They got all this machinery, but that ain’t everything. We the machines inside the machines.
—Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
It’s alternative history time, kids! This is something I wrote last year as part of an alternate history writing game. Some explanation follows at the end.
Granville Woods, W.C. Handy, Lewis Latimer
Aka: Handy, John Henry, Gernsback-B
Tesla couldn’t do it. He was never going to do it. J.P. Morgan was standing on his neck for results and it didn’t matter. Tesla couldn’t make his wireless power caster work. Not until Tesla’s assistant, W.C. Handy, figured out the problem: Tesla’s coils were too tightly wound. Isn’t that always the way?
Tags: Aqua Teen Hunger Force; all Rauchway, all the time; is it good? Sir, it is pie.
Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? The Secret Syllabus. It sounds like one of those erudite, but not too erudite, thrillers by photogenic Harvard undergrads who somehow score million-dollar advances for their first novels. Alas, it’s really just a blog post by me.
Tags: Useless research. Yes, yes, clever of you to spot the irony.
So what was I up to in the Archives of Useless Research, you ask? Here (below the fold) is the prospectus for a paper I’ll be presenting in November at the University of Virginia, for a conference called “Inventing America: The Interplay of Technology and Democracy in Shaping American Identity,” loosely tied to the Benjamin Franklin tricentennial (I just can’t get away from that guy, can I?) and sponsored by the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. (I wonder if the AUR’s hollow earths, perpetual motion machines, and secrets of the pyramids revealed are the sort of invention and innovation the Lemelsons had in mind…)
Tags: dentistry in America, quotable quotes, blains, dyspepsia, flatulence.
I’m at the MIT Archives today, not the NYPL, but I, and I imagine most historians, can relate to the following description of our work:
Tags: The class of 2010, Generation Gibb, useless research, ode for Caleb, the perils of Storrow Drive.
Prof. Wooderson, on life in the academy: “I keep getting older, they stay the same age.”
The class of 2010 has arrived on campus. 2010. That’s not a misprint, sci-fi novel, or Rush album. And with them arrives that annual email, the “mindset list” from Benoit College, the one that makes even 22-year-old seniors feel out of touch. (Speaking of which: Nick Milne, Western’s least representative student blogger, is reading our student paper and lamenting the culture of his peers.)