Saturday 13 July 2024

beaumont slope (11. 686)

In anticipation of eventual ratification of the 1994 UN treaty, the Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, see more), the United States quietly staked claim last month to its extended continental shelf in the Arctic so were it to become a signatory, it would be joining on its own terms with boundaries already delineated. The move did not go unnoticed as other member nations have also tried to assert, under the treaty, their own territorial reaches in the far north and the American declaration of what’s theirs by dint of geological affiliation, an area of the seabed the size of California which overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of Canada, Norway, Denmark and Russia, rather than political flag-planting and is seen as contentious and a sign of continued American exceptionalism, manifest destiny flouting customary and international law. More from Radio Free Europe at the link above.


one year ago: the search for past life on Mars (with synchronoptica) plus the Hollywood sign (1923)

seven years ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus a million dollar heist

eight years ago: camping in Metz 

nine years ago: missing the Dalai Lama plus the Bechdel Test

eleven years ago: a furlough for US federal workers, psychiatry and sainthood plus a choreographed panopticon

Friday 21 June 2024

don’t cry for me argentina (11. 644)

Originally conceived as a rock opera concept album two years prior to popular and critical acclaim, the collaboration by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber (see previously here and here) was adapted for the stage and debuted on this day in London’s West End on this day in 1978 and relates the life and political career of of the wife and widow of Juan Perรณn. Rice, interested in philately in his childhood, was somewhat taken by her images on stamps but knew nothing of her significance to the country’s history, social reform and charitable works until intrigued by catching the end of a radio biography and became highly interested on the verge of obsession, research, traveling to Buenos Aires and even naming his first born daughter Eva after her before pitching the idea to Webber, whom at first rejected the idea in favour of producing a musical based on Jeeves, the PG Wodehouse character—a decided flop—before reconsidering Rice’s proposal.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

8x8 (11. 570)

nicht abgeholtes gepรคck: the main station in Freiburg has a mystery vending machine where one can buy unclaimed items left in delivery lockers—see previously 

the ahramat branch: a long ago dried up arm of the Nile may explain some of the mystery behind the building of the Pyramids of Giza 

takenoko: a public service announcement for when the bamboo shoots sprout, one of Japan’s traditional seventy-two microseasons—see previously 

endless shrimp: the American seafood chain was private-equitied into bankruptcy and not by dent of its generous promotions—more here

first draft: in a since deleted post, Trump advocates for a “united Reich” in a video featuring hypothetical newspaper headlines following his reelection  

on the town: the story behind the ten-year-old who in 1947 spent a week in San Francisco with twenty dollars 

we call it maize: an interesting hypothesis that ancient Incan stonework and other architectural elements may be an homage to corn kernels  

out-of-order: broken and unused vending machines from around Japan—via Cardhousesee also


one year ago: Croatia Diplomacy Day, a classic from David Bowie, an evergreen piece on American gun-violence plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: Ok Computer, a rainbow fifty pence coin for Pride, more feathered friends plus Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic

three years ago: your daily demon: Beleth, Elton John in the Soviet Union plus trace a raindrop from river down to the sea

four years ago: vintage Las Vegas logos, an avant-garde art show (1951) plus The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

five years ago: the White Night Riots (1979), regional airline logos, OK Cola, African air-carriers, one hundred and twenty years of photography plus a camera on a sushi conveyor belt

Monday 13 May 2024

proclamation of neutrality (11. 556)

Though granting legal recognition to the Confederate States of America as belligerents, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under Queen Victoria, announcing the stance on this day in 1861, never accorded the breakaway southern states with the status of a nation, negotiated treaties or exchanged ambassador and trade came to a halt. Despite massive losses in the textile sector, particularly in Manchester, due to loss of imported cotton, most Britons, maintained their fidelity to the Union and Abraham Lincoln, and CSA president Jefferson Davis’ wager that dependence on “King Cotton” would lead to diplomatic recognition, mediation or intervention militarily, fell far short of hopes. After the costly war in the Crimea, European powers wanted no more entanglements. Some smuggling of cotton occurred (see previously) with privateers running bundles across the Atlantic in exchange for munitions and luxury goods, but most mills—even threatened with bankruptcy and famine for the workers—refused to process the Confederate contraband.

