Library staff recommendation: Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires

Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires
Written and presented by Robert X. Cringely

Greenfield DVD: GD977

This PBS documentary is not just a look at the personalities behind the development of the personal computer, it’s also a fascinating snapshot of the state of the high-tech industry right before the Internet turned everything upside-down.

Technology journalist Robert X. Cringely tells the story of the development of the personal computer, largely through interviews with those involved. Starting with garage hobbyists heavily influenced by Northern California’s early 70’s psychedelic scene, he continues through to the introduction of Windows 95, which seemed to cement Microsoft’s hegemony over the entire computer industry.

From today’s perspective, it’s interesting to see how the interviews with both major and minor figures in the development of the personal computer industry also end up describing the industry circa 1995. Bill Gates is feared and reviled. Steve Jobs is an underemployed also-ran. And the Internet is nowhere to be seen — it doesn’t get mentioned at all.

(Of course, the Internet was just around the corner, poised to explode; which required Cringely to produce a follow-up documentary, Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet, a mere two years later.)

Digital Resource of the Week: Strange Science

P.T. Barnum's fake Feejee Mermaid (1842)
P.T. Barnum's fake Feejee Mermaid (1842)

Strange Science: The Rocky Road to Modern Paleontology and Biology archives science’s efforts at understanding the world – a long and difficult process full of errors and oddities. Theories and history we now know as facts weren’t always so obvious.

A comprehensive and well-researched essay on evolution explains the history of the theory along with a timeline and scientists’ biographies to highlight important dates and figures in science’s history. However, it’s the Goof Gallery that provides the most interesting images and ideas!

The Goof Gallery showcases our trials and errors we we learned about the world around us. Learn about dinosaurs and dragons (hard to tell apart at one point in history), mammals (like unicorns), sea creatures (mermaids and monster octopus make an appearance), forgeries and frauds (P.T. Barnum’s Feejee Mermaid is included), and more. Primary sources for these creatures’ first appearance in print are included throughout and an extensive References’ list will lead you to even more interesting images and stories.

If you like mythical creatures and scientific oddities, check out some great books in the UArts Libraries’ catalog. Search for subjects such as monsters or sea monsters, dragons, and Animals — Mythical.

Unicorn originally published in Monstrorum Historiae (17th century)
Unicorn originally published in Monstrorum Historiae (17th century)

Studio Art MFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Kyle Citrynell

Kyle Citrynell
Kyle Citrynell

Arts copyright attorney Kyle Citrynell will speak this Friday, July 1 at 3pm in Hamilton Hall’s CBS Auditorium. Ms. Citrynell graduated from Duke University and now works in Louisville, KY for Seiller Watermann LLC. Primarily working with the Kentucky Arts Commission and Fund for the Arts, she helped to establish Professional Services to the Arts, providing legal and financial services to artists and art groups.

A Dilemna in Sponsor Liability: Trademark v. Tort” by Ms. Citrynell and others from The Business Suit: The Newsletter of the DRI Commercial Litigation Committee (Summer 2002) is available online.

To learn more about copyright and other legal matters related to the visual and performing arts,  search the UArts Libraries‘ catalog for subjects such as copyright infringement, patent laws and legislation, and public domain (copyright law).

Studio Art MFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Firth MacMillan

detail of Trestle, 2009
detail of Trestle, 2009

New York City-based artist Firth MacMillan will discuss her work Wednesday, June 29 at 1 pm in Hamilton Hall’s CBS Auditorium. She received her MFA from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and now teaches on the various campuses of the City University of New York.

Ms. MacMillan’s work is included in Contemporary Ceramics by Emmanuel Cooper (London: Thames and Hudson, 2009). Find it in Greenfield Library, call number 738.09051 C78c.

She is also featured in “The Walter Ostrom Legacy” in Ceramics Monthly v. 51, no. 4 (April 2003) which is available in print in Greenfield Library.