Wednesday 27 March 2024

the usual suspects (11. 452)

After years of obscuring police line-ups in creative and comical (to some) fashions, one department will comply with a request from a toy company to respectfully stop using its image to hide the faces of potential law-breakers in its social media posts. Certain authorities had been in the habit of protecting the identity of suspects for non-violent crimes in case they were exonerated and not to expose them to public shaming—the stocks—but all began to comply once legislation was passed to protect the identities of all until proven guilty. We’re not sure why such a blotter needed to be circulated in the first place, unless looking for more witnesses or issuing an all points bulletin. Mugshots are also removed after a fortnight. In any case, no more minifigs.

synchronoptica

one year ago: The Leopard (1963) plus Everything is a Remix

two years ago: Starlight Express plus Let America Be America Again

three years ago: a cargo freighter blocks the Suez Canal, Moby Dick by Matt Kish, statehood for Washington, DC plus the Tenerife Airport Disaster (1977)

four years ago: the etymology of a snack cracker, Typhoid Mary, vintage bathrooms, an Oscar boycott (1973) plus job losses soar due to the pandemic

five years ago: Japan becomes less vegetarian (1872), driving home through the Rhรถn plus The Disorder of Things

Tuesday 30 January 2024

8x8 (11. 307)

1,44mb: some Japanese ministries are phasing out the requirement of submitting official documents on physical media 

forensic linguistics: language experts and crime-solving 

jurassic lark: Poseidon’s Underworld recaps the 1960 cinematic experience Dinosaurs!  

painting with plasticine: Olive Harbutt, daughter of the medium’s inventor, creates art in this 1958 short  

: Letraset fill patterns—see previously 

throwing eggs: popular Chinese card game Guandan may receive sanction for the classroom  

esperantido: linguist Manuel Halvelik created an auxiliary diglossia to make translations sound more archaic 

omnichord: Suzuki brings back the portable music-maker from 1981

Monday 1 January 2024

spoiler alert (11. 235)

Turning our attention to past movies set in the then future of our present (hopefully not prophetic), the first round goes to the 1975 darkly, problematically comedic post-apocalyptic adaptation of the Harlan Ellison novella of the same name. A teenager portrayed by Don Johnson (Miami Vice) scavenges through the wastelands of the US southwest following a nuclear war accompanied by his telepathic dog (voiced by Tim McIntire). Orphaned at an early age with no formal education or socialisation, the adolescent is focused on survival, interested solely in food and sex—conquests secured with the aid of his canine companion in exchange for meals as the genetic modifications that bestowed super-intelligence leaves him incapable of tasks like hunting. After numerous run-ins with bandits, mutants and rogue androids, the teenager is eventually recruited by an aristocratic scout of a subterranean colony as a stud to help with low viable breeding population. A preview and links to the whole movie available at Weird Universe above.  Most other selections seemed to be based in 2024 for purely arbitrary reasons and only two to three years behind when they were produced—with the exception of the 1999 Josef Rusnak and Roland Emmerich vehicle that was overshadowed by the similarly themed Matrix and was a victim to the strange echo-phenomena of “twin films”that sometimes happens in Hollywood (due to screenplay shopping and submission to multiple studios, industrial secrecy and espionage), like the asteroid flicks Armageddon and Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, 1981’s The Howling, Wolfen and An American Werewolf in London, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, or on stage Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. A multibillion dollar computer company in then present-day Los Angeles is experimenting with a virtual reality simulation of the city in 1937 populated by individuals unaware that they are part of a program. Entering the simulation in order to solve the mysterious death of the company CEO, the protagonist and heir to the enterprise (and a prime suspect) finds clues that lead to the revelation that thousands of parallel virtual worlds exist but there is only one reality whose inhabitants have developed a virtual world of their own, but having a pocket metaverse within another does not necessarily result in privilege or insight. The protagonist disconnects and emerges into reality advanced a quarter of a century.

