Quotulatiousness

May 25, 2017

Words & Numbers: Government Can’t Stop Creative Destruction

Filed under: Business, Economics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 24 May 2017

Technology doesn’t just change things, it utterly destroys things. And that’s just fine. It happens so often that people barely even notice when it does. Think about all the new services that have come to market just over the past few years: Uber, Airbnb, Redbox … the list goes on and on.

But that’s only half the story. In turn, the list of services replaced by these new ones is similarly long: taxis, hotels, Blockbuster, etc. And workers in these industries often lose their jobs in the line of creative destruction. We generally accept this as the price of innovation, but many people try to use the government to stop this by blocking the new services.

Today we’re seeing this with more politically well-connected industries like taxis and hotels. Pressure is put on Uber and Airbnb, respectively, to “protect” the established industries they are upending.

This week, Ant and James talk about why this is always a mistake.

Learn More:
https://fee.org/articles/government-cant-stop-creative-destruction/

May 13, 2017

The Physics of World War 1 Planes feat. The Great War Channel

Filed under: History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 29 Apr 2017

May 8, 2017

Spanish Civil War – Lessons NOT Learned – The British, French & US

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 28 Mar 2017

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was probably the most significant war between the First and the Second World War. [M]any important lessons were learned and NOT learned by the British, French, US, German, Italian and Soviet Forces.

Military History Visualized provides a series of short narrative and visual presentations like documentaries based on academic literature or sometimes primary sources. Videos are intended as introduction to military history, but also contain a lot of details for history buffs. Since the aim is to keep the episodes short and comprehensive some details are often cut.

May 6, 2017

History of the Royal Navy – Steam, steel and Dreadnoughts (1806-1918)

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 1 Mar 2013

Here’s also an older post covering the technological challenges faced by the Royal Navy in the post-Napoleonic era, and some of the reasons for all those “weird” ship designs in the Victorian era.

April 29, 2017

If Walls Could Talk The History of the Home Episode 4: The Kitchen

Filed under: Britain, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 2 Feb 2017

April 21, 2017

How do spacesuits work? | James May Q&A | Head Squeeze

Filed under: History, Space, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 8 Nov 2013

You’ve seen the videos of those astronauts on the International Space Station getting suited and booted in a spacesuit before a spacewalk, but how exactly does the space suit work?

A spacesuit has to protect you from the glaring radiation from the sun as well as keeping you warm from the extreme cold of outer space. As well as that is has to make sure you have enough oxygen and enough movement so you can actually do your job.

It also has to be pressurised to about 4.7PSI. Otherwise the empty vacuum of outer space will make your organs increase to twice their normal size and you will meet a very unpleasant untimely death.

Don’t fancy building your own spacesuit, why not build an elevator into space? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=annVRxRjj4c&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLMrtJn-MOYmeNkbYzXsEluioufGDxuqtO

Martin Archer has all the information you need on when humans will be able to go to Mars http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYthxj-bO0I&list=PLMrtJn-MOYme6klSjJXoZfWmNZ6ZthOSA&index=12

April 13, 2017

The Future of Airliners? – Aurora D8

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Mar 2017

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Get your Real Engineering shirts at: https://store.dftba.com/collections/real-engineering

Why Are Plane Wings Angled Backwards?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXFpLnPpDtY
Why Are The Dreamliner’s Windows So Big?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-I20Ru9BwM

April 11, 2017

Vantablack – the discovery that fits everybody’s preferred story line

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 03:00

At Samizdata, Brian Micklethwait attempts to look at the newly announced blackest black ever, Vantablack:

In the event that you have somehow managed to miss this story, you can get some idea of how very black Vantablack is by pondering this image, of a mask, together with the same mask covered in the liquid version of Vantablack. The Vantablacked version of the mask might as well be a flat piece of cardboard for all the 3-D shape detail you are able to discern by looking at it. You’d need to be a bat to make sense of it:

That image is to be found at a British Museum posting entitled Vantablack is the new black. I googled that gag, confident that someone would already have used it as a heading, and so it proved.

[…]

If you are the kind that blames capitalism for causing poverty (instead of praising capitalism for getting rid of poverty, the way I do and you should) then perhaps you will say that Vantablack proves how frivolous capitalism is, making black even blacker when there is still so much misery in the world. If you believe that universities should get more government money (Vantablack emerged from the University of Surrey), well then, you’ll say that Vantablack proves that universities should get more government money. If you are an anti-Trumpist or an anti-Brexiteer, you will regard the Vantablack story as proof that we really are living in uniquely dark times. If you are the kind of commenter here whose reaction to any new-tech fuss we report is that it is a fuss about nothing, or perhaps if you are the sort who wants to make fun of such grumpiness, you will perhaps even now be contriving a comment that includes the words: nothing to see here.

