Omnium Gatherum: 23feb2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 23, 2022.

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

  • Crowdfunding with 30 days to go: “Old-School Essentials Fantasy RPG Box Sets. Two deluxe boxes of monsters, magic, wonder, and peril. 100% old-school rules, 100% modern design.” With box cover art by Erol Otus! “Based on the beloved 1980s Basic/Expert edition (B/X), the Old-School Essentials Classic Game Set contains everything you need to play! We are honoured to have a brand new painting by Erol Otus, legendary creator of the original B/X covers, on the Classic Game Set. The set consists of 5 Digest size (A5) hardcovers.”
  • Lurkers at the Threshold: 100 Ghost Tales from German Folklore [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Hermetic Library Fellow Jürgen Hubert—”Dead, but not gone! Most cultures have tales about the souls of the dead lingering on. The same was true of Germans of past centuries, who believed that ghosts haunted every corner of this world – from remote swamps and forests, to crumbling ruins and city alleys, to the houses of the living themselves. This book presents a collection of 100 German folk tales featuring ghosts, each translated into English and given extensive translation notes and commentary to provide additional context. Read on to discover: The many shapes of ghosts – from human, to animal, to protean horrors. Existence as a ghost – what causes it, and how it can be escaped. The use of ghost tales in propaganda. Romancing the dead – knowingly or not. Best practices in ectoplasmic waste disposal.”
  • The Citadel of Forgotten Myths [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Moorcock, part of The Elric Saga, due December 2022—”Elric along with his companion Moonglum return, in this prequel set within the early days of Elric’s wanderings, in order to investigate the history of Melniboné and its dragons, known as the Phroon, in this exciting new addition to the Elric Saga from World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Michael Moorcock. Elric is the estranged emperor of the Melnibonéan empire, struggling with his nature while desperately striving to move forward with his dying empire alongside the constant thirst of his soul-sucking sword, Stormbringer. Elric is on the hunt for the great Citadel of Forgotten Myths while traveling through the remnants of his empire with his tragic best friend Moonglum, as Elric seeks the answers to the nature of the phroon of The Young Kingdoms. Taking place between the first and second book in the Elric Saga, The Citadel of Forgotten Myths is perfect for longtime fans and those new to this epic fantasy series.”
  • If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jason Pargin (aka David Wong), book 4 of the John Dies at the End series, due October 2022—”Jason Pargin’s If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe is the long-awaited fourth book in the New York Times bestselling John Dies at the End series, another terrifying and hilarious tale of almost-Armageddon at the hands of two hopeless heroes. I want you to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself an important question: If some dark, powerful entity was attempting to ensnare your mind and dominate your will, would you even notice? A competent devil would know that if he revealed his true nature, you’d resist, or seek help. The ideal possession would be more subtle; to you, it would feel like it was your choice. The takeover of your soul would be soothing, satisfying, maybe even kind of fun. An entity armed with such techniques would ensnare millions before anyone caught on. In possibly related news, Dave, John and Amy hear from a panicked mother that a popular toy and its connected smartphone app are demanding flesh from her daughter. Around the world, other owners of the toy are reporting the same. Who, or what, is behind it? What’s their endgame? And why does this mother seem to be harboring dark secrets about her family’s past? As these three barely-employed amateurs dig for the truth under layers of high-tech occult manipulation and subterfuge, another crucial question lingers: Is there seriously no one else who can handle this?”
  • The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kevin Driscoll, due April 2022—”The untold story about how the internet became social, and why this matters for its future. Fifteen years before the commercialization of the internet, millions of amateurs across North America created more than 100,000 small-scale computer networks. The people who built and maintained these dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSs) in the 1980s laid the groundwork for millions of others who would bring their lives online in the 1990s and beyond. From ham radio operators to HIV/AIDS activists, these modem enthusiasts developed novel forms of community moderation, governance, and commercialization. The Modem World tells an alternative origin story for social media, centered not in the office parks of Silicon Valley or the meeting rooms of military contractors, but rather on the online communities of hobbyists, activists, and entrepreneurs. Over time, countless social media platforms have appropriated the social and technical innovations of the BBS community. How can these untold stories from the internet’s past inspire more inclusive visions of its future?”
