Omnium Gatherum: 17oct2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 17, 2021

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

  • The Show review – Alan Moore brings vaudevillian dazzle to Northampton noir. Moore has created a Chandlerian shoal of red herrings, drawing viewers into a dark and dense mystery set in the very centre of England.” Available online Oct 18, but watch the trailer “The Show | Official Trailer | Altitude Films”—”Fletcher Dennis (Tom Burke), a man of many talents, passports and identities, arrives in Northampton – a strange and haunted town in the heart of England as dangerous as he is. On a mission to locate a stolen artefact for his menacing client, Fletcher finds himself entangled in a twilight world populated with vampires, sleeping beauties, Voodoo gangsters, noir private eyes, and masked avengers. He quickly sinks into a bizarre and delirious black hole, that is hidden just beneath the surface of this seemingly quiet town. Soon enough Fletcher discovers that dreams and reality have been blurred and there might no longer be a real world to go back to. Welcome to The Show. From the mind of Alan Moore.”
  • Touched by the hand of Ithell: my fascination with a forgotten surrealist. Ithell Colquhoun’s fecund, fleshy paintings were soaked in mysticism. But was she running my life from beyond the grave?” About Song of Songs at Unit London through Nov 6. “Unit London is delighted to present a group exhibition entitled, Song of Songs: Representations of the self, spirituality and states of mind in art – from modernity to the digital age, curated by Rachel Thomas, Head of Exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The international group exhibition takes its name from a painting, Song of Songs, 1933, by the British Surrealist artist, writer and occultist, Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988). The exhibition considers the role of how the self, the mind, and how spirituality evolves in the creation of abstract painting from its origins to the present digital age. Song of Songs embraces the many philosophical, material and ideological potentials which emerge when exploring the self in art. The exhibition includes a major and important presentation of over 12 master painting works by Ithell Colquhoun. They are hung in conversation with leading and emerging contemporary international artists such as; Linder, Bharti Kher, Anna Weyant, Elaine Hoey, Richard Malone, Grace Weir, Jesse Mockrin, Clare Ormerod, Matthew Stone, Stacey Gillian Abe, Suchitra Mattai.”
  • The Book of Magic.” Excerpt from The Book of Magic [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Alice Hoffman, book 4 of the Practical Magic series—”Master storyteller Alice Hoffman brings us the conclusion of the Practical Magic series in a spellbinding and enchanting final Owens novel brimming with lyric beauty and vivid characters. The Owens family has been cursed in matters of love for over three-hundred years but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work. A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love. The Book of Magic is a breathtaking conclusion that celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.”
  • “Welcome to the Saint Heron Community Library; a growing media center dedicated to students, practicing artists and designers, musicians and general literature enthusiasts. We believe our community is deserving of access to the stylistically expansive range of Black and Brown voices in poetry, visual art, critical thought and design. The library’s focus is education, knowledge production, creative inspiration and skill development through works by artists, designers, historians, and activists from around the world. Offered seasonally with selections by guest curators, this collection of rare, author-inscribed and out-of-print literary works can be borrowed up to 45-days, for free to our U.S. based community. Special thanks to our partners Aesop.” Also “Solange Launches Free Library of Rare, Out-of-print Books by Black Authors.” Also “Solange’s Saint Heron Unveils Free Library of Rare Books and Art by Black Creators“—”Solange’s Saint Heron studio and platform has announced the launch of its free library of “esteemed and valuable” books by Black creators for research, study and exploration. Each reader will be invited to borrow a book of their choice for 45 days, completely free of charge. It is available via Saint Heron’s website, saintheron.com starting Monday, Oct. 18”.
  • Anarchism and the Black Revolution by AK Press. Free. Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin in conversation with William C. Anderson about the rerelease and ongoing significance of his classic work. Sat, Oct 23, 2021, 10:00 AM CDT.” About Anarchism and the Black Revolution: The Definitive Edition [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin—”Anarchism and the Black Revolution first connected Black radical thought to anarchist theory in 1979. Now amidst a rising tide of Black political organizing, this foundational classic written by a key figure of the Civil Rights movement is republished with a wealth of original material for a new generation. Anarchist theory has long suffered from a whiteness problem. This book places its critique of both capitalism and racism firmly at the center of the text. Making a powerful case for the building of a Black revolutionary movement that rejects sexism, homophobia, militarism and racism, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin counters the lies and distortions about anarchism spread by its left- and right-wing opponents alike. New material includes an interview with writer and activist William C. Anderson, as well as new essays, and a contextualizing biography of the author’s inspiring life.”
  • Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Derecka Purnell—”For more than a century, activists in the United States have tried to reform the police. From community policing initiatives to increasing diversity, none of it has stopped the police from killing about three people a day. Millions of people continue to protest police violence because these ‘solutions’ do not match the problem: the police cannot be reformed. In Becoming Abolitionists, Purnell draws from her experiences as a lawyer, writer, and organizer initially skeptical about police abolition. She saw too much sexual violence and buried too many friends to consider getting rid of police in her hometown of St. Louis, let alone the nation. But the police were a placebo. Calling them felt like something, and something feels like everything when the other option seems like nothing. Purnell details how multi-racial social movements rooted in rebellion, risk-taking, and revolutionary love pushed her and a generation of activists toward abolition. The book travels across geography and time, and offers lessons that activists have learned from Ferguson to South Africa, from Reconstruction to contemporary protests against police shootings. Here, Purnell argues that police can not be reformed and invites readers to envision new systems that work to address the root causes of violence. Becoming Abolitionists shows that abolition is not solely about getting rid of police, but a commitment to create and support different answers to the problem of harm in society, and, most excitingly, an opportunity to reduce and eliminate harm in the first place.”
  • Necessary Housework: Dismantling the Master’s House“—”The truth is, as historians, particularly BIPOC historians, we are doing the ‘necessary housework’ and are custodians cleaning up messy history. White supremacy tells us we do not belong, but we do have a place in history, even though anti-Blackness has tried to erase and displace us from being included in narratives of our own worlds. Our ‘homemade citizenship’ as BIPOC historians continues to disrupt our fields, and we’ve made a space for ourselves as the keepers of history, too.”
  • Crank book covers“—”Yes, ‘crank’ is a pejorative word but it’s used with some degree of affection, as in ‘harmless crank’. It’s also a convenient umbrella term for the books referred to in the weekend post which embrace diverse subjects, from lost continents and ‘earth energy’ to ancient astronauts and flying saucers.”
  • From 2016: “Ezra Pound and the drafts of The Waste Land. The manuscript of T S Eliot’s The Waste Land show how extensively Ezra Pound’s revisions and suggestions shaped the published work. Mark Ford takes a look at Pound’s marginalia and celebrates his ruthlessness and skill as an editor.”
  • “A fact is a holy thing, and its life should never be laid down on the altar of a generalization.”—Arthur Darby Nock, “The Study of the History of Religion,” Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, Vol. I (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), pp. 331-340 (at 333), quoted at “A Holy Thing.”
  • “At least until the beginning of his nomadic mode of life at the end of the 1870s, Nietzsche hated large cities. But small towns where one was protected from the dangers of the wide world by a wall, where one came to know one’s neighbours and remained in contact with the countryside, he came to love, particularly Germany’s old medieval towns. In 1874, for instance, he wrote to his friend Edwin Rohde that he planned to leave the city of Basel and move to the walled (to this very day) medieval town of Rotenburg-ob-der-Tauber in Franconia since, unlike the cities of modernity, it was still ‘altdeutsch’ [German in the old-fashioned way] and ‘whole’.”—Julian Young, Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 13 (note omitted, brackets in original), quoted at “Small Towns.”
  • From June: “An Italian village that’s been submerged under a lake for over 25 years may soon reappear. An Italian village that has been submerged under water for decades may soon resurface. Fabbriche di Careggine in Tuscany was flooded by nearby Lake Vogli following the construction of a dam on the Edron river in 1947. The lake has been drained four times since (most recently in 1994), revealing the ruins underneath, and authorities say it may happen again in 2021, according to Lonely Planet.” Also “Italian village underwater since 1994 could resurface.” But, did it?! I don’t see any news about it since June.
  • Was Our Universe Created in a Laboratory? Developing quantum-gravity technologies may elevate us to a ‘class A’ civilization, capable of creating a baby universe.”
  • NASA Advisor Quits Over Space Telescope Named for Homophobic Administrator. ‘This flippant, pathetic response…sends a clear message of NASA’s position on the rights of queer astronomers,’ wrote Lucianne Walkowicz.”
  • Henrietta Lacks Estate Sues Thermo Fisher over HeLa Cell Line. Attorneys for the family seek compensation for the company’s sale of cells cloned from tissue removed without consent by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital 70 years ago.” Also “Henrietta Lacks estate sues company using her ‘stolen’ cells.” Also “Family of Henrietta Lacks files suit against biotech company for using famous ‘HeLa’ cells without permission.” Also “Lawyers for Henrietta Lacks estate say Thermo Fisher Scientific is just the first firm to be sued over her cells.”—”Trillions of her cells have played a pivotal role in medical research for the past 60 years, but Henrietta Lacks’s story was virtually unknown until it became the subject of a best-selling book in 2010 and an HBO movie starring Oprah Winfrey seven years later. On Monday, the family of the Black tobacco farmer, who died in 1951, filed a federal lawsuit accusing Massachusetts’ most valuable company of unfairly profiting off her cells. Thermo Fisher Scientific, a Waltham-based maker of lab equipment and materials, is only ‘the first of many’ the family plans to sue for unjust enrichment, Christopher Seeger, a member of the family’s legal team, said on Tuesday.” Also “WHO Director-General Bestows Posthumous Award on the Late Henrietta Lacks. Recognizes her Life, Legacy, and Contribution to Medical Science.”
