Saturday 1 June 2024

9x9 (11. 598)

on covfefe day no less: a meme roundup on Trump’s felony conviction  

canine rainbow: dogs’ visual spectrum and how they see perceive the world 

love exposure: the acclaimed, sprawling 2008 comedy-drama by Sion Sono  

the scary ham: proper late rites for an aged cut of pork

leftovers: five thin volumes on post-apocalypse Briton

nondescript fern: researchers find the largest genome (fifty times the genetic material of humans) in a small plant on an Australian island  

why be dragons: the origins of the universal mythological creatures  

evening standard: venerable London newspaper to suspend daily publication after almost two hundred years—see previously  

today is my birthday, please like me: a Twitter feed of some the revolting, disturbing but morbidly compelling AI-generated slop inundating Facebook—via Web Curios

synchronoptica

one year ago: Crazy Frog (2005) plus Adobe’s Generative Fill

two years ago: Scotch whisky (1495) plus the Stresa Convention on Cheeses (1951)

three years ago: your daily demon: Eligos, The Ship of Fools (1497), more on monopolies and monopsonies plus a Simon and Garfunkel classic

four years ago: seasonal dormancy, more King Ubu, St Rรณnรกn plus elections matter

five years ago: re-creating TV living rooms with IKEA furnishings,  Japan’s first folklore museum, the Lennon-Ono Honeymoon Suite plus a robot job interviewer

Monday 27 May 2024

9x9 (11. 585)

super easy, barely an inconvenience: if cats had podcasts  

minor arcana: a metaphysically intelligent™️ tarot reading—via Web Curios  

fleeting moments: a concept camera that only delivers ephemeral poetry based on the subject in the view-finder—via Clive Thompson’s Linkfest  

the ghana must go: as ubiquitous as the IKEA bag but more practical, this tartan sack from Japan by way of Hong Kong contains multitudes  

god’s influencer: following a second miracle attributed to his intercession, the first Millennial saint is canonised  

atlas shrugged: AI-apocalypse Jennifer Lopez vehicle from James Cameron garners negative reviews but we found it enjoyable—going in blindly and wondering if it wasn’t part of the Duneiverse and setting up the Butlerian Jihad 

long averages: advances in the understanding of probability fuelling casino gambling—via Damn Interesting  

planchettes and re-enchantment: LLMs are haunted things toc-cat-a in b-major: Noam Oxman personalised musical pet portraits—via Waxy

 synchronoptica

one year ago:  a portrait of a dog, Berlin’s Mouse Bunker, a study of incomplete cubes plus men and women duelling in the Middle Ages

two years ago: a pact between NATO and Russia (1997), a dragon in Essex plus assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: mojibake, font sizes, the Golden Gate Bridge (1937), relocating geese plus Dune manga

four years ago: more links to enjoy, a rock-climbing inspection, weasel iconography plus Trump 2.0 would be far more fraught

five years ago: getting around in Swiss Saxony

Sunday 26 May 2024

much sad (11. 584)

Already having to deal with the loss of Grumpy Cat in 2019 and encountering a feline with similar markings, it was a bit mournful to mark the passing of the Shiba Inu named Kabosu—albeit at the ripe and respectable old age of eighteen human years and suffering from various rather chronic ailments (such is the toll of an unnaturally long life)—who was recruited into internet celebrity and launched numerous memes as Doge and a crypto currency that has generated real value for some despite its parody origins.

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.

 synchronoptica

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

Friday 26 April 2024

8x8 (11. 514)

flightline: stunning visualisations of air traffic  

splinternet: ByteDance does not plan to divest itself of TikTok following US ultimatum  

megadeath: modelling the destruction caused by a nuclear bomb on a major city  

mtv buzz: a surreal montage of audio and video clips arranged by Mark Pellington (1990)  

celebrity endorsement: musicians, artists and novelist pose with the Sears’ appliances in this 1969 ad campaign for Kenmore—see also  

undiscovery: the Map Men chart phantom islands—including some that have made it into the era of Google Maps—see previously  

22,5 light hours: engineers debug a forty-seven year old computer remotely from twenty-four billion kilometres away to revive the data stream from Voyager I—see previously  

embarking: a luxury airline that caters to canines above their human companions

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: dismantling Soviet-era monuments

three years ago: more links to enjoy plus a special issue of LIFE magazine

four years ago: fantasy urban map generators, more links worth the revisit plus geopolitical optics

five years ago: an elegant and modern personal seal, even more links plus a Victoria houseplant


