Saturday, 24 July 2021


yรคchtley crรซw: a cover band’s homage to the genre (previously

sky mall: the inevitable fate of all platforms, selling botware to other bots in glossy format—via Things Magazine plus an update on the Metabolist capsule hotel of Kisho Kurokawa 

๐’€ญ๐’„‘๐’‰‹๐’‚ต๐’ˆจ๐’Œ‹๐’Œ‹๐’Œ‹: assaying the Epic of Gilgamesh—previously here and here  

this beach does not exist: using generative adversarial networks (previous snowclones) to create fantasy shorelines—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

hearse: a concept Airstream funeral coach, circa 1981, which never caught on—also h/t to Things  

not affiliated with project shield, loki or the world security council: an exclusive exposรฉ on cyber surveillance abuse on a global scale 

 transatlanticism: US withdraws objections to completion of Nord Stream 2—previously, now ninety-eight percent done—after negotiations with Germany 

 murphy’s law: an abcedarium of the maxims of management—see also

Friday, 23 July 2021

1962-alpha epsilon 1

Launched into orbit just under a fortnight prior, the Telstar 1 communication satellite relayed the first live transatlantic television broadcast (see also here, here and here) on this day in 1962. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was supposed to give the inaugural address but the engineers acquired the signal before the US president was ready and to avoid dead-air filled the first few minutes with a televised baseball game from the Wrigley Field in Chicago before rotating through studios and field stations in Washington, DC, Quebec City, Cape Canaveral and the Seattle World’s Fair. Kennedy’s speech consisted of direct appeals to Europe that America wouldn’t devalue its currency and further frustrate plans for post-war recovery (see also) before giving the stage to news anchors Walter Cronkite (CBS, previously) and Chet Huntley (NBC) in New York and the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby in Brussels for a panel discussion of this marvel of technical achievement that they were part of. Later that evening, the first satellite telephone call was carried out between parties US vice president Lyndon Johnson and the head of AT&T (the company whose Bell Laboratories were primarily responsible for it) and in the following months, synchronised time between the continents and facilitating the first computer-to-computer data. By November, a casualty of the geopolitics that pushed such advancements as showcase and civilian applications, due to ongoing high-altitude nuclear testing that irradiated surround space, Telstar’s transistors were overwhelmed and eventually failed and could not relay signals. Though no longer transmitting, Telstar I and II (launched the following summer) are still orbiting Earth and will continue to do so for millions of years barring interference by another body.

Monday, 28 June 2021

heavy-line geometric abugida

Taught in secretarial schools in the UK widely through the 1970s as a practical stenography tool (see also), the system of note-taking developed by language teacher and vice-president of the Vegetarian Society Sir Isaac Pitman (knighted by Queen Victoria for the former contribution) and the basis for written syllabaries for some Native American and First Nations peoples, we really enjoyed the introduction to namesake shorthand through this narrative from Lit Hub correspondent Richard Sanger to which his father’s long and distinguished in journalism was committed. Finding a home for his archives and notebooks was an undertaking full of surprises and ultimately brought together a cohort of expert translators and transcribers to unabbreviate the field notes and interviews to work together on a massive project, talents renewed—see also—during a winter of lock-down.

spokes model

A source for pageantry of the bizarre variety, we were loving how Weird Universe is following up on these niche industrial and sometimes agricultural beauty contests (see also here and here) and limning the winners as more than a promising pretty face with as full of a biography as possible. The champion for the state of Illinois, Miss Trudy Germi only managed to come in third overall in the national competition for Miss Continuous Towel held in Atlantic City in 1949—however she did realise her aspirations for musical comedy in a production of South Pacific. These rolling washroom installations—for hygienic reasons—are not very popular these days but can still be occasionally found. Germi went on to marry a naval captain who was given the task of retrieving the crew of Apollo 11 after splash-down and was present aboard the rescue vessel to greet the astronauts. Much more to explore with Weird Universe at the link up top.


