Wednesday, 28 September 2022

7x7 (10. 176)

moonage daydream: an interview with Brett Morgen on the subject of his latest documentary—see previously 

rupture: Nordstream pipelines have sprung a leak, sabotage suspected 

afforestation: a volcanic eruption is helping to rewild island  

eyewall: Hurricane Ian’s path of destruction as it reaches Florida 

omnishambles: the budget plan of PM Truss and Chancellor Kwarteng garners rebuke from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Sterling approaches parity with the dollar  

mahsa: the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police has touched off protests against the government  

let all the children boogie: an Australian museum brought the original hand-written draft of David Bowie’s Starman at auction

Sunday, 25 September 2022

sip (10. 167)

Via tmn, our attention is again directed towards bespoke, luxury fallout shelters, bunkers, panic rooms flogged (also a punishment for criminal offences for the not so well-appointed) to the rich and powerful—only this time, the glamorous, underground residences, replete with fake skies over courtyards with swimming pools, private theatres, wine cellars, conference centres and showcase galleries and garages, or anything else the client can imagine, are being pushed on the influx of multi-millionaires resettling in the United Arab Emirates. What do you thinK? The firm offering such fantastical and secure retreats is a Swiss company called Oppidum—the Latin term for a fortified city. I thought only pharaoh in his pyramid could only be so entombed.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

fahrkarte (10. 115)

Though happy to pay full fare and subsidise public transportation, I do miss the 9-Euro bus and regional train scheme offered during the past three months to help offset high fuel prices and inflation besetting Germany chiefly for the simplicity and making local travel a bit easier to navigate, explore and reducing congestion and do hope that it comes back in some form. It was a really inopportune ending, coinciding with the start of the school year and a drastic reduction of services in Wiesbaden, going on the Saturday schedule for some routes. A group of activist is campaigning for its return by establishing a fund to cover the fines (60 € or more) for those members fined for riding without a ticket—and encouraging members to display a tag for potential fare collectors or inspector that they are intentionally riding without a valid ticket, so as to avoid the more serious charge of defrauding the transport-providers and only incur the lesser fine for “Schwarzfahrer”—fare-dodging. While an organisation is free to offer amnesty for its members and champion the return of a cheap, flat-rate, their actions could also be legally construed as public incitement to commit a crime—through ticket evasion.

Monday, 15 August 2022

private equity (10. 064)

Reinforcing the reality that the US is the biggest tax haven, the carried interest loophole, whose perennial but feeble attempts at reform nearly cost the US government and people a significant legislative win in terms of environmental protection and financial recovery, represents the bonus cut an investment manager—arguably a fee earned for enhancing the performance of stock portfolio—which are not in America taxed as regular earnings. Although the concept dates back to the sixteenth century and the age of colonialism—ships’ captains taking a share of profits ultimately earned on goods carried or transported as a way to build and maintain boat and crew and avoiding the prohibition against usurious loans, the idea was not codified, incentivised until 1913 and the explosion of domestic hydrocarbon exploration. Applying a lesser tax liability to the explorers’ profit (versus the share that the partners received) based on the above reasoning that the explorers were also shouldering a risk if their venture was unsuccessful, the immediate returns were classified as capital gains and due to the difficulty of assessing future value, taxes on carried interest can be deferred until cashed out. This is why poor-mouthing billionaires take out successive loans rather than reify their worth on paper. Moreover, with this continued concession to current regulations, wealth managers, hedge fund operators and the like are able to further exploit the returns on an investment above and beyond their individual exposure to the total profits earned by gambling with other people’s money, taxed at about half what earners in a much lower income bracket would be liable for.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

7x7

smacs 0723: astronomers unveil the first colour pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope—see more, see previously  

power plant: an interactive map of energy and industry from the European Commission  

ecovado: a sustainable, locally-sourced alternative to the imported avocado  

empire rollerdome: New York street photographer Patrick D Pagnano captures 1980s roller disco—via Messy Nessy Chic 

 €/$: euro, US dollar at parity  

maps mastery: a profile of expert-level GeoGuessr players—via Waxy  

zero-g: researchers at Kyoto University design artificial gravity architecture

Saturday, 9 July 2022

8x8

carina nebula: first five subjects for JWST announced  

a pharmacopeia with balneological appendix: a primer and point of departure for the mysterious pre-Renaissance volume, the Voynich Manuscript—see previously

putt-putt for the fun of it: a time-capsule of miniature golf courses 

trap daddy: spoof Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia introduces us to a catch-phrase for the deception hoax—see also, see previously  

jubilee: inflexibility applied to finance and debt contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire  

spatter platters: morbid 1960s teen tragedy songs

hushed-tones: a neural network makes a nature documentary about ants  

hudf: JWST takes deepest image of the Cosmos without even trying plus other space news briefs

