Sorry this is late, although maybe you’re having a late lunch. I was at the dentist’s office. Speaking of which:

The first human trials of nitrous oxide took place near Bristol, England, in 1799 and 1800 at the clinical and laboratory facilities of Thomas Beddoes, MD, and his assistant Humphry Davy. Patients and local residents such as the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey breathed the gas and often demonstrated odd behavior. Mr. Davy’s massive book on nitrous oxide was published in 1800, and within a few years the gas inhalation craze had made its way to America. Chemistry professors and itinerant lecturers included demonstrations in their classrooms and lecture halls in many colleges, cities and even small towns.

There’s an old Gunsmoke radio show about a traveling nitrous-oxide show; the fellow would go from town to town, charging admission to watch townspeople get gassed up on stage and act oddly. Begs for a “Scarface”-style remake. Anyway.

ART The rediscovered archives of Manhattan murder: photos found documenting the island’s bloody past. Luc Sante is on the job, and he’s well-suited for the task. But the pictures have more than corpses under sheets - they’re a look at forgotten Gotham. crim

From them you can learn what kitchens looked like, how grocery stores decorated their display windows, how much trash accumulated in the street, what hazards attended the operation of open-top flivvers, and all about the wild variety of social clubs, illicit and otherwise, fancy or outré or irredeemably basic, that occupied an awful lot of the real estate in any era. They provide a vital and even visceral link to the city’s past, at a time when three-dimensional remnants of that past—buildings, along with their occupants—are being eliminated every day.

Everyone always says that the old New York is being eliminated, and they’re right. But there’s a difference between tearing down some tenements for 10-story apartments, and tearing down the 10-story buildings for 80-story condos sold to Russian oligarchs. Related: the EU wants more rules on taking pictures of public art. To which the only possible response is to take more of it.

In other countries — notably France, Italy and Greece — there is absolutely no such right. In theory, in Italy, for example, when publishing pictures of “cultural goods” (buildings, sculptures, paintings and so on) for commercial purposes one must obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage.

For commercial purposes. You can snap away without paying. But what if a computer invented the art all on its own? Does the computer own, for example, this?

Or does it belong to the people who own the computer? You might say: “that’s a nightmarish thing, and who would want to own it?” Agreed, it’s bothersome; there’s something about the computer’s tastes, shall we say, that lacks the innate human revulsion towards things that have the signifiers of biological organism but are not bound by the rules. More about the computer’s art, here.

WHAT? What? Anyone ever say this?

The history of the Star Wars logo has long been controversial for its purported connection to fascist or even Nazi typography. After all, the Star Wars saga is an apparent analogy for World War II, where the Empire is the Third Reich and Darth Vader represents Adolf Hitler. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if elements of the film, like its logo, were pulled from fascist sources, right? Not so fast.

Yes, we all remember our history lessons, when Adolf Hitler threw the Emperor down the mine shaft. The article ends: “So no, the Star Wars logo nor the Helvetica font that inspired it do not have actual origins despite the pervasive myth.”

Which is not pervasive.

VotD Now that you can use personal electronics when you take off, there's lots of footage of planes soaring over the city as they rise up in a majestic display of confidence and power, and OH CRAP CRAP CRAP

Liveleak commenters think it's fake. Says one:"You guys realize the winglet says BRANIT.COM on it, which is a visual effects artist, right?" The link goes to a site put up by the guy who did "405", so there may be something to that.

Yep: