Wednesday 22 May 2024

kalaallit nunaanni nuna eqqissisimatitaq (11. 571)

Founded on this day in 1974 and expanded in 1988 to protect nearly a million square kilometres in the northeastern part of the island, Grรธnlands Nationalpark is the world’s largest and tenth largest reserve in the world (the larger areas consist mostly of marine environments). Approximately the size of Egypt, the park has no permanent human population, though about four hundred encampments, research stations and cleanup sites of abandoned mining operations see use over the summer months. One of the least visited parks in the world, it is home to numerous walruses, polar bears, wolves, seals, narwals and whales and a significant portion of the world’s musk oxen. 

* * * * *

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Trevi Fountain (1762)

two years ago: Nsibidi signs, tramdriver championships, the Oompahs plus Icelandic horses answer your emails

three years ago: a crawling map, a generational chart, more on the blockchain, saving the Icelandic language plus politics and EuroVision

four years ago: PacMac (1980), assorted links to revisit plus the necessity of book culling

five years ago: a see-through church, IKEA’s test kitchen, heritage tourism, exploiting gig-workers, noctilucent clouds on Mars plus sacred groves in Ethiopia

Saturday 4 May 2024

progress without pollution (11. 537)

Opening on this day with the above motto with the park grounds divided amongst the islands of Canada and Havermale and the adjacent south bank of the Spokane River, Expo ’74 was the first environmentally themed World’s Fair, distancing itself from the tech-centric events of the past (another first for not looking to a utopian future but instead addressing present and emergent issues), drawing a sizeable crowd and hosting several UN symposia to address regional and global environmental concerns. Whist mostly foregoing the established tradition of debuting new innovations like the telephone, escalator, video games, the waffle and the ice cream cone, the Washington World’s Fair did showcase the first IMAX theatre (screening Man Belongs to the Earth) and had pavilions cooled without air-conditioning, as well as demonstrating telecommunications relay services and previewed the roll-out of a national emergency 911 service.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Flatiron building (1902), assorted links worth revisiting plus Saint Florian

two years ago: Dave Brubeck Day, Gaslight (1944) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: default fonts, Margaret Thatcher and Star Wars plus more links to revisit

four years ago: the Kent State Massacre (1970), the formation of Greenpeace (1972), even more links plus more Star Trek: TAS

five years ago: May the Fourth Be With You, Always

Thursday 18 April 2024

10x10 (11. 496)

the cloud under the seas: the fleet of secret submarine cable repair ships 

sarbox: US Supreme Court appears skeptical about charging January Sixth rioters with obstruction of justice as defined by a law made in the aftermath of the Enron accounting scandal  

mix-and-match orthography: how Japanese writers navigate a choice between four writing systems (see also)—via Cardhouse  

walled gardens have deep roots: the imperative of rewilding (previously) the internet lest the duopolies take over—via Waxy 

bongo bash: Wild Stereo Drums (1961)  

embroidered surveillance: cross-stitch works of closed-circuit security camera footage  

the questor tapes: a 1974 television sci-fi drama about an android with incomplete programming by Star Trek alumni Gene L Coon, D C Fontana and Gene Roddenberry—via r/Obscure Media  

tegelwippen: Dutch towns compete to remove garden paving and embrace weeds—via Miss Cellania  

voir dire: jury selection continues for the criminal trial of Donald J Trump—with some potential jurors being unintentionally doxed by the media 

 atlas 2.0: Boston Dynamics’ new humanoid robot

synchronoptica

one year ago: Atelier Elvira, an unwoke chatbot plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: more gachapons plus an introduction to risography

three years ago: the launch of the Disney Channel (1983), an experimental light house plus Wham in China (1985)

four years ago: more links to enjoy, the International Amateur Radio Union plus The Spirits Book (1897)

five years ago: concrete monoliths moved by hand plus Mueller Report redactions

Wednesday 17 April 2024

metaphysics of quality (11. 495)

Finally published after receiving one hundred twenty-one letters of rejection for the manscript, the fictionalised autobiography of author and philosopher Robert M Pirsig recounts the seventeen day cross-continent odyssey with his his son as a vehicle to reconcile and reconnect with his past self, driven insane by speculation on the nature of the Good and subjected to electro-convulsive therapy which irretrievably changed his personality. Pilgrims who trace his journey from Montana to California can pay homage to the motorcycle subject to repair, newly acquired by and on display at the Smithsonian. Along the way, the unnamed narrator encounters a foil in a friend who chose not to learn how to care for his expensive bike, hoping for the best but relying on professional mechanics when things do go wrong, and in contrast is able to trouble-shoot his ride, a comparative jalopy—framing the trip with many dense and introspective discussions on knowledge, belief and value—and argues persuasively that one can accept, embrace the dichotomy of the rational and romantic (like Nietzche’s Apollonian/Dionysian division) to avoid falling into gumption traps, the motivation that drains enthusiasm, reinforcing reluctance to change and adjudge situations as they come with less pragmatism. The discursive diary of ideas was for a generation a way to bookend the counterculture movement and temper some of the exuberance and idealism, like the schism in the narrator’s own mind, and function and flourish in a world beset with rules, norms and progress. Pirsig offers the disclaimer that, despite the title, his work should “in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practise. It’s not very factual on motorcycles either.”

synchronoptica

one year ago: Bavaria wants to bring its nuclear power plants back online

two years ago: more on interstellar interlopers, Dolly Parton wardrobed like Easter eggs plus assorted links worth revisiting

three years ago: more links to enjoy, Zalgo text plus a UFO sighting in Aurora, Texas (1897)

four years ago: more links worth revisiting, an observation confirming the Two Body Problem, some sporting music plus the invention of hiking as a pastime

five years ago: even more links to enjoy plus the World Chess Association logo

Monday 8 April 2024

the first tuesday after the first monday in november (11. 478)

Co-sponsored as a bipartisan measure by Republican Barry Goldwater and Hubert H Humphrey, both loosing in recent years their respective bids to become US president, the Senate voted to make Election Day (in even numbered years) a biannual, paid federal holiday on this day in 1974. Despite passage in the upper chamber of Congress, the amendment never came to the floor in the House of Representatives. Though not quite a perennial push, the proposal has seen multiple attempts to revitalise the legislation and ensure less conflict between work schedules and civic duties, most recently during last year’s session and before that in 2019. Voting in Europe is held on Sundays.

Saturday 6 April 2024

concours eurovision de la chason (11. 470)

With the finale held on this day fifty years ago, held in the arts venue the Dome of Brighton with veteran television personality and presenter Katie Boyle—winner of the 1973 contest Luxembourg having declined the honour of hosting the event consecutive years in a row due to cost constraints for their public broadcaster, Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Tรฉlรฉdiffusion, some of the more memorable acts of the Eurovision Song Contest (previously) with an iconic and transporting recognition owing to the winners’ costuming and performance include an interlude by the Wombles, Olivia Newton-John, Mouth and MacNeal and entrant Pooky from newly admitted Israel, whose prog and jazz fusion would prove enduring. France did not participate that year out of respect for the national mourning period for the death of president Georges Pompidou, withdrawing a few days before, and contest was not aired until several months afterwards for fear that the country’s own submission, “Sรฌ” finishing in second place, might have influenced votes on a confusingly worded nation referendum on whether to keep or rescind newly introduced legislation (see above) that allowed for divorce in country—“yes” being the ballot initiative to outlaw the recently enacted liberty.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the UK tax year plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: artist Raphael, fungal communication plus playing around with a text-to-image generator

three years ago: Ping-Pong Diplomacy, the first Tony Awards, the Debatable Lands, plans to build the World Trade Center, duelling songs plus the modern Olympic Games (1896)

four years ago: more true facts from Ze Frank plus a cute typing tutor

five years ago: the Bavarian Socialist Republic (1919) plus a community Spring Cleaning

