Monday, 16 May 2022

6x6

dandelion wine: slow drinks made with our favourite noxious weed—see also  

give that wolf a banana and before that wolf eats my grandma: Norway’s Eurovision entry—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

stablecoin: the collapse of NFT and crypto markets 

 for every bear that ever there was: 1984 reportage of Keanu Reeves covering a teddy bear convention for the CBC—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

homeostatic awakening: new developments in the Fermi paradox—see previously here and here  

quattro bianchi: Italy’s answer to the Long Island Iced Tea packs a wallop

Saturday, 12 March 2022

7x7

w / n / p / a/: the beauty and brutality of the natural world—via Web Curios   

fly around: a happy tune from Bill Wurtz—via Waxy 

skramm-ellegepladser: what Scandi culture can teach the world about fun and playfulness 

 theatrum orbis terrarum: the first modern world atlas, created and published in Antwerp in 1571 by Abraham Ortelius 

llรชn gwerin: illustrated Welsh cats from 1910  

grand tour: visit the great cities of Europe all within the confines of Ohio—see also  

best in show: a selection of the superlative entries for the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards—some are quite accidentally like a Renaissance painting

Thursday, 3 February 2022

7x7

1:12: a 1983 architectural magazine’s call for dollhouses  

way-finder: a friendly reminder about the most important app ever made 

i can’t hear you—i’m wearing a towel: dated New Yorker cartoons whose punchline has become a depiction of the everyday—via Waxy  

fisheye lens: a floating exhibit platform showcases Norwegian aquaculture practises 

philately: a brilliant abecedarium (see previously) of vintage postage stamps from around the world  

tensor strength: researchers engineer new material that can absorb and release enormous amounts of energy—like super-charged rubber band, via Slashdot  

the vault of contemporary art: a collection of architectural sketches and schematics from a Things Magazine omnibus post on the subject

Saturday, 1 January 2022

rogue waves

Distinct from tsunamis, killer waves—defined as reaching twice the height of waves in a wave record—occur in open-water as a convergence of constructive interference and other conditions but were considered at best anecdotal, tall-tales and the stuff of maritime myth until quite recently when one was detected on New Year’s Day in 1995 and measured by instruments housed on the Draupner gas pipeline support platform in the North Sea. Subsequent research has shown the phenomenon to be a common one, occurring in multiple media, including finance and has been retroactively used to account for shipping accidents, including the 1975 sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the iconic titular wave portrayed in The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.

Friday, 26 November 2021

when harry met santa

Fair warning—I thought it was too early for holiday commercials but this is a tear-jerker worth watching and it’s advisable to have some tissues handy—via World of Wonder, we are directed towards Posten Norge’s annual holiday greeting, which this year ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of Norway’s decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1972, featuring a multi-year courtship, whose brief annual encounters are finally extended a bit with the help of the Norwegian postal service. From all of us to all of you God jul!

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

the saga of the viking women and their voyage to the waters of the great sea serpent

The 1958 Roger Corman film with the ridiculously long title (see previously) about a group of women from a land called Stannjรธld embark on an adventure in search of their lost men, are shipwrecked by a sea monster and are imprisoned by the Grimaults and made to toil in their mines, reunited with themishing male companions in captivity was revived as a cult cult classic when it was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000, first broadcast on this day in 1991. Starring Abby Dalton as Desรญr and June Kenney as Asmild, the film was apparently cheap-looking even by Corman’s standards, reviews were mixed and the director wasn’t enough studio-time in Paradise Cove for such an ambitious epic, going against his instincts and letting special effects carry the story forward. The feature is preceded by the educational short The Home Economics Story.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

newfoundland

The clue possibly lying in the name of the province, researchers, using new dating techniques and studying the remnant of an ancient solar storm, have pinpointed the first transatlantic crossing and settlement of Viking explorers to exactly a millennium hence, nearly five hundred years prior to the voyages of Christopher Columbus, marking the first encounter and reunion with inhabitants of the New and Old World, the aboriginal population having migrated the long way around. A known flare event in the year 992 unleashed a burst of high-energy cosmic rays that left a marker in the growth rings of trees, felled twenty-nine years after the storm whose timber was used for construction of shelters, sod longhouses (reconstruction pictured in L’Anse aux Meadows), demonstrating that the encampment was set up in 1021. The Viking chronology suggested their journey took place in the eleventh century (see also) but before there was no corroborating evidence—which makes one wonder what other truths might be in the epic sagas.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

you think that i could muster up a little soft shoe gentle sway

Written and composed by Scott Hoffman, Jason Sellards and Elton John (on piano) and released as a single from their second studio album Ta-Dah in July of that year, this week in 2006 saw the Scissor Sisters’ signature track “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” top the charts in the UK, later reaching the same heights in Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Croatia. The Nu-disco song performed by Jakes Shears and Ana Matronic crosses elements of The Four Seasons’ “December, 1963” and Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing—Want to Dance the Night Away.”

