Sunday, 19 June 2022

8x8

crisis on terra prime: US president Biden invokes emergency powers to boost solar energy production

midsommar: ten ways to celebrate the June Solstice—via Strange Company  

madagascator projection: another look at mapping and bias—see previously  

unai no tomo: an early twentieth century catalogue of Japanese toys  

imago and eclosion: good pictures of a newly emerged swallowtail  

controlled burn: astronauts have lit thousands of little fires in microgravity to understand its strange behaviour  

you spin right round, baby, right round: the only way to play Weezer’s new singles is to become one’s own turn table—via Waxy  

perovskites: research into making cheap but brittle photovoltaic technology sturdier to rival modern solar cells

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

7x7

exascale: the world’s super computer might be surpassing benchmarks in secret  

hub and spoke: a suite of interactive maps that lets one scour the globe with creeping data spiders  


viral nightmares: more trials of an AI text to image generator  

witkar: a ride-sharing demonstration projection that ran from 1974 to 1986 in Amsterdam  

the firth of forth: some of the world’s best bridges for driving  

whiskey war: the fifty yearlong territorial dispute between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island has been settled  

zeroth law: an AI ethicist believes Google’s LaMDA has attained sentience

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

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

line of demarcation

Signed on this day in its namesake town on the Douro river in 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas (Tratado de Tordesilhas, see previously) divided the so called New World—those lands new to European explorers—between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires along a meridian in the Atlantic judged halfway in between the Cape Verde island group (then a crown colony of Portugal) and the lands claimed for Castile and Leon by Christopher Columbus, modern-day Cuba and Hispaniola) with points east going to the latter and westward to the former. The Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529 defined the antemeridian to address the other side of the globe in order to settle conflicting claims to the Moluccas Islands, an Indonesia archipelago historically called the Spice Islands. Though blessed-off by the pope, newly discovered peoples viewed this claim with disdain and other European powers did not sign on and generally ignored the treaties, Francis I (albeit representing one of the worst future colonisers) declaiming, “The sun shines for me as it does for others. I would very much like to see the clause of Adam’s will that denies me my share of the world.” The signatories considered the arrangement null and void by 1750, notwithstanding competition and their general decline as global powers, swapping rights Brazil and the Philippines.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

7x7

homo loquax: Futility Closet refers us to an expanded listing for the taxonomical name sapient human with some choice Latinate adjectives to describe us 

crate-digging: Jimmy Carter’s grandson is exploring the White House’s surprisingly hip vinyl collection—via Messy Nessy Chic  

le bestiaire fabuleux: a 1948 artists’ collaboration of a surreal and abstract menagerie—see also  

sabbatical: Jason Kottke takes a break from blogging and poses the questions that probably haunt everyone in this community—come back soon  

mรถrkrets makter: the very different (though retaining the epistolary format) unauthorised translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula familiar to Icelanders  

stratification: exploring the historic map layers of London—via Things Magazine  

word-horde: daily vocabulary lessons in Anglo-Saxon words

Thursday, 5 May 2022

gรฉodรฉsie

Celebrated astronomer and geologist Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre on this day in 1792 undertook his commission to precisely define the metre, a universal measure defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator, organising an expedition to measure the length of the meridian arc (distance—the two cities being on the same line of longitude) between Dunkirk and Rodez, by Toulouse in the south of France, mathematically extrapolating from that value, and then from Rodez to Barcelona’s Fortress of Montjuรฏc. The survey mission took six years beset by technical set-backs, bouts of yellow fever and the French Revolution, including several unfortunate incarcerations by Royalist elements. Precise measurements were taken with a device called a repeating circle ( cercle rรฉpรฉtiteur ), invented by machinist Etienne Lenoir originally for Jean-Charles de Borda and improved for Delambre and team. Finally in 1799, the metre was formally defined as 0.514074 Parisien toise (from the Latin tender—that is the span of the outstretched arms, six feet) or three feet and eleven lignes—a historical unit that was approximately one twelfth of an inch and still used by watchmakers to size casings and in button-manufacturing.

