Omnium Gatherum: 9mar2022

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

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

  • Intermingling Ancient Greek and West African Mythologies to Tell New Stories. Harmonia Rosales: Entwined brought together multiple departments and resources to accentuate the global power of mythology and center Black women.” About the Harmonia Rosales: Entwined exhibition at Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara through May 1.
  • Portland Cello Project is on tour.
  • SASS presents: The Greeks Have No Devil. An original adaptation of the novel “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt. Aula am Campus der Universität Wien. Samstag, 05. März 2022, 19:00 – 22:00. Samstag, 12. März 2022, 19:00 – 22:00.”—”The Students Acting Shakespeare Society (SASS) is proud to present ‘The Greeks Have No Devil’, a play based on the novel ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt. At a Vermont college in the early 1980s, six Greek students and their eccentric professor band together to study ancient mysteries and murder one of their own in the process. Narrator Richard Papen is enthralled by his classmates and their strange ideas about life and academia. He makes fast friends with the charismatic group leader Henry, flamboyant Francis, outgoing Charles, beautiful and aloof Camilla and the friendly but overbearing Bunny, whose jealousy ends up getting the better of him. Their Greek professor Julian Morrow encourages the group live life to the fullest, no matter the consequences, as Richard’s academic advisor Prof. Laforgue and his fellow student Judy Poovey look on in worry. SASS was first established in 2017 by a group of students from University of Vienna’s department for English and American Studies. They started off performing in productions of Shakespearean classics, soon branching out to include modern plays and showcases of their acting, improv and musical talents as well. ‘The Greeks Have No Devil’ presented a new and unique challenge to the group as it is their first original adaption of a text for the stage.” This is, of course, related to The Secret History by Donna Tartt—”Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.”
  • A Digital Archive of Hieronymus Bosch’s Complete Works: Zoom In & Explore His Surreal Art“—”The Bosch Project (aka the Bosch Research and Conservation Project) began in 2010 as a way to bring together the artist’s 45 paintings “spread across 2 continents, 10 countries, 18 cities, and 20 collections” for in-depth research, available to everyone.” About Bosch Project.
  • The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake —”The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation. Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality―an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications. When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will. Most of them.”
  • A Socialist Feminist Reading List. A reading list of revolutionary feminist texts, featuring Angela Davis, Nancy Fraser, Sophie Lewis, Legacy Russell, and Vivian Gornick.”—”To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day we bring you this globally focused feminist reading list. Featuring history, theory, manifesto and personal narrative, all of these books advance ideas of revolutionary feminism.”
  • Watch “It’s Time to Come Clean — Brandon Sanderson“. Also, crowdfunding with 22 days to go: “Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson. A Year of Sanderson: Enjoy books and swag boxes throughout 2023!” Also “We Just Became the #1 Kickstarter of All Time.”
  • Pig grunts reveal their emotions. We can now decode pigs’ emotions. Using thousands of acoustic recordings gathered throughout the lives of pigs, from their births to deaths, an international team of researchers is the first in the world to translate pig grunts into actual emotions across an extended number of conditions and life stages. The research is led by the University of Copenhagen, the ETH Zurich and the France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), and can be used to improve animal welfare in the future.”
  • Mystery hummingbird stumps amateurs and scientists alike“—”There’s a delicate, jewel-toned mystery afoot in the Franklin Mountains, causing a buzz among bird enthusiasts. A shimmering green and blue hummingbird, with a white underbelly, frequented feeders on the Westside in the foothills of the Franklins, but the bird’s identity has been a puzzle for both birders and scientists. But University of Texas at El Paso scientists hope for answers within a few months using a genetic sample to find out just exactly what the bird is.”
  • Decoding the information structure underlying the neural representation of concepts“—”The ability to identify individual objects or events as members of a kind (e.g., ‘knife,’ ‘dog,’ or ‘party’) is a fundamental aspect of human cognition. It allows us to quickly access a wealth of information pertaining to a newly encountered object or event and use it to guide our behavior. How is this information represented in the brain? We used functional MRI to analyze patterns of brain activity corresponding to hundreds of familiar concepts and quantitatively characterized the informational structure of these patterns. Our results indicate that conceptual knowledge is stored as patterns of neural activity that encode sensory-motor and affective information about each concept, contrary to the long-held idea that concept representations are independent of sensory-motor experience.” Also “The Stuff of Thought Is the Stuff of Experience. A new study by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) untangles the mystery of how we know what we know, uncovering that conceptual knowledge is tied to perceptual and experiential information.”
