Tuesday, 14 September 2021

wara art festival

The above named byproduct of the annual rice harvest (see also), the left-over straw (็จฒใ‚ใ‚‰) was traditionally used a feed for livestock, fertiliser and for weaving doormats and other household items, but the use of industrial materials over the years has led to a lot of surplus, and inspired the Niigata farming community to concoct a creative solution, first organised in 2007, with artisans sculpting monumental figures over a wooden framework. Subjects are wild animals and creatures from mythology, including the beaked sea-going yลkai called Amabie. Learn more from Hyperallergic at the link above.

Monday, 30 August 2021

6x6

headgear: Languagehat is no longer neglecting the latter portion of its remit 

on seeing the 100% perfect girl one beautiful april morning: a pair of short stories from Rysuke Hamaguchi adapted for film  

aggregate accessory fruit: the curious, circuitous route of the misnamed garden variety strawberry  

like astrology for businessmen: a look at the Myers-Briggs personality test 

strokenteelt: see strip cultivation at work in the Netherlands 

erm: a discussion on intonation and a hummed “I don’t know”

Saturday, 7 August 2021

inosculation

These gemels (from the Latin for pair, like Gemini) marked by foresters to not chop down (there’s some light logging in our woods but done fairly surgically with deference to unusual or aged trees though I wish we could protect them all with apotropaic magic) results from the above natural phenomenon (Anastomose) in which the roots, branches or trunks grow together. Conjoined specimens are colloquially called “husband and wife” or “marriage trees” and were possibly the sites of nuptial ceremonies.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

schmetterlingsflieder

Graced with half a dozen flitting European peacocks (Tagpfauenauge, Aglais io), H got this flowering shrub Buddleja davidii as a present from his colleagues, commonly known as the summer lilac or simply, appropriately a butterfly-bush.  The ornamental plant is native to Hubei in Central China and named after the European missionaries and botanists Reverend Adam Buddle and Father Armand David who first collected and described it for the West, and just put in the ground. With the fragrance of honey and a rich source of nectar for pollinators, the perennial plant flowers in the summertime for six weeks, thriving in more temperate areas to the extent that this opportunistic and “perfect”—as in botanically being both male and female, self-propagating plant is sometimes classed as a noxious weed. We defer judgement to the butterflies, however.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

aconitum napellus

Encountering yet another highly toxic flower in the woods (previously), this example monk’s hood or wolfsbane (Blauer Eisenhut, I think this sort of buttercup is specifically the subspecies Aconitum tauricum, named after Alpine Gaul) is also now cultivated as a garden plant for its complex, scalloped inflorescences and general hardiness returning year after year.
In ancient times, according to Avicenna and other sources, the sap of the plant was used to make poisoned-tipped arrows and spears, and has been used throughout the ages to the present day for dispatching enemies. Even handling the plant can led to organ failure and death—so despite the beauty of the blooms, I can’t understand the appeal of having it in one’s flowerbed (growing them outlawed from the early Middle Ages onward with transgressions subject to capital punishment), and who would have thought the deadliest things in the forest was the flora rather than the fauna.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

cap and gloves

A couple of weeks ago, I passed a few fine exemplars of Martagon lilies, which we’ve learned about before, whilst walking through the woods, and slowly as the weather waxes warmer and the ground soaks up all the spring rains, here’s hoping we stay we’ll irrigated to help the forest recover from some punishingly dry years, the lilies are being replaced by another pink perennial, the common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). Called Fingerhรผte (finger hat or thimble) in German, the flower was named by our botanist friend Leohart Fuchs (see previously) building off the Latin designation with rather fearsome etymological battle surround the above Anglo-Saxon name, arguments back and forth on whether it's a perversion of some other name regarding its toxicity or supposed pharmacological merits since people couldn’t possibly believe that foxes wore such flowers a stockings to muffle their movements whilst hunting—could they? Stemming from folk medicine and herbalist, a compound isolated from the foxglove is used in cardiac therapies but is highly deadly for humans and other animals (like the lily up top) if touched or ingested.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

8x8

into the bantaverse: a bot ghost-writes a Star Wars story—see also  

green guerrillas: the role that radical gardeners play in fostering community out of urban blight  

earth, wind and fire: combine basic elements and create new substancesas an alchemist—via Waxy  

fourth world: celebrating the life and career of trumpeter and electronic music pioneer Jon Hassell (*1937)

in frame: see the untrimmed, original version of Rembrandt’s Night Watch (previously) thanks to the help of a curating algorithm   

homo longi: recently discovered ‘dragon man’ skull may be a transitional species from Neanderthal to modern humans  

ine bay: hidden, historic boathouses (ไผŠๆ นใฎ่ˆŸๅฑ‹, funaya) in Kyoto—via Nag on the Lake’s always excellent Sunday Links 

the skeleton crew: our friendly artificial intelligencer (previously) trains a neural network to write a horror story

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

breatharians

As Slashdot reports, a research team studying molecular plant physiology under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute and the University of Naples is demonstrating that making food from air, isolating carbon-dioxide with a spark of energy from a solar cell in a process that mimics photosynthesis, is poles more efficient than growing food crops, such as soy, corn, wheat or rice. Feeding microbes in a bioreactor produces as a nutritious by-product a protein powder suitable for consumption.

Friday, 11 June 2021

6x6

lp: an over-sized mural of well-used record sleeves adorns a corner of a Reno brewery


it’s impolite to point
: helpfully finding one’s cursor with an array of candid photos—via Things Magazine

kokedama: an installation of a floating forest (ๆ นๆด—ใ„, root wash—no pot) by Nomad Studio 

zeckenalarm: Ze Frank (previously) delivers true facts on the dangerous little tick 

the amusement park: a long-lost 1973 public service announcement from Dawn of the Dead creator George Romero about the nightmare of ageing in America  

bierdeckel: various graphic designers create coasters capturing historic moments from the UEFA European Football Championship

Sunday, 6 June 2021

centaurea nervosa

Though no peonies or poppies (though our late-bloomers might be inspired by these) in the garden just yet, we’ve got quite a nice spread of these thistle-like plants that sprout at the edge of the deck in late spring. Called less charitably knapweed, Flockenblumen or bluets are commonly known as centaury in deference to the centaur Chiron who taught medicinal use of plants to human though Achilles, Aeneas, Asclepius and other Greek heroes. Ranging widely in colour from yellow to purple, the ornamental plant native to the Alps is the source of the colour cornflower blue and is useful alongside agricultural crops as a more appetising food source for insects. The bumblebees and other pollinators absolutely adore them and we are pretty partial to them as well. 

 

Monday, 10 May 2021

your daily demon: gusion

The eleventh spirit on the Demonological Calendar ruling from today through 14 May presents as either a baboon or as having the chimerical condition defined as xeno- or theriocephaly (from the Greek for beast-headed). Controlling forty-five legions of devils and giving the powers of prophesy and reconciliation of friendships, Gusion is countered by the Shem HaMepohrash angel Lauviah and can be summoned with aloe vera.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

the planet on the plate

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we are directed towards the announcement of one influential cooking website that going forward (the policy change has been essential in effect for over a year to overwhelmingly positive reception) won’t promote any new recipes with beef as an ingredient—the decision based on sustainability and “not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offender.” Rather than being anti-cow, Epicurious—whom hope others follow—acknowledges that giving up meat alone is not a panacea for our predicament and that in a broken food system, soy, seafood and most everything else is potentially problematic but it’s definitely a start and a signal to the industry at large.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

guerrilla greening

Via Colossal, a Honolulu-based design consortium imagines the transformation of some of the iconic urban corridors of world cities transformed through an aggressive and transfixing shift away from the concrete jungle to something living and sympathetically breathing with us. Learn more about their work and the study that’s gone into these visualisations at the link above.

robigalia

One of a number of Roman celebrated during this time of year to ensure a good growing season and bountiful harvest, the feast of the for the god Robigus was held on this day in the agricultural outskirts of the city.
The god, which was designated as the divine representation of fungal blight or rust needed to be propitiated in order to ensure that the crops wouldn’t spoil in the fields. Understood as a separate, corrupt manifestation of the same infestation that could be harnessed for fermentation, the games held at this time with their attendant feasts (see also) were also marked by rather dark sacrifices that expressed their anxieties over crop failure—especially for one this late in the growing seasons that wouldn’t be easy to recover from. Whereas animal sacrifice generally was reserved for livestock that was part of the Roman diet and was shared in a communal meal, Robigalia rather gruesomely demanded a dog with a red coat—that matched the rust disease—as form of homeopathic magic.
Other observations included a celebration of—for whatever reason—of male sex-workers, professional female prostitution having had their own honours in the previous days, specifically on Vinalia urbana, the grape harvest on 23 April. Though without the cruel bits, thankfully—or the fun bits either, I suppose, the holiday is preserved in Western Christianity with the same day of prayer and fasting known as Rogation (from the Latin to beseech—to ask God for protection from calamity) and was done to cleanse the body and mind in anticipation of the Ascension and farmers often had priests bless their crops, often holding mass and processionals in the fields.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

the best laid plants

Featuring just like on my window ledge at my work-week apartment a Money Plant next to a Calathea Rattlesnake (Goeppertia), we were intrigued and quite enjoyed exploring this helpful guide, brilliantly illustrated for caring for our household botanical friends. Via ibฤซdem, How Many Plants features quite a voluminous identification and upkeep section and will even let one assemble a fantasy league of potted-plants should space have become an issue though one can never have too many.

