Sunday, 23 January 2022

hangman

Originally conceived by Josh Wardle as an innocent, non-nosy-parker diversion, Wordle (previously) has spawned several imitations, including expansive clones and parody account for those who can’t wait for a new round to come up, here is a list of some games in the same vein—with mostly the same house rules, curated by Joe Jenett. We especially liked Absurdle and Queerdle—the yassificated version. Give them a try and let us know if you encounter any other good copies. Hier ist Wordle auf Deutsch.

as is, as was / as was, as is

Together with contemporaries Jan Dibbets amd Marinus Boezem, Amsterdammer Ger van Elk (*1941 - †2014) produced an extensive body of multidisciplinary works falling within the range of conceptual art and arte povera. Exhibiting in his native city as well as New York and Los Angeles with the Tate among other prominent modern museums upholding Van Elk’s works as the chief representatives of this movement, many pieces include the themes of reflection on and reference to art history.

i am in sympathy with the people on both sides

In a prepared testimony to the US Congress delivered on this day in 1941, celebrity and noted anti-Semite Charles A Lindbergh leveraged his fame from a 1927 transatlantic crossing to present the case to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that there was no possibility for an American air invasion to have any meaningful impact on the war in Europe and it would be better for the world to let the war draw to its natural conclusion as a pyrrhic victory.  Laying the blame for fighting as much with Britain as Nazi Germany, the aviator argued, speaking to popular sentiment, that negotiated peace and a non-aggression pact was the best path for America to pursue. The media frenzy from a decade before of the kidnap and subsequent death of the Lindbergh’s infant son and driven him and his wife to Europe to escape the press and became fascinated with German engineering prowess and as an personality of international stature was courted and lavished with accolades by fighting ace and Nazi Air Minister Hermann Gรถring. By the time the Lindberghs returned in 1939, many recognised his openly pro-Nazi sympathies. The appearance before Congress occurred five months before Germany invaded the Soviet Union and came on the heels of Churchill’s grim assessment that sixty-thousand individuals, nearly half civilians, in the first year and a half of hostilities.

underground, uniform

A prominent sportswear label has partnered with London’s Public Transport Authority to produce warm-up football kit for a local club inspired by the disruptive moquette used on the Piccadilly Line, whose home pitch is the namesake of one of the route’s stops. More from Dezeen on the design collaboration at the link above.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

i had to phone someone so i picked on you

Announcing his sexuality in an interview with Melody Maker magazine reported Michael Watts, published on this day in 1972, David Bowie’s statement, “I’m gay and always have been,” was not unnoticed but failed to register with more mainstream audiences until his performance of Starman with Mick Ronson on Top of the Pops in July of the same year. The article continues: “He despises all these tribal qualifications. Flower Power he enjoyed, but it’s individuality that he’s really trying to preserve. The paradox is that he still has what he describes as ‘a good relationship’ with his wife. And his baby son, Zowie. He supposes he’s what people call bisexual.”

k-e-double l-o-double good

To varying degrees of success, our Artificial Intelligencer Janelle Shane (previously) has put several generative adversarial networks through the paces to see how they might re-interpret breakfast cereal American style. The more sophisticated third generation autoregressive language model DaVinci seemed to understand the task best, concocting the highly plausible Eggo Nut Frosted Strawberry Pancakes with confetti sprinkles, but other models did not seem to grasp what’s part of a complete breakfast with “Orb Crumpets” or the unpalatable “Original Cool Ranch Cheese and Dried Cranberry Oatmeal.” More at AI Weirdness at the link above.

grover’s corners

First performed on this day at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, the breakthrough stage play in three acts by playwright Thornton Wilder is a metaramic piece piercing the fourth-wall with choral-like narration by the Stage Manager that recounts the everyday events of Anytown, USA from the years 1901 to 1913. Our Town premiered on Broadway that same season and would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize and enduring acclaim that has seen many revivals and is a staple of high school and community theatre productions.

the new normal

On this day in 2003, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fielded questions during a press conference, including Charles Groenhuijsen a Dutch reporter from Nederlandse Publieke Omroep, who spoke to the mood of reservation and doubt in the coalition of the willing: “But now the European allies. If you look at—for example—France, Germany also a lot of people in my own country … [I]t seems that a lot of Europeans rather give the benefit of the doubt to Saddam Hussein than Geroge Bush. These are US allies. What do you make of that?” After some prevarication, Rumsfeld replied, “Now you’re thinking of Europe as German and France. I don’t—I think that’s old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the East.” Heralded later as the German Worte des Jahres—altes Europa—it was embraced by many politicians as a badge of integrity for their well-founded skepticism and reluctance in contrast to what some regarded as opportunistic realignment for New Europe.