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The Tech Tree from Civilization is just not detailed enough

I'm looking for a technology tree for the early early history of human technology. I want one that is detailed but it doesn't need to go any further than the Classical age. Do you know of any resources on-line or have any book recommendations that would give me a good part of what I need? [more inside]
posted by Jane the Brown on Jun 8, 2014 - 3 answers

The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air

What are some subtle or lesser-known examples of current-day real-world USA being a dystopia? [more inside]
posted by divabat on May 5, 2014 - 52 answers

What were people paranoid about before modern technology?

Due to some personal motivations, I've been reading a lot about paranoia lately and most of the delusions I hear about involve modern technology, ie. wire taps, hidden cameras, etc. What are some examples of paranoid delusions before that technology existed?
posted by shesdeadimalive on Mar 1, 2014 - 34 answers

How do I find out when someone died?

I'm pretty sure I spent two days confusing two different people named William F. Kruse. There's the William F. Kruse listed here in Wikipedia that belonged to the Communist Party and then joined Bell and Howell. He died in 1952 and has an archive in the Chronicling Illinois Collection. I thought THAT Kruse might also be the William F. Kruse who was writing for Educational Screen in the 1950s, because of the Bell and Howell connection. But now I don't think so because that Kruse was also writing educational technology histories into the late 1960s. But there his trail ends. Is there a best approach to finding out when someone died?
posted by PHINC on Jun 17, 2013 - 18 answers

Dodging and burning effects in 1950s television?

Why do black-and-white shows from the 1960s, especially live ones, have what looks to be a burn (dark shadows) around bright objects (around Walt's signature and around people's heads) and dodging effects (white glowing) around dark objects (around the jet-black suit jackets of the announcer and dancers)? I originally thought it was some beleagured production assistant manually burning the What's My Line signatures so that they'd be more high-contrast and thus more readable, but now I'm seeing it everywhere!
posted by flibbertigibbet on Jun 2, 2013 - 10 answers

What was academia like before different IT revolutions?

I've been working on putting together an annotated bibliography for my adviser over the past few days. I'm struck by how much work it is in terms of finding all of the articles, saving them, and then tracking backwards and forwards through citations to find related material. However as I've been doing this (and, in fact, each time I do any sort of review of the literature) I wonder what life was like before you had giant relational databases of material, not even counting things like writing up the report on a type writer. So, my question: if you've been in academia for a while, then what was life like before word processors / large relational databases of literature / instant collaboration and communication through email? And what sort of changes have you seen with the job as technology has advanced?
posted by codacorolla on May 24, 2013 - 20 answers

Use of The City as a metaphor for the Internet/Web

I am looking for examinations of the Internet and World Wide Web that use the structure and/or history of the city as a metaphor. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Apr 12, 2013 - 9 answers

Seeking future shock.

Where can I find summaries of historical developments, technological breakthroughs, political and social changes etc. in a similar style as the Afterword in Charles Stross's anthology Toast (free download here)? I am interested in stuff that has happened in the last 30 or 40 years.
posted by fullerenedream on Oct 22, 2012 - 0 answers

Two steps forward, one step backwards

I'm looking for examples that illustrate a particular concept: that a technological / social advance is often accompanied by a kind of regression to earlier practices, until people work out how to exploit the benefits of that advance. Help me nail down this rather nebulous idea! [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Jun 20, 2012 - 9 answers

What is the Folk Web?

I'm looking for 'Folk' Web Cultures. I am thinking of the recent take-down of Geocities, which seemed to refresh people's love of the naff, kitsch aesthetic it was famous for, as a prime example. What are some other folk cultures still lingering in the dark corners of the web? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Apr 4, 2012 - 11 answers

Books on technologies' effects on education?

Know of any books that look at the effects of technology on the delivery of education? [more inside]
posted by drzz on Mar 1, 2012 - 2 answers

Would an alien radio pick up a cacophony or a damp fizzle?

If an alien located on a planet 100 light years from here was to switch on a big, multi-frequency radio receiver, and record all the noises coming from outer space for the next hundred years, on all frequencies, how many soap operas, advertisements and new broadcasts would they pick up from Earth? Would a mass-market radio, similar to our Earthly equivalents, pick up anything? Over time, as the number of Earth transmissions increases exponentially, would the alien pick up a cacophony or a damp fizzle? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Feb 23, 2012 - 10 answers

Historical-Science wall art for school computer lab?

