Monday 15 July 2024

9x9 (11. 694)

fungal magic: an update on the mushroom documentary narrated by Bjรถrk  

always lands on its feet: the myriad ways animals negotiate the laws of physics—see also  

meisje met de parel: decoding Vermeer’s true colours—see previously—via Miss Cellania 

i’m your heat pump: a seductive slow jam seems to educate the public on the thermal energy transmission system 

eno: the generative documentary on the self-described non-musician that changes with each viewing  

legal daisy spacing: a purported 1985 manual for terraforming a planet that presents a warped bureaucracy and sterile landscaping  

nolle prosequi: federal judge overseeing illegal retention of classified documents trial against Trump dismissed the indictment over the improper appointment of the prosecution’s special counsel—see previously here and here  

reimann hypothesis: new insights about the distribution of prime numbers—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

krรคuterbuch: Johannes Hartlieb’s fifteenth century treasury of herbs

 

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting (with synchronoptica), Netscape plus the Rosetta Stone

seven years ago: dark matter, more on the election integrity commission plus the bicentennial of Frankenstein

nine years ago: thalassocracies, plutographies plus more links to enjoy 

eleven years ago: a slightly NSFW Soviet adult literacy reader

twelve years ago: the German banking system plus the Oberammergau Passion Plays

Saturday 13 July 2024

women on the waves (11.687)

The Dutch NGO founded in 1999 by Dr Rebecca Gomperts has the mission of bringing reproductive health services, education and outreach to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws, with services rendered on board a specially-made ship, which boards women at a pre-arranged port-of-call and sails out to international waters, where Dutch law is in effect. Unsafe abortions administered in countries whose laws provide no other alternative are a leading cause of maternal death and the organisation seeks to champion universal reproductive autonomy. Earlier ship’s doctor on the Rainbow Warrior II, Gommperts and crew of medical professionals have visited Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Guatemala and Mรฉxico—all countries that have since significantly expanded abortion access, and a spin-off programme, Women on the Web, helps women with self-managed medical abortions with the drug combination mifepristone and misoprostol.

beaumont slope (11. 686)

In anticipation of eventual ratification of the 1994 UN treaty, the Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, see more), the United States quietly staked claim last month to its extended continental shelf in the Arctic so were it to become a signatory, it would be joining on its own terms with boundaries already delineated. The move did not go unnoticed as other member nations have also tried to assert, under the treaty, their own territorial reaches in the far north and the American declaration of what’s theirs by dint of geological affiliation, an area of the seabed the size of California which overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of Canada, Norway, Denmark and Russia, rather than political flag-planting and is seen as contentious and a sign of continued American exceptionalism, manifest destiny flouting customary and international law. More from Radio Free Europe at the link above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the search for past life on Mars (with synchronoptica) plus the Hollywood sign (1923)

seven years ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus a million dollar heist

eight years ago: camping in Metz 

nine years ago: missing the Dalai Lama plus the Bechdel Test

eleven years ago: a furlough for US federal workers, psychiatry and sainthood plus a choreographed panopticon

Tuesday 9 July 2024

in the year twenty-twenty-five (11. 676)

By inference, example and declaration, the American people and the world has been warned repeatedly, relentlessly of what a second Trump term would entail, a conservative agenda of policy proposals that failed to coalesce on the first attempt radically transforming the republic into a regressive evangelical hypocracybased on the rule of tribal grievance and restoring the patriarchy. With the express aim of purging what’s characterised as “woke propaganda” in regulation and curriculum under a Trump regime, emboldened and enabled, the administration not only is plotting to gut the administrative state under a unitary executive with autocratic powers, eliminate environmental regulation (framing global warming as a hoax), consumer safety, civil liberties and protections (framing affirmative action and equality as “reverse racism”), mass deportations, stripping of citizenship, abortion access, pornography as well as no-fault divorce—essentially rolling back the hard-fought progress of the past seventy years and this all, with the extensive blueprint pre-positioned, might happen on day one.

Monday 1 July 2024

clearing the docket (11. 658)

Along the expected ideological lines, the US supreme court has ruled that the president, past, present and future, are entitled to the presumption of immunity from prosecution for any official acts—but not in an unofficial capacity, however that is defined. Refusing to rule on what constitutes what falls within the high office holder‘s scope of practise and remanding that judgment to a lower court—such as stoking insurrection or ordering a vendetta on political rivals—guarantees that no further criminal proceedings will be carried out against candidate Trump prior to the election and nullifies potential consequences as a reinstated individual can halt and reverse the proceedings. The experiment become cult of personality and vanity project that was American democracy seems to have been quickly regressed from a republic to an absolute monarchy and repressive theocracy with precious few transition points.

