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.”