Wednesday 22 May 2024

permalink (11. 573)

Cory Doctorow presents a winsome and circumspect consideration of the recent survey of the internet’s perishable nature and how a figure approaching forty percent of websites, news articles and government websites have no legacy and succumb to linkrot—with reference sites particularly left untethered from their original source material—not withstanding preservation efforts through his personal and persistent practise of keeping a daily journal—an indexed memory of associated thoughts and connections that harkens back to earliest theories of informatics—and making the process public. One’s own record is of course an aid and antidote to the peekaboo when neglect and decay follow creative collaboration and the context, steps and milieu all slip away and a heuristic to gauge the sad truth that institutions and archives are brittle, gearing more towards discovery and derivation rather than rediscovery and reflection. More from Pluralistic at the link up top.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

9x9 (11. 464)

avis de rรฉception: Gertrude Stein first draft of her manuscript for The Making of Americans returned by a publisher  

greener pastures: ranchers embrace the benefits of virtual fencing  

แผ€ฮบฯฮฑฯƒฮฏฮฑ: philosophers weigh in on why we do things against our better judgment—via Kottke  

classroom setting: The Function of Colour in Schools and Hospitals (1930)  

haute couture: McDonald’s fashion in France  

heliopause: a NASA-endorsed app designed to photograph the North American total eclipse 

rhapsody in green: warm earth music for plants… and the people who love them 

could’ve been a contender: for what would be his hundredth birthday, some screen highlights of Marlon Brando

peer review: the Journal of Universal Rejection


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Planet of the Apes (1968)

three years ago: musical hypercards, more links to enjoy, missionary cats plus Blue Moon (1961)

four years ago: vintage railway memorabilia plus drawing elephants sight unseen

five years ago: the Marshall Plan (1948), more links worth revisiting plus conserving Soviet Almaty

Friday 22 March 2024

intersection of prose and code (11. 442)

Via Web Curios, we are directed to the third annual anthology of an experimental webzine described as a “journal of literature made to exist on the on the internet” called The HTML Review. A selection of works radiating outwards as spokes from the issue are collected that incorporate both an essay or fable with an element of the interactive. We too especially enjoyed the “Game of Hope,” which combines John Horton Conway’s cellular automata with Pandora’s Box, and the tangential “Measure a Machine’s Heart” whose passion either ramps up or burns out according to a certain protocol.

Saturday 9 March 2024

8x8 (11. 411)

๐Ÿšซ: the origins of the circle-and-slash prohibition symbol, its adoption as an ISO standard coinciding with 1984’s Ghost Busters  

return to sender: as part of the Prize Papers Project, a pristine Faroese hand-knitted sweater was discovered in an impounded parcel from 1807 

electronic labyrinth: the 1967 student film from George Lucas that would be later reworked into the feature  

snowdrops: Robert Marsham’s Indications of Spring (1789)  

clairaudient: more on Rosemary Brown with other classical compositions from beyond the grave  

if it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist: as of the beginning of the year, the venerable repository, the Ubuweb whose founder Kenneth Goldsmith is famous for the axiom, of the avant-garde has gone into archive-mode—via Web Curios 

sella rotalis: Paul de Livron crafts beautiful wooden wheelchairs, including one for the Pope

belinda new: exploring the typography of Oscar nominated films

Sunday 25 February 2024

land der berge, land am strome (11. 379)

Adopted as the national anthem a few months prior, the official lyrics were announced on this day in 1947, the verses penned by poet Paula von Preradoviฤ‡. With the end of World War II, the country wanted to replace the state anthem, the so called Kernstock-Hymn which substituted the words to Hayden’s “God Save the Kaiser” set to the tune of the “Deutschlandlied” (supplanting the imperial substitute following the Anschluss), performances of both outlawed since the defeat of the Third Reich—soliciting for ideas. Upon hearing of the selection of their mother’s ode to the natural wonders of Austria, Preradoviฤ‡’s son, Otto and Fritz, immediately composed a parody (see above) of “Land of Mountains, oh, Land of Rivers,” to the same rhyme as Land der Erbsen, Land der Bohnen, Land der vier Besatzungzonen… satirising the post-war rationing and austerity and the occupation by the Allied Powers and became a popular version recited in schools.


