Omnium Gatherum: 1dec2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for December 1, 2021

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

  • Howl. The author of a new book on werewolves has hunted across the centuries for buried items of lore, ranging from ancient Greek texts to Victorian ghost stories.” About The Werewolf in the Ancient World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Daniel Ogden—”Presents the first book-length study in any language devoted to the subject of the werewolf in the ancient world. Argues for the priority of folklore over ritual in understanding ancient ideas about werewolves in a valuable contribution to the studies of ancient narrative and ancient religion. Incorporates all relevant ancient texts in new, accessible English translations, providing an integrated sourcebook for the subject.” “In a moonlit graveyard somewhere in southern Italy, a soldier removes his clothes in readiness to transform himself into a wolf. He depends upon the clothes to recover his human shape, and so he magically turns them to stone, but his secret is revealed when, back in human form, he is seen to carry a wound identical to that recently dealt to a marauding wolf. In Arcadia a man named Damarchus accidentally tastes the flesh of a human sacrifice and is transformed into a wolf for nine years. At Temesa Polites is stoned to death for raping a local girl, only to return to terrorize the people of the city in the form of a demon in a wolfskin. Tales of the werewolf are by now well established as a rich sub-strand of the popular horror genre; less widely known is just how far back in time their provenance lies. These are just some of the werewolf tales that survive from the Graeco-Roman world, and this is the first book in any language to be devoted to their study. It shows how in antiquity werewolves thrived in a story-world shared by witches, ghosts, demons, and soul-flyers, and argues for the primary role of story-telling-as opposed to rites of passage–in the ancient world’s general conceptualization of the werewolf. It also seeks to demonstrate how the comparison of equally intriguing medieval tales can be used to fill in gaps in our knowledge of werewolf stories in the ancient world, thereby shedding new light on the origins of the modern phenomenon. All ancient texts bearing upon the subject have been integrated into the discussion in new English translations, so that the book provides not only an accessible overview for a broad readership of all levels of familiarity with ancient languages, but also a comprehensive sourcebook for the ancient werewolf for the purposes of research and study.”
  • Tweet—”Hearing the news the old-fashioned way: from loud retirees in a cafe, who say a *werewolf* was killed by cops in New Jersey.” I mean, maybe this is the “cover up” story! Wow. Also, fucked up either way: “New Jersey Cop Who Killed Pedestrian, Took Body Home Was Turned in by Father: Prosecutor.”—”Dymka had been wearing a werewolf Halloween costume.” It appears to have a certain corroborative verisimilitude!
  • New Book Brings Virginia Woolf’s Little-Known Art Criticism To Light.” About Oh, to Be a Painter! [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Virginia Woolf, introduction by Claudia Tobin—”The twentieth volume in the renowned ekphrasis series, this collection of Virginia Woolf’s writings on the visual arts offers a whole new perspective on the revolutionary author. Despite wide interest in Woolf’s writings, and in the artists and art critics in her Bloomsbury circle, there is no accessible edition or selection of essays dedicated to her writings on art. This volume collects her longest essay on painting, “Walter Sickert: A Conversation” (1934), alongside shorter essays and reviews, including “Pictures and Portraits” (1920) and “Pictures” (1925). These formally inventive texts reveal the centrality of the visual arts to Woolf’s writing and vision. They show her engaging with contemporary debates about modern art and are innovative in their treatment of ideas about color and form, including in response to the work of her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, who designed many of her book covers and jackets. In these essays and reviews, Woolf illuminates the complex and interdependent relationship between the artist and society, and reveals her own shifting perspectives during decades of social and political change. She also provides sharp and astute commentary on specific works of art and on the relationship between art and writing. An introduction by Claudia Tobin situates the essays within their cultural contexts.”
