Saturday, 3 June 2023

benedict arnold (10. 784)

Investigating charges that some school textbooks widely in use in classrooms were stoking anti-American sentiment, a commission working from New York City adjudged on this day in 1923 eight titles of being guilty of perpetuating the propaganda for suggesting that the Revolutionary War was unnecessary and questioning which side was at fault, some one hundred fifty years on. The head of the commission ordered a biblioclasm and that the editors be labelled un-American. While the fact-finding group charged with this culling owed that statements critical of American patriots might be accurate and worth of investigation, the assessment was overly sophisticated and dangerous for impressionable young readers, ruling that only textbooks that contained no suggestion of “derogation or in disparagement of the achievements of American heroes” were suitable for the classroom. During World War I, curricula were revised to tone down the nationalism and emphasise affinity and kinship with overseas allies, particularly for the British and this torrent of censorship interbellum was partially in response to those previous changes.

Monday, 22 May 2023

fontana di trevi (10. 761)

Name derived from the Latin trivium—the intersection of three streets, Via De’Crocicchi, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte—the Trevi Fountain was officially opened and inaugurated on this day in 1762 by Pope Clement XIII, his numerical predecessor having commissioned its construction some three decades earlier—awardee determined by competition and popular acclaim, as was the fashion during the Baroque era—to architect Niccolรฒ Salvi, finally finished by an ensemble of sculptors including Pietro Bracci and Giuseppe Pannini. The site of the well-spring predates this overpowering landmark by more than a millennium, sourced back to the sacking of Rome by the Ostrogoths (previously here and here) damaged the aqueducts that brought water to the city. According to traditional a maiden discovered a new source of fresh water and the theme of the iconography suggests the harnessing and taming of the waters with Tritons and horses guiding the shell chariot of Oceanus. An estimated three-thousand euro worth of coins is tossed into the fountain daily, with monies collected going to the poor of the city.

Friday, 19 May 2023

pro bono (10. 750)

Law student in Paris (attending with Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus) before switching from the civil courts to study canon law and secure an appointment as an ecclesiastic judge in Rennes, Franciscan Ivo of Kermartin, patron of attorneys, Brittany, abandoned children and called “Advocateof the Poor,”—advocatus, lawyer—is fรชted on this day, on the occasion of his death in 1303 (*1253). An accomplished rhetorician, Ivo was well known and respected for defending the rights of orphans and widows and continued championing equal justice, refusing bribes when it was customary for magistrates to accept gifts) and practise law after ordination into the priesthood at Guingamp.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

join, or die (10. 727)

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the political cartoon depicting the British colonies of North America as a severed snake—eight parts for the thirteen traditional entities with New England as the head being lumped into one region, Delaware then part of Pennsylvania and omitting Georgia completely (do some homework)—appeared for the first time on this day in 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette accompanying Franklin’s editorial on the “disunited states” and appeals for cooperation during the French and Indian War (an extension of the Seven Years’ War) by settlers looking to expand into Appalachia and then reprinted and propagandised later as a slogan for those opposed to the rule of the Crown, culminating in war for independence, aggravated in part due to the movement by the British to outlaw slavery and demands that the colonists countenance territorial treaties struck with the native population, with the separate militias forming what was planned as a temporary alliance against the monarchy.

Friday, 5 May 2023

8x8 (10. 720)

the comisar collection: an incredible auction of television memorabilia, sets and props from Star Trek, Jeopardy!, Cheers and late night talk shows—via Waxy  

craptions: bad quality closed-captioning are a disservice to those who rely on them—see also  

sonic wonderland: composer and acoustic ecologist R Murray Schafer’s 1967 guide to cleansing one’s auditory palette to better appreciate music  

flintknapping and wheelwrighting: take up an endangered craft as your new hobby—via Web Curios

wikiscroll: an educational and edifying (and endless) alternative to anti-social media—via B3ta  

far from me: a 2018 tribute to Gordon Lightfoot from John Prine—see also 

henry’s law: plans to remove CO₂ from the oceans for the oceans to suck it from the atmosphere to maintain equilibrium are yet to be proven safe or effective—see also  

returning champion: the lost tapes have been recovered but the mystery endures over a 1986 game show winning streak—via Strange Company

Sunday, 23 April 2023

me at the zoo (10. 693)

As the first ever video uploaded and shared to the platform YouTube, the nineteen second amateur clip that did not so much document a moment but rather was an announcement that illustrated the possibilities of the tilt to video and the ramifications the accessible technology had in store for the coming generation of self-publishing and broadcasting. Contributed by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim on this day in 2005, the same day as the website went public, the platform was acquired by Google the following year, after realising the site’s full potential.

