Wednesday, 24 April 2019

now hist. and rare

Sentence First refers us to a delightful obsession from bibliophile, logophile Ammon Shea undertaken in 2008, a full-time, year-long commitment to read every volume of the Oxford English Dictionary (previously) from cover to cover, approaching some sixty million words (not entries alone but terms plus sometimes expansive their definitions but an impressive vocabulary nonetheless by any measure), and to record his reflections. Such curated lists are always an invitation to find one’s own to share but there are some really choice words, such as constult (v:) to act stupidly together, epizeuxis (n:) the repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis, latibulate (v:) to hide oneself in a corner and vulpeculated (pa. pple. [past participle]:) in the state of having been robbed by a fox. Much more to explore at the link above.

telling the bees

Not exclusively a British custom but perhaps more concentrated than on the continent, the very endearing custom of ‘telling the bees’ recorded in Ireland, France, Germany and Bohemia as well probably has ancient origins in the mythological belief that the helpful insects could bridge the natural and supernatural realms.

Kept bees would be kept apprised of all milestones in the life of the beekeeper and family and surely this confessional sharing was therapeutic and a comfort in the face of loss or change, and breach of the practise—that is, failure to involve the hive during major life events, not putting them into mourning or informing them of births and weddings carried a penalty, not only foreboding for the occasion itself but the colony itself could become unproductive or stray. Though divination is not emphasised as much as participation, the bees through their behaviour could also give an omen and help to optimise outcomes. Learn more about the strong and establish relationship between humans and the pollinators at Amusing Planet at the link above and do take a moment to greet and thank your local bees.

reggie mac dawson has absconded with my funds

On this day in 1969, the US government issued its first mortgage-backed security through an organisation incorporated the year prior, the Government National Mortgage Association—colloquially known as Ginne Mae, a wholly-owned charter within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to promote home-ownership.
An earlier and enduring iteration was creations of the crisis of Great Depression, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and in 1970 the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and infamously Sallie Mae (the Student Loan Marketing Association) do not have the full-faith and backing of the federal government, guaranteeing solvency, only Ginnie Mae (with a real estate portfolio upwards of two trillion dollars presently), yet are de facto beneficiaries, whose purpose is to create secondary bond markets and have occasioned a few crises of their own. Jimmy Mack, when are you coming back?

tiny bubbles

The burst of effervescence, the formula and trial plus error that has accompanied the process of producing and perfecting fizzy drinks since the discovery of fermentation is an intersectional testament to human endeavour and appreciating the physics, cultivation and rigours of design that goes into harnessing the power and pressure of carbonation makes toasting all the more profound. 
Bubbles are a spontaneous nucleation of gas dissolved in the liquid, agitated to achieve atmospheric parity with what’s within the bottle and glass with what’s without, dithering at the surface due to what’s called the Marangoni effect, a convective property of surface tension that’s also responsible for ‘tears’ or ‘curtains’ of wine no matter how neatly a glass is poured. Visit Æon Magazine at the link above to indulge in more refreshing contemplation on matter, motion and behaviour.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

6x6

global imaging ambassador: the architectural photography portfolio of Tobi Shinobi, via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals

sunburst sanctuary: a profile of an enduring California commune at the intersection of peace and profit

let us all go and make a new crack friend: a bizarre short featured on Sesame Street and the strange quest to find it

dataviz: artefacts that attest to the human compulsion to abstract information

chindōgu: useless products (see also) designed to solve problems that don’t exist from Matt Benedetto

tehran façades: the greebled hi-rises of Iran, via Present /&/ Correct  

Monday, 22 April 2019

weyland-yutani corporation

Ahead of the fortieth anniversary of the theatrical release of the first installment of the Alien franchise that’s coming in a month’s time on 25 May, a series of ten-minute, studio-authorised vignettes that feed into the movies’ mythology are being showcased.
The latest short film, Ore (find links to the rest at the source link above), also references 26th April as Alien Day, chosen for the distress signal originating from the natural satellite LV-426 of gas giant Calpamos, once known as Acheron and a human colony, to which the crew of the USCSS Nostromo diverted from its mission to investigate. The actual landing, according to franchise source-material, on the desolate moon took place on 3 June, 2122.

elke belg wordt geboren met de baksteen in de maag

With a resonate, resounding spirit similar to McMansion Hell, Hannes Coudenys’ collection of “Ugly Belgian Houses” struck a chord with neighbours and compatriots that said something about the house-proud and architectonic aspirations of the Flemish.
The saying above, often repeated and reaffirmed visually as well with faux châteaux, Texas ranches and Barbie dream homes vying for attention all crowded next to one another—Every Belgian is born with a brick in the stomach, does speak to the national psyche to expand outward into suburbia, throwing caution and uniformity to the wind and willing to clash. Like Kate Wagner, Coudeny was also threatened with legal action and had to go on an extended hiatus before continuing his gently critical look at the lay of the land. Much more to explore at Amusing Planet at the link above.

don’t mess with mother

Graduating from its not nice to fool Mother Nature (the campaign for Chiffon margarine), Apple delivers a pretty intense advertisement—highlighting the capability of its camera—for Earth Day (previously) set to Megadeth’s 1985 thrash metal song Last Rites/Loved to Deth, to remind that Nature is a force to be reckoned with and that we’re squandering time at our peril. This latest short film is a departure from the gentler response in 2017 released after the US announced its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Treaty with a montage of outdoor photography to Carl Sagan’s narration of Pale Blue Dot.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

battle of the nations

Visiting H’s parents in Leipzig, we took an afternoon stroll around the reflecting pool of the colossal Belle Époque Völkerschlachtdenkmal, a monument and cenotaph (previously—with interior views) completed on the centenary of the 1813 Battle of the Nations during which a coalition of Prussian, Russian and Austrian forces delivered the armies of Napoleon a decisive defeat, which ultimately led to his capitulation and exile, erected on the battlefield at the southeastern limits of the city. After decades of planning, construction was finally undertaken with just fifteen years to spare before the hundredth anniversary of the event, financed by the city and private donations, the commission for the overall design awarded to Bruno Schmitz (see also here and here).
Rich in symbolism and though ostensibly a memorial to the unknown and anonymous soldier rather than a testament to a heroic and romanticised past, the sandstone and granite pyramid was meant to evoke the same strong patriotic sentiments that characterised the reign of Wilhelm II that spanned the time of its construction and led into the Great War. These strong associations with rabid nationalism—as all these monuments built many decades and centuries after the fact were meant to unite and provoke—caused debate among East German authorities, like the more recent culture wars over US civil war monuments, whether such symbols should be preserved in the first place for having incited so much damaging animosity. Ultimately, it was decided that the monument, showcased on the outskirts of the city’s famous convention and trade fair grounds (Messegelände), could be interpreted as a symbol of the enduring friendship and cooperation between Russia and Germany and thus could remain.

easter acclamations!


Saturday, 20 April 2019

folie à plusieurs

On this day twenty years ago, the Columbine High School Massacre occurred in an unincorporated community of Littleton in the state of Colorado resulting in fifteen fatalities including the perpetrators who took their own lives with far more grandiose plans ultimately unrealized.
While the incident has internationally become a metonym for school shootings and an eponymous effect that has seen its export and proliferation, the tragedy netted no significant change in legislation pertaining to gun ownership domestically. Despite opening up dialogue on weapons culture, bullying, vicarious violence and the confessional nature of the early internet, public reaction of America created scapegoats and palatable narratives that is heir to a sacrificial steady-state hell-scape that gladly accepts those offerings. Sadly, we all know the drill.

Friday, 19 April 2019

a l’egs-istential quandary

Using such a figure-ground confusing optical illusion as this impossible pachyderm (like the blivet but imaginary instead of an anatomic violation) as a heuristic tool to explore mental rotation and how generalisation emerges in learned behaviour (judging distance and sequence), the creator, cognitive scientist Roger Sheppard, offers something unique in the visual dissonance ever advancing with one foot or leg always unaccounted for.

chiaroscuro

We remember number five of this series of the disorderly conduct on the streets of Manchester at New Year’s Eve from a few years ago but the other alluring photographs that managed to—likewise inadvertently in most cases it seems—pass themselves off in the same painterly style (derived from the Swiss term malerisch) did really strike us as Renaissance paintings and merited closer examination to convince ourselves otherwise.

apiculture urbaine

Understandably not the first concern to leap to mind, but thanks to Parisien correspondent extraordinaire Messy Nessy Chic, we are happy to report that rooftop colony of bees kept in three hives (ruches) at Notre-Dame de Paris has miraculously also survived the fire, residing on a portico one level below the ancient wooden timber frame that was engulfed in flames. The hives are part of a very successful network of some three hundred kept in the city to contribute to the urban ecosystem, pollinate plants and offer humans surplus honey, populated by a docile breed of honey bees developed at the Buckfast Benedictine Abbey (also for its fortified tonic wine) in Devon in the 1920s. Learn much more at the link up top and spread the consoling news.

urban legend

Our intrepid explorers at Atlas Obscura lead us to a deliriously crowded, Mid-Century Modern style annotated map of New York City, drafted in the early 1950s by Nils Hansell. Filled with local-lore, infamy and tall tales that we cannot necessarily vouch for, “The Wonders of New York” features over three hundred exclusive haunts and happenings of yesteryear to consider, the landscape having transformed considerably despite the layout basically remaining true-to-form.
Visit the link above to zoom in greater detail and discover what’s changed about the character of each neighbourhood. Rogues’ galleries and hyperbole aside, I wonder if in the not so distant future, people will find equally preposterous that a certain quarter had flea circuses, livestock and stevedores.

super ponte

Similar to the German concept of a Brückentag—taking an extra, intervening day off to bridge the gap in what would be a longer break from work and to make a longer, uninterrupted weekend when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Italian language has fare il ponte—to do the bridge.
Unlike in the States where most holidays are observed on the nearest Monday, there are not moveable feasts in other parts of the world and one isn’t given compensation if the holiday fell on a weekend. This year, however, owing to a late Easter and the following Easter Monday (Pasquetta), the celebrations bump up against secular public holidays with the anniversary of Italy’s liberation (Festa della liberazione) falling shortly afterwards on the twenty-fifth and then, if you can put off returning to the office long enough, there’s International Workers’ Day (Festa del lavoro) on 1 May. These happy quirks of the calendar are rare but most welcomed.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

harm to ongoing matter

Via Boing Boing, for scale and to gain an appreciation of what’s been redacted and cited and deemed not suitable for release to the public, we are presented the Mueller Report (previously) in microfiche, contact sheet format. There’s still plenty to read in between the blacked out lines.

pivot points

In collaboration with a construction research company, a design studio has produced a line of proof-of-concept prototype concrete elements that can be moved and arranged, despite weighing several tonnes, with ordinary human amounts of strength, through cleverly articulated rocking, rounded edges and balancing the centre of mass for each component. Once the forms are delivered, structures could be assembled in situ without heavy equipment. Watch video demonstrations at designboom at the link above.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

pawnographic

We regret having missed this scandalising graphic design choice from December of 2017 when the new season’s World Chess Championship logo had its debut, but it is still resonant since the world (on-line and off) is puerile as ever and wont and eager to prise a dirty joke or snicker out of any situation. The studio behind this pugilistic emblem as well as the client organisation that commissioned it called out as something obviously tantric responded in a healthy way, however, appreciating the furore and the focus it brought.
The world is lousy with bad design and there’s a lot of unintended suggestiveness—though of course sex sells, but overall attacking what’s bold or avant-garde makes design as whole boring and more conservative, brands and associations not wanting to risk what might be made the butt of ridicule. This obsession—which I am sure will go into overdrive with candidates developing their campaign imagery—seems to me like a surrogate for that persistent though mythical legend about subliminal advertising (by definition, if it is subliminal, it does not register) that had people trying to find (and in some cases swearing to it) nudes in ice cubes for the past six decades.  More to explore at the link up top.

8x8

colossus: a robot firefighter worked alongside five hundred heroic first responders to help save Notre Dame

hyperacusis: a look at the rather long history of building acoustics and being driven to distraction

ben day dots: the studio behind the fantastic title sequence of Into the Spider-Verse

poe’s law: an internet adage that it’s become tougher and tougher to distinguish extreme views from parodies thereof

stumped: a look at the observation posts of World War I disguised as trees

the secret-sharer: tech companies contract armies of people to tweak and improve digital assistants

mush, mush: a team of Boston Dynamics Spot Minis working in tandem haul away a big truck

a vast symphony set in stone: tourists and scholars reflect on the cathedrals’ historic (and landmark) role and what it means to them  

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

fluctuat nec mergitur

architecture of choice

A team of researchers who trained a neural network to play arcade games would often ask human teachers, role-models to explain the rational behind the moves they made, veering left or jumping forward to avoid an obstacle, etc. to help the robot learn.
In efforts for transparency in algorithmic decision making and hopefully presenting AI as less of an inscrutable black box and more of an auditable system, the research team also trained the machine to generate a running account of each move it made. While this sounds well-intentioned, the more likely outcome will result in AI that comes up with a plausible and civil explanations ex-post facto, much like all people in certain situations measuring the programme’s response and against past human-user reactions and gradually building trust and a rapport based on what the AI has learned that we want to hear. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, 15 April 2019

baleen

Like nature studies informed by Bauhaus and Joan Miró, Present /&/ Correct refers us to the portfolio of art collective that embraces messy Modernism with their reinterpretation of specimen slides of plankton—that is whale food and an indispensable part of the food-chain not to mention producing fully half of the world’s biogenic oxygen supply that ought not to be judged by their size, individual members of this drifting current called plankters. Much more to explore at the links above.

the relentless amplification of nothing

The always excellent Things Magazine reflects on internet entropy and the tendency of things to fall into a state of neglect and disrepair often in favour of the sleeker, less labour intensive and attention demanding walled-gardens of social media that has become an exercise in judicious cannibalisation and that blog roll-calls in time become a poignant review of abandoned projects and interests, set aside maybe in some cases just a moment too long to ever get back in the habit.
No one is expected to explain oneself or defend changing circumstance and focus but it is a little sad to realise that voracious, giant platforms are usually the culprits. As much as we might cringe at the idea of social media curating our biographies and autobiographies forever open to public inspection and that in certain contexts nostalgia belies a toxic impulse, it can be on the other hand a moment of elation to go spelunking among the hulks of the moribund past and uncover artefacts that attests to a once vibrant hobby. The author shares some rare nuggets at the link above and we’d like to know if you’ve come across some undisturbed treasures yourself.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

osterbrunnen

Sourced back as a tradition expanding outward from the Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland) region in the early 1900s when public fountains started to lose a measure of their civil importance as more homes were being retrofitted with modern plumbing, decorating them and the village centre with eggs, ribbon and garlands for Eastertide has spread to other areas in Germany.
Though the ritual of well-dressing is a custom that goes back much further, communities have grown acutely aware and proud of their handiwork, since the 1950s generally put out on the day before Palm Sunday, that continues to evolve as a teachable and instagrammable lesson—plastic eggs having become the norm due to vandalism but many are returning to more authentic materials to celebrate the season and the rites of Spring.

bekende deense meubelontwerper

I’ve always thought that this fabric wall hanging that came with my furnished workweek apartment was pretty keen and hoped that I might be able to arrange to have it move out with me, when that day comes, but didn’t realise until just recently that it is a piece of Danish graphic designer and interior decorator Verner Panton’s Mira-X Collection.
A student of the psychology and working in the studio of architect Arne Jacobsen, Panton (*1928 – †1998) is probably best known for his line of furniture, including his signature moon lamps and chair still licensed and in production by the company Vitra and for incredibly psychedelic office spaces like the cantina for Spiegel magazine headquarters in Hamburg, executed in the same style as this indoor swimming pool shown at the link.

߷

Developed to increase literacy and bring about cultural cohesion among the Manding language speakers of West Africa, Guinean author Souleymane Kante (ߛߏߎߟߋߦߑߡߊߣߋ ߞߊ߲ߕߋ), the N’ko script (ߒߞߏ‎, I say in all the family dialects) was finalised on this day in 1949 and disseminated throughout Guinea, the Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.
While it bears some similarities to Arabic writing in that it reads from right to left and letters are connected with ligatures, Kante (*1922 - †1987) crafted the script to communicate the special features of the common language and is today regarded as one of the best integrated and most successful of the modern syllabaries, with native writers and readers also digital natives, adapted for computer use since the early 1990s. The title is the N’ko punctuation mark called gbakurunen, the three stones that balance a cooking pot over a flame, and indicates the end to a section of text and separate subchapters, like an asterism (⁂).

barbed whiskey good and whiskey straight

Via our fabulously peripatetic friends Nag on the Lake and Miss Cellania, we are regaled with one of Botnik Studios (previously) latest endeavour—though perhaps not of the same calibre of the algorithm that’s recently been awarded with a record deal, at least not yet—a collaboration between human singers and a robot songwriter, trained on all the popular tropes of Country and Western music, has resulted in a catchy but non sequitir number called “You Can’t Take My Door.”

Saturday, 13 April 2019

breakfast of champions

One of the intermediate achievements to come out of a four-decade experiment of The Land Institute’s founders Wes and Dana Jackson was trialled earlier this week before a body of scientists, conservationists and environmental activists in the form of a cereal milled from the grain of a perennial wheat, domesticated through a series of cross-breeding (see also) to make a potentially useful food crop out of wild prairie grasses.
Calling their cultivar Kernza, the team hopes to transform and invert the way industrial agriculture affects the environment and ecosystem as an enduring part of an environment that admits cohabitation rather than a seasonal interloper that requires energy intensive replanting year after year and causes a large degree of collateral damage despite its otherwise shallow impact.  In comparison, seasonal farming practises seem like a scorched earth campaign, with pesticides, erosion, vast expanses of monoculture that does not allow for a degree of diversity and the act of tilling itself that releases a bigger share of carbon dioxide than most other human enterprises.  Learn more at the links above.

you deserve a break today

Referred by Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals, we get a glimpse of the direction a fast food giant could have taken towards mellower, harvest palette instead of the signature red and gold, which supposedly stimulates the appetite, thanks to some recently recovered 1973 (also the same year as the introduction of the Egg McMuffin) marketing proofs from Unimark International. The alternate look reminds us of the iconic Sainsbury’s store brand. The design archives of McDonald’s and other anchor lines are being researched and curated by the Vignelli Center for Design Studies.

basicode

Previously we’ve explored how computer games and software applications were in the early 1980s broadcast over the airwaves for recording and executing with Bristol’s Radio West’s Datarama, and now thanks to Amusing Planet we learn that there was a parallel effort underway in the Netherlands with the state public service radio NOS (Nederlandse Omroep Stichting) transmitting code as well. Hobbyscoop was one popular programme for early computer enthusiasts and while the first few episodes were for specific models of computers, the Apple-2 or the Exidy Sorcerer, the producers had the idea to make the content offered more universal by standardising the format, broadcasting BASIC language programmes and installing each computer with a translation programme to interpret the ASCII representation into its native machine language. Radio stations across Europe were quick to start doing the same. Much more to explore at the links above.

