Archive for the ‘Blog Stuff’ Category

SundayMagazine.org Is Going On Hiatus

Hi, everyone. I’m afraid I have some bad news: SundayMagazine.org is going on hiatus.

The time requirements to maintain all my projects and take care of my new child have spread me a little too thin, so I had to pick something to take a break from, and SundayMagazine lost the coin toss.

If anyone out there has a similar passion for the work I’ve been doing here, and wants to pitch in to research, prep the graphics, and/or write the posts, let me know. Maybe there’s a way I can hand the reigns over or collaborate and keep the site going.

If not, let’s just consider it hibernating for now. I’ll keep the archives up; there’s some good stuff in there to explore if you came to the blog late.

Thanks everyone for reading.

Aside: to make up for this loss, I hope to get back to updating Ironic Sans more often than I have been lately. I have a backlog of posts to write there.

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Written by David

September 26th, 2011 at 10:30 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

Important Note About SundayMagazine.org’s Future

I have two important notes about this blog’s future.

1) Due to a minor change in the RSS feed, some of you who read this blog via RSS may need to resubscribe. If you are currently subscribed to the feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/sundaymagazine please redirect your RSS Reader to http://sundaymagazine.org/feed or just click here. The old feed will not work for much longer.

2) I’m expecting a baby in the very near future, and won’t have as much time for SundayMagazine.org as I used to. I’ll be queuing up as many articles to post as I can for paternity leave, but I won’t be able to write as much about each one. Some may have to be just a sentence or less. Please feel free to pick up the slack by adding your own comments on the articles.

Thanks for reading!

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Written by David

May 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

SundayMagazine on Slate.com

I wrote a piece about SundayMagazine for Slate.com that just went online today. If you’re discovering this site for the first time via Slate, welcome! A good place to start is with my roundup of favorite articles from 1910. If you’re a regular reader who’s never read Slate, start with my article!

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Written by David

March 30th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Posted in Blog Stuff

Mixing things up a little

Based on feedback I’ve received from readers, I’m going to experiment a little bit over the next few weeks with the timing of posts. When an issue of the Sunday Magazine has several especially interesting or long articles, or when there are just a lot of articles to publish that week, I will post some of them early instead of lumping them all together on Fridays.

So keep an eye out for two articles today. One is about the development of a city landmark, and one is a true crime murder mystery.

Two more articles will go up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Written by David

January 13th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

If you enjoy SundayMagazine, please take this very short survey.

I’ve been thinking about how SundayMagazine should evolve in the new year. It would be very helpful to me if you could take this brief survey about how you like things as they are now. The survey should only take you a couple minutes to complete.

I appreciate your participation.

David

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Written by David

January 6th, 2011 at 10:41 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

The Top Ten NY Times Sunday Magazine Articles from 1910

It’s that time of year when publications come up with their annual top ten roundups, so I figure I should contribute to the genre. Here, then, is my list of Top Ten New York Times Sunday Magazine Articles From 1910 (Not Including Articles Prior To March 20 Because I Didn’t Start This Blog Until Then).

It was very difficult to pick just ten out of the 179 articles I’ve posted since I started this blog. I tried to pick some that are funny, some that are historically important, and some that are just plain interesting. They are presented in no particular order.

1) Circus Clown A Serious Person Out Of The Ring
I love this interview with Slivers the Clown in which he laments that clowns just get no respect. It inspired me to look up whatever happened to Slivers, and that’s when I found out about his dark downward spiral. If you’re intrigued by a story of love, death, and circus clowns, give this one a read.

2) Rathbone Ends Long List Of Lincoln Party Tragedies
It never occurred to me that there were other people in the booth with the Lincolns when Abe was shot, so I was fascinated to read about the other couple that was there with them. Imagine how scarred they must have been by the experience. There you are, the guests of the President and First Lady, when all of a sudden the President is shot in the head as he sits right there next to you. This article tells what happened to that other couple, and everyone else who stepped foot in the booth that night. Without giving too much away, let me just say that their darkest days were yet to come.

