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.”