Monthly Archives: May 2015

Automata of our own making

[Currently reading Minsoo Kang, Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: the Automaton in the European Imagination (Harvard UP, 2011).] Human beings groove on creating things in which they can see themselves. Mirrors, of course – but also cave paintings, sculptures, plays, … Continue reading

Posted in Historical episodes, Machines / gadgets / technology / games | 2 Comments

On the mistaken view that there is something especially sciency about the so-called scientific method

I heard it again on the radio today as I was driving around. The story was about a new science curriculum to be introduced in public schools. The problem with the existing curriculum is that kids are getting the idea … Continue reading

Posted in Items of the academy / learning | 1 Comment

London, 1641

“Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” – Daniel 12:4 London was an exciting place to be in 1641. The political uncertainty was both thrilling and terrifying: many Puritans, convinced that their suspected crypto-catholic king, Charles … Continue reading

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Early modern European automata

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The early modern craze for titles

As the Republic of Letters expanded in the late 17th/early 18th centuries, gentlemen began to assume titles which were, let’s say, a bit generous. Johann Burkhardt Menke’s Charlatanerie des savans (1715) brings such persons up short – Since the beginning of the … Continue reading

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