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. 


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.


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.

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


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.


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

Sunday, 21 May 2023

8x8 (10. 760)

the four republican “freedoms”: the US GOP manifesto is not geared for governance—see previously

little deuce coupe: modern automaker faithfully fashions the unrealised 1974 Pony by Giorgetto Giugiaro (see also)—unveiled in Lake Como 

action kids: a 1965 choreographed work-out to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ rendition of The Third Man theme  

the heart of the ocean: advanced scanning technique produce a digital twin of the wreck of the Titanic  

a corecore experiment: presenting the post-post-post-truth future of AI—see previously  

consider the jackalope: more—see also—on this real, taxidermic cryptid’s origins and implications 

little darlin: the demo-tape from 1992 from an unknown duo that changed their name after reviewer called them “daft punky trash”—see previously  

tax, title and license: the state of Texas to charge electric-vehicle drivers extorted fees to register their cars

Thursday, 18 May 2023

6x6 (10. 749)

unartificial: city of Vienna is using AI feline-added artwork to promote its inspiration—via Miss Cellania  

paved paradise: the American obsession with car storage and its attendant ills  

world police: US military bases around the globe—see previously here and here 

sour grapes: the art of the sulk as a form of indirect communication and social-leveller  

bakerloo line: an incredible schematic of the Piccadilly Circus under- and overground by Renzo Picasso—see previously 

uhohlingo: a AI that generates language learning lessons—and tends to be notoriously wrong

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

8x8 (10. 747)

me and coolio down by the school yard: a treasury of DJ Cummbund’s mash-ups—see previously  

pedestrianised zone: Tokyo, the largest city in the world, achieved at level of automobile usage almost without compare to all other urban areas—via Kottke 

oo-de-lally: Disney’s Robin Hood at fifty—via Waxy  

was involved in a quid pro crow: during an interview, a politician introduces an interesting error  

sentence grimes: tag yourself in the unimpeachable list of seventh- and eighteenth century Quaker names—see also—Experience Cuppage is also very good 

contes de ma mรจre l’oye: fabulist, architect and meteorologist, the passions of the Brothers Perrault informed the modern age  

conservancy: the gradient of corporate and public, historic interest for digital preservation and possible solutions—see previously 

soda stereo: an appreciation of the Argentine musical sensation, four decades on

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

9x9 (10. 745)

speak-easy: the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar in 1977, staffed with undercover reporters to investigate city government corruption—via Messy Nessy Chic  

mapbacks: Dell pulp mysteries back covers featuring crime scene schematics—via Things Magazine 

team delft: a hydrogen-powered bubble car is setting records  

lรถwenzahn: the linkages between dandelions and human history—see previously 

global town square: for Silicon Valley capitalists “bringing people together” is value-neutral 

no static at all: automakers removing AM radio, in part because electric engines can interfere with the reception—see more, see previously

a free-speech absolutist: Twitter acquiesced to a selective purdah just prior to the ballot in Tรผrkiye—more here  

hey maga: Randy Rainbow savages Florida governor and presidential hopeful with “Welcome to DeSantis”—a parody of “Welcome to the Sixties” from Hairspray  

upworthy: the downfall of American reporting through clickbait and catchpenny tactics

Saturday, 13 May 2023

8x8 (10. 737)

what is a strikebreaker: past gameshow champion Ken Jennings to host Jeopardy! during its final episodes for the season, crossing the picket line during the Writers’ Guild protest  

captain’s table: a tour of the Hamburg-America Line’s SS Prinzessin Vitoria Luise—the world’s first purpose built cruise ship, launched in 1900 

the big four: the dominant professional services networks providing auditing and assurance advise clients on how to cheat their way through compliance inspection 

bull-boards: more on the Osborne brandy mascot that’s become an icon of Spain 

get your kicks on route 66: ahead of its centenary, the historic American highway gets a much needed refurbishment—via Miss Cellania 

c’est le dernier qui a parlรฉ qui a raison: ahead of tonight grand prix in Liverpool, a look back on the geopolitics of Eurovision—see also, see previously 

lucky duck gets private equitied: the latest cartoon fro, Ruben Bolling—see previously, see also 

home port: despite the ban, cruise ships are still docking in Venice  

scabs: Starbucks announced closure of three franchises in Ithaca, New York has nothing to do with the workers’ decision to unionise

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

right of reply (10. 699)

Incorporated on this day in 1910 in Zwickau, Audi was the second automobile business started by founder August Horch, whom was not allowed by his former business partners to call his new company by his last name as they had decided collectively for the first claiming trademark infringement. The name was at the suggestion of associate’s son, Heinrich Fikentscher, Latin student, who was studying during a meeting held at his father’s apartment about what to call their new enterprise and growing weary of the insistence that they retain Horch (a near homonym of the German hรถren, hรถrt, attend or hear) implored his father “Audiatur et altera pars…wouldn’t it be a better idea to call it audi rather than horch?” The phrase, usually cited as a legal principle or editorial policy in its singular imperative form Audi alteram partem, means “let the other side be heard as well” and is applied in disputes to allow both sides to give their version of events or present both sides in a media venue.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

the jaywalker (10. 591)

Milton Muffet, a confessed poor pedestrian—is addicted to the “most awful, habit-forming vice” that man fall prey to: jaywalking, in this 1956 UPA instructional short by Robert Cannon, Edwin P Hicks and story adaptation by T Hee. The Oscar-winning animated subject portrays Mr Muffet’s behaviour as becoming manic, verging towards obsessive and a personal challenge but these regulations which privilege motor vehicle traffic above pedestrian has limited jurisdiction and was just recently decriminalised in California though remaining an infraction most other places in America.

Saturday, 4 March 2023

mashers (10. 587)

The inaugural “Anti-Flirt” Week launched this day in Washington, DC in 1923, the Anti-Flirt Club with the charter of protecting young women from unwanted advances, prescribed a series of rules to rebuff men in automobiles and on street corners:

  • Don’t flirt: those who flirt in haste often repent in leisure
  • Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists—they don’t invite you in to save you a walk
  • Don’t use your eyes for ogling—they were made for worthier purposes
  • Don’t go out with men you don’t know—they may be married and you made be in for a hair-pulling match
  • Don’t wink—a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the othe
  • Don’t smile at flirtatious strangers—save them for people you know
  • Don’t annex all the men you can get—by flirting with many, you may lose out on the one
  • Don’t fall for the slick, dandified care eater—the unpolished gold of a real man is worth more than the gloss of a lounge lizard
  • Don’t let elderly men with an eye to a flirtation pat you on the shoulder and take a fatherly interest in you—those are usually the kind who want to forget they are fathers
  • Don’t ignore the man you are sure of while you flirt with another—when you return to the first one you may find him gone

Though the first and only campaign, other chapters in New York and Philadelphia succeeded in earning a reprieve from the worst harassers.

Friday, 17 February 2023

panopticon (10. 552)

Though I am very much enjoying working remotely and spending time with the dog, I do miss my former fifteen-minute city, well connected with a good train service for the commute to the office and everything else immanently walkable, and was quite taken aback—though I suppose we should regard everything as commodifiable and subject to exploit—to learn, via Web Curios (lots to see there, as every week), that the benign and beneficial civil engineering priority that’s taken root on the other side of the Atlantic as well as being remediated and reenforced in places originally planned that way is the subject of conspiracy theorists, calling the changes to urban zoning an open-air prison with denizens at first coerced and then tethered to their well if not adequately apportioned neighbourhoods. While such layouts have proven timeless over time, there’s expected to be a short-term backlash to change when we stop catering to automobiles and sprawl.