  • The non-toxic origins — and future? — of social media. The writer Gal Beckerman on the hippies who invented social media and who understood what has since been forgotten: that conversation needs guardrails.” Also tweet—”To make social media less awful, we need to recover its origins in pro-social, moderated, additive, non-narcissistic conversation.” About The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Gal Beckerman—”An “elegantly argued and exuberantly narrated” (The New York Times Book Review) look at the building of social movements—from the 1600s to the present—and how current technology is undermining them. We tend to think of revolutions as loud: frustrations and demands shouted in the streets. But the ideas fueling them have traditionally been conceived in much quieter spaces, in the small, secluded corners where a vanguard can whisper among themselves, imagine alternate realities, and deliberate about how to achieve their goals. This extraordinary book is a search for those spaces, over centuries and across continents, and a warning that—in a world dominated by social media—they might soon go extinct. Gal Beckerman, an editor at The New York Times Book Review, takes us back to the seventeenth century, to the correspondence that jump-started the scientific revolution, and then forward through time to examine engines of social change: the petitions that secured the right to vote in 1830s Britain, the zines that gave voice to women’s rage in the early 1990s, and even the messaging apps used by epidemiologists fighting the pandemic in the shadow of an inept administration. In each case, Beckerman shows that our most defining social movements—from decolonization to feminism—were formed in quiet, closed networks that allowed a small group to incubate their ideas before broadcasting them widely. But Facebook and Twitter are replacing these productive, private spaces, to the detriment of activists around the world. Why did the Arab Spring fall apart? Why did Occupy Wall Street never gain traction? Has Black Lives Matter lived up to its full potential? Beckerman reveals what this new social media ecosystem lacks—everything from patience to focus—and offers a recipe for growing radical ideas again. Lyrical and profound, The Quiet Before looks to the past to help us imagine a different future.”
  • Phil Mickelson will deal with Saudis to pressure PGA Tour“—”‘They’re scary motherf—ers to get involved with,’ Mickelson told author Alan Shipnuck, who posted an excerpt of his upcoming book, ‘Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,’ on the Fire Pit Collective website Thursday. ‘… They killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights,’ Mickelson continued, in an interview that Shipnuck said took place in November. ‘They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.'” About Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Alan Shipnuck, due May 2022—”A juicy and freewheeling biography of legendary golf champion Phil Mickelson–who has had a big, controversial life–as reported by longtime Sports Illustrated writer and bestselling author Alan Shipnuck. Phil Mickelson is one of the most compelling figures in sports. For more than three decades he has been among the best golfers in the world, and his unmatched longevity was thrown into sharp relief in May 2021, when Mickelson, on the cusp of turning fifty-one, became the oldest player in history to win a major championship. In this raw, uncensored, and unauthorized biography, Alan Shipnuck captures a singular life defined by thrilling victories, crushing defeats, and countless controversies. Mickelson is a multi-faceted character and all of his warring impulses are on display in these pages: He is a smartass who built an empire on being the consummate professional; a loving husband dogged by salacious rumors; a compulsive gambler who knows the house always wins but can’t tear himself away; an intensely private person cravenly building his brand on social media. Mickelson’s career and public image have been defined by the contrast with his lifelong rival, Tiger Woods. Where Woods is robotic and reticent, Mickelson is affable and extroverted, a consummate showman whom many fans love and some can’t stand because of his overwhelming Phil-ness. For over a decade, Mickelson lacked Tiger’s laser focus and discipline, leading Tida Woods to call her son’s rival ‘the fat boy,’ among other things. Yet as Woods’s career has been curtailed by scandal, addiction, and a broken body, Mickelson sails on, still relevant on the golf course and in the marketplace. This book is the perfect marriage of subject and author. Shipnuck has long been known as the most fearless writer on the golf beat and he goes deep on all the rumors and controversies that have forever dogged Mickelson. But he spends nearly as much time celebrating Mickelson’s random acts of kindness and generosity of spirit. Shipnuck has been on the ground at Mickelson’s most memorable triumphs and crack-ups and he takes readers inside the ropes with a thrilling immediacy. His access through the years to Phil, his wife, his famous caddie Bones, and other insiders gives the story a deep intimacy. Phil is the juiciest and liveliest golf book in years, full of heart, humor, and unexpected turns.”
