded in transferring authority for administering mine discharge permits under the Clean Water Act from the Water Control Board to the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Geez, I wonder which agency is has more regulatory capture by the coal industry? Can’t let human health and the survival of waterways get in the way of profit!
@Brian S (formerly Incertus): I dunno, I think Voyager holds a special place in the Technobabble Hall of Fame (and I actually liked the series.)
I got Bryson’s The Mother Tongue from a book club when I was on a binge of reading about language. I’ve read just about everything of his since. The Thunderbolt Kid may be the best ’50s childhood memoir that I’ve read. It’s been passed all around our family.
Brian S (formerly Incertus)
@Redshift: I was thinking about rewatching the series at some point soon–it’s my favorite of the post-original-series series–and I think the thing I liked most about it was that while the TNG crew always figured out some sci-fi answer to whatever the problem was, Janeway was just as likely to ram her ship down the opponent’s throat. That, and I was a huge fan of the Doctor as a character.
The extension of the Patriot Act failed (under the rules that it had to have 2/3’s in order to pass) in the House.
No real reason to get happy, but at least when it returns some debate and amendments will be possible.
Rise of the machines?
We just received an IT alert at work that states:
It’s been done by others.
@TheMightyTrowel: they should just get in touch with dogfish head brewery. those guys love trying shit like that. case in point: midas touch, which was reverse enginered from residue found on ancient drinking bowls.
Ur had the best beer. It’s been all downhill for millennia.
@Comrade Misfit: Cool! Did not know that. (Obviously) We live in a strange time.
I can’t believe I’d never seen or heard that before… I think my old professor whose job it was to teach technical writing to engineers would get a kick out of that. Should probably show it on the first day.
Speaking of science and tech, this just came in the mail today:
The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standadge
All about how the telegraph changed the world..
Dava Sobel’s Longitude. An oldie but a goodie. Galileo’s Daughter is also wonderful. Her later book, The Planets, is pretty meh, in my opinion.
I just re-read The Longitude. It’s a great story, well told. The essays in The Planets didn’t grab me either. No focus.
Reading The Longitude led me to a whole binge of horology books, ending with The Bible, George Daniels’ Watchmaking. Best hundred bucks I ever spent.
@RossInDetroit: OK. I’ve got to read that book. I’m so with you on time science. Fascinating subject!
I’m surprised to find that Watchmaking has been reissued. I had to get my copy from a bookseller in the UK. Amazon says it’s available again in March.
It’s basically everything about mechanical watchmaking, clearly explained and with excellent illustrations.
You could follow the directions in this book and manufacture by hand a superb watch. He covers everything from the initial layout drawings and design to manufacturing every part. Even the dial, hands, bearing jewels, case, crown and glass crystal. It’s staggeringly comprehensive, and for a certain type of technical obsessive it’s irresistable.
Did you also hear that the scientists saw intact yeast cells in some of the beer bottles recovered from the bottom of the baltic sea. If these yeast cells turn out to still be alive, they hope to grow them up and produce beer with them.
Re: Turbo Encabulator – alert James Randi.
“…by a logarithmic maleable casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with a panametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marsel vanes so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbling was effectively prevented.”
Made my day. I’m in Heaven.
History of science happens to be my field, so I already like this thread.
Thanks for the reminder. I read a review of this book, but forgot to put it on my Winter Reading List.
The other books I’m having fun with are, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History, by David Aaronovitch,which underscores how superstition,ignorance, fear and intellectual laziness impedes our better understanding of the world.
By the by it’s also fun to read some of the “negative” reviews of this book on amazon, where people defend their pet conspiracy theories.
The other book I’m having fun with is Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, also available on amazon or an audio book. It is an irreverent hoot as well as a serious examination of the difficulties in traveling, and just plain being, in outer space.
Now that turbo encabulators are being mass-produced they’re reasonably priced. I just picked one up on eBay for only $650,000,000 and it works like a charm — now that I’ve realigned the ambifacient lunar waneshaft, which was causing some minor side fumbling. But that always happens with encabulators that aren’t regularly serviced. Best money I ever spent.
Any chance of a “Proudly powered by a Turbo Encabulator” tag?
Is Colbert the tall, kinda good-looking guy with the star on his coat? If so, are you sure he isn’t Stephen?
Sucker! I got one for less than $100 million. You shouldn’t have used “Buy It Now”.
What amazes me the most about the encabulator videos is not the technology – I mean, it’s semi-sophisticated, but not exactly pushing the envelope. No, what got me was that they all were able to do it without laughing.