Thursday, 29 September 2022

the mayak disaster (10. 177)

Referred to as the Kyshtym incident in contemporary sources since the above site as part of Chelyabinsk-40 did not appear on maps until 1994 and the closest known village was chosen as the namesake, the catastrophic explosion of a plutonium production facility and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, occurring on this day in 1957, released twice the amount of radiation than Chernobyl but due to the subsequent coverup (the full scale of the disaster was not disclosed until 1982) and isolation of the site—around ten thousand workers and residents of twenty-two surrounding villages had to be evacuated.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

8x8 (10. 174)

on pointe: an Australian ballet company recites an alphabet of foot poses  

detour: experts urge adding a Venus-flyby to first crewed mission to Mars  

suaviter in modo, fortiter in re: the Royal Mail’s Investigative Branch is the oldest recognized crime fighting organisation in the world—via Messy Nessy Chic  

puffling: with blรกsa Icelanders help to reset sea bird chicks internal compass  

bisexual lighting: the story of a strange picture and other Wikipedia articles in need of an illustration—via Super Punch  

only you could be so bold: whilst Putin invades Ukraine, a studio in Kyiv is creating the voice of Darth Vader

asteroid! coming in from the void: ripped from the headlines 

tiptoe: performer dazzles with their bottle-walking routine

Friday, 23 September 2022

ticker and crawl (10. 161)

 Via Web Curios, we are directed to a rather dangerous aggregator and infinitely scrolling, constantly updating feed of the internet—at least a portion thereof, in real time. Aesthetic (as the input allows) and intuitive, it displays three shifting columns, one each devoted to images, missives and statistics and draws from a range of sources including Wikipedia edits, police dossiers, the socials, trending topics and searches and the news. Here are a couple of screen-grabs—we wonder if their might not be a way to make this a plug-in that one can customise and add to one’s website. 


 

Friday, 16 September 2022

7x7 (10. 139)

daisy-chain: Wikipedia Speedruns—connect two topics (see also) across the fewest links—via Waxy

blast-oven: a proposed giant brick toaster could harness excess heat from industry and redistribute it as electricity

checkmate: investigating the cheating scandal vexing the chess world—via Digg  

the queen’s speech: at look at how accents change as we age and how Elizabeth II’s manner of talking reflected broader changes in society  

royal peculiar: reflections and impressions on visiting Westminster Abbey when the statuary far outnumber the tourists 

ubiquity: an invisible coating transforms windows and any glass surfaces into solar panels  

outrun: Google Maps Driver Simulation mode and more cartographical arcade games

Monday, 12 September 2022

nosewise (10. 127)

Courtesy of the latest edition of You’re Dead to Mesee previously—and the panel discussion on animals in the Middle Ages, ranging from superstitions, scientific inquiry to animals standing trial, ecclesiastic courts usually trying wild creatures, excom-municating a swarm of locust for instance, whereas civil courts hearing cases involving domestic animals, we learn of the fifteenth century hunting treatise by Edward Norwich, Second Duke of York, The Master of the Game, a position the duke held in the court of Henry V. The volume not only includes several chapters devoted to different quarry, techniques and canine-care, it moreover includes a listing of nearly eleven hundred names that would be appropriate for such working animals, All Manner of Hounds, including the above, Nameles, Clenche, Bragge, Tullymully, Flithe, Honyball, Synfull, Garlik and Troy. His lordship, however, forbade anyone naming a pet Norman—presumably after the recently lost duchy, which does seem like a good name for a good boy. Here is the whole list within the manuscript for you to tag your pet—or yourself.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

tube alloys (10. 097)

