Omnium Gatherum: 29dec2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for December 29, 2021

This is the last Omnium Gatherum of 2021! I hope your holidays, whichever soever you observe or celebrate are grand and great, and, moreover, I wish you and yours all well and weal in the new year!

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

  • Boy whose case inspired The Exorcist is named by US magazine. The boy, previously known as Roland Doe, underwent exorcisms in Cottage City, Maryland, and St Louis, Missouri, in 1949.”—”In adult life, Hunkeler was a Nasa engineer whose work contributed to the Apollo space missions of the 1960s and who patented a technology that helped space shuttle panels withstand extreme heat.”
  • She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero [Amazon] by Lady Alana Smithee (Lilith Saintcrow)—”Titness McHawttie has fled her marriage to the disturbingly virile Byron Blackheart, Lord Chestthumper. Can she survive a night upon the moors with her faithful almost-unicorn–and will Byron find his vanished bride in time?”
  • Mother Death [Amazon] by Karen Traviss, book 2 of the planned Nomad trilogy, previously part of a shared world but now separate—”Solomon has passed judgement. The AI has chosen his ideal humans for Project Nomad, mankind’s first extrasolar colony on Opis, forty light years from an Earth ravaged by more than a century of disease, famine, and war. Now his band of soldiers, farmers, and scientists have one final chance to launch the Ainatio corporation’s ageing interstellar ship, Shackleton, and join the crew of Cabot at Nomad Base. They have a deal. The Alliance of Asian-Pacific States, Earth’s last surviving superpower, will let the launch go ahead in exchange for the instant communications research that made Nomad possible. But an unknown informer betrays a deadly secret: Solomon is the sole survivor of a banned class of AIs that were shut down after causing millions of human deaths. APS can’t allow him to escape. They have to stop the launch and destroy him as well. But Solomon is ready to go to war to complete his mission. While the situation on Earth spirals out of control, Captain Bridget Ingram is doing a deal of her own with newly-discovered neighbours on Opis. The alien crew of a warship have offered to share a technology that’ll change the future of humanity. But they want something in exchange: protection. The aliens haven’t told Ingram the whole story, though. She’s going to find out very soon who they need to be protected from, and why. It’s too late to stay neutral and too late to abort the mission. If she doesn’t take the biggest gamble of her life — one that could destroy the fledgling colony before it’s even begun — the rest of the colonists will never make it to Opis. Nomad has to succeed. Humanity’s future will depend on it. Book 2 of the Nomad series, the sequel to The Best Of Us.”
  • All The Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium Of Folk Horror [Amazon, Publisher]—”12 BLU-RAYS, 3 CDs, 20 FEATURE FILMS, PLUS 15+ HOURS OF SPECIAL FEATURES & MORE! The most comprehensive collection of its kind. Experience 19 of the best-known, least-known, rarely-seen and thought-lost classics of folk horror from around the world, all restored from the best available vault elements. Special Features include short films, audio commentaries and exclusive featurettes. The ultimate genre exploration continues with the original WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED soundtrack by Jim Williams, a 2-disc reading of the classic short story ‘The White People’ by actress Linda Hayden with a new score by composer Timothy Fife, as well as a 156-page book curated by Kier-La Janisse, featuring new writings by renowned film scholars, authors and historians alongside a selection of archival writings, poems and folk tales.” Also via the publisher—”Due to the painstaking work that went into putting this massive set together, we have updated our policies to cater specifically to the roll out of our brand new Folk Horror-themed box set, All the Haunts Be Ours, and the accompanying bundle, The Witches’ Bundle. Both the box set and the bundle will have their own uniquely themed, custom shipping boxes (as well as tube for the Woodlands poster in the bundle) and will begin shipping shortly after our upcoming Black Friday Sale (the official street date is December 7th).” Also tweet—”The set I ordered from @SeverinFilms arrived this morning and it’s a work of art. They’ve really put together a beautiful collection. I look forward to digging deep. #allthehauntsbeours”.
