Sunday, 24 September 2023

10x10 (11. 020)

osiris-rex: fulfilling a seven-year mission (previously) a space probe to collect samples from an asteroid—with further adventures planned 

succession: Rupert Murdoch’s departure from News Corp is a cold-comfort for the millions brainwashed by Fox and Friends 

be the first to like this post: more on the meaning and origins of the chain of riders and horses dispatched to send missives—see previously  

project cybersyn: more on Salvadore Allende’s plans to build a socialist internet 

fanfare: the history and physics of the trumpet  

shear madness: 1980 reportage on a cutting-edge hair salon in Kensington  

the joke and dagger department: an appreciation of the genius of Spy vs Spy, a political cartoon that wasn’t a political cartoon 

3r’s: the Swedish educational system has a renewed emphasis on handwriting, quiet reading time  

omni consumer products: New York City police lease a robocop to patrol Times Square subway station as a trial run  

all these worlds are yours—except europa, attempt no landing there: the JWST detects carbon on the surface of the Jovian moon

Saturday, 16 September 2023

iลฃkuรฎl (11. 004)

Via Futility Closet we learn about the experimental constructed language proposed by linguist John Quijada in 2004 not for common-parlance but rather as an auxiliary language and a systematic approach to reduce the ambiguities of everyday speech and present, convey a logical set of instructions, mark-up protocols for situations calling for precise and succinct statements—for instance, politics, science and philosophy. Highly inflected and suggesting mental processing at a gallop or at least forethought prior to speaking: the two-unit sentence “tram-mฤผรถi hhรขsmaล™pลฃuktรดx” means in English “On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point.” The pictured script (boustrophedonic if the samples went on to the next line), illustrating in three word-units the possibility of semantic sense rather than organic development, warns to “Be careful, your fork is actually a fennec.” Since 2006, the inventor Quijada has released several progressive rock compositions in Ithkuil, though music seems to us the most forgiving means of expression and relying on entendre and allegory.

Friday, 15 September 2023

9x9 (11. 002)

you deserve to sit: a comedian’s silly song about their favourite inactivity  

๐Ÿ˜ธ: visit a random feline friend featured on Wikipedia—via Pasa Bon!  

& let it stonde .1. nyght or .2.: a medieval recipe for mead  

montage: the animated collages of Alice Issac  

shrinkflation: a French supermarket chain displaying advisory labels to alert consumers 

word alienation and semantic satiation: one of the laureates of the thirty-third Ig Noble Awards—see also here and here  

consult our extensive archives: veteran broadcaster—and BBC’s first podcaster, Melvyn Bragg celebrates one thousand episodes  

pagliacci: a pizza chef turns melodramatic over a cursed request


one year ago: Our Lady of Sorrows plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: forest mascots (1971) plus a Star Trek: TAS classic

three years ago: more Trek with “Amok Time,” illustrations from the children of Charles Darwin, rousing public sentiment following the Gunpowder Plot, life signs on Venus plus a COVID movie-night

four years ago: more on Jupiter’s moons, a hot Colonel Sanders, public crucifixes, Lovecraft in the style of Dr Seuss plus Graphis Press

five years ago: an AI names apples, the Ig Noble Awards, the Great Recession’s Lost Decade plus legalising marijuana confounded by travel regulations

Sunday, 10 September 2023

6x6 (10. 993)

wordwhile: whilst Damn Interesting takes a short sabbatical to recoup and regroup, try their fun word game  

home-ec: kakeibo (ๅฎถ่จˆ็ฐฟ) the century-old method of household budgeting devised by Motoko Hani, Japan’s first woman journalist  

germinating hope: seed art with a message at the Minnesota state fair  

bullet points: an encomium for the co-creator of PowerPoint Dennis Austin (RIP)  

vim and vigour: more on the nineteenth century cocaine-fortified wine—see previously 

 ☕️๐Ÿซ: more on universal words, Betteridge’s and Cunningham’s law—browse through the comments


one year ago: Hey Jude (1968), links to enjoy, more telling the bees plus more assorted links to revisit

two years ago: St Aubert, the ecological importance of oyster-beds, comparable to coral reefs plus even more links worth revisiting

three years ago: the largest basilica in the world, artist Marianne von Werefkin, a devastating earthquake in Constantinople (1509), the original and the reprised Fresh Prince, burning skies plus Hongkonger neologisms

four years ago: the dissolution of the Austrian Empire (1919), Boris Johnson suspends Parliament, Sharpiegate plus more assorted links

five years ago: Denver airport plays up conspiracy theories,  towing an iceberg to the desert, an innovative wind-turbine plus the premiere of X-Files (1993)

Saturday, 9 September 2023

7x7 (10. 991)

trochilinae: a look at the evolution of evolution of hummingbirds—see previously  

uranometria: a comparative study of constellations across cultures—via Web Curios  

portfolio: photographer James Mollison documents children’s rooms, collectors and their collections around the world plus other projects—via Things Magazine  

lightning 4-2: a record-setting speedrun of Super Mario Bros  

zero width non-joiner: let AI generate a custom emoji—note the cursed thumbs up/down icons—via Waxy

extended-stay: Plato’s Cave (previously) will be raising its rent—via JWZ  

halcyon days: a slow-motion look at the kingfisher’s dive 


one year ago: Stone Temple Pilots plus the proclamation of King Charles III

two years ago: more on DC statehood, the Battle of Teutoberg Forest (9 AD), rewilding begins at home plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: the establishment of Washington, DC (1791), the disputed Hans Island, a lighthouse transformed plus AI supervillains

four years ago: more on the moons of Jupiter 

five years ago: Trump threatens to remove US troops from Germany plus an expansive pattern library


Thursday, 24 August 2023

7x7 (10. 962)

miracle house: a singular property that survived the devastating wildfires opened up to the community as a beacon of hope for a destroyed Lahaina neighbourhood 

service manual showcase: a growing curated archive of quirky and niche instruction guides—via Waxy  

book ‘em danno: Trump arrested and released on bail in Fulton County in the US state of Georgia—with a historic mug-shot 

take the d-train: artist Stipan Tadiฤ‡ documented a year long route from the Bronx to Brooklyn and back—via Nag on the Lake 

spaghetti mayhem: Jan Hakon Erichsen has fun with uncooked pasta 

word of the day: Susie Dent’s logophilia  

ฯ…ฮณฯฯŒ ฯ€ฯฯ: emergency responders struggle to contain fires ravishing Greece—the largest in the EU

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

8x8 (10. 957)

☃️: brr (previously) on electricity and power generation at the South Pole 

blogoversary: Miss Cellania reflects on eighteen years of blogging  

©️: judge rules that generative art is not subject to copyright protections 

ascertainment bias: people who submit to genetic testing and studies are predisposed for it—via Kottke  

pulmonic egressive sounds: an individual who can talk backwards—via the new shelton wet/dry 

lending-library: appealing an injunction, the Internet Archive removes commercially available titles from its public database—via Waxy 

it’s-a me: the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, retiring after a quarter of a century 

ษ™สŠ: lignuists observe the birth of a new accent forming among Antarctic communities


one year ago: the State of Idaho, assorted links to revisit plus the plague of overtourism

two years ago: Petra rediscovered (1812), the moon Iapetus, more links to enjoy plus My Little Occult Book Club

three years ago: a canine saintAI poetry plus happy birthday Ray Bradbury

four years ago: returning to the Bretange

five years ago: dualling Trump trial coverage, a Romano-Gaul called Ultragoth plus gravity wells and potential energy

Sunday, 20 August 2023

9x9 (10. 954)

cucumber castle: a star-studded promotional film for the Bee-Gee’s medieval-themed, chivalrous 1970 album  

as big as a football pitch: the vague rulers of informal metrology 

good(bye) design: a tribute to the aesthetic of vintage consumer tech by Miki Nemcek with a special focus on Braun  

grand master: World Chess Federation places restrictions on trans competitors  

1:25: a tour inside the scale model of St Paul’s, hidden in a chamber in the attic 

 : like Zuckerburg explored before—in violation of app store policies—Elon Musk is threatening to remove Twitter’s block feature  

magalog: combination magazine-catalogue that was successful print model in the 1970s  

langue รฉtrangรจre: faced with budget-shortfalls, US public university cutting foreign language from its ciriculum 

elephant in the room: the imprint of favourite songs of our formative years and what that says about our capacity for new things

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

spotlit (10. 947)

Stan Carey of Sentence First introduces us to a special, exclusive—exhaustive class of English language action words called variable verbs through entertainment industry term and derivatives greenlight, figuratively giving the authority or permission to go ahead with a project dating back at least to the late 1930s, which subjected to a meta-study of corpora seems to prefer the past tense of -lit despite the general decline in favour of -lighted since the 1950s. It makes me wonder about similar lingo like the above, limelight or gaslit—which seems wrong in the mouth except for describing a stove—and reminds me of the strange code-switching that occurs in phrase “googled” something in other languages. We especially liked the contradistinction as illustrated by one commenter who may have “moonlighted on a moonlit night” but never vice-versa.


one year ago: an ABBA classic plus the first trans-Atlantic telegram (1858)

two years ago: a 1979 classic from The Knack, the fall of Kabul, an audio sampler of metro announcements plus the majik art of Marjorie Cameron Parsons Kimmel

three years ago: revisiting the Australian wildfires from the start of 2020, a very young Freddy Mercury, the art of Chase Middleton, St Roch, Flip the Frog and Mortimer Mouse (1930) plus more vagabond maps

four years ago: Trump tries to purchase Greenland, an online museum of various platforms’ first versions, the 1619 Project plus maps commissioned by colonisers of the New World made by native peoples

five years ago: the photography of Christy Lee Rogers, the Law of Jante, US Midterms plus RIP Aretha Franklin

Monday, 14 August 2023

balum balum (10. 942)

Via Fancy Notions, we enjoyed this short of the La Linea (previously) created by cartoonist Osvaldo Cavadoli accompanied by the background tune composed by Franco Godi. Because the characters of this interstitial talk in grammelot (see above), responsive gibberish used to convey teasing and frustration, it’s hard to say if rabbits habitually mock humans that they encounter but the exchange brings to mind the murderous bunnies of medieval manuscript marginalia.


one year ago: Some Enchanted Wavelength (1978), assorted links to revisit plus Tears for Fears with the brass section

two years ago: the historical Macbeth, kaleidoscopic mandalas plus “I Got You, Babe” (1965)

three years ago: assorted links worth revisiting, Saint Arnold, the second major book printed in the West plus a bookshelf that can be transformed into a casket

four years ago: TopPop

five years ago: the Blackout of 1968, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), more links to check out plus the history of the Turner Broadcasting System

Friday, 11 August 2023

multihypenate (10. 937)

The term new to us as well despite being accustomed to its employ when the dual-hatted careers of creatives and academics—singer-songwriter and director-producer for example plus considering our particular pension for zealous double-barrelling and dashes as punctuation—and so we appreciated the induction through “multi-hyphante spaces,” in other words a new and hyper-hyphenated way to describe mixed-use zoning for residential and commercial campuses and neighbourhoods with terminology that’s been in circulation for decades.  More discussion at Language Log at the link above including hybrid and unhyphenated identifications.

Thursday, 10 August 2023

gallon of scallops (10. 933)

We thoroughly enjoy one of the latest instalments of the podcast Judge John Hodgman that entertained cases submitted on codified language usage, idiolects and otherwise rampant pedantry with guest Merriam-Webster lexicographer Emily Brewster for its discussion on words but especially liked the tangential exchange on marriage customs with the new modern wedding anniversary gifts that diverge after the first five of paper, cotton, leather, linen and wood that hit all the show’s running gags: “And then the sixth anniversary, hotdog. Seventh anniversary, sandwich—because they’re not the same thing [some sources including Merriam-Webster infamously equate the two]…The eighth is Kung Pao chicken.” And so on, all needing citations for the unacquainted. The twentieth is separate bedrooms.


one year ago: the Treaty of Verdun (843) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the opening of the Louvre (1793), the animation of Raoul Servais plus historic medically restricted diets

three years ago: a public bath in Stockholm, the first Blues hit (1920) plus on being a joyful rule breaker

four years ago: You are Here plus more on the former border between East and West Germany

five years ago: strained relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia, the very model of a modern age millennial, the disappointment that comes with the realisation that one’s travel experience is far from unique

Friday, 28 July 2023

7x7 (10. 912)

barbieworld: a survey of a thousand advertisements contextualises the box-office phenomenon—see also 

gigo: a fundamental law of computing will ultimately thwart digital dictatorships  

lake berryessa: Dorothea Lange (previously) documented the flooding of a Napa Valley community in the 1950s—via Strange Company 

chamber music: a poorly received Baroque Beatles Book from 1965

i want to do whatever common people people do: a new genre was born in the sixteenth century when Pieter Bruegel began specialising in peasants, merchants and mongers  

word vectors: a bit of demystifying for Large Language Models—via Waxy 

 a census-designated place: explore Oppenheimer’s secret city of Los Alamos

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

walkflatter, wheel glutter, whim driver (10. 894)

Far removed from butcher, baker, candlestick-maker and seeming like a list that could have generated by an AI, we enjoyed perusing this register of job titles declared in the Census of 1881, the a snapshot of every household in the United Kingdom on the night of Sunday, 3 April of that year, the fifth decennial but the first to include details (mostly without context) on members of homes, compiled a few years later in The Companion to the Almanac; or Year-Book of General Information for 1885, sub-chapter The Occupations of the English People. Some of the more unusual professional entries are Sad-iron maker, Butt Woman, Peas Maker, Off-Beater, Dirt Refiner, Blabber and All-Rounder. Respondents of note include Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill and one William Neal without portfolio as he was considered “too idle.”

Saturday, 15 July 2023

la pierre de rosette (10. 886)

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

Monday, 3 July 2023

9x9 (10. 853)

lost animals: a short story by Geoff Manaugh who exorcises haunted houses with mundane equipment  

clippit: discontinued Microsoft Office Assistant resurrected as a ChatGPT add-on—see previously  

space10: IKEA reimagines a line of flatware encouraging the use of abundant, locally sourced materials—see also 

all-domain anomaly resolution office: newspapers of record passed on the bombshell story of US government programme to reverse-engineer captured extraterrestrial technology—via Slashdot 

i do not want my name to be a thing: John Hancock explains his outsized signature on the Declaration of Independence—see also 

duty to bargain: Google joins Meta in pulling its headline aggregators from Canada over the so called “link tax” 

not to put too fine a point on it: the origins of a selection of hackneyed idioms 

the ganzfeld procedure: a cheap, easy and effective sensory-deprivation technique

short fiction: six-word sci-fi prompts

Sunday, 2 July 2023

8x8 (10. 849)

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

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

ษš: rare phonemes and how to pronounce them  

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

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

abacusynth: a unique electronic musical instrument from Elias Jarzobek 

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

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


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

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

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

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

five years ago: holidaying on Lake Garda

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

Tuesday, 27 June 2023

i have some notes (10. 839)

Via Kottke, we are directed towards the latest xkcd panel from Randall Munroe that’s a design critique on the Latin alphabet, which we love for registering all the inherited features and flaws in its design, from the semi-vowels, tittle and jot to the problematic X and coda.

paronomasia (10. 838)

Like our previous encounter with the “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den,” we learn via the new shelton wet/dry that the repetition of buffalo eight times can be parsed as a grammatically correct and true statement, illustrating how homophones and homonyms can create ambiguity as well as nuance. The animal name—the noun with null inflection like deer—is also used as an attributive adjunct and as a verb, and without Americanisms is semantically equivalent to [The] Buffalo [Minnesota] bison that other Buffalo [New York] bison bully also bully Buffalo [Indiana] bison.


one year ago: the US Supreme Court OKs right of lawyers to advertise their services (1977), “Captain Video” (1949), another MST3K classic, the Bored Ape Yacht Club Music festival plus hummingbird moths

two years ago: your daily demon—PursonMoby Dick (1956), Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Seven Sleepers, Freddie Mercury’s first show (1970) plus assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: the first Pride March (1970), problematic upsampling plus Trump on Afghanistan

four years ago: Tironian shorthand, Zeitan characters plus a collection of modern-day retablos

five years ago: US Supreme Court upholds Trump’s travel ban plus the history of the US Pledge of Allegiance 

Monday, 26 June 2023

8x8 (10. 836)

vers une architecture: architects on the centenary of Le Corbusier  

mall city: the 1983 NYU ethnograph of the culture—via Open Culture 

bladerunner 1929: with the help of AI, a trailer of the film in the style of Frtiz Lang’s Metropolis 

single fare zone: riotous 1960s Milwaukee metro passes 

for all intensive purposes: more eggcorns (previously) in English speech—featuring the linguist who coined the term 

push any key to begin: a brief history of splash screens and boot-up messages  

misinformation ouroboros: AI is ravaging the guardians of the Old Web and hindering innovation  

wonderful, wonderful copenhagen: the Danish city doubles as the seat of the UNESCO World Capital of Architecture 



one year ago: the Soviet calendar plus merfolk cosplay

two years ago: a twisting tower in Arles plus historic over the counter heroine as an alternative to opium (1896)

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, the first UPC barcode (1974) plus a rallying song from The Chicks

four years ago: Obergefell v Hodges (2015), assorted links to revisit,  a history of the mouse cursor, the Prosecco Hills content for UNESCO recognition, American military to return to Iceland plus the archaeology of Woodstock

five years ago: Kennedy visits Berlin (1963),  an ominous warning about artificial intelligence, assorted links to revisit plus the cathedral of Peter and Paul of Bristol