Established by the United Nations Security Council in 1993 with special jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity incurred in the territories of the former Yugoslav Republic since its dissolution in 1991, on this day in 2001, Serbian president Slobodan Miloลกeviฤ‡ was extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague to stand trial for genocide. The date coincides with Miloลกeviฤ‡’s 1989 presiding over the sixth-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, commemorating the rather pyric victory of the Serbian army against Ottoman invaders and enflaming an already tense situation between different ethnic groups that shared the constituent republics. The date also coincides with assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a conspiracy of the Black Hand secret society, the Bosniak and Serb group hoping to foment unrest and outrage and secede from the Austro-Hungarian empire with the provinces reconstituted as an independent Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

villa la grange


Tuesday, 15 June 2021

ripped from the headlines

Via the Awesomer, we are treated to a visual, gradated chronology of the New York Times (previously), publishing the news daily since 1851 in this 2017 short by filmmaker Josh Begley that’s a supercut that cycles through the changing look and layout of the newspaper as printing and photography advance. We agree that this ought to be an annual update and year-in-review to stream past.

Monday, 14 June 2021


dit-dot: via Web Curios (a lot more to see at this latest instalment), we’re invited to learn the basics of Morse code (previously) with this well designed, gamifying tutorial 

passeggiando: be a virtual flรขneur in these composite Italian cities 

broadcast energy transmitter: delivering renewable energy from where it is plentiful to where it’s need via submarine transnational supergrids 

flock together: a TED Ed presentation on the evolution of feathers  

pyramid power: Duns Scotus and the esoteric history of the dunce cap—via Boing Boing  

essential reading: The Atlantic’s Ed Yong won a Pulitzer Prize for his COVID reporting  

รครค: a collection of essays from the Times Literary Supplement on defence of endangered, indigenous languages

Sunday, 13 June 2021

g7 action figures - limited edition


Saturday, 12 June 2021

deep throat

Written and directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace—though later reframed by the actress as coercion and sexual assault, considered one of the first pornographic films to include a plot and character development and heralded, along with Behind the Green Door, as “porno chic,” seen as a normalising, legitimising force for the subject matter for conservative US audiences, with many prominent celebrities, public figures and journalists admitting to having watched it, including Truman Capote, Spiro Agnew, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson and Barbara Walters, the title piece premiered on this day in New York City’s New World Adult Theatre, the use of the film as a culture reference and touchstone was cemented almost immediately when the managing-editor of the Washington Post chose “Deep Throat” as the code name for the secret Watergate insider (see also) who informed on Nixon—revealed thirty years later as assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt (*1913 - †2008).

Monday, 31 May 2021

afn gasthaus

Via Slashdot we are referred to one dedicated individual and his quest to collect public service announcements and other video artefacts from the Armed Forces Network and its predecessor the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFN / AFRTS) which broadcast US news, programming and sports to American service members and the their families stationed abroad.  Filling the interstitial spaces normally reserved for advertising with spots and pauses for station identification, educational opportunities, legal and tax advice, jobs postings, community calendars produced by local or theatre military, this dead air time made for a strangely nostalgic and niche time-capsule of Cold War anxieties and propaganda especially in Germany where until 2010, the programming was broadcast and could be received on any terrestrial antenna near an army installation. A lot of these are before my time but I do remember Kay’s Kitchen and using your Commissary benefit, the weather spots, exchange rates, country-quizzes and think about the jingle to “Whatcha gonna do about Appropriated Funds?” nearly every day. I think that one has not be added yet, but the below short about the difference between a special and general power-of-attorney is pretty memorable as well. There are thousands of shorts and vintage news reels to explore—an interesting piece of history whether or not one shares that background.


The always intriguing and enlightening Maps Mania refers us to a suite of tools and tracers to help us visualise the huge among of marine traffic that passes in and out of the North Sea bordered by the Low Countries and Scandinavia, the waters off Belgium far exceeding the throughput of either of the shipping industry’s great corridors and potential bottlenecks, the Panama and Suez canals. Especially interesting is the data-driven scrollytelling from the financial daily De Tidj (pictured) which shows the activity and congestion of navigable routes along with the dredgers that keep the trade routes open to traffic.

