Omnium Gatherum: 23jun2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 23, 2021

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

  • Crowdfunding with 23 days to go: “Candles. An original graphic novel about magic and monsters by Lyndon White.”—”Generation after generation, people are taught one thing – never, ever, use magic… When a plague known as Dark-bark begins to spread over the land, one by one infected villagers disappear into the enchanted forest never to be seen again. When it reaches her village, a young girl called Grace sets out to destroy the evil witch she knows is responsible, desperate to save her family by any means possible – even if that means she must break the greatest taboo of all and steal the witch’s magic. As candles flicker through the forest and wolves howl into the night sky, Idris, a flamboyant sorcerer, and his talented apprentice Ava, are cast out of town when their magical talents are discovered. Furious and determined, they seek to root out the source of the Dark-bark that has spread such misery across the land and prove once and for all that magic really can be a force for good. Candles is a fantasy story, suitable for all ages, and is about magic, family, and a plague that has no mercy. It takes its lead from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and Studio Ghibli. ”
  • Edward de Bono obituary. Author, doctor and inventor of the term lateral thinking who wrote more than 60 books on his original and unorthodox theories.”
  • A Star Is Born. The history of the asterisk.” Excerpt from Hyphens & Hashtags*: *The Stories Behind the Symbols on Our Keyboard [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Claire Cock-Starkey—”In our digital world, we owe much of our ability to communicate to the punctuation marks, mathematical symbols, and other glyphs that hover on the edges of our keyboard. Without these symbols, it would be impossible to convey meaning–our words would run in endless unbroken lines of letters and numbers. These marks, which have their origins in the earliest written communications, have evolved over many hundreds of years.Hyphens & Hashtags presents the histories of these stalwart symbols, revealing the long road many have taken on their way to general usage. In the age of digital communication, some symbols have gained additional meanings. The obscure pound sign has transformed into the hashtag, an essential component of social media. The colon now serves double duty as the eyes of the smiley-face emoticon. Alongside the historical roots of these tools, this book also considers ever-evolving modern usage and uncovers those symbols which have now fallen out of fashion. Hyphens & Hashtags casts a well-deserved spotlight on these deceptively simple marks, whose handy knack for conveying meaning in simple shorthand can marshal our sentences, clarify a calculation, or add some much-needed emotion to our online interactions.”
  • ‘Undreamed Shores’ Review: The Women Who Changed Anthropology. Taking on physical risk and arduous journeys, female researchers found their biggest obstacles were the attitudes of male colleagues.” About Undreamed Shores: The Hidden Heroines of British Anthropology [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Frances Larson—”In the first decades of the 20th century, five women arrived at Oxford to take the newly created Masters diploma in Anthropology. Though their circumstances differed radically, all five were intent on travelling to the furthest corners of the globe and studying remote communities whose lives were a world away from their own. In the wastelands of Siberia; in the pueblos and villages of the Nile and New Mexico; in the midst of a rebellion on Easter Island; and in the uncharted interiors of New Guinea, they found new freedoms. They documented customs now long since forgotten, and bore witness to now-vanished worlds. Through their work they overturned some of the most pernicious myths that dogged their gender, and proved that women could be explorers and scientists, too. Yet when they returned to England they found loss, madness, and regret waiting for them. Following the lives of her subjects through women’s suffrage, two world wars and on into the second half of the 20th century, Larson’s masterful biography is a revelatory portrait of a pioneering quintet, one whose contribution has for too long been left uncelebrated.”
  • The irreplaceable art of translation. As long as people joke, swear and use irony, computers will never take the place of translators.”
  • Africa writes back. European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong.”
  • The cooling of John le Carré. On the British spy novelist.”
