Tuesday, 18 June 2019


t-minus: the Apollo 11 mission in real time using historical mission footage, via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals

scrip: garbage cryptocurrency from a garbage social media company isn’t crypto at all

that yorkshire sound: hand-drawn animated short illustrates an every day, vibrant soundscape

carissimi auditores: after a thirty year run, Finnish broadcasters are ceasing their news in Latin segment, but no fear as the report gives other resources

deaccessioned: a large auction house will no longer be publicly traded as it goes into private hands

:“For Want of a Hyphen Venus Rocket is Lost” – programming is unforgiving 

keep britain tidy

As much of a focus-steeling, attention-grabbing sideshow Brexit and Theresa May’s leadership were her desired legacy and commitment—bringing the UK’s carbon contribution down to net-zero by 2050—is pretty admirable and make up for what she made everyone endure, notwithstanding a predecessor even more repugnant who’ll try to change course, though enshrined in law, it will be tougher to rescind.
Before leaving office nearly thirty years ago, Margaret Thatcher made a similar pledge, urging a global treaty on climate change and enacted policies to protect the ozone layer and curb acid rain. Would that all rubbish politicians had such redeeming potential. Although there’s quite some rough terrain yet to cover to attain that goal and admittedly we all ought to be in a better place by now, courtesy Maps Mania, we should pause and consider this interactive essay, chart and timeline from Carbon Brief illustrating the progress that the UK has already made in overhauling how it gets and uses its energy, an achievement encapsulated in the record-setting span of time that the country has gone without having to resort to coal. Records are made to be broken. Much more to explore at the links above.

absolut nymodig

Unlike some monopolies or state-run agencies that aren’t given much incentive to improve or adapt to keep their mission relevant (see also), Sweden’s Systembolaget—after a trail period in a few test markets—will offer home delivery of alcohol across the country.
From the onset of World War I until 1955, wine, beer and spirits were strictly rationed, households issued a book called a “motbok,” with allowances determined by gender and social status, but these limitations were abolished once the chain of outlets were opened, charged with ensuring that the age restrictions be enforced and that no item is privileged above another—meaning no product placement, no promotional sales, no beers in coolers and no multi-packs, which otherwise might be an inducement to drink more. Home deliveries will be available starting 1 July.

Monday, 17 June 2019

corso forzoso

Though the idea of bringing back the lira has been in circulation by members of both factions of the governing coalition since at least 2005 and at earlier times of economic crisis and scarcity of specie, a sort of Notgeld, called miniasegni, were used to make change—anything from postage stamps to bus passes, Italy is now responding in a unique and novel way to European Union demands that it pass budget reforms and bring its deficit in line with members’ tolerances in suggesting that a parallel currency be introduced.
Provisionally naming the government backed bonds, IOUs to be traded as legal tender mini-BOTs, miniature bills of treasury, the government wants to issue internal financial vehicles that can be used to pay tax bills and distribute pension payments—with businesses having the option whether or not to accept payments in these terms. While in the short term, the introduction of mini-BOTs may rally public confidence in a partnership government that in part was elected on a platform of universal basic income (disappointingly winnowed down to a job-seekers’ allowance) and avoids austerity measures, such a move would result in inflation and more odious debt.

alþing considered

A possession of the Kingdom of Norway since the dissolution of the Kalmar Union in the early sixteenth century and then of the Kingdom of Denmark owing to the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815, see also), the Republic of Iceland came into existence on this day (Þjóðhátíðardagurinn) in 1944.
A near unanimous referendum held that May came into effect 17 June, independence day marked on the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (*1811 – †1879), a prominent leader in the movement for Iceland’s autonomy, voting to end the island’s personal union with the monarchy. Effectively devolved and with home rule—except in defence and diplomatic matters, since the end of World War I, the Act of Union negotiated had a quarter of a century expiry date unless renewed, a trial period to allow Icelanders the chance to demonstrate that they could govern themselves.  Due to Nazi occupation, however, Denmark was not able to honour the 1943 deadline and Iceland, hosting Allied forces, held the plebiscite and voted to sever ties. Though many Danes were upset with Iceland declaring independence with their country under invasion, King Christian X nonetheless congratulated (with some urging on the part of his cousin, the King of Sweden) the people for forming a republic.

