Friday 23 February 2024

10x10 (11. 374)

walden 7: photographer Sebastian Weiss captures the epic nature of an outstanding apartment block in Barcelona 

shootball: January Sixth themed pinball machines and other Republican swag at the Conservative Political Action Conference—see previously 

swimming with sharks: an overview of the hidden terror that’s haunted, informed humanity for millennia  

google blobs: the animated emoji character set that ought to be brought back—via Web Curios 

38°n: a news source on North Korea rex melly: the riches of Mansa Musa of the Mail Empire—adjusting for inflation and other factors, possibly the wealthiest person in history 

shift to socials: Vice Media is folding, laying off hundreds of journalists—via Waxysee more  

pale usher: introducing a blog mini-series on Moby Dick with a curious etymology  

every sperm is sacred: following the ruling in Alabama that grants personhood to frozen embryos—and the subsequent suspension of IVF treatment for fear of legal implications—conservative think tank forming Trump’s policy wants to end recreational sex 

batpole: homes with alternate stairwells—see previously

Sunday 23 July 2023

twilight zone (10. 900)

Via Boing Boing, after going up on his space elevator, Neal Agarwal invites us to scroll down from the ocean’s surface through the pelagic zone through the midnight zone to the dismal seabed and explore with the denizens of the deep, like the cosmopolitan sixgill shark that spend their days at depths of seventeen hundred meters and their nights in swallower waters and the so called headless chicken fish that’s a sea cucumber with wing-like fins that propel them through the dark at nearly three thousand meters below or plunge to the ultra-abyssal hadal zone (the adjectival form of Hades), inaccessible places in the deepest trenches that have had fewer visitors than have been on the Moon.

Saturday 6 May 2023

10x10 (10. 724)

shark tank: MS Teams has a suite of customisable in app stickers  

let him love fellows of a polecat: recalling a scholar’s naรฏve but noble translation attempt of Lorem ipsum—see previously here and here 

i was there (at the coronation): a 1953 calypso song by Young Tiger s s minow: Federal Communications Commission who called television a vast wasteland (see previously) has passed away, aged 97

like family, but with more cheese: more on that pizza commercial produced by AI  

brownstone: Ruxandra Duru collects colour swatches of Brooklyn townhouses  

some disassembly required: a proposal to construct a Dyson’s Sphere (see previously) around the Earth using Jupiter for raw materials  

yeoman’s work: Penny Mordaunt as the unwavering bearer of the Sword of State stole the show—see more here and here 

native tongue: research shows nearly half of the world’s linguistic diversity at risk  

dark patterns: digital services make it difficult to unsubscribe—via Waxy

Friday 16 April 2021


oh, i travel—a sort of licenced troubleshooter: a lexicon of the Bond franchise in all its forms 

riptide: an homage to the pre-code (previously) Hollywood actress Norma Shearer 

dead pilots’ society: CBS Summer Playhouse and similar vehicles were venues for anthologies of failed television shows—see also  

la vie รฉlectrique: Albert Robida’s 1893 vision of the future includes a remote courtship by means of a tรฉlephonoscope 

the sensational she-hulk: Marvel comics hand-lettering from Reagan Ray—previously  

buzz-saw: the ancient shark-like Helicoprion had spiral tooth-whorls 

reinventing the wheel: engineers in Seoul develop transforming, load-bearing tyre using principles of origami—see previously  

oh—the pint pot, half-a-pint, gill pot, half-a-gill-quarter-gill, nippikin and the brown bowl: conventional measurements of liquid (see also) anticipated the next in a binary fashion  

shaguar: if Austin Powers were to be revived today, he would have been cryogenically frozen in 1991

Sunday 21 February 2021


gerontologists hate them: two Florida women disguise themselves as “grannies” hoping to get vaccinated sooner—via the New Shelton/Wet-Dry 

the sleeping sharks of isla mujeres: Jaws-inspired speedo-fest that’s a favourite of Quentin Tarantino

orchestral manoeuvres in the dark: thirty-five years on, the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink is timeless

a searchlight productions: find actors, colours, objects in movies—try kitten, fox or cheese, via Waxy  

a working-class hero is something to be: an obsessive photographic provenance of every figure featured on the Sgt Pepper’s album cover—see also here and here 

it gettu betur each time you watch the clip: gentleman on Icelandic quiz show responds poorly to losing ruling against his answer 

covax, co-pay: prices per vaccine paid globally varies widely, often not representative of purchasing-power

Saturday 10 October 2020


Rotten and selfish to the core—not to mention our ocean alpha-predators being a personal target of America’s impeached, superspreader idiot-in-chief who was not even willing to join a global coalition to develop a vaccine pooling resources and trying to go forward with production as responsibly as possible—humans will be, if left to their own devices, reliant on a compound harvested from the livers of sharks. It was not bad enough it was formerly an ingredient used in cosmetics, the filler ingredient used to cut inoculations so a little of it goes a longer way it triggering an immune response, there are alternative solvents available—such as olive oil. The irreplaceable species already under threat from human activity could be driven to extinction if we were to cull hundreds of thousands more to jockey for cure, throwing the rest of the oceans’ ecosystem towards turmoil.

Tuesday 25 August 2020


a jay ward production: rediscover the classic cartoon Hoppity Hooper

distance learning is the art of applying the bride to the child: Dorothy Parker’s (previously) take on remote kindergarten

long in the tooth: a Greenland shark is recognised as world’s oldest veterbrate type specimen: explore the extensive Letter Form Archive—via Pasa Bon!

nimby, yimby: mapping applications that reveal percentage of golf course and parking lots in your town

casa azul: a virtual exploration of Frida Kahlo’s Blue House—via Messy Nessy Chic plus the edible sunflower and a tiny tug

owls to athens: a look at how our avian friends influenced language and limn thought (see also)

Friday 14 August 2020


really simple syndication: Tedium explores early electronic news and digital services (see previously here, here and here)

let’s go out to the lobby: a 1979 drive-in cinema sci-fi concession advertisement

heracleum sosnovsky: creative interventions to control the toxic, invasive import known as “Stalin’s Revenge”

a shiver of sharks: research is showing the marine predator to be social creatures despite their lone, marauding reputation

iss: a digital coffee table book documenting life aboard the International Space Station

dead pilots society: a treasury of unproduced television shows—via Miss Cellania’s Links (see also)   

eftertrรคda: IKEA reveals its branded line of apparel with a new collection

the audience is listening: the origins of Netflix’s ta-dum sound—via Things Magazine with a special edition on start-up noises

Wednesday 5 August 2020


nestbox: Czech firm designs a modular trunk extension to turn any car into a camper

kintsugi court: a rundown basketball blacktop restored with the ancient Japanese art that cherishes the cracked

your 2020 bingo card: researchers discover a population of sharks thriving in an undersea volcano

earth science: a treasury of minerals mapped out—via Maps Mania

green tea ice cream: Linda Diaz’ soulful rendition wins the NPR Tiny Desk competition

cosmic architechtonics: multipart exploration of Eastern Bloc monolithic housing estates

Saturday 20 June 2020

you’re gonna need a bigger boat

Appropriately as the world tries to restart the economy (which in its old form was irreparably doomed from the moment that this microscopic menace first began to spread) and return to a normal that we’ve been graced through it all with the chance of rejecting and eradicating and starting over as some new and more just, sustainable and equitable society and instead in many places chooses to ignore and disdain the experts in favour of return to the status quo, on this day in 1975, the motion picture Jaws went into general release. Mindful of the economic impact that closing the beaches will have for his town Amity (is a summer town—we need summer dollars), Mayor Vaughn decides to reopen despite the fact a marauding menace is still in the waters.

Sunday 10 May 2020

torch song

Having encountered this neural network-driven jukebox before in several contexts, we were of course quite impressed but at the same time unable to assay the power the algorithms and machine learning so quite appreciated the developers allowing Janelle Shane (previously) to put a quarter in and demonstrate in an accessible what it’s capable of. If you have ever wanted to know what Baby Shark might have sounded like as performed by the Beatles, then you are in luck or sample the below rendition in the voice and style of Ella Fitzgerald. Much more to explore at AI Weirdness at the link above.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

no laughing matter

Contributing to the growing list of what can’t be unseen, we are treated—rather subjected to the terrifying perspective of a potential next meal that from beneath and turned around that makes proximity to a Great White Shark an even scarier, layered prospect, owing to the unsettling pareidolic effect of finding anatomy within anatomy.

Sunday 10 February 2019


squala mater: a definitive Latin translation of Baby Shark—via Super Punch

sonovox: watch Lucille Ball demonstrate the “voice-box” technique that Peter Frampton popularised

amplifying random noise: regional terms for carbonated beverages in the United States

the wandering earth: big budget scifi movie from author Liu Cixin (previously) has excellent New Year’s debut

from snowman to gingerbread man: the surprisingly flat dimensions of Ultima Thule (previously) baffles researchers

gregg-ruled: edition of Alice in Wonderland transcribed in shorthand—with illustrations to help the reader keep his or her place

embroidered stories: an exhibition of samplers (previously) from Scotland

Saturday 12 January 2019

ohrwurm oder kleiner hai

Though there is not a definitive pedigree for the children’s tune that has gone viral and memetic for all its various tributes and celebrity renditions and it is believed to have been a traditional campfire song, but it’s strange that we’ve been here before—a decade ago—and have conveniently put the experience out of our heads, and was first popularised in 2007 as Little Shark by German artist alemuel. The beat in this slightly darker version (see bottom video, try playing both at the same time) of the earworm of a song is closer to the theme from Jaws and involves a baby shark devouring a swimmer but it’s essentially the same piece (although the reinforcement of gender stereotypes within the pleurotrematic extended family are also kind of disturbing) that reached a critical mass just within the past few months.

