Omnium Gatherum: 30mar2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for March 30, 2022.

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

  • Tweet—”uh oh, evangelicals have NFT’d prayer.” Tweet—”Time to reanimate Martin Luther. Fetch my alchemy supplies and a sturdy shovel.”
  • Past, Present, Future: Don’t Get Stuck in a Single Time Dimension. How flexibility in time orientation leads to a better life. Only the experienced present exists, but we have access to the past through memory and we have expectations for the future. The switching among time dimensions is essential for individual adaptation to changing situational demands. The balanced time perspective is an individual’s ability to flexibly focus on different time orientations. Temporal metacognition is the ability to consciously self-regulate the focus on the past, present, or future.”
  • Tales of the Narts: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Ossetians [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] eds John Colarusso and Tamirlan Salbiev (Editor), trans Walter May—”An exciting collection of mythology about heroes, heroines, villains, and monsters in the intriguing world of the nomad warriors of the Caucasus. The Nart sagas are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. Tales of the Narts expands the canon of this precious body of lore by presenting a wide selection of fascinating tales that are part of a living tradition among the peoples of Ossetia in southern Russia. A mythical tribe of nomad warriors, the Narts are courageous, bold, and good-hearted, but also capable of envy, cruelty, and violence. In this wonderfully vivid and accessible collection, colorful and exciting heroes, heroines, villains, and monsters pursue their destinies though a series of exploits, often with the intervention of ancient gods.”
  • Thread—”I’ve got a book coming out soon, on the pesticide DDT & the history of science denial from 1950s chemical and tobacco campaigns to the January 6 Capitol riot.” “I wanted to build an argument against the cover, so I tracked down the photo in its original context. Here it is.” About How to Sell a Poison: The Rise, Fall, and Toxic Return of DDT [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Elena Conis, due April 2022—”The story of an infamous poison that left toxic bodies and decimated wildlife in its wake is also a cautionary tale about how corporations stoke the flames of science denialism for profit. The chemical compound DDT first earned fame during World War II by wiping out insects that caused disease and boosting Allied forces to victory. Americans granted it a hero’s homecoming, spraying it on everything from crops and livestock to cupboards and curtains. Then, in 1972, it was banned in the US. But decades after that, a cry arose to demand its return. This is the sweeping narrative of generations of Americans who struggled to make sense of the notorious chemical’s risks and benefits. Historian Elena Conis follows DDT from postwar farms, factories, and suburban enclaves to the floors of Congress and tony social clubs, where industry barons met with Madison Avenue brain trusts to figure out how to sell the idea that a little poison in our food and bodies was nothing to worry about. In an age of spreading misinformation on issues including pesticides, vaccines, and climate change, Conis shows that we need new ways of communicating about science—as a constantly evolving discipline, not an immutable collection of facts—before it’s too late.”
  • A new civil war? Maybe so — but it won’t look anything like the first one. Scholar Barbara Walter foresees 9/11-style attacks, and a sustained insurgency, rather than straight-up warfare.” About How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Barbara F Walter—”A leading political scientist examines the dramatic rise in violent extremism around the globe and sounds the alarm on the increasing likelihood of a second civil war in the United States. Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas. A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger? Barbara F. Walter has spent her career studying civil conflict in places like Iraq, Ukraine, and Sri Lanka, but now she has become increasingly worried about her own country. Perhaps surprisingly, both autocracies and healthy democracies are largely immune from civil war; it’s the countries in the middle ground that are most vulnerable. And this is where more and more countries, including the United States, are finding themselves today. Over the last two decades, the number of active civil wars around the world has almost doubled. Walter reveals the warning signs—where wars tend to start, who initiates them, what triggers them—and why some countries tip over into conflict while others remain stable. Drawing on the latest international research and lessons from over twenty countries, Walter identifies the crucial risk factors, from democratic backsliding to factionalization and the politics of resentment. A civil war today won’t look like America in the 1860s, Russia in the 1920s, or Spain in the 1930s. It will begin with sporadic acts of violence and terror, accelerated by social media. It will sneak up on us and leave us wondering how we could have been so blind. In this urgent and insightful book, Walter redefines civil war for a new age, providing the framework we need to confront the danger we now face—and the knowledge to stop it before it’s too late.”
