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—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

synchronoptica

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

 synchronoptica

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

lepziger 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.

synchronoptica

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.

synchronoptica

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.

Thursday 4 January 2024

piso mojado (11. 241)

Via Miss Cellania, we not only learn of the existence of a universally understood slipping hazard sign, a wet floor marker in the shape of a banana peel but also there is a whole sub-site devoted to their sightings. We’ve never encountered such a warning (we wonder where they are most common as opposed to the foldable one that props up) and though the trope of the obstacle and the prat fall certainly still are prevalent and comprehensible, it seems a little ironic that the cultivation practises of the fruit has led to the extinction of the variety that was particularly prone to cause tumbling, prompting concern for public safety in the mid-nineteenth century when importation became especially popular in America (leading to the gag) and municipal ordinances (with posted signage) regarding their proper disposal.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Dark Forest of the Internet plus outsourcing one’s outlet

two years ago: assorted links to revisit 

three years ago: Trump harasses election officials plus more facts gleaned from the past year

four years ago: AI generated beetles, an anti-Bob Ross, a book on bricks plus cities coping with sea-level rise

five years ago: preserving the present plus more links to enjoy

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)

Saturday 9 December 2023

sumer is icumen in (11. 175)

Directed by Robin Hardy and featuring the acting talents of Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee, the British folk horror classic The Wicker Man opened in limited release on this day in 1973 and tells the story of a police sergeant dispatched to a remote Hebridean island to investigate the disappearance of a young missing girl. Conducting his search, the sergeant, a faithful Christian, is rather taken aback to discover that the inhabitants have reverted to a form of Celtic paganism, learning that a few generations ago, a Victorian agronomist had cultivated a strain of fruit trees that could thrive in the harsh Scottish environment and due to the promising bounty had conduced more of the population to embrace traditional ways. Learning that a human sacrifice is in order to propitiate the gods, the police office becomes convinced that the missing girl is being held alive and prepared for the ritual, and taking the ceremonial garb and mask of the procession’s participant from the settlement’s innkeeper where he is staying, seeks to liberate the girl before the act can be executed as penance for the doomed harvest. The rescued girl, however, was never the intended sacrifice, the locals tell him but rather the officer himself as a figure of authority, a willing party, ignorant of their ways and a virgin. Wicker Man was celebrated as part of British heritage during the 2012 opening ceremonies for the London Olympic Games and the title medieval English round, also known as the Summer Canon, was part of the 1972 Munich summer games with a performance of this rota performed by children prancing about the stadium track.

Sunday 3 December 2023

9x9 (11. 160)

caput apri defero, reddens laudes domino: an annual procession dating back to the fourteenth century that marks the beginning of Christmas season in London 

pingxiety: an update on the aerospace engineer’s anti-smart phone—see previously  

settled law: a carol to reaffirm that Die Hard is in fact a Christmas movie  

pocket universe: scientists in Germany re-create the Cosmos in a test tube to tweak the laws of physics for this primordial simulation  

pilea peperomiodes: the Chinese money plant goes by another common name for good reasons  

such fun: noun and adjectival usage of the intensifier on either side of the Atlantic  

anthrobots: researchers have created tiny, living robots from human cells that could one day patrol for diseases and repair damaged tissue  

there used to be a house at 6114 california street: a interview at home with Anton LaVey in 1967—see previously—via r/Obscure Media  

coquito ho ho: a guide to festive variations on classic cocktails

Friday 1 December 2023

9x9 (11. 156)

the saw lady: the virtuosity of Natalia Paruz  

tribalism: the worsening internet is an uncomfortable fun-house reflection of our inchoate proclivities  

holiday train show: a miniature NYC constructed from twigs and leaves at the city’s Botanical Garden  

bouzingos: the overlooked precursor to the Bohemian subculture  

microsleep: penguins take ten thousand seconds’ long naps per day to be rested but alert in noisy, hunted colonies

state-sanctioned socialist realism: the artistic duo of Komar and Melamid who turned subversive 

fairytale of new york: celebrating the life and talent of legendary Pogues’ singer Shane MacGowan—see previously, see also  

all about winning: Japan’s buzzword of the year continues a baseball-related streak 

busking: mapping live music public venues

Friday 13 October 2023

9x9 (11. 055)

the witch of positano: a portrait of Bohemian original Vali Myers who inspired Tennessee Williams and danced for Donovan’s signature song, charging one Nubian goat for her performance  

hotel california: legacy luxury in Kabul now jointly run by the Taliban and their quiet dissenters—via Web Curios  

the mysterious land of the grimaults: another look at The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent  

the rest vs the west: proven tech ventures that rival occidental offerings 

my coffee with niles: a meta episode of Frasier remade in the style of one hundred thirty animators and filmmakers  

watermeal: world’s smallest flowering plant could play an outsized role in interplanetary exploration  

don’t crash the pips: the Canadian Broadcasting Company discontinues the long dash time signal—see also  

unauthorised build: this “illegal” LEGO construction bends conventions  

nightclub school: The New Romantics and 80s youth subculture  

synchronoptica

one year ago: another MST3K classic,  the world’s first personal data protection law plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Focalor, The Style Council plus a psychedelic design collective

three years ago: a fashion show with puppets plus Witchtok community doing the Lord’s Work

four years ago: the introduction of the Ampelmรคnnchen (1961), more links to revisit plus more mushroom finds

five years ago: democracy by lottery, vintage Sainsbury’s packaging plus a music video from Bob Sinclar

Thursday 12 October 2023

mixed nuts (11. 053)

Via Colossal, we are directed to the latest ambition of Uli Westphal (previously) his current series photographic taxonomy of all the world’s edible seeds—so far collecting and shooting with the portrait studio treatment around four hundred of the estimated three-thousand cultivated and wild botanical parts ranked highly palatable. Much more at the links above.  

synchronoptica

one year ago: the lingua cosma of SETI, assorted links to revisit plus building the fake, composite bridges shown on euro bill

two years ago: typographical ornament, a plan for Italy to be annexed by the US plus Jesus Christ Superstar

three years ago: an AI makes memes, Free-Thought Day and other celebrations, a Khrushchev colouring book plus foliage studies

four years ago: ร‰tienne de Silhouette,  the founding of Iran plus social media’s sins of omission 

five years ago: more links to enjoy, mapping returns on solar panels plus the miniature world Tatsuya Takana

Friday 22 September 2023

6x6 (11. 013)

schedule f: Trump and the Heritage Foundation’s plan to dismantle the administrative state, replacing federal workers with sycophants—via Miss Cellania  

chinoiserie: a grand tour of Rococo era architectural follies as homage and aspiration to Eastern aesthetics—see also  

disco demolition night: more on the publicity stunt that incited a riot and brought down a whole genre of music 

agrostology: of grasses and lawns  

we’re safety now, haven’t we: US federal consumer safety commission drops an album that includes some bangers—but hardly for the first 

time swing time for hitler: new audio book by Scott Simon explores how Nazis banned jazz as degenerate art and repurposed it to dispirit the Allies—with more on Lord Haw-Haw and other propagandists

 synchronoptica

one year ago: MERS-CoV (2012),  the premier of West Wing (1999), Putin addresses the public and announces a draft plus an early Hobbit computer game

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

three years ago: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state, the last day of summer, more links to enjoy plus dazzling skylines made of dot-stickers

four years ago: exploring the Messel Pit plus a highly idiosyncratic language

five years ago: rehabilitating coral ecosystems with electricity, an AI makes college course catalogues, typhoon naming conventions plus an M-class exoplanet

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 18 August 2023

rambles in search of flowerless plants (10. 951)

We found this brief tribute to the small cohort of female British and North American impassioned amateur mycologists to be quite resonant. It was their collecting and exquisite artistic and scientific renderings helped advance and ultimately legitimise the field of study amongst research dominated by men who tended to dismiss their hobby as unladylike as well as the ecological significance of toadstolls. Attempting to recognise and rehabilitate the professional contributions of dozens of nineteenth-century intrepid mushroom-hunters, the JSTOR article looks at the detailed drawings of Anna Maria Hussey (who has an agaric species named in her honour), Mary Elizabeth Banning (for whom a stinkhorn is her namesake), Margaret Plues (who was instrumental in popularising botanical books with the above series of titles though under the pseudonym Skelton Yorke) as well as children’s book author Beatrix Potter, who also produced over two hundred fungal paintings. More at the links above.

Sunday 9 July 2023

6x6 (10. 869)

kherson herbarium: botanists risked their lives in war-torn Ukraine to save a unique plant collection—see also  

public access: cute stuffed animals jam to vintage records at Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar & Lounge  

mctrains: a look at the fast food giant’s failed ventures 

fรถhnkrankheit: alpine downdrafts attributed to outbreaks of madness—via Strange Company  

msg sphere: a colossal orb covers an events venue in Las Vegas  

weedwork: a tour of the first cannabis coworking space in New York City

synchronoptica 

one year ago: Tron (1982), the first animated adaptation of The Hobbit, Chroegraphy for Copy Machine (1991), the Charles Bridge of Prague (1357) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: past life regression for pets, the presidency of Millard Fillmore plus transiting through Denmark

three years ago: more adventures along the Moselle plus independence for the Republic of Palau (1981)

four years ago: electromagnetic pulse experiments (1961) plus the minimal republics of Rubรฉn Martรญn de Lucas

five years ago: spider ballooning, salterns from above, the Brexit Bulldog resigns plus artist Joshua Reynolds