Omnium Gatherum: 9feb2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 9, 2022.

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

  • Watch “But God Didn’t Say That: Religious Community Members Talk God and Abortion“—”Sam sits down with Jaime Manson, Rafa Kidvai, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg to learn how their counterparts on the right have successfully melted American minds to make us believe that God outlawed abortion. God didn’t. God’s actually pretty chill.” Also tweet—”The American right is obsessed with curbing abortion rights for religious reasons. The problem? Not all religions are opposed to abortion. Also, women are people.”
  • Nona the Ninth [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Tamsyn Muir, book 3 of the Locked Tomb series, due September 2022, has a cover now. “Her city is under siege. The zombies are coming back. And all Nona wants is a birthday party. In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back. The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever. And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…”
  • The Antidote to Melancholy: Robert Burton’s Centuries-Old Salve for Depression, Epochs Ahead of Science. ‘Whosoever… is overrun with solitariness, or carried away with pleasing melancholy and vain conceits… or crucified with worldly care, I can prescribe him no better remedy than… to compose himself to the learning of some art or science.'”—”An impressive florilegium nearing a thousand pages strewn with a progenitor of hypertext, the book weaves together a cornucopia of quotations from earlier writers, from Seneca to Solomon, to illustrate Burton’s central points — many radical then, some radical still — about a subject he examines ‘philosophically, medicinally, historically, opened and cut up’; a subject of which he had an early and intimate experience. ‘That which others hear or read of,’ he wrote, ‘I felt and practised myself; they get their knowledge by books, I mine by melancholizing.'” “Eventually — centuries before psychologists demonstrated that revising our inner narrative about a situation is the only way to improve our experience of that situation — Burton reoriented to his circumstance, coming to feel that his ‘monastick life’ protected him ‘from those tumults & troubles of the world.’ Out of this conflicted isolation, he composed The Anatomy of Melancholy, subtitled What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptomes, prognostickes, & severall cures of it. It went on to touch lives as varied as Samuel Johnson, Jorge Luis Borges, and Nick Cave. Keats — whose brief and light-giving life was punctuated by periodic onslaughts of darkness — declared it his favorite book.” “With the sensitive disclaimer that overabsorption in the life of the mind can itself become a source of melancholy, he adds: ‘Study is only prescribed to those that are otherwise idle, troubled in mind, or carried headlong with vain thoughts and imaginations, to distract their cogitations… and divert their continual meditations another way. Nothing in this case better than study… As meat is to the body, such is reading to the soul.'”
  • Sherlock Holmes, Scientific Detective. Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation was born into an age of stunning change. How did Holmes react to his era?”—”The Grolier Club, a private society for bibliophiles on the Upper East Side, with its marble foyer and dark wood-panelled gallery, would be a fine stage for a nineteenth-century fictional murder, perhaps done in the library with a candlestick, most certainly involving a will. On January 12th, an exhibit called ‘Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects’ opened there.”
  • ‘Unbind the tongue’. Joyce and the Irish language, in the centenary year of Ulysses.”
  • Banned: Books on race and sexuality are disappearing from Texas schools in record numbers. Facing pressure from parents and threats of criminal charges, some districts have ignored policies meant to prevent censorship. Librarians and students are pushing back.”
  • Art Spiegelman on Maus and free speech: ‘Who’s the snowflake now?’ Since his early days in the underground comix scene, Spiegelman has reveled in ‘saying the unsayable’ and subverting convention.”—”“You know how Joe Manchin is a thorn in our side?” Spiegelman asked in a phone interview this week. ‘His uncle, A Jamie Manchin, was the state treasurer of West Virginia in the 80s. He said that Garbage Pail Kids should be banned because they’re subverting children. It runs in his family. It reminds me that things keep changing, but we’re still dealing with permutations of the same struggles.'” Also “‘Maus’ Sells Out, Art Spiegelman to Speak“—”The decision regarding one of the most iconic books ever written about the Holocaust prompted widespread shock and criticism. Among those who criticized the decision were the bestselling British author Neil Gaiman. ‘There’s only one kind of people who would vote to ban ‘Maus,’ whatever they are calling themselves these days,’ Gaiman said.”
  • Like clockwork: “LGBTQ book ban proponent faces felony child molestation charge in Missouri. The man tried to have the award-winning graphic memoir “Fun Home,” among other LGBTQ titles, removed from school libraries in Kansas City.”
