Tuesday, 31 January 2023

7x7 (10. 513)

nothing, forever: an endless AI generated episode of Seinfeld, livestreamed—via Waxy 

construction spree: an annual survey of China’s Ugliest Buildings  


fictive flyover: still photographs of the Red Planet captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter transformed into a stunning video  

word of the day: eleemosynary—that which is supported by charity—and gives us the derived term alms  

he gets us: the billion dollar rebranding of Jesus—mostly financed through dark money, via Super Punch  

35f no pmh, p/w cp: OpenAI gives a correct diagnosis but can’t show its work, fabricating a fake citation for its conclusion—via the new shelton wet/dry  

yeldard: a forgotten British television oddity rediscovered in Paul Bradley

Saturday, 21 January 2023

the sun is a mass of incandescent gas (10. 486)

Via Weird Universe, we are directed towards a collection of educational songs on the topic of astronomy performed by Dottie Evans and Tom Glazer and written by Hy Zaret (lyricist behind “Unchained Melody”, “The Partisan”) one LP in a series of six, “Singing Science,” meant to expose children to a variety of topics in the late 1950s through catchy little tunes. We especially liked “Constellation Jig” and “Planet Minuet.” Science fiction author Isaac Asimov praises these inspirational songs after his children received them as a gift and of course They Might Be Giants (previously) recorded a cover of the above “Why does the Sun Shine?"

Thursday, 12 January 2023

7x7 (10. 410)

salt of the earth: a tour of Ukraine’s Soledar salt mines—presently under siege 

black mass: Boston is hosting the Satanic Temple’s SatanCon—see previously

verpertilio-homo: what the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 reveals about contemporary misinformation  

lhs 475ฮฒ: JWST discovers its first exoplanet—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

discretionary time off: salaried Microsoft employees given unlimited vacation leave  

jot and tittle: an unorthodox scholar ferrets out biblical forgeries  

russie d’aujourd’hui: a look back at Soviet boosterism and propaganda publications

Saturday, 7 January 2023

8x8 (10. 395)

notional counting: amateur archaeologist proffers the theory that markings on ancient cave paintings may communicate information about quarry animals’ life cycles—pushing back the origins of writing ten-thousand years  

social recession: declining trust, friendship and adult activities by the numbers—via tmn  

brick and mortem: the surprising, seemingly non-sequir resurgence of a chain of bookshops  

arrakhis: the European Space Agency launches a tiny satellite to search for dark matter  

metroid as directed by paul verhoeven: imaging 90s video games as feature films—see previously  

little d: a Defender-style camper conversion kit unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon  

upward falling payloads: proposals for an orbiting warehouse and fulfilment centre  

mirabile scriptu: phony but possibly plausibly kanji generated by AI for abstract concepts—particularly appealing is one for the Chief Twit, ็Ž‹ (pronounced wang, meaning king)

Saturday, 31 December 2022

colour-by-number (10. 376)

Among the first detailed satellite views of an extraterrestrial planet came in the form of telemetric data from the Mariner IV probe as it passed over the surface of Mars, but absent a technique to quickly encode and render that information as a picture—for a public eager to confirm or be disabused of the prospect of Little Green Men—mission engineers plotted the imaging data on a grid and buying a set of pastels from a nearby arts and crafts shop (told that their desired shaded chalk was for hardware stores), in preternaturally accurate tones of sienna, umber and buff, and filled in the landscape nearly instantaneously from the point of view of the awaiting, at-home audience—something we take for granted today. More to see from Kottke at the link above.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

9x9 (10. 381)

deep field: JWST scans the skies  

mar1d: in-game action as our protagonist would experience the Mushroom Kingdom—like Flatland—via Kottke  

ny๐ŸŒณ: the City’s popular tree map updated to include a hundred thousand park residents—via Map Room  

even a cat can look at the queen: an exhibition of fine feline art 

tumbleword: a daily challenge from Jer Thorp—via Waxy  

math and the mechanics: the surprising origin story of the Cura Calculator 

cervoise: brewer informed by ancient herbal and unhopped beer predecessor  

world in motion: New Order’s 1990 World Cup anthem—via Digg  

splash down: Artemis’ Orion capsule (previously) returns after a perfectly executed trial run

Saturday, 10 December 2022

7x7 (10. 376)

symphony № 9 boogie: a one hundred and seventy piece orchestra plays Beethoven on the Matryomin—a theremin inside a Russian nesting doll 

psychopomp: Santa Claus has origins as a magic-mushroom dispensing Sami shaman—see previously