Commencing before the Manhattan Project (which ultimately subsumed their efforts) and with the intentionally misleading codename, the joint United Kingdom and Canadian programme to develop nuclear weapons was approved in secret by Winston Churchill on this day in 1941—the first national leader to do so—the scientific consensus acknowledging the potential explosiveness of nuclear fission and the “atom bomb” was firmly ensconced in the popular imagination thanks to the 1913 novel by H G Wells, The World Set Free. Researchers working on Tube Alloys made the crucial discovery that just a few kilogrammes (rather than a quantity of several tonnes) of uranium isotope was sufficient to sustain the chain-reaction and propelled the race for armaments. The preceding working group, the MAUD committee, formed to study the feasibility of making a nuclear weapon and nuclear-generated power, was named after a strange last line in a telegram from Niels Bohr to Otto Robert Frisch (credited with discovery of fission along with Lise Meitner) then working at the University of Birmingham just after the Nazi invasion of Denmark, “Tell Cockcroft and Maud Ray Kent.” The recipient believed it might have been a coded message regarding the imminent development of atomic weapons—an anagram for “radyum taken.” Although it turned out that the physicist was wanting to get in touch with his housekeeper, Maud Ray from Kent, the enigmatic name stuck. Subsequent transatlantic cooperation and pooling of resources forged the Special Relationship (often tested and contentious) between the UK and the US.

Monday, 22 August 2022

and here we have idaho (10. 077)

Occupied by native peoples since at least the past ten thousand years and the subject of a territorial dispute between British America and the United States, the state cleaved from Oregon territory in the Pacific Northwest—with the above anthem—has quite jarringly (though I suppose not surprisingly) a wholly fabricated name. Lobbyist, prospector, fraudster (partnering with the baronet of Arizona) and putative physician George Maurice “Doc” Willing was a unrecognised delegate championing the creation of the State of Jefferson in the Midwest and in 1860 suggested the name for the successor region created from existing territories, claiming it was a Shoshone expression for “gem of the mountains”—now the state motto, but no such term existed in the newe taikwappeh language (representation is important and the widest known Shoshone word ought not to be an infamous, fake one that some white settler made up). Recanting years afterwards, Willing offered that he was inspired to name the area after a girl named Ida—though that statement was never verified either. The US Congress wanted to name the whole Rocky Mountain region Colorado Territory instead of using one completely fabricated—there was some resistance to employing a foreign, Spanish toponym as well—but as Idaho Springs was already incorporated as well as a eponymous county and a namesake steamship christened, the US government let the name stay.

Friday, 12 August 2022

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

local group (10. 036)

The relatively nearby and sizable galaxy called Dwingeloo 1 evaded detection until this day in 1994 owing to its location in the so called Zone of Avoidance—Zone of Galactic Obscuration, that part of the sky covered up by the light and dust of the plane of the Milky Way—by an operation ran out of a radio observatory in the northeast Netherlands called the Dwingeloo Obscured Galaxy Survey (DOGS) which filled in more gaps in the map of the firmament by filtering by differing radio wavelengths (the foreground stars and dust clouds absorb visible light). Two other more massive and close by galaxies that occupy this same blindspot were discovered in 1968 by pioneering infrared astronomer Paolo Maffei—whom has two namesake galaxies in the constellation of Cassiopeia which if not blocked by our ZOA would be among the brightest and biggest objects in the night sky.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

i’m thrown and overblown with bliss (10. 026)

The follow-up single from their fifth studio album, Be Yourself Tonight—featuring a harmonica interlude by Stevie Wonder (previously)—the Eurythmics’ “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)” charted at number one in the US for the first time on this day in 1985. Surprisingly the British duo’s only such achievement in America and the UK, it was an international success and inspired several cover versions. Featuring themes inspired by USO tours and World War II R&R programmes, the accompanying music video (created some six years later) was filmed in Berlin-Spandau’s Gatow Airfield.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7 (10. 025)

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes

Saturday, 16 July 2022

sinimustvalge

Officially adopted as the national flag on this day in 1922 after the country declared its independence in 1918 in the short interlude between the retreat of the Bolsheviks and German occupation just before the end of World War I, the tricolour of Estonia was banned in August of 1940 with its annexation by the Soviet Union, though used continuously by the government-in-exile based in Stockholm and Estonian diaspora groups continuously from 1940 to 1991. The three equal bands of blue black and white (as referenced in the title) represent the landscape of the Baltic nation and was readopted in August of 1990 with the restoration of the republic.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

bringing up baby

Originally published on this day in 1946, the volume by pediatrician and psychologist Benjamin Spock and its subsequent editions (updated through 2018 to address same sex parents, gender identity and equity and advocating for a vegan diet) revolutionized and informed the post-war baby boom generation in the US and worldwide with his approach to child rearing that encouraged mothers and care-givers to trust their instincts and was a distinct departure from the conventional wisdom that emphasized regiment and regularity and withholding displays of affection. With the intent to disseminate a comprehensive primer to all parents and provide guideposts as to what to expect at various points of growth and development, Spock's book was made available broadly at a low cost of twenty-five cents so as to be affordable for any budget.