3) Was Queen Elizabeth A Famous Imposter?
Bram Stoker, most famous for having written Dracula, believed that when Queen Elizabeth was a little girl, she died and was secretly replaced by a little boy named Neville and nobody ever knew. This article describes how he thinks it went down.

4) Wireless Wonder Aged 14 Amazes Senate Committee
If this kid were born 70 years later, he would have been building computers in his garage. Instead, he built radios in his garage, and imagined a day when people would use handheld devices to make wireless phone calls. A proponent of keeping the airwaves open, he testified before congress on the topic in his role as the president of the first amateur radio club in America. It’s a great story about a smart kid, and one of the first articles that inspired me to look up what ever happened to the person. Being able to look into our past to see what happened next feels a bit like looking into the future from 1910.

5) Wooed a “Marjorie Daw” For Fourteen Long Years
Today we sometimes hear stories of sad and lonely people conned out of their savings by an online lover who turns out not to be who they claimed to be. This is the story of a man who falls for the same scam by mail. He spends 14 years strung along by an imaginary girlfriend who takes him for all he’s got. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

6) How Those Amusing Freak Moving Pictures Are Made
The motion picture industry was still young, but already people were figuring out how to do special effects. This article reveals the secrets of some popular effects films.

7) No Immortality Of The Soul, Says Thomas A Edison
This article kicked off several weeks of back and forth articles on the existence of an afterlife. First, Edison reflects on a friend’s death and mentions that he believes there is no soul. The next week, people wrote in to either agree or disagree. Several more articles were published, with scientists and laymen declaring the soul’s existence or non-existence.

8) First Account Of The Conquering Of Mt. McKinley
The early 20th Century was full of exploration firsts. Both poles were reached within a few years of each other, and airplanes were allowing people to venture further and faster than ever before. But I think this exploration achievement is far more interesting than the others because it was achieved by a group of laypeople who had no climbing experience. Or was it? There were so many lies and false claims of summiting Mt. McKinley already made, that there was reason to be suspicious.

9) Night In A Fascinating Square That Never Sleeps
This is a very well written description of a full night spent in Times Square. It describes the people, the sounds, the sights, etc. If you’ve ever been in Times Square during the week hours of the night, you’ll recognize the feeling. It’s easy to read this and relate to the author.

10) Charles K. Hamilton Tells How To Run An Aeroplane
In the seven years since the Wright Brothers made their first flight, airplanes became a popular hobby for the wealthy and adventurous. Most weeks, the Magazine had at least one article about airplanes. Someone was always doing something new: either flying an airplane further, faster, or somewhere they’ve never gone before. So I chose this article to represent all the others. It’s a very readable description of exactly how to fly an airplane, complete with illustrations.

I just realized I accidentally ended up with 11 articles on my list. So this one’s a bonus:

11) A Proposed Plan For An Invariable Calendar
Maybe it’s not that big a deal that every year has a different calendar. January 1 falls on a different day of the week each year, and we’ve still managed to get by. But I can’t help imagine what it would be like if this plan had actually been adopted. What if every year, every date was always the same day of the week? Would life be any easier, or would it just be different in this minor way? At any rate, I thought this proposed calendar was kind of clever.

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Written by David

December 13th, 2010 at 11:30 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

This week’s posts will be a couple days late

I’m sad to report that this week’s posts, which usually go up on Friday mornings, will be a couple days late. I just moved, and life is a pile of boxes right now. But the articles will be worth the wait. The topics include atheism, a poor guy who got conned out of a lot of cash, and a close look at the city budget.

I’ll try my best to get the posts up in time for your Sunday morning coffee. Stay tuned!

Update: Okay, so it’s Sunday night and I still haven’t posted. I’ve got the laptop up and running, but all the files I had prepped to post are on the tower, which is still in boxes. My new estimate is end-of-day Tuesday, which makes it more than a bit late. But I don’t expect to get behind schedule again. Thanks for bearing with me.

