Omnium Gatherum: 26jan2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for January 26, 2022.

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

  • 15 days left for “Humble Comics Bundle: Humanoids Megabundle Featuring The Incal“—”Sci-fi masterpieces & groundbreaking graphic fiction. Get transported to one of the most influential sci-fi dystopias of all time in this megabundle from Humanoids! Discover the groundbreaking The Incal series by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius, then explore the wildest reaches of the universe in the The Metabarons saga. Add Space Bastards and more acclaimed graphic fiction to your collection, all while supporting comic creators through the Hero Initiative! In case you missed them… The top two tiers of this megabundle include content from two past popular bundles from Humanoids: The Incal & More and Moebius & More.”
  • The World After Capital [Publisher, Creative Commons online, Local Library] by Albert Wenger—”Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting once more. We need to figure out how to live in The World After Capital in which the only scarcity is our attention.”
  • Heat 2: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner, due Aug 2022—”Michael Mann, four-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker and writer-director of Heat, Collateral, Thief, Manhunter, and Miami Vice, teams up with Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first crime novel — an explosive return to the world and characters of his classic film Heat — an all-new story that illuminates what happened before and after the iconic film. Described by Michael Mann as both a prequel and sequel to the renowned, critically acclaimed film of the same name, HEAT 2 covers the formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Oscar winner Al Pacino) and elite criminals Neil McCauley (Oscar winner Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), and Nate (Oscar winner Jon Voight), and features the same extraordinary ambition, scope, rich characterizations, and attention to detail as the epic film. This new story leads up to the events of the film and then moves beyond it, featuring new characters on both sides of the law, new high-line heists, and breathtakingly cinematic action sequences. Ranging from the streets of L.A. to the inner sancta of rival Taiwanese crime syndicates in Paraguay to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation just over the border in Mexico, HEAT 2 illuminates the dangerous workings of international crime organizations and the agents who pursue them as it provides a full-blooded portrait of the men and women who inhabit both worlds. Operatic in scope, HEAT 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic — a masterpiece of crime fiction from one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in American cinema.”
  • wait, whut? I mean: Wait, whut?! Tweet—”my mind is fucking blown because I was going over proofs of one of my forthcoming pieces, & noted that ‘e.e. cummings’ should be lowercase. IT TURNS OUT: ‘per family correspondence with Cummings, our copy editor says he preferred his name to be capitalized’ (!!!!!!!)” Also tweet—”I am looking at my CMOS 17 and my mouth is hanging open”—”E. E. Cummings can be safely capitalized; it was one of his publishers, not he himself, who lowercased his name.”
  • Scientists break through major milestone in harnessing fusion energy. Process uses materials found in seawater to produce energy like a star.”—”Scientists have made a major stride towards turning fusion energy into a viable energy source. The research could allow for the creation of a whole new kind of sustainable energy source that in turn could revolutionise the way we power our world.”
  • A Mysterious ‘X Particle’ Could Help Explain the Birth of Reality. Scientists achieved breakthrough detections of an elusive particle from the dawn of time at the Large Hadron Collider.”—”These short-lived particles, which are called ‘X’ because their internal structure is unknown, existed in the chaotic microseconds after the Big Bang, when the universe was filled with a churning subatomic soup called quark-gluon plasma. They are, however, exceedingly rare in the modern universe, leaving many of their properties shrouded in mystery.”
  • Huge asteroid over twice size of Empire State Building caught in eerie footage making close approach to Earth. An asteroid more than twice the size of the Empire State Building made a nerve-shredding close approach to Earth on Tuesday this week.” (Last week, but you know …) Also “Don’t look up! Astronomer captures footage of huge 3,451ft asteroid as it makes its closest approach to Earth in almost 90 years. Footage of asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) captured by Italy’s Virtual Telescope Project. The huge rocky body shows up as just a tiny white dot shooting among the stars. Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) was first discovered by Australian astronomers in 1994. It made a close approach of Earth on Tuesday, a day after the footage was taken.”
  • Monster black hole spotted ‘giving birth’ to stars. The Hubble telescope just spotted a 500-light-year-long ‘umbilical cord’ for baby stars.”
  • Saturn’s ‘Death Star’ moon might be hiding an underground ocean. Furthering the search for potential life in our solar system.”
  • Pig Kidneys Transplanted Into Brain-Dead Man as Patients Face Organ Shortages. First-of-its-kind surgery in Alabama is seen potentially leading to clinical trials of animal-to-human transplants.”
  • Along the coast of Brittany, a search for our prehistoric ancestors. The Carnac Alignments, set in place some 6,500 years ago, provide a rocky path to our Neolithic past.”