Sunday 18 March 2018

the hare of inaba

We find ourselves introduced to a foundational folktale thanks to the stunning illustration by Kureha Rokuro commissioned for a 1943 publication, The Gods of Japan—Nihon no Kamisama, ๆ—ฅๆœฌใฎ็ฅžใ•ใพ.
The titular hare of the ancient account, a tale in the origin saga of Japan, who tricks snarks—by appealing to their vanity—to line up for roll-call while the hare bounds over them (counting off as he goes, the sharks sure that the membership of their clan outnumbered that of the population of confined hares) as a bridge to get from the isolated island of Oki to the Hakuto coast, home of present day Tottori. The hare boasts that he has deceived the dumb sharks as he nears the end (possibly the entire rabbit tribe had used this bridge to evacuate the island) and the last shark lashes out at him and rips off his pelt. Bereft of his fur and quite uncomfortable, the hare entreats a passing column of eighty brothers on a courtship embassy to compete for the affections of the Princess of Inaba. To a man, they either had no time for the hapless creature or dismissed it with bad advice. One brother, the lowliest of them all and with the most meagre prospects, took the time however to care for the hare and prepared and applied a poultice that soothed his raw skin and restore his fur. In gratitude, the hare reveals his true nature as a god and promises to elevate the youth who helped him with his kindness and ensured that he would be the one to wed the princess.

Friday 26 January 2018

pillow-talk or mack the knife

Until reading the disclosure of a tryst by Trump with a porn star (imagine what it would be like trying to convince ourselves a year ago that we would be confronted with such headlines as these) that Trump is obsessed with sharks and wishes them all to die, we had forgotten that then citizen Trump was steered away from portraying the US president in a bad movie about a plague of the shark variety out of fear that it might reflect badly on his upcoming candidacy to be the actual president.

Saturday 5 August 2017

heart of sharkness

Though I can imagine dealing with a hailstorm of vicious man-eating sharks might seem presently rather mild and the preferred challenge in comparison to the plagues that Dear Leader is capable of calling down on civil society and the environment, in case you had not heard—as Dave Log informs, the disaster horror comedy movie franchise that has started to attract all sorts of bottom-rung actors who vie for cameo-roles was also courting the likes of Donald Trump to play none other role than president of the United States of America.
Although second choice after Sarah Palin refused the part, Trump was reportedly very keen to be presidential, even if it was in a gory and bad film, with David Hasselhof, and Charo, and several other reality television stars. Trump was rather crestfallen in January of 2015 when his team of handlers asked him not to appear in Sharknado: Oh Hell No! as production might interfere with his actual bid for the presidency they were pushing the serial candidate to announce soon. I wonder what kind of persuasive argument that had to weave in order to get Dear Leader to give up on a sure thing for laborious long-shot. In this instance, I think we can all wish that his baser instincts would have prevailed.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

finger-licking good

Though perhaps the efficacy is in line with what it ought to be, I imagine that there was no need for this sort of product tie-in, which certainly would not be a good shark-repellent and perhaps as good a lure as a bucket of chum. The idea that marketers (who should be made to sit in a corner and think about what they have done) had for this gimmick is that the “skin that should be extra crispy this summer is on your fried chicken.” This revolts me on several levels at once, but apparently the campaign was effective with the sun-screen having already sold-out. I guess when you hit the beaches and are wafted not by the smell of salty air but another, rather intrusive aroma, you know right away who to avoid.

Sunday 30 August 2015


I remember noting how back in 2008 through declassified CIA service records that gourmand, connoisseur and television cooking show pioneer Julia Child had served in the OSS—the Office of Security Services, the agency’s precedent incarnation, and being rather surprised but also cognizant that thousands of other women who weren’t celebrities had to maintain absolute silence on their early careers as well, which was surely an insult after being let go at the factories and laboratories once the crisis ended and being condemned to being merely house-proud.
Bea Arthur and Doctor Ruth Westheimer are in the same class as Child with many others surely to be disclosed posthumously. Until recently, however, I had not appreciated what Child’s war-time contributions were: the Smith College graduate and heiress volunteered for a duty assignment in Ceylon, and despite having not yet discovered her passion for kitchen chemistry, undertook to develop an effect shark-repellent. Aside from attacking overboard sailors and ejected airmen, curious sharks were thwarting Allied efforts to blockade Axis submarines in southeast Asia by getting themselves blown up by mines. Heretofore, the only known shark-repellent was the rotting carcass of another dead shark, which was not a very palatable part of one’s kit. Though not a perfect deterant (which even for its faults might be added to the quiver of current beach life-guard crews), Child’s team did manage to isolate certain copper-compounds that approximated the aversion of having a dead shark in the vicinity. Child married a fellow OSS staff member and were stationed subsequently in post-war France but with only her husband commissioned as an intelligence official. Going back to those tradition house-wifely duties, Child was introduced to French cuisine as sort of a transfiguring experience and became resolved to share this joy of cooking—plus the consumption, pairing of wine with meals—with a wider audience and worked passionately toward this goal rather than resigning into the background. Bon appetit!