Friday, 17 December 2021

creepy crawly

Whilst the moniker itself is somewhat of an exaggeration in most cases, the rediscovered species and newly classified species, lured to bait in deep boreholes in a mine in western Australia, Eumillipes persephone, with over thirteen-hundred feet, truly lives up to the distinction of being the leggiest creature yet found. Named after the ill-fated queen of the Underworld for having been caught over sixty-meters under the surface, these arthropods are not only distinguished from less endowed cousins, the centipedes, by leg count with later also tending to be flatter and hunters with a venomous bite and the former scavengers and attracted to decomposing plant matter. Hatchlings emerge with just two segments and continually add more throughout their lifetimes.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

pair bonding

Endearingly, Kottke brings us the story of the requited courtship and romance of zookeeper Chris Crowe and his non-corvid bird wife, Walnut—a spry twenty-three year-old white-named crane, the former earning the latter’s affections despite being a rather lacking (by avian standards) mate and life partner.

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.

Monday, 20 September 2021

5x5

fallout boy: the legacy of Albania’s seven-hundred-thousand bunkers  

al forno: Barilla (previously) sponsors an annual contest to solicit for innovative designs for its 3D pasta printer  

mathmos: how lava lamps are manufactured—see also 

stowaways: butterfly researches in the ร…land islands accidentally introduce a parasitic wasp that relies on the caterpillars as well as a hyperparasitoid that the wasps host 

 รฎle flottante: a boat camouflaged as a rock tours the coastline of Marseille—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Friday, 10 September 2021

bi-valve or blast me barnacles

Even more threatened than their beleaguered colonial cousin the corals reefs, we learn that over eighty-five percent of coastal oyster beds, living shorelines, have been destroyed by human activity over the last two centuries through dredging, development, pollution and overfishing. Recent efforts to restore the habitat of this indicator species, however, are demonstrating that oysters are keystones of their ecosystem, purifying, filtering waters, recycling organic materials and preventing algal blooms, building a sheltering environment for various fishes and crustaceans, sustenance for water fowl, carbon sequestration in their shells, and acting as a breakwater structure to reduce the impact of storm surges and runaway erosion. Learn more at Kottke at the link above.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

rewilding

Via Super Punch, we learn that not only has the Swiss ambassador to the US made the expansive embassy grounds in Washington, DC, a former farm in the Woodley Park neighbourhood, a biodiverse oasis, replacing the manicured lawn with native shrubs and trees to attract and sustain birds and other wildlife, the ambassor’s actions have set a positive example, leading other diplomatic missions to adopt ecologically sounder landscaping practices including vegetable gardens and beehives. More from the Audubon Society at the links above.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

formicarium

Via Slashdot, we learn that a group of researchers studying ant tunnel architecture with the aid of 3D x-ray imaging and computation models are gleaning some of the eusocial insects’ secrets to digging and creating enduring, stable structures using only the physics of the medium, selecting the grains of soil for the exact right qualities of inertia, friction and cohesion to form a self-reinforcing shaft underground. This ability, scientists believe, is a highly evolved behavioural algorithm—an instinct—that could be duplicated for microscopic mining machines (see also) that could extract ores and other useful materials in a far less intrusive way.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

chevron of chain counterchanged argent, sable, argent

Winning entrant designed by vexillologist Gracie Sheppard in a contest sponsored by a local museum to create a symbol for the region, the flag of Black County was first hoisted in 2012—thereafter on this day to mark the invention of the Newcomen steam engine in 1712 that heralded the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with a county fรชte.

The heavily industrialised area in the West Midlands after Birmingham has no single set of defined boundaries to the satisfaction of all with the most common being where the coal seam has come to the surface and refers to the layer of soot that covered everything from all the mining, mills and factories by the mid-1800s. Chain-manufacture was big business there, as was glass-making and brickworks. Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop established the region’s first literary conceit as a vicious hellscape in 1841 with others upholding it including J. R. R. Tolkien’s Mordor—elvish for dark land—corresponding with contemporary accountings, with some suggestion that activist and Communist and Labour party mayor of Bilston in Staffordshire, Ben Bilboe, was the inspiration and namesake for the hobbit character, the author’s family having roots in the West Midlands.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

the glass realm

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ojmmwS83FgEUS4b467BSnb6OqBveoKjjContinuing through the heavily wooded, sparsely peopled royal charter called Sweden’s Gladriket—Emmaboda and surrounding forges like the internationally renowned Kosta Boda, the host village renamed for the successful glasbruk commissioned by the king of two entrepreneurs Anders Koskull and Georg Bogislaus Staรซl von Holstein to promote the manufacture of practical glass products (Ko + Sta being a portmanteau of the two founders’ names). https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nSgPulIgfREvKzdwKTyHniTHz1hvosfo https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZnskWl0BFA3YHGz8sguWZdjSekQbr-_HAlong the way, we stopped at a studio and boutique set up in a former glashutte, workshop with the grounds and outbuildings decorated with enchanting art glass objects. https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dpntaIRqc3HvWc7BePKJltTThC57Ei5I A bit further on, we visited a nature enclosure for moose (Alces alces, ร„lg, Elch) and learned quite a lot about their behaviour and habitat and got to encounter them quite up close, which is not something we’d like experiencing on the motorway, though it would be rather majestic to find one at the campsite.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

8x8

autobus park № 7: explore Kyiv’s derelict modernist transportation hippodrome—via Things Magazine  

blue: listen to rediscovered demos and outtakes from Joni Mitchell’s album on its fiftieth anniversary 

i’m chasing martian: excellent auditory illusion illustrated—see previously—from chanting fans  

dark matter, dark fish: the overwhelming biomass of Earth’s ecosystem is essentially undetectable for us (see also) yet we claim the right to rubbish it  

warriors of the zenith, warriors of the nadir: a 1904 ethnograph of Zuni ritual masks  

work-life balance: Japanese government proposes four-day work-week  

shareware: a look at the App Store’s predecessor, Software Labs  

private viewing: the collectors who saved modernist Soviet masterpieces


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

breatharians

As Slashdot reports, a research team studying molecular plant physiology under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute and the University of Naples is demonstrating that making food from air, isolating carbon-dioxide with a spark of energy from a solar cell in a process that mimics photosynthesis, is poles more efficient than growing food crops, such as soy, corn, wheat or rice. Feeding microbes in a bioreactor produces as a nutritious by-product a protein powder suitable for consumption.

Friday, 18 June 2021

8x8

here fishy, fishy, fishy: a tale of a talking fishing lure and sixty counts of mail fraud  

goldenrod: behind-the-scenes footage of droids C3PO and R2-D2 trying on their costumes  

plastic tracker: monitor the likely course of one’s discarded waste to the seas—see also—via Maps Mania 

discothek: a commercial photographer captured the golden age of nightclubs with all their eccentricities and exuberance  

juneteenth: America gets a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of chattel enslavement in the United States  

downfall: dรฉgringolade n. a rapidly deterioration of circumstance or position, from the French to take a sudden tumble 

foreign exchange: a beautiful animated short of grains of sand and fiat currency explores the tenuous, specious agreements that underpin capitalism and the global economy  

the most compact, neatest, cheapest, and durable reel on the market: advertising niche that distresses and antiques modern sundries

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.