Bore Dydd Calan

This somehow seems appropriate during a pandemic

Dydd calan yw hi heddiw,
Rwy’n dyfod ar eich traws
I ‘mofyn am y geiniog,
Neu grwst, a bara a chaws.
O dewch i’r drws yn siriol
Heb newid dim o’ch gwedd;
Cyn daw dydd calan eto
Bydd llawer yn y bedd.

Ronald Hutton in The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (2001-02-0) as an example of a Calennig rhyme from 1950s Aberystwyth.

Watched Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) from HBO Max
Directed by Patty Jenkins. With Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal. Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman's next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

Rating: ★★★  

Had to suspend a lot of disbelief. Entertaining watch, but nothing truly spectacular. This was released yesterday directly to streaming day-and-date with the theatrical release due to the pandemic.

Read How the School Reopening Debate Is Tearing One of America’s Most Elite Suburbs Apart (Slate Magazine)
In a district where parents are epidemiologists and health policy experts, the meltdown happened one Zoom meeting at a time.
Fascinating to see how the school reopening question is playing out in a wealthy school district with some serious resources most school systems don’t have.
Read Lights. Camera. Makeup. And a Carefully Placed 1,246-Page Book. (
‘The Power Broker,’ a biography by Robert Caro, has become a must-have prop for numerous politicians and reporters appearing on camera from home.
This is kind of awesome. I wonder how many people have honestly read it all though? I’m probably due for a re-read myself, though, as always, I wish there were a digital version I could more easily annotate as I do.
Quoted a tweet by Amy CollierAmy Collier (Twitter)
There are some great resources and material here. Signing up today.
Read Will the coronavirus help mRNA and DNA vaccines prove their worth? by Ryan Cross (Chemical & Engineering News)
As gene-based vaccines are being designed and tested at unprecedented speeds to fight COVID-19, scientists wonder if this will be the technology’s make-or-break moment.
Great overview of what is going on in the designer vaccine space.
Read The Pandemic Heroes Who Gave us the Gift of Time and Gift of Information by Zeynep Tufekci (
As safe and effective vaccines make news, let's remember the heroism of China's scientists and medical workers
Some great early history from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A great read about some of the early and unsung heros.
Read It Wasn’t Just Trump Who Got It Wrong by Zeynep Tufekci (The Atlantic)
America’s coronavirus response failed because we didn’t understand the complexity of the problem.
Nice piece about some of the complexity surrounding the pandemic that we’re all missing out on. Good to see some complexity theory being considered in the public sphere.

Winter Counts and related holiday traditions

Some indigenous American tribes kept annual winter counts which served as both a physical historical account of their year, but served as visual mnemonic devices leveraging a bit of the idea of a drawn memory palace along with spaced repetition by adding a new image to their “journey” each year.

I was reminded about the idea over the weekend by a dreadful, cheeseball Hallmark Holiday movie A Royal Christmas Ball (2017) (please don’t torture yourself by watching it). The two main characters had a Christmas ritual of creating a holiday ornament every year for their Christmas tree with a design that represented something significant in their lives that year. Because most families generally use and reuse the same ornaments every year, the practice becomes a repeated ritual which allows them to reminisce over each ornament every year to remember past years. It’s a common occurrence (at least in Western society) for people to purchase souvenir ornaments when they travel, and these serve the same effect of remembering their past travels.

If others haven’t come across this idea as a fun mnemonic device for the whole family with built in spaced repetition, I recommend you give it a try. Just don’t everyone necessarily make coronavirus ornaments for this year.

Non-Christians could leverage a similar idea for their annual holidays, feasts, or events if they like. Of course, you could follow the Lakota tribe and make a more traditional winter count.

For those interested in some of the further history and description of the idea of an annual count in the framing of mnemotechny, I would recommend LynneKelly’s book Memory Craft or some of her more academic works.