Omnium Gatherum: 19dec2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for December 19, 2021

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

  • Weathering Together. A capybara, soaking in a bath of lemons. A noblin with too many hats. A child with a kite, looking forward to tomorrow. Gentle, irreverent handmade drawings by momatoes—an established illustrator with a warm yet silly sense of humor—now available for a very limited time to aid communities in need. Supporters at $20 and above can specify a prompt (e.g. two frogs high-fiving) for their doodle! Others receive a random surprise. However, they’re both equally delightful. Every proceed will go towards organizations funding relief goods and services to Philippine and Malaysian areas hard-hit by calamitous Typhoon Rai. The notecard will be a silly piece of hand-drawn art, but backed by a foundation of your genuine kindness.”
  • Oh no! Tweet—”Nooo, It’s literally the worst feeling to go down in flames. Loudly crying face Hot face But the comeback is always stronger than the setback. And – I’ll be bock!” Also “Sweden’s ill-fated yule goat burns down a week before Christmas. Sweden’s most famous yule goat, Gävlebocken, has once again succumbed to flames in an arson attack. A man with soot on his hands was arrested close to the scene.”—”In 2016, the last time it was vandalised, it burned down on its opening day. If it had survived this Christmas season, it would have been a historic year for the goat, which has never survived five consecutive years before.” Wait. Hold up. “A man with soot on his hands was arrested close to the scene.” 🎅? “According to witnesses, a ‘tall and athletically built man’, wearing dark clothes and a hood, was seen leaving the scene when the fire started.” KRAMPUS?! J’ACCUSE!
  • ‘Christmas Comet’ now visible, but won’t be seen again for 80,000 years“—”In the final days of 2021, stargazers will be dazzled by the brightest comet of the year, as it trails through the night sky. Comet C/2021 A1, or Comet Leonard made a close pass to earth on December 12. ‘Before its approach, it was visible only in the early morning sky, but its journey has now made it more prominent in the evening sky, making it a target for backyard stargazers,’ AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada said in a report on Thursday. Meteorologists predict that the comet will be visible through December, but will get dimmer each day. Comet Leonard will be easiest to see with telescope, but in clear skies, it might be visible to the naked eye.” Also “‘Christmas comet’ to zip through evening sky, won’t be back for 80,000 years. The coming nights will be the best chance to see comet Leonard, discovered earlier this year, and the comet may even be visible to the naked eye under ideal conditions.”—”The 2020 holiday season featured a ‘Christmas star’ when Jupiter and Saturn appeared extremely close and shined together, and this year, stargazers are in for another gift as the brightest comet of 2021 races through the evening sky. Comet C/2021 A1, more commonly referred to as comet Leonard, was discovered earlier this year and made its closest approach to the Earth on Dec. 12. Before its approach, it was visible only in the early morning sky, but its journey has now made it more prominent in the evening sky, making it a target for backyard stargazers. The ‘Christmas comet’ will appear in the evening sky throughout the rest of the year, but folks should look for it sooner rather than later as it will become dimmer and dimmer heading into the final days of December.” Also watch “Last Chance To See Comet Leonard Before It Exits The Solar System.”
  • The Revolutionary Writing of bell hooks. Through her scholarship and criticism, hooks, who died this week, rewrote our understanding of Black feminism and womanhood, and gave a generation of readers a new way of looking at the world.”
  • “When humans are gone, what animals might evolve to have our smarts and skills? Is this a “Planet of the Apes” situation?” About After Man: A Zoology of the Future [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Dougal Dixon—”Back in print for the first time in over a decade, and featuring a new introduction from the author and updates based on scientific discoveries made in the 37 years since its initial publication, this new edition of Dougal Dixon’s lavishly illustrated speculative zoology imagines the strange creatures that might evolve in a distant future after the extinction of man.”
  • Where Do We Draw the Line? Addressing Eminent Scholars’ Imperfect Pasts“—”Can we still enjoy Woody Allen’s movies or Michael Jackson’s music in light of their alleged sexual predation? Should we read Harry Potter or watch Chappelle’s Show after their creators’ transphobic remarks? Whether we can or should separate the art from the artist remains an open question. It affects all of us who study ancient cultures that normalized slavery, assault, and other practices we find reprehensible. What do we do, though, when the reprehensible actors include living Goliaths in our own fields?” More about 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.
  • Barnes & Noble’s Unproblematic Wizard Books Display Draws Cheers Online. The bookseller seemingly takes a stand against “she who shall not be named” and her transphobic comments.” Wait. Brandon Sanderson unproblematic? Maybe.
  • Quidditch to change name, citing J.K. Rowling’s ‘anti-trans positions’. The real sport, which was inspired by the ‘Harry Potter’ books, said it hopes to distance itself from the author and expand its ‘growth potential.'”—”US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch announced in a joint news release Wednesday that they will conduct a series of surveys over the next few months to decide on a new name for the sport, which resembles soccer and field hockey, but as a contact sport with broomsticks.”
  • Why maths should move on from the ancient Greeks. Many people experience maths anxiety and some even mention feelings of ‘rage and despair’. One way to improve the subject’s perception is by playing down the Platonists, suggests Michael Brooks.” By Michael Brooks, author of The Art of More: How Mathematics Created Civilization [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library], due Jan 2022—”An illuminating, millennia-spanning history of the impact mathematics has had on the world, and the fascinating people who have mastered its inherent power, from Babylonian tax officials to the Apollo astronauts to the eccentric professor who invented the infrastructure of the online world. Counting is not innate to our nature, and without education humans can rarely count past three—beyond that, it’s just ‘more.’ But once harnessed by our ancestors, the power of numbers allowed humanity to flourish in ways that continue to lead to discoveries and enrich our lives today. Ancient tax collectors used basic numeracy to fuel the growth of early civilization, navigators used clever geometrical tricks to engage in trade and connect people across vast distances, astronomers used logarithms to unlock the secrets of the heavens, and their descendants put them to use to land us on the moon. In every case, mathematics has proved to be a greatly underappreciated engine of human progress. In this captivating, sweeping history, Michael Brooks acts as our guide through the ages. He makes the case that mathematics was one of the foundational innovations that catapulted humanity from a nomadic existence to civilization, and that it has since then been instrumental in every great leap of humankind. Here are ancient Egyptian priests, Babylonian bureaucrats, medieval architects, dueling Swiss brothers, and renaissance painters. Their stories clearly demonstrate that the invention of mathematics was every bit as important to the human species as was the discovery of fire. From first page to last, The Art of More brings mathematics back into the heart of what it means to be human.”
  • Tardigrade is first multicellular organism to be quantum entangled“—”A tardigrade has been quantum entangled with a superconducting qubit – and lived to tell the tale. It is the first time a multicellular organism has been placed in this strange quantum state and raises questions about what it means for living things to be entangled.”
  • Anti-aging vaccine shows promise in mice — will it work in humans?. The new vaccine ameliorated certain signs of aging in mice.”
  • A Critical Creature for Human Survival Is Rapidly Declining. This is not good.”—”You depend on bees. Bees pollinate all of our staple food crops — that deli sandwich you’re eating? Thank bees for the bread flour. Oh, and the slaw too. And the cold cuts or the cheese (bees pollinate the food crops that cows, pigs, and other animals eat, too). But this critical creature is declining — fast. The discovery — In a study published earlier this year in the journal Cell Press reports that 25 percent of known bee species have disappeared from the public record over the last 30 years.”
  • Russia allows methane leaks at planet’s peril. A new breed of satellites devoted to locating and measuring greenhouse gases, including methane, are orbiting Earth — meaning trouble for Russia, the world’s second-biggest natural gas producer.”
  • Earth’s magnetic field illuminates Biblical history. It casts light on an obscure period called the Hallstatt plateau.”
  • Watch “The Canadian town that burnt down in a day – BBC News“—”In 2021, Canada had a record heatwave which scientists say was impossible without climate change. Wildfires engulfed Patrick Michell’s hometown of Lytton after it reached 49.5°C. Now he and his community must plan for an uncertain future. Meanwhile, an environmental protest against the logging industry becomes the largest act of civil disobedience Canada’s ever seen.”
  • Watch “Evidence ancient Babylonians were far more advanced than we thought – BBC REEL“—”Plimpton 322 is the name given to a 3,800-year-old clay tablet discovered in Iraq in the early 20th Century by archeologist Edgar J Banks, the man believed to have inspired Indiana Jones. Over time this tablet has become one of the most significant and most studied objects of the ancient world. Dr Daniel Mansfield, of the University of New South Wales, who has studied Plimpton 322 along with other similar tablets, argues that these are evidence that the Babylonians were solving real-world problems, such as surveying, using the basics of Pythagoras’ theorem 1,000 years before the ancient Greeks.”
  • Orkney’s rare Viking sword has ‘many stories to tell’. A Viking sword found at a burial site in Orkney is a rare, exciting and complex artefact, say archaeologists.”—”The find, made in 2015 on the northeast coast of Papa Westray, is being carefully examined as part of post-excavation work. Archaeologists have now identified it as a type of heavy sword associated with the 9th Century. The relic is heavily corroded, but x-rays have revealed the sword’s guards to be highly decorated. Contrasting metals are thought to have been used to create a honey comb-like pattern. Archaeologists examining the weapon said it had ‘many stories to tell’.”
  • Archaeologists Find 2,000-Year-Old Lesson on Sea Level Changes Destroying Societies“—”Archaeologists have linked rising and lowering sea levels in the Atlantic Ocean to the ebbs and flows of ancient civilizations in southern Brazil. The findings, which incorporate several lines of past archaeological evidence, suggest even large, resilient, and cooperative coastal communities can easily go out with the tide. When analyzing and dating a series of prehistoric shell ‘mountains’, known as sambaquis in the local language, researchers noticed some significant changes in southwestern Brazil about 2,500 years ago. At this time, the size and frequency of sambaqui sites suddenly began to decrease, possibly indicating the dissolution of what were, for millennia, dense and stable shellfish-eating populations.”
  • Lyre previously found at Sutton Hoo has cousin in Kazakhstan. An analysis of Soviet-era excavations from the 1930’s to the mid-1990’s has revealed that a lyre discovered in in Dzhetyasar, Kazakhstan, matches a lyre from Sutton Hoo over 4,000 km away in England.”
  • Watch “An extraordinary deep-sea sighting: The giant phantom jelly“—”This ghostly giant is a rare sight. But in November 2021, MBARI researchers spotted this giant phantom jelly (Stygiomedusa gigantea) with the ROV Doc Ricketts 990 meters (3,200 feet) deep in Monterey Bay. The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) across and trails four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow more than 10 meters (33 feet) in length. MBARI’s ROVs have logged thousands of dives, yet we have only seen this spectacular species nine times.”
  • Lobsters, octopus and crabs recognised as sentient beings. Amendment to Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill following LSE report on decapod and cephalopod sentience. Crabs, octopus and lobsters to be recognised as sentient beings in government policy decision making. Decapod crustaceans and cephalopod molluscs will be recognised under the scope of the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Amendment to Bill follows London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) scientific research findings on decapod and cephalopod sentience. Existing industry practices will not be affected and there will be no direct impact on shellfish catching or in restaurant kitchens.”
  • Having Trouble Sleeping? Israeli Researchers Discover Tiredness Mechanism. An Israeli team of researchers has discovered a mechanism that leads to tiredness in the nervous system of the zebrafish, with supportive evidence for the existence of such a mechanism in mice. Remember the name: Parp1.”
  • OSU study yields a first in fossil research: Seeds sprouting from an amber-encased pine cone.”
  • Orangutan drawings change with season and mood. Findings may provide clues to origins of human artistic ability.”
  • Skeleton of new dinosaur species discovered in Missouri“—”Scientists have discovered the bones of a dinosaur in Missouri, and it’s a new line never uncovered before. Paleontologist Guy Darrough discovered the juvenile skeleton of a Parrosaurus missouriensis in the Show-Me State. The specific location of the finding is being kept secret until the site can be secured. ‘I can’t imagine anything that’s more impressive than what we discovered here. A new genus in species. Its world-famous discovery,’ said Darrough.” Also “Missouri dig site is home to at least 4 rare dinosaurs, and there could be more“—”Fossils in Missouri are rare — the Chronister site, a couple dozen acres of woodland located near Bollinger County in Missouri, is the only place fossils have been found in Missouri, according to Erika Woehlk, a visual materials archivist at the Missouri State Archives. Most dinosaurs in the United States have been found in the West. ‘No one thought that there were any dinosaurs in Missouri. It’s just unheard of to find dinosaur fossils in this part of the country,’ said Abigail Kern, office manager for the Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center in Missouri. But this site is rich.”
