Sunday 26 May 2024

much sad (11. 584)

Already having to deal with the loss of Grumpy Cat in 2019 and encountering a feline with similar markings, it was a bit mournful to mark the passing of the Shiba Inu named Kabosu—albeit at the ripe and respectable old age of eighteen human years and suffering from various rather chronic ailments (such is the toll of an unnaturally long life)—who was recruited into internet celebrity and launched numerous memes as Doge and a crypto currency that has generated real value for some despite its parody origins.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

permalink (11. 573)

Cory Doctorow presents a winsome and circumspect consideration of the recent survey of the internet’s perishable nature and how a figure approaching forty percent of websites, news articles and government websites have no legacy and succumb to linkrot—with reference sites particularly left untethered from their original source material—not withstanding preservation efforts through his personal and persistent practise of keeping a daily journal—an indexed memory of associated thoughts and connections that harkens back to earliest theories of informatics—and making the process public. One’s own record is of course an aid and antidote to the peekaboo when neglect and decay follow creative collaboration and the context, steps and milieu all slip away and a heuristic to gauge the sad truth that institutions and archives are brittle, gearing more towards discovery and derivation rather than rediscovery and reflection. More from Pluralistic at the link up top.

Friday 10 May 2024

† (11. 550)

Via Web Curios, we are referred to a collection of abandoned blogs, personal projects a decade or more moribund and neglected for various and unknown
reasons, like succumbing to the ease and convenience of social media, loosing focus, growing beyond and dying in some cases surely but all present as an abrupt mystery them that were once obsessively curated and betray a lot of earnestness and energy on all sorts of interests from fashion, to cooking, to travel and more niche pursuits. In part due to the privilege of having such a perfectly (mostly) preserved perspective on these relics that don’t age or crumble, pursuing these posts (yes, with some old school mommy blogs and sites built on Blogspot, click next for serendipity) is indeed not like a wistful walk amongst the tombstones exactly though one appreciates the unfinished business once so carefully tended and the placeholder did strike me as a bit plaintive: “if i hadn’t deleted my old blogs, then they would go here too…” More at the links above.

synchronoptica

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

two years ago: Walter Defends Sarajevo (1972), the first US female presidential candidate plus a classic from Falco

three years ago: your daily demon: Gusion, introducing the Incredible Hulk, nuclear engineering wall charts, Aristotle and Phyllis plus grunge slang

four years ago: the UK invades Iceland, tomatoes legally defined, an AI makes music, Trump and the pandemic plus superblooms

five years ago: a Chinese space camp, chumbox advertisements, Nazi book-burnings (1933) plus the Frankfurt kitchen

Sunday 5 May 2024

8x8 (11.542)

komoot: one testimonial for the international route-finding applicant to which we can personally endorse for its hiking trails recommendation and active community of contributors 

zillow gone wild: absurdist real estate listings go mainstream

dodecahedron: more on the mysterious Roman artefact puzzling archaeologists—see previously  

eidophone: a Welsh singer in 1885, wanting to give flower, fern and tree a voice, pioneered the discipline of cymatics 

democracy dies in darkness: amid faltering peace-talk, Israel shutters al Jazeera bureau in Israel  

live people ignore the strange and unusual. i myself am strange and unusual: a trove of behind the scenes stills from the 1988 production of Beetlejuicesee previously 

finsta: photo-dumps circa 2006 are the new chaotic and authentic social media trend—via tmn  

trudge: an arduous animated journey of many flights by Stephan Schabenbeck through the lens of taking relatable longer than expected excursions

Friday 3 May 2024

anemoia (11. 535)