  • Astronomers Witness A Dying Star Reach Its Explosive End. Two Hawai’i Telescopes Capture a Massive Star Moments Before Going Supernova.”—”For the very first time, astronomers have imaged in real time the dramatic end to a red supergiant’s life, watching the massive star’s rapid self-destruction and final death throes before it collapsed into a Type II supernova. Using two Hawaiʻi telescopes – the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy Pan-STARRS on Haleakalā, Maui and W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi Island – a team of researchers conducting the Young Supernova Experiment (YSE) transient survey observed the red supergiant during its last 130 days leading up to its deadly detonation. ‘This is a breakthrough in our understanding of what massive stars do moments before they die,’ says Wynn Jacobson-Galán, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study. ‘Direct detection of pre-supernova activity in a red supergiant star has never been observed before in an ordinary Type II supernova. For the first time, we watched a red supergiant star explode!'”
  • Mysteriously magnetic rocks collected on Apollo mission finally get an explanation. The rocks retrieved by the Apollo missions have puzzled scientists for 50 years.”—”‘Instead of thinking about how to power a strong magnetic field continuously over billions of years, maybe there’s a way to get a high-intensity field intermittently,’ Evans said. During the first few billion years of the moon’s life, long before most of it froze inside to leave only a small iron inner core surrounded by a partially molten outer core, our orbital companion was an ocean of molten rock. Importantly, however, the moon’s core wasn’t significantly hotter than the mantle above it, meaning that very little convection between the two occurred. The fact that the moon’s molten contents couldn’t churn inside it meant that it couldn’t have had a steady magnetic field like Earth’s. But the researchers say the moon could have created a strong intermittent field.”
  • The First Quadruple Asteroid: Astronomers Spot a Space Rock With 3 Moons. Astronomers had already spotted two other rocks orbiting the asteroid known as 130 Elektra, and think more quadruple systems are out there.”
  • Project Lyra: A Mission to 1I/’Oumuamua without Solar Oberth Manoeuvre“—”To settle the question of the nature of the interstellar object 1I/’Oumuamua requires in-situ observations via a spacecraft, as the object is already out of range of existing telescopes. Most previous proposals for reaching 1I/’Oumuamua using near-term technologies are based on the Solar Oberth Manoeuvre (SOM), as trajectories without the SOM are generally significantly inferior in terms of lower mission duration and higher total velocity requirement. While the SOM allows huge velocity gains, it is also technically challenging and thereby increases programmatic and mission-related risks. In this paper, we identify an alternative route to the interstellar object 1I/’Oumuamua, based on a launch in 2028, which does not require a SOM but has a similar performance as missions with a SOM. It instead employs a Jupiter Oberth Manoeuvre (JOM) with a total time of flight of around 26 years or so. The efficacy of this trajectory is a result of it significantly reducing the ΔV to Jupiter by exploiting the VEEGA sequence. The total ΔV of the trajectory is 15.8 kms−1 and the corresponding payload mass is 115 kg for a SLS Block 1B or 241 kg for a Block 2. A further advantage of the JOM is that the arrival speed relative to 1I/’Oumuamua is approximately 18 kms−1, much lower than the equivalent for the SOM of around 30 kms−1.” Also watch Can We FLY to ‘OUMUAMUA???“—”The ‘Oumuamua mystery is still not solved: What is ‘Oumuamua? The only way to find out is to fly there. But is that possible? This video answers this question.”
  • Biologists discover new insect species at Rice University. Lab waits to see how Houston’s historic 2021 freeze impacted tiny wasp species.”—”Its name sounds legendary, but the newly discovered insect Neuroterus (noo-ROH’-teh-rus) valhalla doesn’t look or act the part. It’s barely a millimeter long and spends 11 months of the year locked in a crypt. N. valhalla does have the noteworthy distinction of being the first insect species to be described alongside its fully sequenced genome, and the Rice University researchers who discovered it are preparing to see how the tiny, nonstinging wasps may have been impacted by Houston’s historic February 2021 freeze.”
  • Whoa, careful where you stick that thermometer! “Scientists use penguins to help track climate change. Climate scientists use various methods of measuring changes on Earth.”—”Climate scientists use various methods of measuring changes on Earth. These include checking sea temperatures, extreme weather patterns and changes in vegetation across continents. But another helpful method of keeping an eye on climate change has emerged in Antarctica – tracking colonies of penguins!”