  • Tweet—”It’s my absolute honor to write the Chicana behind the red bandana based on the existing canon AND taking her legacy to new places. Are you ready for Vásquez?” Also “Aliens: Vasquez to reveal backstory of beloved Alien franchise character. Author V. Castro’s book will chronicle the background of the Xenomorph-battling space marine.” About Aliens: Vasquez [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Violet Castro, due October 2022—”A groundbreaking Latinx Aliens novel by a rising star Latina author, featuring the fan-favorite character PFC Jenette Vasquez from the hit movie Aliens and the family she is forced to leave behind. For the very first time, the canonical background of the breakout Aliens hero Jenette Vasquez, as well as the story of the children she was forced to leave behind as written by the rising Latina horror star V. Castro (Queen of the Cicadas). Even before the doomed mission to Hadley’s Hope on LV-426, Jenette Vasquez had to fight to survive. Born to an immigrant family with a long military tradition, she looked up to the stars, but life pulled her back down to Earth—first into a street gang, then prison. The Colonial Marines proved to be Vasquez’s way out—a way that forced her to give up her twin children. Raised by Jenette’s sister, those children, Leticia and Ramon, had to discover their own ways to survive. Leticia by following her mother’s path into the military, Ramon into the corporate hierarchy of Weyland-Yutani. Their paths would converge on an unnamed planet which some see as a potential utopia, while others would use it for highly secretive research. Regardless of whatever humans might have planned for it, however, Xenomorphs will turn it into a living hell.”
  • Octavia E. Butler’s ‘Parable Of The Sower’ Is HuffPost Readable’s April Book Pick. This dystopian novel tells of a world that has been destroyed by climate change and the will of one young girl to rebuild a new one in its place.” About Parable of the Sower [Amazon] by Octavia E. Butler, book 1 of the Parable series—”Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others. When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.”
  • Editorial Resignations At Big Houses Spark Reckoning“—”Multiple resignations from the editorial departments at two big houses caused an online reckoning on Friday. Four editors, Angeline Rodriguez and Hillary Sames at Orbit, Erin Siu at Macmillan Children’s, and Molly McGhee at Tor all announced their resignations, leading to a discussion about the workload of junior and mid-level employees and the difficulty of advancement across the industry. The online exchange brought into the open the frustrations of increased workload, burnout and turnover that have been brewing as the pandemic continues. Those feelings are intensified as big publishers report record sales and earnings, even as multiple people report on Twitter they believe their employers are not sufficiently reinvesting those proceeds in additional staff, systems and raises. At the heart of the discussion was McGhee’s resignation letter which she posted on Twitter. McGhee, who was an assistant editor at Tor/Nightfire, writes that after ten years in assisting roles, she requested a promotion when her first acquisition debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. She says in her letter that she was told she needed ‘more training’ before being promoted and she could not expect to be relieved of administration duties ‘any time within the next five years.'”
  • 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.” Tweet—”jesus i’ve never seen a climate graph like this one”
  • Even worms make complex decisions. Salk scientists studied complex decision-making capabilities in a worm with just 302 neurons and a mouth full of teeth. It’s smarter than you would think.”
  • Some Chicago birds are nesting nearly a month earlier than they did more than a century ago, Field study shows.”
  • Human trials to begin on new male birth control pill with 99% efficacy, study shows. Researchers found a male birth control pill was 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy and dramatically reduced sperm counts without any observable side effects, in early testing on male mice.”