Wednesday 12 June 2024

come retribution (11. 624)

Tonally quite different from his campaign announcement and really removed from his past platforms, the latest episode of This American Life takes its title from a litany of promises made during Donald Trump’s inaugural 2024 rally, the venue Waco, Texas, darkly proclaiming vengeance for those who crossed him: “In 2016, I declared, I am your voice. Today I add, ‘I am your warrior. I am your justice.’ And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, ‘I am your retribution—’” former advisor Steve Bannon further embellishing the speech by couching it in a supposed US civil war plot to kidnap and ransom Lincoln in order to pressure the Union to concede to to the Confederacy—foiled, again supposedly, by weak encryption that the North was able to easily decipher. Contributors go on during the broadcast to interview those who are definitely on Trump’s hit-list, including former staffer and White House (who infamously never gave a press conference) Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham who left during the storming of the US capitol and wrong a tell-all book about her time in the administration and LTC (ret.) Alexander Vindman, director for European affairs of the National Security Council whose testimony on Trump’s “perfect call” led to the first impeachment to try to understand what forms that revenge might take, their contingency plans and what it means for those yet to be targeted.

Monday 10 June 2024

7x7 (11. 618)

bernhard modern: pre- and proscriptions in font choice in legal briefs  

mind the gap: a huge collection of historic London Underground maps and posters—see previously 

in search of…: the Dogon culture and ancient astronomy

homebrewed: following his felony conviction, Trump’s licenses to sell liquor under scrutiny 

pay wall: you’ve read your last fee article, such is the nature of mortality

and peace and justice for all: Tweet of the Day re-litigates and exonerates all of Trump’s misdeeds  

poster child: the auction expertise of Nicho Lowry  

show bible: a reprinting of the DC Comics Style Guide from 1982

europawahl (11. 617)

Spanning twenty-seven countries and as many languages, the newly elected cadre of European parliamentarians in one of the world’s largest exercises in democracy will set the political tone for the next five year term, with veto-power over legislation but not the ability to introduce laws, determining budget and approving funding allocation and senior leadership of the European Commission, election results are seen as a proxy for national sentiment and policy mandates. Centrist coalitions retain influence but far-right parties are seeing significant gains, placing pressure on Germany and France, the latter which dissolved its government in response by Emmanuel Macron and his Renaissance party and called for snap elections, owing that one cannot pretend that these results mean nothing. Austria and Italy also saw solidification towards a more conservative stance. This reconfiguration comes at the expense of progressive and environmental champions whose direction proved unpopular with some and perceived as over-reach (with the help of propaganda and contrary platforms), particularly in the agricultural and building sectors. Consequential nonetheless for the EU, only about half of the eligible (expanded to sixteen-year-olds for the first time) cast ballots.

synchronoptica

one year ago: Archives of Castaways plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: a duet from Grease, more links to enjoy plus McDonald’s leaves Russia

three years ago: an all puppy cable channel, more from the Kiffness, World Art Nouveau Day plus Tristan und Isolde

four years ago: sloganising Dr Seuss

five years ago: a re-enactment of the Berlin Airlift 

Monday 3 June 2024

7x7 (11. 603)

green mountain state: Vermont’s Climate Superfund Act, a first, makes oil companies fiscally responsible for the damage caused by emissions 

far side of the moon: Chang'e-6 lands on the lunar surface  

post-script: engineering for slow internet connection in Antarctica—see previously  

i’ve been saying yes to more things lately, just to get myself out there again—but wherever i show up, it’s always—oh sorry, we thought you were the other guy: overheards from the lesser-known dinosaurs’ support group  

may the thirty-fourth: a decade’s worth of memories from China’s early internet vanishes—via tmn  

gmail will break your heart: as the service turns twenty years old, spelunking for long, forgotten cherished missives—via Waxy  

gardi sugdub: Panama is evacuating inhabitants from densely populated islands threatened to be subsumed by rising seas

synchronoptica

one year ago: the goddess Bellona plus book bans (1923)

two years ago: Bergpark Willemshรถhe, Beer-Barrel Polka plus AI reimagines corporate logos

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, more early NFTs plus more unit coins

four years ago: Zoot Suit Riots (1943), Trump disperses peaceful protesters, a dystopian television series takes a hiatus because reality plus another sleepy, dusty delta day

five years ago: the myth of ten-thousand steps, more links to enjoy plus a study of restroom graffiti

Saturday 1 June 2024

he’s guilty (11. 599)

Via Miss Cellania—somehow we’ve missed this old clip too circulating perennially for about six years and surging in views following verdicts in high-profile cases—we are introduced to the number that Randy Newman composed for the pilot of Cop Rock in 1990, a musical police procedural conceived by Steven Bochco cancelled after eleven episodes were aired, and sung by Carl Anderson, Judas from Jesus Christ Superstar

Thursday 30 May 2024

swift justice (11. 595)

