I've had pangs of guilt that the photos in Part 1 were never good enough so I went down there the other month and took what I hope to better shots. Thankfully there was a lot of new stuff, and more of it too.
Lots of new signs and great type everywhere too. I don't know how or where they find all of this stuff, and I'd just kill to be taken to their storage site. I don't think I'd ever leave.
Bonus points for having one of these not from Melbourne. I've been seeing quite a few of these lately. Really must find out where they're coming from. One has to wonder if the Georges River Rd text was made to intentionally resemble a river; I hope so.
This post just wouldn't be the same without an antlers money shot. Head on down to 60 Chapel Street Prahran to get your own moose shot. Or check out my flickr set if you can't be bothered crossing the yarra.
I recently mentioned Harmonia Macrosmica; the atlas from 1660 dividing the age of reason from the age of faith. Wired has a link that took me to these stunning scans from the atlas itself. A few pages in and the Copernican principle comes into play, as you can see above. Without wanting to delve too far into the world of the cliche, looking at these images really bring home how much of a change this would have been and how hard it would have been realise this.
After having read Anathem, my mind has been wandering to these grand questions, and lead me to wander how far back we would be if it hadn't have been realised. How much later would it have been discovered if Copernicus hadn't have done his calculations (remember, he was a polymath and astronomy wasn't exactly his forte). They definitely had quite a few things wrong (such as the sphere of stars and all that astrology crap) but it's marvelous looking at this stuff. It's hard to think about the impact it would have made in hindsight, although I'm guessing that it possibly would have been on the scale of the Darwinian revolution at least in bringing everyone down a notch.
Meanwhile here are some examples of Ptolemy's work, getting it so beautifully wrong. It's such a strange quirk of human cognition that we would believe ourselves to be the centre of everything. It's entirely understandable given the circumstances and the reinforcement of popular belief, but still. I hope I'm alive when a discovery like this gets made and just blows every other notion away. In further thinking, I guess we've already lived through one of these in the past twenty or so years. It's so marvelous that there are only 34,000 genes in the human chromosome, and not 100,000 as was previously predicted. But it's just not as visceral as finding out that we're not the centre of the universe, the galaxy or even the solar system.
I couldn't ignore the design and typographic aspects of these pages, especially when there are flourishes like these to be had. At a distance, each page is a testament to a well thought out visual argument that perfectly encapsulates the mathematics, physics and astronomy that is needed to be conveyed. But get up close and each page has charming details left there by the artist, Andreas Cellarius. And here's a picture of babies playing with sharp objects.
I want this in my flat. Just excavate it, brush it off, and give it to me. Hell, I'd settle for a simulation game of this. I don't care for car racing games and sports games. Let's just sidestep that whole genre and give me ant simulations. I'd be willing to carry sand and twigs for hours on end keeping the colony alive just to wander it's halls and caverns.
Speaking of super organisms, does anyone else find this eerily awesome? Google.org, the philanthropic arm of and title holder of the better google logo, announced Google Flu Trends the other day. By tracking flu related searches they're able to pinpoint flu outbreaks. They even have a two week head start on the Center for Disease Control due to the almost immediate nature of googles data processing. They've been doing this sort of tracking for some time with Google Trends, but they've put this to good use here.
Not only does this sort of tracking change the way that outbreak awareness can be used (and not just to the flu) but also allows us as a species to work together in a decentralised method. I wonder how this would change if the knowledge were to become more ubiquitous. If more people knew of this, they might be more inclined to announce things via their search queries. Google could act as an aggregator of the sum distributed knowledge of human awareness if people saw it as a duty to let those in the know what was happening on the ground.