Tea rules from another generation

This instructional video about how to store and make tea is from 1941. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be funny, but 76 years later, it’s hard not to laugh. And so many questions and things to notice! (See some of my questions below the video. Can you make your own?)

  • Did people really keep huge boxfuls of tea at home?
  • The expert talks about soft water. I wonder if water has changed since 1941, and if water in London is harder or softer than water in Tokyo. And I wonder what the quality of tap water was in London in 1941. What would they think of today’s Brita filters and the like?
  • Wasn’t it painful to hold that beaker as he poured in boiling water?
  • Can you spot the mistakes in the subtitles (for example, “tea leaves” sometimes becomes “keely” and “really” becomes “merely” and “tea instructor” becomes “team structure”)

You could try a more modern demonstration for your portfolio task. Make an explainer video about how to make a good cup of tea

(from Open Culture, where you can find the rules written out for you)


Using comics to tackle serious issues

I didn’t read Maus until a few years ago. The story of the author interviewing his father, a Holocaust survivor, about his experiences during the war, was written and serialized in the 1980s. Though it’s not considered to be the first graphic novel, it was the first to win a Pultizer Prize, and it has influenced the way graphic novels have been done since.

In this video, we learn about how the novel was drawn:

“The fiery colour”

Students will remember the mnemonic device Roy G. Biv, I hope.

So if we think of the rainbow as containing 7 colors, what did people think in medieval times? If most of Europe didn’t eat oranges until the end of the 15th century, what did they call the color between red and yellow?

Read this British doctoral student’s short research report to find out what she discovered:

“How many colours were there in a medieval rainbow?”

But I like the way she ends her research report:

“It seems that there are as many colours in the rainbow as we are prepared to see.”

Machines should work and people should think.

There’s so much to notice and comment on in this short video, made by Jim Henson for IBM back in 1967. Yes, the same Jim Henson who created the Muppets. This video was made two years before Sesame Street debuted on TV.

A few things I thought while watching this:

  • I wonder if Henson intended to make the people seem robotic in their delivery.
  • When the types of professions are listed, why is it that the only profession represented by a woman is teacher?
  • Did IBM not think that this video seemed a bit insidious?

Read a little more about this video: “Jim Henson Wanted to Free Us From Paperwork” (from Atlas Obscura)

And the video has an IMDb page.