Saturday 9 March 2024

ostheimer warte (11. 410)

On the way back from grocery shopping, we walked the dog (car rides are still not her favourite and we like to reward her and ourselves with a little adventure en route) on a hiking trail called the “Kirschberge” (cherry mountains) to a fourteenth century signal tower a few kilometres outside of town with the central stronghold of the area, the Lichtenburg of Ostheim vor den Rhรถn, between there and the Stockheimer Warte in the woods near home.  The “Amt”—an administrative unit of the County of Henneberg—changed ownership and allegiance often and subject to dispute over rights to impose taxes and tariffs on trade through the region (see above) and so this series of watch-towers was erected to secure their holdings for the next five hundred years. Like the one within the line of sight of Stockheim, the quarried-stone tower is seven metres high with re-enforced walls almost four metres thick and built a top a commanding height.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the peculiar properties of the letter r plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy

three years ago: medical trains in Siberia, St Frances of Rome, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany (1930), Sputnik 9 (1961) plus a colourful neighbourhood in Kyiv

four years ago: the musical stylings of Jackie Manface Opel, the pandemic continues, a more mindful approach to recycling plus Nintendo LEGO

five years ago: the musical stylings of The Skaggs, Luke Perry guest stars on The Simpsons (1993), more links to enjoy, the introduction of Barbie (1959) plus the magic of bread

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

Monday 1 January 2024

spoiler alert (11. 235)

Turning our attention to past movies set in the then future of our present (hopefully not prophetic), the first round goes to the 1975 darkly, problematically comedic post-apocalyptic adaptation of the Harlan Ellison novella of the same name. A teenager portrayed by Don Johnson (Miami Vice) scavenges through the wastelands of the US southwest following a nuclear war accompanied by his telepathic dog (voiced by Tim McIntire). Orphaned at an early age with no formal education or socialisation, the adolescent is focused on survival, interested solely in food and sex—conquests secured with the aid of his canine companion in exchange for meals as the genetic modifications that bestowed super-intelligence leaves him incapable of tasks like hunting. After numerous run-ins with bandits, mutants and rogue androids, the teenager is eventually recruited by an aristocratic scout of a subterranean colony as a stud to help with low viable breeding population. A preview and links to the whole movie available at Weird Universe above.  Most other selections seemed to be based in 2024 for purely arbitrary reasons and only two to three years behind when they were produced—with the exception of the 1999 Josef Rusnak and Roland Emmerich vehicle that was overshadowed by the similarly themed Matrix and was a victim to the strange echo-phenomena of “twin films”that sometimes happens in Hollywood (due to screenplay shopping and submission to multiple studios, industrial secrecy and espionage), like the asteroid flicks Armageddon and Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, 1981’s The Howling, Wolfen and An American Werewolf in London, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, or on stage Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. A multibillion dollar computer company in then present-day Los Angeles is experimenting with a virtual reality simulation of the city in 1937 populated by individuals unaware that they are part of a program. Entering the simulation in order to solve the mysterious death of the company CEO, the protagonist and heir to the enterprise (and a prime suspect) finds clues that lead to the revelation that thousands of parallel virtual worlds exist but there is only one reality whose inhabitants have developed a virtual world of their own, but having a pocket metaverse within another does not necessarily result in privilege or insight. The protagonist disconnects and emerges into reality advanced a quarter of a century.

Friday 22 December 2023

copycat (11. 205)

Born on this day in 2001, the product of a collaboration between researchers at Texas A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical College) University and Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc, a brown tabby kitten called CC was the world’s first clone pet. A demonstration project to see if it was commercially viable and safe, CC—pictured with her genetic donor, Rainbow (bottom centre), displays an interesting discrepancy in the calico pattern due to random differences in tortoiseshell phenotypes from epigenetic re-programming on implantation (having dispensed with the usual determinants of fertilisation), lived a healthy and happy life, a perfectly normal feline giving birth to her own litter of kittens in 2006, dying aged eighteen years in March of 2020, still residing in the laboratory in College Station with her human caretakers.

Sunday 5 November 2023

9x9 (11. 097)

falling for fall: an epic attempt to capture the Christian Girl Autumn aesthetic—via the morning news  

paradox: NASA climate group issues a bleak warning on climate change—controversially suggesting that a reduction in aerosol pollution will accelerate warming 

the hunting of the earl of rone: one individual’s quest to catalogue the folkways and traditions of the United Kingdom  

they’re all good dogs: the winners of the annual world canine photography award presented—plus a bonus vocabulary term for one who is favourably disposed to dogs—via Nag on the Lake  

ja-da, ja-da, ja-da, jing jing jing: a soothing 1918 jazz standard covered for decades after  

mechanical turk: exposing autonomous cars’ vast human support network to maintain an illusion of safety, reliability 

roll on: a clever phonophore logo for a transport and logistics company in Hong Kong 

cape canaveral: a 3D animated billboard recounts the chronology of the Kennedy Space Centre 

momiji tunnel: a stunning section of the Eizan railway showcases the turning foliage—via the ever excellent Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

 synchronoptica

one year ago: the Gun Powder Plot, a Commodore accordion, more McMansion Hell plus a Wikipedia list of common fallacies

two years ago: the Saint Felix Flood (1530) 

three years ago: a tri-lingual dictionary (1499), a flashpoint labour strike (1916), a sรฉance on a wet afternoon plus the Rebel Rabbit GIF

four years ago: more on Guy Fawkes, Voyager 2 leaves the Solar System, ghoulish guacamole plus Facebook’s shift to the right

five years ago: representative Shirley Chisholm, an ancient boardgame, photographer Denise Scott Brown, words for the Winter Blues plus mapping the US mid-terms

Friday 27 October 2023

9x9 (11. 078)

page rank: the SEO trend of naming establishments X Near Me seems to actually drive customers—via Waxy  

cyanea pohaku: a species of tree discovered right before it was driven to extinction

saint eom: the psychedelic compound of folk artist and fortune-teller Eddie Owens Martin outside of Buena Vista in the US state of Georgia and listed on the National Register of Historic Places  

usonian homes: a pair of Frank Lloyd Wright (see previously) houses on the market in Kalamazoo in the US state of Michigan  

saob: the official Swedish dictionary published after one hundred forty years of work

the united states of guns: another sadly evergreen post about how an armed society is not a free society   

happiness hotel: a luxury kennel once occupied the grounds of New York City’s Lincoln Center 

report of my death having been most industriously circulated by several of the london daily newspapers, would the times permit me to contradict the same through your valuable columns and refute the account: sculptor John Ternouth, designer of the plinth for Nelson’s Column, was surprised to learn of his premature demise—via Strange Company  

i am altering the deal—pray i don’t alter it any further: Amazon’s Alexa is ending inoperability support with severe punishment for those who try to hack their way around it

Saturday 27 May 2023

pompon (10. 767)

Whilst only expected to fetch about five thousand dollars at auction, a portrait of one of favourite canine companions by Jacques Barthรฉlรฉmy Delamarre (the eighteenth century painter whose portfolio limited to pictures of this dog with shaved hindquarters and few other studies of cats and rabbits and not to be confused with Joseph Ducreux—though equally meme-worthy) commanded over a quarter of a million. Not much is known about either the artist or the subject, that is believed to be a Cavalier King Charles—other than the French queen kept a menagerie of pets and this one is as elaborately coiffed as their human, though unclear if they shared the same political views, see also.

Monday 1 May 2023

8x8 (10. 711)

time in a bottle: individuals turning turning care and attention into currency  

composition as explanation: daily it’s harder to decide if AI is a collaborative tool or a time bomb  

zoonomia: researchers sequence the genome of sixty-five hundred species—plus Balto, the heroic sled dog of the 1925 Serum Run 

back to the drawing board: researchers at Linkรถping University have engineered a functional wooden resistor—see previously—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

occupancy rate: a tour of the empty City of London  

so for you, it’s insects, tap-water and celibacy: examining how bad ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson was for the environment and speculation on who might take up that mantle next 

deep dreaming: on chatbot hallucinations and the first usage of the sense in 1540 by the ryght rodolent & rotounde rethorician R Smyth  

worth1000: a time capsule camera that composes a detailed written description of ones photos with a ticketed invitation to revisit them at a future date

Sunday 2 April 2023

7x7 (10. 651)

spyvibe radio: The Man Called Flintstone and other cartoon-espionage crossovers  

hosanna, hin-nam: Palm Sunday from the donkey’s perspective—see previously  

made to order: a huge font specimen of a wide range of borders—see previously 

a1: a centenary of road numbering for the Ministry of Transportation 

rather fetching: canine portraits at London’s Wallace Collection  

sparkie williams: a very talkative budgie and other loquacious birds  

rabbit hole: new Kiefer Sutherland secret agent film channels vintage intelligence dramas

Friday 24 March 2023

jeff’s collie (10. 632)

Rather incongruously airing since 1954, the final, five-hundredth ninety-first episode of the Lassie franchise was broadcast on this day in 1973. Over nineteen seasons, the arc of narrative is broken generally into five segments—“The Miller Years,” “The Martin Years”—based on ownership with Lassie later the ward of forest rangers, on her own in 1970 without explanation traveling the country and helping out other animals and the final two years of programming in syndication—cancelled later that same year of wandering as part of the so called “rural purge” of network television to unburden themselves from still popular yet perhaps patronising, nostalgic shows set pointedly outside of urban and suburban settings, including Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Hee Haw and Petticoat Junction—taking place at the Holden Ranch for troubled children.

Sunday 19 February 2023

7x7 (10. 559)

wolf-whistle: the lexical corpus of canines and US supreme court justices  

deportment: how to act around books  

meres, lochs and llyns: regional variations in names for alleys and narrow walkways in the UK  

linkboy: living in a Dark Sky area, we enjoyed reading about the first town’s to be certified embracing that honour—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links—which is also the source of the expression ‘cannot hold a candle to’ 

official state crap: legislature of New Mexico introduces a bill to create a state aroma, the first of its kind 

cher and charo: a duet of “America” from West Side Story—see previously  

nachtrรคglichkeit: Jude Stewart on sticking with German and the pursuit on bilingualism

Sunday 5 February 2023

9x9 (10. 527)

famous one hundred twenty-three metre spire of salisbury cathedral: Polish coast guard rescues divers near critical infrastructure who were searching for amber 

macroagression: some GOP members in the US congress have switched their American flag lapels for tiny assault rifles—see also  

backbox: watch composer and sound designer Suzanne Ciani, Diva of the Diode, create a soundscape for a pinball game  

donks: a new animated short from Felix Colgrave explores lost cargo, avatars and adaptive bottom feeders  

mastodon flock: find your following—via Waxy  

cel-ray: a peppery, celery soda that one can still find for sale  

rosetta stone: two trilingual ancient clay tablets rediscovered help scholars decipher a lost Canaanite script  

brought down by the left-wing economic establishment: Liz Truss attempts to revive her political career with a long screed in the Sunday Telegraph  

sรฆstrengur: Iceland developing contingency plans in case the undersea cables connecting it to the rest of the world are severed

Saturday 4 February 2023

gassi gehen (10. 522)


After a long walkies to the top of the Hohe Schuhe—previously, along the prehistoric trail that leads through the woods from an ensemble of ancient burial mounds and along the former border for a perspective from the promontory overlooking Bavaria and Thรผringen from the puppy was treated to another surprise with her first encounter with the neighbourhood peacock

 It went better than expected with both looking fairly enchanted but glad it happened through a barrier however.

Friday 3 February 2023

6x6 (10. 519)

good boy: a thirty year old dog in Portugal beats a century-old record for oldest in the world  

bb-8: a small security robot that rolls about the premises  

eternity’s pillar: late night variety show produced by Turiyasan-gitananda—see previously  

studio fong leng: a look at the Dutch fashion designer who dressed Kate Bush and socialite Mathilde Willink  

can’t do hands: an atrocious sign language guide imaged by an AI—see previously  

catgpt: a feline version of the scarily smart chat bot—via Waxy

Monday 23 January 2023

6x6 (10. 492)

zhengyue 2: the second day of the Lunar New Year is considered the birthday of all dogs 

only took the m’f’er fifteen tries: Randy Rainbow lampoons Kevin McCartney with a parody of ‘Master of the House’ from Les Misรฉrables 

i shot the serif: US Department of State drops the typeface Times New Roman in favour of the more legible Calibri font  

yellow magic orchestra: watch performances by the Japanese group that created some of the most innovative and influential acts in electronic music  

odonymy: more open etymological street maps—see also  

tet: a short, hand-drawn game about cooking and serving a Vietnamese holiday meal—via Waxy