Monday, 20 September 2021

5x5

fallout boy: the legacy of Albania’s seven-hundred-thousand bunkers  

al forno: Barilla (previously) sponsors an annual contest to solicit for innovative designs for its 3D pasta printer  

mathmos: how lava lamps are manufactured—see also 

stowaways: butterfly researches in the ร…land islands accidentally introduce a parasitic wasp that relies on the caterpillars as well as a hyperparasitoid that the wasps host 

 รฎle flottante: a boat camouflaged as a rock tours the coastline of Marseille—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Sunday, 29 August 2021

ultima thule

Though settled by the Paleo-Inuit Saqqaq peoples over thirty-five hundred years earlier and interacting with visiting Vikings until the fiftieth century, the traditional founding date of the Greenlandic capital is given as this day in 1728 when the Danish-Norwegian governor called Claus Paarss established Fort Godthรฅb (Good Hope) to relocatea group of colonists (primarily ex-convicts, mutinous sailors and soldiers and prostitutes) on the mainland from their former island dwelling. Five years later, a Moravian mission received clearance to establish Neu-Herrnhut to convert residents to the Lutheran Church of Denmark. The indigenous population endured generations of suffering and slights, but they persevered and eventually regaining cultural territory as well as an autonomous form of devolved government in 1979, officially changing the name to the Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) Nuuk, meaning cape.

Friday, 30 July 2021

tgif

Twin brother and complementary to the Norse goddess Freyja (‘Lady’ and name-giver to Friday) the fertility deity Freyr (‘Lord’) is the patron of virility, sacral rule—in other words theocratic kingship whereby the monarch is also priest and judge—as well as fair weather, a good harvest, peace and prosperity.  Granted domain by the gods over รlfheimr, realm of the light elves as an infant as a teething gift, Freyr’s steed is a mechanical boar called Gullinbursti, a tribute from the dwarves and from the magic of Odin the fine ship Skรญรฐblaรฐnir that can be folded up and kept in a pouch when not in use plus arms including an enchanted sword that fights on its own.  Having little truck with man, Freyr seems a mythological figure belonging to the other legendary races and perhaps signals the weekend for elven kind.  In one of the better attested sagas, Freyr is besotted with a giantess named Gerรฐr (Old Norse for Fenced-In). His advances rebuffed, Freyr grows despondent and lovesick and recruits one of his footmen, Skรญnir, to go to Jรถtunheimr (the Realm of the Giants) to woo Gerรฐr on his behalf. Even though as a Vanr is gifted, cursed with foresight and knows bereft of his magic sword his fate is to be vanquished at Ragnarรถk, Freyr promises it to his surrogate as a reward.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

olaf ii haraldsson

Posthumously proclaimed eternal king and rapidly acclaimed as patron for Fรธroyar (the Faroe Islands) and a popular saint for greater Scandinavia, Norwegian realms extending over most of the region, the Vestfold ruler is venerated on this day, the anniversary of his death on the battlefield of Stiklestad in 1030, elevating his younger, half-brother Harald Hardrada to the throne. Olaf’s sainthood, saga and symbolism (attributed with qualities of Thor and Freyr) encouraged the widespread adoption of Christianity in the territory—though in his lifetime, after his own baptism in Rouen, wintering there with Duke Richard II of Normandy (see previously), was given the epithet “the Lawbreaker” for the forceful and exploitative means he used to win converts amongst the population.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

bohus fรคstning

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1WRAqqhDaIFD9vg3_9UnhhjIdLHDaT8UGhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ua36-ik9Cp_VTv-_saE17Q1KJBQj7LBYCrossing again the large island of Orust to travel inland on the outskirts of Gรถteborg, we came to the convergence of the Gรถte ร„lv (the River of the Geats and basis of the Gรถte Canal) to Kungรคlv to visit the ruined bastion once a stronghold of Hรฅkon V. Magnusson to protect trade and defend from incursions at the former Norwegian-Swedish border, guarding the region from 1308 until the peace and territorial re-allotment of 1658. https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=19JDyj1pm0Md4LumCU-8M3XMDn_s_8e6rhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1k4PjMsZJcp5YLPtBc8hqjv_QR08mubr9https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1VMV2WmHmeXoAehL-PZ1hspvAECPk23j4https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1HLw9N9QGTRbc83CUm55QRxbFGr7Sr3Wmhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1fKnJDOHSUwfRq-xkaYztk18qIMr--0q1 Besieged no less than fourteen times, the fortress was never taken but allowed to fall into disrepair after it lost its strategic importance. The grounds held a variety of activities for those whose attention is not satisfied with history alone. Afterwards we toured the old town centre with its wooden structures. On the way back to the campsite for one last night’s stay, we stopped at an archeological site called Nedre Hoga—a settlement occupied for the past six millennia but with artefacts, a rune stone (locally referred to as Raimund’s Hรคll) and Thingstatte or Domarringar—a stone circle once believed to be a seat of justice but now believed to be the setting for funerary rituals that date to the ninth century and the transitional period between the Vikings and the Vandalshttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1FaBqCpxlHiSkRsPasu63nLyy9EWNXpV6https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1s3RYeHpUg87IKJSsKGTHij7ShlQOeO-ihttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1P-sf_dPiukQft4HUf_p08ZYqrTBmsvgA The inscription reads, “I, Haur of Stream, raise this stone for Raimund—the name preceding the translation by hundreds of years just as Hoga’s farm refers to the proto-Nordic term for the mounds of the Iron Age grave-field. We also encountered a few current residents along the way, including a horse masquerading as a zebra, to thwart flies and hooded, I’m given to understand, to let him acclimate to new surroundings.

Monday, 31 May 2021

noordzee

The always intriguing and enlightening Maps Mania refers us to a suite of tools and tracers to help us visualise the huge among of marine traffic that passes in and out of the North Sea bordered by the Low Countries and Scandinavia, the waters off Belgium far exceeding the throughput of either of the shipping industry’s great corridors and potential bottlenecks, the Panama and Suez canals. Especially interesting is the data-driven scrollytelling from the financial daily De Tidj (pictured) which shows the activity and congestion of navigable routes along with the dredgers that keep the trade routes open to traffic.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

we demand a borda count

Jingoism and patriotism by-proxy upstaging message and entertainment value aside in voting (see previously) for the grand prix winner of the Eurovision song contest aside—Italy (see also) made a surprise showing for first place with a fine and enthusiastic homage to glam rock—the juxtaposing shots (and tribute) to the audience assembled for the party in Rotterdam were in keeping with original spirit of the spectacular meant to harmonise broadcast linkages across the continent. The pictured artist is the talented Norwegian performer called by his stage name TIX as an acknow-ledgement that he has overcome Tourette’s syndrome—which I misheard at first as duet syndrome.  Though at first seeming premature and irresponsible to allow such gatherings as we continue to beat back the pandemic, it was revealed that the volunteer revellers were taking part in a hopefully safe and scientifically sound experiment to see if and how large scale events could be held securely with no outbreaks and danger to public health.  Among our  favourites was Iceland’s entry Daรฐi & Gagnamagnid—which was unable to play live in the hall after one band member tested positive for COVID—with Ten Years.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

unanimiter et constanter

Fรชted on this day as the patron saint of Oslo, Hallvard Vebjรธrnsson (†1043) is venerated as a martyr for his violent death in defence of a pregnant slave woman (thrall or trell, see also).
The son and heir to a wealthy estate in Vikin in the south-eastern part of the kingdom near the capital region and relative of Saint Olaf, Hallvard believed in the professed innocence of the women in face of accusations of theft and attempted to ferry her to safety aboard his boat. The accusers killed them both with a volley of arrows, disposing of the woman on the shore they had sailed to, and realising that Hallvard’s absence would arouse suspicion, they tied a millstone around his neck to ensure the body could be sunk without a trace. Miraculous and inopportunely for the assailants, however, Hallvard’s corpse bobbed to the surface and revealed the men’s crimes. The contemporary coat of arms of the Norwegian capital portrays this iconography—this day also celebrated as Oslo-dagen, with the motto Unanimous and Constant.

Friday, 11 December 2020

statistrikk

Via Seitvertreib, we are introduced to these wonderful vignettes from associate biostatistics professor at the University of Oslo Kathrine Frey Frรธslie who illustrates scientific concepts, in this case the R-number associated with viral contagion and herd immunity, through knitting and crochet (see also) projects. More to explore on science communication and data visualisations (including for the crafty the patterns to make your own COVID-related cosies) at the links above.

Monday, 16 November 2020

say after me

Ever grateful for the reminder that A-ha is a Norwegian group and for any excuse to listen to their songs, we appreciated this hearing early track, draft that contains quite a few signature elements of what we know as “Take on Me”—including the central synth bridge—debuting on Magne Furuholmen and Pรฅl Waaktaar’s earlier band’s second album recorded and scheduled for release in 1981 though postponed by the group’s breakup and subsequent reconstitution until August 2018. The song was originally called “Miss Eerie” and was their demonstration piece intended to show off their vocal and electronic virtuosity.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

8x8

langue and parole: a poly-lingual whistle-stop tour illustrating what foreign languages sound like to non-speakers   

a critical tourism map: whilst most visitors’ guides are irrepressibly positive about their attractions, this revealing map of the Norwegian capital hopes to make people think about the darker side of the past—via Big Think 

in this world: an hour of cool Soviet era jazz

test pilots: first human passengers take a ride in the experimental, levitating hyperloop (previously) in the desert of Nevada 

ohrwurm: you’re welcome—see previously    

mnemosyne: an iterative technique to vastly improve recall (see previously)—from the illustrious Mx van Hoorn’s curio cabinet

the ephemeralist: selecting random pages from archives of thousands of old publications, this bit of coding seems as good a substitute for social media as any—via Kicks Condor

the word rooster is an eighteenth century American invention to avoid saying the word ________:  an educational and invigorating swear quiz from Helen Zaltzman

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

mindfulness adjacent

Open Culture presents us with a thorough-going reflection on niksen—that is the Dutch art of doing nothing. Between hygge, lagom (in moderation, in balance) and other concepts, we can all take a cue from our Nordic neighbours in terms of de-stressing and letting go. Whilst not the panacea that attracts us to read and write articles like this, there are admittedly many routes to relaxation and calm but cultivating the art of disconnecting, niksing seems like an important skill to hone.