Tuesday 20 February 2024

10x10 (11. 365)

royal mews: King Charles’ one of a kind electric Jaguar up for auction—via Miss Cellania  

ppe: the portable nuclear bomb shield, patented by Harold Tiff  

got clearance clarence: after embarrassing blunder over bad travel advice, Air Canada advocates personhood (and limited liability) for its chatbot customer representative 

1776 days: Julian Assange’s long detention and fight against rendition to the US for Wikileaks

that which you call hardee’s, we call carl’s junior: food deserts, prevalence and distribution of casual dining chains in the US 

tigers blood: new singles from Waxahatchee 

daddy daughter day: breakdancing, bitcoin father revealed as a veteran of member of the Christian Coalition and conservative speech writer 

the second in line: Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson—via Messy Nessy Chic  

body armour: Casimir Zeglen, the priest who invented the bulletproof vest  

motorcade: Joe Biden’s Cadillac sedan for sale—via tmn

synchronoptica

one year ago: artist creates a prosthetic extra digit plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the subterrene (1972) plus The Shape of Things to Come (1936)

three years ago: introducing the Jeep (1941), a Nyan Cat NFT plus a suite of Japanese pictograms

four years ago: more mass-transit upholstery, RIP Larry Gordon Tesler who invested copy-and-paste, superannuated map styles, the possible extradition of Julian Assange plus the new US ambassador to Germany

five years ago: all the presidents’ meals, a secret meeting between industrialists and the Nazi government (1933), more links worth the revisit, the US emergency broadcast system (1971), vintages mazes plus the bokeh technique

Saturday 27 January 2024

horsey horseless (11. 299)

Through his 1899 patent for the above automobile mast or grill that fronted the steed of a horsed-carriage to cause less distress in mixed traffic, we are acquainted with the figure of Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist minister, hymnodist, inventor and abolition and pacifism advocate. Disillusioned and disabused from religion following the Great Disappointment when the world did not end as foretold in prophesy but later joining the administration of the Advent church, contributing significantly to its theology and writing their own End Times eschatology, remaining in Battle Creek until expiring on his way to the office in 1903.

Sunday 14 January 2024

hands-free device (11. 266)

Admitted seen to have one dangling from the rear-view mirror myself from time to time (maybe I ought to have hitched it to my last car), we hadn’t heard of this early 1950s, patented accessory (see also) called the Recording Rosary. Though I imagine it could still lead distracted driving—the innovation was for the Glory bead (traditionally made from the jet sourced to saints’ shrines or carved from olive pits from the garden of Gethsemane though substitute materials are sanctioned) to keep track of the decades if the process needed to be interrupted—and question if praying the rosary is something to be done whilst multitasking, the inventor’s intention were in the right place with proceeds going to charity and engaging in the activity during one’s commute or official duties (particularly for soldiers) was hoped to promote world peace. More at Weird Universe at the link up top.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

kermit the golf (11. 240)

Via two of our enduring favourites bloggers, Nag on the Lake and Things Magazine we are treated to a deep-dive into automotive-aficionado and Muppets’ creator Jim Henson’s custom Lotus ร‰clat which was painted in a froggy (though not quite matching) green and featured distinctive amphibian pupils on its pop-up headlights as a vehicle for Henson’s son Brian to recall his father’s career and early struggles. As pointed out above, even more important than the car, it signalled for the child of a workaholic parent, that dad was home. Much more at the links up top.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

7x7 (11. 129)

last mile-problem: 2003 ad from a defunct automotive line lampooning the absurdity of cars—especially redesigning cities around them 

broken record: the cover of the UN’s Environmental Programme Emissions Gap Report  

whistle-blower: ufologist who testified before the US Congress urges declassification of documents on alien technology for America to get ahead of the coming, catastrophic leak  

whole heap of zing: new studies may have found the culprit in the phenomenon of the red wine headache  

oculi mundi: a gorgeous and interactive collection of antique and ancient depictions of the world to peruse—via Maps Mania  

keith number: seemingly recreational, rare and hard to find repetitive Fiboncci-like digits whose sum are a whole of its parts 

the marshmallow test: famous experiments in psychology recreated in LEGO

synchronoptica

one year ago: an early exercise craze

two years ago: assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: the Nurnberg Trials (1945), more links to enjoy, artist Magritte plus cardboard cat shrines

four years ago: more Words of the Year, a Trump appointee turns, Martha Gellhorn plus reforming Ukrainian exonyms

five years ago: the Mayflower Compact, more links to enjoy, a ram registry plus the backstory of an IKEA poster

Thursday 9 November 2023

button copy (11. 106)

Via Curious Brain, we enjoyed this short montage from Daniel McKee (previously) to music by Resonate that cycles through international traffic signs, showing the variations through different countries on warnings and restrictions. The title refers to the retroflective elements that follow the contours of sign legends caught by oncoming headlamps.

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

Monday 9 October 2023

county squire (11. 049)

Whilst unfortunately never leaving show-room floors due to a perceived lack of public enthusiasm for a station wagon that transformed into a fully outfitted campsite with the push of a button, via Messy Nessy Chic, we are referred to this rather glorious 1959 concept vehicle from Ford’s Heritage Vault. The faux wood paneling is a vestigially reminder of when such conveyances were used like hackney coaches to transport people and goods to the nearest train depot. In addition to the launchable boat that reveals a roof-top tent for two, a kitchen with stove, refrigerator and sink deployed at the flip of a switch from the boot.

7x7 (11. 047)

haus zum walfisch: explore horror film shooting locations of 1970s and 1980s classics, including Suspiria filmed in a townhouse in Freiburg im Breisgau  

concrete feats: a tour of Italy’s Brutalist architecture  

rapid electric vehicle retrofits: an Australian student wins James Dyson Award for an inexpensive conversion kit to make gas-powered vehicles hybrid 

earthshapes: fantastic geography from pilot Joseph N Portney 

larva convivialis: the miniature dancing skeletons of Roman banquets—via Strange Company 

jungian individuation: the Swiss psychoanalyst on the predictive power of Tarot cards 

tune-on: veteran television producer and director on the revival of his Laugh-In spin-off five decades afterwards  

31 days: a month long celebration of the Spooky Season from Laura E Hall—via Waxy

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, World Postal Day plus to slander one’s good reputation

two years ago: more links to enjoy, happy birthday John Lennon, Karl-Marx-Stadt, drag queen tarot plus a visit to the Osterburg

three years ago: The Watcher in the Woods, more Phantom plus more links worth revisiting

four years ago: major military exercise in Germany planned by US forces plus other European trade colonies in China

five years ago: Trump’s legacy of failed businesses, more on the fight to save an ancient woodland plus moving Tokyo’s historic fish market

Monday 11 September 2023

ฮถ ursae majoris (10. 995)

Still awaiting flying cars (aka roadable aircraft) we were promised, the first pair of fatalities occurred on this day in 1973, when co-founders of AVE (Advanced Vehicle Engineers) Henry Smolinski and Harold Blake were test-piloting a Mizar prototype (named after the lodestar in the Big Dipper) in Oxnard, California. Mating a Cessna airframe to a Ford Pinto, an earlier test-flight had revealed stress of the struts and the deadly crash succumbed to the same design flaw, setting the field back significantly, though one-off developments continue. 

synchronoptica 

one year ago: an important battle in the Scottish War of Independence (1297)

two years ago: 80s automotive dashboards, avian photograph of the year, the Dead Internet conspiracy theory plus Midcentury Modern home-entertainment consoles

three years ago: a memorable, perfectly timed photograph, Disintegration Loops, fiery skies plus assorted links to revisit

four years ago: US pulls funding for the UN migration agency, more on the art and writing of William Blake plus imagining what’s beyond the frame

five years ago: a web-cam aimed at the North Tower,  an international trombone festival, corporate sponsored space exploration plus the US attacks the International Criminal Court

Monday 4 September 2023

hot labor summer (10. 983)

Amid ongoing strike actions by the Hollywood Writers’ Guild and pushes to unionise workers for increased leverage in bargaining with big manufacturers and retailers and the growing precarity of news outlets, this round-up and review on the US observance of Labor Day (see previously here and here) presents both hopeful and fraught factors for the movement’s reception and success. While a strong jobs market and with historically low unemployment has advantaged many workers in many industries and has momentum, changing paradigms, which companies can cite with varying levels of credulity, like generative content, cloning (the last time actors in 1960 joined the writers, a six-week stoppage awarded creators residuals from re-runs and syndication) as well as shifting to less labour-intensive manufacturing techniques—electric vehicles take few machinists to build and maintain, signalling major changes in productivity and the makeup of the workforce. While many in the US give vocal support to the ideal of unions, only ten percent of workers belong to one and the US Supreme Court has issued recent decisions that erode the right of workers to strike when negotiations, stalled and forced into a stalemate by business executives sold on technological utopias that have failed in many cases to materialise. The empires of off-license lodgings, gastronomy and taxi cabs haven’t translated to savings for consumers and are either petty kingdoms or indentured servitude for providers and streaming is just as expensive, exclusive, walled-off as cable or the studio-system. This changing posture of course has global implications and could further undermine workers’ rights.