  • Providence Blue: A Fantasy Quest [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] David Pinault—”At his typewriter in little Cross Plains, Texas, Robert E. Howard created big characters—Bran Mak Morn, Solomon Kane, Conan the Barbarian—who shaped the art of fantasy fiction for generations. But Howard would never know it. On June 11, 1936, at the age of thirty, he shot himself outside his country home. Why would he do it, and where could death have taken him? Providence Blue imagines the strange underworld journey of Howard after his suicide, through Texas flatlands, ancient Egyptian ruins, and New England city gutters. Meanwhile, as his girlfriend Novalyne Price investigates what caused the tragedy, she is led to Providence, Rhode Island, home of the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, where she makes a terrifying, life-changing discovery. In Providence decades later, aging grad student Joseph Bonaventure struggles to finish his dissertation on Lovecraft. When he and a young librarian, Fay O’Connell, chance upon some of the author’s lost papers, this breakthrough locks both of them in a web of black magic, occult conspiracy, and dark cosmic forces—and ties them intimately to the fate of Robert E. Howard. Alongside a cast of Providence characters, including a local priest and a stray Chihuahua, Joseph and Fay join a supernatural quest for good against evil, heaven against hell, the Lamb of God against the horrors of oblivion. Written in a lean, direct style, with a native’s sense of Rhode Island’s geography and culture, David Pinault’s Providence Blue pushes the fantasy novel into new terrain, bringing the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft into contact with the startling reality of Christian doctrine.” Wait. Whut?
  • GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S ‘NIGHTMARE ALLEY’ WAS DECADES IN THE MAKING, THANKS TO RON PERLMAN & TAROT. A new book on Guillermo del Toro’s work points out how the acclaimed director found his way to the carnival.” In part about Guillermo del Toro: The Iconic Filmmaker and his Work [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Ian Nathan, part of the Iconic Filmmakers Series—”Guillermo del Toro is a complete and intimate study of the life and work of one of modern cinema’s most truly unique directors, whose distinct aesthetic and imagination are unmatched in contemporary film. Widely regarded as one of the most imaginative directors working in cinema today, Guillermo del Toro has built up a body of work that has enthralled movie fans with its dark beauty and edge-of-the-seat set pieces. In this book, acclaimed author Ian Nathan charts the progression of a career that has produced some of contemporary cinema’s most revered scenes and idiosyncratic characters. This detailed examination looks at how the strands of del Toro’s career have woven together to create one of modern cinema’s most ground-breaking bodies of work. Delving deep into del Toro’s psyche, the book starts by examining his beginnings in Mexico, the creative but isolated child surrounded by ornate catholicism and monster magazines, filming stop motion battles between his toys on a Super-8 film camera. It follows him to film school, where we learn of his influences, from Kafka to Bunuel, and explores his 1993 debut Cronos, the independent horror debut which draws on the religious and occult themes which would recur throughout del Toro’s work. It goes on to cover his development as a director with 1997’s Mimic, his blockbuster success with the Hellboy films and goes on to study the films which have cemented his status as a legendary auteur, Oscar award winners Pan’s Labrynth and The Shape of Water, as well as his sci-fi masterpiece Pacific Rim, as well as looking at his exciting upcoming projects Nightmare Alley and Pinocchio. An enlightening look into the mind of an auteur blessed with a singular creative vision, Guillermo del Toro analyses the processes, themes and narratives that have come to be recognised as distinctly del Toro, from practical effects to an obsession with folklore and paganism. It looks into the narrative techniques, stylistic flourishes and creative decisions which have made him a true master of modern cinema. Presented in a slipcase with 8-page gatefold section, with scores of illuminating photographs of the director at work on set as well as iconic stills from his films and examples of his influences, this stunning package will delight all Guillermo del Toro devotees and movie lovers in general. Unauthorised and Unofficial.”
  • The Psychoanalysis of Artificial Intelligence [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Isabel Millar, part of The Palgrave Lacan Series—”This book examines the crucial role of psychoanalysis in understanding what AI means for us as speaking, sexed subjects. Drawing on Lacanian theory and recent clinical developments it explores what philosophy and critical theory of AI has hitherto neglected: enjoyment. Through the reconceptualization of Intelligence, the Artificial Object and the Sexual Abyss the book outlines the Sexbot as a figure who exists on the boundary of psychoanalysis and AI. Through this figure and the medium of film, the author subverts Kant’s three Enlightenment questions and guides readers to transition from asking ‘Does it think?’ to ‘Can it enjoy?’ The book will appeal in particular to students and scholars of psychoanalysis, philosophy, film and media studies, critical theory, feminist theory and AI research.”
  • Matrix: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lauren Groff—”Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie’s vision be bulwark enough? Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff’s new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.”
  • Joan Didion, ‘New Journalist’ Who Explored Culture and Chaos, Dies at 87. She established a distinctive voice in American fiction before turning to political reporting and screenplay writing. But it was California, her native state, that provided her with her richest material.” From 2017: “Joan Didion’s ‘Blue Nights’ Just Released Christopher Dickey Writes About His Love for Her. Over the years, Christopher Dickey has come to love Joan Didion—her work, her soul, her humor—even the way she shields her despair.”
  • THE WORLD IN TIME. David Wengrow.” Tweet—”Lewis H. Lapham and I discuss how modern evidence of archaeology/anthropology is transforming our picture of human history (WRT to demography, inequality, political awareness, and the impact of Indigenous critique on European thought)”
  • Crowdfunding effort for “One in Five by Louisa Britain. An anthology of stories about the realities of living in poverty.”–”Fourteen and a half million people live in poverty in the UK, according to the government’s own figures. That’s about one in five. And that was before the pandemic. So where are their voices? In this country, we hear about child poverty, in-work poverty, fuel poverty and poverty porn. We read about universal credit cuts, generation rent and Benefits Street. We see a fifth of our population through someone else’s lens, as victims or slackers or – just occasionally and if they’re particularly good at football – inspiring national heroes who turned their lives around. But we rarely hear from people who live with poverty every day. One in Five is a powerful anthology bringing together just some of the true stories behind the headlines. It explains the reality of spending all day shopping around online for the cheapest school shoes, only to be told off for owning a phone. Of scrubbing stains out of old clothes by hand, and the precise cost of a job interview outfit. It shows how disability, ethnicity, gender, ill health and unstable work or housing can all intersect to create an inescapable poverty trap. And how sometimes, living in poverty becomes a full-time job. Compiled by the campaigning mother better known on social media as Roadside Mum, it collects stories told by people with real, personal experience of poverty, in their own voices. But One in Five is also a book of ideas. You don’t raise a family in a rented flat on minimum wage without learning a thing or two about life, quick thinking and BOGOFs, and the contributors to this book understand better than most how the system is broken and what could be done to fix it – if the political will existed. By supporting this book you’ll be elevating the voices of the real experts and sending a clear message to those in charge: it’s time to listen and act to make a change.”
  • The Spy Who Could Have Saved Syria. An espionage thriller presents an alternative to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s failed policy toward the Assad regime.” About Damascus Station: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by David McCloskey—”CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit Syrian Palace official Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which supercharges Haddad’s recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy. But the cat and mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad’s spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, Damascus Station is a gripping thriller that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet.”
  • Careerism. The writing life and its discontents.”
  • I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9′ S, Longitude 126° 43′ W)?” by Neil Gaiman.
  • OMG no. DON’T DO IT! This won’t end well for anyone. “Vacuum-Sealed Container From 1972 Moon Landing Will Finally Be Opened. After 50 years, scientists will get a chance to study lunar gases collected during Apollo 17 mission.”
