Wednesday, 16 June 2021

8x8

what sophistry is this: Mark Liberman discusses the rhetoric of “elevated stupidity” 

truly toastmasters: a virtual toaster museum with fine exhibits from many eras and manufacturers  

water shrews: the BBC Science & Environment desk examines these superb divers of this large group of insectivores called collectively Eulipotyphla, “the truly fat and blind”—via Super Punch 

les citรฉs obscures: revisiting the imaginative utopias of architect Luc Schuiten (previously)  

games for crows: like Where’s Waldo but with emoji—via Waxy red rover: Zhurong Mars explorer sends a selfie  

letragraphia: the sleek, revolutionary graphic design of Felix Beltrรกn

urbane dictionary: a gloss of cancel-culture terminology

Monday, 14 June 2021

7x7

dit-dot: via Web Curios (a lot more to see at this latest instalment), we’re invited to learn the basics of Morse code (previously) with this well designed, gamifying tutorial 

passeggiando: be a virtual flรขneur in these composite Italian cities 

broadcast energy transmitter: delivering renewable energy from where it is plentiful to where it’s need via submarine transnational supergrids 

flock together: a TED Ed presentation on the evolution of feathers  

pyramid power: Duns Scotus and the esoteric history of the dunce cap—via Boing Boing  

essential reading: The Atlantic’s Ed Yong won a Pulitzer Prize for his COVID reporting  

รครค: a collection of essays from the Times Literary Supplement on defence of endangered, indigenous languages

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

plastikbesteck

Informed by the announcement of the EU parliament that from next month on, single-use plastic eating utensils, swizzle sticks, drinking straws, etc. will be banned, a design duo from Germany has exhibited as part of the London Design Biennale an installation called “Spoon Archaeology” of two decades of collected, curated strata—all part of a theme for a pavilion on ecological awareness and sustainability by putting problematic disposables on display as artefacts of the past that they should be consigned to. More from Dezeen at the link above.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

6x6

scream real loud: The 1954 “Pinky Lee Show” that prefigures in a way Pee-Wee’s Playhouse 

7/10: promoting health for the high seas on World Oceans Day—previously  

avian aftershave: crows treat themselves to ant baths  

squirrels under the hood: an AI researchers illustrates how algorithms are dangerously regressive reflections of the worst of us (previously) and are far from artificial or intelligent  

###: a short from Optical Arts repeats a range of actions with different objects in the key of A  

that’s my name—don’t wear it out: do yourself a favour and check out the blog of Pee-Wee Herman

Monday, 7 June 2021

9x9

glass menagerie: a Murano bestiary on display in Venice  

glow up: beauty tips from Ancient Roman—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump  

coconuรŸritter: a short about Foley artists and creating soundscapes  

happy little clouds: explore a relaxing gallery of Bob Ross paintings (previously), via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links   

culaccino: a database of words that do not readily translate succinctly, like this Italian term from the mark left on a table by a cold glass—via Swiss Miss 

electrobat vi: antique electric forerunners side-by-side with modern EVs  

the perils of everybody: a ‘mistake waltz’ that illustrates the pratfalls all ballet recitals are prone to  

where the buffalo roam: restoring the ecosystem of the North American Great Plains by reintroducing charismatic megafauna  

kitchenette: re-examining Liza Lou’s beaded exhibits

Friday, 28 May 2021

seashore—never more

Via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump, we learn that during his life time, Edgar Allen Poe’s most popular and best-selling work was the field guide “The Conchologist’s First Book.” In the 1830s, geology, due to the rising interest in coal as a fuel source, and its sister-science of conchology (see previously) were the hottest commodities as combined, it allowed one to expound on Earth’s history through studying successive strata, and Poe’s slim and portable contribution to the discipline was well-received and had the poetic and evocative subtitle: A System of Tesataceous Malacology—that is, the study of small, soft-bodied creatures by exhuming their hardened ruins. Though perhaps not the most expressive vehicle, some of the author’s flair and license does manage nonetheless to shine through. Much more to explore at the links above.

Monday, 24 May 2021

7x7

television memories: John Hoare reflects on his birthday by tracking down what was on BBC at the moment he was born 

hijack: a Belarusian fighter jet diverts a commercial airliner in order to apprehend a dissident blogger  

greatest of all time: legendary gymnast Simone Biles has a rhinestone goat on her leotard  

please sir, three of your finest cocaines: a pharmaceutical advertisement from 1912  

europigeon songbird contest: the grand prix goes to Turdus (see previously) Philomelos 

 stardust: a collection of micrometeorites and a guide how to hunt for them  

omnibus programming: a revue of fifty obscure British comedy series from the 1980s

Thursday, 20 May 2021

bombylildรฆ

While in Europe we don’t have humming birds (Kolibris), we are lucky enough to have these uncanny important pollinators called the fly bee or the humblefly (Wollschweber). Our garden is absolutely full of them but I’ve never managed to capture a picture of one until now when I spied one resting on a flower (see also), which by the end of the season can grow quite substantially and present like their avian cousins but less so than the equally camera-shy Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Taubenschwรคnzchen) that hovers and has a proboscis for nectaring. We’re visited by them too and maybe if I’m patient, I’ll be able to get a photo.

constrictula rugosa

From the cabinet of hypertext curiosities of the illustrious Mx van Hoorn, we find ourselves immersed in study and classification of the great taxia of the diverse and ubiquitous synthetic phylum Plasticรฆ with the annals of the Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group. The pictured subspecies of the family Haplognathidรฆ (‘half jaw’) with the characteristic single, squared-off dental process with a high degree of internal variation may be happily endangered in their native habitats but we will be dealing with their fossils for the foreseeable future.

brood x

For the emergence of the seventeen-year cicadas in North America—what was going on in the early summer of 2004, we are treated, via Messy Nessy Chic to this graphic depicting the stages of conventionalisation, deconstruction of the periodic insects (Magicicada septendecula and two other closely related species, tribes, see previously) as illustrated by Hugo Froelich (the periodical being from Syracuse, New York and the contributor not the classical German actor) in 1905 (that year being an emergent one for Brood XXX on a thirteen-year cycle as assigned by entomologist Charles Lester Marlatt at those geographical climes) for Keramic Studio Magazine

Friday, 14 May 2021

fig leaf

Writing for ร†on magazine prehistorian Ian Gilligan from the University of Sydney proffers an interesting alternative theory to the rather labour-intensive and leisure limiting congress of development of agriculture and animal husbandry that it emerged not out of a need for sustenance—hunter-gatherers were happy campers in the above regard (see below) and it was more efficient and less taxing on the environment—but rather out of an urgent need for fibre and pelts with layering and insulation being what brought humans to the other side of the last ice age with an expanded range that would eventually dominate the whole Earth—though the dinosaurs and their highly-achieving avian ancestors might take exception to that claim. Because threads of evidence would quickly fade away, much of this proposal is speculative but rings true and seems like a plausible catalyst to protect our relatively hairless bodies from the harsh elements and lend us to the attendant toil. More at the links above.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

a modest proposal

Via the ever-engaging Weird Universe, we are directed to a 1983 edition of OMNI magazine and the ponderings of the doctoral theoretical biologist, literary critic and prolific science-fiction author Thomas A. Easton (Mood Wendigo, Wallflower, Alien Resonance, Micro Macho) proffering essentially the thesis of the 2017 film Downsizing through selective breeding, shrinking the average human stature to curb our unsustainable appetite for range and resources. As of yet undeveloped technologies could accelerate the process across all populations by introducing desirable genetic traits through a viral delivery system with this atavistic twist netting health benefits as well. Though indubitably bad stewards of the environment, the popular 1970s and 1980s trope of over-population was somewhat of a red-herring and the argument could be twisted in rather nefarious ways. More to explore at the link above.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

moraines and drumlins

Via Maps Mania, we are confronted with the profound and consequential loss of the world’s glacial cover visualised with an animated comparison of ninety of the planet’s largest and best surveyed moving, dense bodies of ice (see previously) on the march and on the retreat. Scientists project that the rate of melting will double by the next decade and will contribute some twenty percent to sea-level rise rather than being the natural water towers and frozen reservoirs that they were meant to be.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

the planet on the plate

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we are directed towards the announcement of one influential cooking website that going forward (the policy change has been essential in effect for over a year to overwhelmingly positive reception) won’t promote any new recipes with beef as an ingredient—the decision based on sustainability and “not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offender.” Rather than being anti-cow, Epicurious—whom hope others follow—acknowledges that giving up meat alone is not a panacea for our predicament and that in a broken food system, soy, seafood and most everything else is potentially problematic but it’s definitely a start and a signal to the industry at large.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

