Monday 26 February 2024

7x7 (11. 383)

bacile calmette-guรฉrin: a century-old variolation against bovine tuberculosis technique might present a treatment route for dementia  

endangered language alliance: a survey of the rare forms of communication in communities in New York City  

marketable skill: Nvidia executive says kids shouldn’t learn to code 

icc: renewed calls to make ecocide the fifth international crime and within the scope of the UN’s court—via tmn  

kรผrschรกk’s tile: a visual proof a complex geometric tessellation  

project ceti: how, powered by AI, a first contact could play out between humans and whales—see previously, see also 

goldplate: research suggest that a treatment with nanoparticles of the element might be a cure for neurodegenerative diseases

Saturday 3 February 2024

9x9 (11. 319)

thinking of you. i mean me. i mean you: a new exhibition on the artist Barbara Kruger advances her legacy up to the present—see previously  

hi neighbour: Johnny Costa introduced jazz to Mister Rogers along with his audience  

una vincenzo, the lady troubridge: fashion icon, sculptor, translator and unashamed, power lesbian  

baud per second: Eclectic Method’s dial-up modem song  

unexcused absences: obstructionist state senators cannot run for re-election in Oregon after constitutional amendment—via Super Punch 

unwatering: researchers find the solution the Richard Feynman’s hypothetical reserve sprinkler  

amateuraufnahmen: colour footage of Berlin, Leipzig and Bad Schandau from the 1960s  

please don’t try to print it: unlocking the page dimensions in Adobe to create a PDF larger than the entire Universe—via Kottke  

friend or foe: Clownfish count stripes to keep out adult interlopers from their territory—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links—see also strange sex lives of the species

Wednesday 31 January 2024

8x8 (11. 309)

that spells primbci: Neuralink begins trials on human volunteers—see previously  

infinite craft: drag and drop fundamental elements to make new materials, from Neal Agarwal—previously  

gboard caps: search engine Japan team designs a hat (ๅธฝใƒใƒผใ‚ธใƒงใƒณ) that types  

double feature: more command-line movies from ASCII Theatre—see previously  

once you pop, you can’t stop: the weird and secretive world of crisp flavours—via Present/&/Correct  

vier-tage woche: German companies experimenting with a four-day workweek to ameliorate labour shortages  

zetetic astronomy: a mid-nineteenth century experiment that spanned the Flat Earth movement  

beta-testing: a few well-reasoned counterpoints for the mechanical Turk hucksters and AI-evangelists

Tuesday 23 January 2024

challenger deep (11. 289)

Damn Interesting’s Allan Bellows invites us to accompany the on-going adventures of the Swiss-Family Piccard (see previously also here), who on this day in 1960 reached the ocean floor in the deepest part of the Mariana Trench aboard the bathyscaphe Trieste, designed by father Auguste and co-piloted by son Jacques—marking the first time a vessel, crewed or uncrewed, dove to such extremes, garnering insights in this never before seen environment. Much more at the links above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: Stationtostation (1976) plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: an Underground inspired uniform, Charles Lindbergh testifies before the US Congress (1941), artist Ger van Elk plus more on Wordle

three years ago: Earthrise, Bounty Day on Pitcairn, Duke Ellington at Carnegie Hall, the abominable mystery of flowers plus more links to enjoy

four years ago: hell for pendants

five year ago: the Ten Year Challenge for the environment, train-delays knitted, TRON minus the special effects plus artist Annie Wang

Saturday 21 October 2023

das land der ein tausend teiche (11. 069)






Taking out the trailer for a quick trip, we traveled to Plothen not far from the Bleilochtal reservoir but got to explore a quite different geography and landscape in the local pond region. One of the primary examples of aquaculture and intensive geo-engineering predating the industrial age, the first ponds and fisheries were established by monks in the eighth century in order to provide a meat-substitute for Lent and numerous holidays and commemorations that called for fasting and abstention. Within a radius of just a few kilometers, some six hundred of these artificial ponds remain of sixteen hundred, lost over the generations through mergers and drainage to harvest fertile sediment. Fish farming was managed from so called Pfahlhรคuser—pile houses—one three hundred year old example remaining on Hausteich near the campgrounds hosting a museum dedicated to the place’s history. 