voight-kampff test

Sort of in the same way utopia signifies no place, the concept of empathy—derived from the Ancient Greek for compassion via the German term Einfühlung (feeling into) and now in modern Greek εμπάθεια indicates malice, there are appreciable facets and nuances to the capacity to put oneself in another’s shoes.
Failure to understand how what’s become in the course of a generation an article of faith is a new way of framing our beliefs and values is susceptible to misuse, obfuscation and delusion—especially considering the received-narrative and our obligation as social beings—can quickly turn the better parts of empathy to tribalism, much like child-rearing admits the imbalance of helicopter parenting, Tiger Moms or neglect, and leave individuals more entrenched and dedicated to right the wrongs visited on those like them.  Without the need to repair or restore to short-hand or signalling, engage in a profound exploration of the topic below.

Friday, 12 April 2019

waschbär

On this day in 1934, forester William, Baron Sittich of Berlepsch, at the request of the animals’ keeper, poultry farmer Rolf Haag, released two pairs of raccoons into the nature reserve Edersee-Kellerwald, in what turned out to be the ideal environment for them—several earlier attempts to introduce the North American export to Europe having failed.
The forester’s effort to “enrich the native fauna” was not exactly sanctioned as official permission from the Prussian authorities came weeks later, and raccoons have seen a rise in population climbing to an estimated million across Germany presently. The extent that the successful, invasive species (Neozoon) threatens biodiversity is a point of contention, most regarding their uncontrolled spread as disastrous, endangering native birds and edging out competition from domestic carnivores by their strength in numbers.

heilkunde

Using the principles of divination and radiesthesia to guide her hand, Swiss spiritual healer and outsider artist Emma Kunz (*1892 - †1963) did not necessarily cultivate her art for art’s sake but rather as an expression and heuristic tool for exploring belief and to engender healing. Viewing these curated works on loan from the Emma Kunz Zentrum in Würenlos in Aargau is nonetheless still visually compelling and with symbolism and geometric harmonies to prise an insight from, the meditative qualities come through.
The site of the centre dedicated to conserving Kunz’ drawings and teaching is also the location of a Roman quarry (Grotto) where Kunz discovered a mineral she believed held restorative properties—naming it AION A, from the Greek for “limitless.” The benches for the exhibit were specially hewn from this stone and pulverised AION A is available from Swiss apothecaries. More to explore with Hyperallergic at the link above.

yuri’s night

This anniversary (also Cosmonautics Day, День космонавтики) of the first human to cross the barrier into outer space on this day in 1961, when the Vostok 1 was piloted by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (*1934 – †1968, previously), is an international celebration of achievements in space exploration. This World Space Party includes outreach and education and are hosted in various venues across the globe, including schools, museums and planetariums. The first NASA space shuttle mission, Columbia (STS-1), took off on the twentieth anniversary of Vostok 1 in 1981, though this coincidence was not intended as the launch was delayed due to bad weather conditions.

ausstellung für unbekannte architekten

On this day in 1919, Walter Gropius founded in Weimar the Bauhaus school—a merger of the art academies of the city and grand duchy—as the successor institution to Arts and Crafts studio founded earlier by Belgian Art Nouveau architect Henry Clemens van de Velde, dismissed earlier during the war on account of his nationality, whose new style represented a negotiated compromise between the fine and the applied arts.  A show during the same month called An Exhibition of Unknown Architects, Gropius outlined the goal of the movement (see also here, here, here, and here) to create a new trade association for which there were not the same bars to membership as the guilds of the past, crafting the neologism as the heir of the Bauhütte, the stone masons who managed construction of cathedrals in Gothic times. A huge profusion of art and design came out of this movement and explore a carefully curated archive of resources at Open Culture at the link.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

serif and shoulder

The always excellent Everlasting Blört refers us to a handy interactive guide that teaches the terminology of the elements of typography, what each of the strokes and embellishments of a letter-press are called. Explore more of the anatomy of a font at the links above.

