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May 9, 2005 5:06 am

Some Noted Things ...

It's Mr. Sun! for Mother's Day (we should all have such a mum); and it's Horizon for VE Day. Sharon has appropriate history links for both at Early Modern Notes.

Dale B. Light at Light Seeking Light calls attention to the University of Michigan's exhibit of the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the Clements Library. The archive includes"thousands of items from the 16th to 20th centuries - books, ephemera, menus, magazines, graphics, maps, manuscripts, diaries, letters, catalogues, advertisements, and reference works. It is a work in progress, and material is being added and catalogued daily." A symposium on American culinary history will be held on 13-15 May to open the exhibit and dedicate the archive. As usual, R. W. Apple told the story very well in the NY Times.

The University of Utrecht has lifted its 363-year-old condemnation of the teachings of Rene Descartes. Thanks to Brandon at Siris for the tip.

William Hammack,"‘The Greatest Discovery Since Fire'," Invention & Technology, Spring 2005, surveys the history of the microwave oven.

Red State Rabble and Thoughts from Kansas are blogging the hearings of the Kansas State Board of Education on evolution and intelligent design in Topeka. They are being called"Scopes II."

At Clioweb, Jeremy Boggs offers some interesting links:"The Women's Petition Against Coffee" (London, 1674);"They Still Draw Pictures," an exhibit of over 600 children's drawings during the Spanish Civil War; and Ottley R. Coulter, How to Perform Strong Man Stunts (NY: Padell Book Co., 1952).

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Michael Meo - 5/9/2005

That's Rene Des Cartes (or Descartes, which is more usual in English-language works).

Ralph E. Luker - 5/8/2005

At risk of sounding sexist, another distinction that works pretty clearly along white and brown lines, however, is a little matter of servicing. Oh, for a computer that required as few service calls or an automobile that required as little servicing as a refrigerator or a stove!

Jonathan Dresner - 5/8/2005

Cars and computers are in an interesting in-between stage....

Rob MacDougall - 5/8/2005

It is a nice article. One thing not mentioned is how the microwave went from brown to white. Major appliances used to (maybe still do?) get divided by marketers into "brown goods" and "white goods." Brown goods include stereos, TVs, VCR and DVD players. White goods include stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers. Brown goods were typically marketed with appeals to novelty and power: buttons and lights and gadgets and special features. White goods were typically marketed with appeals to practicality and reliability. (I leave it as an exercise to the clever reader to discern the o so subtle gender assumptions lurking beneath this divide. :) )

Anyway, the microwave was originally marketed as a brown good, all high-tech bells and whistles, but to be truly domesticated it had to make the move from brown to white.

Oscar Chamberlain - 5/8/2005

Fine and fascinating article on the creation of a new appliance. A particularly interesting point it makes is that the microwave has become so ubiquitous that other businesses, in partitcular the frozen food industry, design their products to fit it.

My wife and I can attest to that. We did not own a micrwave oven until last year, and one of the first things we realized when we started using one is that frozen food tastes better when nuked than when heated in a conventional oven.

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