CLOSE
Original image

Great Paybacks/Strange Deaths in History: The Earl and the Vengeful Head

Original image


Wikimedia Commons

Rognvald Eysteinsson didn't want to be a Scottish Earl, and his brother paid the price for it.

Eysteinsson, a Viking warrior and sailor, helped Harald Finehair subdue various bands of Viking raiders after they rejected Finehair's authority and union under the kingdom of Norway. Eysteinsson's son Ivar was killed while battling the Viking pirates along the Orkney and Shetland islands off the coast of Scotland, and after the islands were taken by Norway, Finehair gave them to Eysteinsson to claim as Earl. Rognvald didn't want them, so he transferred the title and land to his brother Sigurd.

After establishing his earldom, Sigurd allied with the former Viking warlord Thorstein the Red to expand his influence on the Scottish mainland. Together, they conquered all or part of the territories of Caithness, Moray, Sutherland, Argyll, and Ross. In Moray, Sigurd feuded with the local nobleman Máel Brigte, known as Máel Bucktoothed or Máel Tusk because of his protruding buckteeth.

The two men agreed to meet on the field of battle with 40 men each to settle their territorial disputes. Sigurd ignored their deal and tried to sneak 80 men onto the field. Máel Brigte knew he’d been tricked when he saw that each of Sigurd's horses had two men's legs dangling from its flanks, but rode with his men into battle anyway. Máel Brigte and his troops fought fiercely and killed a number of Sigurd’s men, but were eventually all killed themselves.

Sigurd had his men behead their enemies and strap the heads to their saddles as trophies. Sigurd took Máel Brigte's head for himself, and as he rode back to his stronghold, one of Máel Brigte's buckteeth scratched and cut his leg. The wound quickly became infected and the Tusk had his revenge when Sigurd died soon after.

Original image
IA Collaborative
arrow
Design
Lovely Vintage Manuals Show How to Design for the Human Body
Original image
IA Collaborative

If you're designing something for people to hold and use, you probably want to make sure that it will fit a normal human. You don't want to make a cell phone that people can't hold in their hands (mostly) or a vacuum that will have you throwing out your back every time you clean the house. Ergonomics isn't just for your office desk setup; it's for every product you physically touch.

In the mid-1970s, the office of legendary industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss created a series of manuals for designers working on products that involved the human body. And now, the rare Humanscale manuals from Henry Dreyfuss Associates are about to come back into print with the help of a Kickstarter campaign from a contemporary design firm. Using the work of original Henry Dreyfuss Associates designers Niels Diffrient and Alvin R. Tilley, the guides are getting another life with the help of the Chicago-based design consultancy IA Collaborative.

A Humanscale page illustrates human strength statistics.

The three Humanscale Manuals, published between 1974 and 1981 but long out-of-print, covered 18 different types of human-centric design categories, like typical body measurements, how people stand in public spaces, how hand and foot controls should work, and how to design for wheelchair users within legal requirements. In the mid-20th century, the ergonomics expertise of Dreyfuss and his partners was used in the development of landmark products like the modern telephones made by Bell Labs, the Polaroid camera, Honeywell's round thermostat, and the Hoover vacuum.

IA Collaborative is looking to reissue all three Humanscale manuals which you can currently only find in their printed form as historic documents in places like the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York. IA Collaborative's Luke Westra and Nathan Ritter worked with some of the original designers to make the guides widely available again. Their goal was to reprint them at a reasonable price for designers. They're not exactly cheap, but the guides are more than just pretty decor for the office. The 60,000-data-point guides, IA Collaborative points out, "include metrics for every facet of human existence."

The manuals come in the form of booklets with wheels inside the page that you spin to reveal standards for different categories of people (strong, tall, short, able-bodied, men, women, children, etc.). There are three booklets, each with three double-sided pages, one for each category. For instance, Humanscale 1/2/3 covers body measurements, link measurements, seating guide, seat/table guide, wheelchair users, and the handicapped and elderly.

A product image of the pages from Humanscale Manual 1/2/3 stacked in a row.

"All products––from office chairs to medical devices—require designs that 'fit' the end user," according to Luke Westra, IA Collective's engineering director. "Finding the human factors data one needs to achieve these ‘fits' can be extremely challenging as it is often scattered across countless sources," he explains in a press release, "unless you've been lucky enough to get your hands on the Humanscale manuals."

Even setting aside the importance of the information they convey, the manuals are beautiful. Before infographics were all over the web, Henry Dreyfuss Associates were creating a huge compendium of visual data by hand. Whether you ever plan to design a desk chair or not, the manuals are worthy collectors' items.

The Kickstarter campaign runs from July 25 to August 24. The three booklets can be purchased individually ($79) or as a full set ($199).

All images courtesy IA Collaborative

Original image
Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images
arrow
Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
Original image
Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images

If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

SECTIONS

arrow
BIG QUESTIONS
More from mental floss studios