Sunday, 15 May 2022

orbital mechanics

Enunciated for the first time the following year after some concerted fact-checking and re-taking measurements since the outcome seemed to elegant to be true, Johannes Kepler discovered the last of his three laws of planetary motion on this day in 1618, capturing the relationship between the distance of a astronomical body from its host star and the time it takes to complete a trip around it: that is, the value of the cube of the semi-major axis divided by the square of a planet’s orbital period is a constant—for our solar system. The publication was also delayed due to rather laborious attempts to reconcile his formula with the theory of the music of the spheres (see here and also above), thus making this third discovery known as the harmonic law.

Friday, 13 May 2022

unvollstรคndigkeitssatz

Futility Closet relates an anecdote from the live of mathematician Kurt Gรถdel in residence at Princeton University Institute for Advanced Studies and his friendship with fellow resident scholars physicists Albert Einstein (previously) John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern, whom felt obliged to make sure their younger charge’s tendency for over-thinking remained an asset and not his undoing and monitored Gรถdel’s preparation for the US citizenship exam in 1947, Einstein himself naturalised seven years earlier. The prodigal and influential logistician widely settled the impossibility of formulating a self-consistent and complete set of rules governing all of mathematics at the tender age of twenty-five, Gรถdel assayed the project of his examination with signature tenacity and revealed to his wardens that in his research, he had uncovered a fatal-flaw in the American constitution that could led to dictatorship, the corruption and consequence of totalitarian democracy. Einstein and company implored him not to share this discovery and the test was actually a much simpler affair, though basic civics and recent history might have suggested otherwise. The proctor for the citizenship test inquired of Gรถdel his state of origin and its form of government—to which Gรถdel replied Austria and a republic, but owed that “the constitution was such that it soon become a dictatorship.” Despite the examiner’s insistence that the same could not happen in the USA and Gรถdel’s refutation with the offer of proof, the panel stuck to the business at hand and conducted the test. No mention was made in their collective memoirs what that finding might have been and we suppose won’t know it until it’s happened.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

onward victoria

Standing later for the office of president in the 1872 election, Victoria Woodhull accepted the nomination of her party, the Equal Rights, at Apollo Hall in New York City on this day of the same year—though a few detractors have reservations in acknowledging her to be the first woman to run for high office in America on the technicality (albeit a constitutional one) that she would have been six months shy of her thirty-fifth birthday on inauguration day. Self-made twice over, Woodhull first earned—and subsequently lost—a substantial fortune in magnetic healing and afterward entered into arguably more legitimate enterprises with her sister, Tennessee Claflin, to open the first female-ran stock brokerage and used profits from trading to open a newspaper. Running on a platform of universal suffrage, labour reform, equality and free love—that is the right to marry, divorce, bear children or not without social prejudice or government interference, Woodhull also declared this day her running-mate to be respected statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass though unbeknownst to him, Douglass did not take part in the convention or campaign in any way. Wary of Woodhull’s reputation as an investigative journalist and having previously introduced patriarch Cornelius to the above pseudoscientific therapy, heir to the vast estate William Henry Vanderbilt paid Woodhull and her sister $1000 to leave the country. Newly divorced and with her political career behind her, she accepted the offer and moved to London and founded a charter school and lectured on education reform.

Friday, 6 May 2022

blitzcrete

Via the always intriguing Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this introduction to the architectural vernacular of John Outram with news of his long overdue revival. Active since 1974 and producing a series of polychromatic public spaces that reference the temples of Antiquity. Commissions include the Pumping Station on the Isle of Dogs, projects for Cambridge and Rice University in Houston, Texas, the refurbished Old Town Hall of the Hague plus an unrealised shopping promenade for Battersea Power Station.

Friday, 29 April 2022

pangaea

Via Hyperallergic, we are referred to a nifty tool that lets one explore the geography and lifeforms that would have informed one’s hometown over the รฆons. Developed by engineer and palaeontologist Ian Webster, Ancient Earth ploughs through millions of years of tectonic shifts and rising and receding oceans with insights about fossils found nearby at the time and events defined the particular age and epoch. Despite the until recently relative inhospitability above the waves, one is always hoping that one’s home stays above water—especially in our current Anthropocene. Much more at the link above.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

7x7

elizabeth tower: a tour inside of Big Ben—see previously  

the nine octave harp of the universe: outside scientist Walter Russell—for whom Nikola Telsa said the world was unprepared  

weblog: a nodal map of some of the blogosphere—via Things Magazine  

quilting bee: everyday signage as fabric mosaics by Jeffrey Sincich  

the panic office: fantasy arcade game casings

๐Ÿฃ: a gallery of of beautiful 1920s Japanese postcards   

dangerous intersection: decades of traffic collisions and other corner happenings captured by a young photographer (see also)

