The Technical Genius of a 16th Century Painter

This is not a painting by Vermeer
Guess: flower or insect?

livescience-orchid-mantis-8It’s the insect Orchid Mantis

‘At the beginning of this century, however, two experts of high standing begged to differ. Why, for instance, did Johannes Vermeer paint things in the foreground and shiny highlights on objects slightly out of focus? Because, they say, he was looking at them through a lens. By itself, Vermeer’s Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces, by a London architecture professor named Philip Steadman, might have stirred a minor academic fuss. But a mainstream controversy was provoked—conferences, headlines, outrage, name-calling—because a second, more sweeping and provocative argument was made by one of the most famous living painters, David Hockney. Hockney argued in Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of Old Masters, that not only Vermeer but many great painters from the 15th century on must have secretly used lens-and-mirror contraptions to achieve their photorealistic effects…’

Rock genre shows piracy is not killing music
Mysteriously, one Rock genre – Heavy Metal – is proving that!
‘The music industry should listen up. Piracy may or may not be evil, but it’s a way of life for many people.

‘Despite being extensively pirated worldwide, Iron Maiden have managed to put themselves in the £10-20m for 2012. This means that despite the growing popularity of the band on social media, and the extensive and pervasive torrent downloading of the band’s music, books and movies, the band is turning a profit. This is in defiance of the past business model, and the idea that piracy is killing music. In fact, piracy seems to be saving music in Iron Maiden’s case.

‘One reason for this may be metal itself. It has a fiercely loyal fanbase and a clear brand and identity, even down to the uniform-style black tshirts that fans wear that differ only in band logo and art. The audience identifies with the genre, which stands in contrast to genericized genres like pop, rock and rap. It doggedly maintains its own identity and shuns outsiders. As a result, fans tend to identify more with their music, and place a higher value on purchasing it…’

US nuclear launch code was easier than a password
It was frighteningly simple

‘For nearly 20 years, the secret code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles, and starting World War III, was terrifyingly simple and even noted down on a checklist.

‘From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000.

‘This was chosen by Strategic Air Command in an effort to make the weapons as quick and as easy to launch as possible, as reported by Today I Found Out…’


About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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