Category Archives: Tech

Behold: a rare 1940 index typewriter, the Toshiba BW-2112 – demonstrated here by New Orleans based Typewriter Collector – which uses horizontal cylinders with thousands of symbols to type in Japanese, Chinese and English.

In the mid 50s, when Toshiba switched to a Western style keyboard with Kana characters, the cylinder models were discontinued, making this a rare machine indeed. Of the device, which ordered characters in a manner similar to that found in a Japanese dictionary, Typewriter Collector sez:

They’re arranged phonetically by most common “on-yomi” (or kun-yomi in some cases) according to the kana syllabary (many homophones, of course)… Red characters help parse the readings. Last character to left of equal sign can be pronounced “kin” (exert) and the first character in next row “gin” (silver), then “ku” (suffer) in red followed by “kuu” (sky, empty), “kuma” (bear), “kun” (teachings, meaning [also the kun in kun-yomi]), “gun” (group), then “kei” (system) in red followed many, homophones of “kei”

Now for yiz.

colossal

A sample of the teeny-tiny delights on offer at the Journey To The Microcosmos channel – in this case a fascinating chapter called “Microbes Don’t Actually Look Like Anything’ wherein we learn that light and microscopy create visions of teeny-tiny life that don’t actually look like that in teeny-tiny reality.

Hey, it’s no biggie.

kottke

‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ – Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s most-recognised artwork – was recently subjected to two years of detailed research which, while failing to shed light on the identity of the subject, has revealed all manner of hidden detail including eyelashes (only visible under a microscope) and the fact that the grey background is actually a green curtain.

The surface condition of the painting (which has been subject to multiple restorations over the years) was studied by researchers Emilien Leonhardt and Vincent Sabatier, of Hirox Europe using a custom-mounted microscope.

The resulting 10 billion pixel panoramic scan – a gigantic stitch of 9,100 individual microscopic photographs, is available here in 2D and 3D for your perusal.

colossal

A video for Nashville-based electronica artist Makeup And Vanity Set (Michael Pusti) by Saman Kesh and Justin Daashuur Hopkins in which a tech enthusiast attempts to scam a retail platform by claiming his new monitor was never delivered, requesting a refund.

At first, the site’s AI reacts politely to the scammer’s increasing rudeness, then it exacts sweet revenge.

Whys and wherefores here.

shortoftheweek

 

The incoherent, unsettling but strangely familiar works of an AI programme ‘schooled’ in the street art style of Banksy. To wit

GANksy was born into the cloud in September 2020, then underwent a strenuous A.I. training regime using hundreds of street art photos for thousands of iterations to become the fully-formed artist we see today. All of GANksy’s works are original creations derived from its understanding of shape, form and texture. GANksy wants to be put into a robot body so it can spray-paint the entire planet.

Explore further, become confused and angered, buy prints, etc. here.

kottke