Omnium Gatherum: 14nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 14, 2021

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

  • The Brides of Maracoor continues the story of Wicked, after a 10-year cliffhanger. Read an excerpt from Gregory Maguire’s new novel, and an interview explaining why he finally returned to Oz.” About The Brides of Maracoor [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Gregory Maguire, book 1 of the Another Day series—”Multimillion-copy bestselling author Gregory Maguire unveils the first in a three-book series spun off the iconic Wicked Years, featuring Elphaba’s granddaughter, the green-skinned Rain. Ten years ago this season, Gregory Maguire wrapped up the series he began with Wicked by giving us the fourth and final volume of the Wicked Years, his elegiac Out of Oz. But “out of Oz” isn’t “gone for good.” Maguire’s new series, Another Day, is here, twenty-five years after Wicked first flew into our lives. Volume one, The Brides of Maracoor, finds Elphaba’s granddaughter, Rain, washing ashore on a foreign island. Comatose from crashing into the sea, Rain is taken in by a community of single women committed to obscure devotional practices. As the mainland of Maracoor sustains an assault by a foreign navy, the island’s civil-servant overseer struggles to understand how an alien arriving on the shores of Maracoor could threaten the stability and wellbeing of an entire nation. Is it myth or magic at work, for good or for ill? The trilogy Another Day will follow this green-skinned girl from the island outpost into the unmapped badlands of Maracoor before she learns how, and becomes ready, to turn her broom homeward, back to her family and her lover, back to Oz, which—in its beauty, suffering, mystery, injustice, and possibility—reminds us all too clearly of the troubled yet sacred terrain of our own lives.”
  • New Battlestar Galactica Book Reveals How One Cylon Raider Changed the Whole Series“—”The new book Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships from Hero Collector reveals what Scar meant for Battlestar Galactica behind-the-scenes. To make the episode work, Battlestar Galactica’s VFX team needed to create an altered version of the stock Cylon Raider asset to make Scar recognizable. That meant the effects would have to be produced entirely in-house instead of by an outside VFX company for the first time.” “‘At first it was maybe three or four shots, and then [VFX supervisor Gary Hutzel] came in with ‘Scar,’ and he says we’re doing this whole show by ourselves. I wrote up a lot of notes about how I thought Scar would be approached.’ He continues, ‘They have a scene in the show where they freeze a frame from the Viper gun cameras. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is the monster out the window with the bolt of lightning!’ This is that shot. I told Gary that I saw this episode as a monster movie. Scar is not unlike Frankenstein. A sympathetic character, really, a little crazy.'”
  • Upcoming crowdfunding effort: “HANNIBAL: Artbook. A ‘Printed In Blood’ licensed Artbook collection celebrating the television masterpiece that was ‘Hannibal’.”
  • I Know I Wasn’t Supposed to Tell Hannibal Lecter About My Personal Life, but I’m Not Used to Men Being Such Good Listeners. Most guys I meet are straight-up terrible listeners. I’m, like, ‘I work for the F.B.I.’ And they’re, like, ‘That’s nice, let me tell you about my vinyl collection.'”
  • From the Streisand dept: “Book challenges in Texas schools boosted sales for author Jerry Craft, he says. Four of the award-winning author’s books were included in a listing of 850 books being investigated by the state legislature.” 
  • Chapter and curse: is the horror novel entering a golden age? The writers responsible for today’s vengeful spirits, talking cats and haunted escape rooms on the genre’s startling rebound.”
  • ‘Ineffable’ Trademarked In Neil Gaiman & Sir Terry Pratchett’s Names“—”‘Ineffable’ means something is so extraordinary or extreme that it cannot be described in words. It gained recent popularity in the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and the late Sir Terry Pratchett, especially when adapted by the BBC and Amazon Prime Video. The book and TV show make several references to God’s unknowable and ‘ineffable’ plan for them all. Well, two things happened recently. Firstly the word ‘ineffable’ was trademarked under the names of Neil Gaiman and the company managing the estate of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, with both US and UK governments. And secondly, the BBC began taking down Etsy listings of people selling products using the word ‘ineffable.'”
  • Aravrit – new app designs script that combines Hebrew and Arabic. By combining the top halves of the Arabic characters and the bottoms of the Hebrew ones, Liron Lavi Turkenich created ‘Aravrit,’ a script that is gaining popularity.”—”When Liron Lavi Turkenich designed a writing system combining Hebrew and Arabic characters as a final project in college, she probably could not have imagined that her script would become the focal point of Israel’s pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. But after the Abraham Accords, in which Israel signed diplomatic agreements to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates, and the peace agreements with other Arab countries that followed, the need for Aravrit, Turkenich’s script that allows both Hebrew and Arabic to be read from the same text, has expanded. The sky is now the limit for Turkenich’s project.”
  • Study says Japanese, Korean and Turkish languages all emerged from common ancestor in northeast China. International study concludes that the Transeurasian, or Altaic, language family emerged from farmers in the West Liao valley and spread across Asia. The link between the five groups in the family has been hotly contested, but researchers say there is archaeological and genetic evidence to support the theory.”
  • Months after its Netflix debut, ‘Squid Game’ continues to encourage US viewers to learn Korean. Global interest in specific languages is heavily influenced by major culture events such as FIFA or Eurovision.”—”Now — over a month later — the nine-episode survival drama is driving an enduring Korean language learning trend across the United States. Language learning app Duolingo Inc. initially reported a 40% increase in beginner Korean language learners just 10 days after the show’s premiere on Sept.17. That percentage experienced a 10% hike during the past two weeks, raising the total to a whopping 50%.”
  • Lost in translation: The global streaming boom is creating a severe translator shortage. Industry executives say international hit shows like Squid Game are draining a limited talent pool.”
  • Study: Language Learning Associated With Cognitive Benefits for Older Adults“—”Learning a new language can benefit and improve brain health, according to a study published in Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition. The investigators found that older adults who studied Spanish had similar improvements to critical cognitive skills as those engaged in brain training activities specifically targeting those skills. Participants in the study learning Spanish also reported greater enjoyment than those engaging in brain training. The researchers noted prior studies have found that bilingual individuals develop dementia later in life, suggesting that bilingualism has a protective effect on brain health. According to the investigators, the current study is among the first to examine whether the process of learning a language can benefit brain health in similar ways as bilingualism.”
  • He always wanted a Ph.D. in physics. He finally earned it at 89.”
  • Earth may have grown around a rock from an alien star system. Interstellar objects like ‘Oumuamua might pass through our solar system in such high numbers that one could have acted as a seed around which Earth grew.”
  • Space Force Detects Mystery Object in Orbit Alongside Chinese Satellite. They’re calling it an ‘apogee kick motor,’ but the object’s true identity and purpose remain unknown.”
  • A mummy discovered in a vast burial ground of Egypt’s pharaohs could change how ancient history is understood. An Egyptian mummy embalmed with advanced techniques is believed to be much older than first thought. The discovery implies such mummification skills were used 1,000 years earlier than formerly thought. Experts say the discovery could upend the “understanding of the evolution of mummification.”
  • A Metal Detectorist Has Found What Is Now Declared the Largest-Ever Hoard of Gold Anglo-Saxon Coins in His Backyard. The Crown is determining whether the trove is legally considered treasure.”
  • Scientists Discover Mechanistic Link Between Palm Oil Fatty Acid and Cancer Metastasis“—”A new study headed by researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) has uncovered how palmitic acid (PA)—a fatty acid commonly found in palm oil—alters the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood that cancer will spread. Other types of fatty acid, including the omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids found in foods such as olive oil and flax seeds, didn’t have this prometastatic effect. The scientists, headed by Salvador Aznar-Benitah, PhD, ICREA researcher and head of the IRB Stem Cells and Cancer lab, say that while much more research is needed, their results suggest that a diet low that is in palmitic acid could feasibly be effective in slowing down the metastatic process. Aznar-Benitah is co-founder of a company that is developing antibody therapies targeting the underlying process, projects that a clinical trial could start within the next couple of years.”
