Sunday, 20 November 2022

8x8 (10. 321)

yotta, yocto: prolific data generation drives the need for uniform names for extremely large and extremely small numbers—see previously—via Marginal Revolution  

quarantine caper: narrow escape from Jingdezhen just before lock-down  

a classic non-equilibrium thermodynamic reaction: a demonstration of a Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillation in a Petri dish—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

don’t copy that floppy: an overview of a few anti-piracy schemes of the late 1970s and early 80s  

jpeg morgan: the rise and fall (and broader fall-out) of crypto bank and exchange FTX 

infantry: Academy Award winning Czechoslovakian animated short Munro (1960) about a four-year old drafted into the army  

fangcang: artist, after being identified as a “close contact” is confined in a remote hospital and transforms room into exhibition space  

euler equations: computers make break-throughs in understanding fluid dynamics

Monday, 19 September 2022

many-eyed seraphim (10. 150)

The Multiocular O (give it googly eyes, lots of them) is a hapax legomenon in glyph form of the Cyrillic alphabet, occurring just once in the known lexicon as ะผะฝ҄ะพ๊™ฎั‡ะธั‚ั—ะน in Old Church Slavonic (previously). In addition to the reminder of how strange and monstrous biblical angels are supposed to be, there is a current petition to revise the Unicode representation to make it more accurate.

Saturday, 9 July 2022

praลพskรฝ most

On this day in 1357 on the banks of the Vltava in Prague, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (Charles of Luxembourg born Wenceslaus / Vรกclav / Wenzel) helped lay the cornerstone of his namesake bridge—Karlลฏv most (see previously)—construction completed nearly a half-century later. According to local lore—strongly informed by the emperor’s belief in numerology and the significance of auspicious dates—the foundation stone was laid at precisely at thirty-one past five o’clock in the morning to form a palindrome and numerical span—1357 9/VII V 31. For over four-hundred years the only river crossing and linking the castle to the Old Town market, this connection made the city an important trade hub between eastern and western Europe.

Friday, 3 June 2022

your hit parade

The cover of the standard ล koda lรกsky (Wasted Love) by Jaromir Vejvoda known in the German Sprachraum as Rosamunde and released for English-speaking audiences under the title “Beer Barrel Polka” by accordionist and bandleader Will Glahรฉ topped the charts in the United States on this day in 1939, selling over one-million copies by 1943. Glahรฉ, prohibited by the Chamber of Culture of the Third Reich from spelling his name with an accent from 1934 to 1945, had toured internationally and were particularly popular in America and achieved further successes with his “Liechtensteiner Polka” and “The Cuckoo Waltz” and performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Fats Domino.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

8x8

nebeskรฝ most 721: a walkway spanning two peaks in in eastern Bohemia 

shunpikes: byways constructed to bypass toll roads, like spite houses

‘no way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens: America’s gun culture enshrined by an eighteenth century constitution illustrated in seven charts—via Miss Cellania 

i guess i have to put your flat feet on the ground: astronaut Sally Ride (*1951)  

imagen: Google tool turns input text to images—see previously  

security detail: firearms off-limits during Trump’s speech to the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum—via Boing Boing  

fahrenheit 451: Margaret Atwood’s fire-resistant edition of The Handmaid’s Talesee previously 

liminal places: a portrait of the Estonian border town of Narva on the frontier of the EU and NATO and the Russian Federation

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

vilnius group

Constituted in May 2000, member countries Slovenia, Slovakia (having already undergone its Velvet Divorce in 1993, the date falls on the anniversary of the 1990 compromise that ended the so called Hyphen War, Pomlฤkovรก vojna, started in 1989 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on what to call themselves and how to share a territory with two identities) Romania, North Macedonia, Lithuania (it’s capital the namesake), Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania to lobby as a group for NATO inclusion, all aspirants acceded to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on this day in 2004 with the exception of Albania, Croatia and North Macedonia (under the Adriatic Charter) joining in 2009 and 2020. The former association closely maps with the composition of the Visegrรกd Group, another former pooled campaign for European Union membership and presently a regional economic cooperative.

Monday, 14 March 2022

prvรก slovenskรก republika

Under considerable pressure from Nazi Germany, the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia declared independence and became a client state of the Third Reich on this day in 1939. The next day Germany invaded and occupied Bohemia and Moravia, establishing a protectorate administered from Prague castle, having annexed the bordering Sudetenland in September 1938 following the Munich Agreement. Slovak troops were conscripted into fighting resistance forces in Poland and against Russia, and liberated (having attempted their own revolt and uprising in August 1944) by the advancing Red Army in 1945, the territory was reincorporated into Czechoslovakia. Again securing independence on New Year’s Day 1993 in what’s called the amicable Velvet Divorce, the Republic of Slovakia does not consider itself the successor state to the war time puppet regime but rather the Czechoslovakian government-in-exile of Edvard Beneลก. History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

8x8

catwalk: the home of architect of Vittorio Garatti in Milan—via Messy Nessy Chic  

inktrap: a Japanese typeface design book from 1957—via Present /&/ Correct  

operation danube: the Soviet invasion of Prague (see previously) in pictures—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

east-enders: a retrospective look at women protesting for peace in the 1980s in London  

river antban country club: blindly, an AI tries naming golfing ranges (see previously

carrousel: Logan’s Run plus spin-offs—see previously

bones mccoy: a compilation of Deforest Kelley pronouncing  

not chav: a fresh perspective on London’s council houses

Monday, 7 March 2022

c/1973 e1

Sighted on this day in 1973 by namesake astronomer Luboลก Kohoutek the approaching comet was hailed by the media as the “Comet of the Century,” and rather unfairly when the Kuiper-belt object that only visits every seventy-five thousand years failed to live up to the hype and expectations became a metonym for a colossal let-down—a sort of Al Capone’s vault for the decade though the discoverer made may other contributions to astronomy in the form of minor planets and nebulae, and even rejected by a doomsday cult when it appeared as barely visible in the night sky. In rapt anticipation and in response to the subsequent underwhelming estimation the comet was the subject of several musicians and artists including a story arc in Peanuts, an R.E.M. ballad, a Burl Ives’ number, a Sun Ra concert and the below Kraftwerk song, Kometenmelodie:

Saturday, 19 February 2022

๐Ÿ‘‍๐Ÿ—จ

Via the always interesting Web Curios, we are quite impressed with the comprehensive skill demonstrated by a AI museum docent called Digital Curator and its ability to instantly assembly a sizeable exhibition sourced from the collections of institutions in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to explore the evolution of the depiction of an object, artefact or theme across the ages, styles and movements. Of course one can select from a range of parameters and enter one’s own key terms (however disparate and juxtaposed)—or like this gallery generated for the nonce, ask for a random curation. Try it out and be sure to send us an invitation to your showing.

Friday, 21 January 2022

6x6

wheelie bins: a collection of municipal-issue recycling bins from across the UK—via Pasa Bon! 

filmovรฝ plakรกt: a gallery of vintage Czech movie posters  

1 000 trees: drone footage showcases Heatherwick studios’ Shanghai shopping centre  

northwoods baseball sleep radio: a fake game with no jarring sounds designed for podcast slumber  

holkham bible picture book: a 1330 curiosity that illustrates select passages from the Old and New Testaments  

the great british spring clean: projects and programmes (see also) sponsored by Keep Britain Tidy

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.

Friday, 26 November 2021

7x7

limerent limerick: help in recognising unhealthy obsessions and how to work one’s way out of intrusive thinking—hopefully through bawdy rhymes 

there and back again: Gene Deitch’s animated short The Hobbit—the first such adaptation  

roll for perception: a collection of resources, a florilegium from a Society for Creative Anachronism member for the LARP community—via Mx van Hoorn’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities  

avenue of the sphinxes: a restored promenade between Luxor and Karnak opened with fanfare  

opiate for the masses: drug use in Antiquity 

mlhavรฝ: Martin Rak’s fog-draped forests in Saxon-Bohemia—see previously 

here’s mud in your eye: a select glossary of beer and imbibing terminology—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump


 

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, 7 August 2021

bildersturm

Due to the above titled iconoclasm movement that left many Catholic churches bereft of their religious symbols and saintly relics from Protestant furore that sought to destroy what was regarded as idolatrous figures (see previously) during the Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Vatican ordered suitable replacements be found and promptly installed.