  • New Link Between a Disrupted Body Clock and Inflammatory Diseases. New research from RCSI has demonstrated the significant role that an irregular body clock plays in driving inflammation in the body’s immune cells, with implications for the most serious and prevalent diseases in humans.”
  • From 2018: “Pando, One of the World’s Largest Organisms, Is Dying. Mule deer and cattle are eating saplings before the clonal grove can regenerate.” Also “The World’s Largest Organism Is Slowly Being Eaten, Scientist Says“—”Found in my home state of Utah, ‘Pando’ is a 106-acre stand of quaking aspen clones. Although it looks like a woodland of individual trees with striking white bark and small leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze, Pando (Latin for ‘I spread’) is actually 47,000 genetically identical stems that arise from an interconnected root network. This single genetic individual weighs around 6,000 metric tons. By mass, it is the largest single organism on Earth.” “Pando has been around for thousands of years, potentially up to 14,000 years, despite most stems only living for about 130 years. Its longevity and remoteness mean a whole ecosystem of 68 plant species and many animals have evolved and been supported under its shade. This entire ecosystem relies on the aspen remaining healthy and upright. But, although Pando is protected by the US National Forest Service and is not in danger of being cut down, it is in danger of disappearing due to several other factors.”
  • Prospector’s mystery rock was no nugget, but something much rarer“—”‘What the hell is this thing?’, Mr Hole thought to himself. The answer, it turned out, was something not of this Earth. He had come across the large reddish rock while hunting for gold near Maryborough, where he lives, in 2015. It was extremely heavy, far heavier than it looked, so Mr Hole thought there had to be a nugget inside. He was wrong. This was no nugget. It contained something much rarer than gold: metal raindrops from the dawn of our solar system.”
  • An ‘incident’ with the James Webb Space Telescope has occurred. NASA is leading an anomaly review board to investigate and conduct additional testing.”
  • Drone Sails Into Category 4 Hurricane, Sends Back Incredible Video and Data. HD video isn’t the only thing Saildrone captured. Data from the heart of the storm could help researchers, too.”
  • Nasa Officially Touches the Sun — and Solves a Solar Mystery. This is the closest encounter between our species and the Sun ever.”—”In a first for humanity, a manmade spacecraft has kissed the Sun. ‘Not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our Sun’s evolution and its impacts on our Solar System, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe,’ Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, says in a press release.”
  • Watch “NASA Finally Contacts Voyager 2 Again After A Year of Silence“—”How far in space do you think we could travel in the span of 44 years? The answer? 11 billion miles! That is how long Voyager 2 has been traveling in the vast infinite of space, and you will not believe just how much our little space scout has learned in its travels. Equipped with a multitude of scientific instruments, Voyager 2 is more than capable of giving us a play-by-play of its journey through the stars.”
  • From the Panspermia dept: Watch “Could life on Planet Earth have originated on Mars? 👽🌱 BBC“—”Professor Brian Cox explores how easy it might be for alien life to hitch a ride to other planets in our universe. 🪐 ” (Also, reminds me of Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision!)
  • We survived! (This time.) “‘Concerning’ asteroid will break into Earth’s orbit in a week: NASA | New York Post“—”NASA has warned that a giant asteroid bigger than the Eiffel Tower will break into Earth’s orbit in just over a week. The 1,082-foot space rock is heading our way and should skim past us on December 11. NASA has its eye on Asteroid 4660 Nereus because it’s well over 492 feet long and will come within 4.6 million miles of Earth. That puts it in the ‘potentially hazardous’ category. There’s no need to panic, though, as Asteroid Nereus isn’t expected to impact Earth. If all goes well, it should shoot past our planet at 14,700 miles per hour. NASA is expecting the space rock to stay 2.4 million miles away from us.”
  • Why you should care about Facebook’s big push into the metaverse. The futuristic tech Mark Zuckerberg is investing billions in could remake the internet.”
  • Facebook fed posts with violence and nudity to people with low digital literacy. Facebook studies said algorithms harmed users with low tech skills with repeated disturbing content. Some users did not understand how content came to appear in their feeds or how to control it. These users were often older, people of color, lower-educated and of lower socioeconomic status.”
