Friday, 30 September 2022

please confirm that your surname is indeed St&252;vel (10. 181)

Hard to believe that there is still no work-around for otherwise sturdy legacy software that goes all fragile over apostrophes and accent marks (not to mention the so-called smarter algorithms that vex users with the Scunthorpe problem), but as this gloss from Language Log relates the ticketing programme used by national carrier Aer Lingus won’t accept ostensibly the most common Irish last names like O’Connor and O’Brien, a state of affairs that has been a known dilemma for quite some time, which the airline apologies for. What do you think? Have you had to contend with such constraining inputs? We wonder how domestic equivalents might fare.

Monday, 19 September 2022

many-eyed seraphim (10. 150)

The Multiocular O (give it googly eyes, lots of them) is a hapax legomenon in glyph form of the Cyrillic alphabet, occurring just once in the known lexicon as ะผะฝ҄ะพ๊™ฎั‡ะธั‚ั—ะน in Old Church Slavonic (previously). In addition to the reminder of how strange and monstrous biblical angels are supposed to be, there is a current petition to revise the Unicode representation to make it more accurate.

Saturday, 17 September 2022

7x7 (10. 141)

jezero: Perseverance explores a Martian crater  

lingthusiasm: an interview with xkcd author Randall Munroe on hypothetical questions about language and orthography—via Language Log  

achievement unlocked: a radical redesign for Girl Scout badges—see also  

3½, 5¼: an interview with the last purveyor of floppy disks—via JWZ  

emoticons: more on the IPA, EPA (English Phonotypic Alphabet), Issac Pitman and other champions of spelling reform from Shady Characters  

jazz and cats: the life and surrealistic art of Gertrude Abercrombie  

earth below us: outstanding images from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

Saturday, 10 September 2022

8x8 (10. 124)

the girl from ipanema: the Yahoo! GeoCities (previously) Midi project has gathered a collection of over one-hundred and fifty thousand chiptunes, via Web Curios  

summer island: a graphic horror novella that’s a collaboration between a story authored by a human and illustrations courtesy a machine 

bill-of-sale: receipts and letterhead of the Old East End  

null island: the imaginary location at the intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (see previously) that exists by necessity  

premium vector: a selection of 90s cursor effects (trails, rainbows) that can be incorporated into one’s website—via ibฤซdem  

trichromacy: fascinating etymologies of words for colours—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

b-poty: avian photography of the year  

pattern recognition: more on mondegreens and misheard lyrics

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

7x7 (10. 112)

all the news that’s fit to print: a curated collection of kiosks from around the world from Trevor Traynor—via Present /&/ Correct  

tomato cain: an anthology of the short fiction of Nigel Kneale—perhaps better known for his screenplays, like The Stone Tape Theory  

national defensive design strategy revisited: another look at the style book (see also) of the US government  

finding out that you accidentally wrote five pages in cursive: our AI wrangler Janelle Shane (previously) charges a neural network to explain human behaviour quirks  

flareup: a 1969 Raquel Welch vehicle  

wild palms: a 1993 cyberpunk soap opera that aired on US network television  

movable-type: the Ruckwanderer innovation and how the Chinese incorporated the keyboard—see previously

Thursday, 1 September 2022

a, e, i, o, u—and sometimes y (10. 103)

As part of an engrossing, thoroughgoing examination of the alphabet’s terminal letters and the semi-vowels, our modern w’s and y’s and their received orthography and form, The History of English Podcast, in the latest episode, informs that the in the prevailing Blackletter or Gothic scribal style, the risers (see also) are referred to as minims—the simplest stroke, the “i” and the source of our modern minimal and derived terms (hence, “I do not care one iota”) and these vertical elements, making for the quickest recording and transcription with a quill, sacrificed legibility for the sake of speed and economy of space—the word itself and others with m’s, n’s, u’s and i’s looking like a picket fence. Scribes found idiosyncratic ways of making texts clearer and reducing transmission errors by adding a tittle or a jot, and using a “y” for an ending “i.” Much more at the links above.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

