Bumps and Holes--How the Loom Led to Computers

If you haven’t yet found out about 99% Invisible Podcasts, then your curiosity has been missing out! This podcast is so good, it’s hard to describe it. It takes the most ordinary (and sometimes not ordinary) objects in our world, some you would never think of as fascinating, and reveals just how utterly fascinating all the factors are that led to it. Like the recessed curb in the sidewalk for easy access. I know. I know. Sounds boring. REEAALLY boring. But it is a story that is gripping, starting with the discovery of a very strangely equipped wheelchair in a museum and something in social sciences called…damn…I can’t remember, but it’s where something invented for a certain set of people’s needs becomes widespread for the good of pretty much everybody else as well.

via 99percentinvisible.org

The latest series is “Articles of Interest”, and anybody interested in any fiber arts will be hooked by it. The first episode includes a short overview of how the bumps and holes of a punch card originally used in the automation of looms to make intricate woven designs basically was the inspiration for punch cards for early computers and thus leads to the present day device most of you are sitting at reading these words. And the rest of the episode is all about kid’s clothes and the cultural shift of views of childhood, and how flameproof retardant bedclothes leads to the bright color phenomena of kids clothes…to avoid lawsuits. Yep…social science is mixed in all over this stuff. Here’s the link to the first episode: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/kids-clothes-articles-of-interest-1/.

Other episodes in the Articles of Interest serie are on Plaid, Pockets, Hawaiian Shirts, and Blue Jeans. Really good stuff.

And tell Roman Mars that Harry sent you…