Monday 22 July 2024

wilde karde (11. 711)

During the mid to late summer, fields can filled with these tall flowering perennials that had always called thistles (Disteln, a much shorter cousin it turns out) but are properly classified under Linnean taxonomy Dipsacus fullonum (teasel or by the title common name in German) from the Greek ฮดฮนฯƒแดจฮฑ for thirst for the cup-like catchments that form where the leaves merge with the stem that collects water. These little obstacles may have evolved to prevent bugs from climbing up to the inflorescence (blooming like a pineapple, where they differ from thistles) of pink to purple flowers. With a wide range from Africa to Eurasia, the dried heads are an important over-wintering food resource for birds and the plant formerly played a role in the textile industry (see also) as a natural comb for teasing, raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool—a process called fulling.

Monday 15 July 2024

9x9 (11. 694)

fungal magic: an update on the mushroom documentary narrated by Bjรถrk  

always lands on its feet: the myriad ways animals negotiate the laws of physics—see also  

meisje met de parel: decoding Vermeer’s true colours—see previously—via Miss Cellania 

i’m your heat pump: a seductive slow jam seems to educate the public on the thermal energy transmission system 

eno: the generative documentary on the self-described non-musician that changes with each viewing  

legal daisy spacing: a purported 1985 manual for terraforming a planet that presents a warped bureaucracy and sterile landscaping  

nolle prosequi: federal judge overseeing illegal retention of classified documents trial against Trump dismissed the indictment over the improper appointment of the prosecution’s special counsel—see previously here and here  

reimann hypothesis: new insights about the distribution of prime numbers—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

krรคuterbuch: Johannes Hartlieb’s fifteenth century treasury of herbs



one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting (with synchronoptica), Netscape plus the Rosetta Stone

seven years ago: dark matter, more on the election integrity commission plus the bicentennial of Frankenstein

nine years ago: thalassocracies, plutographies plus more links to enjoy 

eleven years ago: a slightly NSFW Soviet adult literacy reader

twelve years ago: the German banking system plus the Oberammergau Passion Plays

Saturday 1 June 2024

9x9 (11. 598)

on covfefe day no less: a meme roundup on Trump’s felony conviction  

canine rainbow: dogs’ visual spectrum and how they see perceive the world 

love exposure: the acclaimed, sprawling 2008 comedy-drama by Sion Sono  

the scary ham: proper late rites for an aged cut of pork

leftovers: five thin volumes on post-apocalypse Briton

nondescript fern: researchers find the largest genome (fifty times the genetic material of humans) in a small plant on an Australian island  

why be dragons: the origins of the universal mythological creatures  

evening standard: venerable London newspaper to suspend daily publication after almost two hundred years—see previously  

today is my birthday, please like me: a Twitter feed of some the revolting, disturbing but morbidly compelling AI-generated slop inundating Facebook—via Web Curios


one year ago: Crazy Frog (2005) plus Adobe’s Generative Fill

two years ago: Scotch whisky (1495) plus the Stresa Convention on Cheeses (1951)

three years ago: your daily demon: Eligos, The Ship of Fools (1497), more on monopolies and monopsonies plus a Simon and Garfunkel classic

four years ago: seasonal dormancy, more King Ubu, St Rรณnรกn plus elections matter

five years ago: re-creating TV living rooms with IKEA furnishings,  Japan’s first folklore museum, the Lennon-Ono Honeymoon Suite plus a robot job interviewer

Friday 24 May 2024

6x6 (11. 581)

gyermekvasรบt: the Budapest Children’s Railway, a functioning training project founded in the Communist era—see previously 

funny farm: an Ancient Greek agricultural emulator 

beacon hill: Massachusetts millionaire surtax surpasses revenue targets—via Miss Cellania 

he spends £1 a week on his hair: early reviews of British pop icons—via Strange Company 

god mode: a world simulation where the user has complete dominion—via Web Curios 

east side story: a documentary about musics in Warsaw Pact countries—see previously

