Omnium Gatherum: 2mar2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 2, 2022.

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

  • Radicals Used to Make Change. Then Social Media Happened. Gal Beckerman’s “The Quiet Before” examines the births of social movements from the 17th century to the present day.” More 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.”
  • ‘You’ Showrunner Sera Gamble to Develop ‘Weetzie Bat’ Series for Peacock (EXCLUSIVE)” About the Weetzie Bat series (also 5 books collected) by Francesca Lia Block—”Francesca Lia Block’s dazzling debut novel, Weetzie Bat, is not only a genre-shattering, critically acclaimed gem, it’s also widely recognized as a classic of young adult literature, having captivated readers for generations. This coming-of-age novel follows the eponymous Weetzie Bat and her best friend Dirk as they navigate life and love in a timeless, dreamlike version of Los Angeles. When Weetzie is granted three wishes by a genie, she discovers that there are unexpected ramifications… Winner of the prestigious Phoenix Award, Weetzie Bat is a beautiful, poetic work of magical realism that is perfect for fans of Laura Ruby, Neil Gaiman, and Kelly Link.”
  • Henry Lincoln, main author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which received a later boost from The Da Vinci Code – obituary. The Bishop of Birmingham denounced Lincoln’s heretical conspiracy theory as grotesque, while Anthony Burgess applauded his enthusiasm.”
  • A Disability Scholar Looks At Lovecraft by Farah Rose Smith.”
  • This climate crisis report asks: what is at stake? In short, everything. Analysis: Major IPCC report, approved by 195 countries, lays bare devastating harm caused by unchecked global heating.” Also “Climate Change Is Harming the Planet Faster Than We Can Adapt, U.N. Warns. Countries aren’t doing nearly enough to protect against the disasters to come as the planet keeps heating up, a major new scientific report concludes.”
  • Ancient sculpture is ‘most important prehistoric art find in UK for century’. 5,000-year-old chalk drum decorated with motifs was discovered in Yorkshire alongside burial of three children.”
  • DNA reveals biggest-ever human family tree, dating back 100,000 years.” Also “Oxford researchers create ‘largest ever family tree’
  • Life could exist on planet orbiting ‘white dwarf’ star. Researchers believe there may be a planet that could sustain life, in the vicinity of a dying sun.”
  • Funky Black Hole Is Spinning Tilted. Astronomers say it’s the most misaligned black hole they’ve ever seen.”
  • Watch “Galaxy Collision Creates ‘Space Triangle’ in New Hubble Image“—”A spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies fueled an unusual triangular-shaped star-birthing frenzy, as captured in a new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The interacting galaxy duo is collectively called Arp 143. The pair contains the glittery, distorted, star-forming spiral galaxy NGC 2445 at right, along with its less flashy companion, NGC 2444 at left.”
  • An asteroid killed dinosaurs in spring—which might explain why mammals survived. New study sheds light on why species extinction was so selective after the K-Pg impact.”
  • The Head of the Russian Space Program Made an Absolutely Idiotic Mistake“—”he claimed that sanctions against Moscow could have unintended consequences for adversarial countries, including that the orbital outpost could plummet down to Earth. ‘There is also the option of dropping a 500-ton structure to India and China,’ he tweeted. ‘Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia, so all the risks are yours.’ The problem? The ISS does fly over Russia, actually.”
  • Okay, if it isn’t Oligarch Musk or nation-state China, who is actually starting a shooting war with the moon? More on this: “China casts doubt on origin of rocket debris about to slam into the Moon. But evidence points to it being a Chinese rocket.”
  • But, wait. If they don’t go to space they aren’t actually … “Astronauts should work from home too.”
  • This 4,000-year-old skull just received a new face. Buried during the Stone Age, this woman once roamed the forests of northern Sweden. Now archaeologists have reconstructed her face.”
  • I, for one, welcome our new Fondue-Making Robot Overlords. Tweet—”This robot can make its own fondue using wine and cheese”
  • EFF Joins Activists And Human Rights Groups To Reject Attacks on Encryption“—”Encryption is under attack. In liberal democracies, elected leaders are giving lip service to our right to privacy—while seeking to create a system where they can scan any data we send over the internet. Earlier this month, the U.K. Home Office spent public money on a high-priced ad campaign that bad-mouthed encryption, portraying it as a tool used by criminals. In the U.S., a Senate committee is about to vote on the dangerous ‘EARN IT’ Act, which could lead to widespread scanning of private messages and photos. In both countries, the excuse is the same: lawmakers say they need to get into our messages so they can prevent crimes against children. The public is wise to this. We know that encryption is necessary for defending everyone’s privacy and security online. Government officials can’t be allowed to treat basic security measures as evidence of a crime.”
