Sunday, 26 September 2021

biosphere 2

Under construction since 1987, the environmental research facility in Oracle in the US state of Arizona host to the largest closed vivarium—that is sealed ecosystem—ever built, more than a hectare in size and meant to demonstrate the viability of artificial and self-sustaining life-support systems in outer space, began its first forty-eight month mission on this day in 1991, with a crew of eight impounded under the dome. With the crew enduring oxygen deprivation and near starvation over the two year trial and not all biomes that were to represent the different regions of Spaceship Earth thriving plus pests, lessons were learned and changes implemented, although by the time the second mission was to commence, there was vicious fighting amongst the project managers and accusations of bad science and bad methodology, including the engagement of Steve Bannon who put the programme into receivership incorporated under the name Space Biosphere Ventures. All this took place outside of the framework of competitive reality television and the era of business sectarianism. Since 2007, Biosphere 2 has been owned and operated by the University of Arizona, conducting experiments in atmospheric research, soil geochemistry and climate change and holding special week-long space-camps for students.

Sunday, 19 September 2021


Discovered on this day in 1991, the human, natural mummy named ร–tzi (previously) was found by a pair of German tourist on the east ridge of the ร–tztal (Venoste) Alps spanning the Italo-Austrian border believing that this five thousand year old corpse was the remains of a more recently departed mountaineer and immediately summoned the authorities, the forensics department turning the case over to the archeologists. Frozen and exquisitely preserved, scientist were able to study his clothes, shoes and tools as well as the contents of his stomach, bodily composition, toxicity and glean a lot of about his civilisation’s lifestyle, diet and technical prowess.

Monday, 6 September 2021

second city

Known as Leningrad since 1924 (following the death of its namesake), the sixteenth century Russian port town on the Neva and erstwhile capital had its original name, St. Petersburg, restored on this day in 1991 by the result of a citywide referendum held that June. Through the changes, locals referred to their home simply as ะŸะธั‚ะตั€ for short and the oblast colocated there still bears the former designation of ะ›ะตะฝะธะฝะณั€ะฐ́ะดัะบะฐั.

Friday, 3 September 2021


Via Web Curios, we thoroughly enjoyed this scrolly-telling celebration of Ukrainian independence, having just recently observed its thirtieth anniversary, adopted by parliament on 24 August 1991 in the aftermath of the failed coup when party hardliners tried to reassert control and reverse the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, which not only presents the country’s history but moreover lauds its accomplishments, culture, attractions and other highlights with splashy call-outs and a touch of Doge-level mawkishness that compels one to read through to the end.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

come doused in mud, soaked in bleach as i want you to be—as a trend, as a friend

Ahead of the album’s official release later in the third week of September, a Boston radio station (call sign WFNX from 1983 to 2012 and one of the first commercial broadcasters to play alternative rock) hosted by DJ Kurt St. Thomas premiered Nirvana’s Nevermind, playing the entire recording on this day in 1991. Launching four singles and an unexpected success, both in critical reception and sales, the album is credited with bringing the various genres of the Seattle grunge movement into mainstream media, awarded several honours and reissues. Despite having recreated the cover art with underwater photoshoots for the album’s tenth, seventeenth and twenty-fifth anniversaries, the then infant model has filed a lawsuit against the band for lifelong damages for exploiting his image.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

dziesmotฤ revolลซcija

Beginning in 1987 after the introduction of the policies of glasnost and perestroika that rolled back certain limitations on political expression heretofore imposed on Soviet constituent member states outside of the core of Russia, the Baltic satellites staged a peaceful Singing Revolution that culminated for Latvia on this day in 1991 declaring its independence in the midst of an attempted coup to unseat Mikhail Gorbachev from his leadership position. One of the more popular songs of the freedom movement was the trilingual (also with verses in Estonian and Lithuanian) The Baltics are Waking Up!, composed by Boriss Rezniks for a protest two years prior commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, which defined German and Soviet spheres of influence in the region, with defiant ralliers’ joining hands and forming a human chain stretching across the three countries.

Sunday, 20 June 2021


Casting their vote on this day in 1991, the Bundestag of reunified Germany made the decision to move the seat of government and departmental headquarters from Bonn to Berlin. As stipulated by the second article of the treaty between East and West—which also established 3 October as der Tag der Deutschen Einheit—Berlin was already declared the capital in 1990. The transition took place over the ensuing decades with field offices of several ministries retained in the western conurbation, near Brussels and Germany’s most densely populated region.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

your experiment today is called pod people. it has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people. it has everything to do with hurting.

First airing on this day in 1991, the third episode of the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (see previously) lampoons the 1983 Franco-Spanish sci-fi movie with the original title Los nuevos extraterrestres, which was originally meant to be a horror film with a murderous alien rampage in the tradition of Beowulf but changed course during shooting to capitalise on the success of E.T. (changed to avoid confusion) with a bond forming between one of the aliens and a human kid. The MST3K cast especially enjoy mishearing the performance of “Burning Rubber Tyres”—singing “hear the engines roar now” as “idiot control now.” 

Monday, 3 May 2021

information as a public good

The annual observance focused on the above theme, World Press Freedom Day was enshrined by the United Nations in 1998 as a time for reflection and remediation for governments to uphold their commitment to freedom of expression and an adversarial press and encourage journalists and media professionals to recount their struggles and pledge to truth and ethics in pursuit of reporting. The day falls on the anniversary of the forerunning Windhoek Declaration of 1991 when a consortium of newspaper reporters from all across Africa met in the Namibian capital resolved to promote an independent and pluralistic press for the continent. The Press Freedom Index is also updated at this time, ranking the ability for journalists to cover candidly government and corporate behaviour.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

near wild heaven

Topping the charts this week in 1991, R.E.M.’s seventh studio album Out of Time including the tracks Losing My Religion with Grammy-winning music video, “Radio Song,” “Texarkana” and “Shiny Happy People” helped raise the band’s profile from a cult following to the international face of alternative rock. The packaging in the form of a CD longbox included a petition in support of the Motor Voter Act (previously) in support of a less onerous registration process for franchisement.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

avgustovskiy putch

Opposed to the decentralisation and reform efforts of the Soviet president and General Secretary of the Communist Party, Communist hardliner elements in the government attempted a coup d'รฉtat beginning on this day at noon in 1991 to remove Mikhail Gorbachev (see previously) with the Moscow military district commander declaring martial law in effect and signaling an imminent siege on the parliamentary compound (ะ‘ะตะปั‹ะน ะดะพะผ—that is, the White House). Allies of the Gorbachev government barricaded the building and rebuffed the attack, codenamed Operation Grom—that is, thunder. Whilst these events unfolded—a power vacuum that lasted sixty hours, Estonia declared its independence with the other Baltic states following soon after.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

resolution 678

On this day in 1991 Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and US Secretary of State James Baker held a conference in Geneva lasting some seven hours to try to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the invasion and annexation of Kuwait (August 1990).
Though the dialogue was overshadowed by the respective parties’ messaging, that George HW Bush was willing to continue talks and privileged peace and regional stability over any exercise of power—and that Saddam Hussain would not agree to an unconditional withdrawal, arguing that the region was put in turmoil over Palestine issue well before the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and targeting their advances with the backing of the UN and the US-backed coalition was hypocrisy and an injustice. Both sides lost their leverage and no progress was made in finding a mutually acceptable solution, and the failure of the Geneva Peace Conference precipitated Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Friday, 8 March 2019

stark raving dad

While not supportive of a biblioclasm or revision history in any sense, the production team behind The Simpsons has decided to pull from regular rotation a season three episode (1991) from the programme’s rotation in syndication—claiming their right as creators of the long-running series and as descent and upstanding human beings their right to choose what chapters of their story they share.
Some radio stations are taking Jackson’s songs out of circulation.  In the bottle-episode, Homer Simpson, Bart’s father, was confined to a mental institution on suspicion of being an anarchist and has a roommate named Leon Kompowsky who claims to be the pop star Michael Jackson—whose actual cameo was not disclosed until many years afterwards. A sequel was scripted but went unproduced over creative differences that had the character of Kompowsky reprised—but this time claiming to be Prince.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

at the star wars, star wars cantina or non-canonical

Looking through some old photographs, I found a picture I had taken of the curio-cabinet that housed primarily Star Wars action figures, circa 1991 (I imagine it was a few years later but would be embarrassing to admit, seeing as I had made trousers for the brooding Luke Skywalker from Revenge of the Jedi and set up an infirmary for G.I.*Joe characters in need of repair—the rubber-bands for their twistable torsos having snapped with a waiting area). Besides the meticulously curated cast of the original saga, it is interesting to see who else shared this prime real estate: the villains of Cobra, an out-of-proportion Insectoid and Thundercat, Happy Meal toys, Animaniacs, PEZ dispensers and a few other sundries and ephemera are represented, including a student council campaign sticker advising to “free your mind.” I believe I still have everyone of these people, somewhere, and I think I ought to recreate this Wunderkammer.