  • ‘If people want Stonehenge to be a UFO landing site, that’s fine’. Thought we’d never know who built that giant stone circle? Think again – as a new British Museum show transports us into their world.”
  • Tweet—”Absolutely extraordinary: a complete stretch of a 13th-century log road discovered in Berlin’s city centre. The state of preservation is astonishing!”
  • Microsoft’s $70 Billion Purchase Of Activision Was Inevitable.” Also “Microsoft’s Activision move proves the competition is no longer Sony, it’s something much bigger.” Also “Why Bobby Kotick Sold Activision To Microsoft, W/O His PR Spin.”
  • Antimicrobial resistance now a leading cause of death worldwide, study finds. Lancet analysis highlights need for urgent action to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.”—”Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to humanity, health leaders have warned, as a study reveals it has become a leading cause of death worldwide and is killing about 3,500 people every day. More than 1.2 million – and potentially millions more – died in 2019 as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, according to the most comprehensive estimate to date of the global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The stark analysis covering more than 200 countries and territories was published in the Lancet. It says AMR is killing more people than HIV/Aids or malaria. Many hundreds of thousands of deaths are occurring due to common, previously treatable infections, the study says, because bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.”
  • Red wine wards off coronavirus… but beer does not, according to new research. People drinking more than five glasses of red a week cut risk of catching Covid. Experts believe this revelation is due to the drink’s high polyphenol content. Beer and cider drinkers had near 28 per cent higher chance of contracting virus.”
  • What life is like for an 11-year-old. Avah Lamie, 11, says this is a stressful time to be a kid. Rates of anxiety and depression among children and youth were on the rise even before COVID, but the past two years have made things worse.”
  • Thread—”In year three of the pandemic, I see many people mourning not only death around us, but a loss of public trust in institutions, spread of misinformation, and governmental instability. For today, I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about cholera.” “Some of you may have heard much of this story before. But I want to talk about something rarely discussed in the conversation around cholera; cholera riots. In many places, it was obvious that more poor people were dying of cholera than rich people.” “Particularly in Europe, rumors spread. There were those who accused the government of creating the disease to rid their cities of the urban poor. There were outcries against this “Oriental” disease. The press often contributed, with op-eds spurring on these vitriolic claims.” “In 1830-1832, all hell broke loose. Violence rose against the rich, against the classed gentry, against doctors, against patients, against foreigners. In Russia, protestors specifically organized against measures taken to slow the spread of cholera.”
  • The next Covid variant will be more contagious than omicron, but the question is whether it will be more deadly, WHO says. WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove warned against theories that the virus will continue to mutate into milder strains that make people less sick than earlier variants. The virus will continue to evolve before it settles into a pattern, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s director of emergency programs. Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday started testing a Covid vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant.”
  • The Anti-Vaccine Right Brought Human Sacrifice to America. Since last summer, the conservative campaign against vaccination has claimed thousands of lives for no ethically justifiable purpose.”—”large-scale human sacrifice can be a useful modern political tool for a party ideologically committed to extreme inequality. What might be the next public-health crisis they can exploit?”
  • Thread—”We’ve reached a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (a really long thread). So many (even safe, rational) folks are leaning on a new motto- one I’m calling ‘endemic fatalism’. “We’re all going to get it,” is what I keep hearing. No doubt that Omicron has shifted the narrative.” “What is clear from even a cursory historical examination of the concept of endemicity is that there are cultural and political, and not always scientific reasons for labelling a disease endemic.” “at best welcoming COVID endemicity is a neoliberal apology for the failure of most gov’s ability to properly handle COVID-19 for the past two years. At its worst this view is a neodarwinian fatalism. We need to stand against both. This history matters.” “Framing a disease as either endemic or epidemic has always been about fitting a political and cultural agenda.”
  • At DC Rally, Anti-Vaxxers Claim the Legacy of Slavery and the Holocaust (Again and Again and Again). Attendees of the ‘Defeat the Mandates’ rally explained to Motherboard how they were like Black people during Jim Crow or Jews under Hitler.”—”A few hours later they would see Robert F. Kennedy Jr. unfavorably compare the conditions under which they are living to those faced by Jews living under the Nazis. ‘Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland,” Kennedy said in remarks his own wife called “reprehensible and insensitive.’ ‘You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.'”
  • Alleged Capitol Rioters Are Getting In Trouble For Guns And Other Violations After Going Home. A common theme popping up in violations among those on pretrial release has come from defendants who are reluctant to give up access to firearms.” Tweet—”It’s almost like they weren’t precious innocent babies led astray by Trump, but violent assholes the whole time.”
  • Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states.” Also “Why Rudy Giuliani’s fake electors scheme was so dangerous to democracy.”