  • Tweet—”Sometimes I forget that Elon Musk has always been a privileged rich kid & Elon Musk’s daddy owned an emerald mine & Elon Musk walked around with jewels in his pockets & Elon Musk didn’t start Tesla, he just ousted the founders & Elon Musk has never invented anything… Sometimes.”
  • Google and Meta win U.S. security agency backing for Pacific cable. U.S. security agencies recommend that the Federal Communications Commission approve a plan by the parent companies of Google and Facebook to build an undersea fiber optic cable linking the U.S. to Taiwan and the Philippines.”
  • Mathematician Hurls Structure and Disorder Into Century-Old Problem. A new paper shows how to create longer disordered strings than mathematicians had thought possible, proving that a well-known recent conjecture is ‘spectacularly wrong.'”
  • ‘Buy now, pay later’ stocks tumble after U.S. consumer watchdog launches probe. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking information from Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal and Zip on the risks and benefits of their products. ‘Buy now, pay later’ services let shoppers defer payment for items, typically over a period of monthly installments and with no interest attached. Affirm’s shares closed down by 11% Thursday, while Australian companies Afterpay, Zip and Sezzle on Friday dropped 8%, 6% and 10%, respectively.”—”A shift in consumer habits toward e-commerce and flexible loans, coupled with huge government stimulus packages, heavily benefited companies like Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay. This, in turn, has led to major tech companies like PayPal and Block jumping into BNPL, hoping to capitalize on the growth of the industry.” Also, remember that bit about Microsoft adding BNPL to their browser: “Microsoft Edge buy now pay later scheme met with criticism.”
  • Still looking for it! I mean, it’s probably worth it to keep trying. Watch “The search for a bitcoin hard drive worth $350 million lost in a landfill“—”CNBC’s Kelly Evans reports on British I.T. worker James Howells’ last-ditch effort to find a hard drive in a landfill. The drive contains 7,500 bitcoin, worth more than $350 million. New Yorker Staff Writer D.T. Max, spoke to James Howells about his search.”
  • Pure evil exploitation: Watch “Investigation: How Roblox Is Exploiting Young Game Developers“—”With Roblox Corporation now being valued at more than $45 billion, we ask whether the kids making the vast majority of its content are being taken advantage of?” Also watch “Roblox Pressured Us to Delete Our Video. So We Dug Deeper.”—”Following our last video on Roblox, players and creators began getting in touch with their own stories to share. Here are some of those stories.”
  • Hits ‘keep coming’: Hospitals struggle as COVID beds fill“—”Hospitals across the country are struggling to cope with burnout among doctors, nurses and other workers, already buffeted by a crush of patients from the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 delta variant and now bracing for the fallout of another highly transmissible mutation. Ohio became the latest state to summon the National Guard to help overwhelmed medical facilities. Experts in Nebraska warned that its hospitals soon may need to ration care. Medical officials in Kansas and Missouri are delaying surgeries, turning away transfers and desperately trying to hire traveling nurses, as cases double and triple in an eerie reminder of last year’s holiday season. ‘There is no medical school class that can prepare you for this level of death,’ said Dr. Jacqueline Pflaum-Carlson, an emergency medicine specialist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. ‘The hits just keep coming.'”
  • The Lab-Leak Theory Meets Its Perfect Match. Both pandemic-origin arguments depend on coincidence.”
  • And the cattle all have brucellosis: “Ancient case of disease spillover discovered in Neanderthal man who got sick butchering raw meat“—”Scientists studying ancient disease have uncovered one of the earliest examples of spillover — when a disease jumps from an animal to a human — and it happened to a Neanderthal man who likely got sick butchering or cooking raw meat. Researchers were reexamining the fossilized bones of a Neanderthal who was found in a cave near the French village of La Chapelle-aux-Saints in 1908. The ‘Old Man of La Chapelle,’ as he became known, was the first relatively complete Neanderthal skeleton to be unearthed and is one of the best studied. More than a century after his discovery, his bones are still yielding new information about the lives of Neanderthals, the heavily built Stone Age hominins that lived in Europe and parts of Asia before disappearing about 40,000 years ago. The man, thought to be in his late 50s or 60s when he died about 50,000 years ago, had advanced osteoarthritis in his spinal column and hip joint, a study from 2019 had confirmed. However, during that reanalysis, Dr. Martin Haeusler — a specialist in internal medicine and head of the University of Zurich’s Evolutionary Morphology and Adaptation Group at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine — realized that not all the changes in the bones could be explained by the wear and tear of osteoarthritis. ‘Rather, we found that some of these pathological changes must be due to inflammatory processes,’ he said. ‘A comparison of the entire pattern of the pathological changes found in the La Chapelle-aux-Saints skeleton with many different diseases led us then to the diagnosis of brucellosis.'”
