Friday 10 April 2020


egg²: check out Box Vox’ egg-themed week starting with this recipe for apรฉroeuf including innovations in cartoning and carting

public display: open up and curator your own virtual gallery space in this social simulation game

all hail our morlock overlords: after forcing the in-person ballot in Wisconsin, GOP death cult refuses to ban large gatherings for Easter holiday

contact tracing: a nice primer on how the method can combat the spread of contagious diseases without compromising individual privacy

animal crossing: a quarantined couple in London creates an art museum for their pet gerbils’ edification

armisonous: obsolete. rare. that which produces or is accompanied by the sounds of arms or armour, like clanging pots and pans

after all, you’re my wonder wall: a selection of collaborative music videos shot in isolation

victory garden: some ideas for plant anywhere seed beds and substrates

Saturday 4 April 2020


orgonon torpedoes: Wilhelm Reich (previously) used a battery of surface-to-air cannons beginning in April 1952 to defend the Earth from alien invasion

tuppence a bag: animal charity groups fearful that urban pigeons face starvation over lack of human traffic and are starting relief campaigns

part gum commercial level romance mixed with creepy horror elements with an insane musical score: a thoroughgoing review of the 1972 film Love Me Deadly starring Mary Wilcox and Lyle Waggoner

stay the f*ck home: a truly frightening heat map showing where Americans have been flouting lockdown (some other possible explanations here) and going about business as usual—via TYWKIWDBI

the master would not approve: Manos—The Hands of Felt, a puppet-version of the MST3K classic—via the Art of Darkness (lots of other goodies to see here as well)

may thou withstand the loathsome that yond the land fareth: the nine herb charms to cure infection

hyperlocal micromarkets: design interventions and new business models more conducive to social distancing and better for the environment

Friday 27 March 2020

⚡biscuit or shredded tweet

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we get an example of the sort of tenacious curiosity that gets to the bottom of branding—even when the manufacturer itself was uncertain—and seemed a bit cagey in fact. Tri is definitely not three, not three wholesome ingredients or thrice-baked. Invented and granted a patent in 1902 before going into production the following year by the Shredded Wheat Company of Niagara Falls—the factory powered by the mighty waterfalls’ hydroelectric generation, the snack cracker boasted that it was the only one of its kind baked by this new-fangled electricity.

Wednesday 11 March 2020


inside out & upside-down: hundreds of posters from CalArts students ranging back to 1980

r360: how the coupe and microcar informed Mazda’s design

area rug: custom parametric carpets informed by their settings that really bring the room together

the floor is lava: advice for keeping the cat off the kitchen counters plus an assortment of more humourous tweets

noodles and pandas: innovative ways to discuss the pandemic without attracting the attention of the authorities

happy mutants: Cory Doctorow’s daily curated links—via Waxy

white russians: contemporary fermented dairy drinks

Saturday 22 February 2020


The always interesting Strange Company directs our attention to contemporary survey of the restaurants and public houses of Westminster that are still outfitted with the now sadly disappearing division bells (see previously) meant to recall members to Parliament to cast his or her vote.  These mechanical alarms, largely replaced by other forms of signals, are relics—usually maintained as marks of honour—from the rebuilding of the palace in 1834 after its devastating conflagration (see more), when kitchens and other provisioning sufficient for the entire chambers were not part of the rebuilding, and representatives were allowed to wander out during legislative sessions. Learn more at Spitalfield’s Life at the link above and even arrange getting a map of the establishments left with such a feature of democracy-in-action to recreate this gastronomic tour oneself.

Thursday 13 February 2020


royal gift: George Washington’s convoluted scheme to set the new Republic (see also) on course through mule breeding, via Miss Cellania

fiddle-free: a functional mobile phone with a rotary dial to cut down on distractions

we’ll fire his identical twin, too: Tom the Dancing Bug takes on Trump’s impeachment acquittal

no man is an island: an exploration into the most isolated individuals through history

bird’s eye view: travel around the globe through some of the superlative telemetry captured by Google Earth, via Maps Mania 

 ๐Ÿˆ: the lost and found bureau (see previously) of Japan, via The Morning News

pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun: minimalistic advertising

double helix: a look at the remarkable Bramante Staircase (previously) of the Vatican museum

 ๐Ÿ’Œ: a look into how the heart symbol (see also) came to represent love

Friday 7 February 2020


multiplicands: an interesting demonstration of an ancient method of numerical decomposition that intuits algorithms base-two number systems

still life with daishi: the exquisite three decades of detailed food diaries of a soba chef

bee space: a look at how apiculture informs architecture

enhance: artificial intelligence applied to an 1896 film upscales the Lumiรจre Brothers’ l’Arrivรฉe d’un train en gare de La Cioatat significantly

mergers and acquisitions: a clip of two Chinese young men lip-syncing the Back Street Boys’ I Want It That Way in 2006 convinced Google it the YouTube platform could be a promising investment

from sack to shift: Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic Mondrian-inspired dress (previously), including one for Lady Penelope

Saturday 18 January 2020


economies of ale: after a decade of steep declines, UK pub numbers are seeing a slight uptick charted

parkverbotszone: plans for the future IKEA am Westbahnhof in Vienna is being designed for a post-auto world

women hold up half the sky: Liang Jun, the tractor driving figure, iconically featured on the one yuan bill, has passed away, aged ninety

best in show: winners and honourable-mentions of the Ocean Art Photography competition

the id, the super-ego, and the psyche: the strange, singular encounter between Salvador Dalรญ and Sigmund Freud

triangle man, triangle man: celebrating thirty years of They Might Be Giants’ (a reference to Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills) seminal album Flood

there and back again: a remembrance of Christopher Tolkien (*1925 – †2020), executor of his father’s literary estate and map-maker of Middle Earth

Wednesday 15 January 2020

l’habitat et ร  l’infrastructure

Via the always engrossing Maps Mania, we are invited to contemplate land use by the Swiss and take notice how for instance, geography and terrain considered, the dominant percentage for Switzerland is found in managed and untamed forests.

In contrast this survey of the American landscape reveals that the majority of its built environment is given over to livestock with the majority of arable land dedicated to growing feed for said cattle and pigs. One wonders how land use might shift in the future and how we might take a more hands-off approach to our empty spaces.

Sunday 15 December 2019

table d’hรดte

Via the always brilliant Nag on the Lake, we are introduced to a fine dining experience in a restaurant in the cellars beneath Stockholm’s City Hall (previously, quite literally Stadshuskรคlleren) where one can sample from the multicourse banquets served during Nobel awards ceremonies from years past or by laureate of one’s choosing.
Just below the actual VIP dining area, the Blue Hall that can accommodate thirteen hundred invited guests, and helping cater the event, their kitchens have been recreating the historic menus (here are some examples) for guests for the past fifteen years and put some serious research into the preparation and present, locally-sourced and sustainably plated (on actual Nobel porcelain), to make it as authentic and reflective of the fare presented as possible.

Sunday 10 November 2019


Born this day in 1859 (†1923) in Lausanne, Art Nouveau printmaker Thรฉophile Alexandre Steinlen first apprenticed as designer in a textile mill in Mulhouse before joining an artist colony in the Montmarte quarter, where he was introduced to the cabaret owner and entertainer Aristide Bruant (the dashing man in the bold red scarf who was the subject of many Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec paintings), helping to secure Steinlen commissions for poster art in Paris and beyond.
Le Chat Noir (Bruant performed there as well and his most well-known ballad was eponymously titled) itself was the pioneering enterprise, established in 1881, of fellow impresario Louis Rodlphe Salis and is considered the first modern night club, with food, drinks and live entertainment and which soon outgrow its original venue, and the revue was taken on the road and held in music halls across the city.

Saturday 5 October 2019


sonic smock: a garment that allows the hearing-impaired to experience music through tactile impulses

mixtape: the greatest hits of 1979 in three minutes

apophenia: the state of being exceptionally receptive to imagining synchronicity where little exists, accounting for the resonance of mashups—especially exemplified by The Dark Side of the Rainbow 

it’s got a sort of woody quality about it, gorn, gorn—much better than newspaper or litterbin: celebrating Monty Python’s fiftieth anniversary—via Slashdot 

peacock throne: the nicely framing wicker chair (previously) that’s the stuff of celebrity

bucatini: drinking straws made of pasta instead of plastic stand up in cold beverages—I had wondered about that sort of application but was sure that they wouldn’t last

we’re going to party, karamu, fiesta forever: musician Jacob Collier remixes Lionel Ritchie’s 1983 hit single

Friday 4 October 2019


Celebrated in Sweden and Finland on this day since first organised in 1999, Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon Roll Day) is a way to increase awareness on traditional Scandinavian baking traditions (see also) and has proved to be a popular holiday domestically and for Swedish and Finnish communities abroad. Though we might be comfortably familiar with the above term for “coffee break,” the Kanelbullen that could go with it might also be infiltrating the language.

Thursday 15 August 2019


By coincidence, respectively on this day in Tennessee (near the Opryland theme park) in 1969 and then three days later in Kentucky—neither places one would necessarily associate with fresh fish—the first eateries of the seafood themed restaurants Captain D’s and Long John Silver’s began serving.
It’s cannon given the fact that the restaurant is named after the galley-master and chief cook—and undercover pirate—aboard the Hispaniola in Treasure Island. I have no memory of the former—maybe there was a turf battle between these natural rivals—but do remember going to the latter not overly often but pretty regularly as a kid and remember the fishing village kitsch with the planks and the heavy ropes and associated all wooden decks with piers and ships because of it.

Sunday 28 July 2019


Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we are helped to the realisation that the dominate trend in gaming and by extension, simulations, is your garden-variety agricultural challenge, be that in fostering plants, foraging or cultivating a victory garden for one’s own survival.
I suppose that there’s a universal theme to all computerised games that could admit of the same analogy—though some instances are more obvious than others—and a certain stress-relieving quality that is present in and and common to the stakes of all diversions, though often times progress is measured differently and in the permission to fail and try again, there’s nonetheless something in the Zeitgeist that game architects and engineers are connecting with regarding anxiety and accomplishment. I hope that this skills and rewards can translate to being better, more engaged caretakers of the natural world we increasingly find ourselves estranged from.

Sunday 7 July 2019


Though maybe I am just doing a better job paying attention—which certainly counts for something too—and being engaged with the consequences of our behaviour for the environment or maybe it’s the recently adopted legislation and agricultural reforms made to be more sustainable and friendlier for pollinators, while I’ve noticed that crop-rotation and allowing fields to be fallow for a season, recharging the soil by sewing clover or grasses and letting it rest, I don’t think I’ve seen before sections of land, vast swaths of it, wholly given over to wildflowers like I am seeing now.
It isn’t just the margins and shoulders along tractor trails that are teeming with blooms but also deep into the interior of grain crops, thick with cornflowers (Cyanus segetum, Kornblume—considered endangered due to over-use of pesticides), poppies (Papaver rhoeas, Mohnblume), baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata, Schleier-Gipskraut—that is, chalk-loving), thistles (Silybum marianum, Disteln) and daisies (Bellis perennis—pretty everlasting, Gänseblümchen), the fields are droning with the buzz of bees.

Wednesday 3 July 2019

time to make the doughnuts

Having famously unyoked itself from one fast-food giant several years back—with the artefacts to prove it—one doughnut (kleinuhringjum) chain has already come and gone and now with a second one to follow, having grossly over-estimated the market demand in Iceland.
I hope that this trend continues and such invasive, unnecessary operations kindly remove their toe-hold in train stations and the high street in cloying hopes of being seen and establishing brand loyalty. Placeholder-boutiques, having dispensed with initial curiosity if the appeal was ever there much less sustaining, are a huge drag on resources and real estate that could be put to much better use.

Wednesday 26 June 2019


blood meridian: two animated maps (see also) chart Manifest Destiny from contrasting perspectives

lobby cards: the iconic film posters and title sequences of Saul Bass (previously here and here)

strong to the finich: because of the leafy green’s steroidal qualities, some are calling for it to be banded like other doping agents

scientific method: brilliant vintage middle school text books via Present /&/ Correct

nineteen eighty-four was not meant to be an instruction manual: workers trialled with beacons and bracelets to monitor performance and productivity

best in show: a curated selection of the winners of the National Geographic travel photography competition

lj: going into production in 2021, the Lightyear One represents the industry’s first long-range and untethered electric vehicle, via Design Boom

pomological catalogue: the 1886 US contract for watercolour depictions of all the world’s fruit

Sunday 16 June 2019

downstream effects

Never mind the fact that you might be ingesting multiple tiny spiders per night—or conversely that if the spiders of the world teamed up, they could consume all the humans on the face of the Earth (or cocaine prawns or antidepressants in the groundwater), the World Wildlife Foundation launches a new campaign to illustrate the awful non-food pyramid that we’ve created. Via the Drum, we learn that on average a person consumes one hundred thousand micro-plastic particles annually, meaning about five grams (a lot of different factors come into play and you can get a more personalised estimate of your dietary intake here), a credit card’s worth of the stuff each week.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

swedish neatballs

Exclusive to Dezeen, we are treated to three sustainable, future-proof recipes to try at home from IKEA’s laboratory Space10. By releasing a cookbook and encouraging individuals to experiment in their own labs and incubators, IKEA is hoping to come closer to closing “the gap between future trends and real life” and enable people to become active and engaged agents of positive change. Check out recipes and learn more about Space10’s test kitchen at the link above.