Tuesday, 24 January 2023

8x8 (10. 495)

super 8: Kodak background orchestral ensemble for home movies (1961) would make a good soundtrack for any clip  

memory hole: unearthing—with surprising difficulty—an iconic, defining moment of 90s US political pop culture  

the fourth plinth: what becomes of statuary exhibited temporarily in Trafalgar Square—via Things Magazine  

whw: an interview with the ousted Kunsthalle collective who wanted to showcase all sides of Vienna  

poissons de diverses couleurs et figures extraordinaires: exquisite disco fish (1719)  

geyser relays: a rather pie-in-the-sky proposal for irrigation using a series of water canons  

parade route: revisiting the would-be arrival and presentation of Ganda the Rhinoceros  

sympawny № 4: a short arrangement to pay tribute to a beloved cat

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

9x9 (10. 479)

under the gavel: a distressed Twitter is auctioning off office furnishings from its San Francisco headquarters 

best mates: a meta-study of attracting and retaining intimate partners  

demidecimate: Microsoft announces layoff five percent of its workforce 

from permacrisis to polycrisis: selection of global buzzwords for 2023  

style guide: an eccentric alternate spelling circulated in a newspaper for three decades—without explanation or apology 

wellipets: frog-faced galoshes make a haute couture return 

©: Getty Images is filing suite against an AI art tool for scraping its content—via the new shelton wet/dry

fechtbรผcher: early Renaissance depicts of duels between men and women 

silicon valley: a tech bust might be a net positive for the city

Friday, 13 January 2023

8x8 (10. 413)

rummaged in the roots: with only the dead in their graves as witnesses, we learned that the Hardy Tree of St Pancras succumbed to blight, via Strange Company  

terracotta army: archeologists are hesitant to unseal the tomb of China’s first emperor—and for good reason, via ibฤซdem, more here 

genuary 2023: a month of generative coding to make beautiful AI artefacts—via Web Curios  

alphaputt: this typographical, twenty-six hole course

know your meme: incredibly, there has never been an indexed search engine of the internet image macros—via Waxy

fossil fuel: industry scientists had a preternaturally accurate grasp on the consequences of burning oil five decades ago—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

ucluelet: the largest Rogue Wave on record—see previously  

vauxhall: a tour of south London in the 1980s—via Things Magazine

Sunday, 11 December 2022

projekt panropa (10. 378)

Having previously been acquainted with the monumental madness by Bauhaus, utopian architect Hermann Sรถrgel and his plans to dam and drain the sea to make one vast arable expanse from southern Europe through north Africa, we were quite pleased to come across this illustrated 1929 pamphlet “Lowering the Mediterranean / Irrigating the Sahara,” (Mittelmeer-Senkung. Sahara-Bewรคsserung) which in all fairness didn’t call for its total emptying, just enough to harness it for hydroelectric power and diminution enough to rename it after his project and promote a nascent transatlanticism to counter a perceived ascendant Asia. Of course, this titanic engineering project never left the drawing board but it nonetheless gives pause to contemplate the ideas that we do end up running with and how those inform our accomplished present trajectories. More at the links above.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

7x7 (10. 344)

canopic jars: a mummy called Pachery is the only individual found so far with his internal organs intact—via Messy Nessy Chic    

hardbottom communities: researchers work to preserve Florida’s coral reef    

nightfall: researchers discover two new minerals sourced from a meteorite strike in Somalia    

thirteenth studio album: imaging a fantasy concept record after 1970’s Let It Be for the Beatles    

kraft dinner: a Florida woman is suing Macaroni & Cheese over misleading preparation time    

crown of thorns: some Australian politicians take issue with the ‘endangered’ status for the Great Barrier Reef—see previously    

khufu: an interactive virtual tour of the Pyramids of Giza—via Maps Mania

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

san casciano dei bagni (10. 287)

Heralded as a find as significant as the Riace Bronzes—discovered fifty years ago nearly to the day—a cache of statues depicting Greco-Roman gods have been uncovered in the muddy ruins of an ancient bathhouse in a hilltop village in Siena whose natural springs have been a draw for the Roman elite and modern tourists alike. A horde of coins also found during the excavation helped to date the figures to two millennia along with other inscribed, votive offerings (with some interesting ones in the likeness of vegetables) in Roman and Estrucan. Archaelogists believe that the pantheon of two dozen, including Apollo and Hygieia, the goddess of health and cleanliness, was submerged in the thermal waters that helped preserve them in an exquisite state as part of a ritual of thanksgiving. The spa was in operation from the third century BC to the fifth century AD when Christian conservatism forbade public bathing with the chambers sealed off by heavy pillars. After cleaning and restoration, the community plans to display the finds in situ.

