Omnium Gatherum: 26sept2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for September 26, 2021

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

  • The New Enlightenment: Discussion with Peter B. Kaufman & Catherine Stihler by Internet Archive. A discussion with the author of The New Enlightenment, Peter B. Kaufman, and the CEO of Creative Commons, Catherine Stihler. Wed, September 29, 2021. 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT.” About The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Peter B Kaufman—”How do we create a universe of truthful and verifiable information, available to everyone? In The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, MIT Open Learning’s Peter B. Kaufman describes the powerful forces that have purposely crippled our efforts to share knowledge widely and freely. Popes and their inquisitors, emperors and their hangmen, commissars and their secret police–throughout history, all have sought to stanch the free flow of information. Kaufman writes of times when the Bible could not be translated–you’d be burned for trying; when dictionaries and encyclopedias were forbidden; when literature and science and history books were trashed and pulped–sometimes along with their authors; and when efforts to develop public television and radio networks were quashed by private industry. In the 21st century, the enemies of free thought have taken on new and different guises–giant corporate behemoths, sprawling national security agencies, gutted regulatory commissions. Bereft of any real moral compass or sense of social responsibility, their work to surveil and control us are no less nefarious than their 16th- and 18th- and 20th- century predecessors. They are all part of what Kaufman calls the Monsterverse. The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge maps out the opportunities to mobilize for the fight ahead of us. With the Internet and other means of media production and distribution–video especially–at hand, knowledge institutions like universities, libraries, museums, and archives have a special responsibility now to counter misinformation, disinformation, and fake news–and especially efforts to control the free flow of information. A film and video producer and former book publisher, Kaufman begins to draft a new social contract for our networked video age. He draws his inspiration from those who fought tooth and nail against earlier incarnations of the Monsterverse–including William Tyndale in the 16th century; Denis Diderot in the 18th; untold numbers of Soviet and Central and East European dissidents in the 20th–many of whom paid the ultimate price. Their successors? Advocates of free knowledge like Aaron Swartz, of free software like Richard Stallman, of an enlightened public television and radio network like James Killian, of a freer Internet like Tim Berners-Lee, of fuller rights and freedoms like Edward Snowden. All have been striving to secure for us a better world, marked by the right balance between state, society, and private gain. The concluding section of the book, its largest piece, builds on their work, drawing up a progressive agenda for how today’s free thinkers can band together now to fight and win. With everything shut and everyone going online, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge is a rousing call to action that expands the definition of what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century.”
  • Brains to Social Sciences“—Interview with Paul Thagard, author of, most recently, Bots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart? [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”An expert on mind considers how animals and smart machines measure up to human intelligence. Octopuses can open jars to get food, and chimpanzees can plan for the future. An IBM computer named Watson won on Jeopardy! and Alexa knows our favorite songs. But do animals and smart machines really have intelligence comparable to that of humans? In Bots and Beasts, Paul Thagard looks at how computers (“bots”) and animals measure up to the minds of people, offering the first systematic comparison of intelligence across machines, animals, and humans. Thagard explains that human intelligence is more than IQ and encompasses such features as problem solving, decision making, and creativity. He uses a checklist of twenty characteristics of human intelligence to evaluate the smartest machines–including Watson, AlphaZero, virtual assistants, and self-driving cars–and the most intelligent animals–including octopuses, dogs, dolphins, bees, and chimpanzees. Neither a romantic enthusiast for nonhuman intelligence nor a skeptical killjoy, Thagard offers a clear assessment. He discusses hotly debated issues about animal intelligence concerning bacterial consciousness, fish pain, and dog jealousy. He evaluates the plausibility of achieving human-level artificial intelligence and considers ethical and policy issues. A full appreciation of human minds reveals that current bots and beasts fall far short of human capabilities.”
  • The Full Rights Dilemma for Future Robots“—”Either don’t give them full rights and risk perpetrating grievous moral wrongs against them, or do give them full rights and risk sacrificing real human interests for the sake of empty machines.”
  • Jeanette Winterson on How Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way We Live and Love“—Interview with Jeanette Winterson about 12 Bytes: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way We Live and Love [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] due October 2021—”Twelve eye-opening, mind-expanding, funny and provocative essays on the implications of artificial intelligence for the way we live and the way we love from New York Times bestselling author Jeanette Winterson. rom the New York Times-bestselling author of Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson, comes an original and entertaining new collection drawing on her years of thinking and reading about artificial intelligence in its bewildering manifestations. She looks to history, religion, myth, literature, the politics of race and gender, and computer science to help us understand the radical changes to the way we live and love that are happening now. When we create non-biological life forms, will we do so in our own image? Or will we accept the once-in-a-species opportunity to remake ourselves in their image? What do love, caring, sex, and attachment look like when humans form connections with non-human helpers, teachers, sex workers, and companions? And what will happen to our deep-rooted assumptions about gender? Will the physical body that is our home soon be enhanced by biological and neural implants, keeping us fitter, younger, and connected? Is it time to join Elon Musk and leave Planet Earth? With wit, compassion, and curiosity, Winterson tackles AI’s most interesting talking points, from the algorithms that data-dossier your whole life, to the weirdness of backing up your brain.”
  • The Philosophical Life of Plants“—”In what ways have encounters with plants determined theory and in what ways do they continue to do so? The Philosophical Life of Plants is a research network funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, a five-way collaboration between various philosophy and literature departments, the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (London) and the Goethe- and Schiller-Archiv in Weimar. Its aim is to explore the ways in which plants and thinking have been interlinked since Goethe’s fateful Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen [The Metamorphosis of Plants](1790), the ways in which theoretical ideas have been determined by encounters with plants over the past two centuries.”
  • Ancient Pathways Between Species Are Disappearing—Fast.” Excerpt from Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] ed by Paul Hawken—”A radically new understanding of and practical approach to climate change by noted environmentalist Paul Hawken, creator of the New York Times bestseller Drawdown. Regeneration offers a visionary new approach to climate change, one that weaves justice, climate, biodiversity, equity, and human dignity into a seamless tapestry of action, policy, and transformation that can end the climate crisis in one generation. It is the first book to describe and define the burgeoning regeneration movement spreading rapidly throughout the world. Regeneration describes how an inclusive movement can engage the majority of humanity to save the world from the threat of global warming, with climate solutions that directly serve our children, the poor, and the excluded. This means we must address current human needs, not future existential threats, real as they are, with initiatives that include but go well beyond solar, electric vehicles, and tree planting to include such solutions as the fifteen-minute city, bioregions, azolla fern, food localization, fire ecology, decommodification, forests as farms, and the number one solution for the world: electrifying everything. Paul Hawken and the nonprofit Regeneration Organization are launching a series of initiatives to accompany the book, including a streaming video series, curriculum, podcasts, teaching videos, and climate action software. Regeneration is the inspiring and necessary guide to inform the rapidly spreading climate movement.”
  • Centuries Before Fifty Shades, A Runaway Hit About Kinky Sex.” About Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, excerpt from Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Leigh Cowart—”An exploration of why people all over the world love to engage in pain on purpose–from dominatrices, religious ascetics, and ultramarathoners to ballerinas, icy ocean bathers, and sideshow performers. Masochism is sexy, human, reviled, worshipped, and can be delightfully bizarre. Deliberate and consensual pain has been with us for millennia, encompassing everyone from Black Plague flagellants to ballerinas dancing on broken bones to competitive eaters choking down hot peppers while they cry. Masochism is a part of us. It lives inside workaholics, tattoo enthusiasts, and all manner of garden variety pain-seekers. At its core, masochism is about feeling bad, then better–a phenomenon that is long overdue for a heartfelt and hilarious investigation. And Leigh Cowart would know: they are not just a researcher and science writer–they’re an inveterate, high-sensation seeking masochist. And they have a few questions: Why do people engage in masochism? What are the benefits and the costs? And what does masochism have to say about the human experience? By participating in many of these activities themselves, and through conversations with psychologists, fellow scientists, and people who seek pain for pleasure, Cowart unveils how our minds and bodies find meaning and relief in pain–a quirk in our programming that drives discipline and innovation even as it threatens to swallow us whole.”
  • Watch “Sidney Poitier, Fred Katz, and Henry L. Drake – The Philosopher-King Must Rule“—”Poitier Meets Plato is an album recorded by Warner Bros. Records and published by Jackie Barnett. The actor Sidney Poitier recites excerpts from Plato’s works over music composed and conducted by Fred Katz. The passages were arranged and selected by Henry L. Drake.” Also Amazon, Internet Archive.
  • Want to watch Olivia Colman perform a brand new lecture by Elena Ferrante?” See “Elena Ferrante Belle van Zuylen Lecture“—”Elena Ferrante will give the 13th annual Belle van Zuylen Lecture at the ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht. She will also receive the Belle van Zuylen Ring, an international honour presented by the ILFU in collaboration with the City of Utrecht. Elena Ferrante is the author of works such as the bestselling four-part Neapolitan Novels. Ferrante’s lecture ‘A skein of written words’ will be read in Italian, English and Dutch by actresses Anna Bonaiuto, Olivia Colman en Olga Zuiderhoek. Video and podcast are exclusively available for streaming online during the ILFU Festival (23 September to 3 October 23:59 CEST). Tickets: €5. The ticket gives you access to the videos and podcasts of the lecture in all three languages (each ± 30 minutes). Make sure you watch the video’s in your desktop browser, since unfortunately not all mobile browser seem to support the streams.”
  • The House That Charles Built. Over a long career as a public intellectual, Charles Mills used his gut-punching wit and moral clarity in defense of racial justice.”
  • Do Fictional Critiques of the Wealthy Ever Really . . . Work?
  • Frankenstein First Edition Became the Most Expensive Book by a Woman“—”One of 500 original copies published on January 1, 1818, the book fetched $1.17 million at a Christie’s sale in New York City last week, nearly four times its high estimate of $300,000. It was part of the collection of the late American cable television executive Theodore B. Baum, whose impressive library of literary first editions included original works by Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf, among others. Another highlight of the sale was an inscribed first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that sold for $275,000, setting an auction record for the epistolary novel. Baum’s copy of Frankenstein was especially coveted, Christie’s says, because it is uncut in the original boards (a pasteboard binding typical of 18th-century books and desirable feature for collectors). The edition, which includes a preface written by Mary’s husband, poet Percy Shelley, and a dedication to the author’s father, William Godwin, is the only set in original boards to appear at auction since 1985.”
  • A New Sketch Has Been Attributed to van Gogh“—”This week, a new work by van Gogh was announced and put on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The piece is dated to 1882 and is a study for a known sketch titled ‘Worn Out,’ also from the same year. ‘Study for ‘Worn Out” (1882) is an early work by the artist and an extremely rare find; for an artist with such a collector’s pedigree, the discovery of new works is relatively unusual.”
  • What would be your new legal name from the title of a book that moved you so? “I’m still thinking about the boy who legally changed his name to ‘Trout Fishing in America.’“—”I am proud of Trout. The change in names has not interrupted our relationship. I will address him as Trout because that honors his choice.” About Trout Fishing in America [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Richard Brautigan—”Richard Brautigan was a literary idol of the 1960s and ’70s who came of age during the heyday of Haight-Ashbury and whose comic genius and iconoclastic vision of American life caught the imaginations of young people everywhere. Called “the last of the Beats,” his early books became required reading for the hip generation, and on its publication Trout Fishing in America became an international bestseller. An indescribable romp, the novel is best summed up in one word: mayonnaise. This new edition features an introduction by poet Billy Collins, who first encountered Brautigan’s work as a student in California. From the introduction: ”Trout Fishing in America’ is a catchphrase that morphs throughout the book into a variety of conceptual and dramatic shapes. At one point it has a physical body that bears such a resemblance to that of Lord Byron that it is brought by ship from Missolonghi to England, in 1824, where it is autopsied. ‘Trout Fishing in America’ is also a slogan that sixth-graders enjoy writing on the backs of first-graders. . . . In one notable exhibition of the title’s variability, ‘Trout Fishing in America’ turns into a gourmet with a taste for walnut catsup and has Maria Callas for a girlfriend. Through such ironic play, Brautigan destabilizes any conventional idea of a book as he begins to create a world where things seem unwilling to stay in their customary places.'”
  • Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas. Human footprints found in New Mexico are about 23,000 years old, a study reported, suggesting that people may have arrived long before the Ice Age’s glaciers melted.”
  • How Neanderthals and giant animals walked side by side on Spain’s southern coast. An analysis of 106,000-year-old markings in Matalascañas allows scientists to reconstruct how the hominids hunted straight-tusked elephants for survival.”
  • New Curtin research identifies likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Ground-breaking new Curtin University-led research has discovered a likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease, in a significant finding that offers potential new prevention and treatment opportunities for Australia’s second-leading cause of death.”—”The study, published in the prestigious PLOS Biology journal and tested on mouse models, identified that a probable cause of Alzheimer’s disease was the leakage from blood into the brain of fat-carrying particles transporting toxic proteins.”
  • NASA’s InSight Finds Three Big Marsquakes, Thanks to Solar-Panel Dusting“—”The lander cleared enough dust from one solar panel to keep its seismometer on through the summer, allowing scientists to study the three biggest quakes they’ve seen on Mars. On Sept. 18, NASA’s InSight lander celebrated its 1,000th Martian day, or sol, by measuring one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes the mission has ever detected. The temblor is estimated to be about a magnitude 4.2 and shook for nearly an hour-and-a-half.”
