Omnium Gatherum: 29sept2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for September 29, 2021

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

  • Call For Papers: Religion in Spider-Man Comics – A Textual Look at our Favorite Web-Slinger. Volume Editor: George Tsakiridis, PhD. Abstract and CV Due: October 1, 2021. Initial Final Paper Due: March 1, 2022. There are few comic book heroes that rise to the level of Spider-Man. He is the foundation for most of the Marvel Universe and perhaps is only rivaled by Batman in popularity over the past twenty years. There are few more deserving characters for a deeper dive into religion and comic books than our favorite web-slinger. Beyond the popularity, Spidey, as he is affectionately called, has layers of religious depth that invite us to further evaluation. From his beginnings rooted in Stan Lee’s Judaism to his dual-nature parallel in Christianity to the ethical foundations of great power bringing great responsibility, Spider-Man is a perfect candidate for the Religion and Comic Books series by Claremont Press.”
  • Christian Anarchist: Ammon Hennacy, A Life on the Catholic Left [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by William Marling, due Jan 2022—”A biography of a remarkable figure, whose politics prefigured today’s social justice, ecology, and gender equality movements. Ammon Hennacy was arrested over thirty times for opposing US entry in World War 1. Later, when he refused to pay taxes that support war, he lost his wife and daughters, and then his job. For protesting the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was hounded by the IRS and driven to migrant labor in the fields of the West. He had a romance with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, who called him a “prophet and a peasant.” He helped the homeless on the Bowery, founded the Joe Hill House of Hospitality in Salt Lake City, and protested the US development of nuclear missiles, becoming in the process one of the most celebrated anarchists of the twentieth century. To our era, when so much “protest” happens on social media, his actual sacrifices seem unworldly. Ammon Hennacy was a forerunner of contemporary progressive thought, and he remains a beacon for challenges that confront the world and especially the US today. In this exceptional biography, William Marling tells the story of this fascinating figure, who remains particularly important for the Catholic Left. In addition to establishing Hennacy as an exemplar of vegetarianism, ecology, and pacificism, Marling illuminates a broader history of political ideas now largely lost: the late nineteenth-century utopian movements, the grassroots socialist movements before World War I, and the antinuclear protests of the 1960s. A nuanced study of when religion and anarchist theory overlap, Christian Anarchist shows how Hennacy’s life at the heart of radical libertarian and anarchist interventions in American politics not only galvanized the public then, but offers us new insight for today.”
  • Lovecraft Manuscript Goes to Auction“—”You read that right, Lovecraft fans! Coming to auction on October 14 is a 16-leaf autographed manuscript of H. P. Lovecraft’s short story, ‘Pickman’s Model.’ The story was published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales. As an added bonus, the entire manuscript is written on the verso of typed correspondence with Lovecraft’s colleagues, including James F. Morton, August Derleth, W. Paul Cook, and Victor E. Bacon. (The author tended to reuse old letters this way.) It is likely a later draft, according to Heritage Auctions, dating to sometime in 1926 and closely matching the typescript with final edits held in Brown University Library’s Lovecraft collection.”
  • “November 5, 2021 – 10:15am. Thinking Outside the Brain: How Our Bodies, Our Spaces, and Our Relationships Extend Our Intelligence with Annie Murphy Paul.” From Yale University. About The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Annie Murphy Paul—”A bold new book reveals how we can tap the intelligence that exists beyond our brains—in our bodies, our surroundings, and our relationships. Use your head. That’s what we tell ourselves when facing a tricky problem or a difficult project. But a growing body of research indicates that we’ve got it exactly backwards. What we need to do, says acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul, is think outside the brain. A host of “extra-neural” resources—the feelings and movements of our bodies, the physical spaces in which we learn and work, and the minds of those around us— can help us focus more intently, comprehend more deeply, and create more imaginatively. The Extended Mind outlines the research behind this exciting new vision of human ability, exploring the findings of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and examining the practices of educators, managers, and leaders who are already reaping the benefits of thinking outside the brain. She excavates the untold history of how artists, scientists, and authors—from Jackson Pollock to Jonas Salk to Robert Caro—have used mental extensions to solve problems, make discoveries, and create new works. In the tradition of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, The Extended Mind offers a dramatic new view of how our minds work, full of practical advice on how we can all think better.”