  • Same-sex penguin couple become first-time dads at New York zoo“—”A penguin couple received an extra special New Year’s gift at a zoo in New York, where they became the organization’s first same-sex foster parents to successfully hatch an egg. The chick was hatched on January 1 by Elmer and Lima, two adult male Humboldt penguins, at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, the zoo announced in a press release. Elmer and Lima were both born at the zoo themselves — Elmer in 2016 and Lima in 2019 — and they became a couple in fall 2021 during the current breeding season. ‘The penguins are free to choose who they want to spend time with (pair with) and in their case, they chose each other,’ zoo director Ted Fox told CNN in an email, adding: ‘The welfare and wellbeing of every animal that lives at the zoo is very important to us and we support and encourage each animal to make its own choices when choosing their mates.'”
  • Remains of woolly mammoth found on Devon building site. Bones of ice age mammoth, bison, rhinoceros, wolf and hyena uncovered by digger on outskirts of Plymouth.”—”The remains of a woolly mammoth, rhinoceros, bison, wolf and hyena have been found in a cave system uncovered by a digger during the building of a new town in the south-west of England. Experts said the find at Sherford, a 5,500-home development on the outskirts of Plymouth, was “exceptional” and gave an astonishing glimpse into the megafauna that roamed what is now Devon between 30,000 and 60,000 years ago.”
  • Wooly Mammoth De-extinction Scientist Reveals Plan To Create ‘Arctic Elephant’“—”scientist who plans to bring the wooly mammoth—or at least its genes—back from extinction has revealed details about creating an ‘Arctic elephant.’ Mammoths mostly died out around 10,000 years ago. As sea levels rose, the remaining population got stranded on Wrangel Island and eventually disappeared 4,000 years ago. Well-preserved samples of these extinct giants have since been found in the Arctic permafrost, allowing researchers to get a glimpse of their DNA sequence.”
  • Ancient DNA Boom Underlines a Need for Ethical Frameworks. The field of ancient DNA, which combines archaeology and anthropology with cutting-edge genetics, is requiring scientists to have frank conversations about when research is justified and who it benefits.”
  • Archaeologists Discover Missing Link in Human Evolution, in Israel. A hominin died in Jordan Valley 1.5 million years ago – and isn’t the same species as the hominins who reached central Asia 1.8 million years ago. Israeli archaeologists prove there were multiple exits from Africa, and by more than one human species.”
  • Israeli study finds early humans knew to situate hearth in cave’s optimal spot. Tel Aviv University researchers find that as far back as 150,000 years ago, cave-dwelling humans could pick best spot for a fire for minimum smoke and maximum benefits.”—”A new study by Tel Aviv University has found that early cave-dwelling humans were able to place the hearth in the optimal location to allow inhabitants to make the most of the warmth while exposing them to minimal smoke.”
  • Egypt breakthrough as Greek tomb containing 20 mummies found while Cleopatra hunt goes on. ARCHAEOLOGISTS have made a breakthrough discovery in Egypt after unearthing 20 mummies found in a Greco-Roman tomb as the hunt for Cleopatra continues.”
  • Why the foetus of the pregnant mummy is preserved?“—”The foetus remained in the untouched uterus and began to, let say, “pickle”. It is not the most aesthetic comparison, but conveys the idea.”
  • Researchers discover locations of ancient Maya sacred groves of cacao trees. For as much as modern society worships chocolate, cacao — the plant chocolate comes from — was believed to be even more divine to ancient Mayas. The Maya considered cacao beans to be a gift from the gods and even used them as currency because of their value.” As an aside: “The Best Hot Cocoa Is Chartreuse Hot Cocoa. How an herbal liqueur from the Alps—plus a little whiskey—transformed my hot chocolate routine.”—”Once the hot chocolate is really simmering and frothy, I pour it into mugs and add ½ ounce Chartreuse and ¼ ounce high-proof bourbon to each serving.”
  • How a Wildly Popular Fashion Trend That Dominated Stone Age African Civilizations Suggests a 50,000-Year-Old Social Network. Tiny beads led to a big discovery for archaeologists.”—”Scientists have discovered what they believe to be a 50,000-year-old social network—perhaps the world’s earliest—thanks to pieces of Stone Age jewelry scattered across southern and eastern Africa. Humans are thought to have begun wearing beads some 75,000 years ago, making them one of the earliest forms of human adornment.” “The similarities in the beads from different areas suggests a coherent social network spanning a large distance, tying the south of the continent to the east. Beads may have been traded between groups as a sign of allyship—or the trend might have spread from community to community.”
