Sunday, 29 January 2023

8x8 (10. 509)

musiclm: a Google sandbox experiment for audio generation from rich captions—via Waxy and Web Curiossee previously  

krewe of karens: i would like to see the Mardi Gras manager  

semi-stagionato: an ancient method for surviving the COVID cheese glut made have improved the region’s pecorino cheeses  

taming of the shrew: voles manage to bond and form long-term relationships without the “love hormone” oxycotin  

party (of one): Broadway Barbara’s “Dance for Your Life!”—see also 

 an absurd italian gastronomic religion: the ironical, fascist sauce that outlived the war on pasta—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links—lots more to explore there 

you know i always wanted to pretend that i was an architect: attribute these quotes to either Seinfeld’s George Costanza or GOP darling George Santos  

magic voice: more prompts and audio continuation courtesy of Google’s suite of AI tools

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

9x9 (10. 479)

under the gavel: a distressed Twitter is auctioning off office furnishings from its San Francisco headquarters 

best mates: a meta-study of attracting and retaining intimate partners  

demidecimate: Microsoft announces layoff five percent of its workforce 

from permacrisis to polycrisis: selection of global buzzwords for 2023  

style guide: an eccentric alternate spelling circulated in a newspaper for three decades—without explanation or apology 

wellipets: frog-faced galoshes make a haute couture return 

©: Getty Images is filing suite against an AI art tool for scraping its content—via the new shelton wet/dry

fechtbรผcher: early Renaissance depicts of duels between men and women 

silicon valley: a tech bust might be a net positive for the city

Friday, 6 January 2023

9x9 (10. 389)

varvuole: resides of Grado collect at Porto Mandracchio to watch the battle against the sea witches—see also—every Epiphany via Miss Cellania  

jet-set: the heyday of air travel and the factors that led to its downfall and disgrace  

missing link: the curious case of the Nebraska Man—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links 

the doors of mcmurdo: the barriers, corridors and dividers of the Antarctic research station—see previously—via Kottke  

foulbrood disease: a vaccine developed to prevent the spread of infections for honeybee hives  

serial fabricator: the life and lies of New York Congressman-elect George Santos

piltdown man: one of anthropology’s greatest and enduring hoaxes

the settle-carlisle line: scenic railway route built out of spite  

lately he’s been overheard in mayfair: a disco impression of An American Werewolf in London, considered for inclusion on the film soundtrack, by Meco—see previously

Thursday, 15 December 2022

7x7 (10. 386)

de-evolution: Dangerous Minds interviews Devo’s Gerald V Casale  

santa baby: Cher’s 1975 Christmas Show—see previously  

risky ebay alternative: a round-up of poorly considered gift ideas from Tedium 

๐Ÿ‘️‍๐Ÿ—จ️: an infinitely recursive Game of Life—see previously—via Waxy  

going to be out of pocket today: a Gen-Z lingo quiz—via Language Hat⊙  

december will be magic again: a 1979 BBC Kate Bush Christmas Special with guest star Peter Gabriel  

crack that whip: the group’s signature song was inspired by Thomas Pychon’s Gravity’s Rainbow

Friday, 25 November 2022

7x7 (10. 334)

 the winnowing oar: an itinerant floating city in the Pangeos Terayacht and other mega projects from Saudi Arabia—via Things Magazine  

mรถnitรถr nรธn: previously unheard audio from the first gigs of British rock band The Fall  

imperial isolate: gold coin in a museum cupboard proves existence of Sponsian, an emperor heretofore dismissed as fake—via Digg  

artificial gravity: spinning spacecraft don’t supply a wholly satisfactory solution to the effects of zero-g for human anatomy 

purple tomato: an anthocyanin-rich vegetable is a heuristic for exploring the distinction between genetic modification and selective-breeding—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

feed-back loop: schema for artificial neural networks from the 1940s up to the present—via Web Curios   

anyox: an abandoned copper mining operation in British Columbia is Canada’s largest ghost town

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

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.

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

Monday, 1 August 2022

tree of life (10. 030)

Via Maps Mania, we quite enjoyed this taxonomical exploration of the known species of biological life on Earth in LifeGate2022 presented by Martin Freiberg, curator of the botanical gardens at the University of Leipzig—visually and zoomable and arranged phylogenetically.

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

Friday, 17 June 2022

now do tuvix

The animation studio Gazelle Automations is really doing yeoman’s work by recasting later iterations of the franchise in the style of the 1970s Filmation Star Trek: The Animated Series (previously) and its latest offering, an adaptation of the infamously bad Voyager Season Two episode, “Threshhold,” wherein Chief Helmsman Tom Paris is a space shuttle test pilot fuelled with a more potent form of dilithium crystals and postulated to be able to break the Warp Ten barrier. Returning from his first flight altered body and soul for having experienced everything all at once, Paris becomes agitated and abducts Captain Janeway and takes off in the shuttlecraft again, rocketing through space at speeds to drive them to evolve into salamanders and have offspring. The Voyager crew find the swamp planet where they fled and manage to restore Paris and Janeway, devolving their genetic structure and abandon their lizard babies on that world.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

apicius

We quite enjoyed revisiting the topic of a mysterious, most-favoured herb of Antiquity called silphium (previously)—considered a gift from Apollo and used as condiment, perfume, aphrodisiac, and seasoning and with medicinal uses ranging from anti-haemorrhoidal to contraceptive, imported into the Greek and Roman world from a narrow, microclimate in Syria that was resistant to transplantation. Over-harvesting and over-grazing coupled with climate change curried its abrupt disappearance from cupboards and medicine cabinets two millennia hence and serves as a warning best heeded about our own culinary staples and how familiar and enriching flavours and seasoning might meet the same fate. Much more at the links above.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

extremophile

Appearing a bit like the Microsoft start button, this remarkable halophilic (salt-loving) microorganism classified as Haloquadratum walsbyi was discovered in the 1980 in briny pools on the Sinai peninsula. The single-celled creatures are virtually flat and nearly perfectly square and often form colonies of “sheets” visible to the unaided eye in order to maximise solar reception and contain tiny gas vesicles, which look like crystals, that help the cell remain buoyant and near the surface of the salty water they inhabit.

Friday, 1 April 2022

cosmic call

First spotted by Damn Interesting’s Curated Links, Scientific American reports that as the fiftieth anniversary of the Arecibo Message approaches researchers at the FAST radio telescope and affiliates at SETI and METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence because no one wants to answer their phone apparently) have devised a new bit-mapped series of missives to put out to the Cosmos. The sample image illustrates prime numbers and binary and decimal notation and is one of several (whilst debate continues if it is wise to advertise our presence and level of technologic competence) to be bundled along with the components of DNA, particle physics and human physiology, like this iconic message in a bottle.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

7x7

hopeful seals: the Cinderella stamp art of Nina Dzulkska 

rock, paper, scissors: the colour-coded courtship of male side-blotched lizards  

unrest: the harp jazz of Brandee Younger  

sessho-seki: a volcanic rock on Mount Nasu said to contain a malevolent spirit has split open  

heardle: a Name That Tune style game—via Kottke’s Quick Links 

ten times incalculable: The Atlantic correspondent Ed Yong speaks to our collective numbing to the news  

potemkin stairs: the Odessa Opera in 1942 and today

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

7x7

desert fox: play-through for a complex, WWII-themed board game, The Campaign for North Africa, that requires over fifteen hundred hours to complete  

hill house: a giant drying-box that preserves an Art Deco marvel by Charles Rennie Mackintosh—via Things Magazine 

the greatest thing since sliced bread: a satisfying video showing the steps in production in an industrial bakery in South Korea  

lightsaber flavour: alternative designations from young people that far surpass their proper names—via Miss Cellania’s Links 

rip: a celebration of the life and vision of Douglas Trumbull, special effects artist behind Silent Running, Close Encounters, 2001 and many others

multiple arcade machine emulator: after a quarter of a century, the MAME project is still releasing monthly new additions for home play—via Waxy  

ltee: the E. coli long-term evolution experiment has been running since 1988 and monitoring the mutations in twelve original strains over tens of thousands of generations

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

magnus manske day

As the precursor software platform to MediaWiki (see previously), on this day in 2002 Wikipedia upgraded to “Phase II,” developed by the titular programmer who had previously gifted to the research community open-source applications for molecular biology and genetics and was among the most active contributors to Nupedia and would author the first article for the German-version of Wikipedia—on polymerase chain reactions.

Monday, 13 December 2021

pearls before swine

An investigation into sudden-onset meat allergies comes full-circle with the recognition of a particular sugar called Alpha GAL that can cause intolerance for some and results in in an expansion of organ-donor base for others raises some thorny philosophical questions for us, cheerleaders, the lonely survivor and commodifying dissenters alike airing our objections over the brashest of enthusiasm for progress.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

7x7

dress rehearsal: for a quarter of a century, an individual attended his own funeral  

dominical letters: how the artificial unit of the week came to govern our lives—see also  

carceral publications: a collection of US prison newspapers  

yes or no questions: celebrate the conclusion of Futility Closet’s eight plus year run with a final episode of lateral thinking puzzles  

hvorugkynsnafnorรฐ: despite progress in the choices for human naming conventions, the Icelandic governing body for horses is still highly gendered  

regenerative medicine: researchers develop “xenobots” capable of biological self-replication—via Waxy  

amigone: aptly named mortuary services—via Super Punch

Monday, 4 October 2021

the final programme

Adapted from the eponymous Michael Moorcock novel and premiering in UK cinemas on this day in 1973, the Robert Fuest sci-fi, action production (thanks to the introduction from The Flop House), the plot centring around the quest for post-humanism beings—perfect and self-propagating—is a post-modern Prometheus story that shares a lot of energy and aesthetics with the roughly contemporary Abominable Doctor Phibes. Bent on carrying out the taboo and contro-versial plan of a recently deceased mad scientist and bring human kind into a new age and out of an existence condemned to near post-apocalyptic wasteland, Miss Brunner—a sado-masochistic techno-magician—instigates the epiphanical sequence, causing her to merge with the protagonist, a suave playboy physicist and son of the man scientist called Jerry Cornelius and dispatching with the henchman named Dmitri who had helped bring their plot to fruition—briefly manifesting as some sort of messianic figure to herald a new age before devolving into a caveman (see also). The creature, as it escapes the secret lair, observes that it is indeed “a very tasty world.”

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

6x6

moo-loo: calves are being toilet-trained to mitigate some of the greenhouse gasses the livestock produce

รผber die bestimmung des weibes zur hรถheren geistesbildung: a look at philosopher Amalia Holst, whose 1802 work is comparable to Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman  

ferryman: an interesting look at legally-mandated river-crossings in Manchester  

the colour of money: a mesmerising video to accompany the Blake Mills song  

microcosmos: outstanding photographs of the world not visible to the naked eye  

charismatic megafauna: a biotech firm is raising funds to de-extinct the woolly mammoth—see previously