Thursday, 25 March 2021

beep, beep—I’m a sheep

Not to cast aspersions on the artist, only the medium which potentially threatens to undo what progress we’ve made on being better stewards of the environment and recommodifies green-washing and all its attendant woes, we were delighted to come across this Beeple Generator—via Waxy—but definitely will not be trying to pass it off as some NFT worth millions and compounded with every trade. Though is anything stopping us?  What do you think? Of course billionaires swapping priceless works of art amongst each other, deprived of seeing the light of day—see previously—earns a commission in the transaction and taking a photograph of a work of art hanging in a gallery doesn’t diminish its value for the museum but rather enhances it but something very different is going on with this interpretation of ownership and identity.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

typhoon class

Though the working-outcome of the navy going into receivership with Pepsi was more improbable than the suggestion to retrofit a fleet of Soviet nuclear submarines as tanker ships to transport oil and natural gas was probably the less technical tenable, advisable alternative to generate capital after the nation’s dissolution. Back in 1995, at the suggestion of the governor of Arkhangelsk oblast, the location of the Russian submarine yards, one experiment was with underwater cargo shipping was undertaken—albeit with a non-strategic vessel and a manifest of foodstuffs—but not explored further due to cost-overruns and lack of funding. The logistics pitch, however, to fill-up directly from off-shore rigs and to travel the globe swiftly and virtually unimpeded (also without burning said fuel) was worth considering. Learn more at Weird Universe at the link above.

Monday, 15 March 2021

6x6

antikythera mechanism: researchers rebuild a model of the ancient orrery, analogue computer using the latest cutting-edge technology  

uncertain times: learning from pastoral professionals to cope with volatility 

syncopated rhythm: turn your typing to piano jazz—via Swiss Miss 

long ambients: Brian Eno (previously) explains the origins of the genre with the teaching aid of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops  

cargo cults: blockchain’s open ledger threatens to undermine efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels—see also  

cleopatra’s needles: the strange obsession with Western powers taking trophy Egyptian obelisks and the transportation challenges involved

Saturday, 13 March 2021

8x8

zaouli: a traditional dance of the of the Guro people of central Cรดte d’Ivoire 

line-dry only: experimental living apparel sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produces oxygen  

everydays—the first five-thousand days: the digital artist better known as Beeple sold an artwork as a non-fungible token (previously) for nearly seventy million dollars at auction, more here  

: Lou Ottens, the inventor of the cassette, passes away, aged ninety-four 

 upward mobility: theory that Flintstones and Jetsons take place simultaneously with an elite technocracy and a post-apocalyptic underclass—see also  

ikebana: a vintage guide to the art of Japanese flower arranging, previously  

life finds a way: using parallel processing and stochastic algorithms, one programmer generates Mona Lisa from John Horton Conway’s game  

personรฆ: short documentary Beyond Noh filters through thousands of colourful and evocative ceremonial masks from cultures around the world

Thursday, 11 March 2021

8x8

topsy-turvy: the architecture of the upside-down  

forever blowing bubbles: the symbols of Wall Street, capitalism protest art  

hashtag hastings: remix your own Bayeux Tapestry (previously)—via Kottke 

sit, ubu, sit: Pablo Picasso called the injured owl he discovered and nursed back to health by that name partly out of assonance with ‘hibou,’ French for hoot, and the obnoxious Alfred Jarry character  

voyager station: orbiting cruise ship set to open as early as 2027—via the always excellent Nag on the Lake 

0 bby or star wars retrofitted: remastering the franchise with references to what’s been revealed in the past four decades  

tailpipe: visualising carbon dioxide emissions through a driving game—via Waxy  

bright and airy: an inside-out concept residential project with lots of ventilation

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

lph-8

Occupying a liminal space between 2001: A Space Odyssey and the juncture that went with cosmic opera in one direction and dread aliens in the other, the environmental-themed, weakly-endorsing techno-utopia Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull—released on this date in 1972—does resound with our times and the bleak climate catastrophes we are facing, nearly fifty years on. The film follows a resident botanist (Bruce Dern) on board a greenhouse just beyond the orbit of Saturn, maintaining specimens of Earth’s plant life for its eventual reseeding the planet after all native trees and crops went extinct. Disobeying an order from the corporate headquarters that sponsored the space ark project to jettison their living cargo and return to commercial services, the botanist with his three service robots try to save the last biosphere.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

calving and bergy bits

Inspired by the impassioned plea from a glaciologist for scientists to portray realistic and stable icebergs, we discover—via Things Magazine—a subroutine that analyses shape and buoyancy of an iceberg of one’s own rendering and rights it approximately as it would appear in the ocean.  Along with a growler, a bergy bit is less than five metres across and are the products of disintegrating icebergs.  Draw your own to see how it would float.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

aufzugshilfe

Powered by a waterwheel, a simple tow-line pulling patrons to the top of the slope, the first skilift, the invention of hotel handyman Robert Winterhalder had its debut to the public on this day in 1908 at a resort in Schollach bei Eisenbach. Another impetus for its creation was the clientele that the guesthouse caterer to: those suffering from asthma and allergies who sought refuge and healing in the clean air of the countryside. Winterhalder wanted those guests to be able to experience the thrill of downhill skiing without the distress and exertion of climbing first. Up a gradient of some thirty metres over a distance of a quarter of a kilometre from the valley to the mountain hut, users were pulled upwards on a continuous loop. Residents re-enacted the centenary of its premiere, albeit with decided less snow in 2008.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

7x7

high dive: Casa Zicatela in the Oaxaca coastal region references Le Corbusier and the retro look of municipal swimming pools 

rip: legendary actor Christopher Plummer (*1929) has passed away 

polar flare: visualising the true size of terrestrial landmasses through cartographic distortion plus mapping countries as offworld colonies  

gulf stream: lack of circulation during ice ages past may have meant the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans had fresh water 

dataviz: sleek, informative infographics by the Great Grundini  

rรฉseau pneumatique: an exploration of the pneumatic postal system of Paris—see also  

hq2: a preview of the new Amazon headquarters (previously) building in Arlington, Virginia

Friday, 29 January 2021

8x8

testi stampati: the riotous typographical illustratrations of Lorenzo Petrantoni  

painterly realism: Nathan Shipley trained a neural network to turn portraiture into convincingly true-to-life photographs 

civilian climate corps: a vision of how putting people to work on conservation projects can help save both the environment and the economy  

narratology: a purportedly exhaustive list of dramatic situations—see also here and here  

stonx: a long thread explaining the GameStop short-squeeze—via Miss Cellania  

paradoxical undressing: National Geographic forwards a new theory to account for the Dyatlov Pass Incident (previously) of 1959  

butler in a box: before digital assistants there was domestic aid in the late 1980s 

will success spoil rock hunter: Art of the Title looks at the opening montage of the 1957 CinemaScope classic

Thursday, 21 January 2021

domestic agenda

Signalling a radical shift in policy priorities, Joe Biden for his first day and a half in office signed a tranche of executive orders reversing the direction that his predecessor (lest we forget the catalogue of horrors) had taken the country and the first steps to positioning America as a leader and innovative force. Redressing the pandemic crisis, Biden’s spending proposal for economic aid and relief and accelerating vaccination comes in at just under two trillion dollars, imposing a mask mandate on federal property and interstate transportation, extend student loan deferments and a moratorium on evictions and re-join the World Health Organisation. Moreover, Biden moved to bring the US back into the Paris Climate Agreement plus reimpose pollution restrictions recently relaxed and cancel the Keystone XL pipeline project that would shuttle a particularly pernicious type of petroleum from Canadian fields to American refineries. On immigration, Biden has directed the travel ban on some Muslim-majority countries to be repealed, reversed the inhumanly cruel practise of separating immigrant families at the border and ended the declared National Emergency that funded the Wall. In the Oval Office, the bust of Winston Churchill (previously) is replaced—in the background—by one of Cรฉsar Chรกvez.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

spindeltop

In a field outside of Beaumont, Texas, Patillo Higgins prospecting for an in situ energy source—natural gas—to power his brickworks, drilled a well and struck oil on this day in 1901, penetrating salt dome that had contained the reservoir since the Jurassic epoch, gushing some million barrels of it over the next nine days. Beforehand considered geologically relatively scarce and impractical as a staple fuel source, petroleum in this form was used primarily as an industrial lubricant and for street lamps (see also) but discoveries to follow suggesting large quantities fit for mass, universal application pushed a boom and the world into the Oil Age, abetted by the corporations leading the charge.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

i’m mister green christmas, i’m mister sun, i’m mister heat blister, i’m mister one hundred and one

Never able to resist the delightfully weird theology of Rankin/Bass productions, we’ve been rather enjoying the duelling melodies of the Brothers Miser from the 1974 special The Year Without Santa Claus. Having come down with a cold before the Christmas rush, Santa’s physician advises a change in routine, suggesting that his role is diminished in the modern era and that no one believes in him anymore, and despite objections by Mrs Claus (voiced by Mickey Rooney and Shirley Booth) decides to take a sabbatical rather than deliver gifts.

