Links for 2010-04-24

  • Unenumerated: A very brief history of the space program (pt. i)
    "President Dwight Eisenhower wanted the Soviet Union to set a legal precedent that flying satellites over foreign territory without permission was fine. Traditionally land ownership and sovereign territory had been deemed to rise to infinity… Sovereign permission is generally required for airplanes, including (or especially) for the spy planes the U.S. military was already flying over the Soviet Union. As crucial as these flights were for U.S. security, they were also a violation of international law, and the Soviet Union shooting them down was justified under that law. The flights were thus a major propaganda loss for the U.S. in the eyes of other countries. Eisenhower could not win the legal or propaganda argument for spy satellites unless he let Soviet actions make the argument for him. The Soviets, in their own propaganda quest to exaggerate the state of their otherwise mostly backwards technology, obliged…"
    (tags:space history )
  • The Road to Eleusis republished
    "Originally published in 1978 ?The Road to Eleusis ? Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries,? by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann and Carl A. P. Ruck, was only reprinted as a paperback in English for the first time in 2008, for its thirtieth anniversary edition. The work of an amateur mycologist, a chemist and a classicist, the text attempts to solve the mystery of the Eleusinian rites of ancient Greece by hypothesizing the use of an ergot-derived hallucinogen."
    (tags:books )
  • Conversation – Land of the Flying Stones
    "The stone city of Nan Madol, in Pohnpei, one of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), consists of 92 man-made islands built on a coral reef at the edge of a mangrove swamp. The buildings of this mysterious 1,000-year-old site, which was the ceremonial and political seat of an ancient dynasty, are made of stacks of cut stone "logs," each weighing up to 50 tons."
    (tags:history cities )
  • BLDGBLOG: The Switching Labyrinth
    "…McElhinney introduces us to movement-diagrams, Space Syntax, and other forms of architectural motion-analysis, asking: would a detailed study of user-behaviors help architects design more consistently interesting buildings, spaces that "might evoke," he writes, "a sense of continual delight"? Pushing these questions a bit further, we might ask: should all our buildings be labyrinths?"
    (tags:architecture )
  • Frameworks for citizen responsiveness, enhanced: Toward a read/write urbanism
    "In order for anything like this scheme to work, public objects would need to have a few core qualities, qualities I?ve often described as making them ?addressable, queryable, and even potentially scriptable.? What does this mean?" Adam's been tearing it up this week.
    (tags:design cities comms )