Summary for the month of July 2021

I did some stuff on YouTube. What stuff I did were live streams, now unlisted. I mostly live streamed at 6:66am Central on Saturdays, until I got tired or too hot, usually a few hours; or the one weekend where I was getting a new roof installed so streamed later on Sunday instead. I also did live stream randomly on some Thursdays at 6:66am Central, but that was a fluke (or was it?!). Some portions of some live streams got posted as archives. Here’s what I posted of what I did.

Yeah. That’s it. ::shrug::

Crowdfunding Campaign Countdown: August 2021

Here’s a selection of crowdfunding campaigns and bundles that are counting down, ones that I’ve noticed and am currently watching for August, 2021. There’s a lot less this month, because I’m not paying as much attention to crowdfunding efforts, tbh, atm, in case you were wondering why the difference. But, I did notice these, fwiw. And, two bundles of note.

  • 3 days to go: “The Drowned War. A pen & Paper Table Top Role-playing game for Savage Worlds set in a flooded world.”—”The Drowned War uses the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition Roleplaying System (SWADE). This setting adds additional rules, Edges, Hindrances, and new options for science fiction and horror.”
  • 8 days to go: “A COLOSSAL offer of the FATE tabletop roleplaying game system. FATE WORLDS AND TOOLKITS. FATE OF CTHULHU, FORTY-FIVE Worlds of Adventure, five TOOLKITS, and LOTS more.”
  • 10 days to go: “KENNELS OF KARNAGE, a Third-Party Mörk Borg Adventure. A short adventure about saving lost dogs.”—”Kennels of Karnage will send the PCs to a dungeon in an abandoned Outpost Castle from a long lost war, to rescue the grand duke Death of Galgenbeck’s dog, called Murder. The reward is high and the risk is even greater.”
  • 10 days to go: “Adventure Post: Train of Terror. A 12-week long horror-themed, solo adventure delivered to your door via postcard, including an interactive PDF and free Teaser!”—”Adventure Post is a series of mini-adventures played over the course of 12 weeks. Each game so far has been wildly different. This one, written by Nicholas John-Charles, is a horror-themed, abstract train ride that ends on the week of Halloween, 2021!”
  • 10 days to go: “Spire’s End: Hildegard. Solo & Cooperative Card Game Adventure.”—”Hildegard is a solo and cooperative card game adventure set in the world of Spire’s End. After the dark and foreboding descent into the Spire, I decided to spin in a different direction. I’ve left behind the cold and the darkness for vibrance and warmth. I’m calling it ‘card game comfort food.’ It’s a different take, but it still fits snuggly into the Spire’s End world. This is a stand-alone adventure that can be played with or without any knowledge of the previous game. It’s split into 4 chapters, 400 cards total. There’s very little set-up and minimal components. No DM, or character sheets, or major bookkeeping. What you will have is a healthy stack of 400 glorious story cards with over 25 illustrations per chapter, 12 lovely custom etched dice, some cube markers and a rulebook, all in one tight little package.”
  • 12 days to go: “The Devil Made Us Do It. Save existence as we know it by bending reality to carry out the perfect heist in this unique zero-prep RPG.”—”Stealing Stories for the Devil is a fast-paced tabletop roleplaying game by legendary designer Monte Cook, in which you save existence as we know it by bending reality to carry out the perfect heist. When you play Stealing Stories, you pull off the perfect heist. Unique mechanics and structure ensure players and PCs are competent and cool at every stage of the adventure, and always have a trick up their sleeves. A collaborative scenario-building process means zero GM prep as the group formulates its elaborate plan while creating the adventure scenario at the same time. Unique mechanical elements such as Mission Cards hand the initiative to the players, turning crisis into opportunity just when it looks like there’s no hope of success. And, as reality-shaping liars, PCs can reshape their situation in literally any way they can conceive of. And lies always succeed. (While success is not the question, the price may be steep.) Throughout gameplay, unprecedented player agency ensures the PCs create and pull off amazing feats, completing their heists against incredible odds and looking great while they do it.”
  • 14 days to go: “Humble Comics Bundle: Judge Dredd – Perps, Punks & Partners by 2000 AD“—”Judge Dredd: The only law that matters in Mega-City One. The law is here, courtesy of 2000 AD in our newest bundle. Absolutely packed with everything Judge Dredd and related stories and settings, enjoy diving into comics like Zenith Book 1-4, Judge Death: My Name is Death, Dredd: Final Judgement, and Young Death. Plus, your purchase helps support Cancer Research UK and Save the Children UK!”
  • 15 days to go: “The spirit of early British tabletop roleplaying, conjured by FIRE RUBY DESIGNS. WARLOCK!. EVERYTHING YOU NEED for grim-and-perilous adventures of dark wonder.”
  • 16 days to go: “In the footsteps of the Mad Wizard:Forbidden Psalm Expansion. In the footsteps of the Mad Wizard. Forbidden Psalm: Miniature gaming Inspired by Mörk Borg.”—”Forbidden Psalm is a tabletop miniatures game, inspired by and fully compatible with MÖRK BORG TTRPG. Forbidden Psalm is a 28mm miniatures agnostic game. You can use suitable miniatures you already own or build custom minis for this game. Solo Play and Coop rules included. All content is compatible with MÖRK BORG ttrpg. In the Footsteps of the Mad Wizard. A campaign setting for Forbidden Psalm picking up the narrative where the core book leaves off. In this campaign expansion your warband of 5 greedy souls will face new trials, find new treasures, recruit pets and die in horrible ways.”
  • 17 days to go: “Humble 13th Age Bundle: Treasures! Maps! Adventures!“—”Experience the 13th Age tabletop RPG as it was meant to be played! Tabletop RPGs are more popular than ever. It’s time to start your own adventure! Enjoy exploring the 13th Age, an epic tabletop RPG straight from two of the minds responsible for recent editions of Dungeons and Dragons! Combining streamlined combat with excellent indie story game design, and packed with a collection of beautifully-crafted books, music, digital maps, and more such as 13th Age, 13 True Ways, and the 13th Age Bestiary, take your character from a plucky adventurer all the way to become an epic hero! Plus, your purchase will support Oceana (supporting the reduction of plastic pollution)!”
  • 17 days to go: “Humble RPG Book Bundle: Starfinder by Paizo“—”Explore the stars, one tabletop grid at a time! Looking for your next tabletop adventure? Look up, and turn to the stars. Paizo’s Starfinder is the perfect place to lose yourself in excitement, mixing fantasy with sci-fi, resulting in epic adventures through the galaxy and battles both on-foot and ship-to-ship! Buy this bundle, and enjoy everything you need to enjoy tabletop in this sci-fi world, with items like the Starfinder Beginner Box, Starfinder Pact Worlds, Starfinder Adventure: Skitter Home, and Starfinder Pact Worlds Hardcover. Plus, your purchase helps support Comic Books for Kids!”
  • 19 days to go: GÜRLZ – An artbook by Serge Birault. The new collection of Serge’s warrior ladies, all in one big minimalistic book, up to 240 pages! Half of the stretch goals unlocked!”—”For the past years, Serge has been producing numerous drawings in his very popular cartoony style. They are showing us strong warrior-ladies with a twist, sometimes from a fantasy setting and sometimes in a pretty casual but yet ax-swinging fashion and then sometimes they are just the funniest and most amazing hipsters that ever killed their boss for misbehavior. For the first time, these ladies have been put together in an artbook, and you have the chance to get your hands on it, by backing this campaign!”
  • 25 days to go: “Looking For Buildings: Wendi Dunlap’s debut album. An album of hooky, original, and personal songs, produced by Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star).”
  • Upcoming: “Forbidden Lands RPG – Book of Beasts and The Bloodmarch. A double feature for the award-winning Forbidden Lands RPG – fight murderous monsters and explore the demon-infested lands of the west.”
  • Upcoming: “Traveler’s Ironsworn: Mobile and Deluxe Editions. An invaluable part of your Ironsworn play kit… now in super-durable synthetic paper and running on your favorite mobile device.”
  • Upcoming: “KINLESS – A Mörk Borg Solo Viking Adventure. You are an outcast… sent away to die alone in the cold night. Will you survive long enough to return and get your revenge?”

Update 2Aug2021:

  • 48 hours to go: “Vast Grimm. Vast Grimm is a rules-light Infectious Sci-Fi Horror RPG packed with everything you need to immerse yourself into a universe on the brink of collapse. Vast Grimm features 3 new Elder Dice sets with amazing holographic grimoires!” “Vast Grimm is a stand alone, art-filled, punk-fueled OSR role-playing game about the few humans remaining in a universe being consumed by growing parasitic würms.” “Compatible with Mörk Borg, this book was inspired by the incredible game created by Pelle Nilsson and Johan Nohr. Vast Grimm does not require you to have their book to play, but what lies before you would not exist without it.”
  • 27 days to go: “Ex Libris. A digital platform for cataloguing & showcasing RPG content.”—”Ex Libris is a bibliographic tool for cataloguing RPG content. The system is designed based on my firsthand experience curating Ex Libris Mörk Borg (ELMB) and feedback provided by its users. The platform is already open to the public. This campaign will raise funds for the maintenance and development of Ex Libris and its flagship content, the ELMB directory.”

Omnium Gatherum: 1aug2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for August 1, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

Omnium Gatherum: 28jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 28, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • I’d bet it’s not the first time all the people who can’t accept and respect Simone Biles saying “no” haven’t accepted or respected someone saying “no”. But, I mean, other than that she doesn’t owe an explanation to anyone, here’s a thing: “The Twisties“—”On Twitter, former gymnast and diver Catherine Burns explained that Biles was likely experiencing a case of ‘the dreaded twisties’.” “I used to write a lot about this kind of thing in this loosely connected series of posts on relaxed concentration. This phenomenon goes by many names — performance anxiety, stage fright, choking, the yips, cueitis (in snooker), and target panic (for archers) — and the world-class are not immune. Daniel Day-Lewis had stage fright so bad he quit the stage decades ago — an affliction he shared with Laurence Olivier, Barbra Streisand, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. If you’ve read anything at all about this stuff, Biles’ case of the twisties doesn’t seem so unusual or mysterious — it’s just one of those things that makes her, and the rest of us, human.”
  • The U.S. has finally taken back the Epic of Gilgamesh . . . from Hobby Lobby.“—”A recent update to a story I can’t believe everyone isn’t talking about every day: the U.S. Department of Justice has formally seized the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet (a cuneiform tablet inscribed with part of the Epic of Gilgamesh) from Hobby Lobby (the craft store).”
  • U.S. Government Sells Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan Album to Unknown Buyer. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, seized from Shkreli in 2018, was sold to fulfill a forfeiture money judgment in the disgraced pharma exec’s ongoing securities fraud case.”
  • Sigillum Dei Coin Token [Also] created for the Dee Sanction RPG.
  • Weird World News • Foundry VTT Access“—”Check out this groovy game based off your favorite cartoons from the 1970s. Players control intrepid members of an Extreme News Team on the hunt for UFOs, ghosts, mothmen, and other cryptids. But not all is as it seems—for every authentic cryptid uncovered, there’s another half-dozen frauds: executors disguised as bigfoot trying to bilk the rightful heirs out of an inheritance; restauranteurs in mummy bandages trying to stamp out competition; or a ruthless robber-baron masked as a vampire trying to buy land cheap. Unveil the frauds and stop the monsters in Weird World News, the latest Fate World of Adventure from André la Roche.” Old setting of thematic interest, now available for Foundry VTT. (Also, check out: “A COLOSSAL offer of the FATE tabletop roleplaying game system. FATE WORLDS AND TOOLKITS. FATE OF CTHULHU, FORTY-FIVE Worlds of Adventure, five TOOLKITS, and LOTS more.” Which includes Weird World News, Fate of Cthulhu, and more.)
  • Massively Popular Webtoon ‘Lore Olympus’ Coming to Print From Del Rey. Online Version Has 5.1 Million Followers.”—”Del Rey has announced it will publish a print edition of the webtoon Lore Olympus, by Rachel Smythe, which has racked up 5.1 million followers on the Webtoon platform. The webtoon, which was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2019 and is up for a Harvey Award this year, is a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades that also engages larger issues such as coming of age and dealing with sexual trauma and PTSD.” About Lore Olympus: Volume One [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Rachel Smythe, due October, 2021—”Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of the best-known stories in Greek mythology from creator Rachel Smythe. Persephone, young goddess of spring, is new to Olympus. Her mother, Demeter, has raised her in the mortal realm, but after Persephone promises to train as a sacred virgin, she’s allowed to live in the fast-moving, glamorous world of the gods. When her roommate, Artemis, takes her to a party, her entire life changes: she ends up meeting Hades and feels an immediate spark with the charming yet misunderstood ruler of the Underworld. Now Persephone must navigate the confusing politics and relationships that rule Olympus, while also figuring out her own place—and her own power. This full-color edition of Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated webcomic Lore Olympus features a brand-new, exclusive short story, and brings Greek mythology into the modern age in a sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.” Also Lore Olympus: Volume Two [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] due February, 2022. Also, check out the web comic.
  • “Everything that can be bought is worth little: I spit this doctrine into the faces of hucksters.”—Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Summer 1882-Winter 1883/84), tr. Paul S. Loeb and David F. Tinsley, quoted at Of Little Worth.
  • Ugh. Not now cosmic ray gun! “NASA’s Fermi Spots a Weird Pulse of High-Energy Radiation Racing Toward Earth.”—”On August 26, 2020, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a pulse of high-energy radiation that had been racing toward Earth for nearly half the present age of the universe. Lasting only about a second, it turned out to be one for the record books – the shortest gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the death of a massive star ever seen.”
  • Ugh. Not now astroids fired from arachnid planets! “Flashing meteor that exploded over Norway landed somewhere in a nearby forest.”
  • Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s largest moon. Researchers re-examined new and archival datasets to make the discovery.”—”Scientists have discovered the first evidence of water vapor on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. They used new and archival datasets from the Hubble Space Telescope to find the vapor, which forms when ice on the surface sublimates and turns from solid to gas.”
  • Ugh. Not now extinction event! “Then the Birds Began to Die. I carried on for more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, but I didn’t see the next plague coming.”
  • Ugh. Not now past extinction event! “DNA from 93-year-old butterfly confirms the first US case of human-led insect extinction“—”The Xerces blue butterfly was last seen flapping its iridescent periwinkle wings in San Francisco in the early 1940s. It’s generally accepted to be extinct, the first American insect species destroyed by urban development, but there are lingering questions about whether it was really a species to begin with, or just a sub-population of another common butterfly. In a new study in Biology Letters, researchers analyzed the DNA of a 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen in museum collections, and they found that its DNA is unique enough to merit being considered a species. The study confirms that yes, the Xerces blue really did go extinct, and that insect conservation is something we have to take seriously.”
  • Ugh. Not now worm sign! “Sandstorm swallows city in northwestern China. A sandstorm that lifted at least 100 metres (330ft) has left a city in northwestern China covered in dust. Videos of Dunhuang show the wall of sand slowly creeping over buildings and highways. The town is located on the edge of the Gobi Desert, which is known for its harsh climates.”
  • Acoustic Tweezers Can Pick Objects Up With Sound Waves – Without Any Physical Contact. Hemispherical array of ultrasound transducers lifts objects off reflective surfaces.”—”The ability to move objects without touching them might sound like magic, but in the world of biology and chemistry, technology known as optical trapping has been helping scientists use light to move microscopic objects around for many years.” “Enter acoustic trapping, an alternative which uses sound instead of optical waves. Sound waves may be applied to a wider range of object sizes and materials, so much so that successful manipulation is possible for millimeter-sized particles. Though they haven’t been around for as long as their optical counterparts, acoustic levitation and manipulation show exceptional promise for both lab settings and beyond. But the technical challenges that need to be surmounted are big. In particular, it is not easy to individually and accurately control vast arrays of ultrasound transducers in real-time, and get the right sound fields to lift objects far from the transducers themselves, particularly near surfaces that reflect sound. Now, Researcher Shota Kondo and Associate Professor Kan Okubo from Tokyo Metropolitan University have come up with a new approach to lift millimeter-sized objects off a reflective surface using a hemispherical array of transducers.”
  • From 2019: “Cats communicate with the help of bacteria living in their butts. KittyBiome researchers want to study the cat microbiome to improve health and understand scent-based communication.”
  • Earth’s ‘vital signs’ worsening as humanity’s impact deepens.”—”The global economy’s business-as-usual approach to climate change has seen Earth’s “vital signs” deteriorate to record levels, an influential group of scientists said Wednesday, warning that several climate tipping points were now imminent. The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said that governments had consistently failed to address the root cause of climate change: ‘the overexploitation of the Earth’.”
  • From 2020: “Sharing doesn’t make you a sucker. This scientist has the numbers to prove it. With the Human Generosity Project, Athena Aktipis wants to show that cooperation makes humans stronger.”
  • Under pressure, ‘squishy’ compound reacts in remarkable ways. From insulator to metal and back again—a new transition phenomenon reported by Rochester and Las Vegas researchers ‘will find a place in physics textbooks.'”
  • Chronic pain might impact how the brain processes emotions. Chemical ‘messengers’ called neurotransmitters help regulate our emotions – but scientists have noticed a disruption to their levels in people with chronic pain.”
  • Investigation: How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires. The Wall Street Journal created dozens of automated accounts that watched hundreds of thousands of videos to reveal how the social network knows you so well.” They only need to watch one thing: how much time a person stays on each bit of content. That also means they are always watching, even when, and especially, apparently, when you are too.
  • The Day the Good Internet Died. For a small slice of time, being online was a thrilling mix of discovery, collaboration, creativity, and chaotic potential. Then Google Reader disappeared.” Personally, I’ve used a lot of different RSS tools over the years, including Google Reader and the subsequent, but also now dead, Digg Reader. Right now, I mostly use NetNewsWire for actively following over 200 RSS feeds. And, yep! That’s just one of several ways I’m constantly curating things for Omnium Gatherum. By the by, did you know that Hermetic Library, not just the blog, but the site itself, has an RSS feed of changes available? Also, from 2019: “The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job. A decade of squandered potential can be laid at the feet of those you trusted to create a democratic online world.” I still wistfully long for a version of Twitter that is RSS inside and out, from the top to the bottom. But, if this mythical Good Internet ever comes back, I’m ready with venerable website and blog full of content old and new!
  • All Work and No Play“—”Video games, like any creative product, reflect and refract the conditions of their production. Today, what they most resemble is twenty-first-century work.”—”Usually I spend untold swaths of time playing games whose status as entertainment—much less as art—confounds me, even as I trudge on, checkpoint to checkpoint, level to level. What kind of subject am I being shaped into by these processes? And what kind of political economy demands that sort of subject? What, to be blunt, would I be spending my time doing otherwise?” Humbly, I recommend a commitment to only doing things that have opportunity for creative output. That was my own conclusion for myself inspired by T Polyphilus’ book reviews project where he decided that if he was going to read something, he’d best have something to say about it, even if it was only a couple sentences. For example, if you’re not writing, recording or streaming creatively because of a game, don’t play it. Any game that you grind for no real or tangible return on your time should not be an acceptable exchange. So, if you want to play games, video or tabletop, then start reviewing them, streaming them, posting videos about them; anything, but make it matter somehow. Like the practice of Will asks: “To what end?” I submit: if you’re going to do something, have an answer to that question.
  • This Is Not a Cat.”—”This feline beauty was created entirely by an algorithm. Every time you refresh the webpage This Cat Does Not Exist, you’ll get a different algorithm-generated, hyperrealistic cat. Confused? Scared? So are we.” Also This Cat Does Not Exist.
  • New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots.”—”For the first time, an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones’ limitations.”
  • Cheat-maker brags of computer-vision auto-aim that works on ‘any game’. Capture cards, input hardware, and machine learning get around system-level lockdowns.”—”The basic toolchain used for these external emulated-input cheating methods is relatively simple. The first step is using an external video capture card to record a game’s live output and instantly send it to a separate computer. Those display frames are then run through a computer vision-based object detection algorithm like You Only Look Once (YOLO) that has been trained to find human-shaped enemies in the image (or at least in a small central portion of the image near the targeting reticle). Once the enemy is identified on the screen, these cheating engines can easily calculate precisely how far and in which direction the mouse needs to move to put that enemy (or even a specific body part, like the head) in the center of the crosshairs. That data is then sent to an input-passthrough device like the Titan Two or the Cronus Zen, which emulates the correct mouse input and fires a shot at superhuman speed.”
  • Soft Robot Hand Is First to Be Fully 3-D-Printed in a Single Step. Then it played Super Mario Bros.”—”A soft robotic hand has finally achieved a historic accomplishment: beating the first level of Super Mario Bros. Although quickly pressing and releasing the buttons and directional pad on a Nintendo Entertainment System controller is a fun test of this three-fingered machine’s performance, the real breakthrough is not what it does—but how it was created. The Mario-playing hand, as well as two turtlelike ‘soft robots’ described in the same recent Science Advances paper, were each 3-D-printed in a single process that only took three to eight hours.”
  • Bipedal robot developed at Oregon State makes history by learning to run, completing 5K.”—”Cassie the robot, invented at Oregon State University and produced by OSU spinout company Agility Robotics, has made history by traversing 5 kilometers, completing the route in just over 53 minutes.” Watch “OSU Bipedal Robot First to Run 5K.”
  • Facebook Halts Oculus Quest 2 Sales Over ‘Skin Irritation’. Despite claiming in December that only ‘0.01% of people using Quest 2’ were affected.” Also “Facebook Technologies Recalls Removable Foam Facial Interfaces for Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headsets Due to Skin Irritation Hazard (Recall Alert).”
  • White House calling out critics of door-to-door vaccine push.” Also “Microsoft went from door to door to take malware-infected routers offline. When it became clear that the fight against the malicious software called Trickbot could not be won remotely, Microsoft resorted to drastic measures and sent employees from door to door in order to manually take infected networking hardware offline.”
  • Militaries plunder science fiction for technology ideas, but turn a blind eye to the genre’s social commentary.”—”One of the most interesting tools for thinking about future defence technology isn’t big data forecasting and the use of synthetic training environments, but narrative and imagination. And we get this from science fiction. That might sound fanciful, but many militaries are already engaging with the genre.” “But while science fiction provides military planners with a tantalising glimpse of future weaponry, from exoskeletons to mind-machine interfaces, the genre is always about more than flashy new gadgets. It’s about anticipating the unforeseen ways in which these technologies could affect humans and society – and this extra context is often overlooked by the officials deciding which technologies to invest in for future conflicts.”
  • From 2019: “The 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today. In the first of BBC Culture’s new series on fiction that predicted the future, Hephzibah Anderson looks at the work of John Brunner, whose vision of 2010 was eerily accurate.”—”In his 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, for instance, he peers ahead to imagine life in 2010, correctly forecasting wearable technology, Viagra, video calls, same-sex marriage, the legalisation of cannabis, and the proliferation of mass shootings. Equally compelling, however – and even more instructive – is the process by which Brunner constructed this society of his future and our present.”
  • From 2020: “Climate change and the pandemic are both failures of the imagination.”—”Even with the evidence right in front of us, our imagination often fails. You know on paper that something can happen, but you don’t imagine that it really will. Failure of the imagination is, to me, the central thing that unites climate change and the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
  • The total health and climate consequences of the American food system cost three times as much as the food itself. Diet-related disease, climate change and inequity: The true costs of the American diet.”
  • We Know How This Ends. The incoherent arguments of covid-19 anti-vaxxers mirror the climate denial movement.”—”You need only look at climate denial to see the outcome. While there are some differences between the two forms of denial—climate denial was funded heavily by polluting industries and treated as legitimate by the media, to take just two examples—the mechanisms and endpoints are likely to be the same.” “These are all crank arguments easily swatted away if you know the deal. But if you don’t, they offer a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style approach to justifying your end goal of not changing the status quo.”
  • I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax. ‘I don’t know how to help someone that far gone.'”
  • From the Department of Pre-Crime dept:Pasco Sheriff’s Office letter targets residents for ‘increased accountability’. Critics of the agency’s intelligence programs called the letter ‘patronizing’ and ‘offensive,’ and raised continued concerns about civil rights.” Tweet—”Pasco Sheriff’s Office (FL) creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks, etc. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.”
    Tweet—”…And already I call bullshit. The HIGH likelihood is that the Pasco County, Fl. Sheriff is using deeply biased predictive policing metrics to generate these “prolific offender” lists. I want a direct investigation of exactly WHO is most often getting ‘randomly’ ‘checked up on.'”

  • The Unraveling of the Trump Era. The Trump administration desperately wanted to cut government benefits, and it had outside help to do so. But very few of its new rules held up.”—”Trump’s failures to permanently change government policy were remarkably diverse.”
  • Op-Ed: Voting Rights Should Be Treated Like Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure. ‘As we’re seeing in the senate, roads and bridges— not the stability of our democracy— elicit bipartisan cooperation,’ black pac executive director adrianne shropshire says.”
  • What If the Fed Worked for the People? This is How It Can Start Curbing Inequality.“—”The Fed has been Wall Street’s bank. It’s time for it to directly serve Main Street too. The Fed created two lending facilities for municipalities and medium-sized businesses in 2020. While few loans were made and the programs have expired, those efforts showed that the Fed can lend directly to Main Street. With help from Congress, the Fed can go further. Legislators could give the Fed new authority to set up FedAccounts, an account for every American with the central bank. The Fed could become a bank for the people, so individuals can borrow or receive money from the Fed directly in times of crisis—a benefit that only financial institutions currently enjoy.”
  • Stories From Canada’s Indigenous Residential School Survivors.”—”Set up in the 19th century, Canada’s residential schools were used to force assimilation of First Nations children. Thousands died there. Hundreds buried in recently discovered unmarked graves. Today, On Point: Survivors of Canada’s residential schools.”
  • Enigmatic Optics: Postal Service Issues Mystery Message Forever Stamps.”—”The pane of 20 stamps is a visual riddle spelling out a difficult-to-discern message. Each colorful square contains a letter in an interesting pattern. Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, the seemingly random patterns were carefully placed so that when put all together, the message reads — spoiler alert — “More Than Meets the Eye!” The reverse side of the pane also provides the solution.”
  • A Dazzling Corrective to the White-washing of Ancient Rome.”—”Colori dei Romani: I mosaici dalle Collezioni Capitoline (Colors of the Romans: Mosaics from the Capitoline Collections), an exhibition now on view at the Montemartini Power Station display space, just south of central Rome, has thrown open many windows like this for visitors. Curated by Claudio Parisi Presicce, Nadia Agnoli, and Serena Guglielmi, the exhibition is separated into four sections: the first explores the history and development of the mosaic form in Roman art; the second puts mosaics, frescoes, statues and artifacts together to create a sense of what it was like to live in luxurious residences of the empire’s ruling class; the third gives an example of how mosaics were used in religious buildings and sacred spaces; and the final section, a tiny coda, looks at tomb mosaics.” Colori dei Romani: I Mosaici dalle Collezioni Capitoline, through September at Centrale Montemartini, Rome.
  • Over 100 Unpublished Hokusai Drawings Resurface in New Exhibition.”—”The Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai may be best known for his woodblock print “Under the Wave off Kanagawa” (c. 1830–32), an image of a frothy cresting wave dwarfing a glimpse of the great Mount Fuji behind it. Also called “The Great Wave,” the composition has acquired iconic status in pop culture as in fine art, inspiring subsequent oeuvres from Debussy’s orchestral piece La mer to an untold number of tattoos around the world. But some of the most intriguing works Hokusai created over the course of his seven-decade career have remained comparatively secretive. Among them is a group of 103 small drawings the artist produced for an unpublished encyclopedia titled Banmotsu ehon daizen zu (The Great Picture Book of Everything), to be shown at the British Museum in an eponymous exhibition opening this September.” Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything, September—January, 2022 at British Museum.
  • Fish fraud is rampant — and Subway’s tuna scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. A viral investigation into the content of Subway’s “tuna” is a portent of a much larger fish regulatory problem.”—”So why is fish fraud prevalent? The answer boils down to lack of regulation, poor regulatory bodies, and the profit motive — in other words, capitalism behaving as usual.”
  • Tweet—”A 👀 story. A white pianist passed off recordings of a Japanese pianist as her own. A prominent white critic wrote the recordings “flow so naturally” when he thought it was the white pianist but said they were “faceless” & “flaccid” when it thought it was the Japanese pianist.” Also “A Violinist on How to Empower Asian Musicians. Jennifer Koh, an acclaimed soloist, calls on classical music to make space for artists of Asian descent, who remain marginalized in the field.” Also, from 2019: “The remarkable story of concert pianist Joyce Hatto, and how the classical world was duped. In the early 2000s, all the major critics were raving about the newly discovered recordings by the little-known, semi-retired pianist Joyce Hatto. Little did they know that her recordings would become involved in one of the biggest hoaxes in classical music history.”—”It turns out that instead of these recordings being made by Joyce Hatto herself, they were re-published recordings issued by Barrington-Coupe under his wife’s name, ripping off the recordings of a total of 92 other pianists. Hatto’s release of two Rachmaninov concertos was actually recorded by Yefim Bronfman, and her recording of the Studies on Chopin’s Études by Leopold Godowsky (one of the hardest pieces in the piano repertoire), was in fact made by pianist Carlos Grante. Barrington-Coupe later admitted that he made small audio alterations to the audio of released recordings to dupe customers and critics into thinking these were original, selling them with the Joyce Hatto name through his own label, Concert Artists. He confessed the scam to Gramophone magazine in February 2007, saying ‘I did it for my wife’.”
  • Al Lord Profited When College Tuition Rose. He Is Paying for It. As chief executive of student-lending giant Sallie Mae, Al Lord helped drive up the costs of college. Now that he is footing tuition checks for his grandchildren, he said he has new sympathy for ordinary families.”
  • ‘There have been many death threats, but I’ll never stop’ – Randal Plunkett, Baron of Dunsany, on rewilding his family estate. Naturalist and film-maker Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany, took an unorthodox gamble when he decided to ‘rewild’ his family’s Co Meath demesne. In the face of aggression, vandalism and threats, he’s built a thriving 750-acre nature reserve.”
  • The New Moral Code of America’s Elite. Two students went to Amy Chua for advice. That sin would cost them dearly.”—”I don’t credit homespun wisdom with any special salience. But the suggestion that it may be useful to morally evaluate oneself before volunteering to monitor everyone else’s conduct isn’t a ridiculous one. It’s wise to be careful that, in one’s zeal for justice or fairness or the more prosaic things that ride beneath those banners, one doesn’t lose sight of one’s own moral obligations or aspirations.” “What else could they have done? It takes an admirable perceptiveness to know when the truth can’t save you anymore.”
  • Watch “Housing Discrimination: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Tweet—”For me, the moment in this segment that hit hardest, was when the Black homeowner discovered after her home doubled in value when the appraiser thought it was owned by a white man, realized that she herself was the one seen as reducing her home’s value.”
  • Tenant Screening Algorithms Enable Racial and Disability Discrimination at Scale, and Contribute to Broader Patterns of Injustice.”—”Despite the existence of FCRA protections in theory, tenants still face substantial risks in practice. Today, with the aid of new algorithmic tools, landlords can send prospective tenants’ applications to automated systems that compare their data against millions of records – some incomplete, unreliable, or easily confused – with little to no opportunity for recourse, even if the law prohibits discrimination.” “As a result of these disparities, information about past arrests, evictions, or defaulted loans can thus be proxies for race and disability. Our community members are at higher likelihood for disruptions to income and housing stability, which can directly impact eligibility for future rental applications.”
  • $20,000 Price Tag Of San Francisco Trash Can Prototypes Stuns Residents, City Leaders.”—”DPW says the price would be about $4,000 per can once it’s mass-produced. An existing green trash can recently purchased by the Department of Public Works costs a little over $1,200.”
  • Police Are Telling ShotSpotter to Alter Evidence From Gunshot-Detecting AI. Prosecutors in Chicago are being forced to withdraw evidence generated by the technology, which led to the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo earlier this year.”
  • The traffic light gets a dazzling, 21st century makeover. The stop sign’s days look numbered, too.”—”Instead of stacking red, yellow, and green lights on top of one another—with each light’s relative position signaling when it’s time to stop or go for color-blind drivers—the studio developed a stop light that’s one continuous panel. And so that entire panel turns red, yellow, and green. How is this better, you may wonder. For people who see color, it’s a bigger panel. The overall signal to stop or go is more overt. For color-blind drivers, Art. Lebedev Studio added icons (an ‘X’ for stopping, a ‘!’ for slowing down, and an arrow to go)—a plan that seems promising but worth testing to prove out. However, the largest advantage to this light is what else it can do when you combine colors and iconography to convey strange or shifting rules of the road.”
  • Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter.”—”Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company’s handling of sexual misconduct.” Tweet—”Here’s the letter in full. It doesn’t just stand with AB workers, doesn’t just criticize Ubisoft bosses. It calls for industry-wide action and change, with publishers and developers getting involved.”
  • Lucasfilm Hired the YouTuber Who Used Deepfakes to Tweak Luke Skywalker ‘Mandalorian’ VFX. A YouTuber known as Shamook has earned nearly 2 million views for his deepfake ‘Mandalorian’ video.” So, that probably means they aren’t going to do that recasting I was hoping for … and give us all the full Thrawn Trilogy live action series of my dreams.
  • Generating AI “Art” with VQGAN+CLIP.”—”Hands-on neural networks for mere mortals.”
  • Scam-baiting YouTube channel Tech Support Scams taken offline by tech support scam. ‘It was pretty convincing until the very end,’ says host Jim Browning.”
  • Watch “Identifying Bird Sounds with the BirdNET Mobile App“—”Have you ever heard a bird sound you couldn’t ID? Learn how to use BirdNET to identify your mystery birds on a trip through Sapsucker Woods!” Also “BirdNET. The Easiest Way To Identify Birds By Sound.”—”How can computers learn to recognize birds from sounds? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Chemnitz University of Technology are trying to find an answer to this question. Our research is mainly focused on the detection and classification of avian sounds using machine learning – we want to assist experts and citizen scientist in their work of monitoring and protecting our birds. BirdNET is a research platform that aims at recognizing birds by sound at scale. We support various hardware and operating systems such as Arduino microcontrollers, the Raspberry Pi, smartphones, web browsers, workstation PCs, and even cloud services. BirdNET is a citizen science platform as well as an analysis software for extremely large collections of audio. BirdNET aims to provide innovative tools for conservationists, biologists, and birders alike.”
  • Watch “The Sounds of Space: A sonic adventure to other worlds.”—”Space is more than just a feast for the eyes. It’s a feast for the ears. You just have to know where — and when — to look. Floating in the silent void of space are trillions of islands of sound, each with their own sonic flavor — some eerily familiar, some wildly different than Earth’s. And even space itself was once brimming with sound. This short film takes you on a journey back in time and to the edge of our solar system and beyond, to discover what other worlds of sound are lurking beyond Earth’s atmosphere. You won’t believe your ears :)”
  • This Man Does Not Make Poppers. For decades, poppers have been the go-to sex drug for gay men. But where do they come from?”
  • A24, are you okay? “There’s This Eerie Movie Called ‘Lamb’ Coming Out, And I Am Soooo Intrigued. Described as a ‘twisted Nordic folktale.'” Watch “Lamb“, official trailer, from A24; written & directed by Valdimar Jóhannsson, with Noomi Rapace. Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough: WTF?

