Monday, September 30, 2013

Marvels of yesteryear and tomorrow



Bishop Hill Steeple Clock
I often intimate that understanding the past, with all its incredible secrets, is key to a bright and fruitful future. I like to think what goes around, comes around. It appears the most successful among us are those who learn from history. Great wonders of yesterday abound in Bishop Hill. The Steeple Clock is a fine example. I am as humbled by this past technology as I am by the current wave cresting now!

Recently my brother, Stephen, introduced me to some bits of technology - both new and old.  Stephen has worked for Honeywell International, a leader in manufacturing and the aerospace industry, for most of his adult life. His insights into how engineering advancements filter down into consumer goods are simply stunning. He sent this photo with the message below. I found it chilling.
"We are putting these in a bunch of new products.  
Don’t worry if you can’t see it.  It can see you. 
Yes, it's a camera."

The brave settlers of Bishop Hill risked everything to escape governmental intrusion in their spiritual lives. I celebrate that courage. One of the reasons my husband and I live here is because Bishop Hill is a haven for autonomy, a place where one can live without excessive restrictions. This may be the last bastion
in Illinois where the luxury of such liberty exists.
It is almost off the grid so it's no surprise that Google Earth images of Bishop Hill are often outdated. In this, I take some comfort.
As I adjust to the ever-growing presence of technology in my world, I can’t help but wonder what the original settlers would have thought of omnipresent cameras recording their lives.

Stephen’s most recent email contained more food for thought: This first video is a compilation of clips from  SIGGRAPH's 2013 Computer Animation Festival and features some of the world's most innovative computer graphics. The video blurs any discernible distinction between fantasy and reality. I've included the link to contrast with this second video shown below. It features an amazing eighteenth century automaton. 

We humans have always endeavored to make visual magic, but seldom have we achieved this level of perfection - in vintage or in modern works. 
Enjoy this blast from the past: