Sunday 5 May 2024

the santilli film (11. 541)

First screened to invited members of the press and UFO researchers on this day in 1995, packaged and

produced by various media outlets within months and broadcast world wide with several encores and iterations, the pseudo-documentary by British entrepreneur Ray Santilli, despite its poor quality, grainy black-and-white footage and overall incredulity, became a cultural phenomenon and garnering high-ratings, an amateur video likely subjected to as much public scrutiny and debate since the release of the Zapruder film, according to some monitoring the sensation. Purported to show the postmortem conducted on an extraterrestrial crew member found in the wreckage of the Roswell Incident, a military cameraman leaked the footage from 1947 to the producer and promoter. Ahead of a 2006 feature comedy (of the same name) lampooning the infamous hoax, Santilli recanted, admitting it was a fabrication though maintaining it was a “re-creation” inspired by true events and a lost tape. The home video itself was sold as an NFT in May 2021 with the physical master-copy apparently destroyed.


one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus a classic from The Stranglers

two years ago: more on defining the metre plus the 1984 EuroVision winner

three years ago: your daily demon: Buer, malingering on the metric system plus a modest proposal for solving resource scarcity from 1983

four years ago: Lusophone Culture Day, a view of the village, artist Howard Arkley, more on the unwritten rules of English plus a green office block in Dรผsseldorf

six years ago: the material properties of silk plus self-destructing emails

Monday 8 April 2024

penumbra (11. 477)

Visible for totality in a narrow corridor of the Pacific Ocean, as North America is watching the skies, when the shadow of the Moon’s ascending node (where the orbit of the satellite intersects the plane of the solar ecliptic from our perspective) obscured the Sun, crossing the international dateline and beginning on the ninth and ending on this day in 1995, this relatively rare hybrid eclipse with phases of the complete and the annular (when the lunar disc does not quite obscure the sun) as it progressed across the globe. Observers in extreme northwestern South American, Central America and the Caribbean were afforded near totality.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

you oughta know (10. 803)

Release on this day in 1995, the third studio album by Alanis Morissette—featuring tracks including “All I Really Want,” “You Learn,” “Hand in My Pocket” and “Ironic,” Jagged Little Pill was a worldwide success and it counted among the best selling records of all time and stylistically and tone-wise was a significant departure from her earlier pop and dance work with themes of frustration and anxiety though with moments hope and self-effacement. The inopportune series of lyrics presented below sparked some debate about the usage and abusage of the term, traditionally defined as a figure of speech whose intended meaning is oppose of the context, settled—to some at least—by drawing a distinction between situational and dramatic ironies.

Saturday 19 February 2022

year of the wood boar

Becoming the first Western musical act to appear in concert in China since the break-through performance of George Michael a decade earlier, the Swedish pop duo Roxette rang in the new year on this day in 1995 in the Bejing Workers’ Indoor Arena as part of their Crash! Boom! Bang! world tour for their album of the same name.

Saturday 1 January 2022

rogue waves

Distinct from tsunamis, killer waves—defined as reaching twice the height of waves in a wave record—occur in open-water as a convergence of constructive interference and other conditions but were considered at best anecdotal, tall-tales and the stuff of maritime myth until quite recently when one was detected on New Year’s Day in 1995 and measured by instruments housed on the Draupner gas pipeline support platform in the North Sea. Subsequent research has shown the phenomenon to be a common one, occurring in multiple media, including finance and has been retroactively used to account for shipping accidents, including the 1975 sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the iconic titular wave portrayed in The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai.

Monday 22 November 2021


Already holding the distinction since 2014 of being the senior leader of the G7 and longest term in the European Union of any elected head-of-state, Angela Merkel,  holding a doctorate in quantum physics, was appointed to the chancellorship of Germany on this day in 2005, following federal elections and creation of a coalition government as chair of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU-Partei), in partnership with the Bavarian sister-party and the Social Democrats.  Acting as chancellor still under a caretaker administration until a successor is appointed, Merkel has helped the EU and her own country weather the Great Recession, expansion of the supranational bloc, a green power revolutions—Energiewende, ended military conscription, oversaw healthcare reforms, crafted domestic and international responses to migrant and asylum crises, Brexit, Trump and attendant horrors, COVID-19 and the climate emergency.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

stack overflow

Released on this this day in cinemas in 1995, the Keanu Reeves and Dolph Lundgren dystopian science-fiction adaptation of the eponymous William Ford Gibson cyberpunk novel, the film takes place in 2021 with global population deeply and irretrievably engaged with an augmented reality internet which has a debilitating long-term effect called “nervous attenuation syndrome” (NAS) and transfer and transmission of data is closely controlled by mega-corporations who enforce their hegemony through the mafia.
Reeves’ character is a mnemonic courier discreetly transports data, avoiding traffic on the worldwide web, with an implant in his brain, and is entrusted with the safekeeping and eventually uploading into the public domain documents that reveal the corporations’ connections with organised crime and the computer virus that will return power and autonomy to the people, teaming up with the Lo-Teks under the leadership of J-Bone, played by Ice-T, a mysterious female projection of an omnipresent digital assistant and a genetically enhanced dolphin with abilities to break any encryption.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

51 pegasi b

On this day in 1995 the discovery of the exoplanet by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva was announced in the journal Nature.

Though we now know the Cosmos is awash with worlds beyond our Solar System, this planet—provisionally named Bellerophon for the monster-slayer of Greek myth who captured and tamed Pegasus, namesake of its host constellation—officially designated Dimidium (Latin for half) can be described in current parlance as a hot Jupiter, a common class of planets but as this was the first one found orbiting another sun-like star (the first were discovered in 1992 though orbiting a pulsar and wholly ghostly and alien) it was given the name for its mass being half that of our largest world. The co-discoverers were awarded the Nobel prize in physics last year—nearly a quarter of a century afterwards.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

monster of the week

While perhaps best known for his controversial cologne advertisement of kissing sailors in the midst of on-going debates about the US military doctrine of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell regarding the fitness of gay and lesbian to serve openly in the armed forces in 1995, amanuensis and apprentice to Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol David LaChapelle was also famous for his indulgent and wild photography sessions with celebrities. Apparently in circulation again is this exemplary series that encapsulates a certain look of the 1990s (possibly a little cringe-worthy) featuring X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson posed against immersive bright backdrops (perhaps an exploit of audience speculation on the duo’s platonic relationship) that look pretty astonishing for any decade. Visit LaChapelle’s studio to rediscover his work, which really informed the 90s and continues to make bold statements.