Tuesday 14 March 2023

dita e verรซs (10. 610)

Translating to summer’s day in Albanian, the springtime rite with pre-Christian origins is observed on this day and corresponds to the beginning of the New Year on the Old Calendar, aligning with the seasonal shift from winter. Celebrations are marked with family reunions, intensive spring-cleaning, reverence for the life returning, and jumping over, through bonfires for a ritual purification to drive away the darkness and referred to as shedding the fleas—recalling an expedient method of delousing as well as with the Verore, a red and white bracelet worn to mark the occasion and the preparation of sugar cookies called ballokume—named for a review by one Ottoman rulers that: ร‹shtรซ ba si llokume—it was as good as lokum—that is, Turkish Delights.

Monday 13 March 2023

network effect (10. 609)

We’ve come across the adage before that “if the service is free, you are the product, recently reframed and encapsulated in Cory Doctrow’s resonate summation of ‘enshittification’—now examined and broadened to include sponsors, advertisers as social media platforms’ real clients. Beyond the walled-garden of on-site engagement and the difficulty of exporting one’s social graph to an alternative host, posters and advertisers are locked into a captive market, joining at first voluntarily and then kept locked in by peer-pressure with all of these platforms free to privelege engagement over news and updates from one’s circle of friends with license and motivation, subtle or blatant to engineer the site to maximise those ends—and whilst not inevitable, the scale continues.

Sunday 12 March 2023

lost in translation (10. 608)

Via NPR, we are referred to a long and growing thread of words hosted by dictionary Merriam-Webster have no English equivalent, and due to their inchoate elegance are a bit tortured for the lengthy but elucidating explanation, submitted by individuals all over the world. Many of these were brand new to us and are adding to our quiver, like dรฉbrouillard—literally, one who removes the fog, describing a resourceful and efficient person at deconflicting matters, dรฉpaysement—describing the feeling of novelty, the state of being unmoored when visiting a foreign place, bjรธnetjeneste, from a Norwegian fable about a bear, trying to be helpful, and swatting away a fly and instead mauled the person with the slight irritation with the German equivalent verschlimmbessern or gwarlingo—Welsh for the rushing sounds of a clockwork before it tolls the hour. Merriam-Webster’s replies are quite nice as well. Look through the list and let us know your new favourites.

truman doctrine (10. 607)

Introduced to the US Congress on this day in 1947—prompted by crises in Greece, a violent uprising by the national Communist party partially funded by neighbouring Yugoslavia and Tรผrkiye, under pressure from the Soviet Union to allow its ships passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and the Long Telegram by George F Kennan of the previous year—President Harry S Truman, with the assistance of Secretary of State George Marshall (previously) and undersecretary Dean Acheson, outlining his “domino theory” in grave terms, secured Republican buy-in and ensured funding for his foreign policy objectives. In an address before a joint session of Congress which was generally well-received by the public, Truman said, “I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way. I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.” Couched in the context of the broader Cold War, the expansive and highly publicised commitment of the Truman Doctrine established precedent for the next four decades of siding with anticommunist forces and regimes all over the world no matter how antithetical and opposed they were to the democratic image that America wanted to promote and form military alliances against the USSR and confederates.

7x7 (10. 606)

the festival of the horse and the boys ploughing match: rambunctious ancient traditions and their modern observance across the British Isles—see previously  

depth: AI generated journal entry prompts cinematic adaptation: a literary guide to tonight’s Academy Awards 

l’hiver en suisse: travel posters by illustrator Emil Cardinaux  

indigenous futurisms: a look at non-Western visions of the future through the lens of unique cosmologies  

acceptance speech: the unexpected and gracious win for Marisa Tomei in 1993 for My Cousin Vinny

stable diffusion: researchers claim an AI can interpret brain-scans and recreate images of what subjects see 

wild isles: BBC criticised not broadcasting final episode of David Attenborough series on habitat loss over apparent fears of right-wing backlash—coupled with another furore over media bias

Saturday 11 March 2023

fifty-fifth statue at large (10. 605)

After over a decade of isolationism and avoidance of foreign entanglement and narrowly passed in the houses of Congress chiefly split along party lines—with Republicans mostly disfavouring the proposal or approving conditionally—the Lend-Lease act was signed into law by US president Franklin D Roosevelt to provide military and materiel aid to first Britain and China on this day in 1941, later extended to other Allied nations France and the Soviet Union. Effectively ending the United States’ pretence of neutrality and non-intervention spurred by the Great Depression and the outlays of participation in the Great War, the act allowed for the “sale, transfer of title, exchange, lease, lend of otherwise dispose of, to any such government—whose defence the president deems vital to the defence of the United States—any defensive article.” Fifty destroyers were transfer to the Royal Navies of the UK and Canada in exchange for the right to establish bases in the Caribbean, Newfoundland and England. Many of these ships were transferred on to the USSR in 1944, the terms of the agreement being that the goods could be used until exhausted, returned and repatriated or destroyed. All countries reciprocated with Reverse Lend-Lease by supplying the US with components or raw materials. Over one billion dollars was allocated (close to $800 billion by present reckoning) with the Soviet Union discharging its debt in 1971 and the UK repaying its loans in 2006.

royal assent (10. 604)

On the advice of her ministers, fearing that proposed armed force would be rebellious and side with the Jacobite Uprising supported by the French militarily, Queen Anne vetoed “An Act for Settling the Militia of that Part of Great Britain called Scotland” on this day in 1708 after its passage by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. 

The objective was to re-establish an armed force not provided for during the Restoration and the Acts of Union from the previous years, and was rejected by the monarch at the last moment upon the news that an invasion fleet was en route to Scotland. The ‘Enterprise d’ร‰cosse’ as a branch skirmish of the War of the Spanish Succession to place James Stuart on the throne failed to materialise. With the exception of forbearance in the overseas colonies, this withholding of royal assent was the last time Britain’s king or queen stopped passage of a bill of Parliament.

8x8 (10. 603)

jasper t jowls and the warblettes: Chuck E Cheese pizza and arcade chain still distributes programming for their animatronic acts on floppy disks—via Waxy, see also  

going up: a outstanding tour of Shimadai Electric Manufacturing Company with their wall of pressable elevator buttons  

แƒแ–แ•แ•‹แ•ˆแ“ฏแ–…: a beautiful rendition of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” in Inuktiut by artist Elisapie  

bread-winner: rotating sandwiches, no more—no less, via Present /&/ Correct  

partners in crime: a band of thieving turtles and other animal accomplices—via Strange Company 

the stone of scone: another look at the Seat of Destiny on which Charles III. will be crowned—see also  

banksters: US federal regulators take control of Silicon Valley financial institution, the reserve of tech angel investors, due to impending insolvency  

richard halloran owns a home computer: fascinating 1981 news segment on the emergent internet—via Pasa Bon!