Thursday 16 May 2024

10x10 (11. 562)

crimes of atrocity: a long, dense episode of -ologies with Alie Ward on the hugely fraught and difficult subject of genocide with a powerful and circumspect post-script 

airoboros: artificial intelligence trained on AI made content is becoming highly problematic and only compounded—see previously  

the city on the edge of forever: public portal linking Dublin and New York City suspended after inappropriate behaviour  

palmerston’s follies: two maritime forts off Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight that have been converted into boutique accommodations go up for auction  

the deuce: the Greek grandmother who built an adult entertainment empire in Times Square before its Disneyfication 

foot on the gas: the inevitability of the climate collapse and humanity’s capacity for adjustment  

⌘ |: the lost history of pre-internet emoji and rendering software—via Waxysee previously 

flashing headlights: the giant Dana squid’s photophores in attack-mode  

eternal return: cosmic cycles and time’s resurgence  

first-day agenda: how Trump is framing his vision for a second-term


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a visit to Arnstadt

two years ago: St Brendan, more links to enjoy plus the Electrotechnical Exhibition of 1891

three years ago: a classic from Kim Carnes, a language quiz, more links worth the revisit plus an ancient action figure

four years ago: more Trump’s Space Force, birdhouses, the stress of social media moderation, a medieval manuscript game plus a musical typing tutor

five years ago: GenX, consular services at McDonalds, soliciting grievances, Japanese mascots plus office equipment

Monday 13 May 2024

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

Sunday 21 April 2024

10x10 (11. 503)

knock, knock, knock—who’s there: the authorship debate between William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson over the joke format  

charlotte braun: the untimely demise of the Peanuts’ foil to Charlie Brown 

yay, newfriend: more on the ELIZA experiment and AI paramours 

io: Juno space probe reveals a gigantic lava lake on the Jovian satellite’s surface 

he mad: Trump has to sit quietly through court proceedings 

occult chemistry: a 1908 theosophical text by Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater with diagrams by Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa 

captive market: private equity comes after US prison commissaries 

democracy dies in darkness: news media and the paywall dilemma 

the colour of pomegranates: more on Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov 

is this a red flag: the Jane Eyre edition


one year ago: more efforts to offset Labour Day plus a hitch-hiking companion on a Martian rover

two years ago: another classic from Prince (1985), the burial place of the Red Baron plus Disney and the culture wars

three years ago: the Tomorrow Show with special guest, duplexes in the Rรผhrhgebiet plus a mystery photo

four years ago: the Principality of Hutt, the founding of Rome (753 BC), a curatorial showdown, MS DOS coding, oil prices go negative, Texas exploits a crisis plus the Sabre Dance

five years ago: Easter greetings plus a return visit to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal

Saturday 23 March 2024

8x8 (11. 444)

going in style: fantastic custom sarcophagi from Ghanaian coffin-maker Paa Joe  

tiamat: the misremembered series finale of the Dungeons & Dragons Saturday morning cartoon—see previously  

spoofing: FlightRadar maps GPS jamming—see also

cincyflags: neighbourhood banners for all of Cincinnati’s fifty-two communities—via Pasa Bon! 

mergers and acquisitions: Trump expected to see a windfall from the sale of social media network 

coal holes: cast iron plate covers for the chutes of London—see also  

infantile amnesia: early childhood memories may not be lost and yield insights to brain development—via the New Shelton wet/dry 

regeneration: a look at the jurisdiction practising human composting


one year ago: sampler silhouettes, punctuation in headlines plus scrimshaw from oceanic plastic trash

two years ago: assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: AI-generated pick-up lines, a variation of the Medusa myth, the controlled-deorbit of the Mir (2001), lockdown on year on, vintage GIF buttons, pole tossing plus REM’s Out of Time (1991)

four years ago: dissolution of the African Economic Union (1985)

five years ago: the musical stylings of Carsie Blanton, a town’s strong connection to the number eleven, Nick of Time (1989), the tarot of Pamela Colman Smith, Robert Mueller concludes his investigation plus the UK votes

Sunday 3 March 2024

hair of the dog (11. 397)

With aides believing he had been intoxicated for at least the week prior, drinking heavily throughout and downing at least three glasses of whisky or brandy the morning of the ceremony, vice president Andrew Johnson delivered his drunk inauguration speech on this day in 1865, witnesses describing it variously as rambling, repetitive and self-aggrandising. Kissing the Bible presented to him for the oath of office, Johnson was too incapacitated by the time in came to swear in the incoming class of senators. Upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln forty-two days later during his second term, Johnson ascended to the presidency, his challenges foreshadowed by this incident. Picking the populist Johnson as his running-mate was a concession to secessionists—the choice turned out to be a rather grave political miscalculation, especially for the post-civil war period of reconciliation and Reconstruction with Lincoln’s own request that the ceremony be delayed until state governments of the readmitted polities were fully operational. Officially trying to cover up his sprees by confining Johnson to his quarters and issuing statements regarding an unspecified illness but the truth soon outed itself. Escorted to the Capitol to be sworn in by the outgoing vice president Hannibal Hamil, Johnson implored the officiator for a stimulant, begging off that he was unwell. Hamil offered that he had prohibited the serving of whisky in the senate cantina but offered to procure him a bottle from an establishment across the street, downing tumblerfuls until time for the event. Though there is no surviving, verbatim transcript of the speech, those present were incredulous at the spectacle as Johnson berated them with an incoherent lecture on the executive branch’s power and called out several present with insults. Hamil finally was successful in getting Johnson to stop when it was past due for the swearing in of Lincoln.

8x8 (11. 396)

a bridge too far: German authorities pledge investigation into embarrassing leak of confidential military talks about Ukrainian aid  

heteronyms: the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa with seventy pen-names  

solar symbology: a survey of the various cartographic representations of North America’s upcoming total eclipse  

phrixus and helle: newly excavated fresco in Pompeii retells the myth of the Golden Fleece  

re:design: Jason Kottke unveils his new website with fresh 2024 energy—maybe we could all use a face-lift  

replevin: Trump fraudulently overvalued his Scottish golf course and resort by £200 000 000—see previously 

club remix: annual competition that invites doctoral candidates to dance their dissertation 

airdrop: US begins aid delivery to a beleaguered Gazan population on the verge of famine


one year ago: TIME magazine (1923) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus the largest capacity cargo plane

three years ago: more links worth the revisit, an artist’s message to get vaccinated plus Rocket Man (1972)

four years ago: the French version of the Dallas theme, Super Tuesday, Nigerian contributions to English plus more on the Human Interference Task Force

five years ago: graphic designer Alvin Lustig, Apollo IX (1969), an example of Celtic Revival architecture, McLaren’s Imperial Cheddar Club Cheese plus artist Pokey LaFarge

Sunday 25 February 2024

11x11 (11. 380)

sure, write stuff for free—but write it for yourself: maintaining one’s creativity in the bleak media sector brickwalling and the loss of journalistic records  

rage-baiting: viral Tik-Tok couple troll influencer culture with such precision most don’t realise it’s satire—via Super Punch  

the paint explainer: a primer on the twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution—via Memo of the Air 

dark dimensions: there’s a new theory about where dark matter might be hiding  

the sony smartwig: a 2016 patent granted for a connected hairpiece one pairs with their phone for tactile feedback 

the navel on an orange is a mutation that created a conjoined twin: weird information to dispense on a first date—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

the riker manoeuvre: small towns with monuments to Star Trek characters—via Marginal Revolution  

selectric funeral: the Boston Typewriter Orchestra hopes to appear in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with this submission  

awful yet lawful: US Supreme Court to entertain grievances on social media moderation for deplatforming hateful and dangerous content  

multi-level marketing: a supercut of huckster Donald Trump’s merchandising scams 

you can out-buzzfeed buzzfeed after all: media group in takeover talks with UK’s The Independent—see previously

Monday 19 February 2024

aaron burr, sir (11. 363)

Though not exactly a fugitive from justice having been acquitted four times owing to vagaries in constitutional interpretation and the definition of allegiance and insurrection but fleeing from a warrant issued by Thomas Jefferson, the former vice-president of the United States was arrested on this day in 1807 in the now abandoned settlement of Wakefield, Alabama on the bend of the Tombigbee River, spotted by a federal land surveyor, on charges of high-treason. Remanded to nearby Fort Stoddert, Burr was already infamous for his deportment during his final year in office for engaging in a duel with his political rival, former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, fatally wounding the latter but never charged with a crime, despite the illegality of the act, and was en route to Spanish West Florida, seeking new political and entrepreneurial opportunities. Though the extent of his support, domestic and international including ties to Britain, was never firmly established and his designs unclear, Burr (maintaining his innocence throughout) was accused of using his connections to form a breakaway republic in the territory of Texas, some claiming his ambitions extended to Mexico, the entirety of the Louisiana Purchase or the continent, with his backers numbering from fewer than forty individuals to upwards of seven-thousand plantation owners and army officers. The indictment ultimately failed on questions of the definition of an overt act of treason, executive privilege and dependence from the judiciary as well as fabricated, doctored testimony, and Burr went into self-imposed exile to Europe, first with British supporters until expelled for trying to foment revolution in Mexico and then to Napoleon's France where he was similarly rebuffed, before destitute and heavily in debt the disgraced politician returned to New York to practise law, marrying a wealthy socialite widow (divorced four month later for bad business dealings) under an assumed name in order to avoid creditors. The former unincorporated settlement where Burr was apprehended, with no affinity with the novel, other than dint of popularity, was named after the eighteenth century book by Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale, Supposed to be written by Himself—a fictitious memoir.


one year ago: Discordianism, the anticipatory capacity of chatbots plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: a memorable All in the Family episode, an AI museum docent, Roxette in China (1995) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: your daily demon: Amduscias, more links worth the revisit, Winnipeg’s simulated Nazi occupation (1942) plus an update on a nightmare flag

four years ago: naming planets 

five years ago: emoji as admissible evidence, a baroque version of Bad Romance, Brexit illustrations plus IKEA pledges to clean up its act

Saturday 17 February 2024

8x8 (11. 358)

compound interest: Trump’s accumulated lawsuits amount to over half a billion dollars  

vivi o preferibilmente morti: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews a 1969 Spaghetti Western  

epistolary doll: Kafka, a little girl and her beloved, lost toy—via the New Shelton wet/dry 

the wonderful night of hercules brown: a 1968 short film guiding a young boy through his dreams with the help of muppets and puppets 

millions of cats: Wanda Hazel Gรกg’s 1928 children’s book—the oldest American title still in print  

leaning toward more grasshopper, less ant: raising children on the eve of the AI revolution—via tmn  

hero’s journey: a video poking fun at the tropes and archetypes of found in every epic quest—see previously  

never surrender high-tops: Trump launches gold trainers line, goes public with his social network in order to earn cash to pay for his legal judgments—see previously

Wednesday 14 February 2024

news cycle (11. 350)

The US presidential campaign season has been underway for a long, long time already and with ten months to go, we are already feeling the fatigue and feeling a bit overwhelmed keeping up with it all, and it’s remarkable to notice how much is already packed into the events of one day. Whilst arguably from the present perspective of just a few days hence it does not quite rise to the constellation of reporting on the seventh of October 2016 that saw the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, Obama announcing Russian election meddling, a possible case of Kompromat for Trump and the leak of Clinton’s campaign manager’s emails, incredibly the backhanded and cruel exoneration of Joe Biden for retaining classified materials over his perceived failing memory and mental acuity, was overshadowed by Donald Trump, speaking at a campaign rally, nearly simultaneously, dragging out a tied and false accusation of the NATO alliance being full of freeloaders dependent on the US and taking advantage of its largess, not only said that he would not defend a fellow member under attack by Russia, he would moreover encourage the invasion. While some media outlets are refusing to turn their attention from Biden’s gaffes and lapses—pulled selectively and from testimony given during interviews conducted (also on 7 October) just as Hamas began incursions into Israel, and some still take a dismissive tone on Trump’s words, the rest of the world is understandably grim and anxious at the thought of another term.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

9x9 (11.348)

unwanted legacy: Russia puts Estonian prime minister on wanted list for dismantling monuments to Soviet soldiers 

banned book rainbow: LeVar Burton hosts a very special episode on books banned by adults who don’t want kids to learn, grow or change—via Kottke  

clothesline, skyline: a look at Shanghai’s ubiquitous outdoors drying racks  

blinkerwall: ten-thousand year old megastructure in the Baltic could be Europe’s oldest  

everynoise: layoffs and downsizing at Spotify spell the end of the serendipitous musical encyclopaedia—see previously  

essentially cenobitical: one year in the life of a part time hermit—via the new Shelton wet/dry 

running amoc: the trajectory of the climate catastrophe blows past a calamitous tipping-point  

clearing the docket: upcoming inflection points in the criminal cases against Trump  

portal kombat: French authorities uncover a vast Russian disinformation network designed to overwhelm fact checkers

Sunday 11 February 2024

8x8 (11. 343)

๐Ÿ˜ถ: a Good Internet cross-posting of Good Music, featuring a mix of tracks from Wilco, Kim Gordon, the Beths and many more  

nato backstab: in a Drudge Report style headline, the Huffington Post reports Trump at a campaign event that he might encourage Russia to attack ‘deadbeat’ allies 

internal monologue: philosophers explore new field of the inner voice at the intersection of psychiatry  

compliance moats: anti-anti-monopolists and data-brokers wrangle over regulation 

story-walk: using olfaction with narrative to simulate reflection and retention  

certificate of honourable discharge: explore the best-preserved Roman military diploma (constitutio) in a new 3D exhibit  

grand bargain: US Supreme Court seems poised to keep Trump on state ballots but deny him blanket immunity 

i’m only sleeping: a Grammy winning painted music video of the Revolver track from Em Cooper

Thursday 11 January 2024

11x11 (11. 259)

cheesemongering: a specialist seller experiments with fifty-six varieties to find the perfect grilled sandwich 

vector portraits: photographs of drivers at speed traveling in Los Angeles  

decision 2024: this is the biggest year yet—and possibly democracy’s biggest test with over half the world’s population voting within the next twelve months  

run, rabbit, run: an AI-powered gadget designed to use one’s apps for one sells out 

electronics gives us a way of classifying things: Microsoft (now the most valued company in the world thanks to its part in AI, a font of misinformation) once explained to author Terry Pratchett how technology referees would make propaganda a thing of the past  

squaring the circle: Substackers against Nazis—reloaded—and a reminder that one can’t be just a little bit facist  

re-migration: a coalition of the far-right met outside of Berlin in November to discuss mass deportations  

blanket immunity: Trump’s legal team presents arguments for a president above the law—setting up the US Supreme Court to either rule on his exoneration or eligibility  

proxima swarm: US space agency supports bold proposal to reach the next nearest star system with a wall of tiny craft propelled by photons—see previously 

flower taxi: a mobile florist from 1960s London  

marie harel: producers of Camembert in Normandy fear EU recycling regulation could mean the end for their traditional wooden box packaging

Saturday 6 January 2024

8x8 (11. 249)

the gift of the magi: the 1952 classic adapted from the O Henry short story 

ed people: Belgian dancer travels the world asking others to teach him their favourite moves—via Waxy

diminishing returns: the Golden Age of solar eclipses is receding  

all i know about magnet is this, give me a glass of water, let me drop it on the magnets, that’s the end of magnets: Trump rally in Iowa  

amicus brief: US Supreme Court agrees to review a ruling by a lower court that disqualified Donald Trump for his participation in the insurrection, could have implications for Maine’s ban

kodachrome: artist Jessica Brill invokes nostalgia by painting found photographs  

my fellow peripatetics: research confirms the therapeutic value of walking 

 kinder der berge: Liechtenstein’s singular domestic feature film—via Strange Company

Monday 25 December 2023

reductio ab hitlerum (11. 213)

DC attorney and author Mike Godwin who made the eponymous observation in 1990—an inevitable hyperbole that the originator never expected to have so much currency—that the longer an online political discussion grows, invocations of Nazis approaches one hundred percent as commentary of rhetorical excesses. After years of cross-breeding in the wilds of the internet, the maxim framed slightly differently by philosopher Leo Strauss earlier as a fallacy that we would now recognise as whataboutism (playing the Nazi card), Godwin, in deference to Strauss’ construction and in light of recent the recent, revitalised vitriol of Trump rallies—calling his political enemies vermin and poisoning the blood of the nation, detention camps and promises to only be dictator for a day, encourages interlocutors to play the trump card not as a discussion stopper but rather as an alarm and conversation starter.


one year ago: the first Nativity Scene

two years ago: a white Christmas, the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, Gorbachev resigns (1991) plus deciphering the shorthand of Charles Dickens

three years ago: Seasons Greetings plus Voyage, Voyage

four years ago: Celestial Greetings, Unwords of the Year plus AI Christmas carols 

five years ago: Martian rovers

Thursday 21 December 2023

reply-all (11. 202)

On this day in 1989, US vice-president James Danforth Quayle dispatched some thirty-thousand auto-pen (a machines usually reserved for authorising signatures or autographs and not without controversy) Christmas missives to family, friends and backers with the word “beacon” misspelt as “beakon.” Quite notably, Quayle’s team did not apparently use this as a learning opportunity to prevent later grammatical gaffes.

Friday 10 November 2023

the one with all the war mongering (11. 108)

In the latest in her ongoing series of US presidential debate recaps, McSweeney’s contributor Maura Quint presents the third Republican session from Wednesday, again absent the forerunner in this race for sloppy seconds, moderator reminding the audience “that this is all a farce performed by unloved toddlers and that Donald Trump will undoubtedly be the nominee.” After placing blame on the corrupt media and Democratic leadership for America’s wayward trajectory, brinksmanship built over how to deal with China, Russia and the active conflicts in Ukraine and the war in Palestine between Israel and Hamas—satire that corresponded with the actual exchanges on the dais, the debate concluded with the closing remarks of hopeful Chris Christie: “It’s a gift to be an American. Maybe it’s not what you wanted but your parents gave it to you and they expect you to be grateful for it anyway. So show some respect, you ingrates.”

Tuesday 3 October 2023

speaker pro tempore (11. 037)

In stark contrast to the fifteen rounds of voting that it took for McCarthy to secure his conditional speakership, radical members of his own party in Congress sided with the Democratic opposition to abruptly end his shaky nine month tenure, instigated by representative Matt Gaetz, ostensibly for while making good on his promise to launch an impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden negotiating with Democratic lawmakers to avert a government shutdown with a stopgap funding bill. Gaetz was possibly also motivated by a personal vendetta against the California congressman for an ethics investigation against the junior Florida statesman over misuse of campaign funds, sexual misconduct and drugs use which McCarthy as House leader allowed to proceed. This unprecedented removal leaves the lower house of legislators without a chair in control, making it more difficult to bring bills and administrative proceedings to the floor, and as chaotic and unruly as Congress was under McCartney, his replacement may turn out to be much worse.

Friday 29 September 2023

lapse in appropriations (11. 030)

With the deadline looming and only hours left before a government shut-down (previously) looks more and more inevitable, continued in-fighting amongst Republican members in Congress sabotaged a bill sponsored by the Senate that would have have been a stop-gap measure, a continuing resolution, to keep the funded government and operational through mid-November. The Speakership in hock and the House of Representatives held ransom by a radical element willing to let the government run out of money, insistent on a thirty-percent across the board cut in budgets and halting aid to Ukraine. Despite a precariously narrow majority in Congress that cannot enforce its will (captivity to an arch-conservative, pandering wing notwithstanding) without compromise and concession, particularly in mixed jurisdiction (and again, gerrymandering that protects their seats notwithstanding), the GOP is refusing to negotiate and willing to force a crisis costly in terms of economics and repute that may prove difficult to resolve.


one year ago: the Mayak disaster (1957) 

two years ago: assorted links to revisit

three years ago: Star Trek tarot,  the Feast of the Archangels, the cartoons of R Cobb plus more links to revisit

four years ago: more Theremin maestros plus more Middle English vulgarities

five years ago: the Munich Agreement (1938) plus the Suprematism movement

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


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