  • Can this man save the world from artificial intelligence? Mo Gawdat is the Silicon Valley supergeek who believes we face an apocalyptic threat from artificial intelligence. The former Google supremo tells Hugo Rifkind how a human tragedy shaped the way he sees the future – and what we need to do next.”—”‘Have you ever seen Men in Black?’ Mo Gawdat says, when asked to describe his former job as chief business officer of Google X.” “‘The reality is we’re creating God.’ An interview with the Silicon Valley supergeek who believes we face an apocalyptic threat from AI.” About Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Mo Gawdat—”Artificial intelligence is smarter than humans. It can process information at lightning speed and remain focused on specific tasks without distraction. AI can see into the future, predicting outcomes and even use sensors to see around physical and virtual corners. So why does AI frequently get it so wrong? The answer is us. Humans design the algorithms that define the way that AI works, and the processed information reflects an imperfect world. Does that mean we are doomed? In Scary Smart, Mo Gawdat, the internationally bestselling author of Solve for Happy, draws on his considerable expertise to answer this question and to show what we can all do now to teach ourselves and our machines how to live better. With more than thirty years’ experience working at the cutting-edge of technology and his former role as chief business officer of Google [X], no one is better placed than Mo Gawdat to explain how the Artificial Intelligence of the future works. By 2049 AI will be a billion times more intelligent than humans. Scary Smart explains how to fix the current trajectory now, to make sure that the AI of the future can preserve our species. This book offers a blueprint, pointing the way to what we can do to safeguard ourselves, those we love and the planet itself.” Tweet—”Oh no i LOVE how every so often an ex-googler or other sil val type comes out to say the same shit some of us have been trying to tell you for literally a decade + and certain media breathlessly fall all the fuck over themselves to cover it like the ideas are new, why do you ask?”
  • Misinformation Is About to Get So Much Worse. A conversation with the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.” About The Age of AI: And Our Human Future [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Henry A Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, Daniel Huttenlocher, due October 2021—”Three of our most accomplished and deep thinkers come together to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the way it is transforming human society—and what it means for us all. An AI learned to win chess by making moves human grand masters had never conceived. Another AI discovered a new antibiotic by analyzing molecular properties human scientists did not understand. Now, AI-powered jets are defeating experienced human pilots in simulated dogfights. AI is coming online in searching, streaming, medicine, education, and many other fields and, in so doing, transforming how humans are experiencing reality. In The Age of AI, three leading thinkers have come together to consider how AI will change our relationships with knowledge, politics, and the societies in which we live. The Age of AI is an essential roadmap to our present and our future, an era unlike any that has come before.” Tweet—”Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime friend Eric Schmidt of Google wants to remain relevant and not have to face consequences. He is a filthy bad man.” And he’s writing it with Henry fucking war criminal Kissinger and MIT dean Huttenlocher, who can’t be unconnected to the whole Joi Ito and Epstein thing either. WTAF.
  • Trauma, trust and triumph: psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk on how to recover from our deepest pain. His 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score, has become a huge pandemic hit, topping bestseller lists this summer and becoming a meme on social media. What does it tell us about the world we live in?”—”When Dr Bessel van der Kolk published The Body Keeps the Score in 2014, it was a huge hit with yoga people. That is not a euphemism for “rich, underoccupied people”, it is just people who do yoga. Certain physical activities do something weird to your brain: ancient memories resurface, often with new feelings or perspectives attached; you start treating yourself with more compassion. It doesn’t make sense until you read Van der Kolk. After that, nothing has ever made more sense.” About 2014’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Bessel van der Kolk—”A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller. Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments–from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga–that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal–and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.”
  • The Dedalus Book of the 1960s: Turn Off Your Mind [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Gary Lachman—”In The Dedalus Book of the 1960s: Turn Off Your Mind, Gary Lachman uncovers the Love Generation’s roots in occultism and explores the dark side of the Age of Aquarius. His provocative revision of the 1960s counterculture links Flower Power to mystical fascism, and follows the magical current that enveloped luminaries like the Beatles, Timothy Leary and the Rolling Stones, and darker stars like Charles Manson, Anton LaVey, and the Process Church of the Final Judgment. Acclaimed by satanists and fundamentalist Christians alike, this edition includes a revised text incorporating new material on the ‘suicide cult’ surrounding Carlos Castaneda; the hippy serial killer Charles Sobhraj; the strange case of Ira Einhorn, ‘the Unicorn’; the CIA and ESP; the new millennialism and more. From H.P. Lovecraft to the Hell’s Angels, find out how the Morning of the Magicians became the Night of the Living Dead.”. From 2012, but newly available in the US, in an apparently new edition with additional material: tweet—”Finally, the relatively new UK edition – packed with 100+ additional fascinating pages – is available stateside at affordable prices”.
