Friday, 2 December 2022

8x8 (10. 352)

fomites: turns out that COVID virus can stay of some grocery items for days—see previously    

fabulous fakes: an engrossing documentary about a Chinese painter whose specialty is creating pictures in the style of Van Gogh (see also) and travels to see the originals  

baguettes, bell-ringing and bee-keeping: UNESCO inscribes more human treasures  

foghorn: a celebration the floating lighthouses called lightvessels  

geopolitics is for losers: the infectious idea was concocted to account for defeat and hold influence  

gen-x studs terkel: the death of boredom is the biggest loss of a generation—a conversation with Joe Hagan  

viva magenta: Pantone announces its colour for the coming year—previously here and here 

such freedom: social network drops policies in place to limit the spread of misinformation on COVID

Sunday, 27 November 2022

8x8 (10. 339)

truly toastmaster: an elaborate and enduring hoax that shows one should not believe everything on the internet—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

cabinet of curiosities: the intro, outro and interstitials of the horror anthology hosted by Guillermo del Toro, which has distinct echoes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents 

oopsie, i did a misinformation: an exploration on how and why Japan does the internet differently than the rest of the world with case study—via Waxy  

plasmonic photocatalysis: researchers engineer a nanomaterial that could allow for power plants to efficiently isolate hydrogen from ammonia using only light  

el peatonito: a champion of the pedestrian and other Super Citizens 

it’s not delivery, it’s digiorno: an interesting short documentary on the history of frozen pizza—via Hyperallergic’s Required Reading   

teal and prebunking: the shortlisted candidates for Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year  

goncharov: thousands of fan-fic contributors have retcon’d a 1973 Martin Scorsese film starring Robert De Niro that never existed—via Slashdot

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

ๅ‹คๅŠดๆ„Ÿ่ฌใฎๆ—ฅ (10. 327)

As the modern, post-war incarnation of an ancient harvest festival that celebrated the reaping of the Five Grains, a group of farmed cereals essential to agriculture and social development, Labour Thanksgiving (Kinrล Kansha no Hi) is an annual public holiday, falling on this day, occasioning the rejoicing of productivity and hard work and as an expression of gratitude to one’s coworkers and colleagues. Commemorations generally include school children distributing cards and gifts for public sector workers and companies review their accomplishments over the past year and fete their staff.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

snake island

Though unclear if the Russian withdrawal was in goodwill as a part of an international effort to open up a corridor to transport grain and advert a famine or were surrendering from a Ukrainian advance to recapture the strategically important Black Sea islet near the port of Odesa, relieving this blockade and restoring control over the waterways to the country—both previously under siege and mined by Ukraine itself in order to prevent a full-om assault unabated by the aggressor, regaining control of Zmiinyi Island (ะพัั‚ั€ั–ะฒ ะ—ะผั–ั—́ะฝะธะน, previously here and here) could mean the resumption of staple exports and blunt the likelihood of a land attack in the future on this stretch of coast. This victory comes on the heels of Turkey’s assent for Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the NATO alliance during its summit in Madrid and are expected to sign accession protocols soon for ratification by the thirty current member states.

Monday, 4 April 2022


Via Miss Cellania, we quite enjoyed this appreciation of the Ukrainian roots of wheat world-wide—see also—and how grain-cultivation and baking traditions owe a heavy debt to the Crimean peninsula and successive exoduses and displacement—and what those fleeing carried with them. National banner modelled on the blue sky over the waves of grain, times like these reveal the depth of our connections and dependence.

