Sunday, 24 June 2018

bowiebranchia

Via fellow internet-caretakers the Everlasting Blört, we find a selection of nudibrachia or other species of marine opisthobranchia (sea slugs, from the Greek for naked gills, having shed their shells after their larval stage) fastidiously matched to the various outfits and personæ of the transcendent Sir David Bowie. All of these side-by-side comparisons (there are over three thousand known varieties though many are endangered) are amazingly elegant, spot-on and very satisfying.

exposure value

Not only were we very impressed with the designer skills of Helen Sham for creating a fully-functional, iconic Hasselblad 503CX medium format cameras out of LEGO (which may be added to its official line of models), we also appreciated the chance to explore the company behind the design.
Founded in 1841, the early years of the Swedish company consisted mostly of being a distributor for Kodak-Eastman products, offering that though the executives didn’t think the venture would be very profitable, at least they’d be able to take pictures for free and really came into its own, making military grade aerial surveillance cameras during the wars. The company’s success continued after the war and was again boosted when NASA began to exclusively use Hasselblad cameras for its Gemini missions in 1962. Prized for their compact size and modular lenses, the space agency continued to use custom-build Hasselblads for the Apollo programme and the images we have of our manned-mission to the Moon were captured with those cameras. Learn more about Sham and her other projects at the link above.

thanatopsis

Though perhaps wholly conjured up in my head, I seem to recall a ban (at least a seasonal one owing maybe to the impenetrability of the ground in winter) on death on parts of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, we nonetheless this overview from Futility Closet on other places where dying was or is currently prohibited, under threat of severe punishment. While some sacred spaces exclude both birth and death to maintain the purity of the place, most cases are enacted when room runs out at local cemeteries and graveyards. Unfortunately, the ban is repealed once the municipalities can secure more land to expand their grounds reserved for burial.  Visit them at the link above to learn more.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

change happens at the edges

Historically—which will also be the first time the Armorial College gets to produce a crest for a same-sex couple though wisely rules were established some time ago—the first gay marriage in the extended royal family will occur later this summer on an estate in Devon.
With the blessings of his third cousin, once removed, the Queen (by statute the monarch must give ascent to the first six unions in the line of succession and in this case, the couple’s too far removed and already have heirs) Lord Ivar Alexander Mountbatten, geologist and gentleman farmer, will wed James Coyle. At the suggestion of their daughters, Mountbatten’s ex-wife will lead Mountbatten down the aisle and give him away.

don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the nazi party

Writing for Gizmodo’s Paleofuture, blogger and correspondent Matt Novak gives us a crucial reminder that too few realised the nature of the ascendant Third Reich’s National Socialist Workers’ Party (and perhaps of that minority, too many were either complicit or silent) when as early as 1933, they had opened their first concentration camps nor as late as 1939 when a Nazi rally was held in Madison Square Garden.
This trans-Atlantic acceptance (which surely translated to diminishing concerns elsewhere as well) was due at least in part to US media moguls and public-relations agents, including Edward L Bernays (previously) who we see receiving retainers as foreign agents to push spin and propaganda similar to, adjusted for inflation, to the fees we are catching wind of today—as testament to how under-valued democracy and freedom is. Change is gradual and we can too easily become inured to it, especially when boundaries are trampled on and such behaviour is normalised by the media and given enough of a narrative that the safest among us are the most precarious and under threat.

Friday, 22 June 2018

story of the week

If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favour and make reading the blog of educator, writer and presenter, Seth Godin a part of your daily practise and digest.
His succinct words of advice reminds that what’s vital, important and true can be communicated lucidly and in a way that is accessible to all and sundry. We can all use this sort of gentle reminder to get our lives in order and to help keep things in perspective. Whatever one’s journey, lasting change for the better requires tremendous effort but the outcome will make one cringe for having settled for less and not improving sooner.  The particular link above directs one to the most viewed and shared post from the week but any place you start I can virtually guarantee you’ll like where you wind up.

money laundering

The US Drug Enforcement Administration has recently raised alarm over the safety of its agents and intermediaries due to the potential for currency seized during drug raids to be covered with deadly chemicals and has been soliciting for contracts to decontaminate fiat tender.  Despite the lack of scientific backing for the dangers, the DEA is vigorously pursuing this initiative and has even expressed an unwillingness to risk counting the cash before sending it off to the cleaners.

cantril’s ladder

Princeton psychology professor Hadley Cantril (*1906 - †1969) made significant contributions to the field, looking into the applications in polling and propaganda and was in a way responsible for making political allegiance a contemporary defining trait—or at least a topic of discussion and amplification.
Studying in Münchin and Berlin in the 1930s and examining the panic that the 1938 Orson Welles’ broadcast of War of the Worlds as a radio drama caused, Cantril devoted his work into public opinion research, building on the work of George Gallop. Working through the seemingly paradoxical results he was discovering—particularly among the American polis—Cantril developed a gauge for self-anchoring, a cognitive bias (previously) that affect decision-making by relying too heavily on initial information at the cost of ignoring subsequent results, which is perniciously difficult to avoid.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

a notable non-human ape

Having imparted a life time of lessons that demonstrates that many of the hallmarks of humanity are far from unique to humans and helped us to understand and appreciate that we are not outside of Nature and the natural world is not ours to exploit, the world pines for one of its most influential and effective ambassadors in Koko the Gorilla, who passed away earlier this week in her sleep at the age of forty-six.
Reading her obituary reduced me to tears, and I hope that we are able to take those aforementioned lessons to heart.  Just shy of her next birthday, she was named Hanabiko (花火子, Fireworks Child) by her care-takers at the San Francisco Zoo because she was born on the Fourth of July—American Independence Day. Koko herself famously had a pet kitten whom she named All Ball and mourned its accidental death, signing “bad, sad, bad—frown, cry, frown, sad.”

hammajang or synonymous

Via Slashdot, we learn that the Oxford English Dictionary has broadened its search for regional linguistic delicacies from around the globe. The title is a Hawaiian term for shambolic, and the Words Where You Are appeal has already netted agley, catawampous, antigodlin and ahoo as ways to describe a pictured that’s hung crookedly. The OED since its first edition, however, has been keen on the inclusion of regionalisms submitted by the public, examples being ginnel for a back alley, clarty for really muddy and far-welted to describe a sheep lying on its back.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

kein mensch ist illegal

While images of families being torn apart at the US-Mexico border are dominating the discussion of immigration and respect and value for human life, on this World Refugee Day, we are also audience to some quieter, nefarious dealings which includes a task force (via Miss Cellania) that is being assembled to strip citizenship from naturalised Americans (and by extension all Americans) found to have obtained citizenship under false pretences.
At the same time, Orbán’s Hungary has passed legislation framed as “STOP SOROS” that would make it a crime to provide aid or asylum in any form to “aliens.” Not to be outdone, factions of the Italian government are calling for the expulsion of thousands of Roma from the country, pledging that “Italians and their security comes first.” The European Union strongly condemns these measures.

india shining

We really appreciated the introduction to photography duo Haubitz+Zoche (EN/DE) by way of a vibrant, polychromatic portfolio of churches of southern India.
Their collection Postcolonial Epiphany (Postkolniale Erleuchtung—sadly Sabine Haubitz passed away in 2014 but Stefanie Zoche maintains the collaborative name), featuring both houses of worship and movie theatres built between the 1950s and 1970s that inform a rather whimsical hybrid of Modernism—dissecting the way that material determines space, is currently being exhibited at a gallery in Mannheim.  Learn more at the links up top.

drug liberalisation

The Canadian Senate has passed, with a clear mandate, a measure to legalise the recreational use of marijuana. Provinces have a buffer period of eight to twelve weeks to prepare for sales and cultivation.

special rapporteur

Unsurprisingly, US has announced its intent to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council following criticism of Trump’s practise of separating children from their families and interning them in concentration camps. Administration officials moreover cite what they characterise as the council’s disproportionate focus on the Israel-Palestine dispute.

turn-down service

As Slashdot reports, electronic assistants are to be added to hotel rooms sometime in the near future.  What do you think?  Unlike Gideons’ Bible, however, Alexa for Hospitality will provide hoteliers a way to “measure engagement through analytics and adapt services based on guest feedback,” with recordings and interactions cleared from the machines’ memories upon check-out.