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

8x8

cutting-corners: skimpflation and other consumer caveats   

section 30 order: Holyrood to hold second independence referendum in October  

edutainment: a new volume on poet Emily Dickinson concludes with a Math Blaster style game from LitHub  

wade in u.s.a.: protest is the court of last resort  

white rabbits: an unsung group of women sculptors employed during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893—via Messy Nessy Chic  

adobe flash: watch a time-lapse of a luxury villa with pool built out of mud and bamboo via Everlasting Blรถrt  

allons-y alonzo: assonances, alliterations and vowel harmonisation in French and other languages

coffee siren: the origins of the ubiquitous cafรฉ mascot (see also here and here)

Saturday, 25 June 2022

8x8

morning chorus: a suspended hotel suite in Sรกpmi cladded with three-hundred fifty birdhouses 

meanwhile margaret atwood says hold my beer: teach and student, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, spar over which dystopian vision is more plausible  

don’t say g*y: Disney introduces its first openly closeted cast of characters  

makeup and monobrow: a quick survey of the female eyebrow in art 

border and backsplash: the mosaic tile museum of Gifu—over ten-thousands exemplars, many rescued from buildings slated for demolition 

i had hoped that god would work one of his signature miracles and spare me from is also signature “horrible pain in childbirth” curse: the Virgin Mary reclaims her nativity narrative  

stonk-and-go: the US Securities and Exchange Commission weighs sweeping change to curtail meme-driven trades  

a doghouse for eddie: charmingly, Frank Lloyd Wright (previously) builds a home for a canine and his human companion

Thursday, 23 June 2022

scheduled territories

Also known as the above legal entity the sterling area came into being in 1931 when the pound was unpegged from the gold standard and a number of countries, mostly Commonwealth nations, either employed the £ or had a fixed rate of exchange with it, effectively came to an end on this day in 1972 when the British government unilaterally applied exchange controls to all its participants—with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands—with the departure of forty-five members from the economic bloc in protest of UK monetary policies. Once the most robust and coherent currency areas, the realisation trade with the continent was more important that historical preferential trading with former parts of the empire prompted the UK to seek closer ties with the European Communities—the Common Market—and devalued, floated the pound ostensibly to halt outflow and flight to the US dollar but many saw it at the time as a concession to France’s objection to UK membership in the organisation that would go on to become the European Union, which repealed its veto the following year. Coincidentally, this day also marks the 2016 anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

Friday, 27 May 2022

8x8

city in a bottle: a bit of micro-coding from Frank Force (previously) decoded—via Waxy    

kr: the Icelandic Graphic Design Association (FรT, Fรฉlag รญslenskra teiknara) issues a challenge to come up with a glyph for their krรณna  

nรฉcessaire: a French borrowing—see also—for kit and carry  

enough: TIME magazine’s cover lists the two-hundred thirteen US cities that have had mass-shootings this year, so far  

social sentinel: a look at the dubious pre-crime predictive software that ill-serves society and the reliance on tech to come to the rescue in general  

party line: last bank of public phones removed from New York City—see also here, here, here and here  

swiss miss: Tina Roth Eisenberg celebrates her seventeenth blogoversary tesserae: MIT Lab develops autonomous modular tiles to create structures and habitats in space

Sunday, 24 April 2022

the snake in the tunnel

Following a referendum in France the day before that admitted the UK, Ireland and Denmark into the Common Market, on this day in 1972 at a summit in Basel the members of the European Economic Community agreed to install an exchange system to limit fluctuations in rates in order that the basket of European currencies would be consistent with the US dollar. With the titular nickname (Schlange im Tunnel, le Serpent monรฉtaire europรฉen), the arrangement was the first attempt to peg the Mark, the Franc and the Pound Sterling to one another that ultimately led to the creation of the euro and was precipitated by the Nixon Shock of the previous year with the repeal of the Bretton Woods system. This coordination, cartel was a method to control appreciation and depreciation and retain relative stability until the following year when the dollar began to float freely and member nations diverged in their response.

Friday, 15 April 2022

7x7

who’s in your wallet: personalities and personages on banknotes—via Waxy (who is turning twenty)

simoom: a decade of dust storms 

hurrian hymn: paean to Mesopotamian goddess Nikkal is the oldest know surviving work of notated music

found photos: saved from oblivion and shared—via Things Magazine (plus a lot more to check out)  

alphabet truck: the whole ABCs on the backside of lorries captured by Eric Tabuchi—via Pasa Bon!  

meme-maker: Dutch national library offers a tool to scour medieval illustrations and marginalia—see also here and here  

the colour of money: a survey of banknote hues from the archives

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

alรพing considered

On this day in 1949, a peaceful march and rally in the Austurvรถllur public square before the national parliament building in Reykjavรญk to protest against the country’s accession to NATO, the Western alliance and re-militarising of Iceland (see previously) unwelcome by many, turned violent after prominent members of the Socialist Party (Sameiningarflokkur alรพรฝรฐu) claimed they were being held hostage, pulled with the rest of the country unwillingly into the Cold War. Protests continued after police dispersed the main crowd with tear gas—the first time such methods were used in Iceland—and the police never again had to resort to such measures until the 2009 Pots and Pans Revolution stemming from the financial crisis, and the people of Iceland have had an ambivalent relationship with sending forces since.

