Monday, 26 September 2022

knight industries two thousand (10. 169)

Premiering on the NBC television network on this day in 1982 and running for four seasons, Knight Rider, created by Glen A Larson (Alias Smith & Jones, Battlestar Galactica, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo), covers protagonist Michael Knight, a lieutenant detective with the LAPD who was cosmetically robocopped after being betrayed by an informant and industrial espionage expert. Disfigured and officially declared dead, Knight is given reconstructive surgery (appearing as David Hasselhoff—see also) and teamed up with a nearly indestructible, sentient car, KITT (previously) to fight crime in the name of public justice, under the pilot organization of philanthropist billionaire Wilton Knight (no relation) called FLAG (Foundation for Law and Government).

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

7x7 (10.082)

the traffic cone preservation society: a venerable and conserved web artefact—see also—via Weird Universe  

red light, green light: authorities in China are not changing traffic-control scheme despite rumours to the contrary 

harmonices mundi: listening to Johannes Kepler’s music of the spheres—see previously  

wagahai wa neku de aru: selected sayings about cats and dogs in Japan  

45°, 90°, 180°: after more than half a century, Michael Heizer’s lost desert city is complete  

perfect impasto: ongoing research into Rembrandt’s Night Watch—see previously  

happy belated blogoversary: Miss Cellania turns twenty-two

Friday, 12 August 2022

7x7 (10. 055)

zone improvement plan: the Swinging Six ensemble sing the praises of the ZIP code (1967)—see also  

unsealed warrant: FBI recovered multiple boxes of top secret and classified documents from the Trump residence during Monday’s search  

coo-coo for cookie crisp: recreating vintage breakfast cereal with machine learning—see previously  

mulder & scully: full script of an unmade episode of the X-Files—via Super Punch  

that old black magic that you weave so well: Clavis Inferni (The Key of Hell), an illustrated spell book from 1775 

retrofit: more on the noir aesthetic (more here and here) of vintage automobiles converted in electric vehicles 

 like & subscribe: the long and short history of the newsletter—both print and digital

tin lizzy (10. 054)

Designed by the engineering team of Joseph Galamb, Eugene Farkas and Childe Harold Wills and hailed as the United States entrรฉe into the modern machine era, the first Ford Model T was built on this day in 1908 at the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detriot—leaving the factory at the end of the following month. Proceeding through the alphabet sequentially starting with Model A in 1903, though not all vehicles went into production, Henry Ford ended the series here with the first mass-produced automobile, using an assembly line (though credit for the concept is owed to Ransom E Olds) and interchangeable, standardised parts—marketed to a growing middle class that was in the reach of most. Just under fifteen-million were produced (a record not surpassed until the Volkswagen Beetle in and within a decade over half the cars on American roads were Model T, and while Ford’s pronouncement to his managers, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” was not apocryphal during the first four years of production only green, grey, blue and red was available

Thursday, 4 August 2022

7x7 (10. 037)

@artbutsports: juxtaposing scenes from professional sports with classical painting  

nearly right: an intriguing Chinese language t-shirt circulating on social media  

sommelier: a Rube Goldbergesque contraption that we would be far too impatient for  

flying down to rio: a profile of movie star Lolita Dolores Martรญnez Asunsolo Lรณpez Negrette 

requiescat in pace: an obituary of antipope Michael, who believed that there had been no legitimate pontiff since Vatican II  

wikenigma: compiling a compendium of unknowns—via Pasa Bon!  

pop cars: visit an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s colourful automobiles alongside the classic models that inspired them

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

9x9 (10. 032)

iron monger: a preserved Victoria shopping alley hidden underneath an Edwardian arcade in Yorkshire  

u1ke: a constrained coding experiment from Frank Force (previously) lets you strum on a 1024 byte ukulele—via Waxy  

put a tiger in your tank: a brilliant, bizarre vintage ESSO filling-station commercial from Italy  

white-washing: researchers develop a highly radiative paint that cools the ambient air—see also  

call me ishmael: imagining a multinational coffee purveyor as other characters from Moby Dick  

carbon-negative: biogenic limestone grown by algae as a concrete substitute 

future farming: an exploration of sustainable, incidental agriculture  

transcorporeality: bug-swallowing in fiction  

spectacular vernacular ii: more architectural quirks, including witch-windows

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

Saturday, 28 May 2022

8x8

scotch tapes: commercials, idents and continuity from British television from 1984 salavaged from VHS casettes  

boldly go!: a medley of songs from and about the Star Trek franchise—see also  

apiculture: a survey of bee hives throughout the ages  

latex: Goodyear and the US Department of Defence are partnering to manufacture tyres from dandelions—see previously  

kleksographien: revisiting the blotograms (previously) of Justinus Kerner plus other inspired symmetries  

red wine and ginger ale: Vulture correspondent Rebecca Alter samples all the food combinations referenced in Harry’s House  

diagrammatic map: another look at how Massimo Vignelli presented mass transit to the masses—see previously here and here—via Things magazine  

the fantastic journey: an obscure 1977 time-travel series starring Joan Collins and John Saxon

Thursday, 26 May 2022

8x8

nebeskรฝ most 721: a walkway spanning two peaks in in eastern Bohemia 

shunpikes: byways constructed to bypass toll roads, like spite houses

‘no way to prevent this,’ says only nation where this regularly happens: America’s gun culture enshrined by an eighteenth century constitution illustrated in seven charts—via Miss Cellania 

i guess i have to put your flat feet on the ground: astronaut Sally Ride (*1951)  

imagen: Google tool turns input text to images—see previously  

security detail: firearms off-limits during Trump’s speech to the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum—via Boing Boing  

fahrenheit 451: Margaret Atwood’s fire-resistant edition of The Handmaid’s Talesee previously 

liminal places: a portrait of the Estonian border town of Narva on the frontier of the EU and NATO and the Russian Federation

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

7x7

conservation of momentum: a Newton’s Cradle performs Psy’s K-Pop classic  

the tweter: a sweater for two  

the elephant: an Ames inspired trainer—see previously  

trust-fall: a collection of Italian ex-votos (previously) depicting divine intervention during a stumble 

the bond bug: a three-wheeled two-seater produced by Reliant Motor Company—via Pasa Bon!  

amphorae: Ukrainian soldiers digging trenches outside of Odesa discover ancient Greek artefacts   

bill medley: the ending sequence of Dirty Dancing set to the theme of The Muppet Show—via Boing Boing

Saturday, 26 March 2022

7x7

the hay-bailer, that chain-maker: an assortment of highly satisfying precision industrial machines at work

mars & beyond: a 1957 Disney film narrated by Paul Frees about extraterrestrial life

pelagic zone: the highly specialised eyes of the strawberry squid (see previously)  

nymphรฉas: often dismissed as victim of his own popularity and over-exposure, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series was far from a tame variation on a theme but rather a memorial to lives lost in the Great War  

aerial photo explorer: historic birds-eye-view images of England—see previously—via Things Magazine  

tired vs wired: a Twitter bot that generates aphoristic comparisons between Web 2.0 and the Web 3.0 to come, via Web Curios  

vertical parking: towering garages to remedy congestion

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

batmobile lost a wheel

Having previously poured over the custom automotive creations of George Barris (previously here and here) and his various commissions for film and television, we enjoyed this introduction to the body of work of Jay Ohrberg, which aside from super-stretch limousines, include KITT from the last season of Knight Rider (see above), the DeLorean from Back to the Future and ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters. Much more from Messy Nessy Chic at the link above.

Friday, 21 January 2022

dmc-12

With iconic gull-wing doors and a brushed steel exterior, the first DeLorean sports cars—designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro—came off the production line on this day in 1981 in Dunmurry, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Before the enterprise folded in December of 1982 with John DeLorean’s Motor Company filing for bankruptcy, allegedly turning to drug-smuggling to make up for shortfalls in financing, about nine thousand cars were made with around six thousand still roadworthy. Several custom models were produced including a gold-plated one as a promotional deal with a credit card company for its gold members and turbo-charged versions and most notably of course for featuring as the time-machine of the Back to the Future Franchise.

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

Thursday, 11 November 2021

by-way or the highway

Albeit not on quite the same scale, these extreme commutes executed without an automobile and via slower, more deliberative modes of transportation really speak to me as I have undertaken similar excursions myself, only out of curious necessity, though the office is only ten kilometres away in most cases and not through dangerous terrain however through places not designed for pedestrians or flรขnuers (see also) to explore, fascinated by such transit-zones and will regularly make an afternoon’s errands out of something that would be quickly dispatched by car and a few extra stops.

9x9

silent haitch: the voicing of this letter is “still a significant shibboleth”—a look at h based on modern usage and notes on wh by Alfred Leach  

kinship and pedigree: genealogical mapping shows historic spread and retreat of surnames for British Isles and much of Europe 

rural free delivery: a superb, thematic collection of vintage picture postcards—via Things Magazine  

zeta reticulans: a tarot deck from Miguel Romero features the history of UFOlogy  

ั‚ะต ัะฐะผั‹ะต ะบะฐั€ั‚ะธะฝะบะธ: collection of avant-garde children’s book illustrations from the USSR 

retromod: Hyundai brings back its 1986 luxury Grandeur with a fully electric powertrain 

trebuchet: another start-up envisions flinging satellites into space via spinning centrifuge—see previously  

get lost losers: a rock band flotilla entertaining the cargo crews stuck in the seemingly insurmountable backlog waiting to unload containers at the ports of Los Angeles

agent of chaos: agnotology, the study of deliberate spreading of confusion

Friday, 29 October 2021

suite №4

For the iconic motor carriage’s sixtieth anniversary, the design studios of Mathieu Lehanneur made some modifications to the classic Renault 4L (“Quatrelle,” manufactured from 1961 to 1994)—now fully electrified and with photovoltaic cells to help charge engine batteries as well as glamping accessories—the first hatchback as sort of an open, motel on wheels. More at designboom at the link above.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

7x7

in the stacks: museum curators uncover what may be the oldest depiction of a ghost on an ancient Mesopotamian tablet 

1928 porter: a look at the 1965 short-lived sitcom (see also) My Mother the Car 

this climate does not exist: visualisations of one’s neighbourhood under the climate crisis from Nag on the Lake  

ev: more outstandingly odd electric vehicles from the on-line market Alibaba—via Things Magazine  

reasonable person: “a moron in a hurry” is codified in Anglophone legal statute—via the New Shelton wet/dry 

graphics processing unit: glitch art in medical imaging—via Waxy  

don’t go wasting your emotion: the ABBA classic, as performed by a vampire—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

strรถmungswiderstandskoeffizient

Designed with a similar streamlined aesthetic as the tear-drop trailer, the Stout Scarab and Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion car, we enjoyed making the acquaintance of the prototype Schlรถrwagen presented at the Berlin Auto Show in 1939, developed at the aerodynamic testing institute in Gรถttingen (hence the nickname the Gรถttinger Ei) to produce a body profile with a low drag coefficient. Though less than well received by the public at the time, the test vehicle trialled faster speeds at significantly great fuel-economy. The namesake engineer, Karl Schlรถr von Westhofen-Dirmstein—from a Frankonian noble family, saw his project derailed by the war and impressed into working on submarine propulsion systems and later imprisoned for assisting Jewish families—afterwards entered into politics, returning home and helping Kitzingen and Wรผrzburg secure fuel rations and promote their responsible use, studying and championing biogas and wind turbines. More from friend of the blog Nag on the Lake at the link above, including a demonstration of the car in a wind-tunnel.

Monday, 27 September 2021

distinguishing signs of vehicles for international traffic

From tomorrow on (28 September, 2021) and with no official reason cited though one suspects it is in show of support for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is switching its national identifier decal for cars and lorries from GB (Great Britain, the nations nominally to the exclusion of NI) to UK. License plates which also currently bear the GB identifier and the circle of stars on a blue field representing the European Union will also require a change, to UK above a Union Flag. The new stickers, needed for travel outside the UK but not applicable to Gibraltar or other overseas territories, will be available for £1.50.