Escape the Echo Chamber

The Transnational Radio Knowledge Platform

Radio Garden connects the world, one listener at a time. Breaking down the barriers and “bringing distant voices close.” Discover radio stations from the far reaches of planet earth.

Radio Garden is available on web browsers as well as mobile apps. Just choose a green dot to zero in on the available stations. It is produced by Transnational Radio Encounters in coordination with the Netherlands Institute for Sound.

Infinite Delivery

Dave of Sheep Films has made this brilliant loop of a package that’s being delivered which contains the front door into which it is being delivered.

The Illuminati

A great 5 minute introduction to the short-lived 18th Century secret society, the Illuminati by TED-Ed. Conspiracy theorists listen up… the Illuminati does not exist today*

*or do we?

The Floppotron Plays The Addams Family

The Floppotron by Paweł Zadrożniak is an incredible piece of engineering, creating an orchestra out of computer hardware, and we just love The Addams Family theme tune playing on it!

Before the World Wide Web…

Before the world wide web there were online communities run by enthusiasts, geeks, techies, cool kids and social misfits. Communities where you had to know and dial a telephone number to connect through acoustic couplers, and later, modems. Their content was mostly text-based and they offered their users private messaging, discussion boards, software and even games.

textfiles.com screenshot
textfiles.com

I am of course talking about bulletin board systems (BBS). They were often themed around a particular topic or community and served as a virtual meeting place where like-minded people gathered to share all manner of concepts, ideas and other digital content. In many respects these BBS could be considered amongst the first online social networks. The first public BBS, Community Memory, was established in Berkeley California in 1973, and over the next 20 or so years the number of BBS and their users steadily increased until they reached their peak around the mid-1990’s, when the world wide web started to become mainstream.

A wonderful thing happened in the 1980s: Life started to go online. And as the world continues this trend, everyone finding themselves drawn online should know what happened before, to see where it all really started to come together and to know what went on, before it’s forgotten.

Jason Scott

The advent of the world wide web largely led to the downfall of the BBS, with few now existing. In many cases the culturally important content they contained disappeared with them. However there are people who have actively archived their content. One of the most comprehensive of these archives is texfiles.com, founded in 1998 by Jason Scott.

The Yiddish Roots of “Glitch”

Undisputed King of Trainers, Joshua Evan, 2018
Undisputed King of Trainers, Joshua Evan, 2018

Language and its evolution is a fascinating topic, and who’d have thought the word we commonly use to describe a temporary malfunction or fault, glitch, is of Yiddish origins. From Air & Space:

Glitch is derived from glitsh, Yiddish for slippery place, and from glitshn, meaning to slide, or glide. Glitch was in use in the 1940s by radio announcers to indicate an on-air mistake. By the 1950s, the term had migrated to television, where engineers used glitch to refer to technical problems.

In the 1963 book Into Orbit book by the Mercury Seven, John Glenn mused about the word, which he evidently hadn’t used before joining the space program. “Another term we adopted to describe some of our problems was ‘glitch.’ Literally, a glitch is a spike or change in voltage in an electrical circuit….”

Air & Space

Godless Utopia: Soviet Anti-religious Propaganda

Inspired by Karl Marx’s “religion is the opium of the people”, the Soviet Union commissioned anti-religious propaganda posters and magazines to help it further its policies on atheism.

A new book published by FUEL and edited by Roland Elliott Brown showcases many striking examples of this Soviet-era propaganda. The Guardian also has an excellent gallery containing excerpts from the book.

There Is No God! Poster, 1975
There Is No God! Poster, 1975

The cosmonaut atheist Gherman Titov told an audience at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair that he had seen no gods or angels in space, and that he believed in mankind’s strength and reason. This poster titled There Is No God! commemorates him.

Remember, Remember, The 5th of November

Festivities in Windsor Castle, Paul Sandby, 1776
Festivities in Windsor Castle, Paul Sandby, 1776

Not just because it’s Guy Fawkes Night, but because it’s also the launch of Curious Archaeology. Hello, and welcome!