Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. ❤️

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on kottke.org, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site!

kottke.org. home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔

End-Stage Poverty Is Killing People in Safety Net-Free America

Many Patients Don’t Survive End-Stage Poverty by Dr. Lindsay Ryan is a great/upsetting piece about how the poverty many Americans are subjected to in America is killing them. Many people die here in the world’s richest country not because they are sick but because they are poor and our systems of government, justice, business, and health care don’t do enough to help them (or, more cynically and perhaps truthfully, actively work against helping them).

This is one of those pieces where I want to quote every single paragraph, but I’ll start with this one (bold mine):

Safety-net hospitals and clinics care for a population heavily skewed toward the poor, recent immigrants and people of color. The budgets of these places are forever tight. And anyone who works in them could tell you that illness in our patients isn’t just a biological phenomenon. It’s the manifestation of social inequality in people’s bodies.

I have not been able to stop thinking about this phrase since I read it: “Illness in our patients isn’t just a biological phenomenon. It’s the manifestation of social inequality in people’s bodies.”

Medical textbooks usually don’t discuss fixing your patient’s housing. They seldom include making sure your patient has enough food and some way to get to a clinic. But textbooks miss what my med students don’t: that people die for lack of these basics.

People struggle to keep wounds clean. Their medications get stolen. They sicken from poor diet, undervaccination and repeated psychological trauma. Forced to focus on short-term survival and often lacking cellphones, they miss appointments for everything from Pap smears to chemotherapy. They fall ill in myriad ways — and fall through the cracks in just as many.

You should read the whole thing yourself (NY Times gift link). Her argument about the need to expand/shift the definition of what healthcare is (e.g. housing is healthcare) reminds me of this more progressive idea of freedom.

Reply · 5

Always a good day to read Daniel Radcliffe’s open letter to J.K. Rowling on her anti-trans nonsense. “It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”

Reply · 6

A Pareto analysis of the best driver/kart build you can drive in Mario Kart 8. “The Pareto efficiency is an objective criteria to filter out suboptimal choices, but you still need to make up your final decision.”

Reply · 2

As optical illusions go, this is pretty good.

Reply · 0

Papyrus 2: A Bold New Look for Avatar

Ryan Gosling was on Saturday Night Live this weekend and they did a sequel to one of my favorite SNL sketches (which is completely dorky in a design nerd sort of way) ever: Papyrus. Behold, Papyrus 2:

Avatar spawned worlds, right? Every little leaf of every little flower, every little eyelash of every little creature: thoroughly thought out. But the logo: it’s Papyrus, in bold. Nobody cares. Does James Cameron care? I don’t think so.

Reply · 4

So kottke[dot]org had some significant downtime this weekend but it seems to be humming along nicely now. In celebration, we’re not planning on having any significant downtime today! 🤞

Reply · 0

Proudly Second Best!

an Ikea ad with a baby sleeping on their mother's chest with a crib in the background

an Ikea ad with a kid eating on their father's knee instead of sitting in a nearby highchair

an Ikea ad with a kid standing on their mom to reach the sink instead of using a nearby step stool

A clever ad campaign by an Ikea franchisee highlights how their products for kids can’t quite replace the support and comfort offered by their caregivers. (via @gray)

Reply · 1

Starting in 1978, a high school science teacher told his students that he was throwing a viewing party for the 2024 solar eclipse. More than 100 of them showed up.

Reply · 3

Liam Neeson is starring in a Naked Gun reboot? Why? Is it because his name sounds like Leslie Nielsen’s? (Nielsen? Neeson. Neeson? Nielsen.)

Reply · 0

Mount Etna Volcano Blowing Perfect Smoke Rings

My current natural obsession is Mount Etna, a volcano in Sicily that blows perfect smoke rings like it’s frickin’ Gandalf with a pipe-full of Old Toby or something.

It is a relatively rare phenomenon caused by a constant release of vapours and gases. The gaseous mass ascends rapidly through the central part of the conduit, promoting the formation of rings by wrapping the gas upon itself in a vortex motion.

Puff on, Etna, puff on.

Reply · 1

Why don’t we have solar eclipses every month? Because we don’t deserve them! (Ok no, it’s that the orbital planes of the Earth and moon are skewed slightly relative to each other.)

Reply · 1

Jamelle Bouie on the inappropriate use of the presumed intent of the long-dead framers of the Constitution to determine how we live today. “They cannot justify the choices we make while we navigate our world.”

Reply · 0

20 Minutes of Charles Schulz Drawing Peanuts Comics

This is wonderful: a collection of video clips of Charles Schulz drawing his iconic Peanuts comic strip — “everything I could find of Charles Schulz drawing his Peanuts characters” in the words of the compiler.

Unfortunately, I’m not highly educated. I’m merely a high school graduate. I studied art in a correspondence course because I was afraid to go to art school. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a room where everyone else in the room could draw much better than I and this way I was protected by drawing at home and simply mailing my drawings in and having them criticized.

I wish I had a better education but I think that my entire background made me well-suited for what I do. If I could write better than I can, perhaps I would have tried to become a novelist and I might have become a failure. If I could draw better than I can, I might have tried to become an illustrator or an artist and would have failed there. But my entire being seems to be just right for being a cartoonist.

Charles Schulz: Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In his lane. Focused. Flourishing.

See also a 90-minute compilation of cartoonists working (from the same YT channel) and Chuck Jones demonstrating how to draw Bugs Bunny and other characters. (via open culture)

Reply · 3

Moira Donegan: “OJ Simpson died the comfortable death in old age that Nicole Brown should have had.” He abused, stalked, terrorized, and then killed Nicole Brown & Ronald Goldman. Finally, a truthful obit of OJ.

Reply · 5

This “overexposed” photo of the total eclipse by Randy Olson is just all kinds of wonderful. “I didn’t realize the overexposed frames had this much detail.”

Reply · 0

The UN’s climate chief says governments, business leaders and development banks have two years to take decisive action on climate change. “Yet last year, the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions increased to a record high.”

Reply · 0

Viral Videos I Missed: Is This Available? (Attorney General)


I missed this when it first came out — way back in 2021 — but my friend shared it in a group chat the other day, and it made me laugh out loud. It has 9 million views; where have I been?? But in the spirit of “sharing stuff I love, even if it’s old,” I post it here anyway. The 15,000-pound horse one is also great. Even … catchy? Creator Lubalin is a “regular” musician, too. (Thanks, Lucy!)

(To make sure Jason hadn’t already blogged about this, I searched the site for “attorney general,” lol. There were posts. But not about this.)

Reply · 2

Take a Letter Maria, the Live Audience Music Video


R.B. Greaves’ 1969 hit “Take a Letter Maria” has been in my head for weeks now, and while this might be too much of a stretch, I’m realizing it shares something with “Jolene” — both are odd, wonderful songs sung to an initially unromantic female character. Maybe? Anyway, I was pleased to discover this live-audience version on YouTube. Also, is “Maria” due for a cover, or an update? Take a letter, Alexa

Reply · 0

What’s Happening Now That Might Only Make Sense in 1,200 Years?

possibleeclipseglyph.jpg
This morning I mentioned to Jason that I was still thinking about the Mayan calendar/Julian calendar overlap thing — did both cultures really record the same solar eclipse?! — and how mind-blowing it is to even contemplate. We then talked about how crazy it must have been to live back then (in 790 AD) and see the sun just casually disappear, etc.

And then I was wondering: What’s happening now that people living in the year 3200 will pity us for not understanding? “Wow, can you imagine living back then and not knowing exactly how [viruses appear/cancer strikes/the Voynich Manuscript came into existence]? Or precisely what happened at Dyatlov Pass, or on board the Mary Celeste?” (Okay now I’m just googling “mysteries.”) Anyway, I’m not high, I swear. But please chime in if anything comes to mind. “It must have been so weird to not know what dogs were saying.”

Reply · 23

It’s National Card & Letter Writing Month (🎉), and Metafilter just drew my attention to the American Library Association’s letter-themed games list, from which I learned of the upcoming Curios: Albrecht Manor: “an epistolary horror mystery experience”!

Reply · 0

Diary Comics, Dec. 6-8

It’s another Thursday Afternoon With Edith, and here are a few more journal comics from back in December, when I was guest-editing this site and gearing up to have a baby!

dec6intro.jpg
dec6.jpg
dec7.jpg
dec8.jpg

Reply · 4

What Are the Odds?

photograph of a total eclipse, showing the solar prominences around the edge

Ok, one last post about the total solar eclipse and then I’m done talking about it. (Maybe.)

