Thursday 4 April 2024

9x9 (11. 467)

and palmeres for to seken straunge strondes: the Gentle Author makes a pilgrimage along London’s ancient Black Path 

the 2531 sato-san problem: given demographic trends, legal requirements and custom, all Japanese residents could eventually share the same surname  

symphony № 42: animator Rรฉka Busci presents forty-seven ironic vignettes  

double doors open, why aren’t i reacting in this shot: a literal video version of Total Eclipse of the Heart—I walk out on a terrace where I think I’m alone, but Arthur Fonzarelli’s got an army of clones  

into the butterverse: the variations of the Unicode emoji—via Pasa Bon!  

chalcolithic tattooing: a study of ร–tzi the ice mummy’s body markings on living volunteers—via Super Punch  

apiculture: experiments involving social problem-solving suggest that bees have the capacity to pass on learnt experience  

not a bug but a feature: a collection of absurd software and end-user errors solved—via Waxy  

the society of wood engravers: the art and illustration of carver Harry Brockway—via Things Magazine

synchronoptica

one year ago: New York v Trump plus Finland’s accession to NATO

two years ago: Japanese police boxes plus the Ukrainian roots of world-wide wheat

three years ago: your daily demon: Samigina, Winston Smith makes a diary entry plus the Hildesheimer Dom

four years ago: the flag of Hong Kong (1990), assorted links to revisit plus St Tigernach

five years ago: the founding of NATO (1949),  saving the pollinators, the Buttigieg bid for US president plus historic mass transit systems

Tuesday 12 March 2024

8x8 (11. 416)

studio nue: the meticulous and immersive sci-fi illustrations of Naoyuki Kato  

landsat lens: virtual rewinding maps created with historic satellite imagery

drawing for nothing: a growing e-book of storyboards and character studies from unfinished, shelved animation projects—via Waxy 

hag horror: Poseidon’s Underworld explores the genre with 1971’s Blood and Lace 

แน—s (t → ♾️) = 0: researchers find algorithms that only quantum computers can solve—via Damn Interesting—see previously  

all these worlds are yours, except europa: NASA reveals the plaque its probe will carry to Jupiter’s icy moon later this year  

rednaxela: unusual toponyms, including the named terrace in Hong Kong believed to be Alexander transcribed right-to-left, as was the practise in the past  

fantomah: outsider comic book artist Fletcher Hanks

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, domino theory (1947) plus more words with no English equivalent

two years ago: more links to enjoy,  World Day Against Cyber Censorship plus Mamma Mia (1975)

three years ago: the cosmography of William Fairfield Warren (1915), artist Caterina van Hemessen, St Maximilian of Tebessa, occultist Austin Osman Spare, listening to maps, more isogloss maps plus a celebration of veteran memes

four years ago: St Serafina plus COVID travel bans take effect

five years ago: resurrection plants

Tuesday 5 March 2024

7x7 (11. 402)

beyond the edge: the paradox of an infinite Cosmos  

why don’t you come up some time, see me: vocal fry and the valence of husky voices  

the complete commercial artist: the graphic design that informed modern Japan  

urschleim: primordial ooze as animated putty from 1911 

l’urythmics: an anaerobic exercise routine led by jazz dance pioneer Eugene “Luigi 5-6-7-8” Faccuito  

auteur: an omnibus collection of the most beautiful shots in cinematic history from the Solomon Society—including Barry Lyndon—sure to elicit lots of movie memories 

biosigns: an array of telescopes trained on potentially habitable exoplanets confirm a sample size one in a demonstration of its capability

Saturday 24 February 2024

flag carrier (11. 375)

From 1965 to 1967, JAL—once the jet age was firmly established and the airline had a full schedule of international routes, launched a marketing and public outreach campaign and printed a series of thirty-two pamphlets for passengers on all aspects of Japanese and Asian Pacific culture and industry. Entitled “New Views,” they have absolutely frame-worthy covers. More at Present /&/ Correct at the link above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: an Ibsen premier (1876), more beautiful infographics plus how uu became w

two years ago: a Midnight Moment in Times Square

three years ago: your daily demon: Belial, assorted links to revisit, a Monteverdi premier (1607) plus architectural illustrator Margarethe Frรถhlich

four years ago: common areas of Hong Kong housing, the Battle of Los Angeles (1942) plus revisiting I, Claudis

five years ago: the Icelandic calendar plus a Ukrainian folk band

Thursday 8 February 2024

dew drop inn (11. 332)

We quite enjoyed this collection of vintage hotel and luggage tags from all around the world through this curation of some choice Japanese accommodations put together by Present /&/ Correct. The scans are small and the ryokan (ๆ—…้คจ, a traditional Japanese inn, often associated with hot spring resorts and baths) section seems most complete—I hope that this project wasn’t just abandoned as too ambitious, there being a lot of place-holders, though optimistically those marked as Up are up—with floor plans, maps and other ephemera associated with the lodgings. India, Singapore, the UK and Norway are represented also.

synchronoptica

one year ago: stochastic parrots, unsanctioned matrimony (1973) plus more AI Valentines

two years ago: Mother Josephine plus Right Said Fred (1989)

three years ago: The Birth of a Nation plus Trump quits the Screen Actors’ Guild

four years ago: a daytrip to the mountains plus an evergreen flower

five years ago: German consumer advocacy watchdog sics Facebook, places in painting plus incriminating photos

Thursday 25 January 2024

11x11 (11. 292)

liar’s dividend: digital propaganda and implausible deniability—via the New Shelton wet/dry 

working cows dairy: a collection of superlative cheeses—via Kottke 

the blazing world: a 1666 novel considered the first world of science fiction by a woman author 

everglades jetport: uncovering the ruins of a failed supersonic runway floundering in the in the Florida wetlands—see previously  

the furby panic: US National Security Agency compelled to release a trove of documents outlining their ban of the toy as a potential instrument of espionage—via Waxy  

press-gang: while most news outlets block AI crawlers used to scrape training data, right-wing media welcomes them—see previously 

mac@40: a website showing every model of the Apple computer as it enters its fifth decade  

winter in aizu: a woodblock series from Sosaku Hanga artist Kiyoshi Saito 

you are both so much more than kenough: Hillary Clinton weighs in the Oscar nominations for Barbie—via Super Punch  

time in a bottle: one bar’s water-clock has drained—though we’d not be adverse to a Harvey Wallbanger  

white stork: the Ukraine war-sandbox and the rise of the AI-Military Complex—see previously

synchronoptica

one year ago: data-scrapping and copyright

two years ago: MediaWiki Day, more custom cars, Roman milestones plus an inexplicable fast food mascot

three years ago: your daily demon: Valac, assorted links to revisit plus the Torlonia Marbles

four years ago: vintage virtual dressing rooms, happy birthday Volodymyr Zelenskyy, more on the US Space Force plus Mendelssohn’s Wedding March

five year ago:  photojournalist Jessie Tarbox Beals, a Droste homage, more links to enjoy, a Trump associate arrested plus cardinal notions

Wednesday 17 January 2024

10x10 (11. 276)

durianrider and banana girl: a personal account of joining a fringe diet community and subsequent de-programming  

curricula: an archive of Japanese school books from 1898 

i’m feeling lucky: a mostly facetious collection of laws about discourse from Osmo Antero Wiio that posits that communication usually fail except by accident 

it’s not your imagination: research shows that Google search, overrun by competition for rankings, has gotten worse—along with other indexing engines  

flickr commons: sixteen stories for the image platform’s sixteenth birthday—via Waxy  

pps: Chuck Wendig warns against using AI to enhance one’s creative outlets

chevron v natural defence council: US Supreme Court posed to overturn a forty-year precedence on regulators and agency enforcement—more here   

rewatch: Netflix is airing a bevy of classic films, celebrating their milestone anniversaries 

reference desk: as part of an “inappropriate content review,” a US school district is banning dictionaries and encyclopaedias 

the ouroboros of the passive-income scam: an escape from a get rich quick cult

Sunday 7 January 2024

chorioactis geaster (11. 251)

Appearing only in parts of Texas (recognised as the official state fungi since 2021), Oklahoma and Japan, this leathery star-shaped (usually seven-pointed) flower-like mushroom is delighting mycologists, professionals and amateurs alike. Nothing quite so uncommon, the Lone Star State mushroom also nicknamed the Devil’s Cigar as it is reported

to produce an audible hiss (quite a rare ability at least for the human range of hearing) before unfurling from a clylindrical shape to release spores, but after the thaw, we’ve been noticing quite a few winter funguses distinct from the autumnal ones that we are most accustomed to encountering,
like this formation of hair ice (Haareis) that we thought at first were patches of frost but is a phenomena that occurs when weather conditions are just right, damp and humid and just at the freezing point when ice forms on the substate of a specific kind of mould (Exidiopsis effusa, not identified as the catalyst until 2015) growing on dead wood. The resulting strands and curls, however, are not formed on this fungus but rather extruded, expressed in the shape of ephemeral fine hairs before they sublimate away, though a still unknown mechanism and chemistry.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

8x8 (11. 239)

the year of the dragon: Japanese designer New Year’s cards for 2024—see previously  

virdiphyta: an exploration of the interrelatedness of the Plant Kingdom  

in memoriam: more celebrity obituaries you might have missed  

paku paku: one-dimensional PacMan—see also—via Waxy  

๐ŸŒ: the Moon-Making-Side-Eyes emoji has entered the stock market and had its day in court—see previously—via Slashdot 

shoegazing: TikTok revitalises the indie subgenre—via tmn  

on to other adventures: Tom Scott bids his viewers farewell after a decade of educational videos—with a long explanatory walk-and-talk   

trace loops: hypnotic animation from layered paper

synchronoptica 

one year ago: a comprehensive listing of North American supermarket chain, past and present

two years ago: Saint Daniel plus Monty Python in German

three years ago: the Seditious Dozen, the Fraktur-Antiqua Dispute, Oregon Trail plus Martin Luther excommunicated

four years ago: (You’ve got) the Power, banana republics, more dead malls, Trump’s Middle East policy plus Japanese New Years cards

five years ago: China’s lunar mission plus the introduction bitcoin (2009)

Tuesday 2 January 2024

and surely ye’ll be your pint-cup and surely i’ll be mine (11. 238)

In light of recent toasting and cheering and an earlier post on translation of popular lyrics, we enjoyed learning about the Japanese verses inserted into the Robert Burns’ poem made into a New Year’s tradition. Initially used for a completely separate purpose, Hotaru no Hikari (The Glow of a Firefly, ่›ใฎๅ…‰) set to the tune of the Scottish folk song was used for school matriculations and graduations and played also as outro music at shops and restaurants to signal closing time for customers, a few lines from this other composition in Japanese are added to Auld Lange Syne to ring in the New Year. Much more at Language Log at the link above including various performances of the different versions.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

la, a note to follow so (11. 219)

Via the always engrossing Language Hat, we discover that the song that the governess Maria uses to teach the children solfรจge in The Sound of Music has of course been translated into a number of languages, which does not strike one as the same solmisation that English audiences are accustomed to but preserves the tune and structure of the perhaps fits better to non-Western scales than we can appreciate. Also covering Arabic language renditions (adapted indirectly through manga), the Japanese version approximates the lyrics thus: Do is for “doughnut” ใƒ‰ใฏใƒ‰ใƒผใƒŠใƒ„ใฎใƒ‰ / Re is for “lemon” ใƒฌใฏใƒฌใƒขใƒณใฎใƒฌ / Mi is for “everyone” ใƒŸใฏใฟใ‚“ใชใฎใƒŸ (or in French, Mi, c'est la moitiรฉ d'un tout—Mi, it’s half of a whole) / Fa is for “fight” / So is blue sky ใ‚ฝใฏ้’ใ„็ฉบ / Ra is for “trumpet” ใƒฉใฏใƒฉใƒƒใƒ‘ใฎใƒฉ / Si is “happiness” ใ‚ทใฏๅนธใ›ใ‚ˆ (or in Italian, Si: se non ti dico no—Yes: if I don’t tell you no) / So let us sing! ใ•ใๆญŒใ„ใพใ—ใ‚‡ใ†. One wonders what is meant by mnemonics and homophony to begin with.

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting 

two years ago: TIME magazine’s Machine of the Year (1982) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: your daily demon: Gemory, the Roman numeral four, the General Knowledge Paper of King’s College plus the interrobang

four years ago: 2019 in review, more links to revisit plus Love Roller-Coaster

five years ago: Breakfast in America, artist Martha Boto, Trump visits Baghdad, a domestic double-agent plus an AI names fireworks

Monday 18 December 2023

high hand (11. 194)

Courtesy of Spoon & Tamago, we are introduced to the portfolio of artist Yuni Yoshida, whose compositions tend to avoid digital manipulation and enhancement and rely instead on poses, forced perspective and meticulous arrangements, through this recent exhibition reimagining the iconography of playing cards, the entire deck—all thirteen ranks of four suits, with engaging and creative still-life photographs of everyday objects ranging from food, to flower petals to hair curlers. Much more at the links above.

Saturday 25 November 2023

l’etoile du nord (11. 140)

The state flag of Minnesota, as TYWKIWDBI informs, is undergoing a redesign (see previously here and here and here) to modernise the banner and refine the jumble of tiny symbols emblazoned within, keeping the lodestar but to the regret of many residents forgoing the loon and happily removing the imaging the of the Native American riding off into the sunset with a settler ploughing the field in the foreground. Subject to public input, the redesign will be finalised by the committee from a selection of six finalists by the new year. The clean abstract look reminds me of the flags of the prefectures of Japan—which whilst not uniform, do have a cohesive look to them and wonder if the rest of the American states ought not to follow this example of vexillological reform for more of a corporate branding. The flags of the German states, notwithstanding the coats-of-arms—which can be complicated affairs but follow the rules of heraldry or blocks of patterns, and are like the rule-of-thumb prescribes, recognisable and can be drawn from memory. More at the links above.

Thursday 2 November 2023

6x6 (11. 091)

in front of the children: a Betamax find from 1983 on the BBC’s six decades of television for younger audiences 

ofrenda: a shrine on All Souls Day to the recently departed Paul Rubens, (clap! clap! clap!) deep in the heart of Texas 

terraces: an obscure 1977 made-for-television movie about tenants of a high-rise featuring Miss Julie Newmar, Jane Dulo and some gay neighbours  

forest friends: a profile of ecologist Simona Kossack’s three-decade residence in a secluded primeval wood  

now and then: The Beatles release their final song  

goldar: the late 60’s Japanese tokusatsu series, Ambassador Magma—the original Transformers, that achieved cult status in foreign markets as The Space Giants

Thursday 26 October 2023

suiko t-50 (11. 075)

Via Pasa Bon!, we are directed towards a rare, vintage synthesiser hardly known outside of the Japanese specialists’ market made as a training device for Koto (็ฎ) players, the plucked zither-like instrument, and as accompaniment to recited, classical poetry, with a keyboard following the fret and bridge layout of the strings and tuned to the minor Hirajลshi scale and mode. More at the links above. 

synchronoptica

one year ago: more adventures in Crete

two years ago: a Roger Corman classic (1958),  Austria declares neutrality (1955) plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: William Shatner in an Esperanto language film, more links to enjoy plus the Trump-Biden debate

four years ago: more links worth revisiting 

five years ago: Monster Mash, time travel with the dictionary plus Star Trek: Lower Decks

Sunday 10 September 2023

6x6 (10. 993)

wordwhile: whilst Damn Interesting takes a short sabbatical to recoup and regroup, try their fun word game  

home-ec: kakeibo (ๅฎถ่จˆ็ฐฟ) the century-old method of household budgeting devised by Motoko Hani, Japan’s first woman journalist  

germinating hope: seed art with a message at the Minnesota state fair  

bullet points: an encomium for the co-creator of PowerPoint Dennis Austin (RIP)  

vim and vigour: more on the nineteenth century cocaine-fortified wine—see previously 

 ☕️๐Ÿซ: more on universal words, Betteridge’s and Cunningham’s law—browse through the comments

 synchronoptica

one year ago: Hey Jude (1968), links to enjoy, more telling the bees plus more assorted links to revisit

two years ago: St Aubert, the ecological importance of oyster-beds, comparable to coral reefs plus even more links worth revisiting

three years ago: the largest basilica in the world, artist Marianne von Werefkin, a devastating earthquake in Constantinople (1509), the original and the reprised Fresh Prince, burning skies plus Hongkonger neologisms

four years ago: the dissolution of the Austrian Empire (1919), Boris Johnson suspends Parliament, Sharpiegate plus more assorted links

five years ago: Denver airport plays up conspiracy theories,  towing an iceberg to the desert, an innovative wind-turbine plus the premiere of X-Files (1993)

Friday 4 August 2023

10x10 (10. 924)

manufactured crises: distractions and moral panics fabricated by the US GOP and associates  

sachal jazz: Pakistani musicians perform a rendition of David Brubeck’s “Take Five” on tabla and sitar with orchestral accompaniment 

illuminated text: an unfinished medieval manuscript reveals a step-by-step manual for its making  

finishing the hat: Stephen Sondheim’s (previously) Turtle Bay townhouse is on the market 

smiley head: custom screws requiring a special driver—via Pasa Bon!  

f-91w: fully-function ring watches from Casio  

blogoversary: JWZ turns twenty-five 

the partridge family 2200 a.d.: a round up of animated spin-offs  

super fun pak: the novelty cards of Pee-wee’s Playhouse  

now you’re cooking with gas: the culture wars come to the stove 

synchronoptica

one year ago: the invention of champagne (1693), the Zone of Galactic Obscuration plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: an infamous bugging device discovered (1945), the Lady of Elx, pipe architecture, working against one’s own self-interest plus assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: more miniatures from Tatsuya Tanaka, St Sithney, the patron saint of dogs plus the birthday of Helen Thomas, Barack Obama

four years ago: sounds lost to lossy compression plus bouba or kiki

five years ago: interviews with author Philip K Dick

Monday 10 July 2023

7x7 (10. 871)

terracotta army: new excavations in Shaanxi reveal the site contains more than the familiar infantry unit—see previously  

mizhuvkhamy: a group of Ukrainians documenting the graffiti left by Russian occupiers for future research on the invasion 

jazz kissas: the ambient sounds of Japan’s listening cafรฉs—see also 

i never thought i’d be cheering for zuckerberg: in response to the runaway success of Instagram’s Twitter mode, Elon Musk threatens to sue, resorts to name-calling  

adequacy decision: EU rules that Big Data has sufficient controls in place, with the US to monitor compliance, to allow transfer to US servers  

vilnius: developments to watch during this week’s NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital  

dromolaxia vizatzia: Bronze Age tombs of unknown rulers discovered in Cyprus

Friday 23 June 2023

8x8 (10. 828)

never change: a gallery of US high school annuals from the 70s and 80s—via Web Curios 

oceangate: executive piloting the submersible tourist vessel on its fateful descent has a familial connect to those who went down with the Titanic—more here  

mechanical turk: many of the human tasked to train AI are recursively outsourcing their work to AIs—see more, see also

reform club: the advent and eventual demise of Bellamy’s Refreshment Rooms that catered to Parliament’s schedule—see also—via Strange Company  

rocket lab: a visit to Norton Space Props, a junkyard full of salvage and surplus items from the Space Race 

scene together: the 70s craze of his and hers matching fashions—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

atoms for peace: a tour of the nuclear-powered cruise ship, the NS Savanna—see previously  

katakana: the vintage signage of shops and restaurants in Japan captured as digital fonts—also via Web Curios

synchronoptic 

one year ago: My Sharona (1979), Logan’s Run (1976) plus the Sterling Area (1931)

two years ago: sustenance from CO2 plus St John’s Eve

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, satisdiction plus another most favoured word, acnestis

Friday 16 June 2023

7x7 (10. 812)

sister act: a serendipitous find of a bawdy collection of Renaissance era songs leads to a trove of research on bad nuns  

slow tv: Pennsylvania governor sets up a live stream so the public can view the progress on rebuilding the main traffic artery (previously) the eastern seaboard  

whichcraft: a look at the usage and abusage of the relative pronoun  

⛩️: an urban exploration of Toyko’s hidden Shinto shrines 

freshies: a look at what’s on the menu at the South Pole and other in-person observations (see previously)—via Strange Company  

gullinhjatlti: stunning three-thousand year old bronze sword unearthed in Nรถrdlingen  

oude doolhof: a a late Renaissance labyrinthine pleasure garden on the outskirts of Amsterdam