Omnium Gatherum: 18aug2021

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

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

  • STOP THE PRESSES! Weyland and Tantiss are canon now?! OMG OMG. “The Bad Batch Theory: The Finale’s Mystery Planet Is Wayland From Legends.”
  • Index Card RPG Master Edition & Viking Death Squad“—”Modiphius is teaming up with indie tabletop creator Runehammer to bring the Index Card RPG Master Edition to your friendly local gaming store in a beautiful new print edition, and a pre-order featuring a special Collectors Edition for fans. Runehammer has also unveiled the insane heavy metal rpg Viking Death Squad which will debut in retail at the same time! More details below and you will be available to pre-order both from the Modiphius webstore very soon. Pre-orders will get the complete PDF on purchase, and both books will be heading to your local game stores in the spring 2022.”
  • Gordinaak“—”44 Pages of Mech Bustin’ Gang warfare set on a dying planet… Sounds fun… Right?!? Gordinaak is a new RPG* using Tuesday Knight Game’s PANIC ENGINE.” Tweet—”This is our first 3pp use of the “Panic Engine,” the system behind Mothership. And while this requires the Mothership Player’s Guide to play, there’s tons of great content in here to whip up a fast and furious frenzy in your own dying world! Highly recommended!” Requires at least the free / pwyw PDF of Mothership: Player’s Survival Guide.
  • No One Is Talking About This [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Patricia Lockwood—”From ‘a formidably gifted writer’ (The New York Times Book Review), a book that asks: Is there life after the internet? As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms ‘the portal,’ where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats–from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness–begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal’s void. An avalanche of images, details, and references accumulate to form a landscape that is post-sense, post-irony, post-everything. ‘Are we in hell?’ the people of the portal ask themselves. ‘Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?’ Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: ‘Something has gone wrong,’ and ‘How soon can you get here?’ As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary. Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.”
  • Announcing Nona the Ninth, a New Addition to The Locked Tomb Series From Tamsyn Muir!” Third book, now the fourth book; and further delayed. But, there’s a new third book coming when the old third book was supposed to arrive-ish!
  • 1,000-Year-Old Remains May Be Of A Highly Respected Nonbinary Warrior, Study Finds“—”Analysis of ancient DNA found in Finland has unveiled a surprise a century later – the remains of an early medieval warrior thought to be female may have been nonbinary. The new findings challenge previous ideas about gender roles and expression and suggest that nonbinary people were valued and respected members of their communities, researchers concluded in their study, published in the peer-reviewed European Journal of Archaeology. The findings are a reminder that “biology does not directly dictate a person’s self-identity,” said Ulla Moilanen, the study’s lead author and an archaeologist at Finland’s University of Turku.”
  • A Carnivorous Plant Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight in North America. Triantha occidentalis is picky: It won’t eat insects heavy enough to be its pollinators.”
  • Gamera kaiju desu ne?! “Rare embryo from dinosaur age was laid by human-size turtle. The eggshell was incredibly thick.”
  • More on this: “New Odds On Asteroid Bennu. Will It Strike Earth?“—”At a news conference on August 11, 2021, NASA scientists said there is a 1-in-1,750 chance that asteroid Bennu could collide with Earth between now and the year 2300. The greatest chance in the next 300 years will come on September 24, 2182. The estimates suggest a slightly greater chance than previously, but scientists say they are not worried.” “Still, Bennu and another asteroid known as (29075) 1950 DA remain the two most hazardous asteroids to Earth, as far as scientists know at this time. NASA was concerned enough about Bennu that it sent a spacecraft to the asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft rendezvoused with Bennu in late 2018 and touched down on the asteroid’s surface in late 2020, successfully collecting a sample. The spacecraft learned, among other things, that Bennu is very dark, and very ancient. It’s a bit wider than the Empire State Building in New York City is tall.”
  • More on this: “A Mammoth Tusk Reveals a Woolly (and Unprecedented) Tale. Scientists used something called isotopic mapping to get a first look at how the creatures lived more than 17,000 years ago.”
