Friday, September 28, 2012

cfp edited book on steampunk

Brian Croxall and Rachel Bowser are seeking abstracts for inclusion in a proposal for an edited volume on steampunk. From their advertisement:

The anthology will present a varied look at steampunk culture and criticism, presenting a comprehensive look at the genre’s impact and development in the fields of art and material cultural. Accordingly, we seek proposals that explore any of a range of iterations of the genre. These may include, for example, analysis of:

                • Steampunk fiction
                • Steampunk film
                • Steampunk visual art
                • Steampunk fashion
                • Steampunk performance
                • Steampunk fan culture
                • Steampunk in relationship to preceding science fiction and -punk genres
                • Steampunk and feminism
                • Steampunk and postcolonial paradigms
                • Steampunk and Victorian studies
                • Steampunk and technology studies

We hope to present this collection as of interest to both steampunk enthusiasts and non-specialists in the genre, as well as both academic and generalist readers. With this in mind, please submit proposals that are steeped in steampunk culture and criticism, that could be of interest to a generalist audience and that have a strong sense of the stakes of steampunk analysis for broader cultural studies.
Submit 500 word proposals to Brian Croxall (b [dot] croxall [at] gmail [dot] com) and Rachel Bowser (rachel [dot] bowser [at] gmail [dot] com) by 1 October 2012.

Image from the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, UK, from FlikrDelusion's photostream.

Friday, September 21, 2012

meet me in the st louis postal system

There is another nice essay about pneumatic tubes online, this time about the St Louis postal system, which you can find at the RiverFront Times blog.

Those interested in technological assessment may be interested the quoted list of advantages and disadvantages of running the system:
1. High rate of speed between stations for limited quantities of mail. 2. Freedom from surface congestion. 
Limitation and disadvantages: 
1. Only five pounds of mail could by carried in each container; and all classes of mail could not be carried. 2. The minimum time between dispatches is 15 seconds allowing only 20 pounds of letter mail each minute. Therefore, vehicle service would be required to carry mail during heavy volume times. 3. The inability to carry special delivery parcels due to the size of the carriers. 4. The relays at station are built in delays but they are unavoidable requiring all stations to be manned and open during operation. 5. The inability to dispatch between intermediate stations during continuous transmission between any two points.6. Inability to dispatch to railroad companies without additional handling. 7. Complaints resulting from careless locking and accidental opening of container in transit causing damaged mail. 8. Dampness and oil damage to mail. 9. Service interruptions block an entire line. 10. Congestion from heavy mail volumes. 11. Equipment takes up rented building space. 12. Excessive costs.
Image from Popular Mechanics, 10 Geeky Ways to Deliver Mail.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

dad's postboxes

Some guest photos of European postboxes from my father ...

Images from: Prague (Czech Republic), Dresden (Germany) and Portloe (UK).