Omnium Gatherum: 31oct2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 31, 2021

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

  • Tweet—”Pink Floyd’s Meddle turns 50 today.” Tweet—”The cover art is an ear, under water. You’re welcome.” My misheard lyric for One of These Days was “One of these days, you’re going to meet the real Jesus.” I’m not sure if my head canon wasn’t better, tbh.
  • American Trickster: Trauma, Tradition and Brer Rabbit [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Emily Zobel Marshall—”Our fascination with the trickster figure, whose presence is global, stems from our desire to break free from the tightly regimented structures of our societies. Condemned to conform to laws and rules imposed by governments, communities, social groups and family bonds, we revel in the fantasy of the trickster whose energy and cunning knows no bounds and for whom nothing is sacred. One such trickster is Brer Rabbit, who was introduced to North America through the folktales of enslaved Africans. On the plantations, Brer Rabbit, like Anansi in the Caribbean, functioned as a resistance figure for the enslaved whose trickery was aimed at undermining and challenging the plantation regime. Yet as Brer Rabbit tales moved from the oral tradition to the printed page in the late nineteenth-century, the trickster was emptied of his potentially powerful symbolism by white American collectors, authors and folklorists in their attempt to create a nostalgic fantasy of the plantation past. American Trickster offers readers a unique insight into the cultural significance of the Brer Rabbit trickster figure, from his African roots and through to his influence on contemporary culture. Exploring the changing portrayals of the trickster figure through a wealth of cultural forms including folktales, advertising, fiction and films the book scrutinises the profound tensions between the perpetuation of damaging racial stereotypes and the need to keep African-American folk traditions alive. Emily Zobel Marshall argues that Brer Rabbit was eventually reclaimed by twentieth-century African-American novelists whose protagonists ‘trick’ their way out of limiting stereotypes, break down social and cultural boundaries and offer readers practical and psychological methods for challenging the traumatic legacies of slavery and racism.”
  • Give Phoebe Robinson the Title She Deserves: Boss. The comic has a publishing imprint, TV deals, even a primer on leadership she wrote after noting the absence of Black women’s perspectives in business books.” Check the Amazon author page for Phoebe Robinson.
  • The Tyranny of Neutrality in ‘AI 2041’.”—”Science fiction has historically had a contentious relationship with scientific development at the same time that technological products coming onto the market have long relied on rosy narratives for their further popularization. AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future (Currency, 2021), the latest collaboration between science fiction author Chen Qiufan and former head of Google China and current CEO of Sinovation Ventures, Kai-Fu Lee, sits solidly at the intersection of these narrative selling points — and a selling point is exactly what is being made here.” “AI 2041, then, with its unique marriage of factual explanation and fictional short stories, joins the rank of a genre that will be familiar to most readers: the techno-utopian promise. But it is perhaps more legible through the lens of ‘technological solutionism,’ a term coined by tech writer Evgeny Morozov to describe the idea that complex social phenomena — everything from politics to education to health care to agriculture — can be understood as ‘neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes’ subject to easy optimization: ‘[I]f only the right algorithms are in place.’ The ideological framework of solutionism shifts our view of the world to redefine things such as inefficiency or human relations as problems with a technological solution. The technology itself, Lee and Chen claim, is neutral; it is human behavior that is unethical or inefficient, requiring technological intervention.” “So then is all this to say that AI 2041, as a text, is bad, as in literature, or bad, as in conceptual ethics? No to the first, but perhaps to the second.” About AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan—”How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years? AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognizable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand-new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up—both to AI’s radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it. In this provocative, utterly original work, Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and bestselling author of AI Superpowers, teams up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to imagine our world in 2041 and how it will be shaped by AI. In ten gripping short stories, they introduce readers to an array of eye-opening 2041 settings, such as: In San Francisco, the “job reallocation” industry emerges as deep learning AI causes widespread job displacement. In Tokyo, a music fan is swept up in an immersive form of celebrity worship based on virtual reality and mixed reality. In Mumbai, a teenage girl rebels when AI’s crunching of big data gets in the way of romance. In Seoul, virtual companions with perfected natural language processing (NLP) skills offer orphaned twins new ways to connect. In Munich, a rogue scientist draws on quantum computing, computer vision and other AI technologies in a revenge plot that imperils the world. By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers urgent insights into our collective future—while reminding readers that, ultimately, humankind remains the author of its destiny.”
  • Against longtermism. It started as a fringe philosophical theory about humanity’s future. It’s now richly funded and increasingly dangerous.” By Phil Torres, author of Human Extinction: A History of Thinking About the End of Humanity, forthcoming from Routledge, and for which I cannot yet find direct links. But you can check out his Amazon author page and website.
