Wednesday, 4 May 2022

8x8

saved: Diane Keaton’s coffee table book of quirky photography  

broadacre city: Frank Lloyd Wright’s experimental community of the future—via Nag on the Lake  

23 skidoo: enhanced footage of flappers from 1929 

senator palpatine needs to flip just five seats to take back power: a fund-raising solicitation from the galactic majority leader (previously)

spelunking: surveyors discover the largest cave system in North America 

 they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in brazil: the novelty song as performed by Frank Sinatra  

homage to the squares: a rhythmic revisiting of the art of Josef Albers via Pasa Bon!  

vacansopapurosophobia: an assortment of very cromulent vocabulary

Monday, 2 May 2022

the sinking of the general belgrano

Originally built as a Brooklyn-class cruiser for the US Navy and surviving Pearl Habour and sold to the regime of Juan Perรณn in 1951 and named after Argentine naval instructor and founding figure and with a loss of life totalling almost a third of the casualties of the entire campaign, a UK submarine torpedoed and sunk the warship, with a three-hundred and twenty-three members of its full compliment of eleven hundred perishing at sea, on this day in 1982. Following the April invasion of the Falkland Islands in response to occupation by the Junta, the UK declared a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Malvinas and any armed vessel entering those waters would be subject to attack. Though outside the zone of exclusion, signals interception and a change in bearing suggested that the Belgrano was a threat and a legitimate target, though the fateful decision in this senseless war is still debated and whether the act was a war crime or the target was a lawful one is a matter of controversy, although most in the Argentinian navy concede the ship had taken an offensive tack. Whilst most media outlets maintained a neutral stance, the British tabloid The Sun reported on the story with the incredibly tasteless headline “Gotcha!” in early editions, arguably toning it down a bit with the front-page re-titled to “Did 1 200 Argies drown?” Tensions escalated and two days afterwards, the HMS Sheffield was sunk by a missile strike with a truce called after seventy-four days of fighting.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

unpo

Founded and headquartered in the The Hague in 1991, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was constituted to champion the marginalised with membership made of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or otherwise occupied territories with an aim of achieving political autonomy and self-determination with the rejection of violence and terrorism as tools of policy. Current localities and groups on its rolls (not without controversy and in-group dispute) are Abkhazia, Bretagne, Catalonia, the District of Colombia, Guam, the Hmong, Savoy, Sindhudesh and Tibet. Former members Palau, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have attained full statehood and independence.

Monday, 17 January 2022

from inca to excel

Via ร†on, we quite enjoyed this introduction to the system of knotted fibres called khipu (see also) as an accounting and record-keeping tool of the Wari peoples and spread across the Andean region some fourteen-hundred years ago. Decoded by specially-trained khipukamayuqs, these mobile ledgers were periodically recalled to court authorities to lodge tax-compliance, census numbers, commerce, genealogy and inheritance—and with only a small proportion of museum-holdings deciphered, some holdout the possibility that these data-points were a means to encode the fulness of language.

Friday, 24 December 2021

als ich vom himmel fiel

Miraculously on this day in 1971, en route from Lima to home in-land in Iquitos after graduation ceremonies, seventeen-year-old Juliane (nรฉe Koepcke) Diller not only lived through a catastrophic airplane crash, the cabin broken up by a lightening strike at altitude and tumbling three-thousand metres from the sky still belted into her seat, which took the lives of ninety-one others (her mother included), as sole survivor, she wandered through the rainforests of Peru alone for eleven days before finding civilisation and medical care for her injuries though wholly ambulatory and only sustaining a broken collar bone and a gash to her arm prone to infection. Somewhat of a wild-child, daughter to a pair of biologists, Koepcke was raised in the jungle and had acquired the skills that helped her to persevere. Scouting for filming locations for Aquirre—the Wrath of God, the 1972 historical epic with Klaus Kinski leading a retinue of conquistadores down the Amazon in search of the legendary seven cities of gold, director Werner Herzog would have also taken that flight, had it not been for a change in his itinerary. Subject of a 1988 documentary, Herzog and Koepcke toured the crash site together. Like her parents, Koepcke also studied biology and continued their research in Peru, specialising ultimately in chiroptology, and presently is the chief library for the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

diseรฑador grรกficos

Via the forever brilliant, peripatetic Things Magazine we quite enjoyed perusing this treasury of Uruguayan graphic design heritage curated and chronicled in this archive through ephemera, philately, film posters and more. We especially liked the unified, branded-look of the logos by Fernando รlvarez Cozzi commissioned for wineries, charities and government offices. Check out all the different categories at the links above.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

intentos separatistas

Under the leadership of Empresario (the Spanish word for entrepreneur and referring to those granted right of settlement in exchange for pledging to develop an area) Haden Edwards, a group of Texians declared the breakaway Republic of Fredonia on this day in 1826.Arriving the year before with some eight hundred colonists families (mostly plantation-owners from the American south like himself)—overstepping his commission by claiming the authority to adjudicate the validity of the land claim of those already in residence, demanding deed and title to property else land would become forfeit and the property of fellow filibusters. The Mexican government repudiated Edwards' actions and ordered him out but he refused to leave his colony. By the last day of January, the occupiers were defeated by the Mexican army, though the cumulative effect of this rebellion and others instigated like it led to the eventual secession of the territory, both sides alternatively currying favour with and laying blame on indigenous tribes and forcibly relocated peoples.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

balmis expedition

The operation officially named Real Expediciรณn Filantrรณpica de la Vacuna, the Spanish healthcare mission under the leadership of Doctor Francisco Javier de Balmis set sail on the Marรญa Pita from a port in Galicia on this day in 1803 and would vaccinate, using the technique developed by Edward Jenner, untold millions against smallpox, calling in the Canary Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, China and the Philippines, even offering surplus to the colony at Saint Helena on the return route, despite animosities between Spain and Britain at the time. Undertaken to make amends for the Old World diseases that ravaged North and South America and to attempt to wipe out the contagion that proved fatal for nearly half a million individuals annually in Europe only, the complement and crew included twenty-two orphaned boys designated as successive carriers of the cowpox virus (there being no refrigeration or other means to isolate and transport the vaccine), which would help recipients acquire immunity to the deadlier version.

Monday, 8 November 2021

sanctuary city

Though the concept of cities of refuge where perpetrators of accidental crimes could claim asylum is ancient and the modern usage seems quite contemporary, the first municipality in the US that passed an ordinance prohibiting city authorities from enforcing rendition for non-violent offences was Berkeley, California, adopting the stance on this day in 1971, inspiring and leading a shift among many polities in North American and Europe to be more welcoming of arriving immigrants and reduce anxiety surrounding deportation and possible family separation.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

dia do saci

 Designated by an NGO calling themselves amigos of this trickster character of Brazilian folklore to coincide with Halloween as a way to counter American cultural hegemony, the holiday, even where backed with state-support, only enjoys limited recognition and celebration—despite familiarity and popularity of its mascot.

The monopod figure with an enchanted cap and always smoking a pipe, mostly active at night, can be dangerous and malicious—though most pranks are merely annoying—but will grant the wishes of those who trap him or free him, liable to caught in a bottle while disappearing and reappearing in the midst of a whirlwind. Reportedly Saci’s magic cap, according to those who’ve tried to steal it, has an indelibly foul smell and those who’ve handled it can never wash the stench away.  Saci can be propitiated with offerings of a libation of cachaรงa and a measure of tobacco for his pipe.

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, 2 October 2021

net promoter score

Incredulously and with much the same hubris and spirit that the American baseball commission calls its big annual play-off the World Series (it’s not) or organisers an international beauty pageant Miss Universe (she’s not), we learn thanks to the always authentic and as-advertised Miss Cellania that unsurprisingly there’s not only no US airline placing in the top ten globally, because America can’t rise to the challenge to compete on the world-wide stage, there’s a separate ranking for North American airlines. The US doesn’t even manage to sweep this category with Air Canada placing third.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

7x7

kรกdรกr cube: a practical, mass-produced boxy house (Magyar ร‰pรญtล‘mลฑvรฉszet) from Communist-era Hungary is staging a comeback 

the new english canaan: revisiting the banned publication that mocked American’s puritanical ways—see also  

you’ve got a habit of leaving: the first single from the unreleased David Bowie album, coming in January

merfolk and melusine: tritons and mermaids entertained by enlightened minds 

facebookland: the social media giant ought to be treated like the autocratic rogue state it is—via Waxy 

roll over beethoven: a team of musicologists using artificial intelligence complete the composer’s unfinished tenth symphony—to premier in Bonn next month, via Kottke  

ะณะพัั‚ะธะฝั‹ะน ะดะฒะพั€: a rotating arch for a shopping arcade in St. Petersburg—via Pasa Bon!

Friday, 17 September 2021

the persuaders!

Last in the line of a spy, crime adventure syndicate that began in 1960 with Danger Man, The Prisoner, The Avengers and The Saint, the charismatic action-comedy vehicle of Tony Curtis and Roger Moore was first simulcast on ITV and ABC to UK and US audiences on this day in 1971. Though considered a crowning, ambitious and concluding series and played well in foreign franchises, dubbed as Dos Tipos Audaces (Two Bold Characters in South American markets), Minden Lรฉben Kรฉt Kanรกl (Two Spoons in Every Soup in Hungary), Snobbar som Jobbar (Snobs on the Job in Sweden), Amicalement Vรดtre in French-speaking areas (Amicably Yours) and Die Zwei in the Deutschsprachrรคume (one of the best titled cinematic adaptations The Sum of All Fears is plaintively called simply Der Anschlag, The Attack in German) the production of Baron Lew Grade (also behind the series of Supermarionation shows) about two individuals from starkly different backgrounds that have been reluctantly teamed together to solve international cases that the authorities cannot disappointed domestic viewers and was cancelled after one albeit complete season. The opening title sequence (see also) features music by John Berry.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

you give me fasciation

Our gratitude to our peripatetic pal Memo of the Air for directing us to this updated re-post from TYWKIWDBI that we managed to miss earlier that gives a little more background on the backstory of a Stevie Nicks’ classic we’ve covered previously by way of contorted, cresting displays of growth in certain kinds of plants, included the celebrated saguaro of central and southwestern North America with wasps, bees and white-winged doves counted among their important daytime pollinators.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

i have directed secretary connolly to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interest of monetary stability and in the best interest of the united states

Effectively ending the economic arrangement among Canadian, Western Europe, Australia and Japan since 1944, the Bretton Woods system (see previously), the first fully negotiated monetary order recognised across independent polities that regulated exchange rates by pinning national currencies to the price of gold under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund, American president Richard Nixon announced, unilaterally, that on this day in 1971 the dollars could no longer be freely converted to their worth in gold. Rendered a fiat currency instead of a representation of intrinsic value, only upheld by the consent of the parties engaged in trade for goods or services, many other signatories soon followed suit and untethered their money. This jarring economic policy change was the culmination of several intervention strategies undertaken by the Nixon administration to curb inflation incurred as the world reserve currency (privilรจge exorbitant as the US could print money at virtually no cost, but subsidised by the rest of the world, each bank note expatriated cost face value in actual goods), preceded by wage and price freezes and raising tariffs. Loosing the ability to service indebtedness over the war in Vietnam, Nixon accused other nations of gaming the system and using established conventions to devalue their currency to maintain a competitive advantage. The US dollar dropped precipitously in value shortly thereafter and led to the the stagflation that typifies the decade and general failure of wages to rise proportionally with the increasing prices of vital things like healthcare, education, rents and food.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

home on the range

Via Web Curios, we are directed to the rather outstanding and one-of-a-kind insight of the twentieth century American western frontier through the lens of Lora Webb Nichols (*1883 - †1962), postal worker, cook and journalist running her own local newspaper, The Echo, who took over twenty-four thousand photographs over the course of six decades, most
of the environs of a copper mining town in the state of Wyoming called Encampment. Nichols early in her career established a photo studio with a dark room to develop and finish film and would loan out equipment for other aspiring picture-takers. Her images, articles and diaries are curated by the state university library system for one to peruse.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

stamina potion

Directed towards an engrossing economics side-quest to ponder from NRP’s Planet Money, we learn how a cadre of rather ingenious individuals, to stave of the worst effect of a collapsing national currency and exponential inflation which strips money of one of its defining pillars as a store of value, to farming for computer game gold, since collecting and trading those virtual coins for primarily euro or US dollars was at a far better rate of exchange than the bolรญvar soberano and paid a better wage. Choosing the MMORPG (massively multiplayer on-line role-playing game) platform of Old School RuneScape because of its low bar to access, straightforward and relatively easy to play (especially for repetitive, income-generating tasks) and would run on older computers and not be too data intensive, their activity (not allowed according to house rules, selling to third-parties, but can’t really be stopped) has drawn supporters sympathetic to their real world plight and detractors complaining of encroachment and how it skews the in-game economy.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

8x8

autobus park № 7: explore Kyiv’s derelict modernist transportation hippodrome—via Things Magazine  

blue: listen to rediscovered demos and outtakes from Joni Mitchell’s album on its fiftieth anniversary 

i’m chasing martian: excellent auditory illusion illustrated—see previously—from chanting fans  

dark matter, dark fish: the overwhelming biomass of Earth’s ecosystem is essentially undetectable for us (see also) yet we claim the right to rubbish it  

warriors of the zenith, warriors of the nadir: a 1904 ethnograph of Zuni ritual masks  

work-life balance: Japanese government proposes four-day work-week  

shareware: a look at the App Store’s predecessor, Software Labs  

private viewing: the collectors who saved modernist Soviet masterpieces


Thursday, 10 June 2021

wagner-werk-verzeichnis neunzig

Premiering on this day at the Kรถnigliches Hoftheatre in Mรผnchen in 1885, the opera in three acts by Richard Wagner, later classified with the above designation, Tristan und Isolde was a retelling of the twelfth century chivalric romance the adulterous affair between and Cornish knight and princess, a narrative that predates and prefigures the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. Considered by many as the highest expression of the art form during opera’s late stage that opens up the classical to the modern interpretations, it marks a significant point of departure from traditional tonal progression and musical (sonata-allegro form) structure, especially illustrated in the range of harmony, polyphony and the so called Tristan chord ,which resolves to another dissonant chord and occurrences of resolve deferred throughout. Because of the anticipated demands of staging and the requirements for the sets, Wagner first approached Brazilian Emperor Pedro II about having Rio de Janeiro as its debut venue. When this did not pan out, the production company then turned to Strasbourg, Karlsruhe and Paris, though public memory was still fresh of a failed staging of Tannhรคuser there, before starting rehearsals in Vienna. The premiere performance was changed again after a considerable amount already invested, earning the production the reputation of being unperformable even before its first run.