  • Lapsus$: Oxford teen accused of being multi-millionaire cyber-criminal“—”The teenager has been outed by rival hackers after a dispute. But, as reported by Bloomberg, researchers have been tracking him for nearly a year. His dad told me: ‘he is very good on computers and spends a lot of time on the them. I always thought he was playing games.'” Tweet—”City of London police told my colleague @radioproducer : ‘7 people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been arrested in connection with an investigation into the hacking group. They have all been released under investigation. Our inquiries remain ongoing.'” Tweet—”SCOOP: A 16 year old living in his mother’s house in Oxford, England is suspected to be the mastermind behind many of the hacks conducted by hacking group Lapsus$, per multiple sources involved in various investigations of the hacking group. Full story to follow.” “Laspus$ has claimed responsibility for hacking Nvidia, Microsoft, Okta, Vodaphone, and Samsung. Much more details online shortly.”
  • From 2021: “Hundreds of AI tools have been built to catch covid. None of them helped. Some have been used in hospitals, despite not being properly tested. But the pandemic could help make medical AI better.”—”Many unwittingly used a data set that contained chest scans of children who did not have covid as their examples of what non-covid cases looked like. But as a result, the AIs learned to identify kids, not covid.” “Because patients scanned while lying down were more likely to be seriously ill, the AI learned wrongly to predict serious covid risk from a person’s position.” “some AIs were found to be picking up on the text font that certain hospitals used to label the scans. As a result, fonts from hospitals with more serious caseloads became predictors of covid risk.” Also from 2017: “Why Doctors Aren’t Afraid of Better, More Efficient AI Diagnosing Cancer. Just like humans, AI isn’t perfect.”—”When dermatologists are looking at a lesion that they think might be a tumor, they’ll break out a ruler—the type you might have used in grade school—to take an accurate measurement of its size. Dermatologists tend to do this only for lesions that are a cause for concern. So in the set of biopsy images, if an image had a ruler in it, the algorithm was more likely to call a tumor malignant, because the presence of a ruler correlated with an increased likelihood a lesion was cancerous. Unfortunately, as Novoa emphasizes, the algorithm doesn’t know why that correlation makes sense, so it could easily misinterpret a random ruler sighting as grounds to diagnose cancer.”
  • Christ, what an asshole: Tweet—”Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Also Twitter search. Also “Elon Musk ruthlessly cleaned house of any Tesla workers who disagreed or got in his way, a new book says.” Also “Tesla fired an employee after he posted driverless tech reviews on YouTube. John Bernal was a Tesla employee who showed FSD Beta to the world on his YouTube channel, AI Addict. He was fired in February. He says he never showed unreleased products or company secrets, but some of his videos showed the system not working perfectly. His access to FSD Beta has been cut off despite having no safety ‘strikes’ in the software.”
  • Meta hires former Trump White House aide, Issue One hires Lott.”
  • Seattle Pride drops Amazon as a sponsor of city’s LGBTQ parade. The e-commerce giant wanted the annual march to be renamed ‘Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon,’ according to the nonprofit group’s executive director.”
  • From 2021: “What Is Necropolitics? The Political Calculation of Life and Death. This op-ed explains the framework of ‘necropolitics’ and how it’s relevant in the modern United States.”
  • Putin May Be Accused Of War Crimes In Ukraine, But Trump’s Still Asking For His Help. Six years after calling on Putin for aid against Hillary Clinton, Trump is now asking for the murderous dictator’s help finding dirt on Joe Biden.”
  • The sound of the world’s most overpriced and gaudy violin playing I Feel For You: “‘Will I be allowed a cleaner, or a driver?’ Life after sanctions for a Russian oligarch. Petr Aven says his business has been destroyed after the UK acted over his alleged links to the Kremlin.”
  • IRS unit gets no funding to enforce sanctions against Russian oligarchs. $30 million sought by White House for IRS enforcement was rejected by Republicans.”