There are so many mind-blowing things about eclipses but the one I can’t stop thinking about is the nearly impossible coincidence that the sun and the moon are the same relative size in the sky. If the moon were a little bit smaller or farther away, we wouldn’t have total eclipses where you can look directly at the sun, see the corona, the sky goes dark, you see a sunset effect all around the horizon, etc. That is some spooky magical shit. Ted Underwood put it this way:

Random accident that the moon and sun are the same apparent size here. If we had interstellar tourism, this is the One Thing that everyone would know about the Earth, and when they visited they wouldn’t want to see anything else. “We also have museums?” we’d say.

The moon is slowly drifting away from the Earth and total eclipses will gradually get rarer and rarer until, hundreds of millions of years from now, they will stop completely.1 That we’re all here right now, getting to experience this magical thing? Like, what?! If a science fiction writer made this up for a story, we’d say it’s too much.

And yet, for me at least, the coincidences don’t stop there.

When I saw my first total eclipse in 2017, we had to drive for 3.5 hours through three different rainstorms to find some clear skies. When we finally stopped, 40 minutes before totality, it was in a town so small that it’s not even called a town anymore: Rayville, Missouri. Yep, we found the sun in Rayville. What are the odds?

And then this year, on April 8th, the path of totality went right over my house in Vermont. In the past 70 years in Vermont prior to 2024, it’s been overcast about 50% of the time and only mostly sunny in 13 of those years. This year? Not a cloud in the sky when I woke up Monday morning.

I watched with a group of people in a big field in Colchester, including my friend Caroline and her dog, Stella (a name derived from the Latin word for star). There were a bunch of other groups watching in the field too and after totality had thrilled us all, they trickled back to their cars and homes. Our group stayed and I watched the last little bit of the moon slip past the sun through my telescope — it was officially over.

A large nearby group of folks with a couple of dogs left shortly after that. One of the dogs came over for a sniff and one of our party asked the guy what the dog’s name was. “Luna.”

And then Luna departed.

Seriously, what are the odds?

Eclipse photo above taken by my friend Mouser, with whom I witnessed the 2017 eclipse. It’s worth looking at large.

  1. I am sure, hundreds of millions of years ago, when the moon was closer to the Earth, total eclipses were a whole other level of whoaaaaa — lasting for 10-20 minutes at a time, completely blocking out any light from the sun, total darkness all around, etc.
Reply · 7

It works! Three men stranded on a tiny Pacific island for more than a week were rescued after the Coast Guard spotted “HELP” written out on the beach in palm leaves. (A similar rescue from the same island happened in 2020 — “SOS” that time.)

Reply · 0

How to Be a Climate Activist Even Though You’re Too Shy to Interrupt Anything. “You want to add your voice to the movement, make ‘good trouble,’ and stand for something for once in your goddamn life, but, unfortunately, you’re an introvert.”

Reply · 1

I’m the Draft List at This Brewery and No, You Can’t Have a Light Beer. “Sure, we made a ‘normal’ IPA once. But then we were like, why make a beer that’s enjoyable to drink when we could make a beer that’s not?”

Reply · 4

The Pyramids of Giza, Shrouded in Mist

the Pyramids of Giza, shrouded in mist

the Pyramids of Giza, shrouded in mist

the Pyramids of Giza, shrouded in mist

the Pyramids of Giza, shrouded in mist

Wonderful shots of the pyramids of Giza by Egyptian photographer Karim Amr. From a caption on one of his photos three years ago:

I’m a 21 years old photographer you can see a lot of photos I share at the pyramids cause I just live near the pyramids so it’s easy for me to go and shoot there. I started doing photography to share my thoughts with others it’s how I express my feelings it’s also my escape from life. Life is tough and not easy for some of us and you got to find your place in this world.

Prints of his photos are available and you can follow his work on Instagram.

Reply · 2

Capricious social media algorithms are modern-day Greek gods: “Oh my crops failed and my daughter died so that means Athena is angry — maybe??! … Just let us see posts from people we follow instead of telling us we’re praying to the wrong god.”

Reply · 0

“Men who say they are pro-life and want to reduce or eliminate abortion are lying. They don’t care about abortion at all, they simply want to control women.” (BTW, I got a vasectomy, it’s great, would recommend, A+.)

