Thursday 13 June 2024

7x7 (11. 626)

senza vergogna: some notes for Martha-Ann Alito on her anti-Pride flag (see previously)  

factory floor: inside Andy Warhol’s studio—via Messy Nessy Chic  

prospecting: Norwegian mining firms discovers Europe’s largest cache of rare-earth metals  

adaptive force controlled shaving demonstration: a robot barber in Shanghai  

daily bread: an overview of the staple foodstuff’s contribution to civilisation  

hydrant directory: colour palettes of New York’s suppression points—via Pasa Bon!  

gruppo dei sette: following EU elections, the G7 forum begins in Puglia


one year ago: a top album by Alanis Morissette plus an early world-traveller

two years ago: a chronic case of the hiccups, a hit by Paul McCartney plus international crisps flavours

three years ago: the G7, Shangri La the musical, St Anthony plus two very prolific travelogues

four years ago: illustrator Wilbur Husley, assorted links to revisit, the Pentagon Papers (1971) plus a banger from Mungo Jerry

five years ago: the elusive American Middle-Class plus x before x-rays

Tuesday 4 June 2024

drawn apart (11. 607)

Although perhaps more famous for his depictions of the Risorgimento (the Unification of Italy in 1861), the Swiss-born painter and lithographer Carlo Bossoli also became popular particularly in Britain for his historic scenes of Crimea due to public interest in the war. Working out of Odesa, Bossoli documented several places that reverberate over the last two centuries and are familiar to those following the current conflict, like this painting of Snake Island. London printing house Vincent Brooks, Day & Son published a series of fifty-two choice images and commissioned the artist for coverage of other ongoing battles. More scenes from RFEL at the link up top.

Thursday 16 May 2024

scope of practise (11. 563)

Via Kottke, we that the inaugural World Umarlling Championship has been announced and is taking submissions, giving us a chance to revisit the gentle stereotype, classically a male pensioner who pauses to observe and inspect construction works in progress. Self-appointed foremen, the interest that umari take in infrastructure and built-environments is a model that we could all take a lesson from in terms of civic engagement without being a busybody or a backseat driver, especially under the terms of the competition. Learn ore at the links above.

Friday 26 April 2024

villa of the papyri (11. 516)

Using a dual process of optical coherence tomography and infrared hyperspectral imaging to eke out characters from carbonised scrolls housed in Herculaneum and preserved after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD but inaccessible until recently with the aid of artificial intelligence, researchers have been able to more accurately locate the burial place of Plato, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, in the Academy, destroyed by Roman general Sulla in 86 BC, as well as a previously unknown account of the philosopher’s last days that relates how he found the night’s entertainment, a Thracian musician’s performance, rather grating. We wonder what else might be digitally unwrapped from this trove kept in what’s regarded as one, the site originally designated Villa Suburbana either residence of Lucious Calpurnius Piso Caesonius—the father-in-law of Julius Caesar or the purported author himself, Epicurean Philodemus of Gadara, of the most luxurious and with a well-apportioned library in the Roman world.

Sunday 21 April 2024

the waiting room (11. 504)

After learning that director David Lynch (previously) designs furniture as a hobby, Milan Design Week curator Antonio Monda invited him to create an installation for Salone del Mobile—delivering A Thinking Room whose patterned floor evokes the Red Room, an extra-dimensional antechamber accessible through Twin Peaks’ Glastonbury Grove. Whilst meant to be meditative, following Lynch’s practise, the space is also a refuge for relaxation and reflection. Anticipating the demand, two identical rooms were built, according to designer’s specifications, in the historic Piccolo Teatro. The branching metal rods radiating from the oversized wooden are not connected to anything, though perhaps metaphysically, and most of the choices in elements are left unexplained.  Read more from Dezeen at the link above.

Saturday 20 April 2024

supercrema gianduja (11. 500)

The first glass jar of the cocoa hazelnut spread by the confectionary manufacturer Ferrero left the factory in Alba on this day in 1964 and marketed throughout the continent became almost an instant international success, having reformulated the recipe several times prior to commercial release, originally a solid block composed of the region’s famous filbert (nocciola) harvest before pitched as a paste, initially twenty percent chocolate and seventy percent hazelnut butter but now the remainder of palm oil and sugar has taken over—to the grave consternation of purists along with other tweaks to the ingredients.


one year ago: a failed rocket launch plus tiny voxel shops

two years ago: Germany’s Congress for Internal Medicine, a tribute to Freddy Mercury (1992), an un-redaction challenge plus ratings for everything

three years ago: your daily demon: Amon, rope-making, superlative toponymy plus assorted links worth revisiting

four years ago: spot the difference games from museum collections plus Dutch curses

five years ago: the Columbine High School Massacre (1999)

