In 1964, Isaac Asimov Predicts What the World Will Look Like Today: Self-Driving Cars, Video Calls, Fake Meats & More

Painting of Asimov on his throne by Rowena Morill, via Wikimedia Commons

Isaac Asimov's readers have long found something prophetic in his work, but where did Asimov himself look when he wanted to catch a glimpse of the future? In 1964 he found one at the New York World's Fair, the vast exhibition dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe" that history now remembers as the most elaborate expression of the industrial and technological optimism of Space Age America. Despite the fanciful nature of some of the products on display, visitors first saw things there — computers, for instance — that would become essential in a matter of decades.

"What is to come, through the fair's eyes at least, is wonderful," Asimov writes in a piece on his experience at the fair for the New York TimesBut it all makes him wonder: "What will life be like, say, in 2014 A.D., 50 years from now? What will the World's Fair of 2014 be like?" His speculations begin with the notion that "men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better," which they certainly have, though not so much through the use of "electroluminescent panels" that will make "ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button." Still, all the other screens near-constantly in use seem to provide all the glow we need for the moment.




"Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs," Asimov predicts, and so it has, though our kitchens have yet to evolve to the point of preparing "'automeals,' heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on." He hits closer to the mark when declaring that "robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence." He notes that IBM's exhibit at the World's Fair had nothing about robots to show, but plenty about computers, "which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the 'brains' of robots."

"The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords," Asimov writes, and in the case of our all-important mobile phones, that has turned out to be at least half-true. But we still lack the "long-lived batteries running on radioisotopes" produced by "fission-power plants which, by 2014, will be supplying well over half the power needs of humanity." The real decade of the 2010s turned out to be more attached to the old ways, not least by cords and cables, than Asimov imagined. Even the United States of America hasn't quite mastered the art of designing highways so that "long buses move on special central lanes" along them, let alone forms of ground travel that "take to the air a foot or two off the ground."

But one advance in transportation Asimov describes will sound familiar to those of us living in the 2010s: "Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with 'Robot-brains,' vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver." Indeed, we hear about few reportedly imminent technologies these days as much as we hear about self-driving cars and their potential to get us where we're going while we do other things, such as engage in communications that "will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone," on a screen used "not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books."

Conversations with the moon colonies, Asimov needlessly warns us, "will be a trifle uncomfortable" because of the 2.5-second delay. But immediately thereafter comes the much more realistic prediction that "as for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set." Still, "all is not rosy" in the world of 2014, whose population will have swelled to 6,500,000,000 — or 7,298,453,033, as it happened. This has many implications for development, housing, and even agriculture, though the "mock-turkey" and "pseudosteak" eaten today has more to do with lifestyle than necessity. ("It won't be bad at all," Asimov adds, "if you can dig up those premium prices.")

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, "the world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders." Asimov foresees the need for a change in education to accommodate that, one hinted at even in General Electric's exhibit in 1964, which "consists of a school of the future in which such present realities as closed-circuit TV and programmed tapes aid the teaching process." His envisioned high-school curriculum would have students master "the fundamentals of computer technology" and get them "trained to perfection in the use of the computer language."

But even with all these developments, "mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity." The "serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences" of that will make psychiatry an important medical specialty, and "the lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine." Though Asimov may have been surprised by what we've come up with in the quarter-century since his death, as well as what we haven't come up with, he would surely have understood the sorts of anxieties that now beset us in the future-turned-present in which we live. But even given all the ways in which his predictions in 1964 have proven more or less correct, he did miss one big thing: there was no World's Fair in 2014.

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Walter Cronkite Imagines the Home of the 21st Century … Back in 1967

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Anatomy of a Fake: Forgery Experts Reveal 5 Ways To Spot a Fake Painting by Jackson Pollock (or Any Other Artist)

In the old days, determining an art forgery was mostly a matter of narrative deduction, a la Sherlock Holmes.

Thiago Piwowarczyk and Jeffrey Taylor, founders of New York Art Forensics, employ such techniques to establish provenance, tracing the chain of ownership of any given work back to its original sale by researching catalogues, title transfers, and correspondence.




But they also bring a number of high tech tools to the table, to further prove—or in the case of the alleged Jackson Pollock drip painting above, disprove—a work’s authenticity.

In the WIRED video above, these experts, whose pedigree includes degrees in Chemistry, Forensic Science, and Comparative History, a Visual Arts Management textbook, and two Frick Collection Fellowships, break the sleuthing process down to five critical steps:

1. Establish provenance

Obsolete technology has a place in the process too, in the form of a highly unreliable fax, allegedly sent in 1997. It purports to be a photocopy of a typewritten letter from 1970, written by a gallery owner who talked one of the artist’s former girlfriends into parting with a number of works after his death.

Unfortunately for the painting’s current owner, Piwowarczyk and Taylor could find no proof that the gallery or its owner ever existed. The letter also botches Pollock’s death date and oddly, there’s a blank where the sender’s number would normally be.

Due diligence reveals nothing resembling this painting in the catalogue raisonné of Pollock’s work.

2. Close up visual analysis

This can be accomplished with tools as simple as the flashlight and plastic caliper Taylor uses to examine the staple holes found at regular intervals along the unsigned canvas’ edges. In the 1940s, artists started gravitating toward staples over tacks as a method for securing their canvases to stretcher bars, but would Pollock have done so? Likely not, to hear him tell it:

I hardly ever stretch my canvas before painting. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface.

Piwowarczyk and Taylor draw on their other senses, too, when performing this in-depth visual inspection. A deep sniff reveals that teabags were used to discolor the canvas, in hope of making it appear older than it is.

3. Photography with a multispectral imaging camera 

This camera’s ability to see the Ultra-Violet spectrum allows our forensic experts to spot restorations, underdrawing, and pentimenti. Here, the camera revealed an underlying painting whose geometric layout is uncharacteristic of Pollock, as well as a suspiciously amateurish patch job on the back of the canvas, another attempt to make the painting appear older than it is.

4. Examination with an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer

It looks like a cool Star Wars prop, and allows the examiners to identify elements in the pigment. Here, our “Pollock” gets a pass. There’s titanium (as in Titanium White) in evidence, but that’s permissible for anything painted from the 30s onward.

5. Molecular Imaging and Analysis by Raman Spectroscopy

The forger might have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their Raman Spectroscope! The minuscule samples of paint Piwowarczyk harvests from the canvas reveal all sorts of organic debris that have no place in a Pollock, such as drywall dust and an acrylic that didn’t come into use ‘til the 1960s.

In conclusion, exercise caution and consult the experts before purchasing a high value drip painting this holiday season! According to Piwowarczyk, the fakes—over 100 and presumably still counting—outstrip the number of drip paintings Pollock created throughout his lifetime.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC from December 6 - 20 for the 10th anniversary production of Greg Kotis’ apocalyptic holiday tale, The Truth About Santa, and the next monthly installment of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

How Peter Jackson Made His State-of-the-Art World War I Documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old: An Inside Look

There are very few working directors today who can do what Peter Jackson does so well—create extraordinary spectacles on the grandest of scales while also staying tightly focused on character development and emotional depth. He’s made missteps. His Hobbit trilogy felt bloated, busy and unnecessary, but one reason it so disappointed was because he’d already shown himself a master of fantasy filmmaking with what many considered the unfilmmable Lord of the Rings.

Of course non-Tolkien-related Jackson films like Heavenly Creatures also showcase these strengths, on a smaller scale: the ability to retain the human dimension amidst cinematic spectacles and inhuman darkness (a quality he mined explicitly in his years as a horror director). All of these sensibilities, including a pronounced streak of dark humor and talent for manipulating his audiences, make him the ideal director for a documentary on World War I.




It's a conflict that makes little historical sense to most of us, that unfolded on a scale few of us can imagine, with few identifiable heroes and villains and a complicated geopolitical situation that can feel out of our grasp.

Many documentaries on the war are informative but, frankly, quite dull. In striving for objectivity, they lose sight of humanity. Rather than adopt the voice of god and newsreel look that characterizes the usual fare, Jackson has taken an active role in shaping the narrative for us with cutting-edge blockbuster cinematic techniques. He gives us characters to care about in showing the horror of trench warfare, the confusion and camaraderie of war. Though he uses original footage, it is digitally enhanced and colorized, screened in 3D, with recordings of remembrances from the soldiers themselves dramatically overlaid to create the sense that the figures we see onscreen are speaking to us.

The result, as Guy Lodge writes at Variety, “is a technical dazzler with a surprisingly humane streak…. So dazzlingly transformative is the restoration of this footage that it may as well be the product of a movie shoot.” Indeed, once the credits roll, viewers see the same “veritable army of magic-working technicians’ names” as they would on any big-budget action movie. Jackson has, in effect, produced “the world’s most state-of-the-art educational film,” applying all the emotional levers and pulleys of feature filmmaking to a historical archive.