Friday 5 April 2024

people don’t get better, they just get smarter—when you get smarter you don’t stop pulling the wings off flies, you just think of better reasons for doing it (11. 469)

First published by on this day in 1974 by Double Day, and adapted into a film just two years later—with three cinematic versions and a musical to follow, the debut horror novel by high school teacher and

aspiring author, Stephen King, a moderate commercial success on first printing but became a best-seller upon release as a paperback by Signet Press and establishing not only King’s credentials as a writer but also the appetite for the genre. Set five years in the future in the New England village of Chamberlain, Maine, a sixteen-year old Carietta “Carrie” White is ridiculed by other girls in high school, the the oppressively religious home-life that’s left her sheltered, naive and guilt-ridden, constant bullying and humiliation eventually causing her to unleash her nascent telekinetic powers to destroy the school and the town. Dealing with universal themes of ostracism, vengeance and disaffirmation—society makes monsters and refuses to address their monstrous aspects, instead of the story ending with the federal government declaring a state of emergency for the devastated township and Congress launching the White Commission to study paranormal abilities, King’s original conclusion confirmed the religious mother’s suspicion of demonic possession, growing horns and continuing her destructive rampage—but was convinced to leave the nature of Carrie’s powers more of a mystery. 

 synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: removing an obstacle to maritime navigation (1958) plus the bridgehead at Mainz

three years ago: more links to enjoy plus First Contact

four years ago: Easter Island, snaking walls, public health turns political plus Fox’ Sunday Night Line-Up

five years ago: more links worth revisiting plus metaphysical tools


Sunday 31 March 2024

boac (11. 459)

The flag carrier of the United Kingdom, Imperial Airways, was founded on this day in 1924 through the nationalisation and merger of four existing operators, Instone, Daimler, Mandley Page Transport and the British Marine Air Navigation Company, Ltd—forming a fleet of thirteen planes for international flights to and from the London hub in Heathrow. Fifty years later and reflagged as British Airways, the national airline was created from the addition of regional carriers before moving back towards privatisation. 

synchronoptica

one year ago: the musical stylings of Pascal Nuzzo plus ASCII art by AI

two years ago: Cรฉsar Chรกvez Day, Maltese Freedom Day, mass resignations at Hong Kong’s high court plus South Ossetia votes in favour of annexation

three years ago: satanic sneakers, The Matrix (1999), retronyms plus assorted links to revisit

four years ago: museum cosplay, graphic designer Fortunato Depero plus presidential advisor myPillow Guy

five years ago: Urbano Monte’s planosphere,  Sony World Photo awardees plus graphic designer Herman Bayer

Saturday 23 March 2024

wall of sound (11. 446)

First debuted on this day in 1974 for a concert by the Grateful Dead (previously) at the venue of the California State Livestock Pavilion (the Cow Palace, an indoor arena on the outskirts of San Francisco), the monumental acoustic reinforcement system, consisting of some six hundred speakers and drawing twenty-six thousand watts of power, fulfilling lead designer Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s search for a self-correcting way to amplify the experience to an audience of a hundred-thousand projecting over a significant field of attendance without distortion (the audio crew could monitor what the crowd heard). Although the technical achievement was itself retired by October due to logistics involved in moving and reassembling the array, the advancement in fidelity led to an improved experience for all, made more practical and efficient once the Grateful Dead resumed touring in 1976.

Monday 11 March 2024

free to be… you and me (11. 414)

Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we are reminded on this day in 1974, ABC first broadcast the award winning children’s television special conceived and produced by Marlo Thomas and friends, adapted from a record album with activity book published sixteen months earlier. The songs and stories sung or acted out by contemporary celebrities including Carol Channing, Dustin Hoffman, Roberta Flack, Diana Ross, Alan Alda, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Rosey Grier, Shirley Jones, Michael Jackson and Mel Brooks champion values of inclusion, individuality and comfort with one’s identity and reject gendered stereotypes, hailing that anyone can achieve anything, despite or because of the circumstances of their birth and was inspired by an uncomfortable incident in a bookstore where Thomas wanted to show her niece that it was acceptable and encouraged to flaunt traditional roles but only found materials reinforcing then—namely in a picture book that suggested boy grown up to be pilots and girls stewardesses, doctors, nurses, etc. Though predictably it drew criticism from certain circles at the time for indoctrination and emasculation, but the special and recording have endured, garnering both an Emmy and Peabody award, going Platinum within two years of release. A sequel, co-produced in the both the Soviet Union and the US—the first such primetime variety show collaboration, Free to Be… a Family, aired in 1988—featuring a new cast including Robin Williams, the Muppets, Lily Tomlin, Russian children’s television host Tatyana Vedeneyeva, JonBon Jovi and the magicians Penn and Teller.

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, Queen Anne’s army plus the Lend-Lease Act of 1941

two years ago: The Kick Inside (1978) plus a pioneering photographer

three years ago: your daily demon: Dantalion, more links to enjoy,  a Van Gogh up for auction, Oprah interviews other princesses plus a gallery of bad and misleading book covers

four years ago: more phonetic spelling alphabets plus more links worth revisiting

five years ago: a flag supercut, even more links plus scripturiency

Saturday 2 March 2024

grenzรผbergang (11. 394)

With motives never clearly articulated and sparking an international crisis, a US soldier, Specialist William A. Thomson, Jr of Columbus, Georgia, stationed in West Berlin’s Turner Barracks broke into the heavy armour motor pool and commandeered a fifty-tonne M60 tank. Proceeding to destroy the main gate of the post, Turner crashed through Checkpoint Charlie entering East Berlin. For some seventy very tense minutes, chaos ensured as Thompson swivelled the turret and took aim at East German and Soviet troops—no shots were fired—and then drove to the crossing at Drewitz. Diplomats and officers from the barracks were getting involved and eventually Thompson’s superiors were allowed into the Soviet sector and persuaded him to surrender and remand him to custody. The Americans were later permitted to retrieve the tank.  During his court-martial, Thomas was characterised as a quiet individual with no history of wrong-doing or insubordination.

 
 synchronoptica

one year ago: An Imaginary Report on an American Rock Festival (1973) plus another MST3K classic

two years ago: the Moldo-Russian War (1992) plus The Starlost

three years ago: a satanic variety show, Pioneer 10 (1972), a line-of-sight telegraph (1792) plus telegraph abbreviations and shorthand

four years ago: comics cartography, a more environmentally friendly brick plus Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

five years ago: Bauhaus style logos for modern companies, a study of the Mosaic Virus by AI, the Overton Window, cleaner-burning trains plus the Communist International (1919)

Wednesday 28 February 2024

paleofutures (11. 387)

Via Waxy, we come across a retrospective volume of predictions for the world of 2024 solicited from luminaries and futurists from half-a-century earlier collected by The Saturday Review for its own Golden Anniversary (established in 1924 as compendium of essays and reportage on a wide range of subjects, folding in 1986). A retrospective to better see the way forward, it features hopeful assessments by ecologist Renรฉ Dubos, who popularised the maxim to “think globally, act locally” in his capacity as advisor to the UN and foresaw sounder and smarter environmental policies, the honorific “Madame President” for the United States contrasted by a more sobering view of continued wage-inequality and glass-ceiling, Trans-Atlanticism versus nationalism, and Issac Asimov forecasting that while computer prognostications were not perfect, they would be a requirement for insurance liability purposes and decision-drivers in medical treatment. There are also quite a few boldly wrong and aspirational claims by human rights champion Andrei Sakharov like orbiting power-plants, large scale terraforming and quadruped electric cars that would prance over prairies with minimal impact and didn’t require roads, along with Neil Armstrong’s poignant reflections of decades of continued space exploration and exploitation. On the other hand, Werner von Braun accurately predicted the world wide web, email and teleworking plus their implications. Much more at the links above.

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the Horodecki House of Kyiv, Guernica vandalised (1972) plus the paper art of Charles Young

three years ago: more on the Mountain Dream tarot, the finale of M*A*S*H* (1983), artist Edward Hopper plus redesigning the hypodermic emoji

four years ago: ranking ringed-planet emojis plus hauntingly familiar images from the 1918 influenza pandemic

five years ago: anti-Catholic sentiment and the Lincoln assassination conspiracy, resurfacing a lost urban river plus more links to enjoy

Wednesday 17 January 2024

court and spark (11. 275)

An immediate and enduring commercial and critical success and remaining the artist’s winningest recording, the sixth studio album by Joni Mitchell (previously) was released on this day in 1974. Presaged with the singles “Raised on Robbery” (below), “Free Man in Paris,” “Down to You” and “Help Me,” the tracks represent a departure from Mitchell’s folk roots shifting to pop with an infusion of jazz elements.

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus a rolling snapshot of blog posts

two years ago: more McMansions, a warning against the military-industrial complex, celebrating the life and career of Betty White, astronomer Elizabeth Catherina Hevelius plus an overview of accounting tools

three years ago: the temptation of St Anthony, myPillow playbook,  the city of the future, breaking news of the Clinton-Lewinski scandal, the unused soundtrack for 2001 plus more links to enjoy

four years ago: the precursor to Prohibition plus McGingerbread Hell

five years ago: another government shutdown in the US, bouncy cushion satisfaction plus children envisioning a bleak future

Monday 15 January 2024

goodbye grey sky, hello blue (11. 269)

With the basic premise for the series appearing first two years earlier in an unsold pilot that aired in a segment on the anthology show Love, American Style (titled “Love and the Television Set,” and reworked for broadcast as “Love and the Happy Days”), the network’s interest in the project, a sitcom portraying an idealised vision of coming-of-age in the mid-1950s US Midwest that was a nostalgic appeal to the that generation some two decades removed when director George Lucas cast the actor playing teenager Richie Cunningham, Ron Howard, in American Graffiti, and Happy Days debuted on this night in 1974. Whilst moderately well received by audiences during its first two years, waning viewership prompted producers to retool the format and brought the ancillary character of one of Cunningham’s friends, a high school drop-out and greaser Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli (played by Henry Winkler), into one of the main roles. Running for eleven seasons and spawning several spin-offs including Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and Joannie Love Chachi, the household institution was criticised for its interventions (now regarded as tropes) to revitalise the show, as with the insertion of new characters (lampooned with Poochie on The Simpsons) and franchise attempts above, and for, into its fifth season, idiomatically and literally “jumping the shark” when the Fonz is launched over a live shark on water-skis as an indicator that a story arc has exhausted its core-content and passed its peak by repairing to exaggeration and sensationalism. The series was nonetheless popular for several more years.

Saturday 13 January 2024

7x7 (11. 263)

photographie de rue: the images of Eugรจne Atget capture scenes of Paris unchanged since the turn of the last century  

ma che sera: more musical stylings from Raffaella Carrร  with this 1974 TV appearance 

ray fay: the mostly-unreleased 1976 comedic spoof Queen Kong with traditional gender roles reversed  

from-to: reputational-based urban maps that can help you find the analogue East Village of London and other neighbourhoods in different cities 

tv mirror: leafing through the February 1977 includes an interview with Henry Winkler and more on the Dino De Laurentiis remake that condemned the above treatment of the colossus to obscurity 

isdn: a look at the once future-proof telecommunication standard quickly vanishing 

oppidum du mont beauvray: the successive rediscoveries of the ancient capital of the Gallic Aedui tribe, Bibracte

synchronoptica

one year ago: St Mungo plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: snow-plough names plus a very special episode of Bewitched

three years ago: more on sea-shanties, the art of Roger Brown plus COVID ex-votos

four years ago: Knut’s Day plus outcry over plant-based labels

five years ago: criticism over NordStream2interpretive GIFs plus more links to enjoy

