(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘bicycle

“I may be going nowhere, but what a ride”*…

 

Nine salvaged bikes were reassembled into a carousel formation. The bike is modular and can be dismantled, transported and reassembled. It is normally left in public places where it can attract a variety of riders and spectators.

From artist Robert Wechsler, the Circular Bike.

* Shaun Hick

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As we return to where we started, we might send carefully-calculated birthday greetings to Stephen Smale; he was born on this date in 1930.  A winner of both the Fields Medal and the Wolf Prize, the highest honors in mathematics, he first gained recognition with a proof of the Poincaré conjecture for all dimensions greater than or equal to 5, published in 1961.  He then moved to dynamic systems, developing an understanding of strange attractors which lead to chaos, and contributing to mathematical economics.  His most recent work is in theoretical computer science.

In 1998, in the spirit of Hilbert’s famous list of problems produced in 1900, he created a list of 18 unanswered challenges– known as Smale’s problems– to be solved in the 21st century.  (In fact, Smale’s list contains some of the original Hilbert problems, including the Riemann hypothesis and the second half of Hilbert’s sixteenth problem, both of which are still unsolved.)

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Written by LW

July 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

What goes around…

 

The bicycle revolutionized late Victorian and Edwardian society. Between the 1880s and the 1910s, it grew from an expensive fad for the upper classes, to a popular sport, to a marker of freedom for women, and finally, to an affordable mode of transportation for the middle and working classes. The more daring took the riding of the bicycle even further to amazing acrobatic feats atop two pneumatic tyres!

Fancy Cycling, published in 1901, chronicles some of the daring tricks that could be executed on a bicycle…

From the ever-edifying Edwardian Promenade; the photo above is © Shire Publications/Old House, which has just re-released Fancy Cycling.

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As we fixate on fixies, we might recall that it was on this date in 1883 that James Goold Cutler patented the mail chute.  An architect (and later, Mayor of Rochester, NY), Cutler developed the system to allow employees or residents in multi-story buildings– which, with the advent of Otis’ “safe” elevators, were going up in huge numbers– to use a slot on their floor to mail letters which then dropped through a thin shaft to a collection box in the lobby.  Largely extinct now (they had an unfortunate habit of jamming, and then of course, there came email), they were once a standard feature of high-rises.

A Cutler mail chute, still in service as of 2010, in the lobby of the Idaho Building in downtown Boise.

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A young Mother…

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The March 27, 1963 edition of The Steve Allen Show featured a 22-year-old musician playing the bicycle…  an inventive young man named Frank Zappa.

(Parts 2, 3, and 4 linked to the right on the YouTube page)

As we remark that the young Frank actually looks a little like today’s most famous singing cyclist, David Byrne, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You” reached the top of Billboard‘s Hot 100.  Arguing that “there’s only two kinds of music as far as I’m concerned: good and bad,” Charles had overcome his label’s reservations (“you’ll alienate your fans”) and recorded Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music; “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was the first single from the album.  It held the #1 spot on the singles chart for five weeks (the biggest pop hit of Charles’s monumental career); Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music went on to become the best-selling album of the year.  Speaking just before Charles’ death in 2004, his friend and collaborator Willie Nelson said that “The Genius” “did more for country music than any other living human being.”

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