Tuesday, 24 January 2023

ukiyo-e (10. 493)

Before gaining renown for his iconic series of woodblock prints of the Great Wave off Kanagawa, Katsushika Hokusai (่‘›้ฃพ ๅŒ—ๆ–Ž) published three comprehensive volumes of “Quick Lessons in Simplified Drawing,” which are really fun to browse and remarkably build figures from the same rudimentary figures that all art teachers seem to employ, with the first book breaking every conceivable subject into geometric shapes, the second book fragmenting their curves and contours and the third book diagramming stroke order. Much more from Kottke at the link above.

Monday, 23 January 2023

6x6 (10. 492)

zhengyue 2: the second day of the Lunar New Year is considered the birthday of all dogs 

only took the m’f’er fifteen tries: Randy Rainbow lampoons Kevin McCartney with a parody of ‘Master of the House’ from Les Misรฉrables 

i shot the serif: US Department of State drops the typeface Times New Roman in favour of the more legible Calibri font  

yellow magic orchestra: watch performances by the Japanese group that created some of the most innovative and influential acts in electronic music  

odonymy: more open etymological street maps—see also  

tet: a short, hand-drawn game about cooking and serving a Vietnamese holiday meal—via Waxy

Sunday, 15 January 2023

spider web castle (10. 420)

Considered among the finest adaptations of the Scottish play with production and development deferred for six years after learning that Orson Welles directed his own Macbeth in 1948, Akira Kurosawa’s (previously) transposition of the plot of Shakespeare’s masterwork to feudal Japan (่œ˜่››ๅทฃๅŸŽ, Kumononsu-jล—literally the above title but released in English-speaking markets as Throne of Blood) premiered in Tokyo on this day in 1957. Under contract to produce three samurai movies (jidaigeki—period, costume dramas) for Toho studios, Spider Web Castle was originally slated to go to director Ishirล Honda, best known for his 1954 kaiju classic Godzilla but Kurosawa ended up making the trio of films. His 1960 The Bad Sleep Well was informed by Hamlet—though not a direct correspondence—and Kurosawa’s final work Ran, which is based off of King Lear. Throne of Blood in turn influenced Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Macbeth and the death of Taketoki Wasizu (the Lady Macbeth analogue) inspired the death of the mother of the titular Carrie in the 1976 horror classic.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

8x8 (10. 395)

notional counting: amateur archaeologist proffers the theory that markings on ancient cave paintings may communicate information about quarry animals’ life cycles—pushing back the origins of writing ten-thousand years  

social recession: declining trust, friendship and adult activities by the numbers—via tmn  

brick and mortem: the surprising, seemingly non-sequir resurgence of a chain of bookshops  

arrakhis: the European Space Agency launches a tiny satellite to search for dark matter  

metroid as directed by paul verhoeven: imaging 90s video games as feature films—see previously  

little d: a Defender-style camper conversion kit unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon  

upward falling payloads: proposals for an orbiting warehouse and fulfilment centre  

mirabile scriptu: phony but possibly plausibly kanji generated by AI for abstract concepts—particularly appealing is one for the Chief Twit, ็Ž‹ (pronounced wang, meaning king)

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

6x6 (10. 383)

shift happens: a comprehensive history of keyboards by Marcin Wichary—via Waxy  

luni-solar: the people who are living in multiple timelines—see previously  

poly canon: a showcase of strange, experimental architectural students senior projects at scale  

hydraulic press interpretive dance: the impressive choreography of Sarah “Smac” McCreanor—see previously  

nangajo: prominent figures of the Japanese design community present their greeting cards for 2023 (see previously), the Year of the Rabbit 

franklin ace 100: the Apple clone (see previously) with a bizarre users’ guide—via Waxy

Saturday, 17 December 2022

7x7 (10. 342)

the gate of the exonerated: a new entrance to be named in honour of the falsely accused Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Kevin Richardson 

mighty mikko: a 1922 adaptation of Finnish fairytales 

time performance: taipa (ใ‚ฟใ‚คใƒ‘) and the Ukrainian pronunciation of Kyiv (ใ‚ญใƒผใ‚ฆ) are among Japan’s neologism—not characters—of the year  

mpi: social contagions, mass psychogenic illnesses, can lead to physical maladies—see also, and certain platforms may be superspreaders 

feliz navidad: beautiful vintage Christmas cards by artist Alejandro Rangel Hildalgo—via Marco McClean’s Memo of the Air  

blue light special: more Kmart reel-to-reel soundtracks—this one from December 1974  

heroes act: US supreme court admits more challenges to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

6x6 (10. 384)

strife wins out: ๆˆฆ (ikusa, tatakau meaning war) is voted kanji of 2022—previously, see also—via Language Log  

dunston checks in: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews the 1996 comedic film starring Jason Alexander, Paul Reubens, Rupert Everett and Faye Dunaway  

hearth and home: more animated Yule Log loops—see previously—via Waxy 

twitterpated: a survey of possible dinosaur vocalisations  

mission highlights: arresting imagery from Artemis I—see also 

diwhy and regretsy: a collection of jargon and slang terms from the crafting community

Sunday, 11 December 2022

unfccc (10. 377)

Adopted on this day twenty-five years ago with a nearly eight year period for signatory states to curb greenhouse emissions, the Kyoto Protocol—an extension of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, which first acknowledges anthropogenic climate change and sets forth a legally-binding plan to mitigate the seven most damaging industrial and agricultural gases and reduce concentrations down to a level that would no longer interfere with natural, prevailing weather systems. Further recognising that individual parties have different capabilities in the front of combating climate change, the treaty informs a common goal but with graduated responsibilities. The protocol was superseded by the Paris Agreement in 2015 after years of annual renegotiations and richer companies resorting to carbon-offsets (see also) rather than genuine progress.

Saturday, 10 December 2022

7x7 (10. 376)

symphony № 9 boogie: a one hundred and seventy piece orchestra plays Beethoven on the Matryomin—a theremin inside a Russian nesting doll 

psychopomp: Santa Claus has origins as a magic-mushroom dispensing Sami shaman—see previously

 

your yolo years: Pinterest Predicts for 2023 with their not-yet-trending report—via The Curious Brain 

747: after fifty-four years, the final production model of the Boeing aircraft leaves the factory  

cancel couture: at just under a thousand dollars and designed to filter out noise and air pollution, the Dyson Zone is perfect for the misanthrope on your Christmas list 

dumpster fire: marginal Democrat now declared independent as trash receptacles—via The Everlasting Blรถrt 

dearmoon: billion selects eight artists for first voyage around Earth’s satellite aboard prrivate orbiter

Sunday, 27 November 2022

8x8 (10. 339)

truly toastmaster: an elaborate and enduring hoax that shows one should not believe everything on the internet—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

cabinet of curiosities: the intro, outro and interstitials of the horror anthology hosted by Guillermo del Toro, which has distinct echoes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents 

oopsie, i did a misinformation: an exploration on how and why Japan does the internet differently than the rest of the world with case study—via Waxy  

plasmonic photocatalysis: researchers engineer a nanomaterial that could allow for power plants to efficiently isolate hydrogen from ammonia using only light  

el peatonito: a champion of the pedestrian and other Super Citizens 

it’s not delivery, it’s digiorno: an interesting short documentary on the history of frozen pizza—via Hyperallergic’s Required Reading   

teal and prebunking: the shortlisted candidates for Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year  

goncharov: thousands of fan-fic contributors have retcon’d a 1973 Martin Scorsese film starring Robert De Niro that never existed—via Slashdot

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

ๅ‹คๅŠดๆ„Ÿ่ฌใฎๆ—ฅ (10. 327)

As the modern, post-war incarnation of an ancient harvest festival that celebrated the reaping of the Five Grains, a group of farmed cereals essential to agriculture and social development, Labour Thanksgiving (Kinrล Kansha no Hi) is an annual public holiday, falling on this day, occasioning the rejoicing of productivity and hard work and as an expression of gratitude to one’s coworkers and colleagues. Commemorations generally include school children distributing cards and gifts for public sector workers and companies review their accomplishments over the past year and fete their staff.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

7x7 (10. 239)

actually: summoning the Candymansplainer 

doktor semmelweis i presume: how it took three decades to convince surgeons to wash their hands in the context of contemporary inconvenience  

kessler syndrome: more on orbital space junk—see previously  

one-dimensional: construction starts on the linear megacity in the desert—see previously  

woodpeckers in space: an 80s Danish hit 

not alone: most kanji readers cannot read it in cursive—see also  

based on a true story: horror classics inspired by actual events

Friday, 14 October 2022

whistle-stop tour (10. 222)

On this day in 1872, a century and a half ago, the first rail-route—between Shinbashi and Yokohama—went into service, and to mark this occasion and everything that trains represent in terms of very freighted culture and technology the Tokyo Station Gallery has collected and curated artwork and ephemera from around Japan from your consideration.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

8x8 (10. 162)

herbst: vintage Eastern Bloc matchboxes welcoming Fall  

ฮฑฯฮฝฮฌฮบฮน: comedian Shari Lewis delivers One Minute Mythologies—via r/Obscure Media  

wie ist dein name, mann: adapting Hamilton in German for the Hamburg stage—possibly a bit rough for those who committed the original lyrics to heart but Lin-Manuel Miranda is deeply involved 

tl;dr: an AI powered tool that provides a summary of long videos—via Web Curios  

wolf hall: RIP historical fiction author Hilary Mantel  

not in my backyard: good luck getting anything built in Sim Nimby (see also)—again from Web Curios

voting integrity: Russian soldiers in occupied regions of Ukraine undertake door-to-door balloting in the referenda to ensure citizens choose wisely  

kirie: celebrating the onset of autumn with more of the Japanese art of leave carving