Friday 19 April 2024

9x9 (11. 499)

pumping iron: Technogym invites forty artists to reinterpret its exercise bench for Milan Design Week  

wikipedia rectangles: a collage of images sourced from the Commons subdivides one’s screen in increasing smaller sections of disparate pictures—via Web Curios  

the microcosm of london: an illustrated three-volume set by Rudolph Ackermann showcasing the public spaces of the capital 

๐Ÿ‰: the massive Quilt for Palestine unveiled at the Met 

rundown royale: a look at the family tree of Charlemagne, the Father of Europe—via Miss Cellania 

ulnar nerve: the etymology of the expression funny bone and variants—including the Swedish terms enkelstรถt/รคnkestรถt  

dua lipa stuns as congressional gerrymander: that and other headlines from Super Punch  

from our correspondents: World Press Photo contest captures destruction and devastation 

the revolution will not be biennalised: the withdrawal of the Israeli pavilion in Venice was performative and opportunistic

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

Sunday 7 April 2024

macchine da caffรฉ (11. 472)

Via Present /&/ Correct, we thoroughly enjoyed inspecting the various models and designs of coffee and espresso makers collected over three decades by curator and connoisseur Enrico Maltoni celebrating a century of Italian cafe culture with an expansive exhibit to visit virtually. Styles and innovations are presented chronologically and an accompanying coffee-table book tells more about the manufacturers and small businesses that inform this cornerstone of society.


one year ago: pollutants as disease vectors plus Roxanne (1978)

two years ago: Putin apologists plus a sheet-like organism

three years ago: assorted links to revisit plus South Pacific (1949)

four years ago: cell towers and COVID, ghost crashes plus more mudlarking

five years ago: a Finnish term for resilience plus a logograph for the new imperial era

Saturday 6 April 2024

concours eurovision de la chason (11. 470)

With the finale held on this day fifty years ago, held in the arts venue the Dome of Brighton with veteran television personality and presenter Katie Boyle—winner of the 1973 contest Luxembourg having declined the honour of hosting the event consecutive years in a row due to cost constraints for their public broadcaster, Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Tรฉlรฉdiffusion, some of the more memorable acts of the Eurovision Song Contest (previously) with an iconic and transporting recognition owing to the winners’ costuming and performance include an interlude by the Wombles, Olivia Newton-John, Mouth and MacNeal and entrant Pooky from newly admitted Israel, whose prog and jazz fusion would prove enduring. France did not participate that year out of respect for the national mourning period for the death of president Georges Pompidou, withdrawing a few days before, and contest was not aired until several months afterwards for fear that the country’s own submission, “Sรฌ” finishing in second place, might have influenced votes on a confusingly worded nation referendum on whether to keep or rescind newly introduced legislation (see above) that allowed for divorce in country—“yes” being the ballot initiative to outlaw the recently enacted liberty.


one year ago: the UK tax year plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: artist Raphael, fungal communication plus playing around with a text-to-image generator

three years ago: Ping-Pong Diplomacy, the first Tony Awards, the Debatable Lands, plans to build the World Trade Center, duelling songs plus the modern Olympic Games (1896)

four years ago: more true facts from Ze Frank plus a cute typing tutor

five years ago: the Bavarian Socialist Republic (1919) plus a community Spring Cleaning

Monday 18 March 2024

7x7 (11. 435)

deadwooding: Banksy acknowledges authorship of a new mural bringing back some greenery to an aggressive prune tree in Finsbury Park  

subspace: an ultra high-definition video of a cat chasing a laser-pointer was beamed over thirty million kilometres to improve future video calls to the Moon and Mars 

running-stitch: beautiful embroidered portraits from Karola Pezarro  

deadspin: more on the internet’s undead, reanimated by private equity and name recognition—see previously, see more  

bunga bunga: Italy’s Foreign Press Association to move into former home of Silvio Berlusconi, who famously disparaged reporters as Communists  

honeytrap: Aphra Behn’s intersecting careers as a professional writer and spy  

sequoiadendron giganteum: imported by the Victorians as status symbols, Giant Redwoods (see also) are thriving in the UK at more than half-a-million and growing

Sunday 17 March 2024

riding the rails (11. 429)

Via Damn Interesting, the start-up Ironlev demonstrates that it is possible to achieve magnetic levitation on existing train routes, successfully testing a prototype vehicle on the Adria-Mestre line near Venice whose speed topped out at seventy kilometres per hour. No modifications were made to the track to accommodate the maglev test carriage, and given the network of underutilised and in some cases abandoned rail infrastructure linking all parts of the continent, the potential applications, despite technical challenges, are significant for efficient and quick transportation of people and goods. Aside from a levitating service run briefly in Germany (die M-Bahn) to supplement gaps left in public transit following the fall of the Berlin Wall until reunification and a few other proof-of-concept trials, there are only six operational lines in China, South Korea and Japan presently with the biggest expensive and barrier to expansion being the high cost laying new dedicated tracks.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, a Gloria Gaynor classic plus “All You Tories”

two years ago: Leipzig After-Hours

three years ago: Joseph of Arimathea, Lost Horizon (1973) plus vaccination campaigns as portrayed in movies and television

four years ago: a homecoming staged for the cameras (1973) plus the art of Edward Hopper speaks to pandemic isolation

five years ago: St Patrick in the Russian Orthodox Church plus The Fourth Dimension and the Bible (1922)

Saturday 16 March 2024

auto sportive (11. 426)

Renowned Italian car designer associated with Gruppo Bertone, producing a number of iconic models for Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, Marcello Gandini has passed away, aged 85. His signature Stile Bertone developed chiefly in a studio outside of Turin, created many prototypes and concept cars, innovative wedge formats, like the pictured mid-engine mounted Miura, the futuristic flagship of the company in production from 1966 to 1973, scissor doors for the two-seaters, also lending his talents to Volkswagen with the first Polo, Lancia’s rally car and BWM’s 1970 Garmisch—as well as venturing into architecture and interior design. More from designboom at the link up top.


one year ago: Florida tries to outlaw cabaret shows

two years agobicolour

three years ago: your daily demon: Andromalius, global stock markets crash, the bombing of Wรผrzburg (1945) plus proposed repurposing submarines as oil tankers

four years ago: St Urho, a portentous sea monster plus pandemic restrictions and air quality

five years ago: Sushi Singularity, more Olympic pictograms, hydrogen-power plus the Vessel

Tuesday 13 February 2024

9x9 (11.348)

unwanted legacy: Russia puts Estonian prime minister on wanted list for dismantling monuments to Soviet soldiers 

banned book rainbow: LeVar Burton hosts a very special episode on books banned by adults who don’t want kids to learn, grow or change—via Kottke  

clothesline, skyline: a look at Shanghai’s ubiquitous outdoors drying racks  

blinkerwall: ten-thousand year old megastructure in the Baltic could be Europe’s oldest  

everynoise: layoffs and downsizing at Spotify spell the end of the serendipitous musical encyclopaedia—see previously  

essentially cenobitical: one year in the life of a part time hermit—via the new Shelton wet/dry 

running amoc: the trajectory of the climate catastrophe blows past a calamitous tipping-point  

clearing the docket: upcoming inflection points in the criminal cases against Trump  

portal kombat: French authorities uncover a vast Russian disinformation network designed to overwhelm fact checkers

comet and cupid (11. 347)

Via fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy (much more to dsicover there), we are introduced to the eighteenth century artist Michelangelo Maestri and his school through his series of water-colours of putti, cherubs driving chariots pulled by various creatures as an allegory to depict different types and stages of love—agape, eros, xenia, philia. Inspired by the frescos of Ancient Rome, especially the then recent excavation of well-preserved examples in Herculaneum and Pompeii, his studio’s works were extremely popular and produced en masse and were often purchased as souvenirs by those on their Grand Tour.


one year ago: spec scripts for Star Trek: TNG plus a webring to check out

two years ago: more Excel art, West African musical artists plus separated by a common language

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, a dinosaur park plus animation techniques

four years ago: more links to enjoy

five years ago: out-of-place archaeology, Sony World Photography winners, Mandombe script plus more links worth revisiting

Sunday 24 December 2023

aรฏda (11. 211)

When originally approached by the Ottoman Pasha Isma’il of the Khedive of Egypt to produce an opera celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal—see also, Giuseppe Verdi declined. Later, however, presented a libretto set sometime in the Old Kingdom, a stretch of three millennia, by famed French Egyptologist and archeological authority Auguste Mariette, the composer ultimately conceded. Delayed by the ongoing Franco-Prussian War (see above) that prevented the elaborate scenery and costumes from being shipped from Paris, the opera eventually debuted in Cairo on this day in 1871. Egyptians forces have captured the titular Ethiopian princess and her captor, military commander Radamรจs, is caught in a love triangle with the pharaoh’s daughter, whose affections go unrequited, his desire for his prisoner and loyalty to his king and country. One of the most famously choreographed scenes is the Grand March from act II, below, when Radamรจs enters triumphantly, the chorus chanting “Gloria all’Egitto, ad Iside (Glory to Egypt and to Isis),” through the Gates of Thebes and is granted anything he wishes as a reward for his services.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

9x9 (11. 101)

dark universe: Euclid space mission to map the Cosmos and glean insights into the mysterious majority of matter and energy composing it  

the earth dies screaming: an effective but bare-bones 1964 British apocalyptic horror flick from 1964  

go fish: the (possibly apocryphal) origin of the name of the city of Slow Low, Arizona  

qr-monster: the artistry of AI prompters—see previously  

๐Ÿš‰: a teaser for a Backrooms-like game taking place in the Tokyo metro Shinjuku station 

lignum vitae: looted leaves of the Golden Tree of Lucignano recovered 

purity pals: new US Speaker of the House of Representative announces that he and his seventeen year old son monitor each other’s web consumption  

future imperfect: a strangely engaging 1974 series of filmstrips warning against the utopian novel and utopian-thinking orbital plane: an exoplanet’s singular path around a binary star system—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  


one year ago: Operation Able Archer (1983), Ukraine to change the date on which Christmas is observed plus a gallery of bad Jane Austen book covers

two years ago: a documentary on picking the wrong venue, a bombing in the US capitol plus the Riace bronzes

three years ago: your daily demon: Bifrons,  awaiting US election results, the collection point for cataloguing art looted by the Nazis plus the first female US vice-presidential candidate announced

four years ago: an unused deck of tarot cards by Salvatore Dalรญ

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, Nixon’s concession speech (1962) plus more from the Center for American Politics and Design


Tuesday 31 October 2023

thrifty business (11. 086)

First observed on this day in 1925 as the result of an initiative of the First International Savings Bank Congress (see also)—a summit of some three hundred fifty delegates from twenty-seven countries held in Milan—held the year prior, World Savings Day was promoted as not just an occasion to encourage home economics but to promote financial literacy. While the original motivation came in response to the end of World War I and has always emphasised education, the perceived over-commercialisation of the holiday has been subject to criticism for inculcating young people as early and loyal clients (traditionally accounts opened at this time, shifted according when and where the date fell on a bank holiday, included calendars as giveaways and other enticements) and bundling the cause with other premiums, like insurance and investment instruments. 



one year ago: St Quintinus

two years ago: suffrage in Switzerland, a Brazilian monopod, dancing security dogs, assorted links to revisit plus Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses

three years ago: a collection of strange classical music compositions, Frestonia, police propaganda plus more links to enjoy

four years ago: Halloween greetings, a collection of metro logos, a Cornish holiday, the Speaker of the House steps down plus the Trump impeachment

five years ago: more of the season’s salutations, an October Surprise plus the March of Folly

Monday 16 October 2023

a venezia…undicembre rosso shocking (11. 062)

Adapted from the short story by Daphne du Maurier and starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, the classic occult thriller Don’t Look Now premiered on this day in the UK and Italy. Grieving over the accidental and tragic drowning death of their daughter, the couple accept a commission from a bishop to restore an ancient church in Venice. The wife Laura encounters two elder sisters, one of who claims psychic sight and persuades the mother to hold a sรฉance to contact the deceased daughter, behind the back of her husband, John. The latter begins to experience premonitions as he continues to work on his project and the former begins to interpret everything as an omen. Atmospheric and disorienting, this enduring horror film explores the psychology of loss and the fragility of the mind. A quite explicit sex scene between Sutherland and Christie prompted her then-boyfriend Warren Beaty to travel to the set and demand it be cut but the director successfully championed it to Beaty and to the censors as non-gratuitous and as integral to the movie as the Venetian setting. In general release a few weeks later, it was often screened as a part of a double feature with the equally iconic The Wicker Man.

Monday 9 October 2023

7x7 (11. 047)

haus zum walfisch: explore horror film shooting locations of 1970s and 1980s classics, including Suspiria filmed in a townhouse in Freiburg im Breisgau  

concrete feats: a tour of Italy’s Brutalist architecture  

rapid electric vehicle retrofits: an Australian student wins James Dyson Award for an inexpensive conversion kit to make gas-powered vehicles hybrid 

earthshapes: fantastic geography from pilot Joseph N Portney 

larva convivialis: the miniature dancing skeletons of Roman banquets—via Strange Company 

jungian individuation: the Swiss psychoanalyst on the predictive power of Tarot cards 

tune-on: veteran television producer and director on the revival of his Laugh-In spin-off five decades afterwards  

31 days: a month long celebration of the Spooky Season from Laura E Hall—via Waxy


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, World Postal Day plus to slander one’s good reputation

two years ago: more links to enjoy, happy birthday John Lennon, Karl-Marx-Stadt, drag queen tarot plus a visit to the Osterburg

three years ago: The Watcher in the Woods, more Phantom plus more links worth revisiting

four years ago: major military exercise in Germany planned by US forces plus other European trade colonies in China

five years ago: Trump’s legacy of failed businesses, more on the fight to save an ancient woodland plus moving Tokyo’s historic fish market