Omnium Gatherum: 13jan2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for January 13, 2022

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

  • A kilometer-wide asteroid will make its closest pass by Earth next week“—”An asteroid estimated to be a kilometer (3,451 feet) wide will fly by Earth on January 18. It will pass within 1.2 million miles of our planet, moving at 47,344 miles per hour, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, which tracks potentially hazardous comets and asteroids that could collide with our planet. The approaching asteroid is known as 7482 (1994 PC1) and it was discovered in 1994, according to NASA. Nobody expects 7482 (1994 PC1) to hit Earth, but it’s the closest the asteroid will come for the next two centuries, according to NASA projections. The flyby is expected to take place on Tuesday January 18 at 4.51 p.m. ET.” Also “DON’T LOOK UP! NASA warns at least FIVE asteroids are heading toward Earth in January and one is the size of Big Ben. A NASA report has warned that at least five asteroids are approaching near Earth this January – and one is the size of a large building.”
  • This is new news about old news, but in case you hadn’t heard before: “Horned helmets predate Vikings by 3,000 years, originating in the Bronze Age, researchers say“—”From appearing in the Asterix comic book series, to inspiring an avatar on ‘The Masked Singer,’ Vikings have revealed themselves across pop culture sporting horned helmets to symbolize their ferocity and power. However, two horned helmets first discovered in Viksø, Denmark have been traced back to Sardinia in the Bronze Age — dispelling myths that they originated from the Viking era, according to research published in the historical journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift in December. ‘For many years in popular culture, people associated the Viksø helmets with the Vikings,’ said Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who was involved in the research, in a press statement sent to CNN. ‘But our research confirms that the helmets were deposited in the bog in about 900 B.C., almost 3,000 years ago and many centuries before the Vikings or Norse dominated the region.'” Also “Horned ‘Viking’ helmets were actually from a different civilization, archaeologists say. Spectacular helmets worn by Bronze Age leaders as power symbols.”
  • Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz and Sunil Sharma, contributions by Asiya Alam, Andrew Amstutz, C. Ceyhun Arslan, David Boyk, Greg Halaby, Hans Harder, Megan Robin Hewitt, Nurten Kilic-Schubel and Roberta Micallef, due August, 2022—”When thinking of intrepid travelers from past centuries, we don’t usually put Muslim women at the top of the list. And yet, the stunning firsthand accounts in this collection completely upend preconceived notions of who was exploring the world. Editors Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, and Sunil Sharma recover, translate, annotate, and provide historical and cultural context for the 17th- to 20th-century writings of Muslim women travelers in ten different languages. Queens and captives, pilgrims and provocateurs, these women are diverse. Their connection to Islam is wide-ranging as well, from the devout to those who distanced themselves from religion. What unites these adventurers is a concern for other women they encounter, their willingness to record their experiences, and the constant thoughts they cast homeward even as they traveled a world that was not always prepared to welcome them. Perfect for readers interested in gender, Islam, travel writing, and global history, Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women provides invaluable insight into how these daring women experienced the world―in their own voices.” Also thread—”The history/ethics/politics of non-western travel writing is my dream course to teach for a long time. Here’s a short 🧵 on 10 books that flip the myth of traveling as a white colonial pastime: 1/ A collection of 45 Muslim women traveler’s writings from the 17th-20th centuries.”
  • Radical Dreams: Surrealism, Counterculture, Resistance [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Elliott H King and Abigail Susik, due March 2022—”Surrealism is widely thought of as an artistic movement that flourished in Europe between the two world wars. However, during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, diverse radical affinity groups, underground subcultures, and student protest movements proclaimed their connections to surrealism. Radical Dreams argues that surrealism was more than an avant-garde art movement; it was a living current of anti-authoritarian resistance. Featuring perspectives from scholars across the humanities and, distinctively, from contemporary surrealist practitioners, this volume examines surrealism’s role in postwar oppositional cultures. It demonstrates how surrealism’s committed engagement extends beyond the parameters of an artistic style or historical period, with chapters devoted to Afrosurrealism, Ted Joans, punk, the Situationist International, the student protests of May ’68, and other topics. Privileging interdisciplinary, transhistorical, and material culture approaches, contributors address surrealism’s interaction with New Left politics, protest movements, the sexual revolution, psychedelia, and other subcultural trends around the globe. A revelatory work, Radical Dreams definitively shows that the surrealist movement was synonymous with cultural and political radicalism. It will be especially valuable to those interested in the avant-garde, contemporary art, and radical social movements. In addition to the editors, the contributors to this volume include Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Jonathan P. Eburne, David Hopkins, Claire Howard, Michael Löwy, Alyce Mahon, Gavin Parkinson, Grégory Pierrot, Penelope Rosemont, Ron Sakolsky, Marie Arleth Skov, Ryan Standfest, and Sandra Zalman.”
