Omnium Gatherum: 1dec2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for December 1, 2021

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

  • Howl. The author of a new book on werewolves has hunted across the centuries for buried items of lore, ranging from ancient Greek texts to Victorian ghost stories.” About The Werewolf in the Ancient World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Daniel Ogden—”Presents the first book-length study in any language devoted to the subject of the werewolf in the ancient world. Argues for the priority of folklore over ritual in understanding ancient ideas about werewolves in a valuable contribution to the studies of ancient narrative and ancient religion. Incorporates all relevant ancient texts in new, accessible English translations, providing an integrated sourcebook for the subject.” “In a moonlit graveyard somewhere in southern Italy, a soldier removes his clothes in readiness to transform himself into a wolf. He depends upon the clothes to recover his human shape, and so he magically turns them to stone, but his secret is revealed when, back in human form, he is seen to carry a wound identical to that recently dealt to a marauding wolf. In Arcadia a man named Damarchus accidentally tastes the flesh of a human sacrifice and is transformed into a wolf for nine years. At Temesa Polites is stoned to death for raping a local girl, only to return to terrorize the people of the city in the form of a demon in a wolfskin. Tales of the werewolf are by now well established as a rich sub-strand of the popular horror genre; less widely known is just how far back in time their provenance lies. These are just some of the werewolf tales that survive from the Graeco-Roman world, and this is the first book in any language to be devoted to their study. It shows how in antiquity werewolves thrived in a story-world shared by witches, ghosts, demons, and soul-flyers, and argues for the primary role of story-telling-as opposed to rites of passage–in the ancient world’s general conceptualization of the werewolf. It also seeks to demonstrate how the comparison of equally intriguing medieval tales can be used to fill in gaps in our knowledge of werewolf stories in the ancient world, thereby shedding new light on the origins of the modern phenomenon. All ancient texts bearing upon the subject have been integrated into the discussion in new English translations, so that the book provides not only an accessible overview for a broad readership of all levels of familiarity with ancient languages, but also a comprehensive sourcebook for the ancient werewolf for the purposes of research and study.”
  • Tweet—”Hearing the news the old-fashioned way: from loud retirees in a cafe, who say a *werewolf* was killed by cops in New Jersey.” I mean, maybe this is the “cover up” story! Wow. Also, fucked up either way: “New Jersey Cop Who Killed Pedestrian, Took Body Home Was Turned in by Father: Prosecutor.”—”Dymka had been wearing a werewolf Halloween costume.” It appears to have a certain corroborative verisimilitude!
  • New Book Brings Virginia Woolf’s Little-Known Art Criticism To Light.” About Oh, to Be a Painter! [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Virginia Woolf, introduction by Claudia Tobin—”The twentieth volume in the renowned ekphrasis series, this collection of Virginia Woolf’s writings on the visual arts offers a whole new perspective on the revolutionary author. Despite wide interest in Woolf’s writings, and in the artists and art critics in her Bloomsbury circle, there is no accessible edition or selection of essays dedicated to her writings on art. This volume collects her longest essay on painting, “Walter Sickert: A Conversation” (1934), alongside shorter essays and reviews, including “Pictures and Portraits” (1920) and “Pictures” (1925). These formally inventive texts reveal the centrality of the visual arts to Woolf’s writing and vision. They show her engaging with contemporary debates about modern art and are innovative in their treatment of ideas about color and form, including in response to the work of her sister, the painter Vanessa Bell, who designed many of her book covers and jackets. In these essays and reviews, Woolf illuminates the complex and interdependent relationship between the artist and society, and reveals her own shifting perspectives during decades of social and political change. She also provides sharp and astute commentary on specific works of art and on the relationship between art and writing. An introduction by Claudia Tobin situates the essays within their cultural contexts.”
  • Watch “The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly and His Bohemian Friends by Sarah Burns.” About The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly and His Bohemian Friends [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sarah Burns—”The Emphatically Queer Career of Artist Perkins Harnly is the story of a Nebraska-born artist (1901–1986) who crossed paths with a staggering array of famous and infamous personalities. He stole a box of bon-bons from Sarah Bernhardt. Was friends with Paul Swan, a.k.a. “The Most Beautiful Man in the World,” who made women swoon when he danced in his tiny leopard-skin tunic. Was the frequent houseguest of Rose O’Neill, the free-living, gin-drinking artist who invented the Kewpie Doll. Hobnobbed with Elsie de Wolfe, the celebrity decorator who invented the blue rinse and dyed her poodles to match. And was a dedicated correspondent of Alexander King, the gabby Viennese morphine addict whose circle included William Seabrook, author and occasional cannibal responsible for introducing Americans, for better or worse, to the zombie. The story follows Harnly’s steps from Nebraska’s remote farmlands through silent-era Hollywood, post-revolutionary Mexico, Depression-era New York, war-time Tinsel Town, and finally, to Culver City, home for the remainder of his life. Harnly traveled extensively in Europe and South America, where he indulged in his hobby of visiting the last resting places of legendary people from Vladimir Lenin to Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria, and Eva Peron. While offering excursions into Harnly’s darkly playful paintings of Victorian boudoirs and haunted cemeteries, Sarah Burns uses archives of letters and interviews to illuminate the adventures of Harnly and his circle of outrageous friends, whose antics outshine the notorious Bright Young Things of England. Once you meet Perkins Harnly, you will never forget him.”
  • Tweet thread—”Huge news out of #Chernobyl today. The company *Chernobyl Tour* just had their license revoked by the government. You may have heard of them, they’re the largest company operating tours, but have been criticised in the past for their rampant touristification of the Zone…” This tweet thread by Damon Murray, the author of Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library].
  • The Italian Electrical Scientist Who (May Have) Inspired Frankenstein. Timothy Jorgensen on Giovanni Aldini.”—”Perhaps the real-life Aldini was her model for the fictional Victor Frankenstein, and the unfortunate George Foster was his monstrous creation, with electricity playing a central role. Art imitating life… and death.” Excerpt from Spark: The Life of Electricity and the Electricity of Life [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Timothy Jorgensen—”A fresh look at electricity and its powerful role in life on Earth. When we think of electricity, we likely imagine the energy humming inside our home appliances or lighting up our electronic devices–or perhaps we envision the lightning-streaked clouds of a stormy sky. But electricity is more than an external source of power, heat, or illumination. Life at its essence is nothing if not electrical. The story of how we came to understand electricity’s essential role in all life is rooted in our observations of its influences on the body–influences governed by the body’s central nervous system. Spark explains the science of electricity from this fresh, biological perspective. Through vivid tales of scientists and individuals–from Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk–Timothy Jorgensen shows how our views of electricity and the nervous system evolved in tandem, and how progress in one area enabled advancements in the other. He explains how these developments have allowed us to understand–and replicate–the ways electricity enables the body’s essential functions of sight, hearing, touch, and movement itself. Throughout, Jorgensen examines our fascination with electricity and how it can help or harm us. He explores a broad range of topics and events, including the Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of the electron and neuron, the history of experimentation involving electricity’s effects on the body, and recent breakthroughs in the use of electricity to treat disease. Filled with gripping adventures in scientific exploration, Spark offers an indispensable look at electricity, how it works, and how it animates our lives from within and without.”
  • What Impossible Meant to Richard Feynman. What I learned when I challenged the legendary physicist.”—”After two years of working together, I finally knew for sure what I had long suspected: ‘Stupid’ was just an expression Feynman applied to everyone, including himself, as a way to focus attention on an error so it was never made again. I also learned that ‘impossible,’ when used by Feynman, did not necessarily mean ‘unachievable’ or ‘ridiculous.’ Sometimes it meant, ‘Wow! Here is something amazing that contradicts what we would normally expect to be true. This is worth understanding!'” Excerpt from The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Paul J Steinhardt—”One of the most fascinating scientific detective stories of the last fifty years, an exciting quest for a new form of matter. ‘A riveting tale of derring-do’ (Nature), this book reads like James Gleick’s Chaos combined with an Indiana Jones adventure. When leading Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt began working in the 1980s, scientists thought they knew all the conceivable forms of matter. The Second Kind of Impossible is the story of Steinhardt’s thirty-five-year-long quest to challenge conventional wisdom. It begins with a curious geometric pattern that inspires two theoretical physicists to propose a radically new type of matter—one that raises the possibility of new materials with never before seen properties, but that violates laws set in stone for centuries. Steinhardt dubs this new form of matter ‘quasicrystal.’ The rest of the scientific community calls it simply impossible. The Second Kind of Impossible captures Steinhardt’s scientific odyssey as it unfolds over decades, first to prove viability, and then to pursue his wildest conjecture—that nature made quasicrystals long before humans discovered them. Along the way, his team encounters clandestine collectors, corrupt scientists, secret diaries, international smugglers, and KGB agents. Their quest culminates in a daring expedition to a distant corner of the Earth, in pursuit of tiny fragments of a meteorite forged at the birth of the solar system. Steinhardt’s discoveries chart a new direction in science. They not only change our ideas about patterns and matter, but also reveal new truths about the processes that shaped our solar system. The underlying science is important, simple, and beautiful—and Steinhardt’s firsthand account is ‘packed with discovery, disappointment, exhilaration, and persistence…This book is a front-row seat to history as it is made’ (Nature).”
  • Tentacle Kitty: Tales Around the Teacup [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John Merritt and Raena Merritt (Author), illo. Jean-Claudio Vinci, due April 2022—”Join “The Pink One” and friends as the whole tentacle kitty gang regales us with tales of action and adventure over tea! From hunting down cotton candy mice, to pirate hijinks, and mega convention run ins, this tome features stories for all readers, told only as a Tentacle Kitty can! From the creators of Tentacle Kitty John and Raena Merritt, joined by artist Jean-Claudio Vinci, this is Tentacle Kitty: Tales Around the Teacup! You will not want to miss this tentacled anthology!”
  • The Lonely, Horny Prophecies of Lynne Tillman’s ‘Weird Fucks’.” About Weird Fucks [Amazon, Amazon (1st Ed.), Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Lynne Tillman—”A brilliant novella from a legendary figure in American fiction. A young woman drifts through dimly lit bars and rented rooms, reporting from the erogenous zones of New York and Europe. Encountering increasingly bizarre sexual situations, she turns her curious, comic, and fierce eye onto the contemporary world of sex and desire. The men of this world evade and simper, they prey, preen, and fall hopelessly in love. In the narrator’s deadpan portraits, we see young women indulging their freedom through hope and disappointment, and young men wearing various guises of masculinity. This novella surprises with unlikely fucks, disturbing fucks, outlandish fucks, and some truly weird fucks – all written with the smart, elegant, and tough style which could only be that of Lynne Tillman.”
  • What Do We Do with the Work of Immoral Artists?“—”Maybe I should curate Noguera’s exhibition. Or maybe I should use my time to promote another artist who has committed less harm. Maybe I should stop teaching Caravaggio — another murderer who received a death sentence. I don’t know; I’m still debating. But I am convinced, after reading Matthes’s book, that we can act ethically when we marvel at an artwork produced by an immoral artist — even if the artwork is intimately connected with that immorality and even if the work itself makes us deeply uneasy. It is precisely through art that we can explore human darkness without falling into it entirely.” In part about 2018’s Escape Artist: Memoir of a Visionary Artist on Death Row [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by by William A Noguera, foreword by Walter A Pavlo Jr—”William A. Noguera has spent thirty-four years at the notorious San Quentin Prison, home to the nation’s largest and deadliest death row. Each day, men plot against you and your life rests on a razor’s edge. In Escape Artist, he describes his personal growth as a man and artist and shares his insights into daily life and the fight to survive in the underworld of prison culture. After being sentenced to death, he arrived at San Quentin Prison and was thrown into a rat-infested cell—it was there that he discovered the key to his escape: art. Over the next three decades, Noguera rebelled against conventional prison behavior, and instead forged the code he lives by today—accepting responsibility for his actions, and a self-imposed discipline of rehabilitation. In the process, he has explored his capacity to bring focus and clarity to his artistic vision. Escape Artist exposes the violence, politics and everyday existence within the underbelly of society that is prison life. In an unprecedented narrative, Noguera reveals the emotional and heart-wrenching loss that landed him on death row and the journey he has taken to become an award-winning artist, speaker, and author—a tale of one man’s transformation through tragedy.” And Drawing the Line: What to Do with the Work of Immoral Artists from Museums to the Movies [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Erich Hatala Matthes—”Can we still watch Woody Allen’s movies? Can we still laugh at Bill Cosby’s jokes? Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Dave Chappelle, Louis C. K., J.K. Rowling, Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr. Recent years have proven rife with revelations about the misdeeds, objectional views, and, in some instances, crimes of popular artists. Spurred in part by the #metoo movement, and given more access than ever thanks to social media and the internet in general, the public has turned an alert and critical eye upon the once-hidden lives of previously cherished entertainers. But what should we members of the public do, think, and feel in response to these artists’ actions or statements? It’s a predicament that many of us face: whether it’s possible to disentangle the deeply unsettled feelings we have toward an artist from how we respond to the art they produced. As consumers of art, and especially as fans, we have a host of tricky moral question to navigate: do the moral lives of artists affect the aesthetic quality of their work? Is it morally permissible for us to engage with or enjoy that work? Should immoral artists and their work be “canceled”? Most of all, can we separate an artist from their art? In Drawing the Line, Erich Hatala Matthes employs the tools of philosophy to offer insight and clarity to the ethical questions that dog us. He argues that it doesn’t matter whether we can separate the art from the artist, because we shouldn’t. While some dismiss the lives of artists as if they are irrelevant to the artist’s work, and others instrumentalize artwork, treating it as nothing more than a political tool, Matthes argues both that the lives of artists can play an important role in shaping our moral and aesthetic relationship to the artworks that we love and that these same artworks offer us powerful resources for grappling with the immorality of their creators. Rather than shunning art made by those who have been canceled, shamed, called out, or even arrested, we should engage with it all the more thoughtfully and learn from the complexity it forces us to confront. Recognizing the moral and aesthetic relationships between art and artist is crucial to determining when and where we should draw the line when good artists do bad things.”
  • Citizen scientists find 10,000 new variable stars. More than 3,100 volunteers search the Milky Way in new project.”
  • Here’s the chemistry behind marijuana’s skunky scent. Newly identified sulfur compounds in cannabis flowers give the plant its telltale funky odor.”
  • Rock cakes? Stonehenge builders may have enjoyed mince pies. Archaeologists say neolithic version of energy bars may also have been eaten at midwinter feasts.”
  • Watch—”Extinct tree from the time of Jesus rises from the dead in Israel – BBC REEL”—”Forests of Judean date palm trees once covered ancient Israel, from Lake Galilee to the Dead Sea. The fruit of the tree symbolised life and prosperity and was praised in ancient literature for its unique medicinal properties. But the dates of Judea were made extinct by the Middle Ages. Now a team of scientists has succeeded in resurrecting the ancient tree.”
  • 800-Year Old Peruvian Mummy Unearthed Rope-Bound in Cajamarquilla“—”A mummy has recently been discovered by archeologists in Peru, estimated to be 800-1,200 years old, and was unearthed in Cajamarquilla, near the capital city of Lima. National University of San Marcos researchers unearthed the preserved rope-bound body on an archaeological site, underground in the middle of the town square, roughly 25 kilometers from Lima.”
  • World’s vast networks of underground fungi to be mapped for first time. Project aims to help protect some of trillions of miles of the ‘circulatory system of the planet’.”
  • Climate Change Is Transforming the Bodies of Amazonian Birds. A 40-year study found 77 species of rainforest birds weigh less on average, and many have longer wings, than they used to.”
  • Cleaning Up. Thanks to disgraceful government failures, an illegal waste-dumping mafia is now burning and burying millions of tonnes of dangerous materials.”
  • The Climate Movement’s Secret Weapon. Federal agencies have an opportunity to take immediate action against climate change using anti-monopoly policy.”
  • Russia threatens criminal charges against a NASA astronaut. Russia continues to deflect from embarrassing situation that occurred 3 years ago.”
  • From 2020: “These Snow Goggles Demonstrate Thousands of Years of Indigenous Ingenuity. Made in Alaska and fashioned to protect against snow glare, the eyewear was carved from whale baleen circa 1890.”—”This style of eyewear can even improve vision, as Ann Fienup-Riordan discovered one day in 2010. An Anchorage-based anthropologist who works with the Yupik people to develop exhibits and books about their culture, she had recently undergone surgery on her retinas, and ‘the vision in my right eye was still pretty fuzzy,’ she says. But when she held the Yupik goggles up to her eyes? ‘I could see!’ What was going on? It turns out the slit focuses the light, much as a pinhole camera does. As a result, far-off objects appear sharper ‘and your vision was much, much better,’ Fienup-Riordan says. Long before the invention of eyeglasses with glass or plastic lenses, Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants, including the Yupik people, devised their own corrective eyewear. Phillip Moses, a tribal member in Toksook Bay, calls them ‘Yupik prescription sunglasses.'”
  • Meet the Cyberpunk Albatrosses Scanning for Secret Explosions. Acoustic waves can detect all kinds of explosions and volcanic activity, but it’s hard to place sensors at sea—unless you’ve got a bird with a backpack.”
  • It’s Time to Reimagine the Future of Cyberpunk. In the 20th century, the genre imagined the body modifications and protective streetwear that could save us from our own future. Now it needs to envision humanity anew.”
  • Tweet thread—”A striking measure of Amazon’s monopoly power is the vast stream of cash that it extracts from the businesses that have to rely on its site. In a new report, we find that Amazon is pocketing a 34% cut of sellers’ revenue — up from 19% in 2014. 1/” “For much of Amazon’s history, people thought of it as a retailer. But all along Bezos was building something else entirely: a corporation that would control essential infrastructure and use that control to levy a steep tax on the trade of rival businesses. /11”
  • Elon Musk says SpaceX could face ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ from Starship engine production“—”In an email sent to SpaceX employees, obtained by Space Explored, Elon Musk addressed the ‘crisis’ of Starship Raptor engine production and said the company could face a ‘genuine risk of bankruptcy’ if the company is unable to achieve a Starship flight rate of once every two weeks next year.”
  • Tweet—”not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter” Also tweet—”Jack Dorsey is quitting Twitter to focus on his duties as advisor and court sorcerer of Tsar Nicholas II.”
  • Tesla Fan Driving Minivan Busted For DUI After Roll-Over Accident“—”A motorist who has a Tesla logo tattooed on his face was driving a 1992 minivan when he was arrested Friday on a felony DUI count and multiple vehicular charges, according to Illinois police.”
  • “Epic CEO Blasts Apple and Google, Calls for Single App Store. Fortnite maker Epic Games is fighting mobile giants in court. Tim Sweeney praised South Korea for leading anti-monopoly push.”—”‘What the world really needs now is a single store that works with all platforms,’ Sweeney said in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday.” Wait. Whut?! A universal cross-platform monopoly is definitely fucking not what the world needs to deal with siloed ecosystem monopolies. FFS. A pox on both those houses!
  • Here’s the Best Strike for Most People“—”Many Wirecutter staff realized early on that their Times colleagues weren’t as excited about their arrival, even as the then-CEO extolled at sale time that Wirecutter ’embodies the same standards and values that are the pillars of our own newsroom.’ But Wirecutter was always treated as a second-class citizen, isolated in its own Slack, its own offices, and its own reporting structure under Perpich. It never joined the newsroom, and its work was openly sneered at by some longtime staffers. Many Times staffers don’t believe their work is journalism at all. The pay scale, as well, is substantially different from Times salaries. Even Times fellows, which are yearlong full-time jobs in the newsroom designed to train emerging journalists, receive a significantly higher salary than the starting rate for Wirecutter writers.” “This limited strike hopes to be a part of a wave of organizing and action, from Starbucks to John Deere to Columbia University’s student workers to Amazon, that is proving the worth of organizing labor. Striketober is giving way to Strikevember and leading into Strike … cember? Hmm, we’ll keep working on that.”
  • Mr. Goxx, the Crypto-Trading Hamster, Is Dead. If you got all your financial advice from a hamster, your portfolio is in serious trouble because he’s dead.”
  • Tweet—”countries banned because of the omicron variant vs. countries with confirmed omicron cases.” Not only repeating past mistakes, but: “Omicron COVID variant was in Europe before South African scientists detected and flagged it to the world.”
  • Vaccine Nationalism. The world’s richest countries have undermined the international cooperation we need to end this pandemic.”
  • Catherine the Great’s Pro-Vaccination Letter Heads to Auction“—”A 1787 letter from Catherine the Great advocating for smallpox vaccination — a sustained effort that commenced when she became the first person in Russia to receive the vaccine, in 1768 — is bound for the auction block at MacDougall’s in London, where it will be a highlight of the December 1 ‘Important Russian Art’ sale. The letter is being sold as a bundle with a half-length portrait of the Empress by Ukrainian Russian painter Dmitry Levitsky, for an estimate of up to $1.6 million.”
  • Hoax Email Blast Abused Poor Coding in FBI Website“—”The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed today that its fbi.gov domain name and Internet address were used to blast out thousands of fake emails about a cybercrime investigation. According to an interview with the person who claimed responsibility for the hoax, the spam messages were sent by abusing insecure code in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities.”
  • How the Far-Right Is Radicalizing Anti-Vaxxers. Far-right groups have latched onto anti-vaccine protests and rallies, creating a pipeline to extremism.”
  • Spies in the Ointment: Which Way Will FBI, CIA Swing if Trump Returns? Intelligence veterans anxious about Trump reelection prospects—’by any means necessary’.”
  • Inside the ‘big wave’ of misinformation targeted at Latinos“—”Heading into a midterm election in which control of Congress is at stake, lawmakers, researchers and activists are preparing for another onslaught of falsehoods targeted at Spanish-speaking voters. And they say social media platforms that often host those mistruths aren’t prepared.”
  • How a Crazy Plan to Rebuild Waco Compound Gave Us Alex Jones. The conspiracy-mongering loon has long poisoned American politics. This is the oft-untold story of how violence, bloodshed, and a right-wing radio rivalry birthed Alex Jones.”
  • Red States Are Now Paying Unemployment Benefits to Anti-Vaxxers Who Quit Their Jobs. Republican governors have decided to coddle vaccine refusers, even as they cut benefits for everyone else.” Tweet—”It seems clear that the GOP doesn’t see unemployment insurance as “paying people to not work.” It appears (and we always knew this to be true) that their concern is paying “those people” to not work. This is why we need UBI. It’s wrong to pick and choose who has an income floor.”
  • Homicide is a top cause of maternal death in the United States. Evaluation of death certificates from national database paints grim picture for pregnant women.”—”The researchers found that US women who are pregnant or were pregnant in the past 42 days (the post-partum period) die by homicide at more than twice the rate that they die of bleeding or placental disorders — the leading causes of what are usually classified as pregnancy-related deaths. Also, becoming pregnant increases the risk of death by homicide: between the ages of 10 and 44 years, women who are pregnant or had their pregnancy end in the past year are killed at a rate 16% higher than are women who are not pregnant.”
  • This Land Is My Land. Many landowners view themselves as environmental stewards. But can the environment ever be protected within the frame of private property?”
  • Tweet—”I used to respect Starbucks as a smart, innovative company. BUT I’ve lost respect for Starbucks because of the dirty, hardball tactics it has used against the unionization drive in Buffalo: It closed a store where 80% of the workers signed pro-union cards. Starbucks executives say it should be up to the employees whether they want a union. But Starbucks has mounted one of the most intense & aggressive anti-union efforts I’ve ever seen to pressure its Buffalo workers to vote against the union.” Also “Starbucks launches aggressive anti-union effort as upstate New York stores organize. Management urges baristas to reject the union at mandatory ‘listening’ sessions and shuts stores holding drives.”
  • The Black people who lived in Walden Woods long before Henry David Thoreau. Until recently, there was little acknowledgment that Walden Woods was first occupied by formerly enslaved men and women whose experience of self-sufficiency was harrowingly different from Thoreau’s famous experiment near Concord, Mass.”
  • Tweet thread—”‘Anti-racism is anti-white’ is the old and explosive mantra of avowed White supremacists. I document how it has been their organizing vehicle, fueling backlashes, fueling delusions that antiracism is the new racism. 1/7″ Also “The Mantra of White Supremacy. The idea that anti-racist is a code word for “anti-white” is the claim of avowed extremists.”—”When the medicine is rebranded as the disease, the disease will inevitably persist—and it has.”
  • The Missing Voices In The Panic Over Critical Race Theory. Virginia’s Black families say their views have been sidelined in the uproar over teaching about race and racism in schools.”
  • After 40 years, the man wrongfully convicted of Alice Sebold’s rape has been exonerated“—”Broadwater’s exoneration was set in motion by Tim Mucciante, producer of the Netflix adaptation of Lucky. Mucciante had signed on as executive producer of the adaptation, but when he saw the first draft of the script—which was significantly different from the book—he became skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt. ‘I started poking around and trying to figure out what really happened here,’ Mucciante told the Associated Press. Mucciante hired a private investigator, who put him in touch with the defense lawyers who eventually overturned Broadwater’s conviction.”
  • AIDS History Is A Remedy. When pharmacist Ruth Madievsky decided to specialize in HIV/AIDS care, she didn’t realize how important it was to know the stories of those who came before her.”
  • Macron switches to using navy blue on France’s flag – reports. President Emmanuel Macron has switched to using a darker navy blue on the official French flag, replacing the previous brighter shade, officials have told local media.”—”The move saw flags in the new hue hoisted on the presidential palace last year without any accompanying fanfare. Mr Macron wanted to bring back the navy blue flag, a symbol of the French Revolution, Europe 1 said. However, both the darker and lighter flags have been in use for decades. France’s navy and many official buildings around the country have always used the navy blue shade. But in 1976 under President Giscard d’Estaing, the French state introduced a brighter blue on the tricolour to match the blue on the flag of Europe. That decision was partly an aesthetic one, Europe 1 reports, because the French and European flags flew next to each other in so many locations. The Élysée Palace has not publicly announced its change in flags, and no orders have been given for other institutions to do the same.” Also “Sacré bleu: French flag changes colour – but no one notices. Blue part of flags flying around Élysée Palace was made darker in July last year but change went largely unnoticed.”—”Emmanuel Macron’s office has darkened the blue in the French flags flying around the Élysée Palace to bring the tricolore in line with how it looked after the French revolution. Presidential aides said the change happened in July last year, but nobody appears to have noticed until now. France’s navy has stuck with navy blue since the 18th century, when the flag became a symbol of the revolution. The French state introduced a lighter shade of blue on its flags in the 1970s.”
  • Russia Reopens the Last Czar’s Palace, a Century After His Execution. The last home of Nicholas II has been restored and opened to the public as a museum outside of St. Petersburg.”
  • Mr. Beast’s Squid Game Ripoff Is Exactly the Kind of Video YouTube Rewards. While the video is popular, it’s a reductive rip off of the original, not a triumph for the ‘creator economy.'”
  • As Calls to Ban Books Intensify, Digital Librarians Offer Perspective“—”Everyone’s perspectives should matter and be represented in the democratic process. A library must offer diverse materials so people can draw their own conclusions, said Mek. He embraces the oft-cited quote from librarian Jo Godwin: ‘A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.'”
  • WildCard“—”I made this in my spare time with apologies to the creators of HyperCard, to see how it would be on the modern web. A HyperCard stack is like a pack of note cards that can be flipped through but stay in order. You can add or remove cards from your stack. Each card can have button and field parts; to edit them, choose the appropriate tool, then drag and resize them. You make new ones by dragging a box with the command key. …I’m not asking for any money; I just wanted to remember how much fun HyperCard was. If you think there’s any fun you could be having but you aren’t, send me a message, or make a stack and upload it! The screens are bigger and better, but the stacks are still the same size! Have a good time!”
  • Tweet—”Honey, please wake up our son.”
  • Tweet—”Libertarians.” Although I think house cats actually understand and appreciate things more than this would suggest, so unfairly maligns them in comparison.
  • Watch “Around the World in 80 Days: Official Preview“—”Let the race against the clock begin! Phileas Fogg (David Tennant), Abigail Fix (Leonie Benesch), and Jean Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) are setting out on the adventure of a lifetime, starting on Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 8/7c.”
  • 52 things I learned in 2021“—”4. 10% of US electricity is generated from old Russian nuclear warheads. … 10. Short afternoon naps at the workplace lead to significant increases in productivity, psychological well-being and cognition. In contrast, an extra 30 minutes sleep at night shows no similar improvements. … 21. Women’s relative earnings increase 4% when their manager becomes the father of a daughter, rather than a son. This daughter effect was found in 25 years of Danish small-business data. … 37. The notion of a personal ‘Carbon Footprint’ was invented by Ogilvy & Mather for BP in the early 2000s. … 47. The entire global cosmetic Botox industry is supported by an annual production of just a few milligrams of botulism toxin. Pure toxin would cost ~$100 trillion per kilogram.”
  • Wait. This thing is still around, or again? Does this mean they can actually be gotten?! “Walmart pulls children’s toy that swears and sings in Polish about doing cocaine” This was a thing back in Aug 2021 too! So, again?

Omnium Gatherum: 28nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 28, 2021

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

  • What the History of ‘Spirit Photography’ Portends for the Future of Deepfake Videos. Today’s video hoaxes can be downright ugly. But image-makers have been fooling viewers from the beginning.”
  • Watch “Benedetta – Official Trailer”—”A film by Paul Verhoeven, with Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia and Lambert Wilson. In French cinemas on July 9th 2021. In the late 17th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini joins the convent in Pescia, Tuscany, as a novice. Capable from an early age of performing miracles, Benedetta’s impact on life in the community is immediate and momentous.” Also watch “Benedetta – Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films”—”Opening in theaters December 3 and on VOD December 21. Director: Paul Verhoeven. Starring: Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphne Patakia. Based on a true story, a 17th-century nun becomes entangled in a forbidden lesbian affair with a novice. But it is Benedetta’s shocking religious visions that threaten to shake the Church to its core.” Based on Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Judith C Brown—”The discovery of the fascinating and richly documented story of Sister Benedetta Carlini, Abbess of the Convent of the Mother of God, by Judith C. Brown was an event of major historical importance. Not only is the story revealed in Immodest Acts that of the rise and fall of a powerful woman in a church community and a record of the life of a religious visionary, it is also the earliest documentation of lesbianism in modern Western history. Born of well-to-do parents, Benedetta Carlini entered the convent at the age of nine. At twenty-three, she began to have visions of both a religious and erotic nature. Benedetta was elected abbess due largely to these visions, but later aroused suspicions by claiming to have had supernatural contacts with Christ. During the course of an investigation, church authorities not only found that she had faked her visions and stigmata, but uncovered evidence of a lesbian affair with another nun, Bartolomeo. The story of the relationship between the two nuns and of Benedetta’s fall from an abbess to an outcast is revealed in surprisingly candid archival documents and retold here with a fine sense of drama.”
  • Crowdfunding with 59 days to go: “CloisterFox Zine: A bi-annual zine of British speculative fiction.”—”Hello! I’m Verity Holloway, a writer and editor in East Anglia. I’m launching CloisterFox, a bi-annual zine of British strange fiction. Every six months, I aim to release a zine of six captivating, genre-bending short stories in an A5 perfect bound volume, richly illustrated, ideal for throwing in your bag. Zines are once again having a moment. The pleasure of having a beautiful book to hold and admire is something every reader can relate to. It’s long been a dream of mine to host excellent speculative fiction in a beautiful setting. CloisterFox is a wry creature strolling somewhere he shouldn’t, lending vivid colour to dreary train journeys and bus stop ennui. I want to publish stories that creep uninvited along quiet corridors. Stories missed by shoppers hurrying by. Secrets, miracles, universes behind locked tenement doors. Ghosts and gallows. The dress in the attic as seen through a haze of neon. Tell me things I don’t know. Tell me the dreams you can’t forget. Tell me strange things.”
  • At The Mountains of Madness – Volume II [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by François Baranger, H P Lovecraft—”Return to the final days of the Dyer expedition in the remote Antarctic wastes. The letters from expedition leader Professor William Dyer grow increasingly more desperate as the expedition presses on, leaving sanity behind them. What they discover beneath the ice is meant for no living man to see, Cyclopean structures and alien landscapes that defy history itself. The final act of the Dyer Expedition is a descent into cosmic horror and utter madness. H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, first published in 1936, is one of the greatest classics of American horror literature. The most ambitious story Lovecraft ever wrote, it has served as a source of inspiration for filmmakers and authors in the decades since his death. This is the second volume of two. François Baranger, an illustrator with experience working in both the film and gaming industries, was fascinated early on by Lovecraft’s creatures and visions which populated the darkest recesses of fantasy. Having previously illustrated The Call of Cthulhu to great acclaim, this book is his most ambitious creation so far.”
  • Surrealist sabotage and the war on work [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Abigail Susik—”In Surrealist sabotage and the war on work, art historian Abigail Susik uncovers the expansive parameters of the international surrealist movement’s ongoing engagement with an aesthetics of sabotage between the 1920s and the 1970s, demonstrating how surrealists unceasingly sought to transform the work of art into a form of unmanageable anti-work. In four case studies devoted to surrealism’s transatlantic war on work, Susik analyses how artworks and texts by Man Ray, André Breton, Simone Breton, André Thirion, Óscar Domínguez, Konrad Klapheck, and the Chicago surrealists, among others, were pivotally impacted by the intransigent surrealist concepts of principled work refusal, permanent strike, and autonomous pleasure. Underscoring surrealism’s profound relevance for readers engaged in ongoing debates about gendered labour and the wage gap, endemic over-work and exploitation, and the vicissitudes of knowledge work and the gig economy, Surrealist sabotage and the war on work reveals that surrealism’s creative work refusal retains immense relevance in our wired world.”
  • Inside the rise of ‘antiwork,’ a worker’s strike that wants to turn the labor shortage into a new American Dream. The ‘antiwork’ movement is rapidly growing, as people — especially Gen Zers — embrace a work-free lifestyle. Both an online and in-person movement, it’s about workers pushing back against exploitation and rethinking possibilities. Insider spoke to three antiworkers about why they’ve left working behind, and what it means about the American Dream.”
  • A Gut-Wrenching but Graceful Photo Project on Trump’s America.” About Property Rights [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Mitch Epstein, Susan Bell—”Who owns the land, by whose authority, and with what rights? Mitch Epstein examines the American government’s ongoing legacy of property confiscation, and how communities gather to resist. Epstein began his latest series in 2017 at Standing Rock, where thousands protested the installation of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sioux land. Over four years, he charted other contested lands from Pennsylvania and Hawaii to the Mexican border, as well as land loss through wildfires and flooding due to egregious environmental negligence. In keeping with Epstein’s 50-year exploration of American life, Property Rights questions the relationship between institutions, civil rights and the rights of nature itself. Acknowledging our bodies and lives as our most fundamental property, the book examines other forms of trespass and destruction in an elegy to the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, and in photographs of Black Lives Matter protests during COVID-19. Property Rights includes the voices of activists Epstein interviewed while making this deeply personal and political work. In a time of alarming division, the book describes diverse communities in a common fight against politicians and plutocrats willing to sacrifice the people’s well-being.”
  • Reasons First.” About Reasons First [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Mark Schroeder—”In the last five decades, ethical theory has been preoccupied by a turn to reasons. The vocabulary of reasons has become a common currency not only in ethics, but in epistemology, action theory, and many related areas. It is now common, for example, to see central theses such as evidentialism in epistemology and egalitarianism in political philosophy formulated in terms of reasons. And some have even claimed that the vocabulary of reasons is so useful precisely because reasons have analytical and explanatory priority over other normative concepts-that reasons in that sense come first. Reasons First systematically explores both the benefits and burdens of the hypothesis that reasons do indeed come first in normative theory, against the conjecture that theorizing in both ethics and epistemology can only be hampered by neglect of the other. Bringing two decades of work on reasons in both ethics and epistemology to bear, Mark Schroeder argues that some of the most important challenges to the idea that reasons could come first are themselves the source of some of the most obstinate puzzles in epistemology: about how perceptual experience could provide evidence about the world, and about what can make evidence sufficient to justify belief. Schroeder shows that, along with moral worth, one of the very best cases for the fundamental explanatory power of reasons in normative theory actually comes from knowledge.”
  • Giant, free index to world’s research papers released online. Catalogue of billions of phrases from 107 million papers could ease computerized searching of the literature.”
  • New tests show neolithic pits near Stonehenge were human-made. Ring of hollows has been called the largest prehistoric structure found in Britain, but some were sceptical.” Also “Stonehenge breakthrough: New tests uncover Neolithic secret: ‘It’s one enormous structure’. STONEHENGE experts have made a stunning discovery that they say uncover the Neolithic secrets of our ancestors.”
  • Watch “New species of dinosaur with ‘unusually large nose’ discovered – BBC News”—”A new species of dinosaur with a noticeably large nose has been discovered on the UK’s Isle of Wight. Retired doctor Jeremy Lockwood wanted to prove that the two most common dinosaurs on the Isle were not the only ones to have existed there. He went through old storage boxes of dinosaur bones and when piecing together the skulls, realised they belonged to a totally new species – brighstoneus simmondsi.”
  • Watch “The ancient Calfornian giants destroyed by climate change – BBC News”—”California has been besieged by wildfire this year, taking a huge toll on wildlife as well as human communities. Giant sequoias – the largest trees on earth – can weigh more than 6,000 tonnes and can live for more than 3,000 years, but have suffered in the relentless fires. Sequoia National Park guide Christy Brigham is overcome with emotion when she sees these trees, specially adapted to withstand flames, reduced to charcoal. But as a result climate change and a policy of suppressing small fires, conflagrations have been burning bigger and hotter, destroying the ancient trees.”
  • Watch “Scientists are ‘a step closer to reversing paralysis’ in humans – BBC News”—”US scientists have successfully reversed paralysis in mice, bringing them a step closer to achieving similar results in humans. A new therapy injected into the spinal cords encouraged molecules to “dance”, promoting regeneration in damaged nerves. The team hopes to begin trials in human patients within two years.”
  • Watch “How I created an evolving neural network ecosystem“—”After my last video I got a lot of comments (mainly on Reddit) asking me to make a video explaining how I did it. It took me a while to learn how to video edit, voice act, and animate, so it was about time I presented and explained this project.”
  • Watch “BREAKING: OpenAI GPT-3 Now Open to Public [FREE]“—”OpenAI has removed their wait list. You can now sign up and play around with GPT-3 instantly! In this video, I’ll talk about the announcement and provide a basic walkthrough to experiment with GPT-3.”
  • Watch “The First Internet Hoax – Inside A Mind“—”An urban legend tells of a group of scientists who successfully escaped into another dimension. Join me as we go back in time to a place where the internet was like nothing we see today. Ongs Hat is a ghost town in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Many Myths and Lergends are said to exist within the area. Such as the Jersey Devil and a tale revolving around a military operation that came into the town and took several individuals nearby who were never heard of again. This is the story of Ong’s Hat.”
  • Tweet—”your holiday being ruined because your wifi bbq needs to do a software update is some real cyberpunk suburban dystopia shit”
  • Confessions of a (former) social media manager“—”The urge to log off is the social media manager’s version of the call of the wild, or maybe the abyss.”
  • Facebook accused of continuing to surveil teens for ad targeting“—”The adtech giant formerly known as Facebook is still tracking teens for ad targeting on its social media platforms, according to new research by Fairplay, Global Action Plan and Reset Australia — apparently contradicting Facebook’s announcement this summer when the tech giant claimed it would be limiting how advertisers could reach kids. Facebook has since rebranded the group business name to ‘Meta’ — in what looks like a doomed bid to detoxify its brand following a never-ending string of scandals. In the latest problem for Facebook/Meta, the adtech giant has been accused of not actually abandoning ad targeting for teens but, per the research, it has retained its algorithms’ abilities to track and target kids — continuing to maintain its AIs’ ability to surveil children so it can use data about what they do online to determine which ads they see in order to maximize engagement and boost its ad revenues.”
  • OK, So Facebook Is Bad. Now What? Facebook, it has become increasingly clear, cannot be trusted to govern itself.”
  • Silicon Everywhere: A Brief History of America’s Tech Hubs. How the shared culture of Silicon Valley has shaped, and been shaped by, the places where tech has taken root.”—”The way people talk about it now, it might seem as though computers had flourished naturally in Northern California like cherries and apricot orchards; that all it took to imagine the potential of terminals and chips was nice weather, garage space for tinkering, and clusters of nerdy white guys. In fact, Silicon Valley was only one of many American tech innovation hubs in the latter half of the twentieth century. But as a topic, the geography of the tech industry is not so straight-forward. For one thing, ‘tech’ is an insufficient catchall term with boundaries that appear more arbitrary as the companies grow (Netflix but not Disney? Tesla but not Ford?) ‘Silicon Valley’ as a metonym captures the shared culture of ‘tech companies’ but that term gets confusing when it is applied to business outside Northern California. These other regions and their histories might bring us closer to understanding what ‘tech’ has meant over time and where the sector is headed.”
  • Race to the Future: What to Know About the Frantic Quest for Cobalt. A New York Times investigation examines the global demand for raw materials as the clean energy revolution takes off. This is what we found.”
  • GoDaddy breach: SSL keys, sFTP, database passwords of WordPress customers exposed. GoDaddy, the popular internet domain registrar and web hosting company, has suffered a data breach that affected over a million of their Managed WordPress customers.”
  • How to find hidden spy cameras with a smartphone“—”Researchers from the National University of Singapore and Yonsei University in South Korea have devised a mobile application that uses smartphones’ time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to find tiny spy cameras hidden in everyday objects. The app is more successful at detecting hidden cams than existing state-of-the-art commercial hidden camera detectors (CC308+, K18) and much more successful than the human eye/brain.”
  • Are We on the Verge of Chatting with Whales? An ambitious project is attempting to interpret sperm whale clicks with artificial intelligence, then talk back to them.”
  • Fears over “worst ever” Covid variant as UK bans flights from southern Africa – BBC News“—”Scientists are warning that a new Coronavirus variant is the “worst” they have seen. The B.1.1.529 variant has mutations which mean it may evade immunity built up by previous Covid infection or vaccination.”
  • Seven From Anti-Vax Doctors’ COVID Conference Fall Sick Within Days. WHEN WILL THEY LEARN? That includes Bruce Boros, who claimed ivermectin was keeping him healthy and said he wanted to smack his own father for getting the vaccine.”
  • Tweet—”Conspiracy theories are everywhere and people don’t understand how harmful they are. I made the original Conspiracy Chart over a year ago. An update was long overdue. This is the 2021 version.” Also, a less serious, but not wrong, update at tweet.
  • Jeffrey Epstein denied having any suicidal thoughts and prison staffers made litany of errors prior to his death, prison documents reveal.” Also “Epstein’s Final Days: Celebrity Reminiscing and a Running Toilet. Newly released records show the disgraced financier living a mundane existence in jail before his suicide, while also spinning deceptions until the very end.”
  • The Disinformation That Got Told: Michael Cohen Was, in Fact, Hiding Secret Communications With The Kremlin.”
  • From 2017: “The Official Future Is Dead! Long Live the Official Future! A year after Donald Trump’s improbable election, the post-Cold War Official Future has collapsed—and in its place have emerged a bewildering array of possibilities.”—”One way to try to understand the uncanniness of our political moment is by analogy to the Overton Window, a policy concept developed by the late Joseph Overton, a lawyer at the public choice economics-oriented Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. The Overton Window refers to the fact that for any given policy debate, there are usually limits on the range of ‘acceptable’ possibilities, with ideas outside those boundaries dismissed as ‘fringe’ or ‘radical’ or ‘unthinkable.’ Overton’s central point was that what’s considered “reasonable” can and does shift over time. Ideas that were once considered too radical for serious consideration can, as a result of sudden events or concerted public relations campaigns, come to seem acceptable; conversely, ideas that were once considered sensible can come to seem unconscionable. In other words, as political norms shift, the window of so-called reasonable policy positions can open and close. Now, if we combine the concepts of the Official Future and Overton Window, what we get is a way to think about the range of ‘plausible’ potential futures, that is, futures that supposedly sober and judicious people believe can actually take place. And my thesis here is that this window of plausible futures—what I will call the ‘Schwartz Window’—has since November 2016 been blown wide open, with the winds of Hurricane Trump threatening to tear it right out of the wall.” “The most important of these lessons is that the Schwartz Window rarely stays this wide open for long. This is true first and foremost because living with a radically open future is cognitively exhausting—people crave a sense of certainty about the future, which is precisely what the Official Future is meant to provide. This means there is unmet demand for political leadership that has the confidence and charisma to impose a compelling new vision for the future. It is in the nature of complex social systems that if incumbent elites fail to reassert control, they will be replaced by new elites who are willing and able to do so. This is precisely the role that Thatcher and Reagan played when they came to power in United Kingdom and the United States at the start of the 1980s. Who will be the Thatcher and Reagan of our unsettled, Schwartzian moment? In other words, who will have the political vision and strength to establish a new Official Future? Well, what we know is this: in revolutionary situations, it’s usually the Leninists who win.”
  • We Made a Horror Movie About Pizzagate, then the Death Threats Started. ‘The Pizzagate Massacre’ is the best movie about the Trump era, and now everyone can finally watch it.” Watch “Exclusive Trailer Debut: THE PIZZAGATE MASSACRE.” Watch The Pizzagate Massacre [Amazon, IMDB] dir John Valley, with Tinus Seaux, Alexandria Payne, Lee Eddy—”A dark social satire inspired by the real life conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. An amateur journalist and a far-right militiaman team up to expose the ugly truth behind rumors involving sex cults, a pizza place and the lizard people.”
  • As two Fox contributors quit over Tucker Carlson, an alarming truth is revealed. Time for a serious reckoning with the right wing’s ongoing flirtation with political violence.”
  • US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time. ‘Visible deterioration’ in US civil liberties began in at least 2019, says international thinktank.”
  • Everything the press said about the economy was wrong. It’s surging.” Tweet thread—”‘It’s a royal flush of economic good news.’ ‘Today’s press coverage suggests the economy is an albatross around Biden’s political neck. In reality, it’s booming.'”
  • We’re a Small Arkansas Newspaper. Why Is the State Making Us Sign a Pledge About Israel? I publish The Arkansas Times. We refused to sign an anti-B.D.S. law because it violates our First Amendment rights.”
  • Exclusive: Notre-Dame interior faces woke ‘Disney’ revamp. Critics aghast at plans seen by The Telegraph for ‘Christianity for dummies’ trail inside Notre-Dame.”
  • Prince William blames African population pressure for wildlife loss. The Duke of Cambridge has renewed his attack on the increasing impact human population is having on Africa’s wildlife, despite having been accused of hypocrisy for criticising population growth while expecting his third child.” Tweet—”Can’t ever take this shit as anything more than arrogance and a new twist on the old view of Africa as a barbaric continent that needs to be controlled.”
  • Britain launches review of bias in medical devices. The investigation was triggered by research on blood oxygen monitors.”—”Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in late 2020 found that pulse oximeters, which usually calculate the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream by sending light through the fingertip, are more likely to miss low levels of oxygen in Black patients than white patients. The finding also caught the attention of United States lawmakers, who asked the Food and Drug Administration to review the devices. The agency put out a warning about its limitations in February. The review will look at bias in all medical devices, not just pulse oximeters, and will evaluate them for gender bias, as well as racial bias. Javid didn’t specifically call out medical algorithms, but those could potentially be included as they’re often regulated as medical devices in the US and UK. Over the past few years, expert analysis of algorithms showed that they’re often built in ways that reproduce racial bias.”
  • Enslaved to a Founding Father, She Sought Freedom in France. Brought from America to Paris by John Jay, an enslaved woman named Abigail died there trying to win her liberty as the statesman negotiated the freedom of the new nation.”
  • Human smuggling, forced labor among allegations in south Georgia federal indictment. Newly unsealed indictment targets 24 defendants for human trafficking.”—”Two dozen defendants indicted on federal conspiracy charges after a transnational, multi-year investigation into a human smuggling and labor trafficking operation that illegally imported Mexican and Central American workers into brutal conditions on South Georgia farms.” “The conspirators are accused of raping, kidnapping and threatening or attempting to kill some of the workers or their families, and in many cases sold or traded the workers to other conspirators. At least two of the workers died as a result of workplace conditions.”
  • I Was With Family. Suddenly, a White Man Appeared with a Gun. We do not just remember the death. We remember the life, the beauty, the art, the feeling, the waiting, the living.”—”It is white power, and the addiction to it, that forces us to live in a country where Black teens are seen as guilty adults and are killed while white teens can kill people but be seen as innocent kids.”
  • Cops Are Needlessly Scaring People With Fentanyl-Laced Weed Stories. A Connecticut health alert warned about a “lab confirmed” case of weed laced with fentanyl, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.”—”For years, law enforcement has been claiming that dealers are lacing weed with fentanyl, the scariest possibility as synthetic opioids flood the illicit drug supply. Then last week, a public health alert reported a ‘lab confirmed’ case. The problem is the evidence is weak and anecdotal but can still be used to justify the ongoing war on drugs, experts told VICE News.” “But doctors and drug policy experts said the case is extremely rare, and fentanyl-laced weed remains largely a myth spread by police. Even if there was a sample of weed with fentanyl in it, it’s more likely due to accidental contamination than intentional lacing, they said.”
  • Mixtape | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”As the world approaches Y2K, a quirky 12-year-old sets out on a journey to find songs on a mixtape crafted by her late parents. Along the way, she builds new friendships, opens up to her grandmother, and finds her own identity.”
  • Childhood: Value and duties“—”In philosophy, there are two competitor views about the nature and value of childhood: The first is the traditional, deficiency, view, according to which children are mere unfinished adults. The second is a view that has recently become increasingly popular amongst philosophers, and according to which children, perhaps in virtue of their biological features, have special and valuable capacities, and, more generally, privileged access to some sources of value. This article provides a conceptual map of these views and their possible interpretations, and notes their bearing on issues of population ethics and on the duties that we are owed during childhood.”
  • ‘Moral molecules’ – a new theory of what goodness is made of“—”How many moral values are there? What are they? What does it take to be a morally good person? Over the centuries, philosophers, theologians and others have offered no shortage of answers to these questions.”
  • What is romantic friendship? Deep and lasting connection comes in many forms: we need a new vocabulary to talk about love.”
  • ‘Buy the Constitution’ Aftermath: Everyone Very Mad, Confused, Losing Lots of Money, Fighting, Crying, Etc. ConstitutionDAO tried to buy the Constitution. Now it has a $40 million mess on its hands and entire refunds are being wiped out by high fees.”—”The community of crypto investors who tried and failed to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution last week has descended into chaos as people are realizing today that roughly half of the donors will have the majority of their investment wiped out by cryptocurrency fees. Meanwhile, disagreements have broken out over the future of ConstitutionDAO, the original purpose of the more than $40 million crowdfunding campaign, and what will happen to the $PEOPLE token that donors were given in exchange for their contributions.” Presumably some of these dumbasses who threw away money trying to collectively buy a copy are US citizens, and thus already collectively own a couple copies of that document, one of which is often conveniently on display in the Rotunda in DC any time they want to take a gander.
  • Browndages Adult-Size Bandages – 20 Bandages in 5 Tones“—”Browndages is the brainchild of husband and wife duo, Rashid and Intisar. In their house, with three children, they went through bandages as quick as they could buy them. Rashid had the idea to produce a bandage that matches the varying shades of brown, not only in their family but throughout the world. Intisar took it one step further and decided to also produce a bandage with images that would be both representative for their children, and inspirational. Thus, Browndages was born! The hope is that Browndages will become a household name for your family and also serve as positive inspiration for your children.”
  • Watch “Why You Remember The Original Cowboy Bebop So Well“—”Cowboy Bebop is long considered one of the best anime’s of the last several decades. Beloved by fans, the artistic direction, music, characters, and story bring Cowboy Bebop to a level not seen by many of its contemporaries. With the premiere of the live action Cowboy Bebop, we take a look back at where this storied Anime became a fan favorite.” Also “What’s wrong with Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop? The characters, our old-school fan says. These aren’t the cowboys, or the villain, that defined the classic anime, our veteran Bebop fan says.”
  • Watch “Street Gang | Official Trailer | HBO”—”Sunny days, furry friends, classic songs, and a whole lot of heart. Street Gang, an HBO original documentary about the most impactful children’s program in television history, Sesame Street, premieres December 13 on HBO Max.”
  • Watch “Roman Emperor Caligula’s coffee table“—”How a lost mosaic from the Roman emperor’s reign ended up entertaining guests in a New York City apartment.” Spoiler alert: it’s not Caligula’s coffee table, but a coffee table made with a bit of mosaic from Caligula’s boat, previously thought to be lost. Still super cool, but the title is inaccurate.
  • The Internet predicted in 1949 by Tex Avery“—”From the Tex Avery cartoon, ‘The Home of Tomorrow’, the television not only answers questions, it tells questioners to shut up already, and bullies them to stop asking such questions.”
  • I have doubts this is real, except maybe the cat, but it’s definitely a concise epic of cinéma vérité: Tweet—”Этому шедевру немого кинематографа я ставлю 10 из 10!” (I give this masterpiece of silent cinema a 10 out of 10!) Tweet—”There’s more action and mystery in this one minute than the whole of Tenet.”
  • “Unknown” by Azure: tweet thread—”You know that therapy is easier than proving multiple universe theory, right?” Tweet—”This is in the top 5 pieces of fiction I’ve read this year. And I’ve read some AMAZING stuff, so…”
  • Tweet thread—”#StarTrek ships as lesbians, a thread. Ambassador: The Flannel Lesbian. Practical, a bit swole, and very pretty. 1/10″
  • Baron Voodoo [Amazon, Publisher] by Lucky Duck Games—”Welcome to Baron Voodoo, a dice game in which you don’t roll the dice! You’re a Loa, a voodoo god who become the new god of death in place of Baron Samedi.
 To take his place, you have to catch the more soul in one night, before the other Loa!” “In Baron Voodoo you play as a ‘Loa’, a voodoo god, who has the chance to become the new god of death by capturing the most souls, which are represented by 48 gorgeous custom Soul Dice. Every game begins differently as the Soul Dice are rolled and placed onto a 7×7 grid, creating a unique puzzle every time you play. Players will move, stack and capture Soul Dice, placing them into their Spirit World and collecting sets of colors and icons to achieve the most victory points. Players who like a more competitive game can choose to use one of the Fixed setups provided.”
  • Not wrong: tweet—”If enjoy Hawkeye, please pick up the comic that it’s heavily based on. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth is one of the best comic arcs Marvel has ever done.” There’s an omnibus, but the cover kinda sucks, especially in comparison, and misses the aesthetic design language, so check out the collected series, which for digital is actually cheaper, as I write this, than the omnibus anyway: Hawkeye (2012-2015) by Matt Fraction, David Aja, &al.—”The breakout star of this summer’s blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton – aka the self-made hero Hawkeye – fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he’s out to prove himself as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence – before he becomes the most wanted man in the world.” There’s also a follow-up series Hawkeye (2016-2018) by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Julian Totino Tedesco, &al.—”Remember Hawkeye? No not that Hawkeye, our favorite Hawkeye, the chick who puts the hawk in Hawkeye, the butt-kicking hero who had to save the other Hawkeye’s butt all the time. Yup, you know her, it’s the dazzling Kate Bishop making her solo comics debut! Kate is heading west and returning to Los Angeles, with her bow and arrow and P.I. badge in tow. There are crimes to solve and she’s the best archer to handle ‘em! The City of Angels has a new guardian angel. The talented duo of Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Jem) and Leonardo Romero (Squadron Supreme, Doctor Strange) bring you a Kate Bishop like you’ve never seen her before, in a brand-new ongoing series that really hits the mark!” (You can also find all of these through your local library on Hoopla Digital to check out at no cost, including the All-New Hawkeye series which appears to be between the two I already mentioned, but not well collected on Amazon with the others.) Also, Disney/Marvel need to fucking pay people for their work still.
  • Tweet—”Making Peter Parker, a character incredibly well known for being poor, someone who worships a billionaire is actual propaganda.”
  • The Image Union Is the Future of Comics. ‘We hope this is just the beginning of a tidal wave of unionization in this country. It’s long overdue.'”
  • Tweet—”Excited to finally be able to say that the Hilda movie is coming to netflix on December 30th!” Also “Silvergate Makes Three Key Promotions Within Hilda’s Production Team” mentions season 3 is also still coming, which is great news.
  • Tweet thread —”Use the good copper. Wear the fancy outfit. Stay up later. Sleep in. Rise early. Eat that ice cream. Because if you wait one day you will have never done it and someone will be scraping dust off the promises you made yourself.”

Omnium Gatherum: 22nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 22, 2021