9x9

carbon footprint: mining is a dirty business

kiki.object: a feminist manifesta for block-chain  

bat stuck in hell: recently departed songwriter Jim Steinman’s unproduced Batman musical 

the gates of paradise: William Blake’s (previously) perpetual cycle of birth and re-birth   

the singing, ringing tree: not to be confused with this other etherial perennial, panoptica in the Pennine Hills of Lancashire

the hawking index: an unscientific survey of popular titles’ rate of abandonment by the clustering or spread of their highlighted text 

this is the type of errant pedantry up with which i will not put: a proposal that the past particle of choose should properly be corn  

project ceti: ground-breaking attempt to decode whale language—see also—via Slashdot  

fourth rock from the sun: Martian rover Perseverance extracts breathable oxygen from the planet’s surface soil

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

capsule house k

Though familiar with his iconic Nakagin capsule hotel in Tokyo, which was also happily conserved and revitalised, until learning about efforts to save Kisho Kurokawa’s (้ป’ๅท ็ด€็ซ ) retreat in the woods of Karuizawa completed in 1974 we had not appreciated the philosophy behind the movement called Metabolism (ๆ–ฐ้™ณไปฃ่ฌ, shinchintaisha—a literal translation of the biological process of a more poetic concept of the exchange of energy between the interior and exterior world) that attempts to harmonize skyscrapers and other monumental architecture and civil engineering with organic growth, embracing the principles of sustainability, human-clustering, modularity, mobility and transience. Learn more at the links above.

Monday, 29 March 2021

7x7

disaster capitalism: paintings of banks alight and other artworks by Alex Schaefer (previously) via Everlasting Blรถrt  

convergent evolution: sea life becomes the plastic that is polluting it 

do geese see god: a documentary about the world palindrome championship  

full-stop: punctuation can really set a tone—see also  

№ 2 pencil: a fantastic Eberhard-Faber catalogue from 1915 

r.u.r.: online sci-fi dictionary (see previously) sources the term robot to 1920

living with the consequences: government austerity raises COVID deaths

Thursday, 18 March 2021

6x6

gambrinus/ninkasi: five-thousand-year old industrial scale brewery in Egypt makes archaeologist rethink the history of beer, previously believed only to be made on a large scale with Christian monasteries  

star-fiend: one member of the pool of “human computers” realised that there were galaxies beyond our own by studying depth of field on photographic plates with a magnifying glass rather than a telescope  

pod squad: whales collaborated and learned to outsmart their human hunters in the nineteenth century—via Kottke, blogging for twenty-three years now 

dyi: join Van Neistat, The Spirited Man, for some fantasy fixing  

maslenitsa: celebrating Shrovetide ahead of Orthodox Lent  

vier-farben-satz: Colorbrewer generates ideal schemes for maps and data visualisations

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

lph-8

Occupying a liminal space between 2001: A Space Odyssey and the juncture that went with cosmic opera in one direction and dread aliens in the other, the environmental-themed, weakly-endorsing techno-utopia Silent Running by Douglas Trumbull—released on this date in 1972—does resound with our times and the bleak climate catastrophes we are facing, nearly fifty years on. The film follows a resident botanist (Bruce Dern) on board a greenhouse just beyond the orbit of Saturn, maintaining specimens of Earth’s plant life for its eventual reseeding the planet after all native trees and crops went extinct. Disobeying an order from the corporate headquarters that sponsored the space ark project to jettison their living cargo and return to commercial services, the botanist with his three service robots try to save the last biosphere.

Monday, 8 March 2021

6x6

ribbit: frogs use their lungs effectively as noise-cancelling devices—via the new Shelton wet/dry  

oculus: architect envisions Rome’s Pantheon as world’s largest camera obscura (previously) with a conceptual installation 

fetish-free commodities: Existential Comics attempts to demystify Marxist marketplaces—via Nag on the Lake and Memo of the Air 

radiant baby: a brief biography of artist Keith Haring told with drawings and song  

ipa: an iconographic dictionary that corresponds to each phoneme of human language 

marshmallow test: cuttlefish demonstrate self-control and delay gratification, passing a cognitive benchmark designed for human children