 

your yolo years: Pinterest Predicts for 2023 with their not-yet-trending report—via The Curious Brain 

747: after fifty-four years, the final production model of the Boeing aircraft leaves the factory  

cancel couture: at just under a thousand dollars and designed to filter out noise and air pollution, the Dyson Zone is perfect for the misanthrope on your Christmas list 

dumpster fire: marginal Democrat now declared independent as trash receptacles—via The Everlasting Blรถrt 

dearmoon: billion selects eight artists for first voyage around Earth’s satellite aboard prrivate orbiter

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

7x7 (10. 325)

99.9% of people will never get to experience what you will: NASA's social media guidelines for astronauts—via tmn  

cosmic christmas: an animated short from the studio of Nelvana, contracted to do interstitials for The Star Wars Holiday Special

the kiss: the first filmed act of intimacy by pioneer Eadweard Muybridge—see previously  

all systems go: Orion orbiter begins its loop around the Moon  

photobomb: finalists from the seventh annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards––previously—via the Everlasting Blรถrt  

before there was hope in the galaxy, there was andor: Rogue One prequel presented as a mid-70s television series—spoiler alerts—see previously 

edge of space: a maritime cosmodrome with a carbon neutral balloon for rides into the stratosphere—via tmn

solaris (10. 324)

We’ve previously looked at proposals for a broadcast energy transmitter (here and here) but feel that the technology and will have arrived for this monumental though practical, feasible project that the European Space Agency is presently considering. Space chiefs from member countries of the association are holding their triennial council to decide what programmes and initiatives will be funded and to budget their pooled resources for priorities. In circulation for several decades now but never seriously contemplated until recent years with the precipitous drop in the cost of launching payloads into space, increased efficiency and virtually autonomous construction, researchers believe that installing massive photovoltaic elements in geostationary orbit (as to always face the Sun) will prove cost-effective and might be nicely complementary endeavour to this hypothetical sunshade . The energy is converted into microwave radiation and beamed down to Earth where it is reconverted and put on the electrical grid. More at the links above.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

ะปัƒะฝะพั…ะพะด-1 (10. 311)

 Russian for “Moonwalker I,” the robotic, remote-controlled lunar rover Lunokhod-1 landed in the MareImbrium (Sea of Rains) on this day in 1970 for a mission which far surpassed its designed lifetime of approximately ninety Earth days, three lunar days, to travel over ten kilometres in the course of nearly an Earth year’s time, eleven lunar days. The mission officially concluded after communications ceased and attempts to re-establish contact discontinued on the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik in 1971 after beaming back thousands of images and high-resolution panoramic shots as well as soil sampling and analyses.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

orion (10. 309)

After a series of delays (see previously here and here) the first uncrewed mission of the Artemis programme took off in a predawn launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying aloft the empty (Snoopy and a cadre of mannequins were on board to gauge for radiation and stress levels) capsule, named after the goddess’ giant hunting partner and cast amongst the stars after his accidentally blinding as the source of the phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants,’ on a twenty-five day, two-million kilometre test-flight that will see the craft fly around the Moon and back before splash-down on 11 December. This exercise will prove crucial to later crewed missions scheduled for 2025 with the ultimate goal of establishing a permanent, long-term presence on our satellite and have a staging platform for further exploration.

innerspace (10. 307)

Designed by astrophysicist Frank Drake (see previously) with input from Carl Sagan and others as a proof-of-concept demonstration rather than an attempt to enter into to dialogue with extra-terrestrials and criticised as being too low-resolution to be recognisable to future recipients, the Arecibo Message (see also here and here) was beamed from the radio observatory in Puerto Rico on this date in 1974, aimed in the direction of the globular star cluster M13, some twenty-five thousand light-years from Earth. When encoded graphically, the some sixteen hundred bits of data produce the pictured image with seven elements, from top to bottom: the decimal system, the valance of the elements that make up DNA, the chemical formula for the constituent nucleotides, the approximate number of said organic molecules in the human genome with representation of the double-helix structure, the average dimensions of a human male plus the Earth’s population (four billion, compared to eight billion presently), a representation of the Solar System and finally in purple, the Arecibo telescope. The precise number of bits, 1 679, is a semiprime—that is, the product of two prime numbers, seventy-three and twenty-three, to prompt one toward the right orientation, the alternate arrangement producing static. An answer came in 2001 in the form of a crop circle near the Chilbolton radio telescope in Hampshire—rather intricately replacing the carbon-based DNA with silicon and the pictogram of the human figure looks alien—though this reply was unfortunately an elaborate hoax.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

gemini xii (10. 296)

