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.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

8x8 (11. 570)

nicht abgeholtes gepรคck: the main station in Freiburg has a mystery vending machine where one can buy unclaimed items left in delivery lockers—see previously 

the ahramat branch: a long ago dried up arm of the Nile may explain some of the mystery behind the building of the Pyramids of Giza 

takenoko: a public service announcement for when the bamboo shoots sprout, one of Japan’s traditional seventy-two microseasons—see previously 

endless shrimp: the American seafood chain was private-equitied into bankruptcy and not by dent of its generous promotions—more here

first draft: in a since deleted post, Trump advocates for a “united Reich” in a video featuring hypothetical newspaper headlines following his reelection  

on the town: the story behind the ten-year-old who in 1947 spent a week in San Francisco with twenty dollars 

we call it maize: an interesting hypothesis that ancient Incan stonework and other architectural elements may be an homage to corn kernels  

out-of-order: broken and unused vending machines from around Japan—via Cardhousesee also

synchronoptica

one year ago: Croatia Diplomacy Day, a classic from David Bowie, an evergreen piece on American gun-violence plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: Ok Computer, a rainbow fifty pence coin for Pride, more feathered friends plus Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic

three years ago: your daily demon: Beleth, Elton John in the Soviet Union plus trace a raindrop from river down to the sea

four years ago: vintage Las Vegas logos, an avant-garde art show (1951) plus The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

five years ago: the White Night Riots (1979), regional airline logos, OK Cola, African air-carriers, one hundred and twenty years of photography plus a camera on a sushi conveyor belt

Thursday 16 May 2024

10x10 (11. 562)

crimes of atrocity: a long, dense episode of -ologies with Alie Ward on the hugely fraught and difficult subject of genocide with a powerful and circumspect post-script 

airoboros: artificial intelligence trained on AI made content is becoming highly problematic and only compounded—see previously  

the city on the edge of forever: public portal linking Dublin and New York City suspended after inappropriate behaviour  

palmerston’s follies: two maritime forts off Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight that have been converted into boutique accommodations go up for auction  

the deuce: the Greek grandmother who built an adult entertainment empire in Times Square before its Disneyfication 

foot on the gas: the inevitability of the climate collapse and humanity’s capacity for adjustment  

⌘ |: the lost history of pre-internet emoji and rendering software—via Waxysee previously 

flashing headlights: the giant Dana squid’s photophores in attack-mode  

eternal return: cosmic cycles and time’s resurgence  

first-day agenda: how Trump is framing his vision for a second-term

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a visit to Arnstadt

two years ago: St Brendan, more links to enjoy plus the Electrotechnical Exhibition of 1891

three years ago: a classic from Kim Carnes, a language quiz, more links worth the revisit plus an ancient action figure

four years ago: more Trump’s Space Force, birdhouses, the stress of social media moderation, a medieval manuscript game plus a musical typing tutor

five years ago: GenX, consular services at McDonalds, soliciting grievances, Japanese mascots plus office equipment

Sunday 5 May 2024

8x8 (11.542)

komoot: one testimonial for the international route-finding applicant to which we can personally endorse for its hiking trails recommendation and active community of contributors 

zillow gone wild: absurdist real estate listings go mainstream

dodecahedron: more on the mysterious Roman artefact puzzling archaeologists—see previously  

eidophone: a Welsh singer in 1885, wanting to give flower, fern and tree a voice, pioneered the discipline of cymatics 

democracy dies in darkness: amid faltering peace-talk, Israel shutters al Jazeera bureau in Israel  

live people ignore the strange and unusual. i myself am strange and unusual: a trove of behind the scenes stills from the 1988 production of Beetlejuicesee previously 

finsta: photo-dumps circa 2006 are the new chaotic and authentic social media trend—via tmn  

trudge: an arduous animated journey of many flights by Stephan Schabenbeck through the lens of taking relatable longer than expected excursions

Sunday 28 April 2024

i got this in the second world war ii (11. 521)

Receiving its popular-become-historic designation on this day as a result of a poll conducted by the American survey company Gallup in 1942, with—no spoilers—the 1914-1918 global conflict referred to as “The Great War” or the “European War” by the US until they entered it in earnest in 1917, there were plenty of journalistic antecedents for calling the new crisis World War II, imbuing by force of habit, in much the same way we refer to contemporary geopolitical struggles as World War III, both hyperbolically and litotically. US president FDR called it such in press conferences but not particularly liking the term as too neutral and nothing one could get behind, he directed Gallup to ask the public. Roosevelt’s own suggestion was the Survival War, with the War for Civilisation or the War against Enslavement being other contenders—compare with the Soviet name, “The Great Patriotic War.” After fighting had subsided in Europe and the war was ending in the Pacific Theatre, FDR’s predecessor Harry S Truman signed a request in September of 1945 from his Secretary of War to make it official.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

7x7 (11. 509)

betteridge’s law: the legacy of Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, and commoditising fascinating factiods to sell newspapers  

congestion pricing: overtourism and its consequences  

disclose, divest: on the 1968 anniversary of the protest that ousted the university’s president and established the student body senate, activism on Columbia’s campus is again in the national spotlight over Palestine  

grace period: America’s addiction to credit cards  

zoonosis: concern rises over avian flu as it appears in cows and wild animal communities  

nonstop flight: the epic migration of the Bar-tailed Godwit and the engineering of feathers—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

catch-and-kill: deal to bury stories unfavourable to Trump by tabloid The National Enquirer was an “agreement between friends”

Sunday 21 April 2024

10x10 (11. 503)

knock, knock, knock—who’s there: the authorship debate between William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson over the joke format  

charlotte braun: the untimely demise of the Peanuts’ foil to Charlie Brown 

yay, newfriend: more on the ELIZA experiment and AI paramours 

io: Juno space probe reveals a gigantic lava lake on the Jovian satellite’s surface 

he mad: Trump has to sit quietly through court proceedings 

occult chemistry: a 1908 theosophical text by Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater with diagrams by Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa 

captive market: private equity comes after US prison commissaries 

democracy dies in darkness: news media and the paywall dilemma 

the colour of pomegranates: more on Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov 

is this a red flag: the Jane Eyre edition

synchronoptica

one year ago: more efforts to offset Labour Day plus a hitch-hiking companion on a Martian rover

two years ago: another classic from Prince (1985), the burial place of the Red Baron plus Disney and the culture wars

three years ago: the Tomorrow Show with special guest, duplexes in the Rรผhrhgebiet plus a mystery photo

four years ago: the Principality of Hutt, the founding of Rome (753 BC), a curatorial showdown, MS DOS coding, oil prices go negative, Texas exploits a crisis plus the Sabre Dance

five years ago: Easter greetings plus a return visit to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal

Friday 19 April 2024

9x9 (11. 499)

pumping iron: Technogym invites forty artists to reinterpret its exercise bench for Milan Design Week  

wikipedia rectangles: a collage of images sourced from the Commons subdivides one’s screen in increasing smaller sections of disparate pictures—via Web Curios  

the microcosm of london: an illustrated three-volume set by Rudolph Ackermann showcasing the public spaces of the capital 

๐Ÿ‰: the massive Quilt for Palestine unveiled at the Met 

rundown royale: a look at the family tree of Charlemagne, the Father of Europe—via Miss Cellania 

ulnar nerve: the etymology of the expression funny bone and variants—including the Swedish terms enkelstรถt/รคnkestรถt  

dua lipa stuns as congressional gerrymander: that and other headlines from Super Punch  

from our correspondents: World Press Photo contest captures destruction and devastation 

the revolution will not be biennalised: the withdrawal of the Israeli pavilion in Venice was performative and opportunistic