  • Evidence of Viking raids in economic and political development of contemporary Russia. Vikings were not a uniform phenomenon in ancient Scandinavia. They were part of a complex system of a plunder economy that existed in Europe until the early Middle Ages.”
  • Archaeologists find ancient 2000-year-old Buddhist temple. Archaeologists have found one of the oldest known Buddhist temples in the city of Barikot, in the Swat region of Pakistan.”
  • Ancient and hidden, Machu Picchu’s complexity uncovered by archaeologists. Laser-equipped drones have helped archaeologists uncover previously unknown parts of the sprawling ruins.”
  • Archeologists discover 2 giant sphinxes at the lost ‘Temple of a Million Years’ built by a great pharaoh in Egypt 3,300 years ago. Archeologists found two large sphinx statues during the restoration of a temple in Luxor, Egypt. The ‘Temple of Millions of Years’ was a vast funerary temple of King Amenhotep III, who ruled about 3,300 years ago. The limestone statues measured around 26 feet in length and depict the Pharoah in the form of a sphinx.”
  • 164 million-year-old plant fossil is the oldest example of a flowering bud. The discovery changes what we know about the evolution of flowering plants, researchers say.”
  • Scientists at UMass Amherst Engineer New Material That Can Absorb and Release Enormous Amounts of Energy. Researchers inspired by nature to create a new, programmable super ‘metamaterial'”—”A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently announced in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had engineered a new rubber-like solid substance that has surprising qualities. It can absorb and release very large quantities of energy. And it is programmable. Taken together, this new material holds great promise for a very wide array of applications, from enabling robots to have more power without using additional energy, to new helmets and protective materials that can dissipate energy much more quickly. ‘Imagine a rubber band,’ says Alfred Crosby, professor of polymer science and engineering at UMass Amherst and the paper’s senior author. “You pull it back, and when you let it go, it flies across the room. Now imagine a super rubber band. When you stretch it past a certain point, you activate extra energy stored in the material. When you let this rubber band go, it flies for a mile.’ This hypothetical rubber band is made out of a new metamaterial—a substance engineered to have a property not found in naturally occurring materials—that combines an elastic, rubber-like substance with tiny magnets embedded in it. This new ‘elasto-magnetic’ material takes advantage of a physical property known as a phase shift to greatly amplify the amount of energy the material can release or absorb.”
  • Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy. European scientists say they have made a major breakthrough in their quest to develop practical nuclear fusion – the energy process that powers the stars.”
  • Genetically engineered immune cells have kept two people cancer-free for a decade. Doctors say long-lasting effects show CAR-T therapy can ‘cure’ some patients.”—”In 2010, two blood cancer patients received an experimental immunotherapy, and their cancers went into remission. Ten years later, the cancer-fighting immune cells used in the therapy were still around, a sign the treatment can be long-lasting, researchers report February 2 in Nature.” “The treatment, known as CAR-T cell therapy, used the patients’ own genetically engineered immune cells to track down and kill cancerous cells (SN: 6/27/18). Based on the results, ‘we can now conclude that CAR-T cells can actually cure patients with leukemia,’ cancer immunologist and study coauthor Carl June of the University of Pennsylvania said at the briefing.”
  • Kombucha Cultures Could Be the Key to Better Water Filters. A study found that filtration membranes formed from SCOBYs are more effective at preventing bacterial growth than commercial equivalents.”
  • These Animals Are Feasting on the Ruins of an Extinct World. Scientists had no idea how an underwater Arctic volcano could sustain so much life. And then they noticed the black tubes.” Also “A thriving colony of 300-year-old Arctic sea sponges survives by eating the fossils of extinct worms. Scientists discovered a huge colony of sea sponges atop a deep-sea mountain in the Arctic Ocean. The sponges, which average 300 years old, are thriving by digesting fossilized worms. It’s the latest discovery in the uncharted, ice-encrusted waters of Earth’s polar oceans.”