  • An original Apple-1 computer sells for $400,000“—”The first Apple-1 computers were sold for $666.66 in 1976. Forty-five years later, a still-functioning one has sold for $400,000. John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif., auctioned it off on Tuesday, one of 200 Apple-1 computers that were designed, built and tested by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, with help from Patty Jobs and Daniel Kottke. ‘What we have with the Apple-1 is sort of like the holy grail of vintage computer collecting,’ says Corey Cohen, an Apple and technology historian.”
  • Why the world needs a better LED light bulb“—”Current LED bulbs are ideal for those with the finances to keep replacing them, and to pay ever-rising electricity bills. LEDs also function well in battery-powered lanterns during power outages or camping trips. This still leaves a huge number of households and businesses around the globe vulnerable to inadequate lighting, or risking a fire at home by burning candles to see what they are cooking, or to study. But if an LED bulb can be a fraction of the cost and last much longer, safe lighting can become accessible to more people.”
  • Security software company McAfee acquired for $14 billion. The investor group buying the company is taking it private.”—”John McAfee had led a troubled life after departing the company; in 2012, he fled to Guatemala as authorities in Belize sought to question him in connection with a neighbor’s murder. In March, he was charged with securities fraud over a ‘pump and dump’ cryptocurrency scheme, where authorities said he and his bodyguard persuaded their Twitter followers to invest in certain coins, then sold their holdings in the currencies when the prices went up. McAfee was found dead in a prison cell in Barcelona in June, not long after Spain had approved extraditing him to the US to face tax fraud charges.”
  • Robinhood says a hacker who tried to extort the company got access to data for 7 million customers. No Social Security or bank card numbers were accessed, the company said.”—”Robinhood has had a rocky 2021 so far; in January, it halted trading as Redditors helped push up the prices of so-called meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Theaters. The incidents led to a congressional hearing where CEO Vlad Tenev testified along with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman and trader Keith Gill aka RoaringKitty. The company began trading on the Nasdaq exchange in July, with the worst market debut among 51 US firms that raised as much money or more than Robinhood, according to data from Bloomberg. In its S-1 filing, Robinhood acknowledged a recent SEC Enforcement Division inquiry and that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California had executed a search warrant for Tenev’s phone.”
  • Updating The Verge’s background policy. On ‘on background’.”—”Today, The Verge is updating our public ethics policy to be clearer in our interactions with public relations and corporate communications professionals. We’re doing this because big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives around the companies they work for while being annoying as hell to deal with.” “This is bad, so we’re going to reset these expectations as loudly as possible. From now on, the default for communications professionals and people speaking to The Verge in an official capacity will be ‘on the record.’ We will still honor some requests to be on background, but at our discretion and only for specific reasons that we can articulate to readers.”
  • A whole new world: Disney is latest firm to announce metaverse plans. Entertainment company plans to ‘connect the physical and digital worlds … allowing for storytelling without boundaries’.” Also “The Metaverse: Expectations vs. Reality. Jaron Lanier on the Wild West of the metaverse and why Facebook should be paying you.” Also “Why Facebook’s Metaverse Is Dead on Arrival. Scott Galloway thinks Mark Zuckerberg is exactly the wrong person to build an alternate reality.” Because, of course it will: “Zuckerberg’s metaverse will invade workers’ privacy, whistleblower says.  Meta’s workplace metaverse could force more people to hand over more data.” Oh, ffs, it’s all just marketing BS now: “Samsung announces its next-gen RAM for phones and ‘the metaverse’. LPDDR5X should be higher capacity, faster, and more efficient.” Next it will be metaverse shoes and cereal. It’s cyber all over again, in more ways than one.