Thursday, 15 September 2022

7x7 (10. 136)

ernie-vilg: Baidu enters text-to-image generating AI—reinforces government censorship  

kusugibashi: a rebuilt bridge washed away in 2018 combines traditional carpentry (see also) with computational design technology  

naysayer: exocentric verb-noun compound agents 

if you give a bot a cookie: pop ups are ruining the internet experience—see also—outside of walled gardens, via Digg  

we’re making earth our only shareholder: founder of Patagonia gives his billion-dollar company away to combat the climate emergency 

bademaschinen: floating saunas for Oslo harbor—see also   

nervous laughter: researchers hope to deliver more natural human-robot conversations

Friday, 2 September 2022

7x7 (10. 106)

homesteading: a survey of the extraterrestrial real estate market 

music to moog by: a DIY Theramin from Linus ร…kesson—see previously  

enhanced pat-down: twenty years of Homeland Security and America’s penchant for security theatre  

battleship island: an exploration of the now deserted speck of land that fuelled Japan’s industrial revolution, most the most densely populated place on Earth

sampo: more on the epic MacGuffin from Finnish lore—see also  

posture pals: exercises to combat computer slouch  

extremely well-planned void: a Greek Revival property in Denton County, Texas—see previously

Saturday, 27 August 2022

8x8 (10. 091)

catenary curve: the relationship between arches and chains  

astrochickens: another one of Freeman Dyson’s theoretical constructs—albeit less famous than his spheres   

numeracy: a selection of books bringing maths to the masses 

click-wheel: design your next custom iPhone—add a headphone jack, handle, home button, etc. from Neal Agarwal (previously)  

safe neighbourhood: Madonna’s punk phase 

late-stage thatcherism: the UK under Tory leadership is in omnishambles 

chakumelo: a celebration of nostalgic words culled from Japanese dictionaries due to declining usage  

hรฌtรซkw: an AI redesigns the tennis racket, named after Lenape word for tree due to its root-like design

Sunday, 19 June 2022

8x8

crisis on terra prime: US president Biden invokes emergency powers to boost solar energy production

midsommar: ten ways to celebrate the June Solstice—via Strange Company  

madagascator projection: another look at mapping and bias—see previously  

unai no tomo: an early twentieth century catalogue of Japanese toys  

imago and eclosion: good pictures of a newly emerged swallowtail  

controlled burn: astronauts have lit thousands of little fires in microgravity to understand its strange behaviour  

you spin right round, baby, right round: the only way to play Weezer’s new singles is to become one’s own turn table—via Waxy  

perovskites: research into making cheap but brittle photovoltaic technology sturdier to rival modern solar cells

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

ไธŠใ‚’ๅ‘ใ„ใฆๆญฉใ“ใ†

Starting a three-week run at the top of US singles charts on this day in 1963—as well as attaining an impressive standing in the UK and Australia, Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” (ๅ‚ๆœฌ ไน with “Ue o Muite Arukล”) was his breakout hit after leaving a pop-group called the Drifters for a solo career. Translated as “I look up when I walk” (so that the tears in his eyes don’t fall—ostensibly a forlorn lovers’ song but originally inspired out of songwriter Ei Rokusuke’s feelings of dejection over the US-Japan Security Treaty and permanent American presence), it was the first Japanese language song to excel in this way in Western markets and became overall one of the best-selling singles in history. The alternative title is a more familiar menu item to Anglophone ears and does not occur in the actual lyrics and has been compared with re-titling “Moon River” as “Beef Stew.” The Taste of Honey’s 1980 version has the same rhythm and cadence but completely different lyrics which attempt to preserve the spirit of the song.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

good wine needs no bush

A shared image of a Japanese supermarket’s libations section seems at first to illicit a mangled, machined translation or poor command of English whereas this example is no case of Engrish to be  ridiculed but rather a pretty apt quotation from William Shakespeare in, recursively, the epilogue to As you Like It. With the term bush denoting the sprigs of a grapevine that symbolised a vintner’s shingle, the phrase meant that quality speaks for itself and does not need to be advertised—with the reference all but lost to English-speakers: delivered by Rosalind, “If it be true, that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true, that a good play needes no Epilogue.” The French equivalent, still in common-parlance, is ร  bon vin point d’enseigne or the German—not beating around the bush—gute Ware lobt sich selbst.