  • Origin of dinosaur-ending asteroid possibly found. And it’s dark.“—”About 66 million years ago, an estimated 6-mile-wide (9.6 kilometers) object slammed into Earth, triggering a cataclysmic series of events that resulted in the demise of non-avian dinosaurs. Now, scientists think they know where that object came from. According to new research, the impact was caused by a giant dark primitive asteroid from the outer reaches of the solar system’s main asteroid belt, situated between Mars and Jupiter. This region is home to many dark asteroids — space rocks with a chemical makeup that makes them appear darker (reflecting very little light) compared with other types of asteroids.” “Simulating over hundreds of millions of years, the model showed thermal forces and gravitational tugs from planets periodically slingshotting large asteroids out of the belt. On average, an asteroid more than 6 miles wide from the outer edge of the belt was flung into a collision course with Earth once every 250 million years, the researchers found. This calculation makes such an event five times more common than previously thought and consistent with the Chicxulub crater created just 66 million years ago, which is the only known impact crater thought to have been produced by such a large asteroid in the last 250 million years. Furthermore, the model looked at the distribution of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ impactors in the asteroid belt and showed half of the expelled asteroids were the dark carbonaceous chondrites, which matches the type thought to have caused Chicxulub crater.” “We find in the study that some 60% of large terrestrial impactors come from the outer half of the asteroid belt … and most asteroids in that zone are dark/primitive … So there is a 60% — 3 in 5 — probability that the next one will come from the same region.”
  • “partly burnt runaway stellar remnants” is my new band name and our tour bus is also a fast moving metallic object going in the wrong direction. Our first single is a ska cover of the StarSpongeBob TriangleHat theme song. “Runaway star caught streaking across Milky Way at 2 million mph … in the wrong direction“—”In 2017, astronomers noticed a star streaking out of the Milky Way at nearly 2 million mph (3.2 million km/h) — roughly four times faster than our sun orbits — and flying against the direction in which most stars trek around the galactic center. It’s also made of completely different star stuff, mostly heavy, ‘metallic’ atoms rather than the usual light elements. LP 40-365, as it was called, was as eye-catching as a wooden car barreling up the interstate against traffic at hundreds of miles per hour. “It is exceptionally weird in a lot of different ways,” said study lead author J.J. Hermes, an astronomer at Boston University. The star moves so quickly that it’s headed out of our galaxy for good, which astronomers have taken as evidence that the metallic explorer was launched here by a cosmic catastrophe — a supernova. But they couldn’t tell how the supernova had sent it flying. Was LP 40-365 a piece of the exploded star itself? Or was it a partner star flung clear by the shockwave associated with star explosions? A new analysis of old data finds that the star — called a white dwarf — spins about its axis at a leisurely pace — a hint that it is indeed a piece of stellar debris (not a partner star) that managed to survive one of the galaxy’s most violent and mysterious events.” “LP 40-365 is one of a handful of fast-moving, extremely metallic white dwarfs astronomers have recently spotted, the flagship member of a group they are calling ‘partly burnt runaway stellar remnants’. Collecting data on more stars that supernovas have failed to burn thoroughly could help researchers get a better idea of what these systems are doing before the explosive flashes appear in astronomers’ telescopes.”
  • Wow. Also, oh no. “Plants Feel Pain and Might Even See. It’s time to retire the hierarchical classification of living things.”
  • Holy fuck! Terrifying to imagine being this poor thing! The Brain That Wouldn’t Die / Johnny Got His Gun anyone? “Tiny human brain grown in lab has eye-like structures that ‘see’ light.”—”Small blobs of human brain grown in a dish have been coaxed into forming rudimentary eyes, which respond to light by sending signals to the rest of the brain tissue. The pairs of eye-like structures create tissues similar to those in real eyes, including a round lens, which normally focuses an image, and a retina, the patch of tissue at the back of the eye that senses light. In a way, the brain tissue is ‘seeing’ light …” *shudder*
  • Unicorn chaser time! “Dog coat patterns have ancient origin.”—”Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but variations in color patterns provide some of their most distinctive characteristics. A newly released study sheds light on a subset of these patterns, unexpectedly leading to new questions about long-held tenets of dog evolution.”
  • How Swarms of Fireflies Sync Their Flashes. You can believe your eyes because lightning bugs really are coordinating their nightly glows.”
  • NASA rover marks nine years on Mars with glorious 360-degree panorama. Check out the knobbly rocks and rounded hills that dot the Martian landscape in Curiosity’s gorgeous view of its home on the side of a mountain.”
  • Just Two Robots Hanging Out on Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover ended up in the frame when the Ingenuity helicopter was snapping pics during flight.”
  • Saturn’s rippling rings point to massive, soupy core hidden inside. The findings might challenge established models of the formation of gas giants.”—”Saturn’s rings aren’t just a beautiful adornment — scientists can use the feature to understand what’s happening deep inside the planet. By using the famous rings like a seismograph, scientists studied processes in the planet’s interior and determined that its core must be ‘fuzzy.’ Instead of a solid sphere like Earth’s, the core of Saturn appears to consist of a ‘soup’ of rocks, ice and metallic fluids that slosh around and affect the planet’s gravity.”
  • The galaxy is wabi sabi! We’re gonna need a whole lot of gold to kintsugi that. Or really huge tweezers? “Scientists discover a ‘break’ in one of the Milky Way’s arms. NASA says it’s ‘like a splinter poking out from a plank of wood.'”—”Astronomers have done some impressive work in figuring out what our home Milky Way galaxy looks like, even though we’re sitting inside of it. We know it’s a spiral galaxy and that it has two major arms. A new study reveals one of the galaxy’s minor arms has a “break” in it, a set of stars and gas clouds that are sticking out. NASA on Tuesday described the break as being like a splinter sticking out from wood. ‘Stretching some 3,000 light-years, this is the first major structure identified with an orientation so dramatically different than the arm’s,’ the space agency said in a press release.” Also “Astronomers find a ‘break’ in one of the Milky Way’s spiral arms.”
  • Cracking a mystery of massive black holes and quasars with supercomputer simulations.”—”At the center of galaxies, like our own Milky Way, lie massive black holes surrounded by spinning gas. Some shine brightly, with a continuous supply of fuel, while others go dormant for millions of years, only to reawaken with a serendipitous influx of gas. It remains largely a mystery how gas flows across the universe to feed these massive black holes. UConn Assistant Professor of Physics Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, lead author on a paper published today in The Astrophysical Journal, addresses some of the questions surrounding these massive and enigmatic features of the universe by using new, high-powered simulations.”
  • Astronomers see galaxies in ultra-high definition“—”Astronomers have captured some of the most detailed images ever seen of galaxies in deep space. They are in much higher definition than normal and reveal the inner workings of galaxies in unprecedented detail. Many of the images could yield insights into the role of black holes in star and planet formation. The researchers say that the pictures will transform our understanding of how galaxies evolve. The images are of the radio waves emitted by the galaxies. Researchers often study the radio waves from astronomical objects rather than the visible light they give off because it enables them to see things that would otherwise be blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere or dust and gas in faraway galaxies.”
  • Human remains in tomb are best-preserved ever found in Pompeii. Former slave who rose through the social ranks was interred at necropolis of Porta Sarno before AD79.”
  • Brighton researcher leads first glimpse inside the giant stones of Stonehenge. Professor David Nash has led a team taking the first glimpse inside one of Stonehenge’s giant sarsen stones, providing new insights into these iconic objects.”—”The core sample used to make the first comprehensive scientific analysis of one of Stonehenge’s imposing megaliths has an interesting history itself. It was taken from what is classified as Stone 58 – one of several stones that had fallen over – that underwent conservation work in the 1950s following the discovery of a crack running through the stone. To conserve the stone, three holes around 2.5cm in diameter were drilled through its full thickness (around 1m) to insert metal rods. Two of the cores then disappeared, though part of one was rediscovered at Salisbury Museum in 2019. The third core was given to Robert Phillips, who worked for the drilling company, and went with him to the USA when he retired. Phillips returned the core to English Heritage in 2018 to provide material for research, before he passed away in 2020. Analysing a small 7cm section of the 1950s core, Nash’s team found that the sarsen’s structure of sand-sized quartz grains cemented tightly together by an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals was what made the stone so impervious to crumbling or erosion.”