Friday, 4 March 2022

for what it’s worth

Via Kottke we are directed to a highly compelling project from Dillon Marsh that visualises mines in South Africa with a scale model representing the specie, minerals or gemstones extracted from it—like in this composite photograph of the Jubilee Mine in the Namakwa District and the sixty-five-hundred tonnes of copper ore dug from the Earth. Gains seem particularly marginal, inefficient and pathetic in comparison to all the hardships in cost of human toil and exploitation and environmental damage. More at the links above.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

8x8

wild chapluns and pea beasts: the vibrant art of Maria Prymachenko, via Kottke

ill-gotten assets: those who are tracking the jets, yachts and other property of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, via Maps Mania (with more resources)

subway hands: a collection by Hannah La Follette Ryan—via Everlasting Blรถrt
blades & brass: a 1967 short to commemorate the first indoor hockey match, held on this day in 1875  

nostromo: a sixty-second Alien remake using household items (see also)

try to keep up: five news take-aways for today

megamix: Hood Internet (previously) celebrates entering the Naughts with a 90s retrospective, via Boing Boing 

world central kitchen: chef and humanitarian Josรฉ Andrรฉs helps out in Ukraine, via Super Punch

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

chipping norten

On the heels of London’s announcement to belatedly amend for years of courting and suffering oligarchs parking their money in real estate that’s out-priced everyone else and another leak regarding the secreted bank accounts of the wealthy and powerful, Things Magazine presents a medley of tone-deaf and ill-timed revelations on past injustice and the debut of a planned, Palladium Garage Mal Hal neighbouring Blenheim Palace, which is only in the range of said above bad actors.

Friday, 11 February 2022

7x7

heiti and songti: the typefaces that helped China transition to the digital age 

no soup for you: the Fay-Cutler malapropism (see previously) of the week 

memphis milano: iconic design studio of Ettore Sottsass (previously) acquired by Italian furniture company  

earn it act: controversial bill restricting encryption—presented as an anti-trafficking and child safety initiative (see also) passes committee in the US Senate  

quantitative easing: lampooning practises that exacerbate inflation and speculation, an artist in Kuala Lumpur opens Memebank  

all hail hypnotoad: Futurama (previously) returns for an eighth season—with most of the original talent  

dingbats: a typographic homage to pre-emoji Webdings—see also for one carry-over

Saturday, 5 February 2022

skytrain

Offering regular long-haul service from London-Gatwick to JFK International in New York, West Berlin’s Tegel, and Hong Kong with routes to the Caribbean, Gran Canaria, Polynesia and so on, Laker Airways—founded in 1966 as a private charter company by Sir Freddie Laker—was one of the world’s first low-cost carrier, a casualty of the economic recession of the early 1980s had its last flight and declared bankruptcy on this day in 1982 with debts in excess of £270 million making it the largest corporate failure in Britain at the time. Second only to the shorter-lived though equally pioneering Loftleiรฐir of Iceland, the story of this entrepeneurial venture is at one and the same time both inspirational and cautionary, ahead of its time and informing later no-frills airlines and last-minute bookings plus democratising exotic travel, while also helping to draw out the worse aspects of the industry with over-capacity, ghost-flights, territorial hubs and the attendant negative impacts on the environment.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds

On this day in 1537 in the flower market of Haarlem, tulips are unable to fetch or exceed their expected price for the first time during the speculative craze of the Tulipomania—results posted the following day, eroding confidence in contract calls and causing the exchange to collapse spectacularly. Though perhaps the Dutch enterprise as the leading economic and financial power of the time weathered the crisis with relatively few lasting scars—the account and effects taking hold in the popular imagination after journalist Charles Mackay’s above investigation in 1841 (perhaps dissuaded from writing about the more recent South Sea Bubble as hitting too close to home) and modern economists dismiss many anecdotes (patrimony and parcels of land for a single bulb) as illogical and inefficient, the new phenomena nonetheless establishes the discipline of socio-economics and how markets can deviate from intrinsic value.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

artificial scarcity

Via Hyperalleric, we have another update from Molly White on how great Web 3.0 is going (previously) with this dispatch from a New Zealand auction house that sold material contact prints and plate glass negatives from photographer and portrait artist Charles Fredrick Goldie—whose work is problematic, considered reductive and promoting the contemporary thinking that the Mฤori were on the verge of extinction as a culture and colonial paternalism though also a snapshot of heritage that might be otherwise lost to time—bundled with their NTF, which fetched much higher prices than they could otherwise garner, complete with a small mallet—inviting the winning bidder to smash the plate and render the lot digital only—see also. The sales were of a self-portrait of the artist at his easel and not of historic aboriginal elders so this provocation is not such an afford to museums and the art world, though one suspects that bidding was driven by investment and looking for a place to park one’s money rather than an appreciation for art or the subject matter.