  • Want to Throw off Your Chatbot? Use Figurative Language“—”Computer scientists recently examined the performance of dialog systems, such as personal assistants and chatbots designed to interact with humans. The team found that when these systems are confronted with dialog that includes idioms or similes, their performance drops to between 10 and 20 percent.”
  • Microsoft Goes Old-School, Forces Customers to Use Its Browser“—”Microsoft just broke all workarounds for Windows’ proprietary ‘microsoft-edge://’ URL prefix, forcing all internal Windows links (such as Support links in Microsoft apps) to open the Edge browser instead of your default browser.” “Anyway, time is a flat circle. Microsoft didn’t learn its lesson during the Internet Explorer years, and it’s now risking the Edge browser’s credibility by forcing it onto customers.”
  • Walmart is using fully driverless trucks to ramp up its online grocery business. Walmart and Silicon Valley start-up Gatik said that, since August, they’ve operated two autonomous box trucks, without a safety driver, on a 7-mile loop daily for 12 hours. ‘Taking the driver out is the holy grail of this technology.’ Gatik CEO Gautam Narang, who founded the company in 2017, told CNBC.”
  • Apple is sticking taxpayers with part of the bill for rollout of tech giant’s digital ID card. Apple requires states to maintain the systems needed to issue and service credentials at taxpayer expense, according to contracts signed by four states. The agreement, obtained through public record requests from CNBC and other sources, mostly portrays Apple as having a high degree of control over the government agencies responsible for issuing identification cards. Apple has “sole discretion” for key aspects of the program.”
  • Google sends anti-regulation propaganda to small businesses using Google Maps. Scary new site tells Google users antitrust limits could ‘impact your business.'”
  • Google loses key appeal against €2.4 billion EU shopping antitrust case. Google’s loss strengthens the EU’s antitrust campaign against US tech.”
  • Israel escalates surveillance of Palestinians with facial recognition program in West Bank. The ‘Blue Wolf’ system integrates a vast database of images with a growing network of cameras and smartphones.” Tweet thread—”Breaking: @washingtonpost investigation exposes massive Israeli facial recognition program—Blue Wolf—that matches exclusively Palestinian faces to database & flashes color-coded instructions on whether to detain them. “Facebook for Palestinians.” Apartheid” “Israel built database through 1000s of cameras across West Bank + created competition for soldiers to photograph as many Palestinians—including kids—as they could on their phones & awarded those who took the most. No privacy or basic rights for Palestinians living under apartheid.”
  • What does COVID-19 transmission have in common with sexism and harassment? As it turns out, quite a bit.“—”Yet, sexual harassment and COVID-19 behaviors share several things in common. For instance, men are more likely than women to perpetrate both. The links between masculinity and sexual harassment behaviors have long been established in harassment research. In a parallel development, new research on COVID-19 has revealed similar gender disparities in risk prevention behaviors. Research suggests that men report being less willing to wear masks and social distance than women, and they are more likely to discount the risks of COVID-19 than women. In addition, men who self-identify as more ‘masculine’ also report higher rates of COVID-19 infection.”
  • Covid vaccine holdouts are caving to mandates — then scrambling to ‘undo’ their shots. As mandates spread, anti-vaccine groups have been trafficking in pseudoscience treatments meant to remove or counteract the vaccines. Experts say it’s like trying to ‘unring a bell.'”
  • Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals’. People who spread misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines are “criminals,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday. ‘They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives,’ he said. He said life for many people can go ‘back to normal’ once many of the unvaccinated get vaccinated.”
  • Getting Back to Normal Is Only Possible Until You Test Positive. I was ultracareful for 18 months. Then I got COVID.”
  • Germany is experiencing a ‘massive’ pandemic of the unvaccinated, says health minister.”
  • Syphilis is resurging in the U.S., a sign of public health’s funding crisis.”
  • How SARS-CoV-2 in American deer could alter the course of the global pandemic“—”Scientists have evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads explosively in white-tailed deer and that the virus is widespread in this deer population across the United States.” “That is, the animals could carry the virus indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically. If that’s the case, it would essentially dash any hopes of eliminating or eradicating the virus in the U.S. — and therefore from the world — says veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi at Penn State, who co-led the study.”
  • And now this, too! “Pet Cats Are Spreading a Brain Parasite to Wildlife, New Research Suggests. As if you need another reminder to keep your cat inside.” (Although, to be fair, this can’t actually be a new thing, can it?)
  • Wait. Whut? Not now venomous sharks! “Venomous sharks found in London’s Thames river.”
  • She helped her husband start a far-right militia group. Now the Oath Keeper’s wife says she has regrets. Estranged wife of Oath Keepers founder talks about her role in the group accused of playing a part in the Jan. 6 riot.” Tweet—”Tasha Adams devoted her life to supporting her husband. She was an exotic dancer to pay for his college, took care of him when he accidentally shot himself in the face, and when he was looking for direction in life, she helped him start the Oath Keepers.” Tweet—”We don’t want to read stories about racist white people who should know better. It’s time for stories about peopl who knew better and do better, even when so much is stacked against them. You control the narrative, why is every story like this? We get it, people are hateful.”
  • Inside the QAnon Cult That Believes JFK Is About to Return. ‘Many people make huge sacrifices financially, in their relationships, in their lives, just to be there.'”
  • Tweet—”‘Goodbye, America!’ That’s the title of this segment on Belarusian state TV in which American Evan Neumann of California explains he fled the US to evade the FBI. He’s wanted on 6 counts related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and now wants asylum in authoritarian Belarus.”
  • Exclusive audio: Trump defends threats to “hang” Pence.”
  • Bannon Indicted On Contempt Charges For Defying 1/6 Subpoena. Steve Bannon has been indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.” Also “The January 6 committee just got *a lot* more powerful.”
  • Inside Ivy Getty’s Fantasy Wedding Weekend in San Francisco.” Tweet—”Nancy Pelosi officiated, Earth Wind & Fire performed, and Anya Taylor-Joy led the dance floor at Ivy Getty’s over-the-top wedding in San Francisco.”
  • The Self-Isolation of the American Left. Political subcultures fight it out in America’s schools.” Tweet—”The editorial standards for these anti-woke columns are so embarrassing. Here David Brooks accuses “the American left” of becoming disconnected from ordinary people. His evidence? A lecture disinvitation, a random powerpoint and Rotten Tomatoes.”
  • Follow-up on this: “After security flaw found, Missouri hires data breach group“—”The state signed a contract with Identity Theft Guard Solutions last week. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered a flaw that potentially exposed the Social Security numbers of an estimated 100,000 Missouri teachers.”
  • Why McDonald’s looks sleek and boring now. Your local McDonald’s probably looks a lot more like Starbucks than classic McDonaldland these days. What happened?”
  • Howard students are living in tents to avoid the mold, roach and mice infestation in their dorms.”
  • Mike Tyson Is the New Face of Psychedelic Healing.”
  • Oh, I don’t know, how about no role at all? A caring high school principal or a criminal? A situation in Salida may have national implications. The response to a student’s suicidal threat in September has opened a rift between police and Salida Public Schools, highlighting broader questions about the role of law enforcement in K-12 education.” Tweet—”‘Discrepancies’ in the police report of a high school principal intervening to save a suicidal student, only to be criminally charged because cops were pissed they didn’t get to shoot the boy.” Tweet—”There was such a cluster of chaos in terms of policy & procedure but it’s amazing to read about an educator willing to not only respond to a student in crisis but also to take on personal risk to shield them from cops & actively resist police control of our kids entirely.”
  • America’s Most Destructive Habit. Each time political minorities advocate for and achieve greater equality, conservatives rebel, trying to force a reinstatement of the status quo.”—”Although the United States was born of a revolution, one common view maintains that the Constitution tamed our rebellious impulse and launched a distinctly nonrevolutionary political experiment. But throughout American history, an important strand of conservatism has repeatedly championed rebellions—or what are better understood as counterrevolutions. They emerge like clockwork: Each time political minorities advocate for and achieve greater equality, conservatives rebel, trying to force a reinstatement of the status quo.”