Friday, 21 April 2023

ubi et orbi (10. 688)

Mirroring efforts of the United States to disassociate Labor Day celebrations with socialism, on this day in 1923, fascist dictator Benito Mussolini directed the celebration of the founding of Rome, not observed since the times of the Empire, on the traditional anniversary of the city’s establishment in 753 BC—possibly in parallel attempts to suppress a far older fasti that also fell on this day, the Palilia dedicated to the cleansing of sheep and shepherds, to distance its newly attained cosmopolitan character from these rural and pastoral roots. With a military parade of fifty-thousand Black Shirts through the streets on a a route from the Forum to the Baths of Caracalla under the Triumphal Arch of Titus, Mussolini decreed that this holiday would replace International Workers’ Day.

Sunday, 16 April 2023

¯\_(ใƒ„)_/¯ (10. 677)


Via tmn, we are again directed to the Depth of Wikipedia archivist Annie Rauwerda whose detective works sometimes becomes fixated with those images becomes a caption for illustrating articles (see also)—especially for entries that from a given perspective seem universal and needing no explanation, like the couple demonstrating high-five (up high, down low, too slow) and their subsequent courtship and family—or on this case, The Shrug Guy—the embodiment of the gesture expressing indifference or not knowing, though not always reading the same. It used to be that one said that the word gullible was not listed in the dictionary (or that one’s photo was in there if you looked it up), and finding this iconic individual fifteen years later (see also) it’s not clear if he chose shrug-life or shrug-life chose him. More at the links above.

Saturday, 15 April 2023

lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original and detailing the signification of words (10. 674)

Whilst not the first and consigned to full a gaping gap in the book market as the public readership and booksellers were dissatisfied with available grammars and lexicons, the rather heroic and singular academic undertaking by Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language—first published on this day in 1755, was highly influential and considered the authoritative reference source until the introduction of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Compiled over seven years, Johnson produced more than just a glossary of jargon or foreign concordance but rather a comprehensive, well-organised accounting of the English language—with over forty-two thousand entries, he proclaimed he was Vasta mole superbus (“Proud of its great volume”)—the word list was annotated with parts of speech and accentuated with literary citations, mostly drawn from the works of William Shakespeare, John Milton and the poetry of John Dryden, which were illustrative and often humorous, as in the titular definition of his vocation, and versified for effect, courtesy of Jonathan Swift, et al.: 

Opulence—wealth; riches; affluence
“There in full opulence a banker dwelt,
Who all the joys and pangs of riches felt;
His sideboard glitter’d with imagin’d plate,
And his proud fancy held a vast estate.” 

Johnson’s work established the paradigm for standard dictionary entries with etymological speculation, usage and a guide to pronunciation and when the OED became its definitive successor some one hundred seventy years later, reproducing many of the former’s definitions, marking them with a J., judging his scholarship expedient and judicious to copy.

Monday, 10 April 2023

a jury of one’s peers (10. 666)

Based on a radio teleplay by Reginald Rose from three years earlier and often upheld as an heuristic tool to illustrate conflict resolution and team dynamics as well as well as the courage of conviction to not be swayed by hysteria and its subtler cadets, Sidney Lumet’s classic courtroom drama, premiering in Los Angeles on this day in 1957, portrays a jury deliberating the case of an impoverished teen accused of murdering his abusive father. With a unanimous verdict required, the jury is instructed to acquit if there is any reasonable doubt and a decision siding on guilty would result in a mandatory death sentence and execution by electric chair. Addressing students after a screening of the film in 2010 at Fordham University's School of Law in Manhattan, US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor credited 12 Angry Men as influencing her career decision and was especially moved by immigrant Juror 11 (portrayed by Czech actor George Voskovec—BUtterfield 8, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, all members are identified by numbers only) delivering a monologue in reverence for the justice system, though cautioned not to be totally taken with the cinematic version of proceedings due to inference, speculation and independent research which would have likely been declared a mistrial.