  • Synthetic chemical in consumer products linked to early death, study finds“—”Synthetic chemicals called phthalates, found in hundreds of consumer products such as food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume and children’s toys, may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States, a new study found.”
  • Oldest genome from Wallacea shows previously unknown ancient human relations. International research team isolates DNA from modern human buried 7,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.”—”The oldest genome of a modern human from the Wallacea region – the islands between western Indonesia and Papua New Guinea – indicates a previously undescribed ancient human relationship. The international study was accomplished through close collaboration with several researchers and institutions from Indonesia. It was headed by Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) and the Science of Human History (Jena), Cosimo Posth of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, and Adam Brumm of Griffith University, Australia.” Also “Genome of a middle Holocene hunter-gatherer from Wallacea.”
  • A Warning Sign of a Mass Extinction Event Is on the Rise, Scientists Say. Toxic microbial blooms thrived during the Great Dying, the most severe extinction in Earth’s history, and they are proliferating again due to human activity.”
  • Figures of Babylon: oldest drawing of a ghost found in British Museum vault. A 3,500-year-old image tablet of a ‘miserable male ghost’ gives up its secret.”—”A lonely bearded spirit being led into the afterlife and eternal bliss by a lover has been identified on an ancient Babylonian clay tablet created about 3,500 years ago.”
  • Massive asteroids will whiz past Earth in coming weeks, including 1 nearly size of Empire State Building. NASA has tracked over 27,000 near-Earth objects, some over 1 kilometer in size.”
  • The Most Monstrous Comet Ever Known Is Headed Straight for Us. Bernardinelli-Bernstein is thousands of times more massive than an average comet. Its close approach is a rare chance to learn more about how Earth and its neighbors were born.”
  • Meteorite lands in woman’s bed. ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s a rock in my bed,’ Canadian woman exclaims during 911 call.” What’s Dwayne Johnson doing in Canada jumping into some lady’s bed?!
  • A Last-Minute Nuke to Shatter an Incoming Asteroid Could Actually Work, Study Suggests. Models suggest 99% of an asteroid’s mass would fail to hit Earth after a disruptive nuclear strike.”
  • Dunlap Astronomer discovers we may be surrounded by tunnel-like structure“—”‘If we were to look up in the sky,’ explains West, ‘we would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction we looked – that is, if we had eyes that could see radio light.’ Called ‘the North Polar Spur’ and ‘the Fan Region,’ we’ve known about these two structures for a long time. ‘Since the 60s,’ West says. But most scientific explanations have focused on them individually. West and her colleagues believe they are the first astronomers to connect them as a unit. Made up of charged particles and a magnetic field, the structures are shaped like long ropes, and are located about 350 light years away from us. They are about 1000 light years long. ‘That’s the equivalent distance of travelling between Toronto and Vancouver two trillion times,’ West explains. West has been thinking about these features on and off for 15 years – ever since she first saw a map of the radio sky. More recently, she built a computer model that calculated what the radio sky would look like from Earth, as she varied the shape and location of the long ropes. This model allowed West to ‘build’ the structure around us, and showed her what the sky would look like through our telescopes. It was this new perspective that helped her to match the model to the data.” “‘Magnetic fields don’t exist in isolation,’ she explains. ‘They all must to connect to each other. So a next step is to better understand how this local magnetic field connects both to the larger-scale Galactic magnetic field, and also to the smaller scale magnetic fields of our Sun and Earth.’ In the meantime, West agrees that the new ‘tunnel’ model not only brings new insight to the science community, but also a ground-breaking concept for the rest of us, on the ground. ‘I think it’s just awesome to imagine that these structures are everywhere, whenever we look up into the night sky.'”
