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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four Short Takes: Some Great Freebies And Three Views From The Past

#1 - Download 448 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Colin Marshall | March 28, 2015

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You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering “five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free.”
If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications’ collection of free art books and catalogs.

Met 1

#2 - Hand Operated Vacuum Cleaners

Adriana [No Tech Magazine] | February 2011

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“The easiest way to utilize pump vacuums (picture below, left) was to have two people operate them. One person would pump the vacuum while a second would use the hose and wand or tools to clean. A common sight was a daughter pumping the handle while mom did the cleaning. Most early vacuum cleaners were expensive for the time. The well-to-do often would purchase the cleaning contraptions to ease the workload of their servants or housekeepers.” 
“Bellows operated vacuums appeared in several styles and shapes. Some early vacuums utilized a single bellows. This made the cleaner less efficient because there was no suction as the bellows closed. 

Hand operated vacuum cleaner 2

#3 - Water Powered Cable Trains

Kris De Decker [No Tech Magazine] | January 2011

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Cable trains (or funiculars) are one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport out there.
A large portion of the power required to pull up the ascending car is delivered by the counterweight of the descending car.
Many historical systems used this efficiency and took it one step further with systems exclusively powered by water and gravity.

Fribourg funicular 2

#4 - Mechanical calculators: computing without electricity

Fast and complicated calculations are a product of fossil fuels.

Kris De Decker [No Tech Magazine] | December 2010

<See the original article at:>

Multiplying and dividing numbers was not always that easy. Before the arrival of cheap electronic pocket calculators and computers in the 1970s, people relied on an array of low-tech means and machines to calculate taxes, profits or the properties of engineering parts.
Being an obsolete technology now, some of these 19th and 20th century calculators are surprisingly sophisticated and fashionable. Moreover, most are powered by a crank, which makes these gadgets "green". Today's pocket calculators are no power hogs, either. The thing is that computers took over most calculating jobs from calculators, and a large supercomputer consumes as much energy as a convoy of trucks.


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