The most profound interest

I enjoyed John Lanchester’s review in the LRB of a book about the Wright Brothers and a biography of Elon Musk.

It’s all good, but the part around how no one took notice of the Wright Brothers’ first (ever in the history of humankind) flight, in 1903, was amazing, especially this:

The first eyewitness report was written by a bee expert from Ohio called Amos Root, who broke the story in his own publication, Gleanings in Bee Culture. He sent a copy to the editor of Scientific American. The magazine’s response, an entire year later, was to explain why the Wrights couldn’t possibly have done what was claimed of them:

If such sensational and tremendously important experiments are being conducted in a not very remote part of the country, on a subject in which almost everybody feels the most profound interest, is it possible to believe that the enterprising American reporter, who, it is well known, comes down the chimney when the door is locked in his face … would not have ascertained all about them and published … long ago?

So they don’t believe it, because if it were true, somebody would have told them so – leaving aside the fact that somebody already had.

Going by Lanchester’s review, it sounds like it was nearly five years after the brothers could fly before the media and public believed it, and even then, only in France.

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10 Oct 2015 at Twitter

  • 8:17pm: @indec Yeah, and I think they often have different criteria to me.
  • 6:49pm: @paulpod Yes and no.
  • 6:49pm: A website that explains the difference between a XWAC58013W and a XWAB58012W fridge or oven or Jesus are humans supposed to understand these
  • 6:47pm: A website that shows you the tiny intersection between white goods reviewed on Which? and white goods you can actually buy.
  • 2:31pm: I can hear you…
  • 10:56am: @whoisdanw Hangman?
  • 10:09am: @serverhorror Thanks! I’ll save a copy for if/when the LastPass service disappears…

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  1. Reso (45)
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  4. Robyn (14)
  5. The Smiths (12)
  6. CHVRCHES (10)
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  10. The Wedding Present (3)

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