  • When Losing Is Likely. Wendell Berry’s conservative radicalism.”—”True, Berry is a certain kind of Christian and a certain kind of conservative, but just for that reason he is also a certain kind of friend to Scialabba’s goals for the world’s improvement. Not all of them, to be sure, but who can find a friend like that? On the contrary: given the overturned table of contemporary politics, it’s catch as catch can. All the more so if Berry’s art, like Chiaromonte’s, like Macdonald’s, avoids a moralistic reduction of politics to personal responsibility, and embodies instead the refusal to separate what belongs together: truth and justice, art and activism, private and public. That refusal was radical in their time, and it remains radical today.”
  • For Literary Novelists the Past Is Pressing. Historical fiction was once considered a fusty backwater. Now the genre is having a renaissance, attracting first-rank novelists and racking up major prizes.”
  • Horrible Sanity: An Edgar Allan Poe for Our Time.” About The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John Tresch—”An innovative biography of Edgar Allan Poe—highlighting his fascination and feuds with science. Decade after decade, Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the most popular American writers. He is beloved around the world for his pioneering detective fiction, tales of horror, and haunting, atmospheric verse. But what if there was another side to the man who wrote “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”? In The Reason for the Darkness of the Night, John Tresch offers a bold new biography of a writer whose short, tortured life continues to fascinate. Shining a spotlight on an era when the lines separating entertainment, speculation, and scientific inquiry were blurred, Tresch reveals Poe’s obsession with science and lifelong ambition to advance and question human knowledge. Even as he composed dazzling works of fiction, he remained an avid and often combative commentator on new discoveries, publishing and hustling in literary scenes that also hosted the era’s most prominent scientists, semi-scientists, and pseudo-intellectual rogues. As one newspaper put it, “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science—not merely a poet—not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more.” Taking us through his early training in mathematics and engineering at West Point and the tumultuous years that followed, Tresch shows that Poe lived, thought, and suffered surrounded by science—and that many of his most renowned and imaginative works can best be understood in its company. He cast doubt on perceived certainties even as he hungered for knowledge, and at the end of his life delivered a mind-bending lecture on the origins of the universe that would win the admiration of twentieth-century physicists. Pursuing extraordinary conjectures and a unique aesthetic vision, he remained a figure of explosive contradiction: he gleefully exposed the hoaxes of the era’s scientific fraudsters even as he perpetrated hoaxes himself. Tracing Poe’s hard and brilliant journey, The Reason for the Darkness of the Night is an essential new portrait of a writer whose life is synonymous with mystery and imagination—and an entertaining, erudite tour of the world of American science just as it was beginning to come into its own.”
  • Satellite images show just how bad California’s drought is. California looks way worse from space this year than it did last June.”
  • We Should Abolish the Left Turn, Science Suggests. It does make a lot of sense.”
  • Ugh. Not now “cancer-like parasite”! “A Rare, Cancer-Like Parasite Is Emerging in North America. Alveolar echinococcosis remains rare and treatable, but a more virulent tapeworm strain imported from Europe has become firmly established in Alberta, Canada.”
  • Growing food with air and solar power: More efficient than planting crops.”—”For several years, researchers around the world have been looking into the idea of growing “food from air,” combining a renewable fuel resource with carbon from the air to create food for a type of bacteria that create edible protein.”—”They compared the efficiency of the system with a 10-square-kilometer soybean field. Their analysis showed that growing food from air was 10 times as efficient as growing soybeans in the ground. Put another way, they suggested that a 10-square-kilometer piece of land in the Amazon used to grow soybeans could be converted to a one-square-kilometer piece of land for growing food from the air, with the other nine square kilometers turned back to wild forest growth. They also note that the protein produced using the food-from-air approach had twice the caloric value as most other crops such as corn, wheat and rice.”
  • Earth Has a 27.5-Million-Year ‘Heartbeat’, But We Don’t Know What Causes It“—”But through all of that, it seems Earth has been keeping time. A new study of ancient geological events suggests that our planet has a slow, steady ‘heartbeat’ of geological activity every 27 million years or so. This pulse of clustered geological events – including volcanic activity, mass extinctions, plate reorganizations and sea level rises – is incredibly slow, a 27.5-million-year cycle of catastrophic ebbs and flows. But luckily for us, the research team notes we have another 20 million years before the next ‘pulse’.”
  • How our ancestors conquered the dark to produce the world’s oldest art.”—”To shed light on how Stone Age artists might have worked in these dark, hard-to-access spaces, archaeologists in Spain have scoured the archaeological record to look for evidence of how early humans used wood and other substances to make torches and lamps that could have illuminated their stone canvas.” “Based as much as possible on archaeological evidence found in Paleolithic caves, the researchers made their own versions of prehistoric torches and grease lamps. The team then tested how well they worked inside Isuntza 1 Cave in the Basque region of Spain.” Also “Archaeologists recreated three common kinds of Paleolithic cave lighting. Experiments could enhance our understanding of the origin of prehistoric art in caves.”
  • Venus may still be active based on ‘pack ice’ finding“—”A new analysis of radar images taken by NASA’s Magellan mission, which mapped the surface of Venus in the early 1990s, revealed evidence of tectonic motion. This motion on the Venusian surface looks like blocks of crust that have moved against one another, much like broken chunks of pack ice. Pack ice are the large pieces of floating ice that can be seen in a mass together in polar seas, like the waters around Antarctica.”
  • Ugh. Not now zombies! “Mushroom growing out of fossilized ant reveals new genus and species of fungal parasite.”—”Oregon State University research has identified the oldest known specimen of a fungus parasitizing an ant, and the fossil also represents a new fungal genus and species.”
  • Ugh. Not now Mongo! “2014 UN271: A possible dwarf planet from the Oort Cloud on a tour through the Solar System”—”This new object, 2014 UN271, is not just unusual, but radically exceptional among all known bodies in the Solar System to date. Discovered about 29 AU out from the Sun and currently around 22 away, its orbit takes it from just beyond the orbit of Saturn (10.9 AU) all the way out to the Oort Cloud – no, not the Hill Cloud. the Oort Cloud.” “Based on the given absolute magnitude, and given how exceptionally red it looked in 2014 precovery images from CFHT (the g – r color was 0.9, and r – i was 0.5!) I would estimate at an albedo of 0.01-0.08 a diameter of 130-370 kilometers (nominally 160) which puts it on a similar scale, if not larger than, Sarabat’s huge comet C/1729 P1, and almost undoubtedly the largest Oort Cloud object ever discovered- almost in dwarf planet territory! I have little doubt in my mind that as this gets closer to the Sun, it will begin displaying the coma and tail typical of every other object yet seen in its orbit. It almost feels premature to ascribe any sort of theoretical slope to it with how little precedent there is for objects like this, but if Hale-Bopp is any indication with its slope of 20 at large distances, then 2014 UN271 could possibly reach magnitude 13 in early 2031 – but I wouldn’t count on much brighter than 16 or 17 just yet. Either way, that’s impressively bright, and this object should make an exceptional target of study in the next couple of decades to accompany how exceptional an object it looks to be.”
  • Rainbo’s Tonya Papanikolov Believes in the Magic of Mushrooms.”
  • Can tripping on ketamine cure PTSD? I decided to try. When conventional therapy and drugs fail, a new wave of clinics are helping patients get high.”
  • Technology could make the renewable energy source a more viable choice.”—”One major challenge in scaling up [solar steam generation] technology is the limit in the capillary force beyond a certain column height, when the water cannot wick fast enough to keep up with the evaporation process. The capillary force, based on the surface tension that causes water to ‘climb’ a porous paper towel, drives the water toward the evaporator. Inspired by mangrove trees thriving along coastlines, the researchers bypassed this hurdle by creating a synthetic tree to replace the capillary action with transpiration, the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from leaves, stems, and flowers. Transpiration can pump water up insulating tubes of any desired height.”
  • Two Viking burials, separated by an ocean, contain close kin. Two Viking Age warriors from the same family died hundreds of kilometers apart.”
  • Bio-inspired hydrogel protects the heart from post-op adhesions.”—”A hydrogel that forms a barrier to keep heart tissue from adhering to surrounding tissue after surgery was developed and successfully tested in rodents by a team of University of California San Diego researchers. The team of engineers, scientists and physicians also conducted a pilot study on porcine hearts, with promising results.”
  • Pathogenic bacteria rendered almost harmless. By identifying one of the mechanisms regulating the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a UNIGE team is proposing a new strategy to combat this bacterium, which is resistant to many common antibiotics.”
  • Team describes science-based hiccups intervention.”—”In the publication, the scientists coined a new term for the intervention: the ‘forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool,’ or FISST” “FISST is a rigid drinking tube with an inlet valve that requires forceful suction to draw water from a cup into the mouth. The suction and swallow simultaneously stimulate two nerves, the phrenic and vagus nerves, to relieve hiccups. Forceful suction induces the diaphragm, a sheaf of muscle that inflates the lungs during breathing, to contract. The suction and swallow also prompt the epiglottis, a flap that covers the windpipe during swallowing, to close. This ends the hiccup spasms.”
  • From the Niven’s Droud dept: “Implantable Brain Device Relieves Pain in Early Study. Experiment Offers What Study Authors Call a ‘Blueprint’ for the Development of Brain Implants to Treat Pain Syndromes & Brain-Based Disorders Like Anxiety, Depression & Panic Attacks.”
  • Nerve stimulation effective in patients with untreatable cluster headaches. Extremely painful chronic cluster headaches – sometimes referred to as ‘suicide headaches’ – can be prevented by stimulating the occipital nerve in the back of the head, according to research conducted by Professor Emeritus of Neurology Michel Ferrari from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The study showed that nerve stimulation reduces the frequency and severity of attacks in patients who could not be treated with medication. The researchers reported in The Lancet Neurology that some subjects continued to feel the benefits for several years.”
  • It’s True: Stress Does Turn Hair Gray (And It’s Reversible).”—”And while it may seem intuitive that stress can accelerate graying, the researchers were surprised to discover that hair color can be restored when stress is eliminated, a finding that contrasts with a recent study in mice that suggested that stressed-induced gray hairs are permanent.”
  • Anti-aging protein in red blood cells helps stave off cognitive decline. Mice lacking ADORA2B in their blood exhibit accelerated aging, including poor memory and hearing deficits.”
  • Physicists bring human-scale object to near standstill, reaching a quantum state. The results open possibilities for studying gravity’s effects on relatively large objects in quantum states.”
  • Bacteria serves tasty solution to plastic crisis. Scientists have devised a novel way of tackling the mounting issue of plastic pollution… by using bacteria to transform plastic waste into vanilla flavouring.”
  • Tweet—”Neither our evolutionary history nor our adoption of technology has come about with the express purpose of promoting a sustainable, healthy and equitable world. These days we rewire society to sell ads. 9/n”. Also “Stewardship of global collective behavior.”–”Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.”
  • Twitch bans popular streamers Amouranth and Indiefoxx after yoga ASMR streams. This wasn’t about a hot tub stream.” Also “For hot tub streamer Amouranth, harassment is just part of the job. Kaitlyn Siragusa chats about what it’s like to work as a hot tub streamer.”
  • Social media thrives on shame – but how should we handle an offensive past coming to light? We need to give people a chance to change without diminishing the hurt caused to marginalised communities.”
  • OnlyFans to Pivot Away From Pornography, Seeking $1 Billion USD Valuation.” Also “OnlyFans Seeks New Funding at Valuation Above $1 Billion.” Also tweet—”Build online platform off sex workers and queer people (craigslist, tumblr, onlyfans), ban the folks that built the platform, profit. Rinse and repeat.” Also, from 2020: “How the rich and famous stole OnlyFans from sex workers. Sex workers brought tens of millions of people to the subscriber-only social network. Now they say it’s dumping them in favour of celebrities.” Also “The 1% of OnlyFans. It’s easier than ever for privileged folx to start sex work for clout, often at the expense of marginalized sex workers.” Also “The Shady, Secret History Of OnlyFans’ Billionaire Owner” and “OnlyFans owners officially made billions from lockdown porn boom.”