Omnium Gatherum: 25jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 25, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Ten Small Raisins.” About Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Anthony Grafton—”The author of The Footnote reflects on scribes, scholars, and the work of publishing during the golden age of the book. From Francis Bacon to Barack Obama, thinkers and political leaders have denounced humanists as obsessively bookish and allergic to labor. In this celebration of bookmaking in all its messy and intricate detail, renowned historian Anthony Grafton invites us to see the scholars of early modern Europe as diligent workers. Meticulously illuminating the physical and mental labors that fostered the golden age of the book–the compiling of notebooks, copying and correction of texts and proofs, preparation of copy–he shows us how the exertions of scholars shaped influential books, treatises, and forgeries. Inky Fingers ranges widely, tracing the transformation of humanistic approaches to texts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and examining the simultaneously sustaining and constraining effects of theological polemics on sixteenth-century scholars. Grafton draws new connections between humanistic traditions and intellectual innovations, textual learning and craft knowledge, manuscript and print. Above all, Grafton makes clear that the nitty-gritty of bookmaking has had a profound impact on the history of ideas–that the life of the mind depends on the work of the hands.”
  • Night of the Guillotine.” About The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Colin Jones—”The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced. By 12.00 midnight at the close of the day, following a day of uncertainty, surprises, upsets and reverses, his world had been turned upside down. He was an outlaw, on the run, and himself wanted for conspiracy against the Republic. He felt that his whole life and his Revolutionary career were drawing to an end. As indeed they were. He shot himself shortly afterwards. Half-dead, the guillotine finished him off in grisly fashion the next day. The Fall of Robespierre provides an hour-by-hour analysis of these 24 hours.”
  • Equality and the elites. How political ideas such as ‘levelling up’ draw on centuries of meritocratic thinking.” About The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Adrian Wooldridge—”Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their birth. While this initially seemed like a novel concept, by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world’s ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left? In The Aristocracy of Talent, esteemed journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge traces the history of meritocracy forged by the politicians and officials who introduced the revolutionary principle of open competition, the psychologists who devised methods for measuring natural mental abilities, and the educationalists who built ladders of educational opportunity. He looks outside western cultures and shows what transformative effects it has had everywhere it has been adopted, especially once women were brought into the meritocratic system. Wooldridge also shows how meritocracy has now become corrupted and argues that the recent stalling of social mobility is the result of failure to complete the meritocratic revolution. Rather than abandoning meritocracy, he says, we should call for its renewal.”
  • Ken Starr helped Jeffrey Epstein with ‘scorched-earth’ campaign, book claims. Book by Miami Herald journalist details extraordinary efforts by special prosecutor who hounded Bill Clinton to aid sex trafficker.” About Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Julie K Brown—”Dauntless journalist Julie K. Brown recounts her uncompromising and risky investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex trafficking operation, and the explosive reporting for the Miami Herald that finally brought him to justice while exposing the powerful people and broken system that protected him. For many years, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s penchant for teenage girls was an open secret in the high society of Palm Beach, Florida and Upper East Side, Manhattan. Charged in 2008 with soliciting prostitution from minors, Epstein was treated with unheard of leniency, dictating the terms of his non-prosecution. The media virtually ignored the failures of the criminal justice system, and Epstein’s friends and business partners brushed the allegations aside. But when in 2017 the U.S Attorney who approved Epstein’s plea deal, Alexander Acosta, was chosen by President Trump as Labor Secretary, reporter Julie K. Brown was compelled to ask questions. Despite her editor’s skepticism that she could add a new dimension to a known story, Brown determined that her goal would be to track down the victims themselves. Poring over thousands of redacted court documents, traveling across the country and chasing down information in difficulty and sometimes dangerous circumstances, Brown tracked down dozens of Epstein’s victims, now young women struggling to reclaim their lives after the trauma and shame they had endured. Brown’s resulting three-part series in the Miami Herald was one of the most explosive news stories of the decade, revealing how Epstein ran a global sex trafficking pyramid scheme with impunity for years, targeting vulnerable teens, often from fractured homes and then turning them into recruiters. The outrage led to Epstein’s arrest, the disappearance and eventual arrest of his closest accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and the resignation of Acosta. The financier’s mysterious suicide in a New York City jail cell prompted wild speculation about the secrets he took to the grave-and whether his death was intentional or the result of foul play. Tracking Epstein’s evolution from a college dropout to one of the most successful financiers in the country–whose associates included Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton–Perversion of Justice builds on Brown’s original award-winning series, showing the power of truth, the value of local reportage and the tenacity of one woman in the face of the deep-seated corruption of powerful men.”
  • Surfing as Sacrament: Returning to New York’s Waves on September 12, 2001.” From The Drop: How the Most Addictive Sport Can Help Us Understand Addiction and Recovery [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Thad Ziolkowski—”In this revelatory and original book, award-winning author of the acclaimed surf memoir On a Wave illuminates the connection between waves, addiction, and recovery, exploring what surfing can teach us about the powerful undertow of addictive behaviors and the ways to swim free of them. Addiction is arguably the dominant feature of contemporary life: sex, gambling, exercise, eating, shopping, Internet use–there’s virtually no pleasurable activity that can’t morph into a destructive obsession. For Americans under the age of fifty-five, the leading cause of death is drug overdose. But there is another side of addiction. In some instances, the very activities that can lead to addiction can also lead out of it. As neurologists have recently discovered, surfing is a kind of study in the mechanism of addiction, delivering dopamine to the pleasure center of the brain and reshaping priorities and desire in a feedback loop of narrowing focus. Thad Ziolkowski knows this dynamic intimately. A lifelong surfer, he has been surrounded by addiction since his boyhood. In this unique, groundbreaking book, part addiction memoir, part sociological study, part spiritual odyssey, Ziolkowski dismantles the myth of surfing as a radiantly wholesome lifestyle immune to the darker temptations of the culture and discovers among the rubble a new way to understand and ultimately overcome addiction. Combining his own story with insights from scientists, progressive thinkers and the experiences of top surfers and addicts from around the world, Ziolkowski shows how getting on a board and catching a wave is a unique and deeply instructive means of riding out of the darkness and back into the light. Yet while surfing is his salvation, its lessons can applied to other activities that can pull us free from the lethal undertow of addiction and save lives.”
  • Sexual Politics and Female Power: Stories from the Playboy Bunny Resort.” About Shoulder Season [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Christina Clancy—”Once in a lifetime, you can have the time of your life. The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life. Living in the “bunny hutch”–Playboy’s version of a college dorm–Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle–and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years. From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose–and gain–when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy’s Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.”
  • A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Carroll John Daly & the Birth of Hardboiled Pulp.”
  • The Sound of My Inbox. The financial promise of email newsletters has launched countless micropublications — and created a new literary genre.”
  • “There is an important sense in which it is correct to say that all written works in antiquity were a kind of samizdat, not because they were always, or even usually, illicit, but because their circulation was restricted to copies prepared by hand and passed by hand from person to person.”—M.I. Finley, “Censorship in Classical Antiquity,” in his Democracy Ancient and Modern, quoted at Samizdat.
  • Thoreau in Good Faith.”—”The writer went to Walden to reorient his world, so that the woods, rather than the town, centered his spiritual map.”
  • “Tradition is a great corrupter. It may preserve important facts, though even then the preservation may take the form of seizing on one important or merely picturesque fact and embroidering it. […] This is exactly the kind of thing that seizes the imagination of mankind; but it constitutes a warning against expecting popular tradition to preserve reliable history for long periods.”—Andrew Robert Burn (1902-1991), Persia and the Greeks: The Defence of the West, 546-478 B.C, quoted at A Great Corrupter.
  • The secret afterlives of medieval widows. Widows in the Middle Ages weren’t always the penniless, powerless figures we’ve made them out to be—they’re the reason why Britain has its beautiful monuments and churches.”
  • Yes, I Love Books, but Please Don’t Take Me to a Bookstore.”—”Arbitrary numbers to you, a point of anxiety for me. I’m book-full.”
  • The Quiet Mysticism of Almanacs.”—”‘The secret of The Old Farmer’s Almanac: pay attention,’ Tim Clark, a former editor at the Almanac, once told me. ‘Pay attention to the sky, and the winds, and the tides, and the number of acorns on the ground in the fall, and what the animals are doing, and which way the birds are flying. Pay attention. And that’s what a farmer in 1792 — or 1292 — had to do to survive.'”
  • America’s Obsession With Self-Help. From ‘The Old Farmer’s Almanac’ to ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ what do bestselling guides to self-improvement reveal about the United States?”
  • Ugh. Not now Goa’uld mothership! “Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza to fly (safely) by Earth Sunday.”
  • Ugh. Not now acid spitting biomechanoids! “Acid-shooting whip scorpions are roaming a national park in Texas.”—”But the vinegaroons, which are nocturnal and can’t see very well, are “relatively benign unless you annoy them,” the park says.” Oh. Okay. Never mind. Also, are vinegaroons tasty on chips?
  • Tablet Reveals Babylonians Studied Trigonometry Before the Greeks.”—”In recent years, there have been all kinds of anthropological breakthroughs radically shifting our ideas of ancient life and the capacities of our prehistory predecessors — from the discovery of the world’s oldest home in South Africa to new evidence that titanium dioxide was utilized in Inca objects some 400 years before its “discovery” in the United States. In the same vein, research performed by scientists at UNSW Sydney has revealed that a famous 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet is inscribed with accurate trigonometry.”
  • Tentacled droplets swim with stored heat energy.”—”If ever a science fiction movie director were seeking inspiration for how to depict tiny robotic alien life forms, they need look no further than those created by a team of scientists in Bulgaria, Poland, the UK and China. Beginning as innocuous oily droplets about 20–40μm across floating in water, these structures take on faceted, crystal-like shapes when cooled to around 2-8°C – even though they aren’t frozen. Then things get really weird.” Also watch “Tentacled droplets swim with stored heat energy.”
  • Solar Dynamics Observatory: Artificial Intelligence Helps Improve NASA’s Eyes on the Sun“—”A group of researchers is using artificial intelligence techniques to calibrate some of NASA’s images of the Sun, helping improve the data that scientists use for solar research. The new technique was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on April 13, 2021.”
  • Secrets of Mars’ core revealed for the first time.” Also “Marsquakes reveal the mysterious interior of the red planet.”—”When NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars in 2018, the mission team hoped the stationary spacecraft would be able to perform a checkup on the red planet’s interior. Now, InSight and its instruments have exceeded those goals, revealing the mysteries of the Martian crust, mantle and core that have eluded scientists until now. It’s the first time we’ve been able to peer inside and map the interior of another planet beyond Earth. The InSight mission team was able to achieve this extraordinary feat by tracking marsquakes on the red planet — like the earthquakes we experience on Earth, just a little bit different.” Also “What’s Inside Mars? Scientists Map Internal Structure for the First Time. For the first time, scientists have mapped the internal structure of a planet other than Earth, revealing the properties of Mars’ core and mantle.”
  • DeepMind Releases Accurate Picture of the Human Proteome – ‘The Most Significant Contribution AI Has Made to Advancing Scientific Knowledge to Date’. DeepMind and EMBL release the most complete database of predicted 3D structures of human proteins. Partners use AlphaFold, the AI system recognized last year as a solution to the protein structure prediction problem, to release more than 350,000 protein structure predictions including the entire human proteome to the scientific community.”
  • Researchers detect first ‘moon-forming’ disc surrounding exoplanet.”—”For the first time, scientists have clearly identified a ring of gas and dust circling a planet outside our solar system — a discovery that could help reveal how planets and moons are formed, a study showed Thursday. The disc surrounds an exoplanet dubbed PDS 70c, one of two gas giants similar in size and mass to Jupiter that orbit the star PDS 70, nearly 400 light years from our solar system.”
  • Five Ways Humans Evolved to be Athletes. An archaeologist explores human athletic paleobiology to explain how our prowess in sport has deep roots in evolution.”
  • Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar.”—”Spider silk is said to be one of the strongest, toughest materials on the Earth. Now engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have designed amyloid silk hybrid proteins and produced them in engineered bacteria. The resulting fibers are stronger and tougher than some natural spider silks.”
  • 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite found in horseshoe footprint. The meteorite is a rare carbonaceous chondrite.”—”A crumbling hunk of rock found in a field in England is a rare meteorite from the earliest days of the solar system, dating back about 4.6 billion years. The meteorite was found in Gloucestershire in March […] The meteorite was sitting in the imprint of a horseshoe left behind in a field”
  • Strange 3D-printed shapes test 150-year-old mathematical theory.”—”A strange shape described by mathematician Lord Kelvin in 1871 and predicted to behave unusually in a fluid has finally been fully studied in the real world thanks to 3D printing – and it seems Kelvin may have been wrong. The behaviour of the shape, called an isotropic helicoid, has been described in fluid dynamics textbooks, but it hadn’t been directly measured until now.”
  • The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated. A new analysis pins one-third of global greenhouse gases on the food system by including long-overlooked factors such as transportation, packaging, and waste.”
  • The FAA Changed Its Definition of ‘Astronaut’ on the Same Day Jeff Bezos Went to Space. New FAA rules say Jeff Bezos doesn’t qualify for its astronaut wings.”
  • Tweet—”Interesting thread highlighting the confusion regarding ownership in the NFT space. Person makes a physical copy of the artwork displayed in their NFT. IMO they can’t, the NFT is not the work, and it’s not a licence either.”
  • Wally Funk Is Defying Gravity and 60 Years of Exclusion From Space. Ms. Funk’s trip to space with Jeff Bezos is reason to celebrate. But the launch this week, decades after she was denied the opportunity, also raises questions about whom space is for.” Also tweet—”‘Now that you have experienced the majesty of space, the wonder of the stars, how do you-‘ ‘I will industrialize it'”
  • Tweet—”Replacing traditional recreational trips to space for billionaires with robust public transport could offset carbon emissions – if billionaires would ride them. A team is addressing obstacles that prevent billionaires from changing their practices.”
  • Amazon reportedly worked on an Alexa wearable for kids. With GPS and some kind of integration with Amazon Kids Plus.”
  • Amazon applies for patent on secondary delivery vehicle to carry packages from truck to doorstep.” For my own part, I always imagined that deliveries would eventually be done via train cars packed with drones, that got moved around from city to city and then would release a swarm into the sky of the last miles to people’s doors.
  • The ‘Fyre Fest’ of overnight camps closed after 6 days. Camp Quinebarge did not go as planned. The rustic, long-running New Hampshire camp abruptly shut down earlier this month after just six days. Camp directors informed parents, who had shelled out $3,400 for two weeks, that they needed to pick up their children the next morning.”
  • Anti-lockdown lunacy: from the elites to the streets.”—”On the national day of ‘freedom rallies’, thousands of people protested in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane against both NSW’s lockdown and the national vaccination program, under the influence of a range of right-wing Trumpian anti-science conspiracy crap and social Darwinist individualism masquerading as the call for ‘freedom’.”
  • Watch “Do you see what I see?” Directed and Edited by Brad Abrahams. “From illustrating for Sesame Street to exposing the New World Order, this is the story of the controversial and recently departed David Dees, unofficial artist of conspiracy theory culture. What sent him down the rabbit hole, and is there a path out?”
  • Leaked RNC emails prove Republicans always knew Trump was lying about 2020 fraud. Lies of omission aren’t real lies in the GOP leadership’s eyes.”
  • Two-thirds of Southern Republicans want to secede. And that number is rising.”
  • From 2020: “Three Cheers for Socialism. Christian Love & Political Practice.”—”Is this freedom? From what, exactly? […] the classical social democrat or democratic socialist might be forgiven for thinking that Americans are curiously deluded regarding their own supposed inalienable liberties.”
  • Texan Republican Cancel Culture Targets the Teachings of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Why did Texas senators vote to drop Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” from school curriculums?”
  • Kyrsten Sinema’s Strategy of Refusing to Do Anything About Anything Is Not Impressing Voters, Poll Says. Arizona offers a natural experiment in whether people would rather see a Democrat hold out for Republican cooperation or just pass stuff they like.”
  • Appeasement, in our century.”—”Thus has Joe Biden given up the fight for democracy, in exchange for the breadcrumbs that the Dark Lord will allow.”
  • Alabama district attorney aims to prosecute a woman for taking a prescribed drug while pregnant.”—”Now she has been indicted on a felony charge because, when she was eight months’ pregnant, she refilled a legitimate opioid prescription to treat her crippling pain. If Blalock were to be convicted, her case could set a dire precedent, not only for pregnant people, but for anyone seeking a prescription for a controlled substance in the state. Blalock says her orthopedist never asked if she were pregnant when she came in to refill her hydrocodone prescription, which she’d had for years. Weeks later, she gave birth to a baby boy with no sign of neonatal abstinence syndrome. A positive drug screen, however, triggered an investigation. Investigators confirmed Blalock had a valid prescription. A pill count proved she’d been taking her medication as prescribed. Then, in a move that appears to be calculated to evade provisions of Alabama’s chemical endangerment law that are carved out for pregnant women taking legitimately prescribed medication, Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly charged Blalock with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.”
  • ‘Incel’ plotted to kill women in Ohio State University mass shooting, federal prosecutors say.”
  • Missouri attorney general says he will sue to stop mask mandate in St. Louis, St. Louis County. Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a tweet that he intends to file a lawsuit to ‘stop this insanity'” Also Tweet—”Our top priority is protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people of St. Louis City and County. Nobody is surprised that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit to serve his own political ambitions.”
  • Companies claim there’s a labor shortage. Their solution? Prisoners. Worker advocates say prison labor programs exploit workers with few options as bosses refuse to raise wages to attract employees”
  • Shoplifting Is Big News; Stealing Millions From Workers Is Not.”—”An alleged “crime surge” at Walgreens drugstores in San Francisco was a hot topic for Bay Area news outlets in the early months of 2021.” “FAIR identified 309 published pieces on the 21-second video, using a combination of Nexis and Google advanced search to find every article published by a news outlet, from the video’s publication on June 14 to July 12—a 28-day timeframe. Compare this to another Walgreens-related theft story: the November settlement of a wage theft and labor law violation class-action lawsuit against Walgreens, filed by employees in California for $4.5 million.”
  • Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women. The lawsuit highlights multiple instances of harassment and discrimination that are ‘a violation of state civil rights'”. Also “Activision Blizzard appoints former Trump official as its chief administrative officer. “Mike Pompeo’s attack dog” joined the publisher earlier this week.”
  • The Supreme Court may toss Roe. But Congress can still preserve abortion rights. A simple majority vote in the Senate would nullify the threat to reproductive health posed by the Mississippi case.”
  • Why I’m glad that I’m an ‘overthinker’.”—”‘Just going with it’ is not something I do. I have to really understand what I’m doing and then I think through almost every possibility and eventuality, like a mind map on steroids. And I plan. When people say things like: “Who could have imagined XYZ would happen?” about some entirely predictable outcome, my most common response is “I could”. I have realised that for most people I am an overthinker, but for me, it is others who underthink. I just think.”
  • Want to Be Happier? Science Says Buying a Little Time Leads to Significantly Greater Life Satisfaction. Buying things won’t make you happier. But research shows that buying time can, as long as you do it the right way.”
  • From 2012: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Oliver Burkeman—”Success through failure, calm through embracing anxiety—a totally original approach to self-help. Self-help books don’t seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can’t even agree on what “happiness” means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way? Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it’s our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent person’s guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.
  • Mending the metabolic rift: Marxism, nature and society. Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism provides the key to understanding the environmental catastrophe we’re witnessing, and to gaining a clearer picture of what’s needed to repair our damaged relationship with the Earth.”
  • Watch “The Forgotten R-Rated Cancelled Black Widow Film.”
  • Watch “The Game Prototype That Had to Be Banned by Its Own Studio.”—”After the huge success of games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, Halfbrick Studios began prototyping some new ideas for their next game. This is the story behind one of those prototypes; a game that caused so many problems within the studio, its creators were forced to ban it from being played entirely.” Reminds me of when a friend and I tried to play Peter Suber’s Gnomic, and found that it was not at all fun like we thought it would be, with a lot of the same flaws and fallout mentioned for this quite different, in the particulars, game.
  • Watch “Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Evolution as an Action Hero.” The voice cast of Kevin Smith’s He-Man series is pretty awesome, and the strength and centering of SMG’s role at Teela is a cool part of the update; that’s tweaking the shit out of some people, but to hell with them. I’d forgotten that SMG was the Seventh Sister in Rebels!
  • By the Power of Grayskull, ‘He-Man’ Is Back—Beefier and Better Than Ever. The new Netflix series honors its predecessor in ways notable and sly, while also humanizing its larger-than-life heroes and villains. Kids of the ’80s, rejoice.”
  • Watch “Demonic“, dir Neill Blomkamp, with Carly Pope, Chris William Martin,
  • The Uniqueness of the Hammer Camera: Jack Asher and Arthur Grant. Jane Nightshade goes behind the camera to take a closer look at the cinematographers who helped give Hammer its ‘bright, bold and scary’ visual appeal…”
  • ‘Protected Again And Again’: How A Fencer Made It To The Tokyo Olympics Despite Sexual Assault Allegations. The US Center for SafeSport was tasked with investigating sexual abuse claims at Olympic programs. But in the first Summer Games since the agency’s creation, Team USA fencers say the system failed them.” Tweet—”A white man accused of sexual assault is given more leeway than a black woman who smoked weed.”
  • More on this, forced perspective big screen ad tech, but these are from last year: “From 3D big ‘wave’ to future of ‘Fourth Screen’ in everyday life” and “Ultra-High-Resolution 3D Like Giant Display“.
  • Can You Tell If These Cherries Floating in Water Are a Simulation? Researchers have developed a new method of 3D modeling surface tension and the results are frighteningly realistic.”
  • Watch “How One Man In Egypt Is Keeping This 200-Year-Old Tile Tradition Alive“—”Saied Hussain has been hand making tiles out of cement for over 50 years. He says he’s one of the last still doing this work in Egypt — most other workshops couldn’t withstand competition from marble and ceramic tiles. We went to Cairo to see how his business is still standing.”
  • Watch “In Their Shoes” trailer for an upcoming short film—”Here’s a cheeky preview on the short film i have been working hard on over the last few months! I will release the full film on Friday 30th July.”
  • Watch “Why French sounds so unlike other Romance languages.” Kinda wild. I kept hearing Werner Herzog’s disdain for French in my mind whilst watching this.
  • The Key to Understanding Iran Is Poetry. From angry cab drivers to COVID-19 to the war against ISIS, Iranians speak of their frustrations and hopes through verse.”
  • Surrounded by naked furries! From 2013, watch “Hentai Corporation – Equilibristic Brides [CENSORED]” More surrounded by naked people! (It takes a while to get to that specifially, but the whole thing is wacky so …) Watch “Glass Animals – Space Ghost Coast To Coast.”
  • Carl Sagan Predicted The Mess 2021 Would Be 25 years Ago.”—”Astrophysicist and author Carl Sagan managed to predict a lot of the things the challenges America faces in the year 2021 all the way back in 1995 when he was writing a book published just before his death in 1996.” A clip of Sagan calling out Star Wars, and then a pointedly prognostic passage from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] is read—”A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace”