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

  • MST3K Weekly Update: Nov. 15-19, 2021“—”Join us for this year’s [Mystery Science Theatre 3000] Turkey Day Marathon on Thursday, November 25, starting at 9am ET / 6am PT.” Via “Starting at 9 am ET / 6 am PT on Thursday, November 25, the marathon will feature an extended lineup of eight classic MST3K episodes, with four chosen by fans via a bracket elimination poll and four chosen by Joel Hodgson and the creative team behind Season 13. This year’s marathon will feature new host segments with upcoming Season 13 cast members Jonah Ray, Emily Marsh, Tom Servo (Conor McGiffin), Crow (Nate Begle), and GPC2 (Yvonne Freese). Throughout the marathon, exclusive teasers will reveal each of the 13 films that will be riffed in the show’s upcoming thirteenth season, which will premiere exclusively on the show’s new virtual online theater, the Gizmoplex, in 2022.” “Watch The MST3K Turkey Day Marathon on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire via the Shout! Factory TV app.” Probably also live on YouTube and Twitch, I’m assuming.
  • The Legend of the Christmas Witch [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza, illo. Julia Iredale—”From Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza and creative partner Dan Murphy comes the long lost tale of the Christmas Witch, Santa Claus’s much misunderstood twin sister. The perfect gift for the holiday season and beyond! Gather ‘round the fire to hear a Christmas legend that has never been told before…until now. Each year a mysterious figure sweeps into town, leaving behind strange gifts in the night. No, not Santa Claus, but his sister… The Christmas Witch. Her story begins many, many years ago when her brother was torn away from her as a child. Raised alone by a witch of the woods, Kristtōrn’s powers of magic grew, as did her temper. Determined to find her long lost twin, she set out on a perilous journey across oceans to find him. But what she found instead was a deep-seated fear of her powers and a confrontation that would leave the fate of Christmas hanging in the balance. From award-winning producer and actress Aubrey Plaza and her creative partner Dan Murphy comes a holiday story unlike any told before. With all the richness of classic folklore, they’ve woven a tale of bravery, love and magic. Whatever you thought you knew about Christmas…think again.” Also watch “‘Be Me. Tell My Story.’ – How Aubrey Plaza Met The Christmas Witch.”—”Our dear friend Aubrey Plaza makes an unforgettable entrance dressed as the main character in her latest book, ‘The Legend of the Christmas Witch,’ which is available everywhere starting November 16th.” Also watch “Aubrey Plaza Goes All Out to Scare Kids on Halloween.”
  • How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century. Charles Johnson reviews Claire Tomalin’s latest biography, ‘The Young H.G. Wells: Changing the World.'” About The Young H.G. Wells: Changing the Worldhttps://amzn.to/3xb1g8E [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Claire Tomalin—”From acclaimed literary biographer Claire Tomalin, a complex and fascinating exploration of the early life of the influential writer and public figure H. G. Wells. How did the first forty years of H. G. Wells’s life shape the father of science fiction? From his impoverished childhood in a working-class English family and determination to educate himself at any cost to his complicated marriages, love affair with socialism, and the serious ill health that dominated his twenties and thirties, H. G. Wells’s extraordinary early life would set him on a path to become one of the world’s most influential writers. The sudden success of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds transformed his life and catapulted him to international fame; he became the writer who most inspired Orwell and countless others and predicted men walking on the moon seventy years before it happened. In this remarkable, empathetic biography, Claire Tomalin paints a fascinating portrait of a man like no other, driven by curiosity and desiring reform, a socialist and a futurist whose new and imaginative worlds continue to inspire today.” Also tweet thread—”There is so much wrong with this @nytimes article I don’t even know where to begin. It doesn’t acknowledge the many women who went before, it doesn’t acknowledge the black voice shaping early science fiction. All it does is perpetuate the white male myth – so stale and outdated.” Tweet—”People still believe this shit?” Tweet—”Mary Shelley did not put up with Byron’s bullshit all weekend to have to deal with this.” Tweet—”Everyone is talking about how Mary Shelley invented science fiction as a counter point, but The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is said to have been written between 871 to 881 and if y’all want to open the canon beyond a eurocentric lens.”
  • Watch “Anna Official Trailer | Premieres on Nov 18 on AMC+”—”The world is ravaged by a virus which kills adults but spares children. Anna only has one guide: a book left by her mother with instructions on how to survive. But, with each passing day she discovers that the old rules no longer apply, and instead has to make up new ones as she goes along. Anna premieres November 18th only on AMC+.” Directed by Niccolò Ammaniti, the author of Anna [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library], trans. Jonathan Hunt—”It is four years since the virus came, killing every adult in its path. Not long after that the electricity failed. Food and water started running out. Fires raged uncontrolled across the country. Now Anna cares for her brother alone in a house hidden in the woods, keeping him safe from ‘the Outside’, scavenging for food amid the packs of wild dogs that roam their ruined, blackened world. Before their mother died, she told them to love each other and never part. She told them that, when they reach adulthood, the sickness will claim them too. But she also told them that someone, somewhere, will have a cure. When the time comes, Anna knows, they must leave their world and find another. By turns luminous and tender, gripping and horrifying, Anna is a haunting parable of love and loneliness; of the stories we tell to sustain us, and the lengths we will go to in order to stay alive.”
  • You Can Buy the Famous Storybook of the Scrapped ’70s ‘Dune’ Movie“—”It will be available for auction on Christie’s website on November 22.” See “HERBERT, Frank (1920-1986), Alejandro JODOROWSKY (né en 1926), Jean GIRAUD (1938-2012) et d’autres. DUNE. SURESNES : IMPRIMÉ PAR LES ATELIERS INDUSTRIELS DE REPROGRAPHIE AVIAPLANS, [CIRCA 1975]. Estimate EUR 25,000 – EUR 35,000″
  • Unknown Dürer drawing—bought for just $30 at a house clearance—could sell for $50m at London gallery. The US family who owned it believed it was a 20th-century reproduction.”
  • Somebody finally fixed the ending of The Giving Tree.” About “the tree who set healthy boundaries. a parody alternate ending for Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’ part of the ‘Topher Fixed It’ series for young people.” Also “The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries T-Shirt.”
  • Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua wasn’t a nitrogen iceberg, Harvard astrophysicists say. The bizarre interloper called ‘Oumuamua continues to defy explanation.”
  • ‘Dancing molecules’ successfully repair severe spinal cord injuries. After single injection, paralyzed animals regained ability to walk within four weeks.”
  • Live long and prosper: Study examines genetic gems in Galápagos giant tortoise genomes. These big turtles have extra copies of genes that may help them age well and evade cancer, and the creatures’ cells respond to stress in ways that may help to prevent disease, scientists conclude.”
  • New approach provides potential vaccine and treatment for Alzheimer’s. LifeArc scientists, in collaboration with researchers in the UK and Germany, have developed a promising new approach to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease – and also vaccinate against it.”
  • Quantum brain sensors could spot dementia after University of Sussex scientists find they track brain waves. Sensors introduce important new method to spot bio-marker for brain diseases. Accurate timings of when brain signals fire demonstrated for first time by the Sussex scientists, which has implications for tracking the onset of brain disease. The quantum brain sensors could present a more efficient and accurate alternative to EEG and fMRI scanners.”
  • Novel algorithm on wearable devices can detect irregular heartbeat, may prompt early care. A novel software algorithm developed for wearable devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, was able to detect irregular heart rhythms. Analysis of heartbeat data for nearly half a million wearable-device users found that the algorithm was able to accurately detect irregular heart rhythms, indicating possible atrial fibrillation. This feature may help identify individuals with undiagnosed atrial fibrillation and aid in early intervention and improved outcomes.”
  • New cell, shown to regulate heart rate, discovered at University of Notre Dame“—”Researchers at the University of Notre Dame discovered a new type of cell in the heart that may help regulate heart rate, and could be an important key in understanding certain types of congenital heart defects and other diseases that involve the heart. The cells, which were termed nexus glia, resemble critical glial cells called astrocytes in the brain, according to research completed in the lab of Cody Smith, the Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. When the newly identified cells were removed, the heart rate increased, and when they were deprived of a key gene that drives their glial development, the heart beat irregularly.”
  • Back in my day, runner’s high was compared to cocaine. They don’t make the body’s own drugs like they used to, apparently. “Exercise increases the body’s own ‘cannabis’ which reduces chronic inflammation, says new study.”
  • Sniffing a particular body odor molecule found in abundance on the heads of newborn babies reduces aggression in men but increases it in women.”
  • No one tell supervillain Poison Ivy! “New plants that produce and release sex pheromones to fight plant pests have been developed. The plants, obtained by a team from the UPV and the CSIC, could be used in pest control techniques, such as creating sexual confusion in pest males, in the future.”
  • A first biodegradable version of velcro has been created, drawing inspiration from climbing plants, to safeguard the environment. The new technology has been created by a research team led by Barbara Mazzolai at the IIT – Italian Institute of Technology as part of the European project GrowBot, and with the support of the National Geographic Society.”
  • “Press release: Insulation using popcorn? Forest scientists at Göttingen University develop plant-based, environmentally friendly material.”
  • Shape-morphing microrobots deliver drugs to cancer cells“—”Chemotherapy successfully treats many forms of cancer, but the side effects can wreak havoc on the rest of the body. Delivering drugs directly to cancer cells could help reduce these unpleasant symptoms. Now, in a proof-of-concept study, researchers reporting in ACS Nano made fish-shaped microrobots that are guided with magnets to cancer cells, where a pH change triggers them to open their mouths and release their chemotherapy cargo.” “Because tumors exist in acidic microenvironments, the team decided to make the microrobots change shape in response to lowered pH. So the researchers 4D printed microrobots in the shape of a crab, butterfly or fish using a pH-responsive hydrogel.” Watch “Shape-Morphing Microrobots Deliver Drugs to Cancer Cells.”
  • Scientists Develop Promising Vaccine Method Against Recurrent UTI“—”Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas are investigating the use of whole-cell vaccines to fight urinary tract infection (UTI), part of an effort to tackle the increasingly serious issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Nicole De Nisco, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, recently demonstrated the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to encapsulate and inactivate whole bacterial cells to create a ‘depot’ that allows the vaccines to last longer in the body.”
  • New Study Proves Unsuspected Social Ability in Cats. Cat wants treat. Box is shut. Cat asks for help, yes, she does! How she does that is another matter, and it depends on you.”—”Housecats were presented with a solvable mission, i.e., a treat in a container with a loose lid. What did they do? They solved the problem and ate the treat while ignoring the presence of the caregiver. That is what cats do. If however presented with the insolvable problem, an unreachable (but presumably aromatic) treat in a close container, then things got interesting. They asked for help – and were likely to do so sooner if the person was already engaged with them, i.e., looking at them. If the person was attentive, the cats would look at them more often, engaging their gaze, and would approach the treat more frequently, compared with the case of the caregiver being otherwise occupied” “No kidding. What do we cat owners say? That we knew this all along …”
  • Watch “Rancher Finds T-Rex Bones That Turn Out To Be A Brand New Dinosaur Species! | Dino Hunters“—”Clayton Phipps has some incredible bones and fossils which might end up confirming that there is a new species of mini-tyrannosaurus rex – the Nanotyrannus.”
  • Dino speaks to the UN about climate chaos: Watch “Don’t Choose Extinction – UNDP | United Nations | Jack Black | Climate Action.”
  • Europe’s butterflies are vanishing as small farms disappear. Industrial farms and abandoned ones are both bad for butterflies. Researchers in Spain are trying to combat the trend, one “micro-reserve” at a time.”
  • Economic, environmental and grid-resilience benefits of converting diesel trains to battery-electric“—”Nearly all US locomotives are propelled by diesel-electric drives, which emit 35 million tonnes of CO2 and produce air pollution causing about 1,000 premature deaths annually, accounting for approximately US$6.5 billion in annual health damage costs. Improved battery technology plus access to cheap renewable electricity open the possibility of battery-electric rail. Here we show that a 241-km range can be achieved using a single standard boxcar equipped with a 14-MWh battery and inverter, while consuming half the energy consumed by diesel trains. At near-future battery prices, battery-electric trains can achieve parity with diesel-electric trains if environmental costs are included or if rail companies can access wholesale electricity prices and achieve 40% use of fast-charging infrastructure. Accounting for reduced criteria air pollutants and CO2 emissions, switching to battery-electric propulsion would save the US freight rail sector US$94 billion over 20 years.”
  • FuelPositive“—”Carbon-free Ammonia (NH3) can help change the world! The world has discovered the potential of green ammonia to significantly reduce carbon emissions and surpass our Paris Agreement commitments. Only FuelPositive has the technology to make it happen economically and efficiently now. Our lead product, carbon-free ammonia (NH3), takes air, water and sustainable electricity and converts that into a non-polluting: Chemical for multiple applications. Fertilizer for farming. Fuel for transportation. Fuel for fuel cells. Solution for grid storage.”
  • ‘Spirit of Innovation’ stakes claim to be the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle“—”We believe our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, setting three new world records. We have submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation who control and certify world aeronautical and astronautical records – that at 15:45 (GMT) on 16 November 2021, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds, according to our data. We hope that the FAI will certify and officially confirm the achievements of the team in the near future. During its record-breaking runs, the aircraft clocked up a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph) which we believe makes the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.” Watch “Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation – the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft“—”We believe our all-electric Spirit of Innovation is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, setting three new world records. Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.”
  • Yara to start operating the world’s first fully emission-free container ship.” Watch “Yara Birkeland’s Voyage from Horten to Oslo“—”We are proud to announce that Yara Birkeland, the world’s first fully electric and soon to be autonomous container vessel with zero emissions is ready to be put into operation in 2022! With key collaboration from KONGSBERG, VARD and Enova SF, this project shows how through join efforts, we have developed a world-leading innovation that contributes to the green shift. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Yara Birkeland set sail on November 18th from Horten to Oslo for it’s first and only visit where partners and key stakeholders experienced the ship first-hand and learned more about the process behind this great achievement.”
  • Facebook wants to rule the metaverse space. We can’t let that happen. Let’s not make the same mistake again.” Also watch “Something isn’t right about Meta’s Metaverse“—”One one hand Meta is offering to build our virtual world and provide jobs and money to anyone and everyone in it. On the other hand, this isn’t yours our my metaverse. This isn’t built by the people for the people. This doesn’t feel right and there is everything at stake here.” Also watch “How Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Already Lost The Metaverse“—”Here’s the Four Big Players who have already beaten Meta and are 1,000x the size of Facebook and Meta in the Metaverse.”
  • ‘When Has There Ever Been a Moment of Calm at Facebook?’: The Great Employee Exodus That Wasn’t. Despite scandal after scandal, the company’s perk-drunk employees seem to be weathering the storm—but there are signs of trouble. On the business side, one admits, ‘It doesn’t feel great to be the face of Facebook.'”
  • Microsoft Loop Clones Notion. Eager to beat Notion, Loop brings live components & more.”
  • Microsoft is embarrassing itself and customers can see it. There’s simply no obvious need to behave like this. Yet Redmond merely offers troubling excuses.”—”Do you have friends who constantly struggle with their worst habits? Do they try so very hard to change, yet their old foibles return again and again to annoy and destroy everyone’s mood? Is one of your friends Microsoft?”
  • Twitter Cancels AMP. Twitter says it’s in the process of dropping support for AMP, which will be fully retired by the end of the year.” AMP is an abomination unto the Lord, like Google Cloud Print. Kill them both with fire. But AMP is actually also pure evil, as part of Google’s attempt to enclose the open web, so burning it to death is only a fraction the battle.
  • People are talking about Web3. Is it the Internet of the future or just a buzzword?“—”‘There are a lot of people who have money to invest,’ he said. ‘And they need some vision to throw money at.'”
  • Tweet—”if social media has taught me anything, the average person doesn’t have any media literacy at all. people just watch shows and movies and misinterpret it entirely. they watch a show with a clear message and come out with the exact opposite of the intended message.” Tweet thread—”So, while I think this is TRUE, there are three examples people often turn to as a failure of the reader, and I think they’re actually a failure of the story. They are: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Dune. I’ll hold up a clear counter-example to these three at the end. 1/”
  • Watch “NYC’s nonprofit DIY internet is taking on Verizon & more | Just Might Work by Freethink“—”1.5 million New Yorkers lack access to high-speed internet. According to New York City’s research, 40% of households lack either home or mobile broadband connection. And over 1.5 million New Yorkers lack both. This digital divide throws up massive barriers to education, employment, health, banking, social networking, and government service options. One non-profit is looking to challenge the top dogs by providing people with another option of where they get their internet. And they’re doing so by building an internet infrastructure that is cheaper and potentially more reliable. According to NYC Mesh, their mesh internet approach provides numerous advantages. First and foremost: it’s low cost, a key concern for closing the digital divide. NYC Mesh’s service fees are donation based, with the organization suggesting $20-60 depending on what a member can afford. It’s free for those who cannot afford to donate.” Also “NYC’s nonprofit DIY internet is taking on Verizon & more. 1.5 million New Yorkers lack access to high-speed internet. Can a DIY mesh internet network change that?”
  • COVID-19 Likely Started With A Vendor At Wuhan Animal Market, Says New Analysis. With ‘half of early cases’ linked to the area, it ‘becomes very difficult to explain that pattern if the outbreak didn’t start at the market,’ writes Dr. Michael Worobey.”
  • Novel Lyme vaccine shows promise“—”Yale University researchers have developed a novel vaccine that in guinea pigs offers protection against infection by the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and may also combat other tick-borne diseases, they report Nov. 17 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Instead of triggering an immune response against a particular pathogen, the new vaccine prompts a quick response in the skin to components of tick saliva, limiting the amount of time that ticks have to feed upon and infect the host, the study shows. The vaccine is delivered by the same mRNA technology that has proved so effective against COVID-19.”
  • Snow leopards die of Covid-19 complications at Nebraska zoo.”
  • Boosters give over 90% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults over 50.”
  • Covid: Huge protests across Europe over new restrictions. Tens of thousands of people have been marching in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to protest against anti-Covid measures.”
  • Māori Tribe Tells Anti-Vaxxers To Stop Using Its Haka. The ceremonial dance has been used at anti-vaccine protests in New Zealand without permission.”—”‘Ngāti Toa condemns the use of the Ka Mate haka to push and promote anti-Covid-19 vaccination messages,’ its chief executive officer, Helmut Modlik, said in a statement. ‘Many of our tupuna [ancestors] lost their lives in previous pandemics and our iwi [tribe] suffered greatly. We are absolutely clear that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have available to us, and we are committed to supporting our whānau [family] to get vaccinated as soon as possible.'”
  • “‘Before insulin, diabetes was a death sentence’: The miracle that two Canadians gave the world 100 years ago is still saving lives.”
  • Tweet—”Federal and state investigators are examining an attempt to breach an Ohio county’s election network that’s strikingly similar to a Republican-fueled incident in Colorado. Data in both instances were distributed at a symposium hosted by Mike Lindell.” Also “Attempted breach of Ohio county election network draws FBI and state scrutiny. The incident, in which a private laptop was plugged into the government computer network inside the office of a Lake County commissioner, came the same month as a similar event in Mesa County, Colo., which is also under FBI investigation.”
  • Watch “The Q Files: Q Faithful Are Still Waiting For JFK In Dallas | Jacob Chansley’s Note To Self”—”Stephen checks in on followers of the QAnon conspiracy, many of whom are camped out in Dallas awaiting the return of JFK (or JFK Jr., we’re not really sure). One notable Q fan who isn’t in Dallas is Jacob Chansley, also known as the QAnon Shaman, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
  • Watch “Flynn, Powell Pushed The Military To Seize Control After T**** Lost The Election.”
  • Two Fox News commentators resign over Tucker Carlson series on the Jan. 6 siege.”
  • Meet the Pro-Coup Caucus Running the House GOP. How the far-right Freedom Caucus has turned into the pro-Trump, pro-insurrection wing of the GOP.”
  • Biden Declared ‘Healthy’ and ‘Vigorous’ After His First Presidential Physical. Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman to assume acting presidential duties, while President Biden underwent a colonoscopy.”
  • Tweet—”As more states roll out legal marketplaces for recreational pot, a federal raid of a small household marijuana garden on tribal land in northern New Mexico is sowing confusion and resentment about U.S. drug enforcement priorities on Native American lands.” See “Cannabis bust on Indigenous land highlights legal divide.”
  • Hoover Hid That Some Witnesses In Malcolm X Assassination Trial Were FBI Informants. A Manhattan judge exonerated two men convicted of killing the revolutionary leader after decades of doubt about who was responsible for his 1965 death.” Also “‘Who Killed Malcolm X?,’ a Netflix Documentary, Spurred Prosecutors’ Review. Popular documentary series on television also led to indictments against the real estate mogul Robert Durst and the singer R. Kelly.”
  • Republicans Ban Elmo From Attending Conservative Conference. On Thursday, CPAC tweeted that Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie would not be welcome at its 2022 conference.”—”Seriously … They tweeted about puppets.” “In related news, CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp on Thursday shared that he isn’t happy that ‘Sesame Street’ added an Asian-American muppet to its cast, saying the show is ‘injecting race’ and saying the show won’t stop pushing ‘for woke politics.'”
  • Tweet thread—”Let’s be very clear what this is: Far-right propaganda, entirely indistinguishable from what you’ll read on white supremacist blogs and on rightwing extremist websites. That it was published by the @washingtonpost is outrageous – but, unfortunately, not an accident.” Tweet—”I don’t have a problem with newspapers publishing a variety of opinions. They should. But this @washingtonpost opinion piece by @marcthiessen on ‘The Danger of Critical Race Theory’ contains a whole lie about Martin Luther King. All they had to do is read MLK’s exact words.”
  • Why Bosses Are Inflexible About Flexible Work Arrangements. Since lockdown, employees have adopted new work habits, but many execs want a return to the old normal.
  • Did the Lingerie Business Make Jeffrey Epstein Possible? As the Ghislaine Maxwell trial picks up speed, a look at the financiers behind the infamous financier.”
  • Decentralized remake of Heat. “3 arrested after dozens ransack a Nordstrom store near San Francisco, police say“—”Three suspects were arrested Saturday night after dozens ransacked a Nordstrom department store near San Francisco in what police are calling a “smash-and-grab” incident. About 80 suspects were involved in the crime at the department store in Broadway Plaza, an outdoor mall in Walnut Creek east of San Francisco, and they fled in at least 10 different vehicles …” “The incident followed a series of similar lootings Friday night in Union Square and surrounding areas in San Francisco, including at a Louis Vuitton store, a Burberry store, a jewelry store, a Bloomingdale’s, a Walgreens, cannibis dispensaries and even an eyeglass shop, Police Chief Bill Scott said at a news conference Saturday.” Also “Around 80 People Ransacked The Nordstrom In Walnut Creek, California, In An ‘Organized Theft’. Video showed people running out of the store with bags and fleeing in vehicles that were parked on the street.”
  • Watch “From David Fincher and David Prior | VOIR | Netflix”—”From executive producers David Fincher and David Prior, VOIR is a series of visual essays celebrating Cinema and the personal connection we each have to the stories we see on the big screen. From intimate personal histories to insights on character and craft, each episode reminds us why Cinema holds a special place in our lives.”
  • Jonah Hill To Play Jerry Garcia In Martin Scorsese’s Grateful Dead Film. What a long, strange trip this could be.” Also “Jonah Hill To Play Jerry Garcia In Martin Scorsese-Directed Grateful Dead Pic For Apple“—”After stepping up as a producer on his next film Killers of the Flower Moon, Apple has found its next Martin Scorsese project, and its subject is a band the Oscar winner knows well. Sources tell Deadline that Scorsese is on board to direct and produce a new untitled biopic on the Grateful Dead with Jonah Hill on board to play the group’s frontman, Jerry Garcia.” “Insiders add that with the band and the group’s management participating in the film, Apple has rights to use the group’s musical catalog for the film.”
  • The Puzzle-Maker’s Paradox or The Tricky Art Of Welcoming New Players To Roleplaying”—”I would argue that as game designers, we are perhaps the least-equipped to understand what new players actually need from games. This article is an attempt to dive deeper into the current conversation around new players in TTRPGs, how our biases limit us as designers, and what approaches we can take in the future — or beyond.” “This paradox means the design community self-selects people who were able to play specifically in spite of inaccessible or bad games. Most people, when confronted with something they don’t understand and lack the motivation to dig deeper into, stop engaging with that thing. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably part of the small community of weirdos who have the opposite response.” ” When I’m confronted with something confusing and hard to wrap my head around, I feel an impulsive urge to dig deeper. When I’m shown an unfun game, I want to fix it. This is reasonable, and part of what drives me forward as a creator, but it’s also not an accurate reflection of what most people are like. Some designers are unaware of their place in the paradox, or own it and seek to make games that don’t care about pulling in new players. Other designers are aware of this paradox, but don’t know how to get past it, and so they look to the solutions other games come up with.”
  • Fujifilm announces film-digital hybrid Instax Mini Evo camera. Crank the film advance lever to print.”
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender 3D Laser-Cut Hardwood Map.” Also watch—”Check out this amazing 3D AVATAR The Last Airbender Map!.”
  • The Imperium Is Driven by Hate. Warhammer Is Not.“—”The Imperium of Man stands as a cautionary tale of what could happen should the very worst of Humanity’s lust for power and extreme, unyielding xenophobia set in. Like so many aspects of Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium of Man is satirical.”
  • Property Developer Discovers Secret Passageway Behind Bookshelf in 500-Year-Old House. Freddy Goodall of Brighton, England, detailed his finds in a series of social media videos.”—”Like a scene out of an old mystery movie, a British property developer recently discovered a secret passageway behind a bookshelf in his 500-year-old home. As Mary K. Jacob reports for the New York Post, 23-year-old Freddy Goodall also found an old safe, schoolbooks, letters and other artifacts in the Sussex estate’s network of tunnels. Goodall, who first revealed his finds in a viral TikTok video, was looking at an 1870 photograph of a room in his family’s house when he noticed a doorway where a bookshelf now stands.”
  • Tweet thread—”Finally watching Shang-Chi, here as a bus operator to rate the SFT transit factors of The Bus Scene:” Tweet—”This is f**king amazing.” Also “In ‘Shang-Chi,’ a Muni Line Made Possible by Chinatown Community Advocacy“—”The 1-California carries more than just passengers gawking at superheroes in Marvel blockbusters, though. It carries the history and legacy of San Francisco’s Chinese community, its advocacy, and its perseverance. That is, if you know the history.”
  • Jack Kirby Runs Into the MCU Buzzsaw. ‘Eternals’ and the irony of watching fans trumpet their allegiance to a corporation over artists.”—”Jack Kirby co-created what is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. It’s his work that laid the foundation on which the Marvel Cinematic Universe was built. And it’s that same cinematic universe that has done everything it can to strip any elements of Kirby’s personality from the films. Sadly, the movie fans seem to prefer it this way.”