  • Watch “The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly and His Bohemian Friends by Sarah Burns.” About The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly and His Bohemian Friends [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sarah Burns—”The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly is the story of a Nebraska-born artist (1901–1986) who crossed paths with a staggering array of famous and infamous personalities. He stole a box of bon-bons from Sarah Bernhardt. Was friends with Paul Swan, a.k.a. “The Most Beautiful Man in the World,” who made women swoon when he danced in his tiny leopard-skin tunic. Was the frequent houseguest of Rose O’Neill, the free-living, gin-drinking artist who invented the Kewpie Doll. Hobnobbed with Elsie de Wolfe, the celebrity decorator who invented the blue rinse and dyed her poodles to match. And was a dedicated correspondent of Alexander King, the gabby Viennese morphine addict whose circle included William Seabrook, author and occasional cannibal responsible for introducing Americans, for better or worse, to the zombie. The story follows Harnly’s steps from Nebraska’s remote farmlands through silent-era Hollywood, post-revolutionary Mexico, Depression-era New York, war-time Tinsel Town, and finally, to Culver City, home for the remainder of his life. Harnly traveled extensively in Europe and South America, where he indulged in his hobby of visiting the last resting places of legendary people from Vladimir Lenin to Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria, and Eva Peron. While offering excursions into Harnly’s darkly playful paintings of Victorian boudoirs and haunted cemeteries, Sarah Burns uses archives of letters and interviews to illuminate the adventures of Harnly and his circle of outrageous friends, whose antics outshine the notorious Bright Young Things of England. Once you meet Perkins Harnly, you will never forget him.”
  • Tweet thread—”Huge news out of #Chernobyl today. The company *Chernobyl Tour* just had their license revoked by the government. You may have heard of them, they’re the largest company operating tours, but have been criticised in the past for their rampant touristification of the Zone…” This tweet thread by Damon Murray, the author of Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library].
  • The Italian Electrical Scientist Who (May Have) Inspired Frankenstein. Timothy Jorgensen on Giovanni Aldini.”—”Perhaps the real-life Aldini was her model for the fictional Victor Frankenstein, and the unfortunate George Foster was his monstrous creation, with electricity playing a central role. Art imitating life… and death.” Excerpt from Spark: The Life of Electricity and the Electricity of Life [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Timothy Jorgensen—”A fresh look at electricity and its powerful role in life on Earth. When we think of electricity, we likely imagine the energy humming inside our home appliances or lighting up our electronic devices–or perhaps we envision the lightning-streaked clouds of a stormy sky. But electricity is more than an external source of power, heat, or illumination. Life at its essence is nothing if not electrical. The story of how we came to understand electricity’s essential role in all life is rooted in our observations of its influences on the body–influences governed by the body’s central nervous system. Spark explains the science of electricity from this fresh, biological perspective. Through vivid tales of scientists and individuals–from Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk–Timothy Jorgensen shows how our views of electricity and the nervous system evolved in tandem, and how progress in one area enabled advancements in the other. He explains how these developments have allowed us to understand–and replicate–the ways electricity enables the body’s essential functions of sight, hearing, touch, and movement itself. Throughout, Jorgensen examines our fascination with electricity and how it can help or harm us. He explores a broad range of topics and events, including the Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of the electron and neuron, the history of experimentation involving electricity’s effects on the body, and recent breakthroughs in the use of electricity to treat disease. Filled with gripping adventures in scientific exploration, Spark offers an indispensable look at electricity, how it works, and how it animates our lives from within and without.”
  • What Impossible Meant to Richard Feynman. What I learned when I challenged the legendary physicist.”—”After two years of working together, I finally knew for sure what I had long suspected: ‘Stupid’ was just an expression Feynman applied to everyone, including himself, as a way to focus attention on an error so it was never made again. I also learned that ‘impossible,’ when used by Feynman, did not necessarily mean ‘unachievable’ or ‘ridiculous.’ Sometimes it meant, ‘Wow! Here is something amazing that contradicts what we would normally expect to be true. This is worth understanding!'” Excerpt from The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Paul J Steinhardt—”One of the most fascinating scientific detective stories of the last fifty years, an exciting quest for a new form of matter. ‘A riveting tale of derring-do’ (Nature), this book reads like James Gleick’s Chaos combined with an Indiana Jones adventure. When leading Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt began working in the 1980s, scientists thought they knew all the conceivable forms of matter. The Second Kind of Impossible is the story of Steinhardt’s thirty-five-year-long quest to challenge conventional wisdom. It begins with a curious geometric pattern that inspires two theoretical physicists to propose a radically new type of matter—one that raises the possibility of new materials with never before seen properties, but that violates laws set in stone for centuries. Steinhardt dubs this new form of matter ‘quasicrystal.’ The rest of the scientific community calls it simply impossible. The Second Kind of Impossible captures Steinhardt’s scientific odyssey as it unfolds over decades, first to prove viability, and then to pursue his wildest conjecture—that nature made quasicrystals long before humans discovered them. Along the way, his team encounters clandestine collectors, corrupt scientists, secret diaries, international smugglers, and KGB agents. Their quest culminates in a daring expedition to a distant corner of the Earth, in pursuit of tiny fragments of a meteorite forged at the birth of the solar system. Steinhardt’s discoveries chart a new direction in science. They not only change our ideas about patterns and matter, but also reveal new truths about the processes that shaped our solar system. The underlying science is important, simple, and beautiful—and Steinhardt’s firsthand account is ‘packed with discovery, disappointment, exhilaration, and persistence…This book is a front-row seat to history as it is made’ (Nature).”
