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Press and Pop Culture

Alexa’s Flat Earth Joke

It has been too long since I complained about a reference to the flat earth. Conveniently, Amazon ran an ad during the Super Bowl for their Alexa™ “smart speaker” that used the flat earth as a joke. The ad opens with Ellen DeGeneres asking her Alexa to turn the temperature down in the house as […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Galileo In Vienna

In Vienna’s 13th district stands a beautiful Jugendstil building, the Galileihof. Designed by and built by Emil Reitmann in 1905, the building appears to have been renovated not long ago. Vienna is strangely committed to Galileo. In addition to the Galileihof, on the other side of town is the Galileigasse, which has a beautiful relief […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Jimmy Kimmel & Galileo

A couple nights ago Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment that followed “Jake Byrd” at last fall’s Flat Earth Conference in Dallas. In true “Jake Byrd” fashion, he is quick witted and irreverent. But I am not particularly interested in Byrd’s performance or the content of the segment itself.1 I am more interested in Jimmy Kimmel’s […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Time Traveling Marie Curie?

Browsing Amazon for children’s books on the history of science, I came across this book on Marie Curie. So many questions: Who in 1600 had developed color printing and why was that technology then lost for 300 years? When did Marie Curie develop a time machine (and did it require a DeLorean traveling at 88 […]

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Press and Pop Culture

The Twilight Zone, Mars, and Percival Lowell

The Twilight Zone episode “People are Alike All Over” opens as a rocket launches for Mars, Rod Serling’s voice intoning: They’re taking a highway into space. Man unshackling himself and sending his tiny, groping fingers up into the unknown. Their destination is Mars. And in just a moment we’ll land there with them. It is […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Of Astrolabes and Wine

Further evidence that astrolabes are infiltrating culture is the name of winery in New Zealand: Astrolabe. Unfortunately, this winery is not really named after the instrument. Instead, situated in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the winery is named “after the ship that in 1827 charted and explored the Marlborough Coast.” That ship was called […]

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Press and Pop Culture

GoT Starbucks Cups and Astrolabes

Game of Thrones fans, and a disturbingly large part of the internet, erupted over an errant paper coffee cup, complete with plastic sippy lid that somehow found its way onto a table on set. For a few seconds during the feast celebrating the defeat of the Night King, on the table near Daenerys Stormborn of […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Feynman Relics

A pile of Richard Feynman detritus sold recently at Sotheby’s.1 In total, the 44 lots of Feynman’s stuff fetched $3,796,625, most of it paid for Feynman’s Nobel Prize.2 While I remain puzzled by the desire to own souvenirs from some famous scientist, I am truly baffled by the fact that somebody paid $60,000 for Feynman’s […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Kanye West & Galileo

Kanye West’s recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live took an unexpected turn when West invoked Galileo, implying that they were both misunderstood geniuses who wouldn’t be silenced by bullies telling them what to think. West was responding to Kimmel, who had asked about West’s views on the president.[1] I’m not interested West’s opinions about the […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Galilean Moon Crackers

Wandering through Trader Joe’s this morning, I stumbled across an excellent and under explored career for historians of science: marketing and advertising. Picking up some snacks, I noticed the Cheddar Rocket Crackers. In typical Trader Joe’s fashion, the package combined a bit of a goofy aesthetic with retro images. Brilliant! Why, I thought, not use […]