Friday, 7 October 2022

7x7 (10. 203)

silphium: an ancient superfood of the Mediterranean world thought extinct possibly rediscovered in Turkey—via Strange Company 

unsung heroes: a LEGO diorama depicts a crew keeping the sewers unblocked—with more links to fatbergs  

mlle musidora: reviving a forgotten icon of the Belle ร‰poque—see also  

centaur chess: machines can handily beat grand masters but a computer-human team is unstoppable  

the legend of sleepy hallow: the wild ride behind the Headless Horseman

pendant lighting: Ambience Studio upcycles LEGO bricks into a colourful lamp  

pommes bleu: the annual optical spectacle that the intersection of the sun and these stained glass windows of the chapel of Rennes le Chรขteau draws pilgrims

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

Sunday, 4 September 2022

pegelstand oder die grรผne herz deutschland (10. 108)

 

Afterwards we embarked on a circuit of the series of five progressively higher reservoirs (Stauseen) built from 1935 over the next decade to harness hydroelectric power by damming and flooding river valleys. 

Though a sparsely populated area, villages had to be abandoned and resettled when constructing the Hohenwarte and its gravitation cascade that turns potential energy kinetic were constructed and owing to the low water levels because of the global drought (and floods) we thought we might witness PreรŸwitz or others rise from the waters but we’ve been spared the worst so far. The forests were dry and the pines especially dying but an evening of steady rain was some reprieve. 


We saw various gradients and differentials from high vistas before choosing a campsite near Ziegenrรผck, heir to some more patrimony now underwater. 


Packing up the following day, we completed our tour with the reservoir at Burgk and its eponymous castle and keep, a quite well preserved residence dating from the Middle Ages and seat of the House of ReuรŸ, a princely line who named all male children Heinrich, in honour of Barbarossa’s son, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI. 

The engineering and the attendant landscaping was impressive and inchoate. On the way back, we visited the town of Saalburg on the Bleiloch reservoir that had the atmophere of beach resorts along the Baltic Sea.








 

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

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

loch monster (10. 020)

(The rhythm from the B-52s Rock Lobster playing throughout) We all know Loch Ness (I conflated the history of the struggle of control for the strategic bulwark with that of the legendary monster—it’s a metaphor), majestic Loch Lomond, Loch Awe but we‘d like to acquaint you with the Loch of Garry which when viewed from Glengarry and from the right angle resembles a map of Scotland.

Or there’s Loch Lochy that’s haunted by a waterhorse, a kelpie who lures mares and stallions into the water and capsises boats. Or there’s Loch Pityoulish in the Cairngorms off the River Spey, whose name means “at the settlement of the bright place” and is popular for wild swimming. More to come. Motion in the ocean—hoorah!

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

inner hebrides ii (10. 019)

More impressions from the Isle of Skye, including some iconic Scottish cows.



Sunday, 3 July 2022

8x8

el vehรญculo compartido: personal aerial shots by photographer Alex Cartagena in pickup truck beds reveal the hidden lives of day labourers off-duty  

skate expectations: concrete sculptural parks by Amir Zaki—via Present /&/ Correct 

rosรฉwave: a playlist from NPR to invoke relaxed summer afternoon vibes

press key when ready: the 1985 British children’s sci-fi series The Whizz 

i am your atypical neighbour: in an exhibit, Her Window, artist Dayu Ouyang broadcasts bold statements from her bedroom’s view  

hot slot: the escapingly small feasibility that Jeff Goldblum could have uploaded a computer virus to alien technology and win Independence Day plus other dei ex machinis  

friend-shoring: reprioritising globalisation and a metallic NATO to ensure critical rare-earths supply chains are kept viable  

a rising tide lifts all boats: laid out in a grid meant to resemble brain coral from above and protected by the sinking atoll, the Maldives is building an ingenious floating city that will rise with the oceans as perhaps a model for other threatened communities

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

7x7

tidal power: Japan trials subsea turbines as a stable source of limitless green energy  

rethink the week: Stephen Fry and a host of animators believe that the time has come for a four-day work week—previously  

bosco verticale: Milan’s forested apartment block recreated in LEGO  

young macgyver: an unaired pilot spin-off of the original—remember when it was a huge reveal to disclose our hero’s first name?  

