In Seven Days…

With the debut of Ape Con Myth’s time-shattering new calendar just a few days away, creation and duration have been on the mind.

For more on those subjects, we look to the beautiful and eerie illustrations of Michael Wohlgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicles, which deal with a particular creation said to take seven days…








[via Ptak Science Books]

A History of Things Worth Knowing

If you think you can get lost surfing the internet, try adding another dimension to it by going through old newspapers online.  It can be a strange experience looking at a past that is at once so familiar and yet somehow alien.  A quarter page might be more than most can handle and a close look at a single ad can send you down the most random of rabbit holes.

Take this ad from the November 27th, 1873 edition of The Weekly Kansas Chief

Turns out we’ve been attempting to assemble useful knowledge into a single volume for longer than you’d think.  Didn’t they know they were clueless back in 2012 1873?   Yes, as one reviewer on Amazon notes of Joseph Triemens’ Manual of Ready Reference, “the material in this book is out of date”, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t learn something from it.  Project Gutenburg has a copy of the 1911 edition you can peruse for free to find out how to keep your canary birds “healthy and in good song”, be reminded that duration of copyright is “fifty-six years in all” or hear that:

the two great apostles of the evolution theory were Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. The latter began his great work, the “First Principles of Philosophy,” showing the application of evolution in the facts of life, in 1852. In 1859 appeared Darwin’s “Origin of Species.” The hypothesis of the latter was that different species originated in spontaneous variation, and the survival of the fittest through natural selection and the struggle for existence. This theory was further elaborated and applied by Spencer, Darwin, Huxley, and other writers in Europe and America, and though to-day by no means all the ideas upheld by these early advocates of the theory are still accepted, evolution as a principle is now acknowledged by nearly all scientists. It is taken to be an established fact in nature, a valid induction from man’s knowledge of natural order.

Looks like we need to send a few copies of this one to some people in the present.  If you find yourself unearthing some gems from its pages, please share your favorite “Things Worth Knowing” in the comments.

[Image from the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America archive]

The Tiny Box Called Today

It’s one thing to live in the present and another to live without a sense of future and past.  If there wasn’t so much going on today, that would be clear.

Culturomics attempts to make things clear by analysis of word usage from over five million books going back more than two centuries.  Of all the words people have bothered to write down, how do the days of the week rate?  That’s just one of many questions you can answer with Google’s Ngram Viewer.

Try ‘ape, con, myth‘ and you find the story of the lowly ape witnessing the slow demise of the con and the rise of the myth.

For something more down to Earth, you can found out who is playing second fiddle between ‘peanut butter, jelly’ and ‘beer, wine‘ or check out the historic temporal attitudes of prose writers with  ‘yesterday, today, tomorrow‘…

Turns out today wasn’t such a big deal in the 1800’s.  …  Nor was life expectancy.

If you come up with a good search, please share it in the comments.

“Yyouu hhave ssaidd itt!”

posted in: Maps, Smog 1

What would it look like if you took NASA’s Earth at Night image

…and subtracted Facebook’s Friendship Map?

Artist Ian Wojtowicz has the answer with his UnFacebook World Map.  Click the image for the enlarged version, which is quite beautiful.

Suddenly the first world is covered in darkness.  Darkness from the shadows of a walled garden?  It kind of looks like The Black Thing from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

“But what is it? Calvin demanded.  “We know that it’s evil, but what is it?”
“Yyouu hhave ssaidd itt!” Mrs. Which’s voice rang out.  “Itt iss Eevill. Itt iss thee Ppowers of Ddarrkknesss!”
“But what’s going to happen?” Meg’s voice trembled.  “Oh, please, Mrs. Which, tell us what’s going to happen!”
“Wee wwill cconnttinnue tto ffightt!”

While that is an overly dramatic and alarmist way to look at it, it will be interesting to see what happens when Facebook goes public and their first concern becomes their new, overly excited shareholder’s expectations that a great deal of money can be made off of all these friendships.  …  No, just kidding.  Facebook isn’t monetizing friendship, just your life.

Don’t forget to Like Ape Con Myth on Facebook!

[Maps via/by Ian Wojtowicz via The Atlantic; UnFacebook World Map poster]

How Much of Our Industry is Unnecessary?

Ape Con Myth’s mission is to find out if the Ape Con Myth is true.  What is the Ape Con Myth?  It’s a theorized phenomenon in which humanity continues to struggle for survival despite having the means to end the struggle.  Our belief is that this state of humanity already exists in 2011.

Bertrand Russell thought it was here in 1932…

These selections are from his essay, In Praise of Idleness, which is short and worth a full read even if you still lack the leisure time to do so.

Plato Sucks

To begin ACM’s study of philosophy, let’s jump somewhere randomly in the middle.

What is philosophy?  We will get to that.
Why have you probably read Plato while possibly never having heard of Bertrand Russell?  Good question.
What does the latter think of the former?  See for yourself…




And presumably, it still is…

[Bertrand Russell’s Unpopular Essays via Google Books]

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