  • The Bright Ages by Matthew Gabriele and David Perry review – the colourful side of the dark ages. This revisionist history of medieval Europe takes apart the myth of a savage, primitive period, but there are so many more great stories to be told.” About The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Matthew Gabriele and David Perry—”A lively and magisterial popular history that refutes common misperceptions of the European Middle Ages, showing the beauty and communion that flourished alongside the dark brutality—a brilliant reflection of humanity itself. The word ‘medieval’ conjures images of the ‘Dark Ages’—centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors. The Bright Ages takes us through ten centuries and crisscrosses Europe and the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, revisiting familiar people and events with new light cast upon them. We look with fresh eyes on the Fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the Vikings, the Crusades, and the Black Death, but also to the multi-religious experience of Iberia, the rise of Byzantium, and the genius of Hildegard and the power of queens. We begin under a blanket of golden stars constructed by an empress with Germanic, Roman, Spanish, Byzantine, and Christian bloodlines and end nearly 1,000 years later with the poet Dante—inspired by that same twinkling celestial canopy—writing an epic saga of heaven and hell that endures as a masterpiece of literature today. The Bright Ages reminds us just how permeable our manmade borders have always been and of what possible worlds the past has always made available to us. The Middle Ages may have been a world “lit only by fire” but it was one whose torches illuminated the magnificent rose windows of cathedrals, even as they stoked the pyres of accused heretics.”
  • The Western U.S. might be seeing its last snowy winters. By the end of the century, most years in the region could be nearly snowless.”
  • Air bubbles in Antarctic ice point to cause of oxygen decline. Glacial erosion likely caused atmospheric oxygen levels to dip over past 800,000 years.”
  • Could cannabis prevent COVID? To the authors of a new study, it sure looks like it. But put away the pipe — it appears the compounds that may be most helpful in preventing COVID degrade at high temps.”
  • From the ManBearPig dept: “In a First, Man Receives a Heart From a Genetically Altered Pig. The breakthrough may lead one day to new supplies of animal organs for transplant into human patients.”
  • USC Team Shows How Memories Are Stored in The Brain, With Potential Impact on Conditions Like PTSD. Fish that glow; a tailor-made microscope; a new way to catalog science. After six years, researchers produce the first snapshots of memory in a living animal.”
  • Don’t tell the poets. “Dolphins Have a Fully Functional Clitoris, Study Finds. Anatomically, everything about a dolphin’s clitoris indicates it evolved to help them feel pleasure, a group of researchers say.” Also “What dolphins reveal about the evolution of the clitoris. Patricia Brennan’s latest research suggests that bottlenose dolphins have clitorises that evolved for pleasure. She tells New Scientist why it’s important to study animal genitalia.”
  • What crying baby mice could teach us about human speech“—”When baby mice cry, they do it to a beat that is synchronized to the rise and fall of their own breath. It’s a pattern that researchers say could help explain why human infants can cry at birth — and how they learn to speak.”