Monday 21 August 2023

i can listen to you—it keeps me stable for nights (10. 956)

Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we learn that the foundational New Wave track by Gary Numan, launching his career as a solo artist after disbanding Tubeway Army, the lead single from his debut album, The Pleasure Principle, was released on this day in 1979. Although genre-defining first and foremost, the song is a bit transcend and bigger than its era—particularly in the postamble with rather epic harmonisation of a second synthesiser, a Minimoog and a Polymoog. The lyrics were inspired by an escalated road rage incident that Numan escaped by driving over the kerb and on to the sidewalk, the autonomy and splendid isolation responsible for both inciting and diffusing situations like this. In cars.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: medieval chess gaming conventions, assorted links to revisit plus the third album from Oasis (1997)

two years ago: visiting all the rudest toponyms in the UK plus The Baltics are Waking Up! (1991)

three years ago: only one saint per jurisdiction, please (1970), Comrade Gulliver, the history of paper ballots, the Hundred-Horse Chestnut Tree protected (1745) plus vintage Japanese meal wrappers

four years ago: GAP founded (1969), more links to enjoy plus face-swapping for 2001

five years ago: medieval alewives, a gigantic inner-bellum seaplane plus real-time tube maps


Wednesday 2 August 2023

you chicken fink! after all we did to get accepted? (10. 921)

Before going into general release in cinemas in the US, American Graffiti premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival on this day, the director and writer George Lucas, disappointed by the financial performance of THX 1138, was challenged to make a nostalgic, coming-of-age movie by producer Francis Ford Coppola that more audiences could relate to and was inspired by recollections of teenage experiences “cruising” in Modesto, California. 

Set during the last night of summer vacation, matriculating seniors and recent graduates about to depart for college out of state spend the evening driving from one end of town to the other, with a cast including Richard Dreyfus, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, Ron Howard, Suzanne Somers and Cindy Williams and an omnipresent soundtrack sourced from its decade earlier setting (DJ’d by Wolfman Jack), this second attempt is heralded as among the most profitable films of all time with a world-wide boxoffice of over two-hundred million, giving Lucus the seed money to finance his long-planned space opera.

synchronoptica
 
one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago:your daily demon: Ronovรฉ, the dead man’s hand, the letter that encouraged the Manhattan Project plus more links worth revisiting

three years ago: a notorious piratess, Blessed Basil of Moscow plus more on malapropisms
 
four years ago: vintage sporting posters, the worst examples of gerrymandering turned into a font, terms for animal markings plus a weird vintage McDonald’s ad
 
five years ago: preserving process, skill and institutional know-how,  more on Foley artists and sound design plus welcome to the Anthropocene Era

Monday 24 July 2023

dragnet (10. 904)

Via Slashdot, we learn that artificial intelligence is aiding and abetting US police departments is conducting en masse warrantless monitoring of individuals, equipped with a suite of tools that analyse driving patterns of cars in traffic, normally anonymised by the herd and the sheer volume of surveillance footage the pick up snapshots of single vehicles, to identify (with an questionable degree of accuracy sure inflated to the precincts who buy the software) suspicious patterns—the signature route of a drug dealer, in the case cited, and prising out a guilty plea thanks to this dossier. Beholden only to the caprice of its operators and without judicial oversight or safeguards, every cop becomes an overly zealous Inspector Javert with the Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology, which is also used to predict and tag customer experience at drive-thrus and shared as a potential bounty across state lines with jurisdictions that have banned abortions.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

7x7 (10. 859)

armada model zero: prototype flying, electric car cleared for takeoff 

๊ตญ๋ณด: ancient Corinthian helmet found in Olympia and awarded as a trophy in 1936 among South Korea’s National Treasures  

el niรฑo southern oscillation: combination of global warming and cyclical weather patterns have yielded the hottest day since record-keeping began  

๐Ÿงต: Meta to launch Twitter alternative in twenty-four hours  

cop27: UK to walk-back its climate pledge 

luteciam parisiorum: a virtual tour of Roman Paris  

astral projection: the brain’s precuneus seems to be responsible for grounding and for the sensation of out-of-body experiences

Sunday 2 July 2023

8x8 (10. 849)

: JWST captures outstanding images of the ringed planet, completing a family portrait of the gas giants  

dining al fresco: excavations in Pompeii uncover a a still life featuring a proto-pizza—see also  

ษš: rare phonemes and how to pronounce them  

gas, food, lodging: one hundred twenty pump filling station, the world’s largest, opens in Tennessee as a tourist attraction—via Marginal Revolution 

ripples in a pond: astrophysicists detect new class of gravitational waves rolling through the Cosmos

abacusynth: a unique electronic musical instrument from Elias Jarzobek 

liquid television: MTV’s first animated series, Stevie and Zoya—see previously  

euclid and roman: a joint NASA, ESA mission to survey the skies for signs of dark matter and dark energy

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Morax, the influence of 70s Japanese soft rock on Nintendo music, mid-point of the year, Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, a trip to Oberwaldbehrungen plus the punishments of Pompeii

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, Airplane (1980) plus the Civil Rights Act (1964)

four years ago: disruptive cake icing to evade IP infringement plus the time that Pepsi (sort of) had the second largest naval fleet in the world

five years ago: holidaying on Lake Garda

six years ago: playable Wikipedia,  a preview of the G20 in Hamburg plus words only said once


Saturday 17 June 2023

drag race (10. 813)

Spotted earlier and thought even for corporate inclusively and arguably once-a-year rainbow washing it was too good not pass up, especially considering the frothing assault directed towards other companies for their Pride Month campaigns—but learned that this promotion was from last summer. Though apparently more subdued (we can’t recall the furore), it wasn’t received with out controversy from dismissal to outrage and without explicitly addressing the contemporary developments, the outreach was believed to prompted by inviting the governor Greg Abbott to officiate pre-race rituals and waving the the green starter flag for the All-Star Rally at the Texas Motor Speedway just following his announcement directly state agencies to investigate gender-affirming therapies for transgender individuals, a decision which NASCAR later recanted. Still an ongoing and escalating attack, I hope they’re launching a bigger one this year.

synchronoptic 

one year ago: the continuing voyages of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the Watergate Break-In (1972), plus assorted links worth revisiting 

two years ago: Iceland makes it easier to change one’s matronymic, patronymic and gender markers, the introduction of ASCII (1963), Sons of Kemet, plus calendar conventions

three years ago: the East German Uprising of 1953, the US judiciary’s agenda against LGBTQ+ individuals, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1953), plus a Prayer for Relief

Thursday 15 June 2023

9x9 (10. 808)

seo arms race: ploys for attention bifurcate the internet marketplace—one for humans and the other for robots 

please have your boarding pass and identification ready: an appreciation of departure soundtracks of airliners—via Things Magazine 

musical tangents: a genius, deranged mashup compilation—via Waxy 

dynasty x: the world’s first curated, public museum established by Babylonian Princess and High Priestess Ennigaldi-Nanna, rediscovered in 1925, had a collection of artefacts as far removed from its time as Ur was from ours 

literal lexical calques: a new Spanish-English dialect emerges in southern Florida 

nada: car dealer trade group writing state legislation prohibiting factory sales, requiring manufacturers to work with middlemen—more here  

convergent evolution: Nature keeps making crabs and scientists aren’t sure why—via Kottke  

phrygian mode: Ancient Roman popular music  

unfulfilled: Amazon’s predatory cycle is transforming the EU into a planned economy

Monday 12 June 2023

6x6 (10. 802)

i-95: the dialectometric implications of the highway overpass collapse in Philadelphia—which happened near Four Seasons Total Landscaping 

rolling stock: a home studio and venerable teleworking space travels from backyard to the woods on a rail line—see also   

canopy: a treetop walkway in Fyresdal, Norway

alphabetical order: an appreciation of indexing in the age of miscellany 

tugboat: since the 1970s, prospective tanker captains have been training with tiny ships at this centre in France—via Messy Nessy Chicsee also  

ablaut reduplication: the unwritten, consensus rule of spoken English we all tend to obey—see also

Sunday 28 May 2023

7x7 (10. 771)

schachtรผrke: a fraudulent chess-playing automaton launched the AI debate in 1770 

bart: the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit has new anime mascots—each of the characters has a backstory 

pattiegonia: facing the expected backlash from staunch conservatives after featuring a drag star in their ads, the North Face refused to back down—this is not a white flag 

beyond the yellow brick road: the reading that The Wizard of Oz is a Populist political allegory is kind of an incoherent mess, suggested over six decades after it was written—via Strange Company  

buena vista social club: a restored, enhanced 1972 tour of Disney World 

priority road: one individual’s quest to document the unusual, confusing traffic signs of Japan  

lexus nexus: lawyer turns to ChatGPT for help in finding precedence a client’s case, citing a wholly fabricated disputes and settlements—via Waxysee also