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How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the story of Frederic Tudor, the man responsible for the modern food industry. "A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it's history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the "Ice King of the World." What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston's backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we're missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor's big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry."

Comment: Re:Weak Society (Score 1) 153

by ToasterMonkey (#48648881) Attached to: US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks

America has turned into a very weak society. Lets all run around with our panties in a bunch and do what we are told.

Theater chains don't want to run the movie because of liability concerns, Sony does't want to launch the movie in a limited number of theaters. It all comes down to dollars and lawyers in the end.

"very weak society" because movie premier was delayed == entitlement syndrome

If you want to see Americans not giving a fuck, give businesses legal immunity for anything bad that happens.
(LoL @ ^, like you ever need to look very hard)

Now excuse me, I'm going to put in Team America and draw silly cartoons of Kim Dot Ill John whatever his name is.

Comment: Re:Why bother? (Score 2, Insightful) 417

but if the Apple model had prevailed, I think technology would not be as far along. But it's impossible to say what if.

That's a silly thing to say. If Apple wasn't around, what would desktop PC makers have looked up to the past fifteen years?

We'd have had PS2 connectors, floppy drives, beige boxes, flaky suspend/resume, x86 BIOS, 32-bit processors, no built-in 3D acceleration, no built-in WiFi, 100mb ethernet, etc. for even LONGER than we did. Do you remember having to buy PCI-USB cards, PCI WiFi adaptors, unaccelerated desktop interfaces, rolling the dice on resume from sleep, PS2/USB converters?? I do.

What exactly is this technology-retarding "Apple model" in your mind? Sorry man, it's just silly to hear something along the lines of "if Apple prevailed, we wouldn't have nice things" when they have been the lead in most of the nice things PCs have. If Apple prevailed... IDK, MAYBE Dell would have made nice computers sooner and we'd still be where we are at today?

Comment: San Diego (Score 3, Informative) 281

by ShakaUVM (#48643879) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

I live in San Diego, some of the time, and similar results were posted here, too. The increase in rear-end collisions from people slamming on the brakes negates any benefit from reduced T-bones.

San Diego also reduced yellow light times, sometimes to below the legal limit, in order to boost revenue.

A judge looked at the program in 2001, said, "That's bullshit", and banned it for a year, and then the government finally ended it on its own in 2013.

Comment: Re:"3d printer" (Score 2) 25

by ToasterMonkey (#48642093) Attached to: How a 3D Printer Let a Dog Run For the First Time

The point is that the technology has advanced to the point that people can help a dog. This in itself is not much of an advance, but it demonstrates some of the potential of the advances that are being made. Oncethe cost of technology is reduced and it becomes more readlily available people do cool stuff and sometimes help someone or something else. Sometimes people just do cool stuff with technology. Now turn in your geek card since you cannot simply enjoy something cool that is also helpful for a dog.

Advanced to what point? 3D prototyping isn't new. Animal prosthetics isn't new. Deciding a single hunk of extruded plastic is good enough to strap directly on a dog isn't a huge accomplishment. Dogs don't complaint about lack of comfort...

This story bugs me, not the tech.
It skips the whole development and production cost angle of 3D proto^H^H^H^H^Hmanufacturing, which in my opinion is the most important part.

The pet owner didn't call up Pet Legs R' Us and order an affordable custom prostheses which was promptly delivered. THAT would be a story worth telling, how 3D printing enabled a business and service like that. Such a business would, we should hope, understand each animal's range of motion well, and the bigger picture, quality of life. How good are new legs if we screw up their spine in a year?

This story is more about some goodwill from people running a 3D fab shop. They should get some presents from Santa this year, but it's a really crappy tech story.
While we're just giving things away, an even better story would be a shop milling a prosthesis out of solid titanium - because that is more difficult, expensive, and awesome than plastic. Could we run that story as "How a CNC mill Let a Dog Run for the First Time"?

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:Sounds like they should ban the cabbies (Score 3, Informative) 295

by jcr (#48596967) Attached to: French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

That's what they would do if they had a functioning police department or legal system in France, but they haven't had that for many years. You might remember that they had a plague of thugs setting cars on fire a year or so ago, and the cops didn't even try to arrest any of them.

-jcr

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

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