Omnium Gatherum: 21jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 21, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Here’s an actual play report from 2019 for a session of the tabletop RPG Twilight 2000 which includes use of a German folk tale translated by Jürgen Hubert. “Going Home: The Witch of Bad Wilsnack.”
  • Curses [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lish McBride—”Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling’s curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother’s choosing before her eighteenth birthday. Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family’s cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom. Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother’s debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?”
  • Bawdy Tales and Trifles of Devilries for Ladies and Gentlemen of Experience [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] with art by Eugène Lepoittevin with introduction by Sarah Burns and afterword by Fanny Woodcock, due November 2021—”Commissioned by and for wealthy aristocrats for their private amusements, we introduce you to a selection of stories, poems, limericks, and bon mots assured to delight the most refined of connoisseurs. Complimented by rare erotic lithographs by renowned illustrator Eugene Lepoittevin. Lepoittevin’s Devils first appeared to acclaim in 1832. Originally, his devil was an impish troublemaker. At the behest of his publisher, he created a new series of lithographs featuring his devils ala erotique. The drawings are more humorous than titillating and reflect the sense of absurdity prevalent in European eroticism. Even so, the drawings were long banned in Europe and the United States, with the government going so far as to confiscate copies intended for the Kinsey Institute in 1956. The selection of writings is culled from humorous erotic pastiches and rare writing privately printed for exclusive collectors by underground publishers that have long been hidden in the Private Case of the British Library and the L’Enfer of the Biblioteque nationale du France. Bawdy Tales is designed with the collector in mind, utilizing vegan leather and gold embossing to simulate period morocco binding. Art Historian Sarah Burns introduces Lepoittevin’s work and career. Expert collector of written erotica, “Lady Fanny Woodcock” contributes a short history of the erotic book in Western culture.”
  • Should You Give Up Caffeine? This Author of a Book on Mind-Altering Drugs Thinks So. Your caffeine addiction is probably affecting you way more than you realize, argues Michael Pollan in his new book.” About This Is Your Mind on Plants [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Pollan—”From number one New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants–and the equally powerful taboos. Of all the things humans rely on plants for–sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber–surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime? In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs–opium, caffeine, and mescaline–and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings? In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively–as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.” Also “The plants that change our consciousness. How three plant-derived drugs – caffeine, opium and mescaline – shape society. Michael Pollan argues in his latest book, This is Your Mind on Plants.” Also “Caffeine makes us more energetic, efficient and faster. But we have become so dependent that we need it just to get to our baseline” by Michael Pollan.
  • Ugh. Not now zombie frogs! “Meet the ‘zombie frog,’ a new species found in the Amazon. The spooky-looking amphibian is less scary than it appears to be. But it might already be endangered, as deforestation rates continue to go up.”
  • It’s Summer, And That Means The Mysterious Return Of Glacier Ice Worms.”—”These thread-like worms, each only about an inch long, wiggle up en masse in the summertime, late in the afternoon, to do — what? Scientists don’t know. It’s just one of many mysteries about these worms, which have barely been studied, even though they’re the most abundant critter living up there in the snow and ice.” “There are so many,” says Hotaling, a researcher at Washington State University. An estimated 5 billion ice worms can live in a single glacier.
  • Ugh. Not now billions of chthonic hentai ice tentacles! “15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice. Most of the viruses were previously unknown to humans, study finds.”—”Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.”
  • Ugh. Not now on-schedule societal collapse! Oh. Wait. I mean, carry on as expected, then. “MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule. A 1972 MIT study predicted that rapid economic growth would lead to societal collapse in the mid 21st century. A new paper shows we’re unfortunately right on schedule.” “new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data”
  • Russia’s permafrost is thawing – and it could make melting polar ice caps look like a sideshow.”
  • Germany mounts huge rescue effort after floods leave dozens dead and many more missing.”
  • Horror on ‘Line 5’ as Chinese subway floods. At least twelve died and five others were injured in the subway flood, according to city authorities, as water coursed below ground on Tuesday evening in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan province.”
  • The Mine That Made A Difference. Teenagers in Australia successfully sued the government for failing its duty to protect them from the ravages of the climate crisis.”
  • Stoking the fires of change. Photojournalist Stuart Palley ’11 experiences wildfires in the moment. SMU researcher Chris Roos looks at them through the long lens of archaeology. Ultimately, their perspectives are the same: Wildfires are getting worse, and there’s an urgent need to adopt coexistence strategies.”—”An unusually hot, dry spell bakes the landscape. Ready to say goodbye to summer, friends gather for Labor Day barbecues in neighborhoods surrounded by forest. Winds whip up and embers fly. In the blink of an eye, 1,500 structures are set aflame.”
  • Greenland suspends oil exploration because of climate change“—”The future does not lie in oil.”
  • We Must Begin Planning Now for an Inevitable Sea Level Rise.”—”Most books about our climate emergency are sobering reads. John Englander’s new book, Moving to Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward, is certainly no exception. A trained oceanographer, Englander lays out the scientific case for what he calls “unstoppable” sea level rise with utter conviction. But to his great credit he follows that litany of fairly grim news with practical advice and glimmers of hope. His short book should be a primer for coastal city planners and public officials. We have some time, he writes, but not all the time in the world, so we need to get our collective brains around the problem and begin planning for it now.” About Moving To Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward [Amazon, Bookshop, Author, Local Library] by John Englander—”Ice on land is melting, and sea level is rising, both at astonishing rates never seen in recorded history. Are you, your property, investments, and family ready for these unprecedented changes? Read Moving to Higher Ground and… Learn how Sea Level Rise (SLR) is unstoppable for many centuries due to excess heat already stored in our oceans – and how soon our shorelines will go underwater. Understand how disastrous SLR will profoundly affect more than 10,000 coastal communities as soon as 2050, both in the U.S and around the world. What will happen where you live? How much will the water rise? And when? Find out why extreme weather events, forest fires, and flooding share the same causes as catastrophic SLR, but weather disruptions are temporary and SLR permanent. Devastatingly so. Discover what industries and properties will feel the greatest, and earliest, impacts. Learn what all planners and coastal property owners need to know now to urgently begin to move and adapt. Examine the unique problems faced by the military, Infrastructure planners, architects, flood managers, policy planners, banks, insurance companies, and real estate businesses. And some unique solutions. Find out how and why government policy makers have been completely ineffective delivering any successful strategy for climate change and sea level rise. Answer the questions, WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW? And what does THE PATH FORWARD look like? In time of great financial and environmental peril, WHO WILL LEAD US? Prepare to be surprised at the answer. John Englander is a renowned oceanographer and expert on climate change and sea level rise. His best-selling first book, High Tide on Main Street, was published in 2012.”
  • The Maori Vision of Antarctica’s Future. Maori may have been first to reach Antarctica, in the seventh century. But the past matters less than what lies ahead, Indigenous scholars say.”
  • NASA beams back spectacular images of Jupiter and our solar system’s biggest moon, Ganymede.”—”NASA’s Juno probe has flown closer to Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, than any other spacecraft in more than two decades — and the images it beamed back of the gas giant and its icy orb are breathtaking. Juno approached Ganymede on June 7, before making its 34th flyby of Jupiter the following day, traveling from pole to pole in under three hours.”
  • A powerful jet emerges from a black hole in unprecedented detail in new images. The new images show a black hole jet at 16 times sharper resolution than previously possible.”
  • Our universe might be a giant three-dimensional donut, really.“—”Imagine a universe where you could point a spaceship in one direction and eventually return to where you started. If our universe were a finite donut, then such movements would be possible and physicists could potentially measure its size.”
  • Research Suggests We’re All Getting Less Creative and Scientists Think They Know Why. Scores on standard tests of creativity have been declining for decades.”—”‘A researcher at the University of William and Mary analyzed 300,000 Torrance Test scores since the ’50s. She found that creativity scores began to nosedive in 1990. She concluded that we’re now facing a ‘creativity crisis,” reported author Michael Easter on Medium recently. That sounds alarming, but the good news is that, unlike the decline in IQ scores, scientists have a pretty good guess what’s causing our collective creativity to tank. Scientists blame ‘our hurried, over-scheduled lives’ and ‘ever increasing amounts of (time) interacting with electronic entertainment devices,’ Easter explains.” “The good news is that just as scientists are clear about the cause of our ‘creativity crisis,’ they are clear on what individuals can do to reclaim their natural inventiveness. Actively scheduling time to think, reflect, and experiment into your days, putting reasonable boundaries on your use of passive tech (there are obviously countless ways to use your devices to express yourself and create), varying your routine and your company, and getting out for more long walks can all help ensure you’re bucking the trend and nurturing your personal creativity.”
  • At most, just 7% of the human genome is unique to our species. We share most genes with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other ancestors.. Just 1.5% to 7% of the human genome is unique to our species, a new study suggests. Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other ancestors share most of the same genes found in modern humans. Genes unique to humans are involved in brain development, which may be what sets our species apart.”
  • More about this: “Scientists just discovered long-sought-after ‘grandmother neurons’.”—”What happens in your brain when you recognize your grandmother? In the 1960s, some neuroscientists thought a single brain cell called the “grandmother neuron” would light up only at the sight of your grandmother’s face. Almost immediately, neuroscientists began to dismiss the theory — a single neuron could not correspond to one idea or person, they argued. More than 50 years later, new research in monkeys shows that “grandmother neurons” may exist after all.”
  • Brain implant gives paralyzed man ability to ‘speak’ again.”—”A paralyzed man who lost his ability to speak has been given a voice again after scientists implanted a device to decode his brain waves — a potentially game-changing medical breakthrough for people who cannot communicate due to stroke, accidents or illness.”
  • Derbyshire cave house identified as ninth-century home to exiled king. Anchor Church cave is thought to be one of the oldest intact domestic interiors found in the UK.”
  • Leading Science. Sometimes, research is like elite sport. In the middle of this sport-laden summer, the editorial board chose elite sport as a kick-off for the theme of this issue. Which price are you prepared to pay to reach the top? Just like in sport, top-flight researchers can experience many hardships.” Tweet—”Your regular dose of toxicity from our national science funder. “Not everyone is good enough or has the right attitude to succeed.” And ‘striving to reach the top is an individual’s free choice. You have a choice, nobody is forcing you.’ Wow. Just wow.”
  • Dogs tune into people in ways even human-raised wolves don’t. A study supports the idea that domestication has wired dogs’ brains for communicating with people.” Also “Study Shows Why You Can’t Have Wolves as Pets. Hand-reared wolf puppies remained wild and afraid of strangers but in dogs, communication skills emerge in early puppyhood, says Duke University-led study.”
  • Harvard-MIT Quantum Computing Breakthrough – ‘We Are Entering a Completely New Part of the Quantum World’.”
  • Tweet—”It is easier for a rocket to pass through the eye of a needle than for a billionaire to enter the kingdom of God.” Tweet—”Again: very VERY happy Wally Funk finally got her due. Wish it hadn’t taken a tax cheating, union-busting, hoarding, monopolizing multi-billionaire to get her there. The values we embed in technoscientific ventures matter.” Tweet—”All these billionaires going into space are like the losing kids entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.” Tweet—” Congratulations to Ernst Blofeld and Hugo Drax for the successful launch of their space-based world domination platforms.” Tweet—”I prefer watching the launches of independent bookstores. They’re a lot more entertaining. And they actually occupy space.”
  • The Emperor’s New Rocket: Last Words on Branson’s Big Ride. I’m fine with launching his wealthy clientele into space. It’s bringing them back I’m not crazy about.”—”he’s a self-indulgent parasite, a space-age Nero fiddling while the world burns.”
  • From 2018, tweet—”You wake up from cryonic suspension. Jeff Bezos is staring down at you. ‘Welcome to Colony 6745’, he says. ‘You’re Jeff Bezos!’ you sputter. ‘I’m a Jeff Bezos’, he replies. ‘Every Amazon space colony has a Jeff Bezos. Now, would you prefer to start in packing or deliveries?'”
  • Why we can’t stop talking about billionaires. Tech billionaires emerged from a year of hardship as more than leaders of iconic companies. They are central — almost too central — characters in American life.”
  • But how do I print a banner out on tractor feed paper? “You Can Now Revisit the Most Popular Desktop Publishing App of the ’80s in Your Browser. Dust off the dot-matrix printer and create retro-tastic birthday cards and banners at home with The Print Shop.”
  • An evening with Kindle Vella: First impressions of Amazon’s new attempt to reimagine reading.”—”The serialized story is a mainstay of the literary world, a tried-and-true formula for creating a tantalizing tale, from opening hook to closing cliffhanger. But it’s the rare author who can keep readers engrossed in a narrative when the unparalleled drama of their own lives is just a tap or click away. That’s the fundamental challenge facing Kindle Vella. I experienced it myself while spending a few hours with Amazon’s new “episodic story platform” after its official release Tuesday afternoon. Despite the ‘Kindle’ in the name, Amazon isn’t offering Vella via its line of e-readers, at least not yet.”
  • Netflix Plans to Offer Video Games in Push Beyond Films, TV. Netflix Inc., marking its first big move beyond TV shows and films, is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook Inc. executive to lead the effort.”
  • A bunch of yeqrs ago, I imagined that Amazon would start using train cars as carriers filled with drones to travel around and deliver swarms of packages. Also “Women busted for drone cigarette delivery during hotel COVID lockdown.”
  • BREAKING: Austrian Supreme Court asks CJEU if Facebook “undermines” the GDPR by confusing ‘consent’ with an alleged ‘contract’.” Also tweet thread—”Heads up, people who don’t follow GDPR news: This case is a big deal. It’s basically asking the CJEU to rule that FB’s whole ads system violates the GDPR.”
  • Social Media States. Social media companies, which yield state-like power, have a lot to learn from early modern company-states like the East India Company.” Um, and, you know, learn from the example of the Templars, probably.
  • Facebook Knifes Its Own Analytics Tool to Hide Its Ben Shapiro Problem. Facebook reportedly reassigned dozens of employees at its data tool CrowdTangle after it showed right-wing content thrives on the News Feed.”
  • Tweet thread—”I am often asked if I will “return to cryptocurrency” or begin regularly sharing my thoughts on the topic again. My answer is a wholehearted “no”, but to avoid repeating myself I figure it might be worthwhile briefly explaining why here…” “After years of studying it, I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity.” “This is the type of dangerous ‘free for all’ capitalism cryptocurrency was unfortunately architected to facilitate since its inception.”
  • MS BOB, which was a major interesting but flawed shell-on-a-shell release from the Agent project headed by Melinda French, who met future partner Bill Gates whilst project manager; from pre-history to birth to emoji, Clippy’s had a long wild ride! “Microsoft is bringing back Clippy“—”Clippy hasn’t had an easy life. Microsoft’s iconic but polarizing virtual assistant first appeared in Windows 97 as a small paper clip to help Microsoft Office users. It was given the boot by Office 2007.” But Scuzz the Rat was always the best of them.
  • ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’ Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients.”—”‘I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,’ wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. ‘One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.'”
  • Tweet—”NEW: probably the most important Covid chart I’ve made. As Delta goes global, it’s a tale of two pandemics, as the heavily-vaccinated Western world talks of reopening while deaths across Africa and Asia soar to record highs.”
  • U.S. Surgeon General Calls Covid Misinformation ‘Urgent Threat’.” Also tweet—”Disinformation is the other pandemic that’s killing people. Science has provided us an incredibly effective vaccine, and yet people are still dying because of the utter bullshit they read and hear from those infected with anti-vax anti-science propaganda.”
  • Tweet thread—”1/ Here is a comprehensive review of the data on whether we need COVID BOOSTER SHOTS. THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: IF YOU HAVEN’T YET GOTTEN A COVID VACCINE, NOW’S THE TIME! I’ll put a Threadreader unroll at the end for those of you who find that more convenient to read/share.”
  • Siouxsie Wiles: Boris Johnson’s dangerous experiment puts everyone at risk. On Monday, despite case numbers soaring, all Covid-19 restrictions in England will be lifted. Siouxsie Wiles explains why for many, ‘Freedom Day’ will be anything but.” “From Monday, if people get infected, it’ll be their fault for not being cautious or vigilant enough. It’s a narrative that is grossly offensive given it will disproportionately impact those whose jobs and income put them in harm’s way”.
  • “‘We didn’t want to be in the news’: Pastor pleas for ‘mercy’ after 125 in his ‘masks optional’ summer camp get Covid. Hundreds may have been exposed to the Delta variant due to the camp.” Tweet—”Camp Fuckaround-Findout”
  • Jeanette Archer Accusing Boris Johnson and UK Government of Being Satanic Child Killers 15-5-2021.”—”Here multiple false-accuser Jeanette Archer, whose allegations have already been investigated in detail by the British police and found ‘no case to answer’, hi-jacks an anti-Covid Rules protest in London to falsely accuse Boris Johnson, his cabinet and the entire civil-service of being Satanic child killers hooked on adrenochrome. Other idiots in the caucus of SRA fundie believers in the UK accompany her to display their own lack of intellectual rigour and ability to believe any old tosh some attention seeker puts out as long as it has the suffix ‘Satan’ attached to it.”
  • Apple under pressure over iPhone security after NSO spyware claims. Apple urged to work with rivals after alleged surveillance of journalists, activists.” Also “In Orban’s Hungary, spyware was used to monitor journalists and others who might challenge the government. The deployment of the tool, confirmed with forensics, shows a willingness to use tactics previously deemed out-of-bounds.”
  • ‘Reichstag moment’: Joint Chiefs chairman feared Trump was laying groundwork for coup.”
  • Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House. Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy.”—”There are paragraphs on how Russia might insert ‘media viruses’ into American public life, which could become self-sustaining and self-replicating. These would alter mass consciousness, especially in certain groups.” Where’s the antimemetics division when you … wait. what was I saying? “Trump did not respond to a request for comment.” 👀 Tweet—”Leaked papers say that Putin ordered an operation to put Trump in WH at a meet w top officials in January 2016. That operation did happen but it would have been planned well before Jan 2016. Also leaks don’t come from Russia. This is strategic and masked.” “Russian intelligence documents don’t just appear like that especially with something like installing a president into US. Russian intel services would leak documents to mask the true events that happened and create a legend. It is interesting they decided to do this to trump now.”
  • Tweet—”don’t buy into nazi trash”.
  • ‘The real damage’. Why FEMA is denying disaster aid to Black families who’ve lived for generations in the Deep South.”
  • We Still Won’t Admit Why So Many People Believe the Big Lie. Six months after the insurrection it triggered, it’s clear that the stolen-election nonsense is just a drop in a tidal wave of bullshit.”
  • Tweet—”Scoop: Justice Dept is quietly seeking a 50-year bar to release of grand jury material – a rule which, if adopted by the courts, would keep Mueller-Trump records secret until 2069…” “…If this rule had existed then, we would still be waiting for the release of the Nixon grand jury material in 2023 or 2024…” Also “Justice Department seeks 50-year bar to release of grand jury material.”
  • Justice Department Sought Reporter Records from Security Firm Proofpoint, in Bid to Unmask Leak Sources. Documents unsealed by a court this week reveal that the Justice Department didn’t just go after email providers to obtain reporter records, but also went after the security firm Proofpoint.”
  • Tweet—”I’ll stop calling them sociopaths when they stop acting like sociopaths.”
  • An American Kingdom. A new and rapidly growing Christian movement is openly political, wants a nation under God’s authority, and is central to Donald Trump’s GOP.”
  • From the Pledge of Allegiance dept: “Lindsey Graham pledges to ‘go to war’ for Chick-fil-A amid Notre Dame protest. Notre Dame students objected to a possible Chick-fil-A on campus, citing the company’s “history of antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community.”
  • No Black parents, teachers or scholars invited to Missouri hearing on teaching race.”
  • From the #HasBenAndJerrysTweetedYet? dept: “Israel Warns Unilever Chief Over Ben & Jerry’s Boycott. Ice cream maker will no longer sell in occupied territories. Move spurs tension between Ben & Jerry’s and parent Unilever.” Also “Ben & Jerry’s says it will stop sales in ‘occupied Palestinian territory’. The announcement broke about two months of social media silence by the Vermont company, which has long supported progressive causes but came under mounting pressure to stop ice cream sales in the settlements following Israel’s intense response to Palestinian rocket attacks in May.” “The decision was a significant win for pro-Palestinian groups who have pushed companies to divest their business and financial dealings with Israel, but was sharply condemned by Israeli government officials and some Jewish groups in the United States. The company said it would not renew a long-standing agreement with its factory in Israel after next year but would ‘stay in Israel through a different arrangement.'” Also “Israel vows to ‘act aggressively’ against Ben & Jerry’s.”
  • Huh. I wonder what could possibly be the reason. Check out the side by side photo of the teams. “Women’s Handball Players Are Fined for Rejecting Bikini Uniforms. Norway’s beach handball players were each fined 150 euros for wearing shorts rather than the required bikini bottoms. A spokeswoman for the International Handball Federation said she didn’t know the reason for the rule.”
  • Tweet thread—”People often assume that the Greeks invented democracy. But societies throughout history have independently built systems in which a large portion of the population shared political power. My new favorite examples are the ganas & sanghas, the republics of ancient India.”
  • William F. Nolan, Iconic Sci-Fi Author Who Co-Penned ‘Logan’s Run’, Dies at 93. The wordsmith churned out hundreds of pieces throughout his illustrious career, including biographies, short stories, nonfiction, poetry and prose.”
  • I mean, I’m kind of a special collections curator, and I find things in here that reflect my experience. “The Evolving Role of a Special Collections Curator.”
  • Shanghai Astronomy Museum“—”Drawing inspiration from astronomical principles, the design invokes the experience of orbital motion. Each of the building’s three principal forms – the Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere – act as functioning astronomical instruments, tracking the sun, moon, and stars and reminding visitors that our conception of time originates in distant astronomical objects.”
  • The Myth and Magic of Generating New Ideas. A mathematician on how to get the mind into motion.”—”The origin stories of big ideas, whether in math or any other field, generally highlight the eureka moments….But arduous, mundane work is a key part of the process; without it, the story is just a myth.”
  • One Change at Work Could Boost Your Health and Productivity. Iceland experiment reveals to work better, you should work less.”
  • In ‘My Unorthodox Life,’ Julia Haart Bares More Than Just Her Knees. Less than a decade after fleeing a repressive ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Haart heads a global talent empire. Her next challenge? Letting viewers peek behind the curtain.”
  • ‘Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time’. ‘Loki’ proves that Marvel needs to ditch the oldest plot cliché in the book.”
  • Tweet—”We’re not going to spoil #Loki – promise! – but if you’ve already seen the final episode of Tom Hiddleston’s time-hopping adventure, we think you may have spotted lots and lots of Kintsugi. Here’s a thread about this Japanese art of repair! Thread.”
  • See the road sign that’s about to take over America. Electric vehicles are about to take over American roadways, which means there’s a prime opportunity to replace gas station signs with something better.”
  • Jackson Browne: Downhill from Everywhere review – voice of the boomers faces his mortality. Still regarded as the most artful of 1970s west coast singer-songwriters, Browne frets about the environment and his use by date.” About Downhill From Everywhere [Amazon, Spotify, Apple] by Jackson Browne. Also “Jackson Browne: ‘I think desire is the last domino to fall’
  • Cristela Alonzo to Host The CW’s ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’. The comedian, writer and producer will guide contestants through challenges in the network’s reboot of the Nickelodeon game show.”
  • Someone appears to have collected what they say is the entire legendary book, mentioned by the documentary as being secretly shared and widely influential in the industry. Tweet—”The Moebius-illustrated story book for Jodorowsky’s DUNE, all here, now. You’re very welcome” Google Photos shared folder.
  • Personally, I find this series, based on Luke Pearson’s comics, with a consistently brava and nuanced on-point voice performance by Bella Ramsey (see her live action in a breakout Game of Thrones role, and maybe skip her in the first 2 seasons of the Worst Witch remake, unless you’re really a fan of that in particular, maybe as a guilty pleasure), to be lots of fun. But, Hilda s02e03 “The Witch” is especially awesome. The library’s secret room has a secret room that has … And, the language of magic is Swedish. Too many neat things for me in this episode to mention them all.
  • Tweet—”Very cool: a Redditor figured out that the reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s round, mirrored visor in a famous Apollo 11 lunar photo is, optically, a fisheye image of Buzz’ POV at that instant. He extracted & remapped those image pixels into a new VR-like view.” Also “I unwrapped Neil Armstrong’s visor to 360 sphere to see what he saw.
  • Watch “Musicians create album from Rumi’s 13th-century poetry. Musicians create album from Rumi’s 13th-century poetry. Nadim Namaan and Dana Al Fardan spent their time under lockdown interacting through screens and jetting between Doha, Dubai, and the UK to record songs written using translations of Rumi’s poems.” Also “Dana Al Fardan composes second musical ‘Rumi’ with co-writer Nadim Naaman.”
  • From the “Zoom Zone” dept: tweet—”Well, this is horrifying”.
  • We narrowly missed a reboot of Reservoir Dogs with an all Black cast. While on the ReelBlend podcast, Tarantino said wanted his last film before retiring to be a reboot featuring all Black actors.”
  • From the Blowback dept: Tweet—”witchtok went and hexed the damn moon. Seems that the moon has responded.”
  • Tweet thread—”Have you ever wondered why we don’t find fossils in the Appalachian mountains? The truth is, we do, they’re just not the kind of fossils you might think of—there are no mammals, no dinosaurs, no reptiles. There’s something else entirely. 🧵”
  • TIL there was an ancient Egyptian canal that existed for millennia. “The Wadi Tumilat and the ‘Canal of the Pharaohs’.” Also “The Timeline of the Plans and Projects to Link the Eastern Mediterranean Region to the Red Sea by Water: The Egyptian Canals Which Preceded the Suez Canal.”
  • Tweet—”Every time someone says I shouldn’t complain about some aspect of society because things are SO MUCH BETTER than they were 50 years ago, I think about how lucky we are that people 50 years ago ignored the same advice.”
  • I was there during the troubles of ’85. I visited the actual HQ of the real opposition campaign in Seattle’s Pioneer Square district. What I’m saying is that I’ve seen things. And … unless they’re adding cocaine back (see the aforementioned Michael Pollan book, I suppose), I don’t give a damn. I mean, it’s basically someone known for shag rugs saying they’re going to change the composition of the yarn in some way. Who the hell cares? Sit down, everyone. Stop drinking that coloured sugar-water swill. If you’re going to drink poison, there’s a lot more fun than that to be had, after all. Make your own at home, even! “Coca-Cola Is Changing the Flavor of a Soda. Again. The company promised “an even more iconic Coke taste” for its new version of Coke Zero. But some anxious consumers remember the New Coke debacle of 1985.”

Omnium Gatherum: 18jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 18, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

Omnium Gatherum: 14jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 14, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Happy Bastille Day! “A Guide to the French Revolution. For Bastille Day, we have answers to a bunch of questions about the French Revolution.”
  • How to watch the Perseids — the best meteor shower of the year.”—”The meteor shower peaks in mid-August, peaking this year on August 11, 12 and 13. Under ideal conditions, skywatchers can expect to see up to 100 meteors per hour — a much higher amount than most other showers. NASA considers it the best shower of the year, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.”
  • The Abolition of Prison [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jacques Lesage de La Haye, trans. Scott Branson—”he Abolition of Prison provides a reflection from a longtime prison abolitionist on the ideas, actions, and writings of anti-prison activism over the last fifty years. This book powerfully makes the case for the end of prisons, punishment, and guilt and, instead, suggests we work towards social change, care, collectivity, and ending regimes of repression and violence. The book weaves together Lesage de La Haye’s own experience in prison, as a psychologist, and as an abolitionist, with arguments and proposals from abolitionist writings, and countless examples of prisoner actions, prison alternatives, and attempts to create a more just world. Lesage de La Haye argues simply that, if we take the justifications for prison and punishment at their word, we must evaluate the system as a complete failure and stop supporting and funneling money into it. There is a long history of alternative ways to address problems in society, both inside the Western systems of law and from Indigenous communities. Lesage de la Haye starkly portrays the effects of punishment, concluding that prison is simply a slow death. The move toward abolition is achievable today and necessary for a society free from systematized oppression.”
  • The Letters of Shirley Jackson [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Laurence Jackson Hyman with Bernice M Murphy—”A bewitchingly brilliant collection of never-before-published letters from the renowned author of “The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley Jackson is one of the most important American authors of the last hundred years and among our greatest chroniclers of the female experience. This extraordinary compilation of personal correspondence has all the hallmarks of Jackson’s beloved fiction: flashes of the uncanny in the domestic, sparks of horror in the quotidian, and the veins of humor that run through good times and bad. ‘i am having a fine time doing a novel with my left hand and a long story–with as many levels as grand central station–with my right hand, stirring chocolate pudding with a spoon held in my teeth, and tuning the television with both feet.’ Written over the course of nearly three decades, from Jackson’s college years to six days before her early death at the age of forty-eight, these letters become the autobiography Shirley Jackson never wrote. As well as being a bestselling author, Jackson spent much of her adult life as a mother of four in Vermont, and the landscape here is often the everyday: raucous holidays and trips to the dentist, overdue taxes and frayed lines of Christmas lights, new dogs and new babies. But in recounting these events to family, friends, and colleagues, she turns them into remarkable stories: entertaining, revealing, and wise. At the same time, many of these letters provide fresh insight into the genesis and progress of Jackson’s writing over nearly three decades. ‘The novel is getting sadder. It’s always such a strange feeling–I know something’s going to happen, and those poor people in the book don’t; they just go blithely on their ways.’ Compiled and edited by her elder son, Laurence Jackson Hyman, in consultation with Jackson scholar Bernice M. Murphy and featuring Jackson’s own witty line drawings, this intimate collection holds the beguiling prism of Shirley Jackson–writer and reader, mother and daughter, neighbor and wife–up to the light.”
  • Stanford scholar’s new book examines how to build social justice across age groups. New book highlights the need to distribute jobs, income and other essential resources in a way that treats people who are young and old as equals.” About Justice Across Ages: Treating Young and Old as Equals [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Juliana Uhuru Bidadanure—”Age structures our lives and societies. It shapes social institutions, roles, and relationships, as well as how we assign obligations and entitlements within them. Each life-stage also brings its characteristic opportunities and vulnerabilities, which spawn multidimensional inequalities between young and old. How should we respond to these age-related inequalities? Are they unfair in the same way gender or racial inequalities are? Or is there something distinctive about age that mitigates ethical concern? Justice Across Ages addresses these and related questions, offering an ambitious theory of justice between age groups. Written at the intersection of philosophy and public policy, the book sets forth ethical principles to guide a fair distribution of goods like jobs, healthcare, income, and political power among persons at different stages of their life. At a time where young people are starkly underrepresented in legislatures and subject to disproportionally high unemployment rates, the book moves from foundational theory to the specific policy reforms needed today. If we are ever to live in a society where people are treated as equals, the book argues, we must pay vigilant attention to how age membership can alter our social standing. We should regard with suspicion commonplace forms of age-based social hierarchy, such as the political marginalization of teenagers and young adults, the infantilization of young adults and older citizens, and the spatial segregation of elderly persons. This position carries important implications for how we should think about the political and moral value of equality, design our social and political institutions, and conduct ourselves in a range of contexts including families, workplaces, and schools.”
  • The Verdigris Pawn [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Alysa Wishingrad—”A boy who underestimates his power . . . A girl with a gift long thought lost . . . A Land ready for revolution . . . The heir to the Land should be strong. Fierce. Ruthless. At least, that’s what Beau’s father has been telling him his whole life, since Beau is the exact opposite of what the heir should be. With little control over his future, Beau is kept locked away, just another pawn in his father’s quest for ultimate power. That is, until Beau meets a girl who shows him the secrets his father has kept hidden. For the first time, Beau begins to question everything he’s ever been told and sets off in search of a rebel who might hold the key to setting things right. Teaming up with a fiery runaway boy, their mission quickly turns into something far greater as sinister forces long lurking in the shadows prepare to make their final move—no matter what the cost. But it just might be Beau who wields the power he seeks . . . if he can go from pawn to player before the Land tears itself apart.”
  • The secret lives of Neanderthal children. Among the growing collection of Neanderthal remains to be discovered are fossilised bones belonging to children. Now we are gaining unprecedented insights into what being a young Neanderthal was like.”
  • From the Four Humours dept: “Cholera was the most frequently seen facial expression at Euro 2020. Facial expression of anger was the most visible during 51 matches of the Euro 2020 soccer tournament, which ended on Sunday, reports a study presented on Monday by the Emotional Expression Laboratory (FEELab) in Porto.”—”A facial expression of anger was already the emotion most displayed during the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups and in Europe in 2012 and 2016, which Portugal won by defeating hosts Franca in the final with a lone goal from Eder in overtime. (1-0). Compared to these five studies conducted previously, Euro2020 showed a Low intensity of cholera expression On the faces of the players and A slight increase in joy and sadness, After analyzing the pain for the first time.”
  • Moon’s Wobble Will Intensify Flooding Along U.S. Coasts by the Mid-2030s, Research Suggests. A natural astronomical cycle is poised to make the effects of human-caused global warming even worse.” Also “A ‘wobble’ in the moon’s orbit could result in record flooding in the 2030s, new study finds. The entire US coastline is in for a one-two punch from the lunar cycle and climate change.” Also “Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding. Coastal locations around the United States, particularly along the Atlantic coast, are experiencing recurrent flooding at high tide. Continued sea-level rise (SLR) will exacerbate the issue where present, and many more locations will begin to experience recurrent high-tide flooding (HTF) in the coming decades. Here we use established SLR scenarios and flooding thresholds to demonstrate how the combined effects of SLR and nodal cycle modulations of tidal amplitude lead to acute inflections in projections of future HTF. The mid-2030s, in particular, may see the onset of rapid increases in the frequency of HTF in multiple US coastal regions. We also show how annual cycles and sea-level anomalies lead to extreme seasons or months during which many days of HTF cluster together. Clustering can lead to critical frequencies of HTF occurring during monthly or seasonal periods one to two decades prior to being expected on an annual basis.”
  • Move over, Mars: Why the moons of Jupiter and Saturn may be key to finding alien life. Several scientific papers this year touch on the search for faint signs of life in our solar system — with a June paper on Jupiter’s Enceladus offering one of the most intriguing prospects.”
  • The hunt for wormholes: How scientists look for space-time tunnels. Wormholes, a science fiction staple, might be real after all.”
  • Israel’s SpaceIL secures funds for new lunar mission.”—”The first ‘Beresheet,’ or ‘Genesis’ spacecraft, built by SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, crashed into the moon moments before touchdown in April 2019, falling short in its attempt to become the first privately funded lunar landing.”
  • Teardrop star reveals hidden supernova doom. International team led by University of Warwick makes rare sighting of a binary star system heading towards supernova. Star system’s fate was identified from its unusual light variations, a sign that one star has been distorted into a teardrop shape by a massive white dwarf companion. Supernovas from such star systems can be used as ‘standard candles’ to measure expansion of the universe.”
  • Degradable plastic polymer breaks down in sunlight and air.”—”Chemical characterization using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectroscopy, among other techniques, revealed that the plastic decomposed rapidly in sunlight from a petroleum-based polymer into succinic acid, a naturally occurring nontoxic small molecule that doesn’t leave microplastic fragments in the environment. Although a sun-sensitive plastic might not be a good choice for bottles or bags that need to last more than a week on shelves, integrating the environmentally degradable polymer as a minor ingredient, or with other biodegradable polymers, could help speed breakdown of these materials in landfills …”
  • Immune system ‘clock’ predicts illness and mortality. Scientists at Stanford and the Buck Institute have found a way to predict an individual’s immunological decline as well as the likelihood of incurring age-associated diseases and becoming frail.”
  • Researchers discover way to improve immune response.”—”‘We discovered that Tpex cells were exposed to increased amounts of an immunosuppressive molecule, TGFb, early on in an infection. This molecule essentially acts as a brake, reducing the activity of mTOR and thereby dampening the immune response.’ Excitingly, the researchers were able to use this discovery to improve the immune response to severe viral infection.”
  • Inhaled COVID-19 vaccine prevents disease and transmission in animals.”—”In a new study assessing the potential of a single-dose, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, a team from the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia found that the vaccine fully protects mice against lethal COVID-19 infection. The vaccine also blocks animal-to-animal transmission of the virus. The findings were published July 2 in the journal Science Advances.”
  • Protein appears to prevent tumor cells from spreading via blood vessels. Johns Hopkins researchers describe protein regulating key step in cancer metastasis.”
  • People given ‘friendly’ bacteria in nose drops protected against meningitis.”—”A world-first trial has shown that nose drops of modified ‘friendly’ bacteria protect against meningitis. Led by Professor Robert Read and Dr Jay Laver from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Southampton, the work is the first of its kind. Together they inserted a gene into a harmless type of a bacteria, that allows it to remain in the nose and trigger an immune response. They then introduced these bacteria into the noses of healthy volunteers via nose drops. The results, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed a strong immune response against bacteria that cause meningitis and long-lasting protection.”
  • Gene Therapy Offers Long-Awaited Hope for Children with Rare, Incurable Disorder. Patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s May Benefit from Novel Treatment.”
  • Sweet Success: CABBI Demonstrates First Precision Breeding of Sugarcane With CRISPR/Cas9.”—”Sugarcane is one of the most productive plants on Earth, providing 80 percent of the sugar and 30 percent of the bioethanol produced worldwide. Its size and efficient use of water and light give it tremendous potential for the production of renewable value-added bioproducts and biofuels. But the highly complex sugarcane genome poses challenges for conventional breeding, requiring more than a decade of trials for the development of an improved cultivar. Two recently published innovations by University of Florida researchers at the Department of Energy’s Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) demonstrated the first successful precision breeding of sugarcane by using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing — a far more targeted and efficient way to develop new varieties.”
  • Large sharks observed doing shift work to share their resources. Groups of six different large shark species have been found to share resources by foraging the same area at different times of the day.” There was a British show about cats that found that featured research demonstrating that domesticated cats, who also went outside and were living in close proximity to each other, sometimes hunt in shifts too. It was this show: “The Secret Life of the Cat.” Here’s a related article: “Secret life of the cat: The science of tracking our pets. They share our homes, sleep on our beds and occasionally bring unwanted gifts. Yet, despite our domestic cats playing a big role in our lives, we know surprisingly little about what they get up to. A research project by BBC2’s Horizon and the Royal Veterinary College set out to find out more. Alan Wilson, a professor specialising in animal movement, describes what was involved.” And the money quote: “We also saw evidence that some cats appeared to ‘timeshare’ territory – roaming outside at different times to avoid meeting or coming into conflict with other cats.”
  • The Macabre and Magical Human-Canine Story. Zooarchaeologists and geneticists are exploring how wolves and domestic dogs have been humanity’s predator, prey, and partner.”
  • People dumped their pets into lakes, officials say. Now football-size goldfish are taking over. Goldfish are an invasive species that can damage habitats, and their presence appears to be a growing problem in waterways across the United States and around the world.”
  • Why are octopuses so intelligent? The opening of jars, while impressive and often used to illustrate octopus intelligence, is not their most remarkable ability.”
  • Isaac Newton Revising His Magnum Opus. Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Autograph manuscript, [Cambridge, c. May-July 1694], revisions to three sections of the first edition of the Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, a heavily corrected draft with three additional notes by the Scottish mathematician and astronomer David Gregory. Price realised GBP 1,702,500.”
  • Technology that restores the sense of touch in nerves damaged as a result of injury. Cut your finger and lost your sense of touch? There’s hope yet.”
  • “Interactive police line-ups improve eyewitness accuracy – study. Eyewitnesses can identify perpetrators more accurately when they are able to manipulate 3D images of suspects, according to a new study.”
  • New electronic paper displays brilliant colours. Imagine sitting out in the sun, reading a digital screen as thin as paper, but seeing the same image quality as if you were indoors. Thanks to research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, it could soon be a reality. A new type of reflective screen – sometimes described as ‘electronic paper’ – offers optimal colour display, while using ambient light to keep energy consumption to a minimum.”
  • Facebook staffers were told by execs to scrap any mention of Russia in a 2017 white paper on the platform’s security concerns: ‘We started to feel like we were part of a cover-up’. Facebook’s 2017 white paper initially mentioned Russian election interference, a new book says. Executives told staff to remove all mention of Russia from the white paper, “An Ugly Truth” says. Management thought it would have been ‘politically unwise’ to include Russia, according to the book.” About An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang—”Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook’s fall from grace. Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech. The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook’s engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world’s most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits, and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts. Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability—this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st century executives—he the tech “boy genius” turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is coopted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable.”
  • Tweet—”Facebook and other Big Tech companies do everything they can to raise switching costs. When you quit FB, you lose access to the friends, communities and customers who stay behind. There’s no technical reason this has to happen.”
  • Watch “Google boss Sundar Pichai warns of threats to free and open internet.”—”The free and open internet is under attack in countries around the world, Google boss Sundar Pichai has warned. He says many countries are restricting the flow of information, and the model is often taken for granted. In an in-depth interview with the BBC, Pichai also addresses controversies around tax, privacy and data.”
  • Surely We Can Do Better Than Elon Musk. Getting past the cult of Genius and the bleakness of capitalist futurism.”
  • The GOP’s vaccine skeptic wing has a breakthrough in Tennessee. Pro-vaccine Republicans have been hands-off when it comes to vaccine skeptics in their midst spreading misinformation. The result: What we’re seeing in Tennessee.” Also “Top Vaccination Official In Tennessee Says COVID Conspiracy Theories Led To Her Firing. Michelle Fiscus was fired from her post after Republican legislators opposed her plans to help vaccinate minors.”
  • Supercut Exposes Fox News’ Mixed Messages On COVID-19 Vaccines. MSNBC’s Ari Melber called out the conservative network’s coverage with the montage.”
  • U.S. COVID-19 Cases Rising Again, Doubling Over 3 Weeks. Confirmed infections have increased over the last two weeks in all but two states.”
  • Emails Reveal Cops Fanned Flames as FBI Debunked Antifa Hoax. Wildfires are back and could be worse than ever. Just don’t tell the cops manufacturing wild rumors about how they start.”
  • Big Dreams and False Claims: How Colombians Got Embroiled in Haiti Assassination. A revealing look at the effort to recruit Colombian military veterans for what was described as a noble nation-building effort in Haiti but ended with 18 of them arrested and three of them dead.” Also “Florida Man Detained In Assassination Of Haitian President Deepens Mystery. Police say Christian Emmanuel Sanon was in contact with a firm that recruited the suspects in the killing.” Also “‘It’s a hotbed’: Miami’s role in Haiti murder plot fits decades-long pattern. Exile communities, ready supply of military veterans, history of corrupt local politics and drugs money make city a nexus for mayhem.” Also “Former DEA informant, linked to Moïse investigation, turned to agency after assassination.”
  • Livid Trump Wanted Person Who Leaked Bunker Story Executed, New Book Claims. Trump was taken to the White House bunker during protests last year over the police killing of George Floyd.” About Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael C Bender—”Michael C. Bender, senior White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal, presents a deeply reported account of the 2020 presidential campaign that details how Donald J. Trump became the first incumbent in three decades to lose reelection—and the only one whose defeat culminated in a violent insurrection. Beginning with President Trump’s first impeachment and ending with his second, FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION chronicles the inside-the-room deliberations between Trump and his campaign team as they opened 2020 with a sleek political operation built to harness a surge of momentum from a bullish economy, a unified Republican Party, and a string of domestic and foreign policy successes—only to watch everything unravel when fortunes suddenly turned. With first-rate sourcing cultivated from five years of covering Trump in the White House and both of his campaigns, Bender brings readers inside the Oval Office, aboard Air Force One, and into the front row of the movement’s signature mega-rallies for the story of an epic election-year convergence of COVID, economic collapse, and civil rights upheaval—and an unorthodox president’s attempt to battle it all. Fresh interviews with Trump, key campaign advisers, and senior administration officials are paired with an exclusive collection of internal campaign memos, emails, and text messages for scores of never-before-reported details about the campaign. FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION is the inside story of how Trump lost, and the definitive account of his final year in office that draws a straight line from the president’s repeated insistence that he would never lose to the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol that imperiled one of his most loyal lieutenants—his own vice president.”
  • Drunken Giuliani urged Trump to ‘just say we won’ on election night, book says. As key states started to slip away from Trump, Rudy Giuliani repeatedly urged former president to lie, according to new book.” About I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker—”The definitive behind-the-scenes story of Trump’s final year in office, by Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig, the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporters and authors of the #1 New York Times bestseller, A Very Stable Genius. The true story of what took place in Donald Trump’s White House during a disastrous 2020 has never before been told in full. What was really going on around the president, as the government failed to contain the coronavirus and over half a million Americans perished? Who was influencing Trump after he refused to concede an election he had clearly lost and spread lies about election fraud? To answer these questions, Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig reveal a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency’s inner workings in unprecedented, stunning detail. Focused on Trump and the key players around him—the doctors, generals, senior advisers, and Trump family members— Rucker and Leonnig provide a forensic account of the most devastating year in a presidency like no other. Their sources were in the room as time and time again Trump put his personal gain ahead of the good of the country. These witnesses to history tell the story of him longing to deploy the military to the streets of American cities to crush the protest movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, all to bolster his image of strength ahead of the election. These sources saw firsthand his refusal to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously—even to the point of allowing himself and those around him to be infected. This is a story of a nation sabotaged—economically, medically, and politically—by its own leader, culminating with a groundbreaking, minute-by-minute account of exactly what went on in the Capitol building on January 6, as Trump’s supporters so easily breached the most sacred halls of American democracy, and how the president reacted. With unparalleled access, Rucker and Leonnig explain and expose exactly who enabled—and who foiled—Trump as he sought desperately to cling to power. A classic and heart-racing work of investigative reporting, this book is destined to be read and studied by citizens and historians alike for decades to come.”
  • Donald Trump just accidentally told the truth about his view on polls.”—”Exactly one week ago, I wrote these words: ‘If you listen to him long enough — no easy chore — Donald Trump will tell you all his secrets.'” “If it’s bad, I say it’s fake. If it’s good, I say that’s the most accurate poll ever.”
  • I wasn’t there. It wasn’t me. You can’t prove it. Besides I was wearing a disguise. “Lawyers retreat from pro-Trump election suit. At a hearing on possible sanctions over the Michigan case, some attorneys downplayed their roles.”
  • Becoming? “There’s a Word for What Trumpism Is Becoming. The relentless messaging by Trump and his supporters has inflicted a measurable wound on American democracy.”
  • Ex-Trump Lawyer Rage-Quits GOP On Air Because It Doesn’t Back Donald Trump Enough. The irony of Jenna Ellis standing “alone for the truth” was not lost on Twitter users.”
  • Biden To Tie GOP Voter Restriction Bills To Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ In Philadelphia Speech. The president will push Democrats’ voting rights bill in Congress while accusing Republicans of basing new voting limits in the states on Trump’s election lies.”
  • The Digital General. How Trump Ally Michael Flynn Nurtured — and Profited From — the QAnon Conspiracy Theory.”
  • UK bans fifth neo-Nazi group under terror laws. An American neo-Nazi group which is led from Russia is to be banned as a terrorist organisation, the Home Secretary has said.”
  • Key Senate Democrats Are Taking The First Step Toward Legalizing Marijuana. President Joe Biden has long opposed marijuana legalization.”
  • NAACP Offers To Pay Bail For Texas Democrats Who May Face Arrest Over Voting Protest. ‘We are fully invested in good trouble,’ President Derrick Johnson said after over 50 Texas lawmakers were threatened with arrest for leaving the state.”
  • Mexico supreme court strikes down laws that ban use of recreational marijuana. Adults will be able to apply for permits to grow and consume cannabis after decision that moves country toward legalisation.”
  • High potency weed linked to psychotic episodes, mysterious vomiting illness in young users. ‘It felt like Edward Scissorhands was trying to grab my intestines and pull them out,’ a Colorado man told NBC News.”
  • US billionaires don’t pay tax, and our politicians don’t seem bothered. Fifteen years of tax information on thousands of plutocrats is one of the biggest stories of the decade. And yet … crickets.”
  • Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime win dismissal of Roy Moore defamation lawsuit.”
  • Emmys: Cancelled Lovecraft Country Picks Up 18 Nominations.”
  • ‘Boyz N the Hood’ at 30: A Vivid Examination of Racism at Work. The director John Singleton uses the experiences of a father and son, Tre and Furious, to depict how a Black community comes undone.”
  • The Olympics’ ban on caps for afro hair is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to swimming. As a swimming teacher, I’ve seen first-hand how exclusionary attitudes lead to lower participation among Black people.”
  • Black female WWII unit hoping to get congressional honor.”
  • Cornel West Releases Resignation Letter From Harvard.” Tweet—”This is my candid letter of resignation to my Harvard Dean. I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our market-driven universities! Let us bear witness against this spiritual rot!”
  • Netflix Documentary Goes Deep On ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy Movement. “Pray Away,” due out Aug. 3, charts the rise of Exodus International, a now-defunct Christian ministry that once claimed to “cure” same-sex attraction.” About “Pray Away. Ex-leaders and a survivor of the so-called “conversion therapy” movement speak out about its harm to the LGBTQ+ community and its devastating persistence.” Due Aug 3 on Netflix.
  • ‘The Crown’ Season 5 Adds Jonny Lee Miller as Prime Minister John Major. The new season of the period drama continues to grow its cast.”
  • Apple TV+’s ‘Foundation’ Releases Epic New Teaser Trailer, Premiere Date.”—”It’s been over a year since Apple TV+ released a behind the scenes/featurette teaser for their highly anticipated sci-fi adaptation Foundation. And now, we’re not just getting a real, full trailer for the epic series, we also know the Foundation premiere date: September 24, 2021 on Apple TV+.” Foundation on Apple TV+. Watch “Foundation“, official teaser 2.
  • J.J. Abrams, Angela Robinson Bringing DC Comics’ ‘Madame X’ to TV at HBO Max. Sources note that Abrams personally recruited the writer, director and producer to Warner Bros. TV to spearhead the DC Comics title.”—”Madame X (aka Madame Xanadu) first appeared in the DC Comics universe back in 1978 and is part of the Justice League Dark universe. The character is a sorceress who has helped the Suicide Squad and serves as Spectre’s spiritual adviser and, in DC’s The New 52, assists the Dark League and was revealed to be the mother of villain Doctor Destiny.”
  • ‘Halo’ Showrunner to Exit Paramount Plus Series After Season 1.”
  • Next ‘Star Trek’ Film To Be Directed By ‘WandaVision’s Matt Shakman.” Noah Hawley did one of the script attempts?! (Shakman also episodes of Hawley’s Fargo.)
  • 3D digital billboard image of a giant cat draws attention in Tokyo. (Inner geek yelled: OMG she called that ship the Enterprise. It’s not!) Also, from May: “3D Billboard Screens – The Future of Advertising.” Also, not to be that guy, but this is not 3D per se. It’s basically just forced perspective.
  • From the It Takes A Pretty, Blond, White Girl dept: “ACLU Files Amicus Brief to Support Britney Spears. The pop star has been under a conservatorship for 13 years and recently said publicly she wants out.”—”Amanda Goad, the Audrey Irmas director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU SoCal, added, ‘Britney’s superstardom and wealth make this an atypical case, but she has described serious infringements on her civil liberties and dignity that are all too typical for people living under conservatorships and guardianships. It’s not just about Britney. We hope that offering supported decision-making to Britney Spears can serve as a model in other cases, because all people living with disabilities or under conservatorship deserve an opportunity to make their own informed choices.'”
  • Drug-dealers are finding the always-on culture a chore. Information technology makes it hard for them to switch off.”
  • Jobs, marriages, cities – we are quitting them in our droves. The pandemic changed everything… but most of all, it made us question the way we live.” Article is by the author who somewhat famously wrote in 2017 More bank holidays? Oh please, give us a break.” And then in 2021 wrote “Burned out? What we need is a new bank holiday.” So, expect an article in a few years with a contrary viewpoint, I suppose.
  • Putting Out Fire with Gasoline. Buckle up: It’s ‘Cat Person’ season, and once again, we’re litigating what women are allowed to say about men.” “We understand why Margot wants to be nice, which is that she’s being manipulated. She’s made to feel awful and cruel for hurting Robert’s feelings, and everything hurts his feelings except getting his own way.” (cf. Prince Charles in The Crown s04.) “Before Nowicki’s essay we had no reason to think there was a real-life inspiration for ‘Cat Person.’ Nowicki claims that Roupenian exposed her private life, but Roupenian made ‘Robert’ such a universal type that, until now, no-one but his closest associates had reason to suspect he was based on a real person. Roupenian also obscured the most damning detail, which is that Charles pursued a teenage girl. ‘Margot,’ in Roupenian’s story, is twenty years old and a student at college; Robert is thirty-four. Nowicki was a high school student, and Charles was thirty-three. Though Nowicki is unclear as to her precise age, she mentions their ‘fifteen-year age gap,’ which puts her around seventeen or eighteen. The age of consent in Michigan is sixteen, so nothing illegal happened. But ‘legal’ is not the same as ‘good.'”
  • How ‘Soft Fascination’ Helps Restore Your Tired Brain. Attention fatigue is a threat to your cognitive and mental health.”
  • Ghosts In Time: revisiting MOONDIAL. Time-travel or ghost story? Robert Taylor takes a look at Moondial, a classic children’s drama that puts the resilience of children, in the face of adversity, at its heart… During the 1970s and 1980s, children’s television drama was arguably at its height with both original and adapted material being brought to the screens during weekly tea-time on a consistent basis by both the BBC and ITV networks.”
  • Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist will finally be made into a movie, courtesy [of] Will Smith.”
  • Inception! Watch “Deadpool and Korg React.”—”This looks fun in a last days of Fox fire sale kind of way.”
  • Oliver Stone revisits JFK assassination in new documentary.” Tweet—”So, you know those people who get a bug up their butt about a topic and just won’t let it go?”
  • Tweet—”Most believe that a satisfactory future requires a return to an idealized past, a past which never in fact existed.”
  • Tweet—”My god she’s good.” Headcanon: this is a picture of an actually unrecognizable Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • Tweet—”Someone (in real life? on the internet?) once told me the story of someone who reads’“AF’ as ‘as foretold.’ As in, ‘This taco is spicy AF’ was read as ‘This taco is spicy, as foretold.’ I don’t remember who it was, but I am here to thank them: I now also read it this way.”

Omnium Gatherum: 11jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 11, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Feminist Antifascism: Counterpublics of the Common [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Ewa Majewska—”Feminism as the bulwark against fascism. In this exciting, innovative work, Polish feminist philosopher Ewa Majewska proposes a specifically feminist politics of antifascism. Mixing theoretical discussion with engaging reflections on personal experiences, Majewska proposes what she calls ‘counterpublics of the common’ and ‘weak resistance,’ offering an alternative to heroic forms of subjectivity produced by neoliberal capitalism and contemporary fascism.”
  • Towards A Libertarian Socialism: Reflections on the British Labour Party and European Working-Class Movements [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by G.D.H. Cole, edited by David Goodway—”A collection of essays from a restive, critical member of Britain’s Labour Party. From the 1920s until his death, G.D.H. Cole was a pre-eminent Labour intellectual who considered himself ‘neither a Communist nor a Social Democrat in the ordinary sense, but something, not betwixt and between these two, but essentially different from both.’ He was a libertarian socialist who loathed coercion, bureaucracy, and the ‘money-grubbing way of life under capitalism.'”
  • Anthea Lawson on how activism is vital – so we should understand better why we do it.” About The Entangled Activist: Learning to recognise the master’s tools [Amazon, Amazon UK, Publisher, Also] by Anthea Lawson—”The Entangled Activist is the story of how activism is entangled in the problems it seeks to solve, told by a hard-hitting campaigner who learns to see activism very differently. After years of thinking that her task was to ‘get the bastards,’ campaigner, writer and reporter Anthea Lawson came to see that activism often emerges from the same troubles it is trying to fix, and that its demons, including righteousness, saviourism, burnout and treating other people badly, can be a gateway to understanding the depth of what really needs to change. Drawing on her own experience, critical analysis and interviews with leading activists, Lawson probes our attempts to change the world to offer a timely, eye-opening vision for transformative work. By considering how unexamined shadows and assumptions impede well-intentioned goals, and how campaigners are caught up in the very systems and ideologies they seek to alter, she dismantles hierarchies that have shaped the field for too long. The Entangled Activist is a profound call to acknowledge our entanglement with the world. To those sceptical of ‘activism’, it offers possibilities for action beyond righteous reactivity. And to those who so want to help, it unearths a different starting place, one where transforming ourselves is inherently part of transforming the world.”
  • The Rust Belt’s New Working Class Is Just as Exploited as the Old One. In the Rust Belt, heavy industry has been replaced by health care. But even though the working class has changed, exploitation at the hands of their bosses haven’t.” About The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Gabriel Winant—”Men in hardhats were once the heart of America’s working class; now it is women in scrubs. What does this shift portend for our future? Pittsburgh was once synonymous with steel. But today most of its mills are gone. Like so many places across the United States, a city that was a center of blue-collar manufacturing is now dominated by the service economy—particularly health care, which employs more Americans than any other industry. Gabriel Winant takes us inside the Rust Belt to show how America’s cities have weathered new economic realities. In Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, he finds that a new working class has emerged in the wake of deindustrialization. As steelworkers and their families grew older, they required more health care. Even as the industrial economy contracted sharply, the care economy thrived. Hospitals and nursing homes went on hiring sprees. But many care jobs bear little resemblance to the manufacturing work the city lost. Unlike their blue-collar predecessors, home health aides and hospital staff work unpredictable hours for low pay. And the new working class disproportionately comprises women and people of color. Today health care workers are on the front lines of our most pressing crises, yet we have been slow to appreciate that they are the face of our twenty-first-century workforce. The Next Shift offers unique insights into how we got here and what could happen next. If health care employees, along with other essential workers, can translate the increasing recognition of their economic value into political power, they may become a major force in the twenty-first century.”
  • Haters Gonna Hate … and Vote. Adam Serwer on how Donald Trump’s weaponized cruelty outlasted his presidency.” About The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Adam Serwer—”From an award-winning journalist at The Atlantic, these searing essays make a damning case that cruelty is not merely an unfortunate byproduct of the Trump administration but its main objective and the central theme of the American project. Like many of us, Adam Serwer didn’t know that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. But over the four years that followed, the Atlantic staff writer became one of our most astute analysts of the Trump presidency and the volatile powers it harnessed. The shock that greeted Trump’s victory, and the subsequent cruelty of his presidency, represented a failure to confront elements of the American past long thought vanquished. In this searing collection, Serwer chronicles the Trump administration not as an aberration but as an outgrowth of the inequalities the United States was founded on. Serwer is less interested in the presidential spectacle than in the ideological and structural currents behind Trump’s rise–including a media that was often blindsided by the ugly realities of what the administration represented and how it came to be. While deeply engaged with the moment, Serwer’s writing is also haunted by ghosts of an unresolved American past, a past that torments the present. In bracing new essays and previously published works, he explores white nationalism, myths about migration, the political power of police unions, and the many faces of anti-Semitism. For all the dynamics he examines, cruelty is the glue, the binding agent of a movement fueled by fear and exclusion. Serwer argues that rather than pretending these four years didn’t happen or dismissing them as a brief moment of madness, we must face what made them possible. Without acknowledging and confronting these toxic legacies, the fragile dream of American multiracial democracy will remain vulnerable to another ambitious demagogue.”
  • Giuliani assembled the Trump campaign legal team in a room that overflowed with trash and had a ‘rotting smell,’ a new book says. Giuliani built Trump’s campaign legal team in a room with refuse “that overflowed onto the floor,” a new book says. Between Election Day and the day when Giuliani arrived, the space had reportedly not been cleaned. The Trump campaign endured continuous legal setbacks while seeking to challenge the 2020 election.” About Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Wolff—”New York Times bestselling author of Fire and Fury and Siege completes the trilogy on the epic presidency of Donald J. Trump. With Fire and Fury Wolff defined the first phase of the Trump administration; in Siege he wrote an explosive account of a presidency under fire. In Landslide Wolff closes the story of Trump’s four years in office and his tumultuous last months at the helm of the country, based on Wolff’s extraordinary access to White House aides and to the former president himself, yielding a wealth of new information and insights about what really happened inside the highest office in the land, and the world.”
  • An Ex-KGB Agent Says Trump Was a Russian Asset Since 1987. Does it Matter?.” About American Kompromat: How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Craig Unger—”This is a story about the dirty secrets of the most powerful people in the world—including Donald Trump. It is based on exclusive interviews with dozens of high-level sources—intelligence officers in the CIA, FBI, and the KGB, thousands of pages of FBI investigations, police investigations, and news articles in English, Russian, and Ukrainian. American Kompromat shows that from Trump to Jeffrey Epstein, kompromat was used in operations far more sinister than the public could ever imagine. Among them, the book addresses what may be the single most important unanswered question of the entire Trump era: Is Donald Trump a Russian asset? The answer, American Kompromat says, is yes, and it supports that conclusion backs with the first richly detailed narrative on how the KGB allegedly first “spotted” Trump as a potential asset, how they cultivated him as an asset, arranged his first trip to Moscow, and pumped him full of KGB talking points that were published in three of America’s most prestigious newspapers.”
  • Scientists Discover Thousands of Ancient Tombs In Galaxy-Like Patterns. Researchers applied a cosmological tool to archaeology for the first time, revealing ‘invisible centers of gravity’ across a vast funerary landscape.”
  • New analysis of a bird found in 2018: “Frozen bird turns out to be 46 000-year-old horned lark. Scientists have recovered DNA from a well-preserved horned lark found in Siberian permafrost. The results can contribute to explaining the evolution of sub species, as well as how the mammoth steppe transformed was turned into tundra, forest and steppe biomes at the end of the last Ice Age.”
  • How many atoms are in the observable universe? Luckily, we don’t have to count them one by one.”
  • Mystery of Jupiter’s powerful X-ray auroras finally solved. The giant planet’s auroras aren’t so different than those on Earth.”
  • A Mystery of Jupiter’s Constant Aurora Has Finally Been Solved After 40 Years.”—”Earth is not the only world adorned with the glowing atmospheric phenomenon that is aurora. In fact, in a Solar System aurora competition, the clear winner would be Jupiter. The so-called King of Planets is crowned with the most powerful auroras in the Solar System, permanently circling both its poles.” “Now, they think they’ve solved it. Using simultaneous observations from Jupiter probe Juno and X-ray space observatory XMM-Newton, a team led by planetary scientist Zhonghua Yao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China has linked the X-ray bursts to vibrations in the gas giant’s magnetic field lines. These vibrations generate waves in the plasma propagating along the magnetic field lines, periodically causing heavy ions to rain down on and collide with Jupiter’s atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of X-rays.”
  • Climate Change is About Greed. It’s Time for Big Oil to Pay Us Back.”
  • California wildfire generates its own lightning as it more than doubles in size.”
  • Crushing heat wave in Pacific Northwest and Canada cooked shellfish alive by the millions. As many as a billion sea creatures died in the heat, according to experts.” Also “1 Billion Sea Creatures Cooked To Death In Canada In Record Pacific Northwest Heat Wave. ‘If we don’t like it, then we need to work harder to reduce emissions,’ warned the University of British Columbia scientist who calculated the massive toll.”
  • Ugh. Not now West Nile Virus! “6 States Report Paralysis-Causing Virus Carried by Mosquitoes. New York and Massachusetts found mosquitos infected with West Nile virus this month. In Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, and Iowa, a few humans have also been infected. West Nile virus is typically mild, but can lead to paralysis or death in severe cases.”
  • Single Dose of Psychedelic Compound Psilocybin Can Remodel Connections in the Brain.”—”Psilocybin, a psychedelic compound that can be derived from over 200 species of mushroom, can remodel connections in the mouse brain. That is the conclusion of a new study that examined structural changes in the brain that might explain psilocybin’s enduring antidepressant effects.”
  • Scientists may have cracked the mystery of da Vinci’s DNA. Scientists say they could be closer to uncovering a genetic basis for the artist’s talent.”
  • An alternative for leather and synthetic leather: VTT succeeded in demonstrating continuous production of mycelium leather.”
  • Darker birds wings increase flight performance of birds.”—”Many seabirds evolved dark wings, independent from each other. New research shows that these darker wings heat up more and that this heating up increases the efficiency of flight in birds. Furthermore, the study confirmed that darker wings are mostly present in seabirds that are already efficient at flight.”
  • New AI tech for early detection of prostate cancer. Researchers have developed a diagnostic tool that can spot prostate cancer before patients have any symptoms, using artificial intelligence to analyse CT scans in just seconds.”
  • Screwing with sound waves. Could noisy neighbours become a thing of the past? If you are disturbed by crashes, bangs, and muffled voices from next door, then you are not alone, but a Malmö University researcher thinks the answer is as simple as a screw.” Also “The Revolutionary Sound Absorbing Screw.”
  • From the One Way Ticket dept: “Space tourism rivalry gets extremely petty ahead of Branson’s spaceflight. The space tourism billionaires are fighting again.” Tweet—”They all wanna be Tony Stark so bad. But in the end they’re really just Mr. Burns.”
  • Are We in the Metaverse Yet? Crypto people say they’re building it. Gamers might already be living in it. The art world is cashing in on it. Web veterans are trying to save it. But what is it?” Tweet—”This ‘what’s coming next? it’s the metaverse!’ article quotes 17 experts. 16 men, 1 woman. Bad journalism, or is ‘the metaverse’ a construct that doesn’t really feel inviting or resonant to many women? ‘Are We in the Metaverse Yet?'”
  • From the Phantasm dept: “This Startup Wants to Scan Your Eyes With a Silver Orb for Cryptocurrency. Worldcoin is co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, funded by VC money, and appears connected to rapper Azealia Banks.”—”On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that it has learned that Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and former president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, is co-founding a cryptocurrency called Worldcoin that will try and convince people to scan their retinas with a large silver orb in order to receive tokens.”
  • Special Report: China’s gene giant harvests data from millions of women.”
  • The battle to break up Big Tech has just begun. For antitrust reformers, Facebook’s court win might not be the setback it would seem.” Also “The Conservatives Out to Stop the New Bipartisan Antitrust Movement. How a 32-year-old policy activist is fighting to keep the GOP from going anti-monopoly.”
  • Biden’s Right to Repair Order Covers Electronics, Not Just Tractors. The administration will issue ‘rules against anti-competitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment.'” Also “Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: ‘It’s time to recognize the right to repair’.”
  • Wait. If not the FDA, then who? Isn’t this part of their mandate? “Appeals court axes FDA ban of electric shock on the disabled. The judges’ 2-1 decision this week will allow the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Mass., to continue using shock devices on its residents.” Also, WTAF?
  • ‘Invisible’ augmented reality art will soon appear around botanic garden.”—”A new show called “Seeing the Invisible” will soon allow visitors to the San Diego Botanic Garden to do exactly that: view dynamic art pieces that are impossible to see with the naked eye. The show will feature works by 13 international artists, who each created pieces using augmented reality, a technique that layers digital renderings on to the physical world when viewed through a phone or tablet.”
  • Soldiers watch the US withdrawal from Bagram Airfield through the lens of Pokemon Go.”—”All U.S. forces have left Bagram, which for much of the past 20 years was the largest military base in Afghanistan, U.S. defense officials announced Friday. But the animated critters and some of what’s left on base are visible in digitally animated form through the game app Pokemon Go.”
  • What The Lambda COVID-19 Variant Means For Us Right Now. The newest coronavirus strain has been reported in 29 countries. Here’s what you need to know.”—”The delta variant first identified in India is spreading widely in the United States, accounting for more than half of all new COVID-19 infections. But even as it becomes the dominant strain here, threatening to increase new infections among unvaccinated individuals, a new variant, called the lambda variant, or C.37, has also caught public health officials’ attention.”
  • From the Get The LEGO Name Outta Yo Mouth dept: “Feds Seize Lego Capitol Set From Suspected Jan. 6 Insurrectionist. Investigators are building a case brick by brick.”—”Federal investigators may be using a Lego set to build a case against a Pennsylvania man who allegedly participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.”
  • The Chilling Message of Trump’s Embrace of Ashli Babbitt Martyrdom. January 6 is now a heroic uprising for the movement.”
  • Republicans want “18 more months of chaos” — followed by the end of democracy. Rep. Chip Roy said it out loud, but the GOP’s plan is no secret: Bring democracy to a standstill, then end it.”—”Today’s Republican Party is a fascist, criminal, sociopathic, anti-democratic, white supremacist, theocratic, plutocratic and cultlike organization. Its leaders (and followers) have repeatedly and publicly shown the world that they embrace such values and behavior.”
  • The ‘Good’ Republicans Are Bad, and the Bad Ones Are Batshit. Since no one in Trumpworld has been punished for anything, Republicans have learned that you can do anything at all and no one will ever hold you accountable.”—”This is the Republican brand now: death before decency.”
  • Voting rights legislation should have passed, but not for the reasons you think.”—”This bill should have passed not merely because Democrats (justifiably) don’t like election changes that have been enacted in Republican states in the past few months. Rather, it should have passed because it repairs root causes of damage to our democratic republic — extreme partisanship and money corruption of our politicians. It’s now up to Congress to reintroduce those efforts in legislation that actually has a shot at being enacted.”
  • Sorry, haters: Ranked-choice voting produced the most diverse city council in NYC history. Never mind the backlash: Ranked-choice voting in NYC has produced huge gains for gender equity and diversity.” Also “Everyone Won with Ranked-Choice Voting in New York City.”—”More than one in four voters selected a candidate who was not predicted to be within the top three. These votes would normally have been considered ‘wasted’ on also-ran candidates. But not this time. Under ranked-choice voting…”
  • Tweet—”An armed siege? A terrorist munitions factory? No, just the Police breaking into our studio building in Haggerston on Friday 25th June because there is a sculpture on the roof that Priti Patel doesn’t like.” “XR were planning further protests against Murdoch last weekend. The police intended to remove it (but failed). It takes a certain skill-set to erect it, and anyone with such skills would have been a target of the raid. The Police were simply operating as stooges for Murdoch.”
  • Sullivan County school board approves teacher termination charges, supporters outraged.” Tweet—”It begins… a teacher is being fired for assigning a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and discussing white privilege in a ‘contemporary issues class.'” Tweet—”A teacher in Tennessee fired for teaching a) a Ta Nehisi Coates essay and b) a poem about white privilege. If a teacher in Tennessee getting fired for offending white Christian orthodoxies doesn’t ring any alarm bells for you, look up the Scopes Trial.”
  • Oh, fuck right off: “The Meaning Of The Native Graves. They’re good, actually.”
  • Oh, don’t fuck at all, ever again: “Political Discrimination as Civil-Rights Struggle“—”When a sample of nearly 1,500 female Ivy League students was asked whether they would date a Trump supporter, only 6 percent said yes (after excluding the small minority of the sample who support him). ”
  • Meet 4chan’s ‘Kommandos,’ the Armed Meme Lords Driving Gun Culture. While the stereotype for the American gun owner is old, white, and hung up on culture wars, Kommandos are young, apolitical, and fluent in memes.”
  • ‘People Get Upset’: A Mass Labor Shortage Is Leaving Hamptonites to Fend for Themselves. Sky-high rental costs, a ban on temporary work visas, and an exploding population due to COVID have forced East Enders to mow their own lawns, iron their own sheets, and forego salon appointments. ‘Everyone’s going for the natural look this year,’ says one resident.”
  • Why Jack the Ripper and other serial killer narratives endure. For me, my fascination began as a child, when I opened a book my mother explicitly told me not to open.”
  • How a racist rant in Mount Laurel sparked neighbors to fight back and a community to press for change. A New Jersey man caught on video in a racist rant with a Black neighbor had a long-standing dispute with the homeowners’ association and three Black association board members, an attorney says.”
  • Athletics is waging a war of transphobia and misogynoir – and black African women are losing out. In the run up to Tokyo 2021, controversial athletics regulations are showing racist constructions of womanhood will always win the race.”
  • Art Should Be a Doorway, Not a Mirror. Some thoughts on Isabel Fall, social media criticism, and the puritan art police.”
  • Robert E. Lee statue removed in Charlottesville; it had become focal point of deadly 2017 rally. A monument to Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson in Charlottesville also was removed.” Tweet—”This is not erasing history. This is correcting who we honor from history with public statues. Who we honor from history is typically who we honor in the present. The conservators of racism want us to honor the conservators of slavery. No more.” Tweet—”9 July 1776. A statue of King George III was pulled down in New York City, after the US Declaration of Independence was read out to a large cheering crowd and members the Continental Army.”
  • The Politics of Racial Cleansing and Erasing History.”
  • This appears to be a portfolio piece for Marta Kessler, who does a crazy good, and stand out, job as Constance Contraire in Disney’s The Mysterious Benedict Society. It’s a scene from Luc Besson’s Léon, originally with Natalie Portman and Jean Reno; watch “Marta Kessler & Marco Dinelli ‘Leone’“.
  • If you’ve access to Disney+, there’s an amusing initiation ceremony into the secret order of MIFT bit in Monsters at Work s01e02, “Meet MIFT.”
  • The Suicide Squad Doesn’t Understand Its Predecessor, Won’t Respond to It. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad looks like a sequel and sounds like a reboot, but Warner Bros. says it’s neither.”
  • Watch “The Decision That SAVED The Lord of the Rings.” As a reminder, from 2017, watch “How Star Wars was saved in the edit.”
  • Man finds 18th century ornamental building made of teeth at bottom of his garden – 25 years after he moved in. For over two decades, John Bostock had no idea that hidden beneath the wild section of his garden, there was a gothic folly dating back to the mid-1700s.”
  • Watch “Star Wars mystery FINALLY solved“—”After 44 years, it’s hard to imagine that there are still mysteries to be uncovered in Star Wars, but today marks yet another fascinating discovery! We’ve finally decoded the text inside the iconic TIE fighter cockpit computer displays!” I’m old enough to have actually used rub on vinyl lettering on actual school reports. Great exploration, and also restoration: check out the downloadable font (You have to hover your mouse pointer over the targeting reticule!). And then check out all the other Aurekfonts stuff:”Welcome to AurekFonts, an archive of fonts from across the galaxy. We are in the never-ending process of expanding our library of in-universe fonts for the languages of the Star Wars universe. To date, we have catalogued 96 fonts, representing over 28 writing systems and 26 foundries & artists!”
  • Enchanted forests: British woods and moors at night – in pictures. The woods are lovely, dark and deep – at least in the images of Jasper Goodall. In Twilight’s Path, he stays awake to capture nocturnal landscapes in the forests and on the moors of the British Isles.”

