This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.
Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.
One thing that separates the United States from England is the humble biscuit. We simply cannot agree on what a “biscuit” is, and this disagreement was one of the flash points of the American Revolution. (Possibly baking points rather than flash points?)
But apparently not all traces of British occupation were removed by the Revolution, as this bulwark of Britannia can be found in West Virginia. The Tudor dynastic linkage suggests that the establishment even predates the Revolution.
I spent most of my grade school years drawing pictures instead of doing classwork. Classwork was easy, so I did that quickly and then “illuminated” my work with fanciful spacecraft, mythic maps, and lots of lizards and horses. My maps were quite good, my spacecraft were probably not flyable, and everything else was quite poor.
But now, thanks to powerful computer hardware and clever software, I can make cartoons based on nothing more than photographs that I’ve taken and odd comments. Such as this:
Genesis states that man was formed from dust of the ground, and this first man, Adam, went on with Eve to populate the Earth. This happened before 4000 BC, according to Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who precisely dated the creation of everything as occurring the night before Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC.
Modern cosmological evidence puts the date of the universe a bit earlier, roughly 13.75 billion years ago, give or take a few decades. Presumably the first human came after this, though the exact date depends on how you define “first human.”
But this large placard, in Howard County, Maryland, suggests Adam the First dates back to sometime before 1668. This opens up the intriguing possibility that Adam is younger than Bishop Ussher, which would certainly be a surprise to the Bishop.
This highly detailed map of Maryland was reconstructed from a mass of fiendishly encrypted cardboard tokens. It was assembled after an intense multi-discipline effort by a health care informatician, a systems analyst, a nurse, a psychologist, a theologian, a historian, three writer-editors, an Internet projects manager, a literature specialist, a linguist, a chemist, a photographer, and an environmental projects consultant (a total of four individuals).
The cardboard tokens were uncovered in an obscure location in the Lake District, Cumbria, England. To assemble the map, the team used the latest EHACCATTPRT (Encrypted Heuristic Adaptive Cooperative Chromatic And Typographic Topological Pattern Recognition Technology, pronounced as “E-hack-pfft” in the US, “Aye-hack-puff” in Queen’s English, and in Liverpudlian, “Gnomish”) advances.
Next, the team will turn their talents to solving global economic issues.