  • Thread—”The history of the constituents of matter shows different eras with increasing complexity, followed by stunning simplifications marking a step change in our understanding. 1/8″
  • Large Roman fort built by Caligula discovered near Amsterdam. Fortified camp for thousands of soldiers thought to have been used by Emperor Claudius during conquest of Britain in AD43.”
  • Five ice-age mammoths unearthed in Cotswolds after 220,000 years. David Attenborough will tell of ‘pristine’ skeletons found with other extinct species.”
  • Modern humans weren’t the first to change the world! Neanderthals cleared a forest in Germany with fire or tools 125,000 years ago, study finds. Researchers from Leiden University studied the Neumark-Nord site near Leipzig. Evidence of extensive Neanderthal activity has been known here since the 1985. The team compared sediments from Neumark-Nord with two unoccupied sites. They found that the Neanderthal’s presence was associated with deforestation. Whether this was deliberate or an accidental by-product, however, is unclear.”
  • Prehistoric teeth hint at Stone Age sex with Neanderthals“—”Early modern humans and Neanderthals lived in Europe and parts of Asia at the same time — overlapping for several thousands of years before our archaic relatives disappeared around 40,000 years ago. During this time, Homo sapiens and Neanderthals encountered each other and sometimes had sex and gave birth to children. The evidence is buried within our genes, DNA analysis has shown, with most Europeans having around 2% Neanderthal DNA in their genomes from this ancient interbreeding.” Also “World’s oldest family tree reconstructed from Stone Age tomb“—”The oldest family tree in the world has been reconstructed through the analysis of ancient DNA taken from a Stone Age tomb in Britain, according to a new study published Wednesday. Researchers extracted DNA from the bones and teeth of 35 individuals buried at Hazleton North long cairn in the Cotswolds-Severn region, England. They found that 27 of them were close biological relatives and were from five continuous generations of a single extended family. The group lived around 3700-3600 BC — approximately 5,700 years ago. Researchers discovered that most of those buried in the tomb were descended from four women who had children with the same man.” Also “Burial ground reveals Stone Age people wore clothing covered in elk teeth.”
  • “THAT’S CONFUSING — Promising-looking SETI signal turns out to be of human origin. Space junk may look like a supernova as SETI researchers struggle with a signal.”
  • Tweet—”Of course there is no disclosure of compliance with such Chinese Govt content restriction demands in Amazon’s transparency report.” In re: “Special Report: Amazon partnered with China propaganda arm“—”Amazon.com Inc was marketing a collection of President Xi Jinping’s speeches and writings on its Chinese website about two years ago, when Beijing delivered an edict, according to two people familiar with the incident. The American e-commerce giant must stop allowing any customer ratings and reviews in China.”
  • TikTok tests PC game streaming app that could let it take on Twitch. Expanding live streaming beyond mobile.”
  • ‘The Corpse Bride Diet’: How TikTok Inundates Teens With Eating-Disorder Videos. The app’s algorithm can send users down rabbit holes of narrow interest, resulting in potentially dangerous content such as emaciated images, purging techniques, hazardous diets and body shaming.”
  • Tweet—”A must-read for coders, dissidents and journalists on the mind/blowing complexity and technical creativity of NSO’s FORCEDENTRY 0day exploit by the good folks over at Google Project Zero: ‘We assess this to be one of the most technically sophisticated exploits we’ve ever seen.'” Tweet—”This NSO zero-click exploit is mind blowing. The attacker uses an obscure, Turing-complete image compression format to implement a virtual computer architecture to read and write arbitrary memory. The level of sophistication in this exploit is scary.” See “A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution
  • It’s Awkward Being a Woman in the Metaverse. Meeting people in virtual reality was fun but messier than Mark Zuckerberg’s vision. Also beware the foul-mouthed kids and the griefers.”
  • Thread—”Kickstarter is going to be hosting through Celo, a blockchain that claims to be ‘carbon negative’ through carbon offsetting. The company Celo is working with to offset it’s carbon is Wren, a tree planting initiative. It takes at least 10 years for trees to begin carbon capture.”