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

Tuesday 7 May 2024

7x7 (11. 544)

group tape №1: a 1981 compilation from the International Electronic Music Association collective  

the light eaters: plant cognition and agency—see previously  

hardfork: the duality of Vernor Vinge’s Singularity 

to share something is to risk losing it: an update on the beloved Broccoli Tree (not pictured), which was loved to death—see also  

mai-1: Microsofts new AI model could potentially over take rivals 

pod squad: Project CETI gains more insights into whale communication  

haus 33: a ride on the Techno Train that loops from Nรผrnberg to Wรผrzburg


one year ago: the Devil’s Bible

two years ago: a classic from Spandau Ballet

three years ago: cheugy plus Kraft Television Theatre

four years ago: cereal and straw craft, Kraftwerk plus Shelter-in-Place

five years ago: the long-delayed passage of a US constitutional amendment, designer Georg Elliot Olden, the unending attraction of nature plus haunted dolls 


Sunday 5 May 2024

8x8 (11.542)

komoot: one testimonial for the international route-finding applicant to which we can personally endorse for its hiking trails recommendation and active community of contributors 

zillow gone wild: absurdist real estate listings go mainstream

dodecahedron: more on the mysterious Roman artefact puzzling archaeologists—see previously  

eidophone: a Welsh singer in 1885, wanting to give flower, fern and tree a voice, pioneered the discipline of cymatics 

democracy dies in darkness: amid faltering peace-talk, Israel shutters al Jazeera bureau in Israel  

live people ignore the strange and unusual. i myself am strange and unusual: a trove of behind the scenes stills from the 1988 production of Beetlejuicesee previously 

finsta: photo-dumps circa 2006 are the new chaotic and authentic social media trend—via tmn  

trudge: an arduous animated journey of many flights by Stephan Schabenbeck through the lens of taking relatable longer than expected excursions

Saturday 4 May 2024

8x8 (11. 539)

an elegant weapon for a more civilised age: the physics and power demands of a lightsaber  

defective fleet of fly sky-wreckage: nothing good has the acronym MRSA (Material Review Segregation Area) 

chic boutique: Messy Nessy to open a brick-and-mortar clubhouse and shop in Paris  

wopr: US urges China and Russia to pledge that AI will never have command and control of nuclear weapons  

poultice: an orangutan observed self-medicating a wound in the wild with a paste made of plants with healing properties 

serenity amid disaster: a short animation from Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, “The Flying Sailor,” examines the wonder and fragility of existence  

peak wtf: gun-mounted flashlights popular with American police officers 

oh, the asthma guy: a conversion with that one friend who’s never seen Star Wars

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

Wednesday 1 May 2024

binomial nomenclature (11. 525)

Prior to the publication, on this day in 1753, of the work by Carl Linnaeus (see also), listing every known species of plant at the time (around six thousand specimens compared with the over four hundred-thousand of flowering plants alone described today), there was no consistent standard for the scientific naming of botanic organisms, later adopted by consensus for all forms of life, and most exemplars would be given a long though descriptive polynomials, like herbaceous perennial catnip—now Nepeta cataria, before called Nepeta floribus interrupte spicatis pedunculatis. The genus, the taxonomical rank between species and family, was followed by a specific epithet or “trivial name” developed out of a student project to classify what cattle forage. Arranged into a thousand genera, there were no accounts of what the species looked like in this text and one needed a companion volume to cross reference.


one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus Citizen Kane (1941)

two years ago: the Moonies, more text-to-image generation, more links to enjoy plus an Esperanto punk band

three years ago: Operation Neptune Spear (2011), Mister Rodgers testifies before Congress, dogs with torches in paintings, shrinking glacial maps, more Citizen Kane plus retiring the Op-Ed section

four years ago: Ballet Zoom, pigeon calls, the Penny Black (1840), the Feast of Saint Joseph, Soviet Winne the Pooh, a charting hit from Tim Curry, the flag of the territory of Florida plus an anime selfie filter

five years ago: edible seaweed containers plus an album from McGruff the Crime Dog

Tuesday 30 April 2024

primary endosymbiosis (11. 524)

An endosymbiont is an organism incorporated into the cell of another organism in a mutually beneficial relationship—though it’s hard to draw the line from what we would consider weeds, hitchhiking genes or parasitism—and this rare and seminal phenomenon evolutionarily energised complex life roughly two billion years ago when a cell-attacking virus absorbed a bacterium that eventually became the organelle of all advanced cell structures known as the mitochondria, the cellular power-house. Going forward another billion years, a similar auspicious capture of a cyanobacteria led to the development of chloroplasts that are common to the plant kingdom. Not on the same level as the above symbiogenesis but not insignificant are the nitrogen-fixing bacteria that cohabitate in the root nodules of legumes, the chimeric lichens and the algae that live in coral reefs. Now—via the New Shelton Wet/Dry—we learn that researchers are uncovering evidence of another possible biological sea-change—possibly comparable to the way animals and plants have terraformed the Earth but we shouldn’t count on this as our saving grace for what we’ve done to the environment—with signs that common marine algae is engulfing bacteria—like pulses, peas and beans above—that enables seaweeds to fix nitrogen. Aside from possible insights into the once-in-a-billion-years enhancement, it could present a fundamental change in agricultural practises and mitigate some factors in climate modelling.


one year ago: Wes Anderson’s Star Wars, the 1939 World’s Fair, hypertext markup language is released into the public domain (1993) plus more gashapon mania

two years ago: text-to-images plus modern medievalism

three years ago: your daily demon: Paimon plus a tiny Japanese fire truck on the streets of San Francisco

four years ago: the Church of Satan (1966), social-distancing headgear plus municipal flags of Russia

five years ago: more mass-transit upholstery, windowless houses, assorted links to revisit plus Walpurgis Night

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

Thursday 4 April 2024

dishy-washy, dishy-washy (11. 468)

Better known to American audiences after rebroadcasts by PBS in the early 1980s as Good Neighbors, the British sitcom starring Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal (Tom and Barbara) and Paul Eddington and Penelope Keith (Jerry and Margot) premiered on this day in 1975 and relates the triumphs and trials that they, the first couple, the titular Goods, experience following a mid-life crisis and abandoning a career as a plastics engineer (designing toy prizes for breakfast cereal packets) to life a self-sufficient existence in suburb south west London, conflicting with the lifestyle of their conventional neighbours, the Leadbetters.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

9x9 (11. 464)

avis de rรฉception: Gertrude Stein first draft of her manuscript for The Making of Americans returned by a publisher  

greener pastures: ranchers embrace the benefits of virtual fencing  

แผ€ฮบฯฮฑฯƒฮฏฮฑ: philosophers weigh in on why we do things against our better judgment—via Kottke  

classroom setting: The Function of Colour in Schools and Hospitals (1930)  

haute couture: McDonald’s fashion in France  

heliopause: a NASA-endorsed app designed to photograph the North American total eclipse 

rhapsody in green: warm earth music for plants… and the people who love them 

could’ve been a contender: for what would be his hundredth birthday, some screen highlights of Marlon Brando

peer review: the Journal of Universal Rejection


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Planet of the Apes (1968)

three years ago: musical hypercards, more links to enjoy, missionary cats plus Blue Moon (1961)

four years ago: vintage railway memorabilia plus drawing elephants sight unseen

five years ago: the Marshall Plan (1948), more links worth revisiting plus conserving Soviet Almaty

Saturday 30 March 2024

leipziger neuseenland (11. 458)

Not to be confused with the German name for New Zealand, H and I found a nice camping spot, the first of the season, on the peninsula of Magdeborn, an artificial wetland formed in the early 2000s when the open cast mining operations outside of the city were flooded and fed by the past two decades by tributaries to create a nature reserve and recreation area. 

A score of villages and some eight thousand of residents formerly resettled in the from the 1930s through the 1950s for brown coal extraction (see also), the floating installation called Vineta bobbed back and forth in the bay of the Stรถrmthaler See on the horizon, the the steeple looking particularly phantasmagorical with the waxing sun of early spring and the lengthening days (the time change in Europe is the last Sunday in March)—also owing to a dust storm blowing in from the Sahara that gave the sky a singular quality—and aptly as the anchored structure, venue for art exhibits and a bistro accessible by ferry, is a monument to Magdeborn and those deserted settlements since underwater, Stauseen. 

The mining operations at Epsenhain ran from 1937 to 1996 and yielded half a billion tonnes of coal—phased out over the decades since, the last active field, which lends its name to the reservoir, will cease operations next year.  There are quite a lot of trails around the lakes to hike and bike and enjoyed being outside and marveling at the reclaimed landscape. 

Leipzig is visible in the distance and also the Bergbau Industrial Park that we pass on the Autobahn now a relict carved out of a massive Windpark.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Trump arrested and arraigned

two years ago: Iceland protests against NATO ascension (1949) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: your daily demon: Vassago, the sixtyforgan, the Louvre announces a new public portal for its collections, an attempted assassination plus yacht rock

four years ago: an expensive telegram plus the Sgt Pepper’s album cover

five years ago: an unassuming shrub

Saturday 9 March 2024

8x8 (11. 411)

๐Ÿšซ: the origins of the circle-and-slash prohibition symbol, its adoption as an ISO standard coinciding with 1984’s Ghost Busters  

return to sender: as part of the Prize Papers Project, a pristine Faroese hand-knitted sweater was discovered in an impounded parcel from 1807 

electronic labyrinth: the 1967 student film from George Lucas that would be later reworked into the feature  

snowdrops: Robert Marsham’s Indications of Spring (1789)  

clairaudient: more on Rosemary Brown with other classical compositions from beyond the grave  

if it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist: as of the beginning of the year, the venerable repository, the Ubuweb whose founder Kenneth Goldsmith is famous for the axiom, of the avant-garde has gone into archive-mode—via Web Curios 

sella rotalis: Paul de Livron crafts beautiful wooden wheelchairs, including one for the Pope

belinda new: exploring the typography of Oscar nominated films

Thursday 7 March 2024

dies solis (11. 407)

Though not the first sabbath observed as a day of rest, reflection and worship, on this day in 321 CE, Constantine the Great ordained that the Sun’s Day, styling himself as Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, as the non-work day for urbanites of the Empire, with workshops closed and magistrates taking this venerable day off—though allowances were made for those in the agricultural sector, whose harvest and husbandry usually couldn’t stand on ceremony. Having declared tolerance for Christians a decade earlier with the Edict of Milan and later convoking the Council of Nicaea, Christianity adopted this Roman week-structure.

Sunday 28 January 2024

there’s a choice we’re making—we’re saving our own lives (11. 301)

Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, organised by Harry Belafonte and produced and conducted by Quincy Jones, the supergroup USA (United Support of Artist) for Africa (inspired by Band Aid’s success from the year before) gathered at A&M studios in Hollywood on this day in 1985 to record the charity single. Over forty-five of America’s most popular musicians and celebrities, including Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick, were involved in the project with solos and as part of the chorus—with more than fifty turned away—arriving to be greeted by a delegation Stevie Wonder and Charles, who threatened the artists if the song wasn’t done in one take, the two blind men, would be everyone’s chauffeurs for that evening, and a note pinned to the studio door to please check their egos here. Released five weeks later on 7 March, the song raised over sixty-three million dollars that went directly to relief funds for areas hardest hit by the famine affecting the continent and continues contributions through charitable foundations and tribute renditions for other humanitarian crises and has gone on to become among the most popular and purchased commercial singles.


one year ago: a match monopoly, going to Canossa plus the Ceremony of the Keys

two years ago: another NFT minting operation plus a video game game show

three years ago: the execution of a Scottish witch 

four years ago: the musical stylings of Rupa Sen, train headboards, American Type Founders plus more on manicules

five years ago: assorted links worth revisiting, WiFi names, yellow jackets and red scarves, Trump lifts sanctions against Russia, Casa Dรฉcor plus propaganda kimonos

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

nine times nine to dispel the cold (11. 252)

In northern parts of China, where the winter months can seem particularly long and bleak, a folk-reckoning of the time until spring’s arrival emerged in ancient times called “Counting the Nine” (shujiu, ๆ•ธไน) and is still observed. Beginning on the solstice, the season is divided into nine intervals of nine days each, this form of almanac or Advent calendar (the number nine chosen as a seasonally accurate number and concept of renewal or reset as it the last digit before leaping to a new exponent) was not only important to farmers and herders for anticipating the planting season and return of growth, they also were a welcome distraction (eighty-one days is a long time) that taught numeracy and literacy—families devising activity posters, like with plum blossoms, mnemonics or other early indicators in the environment, to countdown the days.