  • African script holds clues to writing’s origins. Writing evolves to become simpler and more efficient, according to a new study based on the analysis of an isolated West African writing system.”—”In a study just published in Current Anthropology, a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, showed that writing very quickly becomes ‘compressed’ for efficient reading and writing. To arrive at this insight they turned to a rare African writing system that has fascinated outsiders since the early 19th century. ‘The Vai script of Liberia was created from scratch in about 1834 by eight completely illiterate men who wrote in ink made from crushed berries’, says lead author Dr Piers Kelly, now at the University of New England, Australia. The Vai language had never before been written down. According to Vai teacher Bai Leesor Sherman, the script was always taught informally from a literate teacher to a single apprentice student. It remains so successful that today it is even used to communicate pandemic health messages. ‘Because of its isolation, and the way it has continued to develop up until the present day, we thought it might tell us something important about how writing evolves over short spaces of time’, says Kelly. ‘There’s a famous hypothesis that letters evolve from pictures to abstract signs. But there are also plenty of abstract letter-shapes in early writing. We predicted, instead, that signs will start off as relatively complex and then become simpler across new generations of writers and readers.'” Also “Rare African Script Offers Clues to the Evolution of Writing. Writing evolves to become simpler and more efficient, according to a new study based on the analysis of an isolated West African writing system.”
  • Watch “Huge fossilised ‘sea dragon’ found in UK – BBC News“—”The fossilised remains of a 10m-long sea predator called an ichthyosaur were found at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, England, during landscaping work. It is the largest of its type ever discovered in the UK. Ichthyosaurs lived between 250 million and 90 million years ago and could grow up to 25 metres long. When water levels at the Rutland reservoir were lowered in the late summer of 2021, a team of palaeontologists came in to excavate the remains.” Also “Huge prehistoric ‘sea dragon’ fossil discovered in U.K. reservoir. The ichthyosaur, whose remains measure 32 feet in length, is estimated to have lived 180 million years ago.”
  • Fossil site discovery tells of Australia’s ‘origin story’“—”The arid deserts and shrublands in Australia weren’t always that way, according to a newly discovered and extraordinarily well-preserved fossil site in New South Wales. The fossilized spiders, cicadas, wasps, plants and fish, which date back to between 11 million and 16 million years ago during the Miocene Epoch, are painting a vivid picture of Australia’s once abundant rainforest ecosystems. ‘It is an extremely important fossil site. It has everything that we hope for, exceptionally well-preserved fossils from a time that we don’t know a lot about,’ said Matthew McCurry, a paleontologist at the Australian Museum Research Institute, who was an author of a study of the site that published in the journal Science Advances on Friday.”
  • Headquarters of Ancient Egyptian mining mission found in Sinai. Archaeologists working in the Wadi Al-Nasab region of the Sinai have uncovered the headquarters of a mining operation that dates back to the Middle Kingdom.”
  • Survey reveals 4,500-year-old network of funerary avenues. Researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) have identified a complex network of funerary avenues in north-west Arabia.”
  • Fungi that live on eucalyptus roots can control trees’ gene activity. Eucalyptus trees rely on root fungi to source nutrients and water – but the fungi actually control the genetic development of the tree roots by releasing tiny chunks of RNA.”
  • Is Space Pixelated? The search for signatures of quantum gravity forges ahead.”—”Scientists such as Rana Adhikari, professor of physics at Caltech, think the space we live in may not be perfectly smooth but rather made of incredibly small discrete units. ‘A spacetime pixel is so small that if you were to enlarge things so that it becomes the size of a grain of sand, then atoms would be as large as galaxies,’ he says. Adhikari and scientists around the world are on the hunt for this pixelation because it is a prediction of quantum gravity, one of the deepest physics mysteries of our time.”
  • Aw, bummer. “Moon Cube Mystery: Chinese Rover Finds It’s Just a Rock. A blurry image that China’s space program had called the ‘mystery hut’ was a result of camera angle, light and shadow.”
  • Scientists watch enormous star violently explode after ominous goodbye. Deep in space, a red supergiant dramatically blows up.”
  • Premature rejection in science: The case of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis” Also tweet—”Debunkers debunked. The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis vindicated. The linked paper exposes the shoddy scholarship of a small group of ‘skeptics’ whose attempts over the past 15 years to suppress the YDIH have done a significant disservice to science.”
  • The Year in Physics. Puzzling particles, quirky (and controversial) quantum computers, and one of the most ambitious science experiments in history marked the year’s milestones.”
  • Physicists detect a hybrid particle held together by uniquely intense ‘glue’. The discovery could offer a route to smaller, faster electronic devices.”
  • Earth’s Oceanography Helps Demystify Jupiter’s Flowing Cyclones. A team of scientists shows where some of the gas giant’s huge storms come from and how the process is similar to the buildup of extreme weather on our planet.”
  • Yes, there is really ‘diamond rain’ on Uranus and Neptune.”
  • New DNA-peptide molecules developed“—”When scientists discovered DNA and learned how to control it, not only science but society was revolutionized. Today, researchers and the medical industry routinely create artificial DNA structures for many purposes, including diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Now an international research team reports the creation of a powerful supermolecule they describe as a marriage between DNA and peptides.” “‘If you combine these two, as we have, you get a very powerful molecular tool, that may lead to the next generation of nanotechnology; it may allow us to make more advanced nanostructures, for example, for detecting diseases,’ says corresponding author Chenguang Lou, associate professor at Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark.”
  • Scientists Capture Airborne Animal DNA for the First Time. Researchers filtered the air around two zoos and identified genetic material from dozens of species, a technique that could help track and conserve wildlife.”
  • ‘Ghost’ orchid that grows in the dark among new plant finds. Hundreds of new species include pink voodoo lily and a ylang-ylang tree named after Leonardo DiCaprio.”
  • From Hominins to Horse-riders: Vast Span of Humanity in Indian Cave Art. The rock shelters of Bhimbetka in central India go back to the dawn of humanity, but what is the deal with ancient pictures of people astride horses and elephants?”
  • Folks, Please Don’t Mess With Texas Rock Art. Some idiots carved their names on prehistoric petroglyphs in Big Bend—and it’s part of a disturbing spike in vandalism.”—”Some 4,500 to 8,500 years ago, an unknown artist etched swirling symbols onto a shapely boulder in what is now Big Bend National Park. Several millennia later, on December 26, 2021, unknown visitors added a new feature to the rock art: they carved their names and the date of their crime on top of the petroglyph. Adrian, Ariel, Isaac, and Norma—or whatever your names are—if you’re reading this, a lot of folks have a question for you: What the hell?”
  • Luxury Badger leads archaeologists to hoard of Roman coins in Spain“—”A badger has led archaeologists to a hoard of more than 200 Roman coins that had been hidden in a cave in Spain for centuries. The animal had burrowed into a crack in the rock inside the La Cuesta cave in the Asturias region of northwest Spain, and dug out coins that were later discovered by a local man, Roberto García, according to a paper on the find published in December. García called in archaeologists, including dig director Alfonso Fanjul, who believes the badger was searching for food or digging itself a nest. ‘When we arrived we found the hole that led to the badger’s nest, and the ground around it full of coins,’ Fanjul told CNN on Monday, adding that more than 90 coins had been dug up by the badger.”
  • Study Challenges Evolutionary Theory That DNA Mutations Are Random. Findings Could Lead to Advances in Plant Breeding, Human Genetics. DNA mutations are not random as previously thought. Findings change our understanding of evolution. May help researchers breed better crops, fight cancer.”
  • How our ancestors used to sleep can help the sleep-deprived today.”—”Like many people, historian A. Roger Ekirch thought that sleep was a biological constant — that eight hours of rest a night never really varied over time and place. But while researching nocturnal life in preindustrial Europe and America, he discovered the first evidence that many humans used to sleep in segments — a first sleep and second sleep with a break of a few hours in between to have sex, pray, eat, chat and take medicine. ‘Here was a pattern of sleep unknown to the modern world,’ said Ekirch, a university distinguished professor in the department of history at Virginia Tech.” “Not all scholars believe that sleeping in two shifts, while perhaps common in some communities, was once a universal habit. Far from it, said Brigitte Steger, a senior lecturer in Japanese studies at the University of Cambridge in the UK, who didn’t uncover any references to segmented sleep in her work on sleep habits in Japan. ‘There is no such thing as natural sleep. Sleep has always been cultural, social and ideological,” said Steger, who is working on a series of six books about the cultural history of sleep. ‘There is not such a clear-cut difference between premodern (or pre-industrial) and modern sleep habits,’ she said via email. ‘And sleep habits throughout pre-industrial times and throughout the world have always changed. And, of course, there has always been social diversity, and sleep habits have been very different at court than for peasants, for instance.’ Similarly, Gerrit Verhoeven, an assistant professor in cultural heritage and history at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, said his study of criminal court records from 18th century Antwerp suggested that sleep habits weren’t so different to our own today. Seven hours of sleep was the norm and there was no mention of first or second sleep.” “If we wake up at night, sleep is likely to return, if sleep is not sacrificed to social media or other behavior that makes you more alert or activates a stress response, Foster’s research has suggested. Like most sleep experts, he recommended getting out of bed if you’re getting frustrated by the failure to fall back to sleep and engaging in a relaxing activity while keeping the lights low. ‘Individual sleep across humans is so variable. One size doesn’t fit all. You shouldn’t worry about the sort of sleep that you get,’ he said.” New article about old news, but if you hadn’t heard of this idea of biphasic sleep before, it’s interesting. Pretty sure I’d mentioned this before, but I didn’t see where when I looked just now. So, from 2006, check out At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by A Roger Ekirch—”Bringing light to the shadows of history through a ‘rich weave of citation and archival evidence’ (Publishers Weekly), scholar A. Roger Ekirch illuminates the aspects of life most often overlooked by other historians—those that unfold at night. In this ‘triumph of social history’ (Mail on Sunday), Ekirch’s ‘enthralling anthropology’ (Harper’s) exposes the nightlife that spawned a distinct culture and a refuge from daily life. Fear of crime, of fire, and of the supernatural; the importance of moonlight; the increased incidence of sickness and death at night; evening gatherings to spin wool and stories; masqued balls; inns, taverns, and brothels; the strategies of thieves, assassins, and conspirators; the protective uses of incantations, meditations, and prayers; the nature of our predecessors’ sleep and dreams—Ekirch reveals all these and more in his ‘monumental study’ (The Nation) of sociocultural history, ‘maintaining throughout an infectious sense of wonder’ (Booklist).”
  • Elsevier launches Complete Anatomy female model, the most advanced full female anatomy model available in the world“—”Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, is pleased to announce the launch of the most advanced 3D full female model ever available, as part of the latest addition to its 3D platform, Complete Anatomy. This marks the first time that a female model has been built with this level of detail in its entirety, to represent the female — versus replacing specific areas of the male anatomy with female features.”
  • Are we witnessing the dawn of post-theory science? Does the advent of machine learning mean the classic methodology of hypothesise, predict and test has had its day?”
  • Judge says the FTC’s Meta monopoly lawsuit can go forward. Reversing an earlier defeat.”
  • A New Document Reveals More of Google’s Anti-Union Strategy. An administrative law judge orders the company to turn over more documents, including one that describes an effort to convince employees that ‘unions suck.'”
  • One-Fifth of Global Bitcoin Mining Capacity Taken Out by Kazakhstan Protests. Many Bitcoin mining operations moved to Kazakhstan when they were banned from China. A government crackdown on anti-regime protests has now taken most of them offline.”
  • Raspberry Pi system can detect viruses on other devices without use of software“—”A team of researchers at the Institute of Computer Science and Random Systems has built a non-software-based virus detection system using a Raspberry Pi, an H-field probe and an oscilloscope to detect electromagnetic wave signatures of multiple types of viruses.” Also “Raspberry Pi Detects Malware Using Electromagnetic Waves. Researchers take antivirus support to the next level with the Raspberry Pi.”
  • ‘We don’t need to work anymore’: Local artists crack the code of NFTs. But the digital trading mechanism is still rife with scams, hacks and copyright issues.”
  • The Future Is Not Only Useless, It’s Expensive. In the end, we’re all bored apes.”—”NFTs are the human capacity for visual expression as understood by the guy at the vape store.”
  • Thread—”Boy, treating public schools as daycare so parents could be forced to service capitalism certainly seems to have a downside during a pandemic our country’s ruling class won’t effectively respond to, now doesn’t it.” Also tweet—”Short term thinking—coupled with greed—has destroyed so much good in this world. And continues to. But yeah, I’m the ‘unrealistic idealist’ whose insistence on long term strategy and compassion is ‘naive.’ Been hearing that since my teens. We do not have to live this way.”
  • Anti-vaxxism is the latest in America’s esoteric religions. As opposed to the exoteric religion of public health.”