one year agoArmenia’s radio-telescope plus the transcendental claymation of Art Clokey

two years ago: NFT graffiti

three years ago: a walk through the woods and fields 

four years ago: Rubber Duckie (1970), the dissolution of Prussia (1947), Khrushchev’s secret speech (1956) plus the Fight Between Carnival and Lent

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, a useful Dutch term, 1969 in pictures plus mysterious stream-of-conscience fiction


Wednesday 21 February 2024

lipogram (11. 366)

Being a fan of constrained writing (previously), a storytelling technique that imposes a specific pattern, meter, rhyme, or bound by a rule that outlaws a certain letter, we quite appreciated being directed towards the book that developed out of a COVID-times project called Ebb by Grant Maierhofer to produce a novel without using the first letter of the alphabet. From a passage about the author’s inspiration—e’s been done already:

Limiting yourself is oddly opening. Limiting your view of things, like stopping yourself from doing something, brings this sense of bliss when you do some close thing to this. This feeling like you’re freed up from thinking one style. This feeling like you’re freed up from being bogged down in your every moment mind. The mind of every moment is too open to every flitting possibility. The mind with one limit put on it knows where it might like to go. To run even. This mind brings out something new in you. Like Wittgenstein’s brother. The composer. The piece written for just one of his sets of fingers. The possibility there. Tehching Hsieh’s work, opening himself to the possibilities in limiting himself for long stretches. The possibility opening up from this kind of thing. I only wish to tell someone to consider it. The possibility even in just considering it. This might be enough. Cut yourself off from something. Limit yourself. See the things which creep out from the sides of the thing you’ve skipped. You’ve stopped yourself from something, now something else opens up there. This is incredible. Simply incredible. The most wonderful thing which could’ve occurred.

One hardly notices the letter’s absence and catch myself juggling with a similar awareness and avoidance in choice of words. Tehching “Sam” Hseih is a retired Taiwanese performance best known for durational works and feats of stamina and endurance and deferment, exploring time and struggle—solitude and commitment, for example not leaving a cell for a year with no human interaction or not stepping inside for another. Much more at the links above.


one year ago: the Communist Manifesto (1848) plus a landmark US Supreme Court ruling

two years ago: the foresight of the US founders plus Nixon in China

three years ago: another Roman holiday, life-sized scale models plus an iceberg simulator

four years ago: bridging continents, assorted links to revisit plus AI antibiotics

five years ago: a bacterial battery plus mergers and acquisitions

Sunday 18 February 2024

das unterwassser kabarett (11. 362)

In ninety-six editions published, distributed to be read by one person at a time before passed along to the next, Carl Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret, not a graphic designer or journalist by trade but rather a lawyer having fled from the Nazi regime, documented his time in hiding as a refugee in his underground journals, zines from August 1943 until April 1945. Amazingly, these stylised, bilingual photomontages filled with personal reflections survived the war with Bloch, returning to the author and have be conserved and reprinted as an anthology of the time. Using found ephemera, Bloch pasted together collages, hand written and hand bound, these editions circulated through a necessarily limited readership of others finding themselves in the same situation. Much more at the links above.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

8x8 (11. 328)

the scholar & his cat: a resonant ninth century reflection by Pangur Bรกn 

bring your own beach owl: mimicry and semi-automated genre fiction—via Kottke  

riverwalk: a one kilometre-long museum that undulates with the reservoir it crosses in Shandong province

steelmaster: a 1966 office furniture catalogue  

television stone: the unique optical properties of the mineral ulexite 

๐Ÿ›‹️: the Eames Archive open to the public—see previously 

vesuvius challenge: a trio of researchers share the honorarium for deciphering charred scrolls from Herculaneum with the help of AI  

ombre: Alexander Pope’s card game


one year ago: Facebook’s social engineering experiments plus a ska version of the Tetris theme

two years ago: multiple zoom maps, Computerwelt, Sesame Street light jazz plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: quotation marks, Zardoz (1974), more links to enjoy, the founding of Liberia, I Ching in melting snow plus barbarian tongues

four years ago: Deciminisation Days, Trump acquitted, classical architecture plus photographer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore

five years ago: Anguilla independence, the Irish border, dress uniforms plus Orson Welles on creeping intolerance

Wednesday 24 January 2024

refractive index (11. 291)

Opening on this day in 1955 in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, sparking many revivals and alternative exhibitions, the curation of some five hundred images from all over the world was the culmination of the the career of Edward Steichen, director of the MoMA’s department of photography—having earlier played a significant role in legitimising the medium as a recognised art form—drawing record-setting number of visitors. The ambitious project’s title was taken from the stanza of the Carl Sandburg poem, written as a prologue for the show: 

There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men.
There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women.
There is only one child in the world and the child's name is All Children.