  • Tweet—”OpenSea is now rejecting takedown requests (sent via their own Takedown Form) on stolen artwork, citing their ToS as the reason. We’ve heard from multiple artists who have sent proof of ownership, but OpenSea refused to take the work down. This thread has more info.” Tweet—”Screw it, let’s keep going: Why is OpenSea deterring artists from reporting plagiarized art? Removing fraud would be good for their customers, right? Did you know that OpenSea doesn’t do refunds nor remuneration? They keep a cut from NFTs they sell, even if it’s stolen art.” Also Tweet—”But tell me again about how NFT’s are a great way to directly support artists and not at all a theft and scamming ring dependent on exacerbating all the worst existing elements of art theft and money laundering.” Tweet—”Just so everyone knows. There are HELLBOY NFT’s out there that are unauthorized and were made without our’s or @DarkHorseComics consent so buyer beware.” Also tweet—”Brian Eno on NFTs.” Also tweet—”I’ll gladly pay you in trade beads for that crazy tulip today.” Also tweet—”Bitcoin, NFTs, and the rest of that nonsense can only thrive because Mad Magazine ceased newsstand publication. One Al Jaffee fold-in where a Bored Ape transforms into the word ‘CRAPTO’ and it’s over.”
  • Tweet—”Good news: We’ve flattened the curve. Bad news: It’s against the y-axis.”
  • Tweet—”I think we need to normalize saying, ‘This is a stupid conversation and I’m not going to continue it.'” In re: Tweet—”Perhaps the best clap back to antivaxxers and antimaskers.”
  • Tweet—”A reminder that the shortage of Covid tests was completely manufactured for profit.”
  • Dr. Robert Malone goes full antivaccine conspiracist. Dr. Robert Malone, ‘inventor of mRNA vaccines,’ while still straining to maintain a pretense of being provaccine, went full antivaccine this week and is drifting farther and farther from reality and deeper and deeper into conspiracy theories.”—”Whenever someone ‘challenges’ me like this, I almost always respond, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ So I’ll answer right now: Yes, Dr. Malone is wrong, and, although he clearly has a PhD and did do some interesting work getting mRNA into cells to express proteins decades ago, I do question his qualifications these days. Even if he’s ‘qualified,’ qualifications alone are not enough, particularly if you use them in the service of spreading disinformation, which Malone undoubtedly is.”
  • Florida man! “Florida man kicked off flight after trying to wear women’s underwear as a face mask“—”In other interview clips, Jenne said he has worn the underwear on other flights during the pandemic. He also compared himself to Rosa Parks, and said that he doesn’t wear a mask in the airport at all apart from going through security. Jenne called it an ‘injustice’ that he was removed from the flight in an interview with WFTX.”
  • QAnon Loses It And Thinks The Government Gave Them Anthrax During COVID Outbreak.” Tweet—”I have been following this saga for days. Basically, the guys behind the ‘election fraud audits’ are all sick after attending Michael Flynn and Clay Clark’s big QAnon conference, and they believe that anthrax was pumped in through the churches’ fog machines to poison them.”
  • Dallas QAnon Cultists Are Drinking Toxic Chemicals from A Communal Bowl, Family Says.”
  • ‘Q’ Has Been Quiet, but QAnon Lives On. With the absence of a leader, the movement has transformed into more of a ‘choose your own adventure’ conspiracy theory.”
  • The Gospel of Donald Trump Jr.. The former president’s son told a crowd that the teachings of Jesus have ‘gotten us nothing.'” Tweet—”Welcome to the new right wing evangelicalism, which replaces God the Father with Donald Trump the Reality Show Businessman, while denouncing the teachings of Jesus as weakness and ‘for suckers.’ It’s cruel, ugly, often moronic, and yes, it is a cult.”
  • Citizen Militias in the U.S. Are Moving toward More Violent Extremism. In some members, a longing for “simpler” times is giving rise to deadly activities.”
  • Will Donald Trump Get Away With Inciting an Insurrection? Trying to upend a free and fair election is one of the gravest crimes imaginable. We’re worried Merrick Garland isn’t taking it seriously enough.” Tweet—”When even the bloody New York Times is forced to admit you’re letting the fascists get away with their (still ongoing) coup attempt…”
  • America is now in fascism’s legal phase. The history of racism in the US is fertile ground for fascism. Attacks on the courts, education, the right to vote and women’s rights are further steps on the path to toppling democracy.”
  • Tweet—”The first statute of limitations for Trump’s various alleged obstructive activities expires in two months. What is DOJ doing? We don’t know. That’s a problem, for thoughtful reasons explained here:” “Merrick Garland Needs to Speak Up.”
  • Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes. The promise was a war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs. The documents show flawed intelligence, faulty targeting, years of civilian deaths — and scant accountability.”
  • Working Toward Full Suffrage“—”The right to vote is exactly that: a right. Not a reward that must be earned, not a privilege that can be revoked. In a nation founded on the promise of representative democracy, voting is one of the most sacred and fundamental rights we have — so much so that the right to vote is effectively synonymous with citizenship itself. So why do we allow millions of Americans to be stripped of that right, their citizenship effectively revoked, because of felony convictions? These Americans are still citizens, and should still be able to exercise their right to vote — even those who are currently serving their sentences. The Sentencing Project estimates that over 5 million citizens in this country can’t vote because of a felony conviction – and of those, roughly 75% are living in the community, and 25% are serving their sentences behind bars. There is a growing and urgently-needed movement toward ‘universal suffrage’ that would reinstate their right to vote, and protect their ability to participate in the choices we make together as a democratic nation.” Tweet—”Felony disenfranchisement laws do not serve any legitimate legal purpose, nor do they meaningfully deter unlawful behavior. They do far more harm than good. Meanwhile, a study found that participation in voting actually decreased recidivism.”
  • DC Police Tried to Fire 24 Current Officers for ‘Criminal Offenses.’ A Powerful Panel Blocked Nearly Every One, Documents Show. Disciplinary files obtained by Reveal and WAMU/DCist show how a panel of high-ranking officers – including the current police chief – kept troubled officers on the force.”
  • Kanye West’s ‘Independent’ Campaign Was Secretly Run by GOP Elites. The campaign took steps, experts say, to mask its connections to GOP operatives. That could violate federal election laws.” Tweet—”Seriously, we knew this, and if you thought it was anything else you were fooling yourself. And if you don’t get how this is INTIMATELY tied to EVERYTHING else about Kanye, at this point, it’s because you don’t want to.”
  • Anti-Zionist Gabriel Boric’s presidential win leaves Chile’s Jews worried. Gabriel Boric called Israel a “murderous state” in a meeting with Chile’s Jewish community during his campaign.” Tweet—”His defeated opponent, who they don’t mention for some reason, is the far-right son of a Nazi who fled Germany after WWII. Great tweet guys.”
  • Opinion | Trump Just Crossed a Red Line for His Evangelical and Jewish Fans. Trump’s obscenities and antisemitic tropes don’t bother his Jewish fans. But a recent quote has stunned his pro-Israel base, evangelicals and Jews, to the core – and could complicate his chances for a second term.” Tweet—”It won’t matter because if that happens American democracy will be well and truly dead shortly thereafter.” Tweet—”He may destroy our democracy with another coup but sure let’s worry about his promises to part of his base.”
  • Who Just Gave Trump $1 Billion? Let’s Find Out. Investments in a blank-check company backing the former president could turn out to be IOUs if he wins back the White House.”
  • Map by Map, G.O.P. Chips Away at Black Democrats’ Power. Black elected officials in several states, from Congress down to the counties, have been drawn out of their districts this year or face headwinds to hold onto their seats.”