article 13

doctor, is there something i can take

Frequently I wake up with a song in my head—usually quite random and completely non-sequitur, and this day was no exception with the “Coconut Song” by Harry Edward Nilsson III (1941* - 1994†)—which to be honest I couldn’t name the singer-songwriter behind it until my curiosity was piqued.
Leading a tumultuous, colourful life and career that was tangentially associated with the Beatles and the Monkees, I did some cursory research and learned he was the son of impoverished Swedish circus performers in upstate New York and ran away at an early age to Los Angeles, demonstrating first an aptitude for computers and electronics before pursuing music. Living in Mayfair for almost the entire decade of the 1970s, his flat in Curzon Place was decorated by Ringo Starr’s design company ROR (Ringo or Robin [Cruikshank]) who sublet the place during an extended leave of absence to performer Cass Elliot (former member of the Mamas & the Papas) who died of heart-failure after a strenuous show at the London in 1974. Nilsson ultimately sold the apartment in 1978 to Pete Townshend when band-mate of The Who Keith Moon died of an overdose whilst staying there. Other songs of Nilsson’s include “Me and my Arrow” from The Point!, the theme and incidental music for The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and score for the 1980 film adaptation of Popeye. In any case, one could wake up to far worse musical accompaniment.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

bierkönig

Via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals, we are introduced to a comprehensive and exhaustive collection of drink coasters, beermats and other bar paraphernalia from around the world. A casual curator myself, I was really engrossed with the history—the first non-saucers made from high grammage pasteboard were produced in the town of Magdeburg in1880 as a way to primarily protect tables from condensation but quickly became a vehicle for advertising and other messaging spreading from Europe outward.

logos, pathos and ethos

The company behind the machine learning that bested humans at chess and at trivia and will act as an executive assistant on the International Space Station has now publicly demonstrated for the first time artificial intelligence Turing complete enough to hold its own in a debate with human sparring partners. Instructed to respond to the position put forward by the humans (without prior preparation) the performance was flawless, polished and a little unsettling since equipped with the sum of human knowledge to include rhetoric, the art of discourse, it would know how to best pander to what we want to hear. Such research would be used to augment human policy-planning and decision-making, not supplant it. Learn more and see a video of the deliberations at the link above.

die glocke

A German model toy manufacturer has recalled one of its air crafts and taken it off the market over criticism for suggesting that Nazi Germany was able to achieve space flight with a kit based off a legendary ship. The kit’s liner notes come woefully short of clarifying the ahistorical nature of the design and the project behind it and could mislead impressionable minds.

you sank my battleship!

Blathering gate-crasher Trump disrupted a rather sedate Space Council meeting on cleaning up satellite debris to announce the creation of a sixth branch of the US military in the form of a “Space Force.”
Couched in language used at the end of the nineteen century to justify and institutionalise segregation in public schools—he gleefully repeated that “it would be separate but equal” from the Air Force and Navy, which already conduct aerospace activities. Furthermore, Trump urged the defence contractors that deliver most of the US’ space-faring capabilities to “stay apart” since their corporate partnership translates somehow to them bilking the government for more money. Though a branch of the military, there’s no indication as yet how Trump’s latest sideshow will contravene the Outer Space Treaty and start a fresh space-race, but this time not over exploration or engineering competence, and rather instead over arms.

Monday, 18 June 2018

foxy fox on the run

Perhaps to deflect attention from domestic crises which has thousands confined to concentration camps along the southern US border as a deterrent to dissuade others from trying for a better life, Trump lied about the role that liberal immigration policy has had in Germany in terms of crime (statistics are lowest since 1992, no matter how it’s framed) and was openly critical of leadership of the Chancellor—sort of like blaming members of the opposition party for separating migrant families. He’s used this script before.
Knowing the heartless, idiot narcissist thrives on any attention, I am ever more loath to acknowledge his pratfalls and pandering but there’s a lot at stake all around—especially considering the timing, which amplifies the notion that Germany is facing a constitutional crisis over irreconcilable differences between Merkel and Bavarian factions of her party. Governance in Germany is not a cult-of-personality despite how hegemonic perspectives might portray foreign politics, and Merkel managed to buy time in a game of brinksmanship with the country’s interior minister over curbing immigration—one point in a proposal of sixty-three that Merkel determined to be in violation of European Union law, suggesting that Germany could rebuff refugees that had entered the EU at other points—who subsequently acquiesced that the matter should be tabled until a broader, supra-national discussion can take place. Moreover, the malleable Manchurian Candidate’s pronouncement comes after a non-sequitur weekend chat with long-term Hungarian prime-minister over the importance of strong borders, Orbán Viktor being a strong opponent of Merkel’s proposal for a EU-wide distributed quota-system for hosting migrants.

5x5

tune in, turn on, slack-off: employees cultivating mindfulness are less productive, having realised the futility of their jobs

football pitch: Alan Taylor considers some of the more creative placements of soccer fields around the world, via Kottke’s Quick Links

stolen flame: short documentary about about an indigenous racing team at the 1967 Pan-American Games who were not allowed to carry the torch into the stadium

artificial scarcity: an exclusive website with a waiting room, via Weird Universe

hildegard von bingen: an appreciation of the repertoire and canon (previously) of the West’s first named composer  

slingshot

Though understandably a bit cagey on the details for fear that their ideas might be stolen, as Quartz reports, a Silicon Valley start-up has secured the backing of some well-established industry patrons to build a catapult or trebuchet to launch payloads into space, forgoing the expense and inefficiency of rocketry.
Aircraft catapults are already employed as a form of assisted take-offs on some aircraft carriers but the idea to propel objects to orbit is pretty unconventional. What do you think?  Space elevators are still my favourite alternative and do hope that this isn’t some hoax.  Traditional rockets typically only can accommodate a cargo of five percent or less of their total mass with the remainder consisting of fuel and the rocket’s shell.

1812 overture

On this day, two hundred and six years ago, James Madison—at the urging of Andrew Jackson—declared war on British Empire and her allies over a variety of reasons including the policy of impressment of American citizens to fight Napoleon’s armies, British respect for Native American sovereignty, honour, and the desire to expand north into the British territory that would become Canada.
The three year conflict, considered by most to be a minor theatre of the larger Napoleonic wars, ended in stalemate for the chief belligerents with enslaved people and the Native Americans, having lost an ally and advocate in Europe though not necessarily their sympathies, being the losers. The big take away lesson that the best way to maintain peace with the United States for Britain was appeasement and indulge the way it was presented as a victorious “second war of independence” in the popular imagination.

cover story

Via the always vigilant Everlasting Blört, we find ourselves reacquainted with veteran blogger Chris Holmes and his endeavour, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, who has launched a new series on premiere editions periodicals’ first covers. The series opens with the rather sophisticated, jazzy artwork adorning the front cover of the December 1953 issue of Playboy magazine.

the greatest hits

Though more renowned for his provocative, street art social and political gadfly Banksy (previous here, here and here) has also made a mark on canvas, lampooning the world of traditional, popular art—which is being showcased at the LAZ Inc gallery in Mayfair by one of the artists first gallerist. The exhibit will be free to the public. Be sure to visit the link up top to learn more.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

’αλωάδαι

A recent episode of the always engrossing and thoroughly researched History of Ancient Greece podcast told the tale of two belligerents of the Gigantomachy who had some unique and potentially all-conquering attributes. Queen Iphimedia, wife of Aloeus, somehow managed to get herself pregnant with twins by wading out into the surf by her father-in-law the god Poseidon and bore the prodigies Otus and Ephialtes who were possessed of superhuman strength and size, growing at an accelerated rate that made them towering individuals, impervious to attack by the age of nine—which reminded me of Tex Avery’s “King-Sized Canary” where an ensemble of predatory animals discover and fight over a growth-elixir. Had they been allowed to mature into adolescence, they could have reached the Heavens without a step ladder, but for now to act on their plan to storm Olympus and take respectively Artemis and Hera for their wives, the piled three mountains on top of one another and were clever enough to first capture and imprison Ares, the god of war, so the Olympians might not have the appetite for battle. The brothers began their incursion and cornered Artemis who out of cunning desperation offered herself to Otus, immediately transforming herself into a fawn. Dashing between the two Aloadae (sons of the husband of Aleous even though he was not the father) Iphimedia, they both took aim to with their spears to down their quarry and ended up hitting each other as Artemis escaped.

ballungsraum

Not that the journey would be a particularly arduous or lengthy one and there’s no excuse not to visit more often, but it does strike me as odd to live in such proximity to one of the nodes of culture and commerce, an alpha world city, and not be bothered to make it out more often, but I’m going to challenge myself to get to know Frankfurt am Main (previously) a bit better and take advantage of my workweek nearness to the metropolis.
Having heard that the Altstadt was recently reopened after completion of restoration work to the Dom-Römer quarter (the space between the merchant house and the cathedral) to rebuilt structures lost during World War II, I convinced H it was a good excuse to return. We walked down the shaded promenade of the quay of the river Main (Mainkai) and several of its crossings to take in the skyline and get our bearings.
The new seat of the European Central Bank in Ostend had been completed in the meantime and although there was still scaffolding and some structures under construction in the Römer plaza and my memory of it wasn’t exactly photographic (the new addition is the right-most Goldene Waage, the Golden Scale) but it was a pleasant afternoon out in the sunny square.
Learning about the extent of the project and what was still left to do we were curious to see more but were a bit disincentivised due to the fact that just beyond there was a rather complex series of protests and counter-demonstrations going on that involved a right-leaning group trying to appropriate and rebrand a 1953 East German uprising and general strike (der Aufstand vom 17. Juni 1953) against working conditions under the Communist government which was violently suppressed and commemorated in the West as a national holiday observed until reunification as an excuse to rail against immigration policies.
Counter-demonstrators, however, eclipsed members of the Bürgerbündnis (the anti-Islamification group)—which in turn was equally obscured by a police presence which happily was not pressed into service. We’ll return when there’s more time and space for exploration.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

black hole sun

Using a super computer to model a complex and exotic star system, Universe Today reports, a physics professor worked out a theoretical arrangement wherein that a modestly-sized black hole could be the centre holding in stable orbit nine sustaining Sun-like stars with upwards of five hundred planets (plus their own satellites), a good portion of them under conditions (experimentally) suited for life.
Calculations demonstrate that such a fantastic solar system could exist—or various permutations thereof including a sufficiently advanced civilisation that could engineer such compact and neighbourly systems and tow them around the Universe—and that denizens of those places would experience frequent close-encounters with other worlds and see their skies (inexplicably to them or perhaps scientifically grasped) periodically distorted, objects gravitational lensed by the marauding black hole (which surely informs its own mysterious mythology as well) that groups them all together.

burg sonnenberg

H and I are in Wiesbaden (the main boulevard that runs past the storied State Opera, wellness spa and casino usually is lined with international flags but the banners have been replaced for this month with pride flags) this weekend while he chairs a few seminars and I had the chance to take a long hike through the city via the Kurpark and Garten (previously).
Walking along a short segment of the Höhenrhein trail following the Rambach valley to the district of Sonnenberg, I was rather deep in a an urban woodland until arriving at the foothills of the Taunus and dominated by the ruins of Burg Sonnenberg hewn into a mountainous spur.
Although much of the thirteenth fortification has crumbed and was cannibalised as a quarry when the settlement below was devastated by a fire during the Thirty Years War one can still see the intact tower of the Bergfried and extensive defensive walls and imagine the castle protecting the Count of Nassau’s domain from raids of the Dukes of Eppstein.
The two neighbouring and competing houses  never settled a border dispute amongst themselves owing to overlapping jurisdictions that arose out of Wiesbaden’s imperial immediacy, a distinction that the city fought to keep for over a thousand years since the time of Charlemagne. Now the area is a venue for a series of open-air events and quite the staging arena especially in the summertime.

the purge

Courtesy of Miss Cellania’s links, we learn that a US State Department advisor, formerly a food industry lobbyist turned wine-blogger who goes by the handle “Vino Vixen” has been surreptitiously vetting the political sympathies and loyalty to cult leader Trump’s of career employees at the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the Department of State itself. Her primary investigatory strategy, which is only compounding the exodus of veteran diplomats and an irreplaceable wealth of institutional knowledge, apparently consist primarily of nosing around staff members’ social media accounts for signals of lingering faith in the policies of Obama or the potential for independent, critical thought.

Friday, 15 June 2018

scientists’ corner

Preeminent scientist Stephen Hawking’s ashes were interred with honours in the royal peculiar and hall of fame, Westminster Abbey today. In addition to recognising his contributions to the understanding of the Cosmos by according his mortal remains a special place (between Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton), the European Space Agency—after the service—beamed a recording of one of Hawking’s lectures, a missive of peace and hope, into outer space aimed at the nearest known black hole, designated 1A 0620-00, with his voice expected to reach the event horizon in thirty-five hundred years.

logophilia

We were hoping to enrich our vocabulary with this word of the day from Fancy Notions but then were a little deflated to verify that in fact aibohphobia is a deliberately constructed palindrome and part of a family of humorous phobias rather than a serious term describing the actual fear of things read the same in either direction.  It’s strange that we tend to give scary or adverse things Greek names. I think the term is ingratiating itself, nonetheless, as well as another word I came across while investigating: semordnilap. Palindrome spelt backwards, an example of a pair of semordnilaps would be stressed and desserts. Curiously, it should also be noted that there’s a genus of spiders native to Africa called Palindroma whose five species all have palindromic names, which I suppose would elicit a fear response in those disposed to arachnophobia.

low rent, high stakes

We were temporarily in denial about the images circulating—courtesy of the US Department of Health and Human Services—of the Trump mural prominently displayed in a detention centre for young boys housed in a former Wal-Mart in Texas, wishing it weren’t true but knowing deep down that there is not irony too dumb or cruel for that regime who are presently defending separating some of the same adolescents from their families by citing a Bible passage that was also used to justify slavery. The quotation on the mural—helpfully bilingual—is from the book ghost-written for the sub-literate slob The Art of the Deal, chapter ten, seemingly to inculcate the youths with aspirations for the American Dream shortly before their deportation.

8x8

i’m ready for my close-up: a selection of vintage Hollywood test shots

emeco: a look at the indestructible chair commissioned by the US navy in 1940 that could withstand the blast of a torpedo 
columbo: US ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrinch, returns a pilfered letter penned by Christopher Columbus to the Vatican Library

fjallkona: Iceland picks a drag queen to be its national personification, the Lady of the Mountain

flare-up: periodically the Sun erupts

jankó layout: an alternative keyboard to the traditional piano format

pitchforks: main-stream media is ignoring the protests of poor peoples in the US

x-ray vision: Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers harness ambient radio signals and WiFi to see through walls

Thursday, 14 June 2018

signs and symptoms

Though yet to implement as far as we know, back in 2016 an exploitative ride-hailing company (previously) applied for a patent for non-invasive artificial intelligence technology that would be enlisted to distinguish drunk passengers from sober ones. What do you think about that? In theory through the passive screening process, the company would hope to mitigate undesired outcomes.

cantiche

Though well within our rights to read Purgatory and the Inferno described in Dante Alighieri’s epic poem The Divine Comedy (previously) as metaphorical there have been nonetheless earnest and noble attempts, as Open Culture informs, from the Renaissance to modern times to diagram and map out Dante’s decent, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, into the lands of the departed. Check out more charts and infographics that illustrated Dante’s vision of Hell at the link above.

deep state

The always brilliant Nag on the Lake directs our attention to a very interesting Cold War chronicle, an office artefact that I’m regretting not having taken up and created during my own tenure, something reminiscent of medieval manuscripts or the Bayeux tapestry. Click the images to enlarge.
An anonymous general schedule (GS) analyst and conscientious bureaucrat like myself working at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas back in the 1980s during the Reagan-era illuminated his government-issued desk calendar (something which I usually rejected for reasons of unnecessary clutter and not necessarily speaking to my organisational skills) noting momentous occasions, personal achievements and airing his grievances with higher headquarters. Find more months in detail documenting the decade at the link above.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

a destiny pictures production

The pool of reporters gathered (including those who could speak Korean since apparently that iteration played before the English version) in Singapore covering the meeting between Trump and Kim could have been easily forgiven for thinking that the clip that heralded Trump’s entrance was a propaganda video crafted by the North, having a similar look and feel to it, when in fact this mess of a message was a gift that Trump had produced for Kim to mark the occasion of their historic summit.

Watch closely to spot the stock footage of a Trump property in Florida. No one is owning up to having cleared this for use in statecraft (especially after all those riffs on “America First” but [Insert Your Country Here] Second came out) and Trump attempted to preclude further questioning by saying that the effort could be recycled and reused for another country—possibly with Canada to get the action film treatment next.

legal-ade

Though we’re usually wary about posting such things as it’s just amplifying a company’s marketing gimmick, I do feel the sentiment in which it was presented on Kottke is a good one, bearing repeating.

Commenting on how a soft-drink manufacturer will pay the fines of young scoff-laws for operating lemonade stands over the summer without a permit (which—not to be a total kill-joy—are also required for reasons of health and safety) and relatedly how a pizzeria franchise (previously) has pledged to donate some of its proceeds to repairing potholes, the blogger lamented how corporations—which go to extremes to be stateless and unbeholden to any taxation that might help modernise legal frameworks and improve crumbling infrastructure—are now portraying themselves as heroes for offering a showy solution for a host of problems that they’ve helped to create in the first place.