Crowdfunding Campaign Countdown: July 2021

Here’s a selection of crowdfunding campaigns that are counting down, ones that I’ve noticed and am currently watching for July, 2021. There’s a lot less this month, because I’m not paying as much attention to crowdfunding efforts, tbh, atm, in case you were wondering why the difference. But, I did notice these, fwiw. And, two bundles of note.

  • 52 hours to go: “Veritas Magia Tarot Deck. A full scale, black and silver inlaid tarot deck.”
  • 3 days to go: “A NEW offer of adventures for the venerable tabletop fantasy roleplaying game. TUNNELS & TROLLS 2. EIGHTEEN solo modules, five GM adventures, and the new MONSTERS! 2E.”
  • 5 days to go: Tabletops and Tentacles Magazine #3: The Cryptid Issue 🎲🐙 Games, art, fiction, comics, RPGs, sasquatch!”
  • 10 days to go: “The GUMSHOE tabletop roleplaying game from PELGRANE PRESS plus more Carcosan horror. THE YELLOW KING. THE YELLOW KING RPG, ANNOTATED KING IN YELLOW, fiction, and music.”
  • 12 days to go: “DCC Dying Earth. A DCC RPG boxed set, officially licensed by the estate of Jack Vance. Adventure with IOUN Stones and The Excellent Prismatic Spray!”
  • Upcoming: “KINLESS – A Mörk Borg Solo Viking Adventure. You are an outcast… sent away to die alone in the cold night. Will you survive long enough to return and get your revenge?”
  • Upcoming: “KENNELS OF KARNAGE, a Third-Party Mörk Borg Adventure. A short adventure about saving lost dogs.”
  • Upcoming: “Spire’s End: Hildegard. Solo & Cooperative Card Game Adventure”

Update 12jul2021:

  • 13 days to go: “Potato Pirates 3: Battlechips. A Spud-Tech-Ular Coding Card Game.”—”Potato Pirates 3: Battlechips is a strategic card game with an exciting gameplay experience where you zap potatoes for energy, dig for sunken cards, and fortify yourself with powers and abilities to defeat enemy factions across the Carbobbean Seas.” Tucked away down the page, there’s a solo mode planned: “Committed to our mission to make computer science fun and accessible for all, we present to you our solo campaign mode – The Carbobbean Sea (CS) Chronicles. Did you see what we did there with the CS abbreviation? You know, CS – Computer Science. A fun yet educational guide with a compelling storyline featuring memorable characters all focused on teaching fundamental computer science concepts. By interfacing with the Battlechips game components, we are truly bringing computer science offline to a whole new level! The CS Chronicles will be available as a digital download and takes you through many challenging situations which will put your coding skills to the test, yes, even you programming gurus won’t be spared!”

Update 13jul2021:

  • 20 days to go: “Vast Grimm by Infinite Black Infinite Black. Vast Grimm is a rules-light Infectious Sci-Fi Horror RPG packed with everything you need to immerse yourself into a universe on the brink of collapse. Vast Grimm features 3 new Elder Dice sets with amazing holographic grimoires!”—”Vast Grimm is a stand alone, art-filled, punk-fueled OSR role-playing game about the few humans remaining in a universe being consumed by growing parasitic würms. … Compatible with Mörk Borg”

Update 14jul2021:

  • 29 days to go: “Adventure Post: Train of Terror. A 12-week long horror-themed, solo adventure delivered to your door via postcard, including an interactive PDF and free Teaser!” With maps by Toby Lancaster (Dark Realm Maps, &c.). Last chapter scheduled for Halloween 2021.

Update 15jul2021:

Update 21jul2021: