Omnium Gatherum: 6oct2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 6, 2021

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

  • ‘Bristol Merlin’ manuscript fragments featured in new book“—”Fans of the Arthurian stories were intrigued to learn of the discovery, in 2019, of seven manuscript fragments of the Old French Suite Vulgate du Merlin, as The Wild Hunt reported on in February of 2019. The manuscripts were found in a set of early printed books in Bristol’s main library, and were essentially cannibalised fragments of an earlier tale, now used for binding. This was relatively common practice in an age where paper and parchment were precious and were often re-used.” About The Bristol Merlin: Revealing the Secrets of a Medieval Fragment [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Leah Tether, Laura Chuhan Campbell, and Benjamin Pohl—”The discovery of seven manuscript fragments of the Old French Suite Vulgate du Merlin in a set of early printed books in the Bristol Central Library hit global headlines in 2019. This book contains a comprehensive study of these fascinating Arthurian fragments. Beginning with an extensive contextual history, the authors reveal details of the fragments’ origin, their importation to England, and their subsequent journey to a waste pile in a bookbinder’s workshop, where they would be incorporated into the bindings of a four-volume edition of the works of Jean Gerson in the early sixteenth century. A full enquiry into the provenance of these host volumes sets out the possible routes from the bookbinder’s workshop to their final home in Bristol Central Library. Using multi-spectral imaging to read the damaged sections of text, the authors also provide a full edition and translation of the narrative contained in the fragments.”
  • Oedipus Trilogy: New Versions of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sophocles, trans. with introduction by Bryan Doerries—”Fresh, new translations of Sophocles’s three Theban plays by acclaimed theater director Bryan Doerries, which emphasize the contemporary relevance of these classic Greek tragedies. Here are Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone in fresh new versions for contemporary readers and audiences. Each has been the basis for groundbreaking theatrical performances by Theater of War Productions, in which actors present dramatic readings, followed by town hall-style discussions. These forums are designed to confront social issues by evoking raw, personal reactions to themes highlighted in the plays. The Oedipus Project is an innovative digital initiative that presents scenes from Oedipus the King as a catalyst for frank and restorative online conversations about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diverse communities. First performed in 429 BC during the time of a plague that killed one-third of the Athenian population, it is a story of arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, and a pestilence that ravages the city of Thebes—a story that is as relevant now as it was in its own time. The Oedipus at Colonus Project presents readings of scenes from Sophocles’ final play, Oedipus at Colonus, for powerful, community-driven conversations about homelessness, the immigration and refugee crises, and the challenges of eldercare during and after the pandemic. Antigone in Ferguson is a pioneering project that fuses dramatic readings from Antigone with live choral music, culminating in powerful, healing discussions about race and social justice. Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, Missouri, and premiered at Normandy High School, Michael Brown’s alma mater.”
  • How Did Kansas Become Ground Zero For the Imminent Water Crisis?” Excerpt from Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lucas Bessire—”The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force. Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future. An urgent and unsettling meditation on environmental change, Running Out is a revelatory account of family, complicity, loss, and what it means to find your way back home.”
  • How Fanfiction Can Inspire a Meaningful Cultural Activism and Challenge Social Stigmas.” Excerpt from Dubcon: Fanfiction, Power, and Sexual Consent [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Milena Popova—”How the treatment of sexual consent in erotic fanfiction functions as a form of cultural activism. Sexual consent is–at best–a contested topic in Western societies and cultures. The #MeToo movement has brought public attention to issues of sexual consent, revealing the endemic nature of sexual violence. Feminist academic approaches to sexual violence and consent are diverse and multidisciplinary–and yet consent itself is significantly undertheorized. In Dubcon, Milena Popova points to a community that has been considering issues of sex, power, and consent for many years: writers and readers of fanfiction. Their nuanced engagement with sexual consent, Popova argues, can shed light on these issues in ways not available to either academia or journalism. Popova explains that the term “dubcon” (short for “dubious consent”) was coined by the fanfiction community to make visible the gray areas between rape and consent–for example, in situations where the distribution of power may limit an individual’s ability to give meaningful consent to sex. Popova offers a close reading of three fanfiction stories in the Omegaverse genre, examines the “arranged marriage” trope, and discusses the fanfiction community’s response when a sports star who was a leading character in RPF (real person fiction) was accused of rape. Proposing that fanfiction offers a powerful discursive resistance on issues of rape and consent that challenges dominant discourses about gender, romance, sexuality, and consent, Popova shows that fanfiction functions as a form of cultural activism.”
  • Make of this Language a Shrine: A Review of The Wheel and wyrd] bird.” About The Wheel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by AM Ringwalt—”We sat on the floor of a spare bedroom in my grandparents’ house. The walls were yellow, the bedsheets and curtains decorated with a matching rose-patterned fabric. I could hear the sound of the dryer through the wall, its suggestion of warmth and cleanliness. From a glass cabinet, alongside countless other items, a ceramic figurine of a German Shephard looked toward me. The ceramic dog, a banal emblem of my father’s childhood, was the tallest figurine on the shelf. It loomed, simultaneously ambivalent and innocent. I thought about my grandmother in the seventies, walking her German Shephard to the Pacific Ocean, trying to forget. I thought about the olive trees.” And wyrd] bird [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Claire Marie Stancek—”In times fraught with ecological and individual loss, Claire Marie Stancek’s wyrd] bird grapples with both the necessity and apparent impossibility of affirming mystical experience. It is at once a book-length lyric essay on the 12th-century German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, a dream journal, a fragmentary notebook, a collection of poems, and a scrapbook of photographic ephemera. Stancek follows Hildegard as she guides the poet through an underworld of climate catastrophe and political violence populated by literary, mythical, and historical figures from Milton’s Eve to the biblical Satan to Keats’s hand. The book deconstructs a Western tradition of good and evil by rereading, cross-questioning, and upsetting some of that tradition’s central poetic texts. By refusing and confusing dualistic logic, wyrd] bird searches for an expression of visionary experience that remains rooted in the body, a mode of questioning that echoes out into further questioning, and a cry of elegiac loss that grips, stubbornly, onto love.”
  • Colin Meloy’s novel is becoming a full-length stop-motion movie.” Colin Meloy, member of The Decemberists, is author of Wildwood, illustrated by Carson Ellis. And this is being developed by Laika! Lots of Portland, OR happening in this news. “Laika’s Next Feature ‘Wildwood’ Is in Production, Based on Novel By The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy.”—”‘As a deep-dyed native son of Oregon, I have rainwater, microbrew, and fair-trade coffee coursing through my veins,’ said Knight, who won the BAFTA for his directorial debut film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ and also helmed the live-action hit ‘Bumblebee.’ ‘With Wildwood, I have the opportunity to tell a madly ambitious story of magic, wonder, and danger set in the place I grew up. My very own Portland will join that pantheon of unforgettable fantasy realms, with a stirring epic that will kindle imaginations, lift spirits, and break hearts.'” About Wildwood [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Colin Maloy, illo. Carson Ellis—”For fans of the Chronicles of Narnia comes the first book in the Wildwood Chronicles, the New York Times bestselling fantasy adventure series by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Wildwood captivates readers with the wonder and thrill of a secret world within the landscape of a modern city. It feels at once firmly steeped in the classics of children’s literature and completely fresh. The story is told from multiple points of view, and the book features more than eighty illustrations, including six full-color plates, making this an absolutely gorgeous object. In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood. The bestselling trilogy from Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis consists of Wildwood, Under Wildwood, and Wildwood Imperium.”
  • Read the short story that introduced Jeeves the butler to the world.”—”Jeeves only appears twice in ‘Extricating Young Gussie,’ performing traditional valet tasks; Wodehouse hadn’t invented Jeeves’s personality yet. In a letter to the novelist Lawrence Durrell, Wodehouse explained his thought process behind making Jeeves a problem-solver: ‘It never occurred to me at the time that he would ever do anything except appear at doors and announce people. Then—I don’t think it was the next Bertie story but the one after that—I had got Bertie’s friend into a bad tangle of some sort and I saw how to solve the problem but my artistic soul revolted at the idea of having Bertie suggest the solution. It would have been absolutely out of character. Then who? For a long time I was baffled, and then I suddenly thought ‘Why not make Jeeves a man of brains and ingenuity and have him do it?’ After that, of course, it was all simple and the stories just rolled out one after the other.’ Despite his limited presence here, ‘Extricating Young Gussie’-era Jeeves is already unflappable: when suddenly told he and Wooster are leaving for America, his only question is which suit Bertie will wear. Even the earliest version of Jeeves, we know, is poised to ‘buttle with the best of them.'”
  • Ebooks Are an Abomination. If you hate them, it’s not your fault.”—”Perhaps you’ve noticed that ebooks are awful. I hate them, but I don’t know why I hate them. Maybe it’s snobbery. Perhaps, despite my long career in technology and media, I’m a secret Luddite. Maybe I can’t stand the idea of looking at books as computers after a long day of looking at computers as computers. I don’t know, except for knowing that ebooks are awful. If you hate ebooks like I do, that loathing might attach to their dim screens, their wonky typography, their weird pagination, their unnerving ephemerality, or the prison house of a proprietary ecosystem. If you love ebooks, it might be because they are portable, and legible enough, and capable of delivering streams of words, fiction and nonfiction, into your eyes and brain with relative ease. Perhaps you like being able to carry a never-ending stack of books with you wherever you go, without having to actually lug them around. Whether you love or hate ebooks is probably a function of what books mean to you, and why.” Also “Will the Next Philosophy Book You Acquire Be an E-Book? (with poll).” Personally, I’m an early ebook adopter. I’ve had a dedicated ebook reader since the late 90s, and had a Rocket eBook! Amazon destroyed them, but the new Kindle Oasis has striking, almost disturbing, callbacks to that early device; like, Amazon is wearing the Rocket’s corpse for clothing, but also, in many ways, in spite of some changes, look how far we have not really progressed much from what was available then.
