In this link roundup, a collection of Vietnam era Zippo, the Latin Monetary Union (a first attempt at a common European currency), Hollywood monetizing the “ancillary stream”, Zizek on why it’s dangerous to simply debate the legal use of torture (from 2007), an oral history of the “Stainless-Steel Pushcarts” used for selling hot-dogs in the streets of New York, another visualization of the history of philosophy, a rather caustic account of the value of Twitter for our civilization, and some more.

• • •

  • The Design Observer: “Accidental Mysteries: 06.24.12” by John Foster:

    A rare, authentic collection of 282 Vietnam era Zippo lighters went on the auction block June 21st at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. The collection belongs to artist Bradford Edwards, whose collection was showcased in the book Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories 1965-1973 (Sherry Buchanan, University of Chicago Press, 2010). Some of you may remember the collection, which received media attention by the New York Times, NPR, and others. The lighter collection had a starting price of $30,000 to $50,000 and was included in the book. Considering the years of search Mr. Bradford spent in Vietnam sourcing and assembling the collection, the starting price seems realistic.

    Zippo Vietnam

  • Wikipedia: “Latin Monetary Union”

    The Latin Monetary Union (LMU) was a 19th century attempt to unify several European currencies into a single currency that could be used in all the member states, at a time when most national currencies were still made out of gold and silver. It was established in 1865 and disbanded in 1927.

  • The New York Times: “How Does the Film Industry Actually Make Money?” by Adam Davidson, June 26, 2012.

    The reason a majority of movie studios still turn a profit most years is that they have found ways to, as they say, monetize the ancillary stream by selling pay-TV and overseas rights, creating tie-in video games, amusement-park rides and so forth. And the big hits, rare as they may be, pay for a lot of flops. Still, the profits are not huge. Matthew Lieberman, a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, expects growth over the coming years to be somewhere around 0.6 percent.

    Movie Industry economic

  • From five years ago, The New York Times: “Knight of the Living Dead” by Slavoj Zizek, March 24, 2007.

    In a way, those who refuse to advocate torture outright but still accept it as a legitimate topic of debate are more dangerous than those who explicitly endorse it. Morality is never just a matter of individual conscience. It thrives only if it is sustained by what Hegel called “objective spirit,” the set of unwritten rules that form the background of every individual’s activity, telling us what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.

    For example, a clear sign of progress in Western society is that one does not need to argue against rape: it is “dogmatically” clear to everyone that rape is wrong. If someone were to advocate the legitimacy of rape, he would appear so ridiculous as to disqualify himself from any further consideration. And the same should hold for torture.[…]

    Are we aware that the last time such things were part of public discourse was back in the late Middle Ages, when torture was still a public spectacle, an honorable way to test a captured enemy who might gain the admiration of the crowd if he bore the pain with dignity? Do we really want to return to this kind of primitive warrior ethics?

  • Source Filmmaker: “Introducing the Source Filmmaker” by SFM Team, June 27, 2012.

  • Motherboard: “The Other Hot Dog King of New York: A Chat With Ed Beller, Inventor of Stainless-Steel Pushcarts” by Rachel Walden, June 27, 2012.

    Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of hot dogs steaming from a bright, shiny curbside cart. What’s more New York than that? Not much. And seeing as nobody running around this city has time to sit down for a long, wholesome lunch break anymore, today’s ever-widening range of food carts and trucks offer quick, tasty solutions to those midday hunger pangs.

    But without the switch from old-fashioned wooden carts to modern stainless-steel pushcarts, it wouldn’t be possible for vendors to sling the vast array of street foods that you can choose from today. It all went down in 1948, the hot idea of Ed Beller and Mark Monies, who co-founded Admar Bar and Kitchen Equipment Co. that same year.

    Ed, it turns out, is my grandfather. I recently had the pleasure of talking with him about his unlikely and meteoric rise to the top of the hot dog, peanut, and knish pushcart game.

    New York hot dog push cart

  • n+1: “Please RT” by the editors, June 14 2012.

    It’s possible to have a clear attitude toward Twitter if you’re not on it. Few things could appear much worse, to the lurker, glimpser, or guesser, than this scrolling suicide note of Western civilization. Never more than 140 characters at a time? Looks like the human attention span crumbling like a Roman aqueduct. The endless favoriting and retweeting of other people’s tweets? Sounds like a digital circle jerk. Birds were born to make the repetitive, pleasant, meaningless sounds called twittering. Wasn’t the whole thing about us featherless bipeds that we could give connected intelligible sounds a cumulative sense?

    Please RT

  • Drunks&Lampposts: “Graphing the history of philosophy” by Simon Raper, June 13, 2012.

    To cut a long story very short I’ve extracted the information in the influenced by section for every philosopher on Wikipedia and used it to construct a network which I’ve then visualised using gephi

    It’s an easy process to repeat. It could be done for any area within Wikipedia where the information forms a network. I chose philosophy because firstly the influences section is very well maintained and secondly I know a little bit about it. At the bottom of this post I’ve described how I got there.

    Graphing philosophers

  • MIT’s Technology Review: “’Crowd Quakes’ Were A Key Factor In LoveParade Disaster” by the Physics arXiv Blog, June 28, 2012.

    Helbing and Mukerjee say most deaths occurred elsewhere in the crowd because of a phenomenon known as crowd quakes. These occur when the density of a crowd becomes so great that individuals are forced into bodily contact with each other.

    When this happens, the forces are transmitted through the crowd in chains from one body to the next. Crucially, when this happens, the transmitted forces add up.


Subscribe to our newsletter

This newsletter serves one purpose only: it sends a single email notification whenever a new post is published on, never more than once a day. Upon subscribing, you will receive a confirmation email (if you don’t, check your spam folder). You can unsubscribe at any time.