  • New findings a ‘complete reversal’ in understanding why Earth became hospitable to life and its ‘twin’ didn’t“—”Venus may be a sweltering wasteland today, but scientists have questioned whether the planet was always so inhospitable. While previous studies suggested Venus might have once been covered in oceans, new research has found the opposite: Venus has likely never been able to support oceans. Researchers also determined that a similar story could have played out on Earth as well had things been just a bit different.” “To understand how these two rocky planets turned out so differently, a team of astrophysicists decided to try to simulate the beginning, when our solar system’s planets formed 4.5 billion years ago. They used climate models — similar to what researchers use when simulating climate change on Earth — to peer back in time at young Venus and Earth.”
  • Facebook permanently banned a developer after he made an app to let users delete their news feed. The developer Louis Barclay made a tool called Unfollow Everything for Facebook users. The extension removed Facebook users’ News Feed by mass-unfollowing friends and pages. Barclay says he got a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook in July and was kicked off its platform.”
  • Amazon Puts Its Own ‘Brands’ First. Above Better-Rated Products. The online giant gives a leg up to hundreds of house brand and exclusive products that most people don’t know are connected to Amazon.”—”‘We found that knowing only whether a product was an Amazon brand or exclusive could predict in seven out of every 10 cases whether Amazon would place it first in search results.’ ‘Our members are still very hesitant to speak out against Amazon for fear of retaliation,’ he said in an email, ‘even anonymously.'”
  • Flashback to 2016: “Birkenstock quits Amazon in US after counterfeit surge.” Also “No, Birkenstock Isn’t Selling to Amazon Again.”
  • NFTs Weren’t Supposed to End Like This. When we invented non-fungible tokens, we were trying to protect artists. But tech-world opportunism has struck again.”
  • The Ethics of NFTs: Why You Should Rethink Selling Photography Online.”
  • Ok, Boomer. “Missouri Governor Goes After Reporter Who Found Teachers’ Social Security Info Was at Risk“—”The St. Louis-Dispatch on Wednesday reported that it found the ‘vulnerability in a web application that allowed the public to search teacher certifications and credentials.’ The newspaper notified the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the issue before publishing the story, and the affected pages were removed from the website.” Also “Governor Wants to Prosecute Journalist Who Clicked ‘View Source’ on Government Site. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist found 100,000 Social Security numbers exposed in a government website, and reported the flaw to the government.” Also “F12 isn’t hacking: Missouri governor threatens to prosecute local journalist for finding exposed state data“—”Missouri governor Mike Parson is facing a monumental backlash after threatening to prosecute a journalist for responsibly reporting a serious security lapse in the state’s website. Earlier this week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Josh Renaud reported that the website for the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) was exposing over 100,000 teachers’ Social Security numbers. These SSNs were discovered by viewing the HTML source code of the site’s web pages, allowing anyone with an internet connection to find the sensitive information by right-clicking the page and hitting ‘view page source.’ For many, viewing a web page’s source code is as simple as hitting F12 on your keyboard.” Tweet—”Journalism isn’t a crime. Cybersecurity research isn’t either. Real leaders don’t unleash their attack dogs on the press when they expose government failures, they roll up their sleeves and fix the problem.”
  • They’re putting guns on robot dogs now. It was only a matter of time.”—”Boston Dynamics, the best-known manufacturer of quadrupedal robots and makers of Spot, has a strict policy agains weaponizing its machines. Other manufacturers, it seems, aren’t so picky. After all, plenty of companies already sell uncrewed gun platforms that use tank treads or wheels, so adding the same basic kit to legged machines isn’t much of a stretch. The bigger question is how these robots will be deployed in the future and what level of oversight will be required when they start firing lethal rounds at humans. For a while now, experts have been warning about the slow rise in the use of “killer robots” (known as lethal autonomous weapon systems, or LAWS, in official jargon), and official US policy does not prohibit their development or deployment. Many groups are campaigning for a preemptive ban on such systems, but, in the meantime, it seems companies will continue to build what is possible. And that means putting guns on robot dogs.” Also “Ex-Gen. Stanley McChrystal: AI weapons ‘frightening,’ ‘will’ make lethal decisions.”
  • Algorithms of war: The military plan for artificial intelligence“—”Capitalism excels at revolutionising war.”
  • San Francisco is at a tipping point. The revolts of the past must show us the path forward. Roll Over Easy radio host Luke Spray on changing the way we look at our city.”
  • Credit-card firms are becoming reluctant regulators of the web.”
  • More on this: “Bugs in our pockets?“—”In our report, we provide a detailed analysis of scanning capabilities at both the client and the server, the trade-offs between false positives and false negatives, and the side effects – such as the ways in which adding scanning systems to citizens’ devices will open them up to new types of attack. We did not set out to praise Apple’s proposal, but we ended up concluding that it was probably about the best that could be done. Even so, it did not come close to providing a system that a rational person might consider trustworthy.”
  • Meanwhile, also Apple via [PDF]: “iPhone is a highly personal device where users store some of their most sensitive and personal information. This means that maintaining security and privacy on the iOS ecosystem is of critical importance to users. However, some are demanding that Apple support the distribution of apps outside of the App Store, through direct downloads or third-party app stores, a process also referred to as ‘sideloading.’ Supporting sideloading through direct downloads and third-party app stores would cripple the privacy and security protections that have made iPhone so secure, and expose users to serious security risks.” Tweet—”Apple’s thesis here is openly deceitful. If automated software analysis or human review were essential for security, iOS could support or even require it for competing stores. Mac notarization shows it’s feasible. Nothing about security requires an Apple monopoly on distribution.” Tweet—”31 pages of fearmongering? Damn, Apple must *actually* be scared!”
  • Former Malware Distributor Kape Technologies Now Owns ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, Zenmate, and a Collection of VPN “Review” Websites“—”Kape Technologies, a former malware distributor that operates in Israel, has now acquired four different VPN services and a collection of VPN “review” websites that rank Kape’s VPN holdings at the top of their recommendations. This report examines the controversial history of Kape Technologies and its rapid expansion into the VPN industry.” Yeah, that’s not suspicious at all.
  • Netflix just fired the organizer of the trans employee walkout. The company suspects they leaked metrics about the Dave Chappelle special to the press.”
  • A brief chat with the fired #AppleToo organizer. Janneke Parrish talks about rallying support within Apple — and the company’s response to employee organizing.”
  • Tesla removes Cybertruck specs and prices from its website.” Wait! How will I find out how much more cocaine it holds than a DeLorean?!
  • Elon Musk’s Tesla is up $1 billion on its $1.5 billion bitcoin investment as the cryptocurrency soars.”
  • Tweet—”Oh my gosh, and there’s a (pre-release) 1985 HIG [Human Interface Guidelines] that’s quite different. It includes e.g. case studies (useful!), and an extended discussion of Jung’s theories of intuition and how they should influence your designs (!!)” There’s Jung in the Apple UI!
  • William Shatner Tried to Tell Jeff Bezos About the Glory of Spaceflight, But Bezos Interrupted Him to Spray Staff With Champagne. ‘Give me a champagne bottle,’ Bezos said, gesturing to nearby staff and interrupting Shatner. ‘I want one.'”—”It was an awkward moment. As soon as famed ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner clambered out of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule, as seen on Blue Origin’s live stream today, he was clearly overcome, visibly shaken by the experience of seeing the Earth whip by. Shatner, alongside three other passengers, reached an apogee of over 66 miles during today’s launch, narrowly crossing the boundary of space, at least depending on who you ask. But when he tried to tell the company’s co-founder, Jeff Bezos, about the profound experience, things got weird. As Shatner tried to wax poetic about the experience, Bezos listened for a few moments, but then turned away from a displeased-looking Shatner to focus on something more pressing: champagne.” “It was a brief and bizarre clash of wavelengths and priorities that encapsulated what Bezos seems to be after: building a profitable space empire, with more emphasis on glitz and glamor than the philosophical implications of space travel.” Also “Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional ‘bro culture’ led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezos’s space venture. ‘It’s condescending. It’s demoralizing,’ said one former top executive of conditions prompting many to leave the company.”
  • Five times as many police officers have died from Covid-19 as from gunfire since start of pandemic.”
  • The Hot New Back-to-School Accessory? An Air Quality Monitor. Parents are sneaking carbon dioxide monitors into their children’s schools to determine whether the buildings are safe.”
  • Moral Polarization Predicts Support for Authoritarian and Progressive Strong Leaders via the Perceived Breakdown of Society“—”Polarization in society may hold consequences beyond the undermining of social cohesion. Here we provide the first evidence highlighting the power of perceived moral polarization in society to drive support for strong leaders. Across two studies and four samples drawn from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States (N = 1,664), we found evidence linking perceived moral polarization with perceived anomie in society (defined as the perceived breakdown of social fabric and leadership) and with the rise in support for leaders with both a conservative/authoritarian and progressive/democratic style. Specifically, via the perceived breakdown in social fabric, heightened moral polarization predicted increased support for conservative/authoritarian style strong leaders, and via the perceived breakdown of leadership, increased support for progressive/democratic style strong leaders. Experimentally, using a fictionalized society paradigm, we then established causal links between moral polarization and the desire to elect conservative/authoritarian and progressive/democratic strong leaders. The current research is the first to identify the potential political consequences of heightened perceived moral polarization in two-party liberal democracies and contributes to the growing body of research highlighting the role of societal factors in driving support for strong leaders.”