  • A vast, thrilling world of nature unfolds outside of human time.” By Nicholas P Money, author of Nature Fast and Nature Slow: How Life Works, from Fractions of a Second to Billions of Years [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”This book is a vision of biology set within the entire timescale of the universe. It is about the timing of life, from microsecond movements to evolutionary changes over millions of years. Human consciousness is riveted to seconds, but a split-second time delay in perception means that we are unaware of anything until it has already happened. We live in the very recent past. Over longer timescales, this book examines the lifespans of the oldest organisms, prospects for human life extension, the evolution of whales and turtles, and the explosive beginning of life 4 billion years ago. With its poetry, social commentary and humour, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the natural world.”
  • The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of ‘Appendix II: The Religion of Dune’“—”It is common knowledge that Frank Herbert’s classic Dune novels are chock-full of Islamic and MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) references. However, as a Muslim reader, I have long maintained that the Muslim influences go deeper than many may have realized. I am of the theory that if one is Muslim, or otherwise intimately aware of Muslim traditions, that person’s experience of Dune differs vastly from any other reader’s encounter with the saga.” Also “‘Dune’ appropriates Islamic, Middle Eastern tropes without real inclusion, critics say. ‘It’s like … our homes and foods and songs and languages are just right for Western stories, but we humans are never enough to be in them,’ one critic said.”
  • Tweet—”my PhD dissertation on issues of identity, public image, and visual representation in the Beatles’ films and videos has now been made available online worldwide. Brush up your French; it’s quite the ride.” De la scène au mythe : les films des Beatles. Questions d’identité, image publique, et représentation visuelle (From stage to myth: the Beatles’ films. Questions of identity, public image, and visual representation)—”Cette thèse discute des contributions des films et vidéos des Beatles réalisés et diffusés pendant leur période d’activité (1962-1970) à la construction de l’image publique du groupe. Ces objets visuels sont, chronologiquement : A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), « Paperback Writer » /« Rain » (1966), « Strawberry Fields Forever » / « Penny Lane » (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), « Hello Goodbye » (1967), « Lady Madonna » (1968), Yellow Submarine (1968), « Hey Jude » / « Revolution » (1968), Let It Be (tourné en 1969 mais sorti en 1970), et « Something » (1969). Notre question comporte deux volets principaux, le premier portant sur la contribution des objets de notre étude à l’image publique des Beatles, et le deuxième sur la relation de ces objets avec leur contexte socio-culturel, tout en analysant ce que cela ajoute à la construction de cette image. Nous nous interrogeons donc sur le poids que les films et vidéos des Beatles eurent dans l’élaboration de leur réputation publique, qui est en constant changement au moins durant toute la période active de leur carrière, et de quelle façon ces objets visuels jouent avec les influences de leur époque, pour mieux comprendre la façon dont ils y furent intégrés et regardés. Partant du récit communément accepté concernant la manière dont les Beatles étaient perçus pendant leurs années d’activité, et qui peut-être envisagé à travers des tournants signalant des changements dans leur image publique, nous nous demandons si ce même récit évolutif apparait à travers leurs films et vidéos. Nous proposons encore une autre manière de voir le récit construit à partir de ces objets, et qui se produit sous l’angle de l’oscillation de ces derniers entre deux pôles thématiques : l’ « escape » (évasion) et la recherche de soi. Notre hypothèse est que ces deux pôles représentatifs peuvent exister simultanément, étant pourtant complémentaires et non pas opposés.” “This thesis examines the contributions of the Beatles’ films and videos made and released during their period of activity (1962-1970) to the construction of the group’s public image. These objects are, chronologically : A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), « Paperback Writer » /« Rain » (1966), « Strawberry Fields Forever » / « Penny Lane » (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), « Hello Goodbye » (1967), « Lady Madonna » (1968), Yellow Submarine (1968), « Hey Jude » / « Revolution » (1968), Let It Be (filmed in 1969 but released in 1970), and « Something » (1969).Our research comprises two approaches, the first concerning the contributions of these objects to the Beatles’ public image, and the second the relationship between them and their socio-cultural context, analysing what this adds to the construction of said image. We examine the weight of the Beatles’ films and videos in shaping the group’s public reputation, which underwent constant changes throughout their active period, and how these objects relate to the influences of their time in order to achieve a better understanding of their reception and contextualisation. We start from the commonly accepted narrative regarding how the Beatles were perceived during their years of activity, and that can be assessed through a series of turning points that indicate changes in their public image, investigating if this can be observed in their films and videos as well. Furthermore, we propose yet another way of envisaging this narrative, which unfolds via the oscillation of these visual objects between two focal points: escape and self-searching. Our hypothesis is that these two points may exist simultaneously, therefore being complementary instead of conflicting.”
  • Seminal novel The Vampyre mysteriously makes its way into University of Queensland library“—”‘We were looking through our rare book collection … looking for interesting examples of markings where people have left notes in books that we have,’ he said. ‘We discovered that we have this first edition of The Vampyre, attributed to John Polidori.’ Polidori’s book was written in 1816 and published in 1819 and is the first vampire story printed in the English language, but this copy is quite unique. When it was first published, the book was incorrectly attributed to Lord Byron. Polidori complained, and Byron disowned it. This copy — the first edition, second printing — is attributed to no-one, with similar copies recently selling for $15,000.”
  • The Magnificent Bribe. Half a century ago, Lewis Mumford developed a concept that explains why we trade autonomy for convenience.”—”As he pithily put it in Art and Technics, ‘If you fall in love with a machine there is something wrong with your love-life. If you worship a machine there is something wrong with your religion.’ It is not a good thing to be accepting bribes, but it’s even worse to think of those bribes as just friendly gifts.”
  • The Scholars who Deciphered the Ancient Greek Script Linear B.”
  • Tweet thread—”A short [thread] on one of my absolute favourite pieces of evidence from the Roman world, which I finally found a picture of today (and am very excited about!): This letter was written by a schoolboy, named Thonis, in the 3rd century AD, Egypt.”
  • ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ ancient Roman statues discovered in Aylesbury. Archaeologists were stunned when these ancient remains were dug up.”
  • Rare, ancient Maya canoe found in Mexico’s Yucatan“—”A wooden canoe used by the ancient Maya and believed to be over 1,000 years old has turned up in southern Mexico, officials said on Friday, part of archeological work accompanying the construction of a major new tourist train.”
  • Did Vikings and their stowaway mice beat Portugal to the Azores?. Evidence from animal remains shows Norse seafarers settled on the islands centuries before Portuguese explorers.”
  • After 30 Years of Breeding Condors, a Secret Comes Out. ‘Virgin birth’ might be more common in animals than we thought.”
  • Moran Eye Center, Spanish Researchers Successfully Test Artificial Vision for the Blind.” Also “Visual percepts evoked with an Intracortical 96-channel microelectrode array inserted in human occipital cortex.”
  • A NASA spacecraft just saw the north pole of Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter, for the first time. This distant view will get even better next year when the spacecraft zooms up close to the icy moon.”
  • Watch “Jupiter’s 3D Atmosphere Revealed by NASA’s Juno Spacecraft (Media Briefing)“—”The science team for our Juno spacecraft at Jupiter will reveal new findings that provide the first 3D look at how the planet’s roiling atmosphere operates underneath the top layers of clouds, and how these revelations offer insight into the atmospheres of giant planets elsewhere in the universe.”
  • Our universe was made by aliens in a lab, theorises Harvard scientist. Theoretical physicist Avi Loeb talks to Dazed about his speculation that human beings were created by an ‘advanced technological civilisation'”
  • First Ever Body Maps of Hallucinations Created“—”Leicester psychologists have, for the first time, created body-maps of the sensations which arise during hallucinations in people experiencing psychosis.” “Novel visual diary methods involving drawing, writing and body-mapping generated 42 MUSE maps, which set out the specific areas across the body – and beyond, in so-called peripersonal space – where participants experienced sensations during hallucinations. The study found that hallucinations were characterised by numerous feelings arising at once, often including multisensory, emotional, and embodied features. Researchers suggest further uptake of visual, ecological and prospective methods may enhance understandings of lived experiences of hallucinations.”
  • From the “Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house” dept: “First Bitcoin. Then GameStop. Now Tiny Tungsten Cubes. Online investors crave tangible pleasure of holding surprisingly heavy metal blocks; 1.7 times as dense as lead.”—”‘I keep it on my desk as a reminder of what motivates me—keep going, keep working,’ said Mr. Morris, who also invests in cryptocurrencies. ‘One day, I’ll be able to upgrade to a larger-size cube.'” “‘We’re just deprived of physical totems of our affection, and so tungsten fills that hole in our hearts,’ he said.” “‘I’m gonna be buried with my cube probably,’ said Mr. Agrawal. ‘It will be like a pharaoh buried with his possessions, so the cube will have a place of honor.'” Also “Crypto Investors Are Bidding to Touch a 1,784-Pound Tungsten Cube Once a Year. You’ll have to travel to a storage facility in Willowbrook, Illinois, to touch the forbidden cube.” Tweet—”imagine the kabba but worthless, made sometime this year, and too small to actually worship.” Tweet—”tungsten cubes are just healing crystals for men.” Tweet—”Men will literally buy cubes of tungsten rather than go to therapy.” Apropos of this, though I think these people are bonkers, I miss my NeXTcube, made from magnesium! However, I never burned it. I do keep a small plastic Borg cube model next to my iMac to remind it that it once belonged to the collective (because MacOS X was built from NeXT).
  • Massive cyber heist rocks high society jeweller Graff: Russian gang demand multi-million ransom or they’ll release private details of rich and famous – after leaking files on David Beckham, Oprah and Donald Trump . Russian hackers have taken personal details of world leaders, actors and tycoons. Victims believed to include Donald Trump, David Beckham and Sir Philip Green. Thought to be demanding millions in ransom money to stop further releases of sensitive information. Gang named Conti is behind data theft from the exclusive jewellery firm Graff.”—”Hackers have plundered the personal details of world leaders, Hollywood A-listers and billionaire tycoons in a massive ‘virtual heist’ on exclusive jewellery firm Graff, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The cyber criminals have already leaked 69,000 confidential documents on to the so-called ‘dark web’, including files relating to Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham and Sir Philip Green.”
  • McDonald’s just announced it’s completely changing the customer experience“—”Well, here’s a little announcement the global burger chain made last week. McDonald’s is now getting together with a very, very famous name in tech in order to make the drive-thru more robotic and therefore more crowd-pleasing.” “Oh, I almost forgot to mention the very famous tech name with which McDonald’s will now partner. It’s IBM. Yes, the IBM at which a Steve Jobs emissary once threw a large hammer in a famous ad. The IBM that used to be called Big Blue and now seems to be Big Intimidator of Little Companies. Well, McDonald’s has just sold IBM its McD Tech Labs — the engineers that are formerly known as Apprente — so that IBM can take on the robot-driven drive-thru dream.”
  • Tweet—”all programs are malware if you hate computers enough.”
  • Zuckerberg Uses Greek Word “Meta” to Rebrand Facebook“—”‘Meta’ is not only a Greek word that is overused in technology; it’s now also the word chosen by Mark Zuckerberg, in his attempt to rebrand Facebook’s bruised image. The word is used in speaking about internet data (‘metadata’) and in numerous sci-fi movies and series (meta-humans).” Also, from the Chevy Nova dept: “Facebook’s new Meta handle means ‘dead’ in Hebrew. ‘Don’t worry, we’re on it,’ tweets the ZAKA emergency service after the rebranding announcement, as Hebrew-speaking social media users poke fun at name change.”—”‘In Hebrew, *Meta* means *Dead*,’ tweeted Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a tech expert, in response to the company’s announcement. ‘The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come,’ she added. The ZAKA emergency service, which specializes in collecting body parts following accidents or attacks to ensure a proper Jewish burial, tweeted: ‘Don’t worry, we’re on it.'” Also “Hebrew Speakers Mock Facebook’s Name Change: ‘Meta’ Means Dead.” Also “The Facebook name was such a drag that employees referred to it as a ‘brand tax’. Employees have used the term ‘brand tax’ to refer to the negative impact of Facebook on its other brands. Since a rebranding in November 2019 that tied Facebook’s apps together, the association has hurt Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp in terms of gaining trust from younger users. Under the new Meta name, the company has already begun removing the Facebook name from several units.” Also “Hey, Facebook, I Made a Metaverse 27 Years Ago. It was terrible then, and it’s terrible now.” Also “The Metaverse Is Bad. It is not a world in a headset but a fantasy of power.” Also “What’s the metaverse? Just a distraction from Facebook’s real-life hellscape.”—”Let’s not let this Black Mirror-esque gobbledygook distract us from the very real hell Facebook has wrought in our non-augmented reality. No amount of corporate re-branding should let Zuck or anyone else off the hook for the real, tangible harms their product has manifested and continues to propagate without consequence.” Tweet—”actually Meta is the name of the company. Facebook is the monster.” Also “Zuckerberg, misinformation king, says the media is misinformed about Facebook. ‘Put some damn clothes on,’ says the nudist.” Also “An exhaustive investigation into Mark Zuckerberg’s saucy bookshelves. Slap a trilby on me and call me Philip Marlowe.”—”There are an infinite number of articles we could write about Facebook, sorry, Meta’s performance at its Connect event. The whole thing was a trainwreck.”—”Facebook/Meta obviously wanted to go meta in Connect — which is one of the more disgusting sentences I’ve ever had to write.” “So what are these empty, wordless books trying to tell us? Easy: Zuck’s idea for the metaverse is all for show and, if you scratch underneath, all you’ll find is unbearable horror of hollowness.”