  • What About the Heroine’s Journey? The Harvard scholar Maria Tatar has made a career of studying fairy tales and folklore. Now she is taking aim at Joseph Campbell and showing us the women he left out of the story.” About The Heroine with 1001 Faces [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Maria Tatar—”World-renowned folklorist Maria Tatar reveals an astonishing but long-buried history of heroines, taking us from Cassandra and Scheherazade to Nancy Drew and Wonder Woman. The Heroine with 1,001 Faces dismantles the cult of warrior heroes, revealing a secret history of heroinism at the very heart of our collective cultural imagination. Maria Tatar, a leading authority on fairy tales and folklore, explores how heroines, rarely wielding a sword and often deprived of a pen, have flown beneath the radar even as they have been bent on redemptive missions. Deploying the domestic crafts and using words as weapons, they have found ways to survive assaults and rescue others from harm, all while repairing the fraying edges in the fabric of their social worlds. Like the tongueless Philomela, who spins the tale of her rape into a tapestry, or Arachne, who portrays the misdeeds of the gods, they have discovered instruments for securing fairness in the storytelling circles where so-called women’s work—spinning, mending, and weaving—is carried out. Tatar challenges the canonical models of heroism in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, with their male-centric emphases on achieving glory and immortality. Finding the women missing from his account and defining their own heroic trajectories is no easy task, for Campbell created the playbook for Hollywood directors. Audiences around the world have willingly surrendered to the lure of quest narratives and charismatic heroes. Whether in the form of Frodo, Luke Skywalker, or Harry Potter, Campbell’s archetypical hero has dominated more than the box office. In a broad-ranging volume that moves with ease from the local to the global, Tatar demonstrates how our new heroines wear their curiosity as a badge of honor rather than a mark of shame, and how their ‘mischief making’ evidences compassion and concern. From Bluebeard’s wife to Nancy Drew, and from Jane Eyre to Janie Crawford, women have long crafted stories to broadcast offenses in the pursuit of social justice. Girls, too, have now precociously stepped up to the plate, with Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, and Starr Carter as trickster figures enacting their own forms of extrajudicial justice. Their quests may not take the traditional form of a ‘hero’s journey,’ but they reveal the value of courage, defiance, and, above all, care. ‘By turns dazzling and chilling’ (Ruth Franklin), The Heroine with 1,001 Faces creates a luminous arc that takes us from ancient times to the present day. It casts an unusually wide net, expanding the canon and thinking capaciously in global terms, breaking down the boundaries of genre, and displaying a sovereign command of cultural context. This, then, is a historic volume that informs our present and its newfound investment in empathy and social justice like no other work of recent cultural history.”
  • Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Soman Chainani, Illustrated by Julia Iredale—”You think you know these stories, don’t you? You are wrong. You don’t know them at all. Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that free hearts long kept tame, truths that explore life . . . and death. A prince has a surprising awakening . . . A beauty fights like a beast . . . A boy refuses to become prey . . . A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again. New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.”
  • Assassin [Publisher] by Ryan Madej—”Ryan Madej’s ASSASSIN is an experimental novella with a deep esoteric background. In a dead city, a woman with a weapon that can erase its victims from time searches for prey. Lifetimes away, a man searches for a lost manuscript that will give him power over her. In an untouched paradise, an acolyte must choose to walk the path of enlightenment or destruction. Outside the linearity of time, their paths converge and threaten to destroy each other.” Trailer by Hermetic Library Artist Joan Pope at tweet.
  • The largest space telescope in history is about to blow our minds. The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times as powerful as the Hubble. It will change how we see the universe.”
  • Hubble Shows Winds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Are Speeding Up“—”Like the speed of an advancing race car driver, the winds in the outermost “lane” of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are accelerating – a discovery only made possible by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which has monitored the planet for more than a decade. Researchers analyzing Hubble’s regular “storm reports” found that the average wind speed just within the boundaries of the storm, known as a high-speed ring, has increased by up to 8 percent from 2009 to 2020. In contrast, the winds near the red spot’s innermost region are moving significantly more slowly, like someone cruising lazily on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The massive storm’s crimson-colored clouds spin counterclockwise at speeds that exceed 400 miles per hour – and the vortex is bigger than Earth itself. The red spot is legendary in part because humans have observed it for more than 150 years. ‘When I initially saw the results, I asked ‘Does this make sense?’ No one has ever seen this before,’ said Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the analysis published today in Geophysical Research Letters. ‘But this is something only Hubble can do. Hubble’s longevity and ongoing observations make this revelation possible.'”
  • Hubble telescope discovers 6 mysteriously dead, massive galaxies from early universe“—”Scientists studying early galaxies were stunned earlier this year when they discovered six massive galaxies that seem to have died during the universe’s most active period of star birth. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spied the six galaxies, which appeared to have run out of the cold hydrogen gas needed to make stars while most other galaxies were producing new stars at a rapid pace.”
  • This May Be the First Planet Found Orbiting 3 Stars at Once. It’s called a circumtriple planet, and evidence that one exists suggests that planet formation is less unusual than once believed.”
  • NASA’s Mars Fleet Lies Low As Sun Moves Between Earth and Red Planet. The missions will continue collecting data about the Red Planet, though engineers back on Earth will stop sending commands to them until mid-October.”
  • 32,000 mph fireball spotted soaring over North Carolina. More than 80 people reported seeing the blazing visitor from space.”
  • Moonshots, private space stations and more: NASA chief Bill Nelson on the future of human spaceflight. Nelson thinks big things are coming, despite some notable challenges.”
  • New genomic analysis sorts out when Polynesians reached which islands. Figuring out people’s movement across the Pacific is not a simple thing.”—”The spread of the Polynesian culture across the Pacific was the greatest migration in humanity’s history. All indications are that the Polynesians started in Taiwan and made it to the Americas while settling on islands from Hawaii to New Zealand along the way. Many of those islands retained trade routes for centuries, even if the islands themselves were tiny and difficult to consistently find in the vast expanse of the Pacific. Reconstructing the route the Polynesians took has proven challenging. Very little ancient DNA has survived in the warm, often humid environments of the tropics. Artifacts have been dated, but it’s not clear how closely they relate to the arrival of an island’s population, and often they don’t indicate where that population came from. Post-colonial travel has complicated the genetics and linguistic evidence that might otherwise help us sort things out. Now, a large international team of researchers has come up with an entirely new way of analyzing the genomes of modern Polynesians, based on the effect that a long series of settlement events would have on genomes. The results provide a detailed map of which islands were settled in what order, and it even provides an estimate on the dates of when Polynesians arrived.”
  • World’s oldest known beads found in Morocco. Perforated shells may have signaled identity, attracted mates.”—”The human penchant for bling is ancient—and a new study suggests it may go back as far as 142,000 years. That’s when hunter-gatherers in what is now Morocco collected tiny seashells, bored them with holes, and strung them up to adorn their hair, bodies, or clothing. The look must have been bedazzling, because the same type of perforated shells spread quickly throughout northern Africa and into the Middle East. The beads—the world’s oldest if new dates hold up—suggest modern humans were engaged in fully symbolic behavior 10,000 to 20,000 years earlier than previously known.”
  • Unbreakable glass inspired by seashells. Strongest and toughest glass known developed by McGill University scientists.”—”Scientists from McGill University develop stronger and tougher glass, inspired by the inner layer of mollusk shells. Instead of shattering upon impact, the new material has the resiliency of plastic and could be used to improve cell phone screens in the future, among other applications. While techniques like tempering and laminating can help reinforce glass, they are costly and no longer work once the surface is damaged. “Until now there were trade-offs between high strength, toughness, and transparency. Our new material is not only three times stronger than the normal glass, but also more than five times more fracture resistant,” says Allen Ehrlicher, an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at McGill University.”
  • But, can I ride a TRON lightcycle yet? “Microscopic metavehicles powered by nothing but light. ​Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in creating tiny vehicles powered by nothing but light. By layering an optical metasurface onto a microscopic particle, and then using a light source to control it, they succeeded in moving the tiny vehicles in a variety of complex and precise ways – and even using them to transport other objects.​”
  • Magnetic Stimulation of the Brain Can Improve Episodic Memory. Inhibitory brain stimulation allows better memorization by reducing the power of beta-waves in the brain.”
  • Radiation therapy reprograms heart muscle cells to younger state. Radiotherapy repairs irregular rhythms in those with life-threatening heart arrhythmia.”
  • Bacteria blasting cancer treatment shows promise“—”A low-cost, non-toxic cancer treatment has been developed by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU). The treatment uses dead bacteria to help kick-start the immune system and shrink cancer.”
  • Intense workouts before bedtime won’t guarantee a good night’s rest, new research shows. Emmanuel Frimpong and Melodee Mograss say early evening exercise is better for uninterrupted sleep.”
  • North Korea says it fired new ‘hypersonic missile’. North Korea has claimed that it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile called Hwasong-8 on Tuesday.”—”Tuesday’s launch also saw North Korea introduce missile fuel ampoule for the first time – described by North Korea analyst Ankit Panda as a ‘significant milestone’. This is a technology that allows missiles to be pre-fuelled and then sent to the field in canisters. This means it could potentially stay launch-ready for years.” “Mr Panda, a Stanton Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it was difficult at this point to assess the ‘precise capabilities’ of the missile, but added that it could ‘presumably present a very different challenge for missile defence from traditional ballistic missiles’. This addition of the missile fuel ampoule means the weapon would be ready to be fired straight away. If it doesn’t need to be fuelled out in the field, it means the launch time is much quicker. The quicker launch time also means it’s more difficult for other countries to make a pre-emptive strike.”