7x7 (10. 098)

nerva i: scrapped space programme with nuclear rockets aimed at a crewed Mars mission  

der anschlag: Anglophone retitling of foreign films—see previously  

xenobots: reframing how we think of epigenetics and gene maps–see also

superposition: a handwashing guide posted in a physics laboratory lavatory–see previously

extended orthography: facilitating digital communication in First Nations’ syllabics—see also  

yฤntรกi delenda est: more Chinglish roundups  

artemis i: the inaugural mission to return the Moon—previously

Sunday, 14 August 2022

9x9 (10. 059)

i’m sorry but this is quite clearly a haunted murder panda and/or the protagonist of moshfegh’s next novel. do not buy: an assortment of random oddities that one preeminent author is selling her online emporium—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (check it out!)  

quasi-modal: apparently “thy shall be done” is a thing now  

eye of the beholder: an AI visits a contemporary art museum 

printers’ auxiliaries: a beautiful 1940 book of typefaces from the Gujarati foundry  

if marisol and nilofer are the only non-white women at the staff meeting, how frequently will each be called by the other’s name: word problems for female professionals that aren’t so non-sequitur  

pulp power: the mainstay illustrative style of 1930s and 40s serial fiction  

heat dumping: searching for the etymology of the adaptive behaviour of splooting—which is referred to in England as squirrel “pancaking” 

world englishes: the OED on Irish’s contribution to language—see previously  

a lamb himself: an excerpt from Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Lapvona

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

Thursday, 7 July 2022

8x8

did someone say beveragino: the rise of the hun culture and naff couture 

to california and back again: more on the prolific, pioneering photographer Lora Webb Nichols (previously)—via Messy Nessy Chic  

satanic panic: the enigmatic Guidestones monument (previously) in the US state of Georgia was demolished following blast  

rats, sinking ship, you know the drill: a tranche of key minister and secretaries leave the Johnson government, demand his resignation  

ฮผฮตฮปฮนฯ„ฮถฮฌฮฝฮฑ: entrepreneurs from the island of Crete produce a promotional video to boost candied eggplant sales 

shift happens: modifier keys and more on the history and development of keyboards, via Waxy 

baade’s window: a selection of superlative photographs of the Milky Way for the Star Festival 

poolboy: more rosรฉwave playlists from NPR

Thursday, 30 June 2022

7x7

stare decisis: the phrase “to stand by things decided,” the doctrine of affording preference to precedent is post-Classical Legal Latin  

day at the beach: Ludwig Favre immerses himself at Brooklyn’s Coney Island—via Nag on the Lake 

kunst und keksdose: the art vintage German biscuit tins 

tubeway army: Are ‘Friends’ Electric? by Gary Numan climbs to the top of the charts on this day in 1979   

merrily, merrily, merrily: distinguishing dreams from waking  

full-stop: Gertrude Stein and others on punctuation  

hallux: Latin’s lack of distinction for fingers and toes—see also here and here

Saturday, 18 June 2022

branding identity

Having previously showcased lettering artist Rafael Serra, PRINT magazine was quick to recognise his 1980s-informed logo inspiring another new management’s corporate image. Be sure to check out Serra’s whole nostalgic, bold portfolio recasting iconic labels at the link above or at the graphic designer’s website, particularly the iterations of fast food franchises in corresponding styles.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

7x7

null island: errant data lands at this imaginary place at the intersection of the equator and the prime meridian (see also)

miscellany № 95: assorted links from Shady Characters, including some emoji code for illicit drugs  

fairlight synths: Kate Bush rediscovered by new audiences with her 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill”—previously  

mullet sneakers: for mental health 

¶ the encyclopedia of light is a curious mode of escape:the strike-through as a form of shadow writing, contextual undoing  

linkroll: your friendly reminder to pay a visit to the cabinet of hypertext curiosities of the illustrious Mx van Hoorn—previously 

terra nullus: a tour of ten off-limits places

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Via two of our favourite blogs, the Everlasting Blรถrt and Pasa Bon!, we are directed to the Peculiar Manicule, a celebration of the Day-Glo psychedelia of the 1960s and 1970s and curating the museum of Mod Manicules with an extensive gallery of vintage clip art of the pointing glyph—see previously.

