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Show & Tell: Rococo Microscope

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

This Rococo Parisian microscope, created around 1751, is made of bronze, enamel, shagreen (untanned leather, sometimes coming from the skin of sharks), and glass. The J. Paul Getty Museum, which holds the item, writes that the microscope still works; “the case is fitted with a drawer filled with the necessary attachments such as tweezers, extra lenses, and slides of such items as geranium petals, hair, fly wings, and fleas.”

The microscope’s mechanism was designed by Michel-Ferdinand d’Albert d’Ailly, a French nobleman (the sixth duke of Chaulnes), who lived between 1714 and 1769. In a mid-19th-century biography, the English Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge described the duc de Chaulnes, a veteran of the Seven Years’ War, as “a zealous amateur of scientific pursuits.” He was also an honorary member of the French Royal Academy of Sciences and published several papers on optics, astronomy, and optical instruments.

This microscope, the Getty writes, was made for a man much like de Chaulnes—“an aristocratic amateur scientist,” who might have used it at home to explore his collection of natural specimens. During the 18th and 19th centuries, in Europe, such collections were often arranged as cabinets de curiosité—small in-home natural history museums holding exotic and interesting specimens, which doubled as displays of power and wealth for the people who owned them. This microscope’s gorgeous style would have added further to the owner’s image as an affluent person who cared about intellectual pursuits.

Jacques Caffieri, a bronze caster whose work in the Rococo style won him favor with King Louis XV and his family in the first half of the 18th century, apparently designed the microscope’s curvy mounts. The Getty has digitized a few images of Caffieri’s other pieces—a wall clock and a wall light—showing how he executed similar Rococo motifs for more purely decorative items. “A microscope of this same model belonged to Louis XV,” the Getty writes, “and was part of his observatory at the Château de la Muette.”

Header image via The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

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The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, HighSpeedInternet.com took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

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Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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