  • Dan Kramer Atari Engineering Notebook“—”This is a scan of Dan Kramer’s Atari engineering notebook. It contains his notes from October 2 1980 through February 11 1982. Lovingly scanned by Kay Savetz on September 13, 2021. The original was returned to Dan. Dan Kramer worked at Atari from 1980 to 1984 in the consumer engineering group where he created products for Atari home computers and home video games. He championed the creation of the Trak-Ball accessories for the Atari game consoles and computers, and received a patent for his digital-to-analog interface for the Atari 5200 trak-ball. He also worked on the Atari 2700 and various other projects.”
  • On Ancient Aliens, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, and the Unhinged Pleasures of Speculative Nonfiction.”
  • The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember is a new kind of library.”—”Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai’s The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember is an archive of materials including vinyls, posters, and paintings drawn from private African collections; among other materials, the collection includes Chiurai’s own personal collection of 1970s-80s vinyl records associated with liberation movements in Southern Africa, recordings of political speeches, and digital recordings from the Freedom Archives. The archive has been exhibited in Harare, Cape Town, Kalmar, Södertälje, and Johannesburg, and will be exhibited in Paris later this year. But when it is, it won’t look the same as it did in Johannesburg: notably, each time the Library is exhibited, Chiurai invites a different librarian to curate it.”
  • Giant Viruses and the Tree of Life“—”The discovery of giant viruses and their virophages immediately reopened an old question: are viruses alive? Viruses had been excluded from the tree of life because they lacked the machinery needed either to reproduce or to synthesize proteins. A virus must hijack a cell before it can do either. But when scientists realized that viruses are more complex than originally presumed—encoding several thousand genes and becoming infected by other viruses—they began to suspect that viruses might be alive after all. When a virophage infects a Mimiviridae, it seems to become ill, its virions manifesting an abnormal morphology. How can something be ill if it is not alive?”
  • Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave. Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago.”
  • Woman successfully treated for depression with electrical brain implant. ‘Stunning’ neuroscientific advance gives hope to those with mental illness not helped with drugs.”—”The device works by detecting patterns of brain activity linked to depression and automatically interrupting them using tiny pulses of electrical stimulation delivered deep inside the brain.”
  • Biblical-era Toilet With Possible Air Fresheners Found in Jerusalem. Discovered in the ruins of an Iron Age palace overlooking the Old City, the toilet and its septic tank were hewn into the bedrock”
  • Marie Antoinette’s Letters to Her Dear Swedish Count, Now Uncensored. Researchers used an X-ray technique to resurface the redacted text of letters exchanged between the queen and her dear friend Axel von Fersen.”—”In some letters, copper was present only in the original ink, so isolating the element on its own would remove the censor.” “Other letters proved trickier. With no single elemental smoking gun, the researchers mapped the ratios of certain elements, such as copper-to-iron, to distinguish between the inks and to reveal the text. And more letters still evaded deciphering entirely, as the original and redacting inks were too similar in composition to be separated.” “The ink scans may also have uncloaked the true identity of the redactor: not the grandnephew, Baron de Klinckowström, but Count von Fersen himself.” “The team ultimately undid the censorship of eight of the 15 total letters, revealing sentimental displays of affection between the French queen and the Swedish count: words like ‘beloved,’ ‘tender friend,’ ‘adore’ and ‘madly.'” “But Dr. Seth says these moonstruck effusions are not proof of a love affair. She compared them to the kissy-face emoji.”
  • Biomarkers could spell the end of anorexia nervosa“—”Researchers from the Swinburne Anorexia Nervosa (SWAN) Research Group have discovered what is believed to be the first biomarker for anorexia nervosa. Biomarkers are typically used in the detection and treatment of physical illnesses, but never before have they been used in mental disorders.” “Head of the SWAN Research Group, Dr. Andrea Phillipou, found that a combination of a type of atypical, twitching eye movement, called ‘square wave jerks,’ together with anxiety, is a promising two-element biomarker for anorexia nervosa. Square wave jerks were observed in people currently with anorexia nervosa, people who had recovered, and sisters of people with anorexia nervosa. The finding in sisters is critical, because it reveals there is likely a genetic, inherited link.”
  • From the Altered States dept: “Breakthrough research makes battery recycling more economical. How do we make battery recycling cost effective? Scientists at the ReCell Center have taken another step towards that goal.”—”In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Energy Technology, MTU and ReCell researchers detail their discovery: a method of separating individual cathode materials using a new twist on an old process called froth flotation. Used for many years by the mining industry to separate and purify ores, froth flotation separates materials in a flotation tank based on whether they repel water and float, or absorb water and sink.”
  • Urban mining for metals flashes electronic trash into treasure. Flash Joule heating by Rice lab recovers precious metals from electronic waste in seconds.”—”In what should be a win-win-win for the environment, a process developed at Rice University to extract valuable metals from electronic waste would also use up to 500 times less energy than current lab methods and produce a byproduct clean enough for agricultural land.”
