On Why We Should All Go To Austin, Texas

View from the window at Le Gras, 1826, Joseph Nicephore NiepceView from the window at Le Gras, 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce
image: Ransom Center, UT Austin

Or specifically, the Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin:
1) to see the world’s first photograph, a view out his window taken by a Frenchman, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, in 1826. Jim Lewis writes about it on Slate.
2) to read the unpublished manuscript of Minstral Island, a futuristic musical by Thomas Pynchon and Kirkpatrick Sale, which they recently acquired. [Fill out your research application before you go. Oh, and get Pynchon’s written permission if you want to make a copy. I’m sure he’s listed.]