meant for each other (11. 555)

Once the top-vetted hopeful for Donal Trump’s ticket for vice-president who has since seen her reputation tarnished (but probably irreparably—amazing that one could recover from something so heinous—due to the American values wars and backlash against cancel culture) by an autobiographical account of killing a family dog and a problematic goat as well as exaggerated or outright fabricated geopolitical meetings, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem has been banned from twenty-percent of the state’s territory as six Native American reservations exercise their sovereign right to declare Noem an outlaw and refuse her entry. The Tankton Sioux Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate joined the Oglala, Rosebud, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock tribal branches for on-going jurisdictional feuds that began with suppressing the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline in 2019 and recently suggesting that the independence reservations were dens for organised crime—drugs trafficking and illegal migration.


one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting, the Pantheon plus a classic from Boney M

two years ago: Our Lady of Fatima (1917), more links to enjoy plus Gรถdel and Einstein

three years ago: common areas of Singapore’s public housing plus St Glyceria

four years ago: anonymous scholarship, a quiet black hole, unmasked assailants plus an ancient herbal

five years ago: mushrooming traditions, technological middlemen plus open-sky requests from the incarcerated

Saturday 4 May 2024

progress without pollution (11. 537)

Opening on this day with the above motto with the park grounds divided amongst the islands of Canada and Havermale and the adjacent south bank of the Spokane River, Expo ’74 was the first environmentally themed World’s Fair, distancing itself from the tech-centric events of the past (another first for not looking to a utopian future but instead addressing present and emergent issues), drawing a sizeable crowd and hosting several UN symposia to address regional and global environmental concerns. Whist mostly foregoing the established tradition of debuting new innovations like the telephone, escalator, video games, the waffle and the ice cream cone, the Washington World’s Fair did showcase the first IMAX theatre (screening Man Belongs to the Earth) and had pavilions cooled without air-conditioning, as well as demonstrating telecommunications relay services and previewed the roll-out of a national emergency 911 service.


one year ago: the Flatiron building (1902), assorted links worth revisiting plus Saint Florian

two years ago: Dave Brubeck Day, Gaslight (1944) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: default fonts, Margaret Thatcher and Star Wars plus more links to revisit

four years ago: the Kent State Massacre (1970), the formation of Greenpeace (1972), even more links plus more Star Trek: TAS

five years ago: May the Fourth Be With You, Always

Tuesday 16 April 2024

passerine dream (11. 493)

Via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links, not only do we learn that our avian friends also dream, singing silently in their sleep, but researchers are able after a fashion, to decipher these nocturnal rehearsals by carefully monitoring unconscious muscle contractions along a bird subject’s vocal tract, akin to eye-movements during REM sleep, amplifying and correlating the series of calls with observed behaviours. These dream sounds, using a Great Kiskadee (pitogue, bichofeo—a member of the tyrant flycatcher family and named onomatopoeically for its exuberant call, bien-te-veo or “I see you well”) from Central and South America for the study, suggest that the specimen was replaying a daytime territorial defence with an encroaching intruder, insightful surely but given the nature of dreaming, perhaps only part of the story. More from New Atlas on the methodology, anatomy of birdsong and a sound-clip at the link above.

Monday 8 April 2024

penumbra (11. 477)

Visible for totality in a narrow corridor of the Pacific Ocean, as North America is watching the skies, when the shadow of the Moon’s ascending node (where the orbit of the satellite intersects the plane of the solar ecliptic from our perspective) obscured the Sun, crossing the international dateline and beginning on the ninth and ending on this day in 1995, this relatively rare hybrid eclipse with phases of the complete and the annular (when the lunar disc does not quite obscure the sun) as it progressed across the globe. Observers in extreme northwestern South American, Central America and the Caribbean were afforded near totality.

Monday 4 March 2024

product placement (11. 400)

Though a bit averse to reposting content from Twitter, this cultural artefact was too good to resist, learning—via Super Punch—that circa 2003 when Chilean television first broadcast the original Star Wars trilogy, sponsors were keen on not taking the audience out of the experience and commercials breaks were subtly (or not so subtly) stitched into the film. This is rather ingenious and wish more networks did the same. Here is an example dubbed in English.  Much more at the link above.


one year ago: Don’t Stop the Beat (2002), Anti-Flirt Week (1923), cult cinema classics, more puzzling emoji plus Trump’s January Sixth charity recording

two years ago: the high cost of mineral extraction, customised browsing plus Jesus Christ Price

three years ago: Nosferatu (1922), more on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, a visual search engine, American state birds plus Icelandic names

four years ago: stream-climbers plus Robert Mugabe elected (1980)

five years ago: outsider artist Adolf Wรถlfli, closed Italian shops, music from a Bosch triptych plus a Brexit phone booth to call Europe

Friday 1 March 2024

squat lobster (11. 391)

A robotic submarine exploring the seamounts off the Chilean coast in a recent expedition sponsored by the Schmidt Ocean Institute has netted the discovery, an international group of researchers believe, of a hundred new species never before seen, from deep sea corals, urchins, sponges, amphipods and the above ten-legged type of crustacean related to hermit crabs. Specimens were observed off the plunging cliffs of the Nazca Ridge in the southeastern Pacific and reveals how ecosystems change with depth and how to optimise conservation efforts. More from Voice of America at the link above.


one year ago: the Xerox Alto (1973) plus the mummers of Sardinia 

two years ago: assorted links to revisit

three years ago: your daily demon: Abraxas, botanist Catharina Helena Dรถrrien, St David’s Day plus bringing back the North American chestnut

four years ago: Steve Jackson Games (1990) plus Easter Eggs in Swiss maps

five years ago: Prohibition in Iceland, Nixon in Latin America plus Lake Erie gets personhood

Thursday 29 February 2024

prime directive (11. 389)

Supposedly using his foreknowledge of a lunar eclipse that night, Christopher Columbus (previously) on this day in 1504 frightens a group of hostile Jamaican natives. The ominous but not singular celestial was predicted by astronomer Regiomontanus, where the Moon passes through the umbra of the Earth turning shades of orange and red, enough to rattle superstitious sailors, and reportedly Columbus hoped to convince the caciques, the group’s leaders, of his supernatural prowess and threaten them divine retribution from their Christian god if they didn’t agree to barter for supplies, the crew facing starvation without their help. Cowering in fear once the eclipse started, so the account goes, Columbus fabulistically forgave them their indigence and restored the Moon, promising that they would be spared pestilence and failed crops.

Friday 29 December 2023

new echota (11. 222)

Signed on this day in 1835 in the American state of Georgia in the tribal capital, negotiated between a presidential administration favourable of Indian removal—the coerced expulsion had been in the works since the 1820s but John Quincy Adams was a strong proponent of tribal sovereignty—and a minoritarian faction of the Cherokee people, without the involvement or consent of the principal chief nor the national council, the treaty’s terms provided a framework for the annexation of all Indian lands east of the Mississippi watershed and relocate tens of thousands to territories further west, displacing other indigenous populations. Ratified the following March, the treaty became the enforcement and authorisation for the Trail of Tears, the assenting party hoped to secure the best possible terms for their removal after Georgia lawmakers had abolished independent governance of Cherokee lands and severely curtailed civil rights, including due-process, arguably and possibly correctly assumed that it would be taken from them regardless.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

9x9 (11. 218)

inukshuk: CGP Grey grades the flags of the Canadian provinces—see previously  

omnibus: a compilation of the best books of the year 

52 things: Kottke shares some inspired, superlative gleanings from the past twelve months 

black smokers: hydrothermal vents evolved to prey on benthic Santas  

editors’ picks: some of NPR’s favourite, possibly overlooked stories of the year  

in a big country, dreams stay with you: assessing the size of YouTube—via Waxy  

there are two kinds of bubbles: speculation on the speculative nature of artificial intelligence from Cory Doctorow  

font foundry: the year in typography  

first nations: the contentious, selective display of tribal flags at the Oklahoma state capitol

Friday 17 November 2023

8x8 (11. 123)

aล‚k’idฤ…́ฤ…́’ yรกdahodiiz’ฤ…́ฤ…́dฤ…́ฤ…́’ yรก’รกhonรญkรกรกndi: an update on Stars Wars dubbed in to the Dinรฉ bizaad language of the Navajo people—see previously 

hallucinate: the new meaning of the psychological verb picked for Cambridge dictionaries’ Word of the Year 

chipophone: Vivaldi performed on Commodore instruments—see previously 

wikiwho: guess the person from their Wikipedia biography—via Web Curios  

prisencolinensinainciusol: revisiting the Italo Pop song with nonsense lyrics that was meant to sound like English singing—see previously 

veistospuutarha: the sculpture garden of of Veijo Rรถnkkรถnen  

here we observe the sophisticated homo sapiens: an unauthorised David Attenborough voice-clone to narrate one’s daily activities—see also  

life day: a fresh look on the Star Wars Holiday Special on its forty-fifth anniversary 


one year ago: the Hand of Irulegi plus a Soviet moonwalker (1970)

two years ago: another MST3K classic plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: more links to enjoy, a rebuttal from Nixon (1973) plus St Hugh of Lincoln

four years ago: the Velvet Revolution plus world flags reimagined in the style of Kazakhstan’s 

five years ago: a Japanese view on American history, the mind of a scammer, more links to enjoy plus the Star Wars Holiday Special

Tuesday 14 November 2023

9x9 (11. 120)

temporal excursions: advice for the modern time-travellers thinking about visiting medieval Europe  

once and future: ex-PM David Cameron returns as Sunak’s foreign minister after a cabinet shake-up following the Home Secretary’s incendiary remarks  

ototw: there are over six-thousand ‘on top of the world’ mountains—a peak so high no others in the range can be seen from its summit—we’ve only been to Brocken, I think out of them all  

an aaron spelling production: an appreciation of Arthur Hailey’s Hotel (1983 - 1988) and its parade of guest stars  

the house of tomorrow: Tex Avery’s vision of the smart home seems more user-friendly  

return-to-office: automatic responses from those on a hybrid work-schedule  

carbon-casting: a LEGO-like approach to CO₂ offset and removal at target costs  

brideshead revisited: a new film on the eccentricities of the landed gentry—via Messy Nessy Chic

florantine codex: a sixteenth century ethnography on Mesoamerica and the Aztec culture has been digitalised and made accessible to the public


one year ago: The New Musical Express (1952), more Scopitone fun, more on English adjectival order plus assorted links to enjoy

two years ago: the Oort cloud, the Landshut Wedding (1475), more McMansion Hell plus a tale of guided chess

three years ago: the centenary of the BBC, the 2008 G20, paleomixology plus another MST3K classic

four years ago: assorted links to revisit

five years ago: Yale admits women (1968), Nellie Bly’s trip around the world, more on land-use plus social media platforms reimagined on outdated technology

Wednesday 20 September 2023

the panic of 1873 (11. 011)

The period of economic stagnation originally referred to as the Great or Long Depression before the interwar slump set new standards for the definition and though caused by a range of contributing factors including the opening of the Suez Canal that was disruptive for entrepรดt trade (also controlled by the British Empire, goods from the Far East were formerly warehoused in South Africa with the previous sea route around the Cape of Good Hope and the traditional sailing ships could not be adapted to navigate the new short-cut as the prevailing Mediterranean winds pushed them back into the Red Sea), devastating fires in Chicago and Boston and Germany going off the bimetallic standard—precipitating a fall in silver prices, the financial crisis with global implications was chiefly attributed to rampant speculation by investors in railroads and boom in their construction particularly in the United States following the Civil War. The panic began on this day in 1873 with the collapse of the Jay Cooke & Company, an innovative banking institution and brokerage house that pioneered the use of “wire” transfers and confirming transactions over telegraph lines, overextended and unable to sell on millions in bonds it had secured to build a second transcontinental line. With the railroad company and the bank indebted, bankruptcy soon followed with contagion spreading to other financial institutions and the insurance industry, prompting the closure of the New York Stock Exchange for ten days with immediate redundancies in the manufacturing sector. Railroad workers went on strike in protest of reduced wages, further exacerbating the crisis and knock-on effects overseas which led to a wave in immigration to the States that coincided with the easing of the turmoil by 1879.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

8x8 (10. 747)

me and coolio down by the school yard: a treasury of DJ Cummbund’s mash-ups—see previously  

pedestrianised zone: Tokyo, the largest city in the world, achieved at level of automobile usage almost without compare to all other urban areas—via Kottke 

oo-de-lally: Disney’s Robin Hood at fifty—via Waxy  

was involved in a quid pro crow: during an interview, a politician introduces an interesting error  

sentence grimes: tag yourself in the unimpeachable list of seventh- and eighteenth century Quaker names—see also—Experience Cuppage is also very good 

contes de ma mรจre l’oye: fabulist, architect and meteorologist, the passions of the Brothers Perrault informed the modern age  

conservancy: the gradient of corporate and public, historic interest for digital preservation and possible solutions—see previously 

soda stereo: an appreciation of the Argentine musical sensation, four decades on

Wednesday 10 May 2023

8x8 (10. 730)

grift for the mill: New York congressional representative George Santos (previously) surrenders to federal authorities for arraignment on thirteen counts of criminal deceit and defrauding donors 

choose or loose: following the shuttering of Buzzfeed and the uncertain future of Vice, Paramount shuts down MTV News, cutting a quarter of its global workforce—see more, see also

in-go-nom-pa-shi: a Plains Indian Sign Talk primer—via Nag on the Lake 

i want to believe: UFO-hunters’ grassroots surveillance network project to scan the skies 

past-exonerative tense: copaganda and other choice of tone that normalise police violence—see also  

krรณlewiec: Poland renames the Russian exclave with a native endonym, in what is deemed a hostile act by Moscow  

content farms: AI chatbots being used to generate dozens of breaking news sites to draw advertisers—via the new shelton wet/dry  

townhall: CNN takes a big risk in giving Trump a platform with a live studio audience—see previously

Tuesday 9 May 2023

join, or die (10. 727)

Attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the political cartoon depicting the British colonies of North America as a severed snake—eight parts for the thirteen traditional entities with New England as the head being lumped into one region, Delaware then part of Pennsylvania and omitting Georgia completely (do some homework)—appeared for the first time on this day in 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette accompanying Franklin’s editorial on the “disunited states” and appeals for cooperation during the French and Indian War (an extension of the Seven Years’ War) by settlers looking to expand into Appalachia and then reprinted and propagandised later as a slogan for those opposed to the rule of the Crown, culminating in war for independence, aggravated in part due to the movement by the British to outlaw slavery and demands that the colonists countenance territorial treaties struck with the native population, with the separate militias forming what was planned as a temporary alliance against the monarchy.

Sunday 16 April 2023

penta-vigesimal (10. 678)

Whilst mathematics is universal, there is no monopoly on notation and alternative numbering systems certainly do yield insight on cognition, computation and reckoning parallels. The Western hemisphere’s first new notational system in over a century was developed in the early 1990s, we learn via Clive Thompson’s Linkfest (previously), by a small class of middle school and high school students as part of maths enrichment project in Katovik, Alaska, noting that they didn’t have the numbers to represent all the numbers in Iรฑupiaq in Arabic-Hindi numerals alone for their base-twenty counting, scores used in Danish, French and for some other Inuit family languages), devising and refining a method of arithmetically representing all the native values reckoned on all one’s fingers and toes, with positional correspondence derived from native terms—for example, tallimat (5) coming from taliq (arm) for all of one’s five digits, iรฑuiรฑรฑaq (20) meaning a whole person or the glyph for zero or null a gesture of negation. A marked increase in scores on standardised mathematics tests for indigenous communities using notational systems that more closely match their ethnographic heritage not only helps with student achievement but demonstrates for all involved that numeracy is embedded within their culture and not something imparted by western hegemony. Learn more at the links above.