  • Howard gets $2M grant to digitize Black newspaper archive“—”The Black Press Archives, dating to the 1970s, contains over 2,000 newspaper titles from the U.S. and countries in Africa and the Caribbean. It includes well-known U.S. papers like the Chicago Defender and New York Amsterdam News as well as publications in French, Xhosa and Kiswahili. But most of the collection has been inaccessible to the public, with only a small percentage of materials microfilmed and the physical copies fragile, said Benjamin Talton, director of Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, which houses the archives.”
  • Horrific allegations of racism prompt California lawsuit against Tesla. Racist slurs were hurled daily at Black workers at Tesla’s California plant, delivered not just by fellow employees but also by managers and supervisors, California’s civil rights agency alleges in an explosive lawsuit filed against the company Thursday.”
  • Let’s not forget Apple’s pressure on apps developers and puritanical payment processors parts in this, but: “Tumblr is settling with NYC’s human rights agency over alleged porn ban bias. It’s going to review its moderation algorithm.”
  • Kickstarter exec on the blockchain controversy: ‘We’ve learned a hell of a lot in the last couple of months.’. The Beat sat down with COO Sean Leow.” Narrator voice: they didn’t actually learn a hell of a lot. See the replies to the tweet, including: “It’s honestly beautiful how asking specific + reasonable questions about kickstarter’s intended use of the technology just… makes this executive completely seize up and start babbling. Kickstarter leadership has absolutely no idea what they’re doing or why.”
  • PayPal reveals 4.5 million accounts were ‘illegitimate’, shares plummet. Discussing Q4 earnings with analysts, PayPal CFO John Rainey disclosed that 4.5 million accounts had been shut down after ‘bad actors’ took advantage of incentives and rewards programmes, resulting in shares falling by 25%, according to Bloomberg.”—”On the conference call, PayPal representatives revealed that inflation and supply chain disruption were to blame for customers with lower incomes spending less and an increase in in-store shopping. This led to the payments company foregoing its ambition of reaching 750 million active accounts by 2025. In an attempt to reach this goal, PayPal had started to offer $10 incentives to those opening new accounts in 2021, but recently found that many accounts had been created by bot farms.”
  • TikTok Can Circumvent Apple and Google Privacy Protections and Access Full User Data, 2 Studies Say. (Exclusive). The popular Beijing-based app has ‘carte blanche’ in gathering users’ data, cypersecurity experts say.”
  • TikTok Bans Misogyny, Misgendering in Attempt to Clean Up Platform. Social-media company moves to clarify the hateful ideologies it prohibits following calls by LGBT and civil-society advocates.”
  • Watch “TikTokers Track Russian Troop Movements | Twitter Users Will Help Pick Oscar Winners”—”Oh no. Not a TikTok war!” “I don’t know what that would be. I’m 57.”
  • SpaceX says a a geomagnetic storm wiped out 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites it launched into orbit last week. Elon Musk’s SpaceX says a geomagnetic storm wiped out 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites it launched into orbit last week. Elon Musk’s SpaceX said it lost up to 40 of the 49 Starlink satellites that it launched Thursday. A geomagnetic storm Friday prevented the satellites from reaching their orbital position. The satellites will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere but won’t produce orbital debris, SpaceX said.”
  • A radio station in Seattle, KUOW 94.9, crashed and permanently bricked the entertainment system in Mazda cars after the station broadcasted images over the air that lacked a filename extension. Radio station snafu in Seattle bricks some Mazda infotainment systems. The problem was a broadcast containing image files with no extensions.”
  • The Metaverse Promises a Big Bang. What If It Was Just a Publicity Stunt? Almost every company swears by the metaverse but most often without conviction.”
  • From the “A Rape in Cyberspace” dept: “Metaverse vs. employment law: The reality of the virtual workplace. When it comes to employment laws, however, it is unclear what rules of engagement apply in a universal digital realm. What counts as harassment in the metaverse? Can an avatar be discriminated against, or worse? Will national legislation protect employees or does working in the metaverse require a new rule book altogether?”
