Thursday, 2 February 2023

i think that i shall never see a poem lovely as a tree (10. 517)

Penned on this day in 1913 by journalist, writer and soldier Joyce Kilmer—best known for these twelvelines of verse—in Mahwah, New Jersey, those couplets, despite or because of their endurance and familiarity, by dint of being a rhyme practically everyone knows are the subject of disparagement and dismissal for being overly simplistic and sentimental and conversely celebrated with popular appeal as a heuristic that romances and rediscovers the virtues of delivering a simple and satisfying message. “Trees” is recited at Arbor Day events and upheld in the tradition of planting memorials in his name with several trees vying to have been the poet’s inspiration. Sergeant Joyce Klimer Triangle (he was killed in action during the Second Battle of the Marne in WWI) in Brooklyn, a traffic island, is the smallest park in New York City, though his memory is honoured akso with a much larger green space in the Bronx.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

oh-noetry (10. 348)

Ars Technica refers us to a sandbox experiment from Open AI for beta testing for the public that makes available its latest large language models that are better at understanding complex instructions and is capable of generating rhyming lyrics and verse.

There is an interesting aside to deflate the novelty despite the acknowledged breakthrough with a reference to the Eureka machine, demonstrated in 1845 by inventor John Clark that churned out Latin hexameter in the style of Virgil and Ovid. Give it a try and do share your results. 

Paratum, Roqueforte caseus
Mihi pretiosum esse videtur
Pinguem, sapidum, mollibusque
Mihi sapor est optimus!

Saturday, 15 October 2022

the levelled churchyard (10. 227)

Strange Company’s invaluable Weekend Link Dump invites us to pass an hour in the cemetery of Old St Pancras—not only famed for its connection to the literary circles of Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as the iconic telephone box via the tomb of Sir John Soane but moreover attracting visitors to what has been deemed the Hardy Tree, after the former junior architect turned novelist involvement with the expansion of the train network (see also). The building of the Midland Railway necessitated the removal of many graves, a number of the headstones of them were rummaged in the roots of this tree, inspiring the author later to reflect in the titular poem, “We late-lamented, resting here,/Are mixed to human jam,/And each to each exclaims in fear,/‘I know not which I am!’” Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 12 October 2022

lingua cosma (10. 215)

Though somewhat unclear whether mathematician Hans Freudenthal intended his constructed language to be practically applicable or just a thought-experiment and heuristic for thinking about how we might hurdle a potential language-barrier, his Lincos (a portmanteau of the above, see previously) was designed to be decipherable by any extraterrestrial life form—free of terrestrial syntax or context—and conducive to radio transmissions as part of the SETI program, it was meant to primarily convey propositional logic and universal constants. This narrow-band of communication—a bridge, however did not dissuade senior lecturer in Digital Media Studies at the University of Roehampton Richard Carter from anthologizing this alien-icebreaker in a collection of poems called Signals, which of course limn our limits of expression amongst ourselves as much as to other galactic denizens. Much more to explore at the links above.

Monday, 10 October 2022

sweded (10. 210)

Via ibฤซdem, we quite enjoyed this essay from Douglas Hofstadter whose on-again, off-again relationship to the Swedish last came out of its dormancy with his mind, heated from the task of reading exercises, conjuring up Swedish nonsense words, which the author marshalled into a kind of verse, Wacky Jabber, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s experiment. Feeding the stanzas to the top tier, artificially earnest and intelligent—see also here, here and here—to limn the limits of the adage of GIGO (garbage in/garbage out). Compare these three results, from the wholly pseudo-Swedish phrase, “Det var sรฅ att sรคga hultsamt och multsamt, och รคven ypperligen gnรฅlfritt,” poetically intended as, “It was, so to speak, hultish and multish, indeed—supremishly gnoll-free.”

Google Translate: “It was, so to speak, merry and merry, and also excellently free of whining.”
DeepL: “It was, as it were, hulky and overcast, and also exquisitely whine-free.”

Baidu: “It was so to speak hulled and mulled, and also excellent whining-free.” Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves. Much more at the links above.

Monday, 3 October 2022

7x7 (10. 191)

stanford torus: maybe if we solve Earth, we can have a little space donut as a treat—see previously

matriculation: Merriam-Webster’s Word Induction Ceremony for a class of 369 neologisms

industrial light and magic: a coming-of-age film set during the summer of Star Wars released after being shelved for twenty years—because of the prequels—via Miss Cellania  

elections matter: revisiting The Survey Graphic, February 1939 edition  

toyko build: exquisite scale models of structures and architectural elements from around the metropolis

gesprรคch einer hausschnecke mit sich selbst: a snail’s monologue in verse  

feline dynamics: the US Air Force tossed cats in zero-gravity to study its effects on human physiology—see also—via Everlasting Blรถrt

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

i have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks (10. 129)

In his second poem dedicated to the Queen this year, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage (previously) has penned two verses to mark her passing, Floral Tributesee also—whose lines are a double acrostic that spell out her name. 

Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,
Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,

Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.
A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –
Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,
Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.
The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,
Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight. 

Evening has come.
Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.
Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower
Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained
Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day
Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness
Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

8x8

cutting-corners: skimpflation and other consumer caveats   

section 30 order: Holyrood to hold second independence referendum in October  

edutainment: a new volume on poet Emily Dickinson concludes with a Math Blaster style game from LitHub  

wade in u.s.a.: protest is the court of last resort  

white rabbits: an unsung group of women sculptors employed during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893—via Messy Nessy Chic  

adobe flash: watch a time-lapse of a luxury villa with pool built out of mud and bamboo via Everlasting Blรถrt  

allons-y alonzo: assonances, alliterations and vowel harmonisation in French and other languages

coffee siren: the origins of the ubiquitous cafรฉ mascot (see also here and here)

Sunday, 5 June 2022

eleven benevolent elephants

We quite enjoyed this selection of British tongue-twisters, which struck us more as vocal exercises aimed at improving enunciation and fluency rather than a word game—particularly a wicked cricket critic and many an anemone sees an enemy anemone—that served as a segue for a particularly fabled announcer’s test to be presented cold and with no preparation to prospective radio and television talent as a gauge of their pronunciation skills, memory and recall and breath control, asked to deliver the following without mistake, hesitation or rushing for lack of oxygen. 

  • One hen
  • Two ducks
  • Three squawking geese
  • Four Limerick oysters
  • Five corpulent porpoises
  • Six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers
  • Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
  • Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt
  • Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller-skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
  • Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who all stall around the corner of the quo and quay of the quivery all at the same time

Now say that two times fast. It was to be repeated back in the style of a cumulative song, with each verse getting increasingly longer.  There are of course several variants of the semi-legendary audition. More rhyming challenges from Futility Closet at the link up top.

Friday, 27 May 2022

strange news out of essex

Though no byline is on the pamphlet it is usually attributed to poet and biographer William Winstanley (Poor Robin’s Almanack, England’s Worthies), the bulletin published some months later gives the account of a sighting of a dragon, a winged serpent on this day in 1668 that attacked villagers on this day before disappearing into the forest. “The place of his abode and where he hath been oftentimes seen, is called Henham, but most commonly Henham on the Mount, the town standing upon a hill, having many fair farms and granges belonging to it, in one of which named The Lodge, near to a wood called Birch-wood, by reason of the many birches growing there, in a pasture-ground close by the same, hath this monstrous Serpent been often seen upon the sides of a Bank, beaking and stretching himself out upon the same at such time as Sol did parch the earth with his refulgent beams.” Later described as a beast nine feet in length and with tiny wings which wouldn’t bare its weight, the author nonetheless calls it flying.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

8x8

trebizond: explore this detailed map of Eurasia in the year 1444—via the always interesting Nag on the Lake  

gotham nocture: a Batman gothic opera  in pre-production

arrowdreams: an anthology of Canadian speculative histories—via Strange Company  

passion project: former store worker curating every last Gap in-store playlist  

out of black ponds, water lilies: an Easter Sunday poem from Better Living through Beowulf  

crisis on infinite earths: Marvel’s inspired splintered dimensions and alternate timelines  

neoliberal pieties: the organised religion of social media is vulnerable to same corruptions and is no substitute for a public good  

latent diffusion: an AI generates maps (plus other artifice) from a text-prompt, via Maps Mania

Sunday, 27 March 2022

i too sing america

While members of the GOP in the US Senate viciously berated Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson with contrived slights and pretend outrage (these childish, cruel and acutely embarrassing spectacles and tantrums have been nearly enough to make me give up about the prospect of reform and justice in the US altogether—at least to the point of refraining from comment or noting consequence) Senator Cory Booker (Democrat representing the state of New Jersey) turned to poetry for the solace and perspective that only verse can provide on the second day of Jackson’s confirmation hearings with Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again,” citing the second to last stanza of the 1935 poem (which was incidentally also candidate’s John Kerry’s campaign slogan for his 2004 presidential run):

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

The continual parenthetical aside through the piece rings as a promise, undelivered, unrealised progressively more hollow and irredeemable, and almost as dead at the time of writing as it can seem today—nearly but not entirely.  We don’t have the luxury of giving up.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

mmxxi

As this calendar draws to a close and we look forward to 2022, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the things and events that took place in 2021. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

 january: In the US state of Georgia’s run-off election, Democrat candidates prevail and thus switch the Senate’s controlling majority. The joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the Electoral College in favour of the Biden-Harris ticket is interrupted by a violent insurrection on the Capitol incited by Donald

Trump, yet the proceedings are resumed undeterred. For his gross incompetence and treasonous actions, the US House of Representatives impeaches Trump for a second time. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated president and vice-president of the United States of America in a socially-distanced ceremony held on the same portico where the violent coup attempt occured two weeks prior. Across Russia, thousands protest the arrest and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  English filmmaker Michael Apted (*1941), entertainer Siegfried Fischbacher (*1939, see also last May) and baseball players Tommy Lasorda (*1927) and Hank Aaron (*1941), actress Cloris Leachman (*1926) as well as accomplished star of stage and screen Cicely Tyson (*1924) pass away.  

february: A military uprising in Myanmar wrests power from the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.  Actor Hal Holbrook (*1925) and veteran become fund-raiser who raised millions for the National Health

Service Sir Captain Thomas Moore (*1920) himself succumbed to COVID-19.   French screen-writer and director Jean-Claude Carriรจre (*1931) passed away, and so veteran actor Christopher Plummer (*1929). The US Senate again convenes as jury to vote on whether to acquit or prosecute Donald Trump’s impeachment.  Larry Flynt (*1942), publisher, pornographer and self-styled anti-censorship champion, passed away, as did jazz virtuoso and twenty-three-time Grammy Award winner Chick Corea (*1941).  The US Senate votes not to acquit Donald Trump a second time after his second impeachment.  A polar vortex brings severe winter storms to Texas and Mexico, leaving millions without heat and electricity has the power grid is overwhelmed.  Talk radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh (*1951)  dies after a year-long struggle with lung cancer.  Poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti passes away, aged 101. Martian probe Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet to begin a search for signs of past life. The US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement.  

march: Oprah Winfrey interviews the estranged, self-exiled Sussexes about Meghan Markle’s treatment

by the Royal Family, causing consternation and many to question the institution of the monarchyPhantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster (*1929) passed away aged ninety-one.  A container ship gets lodged in the Suez Canal, hindering global trade and could potentially be stuck for weeks.  Legislators in the American state of Georgia pass selectively restrictive laws to disenfranchise Black voters.   Children’s book author Beverly Cleary (*1916) writer of the Ramona Quimby series passed away, aged 104.  The usurping military forces in Myanmar gun down dozens of pro-democracy protesters.  Islamic rebels besiege the city of Palma in Mozambique.  Undercover operative whose missteps brought the Watergate scandal to the press and public, G. Gordon Liddy (*1930) died, aged 90, as did author Larry McMurtry (*1936) who penned Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment.

april: Prince Phillip passes away, aged 99.  As tensions escalate between Russia and NATO with a troop

build-up along the border with Ukraine, US President Joe Biden proposes to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to normalise relations and restore diplomatic ties.  The police officer who murdered George Floyd is found guilty on all charges.  Walter Mondale (*1928), former vice president under Jimmy Carter, and presidential candidate with running-mate Geraldine Ferraro passed away, aged ninety-three.  Astronaut Michael Collins (*1930) who orbited the Moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the lunar surface passed away, aged ninety.

may: Accomplished actor Olympia Dukakis (*1931) passed away, aged eighty-nine.  Architect Helmut Jahn (*1940) behind the Messeturm in Frankfurt and the Post tower in Bonn died in a bicycle accident.  Dozens of rebel priests across German defy the Catholic church and offer benedictions to same-sex couple.  Israel airstrikes in Gaza escalate.  Actor, author, televangelist and TV’s Captain Merrill Stubing Gavin MacLeod (*1931) after suffering a long bout of ill-health.  

june: G7 leaders meet in Cornwall, in person.  A coalition government in Israel unseats Netanyahu after a

dozen years as prime minister.  The US government establishes Juneteenth as a new federal holiday though new laws to disenfranchise Black voters continues apace in many Republican controlled polities.  The space station Tiangong receives its first crew.  Software and computer security pioneer John McAfee (*1945) found dead in a Spanish jail cell awaiting extradition to the US over charges of tax evasion.  Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was disbarred for peddling the lie that that the election was stolen from his former client.  The US government issues a declassified report to congress regarding unidentified aerial phenomenon.  A twelve storey condominium complex near Miami, Florida collapses with dozens injured and unaccounted for.  

july: Outrage as more mass-graves of indigenous pupils found at historic Canadian residential schools.  Hundreds perish from record heatwaves and wildfires along the Pacific coast of North America.  Angela Merkel makes her last official visit to the United Kingdom, addressing the Houses of Parliament, the last

foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997.   Richard Donner (*1930), film director behind The Goonies, Superman and the Lethal Weapon franchise passed away.  England plans to fully reopen with no COVID-19 restrictions late in the month despite a resurgence in cases and the rapidly spreading Delta variant.  Jovenel Moรฏse, the Haitian president, was assassinated.  Continual and torrential rains exacerbated by the climate emergency caused severe flooding in western Germany and the Henan region in China.  The Special Committee on the January 6th Capitol Insurrection heard opening testimony from law enforcement on the scene of the terror attack.  Inventor and infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil (*1935) passed away.

august: The UN Panel on Climate Change issues a stark, bleak forecast for the planet’s future as a suitable place for life as we know it.  Wildfires rage throughout the Mediterranean, Siberia and the North American west coast.  As coalition forces depart, the resurgent Taliban takes several regional capitals in weeks with Kabul poised to soon collapse as authorities flee and embassies are evacuated.  A massive earthquake strikes Haiti.  Tragically, most Afghani government officials flee the country and the capital falls as the Taliban retakes power and restores the emirate after nearly two decades of warfare.  US army installations in Germany assist with Operation Allied Refuge (OAR) as thousands of Afghans are airlifted from the country.  Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (*1941) passes away. 
Just days ahead of the deadline imposed to complete evacuation missions out of the Hamid Karzai international airport, an Islamic State affiliate and sworn enemy of the Taliban for being too Westernised, lax, undisciplined detonated twin suicide bombs outside the gates, killing dozens.  Veteran actor and advocate Ed Asner (*1929) passed away as did Jamaican musical giant Lee “Scratch” Perry (*1936).  On the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, a destructive storm called Ida makes landfall.  The Taliban celebrates with fireworks and firing rifles in the air the departure of the last US flight from the Kabul airport, declaring victory.

