Things You Never Knew You Wanted To Know

Collection by Robby Desmond (16 items)

A few odds and ends from around the BiblioVault that have stuck in my head for one reason or another. These are some of the more interesting outliers in the collection: utility poles, communist cars, hula as resistance, etc.

Includes the following tags:

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Dutch Ovens Chronicled
by John G. Ragsdale
University of Arkansas Press, 2015
When a significant number of Americans had to prepare meals in the out of doors—colonists, pioneers moving west, cowboys working the range, or sheep herders—they needed something portable to cook their food in. Iron casters filled that need by turning out various pots, pans, and ovens to be carried to cabins, campfires, wagon trains, and camping trails. One such vessel was the Dutch oven, which had been in use for generations.

Dutch Ovens Chronicled offers a history of the development, care, and use of these ovens, complete with photos and recipes. This authoritative, informative, and eminently readable guide will be appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts, antiquarians, and history buffs alike.
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Coffin Hardware in Nineteenth Century America
by Megan E Springate
Left Coast Press, 2015
Using data from archaeological excavations, patent filings, and marketing catalogs, this book provides a broad view of the introduction, spread, and use of mass-produced coffin hardware in North America. At the book's heart is a standardized typology of coffin hardware that recognizes stylistic and functional changes and a fresh look at the meanings and uses of the various motifs and decorative elements. Within the discussion of mass-produced coffin hardware in North America is new work connecting the North American industry with its British antecedents and a fresh analysis of the prime factors that led to the introduction and spread of mass-produced coffin hardware. Extensively illustrated with examples of coffin hardware to aid scholars and professionals in identification.
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Walls
by Thomas Oles
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Stone walls, concrete walls, chain-link walls, border walls: we live in a world of walls. Walls mark sacred space and embody earthly power. They maintain peace and cause war. They enforce separation and create unity. They express identity and build community. Yard to nation, city to self, walls define and dissect our lives. And, for Thomas Oles, it is time to broaden our ideas of what they can—and must—do.
 
In Walls, Oles shows how our minds and our politics are shaped by–and shape–our divisions in the landscape. He traces the rich array of practices and meanings connected to the making and marking of boundaries across history and prehistory, and he describes how these practices have declined in recent centuries. The consequence, he argues, is all around us in the contemporary landscape, riven by walls shoddy in material and mean in spirit. Yet even today, Oles demonstrates, every wall remains potentially an opening, a stage, that critical place in the landscape where people present themselves and define their obligations to one another. In an evocative epilogue, Oles brings to life a society of productive, intentional, and ethical enclosure—one that will leave readers more hopeful about the divided landscapes of the future.
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The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors
by Karen Sullivan
University of Chicago Press, 2011

There have been numerous studies in recent decades of the medieval inquisitions, most emphasizing larger social and political circumstances and neglecting the role of the inquisitors themselves. In this volume, Karen Sullivan sheds much-needed light on these individuals and reveals that they had choices—both the choice of whether to play a part in the orthodox repression of heresy and, more frequently, the choice of whether to approach heretics with zeal or with charity.

           

In successive chapters on key figures in the Middle Ages—Bernard of Clairvaux, Dominic Guzmán, Conrad of Marburg, Peter of Verona, Bernard Gui, Bernard Délicieux, and Nicholas Eymerich—Sullivan shows that it is possible to discern each inquisitor making personal, moral choices as to what course of action he would take. All medieval clerics recognized that the church should first attempt to correct heretics through repeated admonitions and that, if these admonitions failed, it should then move toward excluding them from society. Yet more charitable clerics preferred to wait for conversion, while zealous clerics preferred not to delay too long before sending heretics to the stake. By considering not the external prosecution of heretics during the Middles Ages, but the internal motivations of the preachers and inquisitors who pursued them, as represented in their writings and in those of their peers, The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors explores how it is that the most idealistic of purposes can lead to the justification of such dark ends.

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Yodel in Hi-Fi
by Bart Plantenga
University of Wisconsin Press, 2012
Yodel in Hi-Fi explores the vibrant and varied traditions of yodelers around the world. Far from being a quaint and dying art, yodel is a thriving vocal technique that has been perennially renewed by singers from Switzerland to Korea, from Colorado to Iran. Bart Plantenga offers a lively and surprising tour of yodeling in genres from opera to hip-hop and in venues from cowboy campfires and Oktoberfests to film soundtracks and yogurt commercials. Displaying an extraordinary versatility, yodeling crosses all borders and circumvents all language barriers to assume its rightful place in the world of music.

