Metropolitan Museum: “Mechanical Marvels – Automation” From 17th & 18th Century (Videos)

The mahout (elephant keeper), the turbaned Ottoman warriors, and the crowning crescent all allude to the Eastern origins of the elephant. Within the Kunstkammer the elephant represented rulership. This automaton clock, which strikes at both the quarter hour and the hour, is driven by a movement connected to a wheel mounted on the walkway of the howdah (saddle). On the hour, the four Muslim warriors revolve around the brickwork tower. The mahout thumps his arm up and down, as though he were leading the animal, and his counterweighted eyes move back and forth as the machine travels.

Presented to Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna in 1760, this automaton was made at the height of the “century of writing.” Written communication connected scientists, dignitaries, scholars, and artists across long distances, and the act of writing was celebrated in every form. This piece is the last in a series of increasingly complicated ones that Friedrich von Knaus produced during his tenure as Austrian court machinist; he presented other examples to dignitaries such as the French king Louis XV and Duke Charles Alexander of Lorraine.

The machine writes through the hand of the small statuette seated at its top, one of the first mechanical writing figures in human form. This video shows the mechanisms inside the sphere that produce its precise movements. Up to 107 words can be preprogrammed by the arrangement of pegs on a barrel. The figure can also be set via a hand-worked control to appear to write from dictation; this technology that presaged the first typewriter.

Duke Charles Alexander of Lorraine, who bought this automaton clock in 1777, collected luxury objects made in his realm that demonstrated local technical advances. The self-moving components of this timepiece represent the height of Flemish invention in a fashionable Neoclassical style. Mechanically complex and visually impressive, this sparkling clock was a worthy addition to the duke’s collection of timepieces and scientific instruments.

This video shows the movement of the dials for hours, minutes, and seconds; days of the month; and phases of the moon, as well as that of the seven dynamic design elements. The cross-of-Lorraine pendulum swings steadily over the main dial, underneath a dancing letter M. Above the calendar dial turns a Catherine wheel, while the four dragons supporting the obelisk flap their wings and spit pearls. Another Catherine wheel spins above the moon-phase dial, and the entire obelisk is topped by a rotating planetarium. The fourth dial shows the maker’s signature.

Website: https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2019/making-marvels-science-splendor

 

World Affairs Podcasts: “Is NATO Eperiencing ‘Brain Death’?” (The Economist)

Economist RadioThe secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Jens Stoltenberg, reacts to Emmanuel Macron’s stark warnings about the future of the alliance. Daniel Franklin, The Economist’s diplomatic editor, asks Mr Stoltenberg how NATO’s members can overcome their differences—should Europe have its own defence force and is Turkey at risk of drifting away from the alliance? Also, how should Article 5 be enforced in space?

Interviews: Anthony Hopkins On The “Nature Of Existence”, Having Fun In “The Two Popes” (WSJ)

From a Wall Street Journal Magazine online interview:

Anthony Hopkins The Two Popes“The script is about questioning the nature of existence. I think about that every day of life. What is the purpose of life? As I get older, I look back on my own life as if it’s a novel written by someone else. To me it’s all a mystery. I started out over 60 years ago. My first job was, my God, 62 years ago and here I am. I don’t understand any of it. They gave me work, and I continued to work. It’s only just recently looking back, I thought, ‘My goodness, who designed this life? I certainly didn’t.’ I don’t know what’s life or destiny or kismet or God. I don’t want to get too philosophical about it. I’m fascinated about the mystery of life, about how we get through it, how we survive. I have no answers and I can’t take credit for any of it.”

Anthony Hopkins, who plays Pope Benedict XVI in this month’s Netflix movie The Two Popes, has a personal philosophy of not taking anything too seriously. “When I was younger, I was much more intense,” he says. “I got to a certain age, maybe 10 years ago, and thought, ‘Come on, just relax. Have some fun with it. Let’s have a ball!’” Hopkins’s surprising approach to playing the pope was to be as laid back as the actor, 81, appears on his lively Instagram account: He captures himself singingdancing in his Thor costume and playing the piano with his cat perched on his lap.

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-anthony-hopkins-doesnt-research-his-roles-11574343089?mod=read_more

Future Of Eating Out: Chef Eric Rivera’s “Addo: Incubator” Maximizes Tech To Serve Better Food

From a Wired.com online review:

Addo Restaurant Eric RiveraEvery possible step is done online, and for most meals customers must reserve—and often pay—in advance, essentially buying tickets through a service called Tock that’s mostly used only by high-end restaurants. This means no host manning a podium, no reservation or PR teams, no extra staff on a slow night, almost no food waste, and better guest communications. It also allowed them to go from 20 employees to four full-time and three part-time workers.