  • US warns wealthy Russians against shifting assets to evade sanctions. Senior Treasury official highlights increasing efforts to conceal and transfer money in wake of Ukraine invasion.”—”‘We’re seeing the transfer of wealth to new associates and the creation of shell companies. We’re watching these moves,’ the official said, adding that Russian banks and companies were adopting techniques oligarchs used for years to cover their tracks.”
  • Venture capital fund backed by Russian oligarch Abramovich removes all traces of operations online.”
  • Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian Peace Negotiators Suffer Suspected Poisoning. The Russian oligarch developed symptoms that people familiar with the matter blamed on hard-liners in Moscow who they say want to sabotage peace talks.”
  • Losing Wars and Saving Face“—”The futility of Russia’s war against Ukraine is matched only by its brutality. The longer it goes on the greater the potential humiliation of Putin and his army, but also the greater the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Both sides have incentives to conclude this war. Channels of communication between the two have been open since early in the war. A number of would-be mediators have tried to identify the basis for a cease-fire. Occasionally there have been hints that progress is being made, and disclosures about possible terms, but no agreed text. Meanwhile with each passing day, the stakes for the belligerents are going up, along with the levels of distrust.”
  • The Stalinisation of Russia. As it sinks in that he cannot win in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is resorting to repression at home.”
  • Tweet—”(THREAD) In Ukraine, Russian occupiers deliberately destroy libraries, hunting down textbooks, books on history of Ukraine and on Ukrainian national resistance. This is a continuation of a 300 years long genocide. Let me illustrate it in this thread.”
  • ‘Very upset’ Putin is failing at one objective after another: retired general.” Tweet—”The objectives of Putin were fairly straightforward from the beginning: Subjugate Ukraine, Divide NATO, further divide the US, grow his economy through blackmail. He’s failed at each of them, because he can’t match strategy with tactics.”
  • Not only Shoigu disappeared from the public space, but also other key security officials – Zolotov, Bortnikov and Kostyukov.”
  • Thread—”Alright folks, this is a logistical 🧵 on pallets, cranes, ISO containers, and what we are _NOT_ seeing on Russian Trucks in Ukraine. Below is really good background tweet 🧵 on the importance of pallets as a logistical productivity tool, since we are not seeing them in Ukraine 1/” Tweet—”Amateurs study tactics, professionals study …”
  • Big Tech needs to pull the plug on Russia’s biggest propaganda campaign.”—”There is a violent conspiracy spreading like wildfire across social media. It revolves around a single letter. And it has captured the imaginations of millions who are devoted to promoting it. Although its central ideas are preposterous, its followers support violence to make fantasy become reality.”
  • RT America, You Were Very Weird and Bad. The Russia-funded news network staffed by American journalists shut down this month. What was it even trying to do?”
  • Covering The War in Ukraine: ‘The Putin Regime Doesn’t Want Eye Witnesses’. Prior to the invasion, few Ukrainian journalists had experience working in conflict zones. Now the war has come to their homes.” Also “A ‘fixer’ was killed in Ukraine. She was doing one of journalism’s most thankless jobs. The extremely dangerous job of helping big-name reporters navigate a war zone.”
  • Ukrainian Sailor Who Told Russian Warship To Go F**k Itself Given Hero’s Welcome. Roman Hrybov’s instantly iconic retort has inspired countless anti-war protest signs around the world.”
  • The war in Ukraine will determine how China sees the world. And how threatening it becomes.”
  • Russian soldiers release Ukraine town’s mayor and agree to leave after protests. Russian forces agreed to leave town of Slavutych if those with arms handed them over to the mayor.”
  • This Ukrainian hacker is spreading chaos in Russia. On the digital frontline, cyberwarfare gets squeezed in between work and yoga.”
  • What Ukraine Can Learn From Finland’s Stand 80 Years Ago. The Winter War between the Finns and the Soviet Union has important parallels with the current conflict.”