  • Ohio solicitor general makes anti-vax mandate case to Supreme Court remotely after getting Covid. The justices are meeting Friday to hear arguments on two of the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates.”
  • Thread—”HELLO SORRY FOR THIS BUMMER POST but I needed to get it down somewhere. The pandemic is worse than it’s ever been and mitigation efforts are weaker than they’ve ever been and it’s making me feel out of my damn mind.” “I am suffering from very real cognitive dissonance over seeing the pandemic at its absolute worst while simultaneously having so many people just collectively say, ‘But I don’t want to do it anymore. I say no to the pandemic.’ And then accelerating through it as if that’ll work.” Also “The Great Surrender: How We Gave Up And Let COVID Win.”
  • Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID.”
  • Jan. 6 proved that what happens online doesn’t stay online. The storming of the US Capitol provided a number of lessons in terms of how unprepared institutions are for the reality of today’s information ecosystem.”—”We must face the ugly reality of what will probably happen because of our collective failure to take this warning shot seriously.”
  • Companies Donated Millions to Those Who Voted to Overturn Biden’s Win. One year after the Capitol riot, many businesses resumed corporate donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election.”
  • Revealed: The Billionaires Funding the Coup’s Brain Trust. Conservative mega-donors including the DeVoses and Bradleys are pumping big money into the Claremont Institute think tank that fueled Trump’s election-fraud fantasies.”
  • American Oversight Obtains Seven Phony Certificates of Pro-Trump Electors.”
  • The Riot and the Republic. One year after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol, experts, historians and politicians warn of a democracy still at risk.”
  • Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy.”
  • ‘Cancelled’ Madonna and Child found beneath Botticelli’s $40m Man of Sorrows. Infrared images of the painting, which is due to be sold at Sotheby’s in New York later this month, show that an earlier composition lies underneath.”
  • Strong language – John Horgan on an Irish language controversy. An Irishman’s Diary.”—”In private, his approach to the issue of the revival of Irish was as equally heedless of precedent, but based on a profound acquaintance with the Irish predilection for activities prohibited by law. He suggested once, in my hearing, that the cause of the revival would be greatly enhanced if the law was changed to ensure that anybody heard speaking would be brought to court and fined.”
  • Newcastle museum to return Benin bronze stave. Move by Great North Museum: Hancock is latest in number of repatriations that put pressure on British Museum to follow suit.”
  • ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia Exploring Sale of The CW. In a memo to staff Thursday, CW chief Mark Pedowitz confirmed that the network is on the block, adding that it is ‘too early to speculate what might happen.'”
  • China’s gaming crackdown puts 14,000 companies out of business. 14,000 gaming-related firms have deregistered since August.”
  • The Trouble With Kickstarter“—”That all said, the end state of Kickstarter’s blockchain plans don’t particularly matter. Whether or not the new platform comes to fruition, whether or not it uses less energy-intensive proof-of-stake software, whether or not people leave the platform, these are in the long run irrelevant. What the announcement should have revealed to anyone who felt strongly enough to leave the platform over it is that the TTRPG hobby has let Kickstarter become infrastructure. Leaving Kickstarter sounds great in a tweet, but ultimately doing so is going to be tough for many of the creators who, without the company, would have never gotten off the ground.” “Being an ethical consumer, in RPGs or in anything else, requires more work. It also means making your peace with the fact that it’s work many others are not going to do.”
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home, Piracy, and the End of the Box Office. Money-wise, the movie trounced The Matrix: Resurrections, but that’s a poor indicator of either film’s success.”
  • Tweet—”During Prohibition Era, wine industry released grape bricks which was concentrated grape juice with a warning that literally had directions to make wine. It read ‘after dissolving a brick in a gallon of water, do NOT place in a cupboard for 20 days because it will turn to wine’.”
  • Childless vow-of-chastity dude in silk robes, living with other men, leader of an organization known for opting for children in an impropriety way, says what now? “Opting for pets over children is selfish and ‘takes away our humanity,’ says Pope Francis.”
  • From the LLAP ש‎ 🖖 dept: “To Boldly Explore the Jewish Roots of ‘Star Trek’. An exhibition at a Jewish cultural center has plenty of artifacts to delight Trekkies — but it also notes the Jewish origins of the Vulcan salute.”