Monday 25 December 2023

sit down and shut-up, will ya? try not to live up to all of my expectations (11. 215)

Garnering multiple awards and accolades and considered among the best screenplays ever written, the George Roy Hill directed caper—having earlier used the same principals in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, premiered on Christmas day in 1973, the Robert Redford and Paul Newman vehicle centres around a complicated plan by two grifters (inspired by a duo actual confidence tricksters, Charlie and Fred Gondorff), nearly foiled by the FBI, to con an organised crime boss out of a half-a-million dollars. Set in the mid-1930s, it features old-fashioned interstitial title cards and the music of Scott Joplin, causing a resurgence in the interest in ragtime.

Friday 10 November 2023

9x9 (11. 110)

tragedy of the commons: Tokelau’s country-code top level domain (see also) turned the tiny Pacific island into a virtual den of thievery—via Web Curios  

hanna-barbera educational division: a bizarre 1979 film-strip about getting home safe for latch-key kids featuring some ranger danger 

itinerant filmmaker: travelling from town to town, The Kidnappers Foil was a four-decade vanity project for local talent, produced hundreds of times over  

suspense accents: add the sound of drama to your day—via Things Magazine  

mixtape 2023: Cardhouse’s annual audio/visual revue

bjรถrn of the dead: Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson to play a starring role in an apocalyptic ABBA-tribute band horror movie—via Good Internet  

so red the nose, or, breath in the afternoon: an Oakland, California speakeasy bringing back drinks from 1930s—including Ernest Hemingway’s favoured Champagne cocktail  

merrie melodies: a snippet of the score for the cancelled Coyote v Acme—see more about the shelved project 

legal autopilot: a neural network negotiated and finalised a contract—an NDA—without human intervention

Sunday 17 September 2023

7x7 (11. 007)

spiral town: AI artistry with geometric patterned medieval villages captivate the internet—via Waxy 

the fabric of civilisation: the fascinating history of sericulture—see previously here and here  

๐Ÿซ : an informal survey reveals men think about Ancient Rome daily, sometimes to the surprise of their partners 

magic screen: a look at the creative crew behind Pee-wee’s Playhouse 

lennon 2499: hunting down the artist’s famous wristwatch—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to check out there)  

hal mooney and his orchestra: ballet standards as lounge music  

everyday yลkai: AI generated Japanese folklore figures hiding in plain sight—see previously

Monday 11 September 2023

galvanic response (10. 997)

Via the New Shelton wet/dry, we learn that from 1950 to 1973 the Canadian civil service, to include the Mounties and the armed forces, amid the general moral panic applied to different lifestyles and the notion (reenforced by social pressures to hide one’s identity) that gay men were susceptible to honey-pot operations and recruitment by Marxist espionage utilised a device called the “fruit machine”—a pejorative yet re-appropriated term—to screen out homosexual candidates and eliminate government workers (see also). Test subjects were sat in a dentist’s chair and made to view a series of pictures, ostensibly to rate stressors, but from the pedestrian to the pornographic gauged pupillary (eye dilation) to other involuntary responses as a proxy for erotic thoughts with a deeply flawed set of assumptions that potentially (funding was withdrawn in the late 1960s but the technique was still employed) cost up to nine-thousand individuals their careers.

Thursday 7 September 2023

notices and diffusions (10. 988)

Founded on this day in 1923 after several earlier attempts that failed to gain international support in response to harmonise global police response in the face of increased travel and trade that was accompanied by attendant transnational criminal enterprises at the conclusion of a five-day congress in Vienna, Interpol under the presidency of the summit’s organiser, jurist, law enforcement official and former Austrian chancellor Johannes Schober was chartered with a mandate to investigate trafficking, political corruption and counterfeiting—into include copyright infringements and not as an supernational police force, despite popular conception, only liaising between jurisdictions. Interpol is, by its constitution, expressly forbidden to intervene in matters of politics or military, religious or racial matters and maintain neutrality—a stance that has garnered the organisation criticism over the years, leading to arrests of dissident refugees at their behest and their avoidance of pursuing war crimes.