“If Wisconsin wasn’t on the yodel music map before, this book puts it there.”—Wisconsin State Journal
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Wood Pole Overhead Lines
by Brian Wareing
The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2005

Wood Pole Overhead Lines provides comprehensive coverage of medium voltage wood pole overhead lines. It includes guidance on the planning and mechanical design of overhead lines, as well as details of statutory requirements and the latest UK and European standards affecting UK design of wood pole networks, Sag/tension calculations are explained, and details of the latest work on safe design tension limits to avoid conductor fatigue from vibration are included. The basic characteristics of bare and covered conductors are discussed as well as upgrading possibilities, condition assessment and the latest work on 'health indices' for overhead lines. Other topics include wood pole decay and mitigation methods, maintenance schedules, live line working and basic lightning protection.

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Uncovering Identity in Mortuary Analysis
edited by Michael P Heilen
Left Coast Press, 2012
This volume presents a sophisticated set of archival, forensic, and excavation methods to identify both individuals and group affiliations—cultural, religious, and organizational—in a multiethnic historical cemetery. Based on an extensive excavation project of more than 1,000 nineteenth-century burials in downtown Tucson, Arizona, the team of historians, archaeologists, biological anthropologists, and community researchers created an effective methodology for use at other historical-period sites. Comparisons made with other excavated cemeteries strengthens the power of this toolkit for historical archaeologists and others. The volume also sensitizes archaeologists to the concerns of community and cultural groups to mortuary excavation and outlines procedures for proper consultation with the descendants of the cemetery’s inhabitants. Copublished with SRI Press.
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Cars for Comrades
by Lewis H. Siegelbaum
Cornell University Press, 2008

The automobile and Soviet communism made an odd couple. The quintessential symbol of American economic might and consumerism never achieved iconic status as an engine of Communist progress, in part because it posed an awkward challenge to some basic assumptions of Soviet ideology and practice. In this rich and often witty book, Lewis H. Siegelbaum recounts the life of the Soviet automobile and in the process gives us a fresh perspective on the history and fate of the USSR itself.

Based on sources ranging from official state archives to cartoons, car-enthusiast magazines, and popular films, Cars for Comrades takes us from the construction of the huge "Soviet Detroits," emblems of the utopian phase of Soviet planning, to present-day Togliatti, where the fate of Russia's last auto plant hangs in the balance. The large role played by American businessmen and engineers in the checkered history of Soviet automobile manufacture is one of the book's surprises, and the author points up the ironic parallels between the Soviet story and the decline of the American Detroit. In the interwar years, automobile clubs, car magazines, and the popularity of rally races were signs of a nascent Soviet car culture, its growth slowed by the policies of the Stalinist state and by Russia's intractable "roadlessness." In the postwar years cars appeared with greater frequency in songs, movies, novels, and in propaganda that promised to do better than car-crazy America.

Ultimately, Siegelbaum shows, the automobile epitomized and exacerbated the contradictions between what Soviet communism encouraged and what it provided. To need a car was a mark of support for industrial goals; to want a car for its own sake was something else entirely. Because Soviet cars were both hard to get and chronically unreliable, and such items as gasoline and spare parts so scarce, owning and maintaining them enmeshed citizens in networks of private, semi-illegal, and ideologically heterodox practices that the state was helpless to combat. Deeply researched and engagingly told, this masterful and entertaining biography of the Soviet automobile provides a new perspective on one of the twentieth century's most iconic-and important-technologies and a novel approach to understanding the history of the Soviet Union itself.

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Vegetables
by Evelyne Bloch-Dano
translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan
University of Chicago Press, 2012

From Michael Pollan to locavores, Whole Foods to farmers' markets,  today cooks and foodies alike are paying more attention than ever before to the history of the food they bring into their kitchens—and especially to vegetables. Whether it’s an heirloom tomato, curled cabbage, or succulent squash, from a farmers' market or a backyard plot, the humble vegetable offers more than just nutrition—it also represents a link with long tradition of farming and gardening, nurturing and breeding.

In this charming new book, those veggies finally get their due. In capsule biographies of eleven different vegetables—artichokes, beans, chard, cabbage, cardoons, carrots, chili peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes—Evelyne Bloch-Dano explores the world of vegetables in all its facets, from science and agriculture to history, culture, and, of course, cooking. From the importance of peppers in early international trade to the most recent findings in genetics, from the cultural cachet of cabbage to Proust’s devotion to beef-and-carrot stew, to the surprising array of vegetables that preceded the pumpkin as the avatar of All Hallow’s Eve, Bloch-Dano takes readers on a dazzling tour of the fascinating stories behind our daily repasts.