  • How Facebook shapes your feed. The evolution of what posts get top billing on users’ news feeds, and what gets obscured.”
  • Tweet—”Nft-artists doing cheap knockoffs of my work, my prints being taken down from redbubble with zero warning because of random copyright claims. What a day on the internet! I don’t know what’s going on but a liberating revolution for digital artists it is not.” Tweet—”The NFT market is on it’s way to becoming the ‘high art’ market for tech bros, so you can be certain that you, a working class artist putting actual quality into the craft, will get shafted so rich people can do money laundering and tax evasion.” Tweet—”It’s so cool that tech libertarians are pitching NFTs as the future when it really is just them giving themselves jobs as middle managers for art and copyright.”
  • People Have Spent More than $1 Million on NFT ‘Girlfriends’. For the low price of $25,000, you can have a Bull Market Girlfriend of your very own.”
  • Dystopia Is Upon Us. Are You Ready? From constant surveillance to algorithms that decide what we see, society is entering territory reserved for fictional dystopias. Here’s how to push back.”
  • The Environmental Impacts of SpaceX’s Oil and Gas Gambit. A Guide for the Public.”
  • The Anger of Tesla Fans Is Becoming a Problem. They’re mobilizing to stop a needed crackdown that’s barely begun.”
  • Exponential Tech Doesn’t Serve Social Good. Why create solutions ‘at scale’ if operating at scale is itself the main problem?”
  • Children who get COVID-19 can suffer severe illness, leading Utah doctor warns. Dr. Andrew Pavia urges parents to get their young children vaccinated once eligible.”
  • 26 FDNY firehouses out of service over vaccine mandate staff shortage.” Tweet—”I’ve been saying g for some time Stop the Steal, the insurrection, QAnon antivaxx and anti mandate are part of the same disinformation amplification. FDNY and NYPD march protesting mandates chant “1776” just like they did at the Capitol”
  • America’s poor diet made Covid much worse. Washington isn’t paying attention. ‘Globally, these issues are on fire,’ said one industry consultant. ‘In the U.S., we’re like sucking our thumb.'”
  • Association of COVID-19 With New Waiting List Registrations and Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Hepatitis in the United States.”—”Alcohol consumption has substantially increased during the COVID-19 pandemic1; however, the impact on the already increasing burden of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) is unknown.2 We examined national changes in waiting list registration and liver transplantation for ALD and the association with alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hypothesized that waiting list registrations and deceased donor liver transplants (DDLTs) for alcoholic hepatitis (AH), which can develop after a short period of alcohol misuse, would disproportionately rise.”
  • Tweet—”Woman at Traverse City Sch Bd meeting this week: ‘Satan’s agenda is behind this. Masks don’t work and neither do vaccines. It’s destroying and killing. You want to program children to turn in their parents. Right now, there are classrooms in the US that are teaching cannibalism.'”
  • A look at the groups supporting school board protesters nationwide.”—”In several states and districts around the country, protestors have been disrupting school board meetings. They’re opposed to mask policies. Vaccine mandates. LGBTQ rights. Sex education. Removing police from schools. Teaching about race and American history, or sometimes, anything called ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ or even ‘social-emotional learning.’ The protests aren’t ubiquitous, but they’re widespread and intense enough that the National School Boards Association asked President Biden to step in, and Attorney General Merrick Garland then directed the FBI to help.”
  • 911 transcripts filed in updated ‘Trump Train’ lawsuit reveal San Marcos police refused to send escort to Biden bus. The highway confrontation between a Biden bus and Trump supporters made national news in the final days of the heated 2020 presidential campaign. The incident involved at least one minor collision and led to Texas Democrats canceling three scheduled campaign events.”
  • GOP lawmakers were ‘intimately involved’ in Jan. 6 protest planning, new report shows. A new Rolling Stone report claims multiple members of Congress helped plan former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss, and the Jan. 6 protests that ended in violence. Author Hunter Walker joins Yamiche Alcindor with more details.”
  • At Least 12 Republicans Who Participated In Jan. 6 Are Running For Office Next Week. Many more people who were a part of the insurrection will be on the ballot in 2022.”
  • Tweet—”After we wrote about Tucker’s Jan. 6 doc, Fox News reached out with a comment, which they asked us not to publish. We didn’t agree to that but they sent it anyway. We thought you should know even Fox News is trying to distance itself from Tucker’s doc.” Also “Fox News wants to make it ‘clear’ it isn’t airing Tucker Carlson’s Capitol riot documentary. It’s under a different Fox entity.”
  • Tweet thread—”BOOM. In late night filing, Natl Archives details what Donald Trump is trying to shield w/ executive privilege. Visitor logs, call logs, switchboard logs from Jan 6. ‘Drafts of speeches, remarks, and correspondence concerning the events of January 6′”
  • QAnon Influencer Who Accuses Democrats of Being Pedophiles Is Identified as Convicted Child Molester Designated as ‘Sexually Violent Offender’
  • Oath Keepers in the State House: How a Militia Movement Took Root in the Republican Mainstream. A membership roster for the Oath Keepers, a violent extremist group whose followers have been charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection, includes state lawmakers, congressional candidates, and local government and GOP officials.”
  • University of Florida bars faculty members from testifying in voting rights lawsuit against DeSantis administration. The public university said the political scientists could pose “a conflict of interest to the executive branch” and harm the school’s interests if they testified against the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
  • In This House, We List Our Beliefs in the Yard. How a lawn sign inspired by mom décor became a liberal mantra — and a symbol of a political battle over white womanhood.”—”There is a sign that has become ubiquitous on the lawns of Democrats who have lawns. “In This House, We Believe,” the sign begins, followed by a stack of progressive maxims listed in capital letters. The classic version reads: ‘Black Lives Matter / Women’s Rights Are Human Rights / No Human Is Illegal / Science Is Real / Love Is Love.’ Then the kicker: ‘Kindness Is Everything.’ When the yard sign first appeared, in the wake of the 2016 election, I barely noticed it. That era had produced such an exhausting array of ironic paraphernalia (‘covfefe’ mugs, ‘Make Donald Drumpf Again’ caps, accessories styling Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a rapper) that a placard of earnest liberal word salad hardly registered as a rich text. But over the past five years, as the sign spread across the suburbs, I found myself seduced by its chaotic jumble of typefaces, its lifestyle-blog-adjacent aesthetic, its sanctimonious final line and its curious staying power. Donald Trump is out of office. I haven’t seen a crocheted fuchsia beanie in years. But nevertheless, this sign has persisted. What began as a symbol of liberal objection to Trump has spawned a whole genre of signs enumerating political and pop-cultural obsessions. Along the way, it has come to represent the lasting psychic imprint of the 2016 election — and the crisis it spawned over the national reputation of white womanhood.” “This is the epitome of virtue signaling: an actual sign enumerating the owner’s virtues. There is something refreshing, actually, about the straightforwardness of that. Whenever I spy one in a window or on a lawn, I feel mildly annoyed and begrudgingly impressed. I can’t look away. It is so effective as a sign that it has become a symbol of signage itself. Parodic versions have flowered in the past few months, and the funniest ones poke fun at the sign’s well-meaning if absurdly ambitious brief by focusing instead on the most trivial of causes — like the version sold by the comedian Joe Mande, extolling the virtues of the 2007 thriller ‘Michael Clayton.’ Through Trump is out of office, the original signs persist, too, suggesting that the underlying cultural battle wages on. This time, according to Pew’s analysis, 53 percent of white women really did vote for Trump.”
  • Crying with laughter: British soldiers joked about mother’s ‘murder’ on Facebook. The soldier accused of killing Agnes Wanjiru on a night out in Kenya joined his fellow squaddies as they exchanged emojis making light of the tragedy.”
  • Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him.”
  • Newsweek and the Rise of the Zombie Magazine. How a decaying legacy magazine is being used to launder right-wing ideas and conspiracy theories.”
  • How Did a Billionaire in Seattle Gain So Much Power Over Global Public Health?“—”If you ask Schwab, having one of the world’s biggest global health charities work like an investment bank, that’s the real origin of ‘vaccine apartheid.’ And the cost is high. As of this month, only 27 percent of people in low-income counties have received a single coronavirus vaccine dose. Compare that to 70 percent of people in some high-income countries. On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Schwab about how the global response to COVID was shaped by the charity of Bill Gates. And when we talk about ‘vaccine apartheid,’ is an American billionaire to blame?”
  • Tweet thread—”Depositions, medical examiner reports, settlements to name a few. Pulled something north of 15,000 pages of federal court records to assist in a small way to a massive NYTimes investigation into more than 400 deaths that occurred during traffic stops.” See “Why Many Police Traffic Stops Turn Deadly. Officers, trained to presume danger, have reacted with outsize aggression. For hundreds of unarmed drivers, the consequences have been fatal.”
  • Tweet thread—”We rolled back the film from over 100 fatal traffic stops to understand how the most routine police interactions can turn deadly. We found a striking pattern — right before the “final frame” of the fatal encounter, officers put themselves in imminent peril.” See “Before the Final Frame: When Police Missteps Create Danger.”
  • Tweet thread—”THREAD: Our investigation of police traffic stops revealed how ingrained practices, from towns’ over-reliance on ticket revenue to escalating behavior by officers, needlessly endanger motorists. Let’s take a close-up look at one example …” See “The Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops. Busted taillights, missing plates, tinted windows: Across the U.S., ticket revenue funds towns — and the police responsible for finding violations.”
  • Tweet—”Jake Gyllenhaal to star in Guy Ritchie’s action-thriller ‘The Interpreter.’ He will play Sergeant John Kinley who returns to Afganistan to save Ahmed, the local interpreter who saved his life after an ambush, before the local militias reach him and his family first.” See “STX Launches Sales On Guy Ritchie Action Thriller ‘The Interpreter’ With Jake Gyllenhaal As Stranded Soldier – AFM Hot Package.” Tweet—”Afghan women face armed Taliban to demand their rights every day. They want normal lives & dont have any hero /saviour complexes despite being superheros. But in Hollywood, America is the hero again 😂😂😂 My sympathies to the good Americans who know to be embarassed by this.” Also, didn’t we already sort of go through this cycle of fuckery? “Now Is a Really Bad Time to Air a Sitcom About an Afghan Interpreter for the US Military. After a rerun of the show was pulled this week, the future of ‘United States of Al’ is looking uncertain.”
  • From the K D Lang dept: “Brandi Carlile, Larger Than Life and Achingly Human. The singer and songwriter’s seventh album, ‘In These Silent Days,’ realizes and polishes her ambitions.” In These Silent Days [Amazon, Apple, Spotify, YouTube, Apple] by Brandi Carlile. Also Broken Horses: A Memoir [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Brandi Carlile—”Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, fourteen times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood. As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music. In Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile takes readers through the events of her life that shaped her very raw art—from her start at a local singing competition where she performed Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in a bedazzled white polyester suit, to her first break opening for Dave Matthews Band, to many sleepless tours over fifteen years and six studio albums, all while raising two children with her wife, Catherine Shepherd. This hard-won success led her to collaborations with personal heroes like Elton John, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Pearl Jam, Tanya Tucker, and Joni Mitchell, as well as her peers in the supergroup The Highwomen, and ultimately to the Grammy stage, where she converted millions of viewers into instant fans. Evocative and piercingly honest, Broken Horses is at once an examination of faith through the eyes of a person rejected by the church’s basic tenets and a meditation on the moments and lyrics that have shaped the life of a creative mind, a brilliant artist, and a genuine empath on a mission to give back.”
  • Watch “Lapsis – Official Trailer“—Noah Hutton’s speculative LAPSIS is an alt-present sci-fi thriller most relevant to the horror of our current, late-capitalist moment. Brillant récit qui s’amuse à écorcher les absurdes pratiques capitalistes actuelles, LAPSIS est un thriller de science-fiction brûlant d’actualité.”
  • The Terrifying Rise of the Child Influencer and the Parents Who Profit. Parents exploit a legal loophole to profit from their children.”—”How can any parent countenance this? I asked myself. The answer rapidly became clear: money.” “But how can a child at the age of two agree to put their life on YouTube?”
  • The seedy world of private lending in ‘Squid Game’ is a real temptation in South Korea.”
  • What’s Behind the Biggest US Strike Wave in a Generation. Thousands of workers across America are striking for better wages and working conditions.”
  • ‘My students never knew’: the lecturer who lived in a tent. Higher education is one of the most casualised sectors of the UK economy, and for many it means a struggle to get by.”
  • Capitalism is killing the planet – it’s time to stop buying into our own destruction. Instead of focusing on ‘micro consumerist bollocks’ like ditching our plastic coffee cups, we must challenge the pursuit of wealth and level down, not up.”
  • How Domestic Labor Robs Women of Their Love. Netflix’s Maid and three recent best-sellers depict the agonies and rage of being a low-wage housekeeper or nanny. But all fail to identify capitalism itself as the culprit.”
  • Want to See a Modern Country Commit Suicide? Take a Hard Look at Britain. Britain is Imploding as a Modern Society. Only Nobody’s Allowed to Admit It.”
  • Tweet thread—”One of the benefits of remote work is that it’s often easier to assemble people with the right mix of skills and interests when location is not a constraint.” Also “The Collective Intelligence of Remote Teams. Research shows that it’s not where we work that matters the most — it’s how the work is done and who is doing it.”
  • Prince Andrew Mounts Attack Against Woman Who Accused Him of Sexual Abuse. Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, said the woman was seeking financial gain from one of the world’s best known royal families.”
  • 85% of gay people are possessed by evil, sweary ghosts – according to a not-at-all ludicrous study. Do you wake up each morning and feel the following: Lack of physical anchoring to this plane of existence, ectoplasm trailing you as you walk and an irrational desire to ghost any man you go on a date with?”
  • High School Crowns Zachary Willmore as First Male Homecoming Queen“—”A student at a Missouri high school is the first male in the school’s history to be crowned Homecoming Queen. Zachary Willmore, a senior and varsity cheerleader at Rock Bridge High School, took home the honor last weekend.”
  • Germany debates how to form gender-neutral words out of its gendered language“—”How do you pronounce a word with an asterisk or a colon in the middle? And what’s the German word for inclusivity? These are just two questions businesses and organizations in Europe’s largest economy have been asking themselves as the country tries to advance gender equality. In Germany, the debate about gender-neutral and inclusive language is complicated by grammar. Just as in many other languages, gender in German isn’t denoted by personal pronouns alone. German nouns that refer to people have traditionally been masculine or feminine. So, a male citizen is a Bürger and a female citizen is a Bürgerin. But in the plural, the masculine is traditionally used by default — a point that’s been contentious at least as far back as the second wave of feminism in the 1960s.”
  • Fight bears and steal ancient culture alongside Lara Croft in official Tomb Raider RPG. Spelunking and firearms are fundamental research skill, promise.” See “Thank You to the Fans – 25 Years of Tomb Raider!“—”We’re super excited to reveal Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders, a tabletop adventure that lets you team up with Lara. Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders is a passion project of Senior Technical Designer Matthew Gaston, who has been developing it since 2007 and playtesting internally since 2009. In Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders, players will assume the roles of fictional characters in the mysterious world of Tomb Raider. These characters work for Lara Croft, who has more leads to follow than she has time to follow them. Players will explore ancient sites to discover information and artifacts – guided by the campaign’s Raid Master. Campaigns will focus on knowledge, language, and investigative skills in addition to action-oriented skills to keep it true to the franchise roots.” “Get your raiding team ready – the core rule book and the first adventure: Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders: Mark of the Phoenix will be released later this year as a holiday gift to our fans.” Also in that announcement: “As we announced earlier this year, a new Tomb Raider anime series is coming to Netflix! Legendary Television and Netflix are hard at work on the series, which will pick up after the events of the Tomb Raider survivor trilogy. As previously announced, Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter, Captain America, Mission Impossible 7) will be voicing Lara Croft, joining a roster of incredibly talented women who have brought Lara Croft to life over the past 25 years.”
  • Hey, this looks like it’s gonna turn it up to 11. Watch “Masters of the Universe: Revelation – Part 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”Reclaim the Power. Fight for the Universe. The epic conclusion to Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Part 2) premieres on November 23rd. Only on Netflix.”
  • Watch “We Asked a Sword Expert to Make a Realistic Lightsaber Fight“—”Niko embarks on a quest to make the most famous Sci-Fi weapon more realistic. He enlists the help of Sword Expert Luke LaFontaine in order to create a duel based on real sword techniques. On top of that, he has some new ideas on how to approach the visual effects…”
  • I just … didn’t think it was possible for that film to get even better, tbh, but where we are. “Billie Eilish dropped in to play Sally in Danny Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas concert last night. Paul Reubens, Weird Al Yankovic, and original cast member Ken Page also lent their voices to Elfman’s show.” Also “Billie Eilish Performs Sally’s Song at Nightmare Before Christmas Concert.” Watch “Billie Eilish performs Sally’s Song (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas“—”Billie Eilish performs Sally’s Song (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Live to Concert Film at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California on 10/29/2021.” Watch “Billie Eilish & Danny Elfman perform (Simply Meant to Be) from The Nightmare Before Christmas 2021“—”Billie Eilish and Danny Elfman perform Finale / Reprise (Simply Meant to Be) (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Live to Concert Film at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California on 10/29/2021.”
  • Watch “Midnight Mass [ASMR Father Paul Roleplay]“—”Please join us all in welcoming the lovely Father Paul Hill as he comes to Pioneer’s Lash to lead its wayward congregation towards the Third Covenant. If only Father Paul practiced what he preached, you all wouldn’t be in this mess. Happy Halloween!”