Sunday, 9 April 2023

benchmark (10. 664)

As image and sound formats have their standards and baselines, so too does model rendering with the 3DBenchy model, designed by Daniel Norรฉe on this day in 2005 as a “jolly 3D printing torture-test” to calibrate devices. The scalable little tugboat floats in water, if printed correctly in most media and is estimated to be the most printed object—like a “Hello World!” for the hobbyist and professional and an in-joke in the design community—like referencing the foundational Newell Teapot of computer-aided drafting or the Pixar lamp. There are annual challenges with designers putting the model through the paces for accuracy, agility and speed.

Saturday, 1 April 2023

der lehrpfad der unholdigen personen (10. 650)

In the forest of the municipality of Salzhaff in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the coast of the Baltic, colloquially known as the ‘Arschlochwandelweg,” there is a mile-long sculpture trail featuring six, life-sized bronzes of George W Bush, Erich Honecker, Recep Tayyip ErdoฤŸan, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Nikita Khrushchev and Donald Trump. On private property but freely accessible to the public, the owner choose to have a rogues gallery of the unkind and inept but did not want evil figures like Hitler and Stalin. A commission was put in for the addition of Vladimir Putin but was ultimately rejected by a Polish foundry due to the neighbouring war.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

an account written by the hand of mormon upon the plates taken from the plates of nephi (10. 636)

First published on this day in Palmyra, New York on the tenth anniversary of Joseph Smith’s first series of prophetic visions in 1820, the foundational gospel of the Latter Day Saint movement is a chronology of God’s dealings with the ancient, pre-Colombian contact of the inhabitants of the ancient Americas through roughly a millennium of guidance from 600 BC to 421 AD. Recorded originally in unknown but intuitable characters called “reformed Egyptian” (the stele of the Rosetta Stone was first transcribed in French in 1822), Smith was called by an angel either to translate the scriptures or at least take dictation for this other Christian testament. Despite anachronisms and its freighted association with works like Pilgrims’ Progress and ancient aliens theories, the composition is a present and self-aware text that stands as a compelling saga on its owns and in the context of the time that extends and inculcates social justices and reforms to indigenous and non-white people left out of the narrative with both emphasis on universal salvation and personal revelation.

Friday, 24 March 2023

the fault, dear brutus, is not in our stars (10. 633)

Far afield from the actual cause, on this day in 1345 noted surgeon and author of several treatises on the subject of hernias and cataracts well as the influential and widely-read Chirurgia Magna after Avicenna and Galen, Guy de Chauliac, observed a conjunction of Saturn, Mars and Jupiter in the House of Aquarius following a solar eclipse, which many took as an ominous portent and source of the outbreak of the Black Death that hit pandemic levels three years later. For his part, the resident physician of Paris and Montpellier, chiefly deriving his knowledge from the embalming the cadavers of dead popes during the Avignon Captivity, chose to remain during the pandemic outbreak whist other doctors fled, importantly documenting the difference between the Bubonic and Pneumonic Plague, discouraging social contact and attempting to disabuse people from assigning blame to heretics and the Jewish population, whom many accused of poisoning well water, and accept this superstitious coincidence.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

๐™‚๐˜๐˜ฒ (10. 622)

Finally returning to the excavations and adventures of his academic years after serving as a reporter and secret agent in the Balkans for the Manchester Guardian and a long stint as the keeper of the curiosities for the Ashmolean of Oxford, organising the collection into a museum with many restrictions for conducting archeological digs imposed by the Ottoman Empire removed with the establishment of the Cretan Republic, Arthur John Evans (see previously) and crew began exploring a flower-covered hill in the central part of the island on this day in 1900. Over the course of three years, albeit with some creative liberties (see above), Evans discovered the Minoan civilisation, so named for the maze-like quality of the Palace of Knossos—which was a series of a thousand cells for artisanal work, storage and food processing—that invoked the myth of King Minos and the captive Minotaur.

Saturday, 18 March 2023

because it’s there (10. 619)

Entering the lexicon as the standard response for a risky or impossible undertaking, mountain climber George Mallory gave his reply to an interviewer from the New York Times when asked about his participation in the first two unsuccessful expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest (เฝ‡ོ་เฝ˜ོ་เฝ‚ླเฝ„་เฝ˜, Chomolunga—เคธเค—เคฐเคฎाเคฅा, Sagarmฤthฤ) on this day in 1923—adding his intention to try again the following year. During this climb, Mallory and his partner, Andrew Irvine, disappeared somewhere on the northeastern face near the summit, with their fate unknown until the discovery of their bodies in 1999—there being conjecture that they made it to the top and were on their way down. Edmund Hillary, whom along with Tenzing Norgay (เฝ–เฝฆྟเฝ“་เฝ เฝ›ིเฝ“་เฝ“ོเฝข་เฝขྒྱเฝฆ), are credited with reaching the peak first, welcomed the news, of a party achieving this goal three decades ahead of them, calling Mallory the pioneer and original enthusiast.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

truman doctrine (10. 607)

Introduced to the US Congress on this day in 1947—prompted by crises in Greece, a violent uprising by the national Communist party partially funded by neighbouring Yugoslavia and Tรผrkiye, under pressure from the Soviet Union to allow its ships passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and the Long Telegram by George F Kennan of the previous year—President Harry S Truman, with the assistance of Secretary of State George Marshall (previously) and undersecretary Dean Acheson, outlining his “domino theory” in grave terms, secured Republican buy-in and ensured funding for his foreign policy objectives. In an address before a joint session of Congress which was generally well-received by the public, Truman said, “I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.” Couched in the context of the broader Cold War, the expansive and highly publicised commitment of the Truman Doctrine established precedent for the next four decades of siding with anticommunist forces and regimes all over the world no matter how antithetical and opposed they were to the democratic image that America wanted to promote and form military alliances against the USSR and confederates.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

kรฉpzelt riport egy amerikai popfesztivรกlrรณl (10. 581)

Set in Montana but giving a fictionalised recounting of the Altamont Free Concert, the musical by Gรกbor Presser, Anna Adamis and Sรกndor Pรณs—based on the novel of the same name by Tibor Dรฉry—An Imaginary Report on an American Rock Festival premiered in Budapest on this day in 1973. The production team portrayed the plot of a young Hungarian couple that defected to the West with themes violating taboo subjects of homosexuality, illicit drug use and the war and the Holocaust to the Department for Agitation and Propaganda as a criticism of hippie culture and were granted permission to go on with the show. Resonant among its target audience, many musical numbers became hits and the musical (see also) toured throughout Eastern Europe.

Sunday, 26 February 2023

radio detection and ranging (10. 574)

Already having pioneered and already discovered practical applications for radio direction finding in the 1920s for meteorology by using the signals given off by lightning to track thunderstorms—known as high-frequency direction finding or huff-duff, and then conscripted into service in tracing submarines, their bearings revealed by intercepted communications, on this day in 1935—after being asked by a reporter to comment on the possibility of a death ray that the Nazis were rumoured to be developing and assuring the public it was not feasible but sparked another idea—Robert Alexander Watson Watt and partner Arnold Wilkins made the first public demonstration of the technology that would become known as radar by bouncing a signal from a BBC short-wave transmitted off an aircraft, showing its location and velocity could be calculated by measuring the time it took for the object’s echo to return.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

das manifest der kommunistischen partei (10. 562)

First published without attribution on this day in 1848 by the Workers’ Educational Association (Kommunistischer Arbeiterbildungsverein) in Bishopsgate Without in London, the twenty-three page pamphlet authored by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels under contract of the Communist League is a systematic summary of class struggle and the estrangement of labour. While envisioning the potential future forms of political economy was beyond the scope of the brief synopsis, the invocation in the ultimate paragraph calling for the “overthrow of all existing social conditions” would go on to spark revolutions across the globe. With the initial revolts in Europe of the spring suppressed, the work did not reemerge until the early 1870s, culminating in the October Revolution in 1917.