Sunday, 3 July 2022

dies caniculares

A calque, a near word-for-word translation of “the puppy days”—from today through mid-month in the northern hemisphere mark the beginning of the hottest, sultriest period in the summer and a time for extreme heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms as well as the maladies of lethargy, mad dogs and poor luck and is heralded by the annual reappearance of the brightest star in the night sky ฮฑ Canis Majoris, called Sirius, “the Scorcher” in the Greek tradition and Sopdet in Egypt and venerated as the precursor to the flooding of the Nile. Lasting through mid-August, the waning of this oppressive, uncomfortable time of high summer is marked by the Feast of Roch, patron saint of dogs.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

ss gervasius and protasius

Martyred second century twins venerated on this day on the occasion of the translation of their relics to their major shrine of Milan are also the patron saints of haymakers and called upon for the discovery of thieves. Dioscuri like Castor and Pollux (fรชted on 15 July), their iconography and rituals maybe a conflation of the mythological heroes and followed the former in their popularity and the spread of their cult. Church authorities in Milan reject the claim that Friedrich Barbarossa pilfered their remains from the city after its destruction, the feast of Gerasius and Protasius gained a reputation among German harvesters as weather prognostication (see also): “Wenn’s regnet auf Gervasius es veirzig Tage regnen muss,” that is—forty days of rain will follow when it rains on St Gervasius’ Day.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

enmod

Signed on this day in 1977 in Geneva—the Environmental Modification Convention—formally known as the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques—entering into force in October the following year, the international treaty—party to some eighty nations and binding for all UN members after ratification, it originally bans weather warfare to induce damage or famine. Expanded later to include instances of destructive geoengineering and modification to the atmosphere, the subject of herbicides, like Agent Orange, is contentiously unaddressed as how the framework of this convention might now be interpreted and applied to those territories most vulnerable to the effects of global warming and sea rise.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

8x8

eye-in-the-sky: a collection of superlative drone photography 

gravitational lensing: tentatively, astronomers find evidence of the first rogue, marauding black hole over a backdrop of nebular clouds 

wheel of fortune: Wordle but with common quotations and idioms—via Memo of the Air

para||el: a short film about divergent realities by Mรฉnilmonde  

building & loan: more on the economics of gift-cards—see also  

staying toasty: bread hats and loafers, see also  

three little words: what3words (see previously) solves some problems for vehicle guidance and navigation, causes others—via Duck Soup  

to open every kind of lock: burglars’ spells and incantations 

scotus: a former law clerk writes the Wikipedia articles on Biden’s prospective nominees to the US Supreme Court in order to insert doubt and skepticism, via Super Punch  

bird’s eye view: a parrot in New Zealand pilfers a family’s Go-Pro and films some nice scenery

Thursday, 13 January 2022

aaron brrr, sir

Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake (whose site is sporting a sleek new look), we are treated to this list of snow-plough names of the vehicles in the Michigan state Department of Transportation fleet—see also. Visit the links above and tag yourself.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

oรญche na gaoithe mรณire

Otherwise remembered as the Night of the Big Wind, a major windstorm swept across the British Isles on this day in 1839, causing extensive property in Dublin and wrecking ships in Liverpool with gusts reaching over a hundred knots per hour before dissipating. Some one hundred and twenty individuals died and feedstocks dispersed and destroyed resulting in a famine for farm animals, and the storm—which some regarded as a harbinger of Judgement Day as Irish folklore held that the End of Times would happen on the Feast of the Epiphany—and reportedly inspired the invention of the cup-anemometer to clock wind-speeds.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

parapluie

Though parasols and various shades (umbra in Latin) to repel the elements have existed since Antiquity, one this day in 1710, a shopkeeper called Jean Marius who ran a little boutique in Saint-Honorรฉ was granted a royal patent to exclusively produced the folding umbrellas of his design for a period of five years—which open and close in essentially the same fashion as modern ones. Light-weight and instantly the must-have accessory among the sophisticated classes, prompting one Parisian magazine writer to observe in 1768 the reversal of the trend, noting it was a calculated risk to forego carrying about an umbrella for half-a-year to use it perhaps half-a-dozen times and take the risk of being caught in a rain shower rather than being taken for a common pedestrian as “an umbrella is a sure sign of someone who does not have his own carriage.”

Saturday, 25 December 2021

weiรŸe weihnacht


 

Friday, 26 November 2021

hoist and heading

Via Web Curios, we are directed towards the simple though diverting application called Flag Waver. The pictured GIF (and while if you choose an animation, it is static, it does look supremely recursive should one pick this image) of the footage is not nearly as fluid as the app will make any image of one’s choosing nor does justice to the photo-realistic skies, not just flags obviously, flail and unfurl in the breeze, which is adjustable as well as the type of flagpole and to display one’s banner on and how it’s oriented.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

the rainbow taboo

Being disabused of believing that one’s own superstitious inheritance is not universal—like the particularly narrow-held thought that opening up an umbrella indoors causes bad luck, is a rare privilege and can prove particularly exciting if it causes one to completely shift one’s perspective and so especially  liked learning of one Westerner’s singular, impressing experience that turned into a project to document the over one hundred cultural traditions that have a proscription of some sort against rainbows—particularly pointing at them. I think we’re well over the idea it symbolises God’s covenant not to destroy the Earth with a flood ever again but the meteorological phenomenon is strangely ellusive and liminal, present and bold in the sky but something that one cannot reach or get closer to, and is regarded with awe and respect and pointing would be a bit rude or familiar. Some dread malady who be visited on the offending finger, though that curse could be placated by sticking one’s finger in one’s navel. We wonder how with its adoption as a symbol of hope during periods of lockdown, rainbows in windows were received by communities who were raised with these prohibitions.