Saturday 8 June 2024

ellertshรคusen see (11. 614)

Described as a deserted village since the fifteenth century despite joint efforts of the Teutonic Order of Mรผnnerstadt and the Bishopric of Wรผrzburg to resettle the area that never materialised, the artificial reservoir near Schweinfurt, the largest of its kind in Lower Franconia, was created in the mid-1950s in order to provide irrigation for local farmers and as a means to mediate flooding. The former use-case however proved not to make economic sense and the lake was eventually developed as a recreational destination with beaches, jetties and a nature reserve.

H and I joined another couple and stayed at an eccentric but very hospitable campsite in the forest just behind the dam that provided some nice personal touches, like welcome beers (BegrรผรŸungsbier), delivering your breakfast Brรถtchen order and handing out tiki-torches in the evening. There is no Dana—only Zuul!

We took a nice walk through the woods that is part of the Frรคnkisher Mairenweg (a long-distance wandering trail that features several pilgrimage from the region) intersecting with a mediative path dedicated to local poet and orientalist Friedrich Rรผckert and completed a circuit around the lake, the trail at times submerged and making the loop a bit challenging but very rewarding. 

one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus ventriloquism and witchcraft

two years ago: a banger from Tears for Fears, more links to enjoy, record temperatures plus the ash heap of history

three years ago: composer Carl Orff, America’s first supermodel, a classic from Procol Harum, more links worth the revisit plus corresponding city maps

four years ago: the Festival of the Supreme Being plus pipeline funk

five years ago: buried urban rivers

Wednesday 29 May 2024

yokushitsu kansouki (11. 589)

Via the New Shelton wet/dry, we are are treating to some laundry lessons from Japan (see also) and a potential third way to cross the chasm on either side of the Atlantic when it comes to drying clothes. When have a nice rack in the backyard and try to line dry as much as possible but still have a heavy-duty tumble dryer that we have to resort to quite often, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating—and so were intrigued by the installation known as the “bathroom dryer” (ๆตดๅฎคไนพ็‡ฅๆฉŸ, ใ‚ˆใใ—ใคใ‹ใ‚“ใใ†ใ) that blurs the lines between interior design and appliance that blows warm, dry air onto the hanging clothes. Efficient and effective as the outdoors, no ironing needed and kinder to fabrics, more on laundry technology and culture from Bloomberg at the link above.


one year ago: a classic Tina Turner album (1984) plus hype cycles

two years ago: A Raisin in the Sun plus a visit to the Black Moor

three years ago: anatomical astrology, Noรซl Coward rap artist, St Bona plus the invention of the trampoline

four years ago: legislation per tweet, astronomer Maria Cunitz plus an AI parliament

five years ago: peak oil, air gaps, a concept car, modern still lifes plus the Mueller investigation

Saturday 25 May 2024

fairytale jungle trail (11. 582)

For another long-weekend getaway, H and I traveled an hour northeast back to the Thรผringerwald nature reserve and found a campsite in Breitenbach along the Vesser river valley and southwest entrance to the park, with a lot of paths for wandering in the forest. 

Officially called straightforwardly “Urwaldpfad,” the app that we were using gave it the rather creatively translated name above and had a nice long hike along both banks of the river—originally planning to return via a second trail but it was proving too rough with a series of felled trees that had collapsed on the bank of the stream. 

The trail had advertised some attractions along the way like a Sensenhammer, an early industrial water-powered scythe forge for making tools and machine parts, and a historic mill (see also), but these were only waypoints with markers for installations gone and never rebuilt. 

Still the walk in the ancient woods was very pleasant with a stand of super-high firs and a nice stroll along the river—plus lots of lupines. On the way back, we stopped at a fine guesthouse with character perched on a hill overlooking the forest and village.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Ciao! Manhattan, Return of the Jedi (1983) plus investigating Partygate

three years ago: HMS Pinafore, synchronisation plus Bosch with emoji

four years ago: Toki Pona, a delightfully translated menu, the Interregnum plus artist Nikolas Knรผpfer

five years ago: Towel Day

Friday 17 May 2024

einรถde (11. 564)

For a weekend getaway, H found a camping spot on a carp aquaculture site in the single settlement of Sintmannsbuch in the Aisch valley, a tributary of the Regnitz. 

The country estate (Guthof) with fish farm was informal campgrounds with room for a few pitches (surely usually outnumbering the nine residents of the community) has its first documented mention in 1348 on the rolls of the provost of Bamberg and in the imperially immediate city of Nuremberg and the tradition of raising fish in captivity (see previously) goes back over a millennium and the scheme saw a marked

increase from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries following the enforcement of fasting and dietary abstention and could be sold for a premium as free-range supplies failed to meet demand with secular landlords and monastic communities especially encouraging pond management.


one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: the first colour photography

three years ago: the East German film industry, Bob Dylan in Manchester plus more on Morse code

four years ago: the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Bifobia, last normal photo plus a windshield tour around the region

five years ago: Morning Edition’s new theme, more on the TWA hotel, celebrating the work of IM Pei, mall muzak plus same-sex marriage legalised in Taiwan

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.

Thursday 11 April 2024

daylighting (11. 482)

Having previously looked at the subject of hidden urban watercourses, we enjoyed revisiting the topic and

learning about efforts for resurfacing and rehabilitating rivers, creeks and streams that have been buried, culverted and diverted and otherwise forgotten to make way for city development in the metropolitan areas of Canada, as with many other locations around the world, in this interactive, scrollytelling article from the CBC—via Nag on the Lake—on the ancient waterways of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Restoration efforts hope to not only rewild municipalities but also seen as a means to mitigate flooding and the urban heat island effect.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Old Testament caricatures

two years ago: the Ukranian tryzub plus Turkish Star Trek

three years ago: St Godebertha, an uneventful day plus a screen-test for A Clockwork Orange

four years ago: Lucas Cranach the Elder, German Sesame Street plus the Louie Louie Advocacy and Appreciation Society

five years ago: Hello Europe posters for Brexit, check-out etiquette, Venezuelan politics plus the elements of typography

Saturday 30 March 2024

lepziger neuseenland (11. 458)

Not to be confused with the German name for New Zealand, H and I found a nice camping spot, the first of the season, on the peninsula of Magdeborn, an artificial wetland formed in the early 2000s when the open cast mining operations outside of the city were flooded and fed by the past two decades by tributaries to create a nature reserve and recreation area. 

A score of villages and some eight thousand of residents formerly resettled in the from the 1930s through the 1950s for brown coal extraction (see also), the floating installation called Vineta bobbed back and forth in the bay of the Stรถrmthaler See on the horizon, the the steeple looking particularly phantasmagorical with the waxing sun of early spring and the lengthening days (the time change in Europe is the last Sunday in March)—also owing to a dust storm blowing in from the Sahara that gave the sky a singular quality—and aptly as the anchored structure, venue for art exhibits and a bistro accessible by ferry, is a monument to Magdeborn and those deserted settlements since underwater, Stauseen. 

The mining operations at Epsenhain ran from 1937 to 1996 and yielded half a billion tonnes of coal—phased out over the decades since, the last active field, which lends its name to the reservoir, will cease operations next year.  There are quite a lot of trails around the lakes to hike and bike and enjoyed being outside and marveling at the reclaimed landscape. 

Leipzig is visible in the distance and also the Bergbau Industrial Park that we pass on the Autobahn now a relict carved out of a massive Windpark.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Trump arrested and arraigned

two years ago: Iceland protests against NATO ascension (1949) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: your daily demon: Vassago, the sixtyforgan, the Louvre announces a new public portal for its collections, an attempted assassination plus yacht rock

four years ago: an expensive telegram plus the Sgt Pepper’s album cover

five years ago: an unassuming shrub

Friday 8 March 2024

hycean world (11. 408)

Hosted by a red dwarf around seventy light years from Earth nestled in the southern constellation of Equuleaus Pictoris (the painter’s easel, the majority of asterims of the hemisphere named after instruments representing the Age of Enlightenment and exploration), astronomers, building on earlier observations by Hubble, are studying the outermost exoplanet, TOI-270 ฮด, of the star system with the keener eyes of the James Webb Space Telescope and are coming to the conclusion that this temperate Neptune may be a water planet—above a portmanteau of hydrogen plus ocean. Though probably much hotter than conditions we are accustomed to, the pressure of the dense atmosphere (which the JWST can effectively lens through starlight and submit to spectral-analysis) and the fact it is tidally-locked with one side forever simmering and the other cast in an unending night reveals a chemical mix of water vapour and methane, suggesting a steamy global seascape.


one year ago: Evil Empire (1983)

two years ago: assorted links to revisit 

three years ago: more links to enjoy plus a World War I flying ace

four years ago: Mars’ Peacock Mountain

five years ago: Frauentag, writer and illustrator Dick Bruna, a namer of clouds plus a Simpsons’ episode pulled from rotation

Friday 1 March 2024

squat lobster (11. 391)

A robotic submarine exploring the seamounts off the Chilean coast in a recent expedition sponsored by the Schmidt Ocean Institute has netted the discovery, an international group of researchers believe, of a hundred new species never before seen, from deep sea corals, urchins, sponges, amphipods and the above ten-legged type of crustacean related to hermit crabs. Specimens were observed off the plunging cliffs of the Nazca Ridge in the southeastern Pacific and reveals how ecosystems change with depth and how to optimise conservation efforts. More from Voice of America at the link above.


one year ago: the Xerox Alto (1973) plus the mummers of Sardinia 

two years ago: assorted links to revisit

three years ago: your daily demon: Abraxas, botanist Catharina Helena Dรถrrien, St David’s Day plus bringing back the North American chestnut

four years ago: Steve Jackson Games (1990) plus Easter Eggs in Swiss maps

five years ago: Prohibition in Iceland, Nixon in Latin America plus Lake Erie gets personhood

Wednesday 28 February 2024

paleofutures (11. 387)

Via Waxy, we come across a retrospective volume of predictions for the world of 2024 solicited from luminaries and futurists from half-a-century earlier collected by The Saturday Review for its own Golden Anniversary (established in 1924 as compendium of essays and reportage on a wide range of subjects, folding in 1986). A retrospective to better see the way forward, it features hopeful assessments by ecologist Renรฉ Dubos, who popularised the maxim to “think globally, act locally” in his capacity as advisor to the UN and foresaw sounder and smarter environmental policies, the honorific “Madame President” for the United States contrasted by a more sobering view of continued wage-inequality and glass-ceiling, Trans-Atlanticism versus nationalism, and Issac Asimov forecasting that while computer prognostications were not perfect, they would be a requirement for insurance liability purposes and decision-drivers in medical treatment. There are also quite a few boldly wrong and aspirational claims by human rights champion Andrei Sakharov like orbiting power-plants, large scale terraforming and quadruped electric cars that would prance over prairies with minimal impact and didn’t require roads, along with Neil Armstrong’s poignant reflections of decades of continued space exploration and exploitation. On the other hand, Werner von Braun accurately predicted the world wide web, email and teleworking plus their implications. Much more at the links above.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the Horodecki House of Kyiv, Guernica vandalised (1972) plus the paper art of Charles Young

three years ago: more on the Mountain Dream tarot, the finale of M*A*S*H* (1983), artist Edward Hopper plus redesigning the hypodermic emoji

four years ago: ranking ringed-planet emojis plus hauntingly familiar images from the 1918 influenza pandemic

five years ago: anti-Catholic sentiment and the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, resurfacing a lost urban river plus more links to enjoy