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

Monday, 24 January 2022

iwows

Via Slashdot, astronomers are forwarding the conjecture that like the other Saturnine satellites Titan and Enceladus, the mysterious and icy Mimas—heretofore most well known for being an actual moon despite its resemblance to the Death Star (formally ♄ I and named after the Giant, at the suggestion of William Hershel's son John like the others in this complex system after the Giant born of the blood of castrated Uranus and killed by Hephaestus during the Gigantomachy) may possibly harbour a vast liquid ocean several kilometres beneath its frozen crust. Going by the above initialism “interior water ocean worlds.” More at the links above.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

soylent green is people!

With the environment ravaged by dead oceans, pollution, poverty and scarcity, the 1973 film with Charlton Heston, Joseph Cotten based on Make Room! Make Room! the science-fiction novel on resource-hoarding and over-population by Harry Harrison is set in the milieu of 2022. The titular foodstuff is reportedly harvested from plankton and in short-supply due to popularity. During investigations, however, it is determined that the seas are no longer viable and the protein is sourced to human remains gathered during protests by “scoops” and state-sanctioned euthanasia.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

rogue waves

Distinct from tsunamis, killer waves—defined as reaching twice the height of waves in a wave record—occur in open-water as a convergence of constructive interference and other conditions but were considered at best anecdotal, tall-tales and the stuff of maritime myth until quite recently when one was detected on New Year’s Day in 1995 and measured by instruments housed on the Draupner gas pipeline support platform in the North Sea. Subsequent research has shown the phenomenon to be a common one, occurring in multiple media, including finance and has been retroactively used to account for shipping accidents, including the 1975 sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the iconic titular wave portrayed in The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

under the waves or government in exile

Soberingly and with an eye to a bleak future of runaway climate change, as Slashdot reports, the island nation of Tuvalu exploring its legal options to retain its statehood in the worst-case scenario that sees all land submerged and its population of eleven thousand relocated. With sea-levels rising, the land will eventually disappear and the government hopes to retain international recognition for its maritime zones and territorial sovereignty as well as compel domestically and internationally what the cultural impacts and losses of such uprooting will be for this and other coastal communities.  More at the links above.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

field camp

Via Messy Messy Chic, we enjoyed learning about Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs whose mission is to promote efficient and collaborative operations among the seventy permanent research stations scattered across the continent from nearly thirty countries and
reduce redundancies that might further jeopardise this more pristine environment through the profiles of the facilities of its constituent members. We especially liked the more veteran stations whose architecture and style dates them, like the Belgian Federal Science Policy and Polar Secretariat’s Princess Elisabeth Base research centre or the Taishan lab of China. Much more to explore at the links above.

Friday, 22 October 2021

distinguished hydrography

Hosted by Washington, DC, delegates gathered from twenty-six countries for the International Meridian Conference adopted the resolution on this day in 1884 that made the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (see previously here and here) the prime “meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world.The resolution was passed but not without some abstentions and serious objections—foremost being France, which until settling on the compromise term Coordinated Universal Time in 1978, did not refer to the selection as GMT but rather “Paris mean time, retarded by nine minutes and twenty-one seconds.” Contrary to popular belief, the meeting did not establish time zones.  Also making it a universal convention to begin astronomical and nautical days at the stroke of midnight, the summit coincided with the enactment of the Longitude Act of 1714 from Queen Anne, establishing a board of judges and prize monies for anyone coming up with a practical way to accurately measure whereabouts on the y-axis while at sea.

Friday, 1 October 2021

7x7

cultured: beautiful Petri dish art (see also) from Dasha Plesen  

tax centinels: protesting college students conspired to create “penny famines” across the US in the late 1930s 

rediffusion: the Thames Television archives—via Things magazine  

fat bear bracket: follow the celebration of survival and success with Katmai’s nature preserve ursine residents—via Hyperalleric’s Required Reading 

the thing on the fourble board: a 1948 episode of the radio programme Quiet, Please! is considered to be one of the scariest broadcasts ever 

bisection: the spiralling figural sculpture of Isabel Miramontes  

frustule: the rich diversity of diatoms illustrated in an 1890 volume

Friday, 10 September 2021

bi-valve or blast me barnacles

Even more threatened than their beleaguered colonial cousin the corals reefs, we learn that over eighty-five percent of coastal oyster beds, living shorelines, have been destroyed by human activity over the last two centuries through dredging, development, pollution and overfishing. Recent efforts to restore the habitat of this indicator species, however, are demonstrating that oysters are keystones of their ecosystem, purifying, filtering waters, recycling organic materials and preventing algal blooms, building a sheltering environment for various fishes and crustaceans, sustenance for water fowl, carbon sequestration in their shells, and acting as a breakwater structure to reduce the impact of storm surges and runaway erosion. Learn more at Kottke at the link above.

Friday, 13 August 2021

6x6

clink clink: a snappy little animated short of guests at cocktail hour 

samarkand: an East German couple’s tour of Uzbekistan fifty years ago with photography from 1971 and 2021  

expectation management: a comprehensive look into how the Delta variant changes the pandemic endgame—via Kottke  

noah’s violin: the twelve metre long wooden stringed instrument is a floating stage, inaugurated along with Project Moses to protect Venice from flooding  

the rural juror: a spoof streaming service (see also)—via JWZ  

the effect is shattering: a vodka advertising campaign that became a snow clone

Monday, 2 August 2021

6x6

roll for perception: the official video for the 1987 Rick Astley hit (previously) surpasses one billion views   

until proven safe: EURIDICE, the eponym from the mythological Eurydice who Orpheus failed to retrieve from the Underworld, is the acronym for European Underground Research Infrastructure for the Disposal of Nuclear Waste in a Clay Environment  

a clokey production: a bot scours Gumbasia for random screen-grabs

pelagic waters: exploring the oceans’ midnight zone beyond the reach of the sun’s rays

portrait of a teenage alcoholic: a 1975 after school special starring The Exorcist’s Linda Blair and Star Wars’ Mark Hamill  

an eternal golden braid: some crib-notes and a course on the 1987 classic Gรถdel, Escher, Bach

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

7x7

imprint and intaglio: a treasury of antique book illustrations—via Swiss Miss  

antipodes: find the furthest populated place away from your home town—via ibฤซdem  

endless loop: a superb collection of vintage Japanese cassette tapes and related accessories  

dolce come il sale: an Italian town furnishes the Pope with an annual delivery of gourmet salt  

full-house: the Guardian profiles the outdoor venue in Cornwall, the Minack Theatre, as it welcomes back audiences  

down periscope: the Viewfinder installation affords visitors to Sydney’s coast a look at the roiling ocean below  

etidorhpa: John Uri Lloyd’s 1895 pharmacologically inspired science fantasy novel

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

6x6

scream real loud: The 1954 “Pinky Lee Show” that prefigures in a way Pee-Wee’s Playhouse 

7/10: promoting health for the high seas on World Oceans Day—previously  

avian aftershave: crows treat themselves to ant baths  

squirrels under the hood: an AI researchers illustrates how algorithms are dangerously regressive reflections of the worst of us (previously) and are far from artificial or intelligent  

###: a short from Optical Arts repeats a range of actions with different objects in the key of A  

that’s my name—don’t wear it out: do yourself a favour and check out the blog of Pee-Wee Herman

Friday, 21 May 2021

watershed moment

Via Web Curios, we are directed towards an application for our fans in the continental United States of America (for the present) called River Runner that allows one to drop a raindrop anywhere and trace its path to the sea through run-offs, watercourses, creeks and rivers and explore the precipitation cycle drip by drip, navigating their path over the terrain and residence times through reservoir, adjacent table and flow.