Tuesday 29 March 2022

vilnius group

Constituted in May 2000, member countries Slovenia, Slovakia (having already undergone its Velvet Divorce in 1993, the date falls on the anniversary of the 1990 compromise that ended the so called Hyphen War, Pomlฤkovรก vojna, started in 1989 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union on what to call themselves and how to share a territory with two identities) Romania, North Macedonia, Lithuania (its capital the namesake), Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania to lobby as a group for NATO inclusion, all aspirants acceded to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on this day in 2004 with the exception of Albania, Croatia and North Macedonia (under the Adriatic Charter) joining in 2009 and 2020. The former association closely maps with the composition of the Visegrรกd Group, another former pooled campaign for European Union membership and presently a regional economic cooperative.

Wednesday 20 January 2021


flotus: the story and legacy of the wooden Melania Trump sculpture in Slovenia 

lightening never strikes twice: a meteorologist debunks some weather myths 

we shall come rejoicing: digging out the sheep—rescued after a heavy snowfall  

photobomb: animals interrupting wildlife photographers 

draw a tattoo of a mailbox: in a reversal of sorts, compete with other human sketch artist to prove to an AI who is the most accomplished—via Waxy 

conspiracist ideation: what to do about QAnon

Thursday 24 September 2020


The unique monotypic gymnosperm Welwitschia mirabilis, native to the deserts of Namibia and Angola was first taxonomically described according to European conventions by its namesake botanist Doktor Friedrich Welwitsch (*1806 – †1874, also credited with the discovery of the Rhipsalis baccifera, the only cactus that naturally occurs outside of the Americas).
Also going by the Afrikaans designation above meaning two-leaves-cannot-die, most of the plant is underground in the form of a taproot like trunk and sprouting a pair of leaves that branch off into smaller clusters and can thrive for millennia. Believed to be the missing link between coniferous plants and the true flowering variety (angiosperm), Weltwitschia are postulated to be the first to rely on insects for pollination and have become a national symbol, featured on the compartment of the coat of arms of Namibia along with the country’s motto.

Monday 13 July 2020


flotus: chainsaw sculpture of Melania Trump erected in her hometown torched on US Independence Day

[screaming internally]: assorted news items including thrill ride guidance from Japan

holy wisdom: Turkey reconsecrates Hagia Sophia as a mosque after eight decades as a museum

dining alfresco: the variety of New York’s newly founded streateries

mallrats: a tour of shopping galleries past

strike a pose: professional model An Tiantian shows off her photogenic gestures

swamping the drain: Trump wines and dines wealthy campaign donors while America slides into failed statehood

Wednesday 20 May 2020

svetovni dan ฤebel

Born on this day in 1734 (†1773), professionally trained painter become beekeeper to the Viennese Hapsburg court, Anton Janลกa cultivated expert knowledge on their care and maintenance and published authoritative manuals and delivered lectures on apiculture across the Empire in order to maximise their yield of honey and wax and pollination of crops. In addition to the rotation of hives in pastures, Janลกa’s designs for bivouacs with stacked combs (see also) are the still the modern standard today, and since a bid to the United Nations from Slovenia was accepted in 2017, Janลกa’s birthday has been memorialised as World Bee Day.

Friday 8 May 2020

smrt in pogreb josipa broza tita

Four days after his death in Ljubljana due to complications during surgery to correct circulation problems in his legs, the government of Yugoslavia held the largest state funeral in history for president Josip Broz Tito (*1892), drawing guests—kings, princes, presidents and ministers—from nearly every polity in the world on this day in the streets of Belgrade in 1980.
Tens of thousands filed past his casket and paid their solemn, earnest respect for two and a half days prior to arrival of the foreign dignitaries to the only leader the citizens of the independent communist county had known. Leaders and delegates in attendance were from both aligned and non-aligned countries and both sides geographically and ideologically of the Iron Curtain. Amid the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and facing re-election, the US president opted not to attend, instead sending his mother Lilian Carter with vice-president Walter Mondale. A ceremony of pomp and fanfare to celebrate the progress the Tito’s leadership had brought for the worker, the occasion was also an opportunity for building networks, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany met with his East German counterpart and Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and Margaret Thatcher met with the leadership of Zambia, Italy and Romania, trying to rally international condemnation over said invasion. The leader was interned in a mausoleum in Belgrade that became known as the House of Flowers (Hiลกa cvetja, Kuฤ‡a cvijeฤ‡a, ะšัƒั›ะฐ ั†ะฒะตั›ะฐ, ะšัƒัœะฐ ะฝะฐ ั†ะฒะตัœะตั‚ะพ)—the space that was a covered garden outside of Tito’s auxiliary office internally referred to as the “flower shop.”

Sunday 26 January 2020


Designed in 1966 by Slovenian architect Saลกa J. Mรคchtig, his modular, reinforced polyfibre kiosks quickly became vernacular standards across Eastern Europe, housing news-seller stands, copy-shops, ImbiรŸ, security booths and stationers’ shops—some seventy-five-hundred of the pre-fabricated units made and distributed have grown a bit endangered in recent years.  Once seen as architectural misfits and eye-sores of a bygone era, many were culled but there’s some newly found affection and nostaligia. Joining other conservation projects, Luke Litten, we learn via Calvert Journal, has assiduously documented the remaining and often repurposed through several iterations stands in hope that their legacy and utility will survive for future generations to patronise.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

martini & rossi asti spumanti

Along with many other candidates including the mines of the Erzgebirge / Kruลกnohoล™รญ and the Roman Limes, Italy (previously) hopes that after a decade’s long campaign for inclusion to add the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene outside of Venice to the UNESCO register of World Heritage Sites. The grape variety, the glera, is a Slovenian import and until 2009 (when effervescent prosecco was granted its denominazione di origine controllata label, the title beverage has its own protected designation and is made from Moscato grapes) was called Prosek. Proposals will be submitted to the commission in Paris at the end of the month.

Friday 4 May 2018

electoral college

On this day in 1733, polymath and political scientist Jean-Charles de Borda was born in the Aquitaine city of Dax whose most significant contribution to the sciences were his precise tables of logarithms meant to help with the transition to the metric system and decimalisation (including the calendar) in general after the French Revolution.
We are probably more familiar with him for his namesake method of voting, however, referred to as the Borda Count, wherein constituents rank candidates in order of preference and the overall winner secures his or her standing via consensus rather than a bald majority. Only three governments currently use the inclusive, weighted criteria of the Borda Count in some form for national elections—Kiribati, Nauru and Slovenia—but a large number of student body government and academic races are decided by these means as well as many sporting superlatives and significantly the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest are picked by a modified form of Borda’s system too. Maybe these other institutions are on to something.

Wednesday 3 January 2018


Calvert Journal introduces us to the photographic talents of Karol Palka who has carefully curated several living museums that embody the vanishing sheen of Communist-era interiors of his native Poland and former Soviet satellite neighbours. Take a tour of these ambitious and aspirational settings that are certainly worth preserving at the links above.

Sunday 16 April 2017


Though I can’t say for certain that many hikers will cross our path, we discovered that our new home, remote and rather secluded as it is, lies just behind the intersection of two of the European Long Distance Routes (the nearest point of reference shared by both trails is the City of Coburg), marked and maintained hiking paths that follows ancient trade and pilgrimage routes. From north to south, one stretches from Lapland through Finland and Sweden through Germany and Austria to the Adriatic coast, and from west to east, the other spans from Spain following el Camino de Santiago (der Jakobsweg) through France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic onto the shores of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. What an amazing journey to embark on and to think we are at if not the centre-point at least a nexus of sorts.

Tuesday 18 October 2016


Although it may have seemed like adding insult to injury to field-test the innovative idea of incremental architecture in a community just devastated by an earthquake to deliver half-houses, but as Kottke shares with this fascinating look into the subject, perhaps sometimes it takes a crisis to exploit and explore other option, like this neighbourhood in Chile that is not typical public housing. By furnishing a new resident with not a completely finished home but rather an on-going project that can be developed according to how one’s family grows or according to one’s trade, people aren’t just occupants—temporary or long-term—and become co-creators and invested in the building.

Monday 7 July 2014

advertising space

Via Fast Company, Take Part features the innovative work of a design firm in Slovakia that hopes of inspiring others to come up with creative ways of addressing homelessness. The architects have taken advantage of the typical East European electrified two-sided billboard—known as a hoarding to much of the rest of the world, to create a nook, a shelter for the country's vagrant population with amenities.
The design firm has gifted its basic plan to the world, certain that others could improve upon these ideas for dignified quarters and adapt them to local conditions. Urban-centres in Germany as have these suspended boxes but also on ground level, squat columns for posting bills, and it always occurred to me that such opportunities abound. Elsewhere, spikes like those designed to keep pigeons from perching have been installed in entryways to prevent people from taking up temporary residence and out of sight. The really clever—though possibly ethically-questionable, having the homeless sponsored by big businesses, like some race-car or potentially a corporate zoo—part is that the costs are calculated to pay for themselves from advertising revenue. I really like this idea and it seems to be a good way to create a real transition, a boot-strap from vagrancy. There are far worse ways to try to get a foot up.