The New Normal?

This edition of WTIN’s Textile 4.0 magazine focuses on COVID-19, some of the ways the textile industry is responding to the crisis, how things might change in the future “new normal,” and an informative article by Keith Fenner, managing director of Coats Digital.

Also, coming soon: a washable, reusable, medical-grade mask developed in South Korea. Worth a listen:

Modern Poetry

Poetry, Poetry Everywhere

A couple of weeks ago, we linked to Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram. If you want more celebrities reading classic poetry, try The Ancient Mariner Big Read, in which the likes of Jeremy Irons, Marianne Faithfull, Tilda Swinton, and Iggy Pop (Iggy Pop?) read verses from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poemThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Ancient Mariner Big Read was commissioned by The Arts Institute at Plymouth University, and divides the 150-verse poem into 40 readings, with a new one appearing daily. The reading is accompanied by sound effects and original artwork. It launched a week ago—although (spoiler alert) the albatross was just killed.

Rube Awakening

Off the Wall

Some of us may occasionally buy print newspapers, and none is more iconic than the front page of the venerable New York Times. Google engineer Max Braun has developed a giant E Ink screen that displays the front page of the Times. Mounted on a wall, it is about the same size as the print edition of the Times, but, alas, only displays the front page. For any jumpage, or to read the rest of the paper, you’ll need another device—or pick up the actual paper.

Hungry Pets

The Home Office That Sounds Like an Office

Do you like working from home but miss the noises of a proper office? (Do you? Do you really?) Well, noise generator Calm Office (well, there’s a misnomer given some of the offices in which some of us have worked) “lets you replicate typical office sounds like copy machines, printers, air conditioners and other humans (remember those?) with sliding bars that let you mix and match audio streams. You can, for example, just turn up the keyboard or talkative-colleague sounds, or mix them together and toss in some scanners and office clocks for the full cacophony.”

Hmmm...what about “publisher’s tirade,” “editor’s lament,” or “production manager’s plaintive howl”? Such fun. Although, to be honest, the sound of those 1940s newsrooms with the clacking typewriters would be kind of cool.

Calm Office is part of, “an extensive collection of background noises and interactive soundscapes that range from rain, thunder, ocean waves and Gregorian chants to cities around the world.”

Letter Spacing

Name That Color!

Here’s a fun activity to while away the self-quarantined hours: name every 24-bit RGB color. There are more than 16 million of them, so you’ll probably never run out. Color Names is a project to assign names to every 24-bit color. “Anyone can propose a new name for a particular color. So long as the name is descriptive and non-offensive, it becomes associated with that color. If multiple names are proposed for the same color, it is then a matter of which name has the most votes from the community.”

We can do better than that!

Dear Dairy

(This week, Land O’Lakes announced that they had redesigned its butter and cheese packaging to remove the illustration of a Native American woman.)

Thinking Inside the Box

Have you bought a TV and don’t quite know what to do with the box? Well, why not fashion it into a cat house (for actual cats, we hasten to add) or an entertainment center? As per Gizmodo, Samsung recently redesigned its TV packaging so that it can be easily recycled or upcycled into other household items.

Or, per Boing Boing, if you happen to be stuck at Japan’s Narita Airport waiting to be tested for coronavirus, you can use it as a portable B&B (Box and Bed)—otherwise you’ll have to pay $70 a night for the airport’s cardboard box hotel.

Spinal Tap

Tome Raider

Self-quarantining is a great way to get through the pile of books we never seemed to have the time to get to, and for those looking for longer reads, Literary Hub collects “The 50 Best Contemporary Novels Over 500 Pages Long.” Some we heartily endorse for (Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, Don DeLillo’s Underworld, and of course Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon, to name a few), and some we are looking forward to checking out (N.K. Jemison’s The Fifth Seasonand, with intense trepidation, Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport). Some of us are still working up the courage to tackle David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

In Poe Taste

Nudes at 11

Click the link at your own risk, but here is one good reason to check your background before you start recording a video. From Boing Boing: “In Stockton, California, KCRA's Melinda Meza did a live TV segment about hairstyling on location in her home bathroom. Special guest star: her naked partner in the shower.”

Dire Jokes

Either that Wallpaper Goes or We Do

Are you looking for off-the-wall (as it were) wallpaper? No, neither were we, but, what about off-the-wall wallpaper that helps local businesses? OK, we’re game. Enter Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Says House Beautiful:

Today, Flavor Paper is launching Positive FeedBack, a fundraising initiative to support restaurants and healthcare workers that have been deeply affected by the coronavirus. Through the program, Flavor Paper will be donating 25% of the sales from its city-themed toiles (that includes Bay Area, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Orleans) to two grassroots nonprofits: East Bay FeedER and Frontline Foods, both supported by the José Andrés-founded World Central Kitchen.

Dad Joke

Marathon Man

Runners train hard for marathons, and when they are postponed or canceled, it can seem like a whole lot of time and effort has been wasted. We have written in this space before about people running marathons on their decks or in their driveways. This week, a Syracuse-area math teacher had qualified and trained for the Boston Marathon, only to have it postponed to September. But, 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles, so he ran instead from East Syracuse to Oneida (in Central New York) along the Erie Canal, which actually sounds like a much more scenic route. He also got a bit of a surprise while running (no, not a lake effect snowstorm): “Unbeknownst to him, his wife, Jaime, had alerted friends and family to the path from East Syracuse to Oneida Alvarez had plotted along the Erie Canal” and they all gathered—at respectable distances—along the route to cheer him on.

Hours to Keep

Plane Awful

From The Guardian: “Ryanair boss says airline won't fly with ‘idiotic’ social distancing rules: Michael O’Leary says business model will be in tatters if he is forced to leave middle seats empty.”

Actually one would have thought their business model would be to charge passengers extra to sit six feet from another passenger. Oh, but we kid.

Bottom of the Barrel

Agents of Fortune

Finally, while the band may only be a spectre of its former self, Blue Öyster Cult—still around and touring—gathered online to perform one of their signature songs, “Godzilla” (via Gizmodo).

Their biggest song probably would have been a bit inappropriate these days.

This Week in Printing, Publishing, and Media History

April 20

1535: The sun dog phenomenon observed over Stockholm and depicted in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan.

1893: Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró born.

April 21

753 BC: Romulus founds Rome (traditional date), but not in a day. 

1816: Cornish-English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë born.

1838: Scottish-American environmentalist and author John Muir born.

1934: The “Surgeon's Photograph,” the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail. (In 1999, it was revealed to have been a hoax.)

1977: Annie opens on Broadway.

April 22

1707: English novelist and playwright Henry Fielding born.

1724: German anthropologist, philosopher, and academic Immanuel Kant born.

1876: The first game in the history of the National League was played at the Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia. This game is often pointed to as the beginning of Major League Baseball.

1899: Novelist and critic Vladimir Nabokov born.

1977: Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.

April 23

1985: Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.

2005: The first ever YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo,” was published by user “jawed.”

April 24

1704: The first regular newspaper in British Colonial America, The Boston News-Letter, is published.

1800: The United States Library of Congress is established when President John Adams signs legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.”

1905: American novelist, poet, and literary critic Robert Penn Warren born.

1940: B is for Birthday—American author Sue Grafton born.

1990: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.

April 25

1901: New York becomes the first U.S. state to require automobile license plates.

1908: American journalist Edward R. Murrow born.

1953: Francis Crick and James Watson publish “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” describing the double helix structure of DNA.

1954: The first practical solar cell is publicly demonstrated by Bell Telephone Laboratories.

1961: Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit.

April 26

1564: Playwright William Shakespeare is baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England (date of actual birth is unknown). Much ado about nothing?

1785: French-American ornithologist and painter John James Audubon born.

1889: Austrian-English philosopher and academic Ludwig Wittgenstein born.

1970: The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force.

1989: People’s Daily publishes the April 26 Editorial which inflames the nascent Tiananmen Square protests.