Sunday, 16 June 2019


While perhaps best known for his influential Münchener Olympic pictograms and creating the modern corporate identity for Lufthansa, Ulmer resistance fighter of the White Rose movement, graphic designer and typographer Otto “Otl” Aicher (*1922 – †1991), was also a prolific poster designer, glad recipient of all sorts of commissions—though we think some of these are works of his students. After the war, Aicher married the resistance movement’s leaders’ elder sister, Inge Scholl, and together with Swiss architect Max Bill founded the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm, HFG) as a philosophical spin-off of Bauhaus in 1953. Much more to explore at the links above.

a good year for the poppies

I know that superblooms are a highly specific coming together of exceptional growing conditions that lets Nature revel in all her immodesty pertaining to wildflowers growing in arid places but after the droughts of last summer and the dry spring, it was very nice to see the pastures and the verges along the road and between fields bursting with colour.

downstream effects

Never mind the fact that you might be ingesting multiple tiny spiders per night—or conversely that if the spiders of the world teamed up, they could consume all the humans on the face of the Earth (or cocaine prawns or antidepressants in the groundwater), the World Wildlife Foundation launches a new campaign to illustrate the awful non-food pyramid that we’ve created. Via the Drum, we learn that on average a person consumes one hundred thousand micro-plastic particles annually, meaning about five grams (a lot of different factors come into play and you can get a more personalised estimate of your dietary intake here), a credit card’s worth of the stuff each week.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

arterial road

Fusing anatomical studies with paper-sculpting, Berlin-based artist Katrin Rodegast has created several organs fashioned out of maps with roadways and watercourses meant to highlight the similarities of civil engineering (Ein – und Ausfallstraße) with the network of capillaries and arteries in our bodies as a series of commissions for Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich. The Swiss polytechnic’s 2017 chief research thrust was a big collaboration among twenty institutions to make a viable artificial heart—for which Rodegast’s cartographic anatomy was an important part of the outreach programme and partnership cohesion.


Among the items and lots going under the hammer this summer, auction-watcher Messy Nessy Chic reports is this pristine 1964 Peel Trident, a British microcar and a product of Manx engineering, the estimated forty-five to fifty-five models made mostly going to the mainland.
Originally priced at £190 and with fuel efficiencies of just under three litres per one hundred kilometres and touted as nearly cheaper than walking, the smallest car in the world was perhaps a little ahead of its time and interest waned among the driving and dashing public (the car had a detachable shopping basket and was primarily meant for quick city errands). Manufacturing operations resumed in 2011 in Nottingham, creating custom electric and petrol models for individual clients. Learn more and inspect other lots and properties up for auction at the link above.

Friday, 14 June 2019

cloud farming or ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

Via the New Shelton Wet/Dry, we learn of a fledging company that hopes to stave off the incidental but increasingly significant problem of cloud storage and energy-intensive data-management by enabling clients to keep their past and prognostications waiting in the wings in the form of crops whose DNA has been encoded (at density with integrity reaching two hundred petapixels per gram) within the plants themselves, and instead of consuming resources to maintain the information at one’s fingertips—we ought to mediate on the meaning of archives, curation and libraries before we decided to make everything at all times ready to summon forward whilst on the go—though the details seem rather sparse, to generate clean air and useful biomass as a by-product of perpetuating these hitchhiker genes.

Perhaps this passive form of storage could also be a substitute for the energy-hungry prospect of prospecting for crypto-currencies as well.  Compare to how restrictions on memory and storage of software was supplemented on the Apollo missions by weaving the programming into a mesh by hand.  Knowledge should be freely accessible but the omnipresence of it might seem to have diminishing value, considering the caprices of capacity and arbitrary limits. I wonder what it means for abstract, errant data to become part of Nature and whether that same information isn’t also party to the rules of evolution and inheritance and what we perceive as degradation, decoding errors that outside our dataset we would call mutations which in fact be taking that triangulation of statistics to the next level.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

x marks the spot

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we are treated to a rather endearing review of how educational literature, abecedaries broached the subject of that little-used as a leading letter X before the discovery of x-rays or the introduction of xylophones, mostly ingratiating readers in the personages of the Persian King Xerxes the Great (𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, Ξέρξης) or Xanthippe (Ξανθίππη, meaning Yellow Horse)—Socrates’ supposed scold of a wife—or Xanthus (Ξάνθος, a blond stallion), one of Achilles pair of immortal horses whom Hera temporarily granted the power of speech in order to defend himself when Achilles accused him causing Patroclus’ death on the battlefield, retorting that it was a god that had killed Patroclus and that Achilles would soon follow. There’s numerous examples—some lazier than others—and nonetheless an interesting look at the antepenultimate letter and nineteenth century print.

‘cause for twenty-four years i’ve been living next door to alice

Via Miss Cellania’s links, we’re reacquainted with the elusive American middle class re-classified as “asset limited, income constrained, employed,” an acronym that applies to nearly half of US residents, those who cannot afford life’s basics without falling further and further in debt and arrears.
This precarious class, with very little prospect of upward mobility and a viable escape plan, has earned the US the depressing, dystopian honour of being the world’s first poor rich country, chasing after ungainful work for sake of being occupied.  Signs of this impoverishment are not brand new but until recently the more pernicious manifestations of a population were kept in abeyance through civics and civility, expressions of panic and insecurity that props up ideologues and theocracy.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

now that’s a horse of a different colour

Though the title idiom is much older than what Dorothy exclaimed upon entering the Emerald City and pertains to horse-trading and how the coat can change colour as the animal matures and what’s listed in a registry may not match what’s before one’s eyes and is first cited as “a horse of that colour” by the duplicity maid Maria in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1601), we nonetheless enjoyed reading about the 1926 caper that a horseman of Scottish extraction nearly got away with at a race-track in Chicago.
Referred to as ringing in gamblers’ circles, the horseman, possessed of a special and nonpareil talent (sadly squandered on grift and crime) for a quick and convincing dye and rise, bleached and painted the thoroughbreds so that the track stewards and jockeys failed to notice when their horses were switched, handicapping the odds and virtually guaranteeing a big win. Targeting small, remote racing operations at first, the horse painter was able to skip town and evade repercussions once the truth was realised but luck eventually ran out with Pinkertons in hot pursuit.  Discover more hidden histories at Narratively at the link above.

fresh from battle creek

We enjoyed indulging this vintage advertising campaign from the Leo Burnett Agency for Kellogg’s Variety Pack of cereals—promising to “settle all differences” with “…the choose-it-yourself breakfast”—with a cast of characters defined by their opposition. The six print ads, executed in a style evocative of other fabulist artists, include a little rhyming parable, though there’s no proper attribution to be found from the ad agency that created the Pillsbury Doughboy, Charlie the Tuna, the lonely Maytag repairman, the Jolly Green Giant—and recently the subject of controversy for product placement on Wikipedia, using the forum as a vehicle to sell outdoor apparel. Much more to explore at Box Vox at the link up top.

