Unlike his self-explanatory “Alchemist discovering phosphorus,” another painting of Joseph Wright of Derby, “An Experiment on a Bird in an Airpump” (right) is an enigma for a 21st-century viewer. Who are people surrounding the table? Why is the parrot in a glass bowl?
What is an air pump?
I don’t think I need to convince you that air has pressure and you can remove air from a vessel leaving a vacuum – or more likely thin gas – inside. But for people in pre-scientific time air was something indivisible like other elements – fire, earth, and water.
The air pump, which can suck the air out of a vessel, was invented by Otto von Guericke in 1650. One of the lucky first possessors of the air pump was “the first modern chemist” Robert Boyle. You may remember him from Boyle’s Law. Boyle conducted experiments with the pump and published a book about it in 1660. One of the experiments describes air removal effect on a bird:
1. Walking fish
Remember that Guinness ad where the evolution goes back: men devolve into cavemen, birds into dinosaurs? It ends with two little fish walking to water and expressing disgust at its taste. These fish do exist. The fish from the advert is close to mudskipper – an Australian fish.
2. Living on land fish
In People per Hour (PPH) blog. PPH is a British freelancer platform like elance.
To tell you the truth, I’ve moved past it as finding a recurrent higher level gig directly is much less hassle. They charge a lot for providing the platform and most of the gigs don’t pay much, especially if you consider an effort to get the gig/payment.
However, it’s a good starting point for somebody wanting to try her hand in freelancing.
Upd after 3 weeks, the result of publishing in the blog:
- one person who wanted a European sales person (20% commission on fabulous contracts selling his photography stuff; I never said that I do sales);
- one person who promised in broken English to “do any job for me”;
- two people saved me in their “favorite category” (didn’t know you can do it).
My essay in the reputable “Brain, Child” magazine.