Omnium Gatherum: 17nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 17, 2021

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

  • The Gypsy Spiders and Other Tales of Italian Horror [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Nicola Lombardi, trans. J Weintraub—”The Gypsy Spiders and Other Tales of Italian Horror is a masterpiece of Italian fiction, a must for all readers of intelligent contemporary horror. The Gypsy Spiders (I Ragni Zingari) was first published in 2010. In 2013 the collection won the Premio Polidori, one of Italy’s most prestigious horror awards. The title story merges old legends of the supernatural with the emotional devastation of World War Two, and the menacing, quasi-invisible spiders may or may not have been brought into being by the psychological stresses experienced by the family at the heart of the tale. In ‘Striges’, an anthropologist undertakes a study of witchcraft, and a group of boys look on in horror as she and her son are transformed by the power of her subject. Other stories explore the real, the uncanny and the otherworldly in chilling detail. Nicola Lombardi’s The Gypsy Spiders and Other Tales of Italian Horror have been brilliantly rendered into English by their translator, J. Weintraub.”
  • An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kyle T Mays—”The first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America. Beginning with pre-Revolutionary America and moving into the movement for Black lives and contemporary Indigenous activism, Afro-Indigenous historian Kyle T. Mays argues that the foundations of the US are rooted in antiblackness and settler colonialism, and that these parallel oppressions continue into the present. He explores how Black and Indigenous peoples have always resisted and struggled for freedom, sometimes together, and sometimes apart. Whether to end African enslavement and Indigenous removal or eradicate capitalism and colonialism, Mays show how the fervor of Black and Indigenous peoples calls for justice have consistently sought to uproot white supremacy. Mays uses a wide-array of historical activists and pop culture icons, “sacred” texts, and foundational texts like the Declaration of Independence and Democracy in America. He covers the civil rights movement and freedom struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, and explores current debates around the use of Native American imagery and the cultural appropriation of Black culture. Mays compels us to rethink both our history as well as contemporary debates and to imagine the powerful possibilities of Afro-Indigenous solidarity.”
  • How the Ancient Romans Went to the Bathroom. A new book by journalist Lina Zeldovich traces the management of human waste—and underscores poop’s potential as a valuable resource.” About The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lina Zeldovich—”Grossly ambitious and rooted in scientific scholarship, The Other Dark Matter shows how human excrement can be a life-saving, money-making resource—if we make better use of it. The average person produces about four hundred pounds of excrement a year. More than seven billion people live on this planet. Holy crap! Because of the diseases it spreads, we have learned to distance ourselves from our waste, but the long line of engineering marvels we’ve created to do so—from Roman sewage systems and medieval latrines to the immense, computerized treatment plants we use today—has also done considerable damage to the earth’s ecology. Now scientists tell us: we’ve been wasting our waste. When recycled correctly, this resource, cheap and widely available, can be converted into a sustainable energy source, act as an organic fertilizer, provide effective medicinal therapy for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, and much more. In clear and engaging prose that draws on her extensive research and interviews, Lina Zeldovich documents the massive redistribution of nutrients and sanitation inequities across the globe. She profiles the pioneers of poop upcycling, from startups in African villages to innovators in American cities that convert sewage into fertilizer, biogas, crude oil, and even life-saving medicine. She breaks taboos surrounding sewage disposal and shows how hygienic waste repurposing can help battle climate change, reduce acid rain, and eliminate toxic algal blooms. Ultimately, she implores us to use our innate organic power for the greater good. Don’t just sit there and let it go to waste.”
  • Iconicon: A Journey Around the Landmark Buildings of Contemporary Britain [Amazon UK, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] John Grindrod, due March 2022—”Barratt homes. Spectacular skyscrapers. Millennium monuments. City centre apartments. Out of town malls. These icons of our age, be they modest or monumental, present us with a living history of Britain. They are both symbols of the ways we have lived, and reminders of the political, financial and social forces that have shaped our modern landscape. In Iconicon, John Grindrod takes us on a captivating journey around these landmark buildings, from 1980 to the present day. Along the way he encounters the architects and planners of these national icons, as well as the people who have lived and worked within their walls. From the Right to Buy to Generation Rent, and from postmodernist exuberance to Passivhaus eco efficiency, this is at once a revelatory architectural grand tour and an endlessly engaging and witty piece of social history.”
  • Neal Stephenson on his new geoengineering climate change thriller and coining the term ‘metaverse’. Neal Stephenson talks about his new science-fiction novel, ‘Termination Shock,’ which features the radical step of geoengineering as a way to stall global warming. He also responds to the sudden widespread usage of the term ‘metaverse,’ which he coined in his 1992 novel, ‘Snow Crash.'” About Termination Shock [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Neil Stephenson—”From Neal Stephenson — who coined the term ‘metaverse’ in his 1992 novel Snow Crash — comes a sweeping, prescient new thriller that transports readers to a near-future world in which the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics. One man – visionary billionaire restaurant chain magnate T. R. Schmidt, Ph.D. – has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as ‘elemental.’ But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied? Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease? Epic in scope while heartbreakingly human in perspective, Termination Shock sounds a clarion alarm, ponders potential solutions and dire risks, and wraps it all together in an exhilarating, witty, mind-expanding speculative adventure.” And, of course, Snow Crash [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]. Also “Neal Stephenson Predicted the Metaverse. His New Book Imagines Something Even Stranger. Is Termination Shock a prediction, a warning, or a prescription?”
  • Tales That Linger in Your Mind and Take up Residency in Your Soul. Our crime fiction columnist assesses three riveting new novels and an emotionally devastating short-story collection.”
  • ‘We’re Preparing For a Long Battle.’ Librarians Grapple With Conservatives’ Latest Efforts to Ban Books.” Also “Teachers & parents rip school board to shreds for suggesting a public book burning. ‘If you have a worldview that can be undone by a novel, let me suggest that the problem is not the novel.'” Also “Banning, criminalizing, maybe even burning books is back for public schools in Texas, Virginia, elsewhere.”
  • Micropoetries article at Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature—”‘Micropoetries’ is a self-eroding category initiated in academic poetry scholarship in the 1990s to address a perceived crisis in poetry audiences, with an implicit argument that the term “poetry” needed to be widened to account for phenomena beyond the poetry found in academic and writerly, high-literary discourse. While the referents of the term may shift over time and in response to cultural and social change, and while the term itself was intended somewhat provisionally, it can still open up the possibility for discussing para-literary materials as poetry, that is, aesthetically and socially meaningful artifacts. It refers positively to half-formed, degraded, or ephemeral verbal phenomena, or writing produced by abjected persons—for example, ‘outsider writing,’ prison or other poetry arising from incarcerated subjects, writing by children—or poetry by non-poets. The concept is indebted to multiple intellectual traditions, but primarily those of the Russian formalists, the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies, Walter Benjamin as a kind of outlier Frankfurt School philosopher, cultural ethnographers such as Mark Slobin and Lila Abu-Lughod, and poets as well as poetry scholars working at the limits of their disciplines. Phenomena such as ‘outsider writing,’ ecopoetics, the Human Microphone (the oral relay system that characterized communication at the Occupy movement sites in 2011–2012), and Scottish insults directed at Donald Trump via Twitter are explored as examples. Pedagogical use can be made of the concept to both widen students’ opportunities for encountering “the poetic” in everyday life and to pressure them to clarify and revise what they consider poetry to be. Contemplation of the category ‘micropoetries’ gives rise to contemplation of its complement, ‘macropoetries,’ or phenomena that, because of their durational properties, challenge the notion of mastery through analysis, forcing the consideration that poetry and poetics reside at the breakdown seam of analysis and experience, or where ‘the beautiful’ meets ‘the sublime.'”
  • An ‘earthgrazer’ flew ‘a whopping 186 miles’ over 2 states — then vanished, NASA says“—”A space object with an intimidating name — ‘earthgrazer’ — zoomed over Georgia and Alabama this week, offering witnesses a glimpse of something rare, NASA says. ‘Earthgrazers’ are fireball meteors with a trajectory so shallow that they skim long distances across the upper atmosphere, NASA says. ‘Very rarely, they even ‘bounce off’ the atmosphere and head back out into space,’ NASA Meteor Watch wrote on Facebook. The fireball appeared Tuesday, Nov. 9, around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, officials say, and was ‘detected by three NASA meteor cameras in the region.’ It entered the atmosphere ‘at a very shallow angle — only 5 degrees from the horizontal.’ In fact, it was flying for so long that NASA had to recalculate its data to determine how far it traveled across the planet.”
  • Ferris wheel-size asteroid could be a lost piece of the moon“—”A near-Earth asteroid may be a fragment that once broke away from the moon. Named Kamo’oalewa, which derives from a Hawaiian creation chant that alludes to an offspring traveling on its own, the quasi-satellite was first discovered in 2016 by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii. Pan-STARRS is short for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System.” Also “Asteroid the size of Disney castle may be piece of Earth’s Moon – study. The asteroid known as Kamoʻoalewa is the planet’s most stable quasi-satellite, and is the closest thing to a second moon. But now scientists think it may be a piece of the Moon itself.” Also “Near-Earth asteroid is a fragment from the moon, say scientists. Spectrum of reflected light from Kamo`oalewa closely matches lunar rocks from Nasa’s Apollo mission.”
  • In other news: “NASA warns that massive asteroid is headed towards Earth – but there’s no need to panic. The rock, named 4660 Nereus. will pass earth on 11 December.”
  • Northrop Grumman Announces Team for NASA’s Next-Generation Lunar Terrain Vehicle. Highly specialized team to design vehicle for sustainable lunar surface mobility operations.” Watch “Introducing the Northrop Grumman Lunar Terrain Vehicle Team“—”Northrop Grumman and its partners AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Michelin are designing a new vehicle that will greatly expand and enhance human and robotic exploration of the Moon, and ultimately, Mars.”
  • NASA Mars rover roughs up a rock, peers at ‘something no one’s ever seen’. Perseverance also spots a wonderfully triangular white speck after it goes to work on the layered rock.”
  • Gods damnit, Jeff! “Nasa bumps moon landing back to 2025 at the earliest. Agency says funding issues, along with delays tied to Bezos legal challenge, will push back first landing in a half century.”
  • New Mineral Discovered in Deep-Earth Diamond. The surprising find has never shown up in nature before and reveals secrets about the earth’s mantle.”—”A diamond that formed deep in the earth’s mantle contains a mineral never seen before in nature. The discovery is a rare glimpse into the deep mantle and may help reveal new information about the structure of the planet at depths of more than 660 kilometers. This, in turn, can help geologists better understand how the mantle controls the earth’s plate tectonics. The mineral, calcium silicate perovskite, only forms under the incredibly high pressures that occur deep in the earth.”
  • More on this: “Earth’s first continents emerged from the ocean 700m years earlier than thought. Ancient rock forms suggest world’s first stable cratons rose above sea level more than 3bn years ago.”
  • Gravitational wave treasure trove shows black holes, neutron stars colliding“—”Scientists have released the largest catalog of gravitational wave detections to date, shedding new light on interactions between the most massive objects in the universe, black holes and neutron stars. The catalog was compiled by three groundbreaking detectors: the two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors located in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, and the European Virgo gravitational wave antenna in Pisa, Italy. The catalog contains 35 new gravitational wave events, ripples in spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1916. The latest batch of detections, made during a measurement campaign that began in November 2019 and ended abruptly in March 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, brings the total number of gravitational wave events detected so far to 90.” Also “Record-breaking ‘tsunami’ of gravitational waves detected
  • Sensors show tropical heat stress conditions approaching upper limits of human survivability“—”A team of researchers affiliated with Monash University and one with Hasanuddin University in Indonesia has found that some people living in tropical regions are already living under conditions of heat stress that are approaching the upper limits of human survivability.”
  • Catastrophic flood warning issued for Sumas Prairie as pump system set to fail. Tens of thousands of dairy cows at risk of drowning and hundreds of thousands of chickens.”
  • Paralysed mice walk again after gel is injected into spinal cord. A self-assembling gel that stimulates nerve regeneration has shown promise as a treatment for paralysis in mice.”
  • Good news! It’s not all venomous sharks! Also, zombies can come back! “Zombie river? London’s Thames, once biologically dead, has been coming back to life“—”In 1858, sewage clogging London’s Thames River caused a “Great Stink.” A century later, parts of the famed waterway were declared biologically dead. But the latest report on ‘The State of the Thames’ is sounding a surprisingly optimistic note. The river today is “home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself,” Andrew Terry, the director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London, writes in a forward to the report published Wednesday.” Also “Fears death toll will rise after Pacific north-west storm. Record rainfall destroys highways and leaves tens of thousands in US and Canada without power.”
  • I felt a great disturbance in the Force … “Honeybees make a chilling warning noise when attacked by hive-destroying murder hornets“—”‘I feel a visceral reaction when I hear them because it is clear that the bees are agitated,’ said Heather Mattila, an associate professor at Wellesley College’s department of biological sciences, who was part of a team of scientists that identified the warning noise. She described the warning signal, known as an ‘antipredator pipe,’ as harsh and noisy, with different durations and pitches similar to the shrieks, screams and panic calls used by mammals like primates and meerkats when they are afraid. ‘Individual pipes are of different durations, but workers string many of them together into longer signals. They change pitch a lot too, and in an irregular way, which makes them stand out.'” There’s embedded audio at the bottom of the article. Also watch—”Asian honeybees scream in alarm when giant hornets attack the hive.”
  • SAINT: Hope for new treatment of depression“—”‘This is a brain emergency,’ he said, ‘and we need to meet this with a really significant intervention.’ He was running a trial for an experimental treatment using targeted magnetic stimulation. It’s called SAINT, which stands for Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy.”
  • Tea and coffee may be linked to lower risk of stroke and dementia – study. Research looking at 365,000 people aged 50-74 finds moderate consumption could have health benefits.”
  • Thanks to Medical Technology, the Black Prince’s Tomb Reveals Its Secrets. Researchers used advanced technology to discover how the effigy of Edward of Woodstock was crafted more than 600 years ago.”
  • Synthetic biology yields easy-to-use underwater adhesives. Researchers cherry-picked properties from the animal world to develop a biocompatible, adhesive gel.”—”Researchers a the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a method that uses engineered microbes to produce the necessary ingredients for a biocompatible adhesive hydrogel that is as strong as spider silk and as adhesive as mussel foot protein (Mfp), which means it can stick to a myriad of surfaces underwater.”
  • You can’t hide from your cat, so don’t even try. Cats create ‘mental maps’ using audio cues, scientists have discovered.” Also “Cats found to track owner’s movements even when they cannot see them“—”A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan, has found that cats keep track of where people are in their homes even when they cannot see them. In their paper published in PLOS ONE, the group describes experiments they conducted with cats and recordings of voices and what they learned from them. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that cats are generally ambivalent to the activities that go on around them when living with humans. Exceptions tend to occur around feeding time. In this new effort, the researchers had a hunch that cats are more interested in their human caretakers than has been assumed. To find out if that might be the case, they carried out a series of experiments that involved placing cats in enclosures fitted with speakers, piping in sounds and observing the cats’ reaction.” “In looking at their data, the researchers found that the cats appeared to express surprise when hearing the voice of their owner first inside the enclosure [then] suddenly outside of it—an event that suggested the human had suddenly teleported instantly from one location to another. That the cats appeared surprised suggested that they were keeping track of where the human was supposed to be by building a mental map of their surroundings, which included the humans that lived with them.” Also “Cats can track your ‘invisible presence’ using only their ears“—”While you’re rummaging through cabinets and crevices trying to find your cat’s new favorite hiding spot, cats may be keeping mental tabs on you, too. A new study out of Japan found that a stationary cat can track its owner’s location using audio cues — specifically, the owner’s voice.”
  • Praise Sekhmet! “Cheers! Scientists have developed gene-edited barley that could better your beer. Using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, scientists develop and study gene-edited barley that resists pre-harvest sprouting.”
  • Brain Changes During A Unique Spiritual Practice Called Orgasmic Meditation. In a first-ever study, a unique spiritual practice called orgasmic meditation, has been found to produce a distinctive pattern of brain function.”
  • Facebook’s new academic research API opens in early access“—”When it comes to who gets access to Facebook data and how, the company now known as Meta is still feeling reverberations from 2018’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political consulting firm harvested the personal data of millions of unaware Facebook users to build detailed profiles on potential voters. The company shut down thousands of APIs in the three years that followed and is only now beginning to restore broad access for academic research.”
  • What Facebook knew about its Latino-aimed disinformation problem. Facebook has long emphasized the strength of its efforts to contain misinformation targeted at Latinos and Spanish speakers. A whistleblower’s leaks show employees raising alarms about the problem.”
  • INSIGHT-AI surveillance takes U.S. prisons by storm. U.S. prisons are installing AI-powered surveillance to fight crime, documents seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation show, but critics say privacy rights are being trampled.” Tweet—”We obtained thousands of pages of documents from prisons & jails which use ‘Verus,’ a surveillance tool powered by Amazon’s Natural Language Processing system—it’s being used used to spy on millions of phone calls around the US.”
  • Israeli Spyware Firm NSO Group Could Soon Be Spilling Its Secrets. A judge is letting the case against the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group move to discovery, which could reveal the inner workings of the secretive surveillance group.”
  • Facebook, now Meta, just got hit with its first major lawsuit since a whistleblower exposed a trove of internal documents. Ohio’s Attorney General is suing Meta, alleging it misled the public and cost investors billions. The suit says the company violated federal securities laws by failing to disclose its harm to young users. Lawsuits like this remain a bigger risk for Meta than potential regulation from Congress.” 
  • Activision shareholder group calls for Bobby Kotick and board members’ resignation. Washington Post reports letter to board says Kotick failed to act.”—”A group of Activision Blizzard shareholders are calling for the resignation of the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, and two long-serving members of its board of directors, a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick was aware of sexual assault and misconduct allegations that he did not disclose to the board.”
