Ennie and I were at Powell’s Books and I immediately found myself in my material in the Pearl Room upstairs. That’s the room where the non-fiction and rare books are kept.
I found some books on optics and math that I needed to get. But that’s not the point of this (but I’ll touch on it as well).
While looking for some books on machining I found an old copy of a Machinery’s Handbook. It was the 16th edition from 1962 if I remember the facts correctly.
Then I found a relatively new copy.
Other than having some newer materials, they were the same thing. Down to the fricking illustrations.
That’s when you realize that we’re not living in some new and enlightened age at all. It seems that way at times, but you look back at history and the things that we’re solving for now, are the very things that were being solved for back then.
Then I found a reprint of the first edition from 1912 I think (edit: it was 1914). It was the same again. This time with a gilt edging as a throwback.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Moving to optics… I was paging through a book on optics. Somewhere in the book, they were talking about reconstructing an original image based on wavefront analysis or something along those lines. It looked and sounded like it was something that I would read about in a current edition of Scientific American. Then I looked at the imprint.
Principles of Optics.
When looking at everything we have now and thinking that we’re the shit… all it takes is a glance over one’s shoulders to realize that every generation thought the same thing. And to each succeeding generation they’ve gifted the hard-won knowledge as though it were alien technology.