Marking time

Marking time in September 2003

Sunday 21 September 2003

Life, documented

An email from Miles Hochstein: Enjoyed your reverse chro­no­lo­gical autobio… and listed it here: It’s a little different from the others, but I liked your thoroughness and graphics. Well thanks Miles, I liked yours too.

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Friday 19 September 2003

Antiquity loss

I’ve already noted the American-led forces’ failure to protect the Iraq Museum in Baghdad from looting during the recent un­pleas­ant­ness, despite clear warnings. <irony>But there is a happy sequel to the story, thanks to the vigilant efforts of a Joint Interagency Task Force</irony>. You can read a transcript of a briefing on the investigation of antiquity loss from the Baghdad Museum given by classical scholar Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, leader of the task force.

Joint Interagency Task Force [US Department of Defense picture]

From the outset, the primary goal of this investigation has been the recovery of the items, the missing and stolen antiquities, and not necessarily criminal prosecution. The methodology was tailored accordingly, and it comprised four components. First was to determine precisely what was missing. Second was to disseminate photographs of those missing items to the international law enforcement and art communities to aid in interdiction and confiscation. Third was to initiate community outreach with religious and community leaders and enlist your aid as well as theirs in promoting an amnesty or no-questions-asked policy. And finally, to develop leads in the Baghdad community and then conduct raids based on that information on targeted locations.
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Thursday 18 September 2003

Hanlon’s razor

From the Jargon lexicon: Hanlon’s Razor /prov./ A corollary of Finagle’s Law, similar to Occam’s Razor, that reads “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” The full entry offers some notes on the origins of the term.

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Wednesday 17 September 2003

Stopping the Kodak Carousel

I have seen this message posted to various internet mailing lists:

Eastman Kodak Company has confirmed plans to dis­con­tinue the manufacture and sales of slide projection products and accessories in June of 2004. This early disclosure is being made to key user groups in order to allow time for adoption of a replacement technology or purchase of backup slide projector products.

The KODAK products included in this event are CA­ROU­SEL, EKTAGRAPHIC, EKTALITE and EKTAPRO slide projectors and all KODAK Slide Projector accessories.

The current plan is to cease manufacturing in June 2004. Kodak anticipates that small quantities of new Carousel, Ektagraphic, Ektalite and Ektapro slide projectors will be available through the end of 2004. In addition, the Kodak distributor, Comm-Tec, in Germany plans to sell Ektapro projectors and accessories beyond 2004.

Kodak will offer service and support for slide projectors until 2011.

Slide projectors continue to be used in many government applications due to a proven track record of cost-effective, reliable, high-quality image projection. Combining the seven years of service and support with a long history of trouble-free operation, means that slide projectors will continue to enjoy many years of productive use.

Investigating and installing replacement technologies can be a challenging and costly effort with a long im­ple­ment­a­tion timeline. So, many may wish to purchase backup units for currently installed slide projectors while making the trans­ition. Upcoming government budgeting activities make it prudent to pre-disclose now in order to allow ample time to include slide projector demand in the gov­ern­ment budgeting plans for 2004.

Making Kodak aware of your future requirements will insure that there is enough products on hand before pro­duc­tion ends. You can do this by contacting Glenn Prince, Kodak Account Manager, Government Markets [contact details removed]

Thank You,
Glenn R. Prince
Eastman Kodak Company
Have a peaceful, joyous day

Amen. I am moved by the prospect of peace and joy, but sad to see the Carousel pensioned off. I have long admired its simplicity, reliability and effectiveness.

Kodak Carousel S 35mm slide projector

Some of the credit for the Carousel is due to industrial designer Hans Gugelot:

Gugelot never mentioned aesthetics. He showed special antipathy against the concept of style and felt increasing discontent about the fact that certain formal details of his designs had been distorted into formalistic rules. He considered design as a moral question rather than one of beauty, more a question of attitude than one of taste. Aesthetics were thought of being embedded in comprehensive universal standards.
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Monday 15 September 2003

Guitar and banjo museum

As vintage instruments come into his workshop for repair, Frank Ford photographs them for his museum. He explains his mo­tiv­a­tions like this:

1840s Martin 'Parlor Guitar'

Every day at Gryphon, we are privileged to see and work on some of the worlds finest fretted instruments. I hope to take the opportunity to photograph and show you some of the things I find personally interesting. I’ll keep the de­scrip­tions to a min­imum and concentrate mostly on presenting some good photographs.

I don’t plan to spend a lot of time putting together a display of the world’s most expensive guitars, because that’s already been done to death in book after book. More, I’d rather show and discuss instruments that have a com­bin­a­tion of interesting features, design, history and materials. Among them there will be some valuable collectors items, no doubt.

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Sunday 14 September 2003

Dutton Park

Today Margie and I took our daughters to visit the grave of their mother’s father’s mother’s father and mother. It’s in Dutton Park, the site of the proposed bus bridge that I have mentioned before.

Lucy, Sally and Margie at Dutton Park cemetery

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Sunday 7 September 2003

Love wrapped

Today, Father’s Day, Lucy gave me this, and told me not to un­wrap it. I should hold it near my heart, since it is filled with her love. Gulp.

Love wrapped in a parcel

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Tuesday 2 September 2003

Tool porn

A business that hypes itself as an exclusive purveyor of quality Japanese tools offers a set of Akio Tasai’s chu totsu mokume shiage chisels with aromatic sandalwood handles.

Image from japanesetools.com

Akio Tasai, born in 1939 in Yokomachi Ichinokido, was apprenticed to a blacksmith when he was 12. He carried only one wicker trunk and knocked on the door. His master’s name was Sato Etoshi. He then studied blacksmithing all day long everyday for ten years living with his master until he was 21. He remained for six more months without pay in his master’s service after finishing his apprenticeship, by way of returning thanks.

There are 17 chisels in the set, each with a back forged by the mokumei shiage process (which I think is similar to Damascus forging) that displays a peculiar grained pattern. On the fan shaped wooden box is written The gnarly root of a thousand year old pine tree.

If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford them.

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Monday 1 September 2003

Bamboo bicycle

On the website of the American Bamboo Society is this piece by Steen Heinsen:

I am riding a bamboo bicycle through the main street of Christiania. Usually it takes quite a bit to make the roughies turn their heads — but this bamboo bicycle does the trick. It is beautiful, light and fast — and it is nice to touch.

As I park the bamboo bicycle in front of the shop in order to have a black currant juice it feels almost as if I am dis­mount­ing a Harley right next to a café — several people come over to touch the frame and to check out how the bike is made…

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Life, documented
Antiquity loss
Hanlon's razor
Stopping the Kodak Carousel
Guitar and banjo museum
Dutton Park
Love wrapped
Tool porn
Bamboo bicycle

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