Breaking Stones: A Rollercoaster Ride from the Stone Age to the Internet Age

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Lewis gives us an object lesson in medieval history [Tolkien, religion, philosophy, literature, teaching] Socrates, and the technologies of democracy, in the Agora [Greece, Athens, random selection, Acropolis, Parthenon, philosophy, Rockefeller] In which power and gold shape California [Sutter, Lienhard, Marshall, water wheel, Pelton wheel, metallurgy, Watt, Boulton, Boswell] Paper and CD-ROM encyclopedias shoot it out.

Who wins? But physics remembers.

Bill draws a whole generation back into the mainstream of American life [education, government spending, military, handicaps] The Library of Congress: how just over volumes shaped America in [books, printing, librarianship, cataloging, Jefferson, Madison, government] Watching microwave transmission towers forming a new metaphor for the communications age [electricity, antennas, AM radio, FM radio, television] John Forbes Nash Jr. Powell seeks racial equity in the skies [Black, transportation, race, flying, airplanes, flight, war, military, Tuskegee Airmen, Coleman] The remarkable tale of Bessie Coleman, first Black woman to fly [Black women, flight, flying airplanes, race, Texas] Was there once a first language?

Washington and its safe old cog railway [meteorology, sport, mountain climbing, weather, risk] The invention of eyeglasses ca. Thoughts on creativity and timelessness [water clocks, Jesuit missionaries, China, psychology] Discovering Neptune: whom, if anyone, should we credit? Army, U. Navy, arctic] Matthew Boulton makes Sheffield silver plate -- and steam engines [Watt, metalurgy, manufacturing, art] Redating paleolithic technologies backward in time [archaeology, paleontology, cloth, fabric, weaving, ceramics, clay, anthropology, toolmaking] In which Don Quixote says, "Facts are the enemy of truth.

Augustine, theology] A surprising answer to the question, "How much risk is really acceptable to us?

Francis of Assisi, Renaissance, cyberspace] In which Adam's navel poses the question of pre-creation history [evolution, fossils, art, Darwin, Ompholos, Gosse, geology, hippopotamus, anthropology] How would Thorstein Veblen do in the information age? Peter's] How we name the chemical elements.

I don't think so. Have a nice day. It's been going on for a long time. Edmund Fitzgerald; "Only a lake!


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  • Bad Astronomy | Passing a Kidney Stone Can Be a Real Roller Coaster Ride.

Some surprising facts [airplane, speed, production, invention] Another way of looking at the 14th century Plague [yersinias pestis, Black Death, famine, medieval, economics, wages, human life, The Hundred Years War, The Peasants Revolt, aerial photography] The Erie Canal [transportation, Great Lakes, Buffalo, Hudson, Niagara, Jefferson, Gallatin, Clinton] The Rocket Boys , a moving story of adolescence and engineering [von Braun, rocketry, Sputnik, space program, West Virginia, coal mining] Technology in Alexandria, ca. Polomar, Mt. Willard Gibbs pictures gear teeth [Amistad, Yale, visualization, geometry, mechanics, science] Georg Cantor, the man who counted beyond infinity [mathematics, set theory, infinity] Ship of gold in the Deep Blue Sea: an impossible treasure recovery [gold rush, SS Central America, shipwrecks, oceanography, Rocket Boys, submersibles, engineering] What is gold worth today?

Parker, slave, freedom-fighter, inventor, and businessman [Uncle Tom's Cabin, Civil War, slavery, abolitionists, Rankin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, iron, agriculture, Black] A prediction of technology in the year [futurism, future, transportation, medicine, energy, predictions, chaos, butterfly effect] On saying goodbye to lighthouses and cabooses [obselete, obsolescence, Smeaton, Eddystone Light, Pharos, metaphor, symbolism] The other great fire of Peshtigo, Wisconsin [disasters, Chicago Fire, Mrs. Paul's Cathedral, Willis, medical dissection, instrument makers, science, medicine, prodigies, brain surgery, antiseptic, intravenous] Lord Kelvin's miscalculation of the age of the earth [Bible, science, heat transfer, Fourier, Darwin, Heaviside, geology, religion] Alkahest , the universal solvent [chemistry, solution, reaction, reagent, nitric acid, dissolve, Boyle, Paracelsus, van Helmont, alchemy, alchemists, glycerol, sal alkali, alkahest, patent, intellectual property priority, Du Pont] GE, light bulbs, and the product-driven innovation cycle [General Electric, invention, design, manufacturing, Langmuir, electric light bulb, heat transfer, cooling, argon, deposition] In which the author of Oz contemplates electricity [L.

