Reviving Forgotten Science to Build the World’s Most Accurate Pendulum Clock – The Atlantic

Building an Impossible Clock

The 18th-century horologist John Harrison claimed that he could make the world’s most accurate pendulum clock, but his methods were scorned for hundreds of years—until someone proved him right.

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As a rule, Donald Saff doesn’t collect clocks he can’t see inside of. It’s the harmonic entanglement of gears—and the skill needed to craft them—that first lured him to horology, the study of measuring time.In 2004, browsing through a tiny shop in midtown Manhattan, Saff saw a 55-inch clock sitting on the windowsill. He was immediately riveted—the clock was beautiful, he recalled, in a way that reminded him of Grace Kelly. Looking at its insides, visible through the dusty glass, he could tell that the clock was in poor condition. But he could also see that it was a technical tour de force.Examining the clock, Saff noticed something particularly remarkable: a grasshopper escapement. All pendulum clocks have an escapement, a swinging mechanism that pushes the pendulum at a steady rate over the seconds, minutes, and hours. The grasshopper escapement is a low-friction version invented by the clockmaker John Harrison in the early 18th century, and rarely used in modern clocks.

Actually, “rarely used” is something of an understatement—both 18th-century and contemporary horological communities have rejected Harrison’s pendulum designs. They were difficult to understand and seemed to contradict accepted knowledge about how to build clocks. Yet here was a fragment of Harrison’s design centuries later, an anachronism—and a seeming impossibility—preserved in steel.The owner of the store told Saff the clock was too damaged to ever be restored. But Saff was persuasive; he was sure he could fix it. He took home the clock that day—and unknowingly set the wheels in motion for a renaissance of Harrison’s clock-making science, dismissed and ignored for 300 years.

Source: Reviving Forgotten Science to Build the World’s Most Accurate Pendulum Clock – The Atlantic


Dinter, bitz, and gwop: The wacky linguistics of British slang in 2016


If you struggle to understand the teenagers and young people around you when they call their schoolfriend a durkboi and try to cadge some peas, you are not alone. The idea that they are communicating in a different language from their parents has been the subject of excited chatter on parenting websites and among some researchers.

A defining characteristic of youth slang is thought to be its faddishness – the fact that terms have a rapid turnover, quickly coming in and out of fashion and then disappearing before parents and teachers have time to decode them. The reality is more complicated: novelty is all-important but for each generation the expressions they encounter will be new to them. So although each age group and almost every local clique do invent their own words, there is a common core of slang that persists for years: such as cool, wicked, solid and sick for good, and chilling for relaxing.

The new language used by the young is not one unified dialect but an intersection of styles, with vocabulary drawn from a number of sources. There is the edgy street language of gangs which has given us shank and jook for stab; and merk to hurt or humiliate. There is alsoboyed for shamed, durkboi and wallad for fool, dozens of terms for drugs and money and the greeting braap! picked up and used by innocent teens who may not have realised that it imitates the sound of an automatic firearm.

Source: Dinter, bitz, and gwop: The wacky linguistics of British slang in 2016 – Quartz

The 8 Coolest Microneighborhoods in the World


The 8 Coolest Microneighborhoods in the World

When it comes to destinations, bigger isn’t always better. These chic little corners are the beating hearts tucked within global hot spots—walkable enclaves densely packed with of-the-moment fashion, food, and design. Give them a day and they’ll give you everything you want in a trip.

Inside the Secret Sisterhood of Women Who Worked at Playboy


“Whatever hostility was directed at Hefner, bunny ears and tails and all of that stuff, had absolutely zero impact on working there.”​

Source: Inside the Secret Sisterhood of Women Who Worked at Playboy

When asked, I will always tell people the best job I’ve ever had as a writer was working for Playboy magazine in 2008. At the time, I was just starting out as a online media reporter, penning eight posts a day for $12.50 per post, a position I felt lucky to have landed. Like nearly every other person working in media that year, I was caught up in the all-encompassing excitement of the 2008 election and the simultaneous rise of online journalism. I was familiar with Playboy‘s illustrious journalism history — its “read it for the articles” bylines are a veritable who’s who of New Journalism heavyweights.

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