Saturday 22 June 2024

patience worth

Via Weird Universe, first contacted on this day in 1913 after reluctantly taking up the Ouija board at the insistence of her neighbours, we learn of the correspondence with the above departed soul who lived from the mid- to late-seventeenth century in Dorsetshire (migrating to colonial America only to be killed by Native Americans) and thoroughly ordinary and unambitious (her biography giving those traits special emphasis) Pearl Lenore Curran of Missouri, whose channeling and mediumship eventually produced for this amanuensis several novels and much prose and poetry that was published and well-received. Dictation at first came slowly through the planchette one letter at a time but eventually Worth furnished whole paragraphs telekinetically. There were of course skeptics and accused Curran of the authorship but the phenomena coincided with the infatuation with spiritualism on both sides of the Atlantic.


one year ago: new London Underground safety posters (with synchronoptica) plus a disappearance in Vatican City

six years ago: Cantril’s Ladder, money-laundering plus Seth Godin’s blog

seven years ago: surveying Mars, lรจse-majestรฉ, more on soundscaping, the Deseret syllabary plus Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

eight years ago: the importance of numeracy plus transposed pottery

nine years ago: Arab scholarship links the Ancient and Modern, the right of panorama plus digital displays

Friday 21 June 2024

happiness hotel (11. 645)

Founded in 1919 as Charlie Chaplin Studios (with a fitting homage to the Little Tramp of Kermit with top hat and cane), the Henson Estate is selling off the storied and iconic lot it has occupied since 2000 as part of a strategy (yet to be disclosed) to consolidate production and Creature Workshop operations. During the central Hollywood’s incarnations over the decades it was not only home to Chaplin’s classics but also the television series The Adventure of Superman and Perry Mason with the in-house recording studio used by Lady Gaga and Daft Punk following “We are the World” before its distinction as Muppet headquarters. Let’s hope the new buyer continues this chain of creativity.

don’t cry for me argentina (11. 644)

Originally conceived as a rock opera concept album two years prior to popular and critical acclaim, the collaboration by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber (see previously here and here) was adapted for the stage and debuted on this day in London’s West End on this day in 1978 and relates the life and political career of of the wife and widow of Juan Perรณn. Rice, interested in philately in his childhood, was somewhat taken by her images on stamps but knew nothing of her significance to the country’s history, social reform and charitable works until intrigued by catching the end of a radio biography and became highly interested on the verge of obsession, research, traveling to Buenos Aires and even naming his first born daughter Eva after her before pitching the idea to Webber, whom at first rejected the idea in favour of producing a musical based on Jeeves, the PG Wodehouse character—a decided flop—before reconsidering Rice’s proposal.

dmz (11. 643)

Unnerved by just concluded two-state visit by the Russian president to strengthen alliances with North Korea and Vietnam and fears that the pact may see flows of munitions not only for Russia to continue to prosecute its invasion and occupation of Ukraine but also concerns that Seoul’s neighbour would be receiving technical assistance in developing its nuclear and aerospace programmes and emboldened border incursions, South Korea is considering augmenting its support to the beleaguered nation with lethal weapons, which it has so far not provided. As counter-programming to the recently held gathering in Switzerland of eighty nations reaffirming their commitment for Ukraine support and condemnation of Putin’s war, the Russian leader re-emphasised that materiel aid for Ukraine makes other countries direct belligerents and reserves the right to do the same against the West and its allies.


one year ago: the US supreme court sets benchmarks for obscenity (with synchronoptica) plus assorted links worth revisiting

six years ago: regional linguistic delicacies plus RIP Koko the Gorilla

seven years ago: soylent, structural fungi plus procrastination and motivation

eight years ago: Sigur Rรณs, neighbourhood archaeology, Wedgwood heels plus more on gun violence in America

nine years ago: Max Richter’s Sleep

Thursday 20 June 2024

8x8 (11. 642)

crazy logic: a rather seamless mashup of Gnarls Barkley, Rockwell, Pink Floyd and Sumpertramp  

ั‹าปั‹ะฐั…: the Yakut people of arctic Siberia celebrate New Year on the Summer Solstice  

culicidology: a fascinating two-part discussion of mosquitoes with Alie Ward 

baggage carousel: an animated journey of checked airline luggage 

the phrygian cap: the Paris Games’ mascot with a revolutionary past—via Miss Cellania  

the beige begins early here folks: McMansion Hell (previously) presents another instalment of the American Medieval Revival—via Things Magazine  

re-alignment: just ahead of Solstice celebrations, activists with Just Stop Oil douse the megalithic calendar with orange paint power 

chiroptera: a ballet chroegraphed by Thomas Bangalter, formerly of Daft Punk—via tmn

space crone (11. 641)

Via tmn, we are directed to an attempt to better understand the pioneering science-fiction author Ursula K Le Guin (†, previously)—and more generally all writers through their routines, chapbooks and other faded ephemera—and chancing upon her digital demesne in her websites, one curated by her estate and the other archive-only, as reflection of an author’s public-facing persona, from a time when websites took effort and imagination and no standard templates were available or enforced and provides insights how people want to be remembered extra-cannon. More from Dirt contributor Meghna Rao at the link above.


one year ago: compilation albums (with synchronoptica), more marketing tie-ins for 2001 plus academic SEO

five years ago: the Munker-White optical illusion

six years ago: the Coconut Song, the EU enacts Article 13, electronic assistants for hotel rooms, the US withdraws from the UN Human Rights Council, Canada legalises recreational marijuana use, unique churches in southern India plus reflections on World Refugee Day

seven years ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus the unwritten rules of the English language

eight years ago: sense of direction and handedness plus conserving the historic record in the digital age

Wednesday 19 June 2024

orthostat (11. 640)

A welcome distraction, apparently self-propagating like crop-circles, during the height of the pandemic in 2020 has returned, we learn via Damn Interesting, in a mirrored format in a mysterious monolith spotted in the desert of the state of Nevada in the American southwest. Authorities were similarly puzzled after encountering the original and we had forgotten how copies started cropping up shortly thereafter, with ones appearing on the Isle of Wight, Wales, Romania and California. Given the previous viral fascination, we wonder how much we’ve evolved from those apes at the beginning of 2001.

offcuts (11. 639)

Despite abundant supplies of natural resource lithium, Australia—and most of the world—lack another, overlooked key component for the manufacture of battery storage and the transition away from carbon-intensive energy and must import graphite—see previously. Researchers at Charles Sturt University in Victoria, we learn courtesy of the New Shelton wet/dry, however, may have devised a technique for turning hair and wool cast-offs into the conductive crystalline form carbon by heating it under extreme pressure. This breakthrough also heralds opportunities for salons and shepherds who end up disposing of a lot of lower-quality animal fibre.


one year agoRocky Horror (with synchronoptica) plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: one hundred facts for logophiles, German abbreviations plus plagiarism revealed through punctuation

six years ago: more the US Space Force, a model kit controversy, more on the robot crew member of the ISS plus a collection of beer coasters

seven years ago: the Saturday morning show that possibly inspired MST3K plus the wisdom of Wil Wheaton

eight years ago: gunpowder in the New World