  • Facebook Is Helping Militias Spread Vaccine Disinformation and Calling Them ‘Experts’. A new report finds violent militia groups have become ‘key’ spreaders of vaccine misinformation on the platform.”
  • Bad News. Selling the story of disinformation.”—”Behold, the platforms and their most prominent critics both proclaim: hundreds of millions of Americans in an endless grid, ready for manipulation, ready for activation. Want to change an output—say, an insurrection, or a culture of vaccine skepticism? Change your input. Want to solve the ‘crisis of faith in key institutions’ and the ‘loss of faith in evidence-based reality’? Adopt a better content-moderation policy. The fix, you see, has something to do with the algorithm.” Also tweet thread—”But this is where I think it’s crucial to distinguish between what social media *amplifies* or *incentivizes* vs. what it simply *makes visible* or *allows.* You don’t have to be a techno-determinist to see that FB/Twitter/YT don’t just passively host content. They also shape it.”
  • Apple’s Most Profitable Business Comes With a Huge Cost. It’s About to Pay the Price. Apple’s rocky relationship with iOS developers is making Congress take notice.”
  • Apple Keeps Shutting Down Employee-Run Surveys on Pay Equity — and Labor Lawyers Say It’s Illegal. The company bans surveys that include diversity data.”
  • Twitter’s photo-cropping algorithm prefers young, beautiful, and light-skinned faces. Results from the company’s AI bias competition are revealing — and helpful.”
  • Afghans scramble to delete digital history, evade biometrics. Concerns that digital IDs and databases can be used to target people. Aid groups, government agencies responsible for securing systems. Rights groups advising activists on how to delete digital trails.” Tweet—”I mean jesus fucking CHRIST people, how many times did we warn about the security & privacy vulnerabilities of facial recognition & biometrics as a paradigm in itself & of its storage in the long term? And now you just gave those tools and a preloaded database. To the TALIBAN.” Tweet—”Siri, show me an example of why you don’t build systems of surveillance that depend on the goodness of the people in charge.”
  • Deep in rural China, bitcoin miners are packing up. A government clampdown has forced most of them offline.”
  • Tweet—”I’m not a professional data analyst, but… oh wait I *am* a professional data analyst. Nebraska is lying about how many covid cases it has.” Also “Nebraska’s reporting of COVID-19 data takes another hit” —”COVID-19 data in Nebraska, which already has been scarce since the state stopped publishing a dashboard of information at the end of June, has become even scarcer. The expiration of an executive order on Saturday means Nebraska’s health districts can no longer publicly report COVID-19 statistics, such as case numbers and vaccinations, for counties with fewer than 20,000 people.”
  • One state has no available ICU beds while thousands more students quarantine due to Covid-19.”—”Those unvaccinated against Covid-19 aren’t just risking their own health — they’re also jeopardizing medical care for others and fueling a surge that’s forcing more students to quarantine, doctors say.” “No ICU beds are left in the entire state of Alabama, the Alabama Hospital Association told CNN on Tuesday.”
  • Christ, what an asshole. Just look at this fucking whiny braying jackass standing next to his company jet. “I’m a landlord with 24 properties. We’re suffering during Biden’s eviction ban, too, and no one is helping.