  • Tentacle Kitty: Tales Around the Teacup [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John Merritt and Raena Merritt (Author), illo. Jean-Claudio Vinci, due April 2022—”Join “The Pink One” and friends as the whole tentacle kitty gang regales us with tales of action and adventure over tea! From hunting down cotton candy mice, to pirate hijinks, and mega convention run ins, this tome features stories for all readers, told only as a Tentacle Kitty can! From the creators of Tentacle Kitty John and Raena Merritt, joined by artist Jean-Claudio Vinci, this is Tentacle Kitty: Tales Around the Teacup! You will not want to miss this tentacled anthology!”
  • The Lonely, Horny Prophecies of Lynne Tillman’s ‘Weird Fucks’.” About Weird Fucks [Amazon, Amazon (1st Ed.), Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Lynne Tillman—”A brilliant novella from a legendary figure in American fiction. A young woman drifts through dimly lit bars and rented rooms, reporting from the erogenous zones of New York and Europe. Encountering increasingly bizarre sexual situations, she turns her curious, comic, and fierce eye onto the contemporary world of sex and desire. The men of this world evade and simper, they prey, preen, and fall hopelessly in love. In the narrator’s deadpan portraits, we see young women indulging their freedom through hope and disappointment, and young men wearing various guises of masculinity. This novella surprises with unlikely fucks, disturbing fucks, outlandish fucks, and some truly weird fucks – all written with the smart, elegant, and tough style which could only be that of Lynne Tillman.”
  • What Do We Do with the Work of Immoral Artists?“—”Maybe I should curate Noguera’s exhibition. Or maybe I should use my time to promote another artist who has committed less harm. Maybe I should stop teaching Caravaggio — another murderer who received a death sentence. I don’t know; I’m still debating. But I am convinced, after reading Matthes’s book, that we can act ethically when we marvel at an artwork produced by an immoral artist — even if the artwork is intimately connected with that immorality and even if the work itself makes us deeply uneasy. It is precisely through art that we can explore human darkness without falling into it entirely.” In part about 2018’s Escape Artist: Memoir of a Visionary Artist on Death Row [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by by William A Noguera, foreword by Walter A Pavlo Jr—”William A. Noguera has spent thirty-four years at the notorious San Quentin Prison, home to the nation’s largest and deadliest death row. Each day, men plot against you and your life rests on a razor’s edge. In Escape Artist, he describes his personal growth as a man and artist and shares his insights into daily life and the fight to survive in the underworld of prison culture. After being sentenced to death, he arrived at San Quentin Prison and was thrown into a rat-infested cell—it was there that he discovered the key to his escape: art. Over the next three decades, Noguera rebelled against conventional prison behavior, and instead forged the code he lives by today—accepting responsibility for his actions, and a self-imposed discipline of rehabilitation. In the process, he has explored his capacity to bring focus and clarity to his artistic vision. Escape Artist exposes the violence, politics and everyday existence within the underbelly of society that is prison life. In an unprecedented narrative, Noguera reveals the emotional and heart-wrenching loss that landed him on death row and the journey he has taken to become an award-winning artist, speaker, and author—a tale of one man’s transformation through tragedy.” And Drawing the Line: What to Do with the Work of Immoral Artists from Museums to the Movies [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Erich Hatala Matthes—”Can we still watch Woody Allen’s movies? Can we still laugh at Bill Cosby’s jokes? Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Dave Chappelle, Louis C. K., J.K. Rowling, Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr. Recent years have proven rife with revelations about the misdeeds, objectional views, and, in some instances, crimes of popular artists. Spurred in part by the #metoo movement, and given more access than ever thanks to social media and the internet in general, the public has turned an alert and critical eye upon the once-hidden lives of previously cherished entertainers. But what should we members of the public do, think, and feel in response to these artists’ actions or statements? It’s a predicament that many of us face: whether it’s possible to disentangle the deeply unsettled feelings