  • The Turing Trap: The Promise & Peril of Human-Like Artificial Intelligence“—”In 1950, Alan Turing proposed an ‘imitation game’ as the ultimate test of whether a machine was intelligent: could a machine imitate a human so well that its answers to questions are indistinguishable from those of a human.1 Ever since, creating intelligence that matches human intelligence has implicitly or explicitly been the goal of thousands of researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs. The benefits of human-like artificial intelligence (HLAI) include soaring productivity, increased leisure, and perhaps most profoundly, a better understanding of our own minds. But not all types of AI are human-like—in fact, many of the most powerful systems are very different from humans —and an excessive focus on developing and deploying HLAI can lead us into a trap. As machines become better substitutes for human labor, workers lose economic and political bargaining power and become increasingly dependent on those who control the technology. In contrast, when AI is focused on augmenting humans rather than mimicking them, then humans retain the power to insist on a share of the value created. What’s more, augmentation creates new capabilities and new products and services, ultimately generating far more value than merely human-like AI. While both types of AI can be enormously beneficial, there are currently excess incentives for automation rather than augmentation among technologists, business executives, and policymakers.”
  • Thread—”2 years ago, @amazon accused my husband of a crime. 21 months ago, DOJ took ALL of my family’s money based on those accusations – without criminal charges. Today, we got almost all of it back. But they can’t give us the life we had back. Civil forfeiture must be abolished. /1″
  • Chris Crouch was anti-vaccine. Now his pregnant wife had covid, and he faced a terrible choice. ‘You are not going to die,’ he said, making a vow he wasn’t sure he could keep.” Tweet—”The line that got to me was: ‘When you sit there and see your wife on life support because of covid, you throw out politics.’ Such a telling formulation in the context of a pandemic that had already put hundreds of thousands of people on life support.”
  • Tweet—”Well, I let myself have a little but hope, as a treat but at least I knew better than to really believe we’d get to start child vaccines any time soon.” See “Coronavirus vaccine for young children further delayed as FDA reverses course, says it will wait for data on three doses. The delay means it could be mid-April at the earliest before shots are available.”
  • Americans get sicker as omicron stalls everything from heart surgeries to cancer care.”
  • Pandemics disable people — the history lesson that policymakers ignore. Influenza, polio and more have shown that infections can change lives even decades later. Why the complacency over possible long-term effects of COVID-19?”
  • 2 Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future. The resignations came after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, was said to have expressed doubts about the case, and amid a monthlong pause in the presentation of evidence to a grand jury.”
  • Tweet—”Coutts police honors, greets and hugs truckers who have blocked the US – Canada border for 18 consecutive days.” Tweet—”BREAKING: Being white looks pretty incredible.” Also “Watson’s backdoor dealing with ‘freedom convoy’ is harmful, say some Ottawa residents“—”‘It feels like he hasn’t shown up for residents, particularly not for those in the downtown core,’ said Fae Johnstone, an Ottawa resident. ‘To see him now back channeling with folks that I would describe as white supremacists is really concerning to me.'”
  • How a Kansas traffic stop led to a federal lawsuit over $1.2M in seized marijuana profits“—”From this traffic stop, a series of events unspooled that resulted in more than $1.2 million being seized in what an attorney describes in a court filing as ‘the repeated and continuing highway robberies of armored cars by government agents.'”
  • The global ‘freedom movement’ is a carnival of crank and conspiracy – and very dangerous. I spent a year undercover in QAnon. Don’t let the ridiculousness distract from the threat.”—”Hear the remarkable story of how a small town in the Pacific Northwest managed to reclaim their local government from right-wing extremists.”
  • Watch “How One Small Town Fought Off A QAnon Invasion
  • New report details the influence of Christian nationalism on the insurrection. Christian nationalism was used to ‘bolster, justify and intensify the January 6 attack on the Capitol,’ said Amanda Tyler, head of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.”
  • Senators: CIA has secret program that collects American data.”
  • Tweet—”Newt Gingrich said this morning that people serving on the J6 Committee are going to go to jail if Republicans take over Congress after the next election.” Tweet—”When it’s all about political reprisals & no due process of law, then fascism’s not just “rising,” it’s poised to strike. This HAS BEEN the case & they’ve been solidifying their position for years. It’s not hyperbole. It’s not alarmism. They’re telling you outright. Believe them.”
