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weblog archives
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Anthony Clayton's books include Decadent London and Subterranean City. His site has some excellent links, including Strange Attractor (which now has a weblog, Further) and The Hastings Trawler, the first edition of which is available for download. We were most taken with Magonia, a publication devoted to 'interpreting contemporary vision and belief'. Amongst other things, the publication debunks UFOs, via The Pelican column: 'In an Internet discussion forum in 2000, British researcher James Easton suggested that the objects seen by Kenneth Arnold in his famous 1947 sighting might have been a flock of American White Pelicans. This suggestion was angrily rejected by American researchers. UFO writer and historian Jerome Clark coined the term 'pelicanist' which became used to dismiss anyone who offered a mundane explanation for a UFO sighting report'. The above image is taken from the Merseyside UFO Research Group Investigates Hindley UFO Sighting in 1967.

A giant knife / Hillbilly, Please, a weblog with an eye for the more absurd excesses of consumer culture, e.g., human-powered LED nose ring (which we suspect is a very speculative idea that couldn't possibly work) / Information Bursts, and an associated weblog, Running Amok, from Analogue Books, a design book store in Edinburgh / Apple ][ emulation. Other old games live on at remain in play.

The Nozomi, Japan's best-looking Bullet Train. Could high speed rail reduce our dependence on rail? Apparently Gordon Brown thinks so, as he was recently heard extolling the virtues of Maglev in the Far East (and the need for private money to pay for it). A Scottish-Chinese dream: Maglev made easy, 'A bullet-train link between Scotlandís two major cities is a realistic ambition for an old nation seeking a new place in the world'.

'A true story of how a gentleman of a certain age and of respectable
appearance was swallowed alive by the crocodile in the Arcade, and of the
consequences that followed.' Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Crocodile / how many cats is too many cats? / Esthet has moved over to flickr, with rich sets on Tokyo Modern and street fashion in Haranjuku.

Dwelling in an age of aeromodernism, BLDG BLG illustrates the rise of the aerotropolis and the instant city, riffing off the once quaint notion that runways would sit happily atop the modern city. That way of thinking, satirised by W.Heath Robinson, who had a thing for wayward applications of the aeroplane), has never quite been abandoned (e.g. the contstant emphasis on flying cars, see things passim). City-centre aircraft like the Fairey Rotodyne have been superseded by concepts like Avcen's VQSTOL Jetpod (Very Quiet Short Take Off and Landing) and the still-in-testing Agusta/Bell 609, are designed to hop up and down either vertically or in short spaces without the need for a runway (simulations of the Jetpod show it skittering around an environment not unlike Microsoft's Flight Simulator, strangely barren, as if everyone has vanished due to some unfortunate catastrophe. The rendering, of a Jetpod cruising up from Potsdamer Platz, is more in line with conventional utopian, rather than dystopian, imagery).

Penspotters, Pendemonium, the Pen Museum, a short history of the Biro / there's so much red in the BBC's new-style news page that every time I log on it looks like a huge catastrophe is in progress / will copyright restrictions mean the end of TAB? / placed to ride design skateparks around the world / cars that park themselves have been mooted for ages, but until now only Japan has really embraced the idea - see Lexus's self-parking system. The new Mercedes CL has a system that will size up the space and gently guide you into it, although it stops short of taking over completely, as the Lexus does.

Salto Sobrius notes the disturbing trend that is Happy Meal Pop, little bite-sized morsels of pop music served up in a sealed plastic unit, designed to titillate and horrify depending on your age. For some strange reason, we've ended up with three of the damn things. Noise pollution? Go and listen.