Sunday 7 July 2024

kinesigraph (11. 669)

Public Domain Review contributor Irfan Shah revives the forgotten figure of Wordsworth Donisthorpe of Leeds—inventor, chess enthusiast, anarchist, linguist, social reformer and unrecognised pioneer of cinematography, only to fall behind the competition in Louis Le Prince and Thomas Edison. Though Donisthorpe’s career is punctuated with lamentable near successes and frustrating failures—which saw him turn to blackmail on more than one occasion but that did not produce a favourable outcome either—except as a posthumous postscript that connects Donisthrope, through his social outreach, to one of the early icons of the silver screen. Read more about the Kinesigraph patent, free love and his Latinate language reform attempts at the link up top.

7x7 (11. 668)

zungenbrecher: revisiting the topic of German tongue-twisters whose recitation challenges are also trending on the socials—via Language Hat  

nuts and bolts: hyperrealistic pencil-drawings of metallic objects by Kohei Ohmori  

heraclea sintica: a near-complete statue of Hermes discovered whilst excavating a Roman sewer in southwest Bulgaria 

murder by contract: Poseidon’s Underworld reviews the 1958, low-budget Vince Edwards vehicle  

ovocipede: a personal mobility vehicle conceived by Salvador Dalรญ  

game over: a stop-motion animation re-creates classic arcade game play with food and candy  

dawn chorus: explore morning birdsong from around the globe—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see there)


one year ago: the first summer study abroad programme (plus synchronoptica

seven years ago: Trump and the press, more on still-lives plus superlative drone photography

eight years ago: the Iraq Inquiry

nine years ago: the taxonomy of Jorge Luis Borge plus assorted links to revisit

ten years ago: advertising hoardings that serve as shelters plus ISIS’ wanton destruction of cultural treasure

Saturday 6 July 2024

light as a feather (11. 667)

Going into general release in the USA on this day in 1994, admittedly I never watched the Robert Zemeckis adaptation of the Winston Groom novel that follows the life of the protagonist photobombing pivotal events of the twentieth century and recalling his story ignorant of their significance but never skipped it out of any ideological reason that I was aware of but rather that I missed the moment and it was already part of the Zeitgeist and could surmise, intuit it by enough popular references. I never appreciated however that the film was part of the ongoing values debate in America and limns a contentious divide for those who interpret the melodrama about being present as either a nostalgic glamorisation of conservative (and counter- counter-cultural) credentials or as a sweet as a box of chocolates but glib reduction of the most consequent decades of the mid-twentieth century.

,,someone german is talking“ (11. 666)

Having pondered the meanings and styles of bracket-use before, we appreciated this xkcd (previously) comic panel via Language Log. What other orthographic conventions do you know? 『Someone is talking Chinese』— A James Joyce [or Leo Tolstoi] character is talking. — ,, A Georgian person is talking” >A Usenet user is talking " ⠦A vision impaired individual is talking⠴ [sic] A pedant is talking [recte]

9x9 (11. 665)

won’t back down: Biden committed to remain his party’s candidate for the US presidential election

wall∙e: facing a labour shortage, Japan railways deploys a colossal humanoid robot to maintain train tracks  

conspiracy theory rock: the 1998 Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse cartoon that may or may have not been banned by the network  

if it’s so smart, why does it live like this: next version of ChatGPT has post-doctorate level intelligence and the poor life choices to back it up  

shadow secretary: the political upbringing of Sir Keir Starmer  

wish you were here: beforehand postcards to prepare prior to departing for vacation—see previously  

oberheim ob-1: a short documentary on the revolutionary analogue synthesiser that allowed musicians to record and save patches for playback  

a face to a name: researchers create life-like robotic skin to express emotion and self-healing from harvested juvenile foreskin cells  

dark brandon: Democrats backing Biden’s decision to run 


one year ago: advice for urban day-trippers in the countryside (with synchronoptica)

eight years ago: gameifying one’s wellbeing

nine years ago: pushing Greece out of the EU plus assorted links to revisit

ten years ago: more dragnet surveillance 

eleven years ago: a history of fireworks 

Friday 5 July 2024

never mind the ballots (11. 664)

In a welcome, refreshing bit of good news amid rather bleak outlooks for democracy in America with Trump given new dictatorial license, Biden encouraged to drop out of the race at this late stage and the rise of far-right in France, Labour bounces back after nearly a dozen years of Tory control of government, with the Conservative party trounced. Party leader Keir Starmer is appointed prime minister and forms a cabinet, and after the 4 July general election, many of the opposition, including members Boris Johnson, Theresa May, Jacob Rees-Moog and Liz Truss lost their seats in parliament when their home constituencies voted them out.

alpine passes ii (11. 663)

Reluctantly we headed back home after our adventures in Italy and Switzerland, this time consulting more local sources and news, discovered that the portion of the Swiss Autobahn washed away by a rockslide had in less than two weeks been made once again navigable for traffic with engineers incorporating material that had destroyed the roadway.

Navigation services had not yet cottoned onto the completed repairs and the way was notably clear and without congestion for the beginning of high season for the preferred San Bernardino Pass connecting Bellinzona with the Mesolcina Valley of the canton of Graubรผnden, the watersheds of the Po and Rhein river basins and high-road parallel to the ancient bridal path—mostly restricted to donkeys—known as Viamala (in Romansh, the bad route due to the treacherous nature of the gorge) and made open to wheeled conveyance to undercut Austrian-controlled trade.

This snapshot above was not an atypical Swiss highway rest stop with lowing cattle and cow-bells.


one year ago: Nasty Boys (with synchronoptica), Tynwald Day on the Isle of Man, assorted links to revisit, the Tiny Web awards plus the pop-top can

seven years ago: an extra prosthetic thumb plus more on public education in America

eight years ago: what’s across the oceans, timber architecture, Olympic demands plus a giant radio telescope in China

nine years ago: a distraction for a hot day plus more links to enjoy

ten years ago: a game of geographic trivia

Thursday 4 July 2024

cascata della froda (11. 662)

Returning to the Castelvecca area, we took a nice stroll the the forest to see the waterfalls cascading from the top of Monte Cuvignone from a height of a hundred meters and carving out a space suggesting an amphitheater above the collecting pools.  

Along the trail through Montegrino-Valtravaglia, part of the fiefdom of il Quattro Valli, there is evidence of past use for aquaculture and raising trout with characteristic enclosures as well as the remains of an ancient stone quarry where petroglyphs have been recently discovered and are under study.