Thursday 18 April 2024

10x10 (11. 496)

the cloud under the seas: the fleet of secret submarine cable repair ships 

sarbox: US Supreme Court appears skeptical about charging January Sixth rioters with obstruction of justice as defined by a law made in the aftermath of the Enron accounting scandal  

mix-and-match orthography: how Japanese writers navigate a choice between four writing systems (see also)—via Cardhouse  

walled gardens have deep roots: the imperative of rewilding (previously) the internet lest the duopolies take over—via Waxy 

bongo bash: Wild Stereo Drums (1961)  

embroidered surveillance: cross-stitch works of closed-circuit security camera footage  

the questor tapes: a 1974 television sci-fi drama about an android with incomplete programming by Star Trek alumni Gene L Coon, D C Fontana and Gene Roddenberry—via r/Obscure Media  

tegelwippen: Dutch towns compete to remove garden paving and embrace weeds—via Miss Cellania  

voir dire: jury selection continues for the criminal trial of Donald J Trump—with some potential jurors being unintentionally doxed by the media 

 atlas 2.0: Boston Dynamics’ new humanoid robot

synchronoptica

one year ago: Atelier Elvira, an unwoke chatbot plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: more gachapons plus an introduction to risography

three years ago: the launch of the Disney Channel (1983), an experimental light house plus Wham in China (1985)

four years ago: more links to enjoy, the International Amateur Radio Union plus The Spirits Book (1897)

five years ago: concrete monoliths moved by hand plus Mueller Report redactions

Tuesday 16 April 2024

hearts and minds (11. 494)

An 1959 early spring testimony before an American senate subcommittee on the effects of “Red China Communes on the United States” by an Asian correspondent for the Miami News intent on self-promotion and advancing a misinformed pet theory firmly solidified the neologism of brainwashing (with derivative terms) as common political parlance. The deposition by the reporter turned propagandist (alleged a covert CIA agent) against the spread of Communism convinced the public and policy-makers that the Chinese (and others) had devised a scientific method for turning people’s love and allegiances, allegedly uncovering the method of “mind-attack” and their word for, “brain-washing.” The original term xวnวŽo (ๆด—่…ฆ, “wash brain”) was employed to describe the coercive persuasion used by the Maoist to integrate more reactionary members of society and was a popular pun, not an official policy or approach, on the Taoist custom of xวxฤซn (ๆด—ๅฟƒ , “cleaning the heart and mind”) with both understood to be something more akin to enlightenment, disabusing and not the reprogramming or deprogramming that captured the American public, with the help of the journalist’s tract, other reporting and films and television as well as the Zeitgeist of the Red Scare and sinophobia, fears that loyalties were susceptible to nefarious and scientifically compelling influences that caused collaboration and defection. For all the pseudoscience and propagandising, brainwashing did fill a linguist and psychological lacuna, a gap that was packed with the attendant moral panic and supposed countermeasures with psychological warfare and the rise of home-grown, domestic cults that subsumed what they purported to prevent. More from MIT Technology Review at the link up top. Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

Monday 15 April 2024

wunderzeichen (11. 490)

We quite enjoyed pursuing this collection of sixteenth century German woodcuts cataloguing ominous signs in the heavens, the unexplained and inexplicable occurring with enough frequency to create a carve-out—and still does—parallel to the nascent publishing industry for special bound editions of pamphlets and broadsheets circulated on the topic, “wonder books” as sort of a personal log to curate, update and hand down of the phenomena, preserving an otherwise ephemeral record of strange occurrences happening too often to otherwise commit to the historical record, sightings and encounters spurred on by sightings and sermonising speculation that was also propelled by the printing-press. Much more from Public Domain Review at the link up top.