  • Reworking the Erotic Landscape. How trans sex workers navigate, educate, activate and otherwise work the system.”
  • Um, hey, Jack, that includes you, unfortunately. “Patreon CEO Jack Conte on Why Creators Can’t Depend on Platforms. Who really owns your audience?” And, they left SWers in the dust too.
  • The problem, as always, is payment processing and reaching the audience, but “Sex Workers Are Coding Their Own FuturesMore sex workers are leaving behind the restrictions of platforms such as OnlyFans by coding—and controlling—their own sites.”—”With the rise of freelance marketplaces such as OnlyFans, hundreds of thousands of sex workers are taking more control over their direct sales and bypassing traditional marketplaces such as strip clubs and porn studios. Performers can choose what type of content to make, how they promote it and who they sell it to. Some see this development as a tool for liberation, furthering the progress of fourth-wave feminism by subversively using tools such as social media to challenge censorship and claim self-sovereignty.”
  • Tim Cook called Nancy Pelosi to warn her against disrupting the iPhone with impending antitrust bills. Big Tech lobbyists are fighting “tooth and nail” against regulation.”
  • Amazon Prime Day Is Dystopian. The subscription service is Amazon’s greatest—and most terrifying—invention.”
  • Amazon labels millions of unsold products for destruction, new investigation finds. A peek inside the ‘destruction zone’ at one Amazon warehouse in the UK.”—”ITV found stacks of boxes marked “destroy” that were filled with electronics, jewelry, books, and other new or gently used items in one warehouse’s “destruction zone.” The news outlet caught the practice on camera while going undercover at the Dunfermline fulfillment center in Scotland. It says it tracked some of the goods to recycling centers and a landfill. About 124,000 items at Dunfermline were labeled “destroy” during a single week in April, according to an internal document obtained by ITV News. Just 28,000 items were set aside for donations during the same period. About half of all the stuff that’s trashed are things that people returned, a former Amazon employee told ITV. While the other half are “unopened and still in their shrink wrap,” the ex-employee said.” Also tweet—”FINALLY environmentally destructive consumerism can take place WITHOUT the consumer!”
  • What the Crypto Crowd Doesn’t Understand About Economics. Digital currency has always been a highly unusual asset class, but it won’t stay that way forever.”
  • Monero emerges as crypto of choice for cybercriminals. Untraceable “privacy coin” is rising in popularity among ransomware gangs.”
  • ‘Woke up sweating’: Some Texans shocked to find their smart thermostats were raised remotely. Some said they didn’t know their thermostats were being accessed from afar until it was almost 80 degrees inside their homes.”
  • Canon put AI cameras in its Chinese offices that only let smiling workers inside. The latest example of dystopian workplace surveillance.”
  • Tweet—”Today I Learned Twitter openly admits that it sells the entire Twitter firehose to NTT Data, which then resells to facial recognition provider NEC Corporation, which “cross-analyzes” tweets with proprietary data (facial rec?).”
  • Hyundai × Boston Dynamics: Welcome to the future of mobility. In June, Hyundai officially acquired Boston Dynamics, an acquisition which represents a significant leap forward towards our overall goal of ‘Progress for Humanity.’ To celebrate the occasion, we’ve created two films which showcase the amazing robots from Boston Dynamics, and our friends from BTS.”
  • ‘Flashed’ nanodiamonds are just a phase. Rice produces fluorinated nanodiamond, graphene, concentric carbon via flash Joule heating.”—”Diamond may be just a phase carbon goes through when exposed to a flash of heat, but that makes it far easier to obtain. The Rice University lab of chemist James Tour is now able to “evolve” carbon through phases that include valuable nanodiamond by tightly controlling the flash Joule heating process they developed 18 months ago. Best of all, they can stop the process at will to get product they want.”