  • Sinema rakes in Pharma and finance cash amid reconciliation negotiations. The senator raised more than $1.1 million in the third quarter. About 90 percent of it came from outside her home state.” Also “Winemaking and marathon running: what Kyrsten Sinema does instead of her job. Sinema is one of two Democrat holdouts against passing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda – but hasn’t made public why. Here’s what she is public about.” Also “What does Kyrsten Sinema want? A Parisian holiday. The holdout on Biden’s agenda says: Let them eat cake.” Also “As Budget Bill Hangs in Limbo, Kyrsten Sinema Heads to Europe. With the Senate out of session, Ms. Sinema, the Democratic senator from Arizona, has been in Europe on a fund-raising trip.”
  • Key to Biden’s Climate Agenda Likely to Be Cut Because of Manchin Opposition. The West Virginia Democrat told the White House he is firmly against a clean electricity program that is the muscle behind the president’s plan to battle climate change.” Tweet—”Joe Manchin, who owns stock in a coal brokerage company, is trying to kill legislation to replace coal-fired power plants with clean energy. I’m shocked! Absolutely shocked!” Tweet—”There are just 11,418 coal-mining jobs in West Virginia. The state is already a chemical and manufacturing hub, one primed to benefit from green technology investment. This is entirely about Manchin’s wallet and the $500k a year he gets from Enersystems, which burns waste coal.” Also “Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire. The West Virginia Senator Reaps Big Financial Rewards From a Network of Coal Companies With Grim Records of Pollution, Safety Violations, and Death.”
  • He Attacked Cops At The Capitol. The FBI Interviewed Him. Then He Rejoined The Army. James Mault was caught on film attacking officers during the Jan. 6 attack and lost his civilian job. So he rejoined the military while under FBI investigation.”
  • Ludwik Fleck and ‘thought styles’ in science“—”There is nothing in the nature of academic research that guarantees that ‘the best ideas of a generation will become part of the canon for the next generation’; instead, many good and original ideas have been lost to the disciplines through bad luck.”
  • Modes of Display“—”The idea of “institutional critique” first blossomed in the late 1960s, when conceptual artists began to respond to the museums, galleries, private collections that exhibited their work. The aim: to expose ideologies and power structures underlying the art world. Leading exponents include the likes of Hans Haacke (b. 1939), whose proposed 1974 show Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Board of Trustees would have mounted an index of the museum’s corporate sponsors and board of trustees to the walls. Andrea Fraser (b. 1965)’s iconic Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk took viewers on a parodical tour of the Philadelphia Museum – offering her thoughts not only on the building’s history, but on its toilets, cloakroom and shop.”
  • Watch “‘Moral Progress’: Philip Kitcher in conversation with Julia Hermann“—”What role can philosophy play in helping individuals and societies achieve moral progress more surely and more systematically? In this conversation with Julia Hermann, distinguished professor of philosophy Philip Kitcher discusses three historical examples of moral progress – the abolition of chattel slavery, the expansion of opportunities for women, and the increasing acceptance of same-sex love – to propose new methods for moral inquiry. Through a serious examination of the history and progression of moral practices, Kitcher will aim to reorient moral philosophy in a new and accessible direction, enabling it to regain its proper role of speaking to the “problems of life”. Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy emeritus at Columbia University. He has written seventeen previous books, several of which have won awards. He is well-known internationally for his work in many fields of philosophy, including the philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science, ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, and studies of philosophical themes in literature and music. His latest book “Moral Progress” was published this year by Oxford University Press. Julia Hermann in assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Twente, Netherlands. Her research interests include moral justification, moral progress, evolutionary explanations of morality, the role of context in ethics, the ethics of citizen science, and the technological disruption of epistemic certainty. Her current research focuses on the ways in which new and emerging technologies, in particular biomedical technologies, affect fundamental concepts.” Also Moral Progress [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Philip Kitcher, ed. Jan-Christoph Heilinger, with Rahel Jaeggi, Susan Neiman, and Amia Srinivasan—”This inaugural volume in the Munich Lectures in Ethics series presents lectures by noted philosopher Philip Kitcher. In these lectures, Kitcher develops further the pragmatist approach to moral philosophy, begun in his book The Ethical Project. He uses three historical examples of moral progress–the abolition of chattel slavery, the expansion of opportunities for women, and the increasing acceptance of same-sex love–to propose methods for moral inquiry. In his recommended methodology, Kitcher sees moral progress, for individuals and for societies, through collective discussions that become more inclusive, better informed, and involve participants more inclined to engage with the perspectives of others and aim at actions tolerable by all. The volume is introduced by Jan-Christoph Heilinger and contains commentaries from distinguished scholars Amia Srinivasan, Susan Neiman, and Rahel Jaeggi, and Kitcher’s response to their commentaries.”
  • Philosophy, Doubt, and Value“—”Among the most awesome things about Earth is this: There are moments when certain complex bags of mostly water can pause to contemplate profound and difficult questions about the fundamental nature of things, their position in the universe, the grounds of their values, the limits of their own knowledge. A world in which no one ever did this would be an impoverished world. The ability to ask these questions, to reflect on them in a serious way, is already a cause for pride and celebration, a reason to write and read books, and basis for an important academic discipline. This is so even if we can’t find our way to the answers. Philosophical doubt arises when we’ve hit and recognized the limits of our philosophical knowledge. Of course we have limits. To ask only questions we can answer is a failure of imagination.”
  • Democracy’s Horizons: Talking with Michael Hanchard“—”The question becomes, What can we do to make democracy more economically, socially, and politically just?”
  • Baying Mob“—”I think there’s likely to be a connection between the failure to police bloodsports effectively and the apparently escalating violence against objectors. A sense of impunity is also likely to be strengthened by major legal deficiencies.” “I believe that a longstanding culture war, in which people who describe themselves as “real” or “authentic” countryfolk vilify “incomers” and “townies” (those whose parents were not born in the community), also helps to create a permissive environment for intimidation and violence.” “The closed mindset these attitudes help to foster appears to be reflected in some aspects of rural policing. While in London, four times as many Black people are stopped and searched today as white people as a result of institutional bias, in Suffolk, they are 17 times more likely to be stopped, and in Dorset, 25 times more likely. You might have imagined that the ‘party of law and order’ would take an interest in blatant lawbreaking in the countryside. It does, but generally on the wrong side.”
  • How Women Singers Subverted Tango’s Masculinity. In the hands of performers known as cancionistas, the genre known for its machismo was transformed.”—”Their performances enraptured audiences of women, who saw themselves reflected on stage. And from the stage, the cancionistas found their own means of release.”
  • From 2015: “The Illusionist. Al Seckel has left the country. But the world’s greatest collector of optical illusions left some troubles behind.”
  • Art historians try to identify enslaved Black child in an 18th-century portrait“—”A year ago this month, when it was still closed to the public because of the pandemic, the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) took a major step toward interrogating a controversial 18th-century group portrait in its collection centering on an early benefactor to the university, Elihu Yale. Responding to criticism of the painting’s subject from students and others, the YCBA removed the work from a gallery wall and replaced it with a pointed critique by the African American painter and sculptor Titus Kaphar. Around the same time, the museum embarked on exhaustive research on the portrait, which is now dated to around 1719 and was presumably painted at Yale’s house in London. Foremost on the research team’s minds was the identity of the Black child. Chillingly, he wears a silver collar and padlock around his neck, which was common for slaves in British society, with similar versions fashioned in steel or brass, according to the YCBA. The painting is now set to go back on view next week, with additional context yielded by the research. And while the museum has not yet determined who the boy is or where he came from, it is forging ahead in the belief that its investigation is ‘on much surer ground than before,’ said Courtney J. Martin, the director of the museum, in a phone interview.”
  • Ugh, Dating Is So Hard These Days When You’re an Insufferable Person with a Bland Personality.”
  • Boss reveals how a four-day work week boosted her business profits: ‘Come to work on Monday your best self’. A Toronto company that switched to four-day weeks say the trial has been such a success that they’ll never go back to the old way of working.”
  • ‘Micromanaged and disrespected’: Top reasons workers are quitting their jobs in ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘There is no reason to stay and fight the stupidity.’ Readers share their top reasons for joining millions of Americans and quitting their jobs during ‘The Great Resignation.'”
  • Tweet thread—”Hi everybody. We’re 30+ members of the Paizo staff, and today we’re announcing that we have formed the United Paizo Workers, one of the first unions of its kind in the tabletop game industry. #UnionizePaizo 1/n” “In pretty much every company in America today, the bosses have all the power. That’s by design. Workers have precious few mechanisms with which to affect their workplaces, except one: their voice. And when all our voices come together, we actually can effect change. 5/n” Also tweet thread—”Today I want to shine a spotlight on UPW’s secret weapon: freelancers. Paizo’s freelancers are our ally in this fight and we’re helping each other. Here’s how: 1/11″ “Paizo’s business model is built on freelancers. Very few of the words in our publications are written in-house by full time employees on the clock. Instead, we outline projects, hire freelancers to execute those outlines, and develop and edit those manuscripts. 2/11” “Well, about a month ago, about 40 of Paizo’s most reliable, prolific, and skilled freelancers simply stopped working. In official parlance, this is called “concerted action.” In layman’s terms, it’s a strike without a union. 4/11” “Now, this group of freelancers had a specific list of demands. They wanted Paizo to hire a diversity officer, for example, and investigate recent terminations. But yesterday, they updated their demands: they’ll all come back to work if Paizo recognizes United Paizo Workers. 7/11”
  • Ridley Scott Says the ‘Alien’ TV Series Will “Never Be as Good as” the Original Classic.” Says the guy who’s made multiple crappy sequels, so he’d know, smdh. But, holy crap, I disagree and think Noah Hawley will knock this out of the park if anyone can. The best of the Alien series has been to make each installment different than the others in some important way, not just to redo the formula. Just look at the differences between 1 and 2! But Noah Hawley seems to be an amazing auteur, just look at Fargo and Legion shows on FX for evidence, and I suspect will do wonderful things worth experiencing as an audience, if they let him do it without the kind of interference that others have had to deal with on their visions for their take on Alien.
  • Watch “Trans Dudes From History, Vol. 1” & “The Trans Tony Stark & More Trans Dudes From History, Vol. 2“—”Trans people have always existed, even if they didn’t have the same language we do now and even if most history books won’t tell you about them.”
  • The Velvet Underground Brings the New York of the ’60s Back to Life.” About The Velvet Underground in theaters and on Apple TV+ October 15.
  • More on this: “Goth Chick News: Netflix Original Series Midnight Mass Is the Perfect Halloween Offering.”
  • The Dust That Measures All Our Time. From the mythical Sandman, who participates in dream and vision, to an irritating grain lodged in the beachgoer’s eye, sand harbours unappreciated power, however mundane. Steven Connor celebrates this ‘most untrustworthy’ type of matter.”—”Sand is not only temporary, it is also the most temporised form of matter.”
  • Inside time warp terraced house that’s frozen in the 1870s and listed for £20,000. The property in the Longton area of Stoke-on-Trent is preserved with almost all of its original features, including a scullery, coal house, outdoor toilet and parlour.”—”Gill said: ‘It would be lovely if someone would treat it for what it is. A very rare and unaltered house. If they could find a way to extend it and modernise it, while being sympathetic and to keep its character.’ Melissa Alford, from Town & Country Property Auctions, said: ‘It’s a very difficult property to value because of the extent of the work required. But we’ve had an awful lot of interest in it.'” Also “Inside the time warp terrace frozen in the 1870s – now you could buy it for £20k. The two-bedroom Longton property was used as the backdrop for paintings, collages and ‘found’ art inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian eras.” And a better gallery of images.
  • Penguin Classics to Publish Collected Editions of Marvel Comics. Origin Stories and Key Moments of Black Panther, Captain America, and Spider-Man.”—”In the publisher’s announcement, Sven Larson, Vice President of Licensed Publishing at Marvel Entertainment said it was a ‘remarkable honor’ to have Marvel comics included in the Penguin Classics. ‘From The Odyssey to The Time Machine, the Penguin Classics list not only recognizes the most important works in storytelling but also places them in their important historical and cultural context,’ he said. ‘Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America have become the bedrock of countless stories across media, and it’s a testament to the genius of Marvel’s writers and artists that these characters resonate so strongly today.'”

  • Help! I Couldn’t Stop Writing Fake Dear Prudence Letters That Got Published. It was a fulfilling creative outlet, until one got featured on Tucker Carlson.”
  • Flashback: watch “Dave Theurer talks about Tempest“—”Dave Theurer, the creator of Tempest (the original arcade version of 1980) talks about the history and development of his game.” Whoa. That escalated quickly. Also lots of other interesting tidbits, but welcome to the nightmare, I guess!
  • The first commercial video game from 50 years ago“—”Fifty years ago—on October 15, 1971—Nutting Associates debuted the first-ever commercial video game for sale: Computer Space, a coin-operated arcade machine. Unlike arcade games before it, it utilized a TV set for a display—and it launched the video game industry, in an article by How-to Geek. In Computer Space, you play as a rocket ship flying around a starfield while hunting flying saucers. If you’re familiar with Asteroids, it’s similar, but without any space rocks.” I actually played a game on one of these, in, I recall, a Sears store, back in the mid to late 70s? Yeah! Wow.
  • For those that weren’t alive then: “Pink Floyd’s Young Lust – Explained and Demystified. This is United States calling…are we reaching… “—”So now the song isn’t so much of a mystery. Hope you were able to fully understand what you hear when you listen to song. Enjoy!”
  • Watch “LISTEN: Star Trek: Lower Decks – The Borg Hive (ASMR Loop).”