Within moments of arriving at Seattle’s Addo restaurant, I was handed a Nintendo Switch controller and a can of Georgetown Brewing Company’s Bodhizafa IPA.

While chef Eric Rivera shuttled back and forth to the kitchen to bring out Puerto Rican snacks, Addo’s director of operations Ingrid Lyublinsky took another controller, jumped into a game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on a giant projector screen hanging inside the front window, chose Pink Gold Peach, and shot down the track riding a Bone Rattler while someone shouted Pew! Pew! Pew!

To read more: https://www.wired.com/story/eric-rivera/

Art Videos: Mary Osborn’s “Nameless And Friendless” Captured Women’s Rights Movement In 1850’s (Tate)

‘Nameless and Friendless’ was painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn. It captures a single woman trying, and failing, to earn a living as an artist in Victorian England. In a trade traditionally occupied by men, she becomes nameless and friendless.

How This Painting Campaigned for Women’s Rights TateShots

Osborn was actively involved in the campaign for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. She was supported by wealthy patrons, including Queen Victoria. But she used her position of power to help improve the lives of women like those depicted in her paintings.

Website: https://www.tate.org.uk/

Medical Diagnosis: 56-Year Old Woman Had Heart Attacks, But No Heart Disease? (New York Times)

From a New York Times Magazine article:

Diagnosis New York Times Illustration by Ina Jang 2019It was all horribly familiar — a rerun of an episode 15 months earlier, when she was with her family in River Vale, N.J. Back then, the burning pressure sent her to the emergency department, and she was told the same thing: She was having a heart attack. Immediately the cardiologist looked for blockages in the coronary arteries, which feed blood and oxygen to the hardworking muscles of her heart. That was the cause of most heart attacks. But they found no blockage.

Since childhood, she had frequent terrible canker sores that lasted for weeks. Sometimes it was hard to eat or even talk. Her mother, a nurse, told her everybody got them and thought she was being dramatic when she complained. So she had never brought them up with her doctors. Now the woman saw that her answer somehow made sense to the rheumatologist.

New York Times MagazineIndeed, that was the clue that led the rheumatologist to a likely diagnosis: Behcet’s disease. It’s an unusual inflammatory disorder characterized by joint pains, muscle pains and recurrent ulcers in mucus membranes throughout the body. Almost any part of the body can be involved — the eyes, the nose and lungs, the brain, the blood vessels, even the heart. Behcet’s was named after a Turkish dermatologist who in 1937 described a triad of clinical findings including canker sores (medically known as aphthous ulcers), genital ulcers and an inflammatory condition of the eye.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/magazine/heart-attack-diagnosis.html?te=1&nl=the-new%20york%20times%20magazine&emc=edit_ma_20191122?campaign_id=52&instance_id=14017&segment_id=19010&user_id=415092ec82728104b9ca7bbb44eeb7d3&regi_id=7441254120191122

Automotive Trends: Tesla Unveils “Cybertruck” With “Ultra-Hard 30X Stainless Steel”, 500+ Mile Range

From the Tesla website:

  • Cybertruck is built with an exterior shell made for ultimate durability and passenger protection. Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armor glass.

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  • With up to 3,500 pounds of payload capacity and adjustable air suspension, Cybertruck is the most powerful tool we have ever built, engineered with 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including a magic tonneau cover that is strong enough to stand on.
  • Space for your toolbox, tire and Cyberquad, with room to spare. Utilize 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars.
  • Seat six comfortably with additional storage under the second-row seats. Complete with an advanced 17” touchscreen with an all-new customized user interface.
Tesla Cybertruck
From rugged to refined, Cybertruck is completely adaptable for your needs. Prepare for every experience with a versatile utilitarian design — including on-board power and compressed air.

It’ll do 0-60 mph (0-98 km/h) in 2.9 seconds, and a quarter mile in a ridiculous 10.8 seconds in its highest performance variant. In top spec, it’ll go as far as 500 miles (800 km) on a charge, making it a genuine option for multi-day off-road adventures, and its 250-plus kilowatt charging capability means fast top-ups are on the cards, too. Towing capacity is over 7,500 lb (3,400 kg), which Musk happily demonstrated in an uphill tug of war against a hapless F150.

Website: https://www.tesla.com/cybertruck