Derived from an Ancient Greek portmanteau of wind and mind in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the titular coinage refers to the wistful nostalgia for a time and place one has never known, and via ibฤซdem we are directed towards a reflection that we’ve often pondered perfunctorily with the gratitude that we didn’t grow up in the lens of social media where every embarrassing moment could be captured and preserved for posterity and really captures a generational disjunction, perhaps unique, and being expressed through infatuation with the vintage, the retro and sometimes regressive as those experiences liminal and just out of reach can be romanticised and recalled or imagined better and more interconnected than they really were, just like other appeals to a Golden Age. The crux of the thesis hinges on one particular high school graduation home video from 1999 and the reactions it has drawn from an anxious and aching audience of Gen Z’ers (and others truly nostalgic and older cohorts dismissive of the novelty of coming of age) for a time when one was present and not curating, documenting or checking their status for a sinewy broader group of acquaintances, and commodified by constant connectivity. Isolation transfixed as escapism is a trade-off, however unwilling, for convenience and instant gratification. More on the appeal for sentiment and sympathy from Freya India at the link above.

Monday 29 April 2024

7x7 (11. 522)

diddly doodly: a live action, 1950s version of The Simpsons in the works

trylon and perisphere: rides and attractions of the 1939 New York World’s Fair  

so your property has been banksyed—now what: conserving the artist’s murals and the difference between the studio and the street 

unfrosted: Netflix’s Pop-Tarts movie from Jerry Seinfeld  

the aethererius society: the London cab driver who became the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament in 1954  

the complete mashography: DJ Earworm takes on Taylor Swift  

anti-social network: Aaron Sorkin plans a sequel to the Facebook film, blaming the social media giant for the January Sixth Insurrection

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Roddenberry Archive, custom game cartridges plus the fired Florida principal gets to visit the David

two years ago: a Martian probe encounters the wreckage of an earlier mission plus viewing tectonic shifts

three years ago: International Dance Day with Colin’s Bear plus deepfake satellite imagery

four years ago: the evacuation of Saigon, the Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, daily constitutionals, zen toast plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: the inspiration for Thanos’ power glove plus not taking God’s name in vain

Friday 26 April 2024

8x8 (11. 514)

flightline: stunning visualisations of air traffic  

splinternet: ByteDance does not plan to divest itself of TikTok following US ultimatum  

megadeath: modelling the destruction caused by a nuclear bomb on a major city  

mtv buzz: a surreal montage of audio and video clips arranged by Mark Pellington (1990)  

celebrity endorsement: musicians, artists and novelist pose with the Sears’ appliances in this 1969 ad campaign for Kenmore—see also  

undiscovery: the Map Men chart phantom islands—including some that have made it into the era of Google Maps—see previously  

22,5 light hours: engineers debug a forty-seven year old computer remotely from twenty-four billion kilometres away to revive the data stream from Voyager I—see previously  

embarking: a luxury airline that caters to canines above their human companions

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: dismantling Soviet-era monuments

three years ago: more links to enjoy plus a special issue of LIFE magazine

four years ago: fantasy urban map generators, more links worth the revisit plus geopolitical optics

five years ago: an elegant and modern personal seal, even more links plus a Victoria houseplant


Friday 19 April 2024

9x9 (11. 499)

pumping iron: Technogym invites forty artists to reinterpret its exercise bench for Milan Design Week  

wikipedia rectangles: a collage of images sourced from the Commons subdivides one’s screen in increasing smaller sections of disparate pictures—via Web Curios  

the microcosm of london: an illustrated three-volume set by Rudolph Ackermann showcasing the public spaces of the capital 

๐Ÿ‰: the massive Quilt for Palestine unveiled at the Met 

rundown royale: a look at the family tree of Charlemagne, the Father of Europe—via Miss Cellania 

ulnar nerve: the etymology of the expression funny bone and variants—including the Swedish terms enkelstรถt/รคnkestรถt  

dua lipa stuns as congressional gerrymander: that and other headlines from Super Punch  

from our correspondents: World Press Photo contest captures destruction and devastation 

the revolution will not be biennalised: the withdrawal of the Israeli pavilion in Venice was performative and opportunistic

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

Tuesday 26 March 2024

i’m feeling lucky (11. 451)

A couplet of essays illustrate the insatiable drive for the tech industry to foist AI enhancements to a suite of baseline products (an inuring narrative that we’ve encountered before from guilds to shingles, to telephone directories, to 800 numbers, to websites, to encryption, to block-chain) with a trial of ‘search generative experience’ by default, making chatbot recommendations scraped from the web rather than (ir)relevant links. An experiment for now, it is indicative of the direction behemoths would take user queries—even at the risk of not just being seen as promoting content that no one is looking for but also as the creator of said bad results, redefining what a search-engine does with a curatorial capacity. The counterpoint is somewhat of an apology for the trajectory of seemingly better performance, promising utility, with the wholesale intrusion, offering that AI does not comprehend what “to google” is and cannot differentiate between requests for research and requests for navigation, unwilling to accept a point of departure and what’s easy to know but increasingly harder find. Although championing what is juried by humans (both noting how it is informed our non-synthetic archives), neither developmental observation bodes well for curiosity.

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, the Book of Mormon (1820) plus the musical stylings of Takeshi Terauchi

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus some local street art

three years ago: Balance (1989), the Fiat factory test track plus the Hapsburgs attempt to retake the throne (1921)

four years ago: the GOP Death Cult, fomites plus the Schengen Area (1995)

five years ago: more shadowology, The Handmaid’s Tale as a graphic novel, the Frauenhofer Institute (1949), a FOIA primer plus property development naming reforms

Friday 22 March 2024

truth windows (11. 441)

Courtesy of fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy Chic’s latest link curation (which also includes segments on the Satanic Panic and the colourful churches of Kerala worth a look as well), we were really enamoured with the the idea of keeping unfinished a small section of wall, as is traditional particularly in strawbale homes, for perspective, grounding and gratitude of what our sheltering places are constructed of—the alcove often serving as an ersatz altar. As we were moving in and had the interior of the house redone and modern, up-to-code insulation installed, we were surprised to see under the drop-ceilings in the oldest part of the house twigs and branches—certainly sourced from the woods behind us—and was a little sad to see them unceremoniously removed and replaced.  Maybe just retain a small first storey skylight in a nice antique frame.


synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: more links to enjoy

three years ago: St Dareca plus even more links worth revisiting

four years ago: a big bomb detonated (1970), a gallery of conversation pits plus America’s Stonehenge (1980)

five years ago: a proposal to standardise toponymy, illustrator Rachel Eleanor, a submerged restaurant in Norway, replacing politicians with AI, more links plus a vintage Lada advert


Friday 15 March 2024

stumbleupon (11. 425)

Though our favourite sites always deliver and never disappoint and there are aggregators like the Ooh! Directory and other webrings, true serendipity is an increasingly rare commodity on the internet. Granted this came as an appeal to narcissism—trying it out for this site and some PfRC adjacent friends of the blog—we were intrigued with this little fortuity engine, via Web Curios, in the form of a Google Chrome extension called Browser Buddy. Whilst a bit apprehensive about such add-ons as an invitation to scrap one’s data or target ads, it appears to be a non-intrusive co-pilot that pops up in a corner and offers a list of sites hosted on similar platforms with the same energy. A few recent discoveries to follow are sourced from these suggestions. Venturing outside of one’s zone without a map or agenda is still the best way to rewild one’s interests, however, even if it does take effort and often nets little on each excursion.

Sunday 10 March 2024

counter culture (11. 413)

The revitalised linkroll of Mx Tynehorne’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities reminds of another venerable old school Wunderkammer, very much en vivant and worth checking out on a regular basis, in the aperiodic blog of Peter Blinn, Curious Notions. Covering anniversaries and superlatives and obscure but useful tools in the main, it’s easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of shifting and surprising facts, which is undoubtedly a good feature for this sort of curation. Starting with a Monty Python-inspired cheesemongers’ survey of the rarest and most precious varieties just published for us turophiles, we learn that the among the most dear are traditionally caciocavallo—that is, transported by horseback, and derived from the milk of donkeys, derived from a tiny herd in the Balkans, a small-batch production influenced by folkways and the fact that the milk of an asinine jenny is counted as one of the leanest in the mammal family and produce sparingly compared to bovine sources.

Friday 8 March 2024

promissory estoppal (11. 409)

Whilst the lawsuit Elon Musk recently filed against OpenAI might seem frivolous and the domain of tech-billionaires with hard feelings—Musk being an original backer of the artificial intelligence venture, the allegation that co-founder Sam Altman (previously) for breach of contract—essentially harm caused by the broken-promise above—for abandoning its initial vision and mission of forwarding the field for the benefit of all by licensing its interim innovations before the Singularity to Microsoft as a commercial branch of the non-profit. Arguably an incremental improvement (weighing the publicised concerns from people involved with the newest iteration), the plaintiff claims that the release of GPT-4 without transparency and available for a price amounts to a sentient Clippy. Although we don’t believe that this version is thinking and the sought after Artificial General Intelligence, yet—at least, and such altruistic slogans like “Don’t be evil” or “Move fast and break things” tend to backfire—the lawsuit does raise an interesting question for the new Turing Test that I never thought might be an impediment to progress: if OpenAI is motivated to say that the next version for commercial release is only an improvement on the last and not the end goal, then we may never reach it, at least by one estimation and subject to litigation.

Sunday 3 March 2024

8x8 (11. 396)

a bridge too far: German authorities pledge investigation into embarrassing leak of confidential military talks about Ukrainian aid  

heteronyms: the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa with seventy pen-names  

solar symbology: a survey of the various cartographic representations of North America’s upcoming total eclipse  

phrixus and helle: newly excavated fresco in Pompeii retells the myth of the Golden Fleece  

re:design: Jason Kottke unveils his new website with fresh 2024 energy—maybe we could all use a face-lift  

replevin: Trump fraudulently overvalued his Scottish golf course and resort by £200 000 000—see previously 

club remix: annual competition that invites doctoral candidates to dance their dissertation 

airdrop: US begins aid delivery to a beleaguered Gazan population on the verge of famine

 synchronoptica

one year ago: TIME magazine (1923) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus the largest capacity cargo plane

three years ago: more links worth the revisit, an artist’s message to get vaccinated plus Rocket Man (1972)

four years ago: the French version of the Dallas theme, Super Tuesday, Nigerian contributions to English plus more on the Human Interference Task Force

five years ago: graphic designer Alvin Lustig, Apollo IX (1969), an example of Celtic Revival architecture, McLaren’s Imperial Cheddar Club Cheese plus artist Pokey LaFarge

Thursday 29 February 2024

world of pure imagination (11. 390)

As with other disastrous and disappointing venues, last week’s fiasco surrounding what was billed as an immersive family event organised by the House of Illuminati did not fail to garner a viral attention over this sad and pricy—up to £ 40 for a group ticket and spurring angry visitors to call the police and shut down the attraction that same afternoon (I recall similar reportage over dull and expensive Christmas Carnivals and Winter Wonderlands—Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory Experience. Contrary to an advertisement campaign aggressively enhanced by AI, the venue was in a largely empty warehouse in Glasgow sparsely festooned with a few candy-themed props, a bouncy castle and some vinyl printed backdrops from the above ad guided by poorly costumed actors. One photograph that emerged of this Oompa Loompa, looking herself rather humiliated to be party to this all around flop, adding insult to injury by framing her as some dreary technician at a meth lab, but awarding (or cursing) her with some standout meme-treatment and twice interviewed about the mortifying few hours. Rightfully skeptical about the gig posted on a jobs site, the professional actor, children’s entertainer and yoga instructor, she walked into a slapdash production not fully thought out but couldn’t back out of the contract (none of the cast was paid ultimately) and hope she might bring a little redemptive fun to the show. Much more from Super Punch at the link above.