Saturday, 2 April 2022


un robot quadrupede al servizio dell’archeologia: SPOT to patrol ruins of Pompeii and protect the site from looters—also raising a quandary for future archaeologists 

satanic panic: the full 1993 (!) cult awareness pamphlet (see previously)—via Weird Universe  

dans l’ombre du star wars kid: the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary on the internet phenomenon  

entrรฉe: a family-run Tbilisi-based artisanal bakery expands into East London 

the atlantean: after Dallas (debuting on this day in 1978), Patrick Duffy appeared as a merfolk-hybrid hero

intonarumori: Luigi Russolo’s experimental sound machines

Friday, 18 March 2022

prank calls

Both the UK defence minister and and home secretary took video calls earlier this week from imposters claiming to be the Ukrainian prime minister and were posed leading questions in an attempt to solicit inappropriate and provocative responses but quickly saw through the hoax. Though unclear what party was behind it, officials are blaming Russian disinformation campaigns and the fact that fraudsters could gain access to top ministers is worrying regardless of motive—the report ending with a linguistic coda touching on the topic of shibboleths and that future callers should be credentialed or outed by how they pronounce palianytsia, a traditional kind of roll, that Russian speakers pronounce with a soft <ฤญ> instead of <ะธ>.

Sunday, 13 March 2022


Fรชted on this day, the sainted bishop of Camerino-San Severino Marche in the Apennines refused the high office until could secure personal guarantees from Holy Roman Emperor, Louis II—for who Ansovinus was former confessor—that his congregation would be exempt from military conscription, one of the chief jobs of bishops during that time was as recruiter for the imperial army. Reportedly having the gift of inexhaustibly multiplying stores of wheat in the regional granary in Castel Raimondo and for producing a copious amount of crops from his own meagre plot of land, never refusing to share, this ninth century figure is named the patron of agriculture and the protector of small farmers.

Saturday, 19 February 2022


a fistful of manicules: Shady Characters explores several font specimens of the typographers’ mark—see previously  

la conquรชte du pain: an anarcho-communist bakery going strong in Montreuil  

peeping tom: Facebook’s demise following that of mySpace  

storyliving: Disneyland pre-retirement communities—via Web Curios 

erste jahrzehnten: German Design Awards marks its first decade with a special exhibit  

sold for sol 1800: it appears that Melania Trump purchased her own NTF—via New Shelton wet/dry 

i shot the serif: foundry Neubau Berlin pays homage to Mid-Century international fonts

Wednesday, 9 February 2022


desert fox: play-through for a complex, WWII-themed board game, The Campaign for North Africa, that requires over fifteen hundred hours to complete  

hill house: a giant drying-box that preserves an Art Deco marvel by Charles Rennie Mackintosh—via Things Magazine 

the greatest thing since sliced bread: a satisfying video showing the steps in production in an industrial bakery in South Korea  

lightsaber flavour: alternative designations from young people that far surpass their proper names—via Miss Cellania’s Links 

rip: a celebration of the life and vision of Douglas Trumbull, special effects artist behind Silent Running, Close Encounters, 2001 and many others

multiple arcade machine emulator: after a quarter of a century, the MAME project is still releasing monthly new additions for home play—via Waxy  

ltee: the E. coli long-term evolution experiment has been running since 1988 and monitoring the mutations in twelve original strains over tens of thousands of generations

Saturday, 5 February 2022


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

Wednesday, 19 January 2022


tomm¥ €a$h: rapper presents a sofa in the shape of bread  

banana republic: an exhibit that takes a critical look at the fruit trade—see also  

field manual: the predecessor agency to the US CIA issued a guide to simple sabotage which speaks to America’s present state 

bio-rovers: Marimo moss balls (previously) could become ambulatory—see also here and here  

spinthatiscope: an actual 1940s toy harnessing radioactive decay fragments of life: a suite of animated emoji from Andreas Samuelsson 

 middle c: a space-saving piano designed to fit in a corner—see also

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

toast malone

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we learn of the supremely economical recipe included in the invalid cookery (medically restricted diets, see also) section of an 1861 volume on household management by one Isabella “Mrs” Beeton (still in print, a best-selling though highly plagiarised compendium formative for the middle-class image of the Victorian Era) for a toast sandwich, whose filling is unsurprisingly a thin slice of toasted bread, buttered with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, 30 July 2021

after dark

Via Boing Boing, we are directed to a suite of classic screen-saver recreations in Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) mark-up language in homage to Berkeley Systems’ Flying Toasters, Randomiser and other visualisations. For some time, my default snooze or sleep mode has been a gallery of our pictures but it’s fun to cultivate and reconfigure settings periodically, like swapping out ringtones and other sound-effects.  Find more projects from Brian Braun at his website.

Monday, 9 November 2020

boy those germans have a word for everything

Having grown accustomed to the point of reliance on the term Schadenfreude, it was refreshing to learn that there is a perfectly cromulent English synonym, epicaricacy, that conveys the same sense of deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others. From the Greek From Ancient Greek แผฯ€ฮนฯ‡ฮฑฮนฯฮตฮบฮฑฮบฮฏฮฑ for “joy upon evil” (see previously), it is rarely found in print (other than in mentions of words to be adopted and rehabilitated) with one of the more recent citations being in C.S. Lewis’ 1933 Pilgrim’s Regress as a personified character, an eponymous gloating and sadistic woman.

Thursday, 1 October 2020


cheese tetrahedrons and synergetic stew: a celebrity cookbook presented to author and futurist Buckminster Fuller (previously) reissued for the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of his birth  

lรผften: tried and true ventilation and fresh air may be the most effective way to stave off more infections  

heart of sharkness: winning images and honourable mentions from a drone photography contest  

fรถrรคldrapenning: a South Korean man living in Sweden documents his daily routine 

adobe flash: an appreciation of the platform that shaped the internet and the implications of suspending support for the multimedia plug-in and player—via Kottke  

disaster constitutionalism: EU taking the UK to court, despite only breaking international law in a “specific and limited way”  

can our government be competent: celebrating Jimmy Carter’s ninety-sixth birthday (previously) in campaign buttons

eat fresh: with tax implications for the franchise, Irish high court rules that one fast food chain’s bread cannot be called bread or a dietary staple due to its high sugar content—via Boing Boing

Saturday, 1 August 2020


From the Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass,” Lammas Day is celebrated in some parts of the northern hemisphere on the first of August, Lammastide falling halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, by bringing bread to the church made of the first fruits of the season to be used for communion. Traditionally, members of the clergy reciprocally made a procession to local bakeries to bless them as a profession (it is a good reason to bring out ye old breadmaker) and is a syncretism, substitution for the Gaelic festival to herald the beginning of harvest time called Lughnasadh (Lรบnasa, Lรนnastal, Luanistyn) readopted by practitioners of Celtic neopaganism.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

corn dollies

At the crafty crossroads where creativity meets cult, Messy Nessy Chic presents a thoroughgoing history and how-to on cereal and straw art—referencing the ancient customs of the harvest (which continue into modern times) that saved the first (see also) and last sheaves of grain to fashion them into corn maidens or matrons that would winter with the family, exchanged as gifts during Yule to be ploughed into the furrows of the next season’s planting to ensure the continuity of abundance. Straw is worked, plaited, woven, spun according to centuries old tradition into some rather fantastic monuments, costumes and handicrafts—certainly worth admiring and wondering about their meaning and power, if not trying to create charms of our own.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

moment of zen

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are directed to designer Manami Sasaki who has transformed her breakfast toast into creative canvases and are seconding the nomination for favourite subject: we are really enjoying this depiction of a traditional Japanese Rock Garden (ๆžฏๅฑฑๆฐด—literally a dry landscape and meant as a heuristic tool to help the gardener contemplate the meaning of existence by representing the essence of Nature and not its physical manifestation), with cream cheese spread carefully raked with nuts and condiments artfully arranged as stones and other elements. We also admired the care and repair dedicated to another slice of torn bread.

Friday, 6 September 2019


Sensitive to the huge problem of food waste, an enterprising bakery in Iceland has installed a superannuated telephone booth on its premises in which to deposit the leftovers from the end of the day and offer them for sale to late-comers on a trust system at a deeply discounted price. Local patrons are delighted with the idea of being able to get fresh breads afterhours and help reduce what would otherwise end up in landfills. I hope more small businesses might take a cue from this bakery and invest in the honour and integrity of shoppers and right-sizing production.