  • Tech companies keep asking employees to take pay cuts to work remotely, but workers are rejecting the idea they should be paid differently based on where they live. Tech workers don’t buy location-based compensation, and most say they won’t take a pay cut. The industry is redefining how they should be paid.”
  • Tweet—”NEW: our case study, described today by @FT @madhumita29, shows that Facebook pushes anxiety-fuelling ads at a young mother worried about her toddler’s health, even after she disabled all health-related interests in ad settings. #AlgorithmsOfTrauma 🧵 1/6″ “It turns out that Facebook’s ad control tools are useless: even though the user had disabled all sensitive interests, the platform *continued* to push disturbing ads at her, and to infer *new* health-related traits (e.g. MRI, intensive care unit).” “This is not a bug. Algorithmic fixation on “engagement” and ad profit ignores collateral damage, such as users’ mental health.” See “Time to turn off Facebook’s digital fire hose. How much control does the tech giant give users over ads? The answer, despite its protestations, seems to be hardly any.”
  • Facebook Pauses Instagram Kids Project. The social-media app had faced criticism over a version for children that it was developing.”
  • A new way to solve the ‘hardest of the hard’ computer problems. Scientists develop the next generation of reservoir computing.”—”A relatively new type of computing that mimics the way the human brain works was already transforming how scientists could tackle some of the most difficult information processing problems. Now, researchers have found a way to make what is called reservoir computing work between 33 and a million times faster, with significantly fewer computing resources and less data input needed. In fact, in one test of this next-generation reservoir computing, researchers solved a complex computing problem in less than a second on a desktop computer.”
  • Because, of course it does. “Leaked Documents Show How Amazon’s Astro Robot Tracks Everything You Do. Leaked meetings show the robot will heavily rely on facial recognition and user behavior, but sources who worked on Astro say the robot is flawed.”
  • ‘Vigilante treatments’: Anti-vaccine groups push people to leave ICUs. As the anti-vaccine movement escalates its rhetoric, doctors warn that they’re dealing with the fallout: ‘They’re starting to target people, the messengers — nurses and doctors.'”
  • A daily pill to treat COVID could be just months away, scientists say“—”At least three promising antivirals for COVID are being tested in clinical trials, with results expected as soon as late fall or winter, said Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who is overseeing antiviral development.”
  • Valley Fever Is Spreading Through a Hotter, Drier Western US. Researchers haven’t pinned down exactly what’s behind the rise of the deadly fungal disease. But one thing is nearly certain: Climate change plays a role.”
  • Alabama Wants To Use Its COVID Relief Funds To Build New Prisons. The state that recently led the country in COVID-19 deaths wants to spend its pandemic relief funds on incarceration instead.”
  • Tweet—”BEWARE: As Halloween gets closer, @BensalemPolice are warning parents to LOOK at your child’s candy before they eat it. They confiscated these snacks that look a lot like the real thing. All are laced with THC @6abc”. Tweet—”You know it’s officially fall when the media steps up to discredit cannabis decriminalization by scaremongering about boogeymonster drug pushers dropping thousands of dollars to distribute overpriced cannabis candy to hypothetical children trick-or-treating in September.” Tweet—”More accurate story: Today two PA state reps introduced a bill to legalize weed for adults in PA. In response the Bensalem PD tweeted a pic of clearly labeled edibles & spread an old urban legend about drugged Halloween candy even though it’s September.” See “Pa. state reps introduce bill to legalize recreational marijuana.” Tweet—”I know everyone is dunking on you and it sucks but seriously: it’s really dangerous to take police PR statements at face value without doing some really basic fact checking, and it’s a good thing that this particular instance was about edibles and not about someone’s life.”
  • Judge Wonders How So Many ‘Law-Abiding’ Americans ‘Morphed Into Terrorists’ On Jan. 6. Judge Emmet Sullivan, accepting a guilty plea from Trump supporter Dawn Bancroft, called her comments about wanting to shoot Nancy Pelosi ‘outrageous.'”
  • ‘No major incidents of illegal activity’: DHS told Pentagon as pro-Trump mob breached Capitol. A communication on Jan. 6 from a key DHS hub that was emailed to senior Army leaders dramatically undersold the unfolding chaos.”
  • The Whole Country is the Reichstag“—”It’s time to be blunt. The right-wing political alliance anchored by the Republican party and Trumpism coheres around a single concrete objective—taking absolute power in the U.S. as soon and as definitively as possible. And they’re more than ready, even seemingly want, to destroy the social fabric of the country to do so.”
  • The Bannon Subpoena Is Just the Beginning. Congress’s Jan. 6 Investigation Is Going Big. Records and exclusive documents obtained by ‘Rolling Stone’ reveal the massive scope of the House select committee probe.”