Monday, 25 April 2022

pretzel logic

As our faithful chronicler informs this day in 1974 shares its anniversary with many moments of the great and the good of the release of Steely Dan’s single from the entitled album Rikki Don’t Lose That Number with the backstory that the titular Rikki is a Ms Ducornet—writer and artist, that the front of the band Donald Fagen met as classmates at a small liberal arts college. Though specifically Bard and identified as located in Annandale (-on-the-Hudson, New York, in another song Reelin’ in the Years—from the year prior—I recall being somewhat of a urban legend attributed soi-disant with the small liberal arts college that I attended (left wondering how many others) that apocryphally You’ve been telling me you're a genius since you were seventeen
 / In all the time I’ve known you I still don’t know what you mean
 / The weekend at the college didn’t turn out like you planned
 / The things that pass for knowledge I can’t understand referred to an experience of a prospectant student visiting and proctoring a few classes.

Friday, 15 April 2022

universal day of culture under the banner of peace

Observed annually on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments—or short-form the Roerich Pact after its chief sponsor Saint Petersburg painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich—in Washington, DC on this day in 1935 (incidentally the first international treaty to be signed in the Oval Office, Roerich I think is seated to the left of FDR) with the underpinning idea and legal standing that the defence of cultural heritage and artefacts is above their exploitation as nationalistic or propaganda purposes or wanton destruction and that the protection and preservation of cultural is always more important than military necessity. Lightly influenced by the Neo-Theosophical movement, the signatories’ wish was that this day would be “consecrated to the full appreciation of national and universal treasures” and hoped that it would become a secular catechism to remind us all of “creative heroic enthusiasm, of improvement and enhancement of life” through the edifying arts. The icon is of the artist’s design and has been flown at the poles and the world’s highest peaks and incorporated into the coat of arms of many institutions working towards world peace and conserving the culture of all humanity.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

saponification

Accomplished French chemist and professional skeptic whose research and work had a immense influence in several disciplines of science, mathematics and the arts as well as helping to establish the field of gerontology with himself a subject of study, Michel Eugรจne Chevreul (*1786) passed away on this day in 1889 in Paris, aged 102. Revolutionary work with vegetable oils and animal fats fundamentally changed the manufacture and availability of soap and candles—incidentally leading to an understanding of the pathology and treatment of diabetes. Having first honed his acumen as chemist in a dye and pigment manufacturing plant, Chevreul expounded several volumes regarding the theory of colours and their compliments which particularly informed Impressionist and Pointillist styles, after his career with oleic experimentation, he set his focus on disenchanting, disabusing the public of popular charlatanism and mysticism and raging against seances and table-turning, giving one of the first explanations of the ideomotor effect for mediums and dowsers. Having lived through the French Revolution, Chevreul was one of the seventy-two scientists and engineers commemorated on the first balcony of the Eiffel Tower and was only one of two honorees alive to see the Tricolour raised at the top of the structure.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

concordance

We thoroughly enjoyed being formally introduced to rogue archivist and general force-multiplier Carl Malamud and his organisation public.resource that champions liberating information that otherwise eligible for the public domain but has been notoriously garden-walled by special-interests groups, profession associations and copyright trolls (see previously here and here) like instruction manuals under right-to-repair legislation, the codices of different jurisdictions that would rather not the full text of their laws subject to public scrutiny and safety codes and standards hidden behind paywalls, a high hurdle for entry and to continue municipalities’ practice of “incorporation by reference.” Much more at the links above.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

infringement

Via the always engaging Things Magazine, we are acquainted with the press portal Plagiarism Today that not only reports on cases of academic dishonesty, cheating and failure to attribute or credit but also the broader, related phenomena of patent trolls, walled-gardens, rentier economics, ransom and extortion and what resources we have to combat instances of kidnapping—as the literal Latin has come to denote. Imitation maybe the greatest form of flattery and the internet may be built on the foundation of counterfeit and copycats, the reprise and retake is something reprehensible if there’s no appeal to the source.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

8x8

wayfinder: Polynesian palm frond and seashell navigational charts  

zoned for resimercial: reaction offices and the future of the workplace  

the final nail in the coffin: a proposal for a casket one drills in the ground  

such freedom: a convoy of truckers whose grievance is less clear picks up some hitchhikers along the way in the form of a la carte conspiracy theories 

fashion forward: RIP to Elsa Klench (*1930) host of the long running Style segment on CNN  

don’t know much about geology: James Sowerby’s 1884 illustrated study of catastrophic British mineralogy  

the neutra house: the hilltop compound that belongs to Red Hot Chilli Pepper Flea has strong evil villain lair energy—and is on the market—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

glonass: mapping tools and satellite imagery as a prelude to the information war over Ukraine

Saturday, 5 March 2022

spheres of influence

Though not coined by the British statesman and by then former Prime Minister, the use of term Iron Curtain metaphorically to describe the demarcation of Western and Eastern Europe saw its popularity and parlance cemented in an address given by Winston Churchill on this day in 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Originally used in the literal sense as fire break—Eisener Vorhang—installed in theatres to prevent flames from spreading from the stage to audience or vice-versa but used figuratively several times to denote the end of a geopolitical arrangement in time or space (now whose tract and trace is repurposed as something verdant—see also here, here and here), Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech, delivered soon after the end of World War II was a lecture on tensions and strained relationships that led to the Cold War, that term itself promulgated five days later in a newspaper article by The Observer correspondent George Orwell.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

7x7

orientation: Ivan Reitman’s (RIP) student film

times contrarian: Neil Young (previously) publishes his own digital newspaper

le docteur qui: Bill Bailey (previously) reinterprets Dr Who theme as swinging Belgian jazz  

twosday: a once in a life-time quirk of the calendar—be sure to celebrate this mirror day 

a notoriously unpredictable english tetragraph: all the different ways to say -ough  

genehmigung gestoppt: German halts approval process for pipeline (previously) bypassing Ukraine after Russia invades 

 mother-in-law-doors: elevated thresholds in Newfoundland have a questionable origin (see also)—via Miss Cellania’s Links

Monday, 21 February 2022

clearly define “militia” just in case that becomes relevant in a century or two

We thoroughly enjoyed the marginal notes and correction marks for James Madison’s Article II of the United States constitution—which establishes the executive, presidential, branch of the federal government and defines the Treaty Clause, Appointments Clause and the Emoluments Clause, and the process of Impeachment as graded by a high school teacher by McSweeney’s contributor Alice Lahoda. Lose the electors and please define your terms to prevent any confusion down the line. D-

Friday, 18 February 2022

synchronoptic view

Our trusted cartographer presents a medley of historical-dynamic maps that transport one to different epochs and eras, redrawing borders and boundaries through the course of human events, each specialising in a certain enhanced visualisation of neighbourliness and development, and we especially were taken with Running Reality with a sliding timeline that macroscopically traces the advance and retreat of kingdoms or zoomed in, the growth of cities and towns, by day, decade and century. Explore the entire tool-box at Maps Mania at the link up top.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

>>>

Though antecedents exist especially with opening captioning on the BBC and PBS for episodes of The French Chef, closed-captioning technology that would become commercially available by the end of the decade was first demonstrated on this day in 1972 to students a Gallaudet College (the day before the anniversary of the prestigious school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing’s founding in 1864 in Washington, DC). A unit separate from the television set interpreted and displayed the embedded code for an episode of the ABC police procedural drama The Mod Squad.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

bib

Founded on this day in 1973 under the executive agencies of the West German Federal Ministry of the Interior (with this boss door which we can all appreciate) in Wiesbaden, the Institute for Population Research (Bundesinstitut fรผr Bevรถlkerrungsforschung) was originally charged with investigating perceived declining fertility rates in the country but has since taken on more enlightened and enlightening studies, working closely with Destatis (see previously here and here), in demographics including longevity, migration and economic mobility.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

biblioclasm

Coinciding with International Holocaust Remembrance Day—marking the 1945 liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, news comes out that a school board in Tennessee voted to ban the acclaimed, Pulitzer prize-winning 1986 graphic novel, Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Aimed to teach children about genocide through allegory, the panel of parents and teachers found some of the language potentially objectionable as well as the depictions of partial cartoon nudity though the subtext is clear and rightfully decried and debates rage across the US in classroom and during school board meetings over Critical Race Theory, its subversion and weaponisation, and how its re-enforced that the discomfort of white bigots counts more than the lived experience of pain and oppression.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

8x8

i just think they’re neat: an orchestral ballad extolling the qualities of the tuber—via Pasa Bon! 

pulsar: a mysterious, suspected white dwarf star called GLEAML-X is far more energetic than physically possible  

eurhythmics: the greatest music teacher of the twentieth century, Nadia Boulanger whose pupils included Igor Stravinsky and Quincy Jones  

nu descendant un escalier № 2: the Marcel Duchamp research portal  

great green wall: an ongoing project to grow a corridor of trees across Africa 

meta-maps: gazetteers that interpret atlases from the collection of David Rumsey 

 bande dessinรฉe: Belgium’s new passport design pays homage to the country’s comic artists  

fire sale: a curious inventory of lots for sale with the closure of the Drury Lane theatre  

his father’s eyes: a giant New Zealand potato, Dug, is subjected to genetic-testing for proof that it is a tuber