Sunday, 2 October 2022

l'escargophone (10. 189)

Reportedly convincingly demonstrated to a journalist from La Presse on this day in 1851, though business partners remained sceptical and suspected a hoax, the apparatus known as the pasilalinic-sympathetic compass (la boussole pasilalinique sympathique, the snail telegraph, incredibly—see previously) was a heuristic contraption meant to take advantage of the supposed permanent telepathic link (a subtle form of animal magnetism that naturally drew in the public in parallel with the technical achievements of actual telegraphy) that mated pairs of snails form. Inventor and noted occultist Jacques-Toussaint Benoรฎt, called de l’Hรฉrault, constructed two remote scaffoldings each with one gastropod partner labelled with a letter of the alphabet, whereby the operator touched one that was supposed to cause a reaction in its corresponding mate that could be decoded by the receiver. Attempts to repeat the near successes of the first trial for the public failed and Benoรฎt promptly vanished.

Friday, 30 September 2022

<…> (10. 178)

Initial specifications first published on this day in 1980 by Xerox in association with Intel and the Digital Equipment Corporation (standardised by the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, in 1983), Ethernet technologies are based on a shared medium of communications, similar to the common platform of radio systems and takes its name from the disproven proposal of a luminiferous aether as an omnipresent, subtle and rarefied propagator (see also) of electromagnetic waves and enabled the first collaborative networks of computers.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

7x7 (10. 164)

trench run: we are not skilled enough to try this with our X-Wing drone  

semester abroad: tips for affecting an RP accent, as one does  

an army marches on its stomach: a trove of 1970s field rations—see previously—via Present /&/ Correct

algar do carvรฃo: a guide to the incredible Azores—see also  

blowhole: sea platform harnesses wave energy by using it to pressurise air and powering a turbine—outperforming expectations  

mappa mundi: an annotated, interactive fifteenth century world atlas—see also  

5 bby: Star Wars fans invented their own calendar (see previously) over a quarter of a century ago and the latest series finally makes it canon

Friday, 16 September 2022

7x7 (10. 139)

daisy-chain: Wikipedia Speedruns—connect two topics (see also) across the fewest links—via Waxy

blast-oven: a proposed giant brick toaster could harness excess heat from industry and redistribute it as electricity

checkmate: investigating the cheating scandal vexing the chess world—via Digg  

the queen’s speech: at look at how accents change as we age and how Elizabeth II’s manner of talking reflected broader changes in society  

royal peculiar: reflections and impressions on visiting Westminster Abbey when the statuary far outnumber the tourists 

ubiquity: an invisible coating transforms windows and any glass surfaces into solar panels  

outrun: Google Maps Driver Simulation mode and more cartographical arcade games

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

fiftyshapes ltd (10. 130)

Incorporated on this day in 1967, the Beatles’ Apple Electronics venture was headed by a television repair technician named Yannis Alexis Madras, whom had been discovered by John Lennon two years prior after seeing a selection of his Nothing Boxes (plastic housing with blinking lights) at a London Gallery. Given the moniker “Magic Alex,” he reputedly pitched a series of increasingly fantastical (but ones we’d like to see) inventions including a seventy-two track tape machine, an air-buffer to prevent car accidents, replacing Ringo’s drums with a sonic force field, a wallpaper sound-system, invisibility paint and an artificial sun—none of which unfortunately materialised. 

Later that same year, Madras tried to help broker a deal for the band to purchase a Greek island but that deal fell through as well. Though the majority of Madras’ inventions were dismissed as impossible (perhaps rather inexplicably, he was nonetheless entrusted him with the design of their new recording studio once they left Abbey Road), one of his proposals for a scrambling device that would prevent fans from recording their songs from the radio was better received. Parting ways in 1969—ostensibly jealous over the influence that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had over Lennon after they were all in India together, Madras took up a career in security and anti-terrorism, offering custom bullet-proof vehicles, bug-detectors, etc—his clients primarily exiled heads-of-state living in London, Crown Prince Juan Carlos, the Shah of Iran and fellow countryman Constantine II.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

6x6 (10. 117)

command authorisation code: the timing of the Artemis (previously) launch hinges in part due to its self-destruct system  

best in show: an painting generated by an algorithm won first prize in a competition at a state fair, prompting philosophical questions  

greenday moment: instead of tearing down those out of the loop, bring them up to speed  

cauldron computing: researchers propose liquid crystal machine whose calculations move like ripples through water 

$ape: two American states introduce legislation to tax NFTs  

speculoos: researchers at the University of Liรจge discover (see previously) discover two Super-Earths

Thursday, 25 August 2022

6x6 (10. 085)

the hero with a thousand faces: further exploration of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth—see previously 

well, the zombie-fighting phase of the zombie war is over: CDC issues updated guidelines for living with the zombie apocalypse 

pterygota: an exquisite look at insect launch and flight

vo₂: wonder alloy vanadium dioxide—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

carta marina: Olaf Magnus’ sea charts complete with sea monster sounds  

pendragon: evidence that suggests King Arthur may be a historical personage—see previously—via Miss Cellania’s Links

farbfernsehen (10. 084)

Though displays and transmission systems were invented as early as 1938 with various trials reaching back to the late nineteeth century, television broadcasts in colour did not begin until the mid-1960s after a compatible mode of transmission was introduced (meaning it could be received on monochrome sets without a noticeable loss of quality) and colour models became affordable, and this era of broadcasting was inaugurated on this day in 1967 by Vice Chancellor Willy Brandt at the start if the Great German Radio Exhibition in West Berlin with public and private broadcasters making the transition throughout the programming day—albeit during these early years, only a few hours per week were available in colour. Among the first segments was reporting on Montrรฉal’s Expo 67 and an airing of the 1962 French-Italian adventure film Cartouche starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale.

Friday, 19 August 2022

picture-perfect (10. 072)

On this day 1839 following assurances of a lifetime’s pension for himself and business partner Nicรฉphore Niรฉpce and a seat on the National Academy of Design, the government of France published the complete technical details of the daguerreotype process—previously withheld over fears of others counterfeiting the process or stealing credit for the research and experimentation of set building, background painter and inventor of the diorama Louis-Jacques-Mandรฉ Daguerre—gifting it “free to the world.”

Thursday, 18 August 2022

๐Ÿฟ (10, 071)

Via Waxy, we learn that chindลgu engineer and friend Simone Giertz has created a music box that produces its melodies from popping bubble-wrap, configured specifically to play the Moog-standard “Popcorn” by the group Hot Butter. The dedication to the project and process is admirable and quite ingenious.

bona stabularia (10. 069)

Referred to by some historians as a “goodly stablemaid” and likely from humble roots in Bithynia (Anatolia)—though other counterclaimants, as with Charlemagne or any number of the artefacts she collected vying for authenticity, are out there including Augusta Treverorum, Mesopotamia, Palestine, the Pyrenees and Camulodnum (Colchester—a princess of the legendary Ole King Cole)—widowed wife and empress dowager of Constantius, relic-hunter and mother to Constantine I, Helen (Flavia Iulia Helena) is fรชted in the Roman Catholic Rite on this day as patron protector of the Holy Places and archaeologist, converts and divorcees. Helen was assigned this last benefaction as Constantius divorced her when Constantine was a teenager to take a wife of higher status, Theodora, and the two of them were exiled to the court of Diocletian in Dalmatia. After his father died in battle fighting against the Picts at Eboracum (York) and Constantine was proclaimed emperor, Helen returned to the imperial court and after her son’s consequential victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and subsequent conversion to Christianity was appointed Augusta Imperatrix with unfettered access to the treasury and given the special assignment of collecting objects of Christian veneration, including the True Cross—the place of discovery now hosting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Holy Tunic.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

i let the music speak (10. 067)

Released as a record album at the end of November 1981 and the groups last studio album for four decades until their 2021 reunion, ABBA’s The Visitors was among the first to be digitally mixed and recorded and on this day in 1982 became among the first to be pressed and issued in CD format (Polygram Records also put out a disk of Chopin waltzes and Phillips would be releasing a tranche of some fifty artists including Billy Joel available in stores in the autumn). Despite personal conflicts that strained their professional relationship and musical partnership, this final collaboration was a success, cathartic and critically well received. Still getting accustomed to the new technology, the sound engineers thought the recording to be too clean and missed notes and beats would be harder to overlook.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

transatlantic (10. 066)

After a benedictory message from the directors of the Atlantic Telegraph Company in Great Britain to their US counterparts, “Europe and America are united by telegraph. Glory to God in the highest; on Earth peace, good will towards men,” Queen Victoria and president James Buchanan—from his summer residence in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania—exchanged congratulatory greetings on this day in 1858, with the former observing that the submarine cable would “provide an additional link between the nations whose friendship is founded on their common interest and reciprocal esteem” to the latter’s more effluvious response “It is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of Heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world.” These inaugural overseas telegrams were quite laborious to encode and decode (see also), with the queen’s shorter missive taking sixteen hours to transmit and reception was quite poor but there was no dissuading the public’s enthusiasm—commercially, however, investors balked at the outcome considering the expense of the expedition to lay the cable and when the original linkage broke three weeks later—probably an inevitability due to faulty materials and manufacturing—confidence was sunk and delayed efforts to replace it. The termina (see previously), the most easterly and westerly points on land, were in Sunnyside, Bull Arms Bay, on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Telegraph Field on Valentia Island, County Kerry.

Monday, 15 August 2022

6x6 (10. 063)

lawrence livermore labs: scientist achieve ignition, a long-standing and elusive goal for fusion research (see previously)

kiwa tyleri: the Guardian continues its profiles of denizens of the deep with the hirsute ‘Hoff crab’ who thrive at hydrothermal vents on the bottom of the ocean by picking sulfur-fixing microbes off their chests  

one year on: a photographic essay on Afghanistan one the anniversary of the fall of the flight of Aschraf Ghani and the takeover by the Taliban  

obligate predators: German town releases house cat from a special lockdown but questions linger on protecting nature from our feline friends  

rivers run dry: the climate emergency propelling the drought is making the Rhein and Danube unnavigable

o-positive: researchers discover a method for changing blood types (see also) of donated organs—increasing potential for compatibility for beneficiaries

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

you’ll catch your death in the fall (10. 047)

Fancy Notions directs our attention to a 1970 promotional short from Bell Telephone that offers a rather remarkable if not a tad touched with the hubris and inflated self-confidence of echoed in modern Tech. This piece by Ugo Torricelli, is part informative and part psychedelic freak out, posits that the downfall of humanity and expulsion from the Garden of Eden was the first act of invention.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

9x9 (10. 032)

iron monger: a preserved Victoria shopping alley hidden underneath an Edwardian arcade in Yorkshire  

u1ke: a constrained coding experiment from Frank Force (previously) lets you strum on a 1024 byte ukulele—via Waxy  

put a tiger in your tank: a brilliant, bizarre vintage ESSO filling-station commercial from Italy  

white-washing: researchers develop a highly radiative paint that cools the ambient air—see also  

call me ishmael: imagining a multinational coffee purveyor as other characters from Moby Dick  

carbon-negative: biogenic limestone grown by algae as a concrete substitute 

future farming: an exploration of sustainable, incidental agriculture  

transcorporeality: bug-swallowing in fiction  

spectacular vernacular ii: more architectural quirks, including witch-windows

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

7x7 (10. 021)

from zero to five thousand: the exponential growth in the discovery of exoplanets since 1991 until the present


verdissement d’image: newly ascribed French vocabulary on climate demonstrates the language’s malleability

thebandwashere: decade‘s plus project by photographer Steven Burnbaum to overlay musicians and venues

necroborics: scientists exploit the hydraulic limbs of dead spiders 

test kitchen: thousands of emoji mash-up permutations—via Waxy 

the odaae: Oxford press publishes a dictionary of African American English  
 
recolte se fรฉr: raging wild fires across Europe setting off unexploded ordinances from World War I

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

skydiver

Pioneering parachutist and inventor of the rip-cord, Georgia Ann “Tiny” Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane on this day in 1913 when she performed the stunt over Los Angeles’ Griffith Park with the assistance of aviator Glenn L Martin (of Lockheed Martin) as pilot, having begun her career as an aeronaut jumping from hot air balloons in a travelling troupe. Demonstrating her technique to the US Army the following year, Broadwick’s skill and daring-do convinced the military that the deployment of paratroopers might be executed in a less hazardous manner by untethering the jumpers (the static line) from the aircraft and allow for a few seconds of free-fall. Also in 1914, Broadwick became the first individual to parachute from a seaplane, landing in Lake Michigan. Retiring from her act in 1922 due to problems developed in her ankles, Broadwick had over eleven hundred safe landings.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

8x8

crisis on terra prime: US president Biden invokes emergency powers to boost solar energy production

midsommar: ten ways to celebrate the June Solstice—via Strange Company  

madagascator projection: another look at mapping and bias—see previously  

unai no tomo: an early twentieth century catalogue of Japanese toys  

imago and eclosion: good pictures of a newly emerged swallowtail  

controlled burn: astronauts have lit thousands of little fires in microgravity to understand its strange behaviour  

you spin right round, baby, right round: the only way to play Weezer’s new singles is to become one’s own turn table—via Waxy  

perovskites: research into making cheap but brittle photovoltaic technology sturdier to rival modern solar cells

Saturday, 18 June 2022

sunshade

Rather than pursue possibly risky and irreversible terrestrial geoengineering that might further ravage habitats and exacerbate the collapse of biomes, via TMN we learn that a group of researchers from MIT are hoping to create a thin film of deflective materials (easily deployable and reversible), like a parasol for our planet, that by just lessening the solar radiation that reaches us by two percent could give us the needed reprieve (in combination with efforts on other fronts, including serious lifestyle adjustments) to clean up our act.  More on MIT’s Senseable City Lab’s Space Bubble project at the link above.