Don’t Mock The Victorians

I’ve been leafing through some old Soviet science and technology magazines, and came upon this cartoon mocking inventors of the yesteryear. There’s a trunk-lifesaver, steam-powered sewing machine, a built-in bottle opener, an automatic candle extinguisher, a variety of ridiculous looking egg cookers, and … a pneumatic tea kettle, which in one shape or another can be found in just about any coffee shop, catering hall and cafeteria these days.

Also in the mix – what they imagined a cell phone would be like in the 70s.

Alarming Songs

A few weeks ago I walked around Brooklyn and heard a loud bird singing in a tree. Something seemed peculiar about the song pattern, and it took me a couple of minutes of listening to it to understand what. The bird went “cheeerp – cheeuuuu, cheeeerp – cheeuuuu, chirp – chirp -chirp – chirp” – emulating the complicated sounds of those “Cheap-ass go off every ten minutes car alarmsTM” that emit tones of 4 or 5 different sirens. I really wish I had a voice recorder of some kind there with me.

Apparently it’s nothing new – apparently starlings and mocking birds are known to imitate just about anything, car alarms included. Some Brooklyn “artist” even created a car alarm that emits bird songs instead of sirens, thus completing the circle of mimicry.