What happens if you make a copy of a copy of a copy (and so on) of a VHS tape? This experiment shows how the quality degrades with every generation. (via Infocult)
The alluring object of nostalgia is notoriously elusive. The ambivalent sentiment permeates popular culture where technological advances and special effects are frequently used to recreate visions of the past, from the sinking Titanic to dying gladiators and extinct dinosaurs. While many nineteenth-century thinkers believed progress and enlightenment would cure nostalgia, they have exacerbated it instead. Technology that once promised to bridge modern displacement and distance and provide the miracle prosthesis for nostalgic aches has itself become much faster than nostalgic longing. More precisely, technology and nostalgia have become co-dependent: new technology and advanced marketing stimulate ersatz nostalgia — for the things you never thought you had lost — and anticipatory nostalgia — for the present that flees with the speed of a click. Similarly, globalization encourages stronger local attachments. In counterpoint to our fascination with cyberspace and the virtual global village, there is a global epidemic of nostalgia, an affective yearning for a community with a collective memory, a longing for continuity in a fragmented world. Nostalgia inevitably reappears as a defense mechanism in a time of accelerated rhythms of life and historical upheavals. But this defense mechanism has its own side effects.
~ Svetlana Boym, “Nostalgia and Its Discontents” (PDF)