  • Trump plans to sue to keep White House records on Capitol attack secret. Legal strategy could delay and possibly stymie efforts by House select committee into Capitol attacks to see key documents.”
  • September 22, 2021“—”It is impossible to overstate just how momentous are both an attempted coup and an attempt to force the U.S. to default on its debts.”
  • New Florida Surgeon General Appeared at Demon-Sperm COVID Conspiracy Summit With Future Capitol Rioter.”
  • Stephanie Grisham Reveals Trump Called To Tell Her About His Penis. The former president phoned his press secretary from Air Force One to assure her his penis was neither small nor toadstool-shaped, Grisham wrote in her tell-all.”—”Never let it be said that Donald Trump didn’t have priorities ― and defending the size and shape of his penis was paramount, according to former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.”
  • Biden Promised a New Era for Immigration After Trump. How’s That Going? It’s complicated.”
  • The Communist Party Just Won the Elections in Austria’s Second-Biggest City. In Sunday’s elections in Graz, Austria, the Communist Party romped to victory for the first time in history. Jacobin spoke to one of its winning candidates about how the party built a ‘red fortress’ in the city.”
  • The Kremlin’s Strange Victory. How Putin Exploits American Dysfunction and Fuels American Decline.”
  • People Don’t Understand How Unfree We Already Are“—”The biggest and most widespread blind spot among those who oppose totalitarian control by the powerful is the assumption that it has not already been achieved.”
  • 56 Percent of Young People Think Humanity Is Doomed. A major study of 10,000 young people across 10 different countries lays bare the scale of climate crisis-related anxiety felt around the world.”
  • Oh, FFS. Everyone is awful. “Doctors Without Borders saves lives every day. Some insiders say it is also a racist workplace where nonwhite workers get worse pay, less security, and inferior medical care. Insiders at the relief agency Doctors Without Borders say the organization is rife with racism and unequal treatment of workers around the world.”
  • Ugh. “W.H.O. Workers Sexually Abused Women During Ebola Mission in Congo, Inquiry Finds. A commission appointed by the health agency found that women and girls had been promised jobs in exchange for relationships or had been sexually exploited in order to keep jobs.”
  • Australian state gives world’s oldest rainforest to Indigenous group“—”Queensland, Australia’s third most populous state, said on Wednesday it has given ownership of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest to a local Indigenous group. The Daintree Rainforest, listed as a World Heritage Site since 1988, has been growing for 180 million years and is famed for its rich biodiversity but has come under sustained pressure from climate change and industries such as logging. In striking a new deal to manage the rainforest, Queensland said the Daintree would be returned to the traditional owners of the land.”
  • Greta Thunberg mocks world leaders’ words at Youth4Climate“—”The Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, used her speech at the Youth4Climate conference in Milan to mock the words of world leaders, including UK PM Boris Johnson. The 18-year-old used soundbites from Mr Johnson, such as ‘expensive bunny hugging’ and ‘build back better’, to highlight what she called the ’empty words and promises’ of politicians.”
  • Simone Biles Chose Herself. Simone Biles decides what comes next. If anything. ‘I should have quit way before Tokyo, when Larry Nassar was in the media for two years. It was too much. But I was not going to let him take something I’ve worked for since I was 6 years old.'”
  • Smithsonian Acquires Rare Photographs From the First African American Studios. Daguerreotypes by James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge and Augustus Washington are the centerpiece of a collection that could rewrite the early history of American photography.”
  • Tweet—”CHARIOT, the AWA Studios comic series by @bryanedwardhill @PriPetraites @Marco_Lesko, set to be adapted into a movie by #TOPGUN: MAVERICK’s Joseph Kosinski for Warner Brother Studios, is being collected into trade paperback.” Collected TP of Chariot [Amazon, Publisher] by Bryan Edward Hill, Priscilla Petraites, Marco Lesko, due Nov 2021—”The Chariot was a Cold War-era secret government project to provide its star agent with a weapon unlike any other in the form of a supercharged muscle car. It sank into the ocean decades ago, and the agent along with it. Now, a petty criminal looking to reform his life has stumbled upon the Chariot, and he’s about to find out that the agent’s consciousness is still controlling it in this synthwave thriller.”
  • The Mystery of the Origin of Indian Yellow“—”One of its most famous users was Van Gogh, who painted a luminous Indian yellow moon in his 1889 masterpiece, The Starry Night.” It has been featured in expositions, and esteemed for its beauty used in both watercolor and oil painting.” “The origins and components of Indian yellow were largely unknown at the time. For years, soft yellow lumps arriving by ship in sealed packages to European docks. The dirty yellow balls would be washed and purified, and the greenish and yellow phases separated. The precise ingredients of these lumps were not known, but they had a pungent odour of ammonia and were suspected of containing camel or cow urine or ox bile.” “‘They feed the cows solely with mango leaves and water, which increases the bile pigment and imparts to the urine a bright yellow color’, and that “in no other part of the country is the manufacture of Piuri carried out”. He then goes into details about the collection and processing of the urine and hand-pressing into the Piuri ball. The cows were trained to pass urine four times a day by slightly rubbing their urinary organs, and it is collected in small earthen pots, a which were placed over a fire overnight to condense the liquid, leaving a yellow precipitate. It would then be strained through a cloth, and the sediment made into a ball and dried further, first, on a charcoal fire, and then in the sun. The Piuri is then ready for the markets. The merchants would advance money to the milkmen, and export the pigment to Calcutta and Patna, and from there it would be shipped to post-impressionist Europe. The Piuri was purchased from the milkmen by Marwari traders for 1 Rupee per pound, and once it arrived in Calcutta the price could be up to 100 to 200 Rupees. Mukharji concludes by stating firmly that he himself saw mango leaves being eaten by the cows, the urine being collected, and the manufacturing of the pigment, as well as, ‘the real source of this kind of Piuri is now beyond any doubt whatsoever’.” “The production of the pigment decline gradually starting in the 1920s, most probably due to the cruelty to animals involved in the process — since the cattle were fed an exclusive diet of mango leaves and water in order to increase the saturation of their urine, (occasionally with a little turmeric thrown in for good measure), it did not provide them with adequate nutrition and the cows were often malnourished. The toxin urushoil found in mango leaves also took a toll on the cows.”
  • From 2016: “The cult inspirations behind Massive Attack’s new video. A horror film banned in the UK until 1999 provided the inspiration for the new cut starring Rosamund Pike.”—”(Along with Possession), Phantasm was another movie that just kind of sprung to mind for the video – without consciously seeking them out, they both seemed to resonate. So I used those films as a leaping-off point to try and create something different out of these two huge influences I had when I was a kid. With Phantasm, I wanted to use the intimidating orb thing (the sphere in the video looks a lot like the one that terrorises the cast in Don Coscarelli’s 1979 cult-classic horror) to represent this beautiful, sexy technology. And unbeknownst to me a lot of what Massive Attack were doing on their new record was exploring those themes of technology and how it affects us, so it must have connected with them.” Watch “Massive Attack, Young Fathers – Voodoo In My Blood” Phantasm!
  • Dooms Children self-titled, out October 2021. This is Wade MacNeil’s solo project. [Bandcamp, Apple, Artist Shop] Listen to their cover of Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil.
  • Dialect: An Open-Source Translation App for Linux.”—”Dialect is a straightforward app that lets you translate between languages using web services. While you can launch the web browser and directly use any translation service to get the job done, a desktop app can sometimes come in handy. Dialect is a simple translation app that utilizes web services to translate while giving you some extra abilities.”
  • Dungeons & Dragons Gives Tease About First 2022 Book“—”Of course, the biggest news coming out of the Future of D&D panel was confirmation that the design studio was gearing up to release a new set of Core Rulebooks in 2024 for the game’s 50th anniversary. Lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford and Winninger stopped short of stating that the rulebooks would be for a new “edition” of the game, but rather that it represented the latest evolution of D&D and would be backwards compatible with existing Fifth Edition content. This suggests that the new rulebooks would be for a ‘revised’ Fifth Edition, similar to the release of the ‘3.5’ ruleset that tweaked Third Edition rules back in 2003. By the time these rulebooks are released, D&D Fifth Edition would be out for a decade, which matches the approximate publication length of other D&D editions.” Tweet thread—”For the intersecting broader TTRPG community, this means that 2024 is going to functionally be a write off. Don’t plan any major releases. It’s a year for supplements and planning. Because D&D is going to drown everything out. Plan for it, be prepared, and spend 2022-23…1/2″ “2/2… shoring up your support base and building up to weather 2024. I’m not kidding either. If D&D maintains even half its current momentum, 2024 is going to hit like a brick through a plate glass window and unprepared publishers will be battered at best and wiped out at worst.”
  • Asmodee Owners Seek to Sell Board Game Publisher for Two Billion Euros“—”Obviously, any sale of Asmodee would have huge implications on the wider tabletop board game industry. Asmodee is the second largest maker of board games behind Hasbro and is the largest publisher of games to many hobby game stores. If the sale went through, it would also represent a major increase in the value of not only Asmodee but also the board game industry as a whole. It could also mean a major disruption in the industry, especially if there is a major reorganization that comes about due to either the sale or the new ownership.”
  • Netflix announces a new family-friendly Witcher series, along with season 3. Netflix will also make another animated movie set in The Witcher universe.”—”The new animated project follows August’s anime-inspired feature The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf from Legend of Korra team Studio Mir. Netflix will also produce a new ‘fun filled’ Witcher series for kids and families — though it’s not exactly clear how that’s going to work. Finally, Netflix also announced that The Witcher has been renewed for a third season.”
  • ‘Babylon 5’ Reboot in the Works at The CW. Original series creator J. Michael Straczynski will pen the script for the update.”—”Described as a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the original, the script for a new potential version of the former syndicated drama from Warner Bros. TV will be penned by Straczynski. The new take revolves around John Sheridan (originally played by Bruce Boxleitner), an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background, who is assigned to Babylon 5, a 5-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.”
  • Russell T Davies to return as Doctor Who showrunner. Russell T Davies will make an explosive return to screens to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who in 2023, and series beyond. BBC Studios are partnering with Bad Wolf to produce.”—”Russell T Davies says ‘I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite show. But we’re time-travelling too fast, there’s a whole series of Jodie Whittaker’s brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm – I’m still a viewer for now.’ Chris Chibnall says ‘It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home. Russell built the baton that is about to be handed back to him – Doctor Who, the BBC, the screen industry in Wales, and let’s be honest everyone in the whole world, have so many reasons to be Very Excited Indeed about what lies ahead.'”
  • Let science fiction be weird again. The genre has become technically accomplished, deeply serious, and utterly boring.”—”That shift helps explain the buzz about two releases this fall. Dune is the first installment of a third attempt at Frank Herbert’s classic novel, which has already been filmed once as a feature and once as a TV miniseries. The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth installment in a franchise that helped kick off the trend. There’s a problem, though: Both films look terrible. It’s not entirely fair to judge by previews, but the directors’ other work suggests they’ll be technically accomplished, crushingly loud, deeply serious, and utterly boring.” “the problem lies in the transformation of science fiction and its cousins into the kind of seamless confection they were once pitted against. Once the genre where anything could happen, science fiction now tends to the high budget, high technique, and infinitesimally low risk. The result has all the defects of the genre, including flat characterization and absurd dialogue, with few of the rewards.”
  • Tweet—”Hollywood workers, who work in notoriously egregious conditions, are demanding fair pay, adequate rest and breaks. 60,000 workers could soon walk off the job. This would be the biggest private sector strike in the US in 10+ years. Solidarity with @IATSE. Who else has their back?”
  • Mr Goxx, the crypto-trading hamster beating human investors. Like many people, Mr Goxx is dabbling in cryptocurrency, hoping to strike it rich.”
  • My Time with Kurt Cobain. Befriending a rock star isn’t necessarily as cool as you’d think—particularly when tragedy happens.”
  • Here we are now. Rickroll us. “‘Oh My God’: Dave Grohl Makes Surprise Discovery About An Iconic Nirvana Song. He called it ‘uncanny’ in a new interview with Rolling Stone.”—”Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl says one of the best-known songs from his previous band has a surprising similarity to a very unlikely tune. Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirt,’ Grohl told Rolling Stone, has a lot in common with Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.'” Watch 2017’s “Foo Fighters & Rick Astley, Never Gonna Give You Up, Multi-camera, Tokyo, 20.8.17
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands #4: Wizard City—”Return to the Land of Ooo and beyond in the fourth and final installment of Adventure Time: Distant Lands! In Wizard City, Peppermint Butler starts over as just another inexperienced student at a wizard school filled with dangerous secrets.”
  • From the 30-50 Feral Hogs dept: “Packs Of Ravenous Wild Boars Are Ransacking Rome.” Tweet—”Rome has been invaded by Gauls, Visigoths and vandals over the centuries. Now it’s facing a new menace: entire families of rubbish-greedy wild boars. ‘I am afraid of walking on the sidewalk,’ one grandmother said.” OMG the 30-50 feral hogs have now got boats? They spent the entire lockdown sailing to Italy to destroy Western Civilization?! Frickin’ pigs ruin everything. George Orwell tried to warn us!
  • Meanwhile, in the UK they’re iconoclasting again … this time with guns. “Rare white stag shot dead on Bootle street by police. A rare white stag was shot dead by police after it was spotted running through the streets of a town.” Tweet—”Kill the questing beast in the pool of life … Winter of Discontent symbolic augury achieved.” Tweet—”Do you want to piss off the fair folk? Because this is how you piss off the fair folk.” Tweet—”Quick portent update. Ancient symbol of English virtue and purity euthanised by the keepers of order.” Don’t tell the poets. Or John Uskglass. Someone alert the Abhorsen.