Wednesday 12 June 2024

labyrinth (11. 622)

Earthmoving equipment for the construction of a new airport in northwest Crete, to replace the current second largest one in Heraklion, has revealed a monumental ancient circular structure from the Minoan Era (see previously here and here), consisting of eight concentric stone rings with a vault in the centre, reminiscent of a conical, beehive tomb, and radial walls that cross the rings. Excavations continue on the multicursal, branching Bronze Age site—and designated in the building plans as the location of the new airport’s radar array, a new place will be found.

Tuesday 4 June 2024

schachmatt (11. 605)

Archaeologists have discovered a nearly millennium old gaming collection preserved in the rubble of the ruins of Burgstein fortress near the village of the Holzelfinger in the Lichtenstein district south of Tรผbingen. Pieces include dice, flower-shaped tokens and a chessman (see below) carved from deer antler and have been remarkably well preserved.  One of the seven skills that knights (Ritter, the game piece is called Springer—see previously) were expected to master (fencing, archery, hunting, swimming, riding and poetry being the other disciplines), researchers hope that further analysis of the find will lead to insights in play in Europe during the Middle Ages. While studies continue, the pieces will be on display at a special exhibition hosted in the Schlรถsspark in Pfullingen near Stuttgart. More at The History Blog at the link up top, including videos and three-dimension recreations of the artefacts.


synchronoptica

one year ago: extended frames by AI, assorted links worth revisiting plus an overview of fan-fiction

two years ago: Poltergeist (1982), the Rotel plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: vintage Japanese electronics

four years ago: the Free Republic of Wendland (1980),  Roquefort cheese (1411), a counter-protest photo op, spagetty images plus more on the colour of money

five years ago: the thirty-fifth of May (1989), more on the Lewis Chessmen, an AI names cats, an innovative airplane design plus flight-shaming

Monday 27 May 2024

priams schatz (11. 586)

Discovered on this day in 1873, the horde of gold treasure and other artefacts excavated at the site of modern day Hisarlฤฑk by Heinrich Schliemann (see previously) and his team. Though in his zeal to associate the treasure with the figure of the Homeric king, the archeologists were off by centuries in the stratification of this Bronze Age dig, subsequent research and scholarship confirm that Schliemann was correct in his quest to find the City of Troy (ฮคฯฮฟฮฏฮฑ also called ฮŠฮปฮนฮฟฮฝ from the Hittie๐’†ณ๐’Œท๐’‹ซ๐’Š’๐’„ฟ๐’Šญ and pronounced probably as Wiluลกa) and the besieged settlement of the epic Iliad was not just the stuff of legends, contrary to prevailing contemporary opinion. Investigating a wall of the supposed palace, Schliemann immediately dismissed the crew for a lunch-break to prise out the cache himself—with the assistance of his wife, Sophia—later criticised for being adorned with the “Jewels of Helen.” Not given permission by the Ottoman Empire to remove the gold, Schliemann smuggled the find out of Anatolia where it ended up being displayed in a museum in Berlin. The treasure was in turn plundered during the Red Army’s Battle of Berlin—with the Soviet Union denying it had taken such war trophies, until 1994 when the Pushkin Museum in Moscow owed that it had the Trojan gold.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

8x8 (11. 570)

nicht abgeholtes gepรคck: the main station in Freiburg has a mystery vending machine where one can buy unclaimed items left in delivery lockers—see previously 

the ahramat branch: a long ago dried up arm of the Nile may explain some of the mystery behind the building of the Pyramids of Giza 

takenoko: a public service announcement for when the bamboo shoots sprout, one of Japan’s traditional seventy-two microseasons—see previously 

endless shrimp: the American seafood chain was private-equitied into bankruptcy and not by dent of its generous promotions—more here

first draft: in a since deleted post, Trump advocates for a “united Reich” in a video featuring hypothetical newspaper headlines following his reelection  

on the town: the story behind the ten-year-old who in 1947 spent a week in San Francisco with twenty dollars 

we call it maize: an interesting hypothesis that ancient Incan stonework and other architectural elements may be an homage to corn kernels  

out-of-order: broken and unused vending machines from around Japan—via Cardhousesee also

synchronoptica

one year ago: Croatia Diplomacy Day, a classic from David Bowie, an evergreen piece on American gun-violence plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: Ok Computer, a rainbow fifty pence coin for Pride, more feathered friends plus Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic

three years ago: your daily demon: Beleth, Elton John in the Soviet Union plus trace a raindrop from river down to the sea

four years ago: vintage Las Vegas logos, an avant-garde art show (1951) plus The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

five years ago: the White Night Riots (1979), regional airline logos, OK Cola, African air-carriers, one hundred and twenty years of photography plus a camera on a sushi conveyor belt

Sunday 5 May 2024

8x8 (11.542)

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

zillow gone wild: absurdist real estate listings go mainstream

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 27 April 2024

adrift (11. 519)

Having previously learned of the modern mudlarking off the coast of Cornwall through the Lego Lost at Sea project, a collecting and clean-up initiative that’s been very eye-opening about the amount of micro- and macroplastic in the oceans, we were delighted to get an update in the form of this rare discovery a of piece (numbered as it were like Pokรฉmon cards since there’s a precise accounting of the shipwrecked manifest) in this octopus figure that went down with a cargo ship at Land’s End in 1997 recently by a local teenager. Some five million bricks in total went overboard when the vessel, the Tokio Express, was hit by a rogue wave in a storm, with the same teenager collecting nearly eight hundred parts—plus some nice fossils and shells—over the past two years.

Friday 26 April 2024

villa of the papyri (11. 516)

Using a dual process of optical coherence tomography and infrared hyperspectral imaging to eke out characters from carbonised scrolls housed in Herculaneum and preserved after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD but inaccessible until recently with the aid of artificial intelligence, researchers have been able to more accurately locate the burial place of Plato, student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, in the Academy, destroyed by Roman general Sulla in 86 BC, as well as a previously unknown account of the philosopher’s last days that relates how he found the night’s entertainment, a Thracian musician’s performance, rather grating. We wonder what else might be digitally unwrapped from this trove kept in what’s regarded as one, the site originally designated Villa Suburbana either residence of Lucious Calpurnius Piso Caesonius—the father-in-law of Julius Caesar or the purported author himself, Epicurean Philodemus of Gadara, of the most luxurious and with a well-apportioned library in the Roman world.

Sunday 14 April 2024

6x6 (11. 488)

dolia: new research reveals Roman wines to be of premium quality, contrary to conventional wisdom, and comparable to modern European standards 

second amendment rights: factors informing the arming of America 

ready player two: the ghost of a departed loved one preserved in an untouched video game console 

a supposedly fun thing that i’ll never do again: the story of Zenith, David Foster Wallace’s (previously) cruise experience—via Nag on the Lake  

on brand: a look at the author of reinstated 1864 legislation in Arizona—see more 

last of the summer wine: the untimely demise of the once trendy, effervescent piquette

Thursday 4 April 2024

9x9 (11. 467)

and palmeres for to seken straunge strondes: the Gentle Author makes a pilgrimage along London’s ancient Black Path 

the 2531 sato-san problem: given demographic trends, legal requirements and custom, all Japanese residents could eventually share the same surname  

symphony № 42: animator Rรฉka Busci presents forty-seven ironic vignettes  

double doors open, why aren’t i reacting in this shot: a literal video version of Total Eclipse of the Heart—I walk out on a terrace where I think I’m alone, but Arthur Fonzarelli’s got an army of clones  

into the butterverse: the variations of the Unicode emoji—via Pasa Bon!  

chalcolithic tattooing: a study of ร–tzi the ice mummy’s body markings on living volunteers—via Super Punch  

apiculture: experiments involving social problem-solving suggest that bees have the capacity to pass on learnt experience  

not a bug but a feature: a collection of absurd software and end-user errors solved—via Waxy  

the society of wood engravers: the art and illustration of carver Harry Brockway—via Things Magazine

synchronoptica

one year ago: New York v Trump plus Finland’s accession to NATO

two years ago: Japanese police boxes plus the Ukrainian roots of world-wide wheat

three years ago: your daily demon: Samigina, Winston Smith makes a diary entry plus the Hildesheimer Dom

four years ago: the flag of Hong Kong (1990), assorted links to revisit plus St Tigernach

five years ago: the founding of NATO (1949),  saving the pollinators, the Buttigieg bid for US president plus historic mass transit systems

Wednesday 6 March 2024

chandax (11. 404)

Whilst we had encountered in older texts the island metonymically the island referred to as Kandy, Candia, Kandiye or Candy we did not realise that this exonym and demonym had come from the above fortification that Arab mercantile traders from al-Andalus built during the Cretan Emirate period called ุฑุจุถ ุงู„ุฎู†ุฏู‚ (rabแธ al-แธซandaq, “Castle in the Moat,” subsequently Hellenised as ฮงฮฌฮฝฮดฮฑฮพ then Latinised as the above) not far from the Bronze Age archaeological site of Knossos. The Islamic outpost in the Mediterranean, falling on this day in 961 with the Byzantine reconquest of the Aegean, under the leadership of General Nikephoros II Phokas—later emperor—rebranding the main settlement as ฮœฮตฮณฮฌฮปฮฟ ฮšฮฌฯƒฯ„ฯฮฟ (Megalo Kastro, “Big Castle”). The modern place name of Herakleion or Iraklion (ฮ—ฯฮฌฮบฮปฮตฮนฮฟฮฝ) is a nineteenth century popular naming conceit after the sunken Port of Hercules at the mouth of the Nile in Egypt once unified under the Kingdom of Greece after a period of independence. The lost ancient namesake city of Heracleion, also called Thonis near Alexandria, was not itself rediscovered under six metres of water until 2009.

Saturday 17 February 2024

ลผuraw (11. 355)

Via Strange Company, not only do we learn that a medieval token of affection, a tin badge in the shape of a turtledove with the inscription “Amor vincit omnia” was found by the port crane of Gdรกnsk, we also find out that its discovery is owing to an extensive renovation project to preserve the thirteenth century technological and architectural marvel on the Motล‚awa. The crane, human-powered by crew running hamster wheel fashion on treadmills was capable of hoisting cargo and shipbuilding materials weighing several tonnes, has been closed to the public since 2020 but will soon reopen with new exhibits on the city’s mercantile history with holographic docents and period characters to act as guides. More from t he History Blog at the link above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: conspiracy theories about walkable cities plus sending a terminator back in time to save the human internet

two years ago: Saint Mesrop Mashtots plus Chess ‘72

three years ago: first and final frames, ten rules of good design plus more bardcore

four years ago: custom facial coverings

five years ago: AI-generated faces plus new names for very large and very small numbers


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

Monday 5 February 2024

good boys (11. 325)

Via Nag on the Lake and Memo of the Air, we enjoyed these collection of canine figurines from ancient Assyria, circa 650 BC, with the dogs’ names inscribed on them, and they are some rather epic monikers, including Muลกฤ“แนฃu Lemnลซti, “Expeller of Evil” and Dan Rigiลกลกu, “Loud is his bark,” probably carved in the Ashuriscript rather than the older cuniform. While perhaps more to the point than these other pet names, we liked contrasting it with this list of medieval ones for one’s furry companions.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: a Chinese spy balloon in US skies, the border reopens between Gibraltar and Spain (1985), Tomorrowland, assorted links worth revisiting plus graphing calculator emulators

two years ago: Laker Airways, more links to enjoy, Telegram Sam (1972) plus more AI Valentines

three years ago: a Bubble Palace, more Tulip Mania, MTV’s Liquid Television plus the @-sign

four years ago: the State of the Union,  one hundred years of the Greenwich Time Signal plus outsider artist James Edward Deeds, Jr

five years ago: United Artists (1919),  more links worth the revisit plus snow-rollers

Sunday 4 February 2024

haarat al-daraj (11. 323)

Coupled with the unconscionable civilian death toll and the destruction and demolition of half the buildings and essentially all vital infrastructure in the strip, NPR takes us on a circumspect tour of the landmarks destroyed in the war that Israel declared against Hamas. What precious few historic and cultural focal points were left to the Palestinian people have been wiped away, including this thirteenth century palace and fortification built for a Mamluk sultan where Napoleon once stayed, seat of power during the Ottoman period, law enforcement headquarters during the British Mandate and most recently girls’ school under the auspices of the UN, as well as  museums and an antiquities shop, an ancient mosque and bathhouse, storied restaurants and other gathering places.

Saturday 27 January 2024

piggy bank (11. 296)

As part of an inventory from the British Museum that concludes—along with the need for better definitions and legal protections to ensure that important antiquities are not sold on the open market—recent years have yielded the highest number of treasures found since records have been kept, we are introduced to non-singular practise of Iron Age Britons of storing their coins in naturally occurring hollow flint nodules found in the chalk and limestone strata of the region. The contents of the ball date from the last decades BC and were minted in the East Wiltshire area and are classed as “Savernake Wreath” staters, after the Ancient Greek standard, ฯƒฯ„ฮฑฯ„ฮฎฯ (weight), circulating first as ingots then as coins, brought by the Celts to Western and Central Europe. Learn more at the History Blog at the link above.

synchronoptica 

one year ago: the Paris Peace Accords (1973), corecore, Ballroom Blitz plus Cistercian cyphers

two years ago: RIP Peter Robbins, the voice actor for the character Charlie Brown, more on esoteric programming languages plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: The Singing, Ringing Tree, inspired watch-faces, computing in Poland plus an alternate spelling alphabet

four years ago: policy via magical thinking plus emoji on license plates

five years ago: more on generative adversarial networks

Monday 22 January 2024

biface (11. 288)

The left panel of the original diptych executed by French court painter Jean Fouquet in the mid-fourteen hundred for the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Melun on the Parisian outskirts depicts patron of the arts and royal secretary ร‰tienne Chevalier with St Stephen, regarded as the first Christian protomartyr, robed and holding a book and a jagged rock as part of his iconography, having been stoned to death for blasphemy. On closer examination of this feature, however, archeologists believe that the rock might represent a prehistoric artefact—a handaxe (properly the above term) several hundreds of thousands of years in age from the Acheulean industry of manufactured tools used by Homo erectus and Homo heidelbergensis throughout Africa, the Middle East and Western Europe. Abundant finds as a source of mystery and fascination for centuries, and something not unfamiliar to the artist with the tool-making epoch named for a suburb of Amiens in Picardy, their folk-origin before the Enlightenment and acceptance of time-out-of-mind was sourced to “thunderstones” ejected from clouds, believing the well-wrought rocks appeared where lighting had struck and passed down as family heirlooms in the belief that they protected against subsequent strikes.

Saturday 13 January 2024

7x7 (11. 263)

photographie de rue: the images of Eugรจne Atget capture scenes of Paris unchanged since the turn of the last century  

ma che sera: more musical stylings from Raffaella Carrร  with this 1974 TV appearance 

ray fay: the mostly-unreleased 1976 comedic spoof Queen Kong with traditional gender roles reversed  

from-to: reputational-based urban maps that can help you find the analogue East Village of London and other neighbourhoods in different cities 

tv mirror: leafing through the February 1977 includes an interview with Henry Winkler and more on the Dino De Laurentiis remake that condemned the above treatment of the colossus to obscurity 

isdn: a look at the once future-proof telecommunication standard quickly vanishing 

oppidum du mont beauvray: the successive rediscoveries of the ancient capital of the Gallic Aedui tribe, Bibracte

synchronoptica

one year ago: St Mungo plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: snow-plough names plus a very special episode of Bewitched

three years ago: more on sea-shanties, the art of Roger Brown plus COVID ex-votos

four years ago: Knut’s Day plus outcry over plant-based labels

five years ago: criticism over NordStream2interpretive GIFs plus more links to enjoy

Sunday 24 December 2023

aรฏda (11. 211)

When originally approached by the Ottoman Pasha Isma’il of the Khedive of Egypt to produce an opera celebrating the opening of the Suez Canal—see also, Giuseppe Verdi declined. Later, however, presented a libretto set sometime in the Old Kingdom, a stretch of three millennia, by famed French Egyptologist and archeological authority Auguste Mariette, the composer ultimately conceded. Delayed by the ongoing Franco-Prussian War (see above) that prevented the elaborate scenery and costumes from being shipped from Paris, the opera eventually debuted in Cairo on this day in 1871. Egyptians forces have captured the titular Ethiopian princess and her captor, military commander Radamรจs, is caught in a love triangle with the pharaoh’s daughter, whose affections go unrequited, his desire for his prisoner and loyalty to his king and country. One of the most famously choreographed scenes is the Grand March from act II, below, when Radamรจs enters triumphantly, the chorus chanting “Gloria all’Egitto, ad Iside (Glory to Egypt and to Isis),” through the Gates of Thebes and is granted anything he wishes as a reward for his services.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

10x10 (11. 184)

arrows of time: a timeline tracing the evolution of human understanding through various magisteria—via the new shelton wet/dry  

horary quandrant: oldest dated English time-keeping instrument goes under the hammer—see previously  

guten morgen: the newly launched Nightjet service between Berlin and Paris marks a return of sleeper trains—see previously 

the beef and dairy network: industry delegates and lobbyists triple at COP28 

theory of mind: researchers reveal a deep chasm in how perception varies from individual to individual  

animation v physics: Alan Becker’s follow on video to Animation v Maths—via Waxy  

oed: the joys of exploring the authoritative dictionary—see previously  

rewind: carbon removal technology is also a time-machine—though presently only able to move the needle a little—via Good Internet 

 the year in search: Google presents its annual review  

the great scrollback: the Verge’s features the best archived tweets