  • Is the Anti-Democracy Movement Reaching a Tipping Point in the US and Around the World? This debate about how humans should govern themselves is the real battle of our time, both metaphorically and literally, both internationally and right here at home.”
  • Voting rights fight shifts back to statehouses as Senate Democrats fail to advance national protections“—”‘If Congress cannot act because of a broken Senate, and federal courts refuse to protect voting rights, then states will have an open invitation to abuse the rights of their own people. It is folly to think that these laws in the states are as bad as it can get,’ said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.”
  • Thread—”It’s been a while, but for the masochists amongst you, here’s the return of #TheWeekInTory 1. The PM said he’d done nothing wrong, and had therefore apologised to the Queen for doing it 2. He claimed he hadn’t broken rules because nobody had told him the rules, which he wrote …”
  • ‘People Need to Know She Sucks’: Kyrsten Sinema’s Volunteers, Ex-Staff Are Fed Up. ‘I’m livid. I can only call her a turncoat,’ one former volunteer said. ‘I feel betrayed.'” Also tweet—”Thinking about the time when I worked on her 2012 campaign and she made me drive to a tv studio an hour and a half away to pick up a hairbrush she left there.” Also thread—”THREAD on Sinema: Sinema’s behavior has made no common sense to me. Surely she knows too that she would lose in the 2024 Democratic primary. Why would she do it? I have info from an inside source who lives in AZ and has a direct connection. With his permission am sharing. 1/” “To Sinema, as many of us suspected, her term in the U.S. Senate, she believes is just a stopping ground for her next step. She doesn’t assume she will need to be re-elected. This is something I imagined, but assumed she would be a consultant or something of that variety.” “Sinema believes she will be running to President in 2024 I am told. This self-styled bipartisanship she believes she speaks for, will be her brand to run as the candidate in the middle. Not far-left of far-right. She has convinced herself this is her calling and she has it.”
  • Tweet—”The story of America captured on a box of butter. They removed the Native — but they kept the land.”
  • An old Virginia plantation, a new owner and a family legacy unveiled. A man who purchased a plantation home in the rural Virginia community he grew up in later learned its original owners had enslaved his ancestors.”
  • Two men take corpse into Irish post office to claim dead man’s pension. Deceased man ‘propped up’ by two men as they walked into the building in County Carlow on Friday morning.”
  • Tweet—”what if i told you this is bad actually.” “it’s lovely that these kids stepped up. in no world should they have had to. it’s an absolute governmental failure.”
  • Kojak’s brand: “New York City’s 90-Year Old Famed Tobacco Shop to Shut Its Doors. As coronavirus pandemic emptied Midtown, most of store’s customer base also evaporated; ‘We are as authentic to New York as Hermès is to Paris’”
  • From the Crowley Corollary dept: Oh, wow. The depiction of the character they called “Aleister Crowley” in Pennyworth s01 is risibly off base and stupid, that’s not even to mention the fact that he’d have been at least 84 years old when the show takes place and he had already died decades earlier. Even for an alternate timeline, it’s just stupid. It was okay until about ½ through the first season, I guess. Things went down hill from there. I don’t think I can bring myself to watch s02.
  • Mars, Nestlé and Hershey to face child slavery lawsuit in US. Chocolate companies are among the defendants named in a lawsuit brought by former child workers in Ivory Coast.” And, just from last year, but sure, let’s retcon the M&M mascots
  • Wow, I hope they find some kind of a clue about what might possibly have happened so they can solve this one! “100+ Snakes Found in Maryland Home With Dead Man. When deputies arrived to a home in Pomfret, Maryland, they found a man unresponsive and a house full of snakes.” “Man found dead in Pomfret house containing more than 100 snakes“—”A man was found dead Wednesday night in Charles County in a house containing more than 100 snakes. According to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, a man called authorities concerned for his 49-year-old neighbor who he saw lying on the floor unconscious. Deputies and EMS crews arrived at the house in the 5500 block of Raphael Drive in Pomfret, forced their way in and found the man dead. Detectives investigating the man’s death said there were no obvious signs of foul play. The man was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. Authorities said there were more than 100 venomous and non-venomous snakes of different varieties in tanks inside the house.”
  • FREEDOM! “Robot vacuum cleaner escapes from Cambridge Travelodge. A robot vacuum cleaner made a break for freedom after giving staff the slip at a Travelodge hotel.”
  • RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! “Monkey on loose in Pennsylvania after crash on way to laboratory. Police advise people not to approach cynomolgus monkey believed to be on the loose near Danville after Friday crash.”
  • Two men hit by woman falling out of window… who was looking at another man who fell off rooftop. Luckily, everyone involved is expected to pull through.”
  • A Search Engine That Finds You Weird Old Books. To help ‘rewild your attention’ I built a book-finding app.”