Niall Ferguson: The Ascent of Money – A Financial History of the World

Niall Ferguson, is Professor of History at Harvard University, and in 2008, post meltdown, he published a critically acclaimed book titled “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World”. This was happily adapted for television by Channel 4 and PBS in which Ferguson himself takes the audience through an engaging, and somewhat entertaining journey through time and space tracing the power that finance holds on all our lives. From ancient Mesopotamia to present day Memphis, Ferguson argues, that financial history is the essential back story to all histories. Credit and debt, the bond market, the stock market, insurance, mortgages and more come your way.

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Rare photograph manipulations before Photoshop: 1855-1950.

Two-Headed Man: Unknown, American ca. 1855 Daguerreotype

It is quite curious for us to look back at an age of visual practice which did not have the tools that we take as an assured presence now. From anonymous daguerreotypers (about 1855) to Oscar Rejlander (very often credited with one of the earliest articulations of manipulated photographs – 1857), the century that was to follow saw the imaginations and skills of myriad ‘trick photographers’ come to the fore. The George Eastman House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have in their collection some of the early ‘imagineering’ that occurred much before the Knoll brothers changed the image making world in the latter half of the twentieth century. Take a look.

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A million years of human ingenuity: Objects of the world

BBC Radio 4 took a hundred man made objects (from across the ages), that were a part of the British Museum collection and translated these into one hundred radio programmes, each tackling one object and lasting fifteen minutes each. These were broadcast in a chronological order in three tranches across 2010. Take a look at some of these objects and (probably) feel good that you are human.

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