Undeterred, Mrs Claus dispatches two elves, Jingle and Jangle, with Vixen the reindeer to gather proof that people do care about Christmas and believe in Santa. Flying from the North Pole, their mission gets blown off track by a weather front caused by the bickering of the Snow Miser (Dick Shawn) and the Heat Miser (George S. Irving) who control the world’s weather. Crash-landing in a place called Southtown, Vixen is caught and put in the dog-pound, city authorities find their alibi laughable but agree to free Vixen if they can prove that they are elves by making it snow for Christmas. The Clauses travel to Southtown separately to try to rectify the situation and free their friends—the Misers conceding after Mother Nature compels her sons to compromise. Upon learning what’s afoot in Southtown and that Santa Claus has grown despondent, the children of the world begin to send Santa presents, this gesture convincing him to undertake his annual route after all—appearing in public in Southtown as snow falls. The show ends with Mrs Claus’ commentary somehow, “yearly, newly, faithfully and truly,” Santa always comes and we could never imagine a Christmas without him.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

7x7

mercury rising: surveying the lasting damage that the hottest year on record has brought  

guardians of the galaxy: Space Force (previously) service members receive a new title  

deluxe apartment in the sky: artist granted viewing of exclusive properties on Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan 

lp: a playlist of James Baldwin’s record collection  

๐ŸŒŠ: the Great Wave off Kanagawa in Lego form 

 lassen sie mich also sagen, dass dies ernst ist—bitte nehmen sie das auch ernst: Angela Merkel’s March address and appeal on coronavirus lauded as Speech of the Year 

 heat gap: climatic gentrification across city districts leads to worse outcomes for the poorest residents

Friday, 11 December 2020

7x7

repetition: an exploration of built-environments as an audio-visual landscape of infinite regression  

a pigment of our imagination: the illusory nature of colour  

nationally determined contributions: European Union agrees to more than halve its carbon emissions by 2030—via Slashdot 

awesome sauce: a safari-pak of canned-meats from 1967 

road gritters: track Scotland’s fleet of snow-plows in real time by name  

training a generation of future karens: this scholastic kids books series are clearly coding adults as happy and confident with their life choices as monsters and misfits—via Super Punch 

a universe of imagination: revisiting a classic and inspiring documentary (previously) on cosmology on its sixtieth anniversary

Thursday, 10 December 2020

year in search

Via The Curious Brain, we are directed towards a superlative, year-end compliation that waxes exsistential and exegetical with search-engine queries of why besting what and how illustrated in this emotional video short. Despite the potential for misinformation, baiting outrage and holding up an unflattering mirror for us scrutinise or more often avert our eyes from, the internet and technology are owed a debt of gratitude for helping us muddle through 2020 and remember whom and what we’ve lost, what's irreplacable and what can be brought back better. Keep on seeking, keep on searching.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

o tannebaum

Much like that bellwether tree stood up in Rome four years ago, the poor sacrificial spruce (with stowaway, another climate refugee) left to slowly desiccate and die at Rockefeller Center, already bedraggled and reflective not only of this dreadful year but of our seemingly incipient and insurmountable toxic relationship with the environment, ought to be accorded the single dignity of being the last offering to this tradition born out of bleak austerity into this genuflexion before capitalism and conspicuous consumption. We could deck the place with a nice hologram instead.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

fortuna favet fortibus

Controversial and polluting Indian energy-extraction concern Adani, which operates the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland and has proposed a channel through the Great Barrier Reef for coal export announced in a sort of “under new management” charade that it would be changing its name for Australian operations to Bravus—presuming it was Latin for brave. This false-friend however means rather the opposite, signifying something crooked, with principles for sale like a soldier of fortune or hired assassin and fortis (already taken) seems to be what they were going for. Incidentally the plaudit bravo/brava (huzzah) originally carried that same sense of mercenary, cut-throat boldness before it was reduced to praise for a job well-done.

Friday, 23 October 2020

8x8

politicians are not engineeringly-minded: an unrealised but extensively planned and covered technocratic utopia that the media dubbed Laboratory Land 

not enough hours in the day: an interesting look at the way people around the world keep time 

karen and donald are out of the running: a look at popular (perhaps too soon) baby names for 2020—via Miss Cellania’s Links    

swan song: sad footage of the last Kauaสปi สปลสปล singing to attract a mate that will never come—more on Endlings here 

u-kiyoe: the lovely drawings of Kitao Masayoshi (ๅŒ—ๅฐพ ๆ”ฟ็พŽ)—via Things Magazine    

narrowing, widening, metaphor, metonymy: a refreshing reminder to revisit Merriam-Webster’s time machine (see previously) to see the year words first appeared in print 

prickly business: maintaining this hedgehog network binds a village in Oxfordshire together—via Messy Nessy Chic (with much more to explore on their latest aggregation, curation)  

oh brave new world with so many goodly creatures: Facebook’s Prospero I solar array (see also) will fuel fracking operations in Texas—via Super Punch

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

atmospheric sciences

Hyperallergic curates the stunning honourees of the Royal Meteorological Society’s annual Weather Photographer of the Year. Not to bury the lede, the selection of this iteration’s winner in Tina Wright’s 2018 image “Final Stand” captured outside of Phoenix, Arizona is quite arresting—even in this era of orange skies. Normally the competition is limited to entries taken in the calendar year but that requirement was relaxed due to social distancing restrictions. Peruse the whole gallery at the link up top.