Monday 1 April 2024

aprilschertz (11. 462)

Reprinted from an uncredited German magazine in LIFE in 1938 shortly after the day of pranks, the accompanying blurb and recognises the tradition in the foreign press (see also here and here) in this innovation of a beetle that can repair runs in stockings and acknowledges that domestic newspapers have fallen for the hoaxes in the past, with Germany’s news outlets practising more discretion, restraint when it comes to political jokes and sticking with the absurd.

kcang (11. 461)

From midnight on—and no Aprilscherz—having cleared the huddles of passage by the Bundesrat and Bundestag and committee mediation in mid-March, persuaded by cautious agreements that former drugs policies and prohibitions have failed to curb abused, overburdened authorities and the legal system and created a black market, Germany has enacted a national decriminalisation plan for marijuana (Gesetzes zum Umgang mit Konsumcannabis, Abkรผrzung oben), allowing for adults to be in possession of up to twenty-five grams for their own consumption in public as well as fifty additional grams on their premises and up to three plants for cultivation, as well as permits for cannabis clubs with limited membership from 1 July.

 

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a park of deplorable political figures

two years ago: more links to enjoy, re-sending the Arecibo Message plus the postcodes of London

three years ago: hellebore, The Abominable Dr Phibes, same-sex marriage in the Netherlands (2001), San Serrife, a space-plane prototype plus Uruguayan graphic design

four years ago: more concatenation, Soviet era animation, house-arrest plus an action play-set

five years ago: Substance, a post-Brexit healing czar plus Canterbury Tales

Monday 18 March 2024

7x7 (11. 435)

deadwooding: Banksy acknowledges authorship of a new mural bringing back some greenery to an aggressive prune tree in Finsbury Park  

subspace: an ultra high-definition video of a cat chasing a laser-pointer was beamed over thirty million kilometres to improve future video calls to the Moon and Mars 

running-stitch: beautiful embroidered portraits from Karola Pezarro  

deadspin: more on the internet’s undead, reanimated by private equity and name recognition—see previously, see more  

bunga bunga: Italy’s Foreign Press Association to move into former home of Silvio Berlusconi, who famously disparaged reporters as Communists  

honeytrap: Aphra Behn’s intersecting careers as a professional writer and spy  

sequoiadendron giganteum: imported by the Victorians as status symbols, Giant Redwoods (see also) are thriving in the UK at more than half-a-million and growing

Tuesday 12 March 2024

███████ ██ ████████ (11. 417)

In collaboration with the Electronic Free Foundation, Muckrock (previously) has just announced its annual Foilies award winners, recognising the most egregious instances of US government violating the precept of the public record. Ahead of their also recurring Sunshine Week to champion the importance of transparency and access, this tenth iteration really featured some strong resistance to FOIA requests, doubly depressing considering the death of local journalism and advocacy outlets, flouting disclosure requirements of the law. From attempt to tag a cache of email correspondence with the label “NO FOIA” in hopes to keep fraud from the public eye or attempts to reveal corruption and mismanagement met with ingratitude to zealous librarians checking out books themselves to keep them out of circulation while bans for certain literary works were still pending court challenges and politicians trying to keep secret their travel expenses. These achievements, both large and small, have impact, and are not bailiwick of lawyers and reporters, only requiring determination. Learn more at the link above.

Monday 11 March 2024

000_34L82nw britain-royals (11. 415)

Whilst speculation about the whereabouts and fate of Kate Middleton not seen in public since a Christmas engagement has run rampant, with alleged sightings in the unlikeliest of places including the Wonka Experience, a family photograph posted on Mothering Sunday has backfired and done little to quiet the rumours after the wire-services issued a mandatory kill-notice to remove the image released by Kensington Palace due to an editorial issue and possible manipulation. The Princess of Wales later admitted to doing the touch-up work herself and apologised for the lightly edited portrait taken (see also) by the prince for causing such controversy and at a time when all the principal royals are out of the picture and not performing public duties, it only fuels conjecture, sometimes to wild conclusions.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