we have toward an artist from how we respond to the art they produced. As consumers of art, and especially as fans, we have a host of tricky moral question to navigate: do the moral lives of artists affect the aesthetic quality of their work? Is it morally permissible for us to engage with or enjoy that work? Should immoral artists and their work be “canceled”? Most of all, can we separate an artist from their art? In Drawing the Line, Erich Hatala Matthes employs the tools of philosophy to offer insight and clarity to the ethical questions that dog us. He argues that it doesn’t matter whether we can separate the art from the artist, because we shouldn’t. While some dismiss the lives of artists as if they are irrelevant to the artist’s work, and others instrumentalize artwork, treating it as nothing more than a political tool, Matthes argues both that the lives of artists can play an important role in shaping our moral and aesthetic relationship to the artworks that we love and that these same artworks offer us powerful resources for grappling with the immorality of their creators. Rather than shunning art made by those who have been canceled, shamed, called out, or even arrested, we should engage with it all the more thoughtfully and learn from the complexity it forces us to confront. Recognizing the moral and aesthetic relationships between art and artist is crucial to determining when and where we should draw the line when good artists do bad things.”
  • Citizen scientists find 10,000 new variable stars. More than 3,100 volunteers search the Milky Way in new project.”
  • Here’s the chemistry behind marijuana’s skunky scent. Newly identified sulfur compounds in cannabis flowers give the plant its telltale funky odor.”
  • Rock cakes? Stonehenge builders may have enjoyed mince pies. Archaeologists say neolithic version of energy bars may also have been eaten at midwinter feasts.”
  • Watch—”Extinct tree from the time of Jesus rises from the dead in Israel – BBC REEL”—”Forests of Judean date palm trees once covered ancient Israel, from Lake Galilee to the Dead Sea. The fruit of the tree symbolised life and prosperity and was praised in ancient literature for its unique medicinal properties. But the dates of Judea were made extinct by the Middle Ages. Now a team of scientists has succeeded in resurrecting the ancient tree.”
  • 800-Year Old Peruvian Mummy Unearthed Rope-Bound in Cajamarquilla“—”A mummy has recently been discovered by archeologists in Peru, estimated to be 800-1,200 years old, and was unearthed in Cajamarquilla, near the capital city of Lima. National University of San Marcos researchers unearthed the preserved rope-bound body on an archaeological site, underground in the middle of the town square, roughly 25 kilometers from Lima.”
  • World’s vast networks of underground fungi to be mapped for first time. Project aims to help protect some of trillions of miles of the ‘circulatory system of the planet’.”
  • Climate Change Is Transforming the Bodies of Amazonian Birds. A 40-year study found 77 species of rainforest birds weigh less on average, and many have longer wings, than they used to.”
  • Cleaning Up. Thanks to disgraceful government failures, an illegal waste-dumping mafia is now burning and burying millions of tonnes of dangerous materials.”
  • The Climate Movement’s Secret Weapon. Federal agencies have an opportunity to take immediate action against climate change using anti-monopoly policy.”
  • Russia threatens criminal charges against a NASA astronaut. Russia continues to deflect from embarrassing situation that occurred 3 years ago.”
  • From 2020: “These Snow Goggles Demonstrate Thousands of Years of Indigenous Ingenuity. Made in Alaska and fashioned to protect against snow glare, the eyewear was carved from whale baleen circa 1890.”—”This style of eyewear can even improve vision, as Ann Fienup-Riordan discovered one day in 2010. An Anchorage-based anthropologist who works with the Yupik people to develop exhibits and books about their culture, she had recently undergone surgery on her retinas, and ‘the vision in my right eye was still pretty fuzzy,’ she says. But when she held the Yupik goggles up to her eyes? ‘I could see!’ What was going on? It turns out the slit focuses the light, much as a pinhole camera does. As a result, far-off objects appear sharper ‘and your vision was much, much better,’ Fienup-Riordan says. Long before the invention of eyeglasses with glass or plastic lenses, Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants, including the Yupik people, devised their own corrective eyewear. Phillip Moses, a tribal member in Toksook Bay, calls them ‘Yupik prescription sunglasses.'”
