Omnium Gatherum: 23mar2022

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

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

  • Remembering Uncle O’Grimacey, McDonald’s Bizarre Shamrock Shake Mascot“—”There’s a salacious rumor that the Uncle O’Grimacey character was allegedly retired due to his controversial ties to the IRA.” “The rumor likely stems from a 1997 Onion article, in which O’Grimacey is referred to as ‘the most radical member of the Grimace family’.”
  • Is Putin Beyond Influence? How to stop a man on a mission.“—”The ideology that drives Putin’s psychology centers on a godly, unified Russia. Putin may view his murderous war as a noble mission on behalf of a sacred Russian Empire. Recognition of Putin’s ideological extremism might be a first step in making a feasible arrangement with him.” By Robert Jay Lifton, author of Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”A definitive account of the psychology of zealotry, from a National Book Award winner and a leading authority on the nature of cults, political absolutism, and mind control. In this unique and timely volume Robert Jay Lifton, the National Book Award–winning psychiatrist, historian, and public intellectual proposes a radical idea: that the psychological relationship between extremist political movements and fanatical religious cults may be much closer than anyone thought. Exploring the most extreme manifestations of human zealotry, Lifton highlights an array of leaders―from Mao to Hitler to the Japanese apocalyptic cult leader Shōkō Asahara to Donald Trump―who have sought the control of human minds and the ownership of reality. Lifton has spent decades exploring psychological extremism. His pioneering concept of the ‘Eight Deadly Sins’ of ideological totalism―originally devised to identify ‘brainwashing’ (or ‘thought reform’) in political movements―has been widely quoted in writings about cults, and embraced by members and former members of religious cults seeking to understand their experiences. In Losing Reality Lifton makes clear that the apocalyptic impulse―that of destroying the world in order to remake it in purified form―is not limited to religious groups but is prominent in extremist political movements such as Nazism and Chinese Communism, and also in groups surrounding Donald Trump. Lifton applies his concept of “malignant normality” to Trump’s efforts to render his destructive falsehoods a routine part of American life. But Lifton sees the human species as capable of ‘regaining reality’ by means of our ‘protean’ psychological capacities and our ethical and political commitments as ‘witnessing professionals.’ Lifton weaves together some of his finest work with extensive new commentary to provide vital understanding of our struggle with mental predators. Losing Reality is a book not only of stunning scholarship, but also of huge relevance for these troubled times.”
  • Thread—”I just saw that the fancy looking new HP game is about quelling a ‘goblin rebellion’ that threatens to upend the social order and you cannot convince me these people don’t know what they’re doing lol.” Tweet—”Malice or incompetence? My money is on ‘malice’!” Also “‘Harry Potter’ Game Designer Used to Run Anti-Social Justice YouTube Channel“—”One of the lead designers for ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ previously ran a YouTube channel where he referred to the #MeToo movement as a ‘moral panic.'” Thread—”1/ Here is your monthly reminder that the goblins of the Harry Potter franchise are not, in fact, “based on European folklore” other than their name. As far as I can determine, there were no ‘greedy, hook-nosed banker goblins’ in European folklore.” “That being said, I am _fascinated_ by how #HogwartsLegacy doubles down on ‘goblins as anti-semitic caricatures’. I mean, is _anyone_ involved with the franchise capable of self-reflection at all?” Tweet—”i cannot believe the new parry hotter game is literally ‘you must suppress a goblin rebellion and keep them subjugated, and you see the goblins are uh, stealing wizard children and uh-‘ does… does no one see what that is? did not one fuckin person at that studio go ‘hey uhhhh'” Tweet—”Compare and contrast with Little Witch Academia, the better magical school franchise, where the protagonist joins a goblin rebellion and stands for the working class.”
  • “We’re NONMACHINABLE, est. 2022 — we specialize in zines and artist publications featuring collage, visual poetry, abstract comics, stamp art, mail art, asemic writing, and other optically interesting material with a focus on work made by trans people, queers, artists of color, and women.”
