Monday 10 June 2024

7x7 (11. 618)

bernhard modern: pre- and proscriptions in font choice in legal briefs  

mind the gap: a huge collection of historic London Underground maps and posters—see previously 

in search of…: the Dogon culture and ancient astronomy

homebrewed: following his felony conviction, Trump’s licenses to sell liquor under scrutiny 

pay wall: you’ve read your last fee article, such is the nature of mortality

and peace and justice for all: Tweet of the Day re-litigates and exonerates all of Trump’s misdeeds  

poster child: the auction expertise of Nicho Lowry  

show bible: a reprinting of the DC Comics Style Guide from 1982

Friday 24 May 2024

6x6 (11. 581)

gyermekvasรบt: the Budapest Children’s Railway, a functioning training project founded in the Communist era—see previously 

funny farm: an Ancient Greek agricultural emulator 

beacon hill: Massachusetts millionaire surtax surpasses revenue targets—via Miss Cellania 

he spends £1 a week on his hair: early reviews of British pop icons—via Strange Company 

god mode: a world simulation where the user has complete dominion—via Web Curios 

east side story: a documentary about musics in Warsaw Pact countries—see previously

Wednesday 8 May 2024

pacific 231 (11. 547)

The most often performed of his orchestral arrangements and originally given the working title Mouvement Symphonique for the compositional exercise in building momentum whilst slowing tempo, the tone poem by Arthur Honegger, a member of Les Six—a group of composers working in Montparnasse who collaborated on projects and produced albums during the interbellum and WWII when audiences could not attend live performances—had its premiere on this day in 1924. A tribute to steam locomotives and named for a class of engines with two axles for pilot wheels, three for the driving wheels and two for the trailing, Honegger was a noted train enthusiast, declaiming that “I have always loved locomotives passionately. For me they are living creatures, and I love them as others love women or horses.” The below 1949 award-winning short by director Jean Mitry of the same name scores railyard operations to Honegger’s music.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

7x7 (11. 544)

group tape №1: a 1981 compilation from the International Electronic Music Association collective  

the light eaters: plant cognition and agency—see previously  

hardfork: the duality of Vernor Vinge’s Singularity 

to share something is to risk losing it: an update on the beloved Broccoli Tree (not pictured), which was loved to death—see also  

mai-1: Microsofts new AI model could potentially over take rivals 

pod squad: Project CETI gains more insights into whale communication  

haus 33: a ride on the Techno Train that loops from Nรผrnberg to Wรผrzburg

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Devil’s Bible

two years ago: a classic from Spandau Ballet

three years ago: cheugy plus Kraft Television Theatre

four years ago: cereal and straw craft, Kraftwerk plus Shelter-in-Place

five years ago: the long-delayed passage of a US constitutional amendment, designer Georg Elliot Olden, the unending attraction of nature plus haunted dolls 


 

Sunday 17 March 2024

riding the rails (11. 429)

Via Damn Interesting, the start-up Ironlev demonstrates that it is possible to achieve magnetic levitation on existing train routes, successfully testing a prototype vehicle on the Adria-Mestre line near Venice whose speed topped out at seventy kilometres per hour. No modifications were made to the track to accommodate the maglev test carriage, and given the network of underutilised and in some cases abandoned rail infrastructure linking all parts of the continent, the potential applications, despite technical challenges, are significant for efficient and quick transportation of people and goods. Aside from a levitating service run briefly in Germany (die M-Bahn) to supplement gaps left in public transit following the fall of the Berlin Wall until reunification and a few other proof-of-concept trials, there are only six operational lines in China, South Korea and Japan presently with the biggest expensive and barrier to expansion being the high cost laying new dedicated tracks.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, a Gloria Gaynor classic plus “All You Tories”

two years ago: Leipzig After-Hours

three years ago: Joseph of Arimathea, Lost Horizon (1973) plus vaccination campaigns as portrayed in movies and television

four years ago: a homecoming staged for the cameras (1973) plus the art of Edward Hopper speaks to pandemic isolation

five years ago: St Patrick in the Russian Orthodox Church plus The Fourth Dimension and the Bible (1922)

Tuesday 12 December 2023

10x10 (11. 184)

arrows of time: a timeline tracing the evolution of human understanding through various magisteria—via the new shelton wet/dry  

horary quandrant: oldest dated English time-keeping instrument goes under the hammer—see previously  

guten morgen: the newly launched Nightjet service between Berlin and Paris marks a return of sleeper trains—see previously 

the beef and dairy network: industry delegates and lobbyists triple at COP28 

theory of mind: researchers reveal a deep chasm in how perception varies from individual to individual  

animation v physics: Alan Becker’s follow on video to Animation v Maths—via Waxy  

oed: the joys of exploring the authoritative dictionary—see previously  

rewind: carbon removal technology is also a time-machine—though presently only able to move the needle a little—via Good Internet 

 the year in search: Google presents its annual review  

the great scrollback: the Verge’s features the best archived tweets

Sunday 3 December 2023

i just don’t see why blance should shove a broken bottle in stanley’s face—couldn’t she just take his abuse with gentle good humour? (11. 161)

Premiering at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway on this day in 1947, Tennessee Williams’ Southern Gothic play (previously) narrates the experiences and trajectory of a former southern belle who loses her teaching job and the family home to creditors and with no other prospects, moves in with her younger married sister and husband in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Deceptive and critical of her new hosts, Blanche Dubois is acting out of self-defence and deflection to not own her series of bad choices, including an early marriage to a gay man and an affair with a student that led to her dismissal from the school. The original cast showcased the talents of Kim Hunter with Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando and the name comes from a streetcar line (discontinued by the time of the cinematic adaptation in 1951 and replaced by a bus service) that ran not far from the playwright’s own apartment when living on Toulouse Street.

Friday 24 November 2023

top of the deck (11. 136)

Fellow peripatetic and committed flaneur Diamond Geezer is celebrating the milestone of his ten-thousand post, mini-essays since starting blogging back in 2002. We especially appreciate the data analysis that’s typical of his content, showing trends and distribution over the years, unlike my deportment, counting the quick missives and links (increasingly dead ones) and the tendency lately to fudge the dates, use placeholders and shift things around a bit so PfRC doesn’t seem so neglected. Crunch the number, so to speak, he compiled a rather resonant and relatable list of common tropes (not labels) characteristic to his blog: 

• I went for a walk

• I went on a journey
• I went sightseeing
• I went somewhere seemingly mundane
• I visited disjoint linked locations
• I spotted something unusual
• I invented a silly challenge
• I attended an event
• I see TfL have done something
• I wouldn't have done it like that
• I disapproved of some marketing
• I considered the human condition
• I dug into some data
• I made some lists
• I scoured a map
• I made a quiz
• I looked back in my diary
• I was inspired by today's date
• I reacted to the news
• I am being sarcastic

The blogosphere congratulates Diamond Geezer on this achievement and speaking on behalf of quite a few of us, we are grateful to the Blogger platform for its consistency and dependability over the years.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

9x9 (11. 101)

dark universe: Euclid space mission to map the Cosmos and glean insights into the mysterious majority of matter and energy composing it  

the earth dies screaming: an effective but bare-bones 1964 British apocalyptic horror flick from 1964  

go fish: the (possibly apocryphal) origin of the name of the city of Slow Low, Arizona  

qr-monster: the artistry of AI prompters—see previously  

๐Ÿš‰: a teaser for a Backrooms-like game taking place in the Tokyo metro Shinjuku station 

lignum vitae: looted leaves of the Golden Tree of Lucignano recovered 

purity pals: new US Speaker of the House of Representative announces that he and his seventeen year old son monitor each other’s web consumption  

future imperfect: a strangely engaging 1974 series of filmstrips warning against the utopian novel and utopian-thinking orbital plane: an exoplanet’s singular path around a binary star system—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

synchronoptica

one year ago: Operation Able Archer (1983), Ukraine to change the date on which Christmas is observed plus a gallery of bad Jane Austen book covers

two years ago: a documentary on picking the wrong venue, a bombing in the US capitol plus the Riace bronzes

three years ago: your daily demon: Bifrons,  awaiting US election results, the collection point for cataloguing art looted by the Nazis plus the first female US vice-presidential candidate announced

four years ago: an unused deck of tarot cards by Salvatore Dalรญ

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, Nixon’s concession speech (1962) plus more from the Center for American Politics and Design

 

Sunday 5 November 2023

9x9 (11. 097)

falling for fall: an epic attempt to capture the Christian Girl Autumn aesthetic—via the morning news  

paradox: NASA climate group issues a bleak warning on climate change—controversially suggesting that a reduction in aerosol pollution will accelerate warming 

the hunting of the earl of rone: one individual’s quest to catalogue the folkways and traditions of the United Kingdom  

they’re all good dogs: the winners of the annual world canine photography award presented—plus a bonus vocabulary term for one who is favourably disposed to dogs—via Nag on the Lake  

ja-da, ja-da, ja-da, jing jing jing: a soothing 1918 jazz standard covered for decades after  

mechanical turk: exposing autonomous cars’ vast human support network to maintain an illusion of safety, reliability 

roll on: a clever phonophore logo for a transport and logistics company in Hong Kong 

cape canaveral: a 3D animated billboard recounts the chronology of the Kennedy Space Centre 

momiji tunnel: a stunning section of the Eizan railway showcases the turning foliage—via the ever excellent Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

 synchronoptica

one year ago: the Gun Powder Plot, a Commodore accordion, more McMansion Hell plus a Wikipedia list of common fallacies

two years ago: the Saint Felix Flood (1530) 

three years ago: a tri-lingual dictionary (1499), a flashpoint labour strike (1916), a sรฉance on a wet afternoon plus the Rebel Rabbit GIF

four years ago: more on Guy Fawkes, Voyager 2 leaves the Solar System, ghoulish guacamole plus Facebook’s shift to the right

five years ago: representative Shirley Chisholm, an ancient boardgame, photographer Denise Scott Brown, words for the Winter Blues plus mapping the US mid-terms

Wednesday 25 October 2023

8x8 (11. 074)

hilma af: a planned towering gallery for the Swedish artist realised as a virtual reality experience  

papercraft: gorgeous moderne four palette architectural models to make 

the book of hallowe’en: a 1919 illustrated, syncretic study of the appropriated holiday in the spirit of the Golden Bough  

swarm charms: a go-to guide of medieval bee spells 

trainspotting: an omnibus post on avoiding rail collisions including a nineteen century timetable still in use 

reconstruction: the sounds of ancient languages—see also 

the logo is formed from minifig hands: the new LEGO Dune playset  

flow-chart: a study on the abandoned shopping-carts of America  

you may touch the artefacts: a gallery of early internet relics from Neal Agarwal—see previously

 synchronoptica

one year ago:  further adventures in Crete

two years ago: the US Invasion of Granada (1971)

three years ago: a hexadecagonal country retreat, SS Crispin and Crispinian plus pandemic gods and heroes

four years ago: a lyrical headline (1924), a video game atlas plus the world’s first erotic boutique proprietress 

five years ago: The Master Key of Futurity, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens plus programming a more ethical Pac Man

Wednesday 20 September 2023

the panic of 1873 (11. 011)

The period of economic stagnation originally referred to as the Great or Long Depression before the interwar slump set new standards for the definition and though caused by a range of contributing factors including the opening of the Suez Canal that was disruptive for entrepรดt trade (also controlled by the British Empire, goods from the Far East were formerly warehoused in South Africa with the previous sea route around the Cape of Good Hope and the traditional sailing ships could not be adapted to navigate the new short-cut as the prevailing Mediterranean winds pushed them back into the Red Sea), devastating fires in Chicago and Boston and Germany going off the bimetallic standard—precipitating a fall in silver prices, the financial crisis with global implications was chiefly attributed to rampant speculation by investors in railroads and boom in their construction particularly in the United States following the Civil War. The panic began on this day in 1873 with the collapse of the Jay Cooke & Company, an innovative banking institution and brokerage house that pioneered the use of “wire” transfers and confirming transactions over telegraph lines, overextended and unable to sell on millions in bonds it had secured to build a second transcontinental line. With the railroad company and the bank indebted, bankruptcy soon followed with contagion spreading to other financial institutions and the insurance industry, prompting the closure of the New York Stock Exchange for ten days with immediate redundancies in the manufacturing sector. Railroad workers went on strike in protest of reduced wages, further exacerbating the crisis and knock-on effects overseas which led to a wave in immigration to the States that coincided with the easing of the turmoil by 1879.

9x9 (11. 010)

: play around for a moment with the Water web toy—via Miss Cellania and the Everlasting Blรถrt  

green new deal: modelled on FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, US president Biden creates a federal jobs training and climate protection force  

won’t someone think of the children: UK passes Online Safety bill—see previously  

piramida: architectural photographer Danica O Kus documents the newly-repurposed monument in the Albanian capital of Tirana

nine-man morris: archeologists discover a board game carved in the ruins of an ancient Polish castle  

qed: a tiny Irish child has a brilliant solution to the trolley problem—see previously  

the mascot of ascot: the magnificent millinery modelled by Gertrude Shilling—via Messy Nessy Chic

once i played a tanpura: electronic music from India from the early 1970s—via Things Magazine  

written on water: physicists using an ionic pen and Brownian motion can draw lines and letters in liquid

 

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: the Global War on Terrorism declared (2001), photographer Charles Cylde Ebbets plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: St Eustace plus running out of hurricane names

four years ago: an AI names mushrooms,  exploring a local wayside chapel, more links plus Randy Rainbow for the Emmy

five years ago: retro web bumpers, a then-and-now of New Zealand’s government, modern-day occupations plus the board game Careers

Thursday 24 August 2023

7x7 (10. 962)

miracle house: a singular property that survived the devastating wildfires opened up to the community as a beacon of hope for a destroyed Lahaina neighbourhood 

service manual showcase: a growing curated archive of quirky and niche instruction guides—via Waxy  

book ‘em danno: Trump arrested and released on bail in Fulton County in the US state of Georgia—with a historic mug-shot 

take the d-train: artist Stipan Tadiฤ‡ documented a year long route from the Bronx to Brooklyn and back—via Nag on the Lake 

spaghetti mayhem: Jan Hakon Erichsen has fun with uncooked pasta 

word of the day: Susie Dent’s logophilia  

ฯ…ฮณฯฯŒ ฯ€ฯฯ: emergency responders struggle to contain fires ravishing Greece—the largest in the EU

Thursday 17 August 2023

9x9 (10. 948)

?: JWST captures an image of a distinct punctuation mark from the emerging Cosmos  

a/v: a history of corporate presentations from slide-shows to Power Point—via Things Magazine  

index librorum prohibitorum: an American school district is using ChapGTP to help it decide which books to ban  

an unacceptable grindset: driven to produce quantity over quality has yielded some high-profile errors in popular YouTube channels  

one on one: legendary interviewer and television presenter Michael Parkinson passes away, aged 88  

emerald and stone: an ethereal track by Brian Eno (previously) visualised with water, soap and paint  

bart: a trove of Kodachrome slides found discarded in San Francisco reveal the construction of the Bay Area Rapid Transit—see also 

einstein’s crosses: astronomers probe the effects of gravitational lensing

 synchronoptica

one year ago: ABBA’s last collaboration plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the first animated film (1908), the constant ฯ€ plus terra incognito

three years ago: a tragedy in Australia in 1980, Operation Warp Speed plus the Turkic dotted-i

four years ago: some links worth the revisit plus the Cosmos prior to the Big Bang

five years ago: Animal Farm (1945) plus the complex genes of food crops

Sunday 13 August 2023

sunday drive: talsperre lรผtsche (10. 941)

On the way back from some window-shopping, we took a detour through the Geratal to Frankenhain for a stroll around the second biggest artificial lake in the region (previously). Dammed in 1935 by the Deutschen Reichsbahn in order to provide a source of water for stations in Erfurt and Arnstadt, by the time the reservoir (Stausee) was completed steam-powered locomotion was being superseded and it was converted to hydropower—and today the same supply-system to cool data centres in Neudietendorf and for brewery operations connected to the train stations that have repurposed the cisterns. The tributary rivers have their source near the winter sports destination Oberhof, whose ancient volcanic composition of quartz porphyry were also the quarry for the retaining walls. Used primarily for recreational activities currently, it was certainly a nice walk down to the beach and good to visit the area again.

Sunday 30 July 2023

9x9 (10. 915)

polly pocket: following the success of Barbie, all the Mattel branded toys promised their own feature films 

freshmen fifteen: a nifty conversion tool in the style of Neal.Fun—via Pasa Bon! 

ugly american: the dark side of trends in tourism—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to check out here) 

a sunday in the park with georges: the pointillist work by Seurat recreated in Wisconsin—see previously

eimreiรฐin: what became of trains in Iceland 

you gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues: we appreciated this reminiscence about the Ringo Starr tune  

meteorological optical phenomenon: more on the Sun’s green flash as it disappears from the horizon  

seybold seminars: the outsized influence of desktop publishing conferences—see also 

return to tender: another exquisite John and Faith Hubley short courtsey of Fancy Notions

Sunday 16 July 2023

tc-497 or long things which are long (10. 888)

Via Things magazine, we are directed towards the experimental overland train that the earthmoving company LeTourneau developed for the US army as a supply-chain solution to quickly dispatch equipment and materiel to remote locations without roads or tracks. Each carriage was equipped with its own electro-diesel motor to contribute in tandem to the locomotion and also benefitted from regenerative breaking, short configuration pictured but any number trailers could be inserted between cab and caboose. Under the code name Project OTTER (Overland Train Terrain Evaluation Research) in 1961, the TC-497 was prototyped and trialled in hopes of establishing the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line, a series of radar substations stretched over Alaska and Canada to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War and was suggested that instead of traditional (hybrid) internal combustion engines, the convoys would be nuclear-powered. Ultimately, the project lost out to ever larger cargo planes and helicopters. Learn more at the links above.

Sunday 9 July 2023

6x6 (10. 869)

kherson herbarium: botanists risked their lives in war-torn Ukraine to save a unique plant collection—see also  

public access: cute stuffed animals jam to vintage records at Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar & Lounge  

mctrains: a look at the fast food giant’s failed ventures 

fรถhnkrankheit: alpine downdrafts attributed to outbreaks of madness—via Strange Company  

msg sphere: a colossal orb covers an events venue in Las Vegas  

weedwork: a tour of the first cannabis coworking space in New York City

synchronoptica 

one year ago: Tron (1982), the first animated adaptation of The Hobbit, Chroegraphy for Copy Machine (1991), the Charles Bridge of Prague (1357) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: past life regression for pets, the presidency of Millard Fillmore plus transiting through Denmark

three years ago: more adventures along the Moselle plus independence for the Republic of Palau (1981)

four years ago: electromagnetic pulse experiments (1961) plus the minimal republics of Rubรฉn Martรญn de Lucas

five years ago: spider ballooning, salterns from above, the Brexit Bulldog resigns plus artist Joshua Reynolds

 

Tuesday 4 July 2023

station to station (10. 856)

After the penultimate show of his Ziggy Star Dust world tour in 1973, David Bowie who was then suffering from a fear of flying took a ship from Yokohama to Vladivostok and then the Trans-Siberian Railway back to England, with various whistle-stops along the whistle stops along the way, including the May Day Victory Parade in Moscow. This week-long trip was documented by Bowie himself, with a 16mm videography entitled “The Long Way Home” and by friend and bandmate Geoff MacCormack (also known by the stage name Warren Peace)—meeting fans, drinking sessions with soldiers and sailors and giving impromptu performances, and is on exhibit at the Wende Museum of the Cold War in Culver City, California with an especially curated soundtrack.