Thousands of skeletal remains were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome, lavishly dressed and decorated, like this day’s celebrant, Donatus of Mรผnstereifel, reportedly a second century Roman soldier and martyr. Quickly rising through the ranks after enlisting, Donatus (sharing his feast day with several other liked-named saints) was part of the famed XXII. Legion—known as Fulminatrix, the thundering ones, and was assigned to the personal security detail of Marcus Aurelius (previously). Engaged in the Marcomannic Wars on the Danube march, the legion was outnumbered and nearly defeated until saved by a sudden storm that frightened off the Goths and Samaritans. Although the emperor wanted to credit his magician with summoning the storm, Donatus insisted it was his Christian prayer circle and gave thanks to God. The emperor had them all killed. Said to have been entombed in the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, Donatus’ remains were re-discovered by Pope Innocent X in 1646 and translated to the town on the Rhein near Bonn, acclaimed patron and protector from lightning strikes and invoked for a good grape harvest. Popular throughout the Rhineland as well as Donauland, Donatus also enjoyed a cultus in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Luxembourg, Slovakia and Austria.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

visitors revisited

Calvert Journal directs our attention by way of a tribute album of the soundtrack to the 1981 science fiction film Visitors from the Galaxy (Gosti iz galaksije / Monstrum z galaxie Arkana) from Yugoslav-Czechoslovak director Duลกan Vukotiฤ‡. Thirteen tracks from nine international electronic music artists play homage to the original score that accompanies a hotel doorman who is an aspiring writer constantly beset by distraction who one day encounters his literary creations, an android family from a distant galaxy and their pet Mumu. Here a preview of the musical anthology at the link above.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

avonymic

As Iceland drops fees and bureaucratic onus to change one’s (to opt out of the matronymic or patronymic construction scheme) name and gender marker, the Czech Republic is poised to enact legislation that would reform the centuries old requirement for feminised surnames, further dismantling the patriarchy. If successful, all women will be able to choose whether or not to formally adopt the “-ovรก” suffix upon marriage and buck the declension rules of the language—exemptions granted in rare cases when the betrothed intends to live outside of Czechia or marries a foreigner. There is a heated debate between progressives and purists. Though many media outlets have chosen not to respect the naming convention, the rule applies to public figures as well with activist and tennis star Martina Navratilova rendered in the domestic press as Martina Navrรกtilovaovรก.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

prestavba

Once again via Waxy as part of a year-long celebration on a half-century of text games (previously) we are directed towards the BASIC narrative distributed on cassette tape from programmer Miroslav Fรญdler commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the suppression of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact troops, allowing players to relive events and make different choices for potentially better outcomes. Such subversive software (see also) was of course not tolerated by the government and many risked their livelihoods and lives in creating and sharing such programs.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

john of nepomuk

Though not canonised until centuries later and then fรชted on 31 May, abbot Jan z Pomuku was martyred on this day in 1393 (see previously) on orders of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia by tossing him off the Charles Bridge into the Vltava for refusing to divulges the secrets that the queen had confessed to him. For his determination to keep from breaching confidentiality and for the manner of his death, John of Neopmuk was made patron of discretion and invoked against floods and drownings, often appearing in statue form on bridges, including on the above Karlลฏv most. For Wenceslaus’ own popularity and continued reign, killing the queen’s confessor was tantamount to what the death warrant of Thomas ร  Becket did for Henry II.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

axonometric projection

Via Things Magazine, we discover the portfolio of Margarethe Frรถhlich (*1901 - †2001), architectural illustrator and modeller, who created straightforward yet expressive interiors to allow clients to preview their rooms with furnishings. Working in Munich, Prague, London and then New York, Frรถhlich collaborated with Raymond Loewy (previously) and went on to teach at Columbia University. The title refers to the specific foreshortening techniques that allows a viewer to perceive more than one side of an object on a flat surface without overt distortion by skewing the axes and angles. In contrast to the auxiliary view of an ensemble depicted from one of the primary presentations—that is, front, back, left, right bottom or top, an axonometric picture does not privilege any principle axis and instead creates the illusion—the lines of sight—of two in parallel. More to explore at the links above.