  • Oh ffs. “M.A.R. Barker, creator of Tékumel and Empire of the Petal Throne, wrote a neo-nazi novel in 1991.”—”The book was called Serpent’s Walk, and was published by the same company that published infamous neo-nazi book The Turner Diaries. This has been known by a few people for a couple of years, or possibly longer. A former archivist for The Tekumel Foundation posted the following in 2020: ‘I had had no idea that this book existed until I found the manuscript, the original cover art, the publishing contract, the photocopy of the payment check, and the proof copies of the book in amongst Phil’s papers. I secured all this material for the Tekumel Foundation, in my capacity as an archivist, at that time under contract with them, and the last I saw it was all still on their shelves when I did the photo inventory of Phil’s collection in their offices in October of 2012 after I did not renew my dollar-a-year contract with them. (I do not judge the data I collect; I set it in the context I find it, and let others evaluate it. My reaction, as it had been when Phil had done things like this in the past, was ‘Oh, Phil, WHY?’)'” I recall the first book “Man of Gold” as being imperfect but super interesting, especially for the different world building and language focus. For years, I didn’t even know there was a sequel, but may not ever try to read it now that there’s this other book he wrote.
  • Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books. The Association of American Publishers filed suit to block a new Maryland law that aims to increase public libraries’ access to e-books, with support from a powerful copyright lobbying group.”
  • Tweet—”Monitoring the feud between Charli XCX Updates and the politics editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.”
  • Libraries and Books Under Attack: Musings of a Retired Librarian.”
  • It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted. ‘This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system,’ one expert said.”—”…such temperature anomalies would have been considered ‘impossible’ and ‘unthinkable’ before they actually occurred.” Also Sea ice that slowed the flow of Antarctic glaciers abruptly shatters in three days.” Also “Record ‘bomb cyclone’ bringing exceptional warmth to North Pole. Temperatures at the North Pole could approach the melting point as they surge nearly 50 degrees above normal.” Tweet—”Still pitchdark at the North Pole, but the temperature is, um, 50 degrees F above normal.” Also “Earth is not a benign mother. Prepare for its coming fury.
  • Latest Search for the Elusive Planet Nine Falls Short. A new survey detected 3,500 candidate signals, but none were deemed sufficient to prove the existence of the hypothetical world.”
  • The Trailblazing Archaeologist Uncovering the Untold Stories of Prehistoric Skeletons. Osteoarchaeologist Efthymia Nikita, recipient of a 2022 Dan David Prize, is studying the lives of ‘the everyday people who comprised the vast majority of our ancestors'”
  • How music evolves
First principals. Statistical analysis of music reveals the truth about its periods of revolution.”
  • MDMA Reopens Child-like ‘Critical Periods’ in the Brains of Mice to Promote Mental Healing.”
  • What do psychedelic drugs do to our brains? AI could help us find out. The words people used to describe their trip experiences could lead to better drugs to treat mental illness.”
  • Latest success from Google’s AI group: Controlling a fusion reactor. The AI was trained on a simulator to shape the plasma held within a tokamak.”
  • The Conditional Effects of Microtargeted Facebook Advertisements on Voter Turnout“—”Facebook advertisements are widely used in modern political campaigning and have come under tremendous scrutiny for their perceived ability to impact elections. However, there is limited evidence as to their effectiveness on voting behavior. An experiment conducted in Texas during the 2018 U.S. Midterm elections demonstrates that longitudinal exposure to issue-oriented Facebook ads may impact turnout, but that effects are conditional on an alignment of message, audience, and electoral context. Despite the large sample (N = 871,479) there is no detectable main effect of advertisements on turnout. Only individuals in competitive congressional districts assigned to receive ads about abortion rights and women’s healthcare exhibited a significant increase in predicted turnout (1.66pp relative to a control group); effects were concentrated among female voters. Three other message conditions had no impact on turnout.”
  • The Ai Illusion – State-of-the-Art Chatbots Aren’t What They Seem. GPT-3 is very much like a performance by a good magician.”—”Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron. Despite all the incredible things computers can do, they are still not intelligent in any meaningful sense of the word.”
  • Tweet—”Went to renew my Taiwanese passport, got denied because they couldn’t see my ears in my photo. Ran across the street to UPS to take new photos. They told me to put these on — a first for everything I guess.” Tweet—”i’m just saying i’m going to be using this in talks about how AIs manufacture their own representations of the world, and we’re forced to resort to increasingly absurd tactics to be “seen” by them as they drift further from reality.” Tweet—”This is *precisely* the right focus; it’s not that these systems ‘understand’ us better, it’s that we’re being compelled to contort and limit ourselves to fit within their primitive, narrow capabilities. This is the true danger.”