  • This is really propaganda about digital controlled lending, but … “Librarian’s lament: Digital books are not fireproof. Publishers are using copyright law as a battering ram to assert corporate control over the public good.”—”A few days ago, Penguin Random House, the publisher of Maus, Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, demanded that the Internet Archive remove the book from our lending library. Why? Because, in their words, “consumer interest in ‘Maus’ has soared” as the result of a Tennessee school board’s decision to ban teaching the book. By its own admission, to maximize profits, a Goliath of the publishing industry is forbidding our non-profit library from lending a banned book to our patrons: a real live digital book-burning.” Also “Turns out you can burn a digital book.” Also “Inside a former S.F. church, a battle for the future of knowledge.”
  • When I was in high school, there was some book banning in the school district. But at my high school, I don’t recall they bothered trying to banning anything, they just sent their kids to the library to grab books they wanted to disappear, then burned them. “Soft and Quiet: Self-Censorship in an Era of Book Challenges“—”Quiet censorship… is when materials are purposefully removed, limited, or never purchased at all despite it being a title that would serve a community.”
  • Repeated low doses of LSD in healthy adults: A placebo-controlled, dose–response study“—”No residual effects were detected on mood or task performance on the drug-free follow-up session. We conclude that within the context of a controlled setting and a limited number of administrations, repeated low doses of LSD are safe, but produce negligible changes in mood or cognition in healthy volunteers.”
  • Storm Eunice: Record wind gust amid disruption. Millions of people have been told to stay at home as one of the worst storms in decades, Storm Eunice, hits the UK.”
  • Some U.S. Apple Store employees are working to unionize, part of a growing worker backlash. In an effort for better wages and working conditions, Apple retail workers across the country and overseas are working to form labor unions to boost negotiating leverage with the iPhone maker.” Also “Apple Employees Are Unionizing and They’re Using Android Phones to Keep Apple From Spying on Them. Who Wants to Be Spied on at Work!?”
  • Thread—”I am losing my fucking mind at this actual post from Activision blizzards law firm representing them in the NLRB HEARING.”
  • Amazon signs deal with studio producing Disco Elysium and Life is Strange shows. Dj2 Entertainment previously co-produced the Sonic movie.”—”I raised an eyebrow at the prospect of a Disco Elysium show airing on Prime TV for a host of reasons, but especially the fact that a militant labor dispute forms the backdrop of the game’s plot, and Amazon has a well documented history of poor working conditions at its warehouses and suppressing union activity. I find it hard to imagine the vibe not being off with such a project, is what I’m trying to say.”
  • From the I Am Altering the Deal, Pray I Don’t Alter It Any Further dept: “Amazon’s overhaul of Comixology ignites concern from comic creators and readers. Recent updates have made it harder to read, shop, and publish on the U.S.’s most popular digital comics platform.”
  • Thread—”Elon Musk is posting Adolf Hitler memes. Havin a normal Nazi day, this man who runs a company that partners with NASA. This is unacceptable. This is anti-Jewish hate.” “Shouldn’t there be a boundary here? Maybe the federal government should end the contracts with his company? Does anything matter anymore? Is anything real?” “What a motherfucker. I can’t say it surprises me.”
  • The Metaverse is just MS BOB for the Internet. (A skeuomorphic cartoon shell on top of a GUI shell on top of a command line.) Watch “The Metaverse is So Stupid.”
  • Sun, sea and sandboxes: What are crypto innovators testing in the Pacific? The Pacific nation of Palau is kicking off a digital residency scheme for anyone wishing to become a crypto-citizen.”—”Countries in financial pickles are appealing directly to cyber-libertarian frontier settlers, few of whom are keen on supporting local services or paying any tax. As Whipps declared recently ‘This is all about economic freedom. Digital nomads roaming around the world. Why not come and be a resident of paradise?’ Our research shows how blockchain developers seduce Pacific governments and further the geopolitical interests of US platforms.”
  • From 2017, from the Give it to us raw, and wiggling dept: “Inside the World of the ‘Bitcoin Carnivores’. Why a small community of Bitcoin users is eating meat exclusively.”—”No trend epitomizes this better than “Bitcoin carnivory,” a diet-slash-lifestyle being promoted by a small but prolific group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts online. The idea is simple: Use only Bitcoin, eat only meat.” “Bitcoin is a revolt against fiat money, and an all-meat diet is a revolt against fiat food.”