Sunday 25 February 2024

11x11 (11. 380)

sure, write stuff for free—but write it for yourself: maintaining one’s creativity in the bleak media sector brickwalling and the loss of journalistic records  

rage-baiting: viral Tik-Tok couple troll influencer culture with such precision most don’t realise it’s satire—via Super Punch  

the paint explainer: a primer on the twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution—via Memo of the Air 

dark dimensions: there’s a new theory about where dark matter might be hiding  

the sony smartwig: a 2016 patent granted for a connected hairpiece one pairs with their phone for tactile feedback 

the navel on an orange is a mutation that created a conjoined twin: weird information to dispense on a first date—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

the riker manoeuvre: small towns with monuments to Star Trek characters—via Marginal Revolution  

selectric funeral: the Boston Typewriter Orchestra hopes to appear in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with this submission  

awful yet lawful: US Supreme Court to entertain grievances on social media moderation for deplatforming hateful and dangerous content  

multi-level marketing: a supercut of huckster Donald Trump’s merchandising scams 

you can out-buzzfeed buzzfeed after all: media group in takeover talks with UK’s The Independent—see previously

Saturday 24 February 2024

cognitive offloading (11. 376)

Via Good Internet, whilst there have always been panics over new technological extensions of the human mind leading to decline and atrophy from platonic criticism of the written word to the “boob tube” to the toxicity and tribalism of the web, one researcher with the University of Monterrey fears that the capacity of artificial intelligence for mimicry goes beyond facilitating study and investigation with instant answers and unverifiable connections (possibly beneficial—yet to be seen and the verdict is still out—for navigating a native digital environment for things like programming and debugging and those onerous tasks, and jobs, that only exist because systems don’t talk to one another and integration is difficult) that might make us lazy and less critical but poses a real threat in supplanting our executive functions. Rather than stimulating and enhancing thought and examination, ready answers, verging towards dogmatism when it comes to nuanced and complex ideas, these shortcuts, short-circuits could make judgment and creativity an increasingly rare commodity.

Friday 23 February 2024

and the oscar goes to (11. 373)

Ahead of the Academy Awards to be held on 11 March, the always excellent Kottke, who just turned nineteen, directs our attention to film critic Wesley Morris’ appreciation of outstanding performances in categories that don’t exist but should. We especially appreciated ‘Best Acting in a Mirror’ and ‘Best Acting over a Landline,’ which both seem like an especially displaced skill by the same technology, like period suspension belief over mysteries that would be easily dispatched with and resolved by modern standards though some of the scenes are transcendent of place and time. And yes, the ceremonies are worth it for the GIFs, example not pictured, alone.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

10x10 (11. 365)

royal mews: King Charles’ one of a kind electric Jaguar up for auction—via Miss Cellania  

ppe: the portable nuclear bomb shield, patented by Harold Tiff  

got clearance clarence: after embarrassing blunder over bad travel advice, Air Canada advocates personhood (and limited liability) for its chatbot customer representative 

1776 days: Julian Assange’s long detention and fight against rendition to the US for Wikileaks

that which you call hardee’s, we call carl’s junior: food deserts, prevalence and distribution of casual dining chains in the US 

tigers blood: new singles from Waxahatchee 

daddy daughter day: breakdancing, bitcoin father revealed as a veteran of member of the Christian Coalition and conservative speech writer 

the second in line: Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson—via Messy Nessy Chic  

body armour: Casimir Zeglen, the priest who invented the bulletproof vest  

motorcade: Joe Biden’s Cadillac sedan for sale—via tmn

synchronoptica

one year ago: artist creates a prosthetic extra digit plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the subterrene (1972) plus The Shape of Things to Come (1936)

three years ago: introducing the Jeep (1941), a Nyan Cat NFT plus a suite of Japanese pictograms

four years ago: more mass-transit upholstery, RIP Larry Gordon Tesler who invested copy-and-paste, superannuated map styles, the possible extradition of Julian Assange plus the new US ambassador to Germany

five years ago: all the presidents’ meals, a secret meeting between industrialists and the Nazi government (1933), more links worth the revisit, the US emergency broadcast system (1971), vintages mazes plus the bokeh technique