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DÉjÀ Vu

Read It and Weep

2021:

Woman creates an NFT artwork out of Instagram messages with a celebrity.

1757:

Woman creates an epistolary novel out of love letters with a nobleman.

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The World in Time

Alan Taylor

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783–1850. More

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Impressions of Colors

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Technology

Volume XIV, Number 1 | winter 2021

Miscellany

The earliest recorded process of silver extraction occurred in first-century-bc China by an alchemist named Fang, who devised a secret procedure for boiling off mercury and leaving behind pure silver residue. After her husband tortured her in order to learn her secret, and as she was possibly suffering from mercury poisoning, she went insane. Ten centuries later a girl named Geng Xiansheng was summoned to the emperor’s palace to transform mercury and “snow” into silver. “She mastered the art of the yellow and white [alchemy],” wrote one historian of Geng, “with many other strong transformations, mysterious and incomprehensible.”

Whatever the pace of this technological revolution may be, the direction is clear: the lower rungs of the economic ladder are being lopped off.

—Bayard Rustin, 1965

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