  • Science needs to address its imagination problem – lives depend on it. Almost 200 people died in the German floods of 2021 because experts couldn’t convince them of impending danger. We must rethink how to get through to the public, says hydrologist Hannah Cloke.”
  • Scientists discover the Earth’s inner core isn’t solid or liquid. It’s ‘superionic.’“—”The structure of Earth’s core could be unlike any other state of matter, researchers have found. Yu He, a physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead author of a study published this month in the journal Nature, said the calculations challenged what researchers once understood about the inner core. He and his colleagues found the inner core creates a “superionic state” made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. He said it’s unlike any solid or liquid form. ‘It is quite abnormal,’ He said in a statement to USA TODAY. ‘The solidification of iron at the inner core boundary does not change the mobility of these light elements, and the convection of light elements is continuous in the inner core.'”
  • A Speed Limit Could Be a Breakthrough for Stem Cell Therapy“—”Replacing sick or damaged cells with healthy cells: this is a major goal of regenerative medicine. One of the most promising approaches is cellular reprogramming, whereby one cell type in our body converts to another cell type. Research carried out at Helmholtz Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München has discovered new ways to improve the cellular reprogramming efficiency, unlocking potential for cellular repair therapies”
  • Smart LED contact lenses for treating diabetic retinopathy“—”A POSTECH research team led by Professor Sei Kwang Hahn and Ph.D. candidate Geon-Hui Lee (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) in collaboration with Dr. Sangbaie Shin of PHI BIOMED Co. has recently developed a smart contact lens-type wearable device to prevent diabetic retinopathy and treat it in its early stages by irradiating 120 µW far red/LED light to the retina. This technology for smart LED contact lens has attracted a great attention for various ophthalmologic diseases.”
  • Tyrannosaurus rex may actually be three separate species. After analysing the teeth and thigh bones of 38 T. rex fossils, some researchers propose reclassifying them as three different species, but others are unconvinced.”
  • King Tut’s ‘dagger from outer space’ may have been a gift from abroad. Debate ensues over where the pharaoh’s dagger was forged on Earth.”—”In one of the new studies, published Feb. 11 in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, researchers describe how an adhesive used on the dagger’s gold hilt was likely made of lime plaster, a material that was used in Anatolia at the time Tutankhamun reigned. This lime plaster, however, was not widely used in Egypt at that time, the researchers wrote. Additionally, historical records found at the site of Amarna, in Egypt, show that Tushratta, the king of Mitanni in Anatolia, gifted at least one iron dagger to Amenhotep III (who reigned from about 1390 B.C. to 1352 B.C.), the grandfather of Tutankhamun, the researchers noted. The team also found that the ‘iron blade was made by low-temperature heat forging at less than 950 °C [1,742 degrees Fahrenheit],’ since a mineral called troilite and formations of iron-nickel crystals known as ‘widmanstätten patterns’ could be seen on the dagger, the researchers wrote in the journal article.” “However, in another study, published in the book “Iron from Tutankhamun’s Tomb” (American University in Cairo Press, 2022), researchers found that ‘it is currently impossible to arrive at a reliable conclusion as to the origin of Tutankhamun’s iron objects or the craftsmen and materials involved,’ the research team wrote. Those study authors noted that the ‘rock crystal’ of the blade’s pommel is similar to artifacts widely used in the Aegean area, while the pommel’s ‘typically Egyptian shape suggests either manufacture in Egypt or foreign production for an Egyptian market,’ the research team wrote. ‘As a result, no clear overall picture on the origin of the dagger’s handle and blade’ can be made.”
  • Mystery solved about the origin of the 30,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf“—”The almost 11 cm high figurine from Willendorf is one of the most important examples of early art in Europe. It is made of a rock called “oolite” which is not found in or around Willendorf. A research team led by the anthropologist Gerhard Weber from the University of Vienna and the two geologists Alexander Lukeneder and Mathias Harzhauser as well as the prehistorian Walpurga Antl-Weiser from the Natural History Museum Vienna have now found out with the help of high-resolution tomographic images that the material from which the Venus was carved likely comes from northern Italy. This sheds new light on the remarkable mobility of the first modern humans south and north of the Alps. The results currently appear in Scientific Reports.”