After a day’s deliberation, the jury in Manhattan found Donald Trump guilty on all thirty-four counts of falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments and ostensibly alter the course of the 2016 election in his favour. As a convicted felon, it is unclear whether the former president will serve a prison term or will be sentenced to probation for a first time, non-violent offence and how this verdict will impact his campaign—the hearing is scheduled for mid-July, just days ahead of the Republican National Convention—he could still run from jail and will still be anointed by the GOP and could most likely, if not incarcerated, still cast a ballot for himself. Registered to vote in Florida, that state has harsh disenfranchisement regulations for convicts, however will likely respect the rules of the jurisdiction where the crime was committed, with New York only taking away suffrage from those who serve prison time. Having previously lost two civil cases with judgments rendered against him, Trump also faces criminal cases in his home state of Florida, Georgia and Washington, DC but due to appeals and various delay tactics, none are likely to go to trial before election day.

judicial advocacy (11. 592)

US Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito, rebuffing calls from members of the legislation for recusal after two instances of flying provocative flags at his residences that signal his political alignment, responded to leaders of both chambers that his actions (he shifts the decision—see also—to his wife and an unneighbourly spat) to not rise to the threshold of removing himself from highly consequential cases upcoming on the high court’s docket. At a time when public confidence in the impartiality of the justice system in America is at an all time low and bias and agenda are seen to sway decisions, Alito invokes the court’s code of ethics, beholden to no higher authority, asserting it is a personal decision for each justice to choose to recuse themselves from cases or not. Reporting alleges that Alito makes his prejudice clear regarding to January Sixth Insurrection filings by flying an upside down American flag (a distress signal) and raising a revolutionary era Pine Tree, “Appeal to Heaven” flag (a historic banner used in New England with the motto referencing John Locke’s treatises on governance and the right of revolution) but both symbols are associated with Christian nationalism, far right extremism and Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign, ongoing election denialism as well as the assault on the Capitol to interrupt certification of voting results.

synchronoptica

one year ago: headstone rubbings of historic typographers plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Paperback Writer (1966), Joan of Arc plus the Lincoln Memorial

three years ago: Sounds for the Supermarket, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, safety protocols, a Sunday drive plus a storied pizza franchise

four years ago: a wave of protests across the US

five years ago: St Seraphim, antique thread cards, freedom gas plus celebrating the life and career of Leon Redbone

Wednesday 29 May 2024

9x9 (11. 590)

priority seating: an account jammed packed with patterns for mass-transit upholstery—see previously—via Kottke 

ux: in the age of AI, perhaps it’s time to retire the term “user” 

voter turn-out: historically high temperatures in parts of India may skew election results 

๐Ÿ™‚‍↔️: this year’s bracket for most misinterpreted emoji  

described herein as a beverage carrying assembly: a patent for a beer puppet for festivals and sporting events  

the second soul: a thoroughgoing essay by Anton Howes on the history of salt—via Clive Thompson’s Linkfest  

instructions to the jury: closing arguments in the Trump trial and deliberation begins  

wasteful by design: digital technology and internet habits are becoming major contributors to the climate catastrophe 

transakcja: an endearing animation on courtship rituals in 1950s rural Poland

Tuesday 28 May 2024

who wears the pants in this family? (11. 588)

On this day in 1923, the US Attorney General Harry M Daugherty nullified the ordinance that made it illegal for women to wear trousers in public—which like suffrage and many other incremental advancements towards equality had been propelled by a societal relenting caused by women in the workforce and politics, out of necessity during the Great War and to organisations such as the Victorian contrarian Rational Dress Society who advocated for disburdening and freedom of movement in tandem with the Lady Cyclist Association, the bicycle of course granting a measure of universal independence never before enjoyed. Ironically, the anniversary of the announcement, not a legal remedy despite the fact that many restrictions remained on the books decades afterwards, falls on the same day in 1431 when Joan of Arc was accused of a relapse of her heretical ways as evidenced by her wearing of male clothing and ultimately justifying her execution.

Friday 24 May 2024

6x6 (11. 581)

gyermekvasรบt: the Budapest Children’s Railway, a functioning training project founded in the Communist era—see previously 

funny farm: an Ancient Greek agricultural emulator 

beacon hill: Massachusetts millionaire surtax surpasses revenue targets—via Miss Cellania 

he spends £1 a week on his hair: early reviews of British pop icons—via Strange Company 

god mode: a world simulation where the user has complete dominion—via Web Curios 

east side story: a documentary about musics in Warsaw Pact countries—see previously