  • Untangling the tingle: Investigating the association between the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), neuroticism, and trait & state anxiety“—”The Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is an intensely pleasant tingling sensation originating in the scalp and neck and is elicited by a range of online video-induced triggers. Many individuals now regularly watch ASMR videos to relax, and alleviate symptoms of stress and insomnia, all which are indicative of elevated levels of anxiety. Emerging literature suggests that ASMR-capable individuals are characterised by high trait neuroticism, which is associated with a tendency to experience negative emotional states such as anxiety. To date however no literature has empirically linked these personality constructs and watching ASMR videos on the effect of reducing anxiety. In the current study, 36 ASMR-experiencers and 28 non-experiencers watched an ASMR video, and completed assessments of neuroticism, trait anxiety, and pre- / post-video state anxiety. MANCOVA with Group as the independent measures factor showed that ASMR-experiencers had significantly greater scores for neuroticism, trait anxiety, and video engagement than non-experiencers. Pre-video state anxiety was also significantly greater in the ASMR-experiencers and was significantly attenuated on exposure to the ASMR video, whereas non-experiencers reported no difference in state anxiety pre- and post-video. Thus, watching ASMR alleviated state anxiety but only in those who experienced ASMR. Subsequent mediation analyses identified the importance of pre-existing group differences in neuroticism, trait and (pre-video) state anxiety in accounting for the group difference in the reduction of state anxiety. The mediation analysis further lends support for watching ASMR videos as an intervention for the reduction of acute state anxiety. Future areas for research are discussed.” Also “ASMR is linked to anxiety and neuroticism, our new research finds.”
  • Centuries-old ‘impossible’ math problem cracked using the strange physics of Schrödinger’s cat. The mathematics problem is a bit like Sudoku on steroids.”
  • Does Quantum Mechanics Reveal That Life Is But a Dream? A radical quantum hypothesis casts doubt on objective reality.”—”In 2020, physicists performed a version of Wigner’s thought experiment and concluded that his intuitions were correct. In a story for Science headlined ‘Quantum paradox points to shaky foundations of reality,’ physics reporter George Musser says the experiment calls objectivity into question. ‘It could mean there is no such thing as an absolute fact,’ Musser writes, ‘one that is as true for me as it is for you.’ A newish interpretation of quantum mechanics called QBism (pronounced “Cubism,” like the art movement) makes subjective experience the bedrock of knowledge and reality itself. David Mermin, a prominent theorist, says QBism can dispel the ‘confusion at the foundations of quantum mechanics.’ You just have to accept that all knowledge begins with ‘individual personal experience.'”
  • Everything we see is a mash-up of the brain’s last 15 seconds of visual information“—”Rather than perceiving the fluctuations and visual noise that a video might record, we perceive a consistently stable environment. So how does our brain create this illusion of stability? This process has fascinated scientists for centuries and it is one of the fundamental questions in vision science. In our latest research, we discovered a new mechanism that, among others, can explain this illusory stability. The brain automatically smoothes our visual input over time. Instead of analysing every single visual snapshot, we perceive in a given moment an average of what we saw in the past 15 seconds. So, by pulling together objects to appear more similar to each other, our brain tricks us into perceiving a stable environment. Living ‘in the past’ can explain why we do not notice subtle changes that occur over time. In other words, the brain is like a time machine which keeps sending us back in time. It’s like an app that consolidates our visual input every 15 seconds into one impression so that we can handle everyday life. If our brains were always updating in real time, the world would feel like a chaotic place with constant fluctuations in light, shadow and movement. We would feel like we were hallucinating all the time.” Watch “An Illusion of Stability“—”Our visual world is chaotic and constantly changing, yet what we perceive is remarkably stable. How does our brain create this illusory stability? This illusion shows that our perception is continuously smoothed over time. The face in the video is ageing, yet the face is perceived as ageing less than what it actually is (or not ageing at all). Our perception is thus constantly biased towards the past in order to stabilize the visual world we live in.” “Our visual system’s sluggishness to update can make us blind to immediate changes because it grabs on to our first impression and pulls us toward the past. Ultimately, though, continuity fields promote our experience of a stable world. At the same time, it’s important to remember that the judgements we make every day are not totally based on the present, but strongly depend on what we have seen in the past.”
  • Want to Be More Innovative and Creative? Science Says Avoid the Dreaded Einstellung Effect. Research shows how eliminating the familiar can instantly reveal a broader array of potential solutions.”—”In a study published in Cognition, researchers gave expert chess players game problems to solve and then tracked their eye movement as they sought a solution. Once the experts found a possible solution, their eyes kept drifting back to it — even though they claimed to be searching for better options. That natural tendency is called the Einstellung effect: when the first idea that comes to mind, triggered by familiar features of a problem, prevents a better solution from being found.”
