Sunday 22 October 2023

11x11 (11. 070)

post-amazon era: monopsonic retailer’s workers’ are writing about the dystopian company to fight back—via Slashdot  

sublet: tech startups are relinquishing office space office space back to their landlords  

stop making sense: negative manifestos, rule-breaking and by defined by what one is not  

deci-lon 10: an outstanding collection of slide rules curated by the analogue computer’s appreciation society—named after their seventeenth century inventor, William Oughtred of Cambridge—via Web Curios  

dancing delicacies: 3-D printed plate and nano technologies promise interactive meals  

primer simposium tecno: a 1981 electronic music concert in Madrid  

piramida: updated plans for the restoration of Tirana’s Brutalist landmark  

destroilet: an automatic combustion plumbing solution popular in the 1960s and 70s 

down in the underground: agencies of the subsurface 

fiver: a new adaptation of Watership Down as a graphic novel 

proposition m: San Francisco passes a punitive tax of vacant housing speculation  

the faanmg index: the blush has worn off Amazon’s rose—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lot’s more to explore there)

 synchronoptica

one year ago:  brittle egos bristling at Karen’s Garden plus modern sundials

two years ago: the International Meridian Conference of 1884, The Last Picture Show plus an early alternative currency

three years ago: the father of psychophysics, red food dye, another failed doomsday prophecy plus the Humument series

five years ago: the US Gun Control Act of 1968, the WWII bombing of Kassel, the spread of disinformation, anticipatory libraries for other worlds plus RIP to the inventor of the Little Library

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

Wednesday 27 September 2023

9x9 (11. 028)

space lab: a 1992 futuristic glass room with modular rooms that can be rearranged along its spine  

overburdened, overscheduled: the anti-homework movement is picking up momentum—found especially resounding the editorial comment: as a blogger I’m still doing homework  

star the glaze: an 1860 dictionary of contemporary English slang, cant and vulgarities—with a gloss of two secret argots  

memorandum of agreement: the contents of the Writer’s Guild of America’s draft deal with the studio seems like a decisive victory and a Hollywood ending

i am worth billions more than my very conservatively stated financial statements, and therefore could not have defrauded the banks, who all made money & were all: a New York judge rules that Trump exaggerated his worth in order to secure more financing  

felt a bit violated, really: a viral account using facial recognition is doxxing random individuals to the amusement of viewers—via the new shelton wet/dry  

drank the kool-aid: Big Tobacco’s legacy comfort foods 

 do you have information about permanent people: more questions pulled from the New York Public Library system reference desk—see previously 

vertical villages: unbuilt utopian hi-rise communities—via Messy Nessy Chic

synchronoptica

one year ago: for the Queen to use, the Discovery of the True Cross, Marimekko Oyj plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: France’s TGV goes into service (1981) plus a change in UK license plates post Brexit

three years ago: Art Povera, pet diplomacy plus Trump’s latest nominee to the US Supreme Court

four years ago: the flag of China plus US-Germany relations

five years ago: more links to enjoy plus the economics principle of chartalism

Saturday 2 September 2023

let’s call the whole thing off (10. 978)

With possibly the winningest URL of all time, Waxy directs our attention to a collaborative contribution project that has been running for seventeen plus years which has somehow missed our notice until now—vis a vis another recent post.
Artist and enterprise originator Clara Bahlsen solicits for anthropomorphised images of mascots, food eager to be cannibalised or collaborate it the act and other offerings collected and indexed in a huge searchable images that can be sorted by category and kind. Browse (the cursor is a potato) though and share the oddities that you find or add your own.

 
 synchronoptica

one year ago: more spurious quotations,  Madonna’s Music (2000) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Gaap plus the Second Triumvirate forms (31 BC)

three years ago: more links to enjoy, the global race for a vaccine, the Stuttgarter Metro Map plus Wikipedia as an agent of cultural vandalism

four years ago: improvised campers,  a visit to the Cap d’Erquy, a new presentation of Euclid’s Elements, the abbey of Beauport plus the stop-motion short Matrioska

five years ago: a ban on pesticides that harm pollinators, the fight to save coral reefs, some special weeds plus an AI tries to name shopping malls