  • Slava Ukraini: Assessing the Ukrainian Will to Fight. ‘Success is not final, and failure is not fatal – it is the courage to continue that counts’. In the first month of this war, the Ukrainian will to fight has lived up to the sentiment in these words attributed to Winston Churchill. It has been decisive, with leadership and morale being the central performance differentiator between the two sides. It has echoed beyond the borders of Ukraine, giving European leaders an example to follow and a reason to stiffen their resolve.”—”One of the major risks for Ukraine is that President Zelensky becomes a single point of failure for the Ukrainian resistance, where his death or capture becomes fatal for the overall Ukrainian effort.” Thread—”Zelensky has proven himself as a great war leader. But to believe that Ukraine’s fate rests only on Zelensky is to misunderstand Ukrainian society entirely. Ukraine is fighting as an organism, not as a top down organisation, and it would continue the fight even without a leader.” “One of the reasons for Ukraine’s success, in my opinion, is that individual initiatives are taken. Small Ukrainian military units are encouraged to take initiatives and adapt to the unfolding situation on the battlefield and are thus likely to make fewer mistakes.” Tweet—”Indeed, it’s the Four Block War in action. Decentralized, horizontal, and coming for us all.”
  • Tweet—”hey guys, these tanks you see underwater or in deep mud aren’t destroyed nor abandoned. because russian tanks can’t sweat it’s perfectly normal for them to spend as much as 16 hours a day submerged in water or in mud wallows. please be careful of spreading misinfo.” Tweet—”When Russian tanks sense Ukrainian tractors are nearby they flip upside down and play dead so they won’t get towed away to a farm.” Tweet—”Not funny or cute. Russian tanks only do this when they’re extremely stressed.” Tweet—”Every 17 years a brood of T72s emerges from beneath the soil of Eastern Ukraine. As individuals they are easy pickings for their natural predator, the ATGM, but with the power of numbers they hope that a few might survive to breed the next generation.”
  • Tweet—”Writing prompt: I am the very model of a Russian Major General.” Thread—”I am the very model of a Russian Major General / My standing in the battlefield is growing quite untenable / My forces, though equipped and given orders unequivocal / Did not expect the fight to be remotely this reciprocal. I used to have a tank brigade but now I have lost several / My fresh assaults are faltering with battleplans extemporal / I can’t recover vehicles but farmers in a tractor can / It’s all becoming rather reminiscent of Afghanistan. My ordnance is the best but only half my missiles make it there / I would have thought by now that we would be controllers of the air / But at the rate the snipers work my time here is ephemeral / I am the very model of a Russian Major General.”
  • Vladimir Putin Defends JK Rowling & Claims West Is ‘Trying To Cancel’ Russia; ‘Harry Potter’ Author Responds – Update.Tweet—”We’re living in an Onion article.” Tweet—”We’re living in a fucking simulation.” Tweet—”Hitler tries to form super-villain team with Enid Blyton.” Tweet—”Congrats to the terfs, the ‘both-sides’ podcasters, and the anti-woke mob on their newly self-appointed leader.” Tweet—”how can he defend JK Rowling when the siberian railroad is trans.” Tweet—”Live your life in such a way that a murderous dictator does not find you praiseworthy.” Tweet-“Vladimir Putin defending JK Rowling is like that moment in your D&D game when you realize all of the bad guys have actually been working together from the beginning.”
  • Order Re Privilege of Documents Dated January 4-7, 2021 PDF—”If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.” Also “Trump Is Guilty of ‘Numerous’ Felonies, Prosecutor Who Resigned Says. Mark F. Pomerantz, who had investigated the former president, left after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, halted an effort to seek an indictment.” Also “Federal Judge Says Trump Likely Committed Felonies. ‘The Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6′” Also Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power. As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.”—”I think that Senator Cruz knew exactly what he was doing. I think that Senator Cruz is somebody who knows what the Constitution calls for, knows what his duties and obligations are, and was willing, frankly, to set that aside.” Also Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls. The House select committee is now investigating whether it has the full record and whether Trump communicated that day through backchannels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, according to people familiar with the probe.”
  • Ginni Thomas, Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, exchanged texts with Mark Meadows about efforts to overturn the 2020 election.” Also “‘Morning Joe’ shock over Ginni Thomas points to a hidden Jan. 6 truth. Texts between Mark Meadows and Clarence Thomas’s spouse have a deep and ugly pedigree.” Also “Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court? Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court.” Tweet—”So, @thenewyorker reported, instead of recusing, Clarence Thomas was the only vote to block the Jan6 committee from getting Trump’s papers. Mark Meadows filed a supporting brief. And Ginni’s texts to Meadows were at stake.” Tweet—”What does Clarence Thomas know? And when did he know it?” Tweet—”The Ginni Thomas story is bigger than Clarence Thomas or his position on the Supreme Court. It reveals what a lot of us have been trying to tell people. The antidemocratic authoritarianism wasn’t just Trump or a passing flirtation. The GOP and the Right Wing are riddled with it.” Also “Ginni Thomas’ Election Fraud Guru Claims He Arrested Pope. Ginni Thomas name-checked Steve Pieczenik, a little-known conspiracy theorist, in texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about overturning the 2020 election.” Tweet—”On May 18, 2019 Ginni Thomas was a guest speaker at an invitation only Council for National Policy event with an audience of GOP donors in McLean Virginia. Her presentation is something to behold. Especially if you’re interested in coups. Wait until you see this wee 🧵👇🏻” Also “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls For Clarence Thomas To Resign Or Face Impeachment. Virginia Thomas’ hardheaded efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election have sparked doubts about her husband’s impartiality on the bench.”
  • Georgia voters sue to block Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for re-election over Capitol riot.”
  • Thread—”If you want more information about the caliber of attorney Donald Trump is relying on to win a RICO suit against Hillary Clinton et al, you should check out one of the firm’s websites, which can be found at — I promise thus is true — http://legalbrains.com.”
  • From the Do you like snails? Do you like oysters? dept: “Kevin McCarthy Not Happy About Madison Cawthorn’s Orgy Accusations. Cawthorn said he’s been invited to orgies with Washington politicians and seen them do cocaine in front of him.” Also “Stephen Colbert Gives Kevin McCarthy An X-Rated New Description And… Um… You’ll never un-hear this one.”
  • People’s Convoy Gives Up, Will Leave D.C. After 3 Weeks of Doing Absolutely Nothing. After creating a mini-city in Hagerstown, the trucker convoy will pack it up and leave town in the coming days.”
  • More on this: Tweet—”Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), in an impassioned barnburner speech, contrasts attacks on Judge Jackson’s record on crime with the fact that she’s endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.” Tweet—”Cory Booker is maybe happier than anyone I’ve seen right now talking about KBJ: ‘I’m not letting anybody in the Senate steal my joy.’ KBJ is crying.” Tweet—”Cory Booker the FIRST person on this cmte I’ve heard thus far point out how many of these Republicans voted for Jackson LAST YEAR & didn’t raise ANY of these disgusting & baseless allegations, then. So either they were incompetent THEN, or they’re incompetent NOW. But Either way.” Tweet—”232 yrs of uncritically assuming rich white dudes were ‘best’ for the job but someone says ONE TIME they’re gonna assume the most qualified person is someone who has to work 8x as hard to accomplish 4x as much & be taken HALF as seriously & people start setting their hair on fire.” Tweet—”@SenBooker⁩ is getting it all told with a smile. He is calling it out. And it needed to be said.” Tweet—”Your reminder, as GOP Senators complain about not sentencing child pornographers more harshly: None of them criticized GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who in his 30s dated 8th graders, and the AL GOP said anyone who did not support Moore’s election would be ejected from the GOP.” Also “Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Long Pause Explained Racism and Sexism in America. In that pregnant moment, everybody who was watching got to see how power and privilege work.” Also “The racist history of Senate confirmation hearings that started when a Jewish person was first nominated for the Supreme Court in 1916.”
  • If We Had a National Popular Vote, Election Fraud Would Become a Lot Harder.”
  • ‘A barbaric federal program’: US killed 1.75m animals last year – or 200 per hour. Activists condemn Wildlife Services, a division of the USDA, which says deaths necessary to protect farmers and public health.”
  • Do Your City’s Parks Need a ‘Colonial Audit’? Chances are, the answer is yes.”
  • New Orleans school board reverses little known ban on jazz“—”I’m very glad that we can rescind this policy. I want to acknowledge it. It was rooted in racism.”
  • Belgium Decriminalizes Prostitution. Belgium is the first country in Europe to decriminalize selling and paying for sex.”
  • Tweet—”I don’t think people understand how ridiculous things are in the UK; I have to book an appointment with my medical doctor this morning so I can get permission to have a passport, because I am trans. When we say we do not have equal rights, this is an example of what we mean.”
  • Thread—”What’s going on in West Hollywood should alarm you. A growing movement of residents is seeking to spend small portion of City’s safety funds (17%) on social services instead of armed bureaucrats. Mayor is working behind scenes with Sheriff to stop it. A fascinating story:”
  • Tweet—”By overriding the veto, Utah has created a political commission of adults who will inspect and analyze the bodies and genitals of trans children wanting to play sports. They are immune from suit under this bill. Let’s call this what it is, government sponsored child molestation.”
  • In a suburban Fort Worth House runoff, Republicans debate killing women over abortion“—”Should Texas punish abortions by putting teenage girls and women to death? Or not? That’s the current debate in the Republican Party of Texas, where outlawing abortion is no longer a question of ‘if’ or ‘when’ but a question of whether to kill women for getting one.”
  • Inspector general identifies 41 sheriff’s deputies who allegedly belong to gang-like groups.”
  • Rapid City hotel sued for discrimination“—”An Indigenous rights group has filed a federal lawsuit against owners of a Rapid City hotel and lounge for discrimination. The civil suit was filed on Wednesday, March 23, by NDN Collective of Rapid City and two named individuals who were turned away when they tried to check into the hotel. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Saturday night shooting at the hotel and racist public statements made afterward by the hotel’s owner. This report for SDPB relies on contents of the civil complaint.”
  • An email urging lower wages for new employees due to higher gas prices sparks walkout at Lawrence Applebee’s.” Tweet—”Wayne Pankratz of @Applebees says that higher gas prices are great for business because most employees live check to check and hopefully they can start lowering wages.”
  • People no longer believe working hard will lead to a better life, survey shows. A growing sense of inequality is undermining trust in both society’s institutions and capitalism, according to a long-running global survey.”
  • Jay-Z’s Oscar Gold Party Picketed by Labor Union Outside Chateau Marmont. Protestors didn’t stop Emily Ratajkowski, Rosario Dawson, Michael B. Jordan, Zoe Kravitz and plenty more from crossing the picket line.”
  • Toxic Masculinity at the Oscars“—”The best director Oscar went to a woman for only the third time in history. It went to the only woman who was ever nominated twice. It went to Jane Campion for making a movie about the destructive power of toxic masculinity. The elephant in the room, given that prize, was Will Smith’s toxic behavior. In case anyone was wondering if the patriarchy is at risk of being overthrown, there’s Smith assaulting someone on stage, in view of millions, and then moments later being applauded for a speech in which he declares he is all about love. He was not stopped, or escorted from the room, and he will face no consequences…”
  • The Schism Breaking Apart the ‘Prepper’ Community. Soon after Russia began its invasion, some long-running tensions in the prepper community erupted out into the open. You might call it an emerging schism. And it’s not only caused an exodus of female members—it’s challenging the very idea of what it means to prep.”
  • How prosthetic penises in shows like HBO’s ‘Minx’ reinforce existing stereotypes and taboos. What’s wrong with just showing the real thing?”
  • More on this: tweet—”Statement from The Walt Disney Company on signing of Florida legislation”
  • From 2019: “Harvesting the Blood of America’s Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism. Blood has become big business in the United States and there is no shortage of corporations ready to exploit America’s most vulnerable populations in order to get a piece of the pie.”—”blood now makes up well over 2 percent of total U.S. exports by value. To put that in perspective, Americans’ blood is now worth more than all exported corn or soy products that cover vast areas of the country’s heartland.”
  • Tweet—”Seriously, who smashes a window to steal a friggin’ unicycle?? 😡”
  • Sci-fi and Sufism, Saks Afridi. Saks Afridi is a Pakistan born, New York based multi-disciplinary artist. His art practice explores the dichotomy of being an insider/outsider. This is the practice of achieving a sense of belonging while being out of place, finding happiness in a state of temporary permanence, and re-contextualizing existing historical and cultural narratives with the contemporary. He does this through a new genre he terms as ‘Sci-fi Sufism’, where he fuses mysticism and futurism to discover worlds and galaxies within the self.”
  • Tweet—”We’re very excited to announce that we have partnered with @DriveThruRPG to integrate their industry-leading marketplace with Foundry VTT. Publishers can sell premium content for Foundry VTT on DTRPG and customers who buy from DTRPG unlock that content on http://foundryvtt.com!” Previously they integrated with Patreon, which was cool but I feared would maybe flood their system with “in app purchase” kinda hidden cost content, but they’ve now also integrated with DTRPG which actually seems pretty cool. People were kinda trying to do this on their own, to limited success, through Itch, which might be another service to integrate with. But, here’s all the content so far: Content for Foundry Virtual Tabletop.
  • Tweet—”In the spirit of the age, and because I couldn’t rest until I had done it, I present Trapped In A Cabin With Lord Byron, the RPG.”
  • DnD’s Radiant Citadel reminds us of the political power of joy. The new D&D book Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel is a vibrant, joyful – and perhaps unconsciously political – addition to the TTRPG.”—”Joy is the antidote to trauma porn. Pleasant and safe settings like The Radiant Citadel are a reminder that black and brown communities are made up of three-dimensional people whose lives amount to more than just suffering. The city also has the potential to prevent the trend of trauma porn from repeating in D&D campaigns. I’ve sat at many tables where sexism, racism, and more have been included – even when these themes aren’t directly relevant to the game’s plot. Whether the DM is trying to make their world feel more gritty and ‘realistic’ in the theatre of their players’ minds, or they’re subconsciously following the established (and problematic) tropes of Golden Age fantasy, human discrimination very often sneaks into the Forgotten Realms. Personally, I don’t seek out games of D&D that indulge in these themes unnecessarily.”
  • How Rachel Pollack Created DC Comics’ First Trans Superhero. All the way back in the ’90s, a pioneering Doom Patrol character showed us that being trans is a superpower.” Tweet—”Most know Rachel from her tarot work, but a lot of people in our tarot community don’t know about her comic career. She created DC’s first trans superhero.”
  • High school girls in Japan create and sell ‘butt-shaped soap,’ praised as ‘way too high quality’.”
  • Thread—”A few years ago I was asked by a car dealership in town to drive a car to a customer in Denver. I would then rent a car and drive home. They’d pay for it all. I had a company credit card. I drop the car off at the customers and walk 7 miles to the rental car place. They say I …”
  • Postcards from a small island. Encounters with Britishness, from Bernardine Evaristo, David Peace, Charlotte Church, Armando Iannucci, David Olusoga and more.”—”One Saturday, 150 bigots met 2,000 people dressed as badgers. And Brian May. ‘That afternoon in June, with the police, anti-fascists and neo-Nazis bristling for a brawl, the Badger People suddenly found themselves having to pick a side…And that day, with no apparent discussion, the Badger People picked antifa.'”
  • Wrong Ways to Meditate.”