  • Why do we forget? New theory proposes ‘forgetting’ is actually a form of learning.”—”We create countless memories as we live our lives but many of these we forget. Why? Counter to the general assumption that memories simply decay with time, ‘forgetting’ might not be a bad thing – that is according to scientists who believe it may represent a form of learning. The scientists behind the new theory – outlined today in leading international journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience – suggest that changes in our ability to access specific memories are based on environmental feedback and predictability. Rather than being a bug, forgetting may be a functional feature of the brain, allowing it to interact dynamically with the environment.”
  • Monkey ‘queen’ led a violent coup to become her troop’s first female leader. Now her reign is in jeopardy. The young female fought her own mother and 4 top-ranking males to seize control of her troop.” Also “Love Triangle Challenges Reign of Japan’s Monkey Queen. Yakei became a rare alpha female of a macaque troop in a nature reserve, but a kind of simian love triangle may endanger her grip on power.”
  • Foclach: Test your ‘cúpla focal’ with an Irish-language version of Wordle. Irish Wordle fans are being challenged to test their cúpla focal with a version of the game as Gaeilge.” Also “Urdu, Chinese, even Old Norse: how Wordle spread across the globe. Non-English speakers may soon rival the millions playing the original version of the viral word game.”
  • Sony Is Spending 1.2 Billion To Keep Destiny 2 Devs From Leaving. A major chunk of the Bungie acquisition price tag is just to retain talent.”
  • Peloton says CEO has stepped aside, announces 2,800 layoffs“—”Trying to fend off unhappy investors and bolster sales of its at-home fitness equipment, Peloton announced Tuesday that it had replaced its chief executive, John Foley, who also is a cofounder, and said it would lay off 2,800 employees.” Tweet—”SCOOP: Peloton has begun layoffs en masse, according to leaked screenshots viewed by Insider. 50 employees have disappeared from the Slack channel called #teampeloton in roughly one hour.”
  • The US is testing robot patrol dogs on its borders. The quadrupedal machines are being tested as autonomous sentries.”—”The machine can navigate autonomously or be controlled manually, and can be equipped with a number of payloads, including thermal and night vision cameras. In the past, Ghost Robotics has even shown off prototype models equipped with guns, though there is no suggestion the DHS is testing such payloads.” Yet.
  • Is it really, tho? “Finally, a Good Use for NFTs: Preserving Street Art. Murals and other similar forms of art are often ephemeral. Putting them on the blockchain can give them life after they’ve been covered up or removed.”
  • Mapping the celebrity NFT complex. Where do celebrities even hear about “bored apes”? Who is recommending that they buy one? Is this really the best thing any of them can think to do with their money and fame?”—”If you pay attention to both the Hollywood trades and the crypto press, and smoke enough weed, you can begin to pick out the contours of an expanding, interconnected, celebrity-based web3 financial-cultural complex.” Tweet—”I mentioned the whole way that the Jimmy Fallon/Paris Hilton strangely-stilted conversation regarding NFTs was likely part of a larger promotion plan and part of being a celebrity is being told to say weird stuff due to contracts. Someone did the digging.” Tweet—”Now it all makes sense. All these celebrities hawking NFTs are either represented by, or connected to Creative Artists Agency (CAA) – which just so happens to be an investor in OpenSea – which sells NFTs. Fancy that!” Also “CAA Signs Jenkins The Valet: Is This A Sign That Hollywood Is Embracing NFTs?“—”As if 2021 couldn’t get crazier in the Metaverse or the regular-old universe, Jenkins the Valet, a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) avatar on the Ethereum blockchain, valet, and secret keeper, has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation across books, film, TV, podcasts, and more. Together, they will be bringing Jenkins’ debut novel to market in collaboration with a New York Times Bestselling author. Yes, you read that right. An NFT avatar has signed with the global talent representation agency who works with the likes of Beyonce, Justin Bieber, JJ Abrams, Zion Williamson, and more. CAA’s website says it operates at the intersection of talent, content, brands, technology, sports, and live events. They now count a non-fungible token as one of their clients.” Also “Bored Ape Yacht Club is Racist and Started by Neo-Nazis.” Whilst Gumroad has a social media meltdown, tweet—”A few have asked about our stance on NFTs: NFTs are a scam. If you think they are legitimately useful for anything other than the exploitation of creators, financial scams, and the destruction of the planet the we ask that you please reevaluate your life choices. Peace.” “Also f̸̗̎ú̴̩c̷̖͌ḳ̵̀ any company that says they support creators and also endorses NFTs in any way. They only care about their own profit and the opportunity for wealth above anyone else. Especially given the now easily available discourse concerning the problems of NFTs.” “How can you be so dense?” And tweet—”We’ve been getting a lot of questions about NFT’s again today… and to reiterate, it’s firmly in the ‘No Flipping Thanks’ column.” Also tweet—”So nfts might be the new nxivm?”
  • Feds arrest a New York couple and seize $3.6 billion in stolen cryptocurrency.” Also “Alleged Masterminds Of $4.5 Billion Crypto Heist Also Auteurs Of Weapons-Grade Internet Vanity Trash.” Also “This Is the Couple Charged With Laundering Billions in Stolen Bitcoin. Before being accused in a major cryptocurrency conspiracy, Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan shared advice, ideas and amateur rap videos online.”
  • The Plan to Put Bitcoin in Mouse DNA With a Genetically Engineered Virus. BitMouseDAO has exactly two investors and almost no money, but they do have a wild idea.” Tweet—”…or we could just …NOT literally inscribe monetary value into the very genetics of living beings? Could we just… can we not? Can we for even just a fucking second put the brakes on this nightmare hellscape worst of all possible worlds capitalist SHIT?”
  • COVID-19 infections increase risk of heart conditions up to a year later. Cardiovascular care essential part of post-infection care.”
  • Tweet—”Covid is a group project, and we’re failing because certain members of our group aren’t doing the work.”
  • Cops on the Amir Locke Raid Were Already Facing a Lawsuit over Alleged ‘Hunting’ of BLM Protesters. Two of the officers who participated in the deadly raid had previously been sued over their alleged mistreatment of a Black Lives Matter protester following the murder of George Floyd.”—”The Minneapolis Police Department’s scandals are so numerous they’re starting to overlap.”
  • How White Nationalists Are Hijacking the Anti-Abortion Movement. The growing overlap between anti-abortion activism and far-right extremism has started to spill into the real world in high-profile ways.”
  • Man Arrested For Storming The Capitol While Out On Bail For Attempted Murder. HuffPost had previously identified Matthew Beddingfield by building off the work of citizen-sleuths who used facial recognition technology.”
  • What the January 6th Papers Reveal. The Supreme Court ruled to give the House Select Committee access to a trove of documents detailing election-negating strategies that Donald Trump and his advisers entertained—including a military seizure of voting machines—but he continues to peddle a counter-narrative in which he’s the victim.”—”Meanwhile, there is a fight against time; if the Democrats lose control of the House in the midterm elections, the Select Committee will in all likelihood be disbanded. As Thompson and his colleagues are trying to piece the story together, Trump and his helpers are trying to tear it up.”
  • Michael Flynn Is Still at War. The general tried to persuade Donald Trump to use the military to overturn the 2020 election. A year later, he and his followers are fighting the same battle by other means.”—”It is as if Flynn has managed to burrow his way from a Beltway graveyard into a subterranean afterlife, where he has been welcomed by a Trumpian demimonde that deified him at first sight.”
  • Gorsuch to headline GOP lineup of speakers at Federalist Society; media barred from his speech. Former vice president Mike Pence, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and a former top Trump aide also will address the organization that was a pipeline for Trump’s judicial choices.” Also “Critics say Ginni Thomas’s activism is a Supreme Court conflict. Under court rules, only her husband can decide if that’s true.
  • Tweet—”I spoke on the Morrison Government’s religious discrimination bill and the message we want to send to our kids. (1/2)”
  • Black Lawmakers Urge DOJ To Take ‘Aggressive’ Action Against Voter Restrictions. ‘The future of our democracy is at stake,’ Congressional Black Caucus members wrote in a letter to the Justice Department.”
  • Oh, ffs. Tear down the wall! “An endangered wolf went in search of a mate. The border wall blocked him. The travails of a Mexican gray wolf named Mr. Goodbar show the grave threat posed by the U.S.-Mexico border wall.”
  • Starbucks Fires Union Leaders In Memphis. The company says workers violated safety policies. The union is calling it retaliation.”—”Starbucks has fired several workers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were part of the growing unionization effort that’s spreading quickly through the coffee chain. The campaign, Starbucks Workers United, said Tuesday on Twitter that the company had canned ‘virtually the entire union leadership in Memphis,’ calling it a case of retaliation for their union support. The group said the total number of firings came to seven, or about a third of the workers at the store. ‘The arc of Starbucks’ union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing,’ the campaign wrote.”
  • When scientific conferences went online, diversity and inclusion soared. New data show that female attendance at virtual science and engineering meetings grew by as much as 253%, and gender queer scientist attendance jumped 700%.”
  • Netflix is hiring Condé Nast and Time Inc. journalists, building a ‘fandom engine’ to market its shows. What is Tudum? Netflix’s fan site that has hired a bevy of high-profile journalists as the streamer expands its marketing editorial operations.” Thread—”we’ve entered the era of astroturfed fandom and it makes my skin crawl.” “fandom, for all its inter-community problems, was once a naturally occurring outpouring of passion for something. now it’s just a marketing engine that’s courted and indulged by media companies, and it brings out the worst in creators and audiences.”
  • Zerstört geglaubtes Werk von Maler Heckel nach Jahrzehnten entdeckt. Ein zerstört geglaubtes Werk des Expressionisten Erich Heckel ist wiederentdeckt worden – und zwar auf der Rückseite eines seiner anderen Gemälde.” (Destroyed work by painter Heckel discovered after decades. A work by the expressionist Erich Heckel that was believed to have been destroyed has been rediscovered – on the back of one of his other paintings.)
  • An Artist Placed a Cube Made From $11.7 Million Worth of Gold in Central Park—Protected By Its Own Security Detail. The German artist Niclas Castello is, of course, launching a cryptocurrency alongside the physical work.” Tweet—”So what I’m hearing is: some asshole just dumped enough money to change a life into Central Park, one of few places you can enjoy yourself for FREE, where low income & unhoused people can see it, then put armed security around it to make sure they know it will never be for them.”
  • Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’: Blending Spectacle and Cultural Erasure“—”Of all the novel-to-film adaptations throughout the years, Dune might take the prize as the one approached with the greatest trepidation. There is something about Dune’s scope of — and appreciation for — ecology and history that just can’t seem to make its way to the screen. This is not to say that its depictions of humanity’s troubled past and the role humans can play on an interstellar level in the future are perfect — not to mention the novel’s issues with white saviorhood and gender — but its dream is a compelling one.”
  • Stop trying to be happy and consider these helpful alternatives. In the deepest moments of struggle, we place an unrelenting pressure on people to be happy, strong, and moving on no matter what the circumstances. This is toxic positivity.”
  • Trying to make other people happy makes us happier than trying to make ourselves happy“—”The secret to happiness may lie in doing things to make other people happy, rather than ourselves, according to a series of five studies published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. The findings suggest that doing things for others enhances well-being by fulfilling a psychological need for connection with others — even if that person is a stranger.”
  • Zendaya responds to criticism that ‘Euphoria’ glorifies teen drug use“—”Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing,” Zendaya said. “If anything, the feeling behind Euphoria, or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.” Also Zendaya Counters Criticisms That Euphoria Glamorizes Drug Use and Addiction to Teens“—”Proving once again D.A.R.E doesn’t know how to reach the ‘teens’ they claim they want to save.”
  • Thread—”So @MattWalshBlog’s crew is trying to trick trans people into joining a fake documentary. His producers set up a whole front organization (@GenderUnityProj) and tried to recruit me into his next anti-trans documentary. Here’s the wild story of how it went down (1/x):”
  • A couple renovating a 115-year-old building discovered two 60-foot-long hidden murals“—”What started out as a couple’s renovation project to convert a historic building into a bar has turned into an effort to restore decades-old artwork in a small Washington town. Nick and Lisa Timm purchased the building in Okanogan, located about four hours east of Seattle, at the end of 2021. This past week, they discovered 60-foot murals painted on canvases along its north and south walls. ‘We were about 20 minutes from covering up the walls,’ Nick told CNN on Wednesday. ‘I then was like ‘Well, let’s just look at what’s behind all this plaster.” As the plaster peeled away, they discovered a giant mural — stretching 60 feet long and 20 feet high — depicting a lake, cabins and trees.” Eat your heart out McMenamins (or give ’em a call to help out).
  • Minecraft Player Spends Over 100 Hours Building Stunning Yggdrasil Tree. Minecraft has long been an outlet for creativity, and one player reveals the end result of a massive project to create Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life.”