Tuesday 26 December 2023

9x9 (11. 218)

inukshuk: CGP Grey grades the flags of the Canadian provinces—see previously  

omnibus: a compilation of the best books of the year 

52 things: Kottke shares some inspired, superlative gleanings from the past twelve months 

black smokers: hydrothermal vents evolved to prey on benthic Santas  

editors’ picks: some of NPR’s favourite, possibly overlooked stories of the year  

in a big country, dreams stay with you: assessing the size of YouTube—via Waxy  

there are two kinds of bubbles: speculation on the speculative nature of artificial intelligence from Cory Doctorow  

font foundry: the year in typography  

first nations: the contentious, selective display of tribal flags at the Oklahoma state capitol

Saturday 25 November 2023

l’etoile du nord (11. 140)

The state flag of Minnesota, as TYWKIWDBI informs, is undergoing a redesign (see previously here and here and here) to modernise the banner and refine the jumble of tiny symbols emblazoned within, keeping the lodestar but to the regret of many residents forgoing the loon and happily removing the imaging the of the Native American riding off into the sunset with a settler ploughing the field in the foreground. Subject to public input, the redesign will be finalised by the committee from a selection of six finalists by the new year. The clean abstract look reminds me of the flags of the prefectures of Japan—which whilst not uniform, do have a cohesive look to them and wonder if the rest of the American states ought not to follow this example of vexillological reform for more of a corporate branding. The flags of the German states, notwithstanding the coats-of-arms—which can be complicated affairs but follow the rules of heraldry or blocks of patterns, and are like the rule-of-thumb prescribes, recognisable and can be drawn from memory. More at the links above.

Saturday 28 October 2023

per dexter, per fichtรฉe (11. 081)

Despite the proscription in the US against royal titles, many past American presidents have employed personal coats-of-arms, either through inheritance or as foreign honours from heraldic authorities. The last president to hold a such a heraldic achievement was William Jefferson Clinton bestowed on him by the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1995 at the behest of the Taoiseach in honour of his Irish heritage. The azure anchor of the crest bares the word SPES (Latin for Hope) as an allusion to Clinton’s hometown and campaign platform and the motto below, “The Lion carries away the Branch.” While the Trump Organisation and his Scottish golf course have corporate arms, they were not granted or sanctioned by any competent authority.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: further adventures plus unblogged Crete

two years ago: your daily demon: Shax, Gulliver’s Travels plus more on being in the flow state

three years ago: the Greek flag adopted, priority group mall Santas, the short films of Al Jarnow, a pizza chain’s logo plus a home-makeover for the Simpsons

four years ago: a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere, a mundane Halloween plus The Millennial Raven

five years ago: a day-trip to Frankfurt plus assorted links to revisit

Wednesday 29 March 2023

true south (10. 643)

Via Miss Cellania, we are treated to vlogger CGP Grey’s enthusiastic primer on the succession of banners bestowed on the world’s largest condominium, the continent of Antarctica, territory of no nation despite competing claims and the presence, albeit it temporary, of research outposts that like to plant their own flags. Designs and proposals flown as at least semi-official ensigns have been around since the 1930s and with a vexillologically complete presentation in 1978 that chose a highly contrasting international, aerospace orange and an 2018 contender by Evan Townsend that seems to have traction with the negative space of a compass arrow pointing to the geographic nadir and invoking bergs and mountains and thelong days and nights of the planet’s extremes.

Thursday 9 February 2023

iso 7001 (10. 537)

As Paris releases its pictogram family for their upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, Present /&/ Correct directs us to an omnibus collection of universal signs and symbols developed for all the Olympiads from 1964 on, highlighting some of their favourites (and ours as well). See how these coats-of-arms for each event compare to earlier iterations.  Much more at the links above.

Monday 22 August 2022

7x7 (10. 078)

ultima generazione: climate activist glue themselves to the Vatican’s Laocoรถn  

little gold statue special: MST3K’s take on the 1995 Oscars 

larder and pantry: photographer Richard Johnson’s compelling series on root cellars–via Everlasting Blรถrt 

a garbler of spices: an eighteenth century specialised position 

canting arms: heraldic rebuses to puzzle 

biblioclasm: to combat book bans and censorship, the Brooklyn Public Library is issuing free cards to all US adolescents  

yangtze: drought in China reveals ancient statues of the Buddha normally submerged–see also here and here–and is also causing shortages in hydroelectric production

Wednesday 27 April 2022

flagging interest

Most posts here can be filed under miscellany but we have spent some curating labels and last year starting transitioning to using emoji but am feeling more than a little bit equivocal about having chosen to use national and constituent flags as tags, and via Shady Characters (previously) we learn that the governing body of Unicode will no longer be entertaining proposals for new flags—as those states with region codes are added automatically according to the canonical authority ISO 3166. Already fraught with politics and foreign relations, sub-divisions (exceptions not withstanding) will not be granted an officially sanctioned emoji—with the same restrictions applied to historic flags and movements, since it is impossible to please all sides and it’s not always obvious if the least worst choice was made. Some platforms (see also) and operating systems have always eschewed this controversy by using a pair of letters or a featureless flag (๐Ÿด).

Sunday 24 April 2022

unpo

Founded and headquartered in the The Hague in 1991, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was constituted to champion the marginalised with membership made of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or otherwise occupied territories with an aim of achieving political autonomy and self-determination with the rejection of violence and terrorism as tools of policy. Current localities and groups on its rolls (not without controversy and in-group dispute) are Abkhazia, Bretagne, Catalonia, the District of Colombia, Guam, the Hmong, Savoy, Sindhudesh and Tibet. Former members Palau, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have attained full statehood and independence.

Monday 11 April 2022

tryzub

Officially adopted by the Rada after independence and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992 and with historical precedence going back to the Ukrainian People’s Republic of 1918 and in the historic seals and brands (tamga, ๐ฑƒ๐ฐข๐ฐ๐ฐ€, from the Old Turkic to mark the property of nomadic peoples—see also) of the Rurikid rulers of the Kyivan Rus, the country’s coat of arms, the Emblem of the Royal State of Volodymyr the Great, is described as a “trident” of gold (ะขั€ะธะทัƒะฑ) on an azure shield but likely was intended to represent the Trinity in the form of a stylised gyrfalcon (like this one from outside of St Petersburg connected to an eighth century Viking trading outpost on Lake Lagoda at the other extreme of the Rus’), consistent with the iconography associated with the Scandinavian extraction of the ruling dynasty.

Monday 21 March 2022

benedictus

Fรชted on this day prior to the calendar reforms of 1970 on the occasion of his passing in 547 (*480), twin brother of Saint Scholastica and patron protector of Officers at Arms, spelunkers, Europe nettles and architects Benedict of Nursia is venerated in all Christian communions as the founder of Western monasticism. After establishing communities in Lazio near Rome, Benedict went to the mountains and founded an order at Monte Cassino that sought balance and moderation with his Rule promulgated in 516 that outlaid a hierarchy in the brotherhood with an abbot in charge. With chapters including both spiritual and administrative guidance, the communities adhered to the golden rule of “Ora et Labora”—prayer and work, with the days quartered and eight hours each allotted for prayer and study, sleep, manual work and charity.

Thursday 10 February 2022

the dread pirate roberts

Killed during the melee of the Battle of Cape Lopez (off the coast of modern-day Gabon) on this day in 1722, Bartholomew Roberts (*1682, also known by the Welsh monicker Barti Ddu, Black Bart) was the most successful privateer and defining figure of the Golden Age of Piracy, capturing over four hundred ships in his relatively short career and terrorising merchants in Newfoundland, the Caribbean and West Africa. Roberts and his compatriots developed one of the first Pirate Codes of Conduct that outlined pay, recompense, responsibility and punishment and flew under a variety of rogue banners that eventually came to be the familiar skull and cross-bone flag.

Thursday 23 December 2021

strings palewise throughout counterchanged

The venerable College of Arms granted Sir Paul McCartney on his fifty-ninth birthday in June 2001 his heraldric achievement, presenting it for the first time on this day during the following year.The chequered flaunches of the escutcheon—the finish of a Gibson guitar—represent the four Beatles. For the crest, the avian creature perched on the knight’s helmet supporting a fretted instrument is the mythological liver bird that symbolises the city that our Liverpudlians are from. The motto below: ECCE COR MEUM—Behold my heart, is taken from the oratorio dedicated to his first wife, Linda. Incredibly, the college was able to deliver to McCartney an elegant design that references his life and career whilst adhering to the vocabulary and tradition of their trade and charge.

Friday 26 November 2021

hoist and heading

Via Web Curios, we are directed towards the simple though diverting application called Flag Waver. The pictured GIF (and while if you choose an animation, it is static, it does look supremely recursive should one pick this image) of the footage is not nearly as fluid as the app will make any image of one’s choosing nor does justice to the photo-realistic skies, not just flags obviously, flail and unfurl in the breeze, which is adjustable as well as the type of flagpole and to display one’s banner on and how it’s oriented.

