Archive for August, 2012

One of the more “action-packed” Scientific American editions is dated June 26, 1909. On the cover is a comparison of the “Zeppelin II” with the battleship “Louisiana” and a photo of the Metropolitan Tower in New York City. Today it is a little slow at the gallery, so I took some time to read the contents.

In this edition, there was a correction to a previous statement:

“We recently made the statement that there was no spectroscopic evidence of water vapor on Mars. We are informed by the secretary of Lowell Observatory that not only has the presence of water vapor in the atmospher of Mars been spectroscopically detected by Mr. Slipher at Flagstaff, but that it has been photographed and the amount of water measured by Prof. Very.”

How about signaling to Mars? There are many suggestions, including a “black cloth laid in a pattern on a wide plain.” What is remarkable about correspondence with Scientific American is the presumption that there are indeed sentient beings on the planet. For example, if there were a pattern of black cloth on a plain, one writer explains that it would not be possible: “Hence a Martian will look at the dark side of the earth, and only see its blackness.”  Also, I didn’t know that a heliotrope could be “used to transmit signals or messages” anywhere, much less to Mars. John Ford dismisses the possibility: “Now, if you project a signal in a straight line from the observatory at Washington to an observatory in a great city on Mars (!), using the point where you see mars as the point of direction, where would your signal or message be when it has traveled a distance from the earth to Mars?”  Indeed it is “a well-known fact that the stars are not where we see them.”

Maybe the Curiosity can put all of these questions to rest.

Heliotrope is also a color and the name of a flower. And what does Scientific American have to say about colors? Well, Louis Prang, who came to be known as the father of the American Christmas card, who died while on his way to the Seattle Exposition, devoted more than forty years to the creation of standard colors.

The first time that people in the vicinity of New York City witnessed “real flights by an aeroplane” was scheduled for June 26. There was an exhibition sponsored by the Aeronautic Society at Morris Park where there would be a baloon race and a flight by the society’s dirigible. Two bi-planes (one of which was flown by Glenn H. Curtiss for the Scientific American trophy) and a monoplane were exhibited.

“The Non-Man-Killing Aeroplane of the Future Will Be Created from Our Crushed Bodies” Ralph Johnstone

The Wright Brothers also made this edition. Dayton, Ohio held a celebration, including a parade, honoring the development of transporation in America. The Wright Brothers were awarded medals by Congress and the city of Dayton.

In the Wright Brother’s article, there were sentiments that in some respects, reflected my thoughts about innovation when so many are discouraged about funding shortfalls. Scientific American paraphrased Wilbur Wright’s speech in this way:  “Although inventors sometimes complain of lack of sympathy and encouragement, he and his brother had not found it so, for at the very beginning of their experiments they had received offers of financial assistance from people who had nothing to gain. In his opinion, if worthy inventors did not get assistance it was because their needs were not known and not because of indifference.”

Here is a transcription of the speech:

“It is sometimes said that inventors receive little encouragement in the early stages of their work.We have very little complaint to offer on this score.  During our first trials we received offers of help from all quarters. Just because we didn’t find it necessary to accept the proffers of help is no reason why it did not show that the world is full of sympathy and willing to come forth to encourage whatever is right and useful. Even today if $1,000,000 could secure another Tennyson or Shakespeare, the money would be forthcoming. The trouble is not due to the heart of the world, but rather to the machinery, which it is necessary to first put in operation.”

All was not sweetness and light, however. The above mentioned Curtiss and the Wright Brothers were involved in a protracted lawsuit where the Wright Brothers claimed that Curtiss had infringed on their  patents US821393 US1075533. The dispute wasn’t settled until 1914, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in the Wrights’ favor.

What are your plans and dreams? Come talk about them at Steam at Harper’s Ferry! Who knows where they will lead.

Original Victorian-era Scientific American magazines, including this edition, may be purchased at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

Read Full Post »

Thanks to everyone who has already come to Steam at Harper’s Ferry to see this exhibit. It was a pleasure showing visitors the artists’ works and introduce so many to the steampunk genre.

This Saturday, August 25, Steam at Harper’s Ferry will be open until 7 pm. Please come by!

Our next exhibit, “Steampunk Leisure,” opens September 22.

Read Full Post »

On September 29, Steam at Harper’s Ferry will host an inaugural arts-related business event. Larry Gillick will be one of the guest speakers.

Larry Gillick is a DC-based media consultant and former Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Arts Communication at Shenandoah University in Virginia, as well as a former reporter and anchor.

Larry got his professional start in media in 1991, after joining the U.S. Army as a public affairs specialist.  He watched the first Gulf War on TV, as he and his classmates were still learning to be soldiers and soldier-journalists.  Two runs through the Defense Information School — once for print, once for broadcast journalism — helped put him on the road to his early work in multimedia.

His first Army supervisor handed him the open head-end of a cable television channel and the authority and responsibility to fill it.  It was the first of many military “learning experiences.”

In Korea, he took charge of a Teagu-based radio station and TV news bureau — another excellent experience.  Eventually, he moved to Seoul, where he produced and anchored the nationwide evening news program, AFKN News Tonight.  He also began training new military journalists.

Larry remained a newsroom trainer throughout his time in the service.  One of his trainees was named Broadcast Journalist of the Year in their military command.

He left the military for a fellowship at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication.  He later ran a newsroom team in North Carolina, including reporters at four remote bureaus.  He partnered with investigators in the field to add computer assisted reporting elements to their daily newsgathering, and started speaking on panels at annual conferences of the National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting.

Larry moved into teaching in 2001, and helped East Carolina University revise the communication curriculum and develop a distance education program that outpaced its live-attendance counterpart.

In a quick transition from teaching about using computers to teaching with computers, Larry began experimenting with educational technology.  His early work with podcasting brought him to Las Vegas and a panel at NAB, speaking on its use in journalism and journalism education.  He also worked with his regional PRSA, presenting on special considerations in leadership of the artistically talented.

After a move to American University, Larry worked with folks at Gannett (and one at AU) to produce online training for digital journalism. They produced three training modules: Breaking News Online, Local Conversation (available online in a redacted form), and one that hasn’t been released for public consumption.

More infamously, he worked with an AU grad student and a pair of gifted art/software developers to inspire the Newseum to fund and construct a site in Second Life, a persistent virtual “world,” as an experiment in the delivery of content to virtual space.

At his most recent teaching post, Shenandoah University, he began working with arts students, mixing new media with live and recorded performance art.  He also began work with online fundraising, focusing attention on Facebook at Kickstarter.

His current gig — well, he can’t tell you about that right now — perhaps in a few years.


Read Full Post »

When: Friday, August 17, 6 – 8 pm
What: Birthday Party to commemorate the 200th birthday of Charles Town native 
son Martin Robison Delany.
In honor of Dr. Delany’s interest in health, there will be hula hoop demonstrations, 
Zumba classes, African infused tap and free jump ropes will be available. People of 
all ages are invited to join in!
Where: Downtown Charles Town, 124 E. Washington Street, across the street from the 
Charles Town Library.
When:  Fri Aug 17, 2012 to Sun Aug 19, 2012
What:  African-American Culture and Heritage Festival. The festival is being 
dedicated in honor to Delany. Descendants are invited to participate in the 
annual parade that will take place on Saturday at 12 noon which take place 
down the main street in Charles Town. Educational, health, vendors, food, 
festive and other activities will take place at the festival ground located at 
301 South Lawrence St. Charles Town.
Where: Festival Grounds Charles Town, WV

When: Sat Aug 18, 2012 to Sun Aug 19, 2012
What:  Cannon firing demonstrations Sat 11 am, 1, 3 pm and Sun 11 am, 1 pm 
Learn about Civil War artillery and the important role it played in the Battle 
of South Mountain.
Where:  Gathland State Park Burkittsville, MD

When:  Sat Aug 18, 2012 to Sun Aug 19, 2012 *11 am - 4 pm*
What:  Bringing In the Harvest: 19th Century Summer Foods <http://www.nps.gov/hafe>
Join 19th-century Historic Foodways Expert Carol Anderson for this in depth look 
at how summer time harvest foods were preserved for winter consumption.  Demonstrations 
include, pickling, drying, potting, and canning.
Where:  Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Harpers Ferry, WV

When: Sun Aug 19, 2012 *8 am*
What:  1906 Niagara Movement Commemorative Pilgrimage to John Brown’sFort <http://www.nps.gov/hafe>
Retrace the 1906 footsteps of the men and women of Niagara during this commemorative walk to the site of the 
John Brown’s Fort in 1906. A 10:00 a.m. memorial service will follow at the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church 
Where:  Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Murphy Farm & Curtis Freewill Baptist Church Harpers Ferry, WV
If you come into the Lower Town, be sure to check out the African American 
Exhibits. The articles below were copied from the Afro-American newspaper based in Baltimore, MD. The first one is dated July 21, 1906, the second, August 18, 1906 and the third August 25, 1906.


When:  Sun Aug 19, 2012 to Sat Aug 25, 2012
What:  60th Annual Jefferson County Fair <http://www.jeffersoncountyfairwv.org/>
Where:  Jefferson County Fairgrounds Jefferson Co, WV


Read Full Post »

The “Gadgets, Guns and Gears Exhibit” has received some great visitor comments in our guest book. Here is a sample:

“Spectacular!!! I want to see MORE!” L.C.

“Very interesting … me gusta!!” D.S.

“Amazing.” L.B.

“Nice! So amazing! Like from Spain :)” J & A

“Wonderful!” J.G.

“Inspiring” C.B.

This weekend, August 11 & 12, Steam is offering a 10% discount on woodblock prints to ATC 75th Anniversary participants.

The exhibit ends on August 26.



Read Full Post »

Promotional Opportunity for Artists and Creatives – Inaugural Business Series and “Shameless Self-Promotion”


Steam at Harper’s Ferry announces an invitation to artists and creatives to do a presentation about their art or their art-related business. The purpose of this aspect of the series is to encourage artists and creatives to talk about their work. Indeed, it is difficult to garner support for any idea without expressing it clearly and often! This is a chance to practice.

See the attached for the requirements.

Steam Call for Presentations

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: