Fur and Feathers Not-Font Not-Friday-Either

The human world is going to hell—if it’s not there already—but our animals still need us. No fonts today. Long post.

TL;DR 

  • Walking your dogs and petting your cats (and other critters) helps both them and you
  • I miss my kitty “socializing” at the SF SPCA
  • The Fear Free® training program was helpful for me

Aces and Eights, peaceful for once

From the soothing effect of watching fish in a tank to the warm wiggliness of a guinea pig to the calming reaction to petting a dog or cat, and then the frisson of sensation as the cat bites you, animals provide an important presence of unconditional love in many of our lives. And they inspire us to give them unconditional love back. Right now we need them, and they need us, more than ever. With many of us staying home from work or school, if we can, pets are receiving an unexpected but welcome bonanza of attention.

In San Francisco, we’ve been under “shelter in place” orders since Tuesday, March 17; just a few days but it feels longer. Taking breaks from worrying about the terrible and undoubtedly soon-to-be-worse pandemic apocalypse, shortage of PPE for our beleaguered medical staff and first responders, governmental clusterfuck of inaction and bad information—where was I, right, taking breaks—to pet and play with our animals can help reduce our considerable stress, and enhance the bond between us and them. Animals pick up on our stress too, so you can reassure them with petting, exercise and (occasional) treats.

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Flying Font Friday 2

From My Modern Met.com.

Also see my post Flying Font  Friday 1, about airport signage.

Alphabet on Butterfly Wings

Norwegian nature photographer Kjell Bloch Sandved has devoted his photographic career to capturing the beauty of the world we live in and along the way, amassed a collection of butterfly and moth images with interesting patterns on their wings. Sanved’s keen eye took notice of the spectacular shapes the natural designs came in, recognizing their resemblance to letters of the alphabet. As a result, he formed the Butterfly Alphabet.

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Festive Font Friday (Weekend Solstice Edition)

Not to be confused with my post Festive Fonts (For You) Friday.

Sunday, December 22 at 04:19 Universal Time is this year’s winter or summer solstice! (Former: Northern Hemisphere; latter: Southern Hemisphere.) UT is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time, so for here in San Francisco the solstice is Saturday, December 21 at 8:19 pm.

Next: science! Wait, don’t run away, this is cool. Due to the tilt of Earth’s axis while we orbit our beloved Sun, we have seasons: periods of greater or lesser daylight and warmth. Combined with other atmospheric phenomena, we have rain, snow, dryness, wind. All the stuff! Yay tilt!

The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”), because at the solstices, the Sun’s declination appears to “stand still”; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) stops at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.

Below are an orbit diagram and a solstice closeup, for the more visually oriented of us. Scroll to the very bottom for a chart with exact times.

And because I am me, I’ve curated for you three very different typefaces called “Solstice”—or in one case, “Solstice of Suffering.” If anyone can explain that name to me, please feel free. Peak suffering, after which the suffering wanes, only to be reborn again in six months? It all seems a bit dubious. In any case, scroll partway down for those.


Diagram of the Earth’s seasons as seen from the north. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice

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Fear Font Friday 2 (OK, OK, it’s Thursday)

For Halloween, what’s skarier than a skeleton? What about the kind of person who makes a skeleton out of designer-y type? Def skarier.

Not to be confused with my post Fear Font Friday 1.


Skeleton Typogram, A Human Skeleton Illustration Made Using The Words For Each Bone

“Skeleton Typogram” by designer Aaron Kuehn is a gorgeous typographic artwork which depicts the human skeleton using the actual words for each bone. Previously we wrote about Kuehn’s Bicycle Typogram. The “Skeleton Typogram” is available as a limited edition screenprint.

Exo… Endo… Typo! Your life, your organism, your soft tissues but a puddle on the ground, if not for the ancient segmental structure of the Vertebrates. The original hard core is evolving for 400 million years now. Hominids, like you, are using the latest upright technology originating only 4 million years prior. Here it is, updated, and reconstructed in a 2 dimensional static representation of long-stride locomotion for your screen or paper! The component bones, ordinarily constructed with rigid mineralized tissues, have been entirely typo-grammatically replaced with 676 free and fused glyphs, together forming a complete skeletal diagram in Latin.

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Father Friday 2, No Fonts (CN: loss of father)

CN: Loss of father, stroke

Sunday, January 19th, 2020, is the 48th anniversary of my father’s death. He died at just 59, when I was nine. He’d had a bad stroke two years before, and, in the days before early intervention in stroke patients prevented or ameliorated effects, was paralyzed on his left side and lost the ability to speak. His mind was as sharp as ever though, and the loss of ability to speak or write (he was left-handed, like all us five children) must have been horrendous. I remember him nevertheless being able to teach me the meaning, spelling—and, somehow, pronunciation—of two new grown-up words: “solder” and “cerulean.”

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F’n Huge Font Friday (Helvetica in Space)

Earth next to "h" from "helvetica"

From kottke.org:

Ben Terrett wrote a post about how many instances of the word “helvetica” set in unkerned 100 pt Helvetica it would take to go from the Earth to the Moon:

The distance to the moon is 385,000,000,000 mm. The size of an unkerned piece of normal cut Helvetica at 100pt is 136.23 mm. Therefore it would take 2,826,206,643.42 helveticas to get to the moon.

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Forensics Fonts Friday

Forensic fonts closeup

Forensics professionals pay a great deal of attention about what fonts to use in courtroom exhibits concerning or reproducing digital evidence. To quote a paper by Fred Cohen & Associates of the California Sciences Institute [abstract below] “fonts for forensics are less about the beauty of the presentation and more about the tradeoff between readability and being definitive about what is present.” Specifically, from a presentation by Cohen at SADFE, the Systematic Approaches to Digital Forensic Engineering in 2010:

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‘Fringe’ Font Friday

Notebook with hand drawn "Observer" text

The TV show ‘Fringe’ aired between 2008 and 2013 on the Fox Network. The series follows members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe. (More information at Wikipedia and IMDb.)

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Half-erased blackboards from quantum physics labs

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“Momentum,” displayed at the Wilmotte Gallery in London (Alejandro Guijarro)

Blackboards, the legend goes, were invented by a teacher. In the mid-19th century, James Pillans was headmaster of the Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Teaching geography, he found himself in need of a device that would allow him to share visual information with all his students, simultaneously — a more theatrical and efficient version of the slates students used to write their lessons at their desks. Pillans had chalk; he had tablets. Then he had an idea.

Today, in an age of dry-erase whiteboards and write-on wall paint — an age that has produced surfaces and markers that allow writings to be undone with the ruthless efficiency of a single swipe — blackboards have taken on the wistfulness of the outmoded technology. And the semi-erased chalkboard, in particular — its darkness swirled with the detritus of unknown decisions and revisions — compounds the nostalgia. Its spectral insights mingle in the bright dust of calcium carbonate.

Alejandro Guijarro sees that blurry beauty better than most. Over the last three years, the Spanish artist has visited some of the world’s most prestigious blackboards: the ones housed at the quantum mechanics labs of places like the University of Oxford, UC Berkeley, Stanford, CERN, Cambridge, and the Instituto de Física Corpuscular. At each place, he used a large-format camera to capture the markings left on the boards, just as he found them.

“The images in this series do not purport to be documents holding an objective truth,” Guijarro says of his work; “they function purely as suggestions. They are fragmented pieces of ideas, thoughts or explanations from which arises a level of randomness. They are an attempt to portray the space of a flat surface and of a given frame. They are arbitrary moments in the restless life of an object in constant motion.”
Some of Guijarro’s images are reproduced below. 
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Ferdinand I Font Friday

A fascinating article about calligraphy for the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, in the waning days of hand-lettered books, from Noor Al-Samarrai at Atlas Obscura.

See a Dazzling, Exuberant Renaissance Calligraphy Guide

A masterclass in script, illuminated with an array of curiosities.

Lettering and illumination were done 30 years apart, but are in clear conversation.
Lettering and illumination were done 30 years apart, but are in clear conversation. GETTY MUSEUM OPEN CONTENT PROGRAM4,223