  • In Russia, an Ancient DNA Researcher Rewrites the Past. Prof. Love Dalén has survived flights in rickety old helicopters, encounters with polar bears and subfreezing temperatures – all to obtain rare findings on a remote island in Siberia that provide direct genetic evidence of life over a million years ago.”
  • Archaeologists Find Evidence for 40,000-year-old Modern Culture in China. No sapiens bones were found at Xiamabei, but archaeologists found a pigment-processing industry and miniaturized stone tools far in advance of their broad adoption in prehistoric China.”—”Archaic humans began reaching Eurasia at least 2 million years ago, but the timeline of anatomically modern types spreading out of Africa is not known. In any case, by 40,000 years ago modern humans had reached northern Asia, replacing the archaic populations. Some modern remains from that time have been found, albeit few, but what their cultural adaptations were like was a mystery. Now an international team of archaeologists reports in Nature on indirect but compelling evidence for Homo sapiens’ presence at Xiamabei, a site in northern China by the Huliu River that dates to at least 40,000 years ago. Moreover, it seems they developed a unique stone technology culture that would only emerge broadly more than 10,000 years later.”
  • Scientists uncover the largest crater on Earth under 100,000 years old. The impact crater is the second discovered in China.”
  • Tiny ‘flower’ formation spotted on Mars by Curiosity rover“—”During its ongoing investigation of Martian rocks in Gale Crater, the Curiosity rover stumbled on a tiny surprise. The rock artifact, which resembles a piece of coral or a flower, is smaller than a penny. The Martian ‘flower’ and the spherical pieces next to it were likely “made in the ancient past when minerals carried by water cemented the rock,” according to NASA.”
  • SHUT UP SHUT UP NOT LISTENING! “Spiders hunt in packs of hundreds to swarm prey. Web vibrations help them coordinate when to strike.”
  • Okay, but, hear me out: maybe one of these will take out the spider swarm. “The rise and fall of the riskiest asteroid in a decade. For a few tense days this January, a roughly 70-metre asteroid became the riskiest observed in over a decade. Despite the Moon’s attempt to scupper observations, the asteroid is now known to be entirely safe.”—”‘In January this year, we became aware of an asteroid with the highest ranking on the Palermo scale that we’ve seen in more than a decade, reaching -0.66’ explains Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEOCC. ‘In my almost ten years at ESA I’ve never seen such a risky object.'”
  • Protect the babies? What about us? Who’s going to protect us from the babies?! I’ve seen the movies, shows, and anime, and I know how this end for us. Not well! “Scientists call for China to protect world’s first gene-edited babies. He Jiankui was jailed for his experiment on human embryos after the three girls were born. A new proposal suggests a research centre be set up and funds allocated to look after them.”
  • Do you want Mothra. This is how you get Mothra. Wait … Mothra is cool. Carry on. “Silkworms make fluorescent silk after eating quantum dots. Nanometre-sized semiconductors extracted from mulberry leaves make silkworms and their silk emit a strong red glow.”
  • Speaking of Kaiju: “Cooler waters created super-sized Megalodon, latest study shows. Megalodon expert leads the discovery of an intriguing pattern of the prehistoric shark.”
  • And mini-kaiju! “Largest bacterium ever discovered has an unexpectedly complex cell. Giant microbe from a mangrove could be a missing link between single-celled organisms and the cells that make up humans”
  • Australian Scientists Plan to Resurrect the Extinct Tasmanian Tiger. An ambitious new project aims to bring an iconic marsupial species back from the dead.”
  • Researchers See ‘Future of an Entire Species’ in Ultrasound Technique. To bring abalone back from the edge of extinction, scientists need to find improved ways of coaxing the snails into reproducing.”
  • Clues to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder hidden in the dark genome. The dark genome makes up 98% of human DNA. Scientists are just beginning to understand its role in cognitive disorders.”
  • Astronomers see an Enormous Shockwave, 60 Times Bigger Than the Milky Way.”
