Monday, 16 May 2022

6x6

dandelion wine: slow drinks made with our favourite noxious weed—see also  

give that wolf a banana and before that wolf eats my grandma: Norway’s Eurovision entry—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

stablecoin: the collapse of NFT and crypto markets 

 for every bear that ever there was: 1984 reportage of Keanu Reeves covering a teddy bear convention for the CBC—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

homeostatic awakening: new developments in the Fermi paradox—see previously here and here  

quattro bianchi: Italy’s answer to the Long Island Iced Tea packs a wallop

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

onward victoria

Standing later for the office of president in the 1872 election, Victoria Woodhull accepted the nomination of her party, the Equal Rights, at Apollo Hall in New York City on this day of the same year—though a few detractors have reservations in acknowledging her to be the first woman to run for high office in America on the technicality (albeit a constitutional one) that she would have been six months shy of her thirty-fifth birthday on inauguration day. Self-made twice over, Woodhull first earned—and subsequently lost—a substantial fortune in magnetic healing and afterward entered into arguably more legitimate enterprises with her sister, Tennessee Claflin, to open the first female-ran stock brokerage and used profits from trading to open a newspaper. Running on a platform of universal suffrage, labour reform, equality and free love—that is the right to marry, divorce, bear children or not without social prejudice or government interference, Woodhull also declared this day her running-mate to be respected statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass though unbeknownst to him, Douglass did not take part in the convention or campaign in any way. Wary of Woodhull’s reputation as an investigative journalist and having previously introduced patriarch Cornelius to the above pseudoscientific therapy, heir to the vast estate William Henry Vanderbilt paid Woodhull and her sister $1000 to leave the country. Newly divorced and with her political career behind her, she accepted the offer and moved to London and founded a charter school and lectured on education reform.

Monday, 2 May 2022

the sinking of the general belgrano

Originally built as a Brooklyn-class cruiser for the US Navy and surviving Pearl Habour and sold to the regime of Juan Perรณn in 1951 and named after Argentine naval instructor and founding figure and with a loss of life totalling almost a third of the casualties of the entire campaign, a UK submarine torpedoed and sunk the warship, with a three-hundred and twenty-three members of its full compliment of eleven hundred perishing at sea, on this day in 1982. Following the April invasion of the Falkland Islands in response to occupation by the Junta, the UK declared a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Malvinas and any armed vessel entering those waters would be subject to attack. Though outside the zone of exclusion, signals interception and a change in bearing suggested that the Belgrano was a threat and a legitimate target, though the fateful decision in this senseless war is still debated and whether the act was a war crime or the target was a lawful one is a matter of controversy, although most in the Argentinian navy concede the ship had taken an offensive tack. Whilst most media outlets maintained a neutral stance, the British tabloid The Sun reported on the story with the incredibly tasteless headline “Gotcha!” in early editions, arguably toning it down a bit with the front-page re-titled to “Did 1 200 Argies drown?” Tensions escalated and two days afterwards, the HMS Sheffield was sunk by a missile strike with a truce called after seventy-four days of fighting.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

illuminated manuscripts

We quite enjoyed reflecting on this survey of the allure of modern medievalism for commercial clients and image-makers through the lens of the portfolio of commissions of Riga-based graphic designer Robert Rurans, who in turn takes his inspiration from source materials like fourteenth century catechisms, almanacs, herbals and alchemical guides. Clientele include fashion house Hermรฉs, Coca-Cola and numerous jobs for the New York Times, who’ve twice nominated Rurans for illustrator of the year. Much more at It’s Nice That at the link up top.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

arch-fiends

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that the Soviet-era monument, a large titanium arch in the city centre over an ensemble of statues including two bronze workers erected in 1982 on the sixtieth anniversary of the USSR and fifteen-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Kiev representing the Order of Friendship of Peoples will undergo alterations.  Known locally as ะฏั€ะผะพ́, the comrades holding aloft a medal symbolising this accord that saw the reunification of Ukraine with Russia have been dismantled (see also), and whilst the arch—which since the 2014 annexation of Crimea has born a crack painted by activists to indicate the strained relationship—will remain but be highlighted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.  Reportedly, the figure representing Russia was accidentally decapitated during removal, and further streets (see previously) named for Russian personages will be renamed—emphasising of course that Russian culture is not under attack but rather the ideology of monument and memorial is liable to be bankrupt given current affairs.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