  • Where is your God now? Maybe this is a sign: “A conservative cardinal who criticized the vaccine caught covid. Days later, he was put on a ventilator. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke was an outspoken vaccine skeptic and criticized the Catholic Church for supporting social distancing.” Also, where is your karma now? Oh. Right. There it is: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for COVID-19. The governor spoke Monday night at a GOP event in Collin County, later tweeting photos of him addressing a maskless crowd. Less than three hours before his diagnosis was announced Tuesday afternoon, he tweeted pictures of a meeting with guitarist Jimmie Vaughan.”
  • How the Pandemic Now Ends. Cases of COVID-19 are rising fast. Vaccine uptake has plateaued. The pandemic will be over one day—but the way there is different now.”—”What, now, is the point of masking, distancing, and other precautions? The answer, as before, is to buy time—for protecting hospitals, keeping schools open, reaching unvaccinated people, and more. Most people will meet the virus eventually; we want to ensure that as many people as possible do so with two doses of vaccine in them, and that everyone else does so over as much time as possible. The pandemic isn’t over, but it will be: The goal is still to reach the endgame with as little damage, death, and disability as possible.”
  • Inside One Company’s Struggle to Get All Its Employees Vaccinated. At an optical business in New York City, it took months of coaxing, a cash bonus and a weekly testing mandate to persuade 90 percent of the staff to get a coronavirus vaccine.”—”One employee said she was so concerned because she thought a vaccine had caused the characters in the film ‘I Am Legend’ to turn into zombies. People opposed to vaccines have circulated that claim about the movie’s plot widely on social media. But the plague that turned people into zombies in the movie was caused by a genetically reprogrammed virus, not by a vaccine.” Tweet—”Oh. My. God. It’s a movie. I made that up. It’s. Not. Real.” This from someone responsible for *cough* completely fucking up *cough* the story I actually quite liked reading.
  • Tweet—”I wrote this about the 11th century Islamic scholar Ibn Sina when the US invaded Afghanistan TWENTY YEARS AGO.”
  • Why Citizen’s Basic Income could help to transform women’s lives. It’s infuriating that it has taken a pandemic to put the idea of Citizen’s Basic Income (CBI) firmly on the political agenda, but if it becomes a reality it will be one good outcome of Covid-19, and a particularly good initiative for women.”
  • Why Australia isn’t aiming for ‘full employment’ anymore“—”Kalecki said the arguments business leaders used against full employment fell into three categories. He said they disliked ‘government interference’; they disliked the idea of governments subsidising consumption and making public investments; and they were concerned about the social and political changes that would result from the maintenance of full employment. That last point was the most interesting. According to Kalecki, if democratic countries started adopting full employment, it would change society in ways that business leaders wouldn’t like and they’d start pushing back. Specifically, it would increase the bargaining power of workers. ‘Under a regime of permanent full employment, the ‘sack’ would cease to play its role as a disciplinary measure,’ he reasoned. ‘The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow.'” “Full employment was abandoned as an official policy in Australia. A new policy was adopted: officials would pursue a level of ‘natural’ unemployment that kept a lid on inflation (i.e. on wages and prices). That policy remains in place today.”
  • Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s ‘Big, Beautiful Tax Cut’. Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed.”
  • ‘Lost Leonardo’ unpeels the mysteries of the Salvator Mundi“—”We’re accustomed to movies — usually adventures, like ‘Indiana Jones’ — with lines that traverse the globe and pinball between global capitals, showing us where our characters are traveling. ‘The Lost Leonardo,’ a documentary about the rediscovery of a Leonardo da Vinci painting, begins with such a line. But its international stops, chronicling the painting’s sales, are baffling leaps.” “To its director, the Danish filmmaker Andreas Koefoed, it’s also a kind of dark fairy tale, complete with a prince and a lost treasure. Above all, perhaps, it’s a portrait of an art world where masterworks can serve as global capital.” “‘It’s not just a painting. It’s more than that,’ Modestini says, speaking by phone from her New York apartment. ‘It’s an object infused with power. That sounds a little weird and corny but I believe that. …'” About The Lost Leonardo—”THE LOST LEONARDO is the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi’s fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. As its price soars, so do questions about its authenticity: is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci? Unravelling the hidden agendas of the richest men and most powerful art institutions in the world, THE LOST LEONARDO reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary.” “In the art market as seen in “Lost Leonardo,” it’s seldom clear who’s buying and who’s selling. One person calls it the most unregulated market after drugs and prostitution.” “Since 2017, the painting hasn’t been seen publicly.” “The painting, though, still looms large in her mind. Its power, she says, is only really conveyed in person. The effect can’t be photographed. It can’t be reproduced. ‘It just emanates this extraordinary sense of something totally beyond human understanding,’ Modestini says. ‘It’s a tragedy that it was so abused,’ she adds, before reflecting on it being out of sight. ‘It’s a continuing tragedy.'” Watch “The Lost Leonardo” trailer.
  • The stolen star. On a 500km journey, a son fulfils his late father’s wishes to return a stolen Aboriginal artefact — a 160kg rock carved with a star. His deed heals a First Nation traumatised by a blood-soaked colonial history.”—”For the past 45 years, the rock has sat half-buried in the garden bed of John Danalis’s family home in Brisbane. Its mysterious markings were fixed in his imagination as a child, as he ran his fingers and toy cars through the deep grooves.” “With the help of close friends, John Danalis hatches a plan to walk the Star of Taroom back to Iman country in a custom-made cart designed by a Brisbane bicycle builder.” “What [my father] did was wrong, but we can turn those [acts] around sometimes and maybe do something really good with it.” “With a band of a dozen volunteers, Mr Danalis sets out on the 500km trek. Over 22 days, they pull the 160kg rock through the lonely bush tracks and bitumen backroads from Brisbane to Taroom and Iman country. Mr Danalis is often asked, ‘Why not just load it in the back of the car?’ For him, the long walk highlights the importance of returning stolen cultural items.” “Mr Danalis says the rock weighs a feather compared to the hefty responsibility of returning it to the Iman people.” “When Iman woman Tamie-Lee Lawson hears of the walk, she feels a ‘deep sense of responsibility’ to travel from Melbourne to join. Following the Star of Taroom also means reconnecting with the culture she has lost. ‘You have that trauma from what’s happened to our people, and it’s something that’s always just under the surface,’ she says. ‘I can’t speak my language, and I don’t know all my ceremonies. Being able to connect to country and … walk where your ancestors have walked and feel their spirits is very healing.'” “It’s healing for everybody … it’s incredible. Who would have thought that a stone could carry so much love and hope and pride? This stone has got some magic about it, that’s for sure.”
  • August 10, 2021: Freight: An Extinction Level Event.”—”As an example of how freight is impacting games, our Car Wars Sixth Edition project required five containers (all on the water, and slowly making their way to our primary warehouse) that each cost over 3x more than they would have if the game had shipped in 2020.” “These freight costs are tearing into already-thin margins for many publishers, and some publishers are being forced to make decisions between shipping now and losing money, or holding inventory at the factory – and losing money. If there is such a thing as win-win options in game publishing (or for any small businesses who rely on global trade), we’re now as far from those options as we can get.” “But unfortunately, the day is fast approaching when the freight costs will force our hand and we’ll have to take steps to mitigate the excessive (and increasingly painful) impact of freight. (Not to mention rising overhead costs in other facets of the operation. As you may have noticed, everything is getting more expensive these days.)”
  • You’ll pry email from my cold dead hands. I deny the premise! “Could Gen Z Free the World From Email? ‘It’s actually crazy how outdated it is.’ People born after AOL Mail was invented seem to prefer to communicate in almost any other way.”—”Despite the reasonable qualms of older generations, Generation Z — generally defined as people born between 1997 and 2012 — is pioneering the return of chaotic trends like low-rise jeans, pop-punk and Ed Hardy. But members of Gen Z do seem to agree with their elders on one thing: Email. Ugh. And, if we’re lucky, maybe they can one day save everyone from overflowing inboxes.”
  • The White Lotus is as clueless about Native Hawaiians as its characters. The HBO series is a scathing roast of white privilege. But does it realize it succumbs to the same point of view?”—”By contrast, soothing Hawaiian folk songs are employed intermittently as release valves, a way of conjuring the notion of an idyllic Hawaii. But having grown up here, hearing those songs in this context embodied a different sort of tension for me: how Hawaii is often both revered and erased when interpreted through a foreign lens. Part of my confusion was not always understanding the show’s intentions; in a series that’s purportedly satirizing white privilege, was using Hawaiian music to soundtrack the spiritual epiphanies of entitled tourists meant to be ironic? Or was it intended as a meta-commentary on the continent’s consumption of native land, culture, and people? Is the show that self-aware? If not (and if you have to ask, the answer is probably no), The White Lotus has a different set of problems to contend with, using Hawaiian folk music the way it uses its few Native Hawaiian characters: as hollow plot devices in service of illuminating the inner lives of the series’s mostly white protagonists.” “… but how successful can a piece of satire be if it replicates the very power structures it purports to satirize?”
  • FFS. “Marvel Studios Only Pays Comic Creators $5000 For Using Their Stories. Marvel reportedly only pays comics creators and writers $5,000 along with a ticket to the premiere of the movie their work is being used in.” Also “Marvel Comic Writer is “Sick to His Stomach” After Seeing MCU Success.”—”Because many comic writers work for hire, they only receive a small amount of royalties from the book itself, but are mostly paid a flat rate. Marvel gives writers a small share of equity that transpires to film success; however, it seems clear that these writers are looking for more.” Also “Marvel and DC face backlash over pay: ‘They sent a thank you note and $5,000 – the movie made $1bn’. As the comics giants make billions from their storylines and characters, writers and artists are speaking out about their struggles for fair payment.”
  • Tweet thread—”So, I shipped an antique typewriter for servicing, it all went great, it was sent back @ups with signature verification and… UPS not only did not deliver it to my house, they claimed I signed for it when I didn’t. I was home all day (work remotely).”
  • Scientists Studying Crows Get Big Surprise –They’re So Smart They Understand the Concept of Zero.”
  • Laura Nyro: the phenomenal singers’ singer the 60s overlooked.” Look, real talk: it’s not a surprise that people are overlooked in the entertainment industry. It’s actually a miracle that anyone gets noticed at all.
  • Rumble in the jungle: what animals would win in a fight? And what wild beasts do Americans think they themselves can take on?” Tweet—”This just tells me that only 39% of Americans have ever met a goose.”
  • An Inca highway still benefits people living nearby. A new study finds that wages, nutrition and schooling levels along a pre-Columbian road are all unusually high.”
  • The Invisible Exercise That Might Count More Than Your Workout. Our ‘hidden’ exercise matters more than we think.”—”With so much emphasis on high-intensity workouts, cycling, or weight training, it can be easy to overlook the physical activities we do for other reasons besides ‘fitness.’ Exercise that gets your heart rate up is important, to be sure, but a popular fitness adage remains true: ‘the best exercise is the one you will do.'”
  • ‘Zeros and Ones’ Review: Ethan Hawke Plays Twin Soldiers in Abel Ferrara’s Scuzzy Plea for a New World Order. Abel Ferrara’s incomprehensible but compelling pandemic noir finds a world that’s finally caught up with the filmmaker’s apocalyptic vision.”—”In other words, of course Abel Ferrara had a hog-wild COVID film loaded in the chamber as if he’d just been waiting for the streets to clear out so he could use them as his sets. And while ‘Zeros and Ones’ may be incomprehensible even by the nonlinear standards of recent work like 2020’s Jungian dream poem ‘Siberia,’ the confusion of its plot is offset by the conviction of its purpose. If most pandemic films have been the obvious product of compromise — of plans abandoned and reshuffled on the fly — Ferrara’s addition to this grim sub-genre feels like it’s been growing hair in the back of his fridge for God knows how long. It’s a scrambled call to action that’s finally being unleashed now that people can appreciate the stakes.”