Thursday 4 January 2024

hey marge, remember we used to make out to this hymn? (11. 242)

We are treated to the musical stylings of virtuoso organist, composer and conductor Anthony Newman through his 1974 album (just one entry in his prodigious discography), whom despite his quite liberal interpretations of Baroque compositions met with scepticism and criticism at first but is now generally accepted as allowable, influential variations. Over his long current (still playing), Newman has gone on to collaborate with noted musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, Itzhak Perlman and Wynton Marsalis.

Monday 11 December 2023

we sit in the sun and wait. we sleep. and we dream. each of us dying slowly in the prison of our minds (11. 181)

Via a recent post on Dangerous Minds, we received a recommendation to pass along of an under-rated, under-seen vintage surreal and creepy supernatural horror movie with Lovecraftian elements to pass along, which premiered in limited-release on this day in 1974 in Paris, Texas. In the film by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck—having recently finished the treatment for American Graffiti and would go on to Howard the Duck—a young woman journeys to a seaside artist colony to visit her estranged father but only finds his beach house abandoned with only a journal addressed to his daughter, urging her not to search for him with ominous warnings about a darkness consuming the community and to only seek out the local gallery owner. Denying having any commission from her father and hardly knowing him, the young woman encounters a trio of other visitors, collectors with some additional insights, speaking of a “messiah of evil” to return after a century, with locals gathering on the beach to ritually stare at the Moon in a preparation that the is referred to as “The Waiting.” The town subsequently begins to be populated (in spaces that should be considered epitomes of domesticity and safe havens) and shortly overrun by the cannibalistic undead as evangelicals of a fringe religious movement.

Friday 24 November 2023

al 288-1 (11. 135)

Found on this day in 1974 in the Awash Valley near Hardar, Ethiopia by a team of paleoanthropologists led by Donald Johnson, the collection of fossilised bones making up about forty percent of a female Australoptithecus is commonly known as Lucy—after the Beatles’ song played repeatedly during the excavation—or by her Amharic designation แ‹ตแŠ•แ‰… แŠแˆฝ (Dink’inesh, you are marvellous). Hers and early less complete finds suggested that hominid bipedalism preceded and informed the increase in cranial capacity and intelligence. Falling on the anniversary of the initial publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859, the three-million year old specimen, diminutive by today’s standards, quickly became a celebrity, captivating public interest in evolution, missing-links with the account of her discovery and reconstruction.

Saturday 5 August 2023

the smoking gun (10. 927)

Released to the prosecution on this day responding to a subpoena decided by SCOTUS a few weeks prior that ruled executive privilege did not confer immunity from cooperating with the courts, one recording among the cache of tapes documented the preliminary stages of the Watergate coverup, with Nixon and H R Haldeman, Chief of Staff, overheard in a meeting in the Oval Office discussing how to thwart the ongoing investigation by the FBI of the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters. Acknowledging both the risk involved if the plan came to light and giving the approach his approval, this revelation ran counter to the narrative presented that Nixon was not involved in the scandal nor had interfered with the FBI’s work—assigning the jurisdiction to the CIA. Political and public support evaporated immediately and the ten Republican senators on the impeachment jury who had initially voted to acquit the president changed their position, prompting Nixon’s almost immediate resignation in lieu of conviction and removal.

Saturday 27 May 2023

platonic solids (10. 769)

Via tmn, we are directed to a 1974 installation by collector, curator and conceptual artist Sol LeWitt’s serial exploration of negative and positive space, both flat and realised in three-dimensions, in his one hundred-twenty-two permutations of how a cube could be not closed space. This matrix of deconstruction invites one to reexamine the fundamentals of geometry and perspective that we otherwise might take for granted. More at the links above including a tour of the gallery space hosting these open cubes.