Spicing her cornucopia with an eye for anecdote and a ready wit, Bloch-Dano has created a feast that’s sure to satisfy gardeners, chefs, and eaters alike.

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Aloha America
by Adria L. Imada
Duke University Press, 2012
Winner, 2013 Best First Book in Women's, Gender, and/or Sexuality History by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
Winner, 2013 Lawrence W. Levine Award, Organization of American Historians
Winner, 2013 Congress on Research in Dance Outstanding Publication Award

Aloha America reveals the role of hula in legitimating U.S. imperial ambitions in Hawai'i. Hula performers began touring throughout the continental United States and Europe in the late nineteenth century. These "hula circuits" introduced hula, and Hawaiians, to U.S. audiences, establishing an "imagined intimacy," a powerful fantasy that enabled Americans to possess their colony physically and symbolically. Meanwhile, in the early years of American imperialism in the Pacific, touring hula performers incorporated veiled critiques of U.S. expansionism into their productions.

At vaudeville theaters, international expositions, commercial nightclubs, and military bases, Hawaiian women acted as ambassadors of aloha, enabling Americans to imagine Hawai'i as feminine and benign, and the relation between colonizer and colonized as mutually desired. By the 1930s, Hawaiian culture, particularly its music and hula, had enormous promotional value. In the 1940s, thousands of U.S. soldiers and military personnel in Hawai'i were entertained by hula performances, many of which were filmed by military photographers. Yet, as Adria L. Imada shows, Hawaiians also used hula as a means of cultural survival and countercolonial political praxis. In Aloha America, Imada focuses on the years between the 1890s and the 1960s, examining little-known performances and films before turning to the present-day reappropriation of hula by the Hawaiian self-determination movement.

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10
Pushkin’s Rhyming
by J. Thomas Shaw
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

The culmination of four decades of work by J. Thomas Shaw, this fully searchable e-book carefully analyzes, both chronologically and by genre, Alexander Pushkin’s use of rhyme to show how meaning shifts in tandem with formal changes. Comparing Pushkin’s poetry with that of Konstantin Nikolaevich Batiushkov (1787–1855) and Evgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (1800–1844), Shaw considers, among other topics, what is exact and inexact in “exact” rhyme, how the grammatical characteristics of rhymewords affect the reader’s percepetion of the poem and its rhyme, and how the repetition of a rhyming word can also change meaning.
    Each of the five chapters analyzes in detail a distinct aspect of rhyme and provides rich resources for future scholars in the accompanying tables of data. The extensive back matter in the book includes a glossary, abbreviations list, bibliography, and indexes of poems cited, names, and rhyme types and analyses.

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Cake
by Nicola Humble
Reaktion Books, 2010

Be it a birthday or a wedding—let them eat cake. Encased in icing, crowned with candles, emblazoned with congratulatory words—cake is the ultimate food of celebration in many cultures around the world. But how did cake come to be the essential food marker of a significant occasion? In Cake: A Global History, Nicola Humble explores the meanings, legends, rituals, and symbolism attached to cake through the ages.

            Humble describes the many national differences in cake-making techniques, customs, and regional histories—from the French gâteau Paris-Brest, named for a cycle race and designed to imitate the form of a bicycle wheel, to the American Lady Baltimore cake, likely named for a fictional cake in a 1906 novel by Owen Wister. She also details the role of cake in literature, art, and film—including Miss Havisham’s imperishable wedding cake in Great Expectations and Marcel Proust’s madeleine of memory—as well as the art and architecture of cake making itself.

Featuring a large selection of mouthwatering images, as well as many examples and recipes for some particularly unusual cakes, Cake will provide many sweet reasons for celebration.

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Reggaeton
edited by Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall and Deborah Pacini Hernandez
series edited by Ronald Radano and Josh Kun
contributions by Juan Flores
Duke University Press, 2009
A hybrid of reggae and rap, reggaeton is a music with Spanish-language lyrics and Caribbean aesthetics that has taken Latin America, the United States, and the world by storm. Superstars—including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Ivy Queen—garner international attention, while aspiring performers use digital technologies to create and circulate their own tracks. Reggaeton brings together critical assessments of this wildly popular genre. Journalists, scholars, and artists delve into reggaeton’s local roots and its transnational dissemination; they parse the genre’s aesthetics, particularly in relation to those of hip-hop; and they explore the debates about race, nation, gender, and sexuality generated by the music and its associated cultural practices, from dance to fashion.