september: The legislature of the state of Texas passes a tranche of new laws curtailing voting access, restricting teaching of America’s racist past and present, mandating the national anthem at sporting events, permitting universal carry laws for firearms and doing away with licensure or training requirements and

essentially banning abortion by placing a bounty on abettors and deputising neighbours to litigate the ban against neighbours.  New Wave actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (*1933), whose roles defined the genre and called the French counterpart of Marlon Brando, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart, passed away.  El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.  “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” singer Marรญa Mendiola (*1952) of Baccara passed away in Madrid.  An effort to recall and replace Democrat governor of California fails and Gavin Newsome retains his place, though the balloting and counter-campaigns cost taxpayers of the state in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars.  The first commercial, all-amateur space tourism mission safely splashes down after three days in orbit.  Entrepreneur, inventor and computing pioneer behind the ZX Spectrum, Clive Sinclair passed away, aged 81 (*1940).  Justin Trudeau’s party retains power following national elections.  After three years under house arrest in Canada and fighting extradition to America on charges of espionage and circumventing sanctions against Iran, business executive Meng Wangzhou, daughter of the head of Chinese communications giant Huawei, is released. 

october:  US president Biden’s agenda is derailed, diminished by moderate voices in his party.  A vaccine for malaria is trialled in Africa.  Amid a growing corruption scandal, Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz

tenders his resignation, though choosing to remain leader of his political party and will retain his seat in parliament.  William Shatner, aged ninety, as a space tourist becomes the oldest human to enter the Earth’s orbit.  Attending an open-advice surgery for his constituents from Leigh-on-Sea, long-time MP David Amess was murdered by an attacker with a knife.  Former US Joint-Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of State, Colin Powell (*1937) dies from complications arising from COVID-19.  President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, under pressure from elements of his own party, is rather austerely pared back, dropping proposed benefits like universal college tuition and paid family-leave.  Garbage social media network rebrands its parent company as Meta as it prepares to build and embrace its concept of the metaverse.  A military coup in Somali plunges the country into chaos with no signs of peaceful resolution.

november: A powerful storm-flood in western Canada cuts off Vancouver from the rest of British Columbia.  Weaponised refugees massed at the EU frontier by a provoking Belarus at enormous personal

cost are slowly being repatriated to the lands they fled.  After exonerated in a gross miscarriage of justice, Republicans acclaim a teenage, white supremacist murderer as their new hero.  Award winning Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim passes away, aged ninety-one in the same week as Schoolhouse Rock! lyricist Dave Frishberg (*1933).  The COVID-19 Omicron-variant, first detected in South Africa, is causing major concerns as convention cases rage resurgent in Europe, poised to be more widespread and deadly than the same time a year ago.  Inflation and supply-chain issues threaten global economic recovery.  On the anniversary of its independence from the UK in 1966, Barbados becomes the world's newest republic, with Sandra Mason as the island’s president. 

december: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows releases Power Point slide-deck that outlined options for Trump to hold on to the presidency in the chaos of the 6. January insurrection to the commission investigating the attempted coup.  Monkees singer Mike Nesmith (*1942) passes away.  An unseasonal tornado rips through western Kentucky, leaving over a hundred dead.   Gothic novelist Anne Rice (*1941 as Howard Allen Francis O’Brien) passed away.  Tensions continue to mount at the Russo-Ukraine border with Russia putting forward a litany of demands for NATO to avoid invasion.   Journalist and author Joan Didion (*1934) passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.   Borders close and travel-restrictions re-imposed over truly exponential spread of the the Omicron variant; preliminary findings suggest although less lethal, hospitals and other essential services could be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and vulnerable populations still need protection.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu (*1931), anti-apartheid hero and moral-centre, passes away aged ninety.  Sadly veteran blogger Jonco, behind Bits & Pieces, passed away quite suddenly, leaving the blogosverse a dimmer place.  On the last day of the year and just weeks short of planned celebrations for her one-hundredth birthday, beloved talent and treasure with a career spanning over eight decades, Betty White (*1922) passed away.

 



Friday, 10 December 2021

nobelfesten

Cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, normally the Nobel Banquet (previously here and here) is held annually on this day (the anniversary of the death in 1896 of its benefactor, inspired to become a philanthropist after reading a premature obituary of himself that described him as a war profiteer, indeed having amassed his fortune from dynamite), the fรชte hosted in the Blue Hall of the rathaus of Stockholm for 1971 would have included amongst its guests Willy Brandt, chancellor of West Germany, Pavlo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, Simon Kuznets, responsible for turning economics into an empirical, cyclical science, and Gรกbor Dรฉnes, inventory of among other things holography.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

5-7-5

Via friend of the blog par excellence Nag on the Lake, we are directed towards this interactive periodic table of the elements (previously)whose one-hundred and nineteen members are regaled with pithy,

descriptive haikus whose rules somehow reflect the trends and predictability that the heuristic tool represents. We especially liked how the role of sodium in neurochemistry is celebrated: 

Racing to trigger
every kiss, every kind act
behind ever thought. 

Visit the links above to learn more, peruse more patterned poems—especially for the obscure and fleeting—and learn how one can contribute their own.

Monday, 1 November 2021

starting point

Via Super Punch, we are treated to a piece of superlative copy-writing in this advertisement from Patagonia outerwear outfitters displayed on a LitfaรŸsรคule in the vein of this powerful poem from Brian Bilston that invites, compels  us to shift our perspective and not be resigned and nihilistic when the time for decisive action is urgent in the face of this climate crisis.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

where all are brothers—none faceless others

First performed on this day in 1971 at the behest of then Secretary-General U Thant for the organisation’s twenty-sixth anniversary, a Hymn to the United Nations with words based of the charter’s preamble by W. H. Auden set to music by cellist and composer Pau Casals was not officially adopted by the supranational body, as Thant intended—to be played before special occasions and further efforts to create a formal anthem were never pursued. 

At last it is,
Where even sadness
Is a form of gladness,
Where fate is freedom,
Grace and Surprise.

Friday, 1 October 2021

highly irregular

Via the always engrossing 99% Invisible, we are introduced to the poem “The Chaos” penned by Dutch teacher and travel writer Gerard Nolst Trenitรฉ under the the pseudonym Charivarius (see also) in 1920 as a part of a broader commiseration and discussion on the mongrel nature of the English language and the challenges that poses for new learners. An excerpt of the rather epic length work begins:

Dearest creature in Creation,
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

Ending thus with the emblematic, problematic words italicised:

Finally: which rhymes with “enough,”
Though, through, plough, cough, hough, or tough?
Hiccough has the sound of “cup”…
My advice is—give it up!

Saturday, 7 August 2021

dazzle camo

Via the always brilliant Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this look into this demonstration project with automotive camouflage (see previously, see also) not necessarily meant to conceal but rather confuse and overwhelm the proliferation of prying eyes, perhaps containing a hidden QR code to throw ubiquitous spyware off the trail and send it down the garden path. Prior to the ubiquity of spy technology, the article also contains an interesting aside regarding how auto manufacturers first explored this type of detailing in order to combat corporate espionage when sleuthing photographers tried to capture images of road-testing prototype vehicles before their R&D was ready for market and perhaps steal their design—these concept cars out in the wild published under the caption, catagory Erlkรถnige (with the less poetic English translation, development mule) after the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ballad about the Fairy King with the opening line Wer reitet so spat durch Nacht und Wind—Who rides so late through night and wind? to refer to the drivers who thought they were being stealthy when they were just rather conspicuous.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

nothing of him that doth fade but doth suffer a sea-change into something rich and strange

Early advocate for political reform through nonviolence, atheist, free love proponent, vegetarian and Romantic poet, the anniversary of the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley (*1792 - †1822, previously) during a boating accident caused by a sudden storm in the Gulf of La Spezia, setting sail from Livorno for Lerici, having concluded a meeting with Leigh Hunt and Lord Byron about starting a new journal falls on this day. As the bodies of Shelley and the crew were not recovered for ten days, their remains were cremated on the beach. Not widely read outside of his close circle of friends, Shelley gained a posthumous fame and legacy. His gravestone in Rome bears the above epithet from the interlude “Ariel’s Song” in The Tempest.