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, 22 May 2022

nsibidi

Having encountered the pictographic, symbolic system of writing beforehand as the export, cultural transmission of veve via the transatlantic trade of enslaved people, we appreciated this further gloss on nsibidi used by the Ekoi, Efik and Igbo peoples of southern Nigeria, its use far from ornamental for wall and fabric designs, tattoos and calabashes, decorated gourds, and maintained as a form of communication and documentation by semi-secret societies, the everyday use of its public-facing, profane set of glyphs and secret, sacred characters (plus an extended character set reserved for the exclusive use of women—see also) is much diminished after colonial occupation. Archaeological evidence and ethnographic studies suggest that this still living and adapting script was in use as early as the fifth century AD and developmentally is as sophisticated as the more familiar hieroglyphics of the Ancient Egyptians—though without the same level of public interest or provenance.

Friday, 20 May 2022

alcuin

Poet, academic, Abbot of Tours and recruited into the court of Charlemagne who wanted to retain “the most learned man anywhere to be found,” Alcuin of York (previously) is feted as a blessed man on this day on the occasion of the anniversary of his death in 804 (*735, actually a day prior but upstaged by the veneration of Dunstan). A prolific writer and scholar, Alcuin, styled in Latin Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus, contributed to the creation of and standardisation of Carolingian minuscule—that is, mixed case script, credited with the invention of the question mark and among his teaching materials is a collection of maths word problems and logic puzzles called Propositiones ad acuendos juvenes (Problems to Sharpen Youths—see also) which includes the first written mention of the wolf, goat and cabbage problem wherein a farmer is challenged to get himself and his purchases to the opposite bank of a river with everything intact.

Friday, 6 May 2022

7x7

⚠️: a pictogramatical survey of caution wet floor signs—via Pasa Bon!  

load-bearing bifurcation: engineers incorporate sturdy, often-discarded tree forks in construction  

thameside tv: clips from London’s first pirate station—see also  

no tofu: the Noto typeface (previously) a suite of emoji  

unit patch: the more inscrutable badges of the US Space Force—see previously  

pocket mac: the process of designing a fake vintage product 

: Unicode Consortium’s growing list of astronomical glyphs, magical charms

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Via Boing Boing, we are directed towards a mysterious, little used symbol on the Miscellaneous Technical block of Unicode known variously as Right Angle Downward Zig-Zag Arrow or by the name of an apocryphal (not on our demonic calendar but nonetheless can be summoned with an & into HTML) infernal earl called Angzarr, and going down this rabbit hole to find out more about the character (see previously) reveals a lot about the origins of typesetting, coding and what artefacts and skeuomorphs get preserved. No definitive answer is yielded up yet the value is all in the journey and of course one can—like with a suite of emoji—assign it a meaning. To me the sigil looks like a representation of three-dimensional axes and an easy way to convey depth. What do you think?

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

8x8

catwalk: the home of architect of Vittorio Garatti in Milan—via Messy Nessy Chic  

inktrap: a Japanese typeface design book from 1957—via Present /&/ Correct  

operation danube: the Soviet invasion of Prague (see previously) in pictures—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

east-enders: a retrospective look at women protesting for peace in the 1980s in London  

river antban country club: blindly, an AI tries naming golfing ranges (see previously

carrousel: Logan’s Run plus spin-offs—see previously

bones mccoy: a compilation of Deforest Kelley pronouncing  

not chav: a fresh perspective on London’s council houses