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Press and Pop Culture

Telling time, or not

A friend who knows of my interest in sundials gave me fabulous little, pocket sundial. While it is nothing fancy, it recalls to my mind the 16th- and 17th-century sundials from Nuremberg. Sure, mine is not made of ivory and wasn’t fabricated by some famous artisan, but I can pretend. The best study on these […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Tarot, then, now, and tomorrow?

Tarot cards do not have a particularly long history. With some effort people trace their origins back to 15th-century Italy. But those origins seem to be more like playing cards than some form of divination. Tarot cards as a form of divination seem to be an 18th-century trend that exploded in the 19th and early […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Astrology: Bugbear of Science

A recent survey of the “Conceptions of Science in Byzantium” opens with a general comment about the term “science”, and by extension the concept “science”. The author roots “science” in the culturally specific values of any given moment, values that are “constantly developing and changing.” These values determine what was and what was not, or […]

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Press and Pop Culture

Newton Again, and Again, and Again

Two recent stories on Isaac Newton seem to point once again to our undying fascination with all things Newton. On the one hand, a pair of articles in The Guardian announce and then report on the auction of some partially burnt notes on measuring Egyptian pyramids. We are given a glimpse into the mind of […]

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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 […]