To Be or to Be Someone Else

Identity crises have been around as long as identities and crises, but they weren’t identified as a medical affliction until the early 1960s (by an unidentified psychiatrist). The official medical term was, and still is, I Want to Be Somebody Else Syndrome, but Identity Crisis sounds less silly and has become the label of choice for most psychiatrists and laymen. …

The Sun beneath the Clouds

In 1962, Berlin astronomer Johann Dunkeldorf, a 15-year-old Wunderkind and Nobel laureate, made a shocking discovery: our sun will expire one day and then Earth will be shrouded in eternal darkness. Dunkeldorf was a unique product of the Cold War, as he had been conceived and later born in the no-man’s land between the American and Soviet zones of Berlin. …

Like a Lion in Zion

When iron was first discovered, back in the Bronze Age, it didn’t seem much of an improvement over the then-traditional copper-tin alloy. Iron was twice as hard, but this benefit quickly vanished once it started to corrode -which it did a lot faster than bronze. Iron has a not-so-secret boner for oxygen, and that feeling is mutual, so the two …

The Multi Blower that Multi Sucked

The Philips HK 4250 Multi Blower was invented in the late 1960s, when consumerism had hit its first ceiling: every household in the First World had bought every variety of appliance they could ever possibly need. With World War II and its hardships still fresh in people’s minds, nobody was willing to replace things before they broke down. Sure, the …

Under Deconstruction: <br>Electro Boy

Just to assure the world -but mostly the voices- that I’m still deconstructing, here’s an update from my current project: the Electro Boy. The voices keep telling me I’m a quitter, but I tell them ’you’re quitters yourselves’ and ‘I’m just way better at starting than I am at finishing’ and I’m quite sure that’ll teach them. Official sources (the …

Breaking the Sound Barrier

Nowadays, whenever you feel like annoying the world around you, you just pump up the volume of your smart phone and start playing some music. It doesn’t have to be obnoxious death metal or gangster rap; any music will be annoying to your surroundings, as long as they’re not producing it themselves. Back in the Fifties, people had no such …

The Golden Age of Drilling

In 1960, when the Black & Decker Company celebrated its 50th birthday, some executive -whose name has been stricken from all records because of the catastrophe that would ultimately follow his seemingly brilliant plan- thought it would be a good idea to commemorate the occasion with a golden drill. The financial department had some serious doubts concerning the feasibility of …

Fat Boys Unite

Just like me, the Agfa Clack is lovely and chubby. Also a bit like me, it’s a camera, a device recording the world around it without taking part in most of its activities. There’s also a few obvious differences. Its focus is better than mine, it’s from Germany and it was born in 1954, fifteen years before me. The Clack …