Thursday 16 May 2024

10x10 (11. 562)

crimes of atrocity: a long, dense episode of -ologies with Alie Ward on the hugely fraught and difficult subject of genocide with a powerful and circumspect post-script 

airoboros: artificial intelligence trained on AI made content is becoming highly problematic and only compounded—see previously  

the city on the edge of forever: public portal linking Dublin and New York City suspended after inappropriate behaviour  

palmerston’s follies: two maritime forts off Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight that have been converted into boutique accommodations go up for auction  

the deuce: the Greek grandmother who built an adult entertainment empire in Times Square before its Disneyfication 

foot on the gas: the inevitability of the climate collapse and humanity’s capacity for adjustment  

⌘ |: the lost history of pre-internet emoji and rendering software—via Waxysee previously 

flashing headlights: the giant Dana squid’s photophores in attack-mode  

eternal return: cosmic cycles and time’s resurgence  

first-day agenda: how Trump is framing his vision for a second-term

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a visit to Arnstadt

two years ago: St Brendan, more links to enjoy plus the Electrotechnical Exhibition of 1891

three years ago: a classic from Kim Carnes, a language quiz, more links worth the revisit plus an ancient action figure

four years ago: more Trump’s Space Force, birdhouses, the stress of social media moderation, a medieval manuscript game plus a musical typing tutor

five years ago: GenX, consular services at McDonalds, soliciting grievances, Japanese mascots plus office equipment

Tuesday 23 April 2024

7x7 (11. 509)

betteridge’s law: the legacy of Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, and commoditising fascinating factiods to sell newspapers  

congestion pricing: overtourism and its consequences  

disclose, divest: on the 1968 anniversary of the protest that ousted the university’s president and established the student body senate, activism on Columbia’s campus is again in the national spotlight over Palestine  

grace period: America’s addiction to credit cards  

zoonosis: concern rises over avian flu as it appears in cows and wild animal communities  

nonstop flight: the epic migration of the Bar-tailed Godwit and the engineering of feathers—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

catch-and-kill: deal to bury stories unfavourable to Trump by tabloid The National Enquirer was an “agreement between friends”

Saturday 20 April 2024

seskleur (11. 501)

Proclaimed on this day in 1994 and officially adopted and flown for the first time a week later by president F W de Klerk (Nelson Mandela would succeed him in May, selected in the same general elections that incorporated the new design), and a synopsis, homage based on the Union Jack, the Dutch flag and the flag of the African National Congress (the political party, the ANC) and other elements of national banners of the country’s history, South Africa’s new flag, replacing the “Oranje, Blanje, Blou” of the apartheid era and—not including emblems and charges—is the only six-colour national flag. No universal symbolism is ascribed to the colours in order to allow personal attributions, with only the Y shaped element specifically meant to convey the convergence of diversity and unity going forward. Intended only as an interim rallying emblem, another contest was held in 1995 but it was decided, by popular acclaim, to keep the one that heralded justice and reconciliation.

Thursday 18 April 2024

10x10 (11. 496)

the cloud under the seas: the fleet of secret submarine cable repair ships 

sarbox: US Supreme Court appears skeptical about charging January Sixth rioters with obstruction of justice as defined by a law made in the aftermath of the Enron accounting scandal  

mix-and-match orthography: how Japanese writers navigate a choice between four writing systems (see also)—via Cardhouse  

walled gardens have deep roots: the imperative of rewilding (previously) the internet lest the duopolies take over—via Waxy 

bongo bash: Wild Stereo Drums (1961)  

embroidered surveillance: cross-stitch works of closed-circuit security camera footage  

the questor tapes: a 1974 television sci-fi drama about an android with incomplete programming by Star Trek alumni Gene L Coon, D C Fontana and Gene Roddenberry—via r/Obscure Media  

tegelwippen: Dutch towns compete to remove garden paving and embrace weeds—via Miss Cellania  

voir dire: jury selection continues for the criminal trial of Donald J Trump—with some potential jurors being unintentionally doxed by the media 

 atlas 2.0: Boston Dynamics’ new humanoid robot

synchronoptica

one year ago: Atelier Elvira, an unwoke chatbot plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: more gachapons plus an introduction to risography

three years ago: the launch of the Disney Channel (1983), an experimental light house plus Wham in China (1985)

four years ago: more links to enjoy, the International Amateur Radio Union plus The Spirits Book (1897)

five years ago: concrete monoliths moved by hand plus Mueller Report redactions

Saturday 13 April 2024

national treasures (11. 486)

The government of president Andrรฉs Manuel Lรณpez Obrador has declared a clowder of nineteen feral cats that have free range of the palatial executive complex grounds to be “living fixed assets”—part of the furniture like the official mouser of 10 Downing Street—but the first animals to be bestowed with the investment term that obligates the country’s treasury to feed and care for them for the rest of their lives. With no area off limits to the gatos palicios and the felines often making cameos during press conferences and escorting staff and visitors, they have become a symbol associated with the presidency and beloved by tourists—but one suspects that the population, especially after this development, won’t stay at this level for long.