Saturday, 23 September 2023

like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim (11. 015)

Released on this day in 1977 as the lead single from the twelfth studio album of the same name, this future signature ballad in the artist’s repertoire was co-written by Brian Eno, and recorded in Hansa Tonstudio 2 in the Kreuzberg district of West Berlin sings the narrative of two star-crossed lovers in the divided city, who live in constant fear of being caught but are free in their dreams. Inspired by witnessing his then-married record producer Tony Visconti kissing a singer “by the Wall,” David Bowie put the song’s title in quotation marks to invoke a light sense of irony to the triumphant and defiant tone. Bowie also put out German (Helden) and French (Hรฉros) versions of the song. The album cover art is an homage to Expressionist painter Erich Heckel’s 1917 self-portrait Roquairol, like (though with the pose a bit closer) Iggy Pop’s nearly contemporary album, The Idiot.


one year ago: Trump family facing legal peril over exaggerating the value of their crime syndicate plus an infinite scroll of the updating internet

two years ago: the unification of Saudi Arabia (1932) plus your daily demon: Phenex

three years ago: the US Subversives Control Act (1950), the Halo Effect and hindsight bias plus an anthology of Korean folktales

four years ago: the Fatberg commemorated plus variations on the Dr Who theme

five years ago: the first day of Autumn, numbers stations, a family’s political rebuttal plus a space probe arrives at its target asteroid

Friday, 22 September 2023

stephan’s quintet (11. 014)

Discovered on this day in 1877 from an observatory in Marseille the eponymous compact galactic grouping documented by astronomer ร‰douard Jean-Marie Stephan, under the directorship of Urbain le Verrier, was the first of kind described. Among the most studied formations in the Cosmos and revealing the large-scale filament structure thought to underlie the Universe, the small cluster was one of the first nominated objects for the JWST to image and is famously celebrated in cameo as the angelic host in the beginning of It’s A Wonderful Life. “Oh, Clarence—hasn’t he got his wings yet?”  When summoned, the guardian angel- second class appears as NGC 7317 of the constellation Pegasus at the bottom of the frame.

6x6 (11. 013)

schedule f: Trump and the Heritage Foundation’s plan to dismantle the administrative state, replacing federal workers with sycophants—via Miss Cellania  

chinoiserie: a grand tour of Rococo era architectural follies as homage and aspiration to Eastern aesthetics—see also  

disco demolition night: more on the publicity stunt that incited a riot and brought down a whole genre of music 

agrostology: of grasses and lawns  

we’re safety now, haven’t we: US federal consumer safety commission drops an album that includes some bangers—but hardly for the first 

time swing time for hitler: new audio book by Scott Simon explores how Nazis banned jazz as degenerate art and repurposed it to dispirit the Allies—with more on Lord Haw-Haw and other propagandists


one year ago: MERS-CoV (2012),  the premier of West Wing (1999), Putin addresses the public and announces a draft plus an early Hobbit computer game

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

three years ago: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state, the last day of summer, more links to enjoy plus dazzling skylines made of dot-stickers

four years ago: exploring the Messel Pit plus a highly idiosyncratic language

five years ago: rehabilitating coral ecosystems with electricity, an AI makes college course catalogues, typhoon naming conventions plus an M-class exoplanet

Thursday, 21 September 2023

noctalgia (11. 012)

Whilst we are fortunate to live in a Dark Sky reserve, we see light pollution seeping in at the edges and with the new street lamps installed a couple of years ago—more energy efficient but on all night and can intuit the feeling above, a new coinage from the astronomy community lamenting, grieving over the loss of star-gazing. Not only are urban illuminations obscuring over view but also the proliferation of miniature satellites which while facilitating communication confound observation of deep space. Light pollution is also affecting nocturnal animals and insects, much to their detriment. On a clear, moonless night, the experience is always transfixing and is a bonus to walking the dog, meaning I have more excuses to partake of the wonder, but it should be availed to everyone. It makes me think of the far-future fable (see previously here and here) billions of years hence when the purchase and purview of any star-watching civilisation will be much diminished and the Cosmos beyond one’s local group has receded and dipped below the horizon and space seems far from infinite.


one year agoBa-Dee-Ya, Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible, more on the US Space Force plus a collection of manhole covers

two years ago: an advertisement for Ivermectin 

three years ago:  the Order of the Smile, The Hobbit (1937), the legacy of colonial goods stores, alternative chess plus wide-scale money laundering

four years ago: The Far Side returns plus more Earth, Wind and Fire

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, a sexy Handmaiden costume for Halloween plus Dial-a-Song

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

the panic of 1873 (11. 011)

The period of economic stagnation originally referred to as the Great or Long Depression before the interwar slump set new standards for the definition and though caused by a range of contributing factors including the opening of the Suez Canal that was disruptive for entrepรดt trade (also controlled by the British Empire, goods from the Far East were formerly warehoused in South Africa with the previous sea route around the Cape of Good Hope and the traditional sailing ships could not be adapted to navigate the new short-cut as the prevailing Mediterranean winds pushed them back into the Red Sea), devastating fires in Chicago and Boston and Germany going off the bimetallic standard—precipitating a fall in silver prices, the financial crisis with global implications was chiefly attributed to rampant speculation by investors in railroads and boom in their construction particularly in the United States following the Civil War. The panic began on this day in 1873 with the collapse of the Jay Cooke & Company, an innovative banking institution and brokerage house that pioneered the use of “wire” transfers and confirming transactions over telegraph lines, overextended and unable to sell on millions in bonds it had secured to build a second transcontinental line. With the railroad company and the bank indebted, bankruptcy soon followed with contagion spreading to other financial institutions and the insurance industry, prompting the closure of the New York Stock Exchange for ten days with immediate redundancies in the manufacturing sector. Railroad workers went on strike in protest of reduced wages, further exacerbating the crisis and knock-on effects overseas which led to a wave in immigration to the States that coincided with the easing of the turmoil by 1879.

9x9 (11. 010)

: play around for a moment with the Water web toy—via Miss Cellania and the Everlasting Blรถrt  

green new deal: modelled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, US president Biden creates a federal jobs training and climate protection force  

won’t someone think of the children: UK passes Online Safety bill—see previously  

piramida: architectural photographer Danica O Kus documents the newly-repurposed monument in the Albanian capital of Tirana

nine-man morris: archeologists discover a board game carved in the ruins of an ancient Polish castle  

qed: a tiny Irish child has a brilliant solution to the trolley problem—see previously  

the mascot of ascot: the magnificent millinery modelled by Gertrude Shilling—via Messy Nessy Chic

once i played a tanpura: electronic music from India from the early 1970s—via Things Magazine  

written on water: physicists using an ionic pen and Brownian motion can draw lines and letters in liquid



one year ago: assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: the Global War on Terrorism declared (2001), photographer Charles Cylde Ebbets plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: St Eustace plus running out of hurricane names

four years ago: an AI names mushrooms,  exploring a local wayside chapel, more links plus Randy Rainbow for the Emmy

five years ago: retro web bumpers, a then-and-now of New Zealand’s government, modern-day occupations plus the board game Careers

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

๐Ÿœ (11. 009)

In the recently established tradition of Rotating Sandwiches (previously here and here), we discover RamenHaus, the home of spinning bowls of noodles by Ole ReiรŸmann, documented, enjoyed and animated—nothing more, nothing less. We can appreciate this sort of truth in advertising.


one year ago: covering the Queen’s funeralcats stealing food in still lifes plus a singular Cyrillic glyph

two years ago: Fawlty Towers, a vintage flash comic, a collection of mixology guides, ร–tzi discovered (1991) plus a Soviet Moon mission

three years ago: a warning label for explicit lyrics plus RIP RBG

four years ago: the art of knolling, the music of Eisbรฆr plus reducing plastic waste in fast food take-aways

five years ago: a Hieronymus Bosch demonic fowl on the subway, guillotine earringsproto emoticons, more Universal Everything plus the Cassandra Syndrome

Monday, 18 September 2023

faithless electors (11. 008)

Limning an outcome quite possibly even more fraught than the mandate of a decisive Trump victory in 2024 in terms of undermining the credulity in American democracy, we learn about the mechanism called a contingent election activated—and already clearly in the ballot calculus unpalatable to a broad majority of the public—when no candidate can claim the threshold (two hundred-seventy out of five hundred thirty-eight) of Electoral College appointees—either through numerical losses or contested results. Congress, with each state delegation voting together—one could only imagine how a consensus is reached, votes for the president with senators individually casting their ballots for vice-president, reflecting a convention when there was not always a party ticket and those officers were often antagonistic rather than aligned. Historically these special elections have been invoked three times in the early nineteenth century—once for a tie, once for a ballot split between four candidates and once—for the office of vice president where electors refused to endorse the nominee against the popular and electoral results and force the House to decide. Though a century after the fact in the case of the last such special election, inauguration and congressional term dates were shifted in 1933 to avoid giving outgoing members this franchise and rather leaving in to the incoming legislative.


one year ago: a photo from Voyager I that puts everything in perspective, St Joseph of Cupertino, photographer Harold Feinstein plus triangulating Instagram

two years ago: your daily demon: Stolasanthrax in the mail, arcade animations, more on Wikipedia edit-wars plus post-Brexit UK planning to return to Imperial Measurements

three years ago: vaporware and its antecedents, “producing geese,” “without worries,” the Interkosmos Group plus AI tries to create a universal and enduring warning for the ages

four years ago: US congress debates abolishing the Electoral College, taboos surrounding talking about death, Germany Calling! plus flight-shaming and train-bragging

five years ago: keep-sakes,  assorted links to revisit plus a hydrogen powered locomotive