hello light

Attempting to reform and reclaim its reputation after the misleading missteps that influenced the purchasing decisions of many drivers, going for diesel-fuelled models believing that they were far cleaner and more efficient than they were in reality, Volkswagen is acknowledging its past transgressions and lack of candour with an advertising campaign that references its older reputationmaking lemonade out of lemons.
The new series of commercials debut the long-awaited production of the microbus (see also), reborn as a fully electric vehicle. I hope that the company has learned a valuable lesson in transparency and can again lead the industry towards better transparency and accountability and that they are earnest in their new direction. What do you think? Just the other day, however, I caught the tail end of a comment from company executives reportedly pressing governments to reverse the mothballing of nuclear plants (a fraught decision in itself but also a pledge) so they’ll be sufficient energy to power its electric fleet, which was a bit discouraging to hear and might be yet another wedge that big business can hold up as an excuse not to reform or take responsibility.

bill c-195

Whilst American engineers were busy shutting off their part of the Niagara Falls by means of a cofferdam apron to staunch the flow of water and allow for repairs of the eroded riverbed and cliffs, the Canadian senate was legislating and passed on this day in 1969 amendments to the law to decriminalise abortion and homosexual relations.
Introduced originally by then Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau, the passage allowed for the sale of contraceptive medicines and devices, consensual gay relations for persons of majority in private dwellings, as well as tightening laws regarding gun sales and ownership, drink driving, telephonic harassment and cruelty to animals. Trudeau famously defended his stance to the press by declaiming an often repeated phrase, «l’ État n’a rien à faire dans les chambres à coucher de la nation.» “There’s no place for the State in the bedrooms of Canada.”

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

beyond the pale

The turn of phrase above which means outside of one’s legal jurisdiction, sphere of influence or more figuratively out of bounds of accepted, civilised behaviour is etymologically sourced to the Pale of Calais (le Calaisis, voir également).
The idiomatic use probably comes from the former rather than the more famous case of County Dublin that came later, this territory around the port city was under English control between the Battle of Crécy (1346, competing French and Burgundians rather had the valuable real estate go to a third party instead of each other’s rival) until its siege and re-conquest in 1558. Pale is an archaic English term for a stake, used to denote a boundary or limit (limes) and derived from the Latin term pālus, which is also the source for pole and retained in the word impale—describing one’s state if dropped on said pole. Represented in Parliament for those two centuries, the exclave adopted the curious motto Vertias Temporis filia—Truth, the Daughter of Time.


burr and bramble: hitchhiking African seed pods put under a photographer’s lens

shibuya crossing: Greg Girard’s Tokyo of the late 1970s

bene gesserit sisterhood: ahead of Denis Villeneuve’s remake, there will be a screaming-television prequel 

the mouse-earred one that flees from the light: Washington DC adopts the Little Brown Bat as its official state mammal

we will control the horizontal: an omnibus post on vintage tv test patterns—see also 

itunes: an 1876 suggestion to use Alexander Graham Bell’s recently patented telephone machine to listen to music remotely

elephant & castle: a finely curated collection of maps and posters for the London Underground 

Monday, 10 June 2019


Though I am not sure why the commemoration didn’t take place last June when the Western powers tried to shore up Germany currency and head off inflation and continued economic recession precipitating a blockade on West Berlin, well behind Soviet lines of control, or when the blockade ended on after midnight 12 May 1949 or when deliveries officially stopped at the end of the fiscal year, the Wiesbaden Army Airfield, named in honour of General Lucius Clay, who thought up and commanded the operation, is celebrating the Berlin Airlift’s seventieth anniversary and remembering the lives of one hundred and one individuals who lost their lives in the breakneck execution of such a logistical feat.
Calculating out the ration of food and fuel (nearly two-thirds of the total cargo of some two million tonnes was coal) that each citizen and soldier required, thousands of missions—at their highest tempo, some fifteen hundred sorties per day, brought food, materiel and rotations of soldiers in and out of Tempelhof from a dozen sending aerodromes. It is estimated that the US heavy bombers repurposed as the largest capacity carriers travelled one Astronomical Unit in all during the course of the year—that is, the distance from the Earth to Sun, one hundred fifty million kilometres.

 The event included an air-show with formation flights of vintage aircraft and other military vehicles and equipment, reenactors, numerous exhibits on the history and context of post-war geopolitics and aid to rebuild Europe, including the Marshall Plan and the CARE programme.
 There was also a USO revue that in part recreated the 1948 troop show that Bob Hope hosted held in the same hangars for the pilots and crew in Wiesbaden, a Big Band performance plus special guests, including witnesses to history along with Colonel Gail “Hal” Halvorsen (*1920)—known as the Berlin Candy Bomber (der Rosinenbomber) for his Operation Little Vittles that parachuted chocolate parcels to the children of the divided city.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

pollinators’ corner

Here is a selection of various insects visiting flowers in bloom, mostly daisies, around the backyard, taken in quick succession—and not including the elusive ones that were harder to photograph at the moment. What celebrity bug friends can you find and identify near you?

washington international

Opening in 1962, the same year as Eero Saarinnen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK, the Washington Dulles terminal did not meet the same practical obsolescence as its contemporary thanks in large part to a foundational masterplan researched and put together by design duo Charles and Ray Eames (see also here, here and here) with the rest of the design team (Saarinnen included), which premised the national hub in the below1958 animated short as modular and expandable airport.
While not stinting on aesthetics, consideration and convenience for the traveller were primary concerns in taking the long term perspective and creating a transportation artery that would not only connect the terrestrial world but beyond as well. Transiting through US airports is mostly these days a traumatic through forgettable experience and while many of the other amenities might be lost for the average passenger, a ride on Washington-Dulles’ mobile, vaguely militaristic “Departure Lounges” that still to this day ferry travellers to and from their planes rather than navigating endless, labyrinthine corridors of jetways are indelibly memorable.  Learn more at Citylab at the link above.


On cue, our peonies (Paeonia officinalis oder echte Pfingstrose) are beginning to come into full bloom, coinciding with their namesake holiday Pentecost (Whitsunday, Pfingsten, seven weeks after Easter).
The plant was classified by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (who formalised the binomial nomenclature above) in the family Paeon, retaining the mythology that an apprentice of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, began to surpass his master—owing to the fact that mortals probably respond better to treatment regimes and in general clinically more remarkable than immortals—and Zeus transformed Paeon into a peony to spare him from Asclepius’ wrath. The flowers have a long history of use in traditional medicine, both in the East and the West and have pharmaceutical merit.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

culvert journal

Whether diverted, enlisted as part of the sewer system or simply buried under development, the notion of hidden and lost rivers and urban watercourses has been a particular fascination (previously) and we were especially pleased to come across some speculative spelunking both around London—courtesy of Things Magazine—and Toronto, via Maps Mania. While the London show is more testimony of lives reconstructed through artefact and mudlarking and the Toronto one is an interactive exploration, even connecting to tours that trace the routes of these former tributaries, both are pretty engaging and in both places, the secret, subterranean rivers and creeks have been championed to preserve their memory.

Friday, 7 June 2019

gopher wood

Preciously, we learn from amicus curiæ, Lowering the Bar, that the under-construction Ark Encounter Christian theme park in Kentucky are suing their insurance underwriters for failing to honour claims of flood damage.
The faithful recreation of Ark of Noah (with technical details as specified in the Book of Genesis, except gopher wood due to it being a hapax legomenon and no one really knows what tree it is sourced from, if it in fact survived the deluge) was not damaged itself but rather a service road was affected by heavy rainfall and an ensuing landslide that caused work stoppage and outlays of around a million dollars to shore up the slope and to restore the access path, and it remains unclear whether the park’s policy might have an “acts of God” exclusion. Much more to explore at the link above.


horton plaza: a study of the postmodern ghost mall built to revitalise downtown San Diego 

for hire: riotously brilliant hand-painted signs from South Bengal

big top: Germany’s touring Circus Roncalli replaces animal acts with holograms

cat walk: balloon apparel deflates on the runway and transforms into practical garments 

normay: a projection map skewed by the mentions various places get from Donald Trump—via Maps Mania

team breakfast: a fun montage of musicians eating their morning meals, via Everlasting Blört 

toward a concrete utopia: a revival in interest for Yugoslavia’s monumental architecture—previously


I found this campaign from the Icelandic tourism board especially shaming and the scold that I deserve since—especially owing to the fact the justifications of mandatory sorting of trash, deposits (Pfand) to encourage recycling are starting to hold less and less water or even a panic over Legionnaires’ disease tap water is generally clean and safe—I too am guilty of imbibing exclusively the bottled variety.
Like Kranavatn (Icelandic for tap water), it’s not out of fear for safety that I prefer to get my bottled water, which is even sourced not far from where we live and assuredly is piped in as well, but because I’ve come to prefer the carbonation—something I am confident that could be otherwise arranged. This is a small pledge for visitors that we could all make.

Thursday, 6 June 2019


Denying the Orange Menace the opportunity to promote his golf course, Trump en route met with the Irish Taoiseach (previously) instead at quite another venue, the terminal of Shannon Airport—just down the hall from the Duty Free shop, the world’s first incidentally, at a hub that’s no stranger to trans-Atlanticism and corridor diplomacy.
The short, awkward press conference was painfully lacking in constructive mediation, however, with Trump comparing the spectre of the return of a hard, physical border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and possible flare up of sectarian violence under a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union to the monument to his proud monument to racism and xenophobia at the southern frontier of America. Though both may be manufactured crises both meant to forward an agenda, Varadkar indicated that any sort of wall was the last thing Ireland wanted.

apis and bombus

Via Slashdot, we learn that the same Australian-French collaborative team of researchers that determined that honeybees understand the concept of zero, can recognise human faces and perform basic arithmetic also can understand numerals as stand-ins to symbolise numerical values.
Separate studies suggest that bumblebees (which also live in nests and hives as colonies with a queen and division of labour—albeit on a much smaller scale) are capable of a similar level of communication and learning, they just don’t dance like their more agile cousins, a fact that sounds funny given that they’ve garnered the reputation of being too heavy to fly, which they manage quite well on the contrary. Insights into how smaller brains process such abstractions are not only humbling and point to the eusocial insects and their cohesion as drivers of culture but could moreover led to new and innovative ways to mimic Nature with artificial intelligence.

i am the operator with my pocket calculator

Via Open Culture, we are reminded that when the pioneering electronic band Kraftwerk (previously here, here, here, here and here) released their eighth studio album in May of 1981, Computerwelt / Computer World, which presciently dealt with themes of the rise of computers in society at a time when they were hardly ubiquitous, they recorded several different language versions of the single Taschenrechner / Pocket Calculator—also Mini Calculateur, Mini Calcolatore and Dentaku (電卓)—and even commissioned a custom synthesizer from Casio as a promotional give away. Sheet music was included with the album to instruct fans how to recreating the melodies, and not just for the new material but their early synthpop hits as well. Much more to explore at the links above.

urban renewal

Never failing to deliver on the interesting and engaging, Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals refer us to the pioneering Hull House maps of civil and labour rights activist Florence Kelley (*1859 – †1932), whose survey of wages in Chicago neighbourhoods was ground-breaking in terms of data visualisation and making compelling, accessible arguments by this early fusion of sociology and cartography.
Aside from influencing legislation that led to better working conditions and the eight-hour workday (see also) and living wages, ending child labour and beginning regular inspections of factories to ensure compliance, Kelley was also a founding member of the NAACP and used her considerable sway in the state government to block the passage of discriminatory policies. Learn more about this social justice warrior, her compatriots and predecessors at the links above.


