Tuesday, February 03, 2009

From serendipitous rocket science to Sakai via 1856

I was googling for something last week and accidentally found a funny anecdote about "kindergarten rocket science".

But I think what I was looking for at the time were the 1856 reports authorized by congress to find railroad routes to the west and in California. That's because I was able to buy two more color engravings on ebay that had been removed from the reports. If I can find them cheap I hang on to them until someone shows a slight bit of interest in local history, then I gift them a print or two :) Volume V (scroll down) includes central California. Another interesting source is "Reconnaissance of the central San Joaquin Valley".

I'll scan them in color sometime, but there are low resolution black and white scans at the University of Michigan of the volumes, The most relevant lithographs to this area are: "plain between San Joaquin and King's rivers", "valley of the Kah-wee-ya river (Four Creeks)", and "plain between Kah-wee-ya and King's river". But there are also wood engravings in the text, such as "Tulare Valley, from the summit of the Tejon Pass".

Bonus: you really should spend some time with the Rumsey map collection.

Additional bonus: whinging and why you shouldn't do it. The talk is supposed to be about open source but is really about doing-not-just-complaining. Speaking of open source, you might want to watch a demo of the new Sakai 3.0 user experience, or watch the infamous Michael Wesch talk about "from Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able: Experiments in New Media Literacy" (you can skip the first 8 minutes of introductory comments).