Sunday, 2 October 2022

casus foederis (10. 190)

Foundational to the treaty and only invoked once, thankfully, on this day—confirmed by the body two days later—in 2001 by member the United States after the September 11 Terror Attacks. Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation pledge to consider an attack against one to be affront to all. Operations Eagle Assist and Active Endeavour, air and shipping lane patrols, commenced once NATO determined that attacks met the threshold. Articles 7 and 8, concerned with international trade and commitments have been invoked several times, including in the Cod Wars, but have never risen to the point of a militarised dispute.

8x8 (10. 187)

vendedores ambulantes: the sonic landscape and signature cries (see also) of the street vendors of Ciudad de Mรฉxico—via tmn  

from erdapfel to equator: a globemaker’s glossary of cartographic terms—via the Map Room  

queenhithe: photographer Frank Merton captures London’s churches in the mid-1950s  

anti-cyclone: a proposal to tow a barge laden with jet engines blasting to dissipate the strength of an oncoming hurricane  

hyla orientalis: black tree frogs in Chernobyl demonstrate evolution in real time—via Slashdot 

blogoversary: a belated congratulations to Diamond Geezer on twenty years of posting   

the feral atlas: a journey of discovery and triangulation through our made environments from Stanford University and via Web Curios  

tlaltecuhtli: the iconography of the Aztec pantheon

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

7x7 (10. 098)

nerva i: scrapped space programme with nuclear rockets aimed at a crewed Mars mission  

der anschlag: Anglophone retitling of foreign films—see previously  

xenobots: reframing how we think of epigenetics and gene maps–see also

superposition: a handwashing guide posted in a physics laboratory lavatory–see previously

extended orthography: facilitating digital communication in First Nations’ syllabics—see also  

yฤntรกi delenda est: more Chinglish roundups  

artemis i: the inaugural mission to return the Moon—previously

Monday, 22 August 2022

and here we have idaho (10. 077)

Occupied by native peoples since at least the past ten thousand years and the subject of a territorial dispute between British America and the United States, the state cleaved from Oregon territory in the Pacific Northwest—with the above anthem—has quite jarringly (though I suppose not surprisingly) a wholly fabricated name. Lobbyist, prospector, fraudster (partnering with the baronet of Arizona) and putative physician George Maurice “Doc” Willing was a unrecognised delegate championing the creation of the State of Jefferson in the Midwest and in 1860 suggested the name for the successor region created from existing territories, claiming it was a Shoshone expression for “gem of the mountains”—now the state motto, but no such term existed in the newe taikwappeh language (representation is important and the widest known Shoshone word ought not to be an infamous, fake one that some white settler made up). Recanting years afterwards, Willing offered that he was inspired to name the area after a girl named Ida—though that statement was never verified either. The US Congress wanted to name the whole Rocky Mountain region Colorado Territory instead of using one completely fabricated—there was some resistance to employing a foreign, Spanish toponym as well—but as Idaho Springs was already incorporated as well as a eponymous county and a namesake steamship christened, the US government let the name stay.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

6x6 (10. 068)

two trees of valinor: an assortment of keyboards in the languages of Middle Earth 

i have, may it please the court, a few words to say: the final address from abolitionist John Brown  

flexi disc: a profile on the mass-market vinyl alternative that bypassed sanctions (see also)  

wimps, pbh: primordial black holes may account for the missing mass of dark matter in the Cosmos 

tribal sovereignty: Irish customs accepts Native American, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) passports—rejected elsewhere  

misty mountains: LOTR: The Rings of Power prequel to preview

Monday, 8 August 2022

7x7 (10. 046)

chorizo: prominent French scientists apologies after posting a sausage slice and claiming it was an image from the JWST—via the always excellent Everlasting Blรถrt 

gall stereographic projection: D’Arcy Thompson’s mathematical transformations and correspondent biological speciation—see also 

chapel of sound: otherworldliness of a monolithic amphitheatre with views of the Great Wall accentuated with a film short that evokes the landscape of Prometheus (see also)  

a bridge too far: there are no crossing over the Amazon—via the New Shelton wet/dry (at a new home at the New Inquiry)  

casino clock: a flip-face time-keeper sourced from a card deck  

scenic route: a navigation device that emphasises fun and adventure—via Swiss Miss  

when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie: the Solar System rendered as food items (with the help of Midjourney—Mercury as a cookie looks a lot like the Disc of Nebra)—via Super Punch

Thursday, 16 June 2022

monkey puzzle tree

Native to Chile and Argentina and described as a living fossil like the Wollemi pines, the Araucaria araucana, which goes by the above common name (as in it would puzzle a monkey to climb these reptilian and rangy branches) and also known as the piรฑonero is endangered in its wild habitat but a popular decorative tree with a reputation of being hardy and adaptable to a wide array of climes. The scaly leaves individually have a longevity of about twenty-four years and after maturity at forty years, the trees begin producing seed that are edible like pine nuts. Its Australian relatives, also to include the bunya pines which produce cones as big as soccer balls, share a common ancestry when that continent, Antarctica and South America were joined as Gondwanaland.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

line of demarcation

Signed on this day in its namesake town on the Douro river in 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas (Tratado de Tordesilhas, see previously) divided the so called New World—those lands new to European explorers—between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires along a meridian in the Atlantic judged halfway in between the Cape Verde island group (then a crown colony of Portugal) and the lands claimed for Castile and Leon by Christopher Columbus, modern-day Cuba and Hispaniola) with points east going to the latter and westward to the former. The Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529 defined the antemeridian to address the other side of the globe in order to settle conflicting claims to the Moluccas Islands, an Indonesia archipelago historically called the Spice Islands. Though blessed-off by the pope, newly discovered peoples viewed this claim with disdain and other European powers did not sign on and generally ignored the treaties, Francis I (albeit representing one of the worst future colonisers) declaiming, “The sun shines for me as it does for others. I would very much like to see the clause of Adam’s will that denies me my share of the world.” The signatories considered the arrangement null and void by 1750, notwithstanding competition and their general decline as global powers, swapping rights Brazil and the Philippines.

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.