Friday, 29 April 2022

pangaea

Via Hyperallergic, we are referred to a nifty tool that lets one explore the geography and lifeforms that would have informed one’s hometown over the รฆons. Developed by engineer and palaeontologist Ian Webster, Ancient Earth ploughs through millions of years of tectonic shifts and rising and receding oceans with insights about fossils found nearby at the time and events defined the particular age and epoch. Despite the until recently relative inhospitability above the waves, one is always hoping that one’s home stays above water—especially in our current Anthropocene. Much more at the link above.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

8x8

trebizond: explore this detailed map of Eurasia in the year 1444—via the always interesting Nag on the Lake  

gotham nocture: a Batman gothic opera  in pre-production

arrowdreams: an anthology of Canadian speculative histories—via Strange Company  

passion project: former store worker curating every last Gap in-store playlist  

out of black ponds, water lilies: an Easter Sunday poem from Better Living through Beowulf  

crisis on infinite earths: Marvel’s inspired splintered dimensions and alternate timelines  

neoliberal pieties: the organised religion of social media is vulnerable to same corruptions and is no substitute for a public good  

latent diffusion: an AI generates maps (plus other artifice) from a text-prompt, via Maps Mania

Saturday, 9 April 2022

8x8

r/place: Josh Wardle’s (previously) first viral success with this collaborative subreddit  

modern screen: an annotated read along of a February 1961 celebrity magazine  

hey hey, rise up: Pink Floyd reunites to support Ukraine  

see you later, percolator: a gallery of vintage, commercial coffee makers  

spotifictional: a streaming back-catalogue of bands from television and the movies 

cheese heist: dairy crime-rings around the world—see also  

scratchcard lanyard: a song from Dry Cleaning 

explordle: guess the global cities as webcam images flit by—via Web Curios

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

8x8

situation of opportunity: a giant soft pillow urban intervention on the streets of Amsterdam—via Messy Nessy Chic 

floor plan: highly detailed drawings of Japanese hotel rooms  

you can’t take it with you: the coffin tradition of the Ga people of Ghana  

photogenic: Tom Hegen captures the symmetries of solar farms  

hobbiton-across-the-water: maps and paintings of Middle Earth curated on-line—see previously  

this is a test—this is only a test: a look at the history of the US emergency broadcast system—see previously  

long life to the lord of men: jade burial suits from the Han dynasty  

anchors in the afterlife: a collection of non-human resting-places

Friday, 18 March 2022

8x8

the fiume endeavour: Neutral Moresnet and other countries that fell off the map 

international male: thirty-three national costumes from the 2022 Mister Global pageant via Miss Cellania  

odette and odile: a diminutive chihuahua and human handler perform Swan Lake  

smpte colour bars: a BBC test pattern jumper and mural—see also  

bad actor mode: an AI normally tasked with developing new, novel medications had its parameters switched seek out toxicity and suggests tens of thousands of chemical weapons and poisons in the space of a few hours—via Slashdot 

 cameo appearance: Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams portrayed the President of United Earth on the season finale of Star Trek and brought the planet back into the Federation 

state-of-the-art: ten breakthrough technologies online now that could change our trajectory for the better—via Kottke  

geopolitics: charting the advance of democracy

Saturday, 12 March 2022

7x7

w / n / p / a/: the beauty and brutality of the natural world—via Web Curios   

fly around: a happy tune from Bill Wurtz—via Waxy 

skramm-ellegepladser: what Scandi culture can teach the world about fun and playfulness 

 theatrum orbis terrarum: the first modern world atlas, created and published in Antwerp in 1571 by Abraham Ortelius 

llรชn gwerin: illustrated Welsh cats from 1910  

grand tour: visit the great cities of Europe all within the confines of Ohio—see also  

best in show: a selection of the superlative entries for the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards—some are quite accidentally like a Renaissance painting

Sunday, 6 March 2022

8x8

wayfinder: Polynesian palm frond and seashell navigational charts  

zoned for resimercial: reaction offices and the future of the workplace  

the final nail in the coffin: a proposal for a casket one drills in the ground  

such freedom: a convoy of truckers whose grievance is less clear picks up some hitchhikers along the way in the form of a la carte conspiracy theories 

fashion forward: RIP to Elsa Klench (*1930) host of the long running Style segment on CNN  

don’t know much about geology: James Sowerby’s 1884 illustrated study of catastrophic British mineralogy  

the neutra house: the hilltop compound that belongs to Red Hot Chilli Pepper Flea has strong evil villain lair energy—and is on the market—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

glonass: mapping tools and satellite imagery as a prelude to the information war over Ukraine

Friday, 18 February 2022

synchronoptic view

Our trusted cartographer presents a medley of historical-dynamic maps that transport one to different epochs and eras, redrawing borders and boundaries through the course of human events, each specialising in a certain enhanced visualisation of neighbourliness and development, and we especially were taken with Running Reality with a sliding timeline that macroscopically traces the advance and retreat of kingdoms or zoomed in, the growth of cities and towns, by day, decade and century. Explore the entire tool-box at Maps Mania at the link up top.

7x7

pigeon fancy: Emil Schachtzabel illustrates unnatural selection in prize breeds  

act local, think global: a twenty-question quiz about one’s bioregion, immediate surroundings and a challenge for low-scorers 

onomastic terminology: petrichor, overmorrow, interrobangs and other proper orthonyms  

wysiwyg: Jane Austen used straight pins to edit the rough drafts of her manuscripts before word processors and correction-liquid  

device orchestra: various peripherals, gadgets and appliances perform “Seven Nation Army”  

pandemic cartograms: our unvaccinated world  

hodowla goล‚ฤ™bi: profiling Poland’s pigeon keepers, moving up in the pecking-order

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

6x6

taxon: vintage animal family cards  

property values: Trump family accounting firm drops them as a client, disavows the validity of a decade’s worth of business assessments  

able baker: a collection of US museum ships—via Things Magazine  

daily constitutional: map out one’s lunch-hour ambulations 

wobo: Heineken breweries in the early 1960s produced brick-like bottles that could double as construction material, via Messy Nessy Chic  

metamates: Facebook staff receive a new official monicker aligned with corporate branding

Thursday, 10 February 2022

worldle

Always game for a geography challenge and admittedly a Wordle enthusiast (see previously), we are now obsessed with this puzzle from Maps Mania that invites players to guess a country by its cartographic outlines, as opposed its place in the gazetteer, with prising out world cities becomes a fun expanded version too. Just as with the original challenge, there is only one country listed per day.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

enhance

Trusted guide Maps Mania refer us to an incredible useful heuristic tool under development by Josh Nelson and Jinnan Zhange called Optica, which allows users to explore terrain at three different zoom scales at once with a variety of interactive, concurrent topography emphasised. Much more, including a simpler method to fetch a quad-chart of a plot of land, at the link above.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

8x8

eye-in-the-sky: a collection of superlative drone photography 

gravitational lensing: tentatively, astronomers find evidence of the first rogue, marauding black hole over a backdrop of nebular clouds 

wheel of fortune: Wordle but with common quotations and idioms—via Memo of the Air

para||el: a short film about divergent realities by Mรฉnilmonde  

building & loan: more on the economics of gift-cards—see also  

staying toasty: bread hats and loafers, see also  

three little words: what3words (see previously) solves some problems for vehicle guidance and navigation, causes others—via Duck Soup  

to open every kind of lock: burglars’ spells and incantations 

scotus: a former law clerk writes the Wikipedia articles on Biden’s prospective nominees to the US Supreme Court in order to insert doubt and skepticism, via Super Punch  

bird’s eye view: a parrot in New Zealand pilfers a family’s Go-Pro and films some nice scenery

Sunday, 16 January 2022

6x6

teed-off: the worse examples of gerrymandered voting precincts in the US portrayed as formidable mini-golf hazards—via Print Magazine  

blursday afternoon is never ending: time reforms for 2022 

toponymy: Wordle (previously) place-names editions—see also 

la pista automobilistica: Nag on the Lake gives us the chance to revisit the incredible Fiat factory in Turin with rooftop test-track  

crying is for plain women—pretty women go shopping: season one Golden Girls are younger than the cast of the Sex in the City reboot and other essential reading  

undercounted: email traffic reveals how Trump interfered with US census to ensure polities with large immigrant populations didn’t gain clout