  • Tweet—”For me, the takeaway from the Trump-destroys-and-steals-documents scandal is that political journalists should stop pretending to believe Republicans when they pretend to be outraged about purportedly illegal or unethical behavior by Democrats.”
  • Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova: ‘Fuck Putin. I Hope He Dies Soon’. The singer-activist accuses the E.U. of not taking the Russian invasion sufficiently seriously, and discusses a crypto fundraiser that raised nearly $3 million for Ukraine in less than 24 hours.” Also “Putin Suspended From International Judo Federation“—”Russian President Vladimir Putin was suspended from his role as honorary president of the International Judo Federation, the sport’s governing body said Sunday. The IJF cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for its decision to oust Mr. Putin, a judo black belt and enthusiastic booster of the sport.” Also tweet—”Received breaking news. @dmarket, a platform for trading NFT & In-game Metaverse items, just canceled the accounts of all users from the Russian Federation and Belarus. All funds from their accounts donated to the Ukrainian Army. $4.5 MLN. What a support!” Also “‘Without it I Can’t Pay Rent’: Russian OnlyFans Models Can’t Get Paid Amid Sanctions, Invasion. ‘People think we chose [Putin] as a leader, but it’s not truth. He is a real nightmare for Russia and we all want to fix this terrible situation'” and tweet—”The sanction nobody is talking about. Russian users who attempted to visit pornhub were quite literally cockblocked by a message that told them that the content has been stopped along with a Ukranian flag and message of Ukranian support #Ukraine #UkraineRussia #UkraineInvasion” Also Russian official apologises for war in Ukraine at UN climate meet. The Russian head of delegation at a major UN climate conference apologised for his country’s invasion of Ukraine on Sunday, which he said lacked justification, according to several sources who heard him speak at the virtual meeting.” Also thread “New (to me) dimension of crowdwork platforms: Russian military uses Premise microtasking platform to aim and calibrate fire during their invasion of Ukraine. Example tasks are to locate ports, medical facilities, bridges, explosion craters. Paying ¢0.25 to $3.25 a task.” But also “Premise’s Response to Allegations of Influence in Ukraine“—”Earlier today, Premise was identified in social media posts as being a tool used by Russian forces to locate Ukrainian targets. This is unequivocally false. Premise does not work for or support the Russian military or government. Our primary concern is that of the safety and welfare of the Ukrainian people. Out of an abundance of caution, Premise has suspended all operations in Ukraine and is closely monitoring this situation as it develops. Our company and our team worldwide strongly support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people defending themselves against this illegal act of aggression by Russia.” Also tweet—”EU shuts its airspace to all Russian-owned, Russian-registered, or Russian-controlled aircraft, President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter. ‘Including the private jets of oligarchs,” she wrote.” Also tweet—”Russian military ship asks Georgian vessel for fuel. – You Russian? – Yes. – We refuse you refueling. – Who is this? – Assistant captain from Georgia. ‘Russian ship, go fuck yourself’ – Then we have to run on fumes. – Ok, then row, fucking invaders!” Also tweet—”A bank run has started in Moscow today as Russians expect their savings to be frozen by the government.” Also thread—”Yesterday, multiple Russian state media published an extremely shocking, even for Kremlin standards, essay: it presumed “Putin solved the Ukrainian question for ever” – i.e. it presumed Russia took over Ukraine and essentially annexed it into a forever-new–old-union. But… ..this essay was apparently written for a scenario where Russian armed forces had taken over Kyiv and subjugated the country…Which didn’t actually happen. So, what did state news agency do? They deleted the article, as if the plan had never been published in the first place. Ok, one can assume this was just an editorial mistake that was caught early, and the essay did not reflect the State view..EXCEPT.. this same essay was carried on other state-run channels too.” And “Наступление России и нового мира” (The offensive of Russia and the new world) “Новый мир рождается на наших глазах. Военная операция России на Украине открыла новую эпоху — причем сразу в трех измерениях. И конечно, в четвертом, внутрироссийском. Тут начинается новый период и в идеологии, и в самой модели нашего социально-экономического строя — но об этом стоит поговорить отдельно чуть позже.” (A new world is being born before our eyes. Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has ushered in a new era – and in three dimensions at once. And of course, in the fourth, internal Russian. Here begins a new period both in ideology and in the very model of our socio-economic system – but this is worth talking about separately a little later.) “Россия восстанавливает свое единство — трагедия 1991 года, этой страшной катастрофы нашей истории, ее противоестественный вывих, преодолены. Да, большой ценой, да, через трагические события фактически гражданской войны, потому что сейчас пока еще стреляют друг в друга братья, разделенные принадлежностью к русской и украинским армиям, — но Украины как анти-России больше не будет. Россия восстанавливает свою историческую полноту, собирая русский мир, русский народ вместе — во всей его совокупности великороссов, белорусов и малороссов. Если бы мы отказались от этого, позволили бы временному разделению закрепиться на века, то не только предали бы память предков, но и были бы прокляты нашими потомками — за то, что допустили распад Русской земли.” (Russia is restoring its unity – the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe in our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome. Yes, at a great cost, yes, through the tragic events of a virtual civil war, because now brothers, separated by belonging to the Russian and Ukrainian armies, are still shooting at each other, but there will be no more Ukraine as anti-Russia. Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians. If we had abandoned this, if we had allowed the temporary division to take hold for centuries, then we would not only betray the memory of our ancestors, but would also be cursed by our descendants for allowing the disintegration of the Russian land.) and tweet—”Unbelievably sinister: The article that was taken down begins, ‘A new world is emerging before our eyes.’ It talks about reversing the catastrophe of 1991, turning Rus/Belarus/Ukraine into a single country. And all of that was supposed to happen yesterday. But it didn’t.” Tweet—”Kyiv’s mayor says the city is now completely surrounded and all exits blocked by Russian troops. No way to evacuate civilians. Siege begins.” and “Kyiv’s mayor: ‘We are encircled’ but full of fight.” Tweet—”The EU just closed its airspace to Russian planes. FedEx and UPS suspended service in Russia. BP is getting out. Russian banks are running out of dollars. The ruble is crashing. Putin is finally getting his dream of taking Russia back to the USSR, an impoverished, hermit kingdom.” Thread—”The most racist Ukraine coverage on TV News.” Also “Ukraine president asks for fast-track EU membership.” And “Ukrainian Catholic priest begins exorcism ritual aimed at Putin.” Also “Putin’s fears of a unified, stronger Europe are fast becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine is turning his fears of a more resolute Europe and NATO alliance into a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tweet—”The future is a very weird place. Ukrainians are uploading videos on TikTok about how to drive abandoned or captured Russian military vehicles.” Thread (and head’s up this is about Duginism)—”We’ve all seen Putin’s bizarre references to the ‘de-nazification’ of Ukraine govt. A couple of days ago, in response, I tweeted ‘De-nazification begins at home’. But this wasn’t just empty ‘back atcha’ rhetoric. It’s time we talked about Putin advisor Aleksandr Dugin. 1/22″ Tweet-“Putin has used British rich man’s law to avoid scrutiny, at a crippling cost to us all. The price of justice in the UK has helped the Russian super-rich stay fixtures in our culture.” Tweet—”Россия — это не Путин. Объявляем акцию гражданского неповиновения” (Russia is not Putin. We declare an action of civil disobedience.) Also, they did subsequently, in fact, take the Zone, but thread—”I’ve been sitting on this for a few days without the right words to describe it, especially in tweet form, but fuck it, thread time. Chernobyl is on the front lines of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict and it is concerning. (1/?)” and “Chernobyl power plant captured by Russian forces -Ukrainian official” and “Ukraine Admits It’s ‘Impossible’ to Say if Chernobyl Is Safe. ‘All Chernobyl facilities’ are now under Russian control after clashes at the site, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.” Also “Ukraine Invasion by Russia Is the Beginning of the End for Putin and His Friends. Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine will result in the downfall of him and his friends.” Also “Moscow newspaper condemns Putin over invasion: ‘Russia. Bombs. Ukraine.’ In an act of rebellion against the Putin government, Russian daily Novaya Gazeta, the Russian daily, said it would publish editions in Russian and Ukrainian.”—”Editor Dmitri Murátov, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, wrote: “Together with pain, we feel a sense of shame. What is the next step? A nuclear war? Only a Russian opposition movement against the war can save the life of this planet.” Tweet—”Putin reportedly has a $97 million luxury yacht called “Graceful”. A group of Anonymous hackers on Saturday figured out a way to mess with maritime traffic data & made it look like the yacht had crashed into Ukraine’s Snake Island, then changed its destination to ‘hell'” and “Detenido un marinero ucraniano por hundir parcialmente el yate de lujo de su jefe ruso en Port Adriano. El propietario de la embarcación es un magnate responsable de la fabricación de armas para las tropas de Putin.” (A Ukrainian sailor arrested for partially sinking his Russian boss’s luxury yacht in Port Adriano. The owner of the boat is a tycoon responsible for manufacturing weapons for Putin’s troops.) Also tweet—”Hacker groups are now dropping ransomware but not requesting money. They’re requesting a withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukraine to add pressure.” Tweet—”Whatever else happens next, the fascist international factions have been dealt a massive blow this week. The alliances they assumed could be brought to bear to prevail are simply not sufficient to overcome the outrage of the free world.” Tweet—”KGB pensioner loses information war to comedian with a smartphone.” Finally, but behind a paywall, because, of course it is: “How to avoid falling for and spreading misinformation about Ukraine. Breaking news moves fast online, and it can be difficult to tell what’s real and what’s purposefully misleading or fake. Here’s how to sort through it all.”
  • Kansas Education Commissioner Who Said Indians are More Worrisome Than Tornadoes Should be Fired“—”The twister in the classic The Wizard of Oz film that landed Dorothy and her dog Toto onto the fictitious yellow brick road made Kansas known for its tornadoes. So when Randy Watson, who grew up in Kansas, was asked by his visiting California cousins if they were going to get killed by a tornado, he told them, ‘don’t worry about that, but you got to worry about the Indians raiding the town at any time.” In other words, Watson tried to convince his out-of-state cousins Indians are more threatening to them as white people than violent tornadoes.” “What is dangerous about Randy Watson making his ‘raiding Indians’ statement is he serves as the Kansas education commissioner. He has been in this position since 2014. Being the Kansas education commissioner is an important position because the commissioner is the top educator in the state as the leader of its public schools.”
  • Tweet—”The oldest millennials are in our late 30’s & early 40’s you absolute sausage of a word salad. That means we were 5-9 years old at the end of the cold war. And if you don’t think kids that age are old enough to understand that terror, go talk to kids in elementary school today.” Also tweet—”We’re not entirely sure what this tweet is supposed to mean, and we’re literally the dictionary.”
  • Thread—”1. In 1960, airport handlers in Fort Worth, Texas were confounded by an unclaimed Samsonite suitcase due to missed connection. They opened it & inside found fascist literature, porn, 7 birth certificates & passports from 4 countries, with different names but all for the same man.”
  • Now do evangelicals &c. in the US: “Mexican cardinals found guilty of trying to influence federal elections.”
  • Indigenous nations sue North Dakota over ‘sickening’ gerrymandering. The suit charges that diluting Indigenous power violates their voting rights and will handicap tribe members who run for office.”
  • From the “I’m so sorry I got caught” dept: “Vatican child protection expert says prelates should apologize for abuse cover up. After a recent report accused Benedict XVI of abuse coverup, Vatican child protection expert calls for those involved to apologize.”
  • RZIM Spent Nearly $1M Suing Ravi Zacharias Abuse Victim. Ministry-funded assessment shows the board didn’t ask questions but came up with creative ways to redirect donor funds.” Also “‘You Are One Step Away from Complete and Total Insanity’. The inside story of how Ravi Zacharias’s ministry concealed and enabled his abuse.”
  • Prince Andrew Admits Epstein ‘Trafficked Young Girls’ in Settlement With Virginia Giuffre. ‘Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre,’ reads the settlement from the disgraced royal, which ends the possibility of a public trial.” Also “Prince Andrew Settles Sex-Abuse Lawsuit Filed by Virginia Giuffre. Prince intends to make substantial donation to Giuffre charity, filing says.”
  • Inside Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Unlikely Rise and Precipitous Fall at Liberty University. Jerry Falwell Jr. was the Trump-anointing dark prince of the Christian right. Then a sex scandal rocked his marriage and ended his lucrative stewardship of the evangelical education empire founded by his father. In a series of exclusive interviews, Falwell—accompanied by his wife, Becki—describes the events that led to his ouster, their fallout, and why he’s finally ready to admit he never had much use for his father’s church anyway.” Tweet-“So, I have SO MANY THOUGHTS about Vanity Fair’s Jerry Falwell piece but let me put a couple here because, being in my 40s, I have heard about one bit a lot lately. I want to say something about men taking excess testosterone who don’t have Low T.”