  • Great Barrier Reef NFTs could change face of conservation, fundraising.” Tweet—”How about we don’t kill it rather than support a fraudulent pyramid scheme that will *checks notes* contribute to killing it.”
  • Okta hack puts thousands of businesses on high alert. Okta lists Peloton, Sonos, T-Mobile, and the FCC among its 15,000 customers.” Also Authentication services firm Okta says it is investigating report of breach“—”A hack at Okta could have potential major consequences because thousands of other companies rely on the San Francisco-based firm to manage access to their own networks and applications.” Tweet—”Infosec Twitter rn is just Gandalf and Pippen standing in Minas Tirith looking out at a giant spewing volcano labeled ‘Okta compromise.'”
  • Citizen Planning to Trial On-Demand Private Security in Chicago. The move shows that Citizen hasn’t given up on the idea of on-demand private security.”
  • BuzzFeed Company-Wide Shakeup Means Editor in Chief Mark Schoofs Is Out. In an email obtained and reviewed by Source Material, Mark Schoofs informed staffers that the move means ‘that will require BuzzFeed News to once again shrink in size.'” Tweet—”In Jonah Peretti’s remarks during the BuzzFeed earnings call, he repeatedly talks about audiences abandoning Facebook.” Tweet—”This is also part of the restructuring for buzzfeed news. ‘pivot to tiktok’ is the new pivot to video.”
  • Long Covid Is Not Rare. It’s a Health Crisis. Lingering symptoms from the coronavirus may turn out to be one of the largest mass disabling events in modern history.”
  • How One New York City Restaurant Fought to Survive. We spent three months with the owner of Saigon Social, a Vietnamese restaurant on the Lower East Side that has only ever existed in pandemic-era limbo.” Tweet—”Thought I was done covering the pandemic, but then Omicron arrived and @nytimes called. So I found a restaurant and embedded—and promptly got COVID. Three months later, my first solo double byline: a 1700-word, 30-picture interactive in the paper of record.”
  • Witness Claims Trump’s Chief of Staff Was on Phone Call Planning Jan. 6 March on Capitol. Trump’s team agreed it would encourage supporters to march, but try to “make it look like they went down there on their own,” Scott Johnston tells Rolling Stone.”
  • The real – and far scarier – reason Republicans think Biden is illegitimate. Many conservatives don’t think the 2020 election was stolen. But they believe democracy itself has betrayed America, by allowing the ‘wrong’ people to take charge.”
  • From the Reputation Washing dept: “How Brian Kemp Resisted Trump’s Pressure to Overturn the Georgia Election Results. Other state Republicans were tempted to cave to Trump’s demands. The GOP governor held firm.” Tweet—”Please stop: The fact that Brian Kemp refused to commit multiple felonies including treason does not make him a hero. To the contrary, he signed a massive voter suppression bill and should be shunned be anyone who cares about free and fair elections.”
  • Precedent Be Damned“—”Of all the challenges to American democracy we currently face, one that hasn’t gotten enough attention is the United States Supreme Court. What is required is to step back and see the big picture. And what one sees is deeply disturbing. Instead of reasoned argumentation we see snap judgements. Instead of deliberation we see grandstanding. Instead of humility we see a cocky disregard for precedent. The legitimacy of the Supreme Court is wavering – some might argue it has already been debased. And with it, the larger legal system quakes with uncertainty.”
  • Facing racist dog whistles in the Senate. Mehdi examines what late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s 1967 confirmation hearings can tell us about what’s ahead for Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson.” Tweet—”NYT: racial overtone. CNN: racial undertone. Politico: racially charged. WaPo: racially tinged.” AP Stylebook tweet, from 2020—”Avoid using the vague phrases racially charged, racially motivated or racially tinged to describe situations in which race is or is alleged or perceived to be a central issue, but that do not meet the definition of racist or racism.”
  • Tweet—”‘I’m not an attorney. I watch Law & Order from time to time.’ Senator Tillis said this while questioning the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in history.”
  • Tweet—”SUPREME COURT: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) says, “We are witnessing a breakdown of society,” at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing.” Tweet—”So Tom Cotton uses his opening statement not to even address Justice Jackson, but rather to give a campaign speech hollering about guns, anti-vaxxism, critical race theory and whatever other claptrap forms his slaveowner family descendant philosophy.”
  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas admitted to hospital with infection.”
  • ‘Dystopian’ Loophole for Georgia Judicial Elections Gives Brian Kemp the Last Laugh. The governor’s supreme court appointees are coasting in this year’s elections, despite a 2020 legal brawl over their selection that had promised increased visibility for the court.” Tweet—”There’s a WILD situation in Georgia, where judges at risk of losing an election can say they’re resigning many months from now—and that cancels the election, pulls the rug out from challengers, & allows the Gov to install a justice while skipping voters!” Tweet—”Canceling elections and appointing preferred candidates are the tactics of authoritarians. To do it for judges at the state’s highest court is profoundly anti-democratic. Can we see how much preclearance was holding at bay?”
  • As Ohio redistricting remains in limbo, Republicans weigh impeachment of state supreme court chief.”
  • How Russia and Right-Wing Americans Converged on War in Ukraine. Some conservatives have echoed the Kremlin’s misleading claims about the war and vice versa, giving each other’s assertions a sheen of credibility.”
  • Trump White House aide was secret author of report used to push’‘big lie’. Report on Dominion voting machines produced after 2020 election was not the work of volunteer in Trump’s post-election legal team.”
  • Paul Manafort Denied Flight To Dubai Over Revoked Passport.”
  • 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.” Also “Debra Meadows appears to have filed three false voter forms. The former White House chief of staff is under investigation, but his wife’s actions in the 2020 election have received less scrutiny.”
  • ‘Gutted’: What happened when a Georgia elections office was targeted for takeover by those who claim the 2020 election was a fraud.”—”The governor had signed a bill remaking election administration in Floyd County. Instead of a 3-member nonpartisan board, she would now have to answer to a new 5-member board that was explicitly partisan — two Democrats and three Republicans…”
  • Capitol riot suspect is granted refugee status in Belarus after fleeing US.” Tweet—”Neumann supports his claims of ‘political persecution’ by telling Belarusian state TV that the FBI released a picture of him and questioned his family about his whereabouts, which, notably, is not persecution of any kind.”
  • Thread—”Have a look at this wonderful yacht called Scheherezade. It’s been talked about for a while. The rumour is it belongs to Vladimir Putin. But there is not much proof, only talks. And that’s why it hasn’t been arrested yet. It just sits there in the port of Carrara.” Tweet—”Amazing discovery by the @navalny team. The largest superyacht in the world, the Scheherezade, rumoured to be owned by Putin has a 100% Russian crew who are all employees of Russia’s version of the US Secret Service (the FSO).” Also “Explore the global assets of Russia’s oligarchs and enablers. RUSSIAN ASSET TRACKER. A sizable chunk of Russia’s wealth has been siphoned offshore by corrupt politicians and well-connected businessmen. We wanted to know where it went — so we started hunting. OCCRP and its partners trawled land records, corporate registries, and offshore leaks to come up with this database of assets belonging to key figures close to Vladimir Putin. Proving the ownership of yachts, mansions, and planes is not easy, since their owners often take pains to keep them hidden. We only included assets in this database if our researchers uncovered clear evidence of their ownership. We’ve also included assets owned by family members and known proxies of the figures we investigated. Explore what we found below, and check back regularly for new additions.” Tweet—”I talked a senior Ukrainian official about sanctions. They believe 6,000 Russian officials and oligarchs should still be sanctioned. West has more work to do.” Also tweet—”NEW: The US government wants your help finding stolen assets held by Russian oligarchs — and it will pay a pretty penny for it. The Treasury Department is offering rewards up to $5 million for information about Russian elites’ yachts, mansions, private jets, and other property.” and “The US is offering to pay rewards of up to $5 million for information about Russian oligarchs’ yachts, mansions, and other assets. The US is offering rewards for information on Russian elites’ assets, such as yachts and mansions. The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program will give informants up to $5 million for info leading to the seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of stolen assets. Several countries have recently seized yachts, jets, and villas from sanctioned Russian oligarchs over the invasion of Ukraine.” Tweet with a frozen yacht leaderboard.
  • Stop buying from these companies. They’re funding Putin’s war. Ukraine’s Zelensky is right: Peace should matter more than profit.”
  • Russia’s state TV hit by stream of resignations. When Marina Ovsyannikova burst into Russian living rooms on Monday’s nightly news, denouncing the war in Ukraine and propaganda around it, her protest highlighted a quiet but steady stream of resignations from Russia’s tightly controlled state-run TV.”
  • Tweet—”9 years. Well, as the characters of my favorite TV series ‘The Wire’ used to say: ‘You only do two days. That’s the day you go in and the day you come out’ I even had a T-shirt with this slogan, but the prison authorities confiscated it, considering the print extremist.” Also tweet—”Unbelievable. Russian police have now also detained Alexey Navalny’s lawyers after his sentencing to 9 years. They were giving post-court statements to the media outside the prison when police accused them of interfering with the work of the facility and took them away.”
  • Truth Is Another Front in Putin’s War. The Kremlin has used a barrage of increasingly outlandish falsehoods to prop up its overarching claim that the invasion of Ukraine is justified.”
  • Tweet—”Putin, Trump, and the Republican Party of the United States are part of the same movement.” Also “Democrats must connect Putin, Trump, GOP as part as the same movement. A moment to shine a light on authoritarianism’s brutal assault on liberty — and its violent outcome.”
  • Bellingcat founder: Don’t let Putin’s disinformation distract from his war crimes. Plentiful evidence of Russian violations — now available publicly — is only valuable if perpetrators are held to account.”
  • Tucker Carlson doubles down on Ukraine, calling support ‘the largest political flashmob in American history’. ‘Our entire professional class dutifully changed their Twitter avatars from ‘mask up’ to the now mandatory Ukrainian flag'”
  • A Boogaloo Boi Tried to Join the Foreign Legion In Ukraine — It Didn’t End Well. He duped his local newspaper into giving him a hero’s sendoff. His story is now being used as Russian propaganda.”
  • From QAnon to anti-vax: Can you cure a conspiracy theorist? In a time of unfettered misinformation, psychology could be the remedy we need to help people who have been radicalised online.”
  • The Evidence That Ukraine Is Winning. Nearly a month into Russia’s war on Ukraine, the city of Mariupol is holding strong against demands for its surrender. But the war’s costs are only mounting.”
  • Thread—”I was just asked “what do you think this will look like in a month?” Here’s a summary: Russia can’t sustain what it’s been doing; if they do, they will be crushed. China and Russia are cooperating “without limits” and China will supply Russia with materièl. 1/”
  • Texas mail ballot rejections soar under new restrictions“—”Texas threw out mail votes at an abnormally high rate during the nation’s first primary of 2022, rejecting nearly 23,000 ballots outright under tougher voting rules that are part of a broad campaign by Republicans to reshape American elections, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Roughly 13% of mail ballots returned in the March 1 primary were discarded and uncounted across 187 counties in Texas. While historical primary comparisons are lacking, the double-digit rejection rate would be far beyond what is typical in a general election, when experts say anything above 2% is usually cause for attention. ‘My first reaction is ‘yikes,” said Charles Stewart III, director of the Election Data and Science Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ‘It says to me that there’s something seriously wrong with the way that the mail ballot policy is being administered.'” Also “Mail Ballot Rejections Surge in Texas, With Signs of a Race Gap. A new Republican voting law led to the sharp rise in rejected ballots in the state’s recent primary election. An analysis shows that Black areas of Houston disproportionately had votes thrown out.”
  • Medical Debts Have Counted Against 43 Million Americans’ Credit Scores. That Is Finally About to Change.” Now do student loans, and submarine both completely and forever off all reports.
  • Wichita Cops’ Leaked Group Chats Are a Cesspool of Racism and Cruelty. A domestic violence investigation into one of the cops allegedly uncovered a vile trove of texts mocking George Floyd and joking about civilian killings.”
  • Lawsuit says NYPD officer faced harassment after paying for shoplifter’s stolen food.” Tweet—”Weird how the headline doesn’t mention the harassment came from other cops.”