  • Money That Won Melania Trump NFT Came From Melania Trump Wallet. The former first lady began an auction in January for a collection of NFTs on the Solana blockchain, including digital artwork of a hat that she wore.”
  • Airbnb, Lyft, Uber ‘Expressed Interest’ in Using Clearview AI. The tech companies expressed internet is using Clearview AI’s technology for identity verification, according to Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That.”—”Tech giants Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber have “expressed interest” in using technology from controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI for identity verification, according to a statement from Clearview AI’s CEO Hoan Ton-That provided to Motherboard. All three of the companies denied the claim in statements to Motherboard. The news signals how Clearview AI may expand its products beyond investigative tools for law enforcement. Previously the company explored partnerships with members of the private sector such as Macy’s and Walmart, before promising to cancel all contracts with private companies, Buzzfeed News previously reported. Now, the statement sent on Tuesday highlights the issue of the proliferation of facial recognition technology again.” Also “Facial recognition firm Clearview AI tells investors it’s seeking massive expansion beyond law enforcement. The facial recognition company Clearview AI is telling investors it’s on track to have 100 billion facial photos in its database within a year, enough to ensure ‘almost everyone in the world will be identifiable,’ according to a financial presentation from December obtained by The Washington Post.”
  • The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo. What does society owe immunocompromised people?”
  • There Is Nothing Normal about One Million People Dead from COVID. Mass media and policy makers are pushing for a return to pre-COVID times while trying to normalize a staggering death toll.”
  • Who Is Behind QAnon? Linguistic Detectives Find Fingerprints. Using machine learning, separate teams of computer scientists identified the same two men as likely authors of messages that fueled the viral movement.”—”As the stream of messages, most signed only “Q,” grew into a sprawling conspiracy theory, the mystery surrounding their authorship became a central fascination for its followers — who was the anonymous Q? Now two teams of forensic linguists say their analysis of the Q texts shows that Mr. Furber, one of the first online commentators to call attention to the earliest messages, actually played the lead role in writing them.” “And the scientists say they found evidence to back up those suspicions as well. Mr. Watkins appears to have taken over from Mr. Furber at the beginning of 2018. Both deny writing as Q.” “The Swiss team said its accuracy rate was about 93 percent. The French team said its software correctly identified Mr. Watkins’s writing in 99 percent of tests and Mr. Furber’s in 98 percent.”
  • ‘Paper terrorism’: Parents against mask mandates bombard school districts with sham legal claims. A group called Bonds for the Win is organizing parents to file claims against school districts’ insurance policies, taking a page from the sovereign citizen playbook.”
  • Jackson heads to court in Cross Village conspiracy-fueled plot“—”A woman who faces fraud charges after she was accused of plotting to “clone” voting data from a ballot tabulator is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in 90th District Court, though some local officials say they’re frustrated no one has yet been charged in a related break in.” “Witnesses, including Township Trustee Howard Wood, told police Jackson said she worked for Sidney Powell and a so-called ‘Election Integrity Commission’ and needed them to ‘clone’ or back up data on the township’s ballot tabulator before it was ‘wiped clean.'”
  • Thread—”A lesson in how misinformation becomes fact in too many minds.” Also tweet—”Good thread on misinformation with advice at the end about how to correct the record if you find out that you’ve spread something in error. Once a tweet goes viral, almost no one will see your correction. If your viral tweet was wrong, delete it and correct to stop the spread.”
  • Citizens group wins court-ordered freeze of convoy protest accounts, cryptocurrency. In an extraordinary hearing, an Ottawa judge freezes bank accounts and digital wallets with bitcoin and other currencies believed to hold more than $1 million.”
  • Thread—”Ottawa fights back. On behalf of downtown residents, businesses and workers, we are suing the Freedom Convoy organizers, truckers and donors for $306-million and counting. Each day is another $15M in personal harm and lost revenues and wages. Here is the Occupation Zone. /1″
  • Opposing the truckers — Lessons from the ‘Battle of Billings Bridge’. Protest like a real Canadian, which is to say: make sure you apologize to everyone around you, talk nicely to those with whom you disagree, and provide the civil leadership that our mayors and premiers are not.”
  • Tweet—”I study the right and even I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.”
