Of course you can’t print the optics (yet), but we are getting closer and closer to the kind of technology described in The Diamond Age. However, whether next-generation tablets will instruct the Nells of this world how to lead armies against injustice or will just teach them how to animate GIFs is a speculation I will leave to the reader.
I really like National Geographic’s Found (I got the URL first, ha) for a daily dose of retro/archival photography. Here’s one of a balloon vendor running across a road with a trailing mass of balloons, taken 1921 in Buenos Aires by Newton W. Gulick.
Observing a solar eclipse on January 1, 1907, in the Tian-Shan mountains, probably in modern-day Uzbekistan. This is a photograph taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, a chemist and photographer who invented a new process for color photography and used it to document the Russian empire in the time period 1905-1915. You can view many of the photos on Flickr or at the Library of Congress.
— From the Science Tumblr.
See also Prokudin-Gorskii’s color photos of Imperial Russia (previously), the color photography of Albert Khan (hat tip to Diogo), and these color photos of Blitzed London during World War II (previously).