  • When did dinosaurs become birds? The idea of little velociraptors that can fly is a scary thought, but not too far from reality.”—”But because close ‘raptor’ cousins of birds are known from earlier in the Jurassic, it’s likely birds first took to the skies around 170 million years ago.”
  • The Journey to Define Dimension. The concept of dimension seems simple enough, but mathematicians struggled for centuries to precisely define and understand it.”—”The notion of dimension at first seems intuitive. Glancing out the window we might see a crow sitting atop a cramped flagpole experiencing zero dimensions, a robin on a telephone wire constrained to one, a pigeon on the ground free to move in two and an eagle in the air enjoying three. But as we’ll see, finding an explicit definition for the concept of dimension and pushing its boundaries has proved exceptionally difficult for mathematicians. It’s taken hundreds of years of thought experiments and imaginative comparisons to arrive at our current rigorous understanding of the concept.”
  • Why the Universe Is Annoyed by the Astronomer Pushing a Ninth Planet. He got Pluto demoted and people are still mad.”
  • NASA converted a star’s corpse to sound and the result is surprisingly lively. The remnant of a supernova explosion plays quite a nice tune.” Also watch/listen “Data Sonification: Tycho’s Supernova Remnant“—”Space is mostly quiet. Data collected by telescopes are most often turned into silent charts, plots, and images. A “sonification” project led by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Universe of Learning transforms otherwise inaudible data from some of the world’s most powerful telescopes into sound. This effort makes it possible to experience data from cosmic sources with a different sense: hearing. Beginning in the center, the sonification of the Tycho supernova remnant expands outward in a circle. The image contains X-ray data from Chandra where the various colors represent small bands of frequency that are associated with different elements that are moving both toward and away from Earth. For example, red shows iron, green is silicon, and blue represents sulfur. The sonification aligns with those colors as the redder light produces the lowest notes and blue and violet create the higher-pitched notes. Color varies over the remnant, but the lowest and highest notes (red and blue) dominate near the center and are joined by other colors (mid-range notes) towards the edge of the remnant. White corresponds to the full range of frequencies of light observable by Chandra, which is strongest toward the edge of the remnant. This light is converted to sound in a more direct way as well, by interpreting frequencies of light as frequencies of sound and then shifting them lower by 50 octaves so that they fall within the human hearing range. The different proportions of iron, silicon, and sulfur across the remnant can be heard in the changing amounts of the low-, mid-, and high-frequency peaks in the sound. The field of stars in the image as observed by Hubble is played as notes on a harp with the pitch determined by their color.”
  • A Warning Sign of a Mass Extinction Event Is on the Rise, Scientists Say. Toxic microbial blooms thrived during the Great Dying, the most severe extinction in Earth’s history, and they are proliferating again due to human activity.”
  • Melting of polar ice shifting Earth itself, not just sea levels. Research by new Ph.D. finds warping of planet’s crust, with far-reaching effects.”
  • Watch “Senegal’s circular gardens hold back the Sahara“—”Circular, drought-resistant ‘Tolou Keur’ gardens have sprung up in Senegal, marking a more local approach to what is known as Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative.”
  • UC reactor makes Martian fuel. A gas station on Mars? Engineers envision the possibilities. Engineers at the University of Cincinnati are developing new ways to convert greenhouse gases to fuel to address climate change and get astronauts home from Mars.”
  • Mitigating Lunar Dust: Masten Completes FAST Landing Pad Study“—”One approach to mitigate dust damage would require building a landing pad prior to each mission. This traditional approach would be both costly (we estimate more than $120 million per landing pad mission) and subject to a “chicken and egg” dilemma: how do you emplace the pad without landing something in the area first? In [contrast], Masten’s FAST Landing Pad approach utilizes ceramic particles injected into rocket plume to form a coating over lunar regolith as a lander descends on the lunar surface. The particles impact the surface and solidify to build up a hard landing pad with greater thermal and ablation resistance. This approach can significantly reduce deep cratering and prevent regolith ejecta from impacting the surrounding environment. That means spacecraft can safely land anywhere on the Moon without the need for a precursor pad construction mission. The FAST Landing Pads can also maintain their structural integrity to minimize plume effects during an ascent back into lunar orbit.”
