Replied to |k| clippings: 2019-04-14 — baby was a star (Twitter)
A story that truly deserves the adjective “extraordinary” in many ways: who the book collector was, the volume and variety he collected, that he read and summarized the books…and that some of that index survived. → ‘Extraordinary’ 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time Thanks, Reader K! ※ Linked within that story is another worth reading: How Christopher Columbus’s son built ‘the world’s first search engine’
This makes me wonder about the fragility of archiving, especially after reading Damon Krukowski’s recent reflections associated with MySpace. What happens when someone finds something like a zipdisk in 500 years time? Let alone in 50 years time.
Bookmarked I dare you to read this and still feel good about tipping (Washington Post)
If you knew the history of tipping, you'd never see it the same way again.
Roberto Ferdman and Saru Jayaraman discuss tipping and its origins. Jayaraman discusses the two dollar hourly rate that waiters are often paid, how there is a confusion for who they are working for and the association with slavery. This practice is so deeply rooted as was demonstrated in a post from Jason Kottke.


Our research shows that all of that sexual harassment—from customers, coworkers, and management—can be traced back to this whole culture of forcing women to make their income based on pleasing the customer. To me it’s all summed up by this one quote from Texas, where they earn $2.13 an hour before tips. This waitress was speaking at a Senate press conference, and she said: ‘Senators, what would it be like for you if your income depended on the happiness of the people you serve? Because my income depends on the people I serve, I have to put up with a guy groping by butt every day so I can feed my four year old son every day.’

via Daniel Goldsmith

Bookmarked The surprisingly radical politics of Dr Seuss by an author (
Seuss himself didn’t necessarily see a huge disconnect between what he was doing during the war and what he did afterwards. “Children’s literature as I write it and as I see it is satire to a great extent – satirizing the mores and the habits of the world,” he is quoted in Cott’s book.
Fiona MacDonald takes a look at the political side of Dr. Suess’ work. This includes commentary from another author/illustrator Art Spigelmen and discussion of Suess’ work on propaganda during World War II.
Liked How Telegraphs and Teletypes Influenced the Computer (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)
We may not discuss our connectivity speed in baud anymore—not when we can measure data by the gigabits per second—but these points of evolution have clearly had an impact on what we, as modern computer users, actually got to use at the end of the day. A trackpad is, of course, infinitely more functional than a straight key, but if you squint hard enough, maybe you’ll see the resemblance.
Bookmarked Why Do Americans Love Ice Cubes So much? (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)
Why are ice cubes seemingly as American as unnecessary medical debt? Perhaps it’s all the hard work we used to put into acquiring all that ice back in the day.
Andrew Egan discusses the place and importance of ice in American history and the impact that it has had on the world today (7/11). I remember Steven Johnson discussing this in his book/series How We Got to Now: Six innovations that made the modern world.
Bookmarked Workplace OS History: IBM’s $2 Billion Microkernel of Failure (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)
How IBM bet big on the microkernel being the next big thing in operating systems back in the ’90s—and spent billions with little to show for it.
Another interesting piece of technology history that has been simply incorporated into ever present.
Bookmarked Are we on the road to civilisation collapse? (
Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us about the risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.
In an article a part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, Luke Kemp unpacks the historical reasons that have contributed to the fall of past empires. These reasons include climate change, inequality, increasing complexity and demand on the environment. Although Kemp suggests there are reasons to be optimistic, he also warns that the connected nature of today’s civilization has made for a rungless ladder where any fall has the potential to be fatal.


Think of civilisation as a poorly-built ladder. As you climb, each step that you used falls away. A fall from a height of just a few rungs is fine. Yet the higher you climb, the larger the fall. Eventually, once you reach a sufficient height, any drop from the ladder is fatal.

With the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we may have already reached this point of civilisational “terminal velocity”. Any collapse – any fall from the ladder – risks being permanent. Nuclear war in itself could result in an existential risk: either the extinction of our species, or a permanent catapult back to the Stone Age.