Gem from GK Chesterton

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."

From The Everlasting Man

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The New "Old School"

Thank you, thank you, thank you Make for turning my attention to the CF Useless Projects site! This is the ideal solution to a major dilemma for me.  On the one hand, I'm a gadget geek and technofile.  On the other hand I pine for the artistry and craftmanship of historic scientific instruments such as astrolabes and compendia.  Here are just two Useless Projects to make your mouth water.

Wooden Computer Case:

USB Thumb Drive:

And while we're at it, I should also thank Make for showing me the Wooden Vespa.  Definitely new "old school".

5 Bonus Points if you can show me other new techno-gadgety things that have some old school craftmanship.  And I'm putting MAKE on the Leader Board with 10 BPs for their must see website that produces a steady stream of wonders.


  1. I think these are super cool. I can't use them because (believe it or not) my husband and I are unusually magnetic. My husband actually can't use a compass because the needle aims right at him, no joke.

  2. Is it a matter of higher iron content in your blood?

    I'll need more evidence before I believe it. ;)

  3. Oh, I couldn't care less if you believe it. But I've gone through enough computer components, I won't let Lee use a computer that's not all encased in metal (no plastic either).

    We also have to wear Timex watches or throw them away in two months.

    Not that you have to believe that either.

  4. Now that you mention this, I'm intrigued about the human magnetic field. Mostly I because I did my graduate thesis on paleomagnetism.

    I'm curious what the relative contribution is of mineral magnetism within the body (iron in the blood?) to electromagnetism (the electrical current generated by nerves, etc...)

    I've heard that birds may migrate based on alignment of the earth's magnetic field (a type of bio-magnetism I suppose).

    Isn't NewtonsOcean the MRI guy? He might know a thing or two. I'd like to know more because now I have a burr under my saddle.

  5. When I read When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase (an individual with more than 90 distinct personalities), I was much impressed with the fact that the video taping done was fuzzy and the electronic equipment was prone to failure when she was there. The psychologist (psychiatrist) suspected that, because of her need for brainpower to support the many many individuals inside her brain (many of whom were very talented and or intellectually brilliant) she used more of her brain than a regular person and that's what drove the enhanced field.

    I can't say that's true, but it would certainly be an interesting thing to study her mind and it's images while she was interacting.

    It's a fascinating read, by the way. But very hard to read for anyone who cares about children. Multiple personality disorder (which I think is now referred to as dissociative personality disorder or something like that generally starts extreme childhood trauma and Trudi was no exception.

    Did you get the emailed questions I sent you the other day? About geology?

  6. Yo, Brian, check out Bob Johnson on Black Holes and Astrostuff. He's talking about his "pet" meteorite.

  7. Lol, love reading your guys comments. I love old school stuff, being real old and all. I love the wooden computer case Brian. I will keep my eye out for old retrofits.

  8. Bob, The MAKE website has some terrific retrofits. If you haven't checked it out yet, you'll find some people making terrific things that are "new old" and "old new".

    Have you looked at any of the historic telescopes? I'm fascinated by the craftsmanship with those too.

  9. I think the older refractor telescopes are way cool, but geez kind of useless, but they would make a good display for my office. I am going over to the make site now, thanks.

  10. Bob, I think I just have a soft spot for instruments made in the "olden days". I think part of that is for the same reason that I admire the early climbers of Mt. Everest or artic explorers who didn't have the benefit of modern gear, equipment, GPS, topomaps, Gu packs, Power Bars, polypropelene, etc...


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