Like most of us, students have trouble understanding the scale of the war and connecting with the lives of people so indistinctly photographed and far away in time. Jackson makes sure that they can do both, and his film will be sent to every high school in the U.K. Those schools will not, of course, be able to reproduce the 3D effects. Yet even these, though they sound “gimmicky on the face of it,” writes Lodge, prove “to have an experiential purpose, conveying the juddering movement and chaos of a conflict many of us have largely viewed through calcified still images.”

In the interviews and behind the scenes videos here, we learn how Jackson and his team solved the film speed problem to make the old reels look natural, how they created a color palette and removed blurriness and blemishes. Jackson also talks about his own personal stake in the project, imagining what his grandfather endured in the Great War. This connection seems to have spurred him all the more in the effort.

"To memorialize these soldiers a hundred years later," he says, "is to try to bring some of their humanity back into the world again, to stop them being a black and white cliché.” In creating this moving memorial, Jackson goes far beyond the mandate of an educational film. He has used all the techniques at his disposal to make good on the promise in Robert Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem “For the Fallen,” from which the documentary takes its title:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How the Inca Used Intricately-Knotted Cords, Called Khipu, to Write Their Histories, Send Messages & Keep Records

Those of us who learned to write in a (mostly) phonetic language learned to take it for granted that writing should correspond (roughly) to sound. Then we learned of the pictographs, ideographs, and logograms of the Chinese alphabet, or of Ancient Egyptian or Mayan, or of other non-phonemic orthographies, and we were forced to revise earlier assumptions. Those who pursue the study of symbolic systems even further will eventually come to meet khipu, the Incan system of record-keeping that uses intricately knotted rope.

Khipu, long thought an abacus-like means of bookkeeping, has recently been acknowledged as much more than that, countering a scholarly view Daniel Cossins summarizes at New Scientist as the belief that the Incas, despite their technological and political “sophistication… never learned to write.” This European logocentrism (in the Derridean sense), persisted for centuries despite some evidence to the contrary four hundred years ago.




For example, the poet Garcilaso de la Vega, son of an Incan princess and Spanish conquistador, wrote in 1609 that the Incas “recorded on knots everything that could be counted, even mentioning battles and fights, all the embassies that had come to visit the Inca, and all the speeches and arguments they had uttered.” There may be some hyperbole here. In any case, the point “was moot,” notes Cossins, “because no one could read any of them."

Like mostly illiterate cultures in the West and East that relied on scribes for record-keeping, Incan civilization relied on khipumayuq, “or the keepers of the khipus, a specially trained caste who could tie and read the cords.” As explorer Alejandro Chu and Patricia Landa, Conservator of the Incahuasi Archeological Project, explain in the National Geographic video at the top, these specialists died, or were killed off, before they could pass their knowledge to the next generations.

But the linguistic code, it seems, may have been cracked—by an undergraduate freshman economics major at Harvard named Manny Medrano. As Atlas Obscura reported last year, Medrano, working under his professor of Pre-Columbian studies, Gary Urton, spent his spring break matching a set of six khipu against a colonial-era Spanish census document. He was able to confirm what scholars had long assumed, that khipu kept track of census and other administrative data.

Moreover, though, Medrano “noticed that the way each cord was tied onto the khipu seemed to correspond to the social status of the 132 people recorded in the census document. The colors of the strings also appeared to be related to the people’s first names.” (Now a senior, Medrano’s findings have been published in the journal Ethnohistory; he is first author on the paper, “indicating that he contributed the bulk of the research”).

This research shows how khipu can tell stories as well as record data sets. Medrano built upon decades of work done by Urton and other scholars, which Cossins summarizes in more detail. Other ethnographers like St. Andrews’ Sabine Hyland have had similar epiphanies. Hyland chanced upon a woman in Lima who pointed her to khipus in the village of San Juan de Collata. The villagers “believe them to be narrative epistles,” writes Cossins, “created by local chiefs during a rebellion against the Spanish in the late 18th century.”

After careful analysis, Hyland found that the khipus' pendant cords “came in 95 different combinations of colour, fibre type and direction of ply. That is within the range of symbols typically found in syllabic writing systems.” She has since hypothesized that khipu “contain a combination of phonetic symbols and ideographic ones, where a symbol represents a whole word.”

Hyland grants it's possible that later khipus made after contact with the Spanish may have absorbed an alphabet from Spanish writing. Nevertheless, these findings should make us wonder what other artifacts from around the world preserve a language Western scholars have never learned how to read.

Attempts to decipher khipus use all sorts of comparative methods, from comparing them with each other to comparing them with contemporary Spanish documents. But one innovative method at MIT began by comparing Incan khipu with student attempts to create their own rope language, in a 2007 course led by the “Khipu Research Group," a collection of scholars, including Urton, from archeology, electrical engineering, and computer science.

“To gain insight into this question” of how the code might work, the syllabus notes, “this class will explore how you would record language with knots in rope.” Maybe you’d rather skip the guesswork and learn how to make a khipu the way the Inca may have done? If so, see the series of six videos above by Harvard Ph.D. student in archeology, Jon Clindaniel. And to learn as much about khipu as you might ever hope to know, check out the Khipu Database Project at Harvard, whose goal is to collect “all known information about khipu into one centralized repository.”

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

In 17th-Century Japan, Creaking Floors Functioned as Security Systems That Warned Palaces & Temples of Approaching Intruders and Assassins

Offer a cutting-edge security system, and you'll suffer no shortage of customers who want it installed. But before our age of concealed cameras, motion sensors, retinal scanners, and all the other advanced and often unsettling technologies known only to industry insiders, how did owners of large, expensive, and even royalty-housing properties buy peace of mind? We find one particularly ingenious answer by looking back about 400 years ago, to the wooden castles and temples of 17th-century Japan.

"For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included," writes Sora News 24's Casey Baseel. "Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step. How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm."




In these specially engineered floors, "planks of wood are placed atop a framework of supporting beams, securely enough that they won’t dislodge, but still loosely enough that there’s a little bit of play when they’re stepped on." And when they are stepped on, "their clamps rub against nails attached to the beams, creating a shrill chirping noise," rendering stealthy movement nearly impossible and thus making for an effective "countermeasure against spies, thieves, and assassins."

According to Zen-Garden.org, you can still find — and walk on — four such uguisubari, or "nightingale floors," in Kyoto: at Daikaku-ji temple, Chio-in temple, Toji-in temple, and Ninomura Palace.

If you can't make it out to Kyoto any time soon, you can have a look and a listen to a couple of those nightingale floors in the short clips above. Then you'll understand just how difficult it would have been to cross one without alerting anyone to your presence. This sort of thing sends our imaginations straight to visions of highly trained ninjas skillfully outwitting palace guards, but in their day these deliberately squeaky floors floors also carried more pleasant associations than that of imminent assassination. As this poem on Zen-Garden.org's uguisubari page says says:

 

鳥を聞く

歓迎すべき音

鴬張りを渡る

 

A welcome sound

To hear the birds sing

across the nightingale floor

via @12pt9/Sora News

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

These Four Manuscripts Contain All of the Literature Written in Old English–and Beyond That, There’s Nothing More

Book historians and rare manuscript librarians do not have the most glamorous jobs by the usual standards. They deal with weathered, tattered, fragmentary scraps of text in archaic languages and lettering. It’s work unlikely to receive the Hollywood (or Netflix) treatment unless wizards, witches, or occult detectives are involved. But the relative obscurity of these professions does not make the work any less valuable. Without dedicated archivists and preservationists, a slow collective amnesia, or worse, can set in.

One might call this attitude precious. Specialists are useful, art is great, but with sophisticated machine learning, we can make, store, and print copies of every historical artifact in the world, along with all of the accumulated knowledge about them. What need to dote on crumbling manuscripts? Why the special status of the original? The question, taken up by Walter Benjamin in his 1936 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” comes down in part to something he called “aura.”




Take the case of four manuscripts, all of which recently appeared together at the British Library’s extensive exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War: The Vercelli Book, the Junius Manuscript, the Exeter Book, and the Beowulf Manuscript contain riddles, religious texts, elegies, and the oldest manuscript of the oldest known poem in English. These represent the sum total of extant original literary manuscripts in Old English, a tongue several centuries distant from our own but still embedded deep within the structure of every modern version of the language.

Each manuscript has what, as Benjamin wrote, “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking… its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” Josephine Livingstone puts the matter more plainly at The New Republic.

Why are these four books so special? It has to do, I think, with the concept of the original—a concept we have almost entirely lost touch with. The Beowulf Manuscript… is not merely a representation of a story; it is the story…. The manuscripts confront us with a former version of our literary selves; identities that we barely recognize, and which estrange us from ourselves.

We can reproduce history infinitely, but the only way to experience the humbling otherworldliness that dwarfs our cramped ideas about it is through its physical remainders. Livingstone doesn’t clarify whom she includes in the phrase “our literary selves,” but we might as well say, at minimum, this means every speaker of English and everyone who has read English literature in translation or felt the influence of English words and phrases in other languages.