April 6, 2017

Words & Numbers: Taxing Robots Does Not Compute

Filed under: Business, Economics, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 5 Apr 2017

This week, Antony and James break down Bill Gates’ recent suggestion that companies that use robots instead of human workers should pay employment taxes in order to fund new welfare programs.

April 5, 2017

If Walls Could Talk The History of the Home Episode 2: The Bathroom

Filed under: Britain, Health, History — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Jan 2017

March 28, 2017

David Fletcher’s Tank Chats #3 Medium Tank MkII* (Vickers Medium)

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 20 Mar 2015

The third in a series of short films about some of the vehicles in our collection presented by The Tank Museum’s historian David Fletcher MBE.

In 1923 Vickers Ltd. of Sheffield and Newcastle, started to manufacture tanks for the British Army. They were the first representatives of a new generation of tanks, designed to fight on the move and restore mobility to the battlefield.

As designed the Medium tanks had a 3 pounder gun in the turret; a Vickers machine-gun in each side of the hull and Hotchkiss light machine-guns in the turret. These last were later eliminated in favour of a single Vickers machine-gun, mounted alongside the main gun and described as co-axial, since it elevates on the same axis as the main gun. This modification altered the design from Mark II to Mark II*. Using these tanks the Royal Tank Corps established standards of gunnery which, in their day, were never equalled.

March 19, 2017

Phonograph vs. Gramophone – The Invention of Sound Recording Part 1 I THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Filed under: History, Media, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 27 Feb 2015

The desire to record the human voice can be traced back to the 10th century. Thomas Edison is the first man who finally crafted the phonograph, a machine that can record sound. A few more GREAT MINDS are necessary to improve the technology until the first record made of shellac is produced. Emile Berliner, the inventor of the gramophone, is the reason why record lovers still listen to vinyl LPs to this day! This is the first part of our small series about the invention of sound recording.

March 14, 2017

DIY Biohacking Can Change The World, If the Government Allows It

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Science, Technology, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 13 Mar 2017

Biohackers, much like their computer hacker forebears, prefer asking for forgiveness rather than permission.

March 12, 2017

Reasons for THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Filed under: Britain, Europe, History, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 26 Feb 2015

The Industrial Revolution transformed and shaped our modern world as we know it. Why did the fundamental changes of the Industrial Revolution begin in Great Britain? In our first episode about the era of Industrial Revolution, Brett explains how the agricultural revolution, a few inventions in the textile industry, the steam machine, improving means of transport and an overall changing society created a solid basis for the coming changes of the late 18th century.

March 10, 2017

QotD: Most “Authentic” cuisine is anything but authentic

Filed under: Business, History, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Americans of a certain social class love nothing more than an “authentic” food experience. It is the highest praise that they can heap on a restaurant. The ideal food is one that was perfected by honest local peasants in some picturesque locale, then served the same way for centuries, the traditions passed down from mother to daughter (less occasionally, from father to son), with stern admonitions not to dishonor their ancestry by making it wrong.

These American diners are constantly in a quest for their own lost heritage, along with the traditions of other peoples they don’t know very well. We live, the lore says, in a fallen state, victims of Big Agriculture and a food industry that has rendered everything bland, fatty and sweet. By tapping the traditions of centuries past — or other, poorer places — we can regain the paradise that our grandparents unaccountably abandoned.

And who could be against wanting a more authentic, genuine food experience? I’m so glad you asked.

In fact, authenticity is an illusion, and a highly overrated one. Most of the foods we think of as “authentic” are of relatively recent vintage — since capsaicin-containing hot peppers are native to the Americas, any spicy cuisine like Szechuan or Thai is by definition a Johnny-come-lately invention. Or take artisanal breads, like that crusty, moist peasant bread that most of us eat too much of at restaurants: Nathan Myhrvold, the mad genius of the cookbook world, says that this is a new invention. Our peasant ancestors, who got a large portion of their calories from bread, did not make these richly hydrated doughs, because they’re a pain in the butt to work with. Ciabatta, another bread that America likes because it sounds very authentic, was invented in the 1980s to compete with the baguette. (Itself a product of Industrial Revolution bakeries, not the proud local peasant.)

Megan McArdle, “‘Authentic’ Food Is Not What You Think It Is”, Bloomberg View, 2017-02-24.

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