Reply · 4

The Function of Colour in Factories, Schools & Hospitals (1930)

An illustration of a tidy classroom with aqua-colored desks, each with a red chair and an open book, lit by natural light from large windows and overhead lights.

A warmly lit dining hall featuring wooden tables and chairs on a checkered floor, flanked by an orange wainscot and decorated with framed artwork.

A serene office space with mint green walls, furnished with a desk, chair, and medical equipment, illuminated by pendant lights and daylight from a large window.

A clean and functional restroom corridor with a series of sinks and stall doors in salmon pink, contrasted with a cool blue floor and natural light filtering through the windows.

If you’re looking for some color palette inspiration, check out these scans from The Function of Colour in Factories, Schools & Hospitals (1930). Which is presumably a book? Whatever…the precision and colors of these illustrations are marvelous.

Reply · 8

Adam Moss and the Creative Process

workofart.jpg

When I quit my magazine job, I decided to try my hand as an artist. … I got frustrated easily and gave up easily, never knowing when to persevere or surrender. …

My curiosity is earthbound: Where do [artists] begin, and what do they do next, and when do they know they are finished? And more crucially: What do they do when they lose faith? Do they lose faith?

In an adaptation from his new book, The Work of Art: How Something Comes From Nothing, former New York magazine editor Adam Moss shares his interviews with Kara Walker, Louise Glück, and Cheryl Pope, about their respective creative processes [Vulture]. My favorite part is the intro, though, where he talks about his own process (“that was the beginning of my torment”).

I’m hoping the answer to the “persevere or surrender” question is in there very explicitly, by the way!

Reply · 2

A map of the “foreign” origins of our global diet. “You cannot walk on water or raise the dead. But you can do something that Jesus never did: eat a banana.” (Or tomatoes, potatoes, or chocolate.)

Reply · 0

The saga of the Coyote vs. Acme movie and what it says about today’s overly complex media landscape. “Millions of dollars and thousands of hours went into creating something that could simply vanish into accounting.”

Reply · 0

I loved reading through this social history of restaurants in NYC — basically who ate where and when. “The restaurants here were great not because of what they were but because of who we were and who we became while we were there.”

Reply · 0

What Happens If We Do Nothing About the Climate Crisis?

Let’s say the countries of the world most responsible for the changing climate continue to drag their feet on doing something about it. What is the world going to look like in 20 or 30 or 80 years? This TED-Ed video describes that bleak potential future.

Reports on heatwaves and wildfires regularly fill the evening news. Summer days exceed 40 degrees in London and 45 degrees in Delhi, as extreme heat waves are now 8 to 9 times more common. These high temperatures prompt widespread blackouts, as power grids struggle to keep up with the energy demands needed to properly cool homes. Ambulance sirens blare through the night, carrying patients suffering from heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion. The southwestern United States, southern Africa, and eastern Australia experience longer, more frequent, and more severe droughts.

Meanwhile, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan face more frequent heavy rainfall as rising temperatures cause water to evaporate faster, and trap more water in the atmosphere. As the weather becomes more erratic, some communities are unable to keep pace with rebuilding what’s constantly destroyed.

(via open culture)

Reply · 1

A new “less competitive” version of Scrabble is coming soon. “Younger people, Gen Z people…want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together and having fun creating words.”

Reply · 4

New Japanese anger management technique just dropped: “Writing down your reaction to a negative incident on a piece of paper and then shredding it, or scrunching it into a ball and throwing it in the bin, gets rid of anger.”

Reply · 1

Eclipse COMPLAINTS?

eclipsetoon2.jpg

Okay, yes, the eclipse was pretty cool, but we weren’t in the path of totality (we were at like 96%), so I didn’t have the Transcendent Experience that some have described. I mean, it was definitely neat. And we did get cute pictures. And it does sort of feel like a little gremlin has been set loose in my soul. But my neck was also sore the day after. Worth it???

Reply · 9

The Climate Charts Are Not Okay. “The charts are hilariously underpowered attempts to depict just how out-of-balance we have rendered the world.”

Reply · 0

Sherwood has a really interesting & bloggy front page for a news site. Punchy & heavy on images like social media. I feel like this sort of thing rhymes with what I’m trying to do with the ol’ dot org.

Reply · 3

The Design of Books: An Explainer for Authors, Editors, Agents, and Other Curious Readers. That’s me! I am curious about the design of books! (Seriously tho, this looks great.)

Reply · 2

David Lynch: Depression Kills Creativity

David Lynch is not having any of that “you need to struggle or be tortured in order to be creative” stuff. In this video compilation, the director talks about how poor mental health inhibits art & creativity.

It stands to reason: the more you suffer, the less you want to create. If you’re truly depressed, they say you can’t even get out of bed, let alone create. It occupies the whole brain, poisons the artist, poisons the environment; little room for creativity.

Open Culture has more on how Lynch uses transcendental meditation to improve his mental health…and a great anecdote about the one time Lynch tried therapy:

In one Charlie Rose interview, a clip from which appears in the video, he even tells of the time he went to therapy. The beginning of this story makes it in, but not the end: Lynch asked his new therapist “straight out, right up front, ‘Could this process that we’re going to go through affect creativity?’ And he said, ‘David, I have to be honest with you, it could” — whereupon Lynch shook the man’s hand and walked right back out the door.

Reply · 0

Finally: an answer to Aaron’s question about the confusing freezer knob: do you turn it clockwise or counterclockwise for colder? “The knob’s designer should feel bad!”

Reply · 0

Hank Green lost his hair during chemotherapy and it grew back curly. Turns out this is a thing that happens to many people: chemo curls!

Reply · 6

Amanda, There Is No Audience

amandathereisnoaudience.jpg

The writer Amanda Fortini tweeted something a couple weeks ago that I haven’t stopped thinking about:

Years ago, when I was in my 20s, a bold and artistically daring older friend who has since passed on gave me what I often think was the best advice I have ever gotten. I was worrying what ‘people would think’ of a decision I had made, and she said, “Amanda, There is no audience.”

The tweet went viral, so this probably isn’t news to a lot of readers. But I’ve been saying it to myself ever since: Amanda, there is no audience. Somehow, for a few seconds at a time, it makes sense to me on a very deep level. The “Amanda” part seems essential, too, for whatever reason.

Reply · 8

“Buying a soccer club is probably one of the worst investments you can make.” A group of 140 Americans bought a third-tier Danish football club called Akademisk Boldklub. Niels Bohr was the club’s keeper back in the day!

Reply · 0

As food service in US prisons gets outsourced, quantity and quality is sacrificed in the name of profit. “It’s not uncommon for a day’s worth of food to be a one bologna sandwich, one cheese sandwich and a few crackers.”

Reply · 1

The Best Photos and Videos of the 2024 Solar Eclipse

Well, the total solar eclipse was once again completely awesome. I didn’t have to go chasing all over tarnation this time, the telescope worked out amazingly well, and I got to share it with a bunch of first-timers, both in-person and via text. I’m going to share some thoughts, photos, and videos from others around the internet in an even bloggier fashion than usual. Here we go.

My pal Noah Kalina got one of my favorite shots of the day (see also + prints are available):

Solar Eclipse 2024 01

Gobsmacking shot from Rami Ammoun…it’s a blend of multiple exposures so you can see the sun and moon at the same time. Love this shot.

Solar Eclipse 2024 02

And another stunner from Andrew McCarthy:

Solar Eclipse 2024 09

Ryan Cox got some great shots of the solar prominences during totality.

Solar Eclipse 2024 03

Quick solar prominence explainer interlude: if you had a clear look at totality, you may have noticed some orange bits poking out around the moon. NASA: What is a solar prominence?

A solar prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun’s surface. Prominences are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences may persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed.

The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas comprised of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma.

A timelapse video of totality from Scientific American:

Thomas Fuchs caught some sunspots through his telescope during the partial eclipse. (We saw these through our ‘scope as well.)

Solar Eclipse 2024 04

Quick sunspot explainer interlude. NASA: What exactly is a sunspot?

A sunspot is simply a region on the surface of the sun-called the photosphere-that is temporarily cool and dark compared to surrounding regions. Solar measurements reveal that the average surface temperature of the sun is 6000° Celsius and that sunspots are about 1500° Celsius cooler than the area surrounding them (still very hot), and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months. Sunspots expand and contract as they move across the surface of the sun and can be as large as 80,000 km in diameter.

Sunspots are magnetic regions on the sun with magnetic field strengths thousands of times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, and often appear in pairs that are aligned in an east-west direction. One set will have a positive or north magnetic field while the other set will have a negative or south magnetic field. The field is strongest in the darker parts of the sunspots — called the umbra. The field is weaker and more horizontal in the lighter part-the penumbra. Overall, sunspots have a magnetic field that is about 1000 times stronger than the surrounding photosphere.

This Instagram account has a lovingly assembled collection of solar eclipse stamps from around the world (Aruba, Bhutan, Chile, Romania, Kenya, and even North Korea).

Solar Eclipse 2024 05

A NY Times timelapse: See the Total Solar Eclipse’s Shadow From Space (assembled from NASA and NOAA satellite imagery).

Great solar prominences on this shot from Notorious RBMK. Wow:

Solar Eclipse 2024 06

A timelapse video from Ariel Waldman of totality in Mazatlán. You really get a sense of the eclipse as a passing shadow from this.

Incredible “tiny planet” panorama timelapse by Matt Biddulph. Here’s a still frame during totality:

Solar Eclipse 2024 07

The 8 types of eclipse photo from XKCD.

Solar Eclipse 2024 08

The view of the eclipse from the International Space Station.

More photos from The Dammich, fotoelliott, max GORDON, good thread of photos, and photo round-ups from PetaPixel, New Scientist, BBC Science Focus, Mashable, Associated Press, and Wired.

Video from Nate Luebbe of the moment of totality, with Baily’s beads and solar prominences.

This is a fake. Super super cool looking, but a fake. (Update: not quite a fake, just a really badly enhanced version of this composite HDR photo.) And I’m not sure I entirely trust the veracity of the trending search results for “why do my eyes hurt” but here it is anyway.

Earth Will Have Its Last Total Solar Eclipse in About 600 Million Years:

Total solar eclipses occur because the moon and the sun have the same apparent size in Earth’s sky — the sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, but the moon is about 400 times closer.

But the moon is slowly moving away from Earth by about 1-1/2 inches (4 centimeters) per year, according to the NASA statement. As a result, total solar eclipses will cease to exist in the very distant future, because the apparent size of the moon in Earth’s sky will be too small to cover the sun completely.

“Over time, the number and frequency of total solar eclipses will decrease,” Vondrak said in the statement. “About 600 million years from now, Earth will experience the beauty and drama of a total solar eclipse for the last time.”

If you want to get a headstart on trip planning, the next eclipse is going to be in Greenland, Iceland, and Spain on August 12, 2026. Cloud cover looks most favorable in Spain.

Ok, that’s all for now. Depending on what else I come across, I might update this post periodically throughout the day. I know some of you who were lucky enough to see the total eclipse shared your experiences in the comments of yesterday’s post but feel free to do so here as well.

Reply · 21

It’s Eclipse Day!

Hey, gang. Today is the solar eclipse, it’s supposed to be mostly sunny here in Colchester, VT, we’ve got 3 minutes and 16 seconds of totality to enjoy, and I built a solar filter for my telescope (and binoculars!), so kottke.org is going to take the day off. Edith and I will see you back here tomorrow.

In the meantime, are you doing anything for the eclipse? Anyone got any crazy camera/telescope setups? Do you think Instagram is going to crash this afternoon? Will I completely lose my mind if a cloud drifts in front of the sun today at 3:26pm ET? Is it a coincidence or a miracle that we happen to be alive during the relatively brief period of time when the moon almost exactly covers the sun, resulting in total solar eclipses? Could you imagine if the eclipse somehow doesn’t happen today??!

Reply · 27

A total solar eclipse that occurred on July 16, 790 was recorded in hieroglyphs on a Mayan monument (eclipse map). “This find has frequently been proposed as a way to establish a correlation between the Maya Calendar and the Julian Calendar.”

Reply · 0

Vintage Eclipse Glasses From the 1932 Eclipse

a set of eclipse glasses from 1932

From the Center for Research on Vermont at UVM, a pair of eclipse glasses from 1932. I found a product listing for these — they were marketed as the Eclipse-O-Scope and sold for 10¢.

VPR’s Nina Keck recently interviewed Floyd Van Alstyne, who is currently 104 but was 12 years old during the 1932 eclipse:

KECK: It was in the middle of the depression, he reminds me. And while he learned about the eclipse in his one-room schoolhouse, he doesn’t recall too much hoopla surrounding it.

F VAN ALSTYNE: I don’t know. We didn’t think much about general things in those days like they do now. Or we thought about minding their own business, I guess.

(thx, caroline)

Reply · 0