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signs transgender athlete ban.”
  • Silicon Valley Super-Rich Fund School Board Recall Election to Oust Progressives. Those who oppose the recall are calling the effort a power grab by billionaires and right-leaning Silicon Valley investors, some of whom oppose mask mandates.”
  • Portland mayor wants to create 1,000-person group shelters, then outlaw camping by homeless people, records show. Members of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s team have pitched creating as many as three massive homeless shelters staffed by Oregon National Guard members and other workers in an attempt ban unsanctioned camping citywide.”
  • Thread—”As you read today’s inflation report, pay close attention to what the CEOs who set prices are saying. We got our hands on the latest batch of earnings reports, and it’s a doozy. They’re literally bragging about hiking prices while hiding behind ‘inflation.’ The receipts…(1/7).”
  • Tweet—”There are 1000s of brilliant, creative scholar/teachers who are adjuncting, at CCs or teaching colleges, or who’ve been run out of the academy entirely by grossly unfair circumstances. And then there are the 38 Harvard letter signers. Don’t you tell me academe is a meritocracy.” Tweet—”Something that I don’t think should be missed about the Harvard letter is what it tells us about the functions of academia as a social network, and second just how anomalous the situation is for that network to fail to defend a colleague from his consequences.”
  • Colombia court decriminalizes abortion, adding to regional momentum. The ruling, which allows the procedure in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, was the latest sign of a turning tide in a region with a long history of restrictive antiabortion laws.”
  • How Heeding Disabled People Can Help Everyone Survive Crises“—”Aliza Greenblatt’s ‘If We Make It Through This Alive’ is an immediately engaging story, but the deeper in you get, the more is revealed. And one of the starkest but most subtly played revelations comes near the very end, when the audience is confronted with twin harsh truths: Disabled and otherwise marginalized people are least often thought of when planning for the future—and what disabled people know from their experience of living in this world likely makes them better prepared than nondisabled people to survive whatever comes next.” In response to “‘If We Make It Through This Alive’. A new short story about a cutthroat future road race (and much more).”
  • gender & language“—”Not everyone identifies as a woman or a man. The movement to recognize gender identities beyond female and male is growing in places like Western Europe and the United States, and changing languages around the world. In English, the pronouns people use — such as ‘she,’ ‘he,’ or ‘they’ — have come to the fore. In some languages, other parts of speech can also be feminine or masculine. Modifying language to reflect a spectrum of gender identities is a fundamental change that stirs fierce debate.”
  • Thread—”Very interesting news today. The Council of Europe has voted to adopt a report on rising anti-LGBT abuse and sentiment around Europe and beyond – and it includes some very interesting points. 1/” “However British delegates specifically tried to have this removed from the report, submitting an amendment to remove the United Kingdom from the list of the worst offenders. It was rejected. 3/” “In fact, throughout the process, British reps tried to explicitly insert gender critical talking points throughout, and tried to have a promise to withdraw funding from anti-lgbt groups changed to a promise to just ‘challenge’ them instead. 4/.” Also “Combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe.”
  • Ex-Cult Members Describe Abuse by “Monster” Bentinho Massaro“—”Bentinho Massaro was first exposed in my December 2017 article Tech Bro Guru that warned he was a dangerous and delusional cult leader who claimed to be able to teleport and change the weather. I had spent a month infiltrating his group in Sedona. Since then Massaro has been reported on by The Guardian, Playboy, VICE, Barcroft and other news outlets.”
  • Death Positive Grant Program“—”The Order of the Good Death is pleased to offer project grants to individuals or groups working to make death a more meaningful, sustainable, and equitable experience for all. Our goal is to provide funding and support to a wide range of inspiring and innovative projects or initiatives. The grants are open to thought leaders and community organizers in the death positive community that have a project intended to create more innovative and compassionate experiences around death and dying through education, community care, art, events, technology, and/or advocacy. This grant will provide funding to three recipients (fellows) to launch or advance their existing work on a specific project in their area of expertise. In addition to funding they will receive expert support, access to resources, and connection to a community with a passion for changing the future of death care.”
  • Protections for gray wolves restored across much of the U.S.
  • Everything I know about Philadelphia’s plans to clear 120 acres of city-owned forest for a new golf course.”—”I don’t know what was more depressing, the dead raccoon alongside Cardington Road at the edge of the freshly erected construction fencing, or the clearcut hillside it had died trying to reach.”
  • ‘Windowless bunker’: First reviews of Disney’s $5,000 ‘Star Wars’ hotel are in“—”Reviews so far are generally positive — particularly praised are the character actors who carry the experience — with a few caveats.”
  • Thread—”today someone with good intentions but bad timing decided to clear out my drawers to ‘make space’ and dear god man those items were in deliberate limbo for exceptionally good reasons, what have you DONE, I feel like Epimetheus returning home to find Pandora clutching an empty box.”
  • The Anarchist Spirit in Tabletop Roleplaying Games“—”I think it hit me about a year ago, when I was trying to explain how consensus seeking works in autonomous groups to someone who was pulling the usual weird repertoire of questions on ‘how does anarchism work’. I could have made my life easier by telling them that, being an avid RPG gamer, ‘it works in the same way your party in X game works’.”
  • £740,000 painting is ruined after ‘bored’ security guard draws eyes on faceless figures on his first day in the job at Russian gallery. The security guard had drawn two pairs of eyes with a ballpoint pen onto artist Anna Leporskaya’s ‘Three Figures’ (1932–1934) painting. Painting was on display at the Yeltsin Center in Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Artwork was defaced by the guard who worked for a private security firm.”
  • Watch “Jordan Peterson: 12 More Rules | Aamon Animations. Deep within a comatose state, Jordan Peterson undergoes a cosmic journey of truth and lies.”
  • Watch “An Diabhal Inti | The Devil’s In Her | TG4 8.3.22” (as Gaeilge)—”A new series on TG4 An Diabhal Inti (The Devil’s in Her), explores how and why thousands and thousands of people, mostly women, were accused of being in league with the devil and executed as ‘witches’. Set against the backdrop of the great European witch hunts spanning two centuries.”
  • Watch “The Witchfinder 🧙🏻‍♀️| Trailer – BBC”—”Tim Key and Daisy May Cooper star as a witchfinder and suspected witch in a brand new comedy from the team behind Alan Partridge.”
  • Watch “Sex Work: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)“—”As long as sex work has existed, so have efforts to end it. John Oliver explains why criminalizing the trade hasn’t helped the most vulnerable people involved, and why we should start listening to those at the center of the conversation: sex workers.”
  • Evan Rachel Wood Exposes Marilyn Manson’s Nazi House of Horrors in Sundance Doc ‘Phoenix Rising’. The activist opens up about her harrowing abuse allegations, deciding to speak out, and hearing from other survivors: ‘It was like finding out that you had dated a serial killer.'” Movie at Sundance ‘22.
  • Watch “Medieval Mardi Gras” and “Secret Foods of the Spanish Inquisition“.
  • Watch “Gallifrey: War Room Trailer | Doctor Who”—”Return to the heart of the Time War in ‘Gallifrey: War Room’, an epic new audio drama series from Big Finish!”
  • Watch the trippy “Hyperbolica – Release Date Trailer“—”Hyperbolica is launching on March 14th, 2022, yes that’s pi day! Thank you for all your patience and continued support. This has been a wild journey for me and I can’t wait for the release!”
  • Watch “Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS | Official Trailer“—”From Oscar-nominated visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Oscar winner Tom Hanks. The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).”
  • Watch “The trick that made animation realistic“—”Rotoscoping changed animation forever. This is how.”
  • Watch “BLACK CRAB | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”BLACK CRAB is a Swedish action thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world torn apart by war. During a long, harsh winter, six soldiers embark on a covert mission across a frozen archipelago, risking their lives to transport a mysterious package that could end the war. As they enter hostile enemy territory, they have no idea what dangers lie ahead or who—if anyone—they can trust. But for speed skater turned soldier Caroline Edh, the mission is about something else entirely. Starring Noomi Rapace in a film directed by Adam Berg, BLACK CRAB follows six soldiers on a desperate mission to bring an end to the war which has destroyed their lives.”
  • How Non-Librarians Imagine a Librarian’s Typical Workday