Friday 19 April 2024

est! est!! est!!! (11. 498)

The unusual triplicate name of the wine region of Montefiascone in Lazio (Latium) originated in a possibly apocryphal legend from the twelfth century when in April of 1111 bishop Johann Fugger, a noted gourmand and member of a house of prominent bankers and venture capitalists from Augsburg who supplanted the Medici family and controlled much of the economy of Europe through the seventeen hundreds, travelled to Rome to witness the coronation of Henry V, King of Italy, Germany and Burgundy, by Pope Paschal II and sending ahead his prelate, possibly called Martin,  as majordomo to scout out places along the route offering the best wine, instructed to write in chalk “there it is” on the doors of the finer establishments serving vinum bonum, and so impressed with the offerings of one local tavern punctuated his rating with urgency for the entourage. Though not heavily exported, the name has certainly proved as good marketing for the Etruscan Montefiascone and with the final resting place of Fugger in the commune’s main church of San Flaviano, with the inscription, “Est est est ∙ Propter nimium est ∙ Johannes de Foucris ∙ dominus meus ∙ mortuus est” (Here, here, here [a common epitaph, or possibly cause of death was ruled too much Est]—because it is too much, my master is dead) it is reported that Fugger decided to stay and not continue the journey. The wine pairs particularly well with Roman cuisine like fried artichokes and calamari.


one year ago: technological anti-solutions, a classic from Blondie (1980) plus Neil Agarwal gives us a stratospheric tour

two years ago: another MST3K classic, persistent COVID denialism plus renovating the Kodak R&D building

three years ago: the Salyut programme (1971), more MST3K, a Google Earth time lapse, shelters build after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake plus the changing interiors of the Oval Office

four years ago: the Lada, keeping up with the news, Mambo No 5 (1999), more McMansion Hell, Animal Crossing tarot, St Expeditus, a pioneering virologist, failed attempts at wildlife photography plus a goatforsaken place

five years ago: an extended weekend, Mid-Century Modern  maps, the bees of Notre Dame, more accidental art plus an optical illusion to parse

Tuesday 9 April 2024

anticipation of joy (11. 479)

We liked this Guardian column—and not only for the vocabulary lesson with the concept of Vorfreude, roughly translated above, and antithesis of Schadenfreude—and advice on cultivating anticipatory joy as something to defer and to look forward to. Whilst future-oriented, the practise does not estrange oneself from the present here-and-now but rather can instigate calm and focus and the opposite of the adage, “if you worry, you suffer twice,” (which itself is not necessarily even true considering the suspense and potential to catastrophise tends to be worse than the actual event often times) with a gradual affirming routine that anyone can manage, regardless of circumstances, and mitigate hedonistic regression—that is, becoming enured to how good one has it. More strategies and pro-tips from Rachel Dixon at the link up top.


one year ago: an omnibus of easter eggs, a jolly 3-D printing torture test plus a mysterious cave in Finland

two years ago: an accomplished French chemist, Dreamcoat (1968), artist Witkiewicz plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: Concrete and Clay (1965), your daily demon: Marbas, automotive designer Robert Opron, more links to enjoy, the Duke of Edinburgh passes away plus the Lost Tapes of Club 27

four years ago: studies in kineticsmechanical casts, Maundy Thursday plus Easter Witches

five years ago: found sounds, cognitive flexibilities, Moscow’s Nakomfim Building, Alta y Baja California plus a proposed tax on digital giants

Monday 1 April 2024

aprilschertz (11. 462)

Reprinted from an uncredited German magazine in LIFE in 1938 shortly after the day of pranks, the accompanying blurb and recognises the tradition in the foreign press (see also here and here) in this innovation of a beetle that can repair runs in stockings and acknowledges that domestic newspapers have fallen for the hoaxes in the past, with Germany’s news outlets practising more discretion, restraint when it comes to political jokes and sticking with the absurd.

kcang (11. 461)

From midnight on—and no Aprilscherz—having cleared the huddles of passage by the Bundesrat and Bundestag and committee mediation in mid-March, persuaded by cautious agreements that former drugs policies and prohibitions have failed to curb abused, overburdened authorities and the legal system and created a black market, Germany has enacted a national decriminalisation plan for marijuana (Gesetzes zum Umgang mit Konsumcannabis, Abkรผrzung oben), allowing for adults to be in possession of up to twenty-five grams for their own consumption in public as well as fifty additional grams on their premises and up to three plants for cultivation, as well as permits for cannabis clubs with limited membership from 1 July.



one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a park of deplorable political figures

two years ago: more links to enjoy, re-sending the Arecibo Message plus the postcodes of London

three years ago: hellebore, The Abominable Dr Phibes, same-sex marriage in the Netherlands (2001), San Serrife, a space-plane prototype plus Uruguayan graphic design

four years ago: more concatenation, Soviet era animation, house-arrest plus an action play-set

five years ago: Substance, a post-Brexit healing czar plus Canterbury Tales

Thursday 7 March 2024

synchronise (11. 405)

Via Miss Cellania, we are directed towards the latest project from GMUNK (see previously, artist and director Bradley G Munkowitz) in the form of a music video produced for the Folktronica duo Milky Chance hailing from Kassel. Harnessing cutting edge technical developments in the digital arts for decades, GMUNK and team have created a rather brilliant rendered, dynamic landscape to accompany the song. Learn more about the human-AI collaboration to create effects not possible just a short while ago at Colossal at the link above.


one year ago: Gone with the Wind’s Rainbow Script

two years ago: the Comet of the Century plus more odonymy

three years ago: Seven Nation Army (2003),  Die Sendung mit der Maus (1971) plus wandering words

four years ago: the Battle of Remagen (1945), broadening the search for extraterrestrial life plus pandemic hoarding

five years ago: Van Life

Sunday 3 March 2024

8x8 (11. 396)

a bridge too far: German authorities pledge investigation into embarrassing leak of confidential military talks about Ukrainian aid  

heteronyms: the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa with seventy pen-names  

solar symbology: a survey of the various cartographic representations of North America’s upcoming total eclipse  

phrixus and helle: newly excavated fresco in Pompeii retells the myth of the Golden Fleece  

re:design: Jason Kottke unveils his new website with fresh 2024 energy—maybe we could all use a face-lift  

replevin: Trump fraudulently overvalued his Scottish golf course and resort by £200 000 000—see previously 

club remix: annual competition that invites doctoral candidates to dance their dissertation 

airdrop: US begins aid delivery to a beleaguered Gazan population on the verge of famine


one year ago: TIME magazine (1923) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus the largest capacity cargo plane

three years ago: more links worth the revisit, an artist’s message to get vaccinated plus Rocket Man (1972)

four years ago: the French version of the Dallas theme, Super Tuesday, Nigerian contributions to English plus more on the Human Interference Task Force

five years ago: graphic designer Alvin Lustig, Apollo IX (1969), an example of Celtic Revival architecture, McLaren’s Imperial Cheddar Club Cheese plus artist Pokey LaFarge

Saturday 2 March 2024

grenzรผbergang (11. 394)

With motives never clearly articulated and sparking an international crisis, a US soldier, Specialist William A. Thomson, Jr of Columbus, Georgia, stationed in West Berlin’s Turner Barracks broke into the heavy armour motor pool and commandeered a fifty-tonne M60 tank. Proceeding to destroy the main gate of the post, Turner crashed through Checkpoint Charlie entering East Berlin. For some seventy very tense minutes, chaos ensured as Thompson swivelled the turret and took aim at East German and Soviet troops—no shots were fired—and then drove to the crossing at Drewitz. Diplomats and officers from the barracks were getting involved and eventually Thompson’s superiors were allowed into the Soviet sector and persuaded him to surrender and remand him to custody. The Americans were later permitted to retrieve the tank.  During his court-martial, Thomas was characterised as a quiet individual with no history of wrong-doing or insubordination.


one year ago: An Imaginary Report on an American Rock Festival (1973) plus another MST3K classic

two years ago: the Moldo-Russian War (1992) plus The Starlost

three years ago: a satanic variety show, Pioneer 10 (1972), a line-of-sight telegraph (1792) plus telegraph abbreviations and shorthand

four years ago: comics cartography, a more environmentally friendly brick plus Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

five years ago: Bauhaus style logos for modern companies, a study of the Mosaic Virus by AI, the Overton Window, cleaner-burning trains plus the Communist International (1919)

Sunday 25 February 2024

brunswick, bailiwick (11. 381)

After a failed and humiliating attempt to naturalise the then-stateless Adolf Hitler by appointing him to a professorship of the fabricated discipline of “Politics and Organic Sociology” at the state college, rejected by academia for never having finished school and revealing the the subterfuge and subjecting them both to ridicule, the minister for the Interior and Education of Freistaat Braunschweig of the Weimar Republic—created from the former duchy of discontiguous holdings following the revolution of 1918—Nazi Party politician Dietrich Klagges was successful on this day in 1932 of procuring a government posting and citizenship for Hitler as a member of the state’s legation with the Reichsrat (upper house of parliament) in Berlin. This posting, in accordance with design, allowed Hitler to stand as a candidate for the office of president. Although the ascension was quickly and summarily rejected by the Reichskanzler and Klagges was punished subsequently for the public embarrassment with the abolishment of his polity (the only Nazi controlled state within the republic, an act recapitulated by the occupying powers of the Soviet Union and the British, dividing it into East and West Germany) and Klagges reduced to a provencal governor, Hitler nonetheless rose quickly in the ranks while the apologist and disgraced politician enabled him.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

siegfried: teil eins (11. 349)

Premiering on this day in 1924 at the UFA-Palast am Zoo in Berlin, the first part of the epic silent adaptation of the Nibelungen saga by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou (prevously) is considered a milestone in film history. Having surpassed his master, the apprentice Siegfried leaves the forge and as he readies to depart as a journeyman sword-smith, he hears of the magnificent and eligible princess Kriemhild of Worms and resolves on the spot to seek her hand in marriage. Deliberately misdirected towards the lair of the dreaded dragon (Lindwurm) instead of the city on the upper Rhein, Siegfried survives this fool’s errand, slaying the menacing beast, and soaked in dragon’s blood attains a degree of invulnerability and his heroic reputation preceding him, catches the attention of the royal court. After an encounter with the king of the dwarves which he outwits, Siegfried arrives at the hall of the Burgundians, with the dragons hoard and styling himself a powerful ruler of twelve kingdoms, and courting Kriemhild agrees to aid her brother Gunther in winning over the fierce warrior queen Brunhild of Iceland in matrimony, she only willing to submit to one who can beat her in combat and feats of strength. Under the guise of Gunther, Siegfried uses trickery to defeat Brunhild before allowing the Gunther the coup de grace. Defeated but still harbouring suspicion, a double-wedding takes place in Worms—afterward Brunhild uncovering the suspected deceit. The sequel is entitled Kriemhilds Rache—the Revenge of Kriemhild. Building off the success of Dr Mabuse two years earlier, the filming was impacted by the period of hyperinflation in Germany following World War I, making it the most expensive yet made, producer Erich Pommer continued to finance the project, confident in Lang’s directing abilities with a score commissioned from Gottfired Huppertz to distinguish this version from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The colourised (tinted) restoration below, with English subtitles, is an attempt to recreate the original theatre-going experience.


one year ago: the bombing of Dresden (1945)

two years ago: sweet notes

three years ago: your daily demon: Kimaris, assorted links to revisit plus the first ski-lift (1908)

four year ago: an unexpected celebrity souvenir photo album, pale blue dot (1970) plus more AI Valentines

five years ago: reforming the liturgical calendar plus Music for Airports

Saturday 3 February 2024

9x9 (11. 319)

thinking of you. i mean me. i mean you: a new exhibition on the artist Barbara Kruger advances her legacy up to the present—see previously  

hi neighbour: Johnny Costa introduced jazz to Mister Rogers along with his audience  

una vincenzo, the lady troubridge: fashion icon, sculptor, translator and unashamed, power lesbian  

baud per second: Eclectic Method’s dial-up modem song  

unexcused absences: obstructionist state senators cannot run for re-election in Oregon after constitutional amendment—via Super Punch 

unwatering: researchers find the solution the Richard Feynman’s hypothetical reserve sprinkler  

amateuraufnahmen: colour footage of Berlin, Leipzig and Bad Schandau from the 1960s  

please don’t try to print it: unlocking the page dimensions in Adobe to create a PDF larger than the entire Universe—via Kottke  

friend or foe: Clownfish count stripes to keep out adult interlopers from their territory—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links—see also strange sex lives of the species

flakturm iv (11. 317)

Reminiscent of the transformation of the Colossus of Prora into luxury vacation properties, we learned that there has been a similar rehabilitation effort in the works for a decade to crown the one of the landmarks of the past of Hamburg, the air-defence bunker in Heiligengeistfeld in St Pauli (see previously), too difficult to demolish and built as nearly impenetrable, with an extension in the form of a boutique, green hotel with a lush rooftop garden. The accommodations open in April, which includes an in-house memorial and information centre about the indestructible structure’s Nazi past, after a three year delay in construction.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Crocodile Rock (1973)

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus more on Tulipomania

three years ago: more links worth revisiting plus a Bauhaus chessboard

four years ago: Setsubun, the Benelux (1958) plus antique school notebooks from all over the world

five years ago: The Day the Music Died (1959)

Wednesday 31 January 2024

8x8 (11. 309)

that spells primbci: Neuralink begins trials on human volunteers—see previously  

infinite craft: drag and drop fundamental elements to make new materials, from Neal Agarwal—previously  

gboard caps: search engine Japan team designs a hat (ๅธฝใƒใƒผใ‚ธใƒงใƒณ) that types  

double feature: more command-line movies from ASCII Theatre—see previously  

once you pop, you can’t stop: the weird and secretive world of crisp flavours—via Present/&/Correct  

vier-tage woche: German companies experimenting with a four-day workweek to ameliorate labour shortages  

zetetic astronomy: a mid-nineteenth century experiment that spanned the Flat Earth movement  

beta-testing: a few well-reasoned counterpoints for the mechanical Turk hucksters and AI-evangelists

nichts der homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die situation, in der er lebt (11. 308)

Having premiered at the at the Berlin International Film Festival the prior year, Rosa von Praunheim’s It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse But Rather the Society in Which He Lives was broadcast for the first time on the television network Westdeutschen Runk on this day in 1972, the exposure to a wider audience considered emancipatory and resounding globally helped informed the Lesbian and gay rights movements in Germany and the rest of Europe and encouraged individuals, particularly following the liberalisation of Section 175 in 1969 of the German Criminal Code (see previously), to come out of hiding and be seen in a society becoming more tolerant and accepting. Despite criticisms that the film itself was not very good or revelatory (since reappraised for its historical and socio-political influence)—the narrative of a country boy meeting a city boy that in the capital is honest but perhaps not the most ingratiating with promiscuity thwarting attempts to copy the heteronormative lifestyle, though ultimately leading to community activism—it has had an enduring and impactful legacy. Watch the entire film with English subtitles here.


one year ago: the first McDonald’s in Moscow (1990) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more on the International Geophysical Year, St Geminianus plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: advocating a base-eight system, the Winter Soldier Investigations (1971) plus the first chimpanzee in space (1961)

four years ago: ancient aliens and the Gorn Hegemony, the UK leaves the EU, hidden thread plus Primal Scream (2000)

five years ago: a monument to Scrabble plus division bells

Friday 26 January 2024

12x12 (11. 294)

brownstone: Gotham Gothic rowhouses as playing cards  

wall of eyes: Radiohead spinoff artist Jonny Greenwood’s latest album 

scrabblegram: a form of constrained writing using all one hundred tiles of the game  

blackula: a look at the brave inversion of exploitation cinema  

research purposes: profiles in the pornographers of Wikimedia who image and caption—see also—human sexuality, via Web Curios  

parks & rec: a map of sites in the US funded by FDR’s New Deal programme—via Waxy 

best laptop 2024: readership, AI and the collapse of media outlets  

nullification: Texas governor, alleging the US federal government has failed to protect the country from an immigrant invasion, hints at secession  

the compaynys of beestys & fowlys: revisiting how animal groupings (see previously on the subject of venery) received such colourful names—via the morning news  

schluckbildchen: sixteenth century edible devotionals  

mixtape: Kim Gordon, formerly of Sonic Youth, raps her grocery list in new song Bye Bye 

ephemerama: a growing archive of modern illustrations from circa 1950 to 1975—via Things Magazine


one year ago: more trompe l’oeil paintings, assorted links to revisit plus pie-chart studies

two years ago: morphing logos plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: zorbing, the Council of Trent (1545), Australia Day, more links worth the revisit plus Tubman on the twenty

four years ago: modular, prefab kiosks plus the first television demonstration (1926)

five years ago: the longest government shutdown in US history, architect Sir John Soane plus all the world’s writing systems

Monday 15 January 2024

remigration (11. 268)

For the thirty-third time, a jury of linguists and journalists from Darmstadt has selected the German Unwort of the Year in a portmanteau for the return of refugees, asylum-seekers and Einwander introduced into common-parlance by members of the Identitarian Movement and other rightwing groups (see previously) a euphemism for forced expulsion and even mass-deportation of those considered to be of a non-native background. The organisation fears that this “un-word” is being harnessed to normalise extremist positions in political discourse. Runners-up that the jury also criticises for its rise in use include “Sozialklimbim”—social climate as a classist dog whistle for the poor and disenfranchised as destined to remain on the margins of society and politics, joining a constellation of disparaging expressions, including a soziale Hรคngematte, a safety-net viewed as a hammock, Gratismentalitรคt, entitlement-thinking, and “Heizungs-Stasi,” from the perceived dictatorial approach of regulatory framework meant to make heat and homes more energy-efficient.


one year ago: signature martinis, Land Down Under, the endangered apostrophes of London plus Kurosawa’s Macbeth

two years ago: a history of the crossword puzzle, Un-Word of the Year, Bloody Mary plus assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: more links to enjoy, Snowflake Bentley, a curation of ignored artefacts plus whaling ship logs

four years ago: more links worth the revisit, the Republic of Vermont plus Swiss land-use

five years ago: the launch of Wikipedia (2001), 1999 in film, seedlings on the Moon, more on Trump’s atrocities plus other smokable plants

Friday 12 January 2024

erfundene mittelalter (11. 262)

Via Strange Company, we find ourselves directed to a real rabbit-hole of a conspiracy theory wrapped in the guise—possibly earnest and wholly without cause (like the counterfeit Donation of Constantine)—of scholarship articulated by academician Heribert Illig in 1991 known as the Phantom Time Theory, positing that events occurring in a three-century span from 614 to 911 were fabricated, advancing the Anno Domino dating system ahead in order to place the rule of either Pope Sylvester II, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III (plus legitimising his claim to the throne) or Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in power during the millennial of the death of Christ and ruling at the moment of the return of Jesus. Otto and the Pope made it but not Eastern emperor.  The fact that many manuscripts from the time are acknowledged copies of lost originals and including forgeries (see also), the preponderance of Romanesque architecture present after the influence should have abated and the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, adopted in phases, did not mathematically correct its predecessor (the reform was never intent on correcting and revising the the length of the year back all the way to its inception in 45 BC but rather to its state during the Council of Nicaea—covering this supposed three century discrepancy—when tying the date of Easter to the vernal equinox) and a fact that an alliance between the above three rulers, each preserving his magesteria, was likely, led Illig to conclude that personages and events like Charlemagne and his dynasty (for whom Otto had specious claim as no Caroligian, Frankish heir) led Illig to conclude that this period of history was an elaborate fraud, with retrograde, retroactive chronicles created and a populace willing as well to spring forward in time to be present for the Second Coming, though later the loss of a couple of weeks (or an hour) was seen to draw popular ire.  The alliance amongst these three potentates was strong enough, the theory suggests, to collaborate to create a revised timeline, though the idea is refuted as pseudoscience by medievalists, archaeological evidence, dendrochronology and of course recorded histories outside of western Europe.

Saturday 30 December 2023

mmxxiii (11. 224)

As this calendar draws to a close and we look forward to 2024, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the things and events that took place during the past year. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together.

january: Hundred of thousands pay their respects, attend funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, presided over by his predecessor in Vatican City. Supporters of defeated president Jair Bolsanaro stormed the capitol in Brasilia.  Caches of official records and classified files have been discovered mishandled and stored in offices used by Joe Biden after his vice-presidency. Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck passes away, aged 78.  Lisa Marie Presley, artist and singer, has died, aged 54.  Wracked with successive and endemic problems, Haiti descends into anarchy after the last of its elected officials depart the country.  Singer David Crosby has passed away, aged 81.  Jacinda Arden steps down as Prime Minister of New Zealand.  US and Germany agree to send tanks to Ukraine.  A group of five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee brutally murder Tyre Nichols with no justifiable provocation. After speaking out against the criminalisation of same-sex partnerships and denial of basic civil rights, the Pope will journey to South Sudan, joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the Church of Scotland for a dialogue with local church leaders preaching a gospel of intolerance.  Lisa Loring, the original Wednesday Addams, passes away, aged 64.

february: After announcing that conflict with China was on the near horizon, the US acquires additional bases in the Philippines to encircle its rival and potential adversary.  Just days ahead of US Secretary of State’s visit to Beijing, NORAD announces the detection of a Chinese spy balloon over western America, prompting Blinkin to cancel his trip. Fashion designer and perfumier Paco Rabane passes away, aged 88.  The EU holds a summit in Kyiv on Ukraine’s bid for membership.  Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf passes away, aged 77, after contending with a long illness.  A powerful earthquake on the border of Syria and Tรผrkiye claims over five thousand lives, the death toll soon quadrupling.  Songwriter Burt Bacharach passes away, aged 94.  Facing a series of crises and increasing pressure from the war in neighbouring Ukraine, the government of Moldova is dissolved.  Top-tier Czech footballer Jakub Jankto comes out as homosexual, the first professional player to do so.  Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon surprises her party by announcing her departure with no clear successor.  Actor Raquel Welch passes away, aged 82.  North Korea resumes missile tests in the Pacific and the US warns that China may attempt to arm Russia and delegates at the Munich Security Conference urge immediate fortification of Ukraine in order to prevent imminent defeat.  Stand-up comedian and tv detective Richard Belzer dies, aged 78.  Humanitarian and former US president Jimmy Carter enters hospice care.  Just ahead of the one year anniversary of the start of the invasion, Joe Biden makes a surprise visit to Kyiv.  Tech companies and media outlets continue tranche after tranche of staff layoffs.  US House Speaker gives previously unreleased trove of January Sixth insurrection footage to conservative pundit Tucker Carlson.  The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks its one year anniversary.

march: Evidence emerges that Ukrainian saboteurs were responsible for the underwater explosions that ruptured the NordStream I pipeline though questions remain.  In the second largest bank collapse in the history of the US and the first of its kind since the 2008 crash, the Silicone Valley Bank servicing tech-sector start-up has become insolvent and went into government receivership.  Thousands of civil servants in France go on strike in protest of legislation to raise retirement age.  After Manhattan district attorney investigation into Trump directing hush-money to Stormy Daniels, US presidential candidate announces that he expects to be arrested and calls for protests.  Mounting evidence seems to vilify suggestions that COVID originated from a lab leak in Wuhan.  Despite attempts to contain the contagion, the fall out from the crisis with California fintech institutions cause havoc with banking stocks worldwide.  UBS absorbs a beleaguered Credit Suisse.  Xi and Putin enter an apparent entente against American influence.   UN warns that time has run out on combating runaway climate change.  Deadly, hour-long tornado strikes ravage rural Mississippi and Alabama.  Intel Corp founder and thinker behind the eponymous law about the exponential improvement of technology Alan Moore passes away, aged 94.

april: Trump arraigned in the Manhattan district court over falsifying business records pursuant to hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels.  A US federal judge in Texas suspends the 2000 approval by the country’s food and drug regulatory body on the safety of an abortion pill, restricting its use.  Demanding stricter gun-laws in the wake of another school and church mass-shooting, the Tennessee state legislator expel two Black lawmakers for their stance.  Preoccupied with filibusters over trans-rights, the Nebraska state senate fails to pass a single law in this year’s legislative session.  Tory ministers begin to walk-back plans for a full-scale repeal of EU regulations following an inter-party revolt against the post-Brexit arrangement.  Phasing out of nuclear energy entirely, Germany closes its final remaining reactors.  Revival military leaders have brought Sudan to the brink of civil war as factions of the regular army face the paramilitary rapid response force in Khartoum.  More media organizations fold as ad revenue dries up and newsrooms turn to AI to generate copy, like BuzzFeed and Vice being the two latest to declare bankruptcy and curtail operations.  Comedian and creator of Dame Edna Barry Humphries has passed away, aged 89.  Civil rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte dies, aged 96.  Joe Biden declares his party’s candidacy for a second term for president of the United States.

may: Gordon Lightfoot, folk legend, dies, aged 84.  The WHO declares the global COVID-19 health emergency over.  Charles III and Camilla are enthroned during a lavish ceremony in London.  A jury finds Donald Trump guilty on the charge of sexual abuse and battery, labelling him a predator and pest.  Elon Musk appoints a former television advertising executive as head of Twitter as he announces plans to transform the ailing social network into a multi-purpose app similar to China’s WeChat.  Harry and Meghan are recklessly pursued by paparazzi in New York—with strong echoes of the death of his mum’s fatal encounter.  China begins to call in loans to some of the world’s most impoverished countries after making them dependent on cheap credit.  Tina Turner passed away peacefully, aged 83, in her home outside of Zurich—Simply the Best.  Florida governor Ron DeSantis announces his presidential candidacy on Twitter.

june: The death toll of a catastrophic train crash in India approaches three hundred with countless more injured.  After months of drama and tension, the US raises its debt ceiling to avoid default.  A dam breach, blamed on Russia, causes massive flooding along the Dnipro river and forces tens of thousands to
evacuate.  Astrud Gilberto, the Queen of Bossa Nova, and original singer of the infinitely covered ‘Girl from Ipanema,’ has passed away, aged 83.  Wildfires rage in Canada, smoke enveloping the Eastern Seaboard.  The awaited Ukraine counteroffensive begins.  Four children who survived an airplane crash in the jungles are Columbia are found alive having survived the forty day ordeal.  Donald Trump is indicted on federal charges for retention of classified documents imperilling US national security. Boris Johnson quits Parliament ahead of an official rebuke from the House of Commons over Partygate. Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber and CIA UK Ultra test subject, is dead, aged 81.  Media tycoon and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi passes away, aged 86.  NATO holds large scale military exercises in Germany.  The whistleblower and leaker behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, passes away, aged 92.  A submersible taking a compliment of five tourist to the wreck of the Titanic is lost.  Mercenary Wagner Group turns critical of the invasion of Ukraine and stages a mutiny after announced take-over by the Russian defence ministry, occupying Rostov-on-Don and proposing a march on Moscow, reaching half-way to the capital before a truce is negotiated by the Belarusian president.  France riots over the death of a teenager after being shot by a police officer.  US Supreme Court overturns affirmative action in college admissions, student loan forgiveness and LGBTQI+ anti-discrimination laws, though at least on the last case, it looks as if evidence was fabricated.  

july: Joseph Pedott, marketing virtuoso, passed away, aged 91.  Israel conducts a major military raid into a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin.  Despite warnings from humanitarians and a ban in place for their use by over a hundred countries, the US is sending surplus cluster-bombs from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to Ukraine.  Catastrophic flooding devastates Vermont and other parts of New England.  Hollywood’s Screen Actors Guild joins the writers’ strike.  Jane Birkin, singer, activist and French icon, dies aged 76.  Crooner Tony Bennett passes away, aged 96.  After months of media hype and anticipation, the Barbieheimer phenomenon comes to cinemas.  Singer Sinรฉad O’Connor has died, aged 56—nothing compares 2 u.  Hunter Biden appears before court on charges of tax evasion and illegal gun-ownership, days after boudoir photos of him enter the congressional record, possibly in violation of laws against revenge porn. The Nigeria government falls to a military coup d’etat with the president taken into custody.  Paul Reubens, the actor who portrayed Pee-Wee Herman, passed away aged 70, after a private bout with cancer.  Voyager 2 after two weeks of radio silence has re-established contact with Earth.

august: Donald Trump is indicted for his role in fanning the flames that culminated in the January Sixth raid on the Capitol and attempts to over turn the 2020 election.  Wildfires devastate the Hawaiian island of Maui and the town of Yellowknife is evacuated as forests are engulfed in Canada.  A rare hurricane, the first in eighty years, passes over Baja California, causing flooding and heavy rains, a year’s worth in a single day.  Ex-Wagner chief and senior leadership perish in an airplane crash.  Indian lands a probe at the lunar south pole.  Trump is arrested, booked and released on bail after in Fulton County Georgia.  Long-time US game show host Bob Barker dies, aged 99 (playing by Price-is-Right rules until the end).  An unprecedented hurricane strikes Florida’s Big Bend region between the panhandle and peninsula.  “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett passes away, aged 76.

september: Drought and wildfires are followed by flooding in Greece. An earthquake strikes the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, killing hundreds and destroying parts of Marrakesh.  Rupert Murdoch steps down from News Corp.  Fighting erupts in Nagorno-Karabakh, the breakaway region of Azerbaijan. After more than five months, the Hollywood Writers’ Guild reaches a deal with the studio and ends its strike.  In solidarity with striking autoworkers, US president Joe Biden joins the picket line, the first for a sitting holder of the high office.  As counter-programming to the second Republican debate, Trump also makes an appearance with union workers.

october: Hamas and other terror groups launch a surprise attack on Israel, causing Tel Aviv to declare war against Gaza with thousands killed on both sides.  Earthquakes in Afghanistan leaves over a thousand dead.  An eastern Pacific tropical cyclone devastates Acapulco with hundreds killed and many more displaced. 

november: Three-hundred thousand marched for peace in Palestine through London during Armistice Day celebrations after earlier rallies drawing in huge numbers to urge Israel enact a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.  Pope Francis dismisses an ultra conservative bishop in Texas who criticised the pontiff's more progressive stance on non-gender-conforming members of the Church. OpenAI’s board of directors have ousted founder and CEO Sam Altman, the chief representative of the chatbot revolution and proponent for regulatory framework, for his lack of candour and transparency.  Microsoft immediately hired Altman and fellow defectors.  Humanitarian and former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter passes away.  Rightwing populist Geert Wilders wins a controlling share of the Netherlands’ parliament. A temporary cease-fire is called in Gaza to allow the release of hostages and more humanitarian aid to enter the beleaguered city.  Henry Kissinger dead at one-hundred.

december: Fabulist and fraudster George Santos expelled from the US congress.  Israel renews attacks on Palestine after a temporary truce. Legendary television producer Norman Lear passes away at 101. Israeli forces extend attacks in southern Gaza, where many fled to avoid the violence.  Ousted US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy tenders his retirement from Congress, leaving the Republicans a controlling majority of only two seats.  The EU enacts the world’s first comprehensive AI regulatory framework.  A volcanic eruption occurs on the Icelandic Reykjanes peninsula with Sundhnรบkagรญgar dumping lava and prompting evacuations.  Trump confidant and former New York City mayor Rudi Guliani declares bankrupcy after being ordered to pay nearly one hundred-fifty million dollars in restitution for libelling Georgia election workers.  Houthi pirates attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea cause transportation to round the Cape of Good Hope.  A mass shooting in Prague leaves fifteen individuals dead.  Missing Russian opposition figure Alexei Nalvalny emerges, detained in a penal colony above the Arctic Circle.  A heavy barrage of missiles hit Kyiv as US financial and materiel backing driess up.Veteran German parliamentarian Wolfgang Schรคuble passes away, aged 81.  Jacques Delors, statesman who helped shaped the European Union dead at 98.  Entertainer Tommy Smothers dies at 86.  Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues, with the death toll of civilians surpassing twenty-thousand.

Monday 25 December 2023

basaltwerk stengerts (11. 214)

For a grey but bright Christmas day, we ventured past the industrial section of Bischofsheim an der Rhรถn to explore the former basalt refinery and quarry (see previously here, here and here), active for decades but now abandoned and designated as a nature preserve. The wind was a bit fierce and the trees bare but the moss covering the stones was a vibrant green.  Once containing an active settlement for workers, the volcanic rock used for construction and the making of cobblestones as well as more recently insulation as stone wool and a possible repository for carbon sequestration, were taken to the freight yard with a cable car and distributed throughout the region.