Saturday 10 February 2024

7x7 (11. 338)

caught between the moon and new york city: taking a harrowing subway ride in 1981  

homing: Nikola Tesla’s love for pigeons and telepathy—via Strange Company 

 : more on the interrobang—see previously  

stringe-watching: the opposite of binging a series to indulge in the experience  

hash mark: the works of artist Ding Yi coinage: TikTok has seen an (irritating) explosion in linguistic novelties to promote niche microtrends—via Miss Cellania  

in the aeroplane over the seas: Neutral Milk Hotel covers for the album’s anniversary 

castro street: Bruce Baillie films Riverside, California in 1966


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, Tapestry (1971) plus a pioneering hypertext novel

two years ago: the Dread Pirate Roberts plus a geographical challenge

three years ago: the Simpsons’ intro, the feast of St Scholastica, vernacular ceramics, no fly free zones plus profiting from conspiracy

four years ago: more Orange Menace

five years ago: more links to enjoy

Friday 9 February 2024

argumentum ad baculum (11. 337)

Via ibฤซdem, we appreciated these logic lessons (an educational project going for a decade now) that presents concepts of dialogue, rhetoric and debate as well as biases and fallacies, like the below Ad Hominem attack between Lieutenants Sulu Arex Na Eth, with Mister Spock moderating for the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Animated Series as interlocutors (redubbed—see above—and using footage from the cartoons). The dozens of episodes include short tutorials on petitio principii (circular reasoning), the Straw Man Fallacy, Confirmation Bias and the Sunk Cost Fallacy, the Halo Effect and the benefit of hindsight, various appeals, Tu Quoque (whataboutism) and many more. See how Vulcan logic can put more in your philosophical quiver against sophistry and misinformation.

national jukebox (11. 336)

Via Web Curious (a lot more to explore there), we enjoyed poking around the playlists of this project from the US Library of Congress that streams over ten thousand historic recordings and growing produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company (the ascribing labels, OKeh Records, Columbia, RCA, now subsidiaries of Sony Music Entertainment—but the clearinghouse granted a free license to the library to make them publicly available…) from 1901 to 1925. We especially liked the recommendation algorithm and a feature that’s grouped what was recorded on a particular day of the year. Look around and see what old-timely tunes you can discover.

zoozve (11. 335)

This is an excellent constellation about how our Cosmos is appearing much harder to classify than at first glance, language and definitions and the predictability and reproducibility of familiar models—even in our own backyard—which Kottke invites us to contemplate in a podcast from Radiolab about a mystery on a child’s poster of the Solar System.  Better than a just-so story, it reminds us of the fictive hamlet of Agloe, New York, sort of a trap-street, that became a real settlement then vanished again. The companion satellite labelled for Mercury (a moonless planet as we learn in school) seemed to be sloppy work coming from NASA (the poster’s publishers)—or a bit whimsy—but meriting further investigation yielded some dead ends, googlewhacks or less, but eventually led to the discoverer of the quasi-moon, with the designation for the year of its finding 2002 VE68, the captured asteroid and the first found of its kind (see also) since renamed. Much more at the link up top.

lady wonder (11. 334)

Born on this day in 1924 and later adopted as a weeks’ old filly by Clarence and Claudia Fonda of Richmond, Virginia, and trained by Mrs Fonda with children’s lettered wooden blocks before graduating to an oversized custom typewriter in hopes of establishing equine-human communication—see also—Lady Wonder was one of a number of famous clairvoyant horses, making several predictions for a massive visiting public over the course of the mare’s long life. The outcome of boxing matches, turns in the stock-market, presidential elections (credited with picking the winner for everyone for nearly three decades except Truman’s victory over Dewey, which pollsters and prognosticators couldn’t have guessed were popular subjects but also participated in police investigations, helping lead authorities to missing persons and solving cold cases. Though some skeptics concluded otherwise, parapsychologist J B Rhine assessed Lady Wonder’s psychic abilities, finding that telepathy and extrasensory perception were the only possible explanations. In 1952, the horse shared a by-line in Life magazine on an article about herself and other gifted animals.


one year ago: colour-coding the Periodic Table plus an omnibus of Olympic pictographs
two years ago: assorted links to revisit, a 1982 hit from Trio plus more of the shorthand of Charles Dickens

three years ago: your daily demon: Andrealphus plus more links to enjoy

four years ago: an ancient game piece plus “splendid isolation

Thursday 8 February 2024

the tough get rough (11. 333)

Starting a four-week run on the top of the UK singles charts on this day in 1986, the Billy Ocean song was the theme of The Jewel of the Nile, the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner vehicle and sequel to 1984’s Romancing the Stone. A global hit, it was eventually unseated by Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” the accompanying video was initially refused by Top of the Pops for the cast’s lip-syncing, not being members of the Musicians Union, with Danny DeVito’s miming as a saxophonist, like the August rendition of “You Can Call Me Al,” considered a violation of the guild’s rules for non-member performers.

dew drop inn (11. 332)

We quite enjoyed this collection of vintage hotel and luggage tags from all around the world through this curation of some choice Japanese accommodations put together by Present /&/ Correct. The scans are small and the ryokan (ๆ—…้คจ, a traditional Japanese inn, often associated with hot spring resorts and baths) section seems most complete—I hope that this project wasn’t just abandoned as too ambitious, there being a lot of place-holders, though optimistically those marked as Up are up—with floor plans, maps and other ephemera associated with the lodgings. India, Singapore, the UK and Norway are represented also.


one year ago: stochastic parrots, unsanctioned matrimony (1973) plus more AI Valentines

two years ago: Mother Josephine plus Right Said Fred (1989)

three years ago: The Birth of a Nation plus Trump quits the Screen Actors’ Guild

four years ago: a daytrip to the mountains plus an evergreen flower

five years ago: German consumer advocacy watchdog sics Facebook, places in painting plus incriminating photos

Wednesday 7 February 2024

dark arts (11. 331)

Whilst most town councils either rescinded the ordinance or made the application process for an exception to policy a routine and perfunctory one, the legislation of the Hypnotism Act of 1952 is still on the books in some jurisdictions and subject to a blanket ban, prohibiting public performance of mesmerism or inducing a trance-state due to perceived dangers of making an audience, singly or en masse susceptible to suggestion. Proving ruinous to a scheduled comedy routine, an entertainer (without apparently having to resort to putting local authorities under) successfully appealed for the municipality to rescind the law and grant a license (the exemption not needed under the statue to practise hypnosis for clinical and therapeutic purposes) to go ahead. Though public attitudes have changed significantly for the latter with the method widely accepted in medical settings, the former stage acts is notably low and venues risk-adverse and putting responsibility on the performer.