Tuesday 13 February 2024

comet and cupid (11. 347)

Via fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy (much more to dsicover there), we are introduced to the eighteenth century artist Michelangelo Maestri and his school through his series of water-colours of putti, cherubs driving chariots pulled by various creatures as an allegory to depict different types and stages of love—agape, eros, xenia, philia. Inspired by the frescos of Ancient Rome, especially the then recent excavation of well-preserved examples in Herculaneum and Pompeii, his studio’s works were extremely popular and produced en masse and were often purchased as souvenirs by those on their Grand Tour.

synchronoptica

one year ago: spec scripts for Star Trek: TNG plus a webring to check out

two years ago: more Excel art, West African musical artists plus separated by a common language

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, a dinosaur park plus animation techniques

four years ago: more links to enjoy

five years ago: out-of-place archaeology, Sony World Photography winners, Mandombe script plus more links worth revisiting

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

Friday 26 January 2024

paula of rome (11. 295)

Born into one of the richest and most powerful senatorial families, gens Furii—claiming descent from legendary Mycenaean king Agamemnon—and as recorded by later companion St Jerome, lived a life of luxury and intellectual pursuits, but when widowed at the age of thirty-two, Paula turned her interest towards religion and pilgrimage. While touring the Holy Land, Paula visited monastic communities and eventually settled in Bethlehem and established a spiritual retreat of her own—hostel for travellers connected to a monastery for men and a convent for women. Regarded as the first nun, abbess and Desert Mother, and re-examined as not just a patron but also a co-contributor to Jerome’s scholarship and translations, Paula is venerated on this day on the occasion of her death in the year 404, fรชted as well by the Anglican Communion (along with her daughter Eustochium) on 28 September.

Friday 19 January 2024

kฤla (11. 280)

Via ibฤซdem, we enjoyed contemplating this display that shows the passage of different units of time side-by-side advancing relative to the observer. Named for the Jain concept of that which brings forth change (also meaning death), the second is the smallest practical measurement, made up of countless and indivisible samaya—like Planck time though the zeptosecond or one sextillionth of a second is the smallest fragment of time that can be reliably calibrated—and itself representing about forty-eight seconds and the kลŸaแน‡a about forty-eight minutes. Aside from the more familiar units and the Hindu-Sanskrit tradition of describing the cosmological cycle, from microseconds to trillions of years, there’s also the milliday, invented by the Swatch company as one-thousandth part of a day or a .beat, the lustrum to mark the five-year interval between Roman censuses, the indiction for the fifteen-year requirement for tax assessments in the Empire, a ghurry, the time it took a water-clock to empty, gauged to divide the day into sixty intervals or rather twenty-four minutes and the chelek (ื—ืœืง) one eighteenth of minute from the Babylonian for one degree of celestial rotation and a momentum, a medieval reckoning of the hours by the sun-dial, about forty moments for each twelve-hour solar day—as well as more informal but countable units.

Thursday 18 January 2024

7x7 (11. 278)

you are not a product: the demise of the social network Ello’s ambitions  

right: US to UK export Word of the Year—see previously  

mystic pizza: a new popular regional style from the US state of Connecticut  

arbustum: ancient Roman wine-growing techniques and forest agriculture may help battle modern climate change  

sora-q: Japanese space agency is poised to land a transforming robot on the Moon  

gloogo: a lexicon of words that don’t exist yet but should (see also) from Burgess Unabridged—the source of the term blurb  

๐„: time spent pausing is a worthwhile pursuit—see also on the fermata

Monday 9 October 2023

the tomb of cerberus (11. 048)

Public works crews updating the water supply for a suburb of Naples have uncovered with the help of a team of archaeologists an untouched funerary chamber of the later Imperial period complete with burial goods and pristine frescos of mythological scenes, including a pair of ichthyocentaurs and a rear wall depicting the last and most dangerous of the twelve labours of Hercules, the capture and submission of the three-headed hound of Hades. Considered a fool’s errand and a way to finally get rid of the try-hard hero, king Eurystheus of Argos dispatched Hercules on this mission to eliminate the remaining primordial beasts of the elder gods and bring about the reign of the Olympians, Zeus against the will of his wife Hera championed Heracles (“Hera’s fame”), the latter supporting the cause of the monsters. With the help of Hermes (also pictured), Hercules also managed to rescue Theseus and Pirithous, two companions confined to Hades for their brazen attempt to free Persephone.

Sunday 17 September 2023

7x7 (11. 007)

spiral town: AI artistry with geometric patterned medieval villages captivate the internet—via Waxy 

the fabric of civilisation: the fascinating history of sericulture—see previously here and here  

๐Ÿซ : an informal survey reveals men think about Ancient Rome daily, sometimes to the surprise of their partners 

magic screen: a look at the creative crew behind Pee-wee’s Playhouse 

lennon 2499: hunting down the artist’s famous wristwatch—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to check out there)  

hal mooney and his orchestra: ballet standards as lounge music  

everyday yลkai: AI generated Japanese folklore figures hiding in plain sight—see previously

Friday 1 September 2023

8x8 (10. 977)

diyarbakฤฑr: archeologists discover a massive subterranean city under the Roman garrison at Zerzevan 

aaro: the Pentagon launches a website to explore declassified information on unidentified anomalous phenomena, via Slashdot—also watch this instead 

space for kitchen aerobics: the latest oversized monstrosity from McMansion Hell—previously

the parable of the pig: philosopher Pyrrho’s hog as a model of tranquillity in a ship on a stormy sea—from Futility Closet happily back after a hiatus  

queso de cabrales: a hunk of artisanal cheese from Asturias fetches a record-setting price—via Strange Company 

a directory of wonderful things: an expert curated selection of weird and delightful corners of the internet  

chatgop: a conservative media outlet may have interviewed an AI generated Donald Trump 

colossus of constantine: plans to restore the monumental statue of the Roman emperor built as a triumph for his victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge

Thursday 31 August 2023

8x8 (10. 973)

energy makes time: a resonant essay about how doing those essential things enables everything else—via Kottke 

kopienkritik: Ancient Roman souvenirs and mementos limn their culture and makes their lived experience more accessible—see previously    

: a clock correlated to YouTube videos that mention the current time—see previously—from Russell Samora—via Waxy

motes: what the tiniest specks of dust reveal about the world—via Damn Interestingsee also

honky chรขteau: more on the Abbey Road of the Val d’Oise—see previously  

coenties slip: the East River waterfront street that was witness to New York City’s cultural evolution—via tmn  

e-meter: the Church of Scientology urge the US government to walk-back right-to-repair legislation—via Slashdot 

a spell against indifference: Maria Popova laments her discounting of the power of poems—via Swiss Miss

synchronoptica

one year ago: RIP Mikhail Gorbachev, Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man (1968) plus more Gorbymania

two years ago: assorted links to revisit, numeracy and conspicuous calculation plus the animation studio of John Hubley

three years ago: Dungeon Master for Halloween, the Gdaล„sk Social Accords (1980), more links to revisit, Lincoln Logs (1920) plus Tom Hiddleston as macaroons

five years ago: a LEGO Bugatti, a corporate logo font, an intimate rave at Stonehenge plus the art and maps of Jo Mora

six years ago: unexploded munitions from WWII prompts an evacuation in Frankfurt plus more links to enjoy

Tuesday 1 August 2023

7x7 (10. 919)

istj: while gladly gone the way of Harry Potter House in many circles, Chinese placement agencies are obsessing with Myers-Briggs personality types  

hapsburg ai: generative chat programmes trained on derivative synthetic output becomes recursive and untenable—via Kottke  

pittura infamante: the Florentine legal tradition of the rogues’ gallery—via Miss Cellania 

 ๐•: flashing sign with new logo dismantled in San Francisco’s Twitter headquarters after neighbours complain 

:a font family inspired by an Ancient Roman typeface continues a centuries’ long dialogue of the printed word  

watermark: to distinguish generative writing from human, we could possible assign it its own Unicode alphabets—via Language Log  

the belt and road initiative: Italy is vocal with its regrets over signing on to China’s foreign policy push and infrastructure development programme

Monday 31 July 2023

5x5 (10. 917)

scream real loud: Paul Reubens, actor who portrayed Pee-wee Herman has died after a private struggle with cancer

nudge theory: top behavioural science researchers fabricated data about engineering honest responses  

platonic solid: the enduring mystery of Gallo-Roman dodecahedra 

maxwell’s demons: plans to use AI to detoxify speech only dial up the rhetoric

live at the roxy: the 1981 HBO special that introduced the character Pee-wee

synchronoptica 

one year ago: a classic from The Eurhythmics, assorted links to revisit plus an antique celebrity abecedarium

two years ago: a potentially perpetual time crystal, the photography of Lora Webb Nichols, a new Olympic motto includes togetherness, assorted links worth revisiting, vintage internet radio plus David Bowie Halloween costumes

three years ago: more links to check out, China’s moon mission plus a new, smaller batch of emoji

four years ago: more Brexit omnishambles plus reforesting efforts in Ethiopia

five years ago: Franklin Armstrong (1968), more links, an exoplanet survey plus bands as football clubs


Wednesday 5 July 2023

7x7 (10. 859)

armada model zero: prototype flying, electric car cleared for takeoff 

๊ตญ๋ณด: ancient Corinthian helmet found in Olympia and awarded as a trophy in 1936 among South Korea’s National Treasures  

el niรฑo southern oscillation: combination of global warming and cyclical weather patterns have yielded the hottest day since record-keeping began  

๐Ÿงต: Meta to launch Twitter alternative in twenty-four hours  

cop27: UK to walk-back its climate pledge 

luteciam parisiorum: a virtual tour of Roman Paris  

astral projection: the brain’s precuneus seems to be responsible for grounding and for the sensation of out-of-body experiences

Saturday 24 June 2023

nepobabies (10. 831)

Though history may consider his successive claimant the last Roman emperor by dint of the poetic symmetry of his praenomen and cognomen, Romulus Augustus—invoking the mythological founder and first to claim that title, proclaimed by his father the magister militum Orestes once he ultimately mutinied a year into his rule, Julius Nepos was crowned on this day on 474 after disposing the unrecognised Glycerius installed some four months earlier with the help of Burgundian mercenaries and marching on to the new capital at Ravenna, with the sanction of Zeno, the Eastern emperor. Unable to control Italy after Orestes’ revolt and march on the imperial palace in late August of 475, dissatisfied by his leaders inability to repulse incursions by the Visigoths, Nepos retreated to Dalmatia, with the general installing his son some two months later. Constantinople, however, continued to recognise this government-in-exile as legitimate, with Nepos minting coins and issuing orders from the palace of Diocletian, the actions of this nominal ruler mostly dismissed. Neopos was assassinated by two of his disaffected military commanders in 480 but Romulus Augustus, still a child, was deposed decades earlier after a only a brief reign by Odoacer, barbarian general and first king of Italy.

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

Thursday 15 June 2023

9x9 (10. 808)

seo arms race: ploys for attention bifurcate the internet marketplace—one for humans and the other for robots 

please have your boarding pass and identification ready: an appreciation of departure soundtracks of airliners—via Things Magazine 

musical tangents: a genius, deranged mashup compilation—via Waxy 

dynasty x: the world’s first curated, public museum established by Babylonian Princess and High Priestess Ennigaldi-Nanna, rediscovered in 1925, had a collection of artefacts as far removed from its time as Ur was from ours 

literal lexical calques: a new Spanish-English dialect emerges in southern Florida 

nada: car dealer trade group writing state legislation prohibiting factory sales, requiring manufacturers to work with middlemen—more here  

convergent evolution: Nature keeps making crabs and scientists aren’t sure why—via Kottke  

phrygian mode: Ancient Roman popular music  

unfulfilled: Amazon’s predatory cycle is transforming the EU into a planned economy

Monday 5 June 2023

scrawny boy (10. 789)

Two dozen Roman and Etruscan bronzes and other votive offerings discovered at San Casciano dei Bagni last year will be exhibited at the Quirinale Palace later this month. The deliberately sealed-off sacred baths (see above) dating from the third century BC and in use for four hundred years in Tuscany was found (assisted by the village bin man) with a wealth of trinkets, coins, figurines of afflicted limbs as a petition for the healing water and from the wealthier visitors statues of the gods and goddesses for whom this spring was their domain and faithful likenesses of themselves in hopes of relieving their suffering. One showcase artefact was first taken as the image of a hero or athlete during excavation was discovered to be the effigy of an individual, a named donor called Marcius Grabillo (and given the above nickname, Scabra Puer, by archeologists once placing the find in context) , suffering from a debilitating skeletal disease, with the whole cache casting new insights on not only health and medicine of ancient times but also unique representation of disease and disability.

Saturday 3 June 2023

bellona (10. 783)

Daughter of Jupiter and Juno and sister to Mars, Vulcan, Lucina, Discordia and Juventas, the Ancient Roman goddess of warfare was celebrated on this day in the Republic and Empire by a cult of priests whom mutilated themselves to make a blood sacrifice and placate this deification of madness and frenzy in battle. The majority of rites dedicated to Bellona were equally gory, though fearful of a volatile deity, most worship was not for public spectacle. Her main temple on the Campus Martius with station located through the expanse of the Empire (St Peter’s Minster in York was originally a temple dedicated to her) had an extra-territorial status, the equivalent of modern day embassies and consulates, where ambassadors from foreign states could stay, not allowed to enter the capitol or colonies proper, and could meet representatives of the Senate for negotiations. If diplomacy (fฤ“tiฤlis) and states became belligerents (bellicose and before the consonant shift, duel come from the name of the goddess), the high priest would launch a javelin over the column of war (columna bellica) to formally declare hostilities.

Monday 22 May 2023

fontana di trevi (10. 761)

Name derived from the Latin trivium—the intersection of three streets, Via De’Crocicchi, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte—the Trevi Fountain was officially opened and inaugurated on this day in 1762 by Pope Clement XIII, his numerical predecessor having commissioned its construction some three decades earlier—awardee determined by competition and popular acclaim, as was the fashion during the Baroque era—to architect Niccolรฒ Salvi, finally finished by an ensemble of sculptors including Pietro Bracci and Giuseppe Pannini. The site of the well-spring predates this overpowering landmark by more than a millennium, sourced back to the sacking of Rome by the Ostrogoths (previously here and here) damaged the aqueducts that brought water to the city. According to traditional a maiden discovered a new source of fresh water and the theme of the iconography suggests the harnessing and taming of the waters with Tritons and horses guiding the shell chariot of Oceanus. An estimated three-thousand euro worth of coins is tossed into the fountain daily, with monies collected going to the poor of the city.

Saturday 13 May 2023

sancta maria ad martyres (10. 738)

Gifted to Pope Boniface IV by Byzantine Emperor Phocas and rededicated as a Christian basilica in honour of St Mary and the Martyrs on this day in 609, the ancient Rome temple, built half a millennia earlier by Hadrian and commissioned to replace an earlier structure that had burnt down during the reign of Marcus Agrippa (hence the inscription, M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIVM·FECIT, “son of Lucius made [me] during his third term as consul,” is unique for its rotunda and oculus skylight (telling the time like a sun-dial but with light instead of shadow) and counted among the best preserved works of Roman architecture by dint of its continuous use. Though probably not a shrine sacred to the every deity since it was prescribed that temples should be devoted to a single god or goddess lest a single building be struck by lighting or be otherwise desecrated and probably a popular nickname for the many statues that lined the portico or for the vaulted ceiling that opened up to the heavens. In order to dispel pagan demon worship and sanctify the space, twenty-eight cartloads of remains—said to be Christians put to death during the Diocletian Persecution—were brought up from the catacombs and reinterred in a porphyry tomb beneath the altar and stripped the interior of its decoration, shipping the ornaments off to Constantinople. Used also as a final resting place for members of the House of Savoy, the interior niches have been richly decorated over the centuries and structurally is one of the most architecturally influential buildings, typifying the neo-classic style and echoed in many government buildings and public institutions.

Saturday 6 May 2023

10x10 (10. 724)

shark tank: MS Teams has a suite of customisable in app stickers  

let him love fellows of a polecat: recalling a scholar’s naรฏve but noble translation attempt of Lorem ipsum—see previously here and here 

i was there (at the coronation): a 1953 calypso song by Young Tiger s s minow: Federal Communications Commission who called television a vast wasteland (see previously) has passed away, aged 97

like family, but with more cheese: more on that pizza commercial produced by AI  

brownstone: Ruxandra Duru collects colour swatches of Brooklyn townhouses  

some disassembly required: a proposal to construct a Dyson’s Sphere (see previously) around the Earth using Jupiter for raw materials  

yeoman’s work: Penny Mordaunt as the unwavering bearer of the Sword of State stole the show—see more here and here 

native tongue: research shows nearly half of the world’s linguistic diversity at risk  

dark patterns: digital services make it difficult to unsubscribe—via Waxy