People! flung wide and far, born into toil, struggle, blood and dreams, among lovers, eaters, drinkers, workers, loafers, fighters, players, gamblers. Here are ironworkers, bridge men, musicians, sandhogs, miners, builders of huts and skyscrapers, jungle hunters, landlords, and the landless, the loved and the unloved, the lonely and abandoned, the brutal and the compassionate—one big family hugging close to the ball of Earth for its life and being. Everywhere is love and love-making, weddings and babies from generation to generation keeping the Family of Man alive and continuing.  

If the human face is “the masterpiece of God” it is here then in a thousand fateful registrations. Often the faces speak that words can never say. Some tell of eternity and others only the latest tattings.  Child faces of blossom smiles or mouths of hunger are followed by homely faces of majesty carved and worn by love, prayer and hope, along with others light and carefree as thistledown in a late summer wing.  Faces have land and sea on them, faces honest as the morning sun flooding a clean kitchen with light, faces crooked and lost and wondering where to go this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Faces in crowds, laughing and windblown leaf faces, profiles in an instant of agony, mouths in a dumbshow mockery lacking speech, faces of music in gay song or a twist of pain, a hate ready to kill, or calm and ready-for-death faces. Some of them are worth a long look now and deep contemplation later.

Embarking later on a global, goodwill tour partly under the auspices of the United States Information Agency (see also), a manifesto of peace during times of turmoil and division, the images were selected to communicate a story and the gallery of faces engendered mutual recognition and seemed to look back at the audience, inspiring tributes, sequels and re-examinations, beginning with West Germany’s 1965 Weltausstellung der Fotografie and some critical revisions, re-appraisals to shift perspective and build inclusivity and exposure on the intent. Ultimately inscribed to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, the physical catalogue of prints is displayed (according to the original set-up) and archived at Clervaux Castle of curator Steichen’s native Luxembourg.


one year ago: drawing lessons from an ukiyo-e master, the US army leaves the Rheinland (1923) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more on Saturn’s moons, a WWII holdout (1972) plus the Young Poland art movement

three years ago: geneticist Beatrice Mintz

four years ago: negative harmonies, City Roads, more synthetic humans, a belle รฉpoque residence plus French territories in Jerusalem

five years ago: the micronation of Sealand, a 1960 documentary on the Cosmos plus an impressive cultural centre in Tฤซanjฤซn

Tuesday 23 January 2024

and there are twice as many stars as usual (11. 290)

Adapted and recirculated in 2019 on the occasion of another prodigious birth, the 1976 Walt Whitman award-winning verse by poet and nurse Laura Gilpin, from her collection The Hocus Pocus of the Universe, “The Two-Headed Calf” has become a thoughtful refrain for videos, viral and with millions of followers and fans, documenting this polycephalous twin recently born, with many concerned for their wellbeing and quality of life—precious, no matter how short it may be. 

Tomorrow when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum. 

But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass. And
as he stares into the sky, there are
twice as many stars as usual.

Not to disparage farm boys, though they’re always ready to take us, but at least for this night, we are perfect and primed for tomorrow unawares and nonetheless loved.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

latrinalia (11. 272)

Via the peripatetic online explorations of Messy Nessy Chic, we are referred to the doodle books, Klotterbรถckers—a five volume collection, of Stockholmer Bengt Claudelin, professionally an assistant to a wealthy art-collecting countess (whom eventually bequeathed her collection along with Claudelin’s research to the state though first censored then forgotten in the archives), of the graffiti in public conveniences, documented in his free time. There’s the usual toilet humour and bragging (see also for another ethnographic study) but an overwhelming preponderance of propositioning and profusion of male prostitution. Although the entries (often illustrated which Claudelin faithfully copied) are anonymous—one group in particular stood out: soldiers, for whom it was not uncommon almost a century earlier to offer sexual favours for sale, particularly given the low wages and dearth of obligations during the duty week, to have some extra spending money for the weekend and a proper date. Claudelin’s patron, Wilhelmina Hallwyl, donated her home and collection on the condition that it would remain unchanged and always kept together in 1922, offering like her secretary’s hobby, a unique insight into the lifestyle of the Swedish nobility of the era.

why can’t they be like we were—perfect in every way (11. 271)

We enjoyed this short observation by McSweeney’s contributor Talia Argondezzi on how contemporary parenting might be perceived through the generational lens of grandparents. All of it is pretty biting and astute but we especially liked the passage: 

After dinner, we play board games—not Monopoly, obviously, as I have no interest in these children learning the value of a dollar. And not Candyland, since it glamorizes added sugar. Sometimes we play Risk, but due to my idealized vision of how the world works, we cut the guns off all the little army guys, and we don’t battle for control of the countries. We simply roll the dice to move through the nations’ open borders. The game ends once everyone gets to Scandinavia. 

Do give the whole thing a read. Despite having tons of spare time all day every day, at no point do I call my parents.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

winterovers (11. 257)

Courtesy of Waxy, we are pointed to an update in the epic blog about being stationed at McMurdo research facility in the South Pole (previously) regarding the author’s departure and redeployment from Antartica and homecoming. We do hope that these are not the end of the insights and intrepid adventures in logistics and dealing with the extreme and isolated conditions, otherworldly seasonal shifts much more jarring that what we are accostomed to. In any case, each entry has been well worth the read about living and working—challenges and the creature comforts afforded—at the research station (see also) and we are promised further updates coming soon.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

10x10 (11. 254)

job security: the US only created seven-hundred new IT positions last year—compared to two-hundred seventy thousand in 2022—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

tidy mouse: an industrious rodent sorts out a human’s workspace 

a theft from those who hunger: Dwight Eisenhower’s Chance for Peace Speech of 1953   

seo: how Google’s search algorithm has shaped the web  

past is precedent: Austin Kleon shares one-hundred things that made his year—a very good list 

the big mac index: the rising costs of fast food and its political implications 

high school high: graphic designer Veronica Kraus curates gems from old yearbooks—see also—via Messy Nessy Chic  

armed conflict survey: mapping wars around the world  

double fantasy: celebrated photographer Kishin Shinoyama, who captured the intimate moments of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for their album art (see below) passes away, aged 83 

 year-on-year: the word from Davos forecasts anaemic economic growth


one year ago: Nobody Told Me plus canal workers’ jargon

two years ago: Mambo Italiano, RMS Queen Elizabeth plus the premier of the iPhone (2007)

three years ago: classic rebrands, assorted links to revisit, a snowy day, more on Cats plus a diet inducing doorway

four years ago: attempts for a peaceful resolution to the Iraq War (1991), the yacht whisperer plus plans for a Woven City

five years ago: the diplomatic status of the EU downgraded, more Hampsterdance, repairing the Azure Window plus more links to enjoy

Tuesday 2 January 2024

and surely ye’ll be your pint-cup and surely i’ll be mine (11. 238)

In light of recent toasting and cheering and an earlier post on translation of popular lyrics, we enjoyed learning about the Japanese verses inserted into the Robert Burns’ poem made into a New Year’s tradition. Initially used for a completely separate purpose, Hotaru no Hikari (The Glow of a Firefly, ่›ใฎๅ…‰) set to the tune of the Scottish folk song was used for school matriculations and graduations and played also as outro music at shops and restaurants to signal closing time for customers, a few lines from this other composition in Japanese are added to Auld Lange Syne to ring in the New Year. Much more at Language Log at the link above including various performances of the different versions.

Saturday 30 December 2023

anlaut, rime, nucleus, coda (11. 226)

Though everyone can intuitively say how many syllables are in a word—until one begins to question oneself like being prejudiced towards a certain pronunciation—and I find myself mostly conscious of them when editing and formatting longer words, particularly German, ones that to be hyphenated to be broken up to fit on one line or not be orphaned on the page—linguists have a challenging time defining what this phonological unit really is and whether it exists at all. Easily enough meted out, with allowances for artistic license, in poetic transcription adhering to a prescribed meter and rhythm and clearly parsed in the dictionary, the practise of actual syllabification is difficult to resolve as the spoken emphasis and stress is often, maybe always at odds with the conventions of orthography.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

resume your seat, little sister—i want you to stay fresh and pretty—for gentlemen callers (11. 217)

Premiering in Chicago on this day in 1944, Tennessee Williams’ (previously) first critically successful work propelled the playwright to stardom from relative obscurity. The memory play which includes strong autobiographical elements—excusing the unreliable narrator—recalls the trials of the Wingfield family, an absent and abusive father, a faded southern belle of a mother, a long-suffering son that supports them in his St Louis apartment with a dull job at a shoe warehouse and his older sister, a painfully shy individual with a slight disfigurement from a childhood illness and retreats into her own world of fragile figurines. With Tennessee Williams popping up frequently, I am realising that a lot of what I used to think about mental health and its aberrations was informed by such histrionics and wonder if anyone else was similarly influenced.  Despite its long runs and revival and many radio and television adaptations, it was only made into a film twice—once in 1950, with Jane Wyman and Kirk Douglas, and then again in 1987, directed by Paul Newman and starring Karen Allen, Joanne Woodward, James Naughton and John Malkovich.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

we already feel (11. 130)

The latest Linkfest introduces us to the previously unpublished early music of Carola Baer, a UK-extract relocated to San Francisco in 1990. Homesick and isolated, Baer recorded an album over the course of several months on cassette and gave it the studio treatment, photocopying a cover for The Story of Valerie. Never releasing it, Baer lost the only copy—for it only to turn up in a rummage bin of a charity shop in Oregon twenty six years, and with the finder’s help, Baer was not only reunited with this personal artefact, it was also given a limited release with five hundred vinyl pressings. Much more at the links above.

Thursday 26 October 2023

suiko t-50 (11. 075)

Via Pasa Bon!, we are directed towards a rare, vintage synthesiser hardly known outside of the Japanese specialists’ market made as a training device for Koto (็ฎ) players, the plucked zither-like instrument, and as accompaniment to recited, classical poetry, with a keyboard following the fret and bridge layout of the strings and tuned to the minor Hirajลshi scale and mode. More at the links above. 


one year ago: more adventures in Crete

two years ago: a Roger Corman classic (1958),  Austria declares neutrality (1955) plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: William Shatner in an Esperanto language film, more links to enjoy plus the Trump-Biden debate

four years ago: more links worth revisiting 

five years ago: Monster Mash, time travel with the dictionary plus Star Trek: Lower Decks

Thursday 31 August 2023

8x8 (10. 973)

energy makes time: a resonant essay about how doing those essential things enables everything else—via Kottke 

kopienkritik: Ancient Roman souvenirs and mementos limn their culture and makes their lived experience more accessible—see previously    

: a clock correlated to YouTube videos that mention the current time—see previously—from Russell Samora—via Waxy

motes: what the tiniest specks of dust reveal about the world—via Damn Interestingsee also

honky chรขteau: more on the Abbey Road of the Val d’Oise—see previously  

coenties slip: the East River waterfront street that was witness to New York City’s cultural evolution—via tmn  

e-meter: the Church of Scientology urge the US government to walk-back right-to-repair legislation—via Slashdot 

a spell against indifference: Maria Popova laments her discounting of the power of poems—via Swiss Miss


one year ago: RIP Mikhail Gorbachev, Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man (1968) plus more Gorbymania

two years ago: assorted links to revisit, numeracy and conspicuous calculation plus the animation studio of John Hubley

three years ago: Dungeon Master for Halloween, the Gdaล„sk Social Accords (1980), more links to revisit, Lincoln Logs (1920) plus Tom Hiddleston as macaroons

five years ago: a LEGO Bugatti, a corporate logo font, an intimate rave at Stonehenge plus the art and maps of Jo Mora

six years ago: unexploded munitions from WWII prompts an evacuation in Frankfurt plus more links to enjoy