  • A QAnon con: How the viral Wayfairsex trafficking lie hurt real kids. An Internet mob wanted to rescue a 13-year-old girl. Instead, they terrified her, derailed real trafficking investigations and incited ‘save the children’ violence.”
  • ‘Magic dirt’: How the internet fueled, and defeated, the pandemic’s weirdest MLM. Black Oxygen Organics became a sudden hit in the fringe world of alternative medicines and supplements, where even dirt can go for $110 a bag.”—”While individual sellers navigated their new compliance waters, regulatory agencies cracked down. Days after Montaruli’s call, Health Canada announced a recall of Black Oxygen Organics tablets and powders, citing ‘potential health risks which may be higher for children, adolescents, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.’ Further, the regulatory agency noted, ‘The products are being promoted in ways and for uses that have not been evaluated and authorized by Health Canada.’ ‘Stop taking these products,’ the announcement advised.”
  • ‘Anti-5G’ necklaces are radioactive and dangerous, Dutch nuclear experts say. Officials issue product alert and say ‘quantum pendants’ could damage DNA with prolonged use.” Also “Anti-5G necklaces found to be radioactive. Necklaces and accessories claiming to “protect” people from 5G mobile networks have been found to be radioactive.”
  • Watch “QAnon Fans Doubt Their Faith After Nothing Happens In November | Dr. Oz Is Running For Office“—”Stephen reopens The Q Files to check on QAnon followers whose faith was shaken after a string of false predictions failed to materialize in November. In Pennsylvania, a man known for his work as a syndicated TV doctor launched his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.”
  • The Populist, Millennial Veteran Who Wants to Turn Missouri Blue. Lucas Kunce hopes his campaign against corporations and corruption can launch him into the Senate — and help Democrats win back the working class.”
  • ‘They were willing to let me die in there.’ The sins of Boston police past are leading to overturned convictions and prison releases
  • Hayao Miyazaki Prepares to Cast One Last Spell. No artist has explored the contradictions of humanity as sympathetically and critically as the Japanese animation legend. Now, at 80, he’s coming out of retirement with another movie.”
  • Always Well Groomed. Ghislaine Maxwell looked impeccable. That was the point.”
  • Britney Spears Felt Trapped. Her Business Manager Benefited. Louise Taylor faces questions about whether she improperly enriched herself as the pop star’s business manager.” Also thread—”NEW: Britney Spears’s conservatorship is over but there are still many questions around how her $60 million fortune was managed. At the center of the scrutiny is former business manager Lou Taylor, the owner of Tri Star.”
  • We Live By a Unit of Time That Doesn’t Make Sense. The seven-day week has survived for millennia, despite attempts to make it less chaotic.”
  • Um, uh oh. Snowpiercer and Supertrain are predated by actual fash. “The Insane Giant Nazi Railway – The Breitspurbahn“—”The Breitspurbahn, which translates from the German as broad-gauge railway, was one such mega infrastructure project. ‘Epic’ is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the immense scale of what was to be a railway network that would criss-cross Europe and beyond.” Reminds me of discovering that what I thought was my novel idea to drain the Mediterranean to get at all the submerged history has a fash predecessor: Atlantropa.
  • Watch “How this house took over the US“—”Why is the Craftsman bungalow everywhere? It’s due to a socialist artist, an entrepreneurial furniture maker, and a real estate movement.”—”Today, historic districts around the US celebrate the Craftsman’s beauty. But how did this style of house become so ubiquitous and so beloved? The above video explores the history of the Craftsman bungalow, from the 1800s Arts & Crafts movement, to its popularization in America, to its commodification in the 1910s and 1920s.”