Wednesday 19 July 2023

6x6 (10. 895)

tijuana brass: Herb Alpert and Lani Hall cover “Maniac” from Flashdance for the Oscars (1984)  

choose your own adventure: the rise and fall of type-in narrative games, an addendum to Fifty Years of Text Games (previously)—via Waxy 

collective nouns: a group of butterflies is properly a kaleidoscope, whilst a swarm of caterpillars is an army—see more 

tayme that crabbe: a medieval guide to food presentation 

the blobs are happy in their new, hand-build wizzinator and that’s all that’s important to me right now: experimenting with a fun physics sandbox—see also  

jennyanydots: a favourite Mountain Goats’ character returns

Monday 3 July 2023

9x9 (10. 853)

lost animals: a short story by Geoff Manaugh who exorcises haunted houses with mundane equipment  

clippit: discontinued Microsoft Office Assistant resurrected as a ChatGPT add-on—see previously  

space10: IKEA reimagines a line of flatware encouraging the use of abundant, locally sourced materials—see also 

all-domain anomaly resolution office: newspapers of record passed on the bombshell story of US government programme to reverse-engineer captured extraterrestrial technology—via Slashdot 

i do not want my name to be a thing: John Hancock explains his outsized signature on the Declaration of Independence—see also 

duty to bargain: Google joins Meta in pulling its headline aggregators from Canada over the so called “link tax” 

not to put too fine a point on it: the origins of a selection of hackneyed idioms 

the ganzfeld procedure: a cheap, easy and effective sensory-deprivation technique

short fiction: six-word sci-fi prompts

Friday 23 June 2023

8x8 (10. 828)

never change: a gallery of US high school annuals from the 70s and 80s—via Web Curios 

oceangate: executive piloting the submersible tourist vessel on its fateful descent has a familial connect to those who went down with the Titanic—more here  

mechanical turk: many of the human tasked to train AI are recursively outsourcing their work to AIs—see more, see also

reform club: the advent and eventual demise of Bellamy’s Refreshment Rooms that catered to Parliament’s schedule—see also—via Strange Company  

rocket lab: a visit to Norton Space Props, a junkyard full of salvage and surplus items from the Space Race 

scene together: the 70s craze of his and hers matching fashions—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

atoms for peace: a tour of the nuclear-powered cruise ship, the NS Savanna—see previously  

katakana: the vintage signage of shops and restaurants in Japan captured as digital fonts—also via Web Curios

synchronoptic 

one year ago: My Sharona (1979), Logan’s Run (1976) plus the Sterling Area (1931)

two years ago: sustenance from CO2 plus St John’s Eve

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, satisdiction plus another most favoured word, acnestis

Wednesday 21 June 2023

8x8 (10. 825)

the restaurant of mistaken orders: a pop-up establishment in Japan serves a lesson in compassion along with its dishes  

specimens of fancy turning: these late nineteenth century lathe patterns look like spirographs 

dwarf fortress: an interview with the author of 50 Years of Text Gamessee previously 

mercurial: more on the found and lost planet Vulcan  

monk parakeets: over a decade living in Wiesbaden, these invasive birds went from rare, doubtful sightings to absolute flocks  

area sacra: assassination site of Caesar and since taken over by semi-feral cats opening to the public 

รฑ: the origins of the letter with a diacritical tilde  

evergreen appeal: once considered dire sustenance only, pine-based cuisine in Nordic countries is becoming fine-dining

Tuesday 20 June 2023

hojo’s (10. 822)

Having previously written about the marketing tie-ins for the 1968 film, we enjoyed learning more about this promotional menu from the once ubiquitous hotel-restaurant chain Johnson’s for 2001: A Space Odyssey, featured as the hospitality brand for the Earthlight (named for another novel by Arthur C Clarke) orbital suite. While the children’s bill of fare does include iconic scenes from the movie, the narrative and activity pages are focused more on a family that goes to its gala theatrical premiere. More at the links above.

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

Sunday 4 June 2023

9x9 (10. 786)

folkocracy: the latest from Rufus Wainwright  

old hollywood: one property management company dedicated to preserving Los Angeles’ vintage homes and apartments 

ladies’ ordinaries: a look at how gender got on the menu—see also 

cultivating a creative community: Tina Roth Eisenberg on “How I Built This”  

ologies: a comprehensive chart of the medical disciplines and how they fit together—also a good podcast  

purchasing power parity: mapping the cheapest Big Macs  

morbid passion for one of the opposite sex: the recent invention of heterosexuality  

controspazio: a photographic tribute to the recently departed post-modernist architect Paolo Portoghesi  

what a wicked thing to do—to let me dream of you: Tenacious D kicks off their next tour with a cover of the 1989 Chris Isaak hit

Tuesday 16 May 2023

bachstadt arnstadt (10. 746)

While waiting for our dog to recover after surgery at the veterinarian clinic there, H and I took a quick tour of Arnstadt, an old and storied town also known as the Gateway to the Thรผringer Wald due to its location on the northeast corner of the forest, the oldest settlement once in East Germany due to its first documented mention in 704, a candidate for the origin of Bratwurst and Weizen beer outside of Bavaria thanks to a fourteenth century mention, and mostly famously for its native son Johann Sebastian Bach (see previously), who had his first posting in the New Church—now known as the Bachkirche—as organist. 

Granted a charter as a city by Hersfeld Abbey, heavy sanctions were levied against the town for aiding fugitives during the Peasants’ War in the thirteenth century and nearly a hundred rebels were burnt in the market square. 

The main landmark is the remaining tower of the ruin of the Neideck palace, already in disrepair by the end of the reign of the dukes of Schwarzburg by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the rest was bombed into rubble during World War II. The church’s Baroque pipe organ has been restored to its condition and appearance in 1703 when the eighteen year old prodigy first played it.  The monument is pure speculation as no portraits or physical descriptions of Bach and locals refer to the bronze as the ‘Marktflรคtz’—one whose sprawled out in the square—cf, Marktplatz.

Thursday 11 May 2023

boulevard of broken dreams (10. 732)

Via Miss Cellania, sort of in the same vein as those ubiquitous posters of nail salons, we take a deep dive into the equally omnipresent cafe and restaurant mural featuring variations on the fantasy gathering of celebrities—the usual suspects being Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart when an artist called Gottfried Helnwein, best known for album covers, created a homage to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks in 1985. The mass-reproduced piece, intended as a bit of humour, took on a life of its own with other painters taking up the trope of the ‘Fakehawk’ foursome in different settings that do not only echo a singular facet of Hollywood nostalgia but also serves as activity placemats for adults with meaning to decode and hidden Easter Eggs embedded in the backdrop. More from Ryan H Walsh for The Believer at the link above.

Tuesday 9 May 2023

9x9 (10. 728)

daily double: Jeopardy! had a all-fonts category with answers in the typefaces they were looking for as the question—via Kottke  

on the eighth day: a 1984 BBC documentary on nuclear winter preparedness—see previously 

a la carte: a century of cultural changes captured in restaurant menus—see previously  

ใ‚ซใ‚ฏใƒ†ใƒซ: an award-winning small Tokyo ex-urb defined Japanese cocktail culture 

that’s so fetch: tech retreats from the Metaverse to the new hotness  

exciton condensates: physicists find a link between photosynthesis and strange states of matter  

cabin crew: the argot of airplane travel 

mutually assured destruction: new analysis of the same Cold War  

grundvig: font-founder Reinadlo Camejo transforms a Copenhagen church into a typeface

Saturday 15 April 2023

8x8 (10. 676)

footprint: a sobering visual essay showing the deleterious impacts of cruises from Puget Sound to Alaska—via Things Magazine 

kitakyushu kaku-chi: a look into Japan hidden liquor shop drinking culture 

the wonderful world of tupperware: a vintage celebration of the storage solution’s storage solution as the company goes insolvent 

bea wolf: a re-telling of the epic poem for both kids and grow-ups  

influential flop: deconstructing the Apple Lisa—Locally Integrated Software Architecture 

great firewall: the US state of Montana moves to implement a ban on TikTok 

subcal: an exploration of the best of Tokyo’s fandom nightlife  

greenhouse effect: acknowledging the contributions of the mostly forgotten Eunice Foote, pioneer of climate science

Friday 14 April 2023

aphorism (10. 672)

Via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links, we are informed that enhanced and apparently made-to-order chatbots may be usurping human authorship in one tradition and am admittedly a bit torn on whether this is a good or bad development: fortune cookies. While admitting that I didn’t appreciate how large the collective enterprise was and that there are a recognised cohort of veteran fortune writers for this manufactured custom (Chinese diners are generally served fruits as a degistif), part of me is leaning towards saying that AI is optimised for palaver, wallpaper like this as well as horoscopes and greeting cards but another side wants to rally against it for stripping away the intent and sentiment and even benediction and blessing offered as one’s fortune. What do you think?

Tuesday 28 March 2023

a side of gloss (10. 640)

Though mostly, exclusively North American foodways and the sort of niche subject that elicits strong feelings one way or another (see also), we quite enjoyed perusing the entries for this volume, an ongoing project of abecedaria, of icons and analogues of for better or worse consumable (and usually) highly-processed staples, regional variants and the last holdouts of once expansive franchises. From salad bars, all-you-can-eat buffets, juice-boxes to Frank Sinatra’s heart-shaped pizzas, this index is brimming with morsels to explore. More from Tedium at the link above.

Monday 6 March 2023

in witness whereof (10. 595)

As our faithful chronicler informs, on this day in 1984, US president Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5157 (they are numbered sequentially whether public or not so we know when the government is up to something) “in recognition of the significant contribution which the frozen food industry (see previously) made to the nutritional well-being of the American people, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 193 … has designated ‘Frozen Food Day,’” calling “upon the American people to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Citing large-scale availability during war time rationing, convenience and the abundance of such meals aboard Skylab and other space missions, Reagan further extolled the estrangement from fresh, unprocessed groceries as a symmetrical response to rural-to-urban migration and due homage to the bounty of the land through surplus and subsidy.

Monday 27 February 2023

soup on the rocks (10. 576)

Via Miss Cellania, we are directed towards a bizarre MidCentury fad that Campbells (M’m! M’m! Good!) is still attempting to make happen with an advertising campaign, rather aggressively marketed with celebrity endorsements and placement on the drinks menus of landmark restaurants, convincing people to try their line of refreshing, nutritious brothtails: beef bouillon over ice—straight from the can—with a garnish of lemon and a dash of Worcestershire. Though mostly touted as an alcohol-free alternative one artefact of this long-running effort was the Bull Shot, sometimes known as “Ox on the Rocks,” with vodka and Tabasco sauce added to the above and Campbells along with soup enthusiasts in the past couple have introduced such divisive concoctions as the Thai Chicken Negroni and a dirty martini variant.

Sunday 29 January 2023

zero my hero (10. 507)

Turning fifty this month with its debut as a series with Multiplication Rock with songs written and performed by Bob Dorough going through the tables—see also—the interstitial animated educational shorts Schoolhouse Rock! was a staple of American Saturday morning cartoon programming, originally running through 1984. The original concept was suggested by an advertising executive of the influential firm McCaffrey and McCall’s that his young son was—despite being able to memorise the lyrics of Rolling Stones songs—struggling to rote lessons, resulting in the pre-canon “Three is a Magic Number” in 1971 before pursuing the project further. One of three between programming segments along with Time for Timer (“A Hankering for a Hunk of Cheese”) and the Bod Squad (“The Munchies,” “Don’t Drown Your Food”) and was followed by a second series, Grammar Rock, and for the US bicentennial in 1976, America Rock, culminating in the final run of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips.