Archive for the ‘History’ category

The origins of abc | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

August 13th, 2010

Evolution of the letter 'E'

The origins of abc | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog.

A Presidential History of the US

August 2nd, 2010

Section of the complete graphic

Rachel Mercer‘s graphic “Presidential Costs” shows, in a circular timeline, the history of the US through a history of the presidents, from Washington through Obama. Four layers of rings plus a ring of bubbles visualizes the time periods, key legislative acts, foreign conflicts and wars, and national debt. Very nice graphic.

The Cawood Sword: History of York (and early password generation!)

July 30th, 2010

The Cawood Sword (via

One of the finest Viking swords ever discovered was found in the River Ouse near the village of Cawood, a few miles South of York.The Cawood Sword can be dated to 1100 by comparing it to a very similar sword found in Norway which was probably made by the same craftsman.  The swords are almost identical except the one in Norway has an inscription on its hilt in Runes.  Both swords can be fairly accurately dated from the clues in this Viking language.

via The Cawood Sword: History of York. Later in that same article:

The inscription runs down the blade and is made up of a number of capital letters which do not form known words. On one side they are in Roman script and on the other they are in Lombardic script. It is believed that these letters stood for words which in turn represented a phrase or saying. By looking at similar inscriptions it is thought that the phrase is religious, with the sword’s owner believing the words gave him extra strength in battle.

Turns out that this is a medieval example of good password generation, known as mnemonic password (c.f., which Google recommends (see “Solution 1”).