  • ‘Rainbow colours and legs for days’: Australian fly species named after drag star RuPaul. CSIRO entomologist Bryan Lessard says the soldier flies look like ‘little gems buzzing around the forest floor’.”
  • Sustainable coffee grown in Finland – the land that drinks the most coffee per capita produces its first tasty cup with cellular agriculture. VTT has successfully produced coffee cells in a bioreactor through cellular agriculture. The innovation can help to make the production of coffee more sustainable. The first batches produced by VTT in a laboratory in Finland smell and taste like conventional coffee.”
  • Strong sunlight powers passive cooling device. Sustainable electricity-free appliance can harness solar energy to reduce temperatures on hot days.”—”A simple cooling system driven by the capture of passive solar energy could provide low-cost food refrigeration and living space cooling for impoverished communities with no access to the electricity grid. The system, which has no electrical components, exploits the powerful cooling effect that occurs when certain salts are dissolved in water. After each cooling cycle, the system uses solar energy to evaporate the water and regenerate the salt, ready for reuse.”
  • UNSW Engineering graduates swap silver for copper to break solar panel efficiency record. UNSW Engineering alumni have been hailed after setting a world record for efficiency in silicon solar cells using a potentially revolutionary material.”
  • Apple’s power move to kneecap Facebook advertising is working. Apple made changes in iOS 14.5 that are creating issues for advertisers who rely on Facebook to sustain their businesses. Facebook expects people to spend less money as a result and some marketers to seek alternatives. Apple competes with Facebook’s messaging apps, and it’s working hard to build a robust ad platform of its own.”—”‘Just completely running blind’ is how Aaron Paul, a performance Facebook marketer, described it. Paul said his company, Carousel, moved from spending millions of dollars each day on Facebook to a few hundred thousand dollars. Before the iOS changes, Facebook generated 80% of the traffic Carousel sent to its product pages. Now it accounts for 20%. Apple’s iOS changes may lead to irreparable harm to Facebook’s ad business. This moment has demonstrated to Paul and his fellow performance buyers that relying on one channel (albeit a very effective one) is risky. So they’re looking to diversify their ad spend. Paul said he’s moved his ad budget elsewhere, including ‘Snapchat and TikTok, but also silent killers like email.'”
  • Apple’s Texas problem“—”Since September 1, about one in ten women have effectively been stripped of their reproductive rights. That’s when an extreme abortion ban went into effect in Texas — home to 7 million women aged 15-49. For nearly three weeks, Texas’ largest employers, whose employees are now subject to the law banning all abortions after six weeks, have responded with silence. But there are new signs that this posture is unsustainable.”
  • Bitcoin Crashed to $5,402 in Error on Network Backed by Quants. That roughly 90% plunge wasn’t mimicked elsewhere in crypto. Eye-catching error from service affiliated with top traders.”
  • Setting a Low Bar: Religious Entities Praised for Treating Covid Religious Exemptions Responsibly.”
  • The NBA’s Anti-Vaxxers Are Trying to Push Around the League—And It’s Working. Conspiracy theories in the locker room. Mask police in the arena. Superstars trying to avoid the shot. After bringing back the culture from Covid, basketball confronts its own civil war.”
  • Unions need to crush the anti-vax movement“—”In a frightening show of force, marauding fascist mobs have taken over the streets of Melbourne for three days running. They have smashed up union offices and occupied major arterials for hours. This is a disastrous development. The protests have attracted thousands of people, mostly men, largely from construction and other blue-collar industries. Small construction operators, workers—some union and others non-union—and far-right activists have united to give the impression that their movement is a rank-and-file upsurge of workers against authority.” Also “Inside three days of rage in Melbourne.”
  • Alberta COVID party sends several people to hospital with virus“—”A party west of Edmonton has landed several people in the hospital with COVID-19, sources have confirmed to CityNews. And this was no ordinary party–it was a ‘COVID party’, where guests tried to intentionally get the virus to ‘build up natural immunity’ without getting vaccinated.” “It’s just unbelievable. And it’s very sad and very irresponsible to think you’d get good immunity from the virus without getting serious disease”. “We thought originally that if we had 70 to 80 per cent of people vaccinated, we’d slow up this pandemic. But with the delta variant being more easily transmissible, we need to see herd immunity to get closer to 90 or 93 per cent.”