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Frank Baum, electrical, Edison, Tesla, Wonderful Wizard of Oz, future] High-pressure steam engines and transportation [railroads, Watt, Cugnot, Trevithick, steam engines, power, external condenser, condensation, vacuum] Donatello: Of his age or for all time? Eliot, change] The last days of Pompeii, rather like our own lives [Rome, Roman, Heculaneum, volcano, vulcanism, volcanic ash, lava, archaeology, urban architecture, restoration] Thoughts on airplanes, annular jets, and the inventive Zeitgeist [Zeitgeist, annular jets, fluid mechanics, invention, airplanes, Jacob Brodbeck, Gustave Whitehead, John Montgomery, Maxim, Ader, Richard Pearse, patent office] The Literary Digest tells us about science in [science, Dostoyevsky, William Randolph Hearst, Henry James, racism, Black, Negro, religion, Booker T.

And where did they go?

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Open Golf Tournament] In which goats learn to spin spider webs [biotechnology, bioengineering, genetic engineering, Nubian goats, spider webs, DNA gene replacement, kevlar, strength of materials] The Rev. Dionysius Lardner: keeping up with a world in flux [handbooks, steam power, hydrostatics, pneumatics, railroads, trevithick, technological change, Mary Shelley, locomotives, coal, conservation, water power] Edgar Allen Poe's amazing cosmology [Edgar Allen Poe, cosmology, physics, gothic literature, poems, poetry, philosophy, Romantic poets, Laplace, relativity theory, black holes, theology, eschatology, Einstein] The two Silk Roads: One by land, the other by sea [shipping, world trade, marine transport, Egypt, Orient, Silk Road, Rome, Romans] A new way to activate your pleasure center: Cooperate!

Louis Bridge, shipping, railroads, construction, yellow fever, cholera, de Lesseps, Vollmar] On being unreasonable: a repudiation of common sense [Gilbert and Sullivan, Pinnafore, Joel Cohen, negotiation, flag flapping, common sense, abstraction, superheated liquid, heat tranfer from an insulated cylinder] Good engineering: Romance and Reality in the High Middle Ages [medieval music, Gregorian chant, Kenneth Clark, Civisilation, High Middle Ages, Machaud, vielle, Adam do le Halle, musicology] Radio Days -- a tribute to early radio [H.

Wells, Orson Wells, public radio, radio tubes, Hindenburg, communication, media] Flora Haines Loughead, social change and airplanes [women, airplanes, aeroplanes, flight, St. Washington cog railway, thermodynamics, treadmill, penology, punishment, industrial energy consumption] What did the ancients eat?

Kennedy, Republican, Feminist, women, birth control, suffrage] Thoughts on blowing hot and cold [blowing hot and cold, thermodynamics, gas dynamics, folklore, consistency, Wright Brothers, Bible, adiabatic depressurization] Summer, Bohr, Planck, Einstein, Brooke, and Duchamps [Duchamps, bohr, Einstein, Planck's quantum mechanics, modern painting, impressionists, Nude Descending a Staircase, Rupert Brooke, Grantchester, summer of , art, physics, cubism, artists, reality] Mind Reading: An exclusively human ability [psychology, a theory of the mind, mind reading, human attributes, self-awareness] Miriam Leslie: like Gloria Steinem, Clare Boothe Luce, and Elizabeth Taylor all rolled into one [feminists, women's suffrage, Frank Leslie, Miriam F.

O'Neill, and the world below the surface [Mike O'Neill, building foundations, civil engineering, pilings, piers, soil mechanics] Inventing zero [India, zero, myriad, Archimedes, arithmetic, mathematics, signed numbers, indeterminate forms, Arabic mathematics, Brahmagupta, William of Malmsbury, Crusades, Silk Road] Cognac grapes growing from Texas rootstocks [Thomas V.

Breaking Stones

Bangs, technological change, Captain Midnight decoder, historiography] Learning to see: What is it like to add a new sense? Wyeth] Distances in space: the meaning of inconceivable [distances, measurement, parsec, space flight, jet-year, A. We are, at least, a collection of cells. Henry, pun-off] Pondering the significance of a new gadget [Jeff Hawkins, Handspring, Palm Pilot, Treo , cell phones, Dick Tracy, electronic communications, digital cameras, Internet, technological adaptation] Popular Mechanics and Jimmy Doolittle's first airplane [James H.

Cecilia] The most beautiful book. Gann: pioneer and portrayer of American flight [Ernest K. Pierre Gassendi happened! Yeats, Stephen Crane A. Paul, MN] Cal Rodgers and the great Vin Fiz trans-America flight [Cal Calbraith Perry Rodgers, Vin Fiz, transportation, flight, Wright Brothers, Wright Model-B Flyer, record setting, William Randolph Hearst, cross-country flying] A walk through lower Manhattan in [New York City subway system, Lower Manhattan, Scribner's Magazine, clothing, fashions, dress, transportation, cable cars, electric trolleys, horse drawn fire fighting, architecture, skyscrapers, elevators] An inside look at the use of anesthesia in [anesthesia, anesthetic, ether, chloroform, the Columbian Magazine, medicine, sailing, sails, steam-powered ships, steamers] In which Etienne Jules Marey tries to copy the animals [E.

Kelley, General William H.


  • Patti Hansen on Keith, Drugs & Rock 'n' roll.
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WordStar word processors, jets] I didn't have a choice -- or did I? Messerschmitt Michelson, charge on an electron, Planck's constant, League of Nations, Nobel Prize in physics] The screwdriver: archetype of subtle obviousness [screwdriver, obvious, screwheads, invention] Reflections upon the tyranny of twentieth-century time [time, clocks, rhythm of life, American industry, industrialization, Mick Jagger] Alexander W. Brandon's, and my father's, old surveying book [Civil War, Alexander W. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, economics, St. The last word in AD Wells, Ray Bradbury, The Lake House , The Time Traveler's Wife , determinism, free will, time paradoxes, the butterfly effect] Are we really happy when we're young and sad when we're old?

Arts and Crafts: The perfect marriage of opposite [industrial arts, arts and crafts movement, crastsmanship, education, manufacturing] Revolution: rewriting all things, rewriting time itself [Fabre d'Eglantine, French Revolution, Saint Just, St. Cooper, Fred Noonan conspiracy theories] Henry Selby Hele-Shaw, and the many faces of yesterday's engineer [Henry Selby Hele-Shaw, engineer, Tay Bridge disaster, engineering education, fluid mechanics, Hele-Shaw flow, viscosity, potential flow, boundary layer, clutch, early automobiles, Benz, clutch design, drag reduction, shark porpoise skin] Trucks, the important quiet cousins of our fancy automobiles [GMC CCKW ton truck, Carl Benz, Cugnot's steam dray, hauling goods, John Mack, Komatsu dump truck, wheelers] John Fitch, a steamboat builder surrunded by the early makers of America [John Fitch, early America, Thomas Paine, steamboat, jet propolusion, Benjamin Franklin, John Hall, James Rumsey, George Washington, iron bridges, 18th-century revolution] Proof and Belief: Are they related?

Augustine [Liszt, Petrarch, St. Miller, Aerostat, airplane, aeroplane] Who were the Irish long ago? Tambora killed 70, people and gave rise to the novel Frankenstein [volcanoes, Mt. Ruiz, Mt. Hansen's elegant nonchalance and approachable glamour have been her trademarks since she started modeling nearly 40 years ago. The cross-body bags are inspired by her iconic '80s boho look and come in three sizes and a variety of colors and skins. Nearly everyone I speak to about Hansen mentions her ability to handle anything—fashion, illness, a rock-star husband, her career, motherhood to daughters Theodora, 26, and Alexandra, 25 —with a cool factor that girls today could only hope to mimic.

Cool is a word that comes up often in descriptions of Hansen. She's cool, she's hot, she's a mother, she's a caring and giving person. They're a deep, deep family. She's totally affable and, best of all, very unpretentious. Family has always been important in Hansen's life. Even in her wildest days, she knew she had loved ones watching over her. That was always in my mind. Her nearest sibling was eight years older.

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Today Hansen is the family matriarch, planning holiday getaways and serving as a nucleus for a clan in triple digits. Theodora explains that when reunions get too big, they have to "pass out colored T-shirts and make teams" to keep things organized. Hansen's career is a fashion fairy tale.

Scouted at a hot-dog stand, she signed with the Wilhelmina modeling agency at the age of 16, was sent on a casting, booked the job, and has been in magazines ever since. Her career highlights include Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and Esquire covers the men's magazine used a provocative picture of Hansen to illustrate a cover story called "The Year of the Lusty Woman" , a major Revlon deal, and a gig as the face of Calvin Klein Jeans that put her on a traffic-stopping billboard in Times Square when she was To her own amusement, the girl from Staten Island became the face of American sportswear.

She worked with the greats, everyone from Richard Avedon to Patrick Demarchelier. Patrick's son Victor photographed her for this story. You went in, and you knew you were going to get a great photo. He took this wholesome, freckle-faced kid and gave me confidence. In , celebrating her 23rd birthday at Studio 54, she met Keith Richards, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, then on a two-decade roller-coaster ride of scandalous headlines and swooning groupies.

Hansen was aware of the band, but in that pre-Internet era, before everyone knew everything about everyone, she wasn't exactly the biggest fan. She knew nothing about Richards. Her closest friend, fellow model Shaun Casey, had taken her out to celebrate and couldn't get a bottle of champagne after last call, but she knew that Richards, who of course arrived long after midnight, could.

Richards writes in Life that Casey "pointed out this blonde beauty dancing with wild hair flying. Hansen casually thanked him and headed back to the dance floor. Nine months later, on the invitation of Jerry Hall, Hansen went to his 36th birthday party and sparks flew. A miracle! It certainly helps but it's her mind, her joy of life, and she thinks this battered junkie is the guy she loves. How would he get the blood? Thousands of those tapes. I've saved everything. Hansen is cagey when it comes to divulging hedonistic antics of the '70s and '80s—she'll only smile and say, "All the myths are true"—but she does dispute the popular notion that she singlehandedly saved her husband from a path of self-destruction.

It was the '70s, so we can't say it was all Keith," she says, going so far as to say that the two actually saved each other.