The collection opens with an in-depth exploration of the social and sonic currents that coalesced into reggaeton in Puerto Rico during the 1990s. Contributors consider reggaeton in relation to that island, Panama, Jamaica, and New York; Cuban society, Miami’s hip-hop scene, and Dominican identity; and other genres including reggae en español, underground, and dancehall reggae. The reggaeton artist Tego Calderón provides a powerful indictment of racism in Latin America, while the hip-hop artist Welmo Romero Joseph discusses the development of reggaeton in Puerto Rico and his refusal to embrace the upstart genre. The collection features interviews with the DJ/rapper El General and the reggae performer Renato, as well as a translation of “Chamaco’s Corner,” the poem that served as the introduction to Daddy Yankee’s debut album. Among the volume’s striking images are photographs from Miguel Luciano’s series Pure Plantainum, a meditation on identity politics in the bling-bling era, and photos taken by the reggaeton videographer Kacho López during the making of the documentary Bling’d: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip-Hop.

Contributors. Geoff Baker, Tego Calderón, Carolina Caycedo, Jose Davila, Jan Fairley, Juan Flores, Gallego (José Raúl González), Félix Jiménez, Kacho López, Miguel Luciano, Wayne Marshall, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Alfredo Nieves Moreno, Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo, Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Raquel Z. Rivera, Welmo Romero Joseph, Christoph Twickel, Alexandra T. Vazquez

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Mutants and Mystics
by Jeffrey J. Kripal
University of Chicago Press, 2011
In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.

A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.
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Parking Reform Made Easy
by Richard W. Willson
foreword by Donald C. Shoup
Island Press, 2013
Today, there are more than three parking spaces for every car in the United States. No one likes searching for a space, but in many areas, there is an oversupply, wasting valuable land, damaging the environment, and deterring development. Richard W. Willson argues that the problem stems from outdated minimum parking requirements. In this practical guide, he shows practitioners how to reform parking requirements in a way that supports planning goals and creates vibrant cities.



Local planners and policymakers, traffic engineers, developers, and community members are actively seeking this information as they institute principles of Smart Growth. But making effective changes requires more than relying on national averages or copying information from neighboring communities. Instead, Willson shows how professionals can confidently create requirements based on local parking data, an understanding of future trends affecting parking use, and clear policy choices.



After putting parking and parking requirements in context, the book offers an accessible tool kit to get started and repair outdated requirements. It looks in depth at parking requirements for multifamily developments, including income-restricted housing, workplaces, and mixed-use, transit-oriented development. Case studies for each type of parking illustrate what works, what doesn’t, and how to overcome challenges. Willson also explores the process of codifying regulations and how to work with stakeholders to avoid political conflicts.



With Parking Reform Made Easy, practitioners will learn, step-by-step, how to improve requirements. The result will be higher density, healthier, more energy-efficient, and livable communities. This book will be exceptionally useful for local and regional land use and transportation planners, transportation engineers, real estate developers, citizen activists, and students of transportation planning and urban policy.

 
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House Numbers
by Anton Tantner
translated by Anthony Mathews
Reaktion Books, 2015
Most of us hardly ever think about those ubiquitous things that hang—along with wreaths, light fixtures, and the occasional delivery attempt notice—at our front door: house numbers, our address. Taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, house numbers have the crucial burden of organizing the places of the world—and they do it with zero fanfare or appreciation. In this unique illustrated history, Anton Tantner pays long-overdue tribute to those unassuming combinations of digits, showing that house numbers haven’t always existed, and that they have their own interesting history, one he spells out with vivid images from around the world.
           
As Tantner shows, house numbers started their lives in a gray area between the military, tax authorities, and early police forces. With an engaging style, he moves from the introduction of house numbers in European towns in the eighteenth century, through the spread of the numbering system in the nineteenth century, and on into its global adoption today. He uncovers a contentious past, telling the stories of the many people who have resisted having their homes so systematically ordered. Along the way, his visual journey showcases a surprising diversity of house number displays, visiting historic addresses from the London house on Strand-on-the-Green that is numbered “Nought” to 1819 Ruston, Louisiana.
           
The result is a story that will forever change the way you see a city, one that elevates the seemingly insignificant house number to an important place in the history of urban planning. 
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