  • ‘The future is raising its voice’: A dire mood at UN meeting“—”Racism, climate change and worsening divisions among nations and cultures topped the agenda Wednesday as leaders from China to Costa Rica, from Finland to Turkey to the United Nations itself outlined reasons why the world isn’t working as it should — and what must be done quickly to fix it. Said one country’s president: ‘The future is raising its voice at us.’ For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began early last year, more than two dozen world leaders appeared in person at the U.N. General Assembly on the opening day of their annual high-level meeting Tuesday. In speech after speech, the atmosphere was somber, angry and dire.”
  • Thousands of acres of new woodlands to be created along England’s rivers as part of tree planting drive. Ministers hope proposals will improve water quality and help to manage flood risks.”—”More than 3,000 hectares of new woodlands are set to be planted along England’s riverbanks and watercourses as part of a new project to help manage flood risks and boost biodiversity, the government has announced.”
  • Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department won’t enforce county mask mandate.” Tweet—”feel like it should be a bigger story that counties and municipalities straight up do not have control of the armed agents of the state”
  • Women Enslaved by ISIS Say They Did Not Consent to a Film About Them. The acclaimed documentary ‘Sabaya’ portrays the rescue of Yazidi women sexually enslaved by the Islamic State terrorist group. But many of the traumatized women said they never agreed to be in the film.”—”Three of the Yazidi women in the documentary told The New York Times that they did not understand what the film’s director, Hogir Hirori, planned to do with the footage or were told that the film would not be accessible in Iraq or Syria. A fourth said she knew he was making a film, but told him she did not want to be in it. A Kurdish-Swedish doctor who helped Yazidi women also made clear that she did not want to appear in the documentary. ‘I told them I do not want to be filmed,’ said one of the Yazidi women. ‘It’s not good for me. It’s dangerous.’ Their objections have raised issues about what constitutes informed consent by traumatized survivors and about the different standards applied to documentary subjects in Western countries.”
  • The Case Not Made: A Response to Anne Applebaum’s ‘The New Puritans’“—”This will not be another essay claiming that ‘cancel culture’ does not exist, though many writers I respect have taken this line. It is a rebuttal to what was yet another poorly thought out essay from a writer who ought to know better at a publication that ought to have higher standards. I would like to draw attention to the structural factors in play for this particular issue, and the implications they have for not just our particular political moment but our future.” “If any other problem in social life was occurring at this frequency and at this scale, we would consider it effectively solved” See also “The New Puritans. Social codes are changing, in many ways for the better. But for those whose behavior doesn’t adapt fast enough to the new norms, judgment can be swift—and merciless.”
  • A Tale of Two Resignations“—”Two philosophy professors recently announced their resignations from their respective universities. Both say that their administrations failed to adequately defend their freedoms and protect them from harassment and threats. But there are some differences between the stories that affect what might be learned from them.”
  • Here’s how Pablo Neruda’s funeral became a left-wing demonstration.”—”Though Pinochet’s military junta had barred a state funeral on the grounds that the country was still under a state of siege and therefore large gatherings could not be permitted, thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and lined the streets to honor their national poet as his coffin, draped with the Chilean flag and covered with red and white carnations and camellias, was carried on foot across the city.”
  • File Not Found. A generation that grew up with Google is forcing professors to rethink their lesson plans.”—”Catherine Garland, an astrophysicist, started seeing the problem in 2017. She was teaching an engineering course, and her students were using simulation software to model turbines for jet engines. She’d laid out the assignment clearly, but student after student was calling her over for help. They were all getting the same error message: The program couldn’t find their files.” “Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students.”
  • Psychedelics Are a Billion-Dollar Business, and No One Can Agree Who Should Control It. For-profit companies want psychedelics to be treated as medicine; others want them to just be legal. They’ll have to learn to get along.”
  • What Brooklyn Dirt Bike Teens Have in Common With My Midwestern Stepdad. It’s dirt bikes.”—”The defining characteristic of American governance in the 21st century is that we’ll spend any amount of money crushing symbols of problems rather than actually spend any time thinking about how to solve them.”
  • Belabored: The Legacy of Occupy Wall Street, with Ruth Milkman and Nastaran Mohit. Though the occupation didn’t last long, it shaped many subsequent campaigns and movements, including in organized labor.” Podcast episode.
  • Marvel Suing to Keep Rights to ‘Avengers’ Characters From Copyright Termination. Blockbuster lawsuits filed today will decide future ownership of characters including Iron Man and Spider-Man.” Hot Take: Neither Disney nor the heirs did the artwork or the work. They can squabble, but the public should be guaranteed that the work will move into the public domain, not be forever owned. Meanwhile, Disney has and will make obscene amounts of money, and they should not be allowed to throw fractions of pennies at all the people doing the actual work either the original comics or the movies during their lifetime, and, presumably, some kind of reparations for exploitation. There’s nothing good here. It’s all rotten.
  • From 2019: “In ‘Alien’ Horror Comes In The Form of Labor Exploitation. In space, no one can hear you scream. But, in space, can anyone hear you work? Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece asks that question.”
  • AUKUS makes workers pay for war with China“—”We are witnessing an aggressive build-up by the US and its allies for a confrontation with China. The Biden administration is making massive upgrades to the US’s military capacity, and sharply reorienting it to focus on China. At the same time, the US is waging a propaganda war against China and attempting to rally its allies, including the so-called Quad countries of India, Japan and Australia, to form an anti-China bloc. The Australian government has made it crystal clear over recent years that it is very much on board with this US project.”
  • Beam Me Up, Jeffy … GOING INTO SPACE WITH BLUE ORIGIN!!!”—”Decades after he last played the role, William Shatner’s going to become a real-life Captain Kirk … because he’s going to space … on Jeff Bezos’ rocket ship … TMZ has learned.”
  • The Historical Regatta Revives the Pomp and Pageantry of 15th-Century Venice“—”For a fleeting few hours on Sunday, September 5, the Grand Canal of Venice evoked the vivid views painted by Carpaccio and Canaletto. The Bucintoro, the bissonas, and other ancient boats, like strange beasts that wake up for a day from a year-long sleep, plied the waters they used to rule. And in the imperceptible manner in which these waters are permanently changing, the city has kept transforming in subtle yet important ways since it was first built in the 5th century by people, it is believed, who were fleeing the barbarians’ invasions of the dying Western half of the Roman Empire. The Historical Regatta reenacts in full pomp and pageantry the return to Venice of Caterina Corner, Queen of Cyprus, Armenia, and Jerusalem, in 1489. This year’s naval procession can be considered the first one to restore the much-anticipated event to its pre-COVID glory, as the 2020 regatta was a more humble affair.”
  • Can Mummified Cats Help Unravel the Mysteries of Ancient Dyes?“—”Thousands of animals — from crocodiles to cobras, down to scarab beetles — were once mummified in ancient Egypt. New analysis of the dyes on the textiles that tightly bound these mummies is now helping scientists rewrite the history of color.”
  • Wait. Whut? Bees tell Murder Hornets to hold their beer. “Bee swarm kills 63 endangered penguins in South Africa.” Also watch “WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES – Dozens of South African penguins killed by bees.”
  • Why are hyperlinks blue?“—”It was just a fact of life. Grass is green and hyperlinks are blue. Culturally, we associate links with the color blue so much that in 2016, when Google changed its links to black, it created quite a disruption. But now, I find myself all consumed by the question, WHY are links blue? WHO decided to make them blue? WHEN was this decision made, and HOW has this decision made such a lasting impact? I turned to my co-workers to help me research, and we started to find the answer. Mosaic, an early browser released by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina on January 23, 1993, had blue hyperlinks. To truly understand the origin and evolution of hyperlinks though, I took a journey through technology history and interfaces to explore how links were handled before color monitors, and how interfaces and hyperlinks rapidly evolved once color became an option.” “April 12, 1993 – Mosaic Version 0.13. In the changelog for Mosaic for version 0.13, there is one bullet that is of great importance to us: Changed default anchor representations: blue and single solid underline for unvisited, dark purple and single dashed underline for visited.” “What happened in 1993 to suddenly make hyperlinks blue? No one knows, but I have some theories.”
  • Pico8Lisp—”Pico8lisp is a small lisp interpreter built on PICO-8 virtual machine! You can find a walkthrough of the programming language features on my github
  • Looney Labs Unveils Two New ‘Star Trek Fluxx’ Expansions. ‘Archer Expansion’ and ‘Porthos Expansion’.”—”Looney Labs unveiled two new expansion for Star Trek Fluxx, Archer Expansion and Porthos Expansion, for release on October 15. The Archer Expansion revolves around Captain Archer and the Temporal Cold War from Star Trek: Enterprise. This pack includes Daniels, a Temporal Rift, and the Xindi as well as a new Meta Rule called Combined Decks. It contains 16 cards that can be combined with any of the four standalone Star Trek Fluxx games. Porthos Expansion is a more light-hearted expansion that focuses on Archer’s beagle on the Enterprise, Porthos. Porthos is accompanied by Dr. Phlox, Spot, a famous Klingon, Kor, and a bottle of Romulan Ale. This set also contains a new action, a new rule, and comes with 16 cards that can also be combined with any of the four standalone Star Trek Fluxx games. Each new expansion will retail for $5.”
  • Watch “Vikings: Valhalla | First Look | Netflix”—Now is our time to make history. A new era of warriors will rise in Vikings: Valhalla, coming to Netflix in 2022.
  • Watch “The Orville: New Horizons I Date Announcement I Hulu”—”New home. New missions. The Orville: New Horizons arrives March 10, 2022.”
  • Watch “Cowboy Bebop | Opening Credits | Netflix”—”It’s time to blow this scene. Who’s in? Cowboy Bebop arrives Nov. 19.”
  • Watch “Hellbound | Date Announcement | Netflix”—”Executors of Hell appear out of nowhere to condemn individuals to be hellbound. In the midst of this mayhem, a religious group preaching questionable truths grows in influence. The release date has been confirmed for director Yeon Sang-ho’s Hellbound. The gates of Hell open on November 19th. Only on Netflix.”
  • Watch “How We Can Make Solarpunk A Reality“—”Solarpunk is a vision of the future that we can implement today. Here are just a few ways to get started!”
  • Watch “The Bookwalker – Announcement trailer“—”You’re a Bookwalker — a thief with an ability to dive into books. You are forced to use your powers to track and steal famous items like Thor’s Hammer and the Excalibur for clients, to regain your ability to write again.”
  • Watch “The Long Dark — Episode Four — FURY, THEN SILENCE — Teaser“—”Imagine the lights go out, never to return. Bright aurora flare across the sky, and all humanity’s technological might is laid to waste, neutralized in a kind of quiet apocalypse. Everything that has shielded humanity from the disinterested power of Mother Nature is suddenly wrenched from us, dropping us a few links down the food chain. Food and water are scarce. The roads are no longer safe. And winter approaches… Welcome to The Long Dark —an immersive survival simulation set in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. Experience a unique first-person survival simulation that will force you to think and push you to your limits with its thought-provoking gameplay.”
  • Watch “Arcane | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”From the creators of League of Legends comes a new animated series, Arcane. Set in the utopian region of Piltover and the oppressed underground of Zaun, the story follows the origins of two iconic League champions-and the power that will tear them apart. Coming to Netflix Fall 2021.” “I believe I have discovered something incredible. A way to harness magic through science.”
  • Watch “Road to Season 2 Trailer | The Witcher”—”You can’t escape the monster within. The Witcher Season 2 premieres December 17 on Netflix.”
  • Watch “Stranger Things 4 | Creel House | Netflix”
  • Watch “The Sandman | First Look | Netflix”—”The Lord of Dreams has been summoned, and captured, by mortal men. Once free from his captivity, this eternal ruler of Dreams will realize that his troubles are only just beginning. The Sandman is a Netflix series based on the groundbreaking comic book series created for DC by Neil Gaiman. The series is Executive Produced by Neil Gaiman, Allan Heinberg, & David S. Goyer.”
  • Watch “The Worst Person In The World – Official Teaser“—”The Worst Person in The World is a modern dramedy about the quest for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie (Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.”
  • Watch “The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin | Official Trailer | HBO Max”—”After rising to fame with her Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian-based diet program that preached slenderness as next to godliness, Gwen Shamblin Lara founded the Tennessee-based church. Despite a carefully curated image, Lara and the church soon fielded accusations of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, and exploitation for their alleged cult-like practices. Encompassing years of investigation and extensive interviews with former members and others personally impacted, Directed by Emmy®-Award winning biographical filmmaker Marina Zenovich, THE WAY DOWN explores the legacy of Remnant’s infamous leader – whose life came to a shocking end after a plane crash in May 2021. Stream The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin on September 30 on HBO Max”
  • Watch “Tiny Tina Wonderlands Official Trailer Song “Gimme Chocolate”“—Babymetal’s Gimme Chocolate
  • The Companion by David Fazzio, from Studio 46—”A cinematic gaming experience. Play as an animal in the spiritual realm. Explore a magical world. Collect Essence and find Artifacts. Journey across seven majestic landscapes and witness the emotional story of a family as they tackle the challenges ahead of them.”
  • From the Soylent Green dept: “Trulacta. The World’s only supplement that’s 100% human milk. A revolution in whole-body health. Formulated by nature. Perfected by science. From the Body, For the Body. For the first time in human history, technological advancements have allowed scientists to create a supplement containing Human Milk Bionutrients™ (HMBs™), which are entirely derived from human milk.”