Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas games

It's almost Christmas and one thing I will be doing plenty of over the holidays, is playing games. I like board games, and am still dreaming of a pneumatic tube themed game - maybe Ticket to Ride meets Metro? - but for those who like their games on a screen, you might want to check out SteamWorld Dig 2, which, according to Venture Beat,"is impossible to put down" and includes a pneumatic tube ride for those who can unlock it.

Happy holidays playing whatever games you like to play!

Image from Julochka's Flickr used under the Creative Commons lisence.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

speak easy

A new speakeasy has opened up in town, serving delicious cocktails in a warm stony basement. Mostly I see groups of friends and a few couples enjoying the cloistered space. They seem to be having a good time but what I haven't seen is any flirting between the groups over their whiskey sours. In Berlin in the 1920s, there was plenty of nightclub flirting, and pneumatic tubes were central to how love letters would be sent from table to table.

Atlas Obscura called it the Tinder of the 20th Century. Their recent article talks about the Resi and the Femina, the first which I have written about previously on this blog.

Fascinatingly the article discusses how the notes passed by the tubes were first censored in the switchroom, described as an early form of comment moderation, and that among the many gifts that people could send to each other were perfume and cocaine. Atlas Obscura also makes the connection between the tubes and the telephone song in Cabaret, the first song I know about with a pneumatic theme.

Image from Cabaret Berlin.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

tubes for children

Now I have a child there is a floor of the library where I am spending a lot more time - the children's section in the basement of our local public library. We mostly go there to borrow board books but I am interested in how a library in St Louis County is attracting children in other ways - through pneumatic tubes.

The Florissant Valley Library have recently renovated their children's section with a wall of pneumatic tubes, I guess to show how book slips or other objects travel. I can't tell from the photos whether children or adults can send things themselves through the tubes, it would be interesting to find out.

There are lots of photos of the renovation, under copyright, at the Library's Flickr page.

Image of Verne's cover from FC8 V5946 869ve, Houghton Library, Harvard University.