  • Watch “Finn Mackay: Female Masculinities and the Gender Wars“—”Finn Mackay investigates the current generational shift that is refusing the previous assumed fixity of sex, gender and sexual identity. Transgender and trans rights movements are currently experiencing political backlash. Within these so-called gender wars, feminism and trans people, in particular trans women, are often pitted against one another and portrayed as diametrically opposed. Using queer and female masculinities as a lens, Mackay combines latest research, with personal insight as a masculine-presenting female person, to encourage a more nuanced approach. What is female masculinity? What is the boundary between butch and trans? Can two or more oppositional ideas be true at the same time? In this recorded interview Mackay discusses being a Radical Feminist, identity, and whether we should abolish gender, with Cheryl Morgan.”
  • Watch “What did Popular Music in Ancient Rome sound like?
  • 25 Years Ago, Tim Burton Made a Sci-Fi Classic That Almost Ruined His Career. ‘They punished Tim.'”—”In 1996, a movie about a violent alien invasion and the ragtag attempt to stop it took America by storm. And that movie was… Independence Day. Roland Emmerich’s science fiction epic made over $800 million at the box office and invented a new genre. But in the same year, a very different alien invasion movie debuted with very different results. Released in December 1996 (six months after Independence Day), Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! is less sci-fi epic and more sci-fi parody. Featuring an army of CGI aliens and an impressive cast led by Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks! confused audiences with its absurdist premise and earned just $100 million on a budget of $70M. In the process, Burton butted heads with Warner Bros., which, according to screenwriter Jonathan Gems, is why the studio canceled his planned follow-up: Superman Lives, set to star Nicolas Cage as the titular hero.
  • Holy heck! They built life-sized modular fantasy gaming terrain! (Also Magda kicks ass!) Watch “The Wheel of Time – A Look Inside Episode 7 | Prime Video“—”Join us again for another installment of our Look Inside the Wheel of Time, where we bring you exclusive cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and more. This episode, we’ve got series showrunner Rafe Judkins; episode director Ciaran Donnelly; actors Magdalena Sittova, Rosamund Pike, and Daniel Henney; and production designer Ondrej Nekvasil talking about the making of the best scenes of episode 7 of Wheel of Time.”
  • Watch “How Critical Role’s Long Form Entertainment is Revolutionizing Storytelling“—”Earlier this year, I started listening to Campaign 2 of Critical Role, and soon realised that i had many, many hours of content to get trough. This made me think: What does the fact that this story spans so many hours, do to the storytelling? And is there another artform that operates on the same time scale? In this video, we take alook at Soap operas, Book series and the works of the great stage director Robert Wilson to try to answer those questions.”
  • Head of D&D responds to alignment changes and backlash. Following the release of a raft of D&D errata documents earlier this week, which outlined several changes to the game’s implementation of alignment and racial traits, Wizards of the Coast executive producer and head of D&D Ray Winninger has released an update, clarifying the corrections and further revealing Wizards’ stance on some of the problematic passages found in the D&D 5E sourcebooks.”
  • How to Play Dungeons & Dragons Solo. Adventurers without a party can still play Dungeons & Dragons, and there are plenty of resources available to make solo adventures happen.”
  • A Love Letter to Mystery Science Theater 3000“—”Thirty-three years ago, on November 24, 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on KTMA, a cable access channel in Minneapolis. In human years, the show is out of college by now (probably), maybe trying to buy a home, or start a family. It bristles when Cheers calls it a millennial—it’s always felt like an old soul, with the references to Get Christie Love and Charlie McCarthy, and-three it gets frustrated when other shows consider it shallow. It’s not just a reference factory, after all. There’s real depth and heart here, if you know how to pay attention.”
  • Watch “The INSANE Detail in the new Book of Boba Fett Trailer (you PROBABLY missed)“—”The NEW Trailer for the Book of Boba Fett has an AWESOME callback to the deleted scenes from A New Hope. We talk that and more today!”
  • Watch @0:43 “Things a Sports Commentator Would Never Say | Mock the Week – BBC“—”The Curse of the Commentator … SATAN RISE!”
  • Watch “Automaton | Pixar“—”Pixar Animation Studios is proud to present “Automaton.” A poetic interlude between a reality and an abstraction, this experimental short was produced by artists from Pixar’s Effects team, working in collaboration to create a startlingly original piece of filmmaking.”