over the psychic radio (11. 403)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, we are introduced to journalist by trade Grant Wallace, feature writer and then war correspondent in the 1890s to the end of World War I for the San Francisco Chronicler and Examiner whom also dabbled extensively as a screenwriter, author, Esperantist and erstwhile occultist—the extent of this preoccupation discovered after his death in 1954 in a cabin he had built in the woods outside of Camel-by-the-Sea. Archive, repository and laboratory for telepathy, or mental radio as Wallace characterised it, he produced hundred of detailed charts and diagrams reminiscent of sixteenth century alchemical illustrations but with a distinctly Art Nouveau flair (see also)—influenced by contemporary Egyptomania—as heuristic models for study on reincarnation and mediumship, with the dead as well as extraterrestrials, transcribing some messages over the course of his mostly secret and solitary research. Much more at the links above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: America’s Frozen Food Day plus assorted links  to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus a LIFE parody in poor taste (1970)

three years ago: your daily demon: Seere, the Zapruder film, a Banksy mural plus more links worth the revisit

four years ago: the Pillar of the Boatmen, the winnowing oar plus negative reviews of the great outdoors

five years ago: hauntology, the Period Table (1869), even more links, the fashions of Edward Gorey plus Soviet home computers

Thursday 29 February 2024

6x6 (11. 388)

365,2422: an explanation of leap years and calendar alternatives 

ladies’ privilege: leap day customs—via Strange Company 

29 february: more on the necessity of quadrennial correction—see previously 

la bougie du sapeur est sans reproche: the satirical French newspaper published only on leap days, making it the most infrequent publications in print, with its next Sunday supplement not out until 2032  

intercalary days: holiday drift and other events that happen every four years  

366: a scheduled agenda and play-list list how one might celebrate the day from the last time we had one—be happy that tomorrow is not 30 February


synchronoptica

four years ago: the sacrifice of the village of Elam in Plague Times

eight years ago: a vocabulary lesson, lodges of the Hakka region plus on trial for destruction of precious cultural property

twelve years ago: more quadrennial events

Sunday 25 February 2024

11x11 (11. 380)

sure, write stuff for free—but write it for yourself: maintaining one’s creativity in the bleak media sector brickwalling and the loss of journalistic records  

rage-baiting: viral Tik-Tok couple troll influencer culture with such precision most don’t realise it’s satire—via Super Punch  

the paint explainer: a primer on the twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution—via Memo of the Air 

dark dimensions: there’s a new theory about where dark matter might be hiding  

the sony smartwig: a 2016 patent granted for a connected hairpiece one pairs with their phone for tactile feedback 

the navel on an orange is a mutation that created a conjoined twin: weird information to dispense on a first date—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

the riker manoeuvre: small towns with monuments to Star Trek characters—via Marginal Revolution  

selectric funeral: the Boston Typewriter Orchestra hopes to appear in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with this submission  

awful yet lawful: US Supreme Court to entertain grievances on social media moderation for deplatforming hateful and dangerous content  

multi-level marketing: a supercut of huckster Donald Trump’s merchandising scams 

you can out-buzzfeed buzzfeed after all: media group in takeover talks with UK’s The Independent—see previously

Friday 23 February 2024

10x10 (11. 374)

walden 7: photographer Sebastian Weiss captures the epic nature of an outstanding apartment block in Barcelona 

shootball: January Sixth themed pinball machines and other Republican swag at the Conservative Political Action Conference—see previously 

swimming with sharks: an overview of the hidden terror that’s haunted, informed humanity for millennia  

google blobs: the animated emoji character set that ought to be brought back—via Web Curios 

38°n: a news source on North Korea rex melly: the riches of Mansa Musa of the Mail Empire—adjusting for inflation and other factors, possibly the wealthiest person in history 

shift to socials: Vice Media is folding, laying off hundreds of journalists—via Waxysee more  

pale usher: introducing a blog mini-series on Moby Dick with a curious etymology  

every sperm is sacred: following the ruling in Alabama that grants personhood to frozen embryos—and the subsequent suspension of IVF treatment for fear of legal implications—conservative think tank forming Trump’s policy wants to end recreational sex 

batpole: homes with alternate stairwells—see previously