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Written by David

September 30th, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Blog Stuff

When Future Historian Comes To 1910

From August 7, 1910

WHEN FUTURE HISTORIAN COMES TO 1910

WHEN FUTURE HISTORIAN COMES TO 1910: Will He Look Us Up with Interest, or Pass Us by with a Grunt (PDF)

Back in 1910 the New York Times Sunday Magazine had a regular weekly column in which two characters known as the Office Radical and the Office Philosopher debate two sides of an issue. I’ve read a few of their debates while doing research for this blog, but I haven’t published any of their columns here so far. But this one was too good to pass up.

In this week’s column, they debate whether or not anything interesting has happened in 1910 that would be worth future historians looking at, especially as compared to all the interesting stuff their own historians have to look back on.

The Office Radical is sure that “some future historian will be ransacking the newspaper files and official records of 1910 the same way our present-day historians are ransacking those of, say, 1859 or 1770.”

The Office Philosopher says, “I’ll bet you 10 to 6 he doesn’t look at them for anything but Peary and the airships.”

I read this as I sat in the microforms room of the New York Public Library, doing research for this blog. I’d been researching the other 1910 articles I’ve posted over the last couple months, on topics that do indeed include Robert Peary and airships. And when I saw this discussion my eyes got wide and I thought, “They’re talking about me!”

I felt like Bastian in The NeverEnding Story when he realizes that the book he’s reading is talking specifically about him. Maybe this means I should write a post in which I wonder if future historians will ever look back at blogs of today with the same fascination I have in looking at newspapers of 1910.

So, obviously, I side with the Radical on this one.

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Written by David

August 6th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Will Future Generations Lose Historical Records Of To-Day?

From July 24, 1910

WILL FUTURE GENERATIONS LOSE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF TO-DAY?

WILL FUTURE GENERATIONS LOSE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF TO-DAY? Scientists Point Out the Probably Destruction of Newspaper Files in a Few Centuries — The Wood Pulp Problem (PDF)

In the late 1990s, I was a photographer for Christie’s auction house. I shot for every department, and even though the historic letters and documents were not a challenge to shoot, they were still among my favorite things to photograph. I felt privileged to handle (carefully) important documents from history, including one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, letters from America’s founding fathers, the diary of a Civil War soldier, etc. Since many of today’s documents exist only digitally, our ancestors won’t have these kinds of physical objects hundreds of years from now. While looking at digital files can give me a similar feeling of connectedness with the past, there’s a feeling I get when I’m holding a piece of paper in my hand that was signed personally by George Washington that I just can’t get from a digital copy of the same document.

Preserving those kinds of historic documents has always been a challenge. This article mainly concerns newspapers and the switch from rag-based to wood-based paper in the late 1800s (wood-based paper being more difficult to preserve). Microfilm was already around in 1910, but the article does not discuss the possibility that newspaper copies could be preserved on film. Microfilm didn’t really become popular until the mid-1920s, and it wasn’t until 1935 that Kodak’s Recordak division began preserving the New York Times in that format.

Incidentally, if you do have a wood pulp newspaper you want to archive, the website historybuff.com has a pretty good overview of how historical newspapers can be preserved.

Today, newspapers are usually created digitally, and so are easy to preserve digitally. But even digital records can become impossible to retrieve as formats become obsolete. And the fluid nature of the internet, where most publishing takes place these days, makes it a difficult medium to preserve. But the non-profit Internet Archive is making a great effort.

I’m glad that people were thinking about preserving their archives 100 years ago. If they weren’t, I’d have a much harder time with this website.

Side note: As a photographer, I think a lot about future-proofing my digital archive. I began shooting digitally in 1997 — at Christie’s, where the studio was on the cutting edge of digital photography — and recently came across some old images in file formats that I couldn’t open. (It took some hunting but I finally found legacy software that allowed me to convert the images to a modern format.) If you save the raw files from your digital camera, chances are good that they are in a proprietary format that may one day be obsolete. Some of the best writing I’ve found about future-proofing your digital photo archives is by Peter Krogh. If these issues concern you, I recommend his book on Digital Asset Management for photographers.

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Written by David

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:15 am

Blog Launch Day

I’m formally announcing this blog today. You can get the story behind the blog on the About Page. I hope all of you find the material here as interesting as I do. If you have any questions or notice anything not working correctly, please leave a comment or email.

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Written by David

April 13th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Blog Stuff