  • ‘The brand is so toxic’: Dems fear extinction in rural US.” Thread—”There’s an actual story here about how rural white republicans are literally terrorizing their neighbors, but it’s completely obscured by the weird framing about a “toxic brand” and “ignoring their concerns” that makes it sound like it’s Dems’ fault.” “This article is largely about how Dems in GOP-dominated areas are terrified to speak freely due to fears of ostracization or violence from radical Republicans, and the framing somehow spins this as a bad trait of Dems. The news trope that Republicans have no agency is bad.” Also tweet—”Crappy computer screen shot of my friend’s Biden sign being torn down for the 6th time in rural SW Ohio. Mine was also stolen and I ended up on a kill list of a local militia because I was vocally opposed on FB to our teachers carrying guns in class.” Also “Ohio militia indictment: 7 details about a Franklin man’s alleged bomb-making from court documents.”
  • Is a Mystery Donor Funding Sarah Palin’s crusade against the New York Times? That might explain why she sounded like such a reluctant litigant.”—”Substitute gym teachers put more industry in their work than Palin did in her testimony.”
  • How an obscure far-right website with 3 employees dominates Facebook in 2022“—”Most people have probably never heard of the website Conservative Brief. It employs just three writers and it does not produce any original reporting. Nearly all of its articles are aggregations of Tweets, YouTube videos, or other media websites, presented with a far-right spin.” “Yet Conservative Brief has emerged in 2022 as a dominant force on Facebook. It has recently become more popular on the platform than the New York Times and the Washington Post. How did this happen? Popular Information has uncovered evidence strongly suggesting that Conservative Brief is paying a network of large Facebook pages, including several controlled by prominent conservative political personalities, to post its content. This conduct, if it is indeed occurring, is in direct violation of Facebook’s rules.”
  • Thread—”I’ve been reporting on the Right for 20 years. I remember when the head of the National Assoc. of Evangelicals told me he knew they’d lose fight on same-sex marriage, but it was just a wedge issue: what they really hated, he explained, is secularism. 1/”
  • Thread—”Greg Abbot has officially directed Family and Protective Services to begin investigating all trans children in Texas and prosecuting their parents as child abusers. He has also instructed all teachers, doctors, and caregivers to begin reporting any trans students they see.” Also “Abbott’s letters to Masters“.
  • Activists Are Occupying the Woods of Atlanta to Block a New Police Facility. Members of a decentralized movement are sabotaging bulldozers and building communal living spaces in an effort to block the $90 million training facility.”—”Inside Atlanta’s sprawling South River Forest, city officials are moving forward with plans to raze dozens of acres of woodlands to build a $90 million police training facility that locals are calling ‘Cop City.’ In response, Defend the Atlanta Forest activists who call themselves ‘forest defenders’ have begun occupying the woods in an attempt to physically halt the facility’s construction—sabotaging construction vehicles and building barricades around a police-free autonomous zone that serves as both a living space and staging ground for the resistance effort.” “The land slated for construction was originally inhabited by the Muscogee (Creek) Indigenous tribe before it was stolen by settlers and sold in a land lottery to a local plantation. It was later used as a prison farm, where criminalized people were forced to work for free.” Also “‘I Believe That We Will Win‘: Two Perspectives On Defend The Atlanta Forest.”—”There’s momentum in all these directions and there’s respect among the movement for different approaches. We’re excited about the potential in the movement and what the future holds. This is a new type of struggle and I believe that we will win.”
  • A Disturbing Night of Olympic Figure Skating Exposes the Dark Side of the Rink. IOC President Thomas Bach said he was ‘disturbed’ by Thursday’s competition, which featured distraught teenagers vying for Olympic gold under the cloud of a doping scandal.”
  • Federal ‘Teen Footworshipper’ Retires With Honors. FCC employee who watched ‘teen’ porn at work investigated, allowed to retire with a party.”—”The person was then told that it was inappropriate to worship teen feet during taxpayers’ time and that they could possibly get malware if they worshiped the wrong teen feet on the wrong teen feet worshipping website.”
