Tuesday, 7 April 2020

flotsam and jetsam

Via Present /&/ Correct, we are introduced to a new form of beachcombing, mudlarking (see also here and here) that’s pivoted for one Cornwall resident from shells and lost treasures to the plastic detritus of modern times in LEGO Lost at Sea, who has nonetheless continued to collect what she can scavenge from the shores and displays them in their dismaying beauty. Learn more at the links above and share your own meticulously arranged collages of castaways.

ghost crash

Via Things Magazine, we are confronted with the creepy, unsettling footage of vehicular collisions with the second car digitally removed. It’s a very simple yet powerful effect that the creator Donato Sansone (previously) experimented with in the summer of 2018, which seems strangely resonant and informed by these days of staying home and social distancing.

fringe theory

Whilst the rollout of Fifth Generation (5G) cellular networks—argued as essential to support the Internet of Things (which seems a bit of an exaggeration and if there are connectivity bottlenecks, a lot of that stems from being bogged down by adware) to include self-driving vehicles—is not free from controversy, for instance its lockstep integration with jurisdictions to enable seamless surveillance and its general portrayal as technology’s be all and end all, it most certainly does not infect people with the novel corona virus nor is COVID19 a front for the ailments that the global pandemic is causing, a false narrative inspiring some to destroy cell phone masts and sow distrust—that the errant strands of RNA that researchers interpret as a new viral strain is actually genetic material expelled from our own cells, taking with it toxins built up by the non-ionising radiation of cell towers.
Jesus wept. The same social media for whom the contagion of such paradigm is their bread-and-butter have agreed wholesale to not amplify such dangerous missives, knowing full well that popularity and endurance of conspiracy theories is not sustained by being mainstreamed but rather sidelined. Recently reading about a reportedly parallel phenomenon that took place during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, I heard that people were fearful of using telephones for fear that the sickness might be transmitted by wire, and while allowing that there might have been one of two attention-seekers raising those alarms, I should think that the aversion was chiefly sourced in the idea that proximity to a shared mouthpiece was not the most hygienic thing to do. Perhaps future generations will look favourably, naively back on this vandalism as an attempt to disrupt Facebook’s stream of disinformation that is the most virulent than any contagion. Misinformed and dangerous as those views maybe, those whom irresponsibly espouse such theories are not stupid and are studied and creative enough to know that governments, businesses and marketers have not been transparent and forthcoming in matters of public and muting those most able to spread these ideas won’t address underlying causes, like a frayed social safety-net that make alternative medicine more appealing for the precarious classes—not to mention charlatans who can speak to and perpetuate these insecurities, attended by industry whose lobby dictates regulation with no regard for consumer protection.

Monday, 6 April 2020

qwerty or 🦆🐈🐄🐿️🦃🐢

To our delight we discover that in the mid-1930s—in order to raise qualified typists Smith Corona introduced a portable unit with animals on the keys to make the exercise more kid-friendly plus a set of nine rings—one for each finger and the right thumb to drum the space bar, to teach touch-typing and reinforce and associate letters with their rows through muscle-memory—knowing that one should use the birdie finger, doggie finger, etc, rather than by hunting and pecking. The most ambitious tutorial toy of its age, the typewriter looked to have promising Christmas sales the year it premiered but the Great Depression rather put a damper on further production and idea was abandoned to be championed later in other forms.

this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none and that’s it

Via Memo of the Air and Miss Cellania, we tuned to one of the latest, hilarious nature documentaries from Ze Frank (see previously here, here and here) giving us a thoroughgoing education on one of our favourite even-toed ungulates, the giraffe. Check out the source links above for more things both for your distraction and edification.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

sunday night line-up

On this evening in 1987, the fledgling Fox television network, we learn courtesy once again from Doctor Caligari’s Cabinet—our faithful chronicler, debuted its first two prime time offerings in Married… with Children followed by the sketch, variety programme The Tracey Ullman Show.
The later slotted with musical numbers conceived and choreographed by Paula Abdul, memorable comedic scenes and regular animated interstitials, the Simpsons premiered on episode three on 19 April, voiced by members of the troupe. The former show, airing for over a decade and exported to markets globally, launched the acting career Christina Applegate and Matt LeBlanc, ultimately developing the series Friends from one of the show’s spin-offs.

medical advice from an orange gameshow host

While it is probably naive to think that there might be elections in the US in November and that America is any semblance of a functioning democracy by the time that this health crisis subsides, it is still crucial—no matter what polity we belong to—to hold those charged with looking out for our interest and safety to account rather than seek to blame and beggar our neighbours for not being as standoffish and hygienic as was directed by governments that failed to act, both in good faith and with unmitigated malice.
Just like with the institutional polluters whose lobbying money curtails real and effective environmental regulation and puts the onus of responsibility on the consumer and lifestyle choices, governments’ inability to act swiftly and decisively to stop the spread—and these were and going forward are tough choices that no one wants to be making, those authorities are hoping we will start accusing one another and cede more power to incumbency to operate with little to no oversight, even when actions on the part of leaders are nothing other than rank hypocrisy to be excused and forgotten. The same tacticians that stoked fears of insecurity based on migration and foreigners coming in and taking our jobs rather than the naked precarity of the situation are realising that stance is backfiring with not enough labour to keep the farms and medical facilities running, much less transportation and supermarkets, hailing the once demonised and marginalised workforce as heroes—though failing to acknowledge that at the same time many are hostages as well. We cannot forget or forgive the profiteering of a few legislators whom undersold the market ahead of the revelation of how bad a hit the world economy was facing. We must spare a thought for those who sounded the alarms and are being silenced and sidelined and the retroactive purging of those who had tried to proactively prevent America from going down this path in the first place, retaining some sense of accountability, and shuddering to imagine what might lay in store.

crinkle crankle

Despite their far older heritage, first attested to Dutch engineers that helped drain marshlands in The Fens in the 1600s—whom referred to the retaining walls as slangenmuur, snake walls—it was not until the eighteenth century that the vernacular brick architecture (see previously) received this common designation, which sounds fairly Dutch itself too for its reduplicative derivation.
For all the apparent fussiness and ornamentation of the construction, this serpentine arrangement is a highly economical one since long expanses can be covered using a single layer of bricks, whereas one that proceeded in a straight line without any curving buttresses would be far weaker and easily topple. As garden enclosures, most crinkle crankle walls were aligned east-west in order to capture the rising and setting sun (see also) for home orchards. Learn more with TYWKIWDBI at the link above.