  • Tweet—”I like this messaging of ‘restore the Senate rules’ instead of ‘abolish the filibuster’ or ‘reform the filibuster.’ The Constitution explicitly only required supermajority votes for a few very specific things, not everything.” Also “Harry Reid’s most valuable advice to future Democratic leaders. ‘I think the biggest lesson is never trust Republicans,’ says one of Reid’s former staffers.”
  • Joe Manchin Gaslights America“—”This week we take on the new mascot of obstructionism and excuse for legislative inaction — Joe Manchin! This human barrier to democracy has not received the level of investigation he deserves, so we dove in.” Also Tweet—”Hey @Sen_JoeManchin, this you?”
  • Tweet—”As Joe Madison enters his 6th week and nearly 20 students continue into their 2nd, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig is joining the hunger strike for democracy. The call for Biden & Democratic senators to waive the filibuster and pass voting rights law *this year* is growing.”
  • How Paid Experts Help Exonerate Police After Deaths in Custody. Inside the self-reinforcing ecosystem of people who advise, train and defend officers. Many accuse them of slanting science and perpetuating aggressive tactics.” Tweet—”This is a ‘police exoneration’ industry – funded by us.” Tweet—”We actually did know this and when we tried to tell people they said we were being dramatic. And good that it’s finally getting mainstream coverage.”
  • The Constitutional Right We Have Bargained Away. Instead of protecting defendants’ right to have their guilt or innocence decided by their peers, judges routinely punish defendants for exercising that right.”
  • Handcuffed and Unhoused. As homelessness rises, unhoused people often get entangled in a criminal justice cycle that leads back to the streets – or worse.”—”In Portland, Oregon, unhoused people make up at most 2% of the population, but they account for nearly half of all arrests. Cities have long turned to police as the mechanism for making homelessness disappear. But arrests don’t solve a housing crisis.”
  • A Grim, Long-Hidden Truth Emerges in Art: Native American Enslavement. Two exhibitions highlight stories of Indigenous bondage in southern Colorado, in an effort to grapple with the lasting trauma.”
  • “A Syllabus on Transgender and Nonbinary Methods for Art and Art History” [PDF, DOI] by David J. Getsy and Che Gossett. Tweet—”@cruisingatopia & I worked up “A Syllabus on Transgender and Nonbinary Methods for Art and Art History” for Art Journal (Winter 2021). Open access version (w/ as many downloadable links as we could get!) is coming soon, but in the meantime here is the PDF!”
  • Tweet—”That reminds me to remind you: Luddites were engineers. They used and understood the highest technologies of their age. They sabotaged the machines because the machines served capital, not people. They could sabotage the machines because they knew how they worked.”
  • He wore a wire, risked his life to expose who was in the KKK“—”For nearly 10 years, Joseph Moore lived a secret double life. At times the U.S. Army veteran donned a white robe and hood as a hit man for the Ku Klux Klan in North Florida. He attended clandestine meetings and participated in cross burnings. He even helped plan the murder of a Black man. However, Moore wore something else during his years in the klan – a wire for the FBI.”
  • Work and Purpose Aren’t Enemies. With Matt Bloom from University of Notre Dame.”
  • Tweet—”NEW: Workers who make cakes for Baskin Robbins are forced to work 12-14 hours/day, make 13+ cakes/minute & get 3 sick days/year. Workers say they’ve developed arthritis & been denied time off for cancer treatments. Now 100+ mainly immigrant Latina workers are on strike.”
  • Tweet—”My heart. Bernie with Kellogg’s workers on strike.” Also “Kellogg’s Strike Ends: BCTGM Members Ratify New Contract. Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) who work at Kellogg’s ready to eat cereal plants in Battle Creek, Mich., Lancaster, Pa., Omaha, Neb. and Memphis, Tenn. have voted to accept the recommended collective bargaining agreement. Approval of the contract ends the BCTGM’s strike against Kellogg’s, which began on October 5, 2021.” And tweet—”Remember what it took to get here and everything @KelloggsUS tried to do to avoid it.”
  • My Traumatizing Years With Bryan Singer.”
