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

Sunday 26 November 2023

7x7 (11. 143)

sonic deconstructions: 1950s radio broadcaster’s album of Foley art, “Strange to Your Ears”  

onfim’s homework: a Wikipedia rabbit hole inspires an individual to get a tattoo of an eleventh century Novgorod pupil’s writings and illustrations discovered preserved on birch bark—via Hyperallergic’s Required Reading  

year in review: Time magazine’s one hundred top images of 2023—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to explore here) 

amaterasu: scientists detect an ultra-high energy cosmic ray—the most powerful in thirty years of observation 

<!--: a collection of historic HTML innovations—see also  

kenough: the story of Denny Fouts, hustler and literary muse for Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and Christopher Isherwood  

pie hole: a silly twenty-year-old vocal exercise that holds up

Tuesday 7 November 2023

9x9 (11. 101)

dark universe: Euclid space mission to map the Cosmos and glean insights into the mysterious majority of matter and energy composing it  

the earth dies screaming: an effective but bare-bones 1964 British apocalyptic horror flick from 1964  

go fish: the (possibly apocryphal) origin of the name of the city of Slow Low, Arizona  

qr-monster: the artistry of AI prompters—see previously  

๐Ÿš‰: a teaser for a Backrooms-like game taking place in the Tokyo metro Shinjuku station 

lignum vitae: looted leaves of the Golden Tree of Lucignano recovered 

purity pals: new US Speaker of the House of Representative announces that he and his seventeen year old son monitor each other’s web consumption  

future imperfect: a strangely engaging 1974 series of filmstrips warning against the utopian novel and utopian-thinking orbital plane: an exoplanet’s singular path around a binary star system—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

synchronoptica

one year ago: Operation Able Archer (1983), Ukraine to change the date on which Christmas is observed plus a gallery of bad Jane Austen book covers

two years ago: a documentary on picking the wrong venue, a bombing in the US capitol plus the Riace bronzes

three years ago: your daily demon: Bifrons,  awaiting US election results, the collection point for cataloguing art looted by the Nazis plus the first female US vice-presidential candidate announced

four years ago: an unused deck of tarot cards by Salvatore Dalรญ

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, Nixon’s concession speech (1962) plus more from the Center for American Politics and Design

 

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

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.

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

Saturday 15 July 2023

la pierre de rosette (10. 886)

An earlier iteration of Egyptomania gripped the public in Europe following Napoleon’s 1798 campaign in the Ottoman Levant to secure the empire’s trading interests and advance “scientific enterprise,” drawing many scholars, a corps of savants that accompanied the expeditionary army to the newly occupied territories and established รฉgyptologie as a distinct branch of archaeology and philological discipline, and whose presence aided the recognition of the importance of the slab bearing inscriptions spotted by Lieutenant Pierre Franรงois Bouchard destined for building material to fortify Fort Julien (an old Mameluk outpost), a few kilometres north of the port city of Rosetta—rediscovered on this day in 1799. The stele bears a bi-lingual decree issued in the first century BC on behalf of Ptolemy V Epiphanes (a council of priests confirming his royal cult) and the Ancient Greek text enabled researchers to understand the profane Demotic script and decipher the heretofore mysterious hieroglyphics (Greek for sacred writing). Fellow officer Nicolas-Jacques Contรฉ, inventor of the modern, lead-graphite pencil just a few years prior, devised a way to use the slab itself as a printing block and helped make the text of the Rosetta Stone accessible to world-wide scholarship.

Monday 10 July 2023

7x7 (10. 871)

terracotta army: new excavations in Shaanxi reveal the site contains more than the familiar infantry unit—see previously  

mizhuvkhamy: a group of Ukrainians documenting the graffiti left by Russian occupiers for future research on the invasion 

jazz kissas: the ambient sounds of Japan’s listening cafรฉs—see also 

i never thought i’d be cheering for zuckerberg: in response to the runaway success of Instagram’s Twitter mode, Elon Musk threatens to sue, resorts to name-calling  

adequacy decision: EU rules that Big Data has sufficient controls in place, with the US to monitor compliance, to allow transfer to US servers  

vilnius: developments to watch during this week’s NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital  

dromolaxia vizatzia: Bronze Age tombs of unknown rulers discovered in Cyprus

Sunday 2 July 2023

8x8 (10. 849)

: JWST captures outstanding images of the ringed planet, completing a family portrait of the gas giants  

dining al fresco: excavations in Pompeii uncover a a still life featuring a proto-pizza—see also  

ษš: rare phonemes and how to pronounce them  

gas, food, lodging: one hundred twenty pump filling station, the world’s largest, opens in Tennessee as a tourist attraction—via Marginal Revolution 

ripples in a pond: astrophysicists detect new class of gravitational waves rolling through the Cosmos

abacusynth: a unique electronic musical instrument from Elias Jarzobek 

liquid television: MTV’s first animated series, Stevie and Zoya—see previously  

euclid and roman: a joint NASA, ESA mission to survey the skies for signs of dark matter and dark energy

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Morax, the influence of 70s Japanese soft rock on Nintendo music, mid-point of the year, Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, a trip to Oberwaldbehrungen plus the punishments of Pompeii

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, Airplane (1980) plus the Civil Rights Act (1964)

four years ago: disruptive cake icing to evade IP infringement plus the time that Pepsi (sort of) had the second largest naval fleet in the world

five years ago: holidaying on Lake Garda

six years ago: playable Wikipedia,  a preview of the G20 in Hamburg plus words only said once