  • The end of inflammation? New approach could treat dozens of diseases. Cancer, aging, and severe COVID-19 have all been linked to damage from inflammation. Now scientists are flipping their focus to find new drugs that may revolutionize treatments.”
  • Novel treatment makes pancreatic cancer susceptible to immunotherapy, mouse study shows. Washington University to lead national clinical trial investigating therapy.”
  • Cellular Rejuvenation Therapy Safely Reverses Signs of Aging in Mice. Salk researchers treated mice with anti-aging regimen beginning in middle age and found no increase in cancer or other health problems later on.”
  • Moon and Mars superoxides for oxygen farming. The dusty faces of the Moon and Mars conceal unseen hazards for future explorers. Areas of highly oxidising material could be sufficiently reactive that they would produce chemical burns on astronauts’ unprotected skin or lungs. Taking inspiration from a pioneering search for Martian life, a Greek team is developing a device to detect these ‘reactive oxygen species’ – as well as harvest sufficient oxygen from them to keep astronauts breathing indefinitely.”
  • Tiny ‘skyscrapers’ help bacteria convert sunlight into electricity. Researchers have made tiny ‘skyscrapers’ for communities of bacteria, helping them to generate electricity from just sunlight and water.”
  • Lead Exposure in Last Century Shrank Iq Scores of Half of Americans. Leaded gasoline calculation to have stolen over 800 million cumulative IQ points since 1940s.”
  • Feeding small fish to people instead of to farmed salmon could make seafood production more sustainable. Study suggests that aquaculture is currently inefficient, wasting important nutrients while depleting global fish stocks.”
  • Direct comparison of the acute effects of lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin in a double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy subjects“—”Both doses of LSD and the high dose of psilocybin produced qualitatively and quantitatively very similar subjective effects, indicating that alterations of mind that are induced by LSD and psilocybin do not differ beyond the effect duration. Any differences between LSD and psilocybin are dose-dependent rather than substance-dependent. However, LSD and psilocybin differentially increased heart rate and blood pressure. These results may assist with dose finding for future psychedelic research.”
  • Clinically translatable cytokine delivery platform for eradication of intraperitoneal tumors“—”Proinflammatory cytokines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and renal carcinoma. However, effective cytokine therapy requires high-dose infusions that can result in antidrug antibodies and/or systemic side effects that limit long-term benefits. To overcome these limitations, we developed a clinically translatable cytokine delivery platform composed of polymer-encapsulated human ARPE-19 (RPE) cells that produce natural cytokines. Tumor-adjacent administration of these capsules demonstrated predictable dose modulation with spatial and temporal control and enabled peritoneal cancer immunotherapy without systemic toxicities.”
  • From the Nikola Tesla dept: “Metasurface-Based Antenna Turns Ambient Radio Waves into Electric Power. Technology could make it possible to use radio emissions from cell phone networks to wirelessly power sensors and LEDs.”
  • Hello, Snowpiercer and Infinity Train! “Fortescue Buys Williams Advanced Engineering and Announces World’s First Infinity Train. Marking its transition to a global green renewables and resources company, Fortescue has today completed the acquisition of UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). WAE will remain an independent company, accelerating growth whilst its leading battery technical division will work with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), Fortescue’s green energy, technology and development company. To mark the purchase, WAE and Fortescue announced the world first, zero emission ‘Infinity Train'”.
  • Solar-paneled canals getting a test run in San Joaquin Valley. A research project conducted by a UC Merced graduate student is becoming a reality as the Turlock Irrigation District (TID) approved piloting the first-in-the-nation construction of solar panels over water canals.”
  • More on this: “Climate change: a threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet. Taking action now can secure our future.” And “IPCC adaptation report ‘a damning indictment of failed global leadership on climate’“.
  • Serious, Salty Trouble Is Brewing Under Antarctic Glaciers. Alarming new research suggests warm seawater is rushing under the ice, perhaps doubling the rate of melting.”
  • Evolved Nest Companionship Is Our Species’ Baseline. Avoid advice that violates our millions-year-old adaptation.”—”Parents and adults from industrialized nations often misunderstand babies and their development. They are encouraged to look to “experts” and the latest experiments to figure out how to treat young children, even though the experts may not be experts in child development (e.g., Oster, 2019). Writer Jean Liedloff was the first to challenge the appropriateness of this approach to parenting after her experiences with the Ye’quana in the Amazon rainforest. What are industrialized parents and adults to do?” “1. Understand the nature of a baby and her needs. … 2. Learn about our species’ Evolved Nest. … 3. Learn how to assess parenting books according to babies’ evolved needs. … Our species’ evolved nest provides appropriate baselines for child-raising, proven adaptive over millions of years. Those who give advice ignoring these baselines are misunderstanding babies’ needs.” Also “THE EVOLVED NEST IS… The Evolved Nest is a breakthrough concept that integrates findings across fields that bear on child development, child raising and adult behavior. The Evolved Nest promotes optimal health and wellbeing, cooperation, and receptive and sociomoral intelligences. Societal moves away from providing the Evolved Nest have contributed to the ill being and dysregulation we see in one another and society. Learn how to nest your children and re-nest yourself.” Comprised of 9 elements: “Soothing pre- and perinatal experiences. Breastfeeding on request for several years. Affectionate (moving) touch; no negative touch. A welcoming social climate. Self-directed free play with multiple-aged mates. Responsive relationships. Multiple responsive stable supportive caregivers. Nature immersion and connection. Routine healing practices.”
  • Bandcamp is Joining Epic Games.” Tweet—”This is messy as fuck. Spotify and major label money getting tied up with indie artist and small label sales and distribution via a company that pretty much hyperaccelerated the worst predatory aspects of the pay to play games model? Messy.” Tweet—”Pleased to announce that Beloved Independent Company has been acquired by Enormous Corporation. While we’ve declined similar options in the past, Enormous Corporation has promised not to change anything while delivering me, personally, just a buttload of money.” Also “What Bandcamp’s Acquisition by Epic Games Means for Music Fans and Artists. What does the company behind Fortnite want with the internet’s most beloved independent music store?”
  • Looks like Google’s on an audio startup buying spree. It’s scooping up talent, tech, and intellectual property.”
  • Activision Blizzard sued for wrongful death by family of employee who killed herself.”
  • Researchers Unveil Hybrid 512-Qubit Quantum Array With Zero Downtime. Building an array of two different qubit types can be key for quantum scaling.”
  • Biden to Order Study of Cryptocurrency Risk, Creation of U.S. Digital Currency. Federal agencies to explore financial and environmental concerns and inform regulatory action.”
  • From 2021, The Onion: “Priceless NFT Artwork Vandalized With Spray Paint Tool.”
  • Covid May Cause Changes in the Brain, New Study Finds. Brain scans before and after infection showed more loss of gray matter and tissue damage, mostly in areas related to smell, in people who had Covid than in those who did not.” Also “Brain regions related to smell show decline following mild COVID-19. Researchers from the University of Oxford have used data from UK Biobank participants to look at changes to the brain on average 4.5 months after mild SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
  • 28 MONTHS LATER – The Hidden Toll of COVID *Not* Being Discussed.”
  • Covid infection increases risk of mental health disorders, study finds. Researchers note need to follow patients after recovery for any emerging disorders.”
  • Ivermectin doesn’t prevent severe disease from COVID-19, new study finds“—”There was no difference in outcomes between the groups. In fact, slightly more patients in the ivermectin group went on to need extra oxygen compared with those who took a placebo, though the difference was not statistically significant.”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky survives three assassination attempts in days“—”President Zelensky has survived at least three assassination attempts in the past week, The Times has learnt. Two different outfits have been sent to kill the Ukrainian president — mercenaries of the Kremlin-backed Wagner group and Chechen special forces. Both have been thwarted by anti-war elements within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Wagner mercenaries in Kyiv have sustained losses during their attempts and are said to have been alarmed by how accurately the Ukrainians had anticipated their moves. A source close to the group said it was “eerie” how well briefed Zelensky’s security team appeared to be.” Also “Ukraine war: ‘My city’s being shelled, but mum won’t believe me’. Oleksandra and her four rescue dogs have been sheltering in the bathroom of her flat in Kharkiv since the shelling began.” Tweet—”New therapeutic modality dropped.” Also watch “Hacker Group Anonymous Declares ‘Cyber War’ On Putin’s Russia” Also “Vladimir Putin barred from Burton-on-Trent pub. Landlady of the Loaf and Cheese says her punters would ‘wreck him’.” Also “Apple Halted All Product Sales In Russia And Disabled Maps Features In Ukraine. ‘Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia.'” Also “Internet backbone provider shuts off service in Russia. Likely resulting in slower connectivity in Russia.” Also “McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca-Cola leave Russia” and “Why McDonald’s Closing All Restaurants In Russia Is ‘Hugely Symbolic’. The ‘golden arches’ arrived in Moscow in 1990, and became an iconic symbol of American capitalism as the Soviet Union fell.”
  • Just how many end times does that make the tally now? Also, hot take: Pat Robertson is proof there’s no God. “The Christians Who Think the Ukraine Invasion Means Jesus Is Returning to Earth. Evangelicals like Pat Robertson are convinced Putin is ‘being compelled by God’ to wage war and bring about the end times.”
  • The teenager who tracked Elon Musk’s jet is now tracking Russian oligarchs.”
  • How the Ukraine war exposed Western media bias“—”The Middle East found itself dragged into coverage of the conflict in Ukraine over the past week as journalists descended on the country to cover the biggest European war in decades. Western war reporters, more used to being deployed in Middle East conflict zones, were quick to make comparisons. Some of those comparisons went overboard, causing outrage in the Arab world.”
  • More on this, clarifying that Premise is actually a US asset, apparently: “How an American gig work platform was accused of working for Russia. In the confusion, Google, an early investor in Premise, temporarily removed the app.”
  • Florida Lawmakers Pass ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill. The bill will now move to the desk of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law.” Also “‘The Magic Has Died’: Disney Employees Are Outraged That Their Company Won’t Speak Out About The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill. ‘The magic has died for me, and the little queer kid being beaten for being queer is crying and alone again,’ one former Disney employee said.” Also “Disney CEO Draws Criticism For Remarks On Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill. In a staff memo, Bob Chapek touted his company’s support of LGBTQ causes, but said Disney won’t release an official statement on the controversial legislation.” Also thread—”@Disney has no problem PROFITING from the LGBTQ community. Each year Disney World hosts 150K people for “Gay Days” and Disney offers a wide-array of pride-themed merchandise. But Disney’s solidarity only goes so far.”
  • How the Legislature schemed to ban transgender kids from competing in sports, Robert Gehrke writes. Utah Senate Republicans waited until the reelection filing deadline had expired on Friday to introduce legislation targeting transgender athletes in sports.” Tweet—”I dug into Utah’s ban on transgender athletes, the wildest story of the session. It’s got everything. Backroom scheming, political opportunism, secret votes, broken promises, electioneering, Gayle Ruzicka.”
  • ‘Trans kids are not new’: a historian on the long record of youth transitioning in America. Republicans seeking to restrict children’s lives claim trans youth are a ‘new phenomenon’. Jules Gill-Peterson explains how medical archives prove them wrong.”
  • Why Did Mark Meadows Register to Vote at an Address Where He Did Not Reside? In September, 2020, Donald Trump’s then chief of staff claimed to live in a mobile home in North Carolina.”
  • The Roger Stone tapes. New documentary footage shows Roger Stone working behind the scenes to overturn 2020 election, seek pardons after Jan. 6 riot.”
  • Congress Passes Emmett Till Bill To Make Lynching Hate Crime. Years in the making, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act is finally headed to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.”—”Years in the making, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act is among some 200 bills that have been introduced over the past century that have tried to ban lynching in America.”
  • The Supreme Court Just Came Perilously Close to Blowing Up Federal Elections“—”The Supreme Court will not overturn a century of pro-democracy precedent and two centuries of historical practice to give state legislatures unlimited power over elections—yet.”
  • The U.S. has four political parties stuffed into a two-party system. That’s a big problem. Stuffing four parties into a two-party system is an increasingly a big problem for the country.”—”Our predicament makes me long for ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, multi-member congressional districts and other ideas being pushed by political reformers.”
  • Smithsonian to give back its collection of Benin bronzes. In a deal with Nigeria to be signed this spring, the Smithsonian creates a partnership for future exhibitions and programs.” Also “Nigeria’s looted Benin bronzes returned, more than a century later.”
  • ‘Dune: Part 2’ Casts Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan.”
  • Make it, you cowards! “Dune Screenplay Originally Had an Intro Villeneuve Said Would Use Up the Entire Budget. Too spicy.”
  • Nosferatu and the Unholy War to Bury a Classic 100 Years Ago. The crusade led by Florence Stoker, widow of Bram Stoker, almost obliterated Nosferatu from history and would go on to change the way we thought about vampires forever.”
  • Speaking of Vampires, and ones we should all try to forget: “I Am Legend Sequel Starring Will Smith and Michael B. Jordan Announced. A chance to realign with the original novel’s themes?” Yeah, read the novel, not watch the movie. They really fucked that one up.
  • Doctor Who producer promises ‘massive, feature-length epic’ for regeneration episode. Jodie Whittaker’s last episode will ‘push everybody’s buttons’, according to Matt Strevens.”
  • Legendary Hammer Studios Relaunches With ‘Doctor Jekyll’ Movie Starring Eddie Izzard.”
  • Last and First Men Director: Jóhann Jóhannsson Iceland / 2020 / 72 Min English Introduced by Filmmaker Bill Morrison.” Watch “Jóhann Jóhannsson’s LAST AND FIRST MEN [Official Trailer]“—”Metrograph Pictures presents Last and First Men, the sole directorial effort of the late composer and musician Jóhann Jóhannsson and a visually arresting allegory for our times. The film will open exclusively in theaters at Metrograph and digitally on Metrograph At Home on December 10. Two billion years in the future, humanity finds itself on the verge of extinction. Almost all that remains are lone, surreal monuments—the futuristic, solemn, Brutalist stone slabs erected during the communist era in the former Yugoslav republics, arrestingly photographed in luminous 16mm black-and-white. A stunning feature debut and final cinematic testament from the late composer and musician Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario, Arrival, Mandy) conjures a world of surreal and phantasmagorical monuments, once intended as symbols of unity and brotherhood, now abandoned beacons beaming their message into the wilderness. Based on the cult 1930 science fiction novel by British author Olaf Stapledon, with narration by Tilda Swinton, Last and First Men is a poetic, hopeful, and tragic work: an allegory of remembrance, ideals, and the death of Utopia.”
  • How the Beat Generation Created the Uniform for Disaffected Youth. Sophie Wilson on the Co-opting of a Counterculture.”
  • From the hikikomori dept: “The Nocturnals. While most people are fast asleep, some ultra-introverts are going about their lives, reveling in the quiet and solitude. They challenge a core assumption of psychology: that all humans need social connection.”
  • Watch “The deadly toxin found in the world’s oldest mummies“—”The Chinchorro mummies of Chile’s Atacama desert are the world’s earliest example of artificially mummified people, predating Ancient Egyptian mummies by thousands of years.”
  • A Startup Company That Attempted to ‘Fix’ McDonald’s Broken Ice Cream Machines Is Now Suing the Chain for $900 Million. Several months after filing a suit against the company that makes McDonald’s ice cream machines, Kytch is taking aim at the fast food giant itself.” Also “Ice Cream Machine Hackers Sue McDonald’s for $900 Million. Kytch alleges that the Golden Arches crushed its business—and left soft serve customers out in the cold.”
  • Antarctic explorer Shackleton’s ship found after a century“—”‘This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen,’ he said. “It is upright, well proud (clear) of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail.'” Also “Ernest Shackleton’s Legendary Lost Ship Endurance Discovered After 107 Years. The ship is in nearly pristine condition at a depth of almost 2 miles.”
  • Musicians Are Hooking Up Synthesizers to Plants for New Sonic Possibilities. Pitch perfect plants.”
  • Um. No. FFS. Don’t open it! “Man finds mystery box inside wall with ‘do not release’ carved into it. The TikTok user in Wales had been trying to plug some gaps in the wall with insulation when he made the chilling discovery of the wooden box which spooked people out.” Oh, go ahead. How much worse can it all get? Wait. Don’t answer that.
  • Things Get Real Batty When Real Bat Appears During Screening Of ‘The Batman’. The Austin, Texas-based Moviehouse & Eatery by Cinépolis says the bat was likely released into the theater as a prank.” Wait. Was it Hattie?!