Monday, 19 April 2021

timelapse

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we discover the latest suite of features from Google Earth—which has been giving us a privileged perspective on our planet for fifteen years now—includes a chronological dial that allows one to peer into the past four decades of satellite telemetry with a cache of some twenty-four million archived images (see also here and here) to better visualise the toll that de-forestation, desertification, intensive mining and agriculture, urban-sprawl, pollution and global warming takes on the environment.

Friday, 9 April 2021

7x7

tsugite: software that generates traditional Japanese joinery (previously) that can be 3D printed or precision cut

prince albert in a can: a collection of fish tin labels from a digital museum dedicated to the Portuguese canning industry 

cosmic nature: artist Yayoi Kusama exhibits at New York’s Botanical Garden  

tune-dex: the real-fake book of jazz standards, essential to musicians in the 1970s 

dingbat: thirty select works of Mid-Century Modern print for inspiration 

beer is proof god loves us and wants us to be happy: brew theorems post US National New Beers’ Eve ahead of the anniversary of rescinding parts of the Volstead Act that allowed for consumption of higher proof beer 

ukiyo-e: the unintentional ASMR of a master printmaker at work

your daily demon: marbas

Governing from today through 14 April, this fifth spirit and infernal president, ruling thirty-six legions, presents as a lion until brought under the control of the exorcist—whereupon Marbas dispenses wisdom on mechanical conundrums and has the potency and power to both cause and cure disease, leading some to source the name to barba, Latin for beard as well as the plant hellebore—a toxic herb used in witchcraft to summon (and banish) demons.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

they are not long—the days of wine and roses

Though separated by a considerable distance in the north and the southern part of modern Germany, it’s interesting to note, via the always engrossing Futility Closet, the kindred relationship between the oldest known rosebush and the oldest known uncorked bottle of wine. The Millennium Rose (der Tausendjรคhriger Rosenstock) grows in the apse of the Hildesheimer Dom—dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, and is a non-domesticated variety known as the wild dog, Rosa cainina. Hardier by degrees that cultivated garden varieties that usually only thrive for decades, this especially long-lived specimen is legendary, with Louis the Pious (Ludwig der Fromme), heir to the Holy Roman Empire after the death of his father Charlemagne, happened upon this rosebush after becoming separated from his hunting party. Sacred to the Saxon goddess Hulda, the lost emperor sought shelter there but offering a prayer to the Virgin Mary through a reliquary he carried with him. Ludwig rested and upon waking, he found his icon irretrievably stuck among the branches—taking this as a sign from the pagan goddess that she was to be replaced in veneration. The emperor’s entourage found him and Ludwig pledged that his city should be founded in this spot and constructed the cathedral around the rosebush. In March of 1945, Hildesheim was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid which razed the cathedral as well. The rose’s extensive root system was intact and began to flourish again the next season as the city was rebuilt. The Speyer wine bottle (Rรถmerwein) was recovered from a Roman tomb outside of the city (see also) in the mid 1800s and since dated to the fourth century of the common era. This grave good is contained in a glass vessel and is one-and-a-half litres in volume, two modern standard bottles and is shaped like an amphora with dolphins ornamenting the handles. There is no intention of opening it.

Friday, 2 April 2021

francesco di paola

Venerated on this day—the occasion of his death at the then very advanced age of ninety-one in 1507 (*1416), the friar from Calabria was later appointed patron of his home region at the toe of Italy, Panama, ferrymen, mariners and naval officers for famously refusing to pay a boatman for passage and using his own cloak and staff as a sail and mast and crossing to Sicily under his own power, Francis of Paola also went on to establish the mendicant order known as the Minims. Membership including the botanist monk Charles Plumier who first encountered the fuchsia plant and a cloister in Mรผnchen who continues to brew Paulaner beer though they were expelled from the order for not following the rule that they should subside on charity and alms alone. Known for their humility, their name referring not only to the last among the faithful but also to the idea of having minimal impact, Francis—himself the namesake of St Francis of Assisi—advocated to keep the diet of Lent year round and ate no animals or animal products, vegan in modern parlance. Another legend recounts resurrecting a favourite trout, Antonella, who was caught and cooked by an unthinking brother who tossed out his dish once he saw how upset Francis was getting over a fish. Antonella, with some divine intervention, became whole again, swimming happily in the pond, and convinced the whole friary to abstain.