  • We are deeply and profoundly sorry: For decades, The Baltimore Sun promoted policies that oppressed Black Marylanders; we are working to make amends“—”Instead of using its platforms, which at times included both a morning and evening newspaper, to question and strike down racism, The Baltimore Sun frequently employed prejudice as a tool of the times. It fed the fear and anxiety of white readers with stereotypes and caricatures that reinforced their erroneous beliefs about Black Americans. Through its news coverage and editorial opinions, The Sun sharpened, preserved and furthered the structural racism that still subjugates Black Marylanders in our communities today. African Americans systematically have been denied equal opportunity and access in every sector of life — including health care, employment, education, housing, personal wealth, the justice system and civic participation. They have been refused the freedom to simply be, without the weight of oppression on their backs. For this, we are deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry. Our contribution to this maltreatment is a dark and disgraceful component of The Sun’s past. As an institution, we’ve called on many others to recognize and rectify their own bigoted practices, past and present, particularly in these recent years of a national reckoning on race. It is our responsibility to do the same within our own walls.”
  • ’Ndrangheta-Linked Broker Banked at Credit Suisse. When Italian entrepreneur Antonio Velardo and former IRA bomber Henry “Harry” Fitzsimons teamed up to sell apartments in a large development in Calabria, investors lost millions. Newly leaked bank data shows Velardo had hidden away a small fortune at Credit Suisse, beyond the reach of hapless creditors. Key Findings: After Antonio Velardo and Harry Fitzsimons sold hundreds of apartments in the Jewel of the Sea complex, Italian investigators seized it because its developer was mafia-connected. Velardo, who had at least six accounts at Credit Suisse, was charged with money laundering for the mafia, but was acquitted, in part because Italian authorities say Swiss authorities were not particularly helpful. A lawyer for the victims of the Calabrian saga, who lost millions on apartments that were never built, says Velardo has a lot to answer for.” Also “Men tied to Italian mob money-laundering case still able to snap up South Florida properties.”
  • Dos Mexicanos ‘Hackean’ Museo en Viena Para Contar La Verdad Sobre El Penacho De Moctezuma.” (Two Mexicans ‘Hack’ The Museum in Vienna to Tell the Truth About Moctezuma’s Headwear.) Also tweet—”Dos mexicanos cambiaron las audioguías del Museo Etnográfico de Viena para contar la verdadera historia del Penacho de Moctezuma. @animalmx te cuenta cómo la intervención ayudó a que legisladores de Austria discutan sobre la posible devolución de la pieza.” (Two Mexicans changed the audio guides of the Vienna Ethnographic Museum to tell the true story of Moctezuma’s Headdress. @animalmx tells you how the intervention helped Austrian legislators discuss the possible return of the piece.)
  • Prices between the shelf and the register not adding up for Reno man“—”News 4 went shopping with Shaw. The butter rang up a dollar more than the price on the shelf advertised, hot dogs 68 cents more, beans 20 cents more, and rice 11 cents. A manager changed the prices based on the photos Shaw showed her but she told him she wasn’t supposed to do that anymore because staff were working to fix the discrepancies on the shelves. Since November, Shaw has been taking photos of the items he buys. If it rings up higher at the register, he calls over a manager to adjust the price. It’s a dollar on some items, 50 cents on others. But Shaw says it all adds up. It’s time consuming too.” “There has been a little resolve. It’s unclear if it was due to the A.G. complaint, the number of times Shaw has asked to speak with a manager to fix the prices or the calls from News 4, but some of the items that rang up incorrectly at the register are now fixed. Shaw said there are many more that are still inaccurate.”
  • I was abused by my partner. It shaped my career as a journalist. I learned to hide the signs of violence over shame and fear of being called ‘biased'” Tweet—”War reporter’s husband, a news exec, beat her but she didn’t reveal for fear she’d be called biased in reporting about women. But ‘what did his own bias as a violent perpetrator do to his news judgment’ when it came to stories about violence against women?”
  • In Italy, a Call for a National Investigation Into Clerical Sexual Abuse. Italy has so far resisted calls for an independent investigation into how the Roman Catholic church has handled these cases.”
  • Repeated Exposure to Trauma Does Not Make People Stronger, Shows New Study“—”There’s one cultural myth that has latched on to our sensibilities. People have managed to link any and every kind of trauma — personal, professional, natural, structural — with long-term resilience. So far, we’ve had anecdotal evidence, some research, and just a realistic view of the world in general to show the impact of trauma is not limited to “growth” and “strength”; it veritably alters people’s emotional, mental, and physical health. Now, new research pits individual data of climate change survivors over two decades against this old chestnut — to point out some loopholes.”
  • Email spam exhibition held online by Japanese telecom giant. Finally, an exhibition for con artists.”
  • Unbalanced: An artist takes on the racial tilt of Allegheny County’s aging property assessments. The county bases tax bills largely on decade-old market conditions, and the system favors owners of higher-value properties, who tend to be white.”
  • A Vibe Shift Is Coming . Will any of us survive it?”—”A vibe shift is the catchy but sort of too-cool term Monahan uses for a relatively simple idea: In the culture, sometimes things change, and a once-dominant social wavelength starts to feel dated. Monahan, who is 35, breaks down the three vibe shifts he has survived and observed: Hipster/Indie Music (ca. 2003–9), or peak Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, high-waisted Cheap Mondays, Williamsburg, bespoke-cocktail bars; Post-Internet/Techno Revival (ca. 2010–16), or the Blood Orange era, normcore, dressing like The Matrix, Kinfolk the club, not Kinfolk the magazine; and Hypebeast/Woke (ca. 2016–20), or Drake at his Drakest, the Nike SNKRS app, sneaker flipping, virtue signaling, Donald Trump, protests not brunch. You can argue the accuracy of Monahan’s timeline or spend hours over dinner litigating the touch points of each vibe era — it’s kind of fun debating which trend was peaking when, or which was just for white people — but the thing that struck fear into Ellen’s heart was Monahan’s prediction that we were on the cusp of a new vibe shift. It is unnerving because when you really consider it, you can feel people flocking to a new thing. You can see that he’s right; something has shifted.”
  • Rock Paper Scissor Duet by Momatoes—”Two characters, bound by choice or fate. Were you lovers turned to rivals? Lifelong nemesis? Family now bound to raw honesty? In this two-player micro-RPG, develop your improv and role-playing using rock paper scissors to act out a final moment—that could lead to an outcome deciding whose stakes and whose road is chosen for the future.”
  • Watch “King Knight – Official Teaser” [Amazon, YouTube]—”Written & Directed by Richard Bates, Jr. Produced by Rob Higginbotham and Colin Tanner. Starring: Matthew Grey Gubler, Angela Sarafryn, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, Nelson Franklin, Emily Chang, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Swati Kapila, Shane Brady, AnnaLynne McCord, Alice Glass, Aubrey Plaza with Barbara Crampton and Ray Wise. The High Priest of a modern-day coven finds his life thrown into turmoil and ventures out on a journey of self-discovery.”
  • Watch “Cosmic Dawn (2022) – Official Trailer – Sci-Fi Thriller – in Theaters & on Demand Now” [Amazon, YouTube] “After witnessing an alien abduction as a child (and subsequently being told she’s crazy for most of her life) Aurora, now a young woman, joins the UFO cult The Cosmic Dawn after discovering a book written by the group’s leader, Elyse. Aurora’s time at the cult’s remote island compound is marked by miraculous revelations, consciousness expanding flowers, and a burgeoning friendship with Tom, the resident cook. When a fellow cult member starts to display increasingly bizarre behavior, Aurora begins to question Elyse’s sanity (and her own) and starts looking for a way out. Years later, after the dissolution of the cult, Aurora has moved on with her life. She leads a quiet and seemingly normal life. But when Elyse resurfaces in a mysterious video, Aurora is forced to confront her past. Together with Tom, she pursues the ultimate truth about The Cosmic Dawn. Does Elyse really have access to another dimension? Or do her prophesies truly point to mass suicide amongst the surviving cult members? Written and Directed by Jefferson Moneo … Starring: Camille Rowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Antonia Zegers, Joshua Burge, and Phil Granger.”
  • From the Synthetic Pleasures dept: “Disney to Develop Residential Communities Across U.S. The first 24-acre development will be in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The complexes will be aimed at all ages, including 55 and up.”—”With a new range of residential communities, Walt Disney Co. says it is moving beyond ‘storytelling’ and into ‘storyliving.’ The Burbank, California-based theme-park and entertainment company announced Wednesday that it plans to develop a string of such real estate projects around the country, beginning in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The new residential development business will be called ‘Storyliving by Disney,’ the company said in a news release. Plans are underway for the first project in the desert community, which is near where company founder Walt Disney once owned a home. Additional locations in the U.S. are also being explored, the company said.” Also, holy fucksticks, did they learn nothing from their past Celebration or present Galactic Starcruiser fiascos? Narrator voice: No, they did not, in fact, learn anything.