Welcome to the 139th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of the perennially virid online writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. This newsletter comes to you as always from the waterproof keyboard of the editor of The New Leaf Journal, Nicholas A. Ferrell. While I did not publish many articles in the last week, one of the articles that I did publish is quite long. Moreover, this week saw the return of The New Leaf Journal Guestbook, albeit in a new form. Without further ado, let us cover the latest news, notes, and articles from around the web.
I only published three regular articles since mailing newsletter 138. With that being said, quality is more important than quantity (or so I tell myself).
Reviewing Keikai Launcher (Android)
N.A. Ferrell. June 5.
Reviewing a lightweight open source Android launcher which is best used as an alternative app drawer.
Using Nostr Verify for WordPress NIP-05
N.A. Ferrell. June 9.
A new WordPress plugin makes using your WordPress author profile to verify your Nostr “account” very easy.
Collage - Visual Novel Review
N.A. Ferrell. June 9.
My 21st al|together visual novel review covered one of the best games of the set - a novel following the lives of several young adults in Japan in the early 2000s.
I need to move a large number of links from my notes file to my to-use file. Thus, this week’s slate will come from deep in the backlog.
Woman adopts pitbull abandoned in NYC subway
Ronny Reyes for the New York Post. April 3, 2023.
The name is Peaches.
John Brown Memorial
Atlas Obscura. March 20, 2023.
As an American, I immediately thought of a different John Brown. But the John Brown honored by this Scotland memorial was a brave coal miner.
The Mediterranean Monk Seal Is Making a Comeback
Jennie Rothenberg Gritz for Smithsonian Magazine. April 5, 2023.
A seal comeback.
Japanese moving company scam? The time we almost called police on a removal rep
Oona McGee for SoraNews24. April 6, 2023.
Never had a scam artist bow to me in the United States…
Throwback Thursday: DOD Spent Lavishly to Entertain Foreign Dignitaries
Adam Andrzejewski for Real Clear Investigations. April 6, 2023.
A scandal involving the Watergate Hotel… but not the scandal most associated with the hotel.
Peter Fabris’ Illustrations for William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei (1776–79)
The Public Domain Review. July 6, 2022.
All of the advertised volcano illustrations included.
‘Brown blob’ found in Yukon is a well-preserved Ice Age squirrel
CBC News. March 29, 2023.
The hibernation that never ended…
Mozilla now only seems to speak using creepy, gibberish lunatic language
Martin1 on Mozilla Forums. October 21, 2022.
It looks like I was not the only one to notice.
Russia and Iran agree on new rail corridor via Azerbaijan
Joshua Kucera for Eurasianet. May 26, 2023.
There are some complicated geopolitics going on here.
Past meets present in this $200 mini-laptop with a Intel 8088 chip and 640KB of memory
Brad Linder at Liliputing. May 18, 2023.
For people committed to running old stuff on the real hardware.
Workers Stumble Upon Lost Courbet Painting in University Basement
Christopher Parker for Smithsonian Magazine. March 10, 2023.
So THAT’S where I left it.
Venus is volcanically alive, stunning new find shows
Robin George Andrews for National Geographic. March 15, 2023.
They are not doing a good job selling this as a vacation destination.
Having just shared some old articles from around the web, let us review some old articles from The New Leaf Journal.
Introducing The New Leaf Journal Guestbook
N.A. Ferrell. June 27, 2020.
Maybe I should have waited to revive it until June 27?
NLJ Week in Review 8 (June 27, 2020)
N.A. Ferrell. June 27, 2020.
The best of our former Week in Review posts. Not only did I introduce the Guestbook, but I also published one of my favorite articles and celebrated our recovering from our server-side caching problems.
Closing The New Leaf Journal Guestbook (Outdated)
N.A. Ferrell. September 28, 2021.
While I updated the title of this article to reflect the fact that the Guestbook has been revived, this post contains links to the Wayback Machine versions of our first Guestbook.
From the Bottom of the Heart – VN Review
N.A. Ferrell. August 22, 2021.
Collage, which I reviewed a few days ago, is an al|together visual novel featuring young adults and a Ferris wheel scene. From the Bottom of the Heart is a later al|together translation which has several things in common with Collage. It was translated for al|together (albeit al|together 2008 instead of 2006): it features young adults (a few years younger than Collage’s cast, however), and it has a Ferris wheel scene (albeit much more central to its plot). However, there are key differences. For example, Collage takes several hours to read while From the Bottom of the Heart takes about 10 minutes. You should add it to your reading list because it is short. Also add my long follow-up spoiler-filled analysis.
Powder Blue Tugboat and Foggy Manhattan Skyline
N.A. Ferrell. October 28, 2022.
Once upon a time, the Manhattan skyline was hazy for quaint reasons like cloud cover instead of burning Canadian forests.
The New Leaf Journal Twitter
N.A. Ferrell. June 10, 2020.
Twitter informed me that yesterday (June 9) was my three-year Twitter anniversary. I covered the genesis of The New Leaf Journal Twitter when it was born.
I list our most-read articles from the previous newsletter week (Friday to Saturday) in each edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. These statistics come courtesy of Koko Analytics, our local, privacy friendly page-counting solution (see my review). Below, I present the 5 most-visited articles for 2023 newsletter week 23.
Our weekly article rankings had previously been characterized by stability. However, losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25% of our referrals (thanks, Bing, but your turn is coming up in the next section) appears to have created some instability. We have already seen six different articles lead the ranking for at least one week in 2023 after only seven did so in 2021 and eight in 2022. This week saw our fourth different top article in as many weeks. However, that article was our long-time dominant number one, tsuki ga kirei, my history of the title phrase. It made its first top rank since 2023 newsletter week 6 but its 61st top rank overall.
The top four articles were bunched close together, and had it not been for tsuki ga kirei saving its strongest day of the week for Friday, my short Leaflet on the ongoing The Dangers in My Heart anime would have been our first short post first-place finisher of 2023. While the top four were close this week, the first half of the week was surprisingly led by my Height differences in anime romances essay, which actually inspired the leaflet on Dangers in My Heart. I am not entirely sure what caused it to be strong early in the week, but I suspect there was some news about the yet-to-air anime series which inspired the essay.
While I did not expect either of the 2023 anime articles to be threatening the top of the rankings, this will most likely not be the last we see of them. The Dangers in My Heart seems to be popular, and it has a few more episodes to go before it wraps up at the end of the month. Height differences features an anime series airing next season (I guess I have to watch it now…) which could have a positive effect on its future prospects.
The big news of the past week is the return of the Guestbook.
I even brought back the old cover photo. How nostalgic.
You will find everything about how the Guestbook works in the new About the Guestbook page (consider my 2020 Guestbook introduction superseded). Our previous Guestbook used a WordPress plugin. The new Guestbook is powered by nothing other than WordPress’s native commenting system. It is a bit less elegant, but it will actually work (I do not use JQuery on The New Leaf Journal, and the old plugin requires JQuery to work reliably).
Our new Guestbook comes with one special feature. Thanks to my extrapolating from code samples, our Guestbook accepts Webmentions. That means if you happen to have a site or client which sends Webmentions, you can “comment” on our Guestbook from the comfort of your own domain. Now, that may go against the spirit of signing our Guestbook, but I thought that it would be a fun addition.
Our Guestbook does not collect email addresses and there is no email input. I will allow signers to add their website links for the time being, but I will reevaluate as we going forward. If you want to stay on top of our Guestbook, you can add its RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. I am also adding it to our aggregator site.
One of my longest articles of the week was not (yet… at least) published on The New Leaf Journal. I have been looking into Bing bans since Bing banned us. Through my research, I came across many other Bing ban stories. What better to do with these stories than to create a resource. Where better to put the resource than on the most-used code repository, which happens to be owned by Microsoft?
Enjoy my new GitHub project: Not-So-Awesome Bing Search Bans and De-Indexing.
(In case you do not get the joke, there are many “Awesome” lists on GitHub. Being banned by Bing is not awesome, so I modified the standard title.)
You will find links to many Bing ban articles and related resources. If you have something to contribute, make a pull request on GitHub or shoot me an email if you do not use GitHub.
If you do have GitHub account and you like my list, consider giving it a star, sharing it with your friends, or even sharing it to a tech forum where there are many people who do not like Microsoft. I will work on mirroring the repository to GitLab and Codeberg in the next week.
Thank you as always for reading The Newsletter Leaf Journal (I think this was a good issue if I do say so myself). If you are not already a subscriber, you can sign up with your email or add our newsletter’s RSS feed to your favorite reader. You can also wait for me to syndicate the newsletter to The New Leaf Journal. I try to do that on Mondays but sometimes I am a little late (or five days late). See all of your options here.
Until June 17,
Cura ut valeas.