  • ‘Mother of all cannabinoids’: anti-seizure compounds found in cannabis. Scientists discover three rare cannabinoids reduce seizures in mice.”—”‘From the early nineteenth century cannabis extracts were used in Western medicine to treat seizures but cannabis prohibition got in the way of advancing the science,’ said Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and the Sydney Pharmacy School. ‘Now we are able to explore how the compounds in this plant can be adapted for modern therapeutic treatments.'”
  • Cancer chemotherapy drug reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice“—”A drug commonly used to treat cancer can restore memory and cognitive function in mice that display symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, new UBC research has found. The drug, Axitinib, inhibits the growth of new blood vessels in the brain—a feature shared by both cancer tumours and Alzheimer’s disease, but this hallmark represents a new target for Alzheimer’s therapies. Mice with Alzheimer’s disease that underwent the therapy not only exhibited a reduction in blood vessels and other Alzheimer’s markers in their brains, they also performed remarkably well in tests designed to measure learning and memory.”
  • Press release: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2021“—”Physics for climate and other complex phenomena. Three Laureates share this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies of chaotic and apparently random phenomena. Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it. Giorgio Parisi is rewarded for his revolutionary contributions to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.”
  • ‘Once-In-A-Generation’ Tardigrade Fossil Discovery Reveals New Species in 16-Million-Year-Old Amber“—”In a report published Oct. 6 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, lead researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Harvard University have described just the third fossil tardigrade on record — a new genus and species Paradoryphoribius chronocaribbeus gen. et sp. nov. (Pdo. chronocaribbeus), which is fully preserved in 16-million-year-old Dominican amber from the Miocene. Measured at just over half a millimeter, the specimen has been identified as a relative of the modern living tardigrade superfamily, Isohypsibioidea, and represents the first tardigrade fossil recovered from the Cenozoic, the current geological era beginning 66 million years ago. Researchers say the pristine specimen is the best-imaged fossil tardigrade to date — capturing micron-level details of the eight-legged invertebrate’s mouthparts and needle-like claws 20-30 times finer than a human hair. The new fossil is deposited at the American Museum of Natural History Division of Invertebrate of Zoology. ‘The discovery of a fossil tardigrade is truly a once-in-a-generation event,’ said Phil Barden, senior author of the study and assistant professor of biology at New Jersey Institute of Technology. ‘What is so remarkable is that tardigrades are a ubiquitous ancient lineage that has seen it all on Earth, from the fall of the dinosaurs to the rise of terrestrial colonization of plants. Yet, they are like a ghost lineage for paleontologists with almost no fossil record. Finding any tardigrade fossil remains is an exciting moment where we can empirically see their progression through Earth history.'”
  • Meet the Man Behind Nasa and Darpa’s Warp Drive Programs. Part 1 of an Exclusive Interview with Dr. Harold G. ‘Sonny’ White, the Grand Duke of Breakthrough Propulsion.”—”In 2018, White left NASA and took his work on advanced propulsion with him. He joined the nascent Limitless Space Institute, a group of scientists and engineers driven by the goal of deep space travel. Then White went dark.”
  • Was famed Samson and Delilah really painted by Rubens? No, says AI. Long-held doubts about the authenticity of the National Gallery’s masterpiece, bought for £2.5m in 1980, are backed by pioneering technology.”
  • Ah ha! This is not the first time BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) has cause major outages. BGP is not well-known because it is pretty exclusively used by major networks, but those networks must at least have their own directly assigned block of IP addresses. This happens every once in a while. BGP configs tend to trust all other BGP networks to announce proper routes. That trust is not always justified. I viscerally recall when a propagated misconfiguration of BGP, announcing a global default route, took out the entire Internet for a day, back when I was a sysadmin of a regional ISP in Seattle, and routed it all through a little network in Florida! We had directly assigned IP blocks and also multiple upstream connections to different backbone providers, so we used BGP to properly route traffic to the best link for that route, essential to routing effectively and efficiently. “Update about the October 4th outage.” Also “Understanding How Facebook Disappeared from the Internet” and “What is BGP?” Also “Tools to explore BGP.” Also “The Great Facebook Collapse of October 4 2021 and What It Can Teach Us“—”Point is: whatever it is that you do on the Internet, have a second way to do it when the first goes down, and make sure people who need to, know how to get to it.” “You can make an effort, or you can be locked out for however long it takes your favorite social media provider to break into their own data services and remove the squirrel that has electrocuted itself in one of the servers, knocking out the service worldwide. Your choice.” Also “Facebook’s hold is fragile“—”Facebook is (obviously) too big. Their week is about to get worse, with whistleblower Frances Haugen testifying in Congress today. It feels like the culmination of years of reputation-destroying bad PR on privacy and misinformation. In 2018 I blogged that breaking up Facebook is up to us. Facebook’s business is more fragile than I even realized. Their problems are baked into the product design, maybe unfixable at this extreme scale.”
  • Facebook Is Weaker Than We Knew. A trove of leaked documents, published by The Wall Street Journal, hints at a company whose best days are behind it.” Also “Facebook Struggles to Quell Uproar Over Instagram’s Effect on Teens. The social network has been all hands on deck as it grapples with revelations that it knew the harmful effects its Instagram photo-sharing app was having on teenagers.”
  • Twitch source code leaked by anonymous hacker. Streamer payouts also leaked.” Anyone with a Twitch account, streamers or not, might want to head there now. Change your passwords, set up 2FA (even for personal accounts, though every streamer should already have been required to turn this on), and reset stream keys.
  • Google’s plan to cut pay for remote workers who relocate is a bad idea. Many workers are paid based on where they live. That’s changing.”—”Many companies that employ the estimated 13 percent of US workers who are still working from home due to the pandemic expect to open their offices back up in January. Google is one of several notable tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, that has enacted controversial plans to lower pay for remote workers who’ve moved away from the expensive areas where their headquarters are located. But there are signs these policies may backfire. While potential repercussions for cutting workers’ pay may not be immediate, humans are highly susceptible to loss aversion — losses are more painful than gains are pleasurable — and pay cuts could cause workers to either leave or resent the company. Alienating your existing workforce is always a bad idea, but it’s especially bad when tech companies are already struggling to find the workers they need.”
  • From the Get the Popcorn dept: “Apple, Google asked to turn in S.Korea compliance plans by mid-October“—”Apple (AAPL.O) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google have been asked to turn in by mid-October compliance plans for a new South Korean law that bans major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, a regulatory official said on Wednesday.”
  • Tweet thread—”Haven’t seen if anybody else reported this but I see when scrolling in portrait mode with a lot of text on the screen there is a small amount of jelly scroll, where one side moves faster than the other. It’s subtle enough that it’s hard for me to film it, but it’s there.” “Here is is slow-mo video of scrolling on the iPad Min i slowed down EVEN MORE in a frame-by-frame step through. Notice how the right moves up faster than the left. In normal usage you barely see it, but every now and then it become noticeable. In landscape it goes away entirely”. Check out this video for a likely explanation (spoiler: low refresh rate mixed with the orientation of the controller in relation to the screen orientation!): watch “iPad Mini Teardown: Here’s Why it Jelly Scrolls“.
  • Apple AirTag Bug Enables ‘Good Samaritan’ Attack“—”The new $30 AirTag tracking device from Apple has a feature that allows anyone who finds one of these tiny location beacons to scan it with a mobile phone and discover its owner’s phone number if the AirTag has been set to lost mode. But according to new research, this same feature can be abused to redirect the Good Samaritan to an iCloud phishing page — or to any other malicious website.”
  • Tim Cook says employees who leak memos do not belong at Apple, according to leaked memo. The CEO says the company is doing everything in its power to track down workers.”
  • Whoa. Tweet—”Today is my first day at Apple!” Wil Shipley was co-founder of The Omni Group, which was a luminary NeXT software house back in the day.
  • Philosophy and Extended Reality Technologies“—”What can extended reality (XR) technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) bring to the study of philosophy?”
  • COVID-19 live updates: More Americans died of COVID this year than all of 2020. More than 353,000 COVID-19 deaths have been reported since Jan. 1.”
  • Tweet—”Hollywood Blvd, Saturday, 11:22 AM: ANTI-VAXX PROTESTER: Do you see all of these homeless people around. Are they dead in the street with COVID? Hell no. Why? HOMELESS PERSON (walking by): Because I’m vaccinated you dumb fuck.”
  • Doctor Fighting COVID Vaccine Misinformation With Ingredients List for Twinkies“—”He draws the comparison to remind patients that a lot of everyday products have safe additives that a majority of people do not understand, so concerns over components of the COVID-19 vaccine are unfounded.”
  • How AT&T helped build far-right One America News. As it lauded former President Donald Trump and spread his unfounded claims of election fraud, One America News Network saw its viewership jump. Reuters has uncovered how America’s telecom giant nurtured the news channel now at the center of a bitter national divide over politics and truth.”—”A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic. OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives. ‘They told us they wanted a conservative network,’ Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. ‘They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.’ Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. Ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant. Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network’s value ‘would be zero.'”
  • Idaho’s governor left the state. His lieutenant governor took power and banned state vaccine mandates. Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the state Tuesday. His second-in-command — empowered with executive authority in his absence — used that power to pick an old fight.”
  • Extremism is a state of mind. Beyond ideological extremism.”—”We usually think of extremism in terms of the political ideas one might hold and the willingness to resort to violence for their realization. But simply believing in an ideology on the extreme end of the spectrum, or resorting to violence are not enough to make one an extremist. Extremism is a mindset, a way of seeing the world and others that cuts across ideologies and methods of achieving them, argues Quassim Cassam.” “A tired old cliché about terrorism is that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Much less popular is the idea that one person’s extremist is another person’s moderate.”
  • Tweet thread—”In the end, the Empire came to be ruled by two political parties; the Party of Can’t, and the Party of Dumb. The Party of Can’t excelled in, as you might guess from the name, proclaiming all the reasons why certain things which were absolutely necessary couldn’t be done.” “Between the Party of Can’t and the Party of Dumb, the things that were necessary were declared impossible, and what was actually happening because these things were not done was explained as happening for some reason other than the fact that the necessary things weren’t done.”
  • Fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds. Trillions of dollars a year are ‘adding fuel to the fire’ of the climate crisis, experts say.”
  • Why Greta Thunberg is cooler than you“—”To avoid unnecessary hurt feelings, we’ll start with a disclaimer: if you’re a regular reader of Red Flag it’s entirely possible that, in your own way, you may actually be as cool as, or perhaps even cooler than, Greta Thunberg. If you think the single most effective short-term measure to address the climate crisis would be to load all of the world’s billionaires onto a rocket and launch them straight into the sun, then that’s certainly very cool. Even better if you’re involved in the kind of organising work that might one day mean we can turn that pleasant daydream into reality. Unfortunately …” Also “Why only socialist internationalism can solve the climate crisis.”
  • Tweet—”French clergy sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years, a major investigation found, and its authors accused the Catholic Church of turning a blind eye for too long and urged it to reform.” Also “French clergy sexually abused over 200,000 children since 1950, report finds. Investigation finds estimated 216,000 children suffered abuse. French Catholic Church showed ‘cruel indifference’ – report. Latest sex abuse scandal to rock the Roman Catholic Church. Senior bishop asks for forgiveness, promises to act.” Also “330,000 children victims of church sex abuse, French report finds“—”An estimated 330,000 children were victims of sex abuse within France’s Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to a report released Tuesday that represents the country’s first major accounting of the worldwide phenomenon. The figure includes abuses committed by some 3,000 priests and other people involved in the church — wrongdoing that Catholic authorities covered up over decades in a ‘systemic manner,’ according to the president of the commission that issued the report, Jean-Marc Sauvé.” Also “Over 200,000 Minors Abused by Clergy in France Since 1950, Report Estimates. An independent commission set up at the request of the Roman Catholic Church in France found that abuse was far more pervasive than previously thought.”
  • 13 Arts Organizations Across 5 States and 2 Nations Unite for Desierto Mountain Time“—”Last June, a group of artists, curators, educators, and art administrators from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico got together on a conference video call. All were reckoning with the impacts of the turbulent events of 2020 on their communities, where economic and social inequalities, border and health crises hit especially hard. Looking for ways to reach local and wider audiences as the pandemic continued, they decided to join forces. ” “The resulting project, Desierto Mountain Time, spans from September 2021 to May 2022 and brings together 13 organizations from five states and two countries. The ongoing series of contemporary art exhibitions and programs will be led by 516 ARTS and its partners, which include the Fund for Ethical Practices of Transborder Art (Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas), the Harwood Museum of Art (Taos, New Mexico), RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, Colorado), and others.” See “Desierto Mountain Time. A cross-border contemporary art collaboration.”
  • Looted 16th-century Manuscripts Are Returned to Mexico’s National Archive. At least 10 stolen documents that had been illegally taken from Mexico’s National Archive were ultimately identified.”
  • Why do bosses keep trying to kill us?“—”Wittenoom is an abandoned town in the desert north of Perth. Once, it had a population of almost 1,000, making it the biggest town in the Pilbara. Now, it’s been removed from maps and cut off from all essential services, to stop people from visiting. Wittenoom is a kind of Australian Chernobyl, poisoned not by radioactivity but by the deadly blue asbestos dug up from the town’s mine, where most of the population worked.”
  • Before 3D Prints There Were Plaster Copies. Plaster casts have a much longer history than 3D models and prints and therefore can provide us with examples of the ethical pitfalls of reproductions.”—”For almost a century, plaster copies were deemed distasteful and soulless, sometimes stored in leaky storehouses, left to rot in boiler rooms, and ‘vandalized.’ With the exception of dinosaur casts and architectural replicas, many European and North American museums had been reluctant to exhibit copies. In 2007, the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg closed their exhibit when it became known that the terracotta soldiers loaned from China were not the actual 2,000-year-old artifacts, but their copies. (Byung Chul Han explains that these were exact reproductions of the original, which, for the Chinese, are of equal value to the original.) But copies may be having a comeback.”
  • Free the Nipple: A History of a Hidden Movement.” Also “Pedro Almodóvar declares ‘victory’ after Instagram reinstates film poster featuring nipple.” Also “Venice, Day 1: See the Almodóvar, Free the Nipple. The director was the toast of a glamorous dinner with Penélope Cruz, Isabelle Huppert and Denis Villeneuve, who talked about ‘Dune’ as if he were a proud parent.”
  • What is the Point of HBO’s Remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage?“—”To remake Scenes from a Marriage is bold, like asserting there is something in need of improvement or updating. And it quickly becomes apparent which elements writer/director/producer Hagai Levi (The Affair, In Treatment) thinks he can improve with his HBO remake of the series starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. Though faithful to the original’s narrative arc, this new version enacts changes loaded with cultural baggage.” About Scenes from a Marriage on HBO.
  • Alan Moore on his screenwriting debut: ‘I want to enslave the mass subconscious’. Exclusive: Alan Moore returns with his new movie The Show – and yes, that’s him wearing gold.”—”‘I want to enslave the mass subconscious,’ Alan Moore tells SFX Magazine. ‘That’s my ultimate aim. I want this to be mesmeric. I want to have people dreaming about this film.'”
  • Watch “Pandora Papers reveal financial dealings of some of world’s most powerful people“—”The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.”
  • Watch “New eruptions from La Palma volcano as lava produced with more force“—”Two new vents are causing further eruptions from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands.”
  • Watch “California oil spill sparks concern for US wildlife.”
  • Watch “Religious leaders including Pope Francis call for new climate deal“—”Pope Francis and nearly 40 other religious leaders have called for urgent action to combat climate change.”
  • What it Means to Break the Museum’s Most Sacred Rule“—”In 1989, the New York Post reported that Ed Brzezinski, on a visit to Robert Gober’s exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery, ate one of the donuts from Gober’s ‘Bag of Donuts’ (1989). Brzezinski later said that the donut, coated in synthetic resin for preservation, ‘tasted stale.’ ‘Okay, I was hungry. I’d been drinking and I hadn’t eaten anything all day,’ he said, post-ingestion. People were upset — likely because Brzezinski did not take seriously the delicate presence that the gallery and museum space requires of the viewer. He was hungry.” “We cringe at art touchers because they can’t control themselves within the extremely controlled museum space. Their negligence has a lasting effect: Their actions in the present have affected a piece of history and ruined it for the future. The nagging temptation to touch something in the museum space is a common urge. Whether done knowingly or accidentally, it reflects the desire to enter into the piece, to irreparably place yourself within the bounds of the art through its defacement. The perpetrator is more than ‘dumb,’ than they are an egotist; they have their hand (quite literally) in the art. I don’t believe that these incidents are as simple as negligence and idiocy (though some of that is present). To me, there are no wrong ways to respond to art, only unaccepted ones — and even the unaccepted ones highlight integral questions of purpose. I do not advocate the destruction of art. Rather, I ask a question that seems simple at first glance, but is complicated by defacement: What do we want from our encounters with art? The answer is at the root of our human relationship with an object and reflects the value we get from that encounter. The importance of the question of purpose cannot be undervalued. We value our institutions vigorously; to allow them to serve us, and for us to serve them, they have to allow people the room to make mistakes.”
  • Danish Artist Runs Away With Museum’s Cash and Calls It Art“—”This story of a cunning artist and an unsuspecting museum will make you rethink what conceptual art can get you. The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in ​​Aalborg, Denmark, lent the artist Jens Haaning 534,000 kroner (~$84,000) to reproduce two of his older artworks. But what did he do instead? He kept the money to himself and renamed the series Take the Money and Run.”
  • Ferrari Hires Former Apple Designer Jony Ive Ahead of Electric Push. Ive’s design company, LoveFrom, reaches multiyear deal with the luxury sports car maker and its largest shareholder.”
  • New Roomba promises ‘poopocalypse’ horror stories are a thing of the past. The Roomba j7+ has a front camera and poop-detecting artificial intelligence.”—”If you’ve never heard of this “poop+Roomba” phenomenon, you definitely shouldn’t ever Google it and click on the results that pop up, like this one or this or this. To save you some trauma, robo vacs have a lot of moving parts, like wheels and spinning brushes. This is great if you’re driving over and picking up dry dirt, but if the robot encounters a soft mass of something that it can grind up, those spinning brushes quickly become paint rollers. Then the robot drives all over the house. It’s bad.”
  • Two Puzzles About Truthfulness“—”So even though you have strong evidence that L & P is true, and your only goal is to speak the truth, it looks like you should deny L & P.”
  • Watch “Do Chairs Exist?
  • Tyler Cowen on reading fast, reading well, and reading widely“—”The important thing is to be ruthless with the books that are not good. Just stop reading, put them down, usually throw them away, don’t give them away – if you give them away you could be doing harm to people.” “People don’t read enough, and I think as a society we’re under-investing in reading. People feel compelled to finish books they’ve started – that’s just a tax on your reading. Why would you do that to yourself? Imagine a world where any restaurant you tried you had to keep on going there for days or weeks, you’d hardly ever go out to eat. Take reading seriously, develop a passion for it, and view it as part of your practice as a knowledge worker to get ahead, but along the way, having fun doing so.”
  • A Washed-up Porn Star Wreaks Trumpian Mayhem in His Hometown“—”The film is in dialogue with the state of sex in US cinema, which is currently quite squeamish. Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday bemoaned that ‘sex is disappearing from the big screen.’ Kate Hagen backed this feeling up in Playboy with hard statistics. In Lithium, Kaiya Shunyata notes that when sex scenes do appear, the characters featured are usually white and heterosexual (this applies in Red Rocket too). Today sex is explored more on TV and the internet than in theaters. Mainstream filmmakers aren’t as willing to take risks, especially with the endless churn of family-friendly blockbusters. Even arthouse and queer cinema tend to hint rather than gaze, like in Moonlight, Call Me By Your Name, or this year’s The Power of the Dog. In this context, Red Rocket‘s explicitness is a potent conversation starter. And the movie’s ambiguous ending leaves the audience to choose: Is this Mikey’s fantasy, or our own? What do — or should — we desire? Sex sells, it tells us, unless we choose not to buy.” About Red Rocket, coming to NYFF. Watch “Red Rocket | Official Trailer HD | A24″. Haha. It’s A24. Oh my, I appear to have a type. They’ve got my number.
  • Midnight Mass review“—”I binged Midnight Mass on Netflix this last weekend. I have a lot of thoughts but first I have a spoiler-free review, and I ask for no spoilers in comments. Is it good? It has some serious flaws, but at its best it is not merely good but great. Do you want to see it? That depends …” About Midnight Mass on Netflix—”The arrival of a charismatic young priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe.”
  • Watch “Rare IBM Film: ‘The Big Switch’ 1963, and 1410 Data Processing System, Computer Network Automation“—”This Rare IBM Film features how IBM converted its National Telegraph Communication Network to a Computerized System using the IBM 1410 Data Processing System. Film shows the early IBM telegraph machines used to collect and re-transmit communications to its hundreds of branch offices, manufacturing plants and laboratories around the country. This original IBM documentary has excellent detail, hardware devices and rare behind the scenes footage! Seen are several telegraph machine operators, five-channel punched paper tape, tape racks and manual communication processes, several RAMAC storage units and the 1410 DP system itself. Film provided courtesy of IBM ARCHIVES and uploaded by the Computer History Archives Project.”
  • Watch “James Bond Directed By Alfred Hitchcock
  • Watch “The Dark Tower | Announcement Trailer | Audio Drama”—”The Dark Tower Audio Drama Fan Project will bring out a new perspective to the universe created by Stephen King. The series will compose of 7 seasons, each aimed to bring their respective books to life in audio format in a true adaptation of the series loved by millions; while also fleshing out the world and characters along the path of the beam.” This appears to be fan production? I’ll be surprised if they get far before getting a call from someone’s legal dept, but, um, we’ll see!
  • Tweet—”This morning (Wednesday 6 October 2021) the Third Edition (2011-2021) of the SFE has been replaced with a Fourth Edition, which you’ve just automatically accessed, as we’re at the same address. See here to clock some improvements: http://sf-encyclopedia.com/this-site More to come. Hey!” Also “SF Encyclopedia: Fourth Edition“—”This presentation of the SF Encyclopedia was drafted as an emergency fallback in case of server failure at our long-established (since 2011) Hachette / Orion / Gollancz platform, and developed as a replacement to become public after the old arrangement with Gollancz came to an end on 29 September 2021.”
  • Need some inspirational folklore and cryptid maps for Vaesen, or Kids on Bikes, or … ? “Neil Parkinson Shop. Illustrated maps of mythical beasts.”
  • Tweet—”‘Squid Game’ creator Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the show in 2009 but was rejected by studios for 10 years. He once had to stop writing the script + sell his $675 laptop due to money struggles. Today, it’s #1 in 90 countries + set to become the most-watched show in Netflix history.” Tweet—”creator of show about crippling effects of capitalism almost didn’t make show due to crippling effects of capitalism”
  • Image’s Die Finale Showed the True Stakes of Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs. Image’s Die #20 shows the conflict every Dungeons & Dragons player must face, caught between destiny and their own free will to choose.”
  • Introducing the IDW Star Trek Year Five Tie-in Release“—”Astute fans of Star Trek Adventures might note that, over the last few years, the STA development team and I have been working to partner with other Star Trek licensees producing content for Star Trek. We’ve built relationships with Hero Collector/Eaglemoss, Cryptic Studios (Star Trek Online), and the folks developing Star Trek Timelines (first Disruptor Beam, now Wicked Realm Games and Tilting Point). Now, I’m proud to announce that we’ve built a relationship with IDW Publishing as well, with the release of our new digital product, a tie-in supplement based on the outstanding Star Trek Year Five comic series.” About Star Trek Adventures IDW Year Five Tie-In PDF [DTRPG]—”This 26-page digital supplement features content drawn from the pages of IDW’s imaginative Year Five comic book series, adapted for use with Star Trek Adventures, and ready to be added to your ongoing missions and campaigns.” “The series goes beyond the canon established in the Star Trek television series and films to tell the story of the final year of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s five-year mission under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. All the classic characters are in a state of transition. They know the end of an era is approaching and are making plans for what they’ll do after the conclusion of the mission. The series features imaginative new elements as well as putting new spins on some classic species and characters.”
  • Watch “Egyptian Mythology Sleep Stories: Osiris Myth, Creation, The Gods, The Afterlife… (2 hours ASMR)”.
  • Watch “ASMR Egyptian Hieroglyphs Carving on Wax Tablet | 1 hour Soft Spoken”.