Monday 27 September 2021

distinguishing signs of vehicles for international traffic

From tomorrow on (28 September, 2021) and with no official reason cited though one suspects it is in show of support for Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is switching its national identifier decal for cars and lorries from GB (Great Britain, the nations nominally to the exclusion of NI) to UK. License plates which also currently bear the GB identifier and the circle of stars on a blue field representing the European Union will also require a change, to UK above a Union Flag. The new stickers, needed for travel outside the UK but not applicable to Gibraltar or other overseas territories, will be available for £1.50.

Sunday 26 September 2021

fristaden christiania

Occupied over the course of weeks prior to the declaration, amid protests of the Danish government of the lack of affordable housing in Copenhagen, squatters claimed their takeover of the abandoned military barracks and historic depot of the borough of Christianshavn on this day in 1971 to establish an independent commune. The unique, semi-autonomous site focused on self-sustainability and collectivism is home to around one thousand residents. The flag is a modified version of the labarum, the military standard of Emperor Constantine and pairs with the city flag of Amsterdam, triple x.

Sunday 5 September 2021

armorial bearings

Incorporating heraldic data from Wikimedia Commons (previously) with cartographical coordination from Open Street Maps, we quite liked this developing website from Adnan Smlatiฤ‡ of European Coats of Arms, emblazons and charges that can be filtered and overlain by administrative divisions (see also) and zooming down to the most granular levels of the landed gentry. It’s a pretty cool endeavour and let’s help the creator met their stretch-goal.

Friday 6 August 2021

regimental colours


Via the lens of heraldic conventions developed over centuries of colonisation and exploitation, we are afforded a glimpse into the complex history and socio-economic relations of the traditional companies of warriors of the Akan culture—called Asafo—of Ghana and the Ivory Coast (see previously) that pledge to defend the land through resistance to assimilation and care for their community, like ward custodians. Reminiscent of latter day Afghan war rugs (an example pictured here), learn more about the flags’ history and legacy at the link up top.

Monday 2 August 2021

aces & eights

Referenced throughout popular culture including tattooed on McMurphy’s shoulder in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the cards drawn in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and numerous law enforcement emblems—especially in Las Vegas, the Old West Wild Bill Hickok folk hero had just been dealt this allegedly cursed poker hand (with a fifth unrevealed wild card) on this day in 1876 during a heated game at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota when shot in the head by a drunk Jack McCall. A bit of creative retconning fifty years on solidified this narrative, whereas previously the Dead Man’s hand referred to a full-house with three Jacks and a pair of Tens and regarded with suspicion.

Saturday 31 July 2021

7x7

70% cรดte d’ivoire, 66% cyprus, 65% republic of ireland: doodle world flags and let a computer guess—via Web Curios  

peaky finders: a selection of interactive mapping application still functional and chugging along a decade later  

cult of the sun: a look at the Athon, a 1980 Lamborghini concept car  

ss experiment: an unsuccessful ferry, powered by eight horses on a treadmill  

astronomia: a lovely antique deck of playing cards with celestial charts and information on the planets and stars 

flsa: US congressional representation introducing legislation for a four-day work week—see previously here and here  

google doodle: a selection of the best commemorative banners—via Things Magazine

Wednesday 14 July 2021

chevron of chain counterchanged argent, sable, argent

Winning entrant designed by vexillologist Gracie Sheppard in a contest sponsored by a local museum to create a symbol for the region, the flag of Black County was first hoisted in 2012—thereafter on this day to mark the invention of the Newcomen steam engine in 1712 that heralded the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with a county fรชte.

The heavily industrialised area in the West Midlands after Birmingham has no single set of defined boundaries to the satisfaction of all with the most common being where the coal seam has come to the surface and refers to the layer of soot that covered everything from all the mining, mills and factories by the mid-1800s. Chain-manufacture was big business there, as was glass-making and brickworks. Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop established the region’s first literary conceit as a vicious hellscape in 1841 with others upholding it including J. R. R. Tolkien’s Mordor—elvish for dark land—corresponding with contemporary accountings, with some suggestion that activist and Communist and Labour party mayor of Bilston in Staffordshire, Ben Bilboe, was the inspiration and namesake for the hobbit character, the author’s family having roots in the West Midlands.