Monday, 11 July 2022

avogadro’s number

First outlined in his treatise on the molecular content of gases published on this day in 1811, Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro, Count of Quaregna and Cerreto, posited that the volume of a gas—at a given temperature and pressure—is proportional to the number of atoms or molecules in that volume whatever the kind of gas. The law or value named in his honour was first presented in a public forum by fellow scientist Stanislao Cannizzaro at the Karlsruhe Congress on Atomic Weights, four years after Avogadro’s death—with later developments and refinements from Josef Loschimdt and Jean Baptiste Jean Perrin. Defined initially as the number of molecules in sixteen grams of oxygen (the molar mass, SI unit the Mole from the German Molekรผl as a measure of substance, a count of particles), corresponding to the inverse of its relative atomic mass, and derives the constant N = 6,022 140 76 × 1023. This led to insights in fluid dynamics, ideal gases and the concept of absolute zero in terms of temperature and atomic excitement.

band shell

Situated in a natural amphitheare in a shaded canyon just below the Hollywood Hills—a popular picnicking spot called “Daisy Dell” that also saw a number of outdoor performances and pageants, the Hollywood Bowl was officially opened on this day in 1922 with a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Alfred Hertz, playing the overture from Richard Wagner’s Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (after the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel of the same name—the author best known for his coinage of stock phrases like “the great unwashed masses,” “dweller on the threshold” and the opening “it was a dark and stormy night”), movements from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a selection of Hungarian Dances from Brahms, a suite from Peer Gynt and the overture from William Tell—regular theme tune fare from the perspective of this centenary. The distinctive arched proscenium—later remodelled due to acoustic problems—was first added in 1926.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

in 22 hours, the hartford summit meeting will be over—china and the soviet union will go back home

Premiering in US theatres on this day in 1981 and featuring the acting talents of Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbe au , the John Carpenter film is set in the then near future of 1997 (a quarter of a century ago) wherein Manhattan is converted into America’s singular maximum security prison. When the presidential airplane is highjacked by insurgent elements and crashed-landed in New York City, military veteran and federal inmate Snake Plissken (Russell) is commissioned to rescue president John Harker (Pleasence).

Saturday, 9 July 2022

8x8

carina nebula: first five subjects for JWST announced  

a pharmacopeia with balneological appendix: a primer and point of departure for the mysterious pre-Renaissance volume, the Voynich Manuscript—see previously

putt-putt for the fun of it: a time-capsule of miniature golf courses 

trap daddy: spoof Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia introduces us to a catch-phrase for the deception hoax—see also, see previously  

jubilee: inflexibility applied to finance and debt contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire  

spatter platters: morbid 1960s teen tragedy songs

hushed-tones: a neural network makes a nature documentary about ants  

hudf: JWST takes deepest image of the Cosmos without even trying plus other space news briefs

praลพskรฝ most

On this day in 1357 on the banks of the Vltava in Prague, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (Charles of Luxembourg born Wenceslaus / Vรกclav / Wenzel) helped lay the cornerstone of his namesake bridge—Karlลฏv most (see previously)—construction completed nearly a half-century later. According to local lore—strongly informed by the emperor’s belief in numerology and the significance of auspicious dates—the foundation stone was laid at precisely at thirty-one past five o’clock in the morning to form a palindrome and numerical span—1357 9/VII V 31. For over four-hundred years the only river crossing and linking the castle to the Old Town market, this connection made the city an important trade hub between eastern and western Europe.

photocopy cha-cha-cha

Titled “Choreography for Copy Machine” this 1991 short is a montage of sublimely sequenced animated, dreamlike encounters made exclusively by layering and resampling on a xerox machine. Created by independent filmmaker Chel White, the award-winning the four minute exploration examines anatomy, physiognomy in an age where any asset is limitlessly reproducible and pre-figures our digital and automated over abundance. NSFW exactly as there are a few frames of nudity in line with what copiers sometimes used to get exposed to at office holiday parties.