  • WTAF NYT? Tweet—”Kyle Rittenhouse, who has idolized law enforcement since he was young, arrived in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020, with at least one mission: to play the role of police officer and medic. The night would end with him fatally shooting two men and wounding another.” Also “Kyle Rittenhouse, who styled himself a medic, said he is now studying nursing. For much of his life, Mr. Rittenhouse, now 18, tried on identities infused with bravery and service.” Tweet—”Charles Manson, who loved dune buggies and idolized The Beatles, arrived in Los Angeles with dreams of recording success. A thwarted record deal and an address mix-up led to him expressing his grievances in a way that many have issues with.” Also Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Judge’s ringtone revealed to be Trump’s rally theme tune. ‘God Bless the USA is the opening song played at every Trump rally. Lee Greenwood literally sang it at Trump’s inauguration'” Also “Rittenhouse trial judge still baffled by pinch-to-zoom. Judge Schroeder’s Galaxy S20 puts a hurdle in front of the prosecution’s use of video evidence.” Tweet thread—”Rittenhouse judge’s medieval and ancient dog-whistles for white nationalism: in jury selection, Schroeder likened the trial to medieval trials by ordeal and its possible consequences to the ‘fall of Rome.’ This should have made headlines, or better yet, disqualified him. 1/9.” Tweet thread—”This judge did this knowing the entire country was watching. Imagine what goes on every day in empty courtrooms.”
  • Your diet isn’t just making you obese, it could be speeding up cognitive decline. What’s for dinner? Think twice before you reach for that takeout burger or frozen pizza.”—”Well, it turns out our toxic modern diet of saturated fats, refined carbs, salt and chemicals may be speeding up our cognitive decline in our senior years, and could even bring on dementia. The good news? It will only affect those it hasn’t already killed through things like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”
  • Plastic is Carbon: Unwrapping the ‘Net Zero’ Myth. In recent years, the plastics and petrochemical industry has embraced the idea of ‘net-zero plastic’ to greenwash expanded plastic production and use. Their narratives tout zero-emissions plastic, but there is no way around it: plastic is carbon. It is a major threat to our climate, and can never be a part of any solution to the climate crisis.”
  • Americans Need to Learn to Live More Like Europeans. Supply-chain shortages are constraining U.S. consumers’ endless appetite for buying whatever they want whenever they want. It’s about time.” Counterpoint, tweet—”How Americans imagine Europeans live vs how Europeans live.”
  • As Striketober Becomes Strikesgiving, Stand in Solidarity with Food Workers and Farmers. The head of the Wisconsin Farmers Union says food and farm companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s are taking advantage of workers while executives rake in record profits and salaries.”
  • Journalist Suffers ‘Repercussions’ After ‘Horror Show’ Johnny Depp Interview“—”A Rolling Stone journalist who once conducted a ‘lost interview’ with Pirates of the Caribbean franchise stars Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow) and Keith Richards (Captain Teague, Sparrow’s father) recently shared details about his ‘horror show’ experience with the two show business eccentrics.”
  • Disney Deleted an Essential Scene From ‘Pirates’ that Changes Jack Sparrow Completely“—”In a deleted scene, we find out that the two have a very deep history that predates the films. It seems Jack used to work for Beckett was supposed to deliver “cargo” (of 100 slaves, although Beckett does not refer to them as people) to Beckett from Africa. Instead of doing his job and being rewarded financially, Sparrow freed the slaves. In the deleted clip, Sparrow tells Beckett, ‘people aren’t cargo mate,’ which is a line that speaks volumes about Sparrow’s character but was never heard. Due to this, Beckett burned The Pearl and branded Sparrow as a pirate. Now we are able to understand why Jack asked Davy Jones to bring back his ship. As we know, Jones agreed for 100 souls — which some speculate refers to the 100 he sent free). In four short minutes, the scene unearths a lot about Sparrow’s backstory and helps us understand why he is in the position he is in.” Watch “Just Good Buisness (Deleted Scenes At Worlds End).”