Thursday, 27 May 2021


Sets of letterpunches for type-setters had traditional descriptive names (see also) for presses on the continent, the Far East, the British Isles and the United States. Though point-size varied over time and there’s been more harmonisation among periodical publishers over the years rather than greater divergence of standards. A two-point typeface is called in the American system a “Saxon” and in German “Non Plus Ultra” or “Viertelpetit,” 2½ a “Norse” and “Microscopique” in French and German, three-points an “Excelsior” in the USA, a Minikin in the UK, Diamant in France and Brilliant in Germany, 5½ is an Agate in the American system and Ruby in the British one and so on. Six-points in Nonpareil, seven a Minion (Kolonel auf Deutsch), eight a Brevier, nine Bourgeois (though Petit-romain or Gaillarde in France) with some of the more common sizes being named Pica (12), the English (14), Great Primer (18, 1½ Cicero in Germany), Paragon (20), the Double English (28), the Double Columbian (32) and 48-point font called the French Canon, Gros-canon or Kleine Missal.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

one year gone

One year on from the violent murder of George Floyd, we are reacquainted with the award-winning cover for de Volksrant newspaper’s Saturday Supplement from Noma Bar utilising negative space to illustrate people rallying in the streets over this injustice and inhumanity.  Indisputably a harsh and discomforting reality that many are made to cope with on a daily basis but a sobering and eye-opening experience for all.  Thanks to Duck Soup for the timeline of events that occurred in the aftermath of Floyd’s death and their enduring impact.

Monday, 24 May 2021


television memories: John Hoare reflects on his birthday by tracking down what was on BBC at the moment he was born 

hijack: a Belarusian fighter jet diverts a commercial airliner in order to apprehend a dissident blogger  

greatest of all time: legendary gymnast Simone Biles has a rhinestone goat on her leotard  

please sir, three of your finest cocaines: a pharmaceutical advertisement from 1912  

europigeon songbird contest: the grand prix goes to Turdus (see previously) Philomelos 

 stardust: a collection of micrometeorites and a guide how to hunt for them  

omnibus programming: a revue of fifty obscure British comedy series from the 1980s

Monday, 17 May 2021

deutsche film aktiengesellschaft

Whereas occupying powers in the West were wary of a rapid revival of the substantial and developed German film industry and feared the spread of propaganda, Soviet Allied forces in East Germany encouraged its reestablishment as a medium of re-education and de-Nazification after twelve years of fascist rule and ceremonially founded the DEFA on this day in 1946 as the first post war movie production studio in the partitioned nation. The premier film Die Mรถrder sind unter uns (The Murderers Among Us) opened nine days prior to the celebratory ceremony. Dissolved in 1992 after reunification, the catalogue of nearly one thousand feature films, eight hundred animations, six thousand documentaries and news reels—plus dubbed foreign films numbering four-thousand, was acquired by Vivindi-Universal but much of the content is available for free at the PROGRESS distribution site which was established four years DEFA to handles its releases and conserve its extensive archives.

Monday, 10 May 2021

grunge speak

Courtesy of a fascinating conversation about the role that jazz lingo contributed to the English language and the possibly too poetic to be in common parlance quality (see also) of some of the phrases—like “half-past bad luck” referring to just after midnight and aligned with the improvisational nature of the genre however broadly or granularly one defines it—we are reminded of the hoax perpetuated as how the cool kids talked when a receptionist for the record label that championed Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Nirvana was called upon by a New York Times reporter to expound on a derivative lexicon in 1992. The interview yielded the fictitious definitions including bound-and-hagged for staying in on the weekend, cob nobbler and lamestain as a loser and rock on for a parting salutation. At least one of the terms took on an independent existence with the way to describe a bummer of a situation, harsh realm, referenced in other works.

Monday, 3 May 2021

information as a public good

The annual observance focused on the above theme, World Press Freedom Day was enshrined by the United Nations in 1998 as a time for reflection and remediation for governments to uphold their commitment to freedom of expression and an adversarial press and encourage journalists and media professionals to recount their struggles and pledge to truth and ethics in pursuit of reporting. The day falls on the anniversary of the forerunning Windhoek Declaration of 1991 when a consortium of newspaper reporters from all across Africa met in the Namibian capital resolved to promote an independent and pluralistic press for the continent. The Press Freedom Index is also updated at this time, ranking the ability for journalists to cover candidly government and corporate behaviour.

Saturday, 1 May 2021


Whilst in the age of digital media, a geographical, orientating relic of print newspapers may not be an important marker for a readership increasing removed from the news page and pagination, it was nonetheless more than a little jarring to read that the New York Times is retiring its Op-Ed section, five decades on it originally referred to the page opposite the editorials, in favour editorial pieces supplemented with guest essays. Learn more about this decision and indulge in some truly outstanding vintage, newsprint layouts at the links above.