  • Meet the Cyberpunk Albatrosses Scanning for Secret Explosions. Acoustic waves can detect all kinds of explosions and volcanic activity, but it’s hard to place sensors at sea—unless you’ve got a bird with a backpack.”
  • It’s Time to Reimagine the Future of Cyberpunk. In the 20th century, the genre imagined the body modifications and protective streetwear that could save us from our own future. Now it needs to envision humanity anew.”
  • Tweet thread—”A striking measure of Amazon’s monopoly power is the vast stream of cash that it extracts from the businesses that have to rely on its site. In a new report, we find that Amazon is pocketing a 34% cut of sellers’ revenue — up from 19% in 2014. 1/” “For much of Amazon’s history, people thought of it as a retailer. But all along Bezos was building something else entirely: a corporation that would control essential infrastructure and use that control to levy a steep tax on the trade of rival businesses. /11”
  • Elon Musk says SpaceX could face ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ from Starship engine production“—”In an email sent to SpaceX employees, obtained by Space Explored, Elon Musk addressed the ‘crisis’ of Starship Raptor engine production and said the company could face a ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ if the company is unable to achieve a Starship flight rate of once every two weeks next year.”
  • Tweet—”not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter” Also tweet—”Jack Dorsey is quitting Twitter to focus on his duties as advisor and court sorcerer of Tsar Nicholas II.”
  • Tesla Fan Driving Minivan Busted For DUI After Roll-Over Accident“—”A motorist who has a Tesla logo tattooed on his face was driving a 1992 minivan when he was arrested Friday on a felony DUI count and multiple vehicular charges, according to Illinois police.”
  • “Epic CEO Blasts Apple and Google, Calls for Single App Store. Fortnite maker Epic Games is fighting mobile giants in court. Tim Sweeney praised South Korea for leading anti-monopoly push.”—”‘What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms,’ Sweeney said in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday.” Wait. Whut?! A universal cross-platform monopoly is definitely fucking not what the world needs to deal with siloed ecosystem monopolies. FFS. A pox on both those houses!
  • Here’s the Best Strike for Most People“—”Many Wirecutter staff realized early on that their Times colleagues weren’t as excited about their arrival, even as the then-CEO extolled at sale time that Wirecutter ’embodies the same standards and values that are the pillars of our own newsroom.’ But Wirecutter was always treated as a second-class citizen, isolated in its own Slack, its own offices, and its own reporting structure under Perpich. It never joined the newsroom, and its work was openly sneered at by some longtime staffers. Many Times staffers don’t believe their work is journalism at all. The pay scale, as well, is substantially different from Times salaries. Even Times fellows, which are yearlong full-time jobs in the newsroom designed to train emerging journalists, receive a significantly higher salary than the starting rate for Wirecutter writers.” “This limited strike hopes to be a part of a wave of organizing and action, from Starbucks to John Deere to Columbia University’s student workers to Amazon, that is proving the worth of organizing labor. Striketober is giving way to Strikevember and leading into Strike … cember? Hmm, we’ll keep working on that.”
  • Mr. Goxx, the Crypto-Trading Hamster, Is Dead. If you got all your financial advice from a hamster, your portfolio is in serious trouble because he’s dead.”
  • Tweet—”countries banned because of the omicron variant vs. countries with confirmed omicron cases.” Not only repeating past mistakes, but: “Omicron COVID variant was in Europe before South African scientists detected and flagged it to the world.”
  • Vaccine Nationalism. The world’s richest countries have undermined the international cooperation we need to end this pandemic.”
  • Catherine the Great’s Pro-Vaccination Letter Heads to Auction“—”A 1787 letter from Catherine the Great advocating for smallpox vaccination — a sustained effort that commenced when she became the first person in Russia to receive the vaccine, in 1768 — is bound for the auction block at MacDougall’s in London, where it will be a highlight of the December 1 ‘Important Russian Art’ sale. The letter is being sold as a bundle with a half-length portrait of the Empress by Ukrainian Russian painter Dmitry Levitsky, for an estimate of up to $1.6 million.”
  • Hoax Email Blast Abused Poor Coding in FBI Website“—”The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed today that its fbi.gov domain name and Internet address were used to blast out thousands of fake emails about a cybercrime investigation. According to an interview with the person who claimed responsibility for the hoax, the spam messages were sent by abusing insecure code in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities.”
  • How the Far-Right Is Radicalizing Anti-Vaxxers. Far-right groups have latched onto anti-vaccine protests and rallies, creating a pipeline to extremism.”
  • Spies in the Ointment: Which Way Will FBI, CIA Swing if Trump Returns? Intelligence veterans anxious about Trump reelection prospects—’by any means necessary’.”
  • Inside the ‘big wave’ of misinformation targeted at Latinos“—”Heading into a midterm election in which control of Congress is at stake, lawmakers, researchers and activists are preparing for another onslaught of falsehoods targeted at Spanish-speaking voters. And they say social media platforms that often host those mistruths aren’t prepared.”
  • How a Crazy Plan to Rebuild Waco Compound Gave Us Alex Jones. The conspiracy-mongering loon has long poisoned American politics. This is the oft-untold story of how violence, bloodshed, and a right-wing radio rivalry birthed Alex Jones.”
  • Red States Are Now Paying Unemployment Benefits to Anti-Vaxxers Who Quit Their Jobs. Republican governors have decided to coddle vaccine refusers, even as they cut benefits for everyone else.” Tweet—”It seems clear that the GOP doesn’t see unemployment insurance as “paying people to not work.” It appears (and we always knew this to be true) that their concern is paying “those people” to not work. This is why we need UBI. It’s wrong to pick and choose who has an income floor.”
  • Homicide is a top cause of maternal death in the United States. Evaluation of death certificates from national database paints grim picture for pregnant women.”—”The researchers found that US women who are pregnant or were pregnant in the past 42 days (the post-partum period) die by homicide at more than twice the rate that they die of bleeding or placental disorders — the leading causes of what are usually classified as pregnancy-related deaths. Also, becoming pregnant increases the risk of death by homicide: between the ages of 10 and 44 years, women who are pregnant or had their pregnancy end in the past year are killed at a rate 16% higher than are women who are not pregnant.”
  • This Land Is My Land. Many landowners view themselves as environmental stewards. But can the environment ever be protected within the frame of private property?”
  • Tweet—”I used to respect Starbucks as a smart, innovative company. BUT I’ve lost respect for Starbucks because of the dirty, hardball tactics it has used against the unionization drive in Buffalo: It closed a store where 80% of the workers signed pro-union cards. Starbucks executives say it should be up to the employees whether they want a union. But Starbucks has mounted one of the most intense & aggressive anti-union efforts I’ve ever seen to pressure its Buffalo workers to vote against the union.” Also “Starbucks launches aggressive anti-union effort as upstate New York stores organize. Management urges baristas to reject the union at mandatory ‘listening’ sessions and shuts stores holding drives.”
  • The Black people who lived in Walden Woods long before Henry David Thoreau. Until recently, there was little acknowledgment that Walden Woods was first occupied by formerly enslaved men and women whose experience of self-sufficiency was harrowingly different from Thoreau’s famous experiment near Concord, Mass.”
  • Tweet thread—”‘Anti-racism is anti-white’ is the old and explosive mantra of avowed White supremacists. I document how it has been their organizing vehicle, fueling backlashes, fueling delusions that antiracism is the new racism. 1/7″ Also “The Mantra of White Supremacy. The idea that anti-racist is a code word for “anti-white” is the claim of avowed extremists.”—”When the medicine is rebranded as the disease, the disease will inevitably persist—and it has.”
  • The Missing Voices In The Panic Over Critical Race Theory. Virginia’s Black families say their views have been sidelined in the uproar over teaching about race and racism in schools.”
  • After 40 years, the man wrongfully convicted of Alice Sebold’s rape has been exonerated“—”Broadwater’s exoneration was set in motion by Tim Mucciante, producer of the Netflix adaptation of Lucky. Mucciante had signed on as executive producer of the adaptation, but when he saw the first draft of the script—which was significantly different from the book—he became skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt. ‘I started poking around and trying to figure out what really happened here,’ Mucciante told the Associated Press. Mucciante hired a private investigator, who put him in touch with the defense lawyers who eventually overturned Broadwater’s conviction.”
  • AIDS History Is A Remedy. When pharmacist Ruth Madievsky decided to specialize in HIV/AIDS care, she didn’t realize how important it was to know the stories of those who came before her.”
  • Macron switches to using navy blue on France’s flag – reports. President Emmanuel Macron has switched to using a darker navy blue on the official French flag, replacing the previous brighter shade, officials have told local media.”—”The move saw flags in the new hue hoisted on the presidential palace last year without any accompanying fanfare. Mr Macron wanted to bring back the navy blue flag, a symbol of the French Revolution, Europe 1 said. However, both the darker and lighter flags have been in use for decades. France’s navy and many official buildings around the country have always used the navy blue shade. But in 1976 under President Giscard d’Estaing, the French state introduced a brighter blue on the tricolour to match the blue on the flag of Europe. That decision was partly an aesthetic one, Europe 1 reports, because the French and European flags flew next to each other in so many locations. The Élysée Palace has not publicly announced its change in flags, and no orders have been given for other institutions to do the same.” Also “Sacré bleu: French flag changes colour – but no one notices. Blue part of flags flying around Élysée Palace was made darker in July last year but change went largely unnoticed.”—”Emmanuel Macron’s office has darkened the blue in the French flags flying around the Élysée Palace to bring the tricolore in line with how it looked after the French revolution. Presidential aides said the change happened in July last year, but nobody appears to have noticed until now. France’s navy has stuck with navy blue since the 18th century, when the flag became a symbol of the revolution. The French state introduced a lighter shade of blue on its flags in the 1970s.”
  • Russia Reopens the Last Czar’s Palace, a Century After His Execution. The last home of Nicholas II has been restored and opened to the public as a museum outside of St. Petersburg.”
  • Mr. Beast’s Squid Game Ripoff Is Exactly the Kind of Video YouTube Rewards. While the video is popular, it’s a reductive rip off of the original, not a triumph for the ‘creator economy.'”
  • As Calls to Ban Books Intensify, Digital Librarians Offer Perspective“—”Everyone’s perspectives should matter and be represented in the democratic process. A library must offer diverse materials so people can draw their own conclusions, said Mek. He embraces the oft-cited quote from librarian Jo Godwin: ‘A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.'”
  • WildCard“—”I made this in my spare time with apologies to the creators of HyperCard, to see how it would be on the modern web. A HyperCard stack is like a pack of note cards that can be flipped through but stay in order. You can add or remove cards from your stack. Each card can have button and field parts; to edit them, choose the appropriate tool, then drag and resize them. You make new ones by dragging a box with the command key. …I’m not asking for any money; I just wanted to remember how much fun HyperCard was. If you think there’s any fun you could be having but you aren’t, send me a message, or make a stack and upload it! The screens are bigger and better, but the stacks are still the same size! Have a good time!”
  • Tweet—”Honey, please wake up our son.”
  • Tweet—”Libertarians.” Although I think house cats actually understand and appreciate things more than this would suggest, so unfairly maligns them in comparison.
  • Watch “Around the World in 80 Days: Official Preview“—”Let the race against the clock begin! Phileas Fogg (David Tennant), Abigail Fix (Leonie Benesch), and Jean Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) are setting out on the adventure of a lifetime, starting on Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 8/7c.”
  • 52 things I learned in 2021“—”4. 10% of US electricity is generated from old Russian nuclear warheads. … 10. Short afternoon naps at the workplace lead to significant increases in productivity, psychological well-being and cognition. In contrast, an extra 30 minutes sleep at night shows no similar improvements. … 21. Women’s relative earnings increase 4% when their manager becomes the father of a daughter, rather than a son. This daughter effect was found in 25 years of Danish small-business data. … 37. The notion of a personal ‘Carbon Footprint’ was invented by Ogilvy & Mather for BP in the early 2000s. … 47. The entire global cosmetic Botox industry is supported by an annual production of just a few milligrams of botulism toxin. Pure toxin would cost ~$100 trillion per kilogram.”
  • Wait. This thing is still around, or again? Does this mean they can actually be gotten?! “Walmart pulls children’s toy that swears and sings in Polish about doing cocaine” This was a thing back in Aug 2021 too! So, again?