Saturday, 28 January 2023

halt—who comes there? (10. 506)

Via Strange Company, we are directed towards the Gentle Author’s visit to the Tower of London and privileged to accompany her taking part in the oldest, unbroken military ceremony in the world, a nightly vigil that has taken place through war and plague for over seven centuries, “The Ceremony of the Keys” executed faithfully by the Yeoman Porter, locking the main gates for the night at ten sharp. Photographed by Martin Usborne, granted a rare license and access since at the request of the sovereign the pomp and protocol has never been filmed,  visit Spitalfields Life for more on this ancient ritual, the repetition kept up without stint or remiss.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

8x8 (10. 495)

super 8: Kodak background orchestral ensemble for home movies (1961) would make a good soundtrack for any clip  

memory hole: unearthing—with surprising difficulty—an iconic, defining moment of 90s US political pop culture  

the fourth plinth: what becomes of statuary exhibited temporarily in Trafalgar Square—via Things Magazine  

whw: an interview with the ousted Kunsthalle collective who wanted to showcase all sides of Vienna  

poissons de diverses couleurs et figures extraordinaires: exquisite disco fish (1719)  

geyser relays: a rather pie-in-the-sky proposal for irrigation using a series of water canons  

parade route: revisiting the would-be arrival and presentation of Ganda the Rhinoceros  

sympawny № 4: a short arrangement to pay tribute to a beloved cat

Sunday, 15 January 2023

st john’s wood (10. 419)

Once (and yet) regarded as an assault against navigation devices and by turns an assault against proper punctuation and orthography (see also here and here), we appreciated learning about the selective preservation afforded to a number of thoroughfares, parks and venues (with a short biography) of London via our trusted flรขneur. Making note of the non-possessive exceptions that make the rule—as opposed the exclamatory figure of speech used in stagecraft to break off from the audience, “O happy dagger!,” we’re also introduced to a colourful term ‘anorak level tube apostrophe history’ to describe and prescribe the changing style to sibilant endings. Anorak, chiefly a Britishism, incidentally refers to an enthusiast dedicated to the point of obsession with a very niche subject—first to describe fans of pirate radio who would charter crafts to go out to visit the boats, whom like trainspotters, were often unfashionably but appropriately attired in parkas.

Friday, 13 January 2023

8x8 (10. 413)

rummaged in the roots: with only the dead in their graves as witnesses, we learned that the Hardy Tree of St Pancras succumbed to blight, via Strange Company  

terracotta army: archeologists are hesitant to unseal the tomb of China’s first emperor—and for good reason, via ibฤซdem, more here 

genuary 2023: a month of generative coding to make beautiful AI artefacts—via Web Curios  

alphaputt: this typographical, twenty-six hole course

know your meme: incredibly, there has never been an indexed search engine of the internet image macros—via Waxy

fossil fuel: industry scientists had a preternaturally accurate grasp on the consequences of burning oil five decades ago—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

ucluelet: the largest Rogue Wave on record—see previously  

vauxhall: a tour of south London in the 1980s—via Things Magazine

Friday, 30 December 2022

mmxxii (10. 369)

As this calendar year draws to a close and we look forward with anticipation to 2023, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the events that took place in 2022. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together, and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

january: Violent protests erupt in Almaty in response to the Kazakh government ending fuel subsidies and lift price caps on petrol and heating oil, prompting a coalition of former-Soviet military forces to intervene. The US reflects on the one year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection and the fragile state of democracy.

Legendary actor Sidney Portier passed away, aged 94, as did singer Ronnie Spector (*1943). Tragically, seventeen individuals are killed in an apartment fire in the Bronx. Disturbingly the US Supreme Court blocks vaccination mandates for private companies-upholding the requirement for public sector workers. Two Democratic senators-who derailed president Biden’s Build Back Better plan-are also opposed to changing legislative rules to overturn the filibuster, allowing Republicans to block the enactment of a voter-rights protection bill. There are widespread calls for the resignation of Boris Johnson over revelations of work-dos during strict lockdown. The Queen strips Prince Andrew of his titles and military leadership roles over his association with sex pest Jeffrey Epstein and allegations of sexual assault. Russia seems poised to re-invade Ukraine, first undermining their cyber capabilities.  The Pacific island group volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haสปapai erupted violently, triggering tsunami waves halfway across the world in California and Nova Scotia. Performer Meatloaf has passed away, aged seventy-four as did comedian and actor Louie Anderson at sixty-eight.  Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh who protested the Vietnam War and introduced mindfulness to the West dies aged ninety-five.

february: The leader of a defeated though resurgent ISIS, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quarshi, is killed in a US airstrike in Syria.

Tensions continue to mount in Ukraine over the spectre of an Russian invasion, with the US suggesting that Russia will stage a false-flag operation as a pretext to advance.   Truckers in Canada protesting COVID restrictions, mandatory passports blockade Ottawa; separately Justin Treudeu, Jacinda Arden and Keir Starmer need police intervention to be rescued from rioters.  The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee with seventy years on the throne.  So called Canadian Freedom Convoys of big rig truckers shut down three key border crossings into the US, causing knock-on effects including factory shut-downs.  Provocatively, Russia begins military exercises in Belarus and on the Black Sea. 
Two powerful, successive windstorms, Ylenia and Zeynep, cause damage through a corridor in German after wreaking havoc in England and Wales (as Dudley and Eunice).  The Candy Bomber, Gail Halvorsen (previously) passes away, aged 101.  As the UK announces the relaxation of legal measures to combat the spread of the COVID virus, the palace announced that the Queen has contracted a mild case of it.  Putin recognises the sovereignty of break-away Ukrainian territories Donetsk and Luhansk and deploys peace-keepers to the regions nearly eight years to the day after applying a similar tactics to Crimea. 

march: Numerous Western companies suspend operations in Russia as sanctions intensify.  Shelling of civilian targets across Ukraine shows no signs of abating though the invasion has not been the easy and instant take-over that was apparently expected. 

Inflation surges as the price for everything spikes with the price of oil.  Many news outlets suspend reporting from Russia following passage of legislation that threatened individuals with fifteen-year sentences for spreading “fake news.” Sustaining a minor infection, US supreme court justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from hospital, a week after he was admitted. The news comes as the congressional panel investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol sought testimony from his wife and conservative activist, Virginia Thomas, after the revelation of a text message exchange between her and the White House chief of staff, urging him to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.  People Power Party candidate is narrowly elected president of South Korea.

april:  The US Senate, after much acrimony, confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Though vice president Harris would have been the tie-breaker in the case of a fifty-fifty split, no Black woman in this forum had the chance to vote.  Viktor Orbรกn with fourth consecutive term as leader of Hungary. 

North Korea appears to be on the verge of resuming nuclear tests after a pause of five years, escalating regional tensions, after demolishing a symbolic hotel that held out the possibility of reconciliation. Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was ejected by a vote of no confidence.  Hundreds die from mudslides in the Philippines and flash floods in South Africa.  Russia retaliates to the destruction of its flagship of the Black Sea fleet with renewed shelling in Kyiv and Lviv, having shifted focused to the southeastern part of Ukraine to create a corridor through rebel-held areas to Crimea and the sea.  Emmanuel Macron holds his presidency against Marine Le Pen.  Twitter agrees to sell itself to Elon Musk.  Moscow confirms Russia assault on Kyiv during visit by UN secretary-general Antรณnio Guterres, meeting with the Ukrainian leader just after a summit with Putin.

may: A leaked draft opinion from US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggests that the court is poised to over-turn the 1973 precedent that affords women access to abortion. 

The remaining contingent of soldiers holding Mariupol’s bulwark of resistance in the Azov steel plant have surrendered to Russian forces.   Australia’s conservative coalition government is defeated for the first time in a decade and the Labour party takes control.  A gunman espousing the Great Replacement Theory, tying into all the regressive, racist social movements in the United States, murdered ten individuals in Buffalo, New York.  A shooting at an elementary school in Texas takes twenty-one lives.  A dire shortage of baby formula in the US is on-going.  Monkeypox is spreading rampantly.  

june: the UK and the Commonwealth celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

Prompted by the publication of the Partygate investigation, Boris Johnson weathers a confidence vote by fellow party members but with more negative ballots than the votes that ended the ministries of Thatcher or more recently May. Portions of the January 6 select committee hearings are being televised.  The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, prohibiting access to abortion in more than half of America and putting at risk same-sex marriage, gay rights and access to contraceptives. 

july: Russia takes control of the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.  Yet another mass shooting occurs in the US, this time at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb. 

Compelled by the resignation of over fifty chief ministers and secretaries (including those appointed a day and a half earlier) ultimately, cumulatively over the Chris Pincher scandal, Boris Johnson announces he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party but plans to hold on to his prime ministership until the party conference in the autumn.  Former Japanese prime minister Shinzล Abe is fatally wounded in an assassination attempt.  Actor James Caan passes away, aged 82. After massive unrest and protesters storming the presidential palace, Sri Lankan leader Gotabaya Rajapaska steps down.  After reaching a deal brokered by Turkey, the first Ukranian grain transport vessel sails into the Bosporus, bound for Lebanon.  Pioneering actor Nichelle Nichols passed away, aged eighty-nine.

august: In the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and intensifying incursions from mainland China, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan.  Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is killed by a blade-wielding drone in Afghanistan.  The conservative state of Kansas rejects a referendum to outlaw all abortions.  The FBI conducts a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for mishandled government documents.  The US congress passes Joe Biden’s Build Back Better act. 

Taking a cue from Belarus, the governors of Texas and Florida are bussing migrants to New York and California.  Olivia Newton-John passes away after a long battle with cancer.  Fashion designer Issey Miyake (ไธ‰ๅฎ… ไธ€็”Ÿ) has also died, aged eighty-four.  Actor Anne Heche died after sustaining serious injuries in a car accident.  Salman Rushdie was stabbed by an assailant whilst delivering a lecture in Chautauqua, New York.  Joe Biden announces a jubilee on student debt that will positively impact millions of borrowers.  A redacted affidavit shows that over one hundred eighty classified documents were being sought at Mar-A-Lago, which Trump illegally removed when he left office.  Pakistan is devastated by heavy monsoons.  Ukraine begins a counter-insurgency to retake Kherson.  Mikhail Gorbachev passes away, aged 91.  

september: Liz Truss is chosen as new Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson.  Queen Elizabeth II passes away, aged 96, with London Bridge protocols enacted.  Ukraine is seen to make major incursions into Russian held territories as municipal officials in Moscow and St Petersburg call for Vladimir Putin’s resignation. 

Charles III is proclaimed as new monarch as UK and Commonwealth enter a period of remembrance and mourning.  A Florida federal judge appoints a Special Master to review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.  The UK economy tanks after Truss chancellor Kwarteng borrow more to reduce tax on business, garnering rebukes from Germany, the US and the IMF as the Pound Stirling approaches parity with the US dollar.  Iranians rage against their government after a young girl dies in custody of the morality police.  Russia appears to have sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines, rendering them unusable even if the gas is turned back on.

october: A hurricane batters Puerto Rico and Cuba, Florida and South Carolina.  Putin annexes four more regions in Ukraine though the hold is tenuous.  Coolio and Loretta Lynn pass away.  A mass shooting, knife attack takes place at a nursery in Thailand with two dozen children killed.  Joseph Biden pardons all of some six-thousand individuals charged with marijuana possession on the federal level.  Rhetoric over the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia is increasing. 

Ukraine damages the twenty kilometre bridge linking the annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland, a key supply route, across the Kerch strait.  In retribution, Russian attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure increase markedly.  Kwasi Kwarteng is dismissed, giving the UK four chancellors in as many months amid wide-spread calls for Liz Truss to resign.  Accomplished actor Robbie Coltrane passes away, aged 72, as does Angela Lansbury, aged 96.  Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister of the UK after being voted leader of the Tory Party. The husband of senior congressional member Nancy Pelosi is attacked by a man with a past of espousing fringe right wing theories with a hammer, the target intended to be the Speaker of the House.  Twitter is delisted from the stock exchange as Elon Musk takes over the platform.  Over one hundred and fifty individuals in Seoul are crushed in a stampede during a Halloween party in a narrow alleyway.  Citing continued Ukrainian drone attacks on its Black Sea fleet, Russia pulls out of a UN brokered arrangement to facilitate grain-shipment.

november: World leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27.   Ukrainian cities contend with power blackouts after Russia targets the country’s infrastructure.  Founding father of election science Sir David Butler passes away, aged 98. The anticipated repudiation of the US Democratic party failed to materialize, counter to polling and pundits’ expectations with those Republican candidates aligned with Donald Trump underperforming and falling short in the broad sense, holding the GOP bastions of Florida and Texas.  The UN announces the world population is at eight billion. 

At a ceremony at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump announces his third candidacy for the presidency, much to the dismay of a Republican party whom cannot challenge his bid.  Artemis I launches on its way to the Moon.  Speaker Pelosi steps down as party leader in the House of Representatives.  In response to Trump announcing his intent to run for president, a move in part calculated to frustrate legal action against him, Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel to investigate the insurrection that Trump instigated and the US Supreme Court rules that Trump must turn over years of tax returns to Congress.   Mired in controversy, the World Cup hosted by Qatar commences.  Continued Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and utilities have caused a near total blackout in neighbouring Moldova.  Earthquakes cause mass destruction in West Java and Turkey.   The UK Supreme Court blocks a second referendum for Scottish independence.  Fame and Flash Dance singer Irene Cara passes away, aged 63.  Demonstrations against the government and the ruling party not seen in China since Tienanmen Square erupt in China over COVID lockdown protocols and after the emergency response to an apartment fire is apparently delayed due to restrictions and added barriers to restrict movement. Fleetwood Mac singer Christine McVie dies, aged 79. 

december: Chinese authorities begin relaxing COVID prevention measures in response to protests.  The G7 nations and the European Union try to enforce further sanctions against Russia by banning oil shipments by sea and placing an upwards price cap per barrel. In response to massive protests, Iran disbands its morality police.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs announce a breakthrough in harnessing the power of nuclear fusion for energy production.  During its final session before dissolving, the January Sixth Committee recommends to the Justice Department to bring four criminal charges, including inciting insurrection, against Trump.  The Specials lead singer Terry Hall passes away, aged 63.  In his first trip abroad since the Russian invasion, Zelenskiy speaks before a joint-session of Congress in Washington, DC––appealing for continued aid from the United States.  Much of the US is pummelled by a bomb-cyclone, a monstrous winter storm that forces the cancellation of holiday travel. Bolivian police detain opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho for his role in the 2019 protests that prompted then-president Evo Morales to resign. Putin issues a decree prohibiting the export of Russian oil to countries and organizations that adhere to the US$60-per-barrel price cap that Australia, the European Union, and the G7 member states agreed upon earlier this month. The decree will be in effect from February through the summer.  Legendary footballer who made soccer the beautiful game, Pelรฉ, passes away, aged 82, as well as fashion icon Vivienne Westwood.


Thursday, 22 December 2022

punting on the thames (10. 355)

Via the ever excellent Nag on the Lake, we are referred to a compendious post on mudlarking—see previously—which has gained considerable popularity in recent years, compelling authorities to issue licenses to better track the trash-cum-treasure dredged from the tidal waters dividing London. Not only are we treated to the details governing the finders-keepers principle and what is reportable and to whom but also challenges to “spot the find” from experienced hunters.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

the levelled churchyard (10. 227)

Strange Company’s invaluable Weekend Link Dump invites us to pass an hour in the cemetery of Old St Pancras—not only famed for its connection to the literary circles of Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as the iconic telephone box via the tomb of Sir John Soane but moreover attracting visitors to what has been deemed the Hardy Tree, after the former junior architect turned novelist involvement with the expansion of the train network (see also). The building of the Midland Railway necessitated the removal of many graves, a number of the headstones of them were rummaged in the roots of this tree, inspiring the author later to reflect in the titular poem, “We late-lamented, resting here,/Are mixed to human jam,/And each to each exclaims in fear,/‘I know not which I am!’” Much more to explore at the links above.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

8x8 (10. 187)

vendedores ambulantes: the sonic landscape and signature cries (see also) of the street vendors of Ciudad de Mรฉxico—via tmn  

from erdapfel to equator: a globemaker’s glossary of cartographic terms—via the Map Room  

queenhithe: photographer Frank Merton captures London’s churches in the mid-1950s  

anti-cyclone: a proposal to tow a barge laden with jet engines blasting to dissipate the strength of an oncoming hurricane  

hyla orientalis: black tree frogs in Chernobyl demonstrate evolution in real time—via Slashdot 

blogoversary: a belated congratulations to Diamond Geezer on twenty years of posting   

the feral atlas: a journey of discovery and triangulation through our made environments from Stanford University and via Web Curios  

tlaltecuhtli: the iconography of the Aztec pantheon

Friday, 16 September 2022

7x7 (10. 139)

daisy-chain: Wikipedia Speedruns—connect two topics (see also) across the fewest links—via Waxy

blast-oven: a proposed giant brick toaster could harness excess heat from industry and redistribute it as electricity

checkmate: investigating the cheating scandal vexing the chess world—via Digg  

the queen’s speech: at look at how accents change as we age and how Elizabeth II’s manner of talking reflected broader changes in society  

royal peculiar: reflections and impressions on visiting Westminster Abbey when the statuary far outnumber the tourists 

ubiquity: an invisible coating transforms windows and any glass surfaces into solar panels  

outrun: Google Maps Driver Simulation mode and more cartographical arcade games

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

fiftyshapes ltd (10. 130)

Incorporated on this day in 1967, the Beatles’ Apple Electronics venture was headed by a television repair technician named Yannis Alexis Madras, whom had been discovered by John Lennon two years prior after seeing a selection of his Nothing Boxes (plastic housing with blinking lights) at a London Gallery. Given the moniker “Magic Alex,” he reputedly pitched a series of increasingly fantastical (but ones we’d like to see) inventions including a seventy-two track tape machine, an air-buffer to prevent car accidents, replacing Ringo’s drums with a sonic force field, a wallpaper sound-system, invisibility paint and an artificial sun—none of which unfortunately materialised. 

Later that same year, Madras tried to help broker a deal for the band to purchase a Greek island but that deal fell through as well. Though the majority of Madras’ inventions were dismissed as impossible (perhaps rather inexplicably, he was nonetheless entrusted him with the design of their new recording studio once they left Abbey Road), one of his proposals for a scrambling device that would prevent fans from recording their songs from the radio was better received. Parting ways in 1969—ostensibly jealous over the influence that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had over Lennon after they were all in India together, Madras took up a career in security and anti-terrorism, offering custom bullet-proof vehicles, bug-detectors, etc—his clients primarily exiled heads-of-state living in London, Crown Prince Juan Carlos, the Shah of Iran and fellow countryman Constantine II.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

8x8 (10. 124)

the girl from ipanema: the Yahoo! GeoCities (previously) Midi project has gathered a collection of over one-hundred and fifty thousand chiptunes, via Web Curios  

summer island: a graphic horror novella that’s a collaboration between a story authored by a human and illustrations courtesy a machine 

bill-of-sale: receipts and letterhead of the Old East End  

null island: the imaginary location at the intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (see previously) that exists by necessity  

premium vector: a selection of 90s cursor effects (trails, rainbows) that can be incorporated into one’s website—via ibฤซdem  

trichromacy: fascinating etymologies of words for colours—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

b-poty: avian photography of the year  

pattern recognition: more on mondegreens and misheard lyrics

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

reemployed annuitant (10. 111)

In a swaggering farewell speech—as his successor Ms Truss was directed by Her Majesty in Balmoral presumably in much the same way one asks a telemarketer to call back in five minutes (credit to columnist Marina Hyde)—Boris Johnson cemented his legacy, starting out with a tinge of bitterness over Brexit shambles, incurred in part due to his own proroguing of Parliament, and compared himself—not for the first time mind you, having recycled this line from when he left the office of the mayor of London to pursue a career as an MP and apparently cursory familiarity (see also) with the Roman statesman—to Cincinnatus, retiring to his “plough—and I will be offering this government nothing but the most fervent support.” While on the surface, it may suggest that Johnson would take his place on the backbenches—George Washington also evoked the figure of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus when he thought more than two-terms as US president unseemly, disbanded the revolutionary army and announced he was going back to his plantation—and the leader did in fact go back his farm, but to extend this analogy, Cincinnatus was recalled to suppress a rebellion and created dictator and given a small armed contingent. Handily accomplishing this feat, Cincinnatus is upheld as a paragon of virtue not for his statecraft so much but because he resigned and re-retired immediately afterwards and did not try to hold his power. We wonder if Johnson fancies he’ll be similarly deputised.

Friday, 31 December 2021

the electrical life of louis wain

Our gratitude to Strange Company for the introduction (well, the association of the artist to his delightful deranged felines rather) in Louis William Wain (*1860 - †1939), whose extensive body of works (one for every topic practically) are well and loving curated in the public domain and is the subject of a recent biopic, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. Wain’s first publish sketch in 1886, “A Kittens’ Christmas Party” in the Illustrated London News struck the right notes and proved very popular—along with other anthropomorphic portrayals—in Victorian England and became a quite prolific artist over the next three decades and was a champion of various animal charities and human societies, including one called the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League—as they couldn’t speak for themselves. Though the diagnosis remains disputed, the onset of Wain’s apparent schizophrenia which saw him confined to an asylum for the remainder of his life may have been triggered by toxoplasmosis, a parasitical disease that cats can pass to their humans. Some professionals claim to be able to track Wain’s deteriorating mental state through the succession of his paintings (see also here, here and here) though that assertion and its citation in popular psychology remains controversial.  The cat model that inspired his art throughout was called Peter and originally was the pet of his wife who encouraged Wain to get his drawings in print.


Wednesday, 24 November 2021

his grooms and companions, the autobiography of a horse

Though considered the foundational work of pony fiction--that genre of juvenile novels involving teens and learning equestrian skills—Anna Sewell’s final work published on this day in 1877 by Jarrold & Sons, Black Beauty, the first non-human memoir was not necessarily targeted to an audience of children. Instilling sympathy and respect for animals as well as people, the enduring best-seller recounts the stages of the narrator's life--first as a foal, a colt, then a working-horse pulling cabs whose hardships and experiences reflect those of his drivers and passengers in London before being put out to pasture for retirement.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

prove to me that you’re divine, change my water into wine—that’s all you need do, then i’ll know it’s all true

Formerly only previewed as a cast recording in limited release over a year prior, the rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber Jesus Christ Superstar was for the first time staged and performed before a live audience in the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway—the famous venue for My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Man of La Mancha which would eventually be consecrated in 1989 as the interdenominational Times Square Church—on this day in 1971. The anachronistic version of the Holy Week narrative, loosely following the books of the gospel and giving an accounting of Jesus and his disciples leading up to his arrest and crucifixion was the longest-running West End musical before being displaced by Cats in 1989. Below is “Superstar,” the penultimate number, with Judas, Soul Sisters and Angels from the 1973 adaptation, filmed on location.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

shower-thoughts or super criticality

Though precedents in chemical chain-reactions that could lead to explosions were well understood and the mechanism of nuclear fission had yet to be fully articulated, scientist Leรณ Szilรกrd (previously) first hypothesised the possibility of an atomic chain-reaction whilst waiting on a stop light on Southhampton Row at the crossing of Russell Square in Bloomsbury. This flash of insight on the part of the exiled Hungarian physicist, realising that an atom could be split with the recently discovered neutron, cascading with the release of more neutrons plus massive amounts of energy would be self-perpetuating, self-amplifying, would lead to nuclear applications in warfare and power production.

Monday, 16 August 2021

mind the gap

Featured on Open Culture, we quite enjoyed this audio-sampler of departure and arrivals announcements and assorted warnings, jingles beeps and chimes of mass-transit systems from around the world. While I am grateful for the luxury of choice, I am not quite yet comfortable to go back to taking public transportation regularly but am looking forward riding the bus again and leaving the driving in more capable, punctual hands. Passing by the Bahnhof pretty regularly, I’m often within earshot of the familiar, reassuring bing-boom (I am looking for a single ideophone that embraces all of these automated audio signals) of the train doors closing. Much more at the link up top.  What is your local onomatopoeia?

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

8x8

united states of wildfire: as the climate emergency escalates, more North American residents are moving into the path of destruction unwittingly 

fitting in: Ze Frank (previously) reveals that even the coolest, calmest and most collected of us are all trying, coping  

d’oyly carte: an islet in the Thames with a derelict mansion built for an opera impresario will be restored to its former glory—via Things Magazine 

caped crusaders: Batman’s sidekick Robin finally comes out 

constrained systems: a tool-kit of alternative image editing effects—via Waxy  

matchi bล:a mesmerising stop-motion study of a magic match stick from Tomohiro Okazaki—via ibฤซdem

 bubblegum pop: the Osmonds 1968 song “Groove with what You Got”  

ฮฑฯ€ฮฟฮบฮฌฮปฯ…ฯˆฮท: Greek capital, archipelago beset by flames

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

daylight robbery

Once again via Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this series of photographs from Andy Billman of bricked up windows from buildings across London that evoke the interesting and immediate aesthetic (see also) that falls into the category of being a Thomasson—that is, a preserved architectural relic without apparent purpose or historical significance—plus the contextualisation in the form of a window tax enacted the late seventeenth century, meant to be a progressive levy on the mansions of the wealthy but instead misapplied to tenement dwellings and prompted the restriction of light, view and ventilation, contributing to squalid conditions and spread of disease. Much more to explore at the links above.

Friday, 11 June 2021

london international surrealist exhibition

Held at the New Burlington Galleries off Savile Row in Mayfair from this day through 4 July 1936, the organising committee hosted works from several popular and influential artists of the movement, including Alexander Calder, S. H. Tauber-arp, Victor Brauner, Gala and Salvador Dalรญ, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Mirรณ, Pablo Picasso, Len Lye, Renรฉ Magritte and Paul Klee and attracted a thousand visitors per day with Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the US, the UK, New Zealand, Italy, Roumania and Czecho-Slovakia represented and distinguished presenters delivering a series of lectures to large assembled audiences. Salvador Dalรญ wore a diving helmet whilst giving his seminar on fantรดmes paranoรฏaques authentiques and nearly suffocated at the dais and had to be rescued by poet David Gascoyne with a spanner.