Sunday, June 29, 2008

The world is so full of a number of things

This is a wonderful piece on pneumatic tubes and their various uses in the past, both actual and projected. If you're like me, and the bulk of your exposure to this distant technology comes from Terry Gilliam's (brilliant/biting/absurd) film Brazil, then you may be in for some surprises. But even if you knew that pneumatic tubes were an integral part of the New York postal system [among others?], I suspect you may learn something pneu new. I think what's most fascinating about this is the parallels between it and the internet, as mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs; the transformation from something physical and quite literal into something altogether more mystical [some would disagree with that word] though obviously no less scientific. For me, the line between science at its coldest and romanticism at its weepiest is usually quite thin and blurry.