synchronoptica

one year ago: St Elmo’s Fire (1985),  a powerful political ad (1964) plus the end of the 9€ ticket scheme

two years ago: more on the development of kitchen design, Wikipedia Commons (2004), a Muppets conspiracy theory, Dancing Queen (1976) plus more false Dmitris

three years ago: the Abbots Bromley horn dance, circumnavigating the globe by car (1929) plus a pretty keen sports mascot 

four years ago: the abbey of LandรฉvennecMidcentury Modern emoji, more on the Periodic Table, The Book of Kells plus Astro Boy (1963)

five years ago: lemons and the mafia, toxic-loving plants plus getting rid of plastic ring beer binders

Saturday 5 August 2023

akte x (10. 926)

Our gratitude to the always interesting Maps Mania for referring us to the Anomaly Observatory has been documenting paranormal activity focused mainly on Berlin and environs since 2008 but monitoring the unexplained—from the mundane to the phenomenal—which deviates dangerously from the norm. Like with this instance with the map centred on this location on the Museuminsel recounting how one night last December a torrent of water washing away hundreds of exotic fish causing huge and disruptive flood appeared, nearly eliding over the fact that the source was the sudden and catastrophic explosion of a hotel aquarium, it is difficult to tell if it’s an earnest investigation or a facetious commentary on such endeavours but regardless wonderful weird and dedicated to urban mythos. More to explore at the links above.

synchronopitica

one year ago: Que Sera, SeraThe Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), assembling the globe by various demographic factors plus more city map generators

two years ago: assorted links to revisit,  identifying the location of a sketch by Leonardo plus a Beatles single with an equally good b-side (1966)

three years ago: America tries to ban TikTok, the invention of telegraphy was first dismissed as a gimmick, more links to enjoy, an alternate ending to The Giving Tree plus the Portsmouth Sinfonia

four years ago: air traffic controls in the US strike (1981), the craze of purikura plus a look at the hodiernal verb tense

five years ago: a preview of Star Trek: Picard, a planned remake of 9-to-5 plus more links worth revisiting

Friday 4 August 2023

line of succession (10. 925)

Finishing his tour of North America on this day in 1923, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, celebrated author and purveyor of woo (previously), boarding the RMS Adriatic bound from New York back to the United Kingdom said on the recent death of the American president, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, “It will take three days for Mr Harding’s spirit to become acclimated to conditions in the new world… Mr Coolidge [his vice president and successor] should have no difficult in communicating with his predecessor’s spirit. Both men have led clean and Christian lives.” If council was sought through mediumship, the nation’s new chief executive would have no problem transitioning to his role. Though “Silent Cal” probably did not seek out Harding’s advice, his reputation fraught with scandal including damaging cronyism and the Teapot Dome bribery that only emerged posthumously plus jailing (at least refusing to entertain overtures for a pardon) his opponent from the 1920 election, Eugene Debs, his own hands-off approach to economic policy informed and enabled the “Roaring Twenties” and following his decision not to run for a second full term in 1929, was very reluctant to endorse his party’s nominee, Herbert Hoover, whom Coolidge dismissed as universally bad.

Thursday 22 June 2023

sparizione di emaneula orlandi (10. 827)

Disappearing seemingly without a trace, the Vatican teen (her father was a lay employee of the papal household and the family had free run of the grounds) who mysteriously vanished on this day in 1983 whilst returning home from music lessons, a choral member and flutist of the Pontificium Institutum musicae sacrae, is currently under investigation by the Holy See, which after nearly four-decades of near silence on the matter has directed a re-examination of testimony and reports into the case of Emaneula Orlandi—thanks to relentless petitioning by her older sibling Pietro to find out the truth, at the behest of Pope Francis. Rumours arose, mostly sourced from unverifiable accounts, that Orlandi was a runaway, lured into a trafficking racket with exorbitant commissions for selling Avon products and adopting the persona of Barbarella, transmuting into conspiracy theories including that she was being held in ransom as leverage for the release of would-be assassin of John Paul II, as an East German Stasi operation under orders of the KBG, kidnapped in the wake of the Vatican Bank collapse and money laundering scandal in order to force the payments of restitutions, and is hidden in London mental hospital, kept as collateral for nearly forty years. The probe is currently under investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in Rome and has been the subject of a recent Nexflix documentary.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

you have the right to remain silent (10. 805)

Emerging from movement for legal aid for defendants supported by LBJ’s Great Society programmes which provided for counsel during the interrogation process after booking as a safeguard for practises that many viewed as brutal and coercive, the US Supreme Court issued its decision in Miranda v Arizona on this day in 1966 that renders inadmissible self-incriminating statements obtained without the informed consent of the apprehended of their rights to legal representation. Whereas the protections of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution was customarily understood as a protection against compelled admittance of guilt under duress and contempt in a courtroom setting (I plead the 5th), the ruling signalled a shift in law enforcement practises—with a protocol issued by the Court, and precincts adopting a standard of “reading rights” or “Mirandizing,” which some regarded as soft on crime and an undue administrative burden. The original case from 1963 involved a suspect linked circumstantially to a particularly heinous kidnapping and rape, Ernesto Miranda signing a typewritten confession that he did “hereby swear that I make this statement voluntarily and of my own free will, without threats, coercion or the promise of immunity and with knowledge of my legal rights—understanding any statement I make may be used against me”—expect that at no time was the suspect told of his right to legal counsel nor to remain refuse to speak with police, making his confession involuntary. The conviction overturned, Miranda was sentenced during a retrial and eventually paroled in 1972 and made a modest living as a celebrity, autographing Miranda cards, the script given to arresting officers.

Sunday 11 June 2023

nix v williams (10. 801)

On this day in 1984, the US Supreme Court issued a decision that created a carve-out to the exclusionary rule, a legal remedy and disincentive that bars police and prosecutors from entering evidence obtained from searches and seizures that contravene the right to due process under the law, protection against self-incrimination and the right to counsel (guarantees of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, ruling that there is an exception to this inadmissible corroboration—called metaphorically the “fruit of the poisonous tree” by Justice Felix Frankfurter—in this case a coerced confession, if it could be reasonably determined that the same evidence would be inevitably by authorities in the normal course of investigations. The dissenting opinion argued that while such an exemption was common practice in many jurisdictions, the burden of proof should not be weakened from a “clear and convincing” to a “preponderance.”

Tuesday 6 June 2023

7x7 (10. 790)

fowl-mouthed: Apple’s newest IOS to tweak auto-correct feature that turns a common expletive to “ducking” 

supars: librarians in the 1970s foresaw the coming age of inter- connectivity and distributed learning and helped design the tools for it 

olive grove: climate change bringing new crops to Canada’s Pacific Northwest 

pop 101: a guided formulaic approach to composition  

magic kingdom: research finds that fungi sequester a third of carbon emissions—via Slashdot  

fact-checking: the rise, fall and rebirth of Snopes

ski googles: Apple previews new prototype AR/VR headset—to be on the market next year

Tuesday 30 May 2023

7x7 (10. 778)

omnes vanitas: the puzzling thanatopsis of the paintings of David Bailly 

hbo in space: music made for television—see previously here and here  

journey to the west: in the Hall of the Monkey King 

trompe-l’ล“il: the hyper realistic paintings of John Frederick, see previously—via Messy Nessy Chic  

outside the frame: using LLM and AI to hear the rest of the story–not that we needed to 

velvet goldmine: the art collection of David Bowie—see previously here and here  

memento mori: an elaborate lie-detection apparatus from the 1920s

Tuesday 23 May 2023

6x6 (10. 762)

nightingale-olympic: the time capsule that is Bangkok’s first specialty retail establishment—via Messy Nessy Chic 

splinternet: legal jurisdictions—for reasons real, specious and facetious dividing the internet

recruitment bonus: Florida governor is offering cash incentives to bring violent police officers to departments across the state—more here  

loveboat insanity: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews their lodestar film and more shared movie DNA  

puriteens: prudishness is taking over some parts of the internet   

bhs downtown: a Vermont high school hosted in an abandoned department store

Tuesday 16 May 2023

9x9 (10. 745)

speak-easy: the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar in 1977, staffed with undercover reporters to investigate city government corruption—via Messy Nessy Chic  

mapbacks: Dell pulp mysteries back covers featuring crime scene schematics—via Things Magazine 

team delft: a hydrogen-powered bubble car is setting records  

lรถwenzahn: the linkages between dandelions and human history—see previously 

global town square: for Silicon Valley capitalists “bringing people together” is value-neutral 

no static at all: automakers removing AM radio, in part because electric engines can interfere with the reception—see more, see previously

a free-speech absolutist: Twitter acquiesced to a selective purdah just prior to the ballot in Tรผrkiye—more here  

hey maga: Randy Rainbow savages Florida governor and presidential hopeful with “Welcome to DeSantis”—a parody of “Welcome to the Sixties” from Hairspray  

upworthy: the downfall of American reporting through clickbait and catchpenny tactics

Sunday 16 April 2023

¯\_(ใƒ„)_/¯ (10. 677)

 

Via tmn, we are again directed to the Depth of Wikipedia archivist Annie Rauwerda whose detective works sometimes becomes fixated with those images becomes a caption for illustrating articles (see also)—especially for entries that from a given perspective seem universal and needing no explanation, like the couple demonstrating high-five (up high, down low, too slow) and their subsequent courtship and family—or on this case, The Shrug Guy—the embodiment of the gesture expressing indifference or not knowing, though not always reading the same. It used to be that one said that the word gullible was not listed in the dictionary (or that one’s photo was in there if you looked it up), and finding this iconic individual fifteen years later (see also) it’s not clear if he chose shrug-life or shrug-life chose him. More at the links above.

Monday 10 April 2023

a jury of one’s peers (10. 666)

Based on a radio teleplay by Reginald Rose from three years earlier and often upheld as an heuristic tool to illustrate conflict resolution and team dynamics as well as well as the courage of conviction to not be swayed by hysteria and its subtler cadets, Sidney Lumet’s classic courtroom drama, premiering in Los Angeles on this day in 1957, portrays a jury deliberating the case of an impoverished teen accused of murdering his abusive father. With a unanimous verdict required, the jury is instructed to acquit if there is any reasonable doubt and a decision siding on guilty would result in a mandatory death sentence and execution by electric chair. Addressing students after a screening of the film in 2010 at Fordham University's School of Law in Manhattan, US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor credited 12 Angry Men as influencing her career decision and was especially moved by immigrant Juror 11 (portrayed by Czech actor George Voskovec—BUtterfield 8, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, all members are identified by numbers only) delivering a monologue in reverence for the justice system, though cautioned not to be totally taken with the cinematic version of proceedings due to inference, speculation and independent research which would have likely been declared a mistrial.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

8x8 (10. 612)

scheele’s green: more on the poisonous, synthetic shade—via Messy Nessy Chic 

terroir: BBC’s Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course  

family business: a look at the oldest-continuing operating hotel in the world, by shifting definitions (see also)

contagion: banking stocks drop as investors lose confidence after the failure and intervention for Silicon Valley Bank (previously)  

xerox alto: a half-century on (see previously), we are still living with the legacy of one of the first home computers—via Kottke  

ghostwatch: a BBC mockumentary that spooked viewers

$: the first instance of the dollar sign in print—see previously 

arsenic and old lace: an astonishing murder ring of earlier twentieth-century Hungary