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Posts under tag: digital humanities

July 20, 2016

This plane could cross the Atlantic in 3.5 hours. Why did it fail?

(From article of the same name by Phil Edwards)

You might remember the Concorde, the supersonic plane that came to symbolize technological optimism and extreme luxury. Though it always had critics and a high ticket price, it delivered on the promise of supersonic transport, giving riders trans-Atlantic flights in under four hours.

And then in 2003, the Concorde landed for good. What went wrong?

The video above examines the tangled mess that doomed the Concorde. The reason for Concorde’s demise isn’t simple. It happened due to a range of factors, from high price to manufacturing concerns to environmental worries. In concert, all of these negatives turned a technological breakthrough into a business nonstarter.

But even if the Concorde failed, it looked beautiful doing so. The video shows the masterful engineering that made the Concorde work, from its breakthrough wing to its whimsical — yet highly functional — “droop snoot.”

Smithsonian curator Bob Van der Linden, who also rode on the plane, told me the journey was both extraordinary and surprisingly ordinary, because the engineers strove to make Concorde as comfortable as any passenger flight.

And that’s the enticing paradox of this late, great plane: It could be both an engineering masterpiece and a business failure at the same time. That may be what makes it so alluring, as well. We know planes like the Concorde can change flight; we just have to figure out how to make it sustainable.

March 2, 2016

Mapping History: a Digital Humanities project here at UO

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 3.51.06 PM

The University of Oregon in association with Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation have developed Mapping History–an online database of maps “that is designed to provide interactive and animated representations of fundamental historical problems and/or illustrations of historical events, developments, and dynamics.”

This project has been supervised here at the University largely by Professors John Nicols and James Mohr. Professor Nicols contributed maps focused on the Roman period and Professor Mohr with maps focused on American social history in the 19th century. Additional UO contributors to this project include Professors David Luebke, Ina Asim, and Alex Dracobly.

For more information on this project, check out their homepage at this link.

December 10, 2015

High quality video footage of Tokyo after World War II

As seen on Open Culture’s website today, the official music video for DJ Boogie Belgique’s song Ms. Yutani was posted since it features footage from post-WWII Tokyo (seen above). All of the footage is showing pedestrians, commuters, and shoppers going about their day. Although the video was uploaded to YouTube over three years ago, it has gained recognition in the digital humanities community recently in order to pinpoint when this footage was taken.

There are some subtle clues in a couple scenes that narrow the date down to some time during the American occupation of Japan (1945-1952). According to Scott Wilson of Rocket News 24, there are references to:

“Hatsu Imai, the first woman elected to the Japanese House of Representatives in 1946” and another for Miracle on 34th Street, originally released in November 1948.”

From those references, he stated:

“The consensus, in any case, seems to call this the Tokyo of the late 1940s…”

Although there are some military vehicles passing through some of the footage, there aren’t any visible traces of the occupation mainly due to the demands of the American censors who were known for frowning upon direct American references.

For more information, check out the remainder of this article at