Saturday 27 April 2024

nederlandse verenigning van en voor computer- en tech-liefhebbers (11. 518)

Founded on this day in Leiden in 1977 at the initiative of Dick Barnhoorn, inspired by the success of the 1973 establishment of the Amateur Computer Club by Mike Lord in England, the Hobby Computer Club—modelled off of model train enthusiasts and often caucusing with those sorts of groups, drew individuals together with the goal of creating custom, powerful mainframes and form a software exchange (see also). Though membership is declining and interest in homemade systems is waning to a degree, the association is still active, with irregular meetings, conference, fairs and workshops held across the Netherlands.

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


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

Sunday 14 April 2024

liduina of schiedam (11. 487)

Venerated on this day on the occasion her death in 1433, aged 52 after a life of suffering progressively worsening ailments due to an accident as an adolescent, the sainted Dutch mystic (see below) is celebrated as the patron protector of those stricken with chronic pain and disability, her hometown near Rotterdam and of ice-skaters and roller-skaters, which seems a bit of a painful reminder. Cultivating a reputation as a healer, and judging from the symptoms recorded in her hagiographies perhaps the first documented case of multiple sclerosis—though such diagnoses are problematic, she is said to have fasted and foregone sleep throughout the decades and her cultus grew popular following her death thanks to the writings of Thomas ร  Kempis who epitomised her piety from Keulen.


one year ago: an AI writes fortune cookies plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: solar new year

three years ago: sequencing the human genome, more links to enjoy plus an outstanding landing page, business 

four years ago: a medieval UFO encounter, an unhinged press briefing, a cosmopolitan coffee break, a museum at the Volkswagen factory, safe social distancing plus more accidental art

five years ago: an AI authored country and western song, the N'ko script, designer Verner Panton plus Easter fountains

Wednesday 27 March 2024

9x9 (11. 453)

 you are old, father william, the young man said: Better Living Through Beowulf has been applying Lewis Carroll characters to the trials and tribulations of Biden and Trump  

gรผneลŸ enerjili santrali: power plant in Turkeyi’s Konya region is straight out of science fiction  

rotoscopio: artist Antoni Sendra celebrates his daring daughter’s favourite things with more than two thousand hand painted frames of animation ahead of her sixth birthday 

toto, i don’t think we’re in kansas anymore: the Ruby Slippers theft saga continues 

read/write drive: Infinite Macs and making computing history accessible, including an emulation of the original World Wide Web browser—via Waxy  

licensed broker: the rise and fall of the professional appellation electragist  

fleischer studios: the history and evolution of animation from the phenakistiscope to Pixar  

low-vacuum pipeline magnetic levitation technology: a hyperloop test track in the Netherlands 

come to jesus moment: Trump attempts to capitalise on Biden’s split with Israeli leadership

Sunday 18 February 2024

das unterwassser kabarett (11. 362)

In ninety-six editions published, distributed to be read by one person at a time before passed along to the next, Carl Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret, not a graphic designer or journalist by trade but rather a lawyer having fled from the Nazi regime, documented his time in hiding as a refugee in his underground journals, zines from August 1943 until April 1945. Amazingly, these stylised, bilingual photomontages filled with personal reflections survived the war with Bloch, returning to the author and have be conserved and reprinted as an anthology of the time. Using found ephemera, Bloch pasted together collages, hand written and hand bound, these editions circulated through a necessarily limited readership of others finding themselves in the same situation. Much more at the links above.

Saturday 24 June 2023

zeg de mensen dat homoseksuelen niet per definitie zwakkelingen zijn (10. 829)

Through his portfolio, Europeana presents a profile in Zivilcourage from the very open author and artist Willem Arondรฉus, who designed murals for various Dutch city halls and redesigns of coats-of-arms as well as illustration work before turning his interests towards poetry, writing and reporting and eventually turning his talents to the anti-Nazi resistance movement under the occupation, forging identity papers and establishing an underground periodical. He worked in concert through much of this period with conductor, cellist and prominent lesbian Frieda Belinfante. In March of 1943, Arondรฉus joined a conspiracy to bomb the Amsterdam public records office to thwart the Nazis ability to identify Jews and others. The group was apprehended months later and thanks to Arondรฉus’ guilty plea and accepting blame for the entire plan may have spared some of the members from execution, a few remanded to custody, but Arondรฉus himself and thirteen others were tried and sentenced, murdered by the Nazis on the first of July, with his last defiant words (wanting it to be known that he and two other co-conspirators were gay) relayed as, “Tell people that homosexuals are not cowards.” The liberated government of the Netherlands honoured him through a posthumous medal to his family in 1945 with broader recognition in the decades to follow.


one year ago: Germany lifts abortion restrictions as US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade plus a river cruise on the Rhein 

two years ago: the works of Robert Rotar, a Roman holiday, the Lullus bell cast in 1038, assorted links to revisit plus Cubist cars

three years ago: a concert for houseplants, the Battle of Bamber Bridge (1943), COVID-era travel restrictions plus Ford’s Futurama (1939)

four years ago: the Canadian National anthem (1880) plus more on warming stripes

five years ago: places not to die, the camera used in NASA missions—in LEGO form plus David Bowie as sea slugs

Tuesday 20 June 2023

stars on 45 (10. 821)

On this day in 1981, a medley of Beatles songs reinterpreted as disco topped the US singles charts, launching an onslaught of similar remixes, including for the Beach Boys, The Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, the Andrews Sisters and various punk compilations.

The concept originated when the sessions band cum novelty pop group had visited a record store and heard what was expected to be a cacophonous playlist but realised that the rhythms complemented each other. The long-play album, “Let’s Do It In the 80s Greatest Hits” was regarded as a bootleg release at first since the band had not secured permission from the original artist or recording labels. The US title (the longest at forty-one words to reach number one) was “Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/You’re Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45” as the artists insisted that the cover tracks‘ names be included. Stars on 54 produced the soundtrack for the 1988 film about the New York City nightclub, including the dance version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”


one year ago: the second Glastonbury Festival (1972) plus more on the formulaic nature of streaming shows  

two years ago: Germany decides to move the capital to Berlin (1991), wandering like a cloud, the Rosemary Stretch (1972), Nazi rocketry plus some good sportsmanship (1932)

three years ago: North Korean character coding, Cher performs all the parts for West Side Story (1978) plus the premiere of Jaws (1975)

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

Thursday 15 June 2023

danaรซ (10. 809)

Seriously damaged during an act of vandalism on this day in 1985 in its home at the Hermitage in St Petersburg but fully brought back after over a decade of careful restoration, the work by Rembrandt (previously) features a life-sized depiction of the mother of Perseus, presumably when Zeus transformed “himself into a shower of gold and visited her—visited her and loved her,” the Argive princess locked away in resplendent but isolating chamber with no entrance or egress, save a skylight, to prevent a prophesy delivered to her father King Acrisius that his grandson would kill him, ultimately unable to thwart his fate when at a homecoming games celebrated for the demigod’s triumphs, he accidentally strikes Acrisius in the head when throwing a discus. Originally executed in 1536, the artist undertook some major revisions to the monumental piece, scaling down the canvas to make it more marketable, too big for all but the grandest of settings at two-and-a-half by three metres, and changing the face from its original model’s likeness, Saskia van Uylenburgh, his wife, to that of Geertje Dircx, his son’s caretaker and mistress.

Thursday 30 March 2023

8x8 (10. 645)

maximum fun: Jessie Thorn is turning the podcast network into a worker-owned cooperative  

gearing-ratio: a nifty explainer on the physics of riding a bike—via Waxy  

glass-bead game: fascinating insights into the lunar water-cycle and stellar mist—see also 

stop making sense: David Byrne on his Big Suit  

retrotopia: Berlin’s Kunst-gewer-bemuseum explores Socialist design—see previously here and here  

sit up & listen: a Thames Television station closedown (see also) routine  

the panopticon effect: 99% Invisible explores the nineteenth century prison of Breda—see also

Friday 10 March 2023

masterclass (10. 601)

Capitalising on the excitement of a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of all the Old Dutch Master’s work displayed together, Open Culture refers us a reality show and competition from the Netherlands making quite a sensation with audiences where amateur and professional painters are vying to be de Nieuwe Vermeer, with participants reimagining the trove of real and putative lost works (or otherwise redacted) of the artist to attempt to complete his portfolio of some fifty paintings, including The Concert stolen in a 1990 heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum. Much more at Open Culture at the link above.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

sounder (10. 265)

Via the always engrossing Things Magazine, we are introduced to a quandary and at the same time provided with a solution from the cadre of medievalists at the University of Leiden questioning the depiction of Middle Ages porcines in contemporary video games, which portray pigs of yore as the kept and fattened beasts of today whereas in actuality those swine were more svelte and highly regulated as the matter of legislation—see also. The article furthermore links to other studies in our piggy friends, including their prophetic powers as depicted in The Black Cauldron in the prognostications of Hen Wen.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

eurobruggen (10. 217)

Via Pasa Bon! we learn that one Dutch town called Spijkenisse, part of Rotterdam, has managed to claim all the anonymous, composite bridges on Euro banknotes for the Netherlands by building the spans over one waterway in the residential area Het Land from 2011 to 2013.  The community was also in the headlines more recently at the beginning of November 2020 when a metro car that jumped the track was saved by a whale tail sculpture after pummetting ten meters. 

Monday 19 September 2022

subgenre (10. 149)

Via two of my favourite internet caretakers, Everlasting Blรถrt and Fancy Notions, we are introduced to a very niche and delightful trope in still life paintings: cats stealing food. All the posts in this thread are terrific but we were especially impressed by this work by Dutch Baroque artist Abraham Hendriksz van Beijeren (previously), a virtuoso of the category of pronkstillevens—that sumptuous portrayals of luxury goods, particularly of fish—for the cat’s obvious and feline lack of remorse. See a whole gallery at the link above.

Sunday 18 September 2022

the followers (10. 147)

Via the morning news, we discover that artist Dries Depoorter has triangulated the open surveillance of public spaces and a respectable social media viewership with the help of artificial intelligence to match poses in front of a range of landmarks with their sidling up to it and perfecting their casual-seeming pose. Confounding this perfectly staged moment with the apparent necessity of monitoring share-worthy sites speaks volumes to our definition and expectation of privacy tempered by desire for curation and what it is like to be spotted, caught.

Thursday 4 August 2022

local group (10. 036)

The relatively nearby and sizable galaxy called Dwingeloo 1 evaded detection until this day in 1994 owing to its location in the so called Zone of Avoidance—Zone of Galactic Obscuration, that part of the sky covered up by the light and dust of the plane of the Milky Way—by an operation ran out of a radio observatory in the northeast Netherlands called the Dwingeloo Obscured Galaxy Survey (DOGS) which filled in more gaps in the map of the firmament by filtering by differing radio wavelengths (the foreground stars and dust clouds absorb visible light). Two other more massive and close by galaxies that occupy this same blindspot were discovered in 1968 by pioneering infrared astronomer Paolo Maffei—whom has two namesake galaxies in the constellation of Cassiopeia which if not blocked by our ZOA would be among the brightest and biggest objects in the night sky.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

overnighter (10. 002)

Arriving in the port of Amsterdam at the mouth of the IJ, we took a ferry to New Castle upon Tyne to travel on to points north.

Sunday 17 July 2022

amersfoort (10. 001)

Under way to catch a ferry across the North Sea, we made time for a stop in a picturesque old thirteenth century town in Utrecht a bit downstream from Amsterdam and took in some of the sights between the medieval centre and the combined land- and watergate that allowed entry and egress with the fortified walls being built at the same time, Koppelpoort.

Under high security and operated by a staff of a dozen raddraaiers, Amersfoort rebuffed many siege attempts and was never raided. The late Gothic tower Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren (Our Lady) on the defensive canal/moat is the tallest steeple in the country and was at the time of construction in the seventeenth century the geographic of the Netherlands and was the coordinates 0,0 on their grid system and presently still the reference point of the Royal Dutch cartography survey.
Shortly after the city’s character was established, it was dubbed Keistadt—after residents (in turn called Keientrekker) took part in a bet between landholders and hauled a boulder from the moor of Soest to town—large stones being a relative rarity in the Low Countries. The people of Amsersfoort were a little bit embarrassed by this reputation and so hid the massive object in 1672 soon after retrieving it—in exchange for beer and pretzels and bragging rights—though were persuaded in 1903 to re-embrace this honour and placed the boulder in a prominent spot by city hall. In between the start and conclusion of the boulder episode, the settlement‘s namesake was exported to Brooklyn but is now the only community not to retain its Dutch name but rather Flatlands and was the place of birth of artist Piet Mondriaan.

Saturday 2 July 2022


a$ap pocky: Ardnira Putra creates immersive, nostalgic Nintendo 64 vapour wave landscapes  

clean air act: the US Supreme Court curtails the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, pollutants 

kopen op afstand: the auction clock of royal FloraHolland—and how it was victim of its own popularity  

forty text-tone compilation: a duo expressively dances to all the iPhone alerts  

tpv: researchers develop thermophotovoltaic cells that passively converts white hot heat into electricity—via Slashdot 

biaoqingbao: the lexicon of emoji and memes are being admitted as evidence in more and more lawsuits in China—see previously

Tuesday 14 June 2022


exascale: the world’s super computer might be surpassing benchmarks in secret  

hub and spoke: a suite of interactive maps that lets one scour the globe with creeping data spiders  

viral nightmares: more trials of an AI text to image generator  

witkar: a ride-sharing demonstration projection that ran from 1974 to 1986 in Amsterdam  

the firth of forth: some of the world’s best bridges for driving  

whiskey war: the fifty yearlong territorial dispute between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island has been settled  

zeroth law: an AI ethicist believes Google’s LaMDA has attained sentience