  • They’d beam ads directly into our eyeballs if they could. Wait. Oh no. “The one developer who publicly agreed to try Facebook’s VR ads is already backing away. Resolution Games won’t test Facebook ads in Blaston anymore.” Also “Facebook’s VR advertising plans feel inevitable, but it’s starting off rocky. Commentary: The first planned app to test ads backed out. Here’s a suggestion for what should come next.”
  • A CCTV Company Is Paying Remote Workers in India to Yell at Armed Robbers. Clerks at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores are being constantly monitored by a voice of god that can intervene from thousands of miles away.”
  • ‘I don’t think you can have an anti-racist tech company at scale’. Surveillance expert Chris Gilliard reflects on 2020’s racial justice protests, the hypocrisy of tech companies’ commitments, and where we are one year later.”
  • They lost their loved ones to Covid. Then they heard from them again.”
  • Stanford researchers find signs of inflammation in brains of people who died of COVID-19. A detailed molecular analysis of tissue from the brains of individuals who died of COVID-19 reveals extensive signs of inflammation and neurodegeneration, but no sign of the virus that causes the disease.”
  • This Pandemic Isn’t Over. The smallpox epidemic of the 1860s offers us a valuable, if disconcerting, clue about how epidemics actually end.”
  • The slow transitions of a lingering pandemic. COVID-19 is ebbing in some parts of the world.”
  • The Bizarre Long COVID Symptom That Makes Your Favourite Food Smell Like Trash. Many people lose their sense of smell after contracting COVID-19. For most, it comes back fine. For others, not so much.”
  • Billy Eichner Has Some Tips for Post-Pandemic Living. The actor fills us in on getting back to regular life, playing Matt Drudge and the future of ‘Billy on the Street'”
  • American workers don’t want to go back to normal, and that makes sense.”
  • Is this the end of productivity? Amid the pandemic, workers whose jobs once defined their lives are questioning what it was all for.”
  • The Tyranny Of Time. The clock is a useful social tool, but it is also deeply political. It benefits some, marginalizes others and blinds us from a true understanding of our own bodies and the world around us.”
  • Trump Wanted His Justice Department to Stop ‘SNL’ From Teasing Him. ‘SNL’ amounted to ‘nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials,’ Trump tweeted in 2018, pondering whether his thought “’should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?'” Also “Trump Rages Against ‘Saturday Night Live’ In Unhinged Conspiracy Rant The former president claims he could be back in power soon.”
  • ‘Pure insanity’: How Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department to help overturn the election. New documents and emails reveal how far the president and his supporters were willing to go to try to keep Donald Trump in office in a frenzied three-week stretch that tested Justice Department leaders.”
  • Scoop: Trump works refs ahead of book barrage“—”Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.”
  • Fox’s anti-“critical race theory” parents are also GOP activists. One “everyday American” “parent” is a GOP consultant who worked for the RNC in 2020.” Also tweet—”Went through today’s New Yorker profile of an anti-CRT activist, and highlighted in yellow all direct quotes, paraphrases, or quotes passed on by that activist. Blue is other “concerned parents,” green is Kimberlé Crenshaw. Mind-boggling. Basically sponsored content.”
  • A Lawyer For Jan. 6 Defendants Is Giving Her Clients Remedial Lessons In American History. D.C. attorney H. Heather Shaner says that books and movies about the uglier parts of American history are “a revelation” for some of her Capitol attack clients.”
  • The Politics of Recognition in The Age of Social Media.”—”The quest for recognition is more exacting and slower than that for reputation, and appreciating this distinction is a first step to seeing beyond the cultural limits of the platform, towards the broader political and economic obstacles that currently stand in the way of full and equal participation.”
  • French spyware bosses indicted for their role in the torture of dissidents. An investigation into the sale of surveillance technologies to Libya and Egypt has led to charges against leaders at one company.”
  • India Walton Poised To Become Buffalo’s First Socialist Mayor. Walton, who would also be the city’s first female mayor, ran on police accountability and addressing poverty in one of the country’s poorest cities.”
  • Dems in power but can’t get anything done, divided against themselves? Story old as time, so as tempting as it is to blame the DINOs … yeah, actually, still going to blame those race for the Overton middle “moderates” … “Biden faces growing pressure from the left over voting bill
  • Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection.”—”Alabama sheriffs who lost reelection in 2018 personally pocketed funds and deleted public records, an investigation by AL.com and ProPublica found. Holes were drilled through government-issued smartphones and leftover rice was poured down the drain, among other things. It’s a longstanding tradition that sheriffs aren’t typically held accountable for.”
  • US Army has hidden or downplayed loss of firearms for years. The U.S. Army has hidden or downplayed the extent to which its firearms disappear, significantly understating losses and thefts even as some weapons are used in street crimes.”
  • Israeli Supreme Court rejects challenge to open-fire rules“—”Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a legal challenge to the military’s rules on when soldiers can fire their weapons amid weeks of violent protests that have killed dozens of Palestinians on the border with Gaza. Six human rights groups had asked the court to declare as unlawful any regulations that allow soldiers to open fire at unarmed civilians. But in its unanimous ruling, the court sided with the Israeli military, which argued that the protests were taking place in the context of a long-running armed conflict with the Islamic militant group Hamas which rules Gaza and that weapons-use regulations are subject to the rules of armed conflict. Such rules provide greater leeway for the use of lethal force than those governing law enforcement practices.”
  • Lawmakers mark Juneteenth by reviving ‘abolition amendment’. As the nation this week made Juneteenth a federal holiday, honoring the end of the enslavement of Black people, lawmakers are reviving calls to end a loophole in the Constitution that allowed another form of slavery — forced labor for those convicted of some crimes — to thrive.”
  • How to cheat on your taxes.”
  • Money Is Piling Up For America’s Family Dynasties. A new study warns of rapidly growing fortunes being concentrated in fewer hands that have never known hard work.”
  • Tweet—”This is the temperature change globally from 1850, in Sweden from 1860 and in the Arctic Ocean from 1893. It seems we’re almost running out of colours… Find the stripes for your region at http://showyourstripes.info , an initiative by the University of Reading. #ShowYourStripes”
  • Philosophy’s lack of progress. For centuries, all philosophers seem to have done is question and debate. Why do philosophical problems resist solution?”
  • History As End. 1619, 1776, and the politics of the past.”
  • ORCA Mixed-Use Development + Park“—”The slender residential towers are placed to maximize permeability, preserve view corridors and encourage connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists. The towers are articulated with stepping balconies and connected with elevated bridges containing amenities for residents. The bridges between towers form dramatic urban windows which frame city views and maximize visual porosity.” When I was there, I was told that for a period of time some buildings in Edinburgh was designed with a top-level deck, with the intention of connecting them via sky walkways. I can never find a reference for that when I look for more information, but it’s a little factoid that I’ve stored away.
  • FFS. Another one? “The VR Myst remake is also coming to the Mac and PC this fall. It’s playable even if you don’t have a headset.”
  • Sweet Tooth review: Evidently The Walking Dead just needed a deerboy. It’s light(ish) but includes masks, disease-driven death, and humans being bad to each other.”
  • Voxel Throne Generator—”This generator is created for the Procedural Generation Challenge on /r/proceduralgeneration. It generates simple voxel thrones and displays an ugly preview for them. It can also export a throne as a VOX file …”
  • There’s literally an episode This American Life on “Fiasco” largely about a performance of Peter Pan that went wrong. Tweet—”can’t wait for school plays again so we can get more moments like when my friend played Peter Pan”. Remembering that one time when an actor got sick and fainted right before curtain, and threw an entire production I was in into disarray …
  • The clever folds that kept letters secret. Hundreds of years ago, people developed ingenious methods to secure their letters from prying eyes – and they did it with only paper, adhesive and folds.”
  • Watch “I met a WITCH | Sorĉiston renkontis mi.”—”Sydney trains can be a scary place early in the morning. Frumatene, Sidnejaj trajnoj povas esti timiga loko.”