Owing to the rich soil, during East German times, the area was given over to raising pigs, but has since been rehabilitated (rather a remarkably quick turn around given it was not that long ago) and reclaimed as a tourist destination and an important rest stop for migratory birds and other wildlife.




Afterwards we went to nearby Ranis to visit the Burg, a hilltop fortification for the administration of the Saalfeld area articulated and expanded since the eleventh century.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit,  Livre de Thot plus a feline opera

two years ago: St Ursula, the first Vikings in North America plus more vocabulary building

three years ago: the origins of Op-Ed, the Dutch art of doing nothingNYC’s digital subway map, app, the sentล culture of Japan, the Royal Meteorological Society’s PoTY plus coppicing and pollarding

four years ago: IKEA tarot 

five years ago: artist Barbara Kruger plus leaf-peeping in the Rhรถn

 

Saturday 30 September 2023

8x8 (11. 031)

11/9/1989 - 9/11/2001: a thoroughgoing, reflective essay examining the fateful decade defined, bookended by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the September 11 Terror Attacks—via Web Curios  

hail and well met: the surprisingly radical roots of the Renaissance Fair that emerged during McCarthyism and the Red Scare—via Miss Cellania  

whom of which: an interesting and divisive syntactical formation  

imperial airways: Harry Beck’s iconic Underground map for scheduled flight routes—via Things Magazine  

tapped out: a passive approach to desalination that can produce safe and cheap potable water without disrupting the ocean’s natural haline balance—via Kottke  

wassermusik: a tonal analysis of waterfalls  

mr dressup: a documentary about world of make-believe of Ernie Coombs, the Canadian counterpart to Mister Rodgers (previously)  

sleepless in seattle: a scrolling narrative on the invisible epidemic of loneliness and isolation experienced by many Americans—via Waxy

synchronoptica

one year ago: ethernet, Business!, assorted links to revisit, more on the Scunthorpe problem plus Putin addresses the nation

two years ago:  a very distasteful sitcom plus revisiting the Colossus of Rรผgen

three years ago: memorialising the shame of Canada’s residential school policy,  International Translation Day, passive voice and reflexive forms, digital world address maps, deconstructing American exceptionalism plus more botanical epithets

four years ago: a farewell to Bauhaus, a remedial lesson on separating one’s trash plus the World Clock of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz (1969)

five years ago: a recipe for mushrooms, BBC Radio 4 (1967), a Chinatown edition of Monopoly plus Leoind and Friends cover Earth, Wind and Fire


Wednesday 20 September 2023

9x9 (11. 010)

: play around for a moment with the Water web toy—via Miss Cellania and the Everlasting Blรถrt  

green new deal: modelled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, US president Biden creates a federal jobs training and climate protection force  

won’t someone think of the children: UK passes Online Safety bill—see previously  

piramida: architectural photographer Danica O Kus documents the newly-repurposed monument in the Albanian capital of Tirana

nine-man morris: archeologists discover a board game carved in the ruins of an ancient Polish castle  

qed: a tiny Irish child has a brilliant solution to the trolley problem—see previously  

the mascot of ascot: the magnificent millinery modelled by Gertrude Shilling—via Messy Nessy Chic

once i played a tanpura: electronic music from India from the early 1970s—via Things Magazine  

written on water: physicists using an ionic pen and Brownian motion can draw lines and letters in liquid

 

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: the Global War on Terrorism declared (2001), photographer Charles Cylde Ebbets plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: St Eustace plus running out of hurricane names

four years ago: an AI names mushrooms,  exploring a local wayside chapel, more links plus Randy Rainbow for the Emmy

five years ago: retro web bumpers, a then-and-now of New Zealand’s government, modern-day occupations plus the board game Careers

Monday 11 September 2023

theta wave (10. 994)

Coincidentally on the anniversary of the mega-structure’s inauguration on this day in 1936 when Franklin D Roosevelt pressed a button in Washington, DC to start the first hydroelectric generator for a test-run on the Nevada-Arizona border (the dedication ceremony came at the month’s end), Weird Universe reports on the therapeutic potential of the acoustics properties of Hoover Dam. Whilst the soothing effects maybe somewhat exaggerated and over-simplified, binaural beat (as they are contemporaneously and unfortunately we could not find an audio sample either), the resolution of the auditory illusion that takes place in the brain when one hears two slightly different tones in stereo (as from an echo) is the frequency-follow response. Indulging and synchronising this discrepancy can in some instances induce a mental state of relaxation though a fair number of listeners report a short-lived burst of anxiety and anger and generally finding the experience unproductive.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

9x9 (10. 984)

built on sand: UN monitoring reveals the alarming scale of marine dredging 

but the meteor men beg to differ, judging by the hole in the satellite picture: revisiting a cringey faux academic essay on “All Star” to realise that Steve Harwell (RIP) had more to tell us  

j-mouse: a procession of dead-end peripherals—I would get the PC in an ottoman 

⡆⠄: LEGO’s braille bricks offered free-of-charge to parents and educators now available to the general public 

the secret-sharer: a confessional box from Simone Giertz (previously) where one’s messages are only present for a few seconds before self-destructing  

phil a. o’fish: a short-lived McDonaldland mascot and early beef alternatives—via Weird Universe  

mixed media: experiential scale-models of Tracey Snelling inspired by the architecture of Berlin—including the Mรคusebunker 

premeditatio malorum: fifty short rules for better living from the Stoics  

thermohaline circulation: scientist support using the oceans’ inclination for equilibrium to pull in excess atmospheric carbon-dioxide—see previously

 synchronoptica

one year agoTainted Love (1981) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: a film from D W Griffith, armorial bearings plus the debut of the Muppet Show (1976)

three years ago: the opening of the Gotthard Tunnel (1980)

four years ago: the greenwashing of the recycling movement plus a legendary kingdom in Bretagne

five years ago: a Freddie Mercury birthday bash, a Queen arrangement in brass, outsider artist James Henry Pullen plus reconciling with the end of coal through art

Sunday 13 August 2023

sunday drive: talsperre lรผtsche (10. 941)

On the way back from some window-shopping, we took a detour through the Geratal to Frankenhain for a stroll around the second biggest artificial lake in the region (previously). Dammed in 1935 by the Deutschen Reichsbahn in order to provide a source of water for stations in Erfurt and Arnstadt, by the time the reservoir (Stausee) was completed steam-powered locomotion was being superseded and it was converted to hydropower—and today the same supply-system to cool data centres in Neudietendorf and for brewery operations connected to the train stations that have repurposed the cisterns. The tributary rivers have their source near the winter sports destination Oberhof, whose ancient volcanic composition of quartz porphyry were also the quarry for the retaining walls. Used primarily for recreational activities currently, it was certainly a nice walk down to the beach and good to visit the area again.

Sunday 23 July 2023

twilight zone (10. 900)

Via Boing Boing, after going up on his space elevator, Neal Agarwal invites us to scroll down from the ocean’s surface through the pelagic zone through the midnight zone to the dismal seabed and explore with the denizens of the deep, like the cosmopolitan sixgill shark that spend their days at depths of seventeen hundred meters and their nights in swallower waters and the so called headless chicken fish that’s a sea cucumber with wing-like fins that propel them through the dark at nearly three thousand meters below or plunge to the ultra-abyssal hadal zone (the adjectival form of Hades), inaccessible places in the deepest trenches that have had fewer visitors than have been on the Moon.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

international commission on stratigraphy (10. 875)

Putting the hubris and destructive nature of humanity on the same level as the meteor impact that wiped out the dinosaurs—after a fashion—which began the Cenozoic Era some sixty-six million years ago, a working group of scientists have chosen a representative Gold Spike (see previously) as a marker to symbolise the start of the Anthropocene Epoch in the sinkhole Lake Crawford in Ontario. Though overwhelming evidence abounds of humans’ negative impact on the environment from ocean plastics, the supersaturated, warming atmosphere, mass-extinctions, in particular this body of water that ought to be pristine and far removed (see above) shows exponential increases in impurities the early 1950s on, documenting nuclear tests and fertilisers and mining-runoff polluting waterways. Researchers are gauging Plutonium fallout in the silt and sediment (a faithful though frightening annual record) the lakebed as a sign of the start of the epoch and is expected to mark the beginning of a new, dread and disruptive geological time period.

synchronoptica 

one year ago: Saint Veronica plus assorted links to revisit

two years agoIn the Year 2525

three years ago:  the end of a politically independent judiciary in the US plus a double-duty face mask

four years ago: a creative video for Kate Bush’s Running Up that Hill, protests in Hong Kong plus the pitfalls of self-assessments

five years ago: predictive policingThe Americans and Operation Ghost Stories, generative Tarot cards plus Trump’s plan for stacking judges

Tuesday 11 July 2023

7x7 (10. 874)

fit for a king: a selection of ersatz castles for sale in the US 

caliology: corvids using anti-bird spikes for nesting material
100ยบ in the shade
: mapping tree shadows 

free agent: labour force of the outsourced talk about the effects of the AI revolution—via Waxy  

ravensbourne: finding the lost rivers of London—see previously  

involuntary memory: the aetiology of earworms 

cheese royal: Burger King in Thailand introduces a menu item composed of twenty slices of American cheese

Saturday 8 July 2023

๐Ÿ˜Ž (10. 865)

Owing to the population distribution of the Earth (fewer people live at the North Pole so after the June solstice once the Sun has slipped a bit further south toward the more populous equator), the different definitions of sunrise, sunset and twilight—civilian, nautical and astronomical and the underestimated size (half the globe) of the Pacific Ocean, on 8 July annually about ninety-nine percent of the people of Earth will be under the sun, experiencing daylight after a fashion at the same time. Despite the two hemisphere and the progression of the seasons, during the northern summer, this sunny side phenomenon can occur for a couple of minutes each day from mid-May through mid-July—charted out after some fact-checking on what seemed like an outrageous but somewhat true internet claim, and while it might be a bit more intriguing to have found it a singular instance on the calendar when only one percent of the world’s population was (temporary—Oceana and Baja California still get their daylight hours, just after the rest of the world’s dusk and dawn), it’s even more remarkable that it happens over a span of sixty days.

synchronoptica 

one year ago: the Roswell Incident (1947), more on the Trolley Problem plus the animations of Sam Lyon

two years ago: your daily demon: Ipos, a hierarchy of merfolk, uncombable hair syndrome, top-selling albums (1958) plus the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1822)

three years ago: St Kilian and companions, more adventures in Moselle wine country plus the fortifications of the upper Moselle valley

five years ago: a treasury of southwest Native American folktales, the colossal art of Thrashbird plus the street photography collection of Barry L Gfeller

six years ago: a trove of historical data uncovered in teletext pages, the Hamburg G20 plus taking action against contrived obsolescence

Monday 19 June 2023

8x8 (10. 820)

north american aerospace defence command: cache of Cold War era briefings and slide show presentations scanned and shared on the Internet Archive—via Super Punch  

yellowhammer: Alabama enshrines an official state cookie  

clipart: AI generated images disrupting the portfolio of stock photos that helped create it 

playlist: fish music may help revitalise coral reefs  

lui, sait juste ken: a clever double-entendre in French ad-copy for the Barbie movie 

the killer rabbit caerbannog: more on the trope of deadly bunnies in medieval manuscripts—see previously  

apple core: computer giant taking on venerable Swiss Fruit Union, other in a trademark dispute—via Slashdot  

sci-fi edition: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews a 1979 issue of Starlog

Monday 5 June 2023

scrawny boy (10. 789)

Two dozen Roman and Etruscan bronzes and other votive offerings discovered at San Casciano dei Bagni last year will be exhibited at the Quirinale Palace later this month. The deliberately sealed-off sacred baths (see above) dating from the third century BC and in use for four hundred years in Tuscany was found (assisted by the village bin man) with a wealth of trinkets, coins, figurines of afflicted limbs as a petition for the healing water and from the wealthier visitors statues of the gods and goddesses for whom this spring was their domain and faithful likenesses of themselves in hopes of relieving their suffering. One showcase artefact was first taken as the image of a hero or athlete during excavation was discovered to be the effigy of an individual, a named donor called Marcius Grabillo (and given the above nickname, Scabra Puer, by archeologists once placing the find in context) , suffering from a debilitating skeletal disease, with the whole cache casting new insights on not only health and medicine of ancient times but also unique representation of disease and disability.

Monday 22 May 2023

fontana di trevi (10. 761)

Name derived from the Latin trivium—the intersection of three streets, Via De’Crocicchi, Via Poli and Via Delle Muratte—the Trevi Fountain was officially opened and inaugurated on this day in 1762 by Pope Clement XIII, his numerical predecessor having commissioned its construction some three decades earlier—awardee determined by competition and popular acclaim, as was the fashion during the Baroque era—to architect Niccolรฒ Salvi, finally finished by an ensemble of sculptors including Pietro Bracci and Giuseppe Pannini. The site of the well-spring predates this overpowering landmark by more than a millennium, sourced back to the sacking of Rome by the Ostrogoths (previously here and here) damaged the aqueducts that brought water to the city. According to traditional a maiden discovered a new source of fresh water and the theme of the iconography suggests the harnessing and taming of the waters with Tritons and horses guiding the shell chariot of Oceanus. An estimated three-thousand euro worth of coins is tossed into the fountain daily, with monies collected going to the poor of the city.

Friday 5 May 2023

8x8 (10. 720)

the comisar collection: an incredible auction of television memorabilia, sets and props from Star Trek, Jeopardy!, Cheers and late night talk shows—via Waxy  

craptions: bad quality closed-captioning are a disservice to those who rely on them—see also  

sonic wonderland: composer and acoustic ecologist R Murray Schafer’s 1967 guide to cleansing one’s auditory palette to better appreciate music  

flintknapping and wheelwrighting: take up an endangered craft as your new hobby—via Web Curios

wikiscroll: an educational and edifying (and endless) alternative to anti-social media—via B3ta  

far from me: a 2018 tribute to Gordon Lightfoot from John Prine—see also 

henry’s law: plans to remove CO₂ from the oceans for the oceans to suck it from the atmosphere to maintain equilibrium are yet to be proven safe or effective—see also  

returning champion: the lost tapes have been recovered but the mystery endures over a 1986 game show winning streak—via Strange Company

Wednesday 26 April 2023

8x8 (10. 700)

a is for anarchist: a counter-culture abecedarium—see previously  

man o’war: thousands of by-the-wind-sailors (Vellela vellela) wash ashore in California  

runway-zero-one-left: views of random airport exteriors—via Pasa Bon!see previously

manicule: Punctuation Personified: or, Pointing Made Easy (1824)—see also  

pepperoni hug spot: an AI made an intriguingly nightmarish TV commercial 

 jefferies tube: a survey of secret passages—including the ulitidors at Disneyland  

roaring forties: remote Gough Island is hiring 

yon zircle: final-born member of the Bowlin alphabet family passes away, aged 94

Thursday 30 March 2023

8x8 (10. 645)

maximum fun: Jessie Thorn is turning the podcast network into a worker-owned cooperative  

gearing-ratio: a nifty explainer on the physics of riding a bike—via Waxy  

glass-bead game: fascinating insights into the lunar water-cycle and stellar mist—see also 

stop making sense: David Byrne on his Big Suit  

retrotopia: Berlin’s Kunst-gewer-bemuseum explores Socialist design—see previously here and here  

sit up & listen: a Thames Television station closedown (see also) routine  

the panopticon effect: 99% Invisible explores the nineteenth century prison of Breda—see also