baad mambia: voicing AI output from Janelle Shane (previously) of Strong Bad from the flash animated series Homestar Runner—via Waxy  

mapped sonification: mouse around noisy cities and imagine how things will be different when our built environment isn’t designed to accommodate the internal combustion engine  

blue planet: World Oceans Day 2022 focuses on revitalisation—previously

Friday, 3 June 2022

bergpark wilhelmshรถhe

H and I had visited the sprawling landscaped park outside of Kassel some time ago but neglected to blog about it here, so we were happy to have the occasion to revisit and share impressions of the Baroque giardino all’italiana built for Landgraf Karl I von Hessen beginning in 1696 on the anniversary of the presentation of the water elements (Wasserspiele) by Giovanni Francisco Guerniero in 1714, switching on the cascades and waterfalls for the first time. The landgrave had met the architect in Rome whilst on a Grand Tour and engaged him to realise his grand plans for the largest garden on the continent, and though making a solid first impression which delighted his patron, Guerniero fled back to Italy once it became clear that planning errors and cost-overruns meant that the project could not be finished. Atop a pyramid, atop on octagon, is a copper statue of Hercules, surveying the watercourse. Successive occupants of the palace expanded and contributed to the character of the park over the years, adopting new styles and eventually veering away from the French formal style to more of an English garden and it was finally completed after a century and a half of construction. Open to the public, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013.

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.

Monday, 16 May 2022

ac/dc

Three years to the date after Nikola Tesla delivered a famous lecture to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers outlining the efficient production of electricity from a centralized location and transmitting the power generated over long-distances using alternating current, the International Electrotechnical Exhibition opened at Frankfurt’s Westbahnhof and demonstrated the first such inductive feat, the power generated from a hydroelectric source some one hundred and seventy five kilometres south from a waterfall at Lauffen am Neckar. The Post Office helped erect the transmission lines, a considerable amount of copper wire—the three phase arrangement (3ฯ†) that is used for most modern grids to this day trebling or rather thirding voltage across three wires each with the current offset by one hundred twenty degrees—that retained about three-quarters of the output over the distance, the experiment proving that generation in situ, with direct current, was not ideal in most domestic and industrial applications, confirmed and adopted by the United States and favouring rival George Westinghouse (Tesla’s employer) over Thomas Edison in the War of the Currents at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Friday, 22 April 2022

earth day

Organisers Denis Hayes and Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson who championed the establishment of the annual observance in support of environmental protection and better stewardship of the planet in congress—plus drumming up the earnest support of the United Auto Workers union which without the backing of the labour movement probably would have had no staying power—chose the date strategically as to time the holiday outside of college exams and Spring Break, student activism being among the important targets to carry the cause forward, and with the happy coincidence that the date range included the anniversary of the 1838 birth of John Muir—an American of Scottish extract regarded as the Father of the National Parks, avid naturalist, ecologist and conservationist who co-founded the Sierra Club and pushed the government to establish a nature reserve in the Yosemite region of California. 

Reportedly unbeknownst to Nelson and Hayes, the first 1970 celebration fell on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Soviet revolutionary Vladimir Lenin (New Style, 1870), causing some media outlets to speculate at the time that it was not an unfortunately coincidence but rather signaled that the environmental movement was a “Communist trick” to subvert and indoctrinate the youth—apparently into caring for Nature and the world around them and engendered guilt over polluting and over-consumption. The themes for this year include Sustainable Fashion, the Great Global Clean-up, the Canopy Project (reforestation) and Climate and Environmental Literacy.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

7x7

stacy’s dad has got me down bad: a Fountains of Wayne cover from a different perspective  

imperial trans-antarctic expedition: the shipwreck of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 exploratory mission discovered  

beachcomber: eighteenth-century seaweed pressings speak to fecklessness and romance 

ithaca: an new AI model is helping scholars decipher and date ancient inscriptions  

x-wing: Star Wars space craft size comparison  

snowmen: David Lynch’s haunting images—evocative of Eraserhead from Boise, Idaho in the early ‘90s  

there’s a doll, inside of doll, inside a doll, inside a dolly: Robbie Williams’ 2016 Party Like a Russian was inspired by an encounter with the inner-circle of oligarchs when asked to perform at a New Year’s Eve party

Thursday, 3 February 2022

7x7

1:12: a 1983 architectural magazine’s call for dollhouses  

way-finder: a friendly reminder about the most important app ever made 

i can’t hear you—i’m wearing a towel: dated New Yorker cartoons whose punchline has become a depiction of the everyday—via Waxy  

fisheye lens: a floating exhibit platform showcases Norwegian aquaculture practises 

philately: a brilliant abecedarium (see previously) of vintage postage stamps from around the world  

tensor strength: researchers engineer new material that can absorb and release enormous amounts of energy—like super-charged rubber band, via Slashdot  

the vault of contemporary art: a collection of architectural sketches and schematics from a Things Magazine omnibus post on the subject