Looking for affordable posters or other decorative artifacts, with a history-of-technology or retro-futuristic theme, for the stairwell and walls of our small elementary/middle school computer lab. [more inside]
posted by unregistered_animagus on Feb 2, 2012 - 5 answers

200 GB in 1986?! Inconceivable!

How common were 200GB hard drives in the mid-1980s? Would institutions like the USGS have had access to them? Would general readers even have understood the term? [more inside]
posted by col_pogo on Feb 1, 2012 - 38 answers

What are the best websites out there?

If I had never seen the internet before, where would you direct me in 2011? What are the best news, film, music, art, fashion, history, technology, gossip, sports websites and blogs out there? [more inside]
posted by maca on Oct 3, 2011 - 14 answers

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again"

What are some technologies that have more or less disappeared, only to reemerge at some other point (or in some other guise)? [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Jun 25, 2011 - 38 answers

The Social Impact of Air Conditioning in the United States

I've been thinking about the social impact of relatively mundane technologies, like air conditioning, largely because of a brief mention by Kevin Kelly in What Technology Wants. He says something along the lines of, "cheap air conditioning transformed the American southeast." So I'm looking for scholarly sources that discuss the transformative power of air conditioning on american culture. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Apr 18, 2011 - 18 answers

Will my Facebook photos still be around in 600 years?

Can you point me to any good writing (research-based, speculative, or heck, even fictional) about the potential historical permanence or impermanence of digital media? I'm interested in both professional (theatrical movies, book publishing, maps...) and personal (digital snapshots, Livejournal, email...) forms of digital information storage. [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on Aug 31, 2010 - 8 answers

Know any colors that changed the world?

Can you think of an example of when a color could be said to have "changed the world"? [more inside]
posted by Ziggurat on Aug 10, 2009 - 32 answers

What creative plot devices have been ruined by technology?

What inventions/societal changes besides cell phones have effectively "ruined" plot devices for stories in movies, TV, books, and so forth? [more inside]
posted by ckolderup on Aug 5, 2009 - 50 answers

New theories of Mimesis (in digital/hypertextual/hypermedial cultures)

I am looking for writings on mimesis in regards new, digital, hypertext and hypermedial technologies and cultures. [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Feb 16, 2009 - 7 answers

Sounds out of Place

I heard a term somewhere that referred to the modern phenomena of sounds being decoupled from what produces them, in the sense that it's no longer a one-to-one relationship between sound and thing. So whereas previously every time you heard a bark you knew it was a dog, now it could be a TV, a computer, or a robot dog. Likewise, a big professional sound system could sound like almost anything. I think the originator was an academic. I distinctly remembering seeing mention of this on wikipedia once. What was that term? Who coined it?
posted by phrontist on Dec 9, 2008 - 5 answers

Looking for books about history of technologies

Looking for good books on the history of technologies. [more inside]
posted by pombe on Jul 16, 2008 - 17 answers

Art and artifacts experienced through technology

How is the meaning of art and artefacts being altered by the methods we use to: Experience, Define and Preserve them... In other words, in what ways have technologies been used to experience, re-define and/or preserve art and artifacts? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Feb 5, 2008 - 12 answers

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but. . .

What kinds of high-technology things exist now but will only come to light 50 or 100 years from now? Speculative, but asking for concrete answers. [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater on Nov 30, 2007 - 41 answers

Need help getting my electronic hands on an article.

Please help me figure out how to obtain an electronic copy of an article titled "Why 1955? Explaining the Advent of Rock Music," by Richard A. Peterson. Google Books has a truncated version here, but I'd like the whole thing. [more inside]
posted by univac on Oct 22, 2007 - 7 answers

Fixing a water-logged cassette tape

I have an audio cassette tape which has been waterlogged and soaked in dirt for over 10 years. What are my options for respooling/fixing the tape with its contents intact? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Dec 26, 2006 - 12 answers

Technologies that outgrow their original intent?

What are some good examples of technologies that end up being used for different or more numerous purposes than originally intended? [more inside]
posted by TunnelArmr on Apr 17, 2006 - 39 answers

mysterious happenings?

What are some facts, rumors, and speculation about secretive/mysterious organizations or events? [more inside]
posted by foraneagle2 on Jan 11, 2006 - 20 answers

Films / scenes that depict the pre-wired world?

A colleague of mine wants to show a film (or clips from various films) to her class of media undergrads to help them better understand the pre-wired world -- before the Internet, ubiquitous PCs, mobile phones, 300 cable channels, etc. -- and specifically the 1960s milieu of IBM mainframes, punch cards, and centralized computing. Are there any films or even scenes from films that come to mind?
posted by tranquileye on Jan 3, 2004 - 20 answers

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