7x7

mutually intelligible: interlocutors with no common language gravely overestimate the success of their getting the message across 

let’s have church: mystery artist of gospel album covers—via Nag on the Lake  

partygate: Prime Minister and cabinet members fined for violating lockdown protocols 

toto, i have a feeling we’re not in kansas anymore: watch an Iowa television station transition from monochrome to living colour  

coin-op: a comprehensive look at Gachapon (ใ‚ฌใƒใƒฃใƒใƒณ) across Japan  

1-bit: summon demons with this slightly racy tarot reading  

light verb variation: why some people make decisions and others take them

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

i have no idea what a burner phone is

Despite taking slight issue with the headline—as one wouldn’t round down the gap in the Nixon tapes down to a quarter-of-an-hour rather than citing the full eighteen-and-a-half minutes, the reporting on the on the omissions of the presidential daily diary (PDD) and call log is revealing that an nearly eight hour block of time is missing from Trump’s activities on 6 January 2021, the date of the attack on the US Capitol, is a devastating indictment and highly incriminating, especially for those communications that have been verified to have taken place, despite not being reflected in the archives. The committee investigating the insurrection, suspecting a cover-up, are looking for witness testimony in order to fill in the gap as the violence was unfolding. This news comes at the same time as a federal judge rules that Trump—on the advice of his legal counsel—committed felonies on several counts in his scheme to overturn the election, opening up the possibility to subpoena more documents and communication between the Trump administration and legal team, overriding the protections of attorney-client privilege, another favoured shield to invoke by those with something to hide.

Friday, 18 March 2022

prank calls

Both the UK defence minister and and home secretary took video calls earlier this week from imposters claiming to be the Ukrainian prime minister and were posed leading questions in an attempt to solicit inappropriate and provocative responses but quickly saw through the hoax. Though unclear what party was behind it, officials are blaming Russian disinformation campaigns and the fact that fraudsters could gain access to top ministers is worrying regardless of motive—the report ending with a linguistic coda touching on the topic of shibboleths and that future callers should be credentialed or outed by how they pronounce palianytsia, a traditional kind of roll, that Russian speakers pronounce with a soft <ฤญ> instead of <ะธ>.

Monday, 14 March 2022

goblin mode

Not to shame or scold anyone for their coping mechanisms or lack thereof, we felt seen by this article by Kari Paul on the reframing of the hedonistic cycle that steps out of it with the same intention as those tactics of betterment and self-improvement only to be camouflaged as the lazy under-achieving escapism that this sort of behaviour is trying to distance itself from, albeit in not the most flattering fashion. Rather than embracing those incredibly narrow and niche trends that limned the beginning of the pandemic isolation, the phenomenon that simultaneously accepts and rejects the definition of a hashtag represents the opposite of the in-crowd.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

world day against cyber censorship

Observed as an occasion to rally against internet censorship and advocate for unfettered access to free and unrestricted expression since 2008 (on the 1989 anniversary of Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitting his proposal for a information management system for CERN which would eventually become the world wide web) by and incorporating the annually updated Enemies of the Internet roster from Reports without Borders (Reporters sans frontiรจres, RSF) that calls out countries for suppressing freedom of the press.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

spheres of influence

Though not coined by the British statesman and by then former Prime Minister, the use of term Iron Curtain metaphorically to describe the demarcation of Western and Eastern Europe saw its popularity and parlance cemented in an address given by Winston Churchill on this day in 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Originally used in the literal sense as fire break—Eisener Vorhang—installed in theatres to prevent flames from spreading from the stage to audience or vice-versa but used figuratively several times to denote the end of a geopolitical arrangement in time or space (now whose tract and trace is repurposed as something verdant—see also here, here and here), Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech, delivered soon after the end of World War II was a lecture on tensions and strained relationships that led to the Cold War, that term itself promulgated five days later in a newspaper article by The Observer correspondent George Orwell.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

8x8

squirrel monkey: imagining Wordle vintage 1985—see also  

ะผะธัั‚ะตั†ั‚ะฒะพ: Ukrainian art community despairs as invasion advances

rumble: the overlooked musical virtuosity of Link Wray  

snake island: Ukrainian soldiers stand their ground and face off a battleship defending a military outpost on Zmiinyi, the rocky islet where Achilles was entombed 

regression to the mean: a spate of controversial laws passed in the US to curtail discussions in classroom that would make straight, white cis people uncomfortable (previously)

existential crisis: dread creeps into the everyday and makes it difficult to focus on what’s vital and the ultimately inconsequential  

ะฐั€ั…ั–ั‚ะตะบั‚ัƒั€ะฝะพั—: Ukrainian designers and architects fight back against Russian incursion  

acrophobia: sociable early internet word game that solicited wrong answers only plus several contemporaries

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

7x7

orientation: Ivan Reitman’s (RIP) student film

times contrarian: Neil Young (previously) publishes his own digital newspaper

le docteur qui: Bill Bailey (previously) reinterprets Dr Who theme as swinging Belgian jazz  

twosday: a once in a life-time quirk of the calendar—be sure to celebrate this mirror day 

a notoriously unpredictable english tetragraph: all the different ways to say -ough  

genehmigung gestoppt: German halts approval process for pipeline (previously) bypassing Ukraine after Russia invades 

 mother-in-law-doors: elevated thresholds in Newfoundland have a questionable origin (see also)—via Miss Cellania’s Links

Monday, 21 February 2022

the week that changed the world

Having arrived the night before with an audience of sixty million viewers in the US alone (despite the time difference with the three main broadcast networks pooling resources to cover the eight-thousand dollar per hour cost of satellite usage for the eight day event), Richard M. Nixon (see previously here and here) became the first US president to visit the People’s Republic of China, signalling a thaw in almost a quarter-century of hostile relations with his strategic outreach and overture. Normalising trade with the capitalist West, the summit with Mao Zedong and other senior leadership had the immediate result of straining cooperation between communist China and the Soviet Union.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

the tavistock letter

We learn that aided by machine learning, researchers have been able to finally decipher the “savage stenographic mystery” (see previously) of the brachygraphy of Charles Dickens, a shorthand he learned during his first career as a court reporter and developed into an idiosyncratic script of his own design for taking notes on his working manuscripts during his later literary career. Though select correspondence and marginalia has been cracked, there is quite a huge corpus of drafts left to decode. Much more at Open Culture at the link above.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds

On this day in 1537 in the flower market of Haarlem, tulips are unable to fetch or exceed their expected price for the first time during the speculative craze of the Tulipomania—results posted the following day, eroding confidence in contract calls and causing the exchange to collapse spectacularly. Though perhaps the Dutch enterprise as the leading economic and financial power of the time weathered the crisis with relatively few lasting scars—the account and effects taking hold in the popular imagination after journalist Charles Mackay’s above investigation in 1841 (perhaps dissuaded from writing about the more recent South Sea Bubble as hitting too close to home) and modern economists dismiss many anecdotes (patrimony and parcels of land for a single bulb) as illogical and inefficient, the new phenomena nonetheless establishes the discipline of socio-economics and how markets can deviate from intrinsic value.

7x7

1:12: a 1983 architectural magazine’s call for dollhouses  

way-finder: a friendly reminder about the most important app ever made 

i can’t hear you—i’m wearing a towel: dated New Yorker cartoons whose punchline has become a depiction of the everyday—via Waxy  

fisheye lens: a floating exhibit platform showcases Norwegian aquaculture practises 

philately: a brilliant abecedarium (see previously) of vintage postage stamps from around the world  

tensor strength: researchers engineer new material that can absorb and release enormous amounts of energy—like super-charged rubber band, via Slashdot  

the vault of contemporary art: a collection of architectural sketches and schematics from a Things Magazine omnibus post on the subject

Thursday, 27 January 2022

8x8

i just think they’re neat: an orchestral ballad extolling the qualities of the tuber—via Pasa Bon! 

pulsar: a mysterious, suspected white dwarf star called GLEAML-X is far more energetic than physically possible  

eurhythmics: the greatest music teacher of the twentieth century, Nadia Boulanger whose pupils included Igor Stravinsky and Quincy Jones  

nu descendant un escalier № 2: the Marcel Duchamp research portal  

great green wall: an ongoing project to grow a corridor of trees across Africa 

meta-maps: gazetteers that interpret atlases from the collection of David Rumsey 

 bande dessinรฉe: Belgium’s new passport design pays homage to the country’s comic artists  

fire sale: a curious inventory of lots for sale with the closure of the Drury Lane theatre  

his father’s eyes: a giant New Zealand potato, Dug, is subjected to genetic-testing for proof that it is a tuber

a boy named charlie brown

We were saddened to learn of the death of Peter Robbins (*1956, Louis Nanasi) by suicide and reading about his mental health and addiction struggles over the course of decades in his obituary. The real estate agent and former child actor, his first role from another comic strip in the televised adaptation of Blondie as the Dagwoods’ son, was the voice talent behind Charlie Brown for the Peanuts animated specials of the 1960s—including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with his final role as the character in 1969 a reprise of his 1963 debut. Never forget how to talk to people.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

the new normal

On this day in 2003, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fielded questions during a press conference, including Charles Groenhuijsen a Dutch reporter from Nederlandse Publieke Omroep, who spoke to the mood of reservation and doubt in the coalition of the willing: “But now the European allies. If you look at—for example—France, Germany also a lot of people in my own country … [I]t seems that a lot of Europeans rather give the benefit of the doubt to Saddam Hussein than Geroge Bush. These are US allies. What do you make of that?” After some prevarication, Rumsfeld replied, “Now you’re thinking of Europe as German and France. I don’t—I think that’s old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the East.” Heralded later as the German Worte des Jahres—altes Europa—it was embraced by many politicians as a badge of integrity for their well-founded skepticism and reluctance in contrast to what some regarded as opportunistic realignment for New Europe.