India-Pakistan Border from Space

Today I learned that the heavily fortified border between India and Pakistan, a fenced-off no-mans land lit at night by arc lamps, is visible to the naked eye from space.

The above was taken from the ISS.

Via NASA →

The Motorist Won

Kyle Branchesi describes his project of creating digital imaginings of English landmarks as if taken over by cars thusly:

Amidst a political landscape where the ‘war on motorists’ is wielded as a populist tool, this series captures a future where this rhetoric has prevailed. The transformation of UK landmarks like Stonehenge into vast vehicular realms underscores the absurdity and danger of prioritizing short-term political gains over sustainable urban planning. These images mirror the contentious debates in the UK, challenging the narrative that prioritizes car ownership at the expense of public health and environmental sustainability.

See the entire gallery →

Via Kottke

Book: The Lost Supper

Friend of Elsewhat’s Taras Grescoe‘s new book, The Lost Supper, follows the author as he tries to track down foods which have been lost to history, or otherwise forgotten or neglected by humanity. His journey is also a lens through which he looks at our own modern diet and its various impacts.

This has changed my day-to-day relationship with food, in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Before this journey began, I flattered myself that, with my diet heavy on small fish, vegetables, grains, and pulses, I was one of the world’s responsible eaters. My thoughtfulness, though, was limited to my consumer choices the items I picked off the shelves of local stores and markets. Thinking about the past of food has made me think harder about what I eat in the present, and every trip has changed the way I cook and eat.

Among the lost food he looks at are Garum (previously mentioned on this blog). He also looks at the (mostly) lost practice of eating insects, which lead to this little jab at paleo dieters:

“Paleo dieters are one of my favorite groups to pick on,” Lesnik added, with a chuckle. “They don’t have any real knowledge of what the paleo diet actually was. I always ask them, “Oh, so you eat a lot of insects?’ Consistently eating almond milk and bacon is not reflective of any form of the actual paleo diet. Eating bugs is.”

This was a great little book which combined food history with some healthy reflection on our modern diets, combined with some neat detective work and travel writing that is definitely off the beaten path.

Labanotation: a Written Language for Dance

To oversimplify, written words, like these I’m writing, are humanity’s way of recording spoken words. Musical notation are how we record a song. But what if we want to record a dance or other movements? Enter Labanotation, a written language for recording human movements developed in the 1920’s.

In Labanotation, movements of different parts of the body are mapped to symbols:

The result is a language that, read from bottom to top, tracks a series of simultaneous motions into one synchronized flow of symbols:

Found via artist Eija Loponen-Stephenson.

Nick Ryan at Produit Rien

The local art gallery near my house has a wonderful little exhibit this week with a variety of musical works by an artist named Nick Ryan, whose other work and biographical information I’ve failed to find.

The works consist of simple household object arranged in such a way as to play music when electricity is applied (which is accomplished by random timers). It’s simple, and playful, and can be completely explored in about 10 minutes.

On from January 24 to 28th or so at Produit Rien in Mile Ex.

Prescience of Environmental Posters

The New York Times has a review of an exhibition of vintage environmental posters. The article has a nice gallery of some wonderfully designed and often poignant examples of graphic design with a message.

Read More →

Via Rafa

What is My Cookie Cutter?

Remember when the internet was fun? This subreddit feels like the internet in the early 2000’s again. People post photos of their indecipherable cookie cutters, and other Redditors help them try to figure them out with MS-Paint-esque drawings. Or, just as likely, they try and come up with the most absurd thing they think it could be.

Visit What is my Cookie Cutter →

Said the Gramophone's Best Songs of 2023

My favourite blog post of every year is the best songs of the year by friend of Elsewhat’s Sean Michaels. I always discover a whole trove of new songs and artists.

Read 2023’s List Here →

What If?

Speaking of XKCD, Randall Munroe also just launched a short video about the technical limits of using the Hubble Space Telescope to take pictures of the earth.

XKCD Airline Seating Chart

XKCD with more of his usual goofy fun.

Read Whole Comic →