  • Dan Aykroyd Supports Hurtful Comedy Getting the Cancel-Culture Ax. As the ‘SNL’ icon readies for the highly anticipated ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ to arrive, he says there is too much material in comedy to rely on jokes that cause offense.”
  • Laura Dern and son front campaign for new gender-neutral fashion line“—”American label Proenza Schouler, the New York-based brand who cast Ella Emhoff in her first runway show earlier this year, has unveiled its latest project: a gender-neutral capsule collection fronted by Laura Dern and her son, musician and model Ellery Harper. Created in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, the collection was inspired by the great American road trip, according to Proenza Schouler co-founders and designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.”
  • ‘Households with a member suffering from depression exhibit striking differences in shopping behavior’. A new paper documents the relationship between self-reported mental-health issues and the size and composition of shopping baskets.”—”Using a survey panel of 112,736 households that connects shopping behavior with individual medical information, the authors — Katherine Meckel from U.C. San Diego and Bradley Shapiro from the University of Chicago — say they showed a “robust” cross-sectional relationship between depression and shopping.”
  • Richard Thomas Welcomes New Walton Family & The Celebration of Faith In CW’s ‘The Waltons’ Homecoming’“—”The Walton family is back for the CW’s The Waltons’ Homecoming, premiering Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, and Richard Thomas — the original John Boy Walton — is celebrating the new chapter. Thomas will serve as the narrator on Homecoming while passing the baton to Logan Shroyer, 2021’s John Boy. Thomas reflected on what the world was like when the original CBS series about faith and family aired from 1971-82 and why now is the perfect time to bring it back.”
  • See Sarah Jessica Parker And Bette Midler In First Official Hocus Pocus 2 Sneak Peak“—”Disney+ just dropped a first-look image of Hocus Pocus 2 – a sequel to Halloween cult classic from 1993, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy. All three actresses are set to reprise their roles from the original film, with the sequel scheduled to premiere on Disney’s streaming service in fall 2022.” Also “‘Hocus Pocus 2,’ ‘Disenchanted,’ ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ Disney Plus Release Dates Revealed.” Welp. That explains the Hocus Pocus themed tarot cards and Halloween advent calendar due next year.
  • Tweet—”It’s so crazy to me that David Aja pretty much designed the entire aesthetic of the Hawkeye show and isn’t receiving any credit or any payment dues for it. Like this isn’t and inspired type deal they literally copied it, bar for bar, word for word and he’s not getting a penny.”
  • Tweet—”This just keeps getting worse. SFWA notified members today that Disney is reprinting works (sold to other companies Disney bought) without notifying or paying them! Authors, if you’ve done a tie-in novel, there’s a good chance Disney is stealing from you. #DisneyMustPay. “Tweet—”#DisneyMustPay by notifying creators when their media tie-in work is reprinted, and paying them owed royalties. Go the Distance, Disney – honor your obligations to the creators whose work you valued enough to make part of your brand.” Also “Are You Owed Money?“—”Creators may be missing royalty statements and/or checks for media tie-in work across a wide range of properties in prose, comics, or graphic novels. Since Disney’s acquisition of the rights to those properties, creators’ contracts with previous licensees have not been honored for the ongoing and reprint publication of media tie-in works.”
  • Gods damnit, Adele! “There’s a global vinyl shortage and you can thank Adele for that. Adele’s 30 causes an industry-wide delay in vinyl manufacturing after an order of 500,000 copies was processed.”
  • Selling TV execs on Sesame Street using new techniques of child education adopted from TV advertising. Brilliant! And funny. “Old School Sesame Street Original Sales Pitch Reel.”
  • Sesame Street: Billie Eilish Sings Happier Than Ever with The Count“—”Billie Eilish and The Count sing a beautiful ballad to each other about how when they’re counting together, numbers sound so much better and it makes them happier than ever!”
