Monday, 16 January 2023

9x9 (10. 424)

j.t. iv: the compilation “Cosmic Lightning” of a tragically forgotten outsider rock artist  

tees valley: a dialect map of England from the University of Leeds  

bundesministerin der verteidigung: German defence secretary steps down  

courtlife: Queen Victoria’s illustrated journals—see also—via Messy Nessy Chic  

mlk: Stevie Wonder’s campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday  

wef: global leaders gather in Davos buona sera: actor, photojournalist and sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida passes away, aged 95 

scare-fox: accidentally Art Brรปt predator-deterrent  

atomic rooster: a classic from the spin-off band of Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Thursday, 24 November 2022

salient factor (10. 331)

Whereas the American term panhandle or bootheel might be more prevalent in certain contexts, salient is the universal descriptor for the elongated, peninsular protrusion of a national or sub-national jurisdiction into another—in turn taken from the strategic lingo of otherwise a bulge that projects into enemy territory. While falling short of the imposition of exclaves and enclaves, notable European examples include the province of Trieste, Schaffhausen in Germany and Inn, Lugano and Mendriso in Switzerland as well as on a state or department level the Gironde and Lower Franconia with many other places vying to extend their influence.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

st bernard (10. 308)

As Design Boom reports, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, ร‰cole polytechnique fรฉdรฉrale de Lausanne) have created a an edible drone prototype that can be dispatched to stranded hikers and mountain-climbers to provide a life-sustaining emergency meal whilst waiting for help to arrive. Acknowledging the limitations on payload for most aerial craft—usually only up to thirty percent of their own weight, developers concocted a way to make the structure part of the delivery with rice-cake wings.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

w³ (10. 297)

Though somewhat overshadowed by the achievements and recognition of colleague Tim Berners-Lee and his proposal for a hypertext system to connect many of the departments and projects of CERN in 1989 and which contained the kernal of the idea, credit for the World Wide Web also goes to fellow computer scientist Robert Cailliau for their joint proposal put forward on this day in 1990 for the World Wide Web. Not only did Cailliau come up with the logo and co-programmed the first web browser (MacWWW) with Nicola Pellow, he was instrumental in taking the concept out of the laboratory and releasing it into wilds, running several parallel projects to ensure interoperability and make the underlying structure more robust and cross-compatible, secured funding and organised a series of conferences and steering committees.

Friday, 11 November 2022

menas of egypt (10. 293)

Early third century wonder-worker and Coptic soldier in the Roman army martyred for refusing to recant his Christian faith, Menas (โฒ€โฒƒโฒƒโฒ โฒ˜โฒโฒ›โฒ—Amen), is commemorated on this day, corresponding to 15 Hathor on the Egyptian calendar. Garnering a posthumous reputation for intercession on any number on ailments, Abu Mina, the site where his body was buried (according to legend, the camels bearing his corpse stopped twice in this exact location and refused to move further) after being dismembered by fellow soldiers became a popular pilgrimage—following Constantine I (previously) sending his ill daughter, Flavia Valeria Constantina—later known as Saint Constance, destination with terracotta flasks with the saint’s iconography taken as souvenirs and found from Heidelberg to Cheshire and all points in between. Protector of the falsely accused, peddlers and travelling salespersons, Menas is the patron of the city of Heraklion, Koblenz and many Swiss villages in the north Alps.

Friday, 7 October 2022

la fin de la fรฉe verte (10. 201)

The production or sale prohibited until the first of March of 2005, as a result of a referendum that took place in 1908, absinthe containing thujone, wormwood was banned in Switzerland on this day in 1910, prompted by a rather sensational murder that made headlines all over Europe and informed and heightened a moral panic associated with the drink. A heavy alcoholic named Jean Lanfray, a labourer who worked at a vineyard in the canton of Vaud, murdered his family in a drunken rage. Though Lanfray drank up to five litres of wine daily and as a lunch time refreshment on the day of the violent killings partook of seven glasses of wine, six cognacs, a brandy coffee, two crรจme de menthes, then two shots of absinthe as a digestif after a sandwich, vintners were hoping to shift the blame squarely on the latter.

Monday, 15 August 2022

ferragosto (10. 062)

Originating from the Roman holiday Feriae Augusti instigated by Caesar Augustus, Octavian, to reward

agricultural workers (inclusive of beasts of burden) after a long, hot summer of toil at the head of the month and to commemorate his victory over Mark Antony in the Battle of Actium, the Church later shifted the festivity to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption. Observed also by the residents of San Marino, the canton of Ticino and for political reasons the Vatican rather than the day of holy obligation, the holiday became associated with an extended vacation weekend during the fascist era when Mussolini directed the National Afterwork Club (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro—see also) to arrange hospitality and the “People’s Trains of Ferragosto” (nothing to do with ferrocarril) at heavily discounted prices that allowed working class families to visit the mountains or the seaside. This tradition continues commercially, the date signaling the start of the holiday season in Italy and businesses shutter operations for the next couple of weeks. Chiuso per ferie.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

you gotta to say yes to another success

On this day in 1983 the Zรผrich electronic music duo Yello, a collaboration between Boris Blank and Dieter Meier with contributions from Carlos Perรณn—probably most recognised for their 1985 single “Oh Yeah” whose whump-whump has featured in several film and television soundtracks, notably Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or their 1988 “The Race,” released singles from their titular third studio album as three-dimensional picture discs complete with 3D glasses (see also), leading with the opening track below.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

ancient aliens

Opened to the public on this day in 2003 (bankrupt and shuttered three years later and three years after that rehabilitated as a children’s theme park—named Jungfrau after the alpine mountain it is framed by), Mystery Park in Interlaken was designed by Chariots of the Gods? author Erich von Dรคniken and included several pavilions featuring what the pseudoscience proponent described as the great unsolved mysteries that could only be explained by the theories he espoused on paleo-contact and ancient astronauts, including the Mayan calendar, the pyramids of Egypt and monoliths like Stonehenge explaining how the achievements of the primitive past must be linked to extraterrestrial encounters, his showmanship being chiefly responsible for the popularity of this rather narrow and dim view of a world just beyond record.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

the snake in the tunnel

Following a referendum in France the day before that admitted the UK, Ireland and Denmark into the Common Market, on this day in 1972 at a summit in Basel the members of the European Economic Community agreed to install an exchange system to limit fluctuations in rates in order that the basket of European currencies would be consistent with the US dollar. With the titular nickname (Schlange im Tunnel, le Serpent monรฉtaire europรฉen), the arrangement was the first attempt to peg the Mark, the Franc and the Pound Sterling to one another that ultimately led to the creation of the euro and was precipitated by the Nixon Shock of the previous year with the repeal of the Bretton Woods system. This coordination, cartel was a method to control appreciation and depreciation and retain relative stability until the following year when the dollar began to float freely and member nations diverged in their response.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

summa doctrinรฆ christianรฆ

Venerated on this day on the occasion of his death in 1597, Dutch-born Jesuit priest Saint Pieter Kanis is regarded as a Doctor of the Church and a major figure of the counter-Reformation and successor to Saint Boniface as apostle to the Germans. Falling in with the Society of Jesus during college in Kรถln, Canisius became an influential preacher and writer, touring the university circuit through Austria, Moravia, Bohemia, Poland and Switzerland, at a pivotal time in church politics. Many intellectuals championed Protestantism throughout Europe, reducing the esteem of Catholic doctrines and making it seem to be the faith of the unenlightened and ignorant, but Canisus’ persuasive arguments (widely translated and propagated) reinforced beliefs that Catholicism was reasoned and rational and won back lapsed converts in Bavaria and other enclaves. Adopted in the official catechism during the Council of Trent, among Canisius’ contributions include adding the invocation “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners” to the Ave Maria prayer.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

6x6

level 5—the scent represents a fully personal experience with some unrelated property. the experience itself has no aroma or shared understanding: Yankee Candle’s Stages of Abstraction—via Waxy  

pine-eleven: conservative pundits suggest arson attack on network’s Christmas tree a ‘hate crime’ and an assault on religious freedoms  

by-line: Bloomberg’s annual jealousy list of articles they wish they’d written—via Kottke  

a new system of arithmetic and metrology: Johan Nystrรถm’s hexadecimal tonal and temporal notation (1863)  

alpine exports: Little Switzerlands abroad—see also here and here  

you buy—i die: Indian handicraft as indictment against thoughtless consumption

Saturday, 4 December 2021

smoke on the water

During a show by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and immortalised by the titular Deep Purple hit (whom were also present to witness the incident, scheduled to record the album Machine Head) on this day in 1971, the venue for the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Swiss city’s casino went up in flames after a fan fired a flare gun. A bootleg recording of Zappa’s performance captures the outbreak and fire alarm as the band and audience fled.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

schweizer parlamentswahlen 1971

After passing in a national referendum earlier in the year (see also, see previously), women finally secured the right to vote and stand for office in federal elections in Switzerland, exercising their rights for the first time on this day a half a century ago. Lise Girardin (*1921 - †2010) of Geneva was nominated by her party (the Free, Freisinnig Democrats) to be the first female member of the Council of States, der Stรคnderat—the Upper House of the Swiss federal assembly.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

st. gall

Traditionally counted among the twelve companions of Saint Columbanus on his mission from Ireland to win converts in the lands of the Franks—having been ejected from Gaul where they first landed by local chieftains who wanted nothing to do with Christianity—Gallus (*550 - †646) is venerated on this day. Patron of geese, poultry and birds in general (for no particular reason) and St. Gallen, the saint’s rather complicated iconography relates the legendary encounter he had with a fierce bear, who was said to be terrorising the local settlement as well, in the woods. The holy man rebuked the bear for its behaviour and compelled it thereafter to gather firewood and became Gall’s trusted sidekick.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

post and lintel

Via the always engaging Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this profile and portfolio of architectural photographer Hรฉlรจne Binet—now based in London. One of the most famous in her niche field which can nonetheless evoke the most stirring of abstracted landscapes to inhabit in angles, shadows and negative space, Binet is celebrated for her collaborative work especially with contemporary celebrity architects Daniel Libeskind, John Hejduk (Kreuzberg Tower and Wings, Turm mit Flรผgelbau pictured) Peter Zumthor and Zaha Hadid as well as appreciating past movements through her lens, like this study of the monastery of La Tourette designed by Le Corbusier. More to explore at the links above.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

7x7

the boy on the bike: a trip down Golden Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset with a beloved bread advert directed by Ridley Scott with music by Dvoล™รกk  

dedication—devotion, turning all the night time into the day: more on the hypothesis (see previously) that the Dire Straits song can improve any movie ending 

the hauntening: various AIs try their hand at spookifying, exorcising Victorian mansions—previously

outbreak: a timelapse of COVID-19 cases in the United States over the past eighteen months 

just the punctation: what text without words reveals to authors about their style—via Waxy  

abecedarium: a 1968 Alphabet (previously) of the Dada movement hosted by Hans Richter (caution, some rapid, flashing images) 

raลกรญnovo embankment: revitalised Prague riverfront features vaulted arches for cafes and gallery spaces

Saturday, 25 September 2021

the wartburg song contest

Melding two separate folktales, the legendary errant knight, poet and minstrel Tannhรคuser and the above titled tale of the Sรคngerkrieg auf Wartburg, the 1845 opera in three acts whose narrative arc plays out the struggle between sacred and profane love and its redemptive powers by Richard Wagner (previously) was the inaugural performance on this day in 1903 for the newly opened concert hall (Stadttheatre) in Bern.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

rewilding

Via Super Punch, we learn that not only has the Swiss ambassador to the US made the expansive embassy grounds in Washington, DC, a former farm in the Woodley Park neighbourhood, a biodiverse oasis, replacing the manicured lawn with native shrubs and trees to attract and sustain birds and other wildlife, the ambassor’s actions have set a positive example, leading other diplomatic missions to adopt ecologically sounder landscaping practices including vegetable gardens and beehives. More from the Audubon Society at the links above.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

wadi musa

Familiar to only a few locals and unknown to the West until its rediscovery on this day in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, the capital of the Nabataeans called Raqmu by its denizens is commonly referred to Petra (Al-Batrฤสพ) after its designation as a client state of the Empire after Rome annexed their kingdom as Arabia Petaea.

The settlement in southern Jordan between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqada is only accessible via a narrow gorge and was a major regional trading hub in antiquity, controlling routes from Gaza to Damascus and onto the Persian Gulf. Accustomed to privation and periods of drought and deluge, the Nabatean city includes advanced methods of gathering and storing rainwater and flood control, allowing the population to thrive and supporting numbers approaching twenty-thousand residents at its height. A marvel of engineering and with many cameos in popular culture, in most years, Petra greets over a million international tourists annually.