  • Thread—”When I got home this weekend someone asked how things are going in Nashville, I’m not sure they were ready for my answer, but it went kind of like this…”
  • US House passes CROWN Act that would ban race-based hair discrimination.” Also “‘This is our tradition’: Native American family upset after Del City students chop off son’s hair. Two students cut the Del City first-grader’s hair while he was in class, the family says.”
  • Tweet—”if you watch one thing today make it this: ‘I look around… I am the only woman on this podium. I am the only physician. This bill is a medical sham.'”
  • Thread—”This is a thread on the impact of price changes we were expecting as a result of government policy, Brexit and Covid before the war with Ukraine, plus those we’re now getting because of it. Stick with it. Everyone’s going to be hit hard by what the government is letting happen….” “In case this thread is too long for you this is a summary. We’re in a crisis. Energy and food costs are going to increase the cost of living of low income families by 14% a year, or £300 a month. More than 70% of households will go into debt unless they cut their spending, a lot.”
  • ‘My Other Yacht Is a Support-Yacht’. The arms race in mega-yachts has reached a new level, with the launch of the ‘mega support-yacht.’ Support yachts are for people who have outgrown their mega-yachts and need more space for their helicopters, speedboats, launches and submarines. The support yacht acts as a floating garage, trailing alongside the main yacht with all of the owner’s oversized ‘toys.'”
  • Vilomah: Origin & What It Means for Parents Who Lost a Child“—”What Does Vilomah Mean? Vilomah is a Sanskrit word that means against a natural order.”
  • More on this: “Disney had a tight-lipped employee culture. Then Florida happened.” Also “Disney Employees Walk Out Amid Furor Over Florida Legislation. Hoping to avoid controversy, the company initially shied away from taking a public stance on the anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bill. Now, an internal outcry has stretched into its third week.” Also “Same-Sex Kiss Restored in Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ Following Staff Uproar Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill (EXCLUSIVE).”
  • Don’t Say Straight“—”Don’t say straight! Children are too young to learn about gender identity and gender roles.”—”Why should kids be indoctrinated to believe that women should marry men and be their wives? This aberrant family model didn’t even exist for most of homo sapiens’ existence. It’s just a gross, freakish phenomenon, like pairing cheese curds with beef gravy.” “Responsible parents want to keep children from knowing the truth about heterosexual relationships for as long as possible. We should definitely let them.”
  • Nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ bills filed in 2022 so far, most of them targeting trans people. The annual number of anti-LGBTQ bills to have been filed has skyrocketed over the past several years, from 41 in 2018 to 238 in less than three months of this year.”
  • Thread—”Back in 2014, Tim Cook of Apple became the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to come out as gay. We were eating at Jet’s Pizza as the news scrolled across the bottom of the TV. 1/11″
  • Gender-affirming surgery ‘not what God intended,’ says woman with breast implants.” (It’s a satire site. But, um, still true.)
  • ‘They thought they could hide’: the Aboriginal tracker who brought massacre perpetrators to trial. James Noble’s harrowing discovery on the banks of the Forrest River in 1926 helped uncover a trail of slaughter across WA’s east Kimberley and continues to haunt his descendants”
  • Thread—”Geometric patterns are one of the most distinguishing features of Islamic art, thought to reflect the language of the universe & the greatness of creation. Today, artists are reinterpreting this traditional artform in new ways. A thread on 24 artists redefining Islamic geometry…”
  • Christina Ricci To Star In Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ Series In Return To Addams Family Universe.”
  • ‘Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney To Co-Star Opposite Dakota Johnson In Sony’s Marvel Pic ‘Madame Web’.”
  • Two secret voids in Giza Pyramid are discovered that could hide mythical Pharaoh. Archaeologists have located two enormous secret voids inside the Great Pyramid of Giza that they believe could be hiding the lost tomb of the mythical Pharaoh Khufu.”
  • Yazeba’s Bed & Breakfast. A slice-of-life legacy tabletop role-playing game about a found family and their magical home.”—”Our story begins in a sprawling old house outside time and space, where it’s always September 15th and there’s always room for a new visitor. A teen girl sits on the windowsill, reading a well-worn paperback and listening to the splashy-crashy rain come down. She’s alone in the world, but soon enough the strangers who reside here will become her closest friends, family, and mentors. This book is the door into a world of heartless witches and devil children, of cursed frog knights and rabbits who wear little outfits, of aspiring rockstars and spaceships carjacked from the Moon Queen’s palace. We might cook up a breakfast banquet, go trick-or-treating under a sallow moon, put on a disastrous play, or catch fireflies under the stars. So stay the night, unpack your bags, and get ready to explore the world’s most magical Bed & Breakfast! If you love slice-of-life fantasy, queer found family, and cutting-edge game mechanics, then read on!” Watch (listen) to an ongoing podcast with some RPG luminaries, new episodes through April 2nd. Also, there’s this comment about solo: “The short answer is that there’s no solo play support in the book, but there is advice on journaling-as-play and writing fanfiction about the game. Because this is a TTRPG that’s also designed to be engaged with as a book, ‘reading the game’ and ‘imagining what the characters are doing’ and ‘writing stories about the characters’ is fundamentally solo play! So if you like to engage with TTRPGs on your own, there will be a lot here for you.”
  • From the Nature is Healing dept: Sierra founders got ‘bored’ in lockdown so they’re making their first new game in more than 20 years. Ken and Roberta Williams are heading a small team working on Colossal Cave 3D for PC and VR.”
  • Tweet—”For all Blade Runner obsessives – like me – did you know that the ‘White Dragon Cut’ is coming out in Nov 2022? Using graphics (I think) it recreates scenes that were in the script (February 23, 1981) but deleted. It also brings some of Syd Mead’s Concept Art to life.” See “Blade Runner White Dragon Cut | ブレードランナー ホワイトドラゴンカット.”
  • STORYTELLING. Alan Moore. Join the maestro of storytelling and learn to create mesmerising fiction by mastering inventive language, characterisation, world-building and more. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW. FULL COURSE LAUNCHES 24TH MARCH.”
  • Alan Moore’s Version of James Bond Absolutely Destroyed the Classic Super Spy. The James Bond avatar who appears in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen highlights everything wrong with the character.”
  • It Could’ve Been the World’s Largest Potato, if Only It Were a Potato. A couple in New Zealand found a giant growth in their garden, named it Doug and applied to the Guinness Book of World Records. Then the results of a DNA analysis came in.”
  • When not paying attention in class isn’t what it seems“—”Johnson calls that ‘playing the grade game.’ He wants teachers to consider what it would take to fan the flames of every student’s interests instead of focusing on points and grades as motivation — which doesn’t work for many kids anyway. Johnson said that during the first year of the pandemic, while teaching in his garage and staring at blank Zoom boxes, he had no choice but to tackle that issue head-on. He said it took a mindset shift on both his assignments and classroom management. Instead of seeing himself as a judge who calculates points and assigns grades, he began thinking of himself as a sherpa guiding students through unfamiliar knowledge and skills.”
  • Tweet—”Just spotted this small doomed fox which is stuck in an inaccessible bit of Gatwick forever after being dropped off an escalator by someone who probably loved him #liminalfox” Tweet—”Ready for a triple-A videogame where you clip in and out of reality to rescue lost plush animals from increasingly impossible architectures #liminalfox.” Tweet—”Hey, we’ve got an idea for an easter egg / achievement to add to Manifold Garden … or a sequel”
  • Tremendous swarm of bugs crawls across the Outback“—”A wild video from near Quilpie, Australia, a town in Eastern Australia about 600 miles west of Brisbane, caught thousands of slater bugs moving across red dirt in the middle of the Australian Outback. The sheer number of creepy crawlies moving across the dirt almost made it look like the surface of the Earth itself was moving.”
  • Watch “Zola Jesus – Lost“—”From the upcoming album Arkhon out on May 20, 2022 on Sacred Bones Records.”
  • From the Don’t Forget the Impostor Pierrot dept: tweet—”Dear Hollywood, since multiverse crossovers are the hot new thing, please hear me out…”
  • Speaking of the Guignol: “Japanese comedian points out good way to spot ghosts during pandemic. The times they are a-changing, but ghosts never do.”
  • DEMON’S TILT: Occult Pinball Action. TURBO CHARGED PINBALL RETURNS! Now with bigger sprites, more baddies, more secrets & MORE BULLETS! Demon’s Tilt pushes the limits of the Video Pinball genre with SHMUP & Hack N’ Slash element.” On the Epic Store, free Mar 24 – Mar 31.