Omnium Gatherum: 24oct2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 24, 2021

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

  • Big Ears, various venues in Knoxville, TN, March 24-27, 2022. Also “Big Ears Triumphantly Returns“—”After an unfortunate two-year pandemic hiatus, Big Ears, one of the most adventurous music festivals on the planet, will finally return in March of 2022. Festival organizers recently announced the initial lineup for the Knoxville, TN-based festival, and there are, as usual, some incredible acts featured. Legendary popera new wave duo Sparks will make a rare appearance, as will genre-wrecking NYC saxophonist John Zorn. In Zorn’s case, Big Ears will be presenting a whopping eight (!) programs of the composer’s music, including the longstanding Masada Quartet, Chaos Magick—featuring John Medeski of Mediski, Martin, and Wood—and a guitar trio with Bill Frisell, Gyan Riley and Julian Lage. In addition, fans will get an opportunity to witness a performance of Zorn’s The Hermetic Organ on the 32 foot pipe organ at St. John’s Cathedral. Also included in the first round of lineup announcements are guitar virtuoso Marc Ribot (in several musical configurations), contemporary string innovators Kronos Quartet, Low, Sons of Kemet, Fennesz, Kim Gordon (formerly of Sonic Youth), as well as Big Ears’ first ever Krewe Du Kanaval street party, curated by New Orleans’ own Preservation Hall Jazz Band.” Lots there, but check out Chaos Magick [Amazon] by John Zorn featuring John Medeski, Brian Marsella, Matt Hollenberg and Kenny Grohowski.
  • From the OMM 0000 dept: watch “God and robots: Will AI transform religion?“—”Artificial intelligence is changing how we interact with everything, from food to healthcare, travel and also religion. Experts say major global faiths are discussing their relationship with AI, and some are starting to incorporate this technology into their worship. Robot priests can recite prayers, deliver sermons, and even comfort those experiencing a spiritual crisis. BBC Global Religion reporter Sofia Bettiza has taken a look at whether AI’s relationship with religion is just a gimmick, or whether it can truly transform how people experience faith.”
  • From the Broken Clock dept: “Who will rule the coming ‘gods’?“—”To borrow words from C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man: Are people ‘without chests’ building artificial intelligence robots “without chests”? Can we really expect such devices to ‘honor’ and serve us, or is it inevitable we will awaken to the terrifying reality that we have “traitors in our midst” of our own making? God has written His laws on the human heart, says the Bible. (Romans 2:15) But who is constructing the algorithms of ethical and moral criteria that will determine good and bad in the operating system of an AI machine?” Excerpt from Who Will Rule The Coming ‘Gods’?: The Looming Spiritual Crisis Of Artificial Intelligence [Amazon, Bookshop] by Wallace B Henley—”Will We Let Artificial Intelligence Eclipse the True God? We have entered a new age in which we can go into the quietness of our rooms and slip into whatever identity we desire-virtually. Artificial intelligence is fast becoming a normal part of our lives. The existential crisis of our age is how technology, specifically AI and robots, is eclipsing our reverence for the transcendence of God. In the rush to create human-helping AI, technologists are making machines that may eventually become our masters. Some people are already worshiping at the feet of the great god of AI, just as the ancient Philistines once bowed before statues of the idol Dagon. In this compelling and groundbreaking book, best-selling author Wallace Henley shares about the impending moral and ethical choices we will soon need to make, as believers in Christ, to hold AI and its creators accountable to the true God. Otherwise our world will spin into peril.”
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by David Graeber and David Wengrow, due November 2021—”A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation. For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself. Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume. The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action.”
  • Work Without the Worker: Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Phil Jones—”The brutal truth behind our automated futures and the new world of work. We are told that the future of work will be increasingly automated. Algorithms, processing massive amounts of information at startling speed, will lead us to a new world of effortless labour and a post-work utopia of ever expanding leisure. But behind the gleaming surface stands millions of workers, often in the Global South, manually processing data for a pittance. Recent years have seen a boom in online crowdworking platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Clickworker, and these have become an increasingly important source of work for millions of people. And it is these badly paid tasks, not algorithms, that make our digital lives possible. Used to process data for everything from the mechanics of self-driving cars to Google image search, this is an increasingly powerful part of the new digital economy, although one hidden and rarely spoken of. But what happens to work when it makes itself obsolete. In this stimulating work that blends political economy, studies of contemporary work, and speculations on the future of capitalism, Phil Jones looks at what this often murky and hidden form of labour looks like, and what it says about the state of global capitalism.”
  • The Lost History of Cosmopolitanism: The Early Modern Origins of the Intellectual Ideal [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Leigh T I Penman—”The Lost History of Cosmopolitanism challenges our most basic assumptions about the history of an ideal at the heart of modernity. Beginning in antiquity and continuing through to today, Leigh T.I. Penman examines how European thinkers have understood words like ‘kosmopolites’, ‘cosmopolite’, ‘cosmopolitan’ and its cognates. The debates over their meanings show that there has never been a single, stable cosmopolitan concept, but rather a range of concepts-sacred and secular, inclusive and exclusive-all described with the cosmopolitan vocabulary. While most scholarly attention in the history of cosmopolitanism has focussed on Greek and Roman antiquity or the Enlightenments of the 18th century, this book shows that the crucial period in the evolution of modern cosmopolitanism was early modernity. Between 1500 and 1800 philosophers, theologians, cartographers, jurists, politicians, alchemists and heretics all used this vocabulary, shedding ancient associations, and adding new ones at will. The chaos of discourses prompted thinkers to reflect on the nature of the cosmopolitan ideal, and to conceive of an abstract ‘cosmopolitanism’ for the first time. This meticulously researched book provides the first intellectual history of an overlooked period in the evolution of a core ideal. As such, The Lost History of Cosmopolitanism is an essential work for anyone seeking a contextualised understanding of cosmopolitanism today.”
  • Homo Irrealis: Essays. Homo Irrealis is an unusual memoir of sorts, supplanting reality with a touch of magic that is characteristic of André Aciman’s work.” About Homo Irrealis: Essays [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by André Aciman—”The New York Times–bestselling author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen. Irrealis moods are also known as counterfactual moods and include the conditional, the subjunctive, the optative, and the imperative—all best expressed in this book as the might-be and the might-have-been. One of the great prose stylists of his generation, André Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what time means to artists who cannot grasp life in the present. Irrealis moods are not about the present or the past or the future; they are about what might have been but never was but could in theory still happen. From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, C. P. Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, Éric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection on the imagination’s power to forge a zone outside of time’s intractable hold.”
  • Black Blocks, White Squares: Crosswords with an Anarchist Edge [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Leonard Williams—”Fun with a purpose. Crosswords for radicals— and everyone else.” “Black Blocks, White Squares presents fifty-one themed crossword puzzles featuring radical ideas, history, and movements. Ranging from slightly to substantially challenging, they are built around noteworthy quotations, invoke notable thinkers and books, or allude to key words and concepts. Some of the puzzles use wordplay or grid art to illustrate important ideas or events, exploring a range of orientations and activities in contemporary political activism. Leonard Williams has created puzzles for major newspapers and crossword sites that both gratify and enlighten puzzlers. Each one is constructed according to the prevailing standards of American-style crosswords. You won’t need a political science degree to solve these grids, but you’ll probably learn something new. The book includes solutions as well as ‘Constructor’s Notes’ explaining the ideas behind each puzzle. A perfect gift and conversation starter!”
  • 10 Underrated Horror Authors To Check Out. Some real hidden gems here.”—”10. Jordan Krall. Krall is yet another author who got his start in the Bizarro scene. He went on to develop a unique brand of horror fiction that combined weird fiction, science fiction, and experimental prose. Humanity is The Devil is a disturbing misanthropic novel that covers Gnosticism, true crime, and psychological trauma. Nightmares from a Lovecraftian Mind is a collection of surreal work reminiscent of the titular author and Thomas Ligotti. He’s a prolific author who’s written too much to cover here, and much of it is out of print. However, what is still in print is well-worth picking up, and he’s definitely one of the most underrated horror authors.” Check out Jordan Krall at Amazon.
  • Mihály Csíkszentmihályi- Flow Theory Architect, Hungarian-American Psychologist, Dies Aged 88. World-renowned Hungarian psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, died at the age of 88 on Wednesday. Besides being one of the world’s leading researchers on positive psychology, he was best known for introducing flow theory in the 1970s, defining it as a state of mind attained when one becomes fully immersed in an activity.” In Csikszentmihalyi’s 1988 essay “Society, Culture, and Person: A Systems View of Creativity” from The Nature of Creativity: Contemporary Psychological Perspectives [Amazon] ed. R J Sternberg: “It seems to me that an understanding of the complex context in which people operate must eventually enrich our understanding of who the individual is and what the individual does. But to do so we need to abandon the Ptolemaic view of creativity, in which the person is at the centre of everything, for a more Copernican model in which the person is part of a system of mutual influences and information.”
  • Kenyan northern white rhino Najin retired from breeding scheme. Scientists have retired one of the world’s last two northern white rhinos from a breeding programme trying to save the species from extinction.”—”The decision to stop harvesting 32-year-old Najin’s eggs followed an ‘ethical risk assessment’ that considered her age and other factors. Neither Najin nor her daughter Fatu are able to carry a rhino calf to term. The last male of the species died in 2018, but its sperm was collected and has been used to fertilise eggs.”
  • Tweet—”Just published! Pierre TALLET, Les papyrus de la mer Rouge II. Second volume of the publication of the Red Sea papyri, found in Wadi el-Jarf.” Tweet thread—”One of most exciting Egyptological discoveries in recent history: the logbooks of a team who were involved in the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza! THREAD!” “These papyrus logbooks have transformed our understanding and it’s especially exciting that it’s not just the ‘Pyramid of King Khufu’ anymore — it’s now the Pyramid of Merer, Dedi, Sekher,[Ny]kaounesout, and many more!”
  • Knife found beneath Parliament to be returned to Algonquin nations in historic move. The stone knife will be displayed in the revamped Centre Block.”
  • Key protein linked to appetite and obesity in mice“—”Moving forward, the lab hopes to collaborate with neuroscience research units, in order to pinpoint exactly how XRN1 impacts the activity of neurons in the hypothalamus to regulate appetite. ‘Identifying which neurons and proteins in the brain are involved in regulating appetite, and fully determining how resistance to leptin is caused, could eventually lead to a targeted treatment for obesity,’ said Dr. Yanagiya.”
  • New cancer treatment may reawaken the immune system. By combining chemotherapy, tumor injury, and immunotherapy, researchers show that the immune system can be re-engaged to destroy tumors in mice.”
  • Researchers make hardened wooden knives that slice through steak“—”The sharpest knives available are made of either steel or ceramic, both of which are man-made materials that must be forged in furnaces under extreme temperatures. Now, researchers have developed a potentially more sustainable way to make sharp knives: using hardened wood. The method, presented October 20th in the journal Matter, makes wood 23 times harder, and a knife made from the material is nearly three times sharper than a stainless-steel dinner table knife.” “Li and his team also demonstrated that their material can be used to produce wooden nails as sharp as conventional steel nails. Unlike steel nails, the wooden nails the team developed are resistant to rusting. The researchers showed that these wooden nails could be used to hammer together three boards without any damage to the nail. In addition to knives and nails, Li hopes that, in the future, the material can also be used to make hardwood flooring that is more resistant to scratching and wear.”
  • New Holland Mouse, thought to be extinct, rediscovered on Tasmania’s Flinders Island. The New Holland Mouse was last seen in Tasmania’s north-east in 2004. The mouse was captured sniffing a stick of peanut butter on a remote camera on Flinders Island. Further surveying will be used to inform a national recovery plan for the species.”—”For the first time in 17 years, a species of mouse described as a “dumpling on legs” has been discovered on Tasmania’s Flinders island.”
  • Patagonian fossils show Jurassic dinosaur had the herd mentality“—”A vast trove of fossils unearthed in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region is offering the oldest-known evidence that some dinosaurs thrived in a complex and well-organized herd structure, with adults caring for the young and sharing a communal nesting ground.”
  • Internal Alarm, Public Shrugs: Facebook’s Employees Dissect Its Election Role. Company documents show that the social network’s employees repeatedly raised red flags about the spread of misinformation and conspiracies before and after the contested November vote.”
  • Tweet thread—”Ok so, I just read through all 173 pages of the unredacted Google antitrust filing and I have to say that either Google is screwed or society is screwed, we’ll find out which. Unordered list of fun things I learned:” “google has a secret deal with facebook called ‘Jedi Blue’ that they knew was so illegal that it has a whole section describing how they’ll cover for each other if anyone finds out – google appears to have a team called gTrade that is wholly dedicated to ad market manipulation” See “IN RE: GOOGLE DIGITAL ADVERTISING ANTITRUST LITIGATION” [PDF]
  • Apple’s privacy changes create windfall for its own advertising business. iPhone maker’s share of mobile app advertising market has tripled in six months.”
  • Egypt detains artist robot Ai-Da before historic pyramid show. Sculpture and its futuristic creator held for 10 days, possibly in fear she is part of spying plot.” Side note: they demanded that the eyes be removed. That’s what happened to a lot of the ancient Egyptian reliefs too!
  • Tweet thread—”PSA for anyone who might be dealing with robot gun dogs, from a farm robot specialist who wasn’t really looking at robot wrangling from the public safety standpoint but here we are.” “idk just some thoughts on outdoor automation from someone who buries the corpses of failed robots for a living.” “it’s just really funny to me that these are supposed to be scary but probably can’t stand up to a water balloon full of pickle juice.”
  • The World Needs Many More Coronavirus Vaccines. Wealthy nations have to step up.” Also “The Covid Pandemic Could Continue Well Into 2022. Here’s Why. Western countries might be majority inoculated, but what about the global South?”
  • How Public Health Took Part in Its Own Downfall. The field’s future lies in reclaiming parts of its past that it willingly abandoned.”
  • Nurses and shop staff in UK face tide of abuse since end of lockdowns. Customer-facing workers in all sectors report greater hostility, research shows.”
  • 6 Sneaky Signs You’re Experiencing Ongoing Trauma From The Pandemic. It’s no secret COVID has caused prolonged extreme stress. Here’s how the effects of that may be showing up in your life right now.”—”Remember that you aren’t alone and that so many others are experiencing physical and emotional symptoms as a result of all the pandemic trauma. ‘Our responses are normal,’ King said. ‘It’s the circumstances that are abnormal.'”
  • Salt Lake County calculated COVID-19 vaccination rates by zodiac sign. The news is not good for Scorpios. Fire signs are highly vaccinated, though.”
  • GOP Governor Blasts Anti-Vax Lawmakers: ‘I Don’t Need Crazy Getting In The Way’. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu slammed ‘nonsense’ conspiracy theories spread by state Republicans.”
  • From the Pravda dept: “Trump’s new social media platform could face legal issues after allegedly ripping off code. Trump made his fortune slapping his name on things other people built. Apparently, not much has changed.”—”Users who were able to access and create accounts on a beta version of Trump’s ‘TRUTH Social’ through a backdoor immediately noticed that it bore an uncanny resemblance to Mastodon, an alternative social network known for its focus on privacy and ‘free speech’ values.” “TRUTH Social’s terms of service claim that ‘all source code’ is proprietary, despite the fact that Mastodon requires anyone using its code base to acknowledge where its software came from and make any copied code public.”
  • Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency. New details about the operation underscore the extent to which Trump and a handful of true believers were working until the last possible moment to subvert the will of the voters, seeking to pressure Vice President Pence to delay or even block certification of the election.” Tweet—”Like… the Washington Post has a big piece today about the specifics of Trump’s attempts to overturn the election using January 6… and that’s great. But by next week they’ll be back to treating him as a totally legitimate 2024 candidate.”
  • From the Devil in the Details dept: “LETTER: Beware the GOP banner“—”Not meaning to impugn any local Republicans, I see it as hardly accidental that in more recent years the stars on the back of the elephant have been rotated just enough to effectively signify the demon, goat god Baphomet. All Republicans, and most especially leaders of the party, need to notice this difference. Members would do well to storm GOP headquarters, ask a few questions and insist upon a return to the original design of the logo, which had one point of each star pointing straight upward. Only in this configuration do we have a true American star.”
  • From the You Say That Like It’s A Bad Thing dept: “Christianity’s Marginalizaion in the West and Its Link to the Enlightenment Age’s Philosophies“—”The devastating work of the Enlightenment Period’s philosophies and their jarring conspiracy to destroy the Christian religion is a shocking travesty from the quaint showroom of history. This strange, obscure historical period fostered a dramatic polarization between good and evil that literally turned Western civilization on its head.” “The sudden appearance of rogue ideas such as tolerance, political correctness, and moral relativism has done incalculable, irredeemable damage both to society and the Christian Church.”
  • Rightwing pundit Candace Owens suggests US invade Australia to ‘free an oppressed people’. The high-profile conservative commentator described Australia as a ‘tyrannical police state’ during an episode of her self-titled TV show.”
  • Tweet thread—”Hey everyone. My name is Amanda, and I have been undercover as a MAGA since the 2020 November Stop the Steal Rally in Washington, DC.” “If you only learn one thing from me, make it this. Right wing populists are not our friends. The anti gay, anti poc, anticommunist, antisemitic rhetoric I hear all the time scares me, and should scare you, too. Freedom is merely privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all.”
  • Capitol Rioters in Jail’s ‘Patriot Wing’ Have Their Own Rituals and a Growing Fan Base. Experts worry that a lack of de-radicalization efforts in jail could mean inmates falling further into the narrative that led to the January 6 violence in the first place.”
  • ‘New Democrats’ Break With Their Anti-Welfare Past And Back Biden’s Agenda. Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington state is the centrist Democrat at the center of everything.” Ugh. I appreciate the support for the policy, but New Democrat=centrist Democrat=old school Republican; change my mind. Personally, I’d thank you for some left left in my left, damnit.
  • Five military veterans advising Sen. Sinema resign, calling her one of the ‘principal obstacles to progress’“—”You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people. We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming. We do not know who has your ear, but it clearly isn’t us or your constituents.”
  • “Short Imagined Monologues. It Would Be Un-American to Support Legislation That Doesn’t Directly Benefit Me.”—”I love the smell of undoing progress in the morning! I might be a Democrat, but I am not one of those silly, naïve Democrats who care more about the people they represent than their own interests. Also, let’s face it, as a Democrat from West Virginia, I’m basically just three Republicans in a trench coat.”
  • Republicans Are Planning to Hijack the Next Election. Dems Are Squandering Their Chance to Stop Them. They have no strategy to pass their voting rights bill.”
  • From the No gods! No masters! dept: “Barbados Elects Its First Head of State, Replacing Queen Elizabeth. The country’s Parliament chose Sandra Mason, the governor general, to assume the symbolic title, a decisive move to distance itself from Barbados’s colonial past.”
  • Socialist barred from NYC major debate asks: ‘What are they afraid of?’“—”Electoral debates in the city of New York are a game of pay-to-play. If a campaign cannot raise hundreds of thousands in funds within a short amount of time they are barred from the conversation, and New Yorkers lose out on hearing about policies they need and deserve. Billionaires and millionaires put forward their candidates, while candidates that represent working-class interests, like Cathy Rojas are effectively silenced.”
  • Americans indifferent as we slouch toward ‘second coming’“—”At some point, these right-wing populist movements become more than their individual progenitor. ‘The falcon cannot hear the falconer.’ Neither can true believers listen to reason, or even the words of their beloved demagogue; rational thought gives way to a religious-like zeal, when even basic political choices seem redolent of societal collapse. Yet most Americans seem blithely indifferent to the rapacious pests gnawing at the very frame of our country’s democracy. Most of us can manage but a desultory shrug when confronted with the clear and present danger to our right to free and fair elections; a danger that menaces more with the passing of each day. And if ‘the best of (us) lack all conviction,’ it is horrifyingly obvious that these would-be usurpers of democracy ‘are full of passionate intensity.'”
  • A worker in Florida applied to 60 entry-level jobs in September and got one interview. Businesses across the US say they are struggling to find employees, especially for hourly work. Joey Holz decided to test their claims, submitting two applications a day in September. Holz got one interview, and his summary of the experiment went viral on multiple platforms.”
  • When a Miscarriage Becomes a Jail Sentence. National Advocates for Pregnant Women painted a grim picture of pregnant people increasingly being prosecuted around the country for a miscarriage.”
  • BBC Expected To Quit Stonewall’s LGBTQ Diversity Programme. LGBTQ staff at the BBC told VICE World News they are “super scared” by the implications of the decision.”
  • As a Woman Was Raped, Train Riders Failed to Intervene, Police Say. The SEPTA train car near Philadelphia had several passengers aboard but none called 911 while the woman was sexually assaulted, the authorities said.”
  • Alabama pastor who raped teen gets probation. Here’s why.
  • From 2016: “There is no such thing as western civilisation. The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention.”
  • Tweet—”There has not been a single day of the olive harvest in the West Bank this month without violence/theft against Palestinians. This isn’t a failure of the Israeli system, but rather evidence of its success.”
  • Tweet thread—”Our client, Ahmed Rabbani, has been cleared for release from Guantánamo, a unanimous decision by six US Government agencies. Detained without charge or trial for 19 years, Ahmed has never met his son, Jawad, who was born after he was taken into US custody. 🧵1/3″ “Ahmed’s case is one of mistaken identity. Although the US realised they had the wrong man within two days, they took him to Afghanistan and tortured him in black sites for 545 days. The abuse he was subjected to is documented in a US Senate torture report. 2/3”
  • Support for ‘All Lives Matters’ linked to implicit racism and narrow definitions of discrimination“—”‘It obviously can’t just mean that ‘All Lives Matter,’ because (1) people say it as though it contradicts ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but (2) anyone who believes ‘All Lives Matter’ must also believe that ‘Black Lives Matter’ (Black lives are a subset of all lives, so the logic is inescapable),’ West said. “So I started designing research to get at what ‘All Lives Matter’ was really saying.’ ‘Looking at the stats, when someone says ‘All Lives Matter,’ what they’re really saying is something like (1) I have anti-Black racist sentiments that I haven’t acknowledged, (2) I prefer not to think about race at all and (3) I define anti-Black discrimination in such narrow terms that it’s really hard to recognize it,’ West told PsyPost.”
  • A new project details newspapers’ role in lynchings post-1865. A historian says newspapers were a pillar to uphold the white-supremacist political economy. “Printing Hate” is a new series on newspapers’ role in instigating racial violence from 1865-1960s. Some newspapers served as mouthpieces for a white supremacist agenda, a historian told Insider. She said newspapers often worked with white leaders to thwart Black economic aspirations.” See “Printing Hate“.
  • J&J is using a bankruptcy maneuver to block lawsuits over baby powder cancer claims“—”Johnson & Johnson is drawing criticism after using a controversial bankruptcy maneuver to block roughly 38,000 lawsuits linked to claims that its talc baby powder was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos.”
  • Indiana town will give you cash and ‘grandparents on demand’ if you move there“—”Greensburg, Indiana will pay people a total of $7,000 in cash and gift incentives and give eligible candidates free grandparents to live there. The state of Indiana aims to entice remote workers to Greensburg not just with cash but with a ‘Grandparent on Demand.'”
  • From the Brandon Lee dept: “Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun in Fatal Shooting on Set Was Safe, Officials Say. The actor was told a gun being used as a prop was safe before he fired it on the set of ‘Rust,’ killing the film’s cinematographer and wounding its director, law enforcement officials said.” Also “‘Rust’ crew describes on-set gun safety issues and misfires days before fatal shooting.” Nice use of passive voice there: “Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor.” Zombies made the ammunition fly! Tweet thread—”I am not going to share backchannel rumors or speculation I’m hearing but I will answer a few things about movies and guns that people are asking (thread)” “One is: ‘how are there not safety measures to prevent this?’ The answer is: There are. There are very, very many.”
  • How to Survive in a World of Information Overload. Pursuing knowledge is great until it becomes a distraction.”—”Ask yourself, ‘How would the person I want to become spend their time tomorrow?'”
  • Multilevel Marketing Scams Expose Capitalism’s Foundational Lie. Pyramid schemes aren’t a corruption of capitalism — they’re a microcosm of how the class system arbitrarily creates winners and losers while falsely promising opportunity for all.”
  • Don’t Give in to the Culture Industry’s Appeals to Nostalgia. The culture industry keeps churning out reboots and remakes, hoping to exploit a popular sense of nostalgia for gentler times. But tapping into nostalgia is a fundamentally conservative project, designed to arrest the future that we still desperately need to construct.”
  • Friends with Benefits. INVISIBILIA. Season 8, Episode 4. October 21, 20212:47 PM ET”—”There’s a social script for how romantic relationships are supposed to develop, and that script can make it hard for us to become physically intimate with friends and keep being friends—nothing more, nothing less. In this episode, we try to understand what would be possible if we didn’t draw such stark lines between sex and friendship, and how to repair things when the line-crossing gets messy.”
  • Tweet—”Yesterday I rented a boat and took the leader of one of Flexport’s partners in Long Beach on a 3 hour of the port complex. Here’s a thread about what I learned.” “It seems that everyone now agrees that the bottleneck is yard space at the container terminals. The terminals are simply overflowing with containers, which means they no longer have space to take in new containers either from ships or land. It’s a true traffic jam.” “This is a negative feedback loop that is rapidly cycling out of control that if it continues unabated will destroy the global economy.” “When you’re designing an operation you must choose your bottleneck. If the bottleneck appears somewhere that you didn’t choose it, you aren’t running an operation. It’s running you.” Also “What America’s Supply-Chain Backlog Looks Like Up Close. Dozens of container ships have been waiting to unload at the port.”
  • Museum Starts OnlyFans Account After Its TikTok Is Banned for Posting Nudes. A consortium of museums opened an OnlyFans account as part of its ‘Vienna Laid Bare Campaign.'”—”A consortium of museums in Vienna have created an OnlyFans account to post nude artworks as part of a ‘new wave of prudishness’ on social media platforms. The so-called ‘Vienna Laid Bare’ initiative was launched by Vienna’s tourism board late last week along with its OnlyFans account. As of writing subscribers can receive a complimentary Vienna City Card, or a ticket for one of the museums featured on the account. Helena Hartlauer, a spokesperson for the Vienna Tourism Board, told Motherboard that the museums launched the initiative after the city’s museums had their social media accounts suspended for uploading nude artworks.” Watch “Vienna strips on OnlyFans.”
  • ‘Shrooms! Shamans! Kosher LSD! Why Los Angeles Is Suddenly Tripping Out. COVER STORY: Housewives in the Hills are doing it. Hipsters in Los Feliz, too. L.A. has became ground zero for a new hallucinogen boom, with ayahuas ca ceremonies now as common as barbecues. But is microdosing shrooms really the answer to what ails Angelenos?”
  • Court Rules Pablo Escobar’s Cocaine Hippos Are Legally People. More than 80 hippos in Colombia are the first non-human creatures to be legally considered people by a U.S. court.”
  • Ouija Scramble from Shadowside Games—”Ouija Scramble is a one-page solo roleplaying game where you seek to interpret messages conveyed by spirits. As a renowned psychic medium, you randomly draw letters that represent each word in a spirit’s message. Through rolls, you determine what type of spirit has made contact, then interpret the message for your client.”
  • Star Trek Adventures: Tricorder Collector’s Box Set” from Modiphius, due Q1 2022—”The Tricorder Collector’s Boxed Set opens like the tricorder from the original series, and includes everything you need to play Star Trek Adventures! Featuring updated original era layout and art throughout, this digest-sized boxed set is as charming as James T. Kirk and as practical as Spock!”
  • Limited Edition Violinmaster Telecaster Relic—”This beautiful hand-made instrument is inspired by and crafted in tribute to the famous “Gibson-Huberman” Stradivarius violin built by Antonio Stradivari in 1713 and now owned by Grammy award-winning violinist Joshua Bell.” Watch “Building the Violinmaster with Yuriy Shishkov | Dream Factory | Fender”—”Based on the legendary “Huberman” Stradivarius violin, the Yuriy Shishkov Violinmaster translates one of the world’s most prized instruments – now owned by renowned violinist Joshua Bell – into guitar form. Limited to 60 guitars, the striking model features a hollow flame maple body, patent pending floating bridge with interchangeable saddles and combination of piezo and electronic pickups — and comes complete with an authentic European hand-polished violin varnish.”
  • Locke & Key, season 2, is available over on Netflix. “This magical mystery is based on the acclaimed, best-selling graphic novels co-created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.” Watch “Locke and Key Trailer | Season 2 | Netflix.”
  • Watch “Maya and the Three | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”Multiply your courage, by the power of three on an epic journey to save a fantastical world. Three outcasts from three distant lands, Chimi (The Skull Warrior), Rico (The Rooster Wizard) and Picchu (The Puma Barbarian) will join Maya (The Eagle Warrior) on her mighty quest to stop Lord Mictlan (The god of war) and fulfill an ancient prophecy. Maya and the Three begins October 22 only on Netflix.”
  • So, Villeneuve’s Dune arrived Wednesday. Or, I should say, part one arrived, with part two only in pre-production. I have … complex feelings about it. For me this new film does not replace the other adaptations, which, perhaps controversially, each of which I enjoy in themselves, but, like going to multiple presentations of the same Shakespearean play, they seem to me to each have things the others explore differently, and combined with the text all come together as a complex whole significantly greater than the parts. But, I’ve watched this one 5 times already, so, you know, it’s a thing. I may try to pull my thoughts together at some point. But, until then there’s these and this following item of joy:
  • James McAvoy, Son Of Dune, Has Advice For His Father, Dune Star Timothée Chalamet“—”But I’ll tell you what’s one really good piece of advice that was given to me once, was by the cast of … what was the show called again? Farscape. And it was at the L.A. premiere of Children of Dune, and they said to me, that the thing with this sh*t, i.e. science fiction, is that you have to believe it more than you believe good writing. Good writing, you can just do. It’s easier. But this stuff is hard, because it’s so bonkers, you know what I mean? And I’ve really, I’ve always remembered that advice and taken it to heart. It’s so kept me going really, through a lot of science fiction and fantasy work that I’ve done. Because it was Claudia Black that said it. And I think that’s just good advice for any actor doing any kind of science fiction and/or fantasy, you know?” Also tweet—”As the new #Dune premieres in London I’ll share a lil story. I’m the actor in this article whom James McAvoy quotes-pretty bonkers in and of itself. What tickles me about *his* story is that our respective recollections of our encounter are very different in sweet, powerful ways.”