  • Tweet—”We shouldn’t just forgive student debt, we should also reassess the entire higher education system and what students are really getting out of it.”
  • Hospital Prices Are Unpredictable. One Type of Coverage Often Gets the Worst Rates. Hospitals’ highest rates often go to rental networks of healthcare providers that are sometimes used in limited-benefits plans, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.”
  • Tweet—”Cleese: Toughen up snowflakes! End cancel culture! You don’t have the right not to be offended! Also Cleese: Dear BBC, I am disgusted by the way you audaciously asked me questions about my recent rants and demand some sort of consequence.”
  • No wingsuit pilot has ever flown this close to the pyramids. Almost close enough to touch. Fred Fugen jumped at the chance to fly through the ancient pyramids of Giza. Here’s how this dream took flight.”
  • Huge Games Company Embracer Group Buys Dark Horse Comics. Expect some interesting crossovers in the future.” Also “EMBRACER GROUP ENTERS INTO AN AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE DARK HORSE AND FORMS THE TENTH OPERATIVE GROUP.” Also “Dark Horse Comics bought by video game giant Embracer. Embracer Group’s buying spree continues with Dark Horse, Perfect World, and more.” Also “Asmodee to Sell for €2.75 Billion to Sweden’s Embracer Group.” Also “Online U.S. Retailer Miniature Market Purchased by Asmodee.” Um, this buying spree is giving me flashbacks to the crashes I’ve experienced before. A lot of buying up of things lately. I’m minded that consolidation by large firms of smaller firms often seems a stage in the run up to a crash. Eventually the big firms can’t afford to buy smaller firms, which instead fail, then big firms can’t afford to exist either. Crash!
  • Watch “THE NORTHMAN – Official Trailer – In Theaters April 22.”—”From visionary director Robert Eggers comes THE NORTHMAN, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father’s murder. With an all-star cast that includes Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.” Björk! “Remember for whom you shed your last teardrop.” Also tweet—”Avenge father. Save mother. Kill Fjölnir. Watch the trailer for Robert Eggers’ #TheNorthman now, and this tweet for more updates.”
  • A Forbidden Orange (La naranja prohibida) on HBO Max—”Malcom McDowell narrates a powerful documentary charting the premiere in Spain of Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 masterpiece A Clockwork Orange, which was banned for clashing head-on with strict moral codes by censors who wished to clamp down on subversive ideas entering the country. In 1975, after a lengthy embargo under fascist dictator Francisco Franco, Kubrick’s film was screened at a long-running religious film festival in the conservative provincial city of Valladolid, an unlikely home for an event that would forever shape the lives of those in attendance. Explosive and eye-opening, A Forbidden Orange (La naranja prohibida) looks back at a film that, nearly 50 years later, still raises questions about the nature of freedom and film’s ability to change the world.”
  • Tweet—”Phone camera fixed, so check out a close up of my TRAPPIST-1 #exoplanet ornaments! All hand painted in acrylic using a reference from @NASAJPL.”
  • Tweet—”Remembering that time back in 2007 that I carefully re-created Iron Age coins of the Iceni and Trinovantes as Christmas biscuits.”
  • As misprints go, this is biblical. Tweet—”Ordered Werewolf the Apocalypse core book a while ago, and it finally arrived. Turns out it’s just a New Testament instead. @TheOnyxPath What kind of joke is this? This isn’t what I ordered.”
  • Tweet—”One thing Blade Runner, and The Expanse has taught us. Is that noodles are the official food of the future. ”
  • Tweet—”1989: I got the Star Wars RPG when I was a teen. My 1st player was my sister. Last she played was 1999. 2019: I ran a one-shot for my sister, her daughter & my son. The story crossed over with that first game! It was fantastic!”
  • Apropos of nothing, except that it is strangely mesmerizing, watch “DUDES OF HAZMAT – Toxic Waste Chase (music video)“—”Directed by/Animation by Drue Langlois.” “This song, ‘Robot Tune’ is by Winnipeg band, ‘French Class’.”