We acquire the language we hear and read from literary sources, however remote; they are constitutive, the threads that weave together cultural narratives into a larger pattern. The original work of art, Benjamin argued, like the relic, has religious significance. And where the relic grounds the cult, art grounds material culture in such a way, he thought, that it repels fascism's aesthetic obsession with destruction.

Original artifacts “must restore the instinctual power of the human bodily senses,” literary scholar Susan Buck-Morss elaborates, “for the sake of humanity’s self-preservation.” The statement may sound less grandiose in the context of Europe in 1936, or we might consider it just as relevant today (and expand it to include not only art but nature).

We can rely on the fact that, should the Beowulf Manuscript be destroyed, Livingstone grants, “the poem would still survive,” as would the image of the manuscript in very fine detail. That is “the hope contained in Benjamin’s dirge.” But what is lost can never appear in the world again. You can view most of these rare texts—The Vercelli Book, the Junius Manuscript, and the Beowulf Manuscript—in high resolution scans at the British and Bodleian Libraries.

The texts are a minuscule sampling of the number of cultural artifacts around the world worthy of preservation, and publicity. And they are a tiny sampling of the literary production of Old English. But on them rests a great deal of our understanding about the linguistic ancestors of the language, with more to learn, perhaps, as scanning technology becomes even more advanced, illuminating rather than replacing the original.

via The New Republic

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Hear the Sounds of World War I: A Gas Attack Recorded on the Front Line, and the Moment the Armistice Ended the War

The world recently commemorated the 100th anniversary of end of World War I, which came to its close on November 11th, 1918. The last veterans of that unprecedentedly large-scale military conflict, all of them centenarians or supercentenarians, died in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Though historical scholarship on the subject continues, the Great War, as it was widely known at the time, has now well and truly passed out of living memory. No one alive saw World War I for themselves, though we do have photographs, some of them in color; and no one alive heard World War I for themselves, though we do have a little recorded audio: in the clip above, you can hear the sounds of a gas shell bombardment in the war's final year.

"Just before the end of the Great War, William Gaisberg, a sound recordist of the pre-electric era, took recording equipment to the Western Front in order to capture the sound of British artillery shelling German lines with poison gas," writes media historian Brian Hanrahan at Sounding Out!. The “Gas Shell Bombardment” record, "a 12-inch HMV shellac disc, just over 2 minutes at 78 rpm," came out just as the war ended, a few weeks after Gaisberg's own death (probably of Spanish flu) and just after the end of the war itself. "Initially intended to promote War Bonds," Hanrahan explains, ultimately the record was used to raise money for disabled veterans."




Long billed as one of the first "actuality recordings" (the kind "documenting a real location and event beyond the performative space of the studio, imprinted with the audible material trace of an actual moment in space and time"), the record later came under scrutiny, which Hanrahan writes about in detail: "Close listening at slow speeds – just careful attention and notation, nothing more elaborate – revealed inconsistencies and oddities in the firing noises." These and other qualities suggest layers of sound added after the fact, on top of the initial recording in the field, much like live concert recordings now get "sweetened" with additional layers of instrumentation (and even audience enthusiasm).

But we can hardly expect perfect fidelity from audio recordings of the events of a century ago, a time when audio recording itself was still in its infancy. You can hear another approach to the task of hearing World War I in the clip just above, an "interpretation" of the sound of the armistice causing the guns to fall silent. This realistic minute of sound was based on sound information collected in the field, using a technique called "sound ranging" in which, as Smithsonian's Jason Daley explains, "technicians set up strings of microphones — actually barrels of oil dug into the ground — a certain distance apart, then used a piece of photographic film to visually record noise intensity," much as "a seismometer records an earthquake."

As part of its commemoration of the armistice's centennial, London’s Imperial War Museum "commissioned the sound production company Coda to Coda to use the film strip of the guns firing away at 10:58 A.M. on November 11, 1918, then going silent when the clock strikes 11, the symbolic moment politicians determined the war would end, to try and recreate what that instant may have sounded like." Though you can hear the result on the internet, you can also go to the Imperial War Museum exhibition Making a New World in person and more intensely experience it through the "soundbar" installed there, on which "visitors to the exhibit lean their elbows on the bar and place their hands on their ears. The sound is then conducted through their arms to their skulls where they can both hear and feel the moment," the moment that birthed that "New World" — in not just the political sense but the technological one, and many others besides — in which we still live today.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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