  • More about this, and still fan shot but 4k this time, watch: “Billie Eilish – Sally’s Song (Live at Nightmare Before Christmas 2021) 4K.”
  • The 40-Year Mystery of Smutty Smiff and the Missing Rockabilly Bass. The improbable tale of how a unique instrument went missing in 1982 and ended up in a pawnshop a few miles from where it was lost.”
  • Beyond Based and Cringe. It Is Only Through a Recognition of the Failures of Previous Modes of Sincerity in Art That These Same Cultural Artifacts May Be Redeemed.”
  • Revisiting Lewis & Clark’s epic journey through an Indigenous lens“—”The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, 4,900 miles from Pennsylvania to Oregon, tells an epic story of two explorers and their crew who made their way across the continent nearly 220 years ago. They traveled through the Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and nearly starved to death before they reached the Pacific Ocean. That is not the only story, though. With a partnership between an Indigenous tourism group and the National Park Service, the tale of the Corps of Discovery expedition will integrate the experiences of Native Americans to describe in their own words how tribes understood Lewis and Clark and their journey.”
  • The RPG inspirations of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands go further than skin-deep. The next Borderlands game will let players return to Bunkers & Badasses, its in-universe version of D&D.”
  • Dungeons & Dragons Is a Case Study in How Capitalism Kills Art. The story of Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just about nerds creating a wildly popular game and then losing control of it. It’s also about how the dictates of the free market inevitably end up stripping even our leisure activities of joy.”
  • The Socialist Dune? Since its publication in 1965, Dune has been claimed by both Right and Left — but its political and ecological critiques make its return to the big screen apt for an era of capitalist crisis.”
  • Dune: Paul & Jessica’s Weirding Way — Prana-bindu Explained. Dune’s Weirding Way is the fighting style of Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica but the reboot fails to explain why this style of combat is superior.”
  • Who’s got the spice? Dune and the never-ending white savior story. Unfortunately, the American fantasy of consensual occupation helped sustain our very real post-9/11 wars for 20 years.”
  • Batman finally met his parallel universe variant who’s married to Superman. It only took an actual decade.”—”After nearly 10 years of existing in the same continuity, Batman and Superman have finally spent some canonical time in the same room as Midnighter and Apollo, thanks to Action Comics scribe Phillip Kennedy Johnson.”
  • ‘Discovery of a lifetime’: Restorers accidentally find Renaissance-era paintings behind wall.” Also “Wall paintings at Calverley Old Hall: the discovery of a lifetime“—”Wall paintings were prized in grand Tudor houses, and from time-to-time patches of them are revealed. But never in my own 27 years of working in historic buildings have I ever witnessed a discovery like this. Hidden panelling, yes, little snatches of decorative painting, once or twice. But an entire painted chamber absolutely lost to memory, a time machine to the age of the Reformation and the Virgin Queen, never. Lots of complex questions have now arisen. When exactly they were painted – according to our timber dating of the timber frame, it could be 1540s or perhaps more like 1580s – how best to preserve them, how to furnish and service a room with such spectacular surviving decoration. But their importance cannot be doubted. With them a slice of the lives of our ancestors has been restored to us, and nothing comes close to that.”
  • Oh. Haha! “Los Angeles airport jet pack sightings were ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ balloons. Helicpopter for LAPD caught the flying Jack Skellington figure on camera last year.”
  • Microsoft resurrects Clippy again after brutally killing him off in Microsoft Teams. Clippy is now a sticker pack inside Teams.”
  • Microsoft launches Google Wave“—”Last year, the company open-sourced Fluid and started building it into a few of its own Office applications. Today, at its Ignite conference, it’s launching a whole new product built on top of Fluid: Microsoft Wave Loop.”
  • Let’s talk about Cecily Strong’s game-changing “clown abortion” skit. Cecily Strong used comedy to “say the unsayable” about abortion.” Watch “Weekend Update: Goober the Clown on Abortion – SNL.”