On the second day of the final crewed mission of the programme demonstrating that astronauts can work effectively outside spacecraft and making commencement of the Apollo project possible, on this day in 1966, during his first space walk (extravehicular activity—see also here and here), Edwin E “Buzz” Aldrin Junior snapped the first selfie in orbit––see also. This proof-of-concept training exercise included two additional excursions, a rendezvous and a docking (see above) and piloted an automated reentry sequence.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

7x7 (10. 284)

big bounce: some astrophysicists suspect that things were happening in the Cosmos prior to the Big Bang—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

nogoodnik: Russia reactivates its bot and troll army to muddy the US mid-term elections  

fivethirtyeight: mapping out when individual voting jurisdictions announce results  

jazz harp: the musical stylings of Turiyasangitananda—a.k.a. Ms Alice Coltrane—via Messy Nessy Chic

false prophets: a denunciation of America’s Christian nationalism—via Miss Cellania  

battleground states: artists reflect on the consequential American election 

hero’s journey: avoiding the perils of the monomyth in storytelling

Thursday, 20 October 2022

eagle eye (10.240)

JWST released a fresh, incredibly detailed image of the Pillars of Creation (previously), columns of densehydrogen gas and dust in the stellar nursery called the Eagle Nebula some sixty-five hundred light years away in the constellation Serpens. The resolution is so sharp thanks to the telescope’s infrared vision and able to filter through some of the errant particles of the clouds and peer into the new stars forming within. The astrophotography of JWST’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, taken in 1995 and 2004—see above, propelled the distant vista, likely formed in the wake of a shockwave of a super nova into the popular imagination and made the iconic image, surely long since eroded and dispersed, part of our shared culture.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

7x7 (10. 239)

actually: summoning the Candymansplainer 

doktor semmelweis i presume: how it took three decades to convince surgeons to wash their hands in the context of contemporary inconvenience  

kessler syndrome: more on orbital space junk—see previously  

one-dimensional: construction starts on the linear megacity in the desert—see previously  

woodpeckers in space: an 80s Danish hit 

not alone: most kanji readers cannot read it in cursive—see also  

based on a true story: horror classics inspired by actual events

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

7x7 (10. 195)

also sprach zarathustra: Raquel Welch dances to a disco-funk version of the Strauss classic 

information overload: a survey of pictorial statistics’ evolution to the infographic  

great chain of being: Evard d’Espinque illustrates the fifteenth century De Proprietatibus Rerum 

this lady is for turning: after precipitating markets instability and provoking decent from within the party, the Prime Minister and Chancellor walk back unfunded tax cuts for the rich  

fancy dress party: Jane Asher’s book of costumes  

search engine: glean answers to queries from passages in literature, conversation rather than Google Search—via Swiss Miss  

phone a friend: 1-900 hotlines in the United States 

daisy, daisy—give me your answer, do: witnessing a demonstration of the IBM 704 in 1961 inspired Arthur C Clarke

telstar (10. 194)

Primarily a session band playing as backup for many Decca productions, the English electronic and instrumental group The Tornados had several hits in their own right to include the single named after the communication satellite launched in July, that climbed to the top of UK charts on this day in 1962 and would go on to be the first single to reach number one in the US as well. Futuristic-sounding even by contemporary standards, it features the talents of Clem Cattini, Alan Caddy, Roger LaVern, George Bellamy and Heinz Burt on bass. The group disbanded by the middle of the decade with their final track, a B-side, “Do You Come Here Often?,” widely considered to be the first openly gay song put out by any label. Below, appropriate for International Space Week, is the original scopitone video.

Monday, 3 October 2022

7x7 (10. 191)

stanford torus: maybe if we solve Earth, we can have a little space donut as a treat—see previously

matriculation: Merriam-Webster’s Word Induction Ceremony for a class of 369 neologisms

industrial light and magic: a coming-of-age film set during the summer of Star Wars released after being shelved for twenty years—because of the prequels—via Miss Cellania  

elections matter: revisiting The Survey Graphic, February 1939 edition  

toyko build: exquisite scale models of structures and architectural elements from around the metropolis

gesprรคch einer hausschnecke mit sich selbst: a snail’s monologue in verse  

feline dynamics: the US Air Force tossed cats in zero-gravity to study its effects on human physiology—see also—via Everlasting Blรถrt