Though not a regular observance until the 1916 Stockholm Olympics and not an official holiday until 2005, Sweden’s National Day (prior to 1983, Flag Day, Svenska flaggans dag) is a day set aside for country-wide celebrations and cultural exhibitions and marks several historic occurrences that happened on this day, beginning with elevation of King Gustav Vasa—marking the end of the Kalmar Union of the Nordic countries under a single dynastic ruler. The sixth of June 1809 saw the governmental reform that established the kingdom as a parliamentary (Riksdag) constitutional democracy. In 1974, further legislation took away the monarch’s political and military leadership roles, vesting all power in the peoples’ duly-appointed representatives.

the longest day

The retreat and evacuation of British forces at Dunkirk having taken place and commemorated on the eve of the Normandy landings that would take place five years later, D-Day, codenamed Operation Neptune, was a long time in development and planning. Though failing to achieve immediate gains for the Allies battling Nazi Germany with only two beachheads linked and sustaining heavy casualties, the manoeuvre that took place on this day seventy-five years ago established a Western Front in Europe, a wedge to divide German efforts since it began its march towards Moscow with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and began the liberation of occupied France. 

Recognising that troop strength and materiel had not yet built itself up to the level to counter the German forces (mindful of the aforementioned withdrawal), the plan was delayed for months and focus was strategically shifted to North Africa, with the Allies eventually winning that theatre in 1943. With Nazi forces weakened and demoralised, commanding generals looked again to the French coast—planning with great secrecy and deception so defences could not be marshalled and the Allies could retain an element of surprise.  The carpenters that built the wooden planning map for General Eisenhower’s headquarters in Southwick House near Portsmouth were detained from April to September to prevent accidental disclosure of the location of the landings while a local medium was imprisoned for witchcraft lest she divine the plans.   
The date was chosen due to the best possible tidal conditions and phase of the moon and any postponement would see the situation degrade quickly. May we never forget the sacrifices of that day and may they never be in vain.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019


Researchers in the United Kingdom have successfully and safely brought down a demonstration satellite, unfurling an “Icarus” sail to drag the craft into the atmosphere and burning up on re-entry, mindful of how we’ve junked up low Earth orbit and if we continue on the present trajectory, yet to come launches and exploration might be imperilled or even rendered impossible.  Planned obsolescence to include a self-destruct feature is a bit sad—especially considering how our over-engineered, hardy pioneers have many times far exceeded our expectations, but we also don’t need unnecessary and derelict obstacles to future flights.

glowing, glowing, gone

We are all for any gesture—however notional—that highlights the plight of the planet and causes us to reflect on how rubbish we are as stewards of the oceans, so appreciated Pantone and Adobe owing up to its slightly tone-deaf irony in nominating Living Coral as the colour of the year, considering that over half of the vital ecosystems have died off over the past three decades with the rest endangered and on the decline, by introducing a palette that reflects the death-rattle of coral.
Called coral fluorescence, the vibrant colour change from purple to yellow to blue is the reef’s final response to heated, acidified water, heralding succumbing to the phenomena of coral bleaching and demise. Signalling overall health but still not fully understood (like most tings, it seems to be far more nuanced and a way of filtering sunlight, protecting from ultra-violet rays and regulating its symbiotic relationship with algæ and other denizens), going through these chromatic transformations is a distress message that we can’t ignore.

↖ boulder brook trail

Via the always brilliant Kottke, we are introduced to a family of typefaces from the Design Outside studio inspired by the US National Park Service signs (see also here and here)—the sort of classic guide posts and way-pointers that are carved with a router bit, very evocative of the sense of space and time to wonder and wander. Much more to explore at the links above.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019


The above Swedish word for flight shame, accompanied by the hashtag jagstannar-påmarken—meaning stay on the ground, have gained considerable cultural cachet in their native Sprachraum (språkområdet) and beyond as people become more keenly aware of the impact that flying has on the environment. Train ridership has seen an upturn with the trend continuing on the same trajectory and the government as well as tour operators are working to make rail routes an increasingly attractive and viable alternative.