Tuesday 23 July 2024

abysmal zone (11. 713)

Via Kottke, we learn that after over a decade of readings that suggested significant amounts of oxygen were being produced on the seafloor, dismissed as an error since no photosynthesis can occur in the region of the deep where no sunlight penetrates, researchers have now concluded that the “dark oxygen” is real and likely produced by polymetalic nodules strewn across the ocean floor in the Clarion-Clipperton region—see also below. The result of millions of years of accretion of elements dissolved in seawater, these lumps, composed of manganese, copper, cobalt and lithium, working in concert are natural batteries, cause electrolysis and split seawater into its component hydrogen and oxygen with its voltage. Maybe abiotic pathways for oxygen resources could support life elsewhere. It is precisely this property that has attracted mining companies with proposals to harvest the nodules for raw material for battery manufacture, with many in the scientific community calling for a moratorium on development for fear it would destroy a potential ecosystem that we know nothing about.

a1000 (11. 713)

Released on this date in 1985, introduced at a gala held at Lincoln Center in New York City by Andy Warhol (see also) and Debbie Harry, but not widely available to the public until the following year due to production and distribution difficulties by Commodore International, the first personal computer of the Amiga series was powerful day standards of the day and featured a preemptive multitasking operating system that allowed it process high quality graphics and sounds, including a text-to-speech library and voice input/output, without degrading performance. The innovative model was especially well received by the gaming community and visual artists.

8x8 (11. 712)

veepstakes: Sherwin-Williams paint colour or potential running-mate for Kamala Harris 

prince rupert’s cube: Platonic solids will fit through an identically shaped one, thanks to the ponderings of a seventeenth century Rheinland monarch—see previously  

hollywood walk-outs: publicity stills from film’s Golden Age of movie casts in full costume paraded outside between takes—via Messy Nessy Chic  

bareback: the bleaching, normalising of a rather vulgar terms used in wide contexts  

news cycle: breaking stories happening faster than area man can generate uninformed opinions  

orrery: a look at the Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium, the world’s oldest and smallest functioning astronomical theatre created by a weaver turned star-gazer and purchased by the king—via ibฤซdem  

she’s just not sufficiently grateful: all the ways the GOP is melting down over the changed presidential race


one year ago: another MST3K classic (with synchronoptica), a virtual diving-bell, assorted links worth revisiting plus a banger from The Cars

seven years ago: mushroom season, poorly drawn cats plus boustrophedic writing

nine years ago: more on author Karl May plus comic book heroes

eleven years ago: a haircut for Greece plus ceremonial government roles

fourteen years ago: more bad banks plus Oktoberfest and other attractions

Monday 22 July 2024

wilde karde (11. 711)

During the mid to late summer, fields can filled with these tall flowering perennials that had always called thistles (Disteln, a much shorter cousin it turns out) but are properly classified under Linnean taxonomy Dipsacus fullonum (teasel or by the title common name in German) from the Greek ฮดฮนฯƒแดจฮฑ for thirst for the cup-like catchments that form where the leaves merge with the stem that collects water. These little obstacles may have evolved to prevent bugs from climbing up to the inflorescence (blooming like a pineapple, where they differ from thistles) of pink to purple flowers. With a wide range from Africa to Eurasia, the dried heads are an important over-wintering food resource for birds and the plant formerly played a role in the textile industry (see also) as a natural comb for teasing, raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool—a process called fulling.

tron/troff (11. 710)

Via Slashdot, we are directed towards a reflective essay from Harvard Computer Science professor Harry R Lewis, whom taught both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, positing the two enduring lessons of technology: be careful what you ask them for and it can be hard to tell what they are doing. Gleaned already back in the mid- to late-1960s when electromechanical computers were far from inscrutable, prior to miniaturisation of circuits, Lewis, through switches and dials, learned how to listen to machines to not only diagnose problems but also, with careful attention (see also), to know if a programme was going to deliver reliable results and goes on to address the doubly blackboxed array of algorithms and lickspittle mimicry of artificial intelligence by never bypassing human judgment from the parameters and recognising that the humanities don’t provide ready answers but rather better informed questions and lines of inquiry.


one year ago: Mary Magdalen (with synchronoptica)

seven years ago: assorted links worth revisiting,  a challenging diplomatic mission plus a history of ink

eleven years ago: a toy drone

fourteen years ago: a storied Berlin discothek plus a Bulli cake

Sunday 21 July 2024

in the best interest of my party and my country (11. 709)

Abruptly, though anticipated, Joe Biden announced from his Delaware home that he will not be seeking his party’s nomination for the Democratic ticket during the convention to be held in Chicago in less than a month’s time following a poor showing during a June debate against Trump and at the urging of the party’s senior leadership. Later on Sunday, Biden endorsed vice-president Harris for as candidate. While some news sources are focused on the internecine turmoil and compressed chaos—Biden ending a fifty year career as a public servant and there have been no switching tickets this late in the election since the DNC was hosted by the same city more than half a century ago—Trump, who already expressed that he favoured Biden staying in, has been staging a campaign of anti-incumbency (though they are both essentially incumbents) and personal insults, and a new contender, be it Harris (a former prosecutor against a hardened felony could be interesting) or another to be picked at the accelerated primary redux during the convention, shifts dynamics that the Trump campaign may not be able to adapt sufficiently to the new fundamentals, even with Trump’s near martyrdom and a streak of apparent wins in court, given the majority of Americans have long expressed that they did not want to see a rematch between the two.

we shape our tools and then the tools shape us (11. 708)

Subtitled An Inventory of Effects and co-created by media analyst who coined the phrase referenced Marshall McLuhan in 1967, the collaborative best-seller experimentally formatted had the imprimatur of McLuhan himself to call out how various outlets massaged our senses in order to maintain currency and hold interest—with some anecdotes that it was a typo that stuck—arguing that technologies, from the wheel, to the loom, to the printing press and beyond rather than their content as an extension (and increasingly necessary aid thereto in order to function therein) of our perceptions of the world, informed by the same progress. The recording is not exactly an audio book but rather a montage of main statements punctuated by dissonant sound-effects meant to suggest the fragmentation of the listening experience.

10x10 (11. 707)

the institute for controlled speleogenesis: an fictional organisation designing artificial caves  

indecent proposal: the infamous 1994 advertising campaign, Love Letters from Fiat 

a river runs through it: the consequences of taming—and rewilding—the Los Angeles River (see previously)—via Nag on the Lake  

amazombies: online retail giant’s affiliate programme for customer returns are overtaxing for brick-and-mortar partners  

one hundred days of cultural clarity: an exploration of recent memes and trends  

bootstraps: JD Vance as the toxic byproduct of America’s obsession with rags-to-riches narratives  

polkamania: Weird AI (see below) drops a new new medley of song parodies  

posse: publish (on your) own site, syndicate elsewhere  

fiddler on the forum: male exploitation on the Carol Burnett Showsee also 

nietzsche and the noonday demon: the fictitious French philosopher, Jean-Baptiste Botul, whose writings are often cited