the revolution will not be televised

Just as America pushes for the removal of the incumbent administration in Venezuela (previously), this day in 2002 coincidentally marks the beginning of a violent and ultimately unsuccessful coup d’état that ousted re-elected president Hugo Chávez for a period just under two days before he was restored to power by mobilising popular support.
Though then President George W Bush vehemently denied US involvement in the matter, neo-conservative diplomat Elliott Abrams, infamous for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal and architecture of the Iraq War, was then implicated of plotting to overthrow the Chávez government in exchange for one more privatise state oil assets. Elliot was appointed by Donald Trump as special envoy to the country in January. The title refers to a 2003 documentary made about what transpired during the forty-seven hours.

express lane

Culturally, I think I will never stop shopping like a European, fortunate to live within easy walking distance to a corner grocery store and dash off to the shop nearly daily.
I couldn’t conceive of needing a buggy or purchasing more than I could comfortably carry outside of getting ready for a camping vacation or a long holiday weekend—and so I was rather delighted to learn that the Swedish language has a term for the etiquette expected when one is in the queue to check out.  One is to avoid making a varuberg—literally a product heap, not only in being courteous to the person ringing up your items and the person next in line by arranging them neatly for efficiency and ease of handling but also by not buying too much at a time—or at least letting others go ahead. I can’t think of an exact equivalent but in Germany shoppers also place the same sort of standards at the cash-register.

willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

Though Brexit has been deferred to a date no later than Halloween, it’s never too early to greet the partners that the UK is bidding adieu to, and this series of twenty-seven retro-style prints from Manchester-based graphic designers Dave Sedgwick and Stanley Chow called “Hello Europe” is a good primer and ice-breaker. Learn more and explore a whole gallery of the euro-centric posters at My Modern Met at the link above.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

war & cheese

Addressing a moribund dispute over European transparently subsidising its airline industry with a quiver, a toolbox of tariffs and bars to trade meant for lower-stakes disagreements, our Roquefort is once again making headlines as the Trump regime is threatening to impose some eleven billion dollars in punitive import duties on EU products, including wine and cheese.
Of course, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones and the US, though delivery methods may be more evasive, supports its domestic airline industry as robustly if not to a greater extent with military contracts and other preferential treatment and the EU is preparing for retaliatory measures. It’s a tragically uncouth coincidence that trying to solve this fifteen year old standoff comes in the wake of airplane crashes that shake confidence in the competence of a US manufacturer. Though very antagonistic toward the World Trade Organisation in terms of begrudging its member dues and feet-dragging on the appointment of arbiters, America sees no hypocrisy in leaning on the body to enforce rules when it suits them.

event horizon

In a crowning achievement after two years of observations, ploughing through an incredible trove of data, using a globe-spanning network of telescopes, the team of astronomers behind the Event Horizon project (previously) have successfully imaged a composite picture of the radiant halo, the accretion disc of captured matter, around a black hole.
Data processing and transport—too much to transmit, the hard drives were collected and delivered via sneakernet, including from Antarctica, was the biggest time-consumer for this pioneering feat, which also dispels the doubts that Albert Einstein harboured for his own theoretical stellar career-path and tests Relativity bent to the extremes. The mass of six and a half billion suns has been ingested by the supermassive phenomenon at the centre of distant galaxy Messier 87, captured objects flung at nearly the speed of light before disappearing, never to escape. This silhouette of the infinite was actually the understudy, the project initially hoping to capture a snapshot of Sagittarius A* at the centre of the Milky Way, far closer but many magnitudes less massive and too faint to resolve.