  • Peter Jackson Selling Weta Digital’s VFX Tech Division to Unity for $1.625 Billion“—”Within Weta, at first there was ‘almost an apprehension’ about making its tools available to the wider market, Akkaraju said. But that was outweighed by what he said has been Weta’s goal of inspiring other creators: ‘We’re Jimi Hendrix, and now we’re selling guitars. We think this world has many, many more Jimi Hendrixes.'” Also, as a reminder, Unity was the tech that powered the innovative “volume” that was used to create the in-camera background VFX for The Mandalorian show. Of course, the article also name drops “metaverse”.
  • Stanford course allows students to learn about virtual reality while fully immersed in VR environments. The innovative classroom experience lets students directly experience the wide-ranging possibilities of virtual reality as a cutting-edge medium.”—”Teaching Virtual People entirely in VR has proven timely given the intense interest by companies, such as Facebook, in the ‘metaverse’ – shared virtual world environments where, for instance, users immerse themselves into a multi-dimensional digital version of the internet. ‘Our class is the metaverse,’ said Bailenson. ‘It is the perfect example of how to build the infrastructure – hardware, software, content and people – and to build a persistent virtual world of avatars and scenes that people actually use.'”
  • FDA Authorizes Marketing of Virtual Reality System for Chronic Pain Reduction“—”The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today authorized marketing of EaseVRx, a prescription-use immersive virtual reality (VR) system that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral methods to help with pain reduction in patients 18 years of age and older with diagnosed chronic lower back pain.”
  • Inside Reality Labs Research: Meet the team that’s working to bring touch to the digital world“—”magine working on a virtual 3D puzzle with a friend’s ultra-realistic 3D avatar. As you pick up a virtual puzzle piece from the table, your fingers automatically stop moving as you feel it within your grasp. You feel the sharpness of the cardboard’s edges and the smoothness of its surface as you hold it up for closer inspection, followed by a satisfying snap as you fit it into place. Now imagine sitting down to work at a café and having a virtual screen and keyboard appear in front of you. The virtual keyboard conforms to the size of your hands and the space you have available, and it’s easily personalized to suit your preferences. You can feel the click of each keystroke, as well as the edges of the virtual keys on your fingertips, making it as easy as typing on a perfectly-sized physical keyboard.”
  • It’s totally a fad. Welcome to the iCyberMetaverse+ “Unity moves robotics design and training to the metaverse.”
  • The meaning of the ‘metaverse,’ and all the terms you need to understand it“—”Understanding the metaverse is complicated, especially because it doesn’t exist yet. Since companies like Epic Games, Nvidia, Microsoft, and Facebook (I mean, ‘Meta’), won’t stop talking about it, there’s an evolving lexicon to describe the next iteration of the internet. In that spirit, Quartz compiled a vocabulary list for the metaverse-curious reader.” 
  • Tweet—”Some said an open-world experience this immersive wasn’t possible. But it’s already here. And you don’t even need silly VR headsets. Introducing, Icelandverse #icelandverse.” Also “Iceland Skewers Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse With New Tourism Ad. The Icelandverse looks much more enjoyable than Facebook’s imaginary metaverse.”
  • A 2nd person has been ‘naturally’ cured of HIV without medical intervention, scientists say. A woman in Argentina has been declared cured of HIV without getting a stem-cell transplant. The first report of someone being naturally cured of HIV happened only last year. Two others, the ‘Berlin Patient’ and the ‘London Patient,’ were cured after stem-cell transplants.” Also “A second HIV patient may have been ‘cured’ of infection without stem cell treatment, in extremely rare case.”
  • A man hospitalized with mysterious seizures was diagnosed with tapeworms that had been living in his brain for decades. A man suffering from seizures, disorientation, and “speaking gibberish” had tapeworms in his brain. Doctors in the new case study said he had carried the parasites for years without symptoms. Parasites are uncommon for most people, and good hygiene and proper cooking can prevent them.”
  • A Huge Flu Outbreak in Michigan May Be a Sign of Things to Come This Winter. Over 500 people at the University of Michigan have recently come down with influenza, with a large majority of cases being unvaccinated.”
  • Where will the next pandemic begin? The Amazon rainforest offers troubling clues. Deforestation is erasing the line between humans and wild animals — and increasing the chances of the next global pandemic.”
  • Covid Gets Even Redder. The partisan gap in deaths has grown larger.” Also “Red America is now dying from COVID-19 at a clearly higher rate than blue America.”
  • Boosters give over 90% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in adults over 50.”
  • Michael Flynn to QAnon Believers: I’m Not a Satanist! Michael Flynn is finding out the hard way that surrounding himself with QAnon followers can have a pretty sharp downside.”—”The bizarre YouTube interview marked Flynn’s latest attempt in a weeks-long campaign to convince his one-time fans in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement that he isn’t a Satanist. Prior to the unusual controversy, Flynn had embraced his position as a hero to supporters of QAnon, taking a QAnon oath, raising money from QAnon believers, and selling QAnon T-shirts. In May, Flynn even appeared at a QAnon conference and endorsed the idea of a military coup. But QAnon fame is a fickle thing. After promoting QAnon for more than a year, Flynn now finds himself on the business end of the conspiracy theory. Like QAnon targets before him, Flynn is now struggling to persuade angry QAnon believers that he isn’t a secret Satan-worshipper.” Also tweet—”I did a video comparison of I AM / Church Universal Triumphant cult leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet in 1984 and Mike Flynn in 2021. It’s verbatim the same. He just changed ‘I AM’ to ‘WE WILL'” Also “Trump ally Michael Flynn condemned over call for ‘one religion’ in US. Religious freedom is enshrined in first amendment. Ilhan Omar: ‘These people hate the US constitution’. Also “Attending Michael Flynn’s call for ‘one religion,’ a who’s who of the new Christian right. A Texas megachurch was host to the latest Pentecostal God and country ‘Stop the steal’ and anti-vaccine rally — on a series of events drawing crowds around the country.”
  • Clark County man pleads guilty to voting more than once in 2020 election“—”A Clark County man prominently featured by local and national Republicans as having evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election pleaded guilty on Tuesday to voting more than once during the same election, after using his deceased wife’s ballot to vote a second time.” “Kierny also described Hartle’s actions as a ‘cheap political stunt’ that backfired and showed that ‘our voting system actually works.'”
  • Rittenhouse defense incorrectly claims iPad pinch-to-zoom modifies footage. The judge demonstrated a lack of technical knowledge.” Also “Judge in Kyle Rittenhouse trial makes inappropriate Asian food joke.” Also “EXPLAINER: Rittenhouse selects numbers of dismissed jurors.” Also “‘Piece of theater’: Legal experts weigh in on Kyle Rittenhouse’s seating jurors deciding his fate by lottery. The defendant was put in the odd position of picking the Kenosha panel randomly.”
  • More on this: “A suspected Bay Area Capitol rioter says he fought off hogs, snakes to get asylum in Belarus“—”Neumann says in the interview that after four months of residing in Ukraine, he was surveilled by the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, and claimed he was facing ‘political persecution’ by Ukrainian officials. He allegedly traversed deep forests and swamps and fended off wild hogs and snakes, reported Vice, before arriving in Belarus and seeking asylum. Belarus does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.” But were they 30-50 feral hogs?!
  • How Utah Republicans ‘weaponized’ redistricting. Expert calls new congressional map a ‘brutal gerrymander’ that locks Democrats out of power for a decade.” Also tweet—”Ohio Republicans have proposed yet another extreme congressional gerrymander that makes a total mockery of the 2018 redistricting reform amendment.”
  • Racial covenants, a relic of the past, are still on the books across the country“—”What Selders found was a racially restrictive covenant in the Prairie Village Homeowners Association property records that says, ‘None of said land may be conveyed to, used, owned, or occupied by negroes as owners or tenants.’ The covenant applied to all 1,700 homes in the homeowners association, she said.”
  • Watch “Inside America’s last whites-only church“—”In rural Minnesota, a fringe Heathen group known as the Asatru Folk Assembly has purchased a local church – and membership is strictly whites-only. They worship Nordic, pre-Christian gods and they call themselves a ‘folk religion’ that only accepts those with northern European ancestry. Their racially exclusive ideology is protected by the first amendment. Amudalat Ajasa visits the church to understand how it is gaining influence across the country and to meet the anti-racist Heathens fighting back to reclaim their religion.” Commenter: “Anyone that believes this is the ‘last whites-only church’ has never been to the rural South.”
  • Socially transmitted tics makes me think of the Salem witch trials: “‘The unknown is scary’: why young women on social media are developing Tourette’s-like tics. Doctors have been surprised to see young adults developing tics and seizures that usually start in childhood. Social media has been blamed, but the reality is more complicated.”
  • Homer Plessy’s Arrest in 1892 Led to a Landmark Ruling. Now He May Get Justice. His legacy is tied to a Supreme Court decision that upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine, underpinning laws that segregated and disenfranchised African Americans for decades.”
  • French Catholics agree to sell property to compensate abuse victims.”
  • From the The Rebel Jesus dept: “Texas Democrat candidate Matthew Dowd says Jesus today ‘would be accused of being woke’. Matthew Dowd is seeking his party’s nomination to take on Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.”
  • They Say Colleges Are Censorious. So They Are Starting a New One. The founders of the University of Austin say they want to defend intellectual dissent, and declare that something in higher education is fundamentally broken.” Also tweet—”Joe Lonsdale, Co-founder of Palantir, is founding a university dedicated to “free thought” – a Libertarian indoctrination campus essentially. These vanity projects have acted as points of ideological consolidation for the libertarian right wing since the Hoover institute.” Also Tweet—”U of Chicago Chancellor resigns from advisory position at proposed IDW university in Austin: “the new university made a number of statements about higher education in general, largely quite critical, that diverged very significantly from my own views.” Tweet—”My goodness, it’s all just collapsing at the University of Austin.” Tweet—”By mutual & amicable agreement, effective immediately, I’m stepping off the Ship of Theseus at U of Asshats #URAsshats to spend more time with my cats, books, Satan, & spells.”
  • Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ and the Weaponization of Memory. The new 10-minute version of a bitter breakup song from 2012 luxuriates in its details and its supersize length, correcting a power imbalance in the relationship it describes.”
  • The soundtrack for Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop hits streaming platforms on November 19th. Chill beats to hunt bounties to.”—”The early reaction to Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop has been mixed, but there’s one thing that everyone seems to agree on: the soundtrack is killer. Yoko Kanno, who gave the original anime its distinctive jazzy songs, returned as composer on the Netflix series, while her band the Seatbelts performed the tracks. The soundtrack includes a few original songs along with rerecorded classics. Thankfully, it’ll also be available to listen to outside of the show very soon. Netflix revealed that the soundtrack will be on streaming services — that includes Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, and Tidal — starting November 19th, the same day the 10-episode series lands on Netflix.”
  • ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff ‘Rogue Squadron’ Delayed Due to Patty Jenkins’ Scheduling Conflict.” Also “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Being Canceled Permanently?
  • ‘Vulcan’s Hammer’: Francis Lawrence Directs Film Version Of Philip K. Dick Novel In Works From New Republic“—”New Republic Pictures, Francis Lawrence’s about:blank and Electric Shepherd Productions are teaming to adapt Philip K. Dick’s novel Vulcan’s Hammer for the big screen, with Hunger Games sequels helmer Lawrence set to direct. Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer of New Republic will produce alongside Lawrence and Cameron MacConomy from about:blank, and Isa Dick Hackett from Electric Shepherd. Vulcan’s Hammer is set after a devastating world war, when the 70 nations of Earth form the Unity Party cede global governance to the Vulcan AI system, which algorithmically dictates policies for Unity to carry out. But after Vulcan is attacked and a special agent is murdered, Unity director William Barris is called to unravel the mystery to figure out who — or what — wants to destroy the system to which he has dedicated his life.”
  • ‘Studio 666’: Top Secret Horror-Comedy from Foo Fighters and ‘Hatchet III’ Director BJ McDonnell Hits Theaters February 25, 2022!“—”This past March Bloody Disgusting exclusively told you all that Foo Fighters, the incredibly popular rock band fronted by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, is starring in a brand new horror-comedy that was being shopped to buyers. Filmed in secret during the pandemic, we also revealed that Hatchet III director BJ McDonnell took the reigns on the film that allegedly features a bunch of all-star cameos. Deadline confirms our breaking news today with a report that Open Road Films has acquired the film, titled Studio 666, which will be released in theaters on February 25, 2022. As for the plot, what we’re learning is that the band is haunted during a recording session and become possessed. ‘Think A Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead, with laughs among the scares and splatter,’ described the site.” Also “Foo Fighters Announce New Horror Comedy Movie Studio 666. ‘Be ready to laugh, scream, and headbang in your popcorn. Studio 666 will fuck you up.’—Dave Grohl”
  • Watch “Stranger Things 4 | Welcome to California | Netflix – YouTube.”
  • You Can’t Understand Squid Game Without Understanding the Korean Concept Driving It“—”But to really understand the full power of the show, you also have to understand han, a uniquely Korean concept that can be loosely translated to a form of intense grief and unresolved resentment.” Also “When a Track Suit Embodies a Nation. Beyond their global appeal, the iconic outfits from “Squid Game” reveal a link to the history and culture of South Korea.”
  • The Architecture of Prisons Is Everywhere We Look. Buildings’ design communicates the values of a society. In contemporary American architecture, those values appear closer to control and surveillance than openness and enjoyment for all.”
  • Frida Kahlo’s ‘Diego y yo’ breaks records, sells for $34.9 million. Kahlo’s intense 1949 self-portrait is now the most expensive Latin American artwork sold at an auction.”
  • Supposedly was planned for 2019, but still on the way: “Thieves’ World | Abby Normal Games”—”Additonally everything in Abby Normal Publishing’s Thieves’ World® products will be canon and there will be never before published canonic material.” “The combination of the very nature Thieves’ World®’s origin, it being an anthology by top flight writers, and with the first anthology of the series being made into a role-playing game adventure setting (for nine different game systems no less) as the beginning of the anthology series began, has made it a prime setting for people seeing it as fertile ground for self-styled stories of adventure. It’s a reasonable statement that few other fantasy series have lent themselves as fitting for a role-playing game setting as the Thieves’ World® Universe!”
  • With movie theaters struggling, AMC gets into popcorn business“—”As cinemas continue to struggle, AMC Entertainment wants to sell its popcorn outside the theaters. The world’s biggest movie theater chain said Thursday it will begin selling its popcorn at malls, supermarkets, and convenience stores in the US next year, both as a freshly popped option and in microwaveable packages.” “Moving into the multibillion-dollar popcorn market ‘is natural and logical [for AMC], one wonders why the idea has not been tried before,’ said Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, in a press release. The move will help the world’s largest movie theater chain target new audiences and diversify its revenue streams.”
  • Watch “Harry Potter stars will reunite for 20th anniversary special. To celebrate 20 years since the release of the first Harry Potter film, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint will be reuniting for an upcoming anniversary special on HBO Max.” Also “20 years later, and streaming Harry Potter is still too complicated. Harry Potter and the Absolute Mess of Streaming Platforms.” Also “‘Harry Potter’ & the problematic creator – What’s left for a fandom raised on false tolerance? ‘Harry Potter’ fans are faced with trying to separate art from artist after a live-action series is rumored.” Also “JK Rowling will not be part of Harry Potter reunion special. Here’s why.
  • The rise of TikTok voice: How Gen Z has adopted the ‘affected, theatrical drawl’ of the Mid-Atlantic accent used by Harry Styles and Gillian Anderson because it suggests ‘power and status’. TikTok users often speak in a drawl that is half-English and half-American. Experts said social media users ‘deliberately put on’ the accent to ‘signal status’. Said the accent originated from the era of ‘talkies’ (sound films) in the 1920s. Revealed TikTok users ‘may be trying to tap into the status and power that come hand-in-hand with sounding mid-Atlantic’.”—”Historically, the mid-Atlantic accent denoted class, status and education during the era of ‘talkies’ (sound films) in the 1920s, and became known as the ‘movie accent’ due to its prominence in Hollywood films. Back then, this accent was a consciously taught, and learned, blend of BRP and the Standard American accent, and it became popular on the radio, in cinemas and theater: everyone from newsreel narrators to Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are famous to this day for using this accent.” “The so-called Mid-Atlantic accent actually wasn’t an accent at all, but an affectation concocted by a Canadian elocutionist.” “By the the mid 1910s, [Edith] Skinner moved to Los Angeles and by the 1930s she was the go-to advisor for speech in Hollywood. Her 1942 book ‘Speak with Distinction’ laid out her idea of ‘Good Speech’ – an accent that is ‘free from regional characteristics,’ ‘effortlessly articulated and easily understood in the last rows of the theater’. The point of Good Speech was to eliminate regionalized accents, to create one a neutral American sound. The accent was thought to be in response to silent film stars like Clara Bow whose Brooklyn accent was jarring when talkies came about.” There’s also a bit in the extras for Star Wars where Carrie Fisher talks about deciding to use RP for Leia originally, I recall. So now TikTik is going to sound like Leia!
  • French bring back teaching of Latin and ancient Greek to schools“—”France has announced plans to boost the teaching of the classics in schools in an initiative that supporters say will counter wokeism and reinforce the European Union. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister, was joined by his counterparts from Italy, Greece and Cyprus in signing a charter pledging a ‘global and international strategy for the promotion and development of Latin and ancient Greek’.” I applaud the effort, but not the tacked on “anti-woke” part of the reason.
  • The Myth of the Classically Educated Elite“—”I’ve accepted that my course of education was unusual and maybe a bit misguided, but I’m proud of it, and proud of the benefits it’s given me: the wisdom, knowledge, and insight. None of that is up for debate. But what interests me the most is the fact that I was so fully in the grip of this illusion. In my mind, long before I started reading the Classics, I was certain, dead certain, that this is what everybody in the elite was doing. Where did this idea come from? How could I have been so incorrect?”
  • An Antarctic penguin ends up on New Zealand shore, roughly 2,000 miles from home“—”A beach in Christchurch, New Zealand, had an unexpected visitor this week — a penguin that had traveled roughly 2,000 miles from its native Antarctica. The bird is known as an Adélie penguin and is the classic black and white tuxedo-looking one. This instance appears to be only the third time that an Adélie penguin has come up to New Zealand’s shores. The first sighting was a dead penguin found in 1962; a live bird was spotted in 1993.”
  • From the Wednesday dept: “The Addams Family Director Details How Christina Ricci Changed the Film’s Ending“—”The storyline had so many twists and turns that director Barry Sonnenfeld wasn’t even sure what the best way to handle the ending would be, with him recently detailing the ways in which young star Christina Ricci ended up being the most insightful member of the production who helped guide them down the right path.” “Despite her age, Sonnenfeld noted how integral Ricci was to the entire process, admitting, ‘Whenever the cast had a problem they would go to Christina Ricci because she was the most articulate and intellectually gifted of any castmember.'”

Omnium Gatherum: 14nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 14, 2021

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

  • The Brides of Maracoor continues the story of Wicked, after a 10-year cliffhanger. Read an excerpt from Gregory Maguire’s new novel, and an interview explaining why he finally returned to Oz.” About The Brides of Maracoor [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Gregory Maguire, book 1 of the Another Day series—”Multimillion-copy bestselling author Gregory Maguire unveils the first in a three-book series spun off the iconic Wicked Years, featuring Elphaba’s granddaughter, the green-skinned Rain. Ten years ago this season, Gregory Maguire wrapped up the series he began with Wicked by giving us the fourth and final volume of the Wicked Years, his elegiac Out of Oz. But “out of Oz” isn’t “gone for good.” Maguire’s new series, Another Day, is here, twenty-five years after Wicked first flew into our lives. Volume one, The Brides of Maracoor, finds Elphaba’s granddaughter, Rain, washing ashore on a foreign island. Comatose from crashing into the sea, Rain is taken in by a community of single women committed to obscure devotional practices. As the mainland of Maracoor sustains an assault by a foreign navy, the island’s civil-servant overseer struggles to understand how an alien arriving on the shores of Maracoor could threaten the stability and wellbeing of an entire nation. Is it myth or magic at work, for good or for ill? The trilogy Another Day will follow this green-skinned girl from the island outpost into the unmapped badlands of Maracoor before she learns how, and becomes ready, to turn her broom homeward, back to her family and her lover, back to Oz, which—in its beauty, suffering, mystery, injustice, and possibility—reminds us all too clearly of the troubled yet sacred terrain of our own lives.”
  • New Battlestar Galactica Book Reveals How One Cylon Raider Changed the Whole Series“—”The new book Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships from Hero Collector reveals what Scar meant for Battlestar Galactica behind-the-scenes. To make the episode work, Battlestar Galactica’s VFX team needed to create an altered version of the stock Cylon Raider asset to make Scar recognizable. That meant the effects would have to be produced entirely in-house instead of by an outside VFX company for the first time.” “‘At first it was maybe three or four shots, and then [VFX supervisor Gary Hutzel] came in with ‘Scar,’ and he says we’re doing this whole show by ourselves. I wrote up a lot of notes about how I thought Scar would be approached.’ He continues, ‘They have a scene in the show where they freeze a frame from the Viper gun cameras. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is the monster out the window with the bolt of lightning!’ This is that shot. I told Gary that I saw this episode as a monster movie. Scar is not unlike Frankenstein. A sympathetic character, really, a little crazy.'”
  • Upcoming crowdfunding effort: “HANNIBAL: Artbook. A ‘Printed In Blood’ licensed Artbook collection celebrating the television masterpiece that was ‘Hannibal’.”
  • I Know I Wasn’t Supposed to Tell Hannibal Lecter About My Personal Life, but I’m Not Used to Men Being Such Good Listeners. Most guys I meet are straight-up terrible listeners. I’m, like, ‘I work for the F.B.I.’ And they’re, like, ‘That’s nice, let me tell you about my vinyl collection.'”
  • From the Streisand dept: “Book challenges in Texas schools boosted sales for author Jerry Craft, he says. Four of the award-winning author’s books were included in a listing of 850 books being investigated by the state legislature.” 
  • Chapter and curse: is the horror novel entering a golden age? The writers responsible for today’s vengeful spirits, talking cats and haunted escape rooms on the genre’s startling rebound.”
  • ‘Ineffable’ Trademarked In Neil Gaiman & Sir Terry Pratchett’s Names“—”‘Ineffable’ means something is so extraordinary or extreme that it cannot be described in words. It gained recent popularity in the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and the late Sir Terry Pratchett, especially when adapted by the BBC and Amazon Prime Video. The book and TV show make several references to God’s unknowable and ‘ineffable’ plan for them all. Well, two things happened recently. Firstly the word ‘ineffable’ was trademarked under the names of Neil Gaiman and the company managing the estate of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, with both US and UK governments. And secondly, the BBC began taking down Etsy listings of people selling products using the word ‘ineffable.'”
  • Aravrit – new app designs script that combines Hebrew and Arabic. By combining the top halves of the Arabic characters and the bottoms of the Hebrew ones, Liron Lavi Turkenich created ‘Aravrit,’ a script that is gaining popularity.”—”When Liron Lavi Turkenich designed a writing system combining Hebrew and Arabic characters as a final project in college, she probably could not have imagined that her script would become the focal point of Israel’s pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. But after the Abraham Accords, in which Israel signed diplomatic agreements to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates, and the peace agreements with other Arab countries that followed, the need for Aravrit, Turkenich’s script that allows both Hebrew and Arabic to be read from the same text, has expanded. The sky is now the limit for Turkenich’s project.”
  • Study says Japanese, Korean and Turkish languages all emerged from common ancestor in northeast China. International study concludes that the Transeurasian, or Altaic, language family emerged from farmers in the West Liao valley and spread across Asia. The link between the five groups in the family has been hotly contested, but researchers say there is archaeological and genetic evidence to support the theory.”
  • Months after its Netflix debut, ‘Squid Game’ continues to encourage US viewers to learn Korean. Global interest in specific languages is heavily influenced by major culture events such as FIFA or Eurovision.”—”Now — over a month later — the nine-episode survival drama is driving an enduring Korean language learning trend across the United States. Language learning app Duolingo Inc. initially reported a 40% increase in beginner Korean language learners just 10 days after the show’s premiere on Sept.17. That percentage experienced a 10% hike during the past two weeks, raising the total to a whopping 50%.”
  • Lost in translation: The global streaming boom is creating a severe translator shortage. Industry executives say international hit shows like Squid Game are draining a limited talent pool.”
  • Study: Language Learning Associated With Cognitive Benefits for Older Adults“—”Learning a new language can benefit and improve brain health, according to a study published in Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition. The investigators found that older adults who studied Spanish had similar improvements to critical cognitive skills as those engaged in brain training activities specifically targeting those skills. Participants in the study learning Spanish also reported greater enjoyment than those engaging in brain training. The researchers noted prior studies have found that bilingual individuals develop dementia later in life, suggesting that bilingualism has a protective effect on brain health. According to the investigators, the current study is among the first to examine whether the process of learning a language can benefit brain health in similar ways as bilingualism.”
  • He always wanted a Ph.D. in physics. He finally earned it at 89.”
  • Earth may have grown around a rock from an alien star system. Interstellar objects like ‘Oumuamua might pass through our solar system in such high numbers that one could have acted as a seed around which Earth grew.”
  • Space Force Detects Mystery Object in Orbit Alongside Chinese Satellite. They’re calling it an ‘apogee kick motor,’ but the object’s true identity and purpose remain unknown.”
  • A mummy discovered in a vast burial ground of Egypt’s pharaohs could change how ancient history is understood. An Egyptian mummy embalmed with advanced techniques is believed to be much older than first thought. The discovery implies such mummification skills were used 1,000 years earlier than formerly thought. Experts say the discovery could upend the “understanding of the evolution of mummification.”
  • A Metal Detectorist Has Found What Is Now Declared the Largest-Ever Hoard of Gold Anglo-Saxon Coins in His Backyard. The Crown is determining whether the trove is legally considered treasure.”
  • Scientists Discover Mechanistic Link Between Palm Oil Fatty Acid and Cancer Metastasis“—”A new study headed by researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) has uncovered how palmitic acid (PA)—a fatty acid commonly found in palm oil—alters the cancer genome, increasing the likelihood that cancer will spread. Other types of fatty acid, including the omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids found in foods such as olive oil and flax seeds, didn’t have this prometastatic effect. The scientists, headed by Salvador Aznar-Benitah, PhD, ICREA researcher and head of the IRB Stem Cells and Cancer lab, say that while much more research is needed, their results suggest that a diet low that is in palmitic acid could feasibly be effective in slowing down the metastatic process. Aznar-Benitah is co-founder of a company that is developing antibody therapies targeting the underlying process, projects that a clinical trial could start within the next couple of years.”
  • An original Apple-1 computer sells for $400,000“—”The first Apple-1 computers were sold for $666.66 in 1976. Forty-five years later, a still-functioning one has sold for $400,000. John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif., auctioned it off on Tuesday, one of 200 Apple-1 computers that were designed, built and tested by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, with help from Patty Jobs and Daniel Kottke. ‘What we have with the Apple-1 is sort of like the holy grail of vintage computer collecting,’ says Corey Cohen, an Apple and technology historian.”
  • Why the world needs a better LED light bulb“—”Current LED bulbs are ideal for those with the finances to keep replacing them, and to pay ever-rising electricity bills. LEDs also function well in battery-powered lanterns during power outages or camping trips. This still leaves a huge number of households and businesses around the globe vulnerable to inadequate lighting, or risking a fire at home by burning candles to see what they are cooking, or to study. But if an LED bulb can be a fraction of the cost and last much longer, safe lighting can become accessible to more people.”
  • Security software company McAfee acquired for $14 billion. The investor group buying the company is taking it private.”—”John McAfee had led a troubled life after departing the company; in 2012, he fled to Guatemala as authorities in Belize sought to question him in connection with a neighbor’s murder. In March, he was charged with securities fraud over a ‘pump and dump’ cryptocurrency scheme, where authorities said he and his bodyguard persuaded their Twitter followers to invest in certain coins, then sold their holdings in the currencies when the prices went up. McAfee was found dead in a prison cell in Barcelona in June, not long after Spain had approved extraditing him to the US to face tax fraud charges.”
  • Robinhood says a hacker who tried to extort the company got access to data for 7 million customers. No Social Security or bank card numbers were accessed, the company said.”—”Robinhood has had a rocky 2021 so far; in January, it halted trading as Redditors helped push up the prices of so-called meme stocks like GameStop and AMC Theaters. The incidents led to a congressional hearing where CEO Vlad Tenev testified along with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman and trader Keith Gill aka RoaringKitty. The company began trading on the Nasdaq exchange in July, with the worst market debut among 51 US firms that raised as much money or more than Robinhood, according to data from Bloomberg. In its S-1 filing, Robinhood acknowledged a recent SEC Enforcement Division inquiry and that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California had executed a search warrant for Tenev’s phone.”
  • Updating The Verge’s background policy. On ‘on background’.”—”Today, The Verge is updating our public ethics policy to be clearer in our interactions with public relations and corporate communications professionals. We’re doing this because big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives around the companies they work for while being annoying as hell to deal with.” “This is bad, so we’re going to reset these expectations as loudly as possible. From now on, the default for communications professionals and people speaking to The Verge in an official capacity will be ‘on the record.’ We will still honor some requests to be on background, but at our discretion and only for specific reasons that we can articulate to readers.”
  • A whole new world: Disney is latest firm to announce metaverse plans. Entertainment company plans to ‘connect the physical and digital worlds … allowing for storytelling without boundaries’.” Also “The Metaverse: Expectations vs. Reality. Jaron Lanier on the Wild West of the metaverse and why Facebook should be paying you.” Also “Why Facebook’s Metaverse Is Dead on Arrival. Scott Galloway thinks Mark Zuckerberg is exactly the wrong person to build an alternate reality.” Because, of course it will: “Zuckerberg’s metaverse will invade workers’ privacy, whistleblower says.  Meta’s workplace metaverse could force more people to hand over more data.” Oh, ffs, it’s all just marketing BS now: “Samsung announces its next-gen RAM for phones and ‘the metaverse’. LPDDR5X should be higher capacity, faster, and more efficient.” Next it will be metaverse shoes and cereal. It’s cyber all over again, in more ways than one.
  • Want to Throw off Your Chatbot? Use Figurative Language“—”Computer scientists recently examined the performance of dialog systems, such as personal assistants and chatbots designed to interact with humans. The team found that when these systems are confronted with dialog that includes idioms or similes, their performance drops to between 10 and 20 percent.”
  • Microsoft Goes Old-School, Forces Customers to Use Its Browser“—”Microsoft just broke all workarounds for Windows’ proprietary ‘microsoft-edge://’ URL prefix, forcing all internal Windows links (such as Support links in Microsoft apps) to open the Edge browser instead of your default browser.” “Anyway, time is a flat circle. Microsoft didn’t learn its lesson during the Internet Explorer years, and it’s now risking the Edge browser’s credibility by forcing it onto customers.”
  • Walmart is using fully driverless trucks to ramp up its online grocery business. Walmart and Silicon Valley start-up Gatik said that, since August, they’ve operated two autonomous box trucks, without a safety driver, on a 7-mile loop daily for 12 hours. ‘Taking the driver out is the holy grail of this technology.’ Gatik CEO Gautam Narang, who founded the company in 2017, told CNBC.”
  • Apple is sticking taxpayers with part of the bill for rollout of tech giant’s digital ID card. Apple requires states to maintain the systems needed to issue and service credentials at taxpayer expense, according to contracts signed by four states. The agreement, obtained through public record requests from CNBC and other sources, mostly portrays Apple as having a high degree of control over the government agencies responsible for issuing identification cards. Apple has “sole discretion” for key aspects of the program.”
  • Google sends anti-regulation propaganda to small businesses using Google Maps. Scary new site tells Google users antitrust limits could ‘impact your business.'”
  • Google loses key appeal against €2.4 billion EU shopping antitrust case. Google’s loss strengthens the EU’s antitrust campaign against US tech.”
  • Israel escalates surveillance of Palestinians with facial recognition program in West Bank. The ‘Blue Wolf’ system integrates a vast database of images with a growing network of cameras and smartphones.” Tweet thread—”Breaking: @washingtonpost investigation exposes massive Israeli facial recognition program—Blue Wolf—that matches exclusively Palestinian faces to database & flashes color-coded instructions on whether to detain them. “Facebook for Palestinians.” Apartheid” “Israel built database through 1000s of cameras across West Bank + created competition for soldiers to photograph as many Palestinians—including kids—as they could on their phones & awarded those who took the most. No privacy or basic rights for Palestinians living under apartheid.”
  • What does COVID-19 transmission have in common with sexism and harassment? As it turns out, quite a bit.“—”Yet, sexual harassment and COVID-19 behaviors share several things in common. For instance, men are more likely than women to perpetrate both. The links between masculinity and sexual harassment behaviors have long been established in harassment research. In a parallel development, new research on COVID-19 has revealed similar gender disparities in risk prevention behaviors. Research suggests that men report being less willing to wear masks and social distance than women, and they are more likely to discount the risks of COVID-19 than women. In addition, men who self-identify as more ‘masculine’ also report higher rates of COVID-19 infection.”
  • Covid vaccine holdouts are caving to mandates — then scrambling to ‘undo’ their shots. As mandates spread, anti-vaccine groups have been trafficking in pseudoscience treatments meant to remove or counteract the vaccines. Experts say it’s like trying to ‘unring a bell.'”
  • Pfizer CEO says people who spread misinformation on Covid vaccines are ‘criminals’. People who spread misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines are “criminals,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday. ‘They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives,’ he said. He said life for many people can go ‘back to normal’ once many of the unvaccinated get vaccinated.”
  • Getting Back to Normal Is Only Possible Until You Test Positive. I was ultracareful for 18 months. Then I got COVID.”
  • Germany is experiencing a ‘massive’ pandemic of the unvaccinated, says health minister.”
  • Syphilis is resurging in the U.S., a sign of public health’s funding crisis.”
  • How SARS-CoV-2 in American deer could alter the course of the global pandemic“—”Scientists have evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads explosively in white-tailed deer and that the virus is widespread in this deer population across the United States.” “That is, the animals could carry the virus indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically. If that’s the case, it would essentially dash any hopes of eliminating or eradicating the virus in the U.S. — and therefore from the world — says veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi at Penn State, who co-led the study.”
  • And now this, too! “Pet Cats Are Spreading a Brain Parasite to Wildlife, New Research Suggests. As if you need another reminder to keep your cat inside.” (Although, to be fair, this can’t actually be a new thing, can it?)
  • Wait. Whut? Not now venomous sharks! “Venomous sharks found in London’s Thames river.”
  • She helped her husband start a far-right militia group. Now the Oath Keeper’s wife says she has regrets. Estranged wife of Oath Keepers founder talks about her role in the group accused of playing a part in the Jan. 6 riot.” Tweet—”Tasha Adams devoted her life to supporting her husband. She was an exotic dancer to pay for his college, took care of him when he accidentally shot himself in the face, and when he was looking for direction in life, she helped him start the Oath Keepers.” Tweet—”We don’t want to read stories about racist white people who should know better. It’s time for stories about peopl who knew better and do better, even when so much is stacked against them. You control the narrative, why is every story like this? We get it, people are hateful.”
  • Inside the QAnon Cult That Believes JFK Is About to Return. ‘Many people make huge sacrifices financially, in their relationships, in their lives, just to be there.'”
  • Tweet—”‘Goodbye, America!’ That’s the title of this segment on Belarusian state TV in which American Evan Neumann of California explains he fled the US to evade the FBI. He’s wanted on 6 counts related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and now wants asylum in authoritarian Belarus.”
  • Exclusive audio: Trump defends threats to “hang” Pence.”
  • Bannon Indicted On Contempt Charges For Defying 1/6 Subpoena. Steve Bannon has been indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot.” Also “The January 6 committee just got *a lot* more powerful.”
  • Inside Ivy Getty’s Fantasy Wedding Weekend in San Francisco.” Tweet—”Nancy Pelosi officiated, Earth Wind & Fire performed, and Anya Taylor-Joy led the dance floor at Ivy Getty’s over-the-top wedding in San Francisco.”
  • The Self-Isolation of the American Left. Political subcultures fight it out in America’s schools.” Tweet—”The editorial standards for these anti-woke columns are so embarrassing. Here David Brooks accuses “the American left” of becoming disconnected from ordinary people. His evidence? A lecture disinvitation, a random powerpoint and Rotten Tomatoes.”
  • Follow-up on this: “After security flaw found, Missouri hires data breach group“—”The state signed a contract with Identity Theft Guard Solutions last week. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered a flaw that potentially exposed the Social Security numbers of an estimated 100,000 Missouri teachers.”
  • Why McDonald’s looks sleek and boring now. Your local McDonald’s probably looks a lot more like Starbucks than classic McDonaldland these days. What happened?”
  • Howard students are living in tents to avoid the mold, roach and mice infestation in their dorms.”
  • Mike Tyson Is the New Face of Psychedelic Healing.”
  • Oh, I don’t know, how about no role at all? A caring high school principal or a criminal? A situation in Salida may have national implications. The response to a student’s suicidal threat in September has opened a rift between police and Salida Public Schools, highlighting broader questions about the role of law enforcement in K-12 education.” Tweet—”‘Discrepancies’ in the police report of a high school principal intervening to save a suicidal student, only to be criminally charged because cops were pissed they didn’t get to shoot the boy.” Tweet—”There was such a cluster of chaos in terms of policy & procedure but it’s amazing to read about an educator willing to not only respond to a student in crisis but also to take on personal risk to shield them from cops & actively resist police control of our kids entirely.”
  • America’s Most Destructive Habit. Each time political minorities advocate for and achieve greater equality, conservatives rebel, trying to force a reinstatement of the status quo.”—”Although the United States was born of a revolution, one common view maintains that the Constitution tamed our rebellious impulse and launched a distinctly nonrevolutionary political experiment. But throughout American history, an important strand of conservatism has repeatedly championed rebellions—or what are better understood as counterrevolutions. They emerge like clockwork: Each time political minorities advocate for and achieve greater equality, conservatives rebel, trying to force a reinstatement of the status quo.”
  • WTAF NYT? Tweet—”Kyle Rittenhouse, who has idolized law enforcement since he was young, arrived in Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020, with at least one mission: to play the role of police officer and medic. The night would end with him fatally shooting two men and wounding another.” Also “Kyle Rittenhouse, who styled himself a medic, said he is now studying nursing. For much of his life, Mr. Rittenhouse, now 18, tried on identities infused with bravery and service.” Tweet—”Charles Manson, who loved dune buggies and idolized The Beatles, arrived in Los Angeles with dreams of recording success. A thwarted record deal and an address mix-up led to him expressing his grievances in a way that many have issues with.” Also Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Judge’s ringtone revealed to be Trump’s rally theme tune. ‘God Bless the USA is the opening song played at every Trump rally. Lee Greenwood literally sang it at Trump’s inauguration'” Also “Rittenhouse trial judge still baffled by pinch-to-zoom. Judge Schroeder’s Galaxy S20 puts a hurdle in front of the prosecution’s use of video evidence.” Tweet thread—”Rittenhouse judge’s medieval and ancient dog-whistles for white nationalism: in jury selection, Schroeder likened the trial to medieval trials by ordeal and its possible consequences to the ‘fall of Rome.’ This should have made headlines, or better yet, disqualified him. 1/9.” Tweet thread—”This judge did this knowing the entire country was watching. Imagine what goes on every day in empty courtrooms.”
  • Your diet isn’t just making you obese, it could be speeding up cognitive decline. What’s for dinner? Think twice before you reach for that takeout burger or frozen pizza.”—”Well, it turns out our toxic modern diet of saturated fats, refined carbs, salt and chemicals may be speeding up our cognitive decline in our senior years, and could even bring on dementia. The good news? It will only affect those it hasn’t already killed through things like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”
  • Plastic is Carbon: Unwrapping the ‘Net Zero’ Myth. In recent years, the plastics and petrochemical industry has embraced the idea of ‘net-zero plastic’ to greenwash expanded plastic production and use. Their narratives tout zero-emissions plastic, but there is no way around it: plastic is carbon. It is a major threat to our climate, and can never be a part of any solution to the climate crisis.”
  • Americans Need to Learn to Live More Like Europeans. Supply-chain shortages are constraining U.S. consumers’ endless appetite for buying whatever they want whenever they want. It’s about time.” Counterpoint, tweet—”How Americans imagine Europeans live vs how Europeans live.”
  • As Striketober Becomes Strikesgiving, Stand in Solidarity with Food Workers and Farmers. The head of the Wisconsin Farmers Union says food and farm companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s are taking advantage of workers while executives rake in record profits and salaries.”
  • Journalist Suffers ‘Repercussions’ After ‘Horror Show’ Johnny Depp Interview“—”A Rolling Stone journalist who once conducted a ‘lost interview’ with Pirates of the Caribbean franchise stars Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow) and Keith Richards (Captain Teague, Sparrow’s father) recently shared details about his ‘horror show’ experience with the two show business eccentrics.”
  • Disney Deleted an Essential Scene From ‘Pirates’ that Changes Jack Sparrow Completely“—”In a deleted scene, we find out that the two have a very deep history that predates the films. It seems Jack used to work for Beckett was supposed to deliver “cargo” (of 100 slaves, although Beckett does not refer to them as people) to Beckett from Africa. Instead of doing his job and being rewarded financially, Sparrow freed the slaves. In the deleted clip, Sparrow tells Beckett, ‘people aren’t cargo mate,’ which is a line that speaks volumes about Sparrow’s character but was never heard. Due to this, Beckett burned The Pearl and branded Sparrow as a pirate. Now we are able to understand why Jack asked Davy Jones to bring back his ship. As we know, Jones agreed for 100 souls — which some speculate refers to the 100 he sent free). In four short minutes, the scene unearths a lot about Sparrow’s backstory and helps us understand why he is in the position he is in.” Watch “Just Good Buisness (Deleted Scenes At Worlds End).”
  • Dan Aykroyd Supports Hurtful Comedy Getting the Cancel-Culture Ax. As the ‘SNL’ icon readies for the highly anticipated ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ to arrive, he says there is too much material in comedy to rely on jokes that cause offense.”
  • Laura Dern and son front campaign for new gender-neutral fashion line“—”American label Proenza Schouler, the New York-based brand who cast Ella Emhoff in her first runway show earlier this year, has unveiled its latest project: a gender-neutral capsule collection fronted by Laura Dern and her son, musician and model Ellery Harper. Created in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, the collection was inspired by the great American road trip, according to Proenza Schouler co-founders and designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.”
  • ‘Households with a member suffering from depression exhibit striking differences in shopping behavior’. A new paper documents the relationship between self-reported mental-health issues and the size and composition of shopping baskets.”—”Using a survey panel of 112,736 households that connects shopping behavior with individual medical information, the authors — Katherine Meckel from U.C. San Diego and Bradley Shapiro from the University of Chicago — say they showed a “robust” cross-sectional relationship between depression and shopping.”
  • Richard Thomas Welcomes New Walton Family & The Celebration of Faith In CW’s ‘The Waltons’ Homecoming’“—”The Walton family is back for the CW’s The Waltons’ Homecoming, premiering Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, and Richard Thomas — the original John Boy Walton — is celebrating the new chapter. Thomas will serve as the narrator on Homecoming while passing the baton to Logan Shroyer, 2021’s John Boy. Thomas reflected on what the world was like when the original CBS series about faith and family aired from 1971-82 and why now is the perfect time to bring it back.”
  • See Sarah Jessica Parker And Bette Midler In First Official Hocus Pocus 2 Sneak Peak“—”Disney+ just dropped a first-look image of Hocus Pocus 2 – a sequel to Halloween cult classic from 1993, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy. All three actresses are set to reprise their roles from the original film, with the sequel scheduled to premiere on Disney’s streaming service in fall 2022.” Also “‘Hocus Pocus 2,’ ‘Disenchanted,’ ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ Disney Plus Release Dates Revealed.” Welp. That explains the Hocus Pocus themed tarot cards and Halloween advent calendar due next year.
  • Tweet—”It’s so crazy to me that David Aja pretty much designed the entire aesthetic of the Hawkeye show and isn’t receiving any credit or any payment dues for it. Like this isn’t and inspired type deal they literally copied it, bar for bar, word for word and he’s not getting a penny.”
  • Tweet—”This just keeps getting worse. SFWA notified members today that Disney is reprinting works (sold to other companies Disney bought) without notifying or paying them! Authors, if you’ve done a tie-in novel, there’s a good chance Disney is stealing from you. #DisneyMustPay. “Tweet—”#DisneyMustPay by notifying creators when their media tie-in work is reprinted, and paying them owed royalties. Go the Distance, Disney – honor your obligations to the creators whose work you valued enough to make part of your brand.” Also “Are You Owed Money?“—”Creators may be missing royalty statements and/or checks for media tie-in work across a wide range of properties in prose, comics, or graphic novels. Since Disney’s acquisition of the rights to those properties, creators’ contracts with previous licensees have not been honored for the ongoing and reprint publication of media tie-in works.”
  • Gods damnit, Adele! “There’s a global vinyl shortage and you can thank Adele for that. Adele’s 30 causes an industry-wide delay in vinyl manufacturing after an order of 500,000 copies was processed.”
  • Selling TV execs on Sesame Street using new techniques of child education adopted from TV advertising. Brilliant! And funny. “Old School Sesame Street Original Sales Pitch Reel.”
  • Sesame Street: Billie Eilish Sings Happier Than Ever with The Count“—”Billie Eilish and The Count sing a beautiful ballad to each other about how when they’re counting together, numbers sound so much better and it makes them happier than ever!”
  • More about this, and still fan shot but 4k this time, watch: “Billie Eilish – Sally’s Song (Live at Nightmare Before Christmas 2021) 4K.”
  • The 40-Year Mystery of Smutty Smiff and the Missing Rockabilly Bass. The improbable tale of how a unique instrument went missing in 1982 and ended up in a pawnshop a few miles from where it was lost.”
  • Beyond Based and Cringe. It Is Only Through a Recognition of the Failures of Previous Modes of Sincerity in Art That These Same Cultural Artifacts May Be Redeemed.”
  • Revisiting Lewis & Clark’s epic journey through an Indigenous lens“—”The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, 4,900 miles from Pennsylvania to Oregon, tells an epic story of two explorers and their crew who made their way across the continent nearly 220 years ago. They traveled through the Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and nearly starved to death before they reached the Pacific Ocean. That is not the only story, though. With a partnership between an Indigenous tourism group and the National Park Service, the tale of the Corps of Discovery expedition will integrate the experiences of Native Americans to describe in their own words how tribes understood Lewis and Clark and their journey.”
  • The RPG inspirations of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands go further than skin-deep. The next Borderlands game will let players return to Bunkers & Badasses, its in-universe version of D&D.”
  • Dungeons & Dragons Is a Case Study in How Capitalism Kills Art. The story of Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just about nerds creating a wildly popular game and then losing control of it. It’s also about how the dictates of the free market inevitably end up stripping even our leisure activities of joy.”
  • The Socialist Dune? Since its publication in 1965, Dune has been claimed by both Right and Left — but its political and ecological critiques make its return to the big screen apt for an era of capitalist crisis.”
  • Dune: Paul & Jessica’s Weirding Way — Prana-bindu Explained. Dune’s Weirding Way is the fighting style of Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica but the reboot fails to explain why this style of combat is superior.”
  • Who’s got the spice? Dune and the never-ending white savior story. Unfortunately, the American fantasy of consensual occupation helped sustain our very real post-9/11 wars for 20 years.”
  • Batman finally met his parallel universe variant who’s married to Superman. It only took an actual decade.”—”After nearly 10 years of existing in the same continuity, Batman and Superman have finally spent some canonical time in the same room as Midnighter and Apollo, thanks to Action Comics scribe Phillip Kennedy Johnson.”
  • ‘Discovery of a lifetime’: Restorers accidentally find Renaissance-era paintings behind wall.” Also “Wall paintings at Calverley Old Hall: the discovery of a lifetime“—”Wall paintings were prized in grand Tudor houses, and from time-to-time patches of them are revealed. But never in my own 27 years of working in historic buildings have I ever witnessed a discovery like this. Hidden panelling, yes, little snatches of decorative painting, once or twice. But an entire painted chamber absolutely lost to memory, a time machine to the age of the Reformation and the Virgin Queen, never. Lots of complex questions have now arisen. When exactly they were painted – according to our timber dating of the timber frame, it could be 1540s or perhaps more like 1580s – how best to preserve them, how to furnish and service a room with such spectacular surviving decoration. But their importance cannot be doubted. With them a slice of the lives of our ancestors has been restored to us, and nothing comes close to that.”
  • Oh. Haha! “Los Angeles airport jet pack sightings were ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ balloons. Helicpopter for LAPD caught the flying Jack Skellington figure on camera last year.”
  • Microsoft resurrects Clippy again after brutally killing him off in Microsoft Teams. Clippy is now a sticker pack inside Teams.”
  • Microsoft launches Google Wave“—”Last year, the company open-sourced Fluid and started building it into a few of its own Office applications. Today, at its Ignite conference, it’s launching a whole new product built on top of Fluid: Microsoft Wave Loop.”
  • Let’s talk about Cecily Strong’s game-changing “clown abortion” skit. Cecily Strong used comedy to “say the unsayable” about abortion.” Watch “Weekend Update: Goober the Clown on Abortion – SNL.”

Omnium Gatherum: 10nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 10, 2021

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

  • More on this, watch “The Incal: A Metaphysical Space Epic“—”An overview of the entire Incal Saga written by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Jean Giraud, more commonly known as Moebius. Originally published between 1981 and 1988.” Also, counterpoint, and everyone is awful: “The director who went too far: the shocking truth about the exploitation ‘classic’ El Topo . Animal slaughter, extreme violence, and a very problematic rape scene… As Alejandro Jodorowsky’s bizarrely revered western El Topo returns to cinemas, Helen O’Hara asks.”
  • Tweet—”Stanislaw Lem had better names for everything: – virtual reality (“phantomatics”) – search engine theory (“ariadnology”, after Ariadne’s thread) – molecular nanotechnology (“molectronics”) – cognitive enhancement (“cerebromatics”) – artificial intelligence (“intellectronics”).” Tweet—”- cybersex (“cyborgy”)
    – artificial evolution (“necroevolution”) – supercomputer (“omniac”) – ebook reader (“opton”) – audiobooks (“lectons”) – gpt writing poems (“electropoet”) – swarm of small drones (“smartdust”).”

  • Tweet—”BONUS EP: Frank Herbert wrote the sci-fi classic Dune in the 60s, an era when uprisings against colonial powers spread across the Middle East and Africa. Historian @hdernity says the book & film have its roots in these complex mid-century politics.” Podcast episode: “Bonus: The Deep History of Dune“—”Rund and Ramtin speak to sci-fi writer and Princeton historian, Haris Durrani, about why the lore of Dune still proves so relevant and the ways in which the 2021 film succeeds and fails to convey its messages. ‘Dreams are messages from the deep.’ Those are the first words that appear on the screen in Denis Villenueve’s 2021 film, Dune, a cinematic adaptation of the iconic 1965 sci-fi book by Frank Herbert. The book contains dreams within dreams. Dreams of a future humanity in all of its flawed complexity. Dune takes place about ten thousand years from now with humanity having spread across the galaxy, populating planets and evolving in myriad mysterious and fascinating ways. But Herbert’s vision isn’t unrecognizable to our contemporary eyes. In fact, unlike many other similar sci-fi stories, Dune projects Islamic belief and philosophy into the future, placing it right at the center of future events. It uses Middle Eastern history to paint a dream of a future which is both futuristic and ancient, exhilarating and full of tension. It is a story about the perils of imperialism, messianic beliefs, and environmental degradation. It is a story about us.” Also, more on that FT piece by the person in this NPR podcast, tweet—”The funniest thing abt that FT piece on why people shouldn’t ‘intellectualize’ DUNE is the main quote he pulls to say ‘this is dumb’—the ‘mystery of life’ line—is Herbert’s paraphrase of Kierkegaard.”
  • Watch “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time – Official Trailer | HD | IFC Films”—”Opening in theaters and VOD November 19. Director: Robert B. Weide, Don Argott. Starring: Sam Waterston (voice), Robert B. Weide, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Recounting the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut and the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.”
  • Watch “Awesome Paper CAT Puppet.” It isn’t entirely clear from the text, but it is mentioned in the video that this puppet is part of preparation for a stage production of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust! See “The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage“—”Philip Pullman sets The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage twelve years before his epic His Dark Materials trilogy. Two young people and their dæmons, with everything at stake, find themselves at the centre of a terrifying manhunt. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra Belacqua, and in that child lies the fate of the future. And as the waters rise around them, powerful adversaries conspire for mastery of Dust: salvation to some, the source of infinite corruption to others. Eighteen years after his ground breaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman’s parallel universe to direct a gripping adaptation by Bryony Lavery.” Going live in December in London! This is, of course, about The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Philip Pullman, book 1 of The Book of Dust series—”Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, are used to overhearing news and the occasional scandal at the inn run by his family. But during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm finds a mysterious object—and finds himself in grave danger. Inside the object is a cryptic message about something called Dust; and it’s not long before Malcolm is approached by the spy for whom this message was actually intended. When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he begins to notice suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra. Lyra is at the center of a storm, and Malcolm will brave any peril, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through it.”
  • Magmatic thickening of crust in non–plate tectonic settings initiated the subaerial rise of Earth’s first continents 3.3 to 3.2 billion years ago“—”Understanding when and how subaerial continental crust first formed is crucial, as it likely played a critical role in establishing Earth’s habitability. Although debated, the broad consensus is that the subaerial rise of continents began ∼2.5 billion years ago and was driven by plate tectonics. Here, we integrate the igneous and sedimentary history of Archean cratons to demonstrate that stable continental landmasses started to emerge above sea level 3.3 to 3.2 billion years ago (i.e., over 700 million years earlier than most models predict). We also demonstrate that these initial episodes of continental emersion were driven by voluminous granitoid magmatism in non–plate tectonic settings that formed ∼50-km-thick, silica-rich crust, which rose above the oceans due to isostasy.” Also “Cratons, Why Are You Still Here? How have these continental relics from Earth’s early history survived the plate tectonic mixing machine?”
  • ‘Cold Bone’: New Dinosaur Species Discovered That Lived on Greenland 214 Million Years Ago“—”The two-legged dinosaur Issi saaneq lived about 214 million years ago in what is now Greenland. It was a medium-sized, long-necked herbivore and a predecessor of the sauropods, the largest land animals ever to live. It was discovered by an international team of researchers from Portugal, Denmark, and Germany, including the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). The name of the new dinosaur pays tribute to Greenland’s Inuit language and means ‘cold bone.’ The team reports on its discovery in the journal Diversity. The initial remains of the dinosaur — two well-preserved skulls — were first unearthed in 1994 during an excavation in East Greenland by paleontologists from Harvard University. One of the specimens was originally thought to be from a Plateosaurus, a well-known long-necked dinosaur that lived in Germany, France, and Switzerland during the Triassic Period. Only a few finds from East Greenland have been prepared and thoroughly documented. ‘It is exciting to discover a close relative of the well-known Plateosaurus, hundreds of which have already been found here in Germany,’ says co-author Dr. Oliver Wings from MLU.” Also “Issi saaneq gen. et sp. nov.—A New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Jameson Land, Central East Greenland.” Watch “Issi Saaneq Dinosaur Fossil and 3D Skull Reconstruction.”
  • New era of ‘Great Observatories’ may be coming for NASA. The four original Great Observatories, which launched between 1990 to 2003, provide a good example to follow.”—”On Thursday (Nov. 4), the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its highly anticipated astronomy and astrophysics decadal survey, which lays out scientific priorities and funding recommendations for the next 10 years in those two related fields. One of the top priorities identified in the 614-page report is the establishment of a ‘Great Observatories Mission and Technology Maturation Program,’ which would help NASA get big, powerful space telescopes off the ground more quickly and efficiently.”
  • Pompeii’s forbidden erotica – BBC REEL”—”Within the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, in a room known as the ‘Secret Chamber’, is a unique collection of erotic art, found perfectly preserved in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. For a time this artwork could only be accessed with a special permit for men with ‘proven morality’. Now open to the public, the collection gives an incredible insight into ancient attitudes to sex and eroticism and how these have shifted over the centuries.”
  • Finding inspiration in starfish larva. Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a tiny robot that mimics the movement of a starfish larva. It is driven by sound waves and equipped with tiny hairs that direct the fluid around it, just like its natural model. In the future, such microswimmers could deliver drugs to diseased cells with pinpoint accuracy.” Watch “This microrobot mimics a starfish larva.”
  • NASA Outlines Challenges, Progress for Artemis Moon Missions
  • Spinlaunch. A New Way To Get To Space. Spinlaunch is an innovative new space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200 kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit. Unlike traditional fuel-based rockets, SpinLaunch uses a ground-based, electric powered kinetic launch system that delivers a substantially less expensive and environmentally sustainable approach to space access.”
  • Wash-and-wear sensors. University of Utah engineers develop process that turns ordinary clothing into biosensors.”—”They say you are what you wear. New biosensor technology created at the University of Utah’s College of Engineering makes that even more true. Chemical engineering assistant professor Huanan Zhang has developed a process that turns clothing fabric into biosensors which measure a muscle’s electrical activity as it is worn.”
  • Can an electroceutical treat rheumatoid arthritis? Study will test whether the nervous system can be used to modulate immune activity and reduce severity of an autoimmune disease.”—”Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the joints and other organs. It is often painful and can be disabling. There is no cure, but medications can reduce joint pain and swelling and slow progression of joint damage. But many of these drugs have troubling side effects, including suppression of the immune system. In the study, a small electronic device is placed around the left vagus nerve, one of two vagus nerves that travel from brain through the chest and abdomen to connect with many organs, including the heart, lung, and gut. Studies in animals and humans have shown that applying a low-voltage electric current to the vagus can reduce levels of inflammation-provoking proteins, called cytokines, that immune cells produce.”
  • COMPASS Pathways announces positive topline results from groundbreaking phase IIb trial of investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Largest randomised, controlled, double-blind psilocybin therapy study ever completed shows rapid and sustained response for patients receiving a single dose of COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support.”
  • Cellular aging: a basic paradox elucidated. A research team at the CRCHUM has shown that cellular aging, which protects against cancer, depends on a mechanism of genomic instability which causes the disease.”—”In a study published in Nucleic Acids Research, the team of cancer researcher Francis Rodier, an Université de Montréal professor, shows for the first time that cellular senescence, which occurs when aging cells stop dividing, is caused by irreversible damage to the genome rather than simply by telomere erosion. This discovery goes against the scientific model most widely adopted in the last 15 years, which is based on one principle: telomeres, caps located at the ends of chromosomes whose purpose is to protect genetic information, erode with each cell division. When they get too short, they tell the cell to stop dividing, thus preventing damage to its DNA. Made dormant, the cell enters senescence. For this model to be valid, the inactivation of a single telomere should be sufficient to activate the senescence program. Rodier’s laboratory and many others had already observed that several dysfunctional telomeres were necessary. ‘What’s most surprising is that, before really entering senescence, the cells divide one last time,’ said Rodier. ‘In fact, the cell division caused by telomere dysfunction is so unstable that it ends up creating genetic defects. Contrary to what was believed, senescent cells have an abnormal genome. That’s what we show in our study.'”
  • Heinz ‘Marz Edition’ Ketchup Made Possible by Florida Tech Science. Global Food Giant, Astrobiologist Andrew Palmer Produced Condiment from Tomatoes Grown in Mars-like Conditions.” Watch “Introducing the Heinz Marz Edition“—”Tomatoes from Mars soil conditions? Yes, we have contact… and the mission report to show for it! See how our new Heinz Marz Edition went from being grown under one of the harshest conditions to becoming the first out-of-this-world ketchup of its kind.”
  • Ugh, not now philosophical zombies! “Why Physicalism Is Failing as the Accepted Approach to Science. The argument that everything in nature can be reduced to physics was killed by the philosophical Zombie, as Prudence Louise explains.”
  • Podcast episode: “Drone Wars“—”Unseen, they stalk their targets from thousands of feet in the air. Operators are piloting them from military bases halfway across the world. At any moment, they could launch a strike that comes without warning. The attack drone was supposed to be a symbol of the era of precision warfare — a way to wage wars with fewer casualties on both sides. It’s a technology that’s been honed since it was first dreamed up during World War 1. But are drones actually precise enough? Do drones desensitize us to the casualties of civilians caught between us and our enemies? In this episode, we will explore the past, present and future of drone warfare.”
  • The Metaverse, The Multiverse, and The End of Your Free Time. In a decade, entertainment will try to be everything.” Also “Meta and Microsoft announce partnership to integrate Workplace and Teams. Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, announced a partnership that will allow customers to integrate Workplace with Microsoft Teams. The partnership between Meta and Microsoft brings together two rivals that compete in the market of enterprise communication software. The partnership could prove most beneficial to Meta, whose Workplace service lags drastically behind its competitors in terms of users.” Also watch “The Real Reason Facebook Wants A Metaverse“—”The Metaverse. It’s a hot topic as of late, which is a shame. VR. Digital Worlds. Wow. Almost every time I see it talked about it’s misunderstood, or simply a word thrown out for investors. This VR living world could be cool, but it probably won’t be, especially if ol Zuck is in charge. So today’s about Facebook. Why are they so eager for all this stuff. Let’s discuss. Or, I’ll discuss. I’m just talking to myself. That’s what YouTube videos are.” “It’s all very corporate. It’s all very cringy.”
  • Watch “Recreating a 100 year old plan using the REAL CITY PLANS in Cities Skylines (Timelapse)“—”In this video, we’re faithfully recreating John Nolen’s 1926 plan for Venice, Florida. Though it was not fully implemented, what was implemented is considered one of the best examples of a master planned city in the USA.”
  • YouTube is removing the dislike count on all videos across its platform“—”The change follows an experiment YouTube ran earlier this year whose goal was to determine if these sorts of changes would reduce dislike attacks and creator harassment. At the time, YouTube explained that public dislike counts can affect creators’ well-being and may motivate targeted campaigns to add dislikes to videos. While that’s true, dislikes can also serve as a signal to others when videos are clickbait, spam or misleading, which can be useful. YouTube said it had also heard from smaller creators and others who were just getting started on the platform that they felt they were being unfairly targeted by dislike attacks. The experiment confirmed this was true — creators with smaller channels were targeted with dislike attacks more than larger creators were.”
  • Facebook scraps ad targeting based on politics, race and other ‘sensitive’ topics“—”The parent company of Facebook will no longer let advertisers target people based on how interested the social network thinks they are in “sensitive” topics including health, race and ethnicity, political affiliation, religion and sexual orientation. Meta, which makes most of its $86 billion in annual sales from advertising, said it’s making the ‘difficult decision’ in an effort to stop advertisers from using ad targeting to discriminate against or otherwise harm users.” Yeah, really tough decision there, and we know why they made it now, of course.
  • Google loses challenge against EU antitrust ruling, $2.8-bln fine
  • Breakthrough ‘Smoking Gun’ Discovery in Power Consumption in Electronic Devices“—”In a new FLEET theoretical study published recently in Physical Review Letters, the so called ‘smoking gun’ in the search for the topological magnetic monopole — also known as the Berry curvature — has been found. The discovery is a breakthrough in the search for topological effects in non-equilibrium systems. The group, led by UNSW physicist and Associate Professor, Dimi Culcer, identified an unconventional Hall effect, driven by an in-plane magnetic field in semiconductor hole systems that can be traced exclusively to the Berry curvature. Enhanced topological effects will permit low-energy topological electronics to be viable for large-scale, room-temperature operation, and therefore support the IEEE roadmap towards future electronics sustainability.”
  • Big Bird’s COVID-19 vaccine criticized by conservatives including Sen. Ted Cruz.” Also “Why the Republicans’ newest fight with Big Bird matters. A quarter of a century after Newt Gingrich went after funds for public broadcasting, some Republicans are apparently ready for Round Two against Big Bird.” Also tweet—”‘Sesame Street was never this contravsial–‘ Yeah it was. It’s original purpose was to teach inner city kids, mostly PoC and poor kids. Conservatives *hated* it and have tried defunding PBS for decades.” Also tweet—”What people don’t understand is that Big Bird is a represenation of Veðrfaðir, who sits atop Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse Myth, and quarrels endlessly with Níðhǫggr, the dragon who gnaws at Yggdrasil’s roots. In this essay I will describe the allegorical meaning of 1/256″
  • A secret tape made after Columbine shows the NRA’s evolution on school shootings“—”In addition to mapping out their national strategy, NRA leaders can also be heard describing the organization’s more activist members in surprisingly harsh terms, deriding them as ‘hillbillies’ and ‘fruitcakes’ who might go off script after Columbine and embarrass them. And they dismiss conservative politicians and gun industry representatives as largely inconsequential players, saying they will do whatever the NRA proposes. Members of Congress, one participant says, have asked the NRA to ‘secretly provide them with talking points.'” Also tweet—”SCOOP: The day after Columbine shootings, top NRA execs, PR experts, lobbyists scrambled on conference calls to strategize. Over 2.5 hrs they laid out the playbook of the NRA after mass shootings for the next 20+ years. I have the secret tapes.”
  • Federal Judge Denies Trump’s Attempt To Use ‘Executive Privilege’ To Hide Jan. 6 Role. Trump is unlikely to succeed on the merits of his claims and cannot show how the release of public documents harms him, the U.S. District Court judge ruled.” “Sharp-Eyed Readers Spot 1 Line In Judge’s Ruling Most Likely To Enrage Trump. ‘Gotta hurt,’ one Trump critic tweeted after spotting the line.”—”Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”
  • After flaws discovered in teacher website, Missouri offering credit monitoring to educators“—”The Post-Dispatch discovered the vulnerability in a web application that allowed the public to search teacher certifications and credentials. The newspaper delayed publishing its report until the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had removed the affected pages from its website and the state had time to examine other agencies’ web applications for similar vulnerabilities.” “Following the initial report on the state’s vulnerabilities, Gov. Mike Parson accused the newspaper of hacking the website in a ‘crime against Missouri teachers’ and called for an investigation by the Cole County prosecutor and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Parson’s declaration was met with derision from cybersecurity experts and earned national media attention. The investigation is ongoing. Following Parson’s tirade, the governor’s political action committee launched a video highlighting his attacks on the newspaper. The 55-second video by the Uniting Missouri PAC praises Parson for standing up to the state’s ‘fake news factory.’ It also suggests the reporter was ‘digging around’ in personal data about teachers.”
  • More about milk: “Quartz Weekly Obsession. Oat milk for November 10, 2021″—”Why do we drink so much 🐄 milk? Given that around 65% of the world population has some degree of lactose intolerance, it’s worth asking exactly how milk became such a staple in adult diets—particularly in the US, land of the iconic ‘Got milk?’ ad campaign featuring milk-mustachioed celebrities that began in the 1990s. The answer, it turns out, can be traced back in part to the US government attempting to offload milk surplus on schoolchildren during World War II.” Also, from 2015: “How we got duped into believing milk is necessary for healthy bones.” And interview with Alissa Hamilton, author of Got Milked?: What You Don’t Know About Dairy and the Truth About Calcium [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”Refuting the milk industry’s overwhelmingly popular campaign—“Got Milk?”—which has convinced us that milk is essential, this scientifically based expose proves why we don’t need dairy in our daily diets, how our dependence on it is actually making many people sick, and what we can do to change it. Bolstered by the dairy industry and its successful ‘Got Milk?’ advertising campaign launched in California to help declining milk sales, as well as the government’s recommended dietary guidelines, many Americans view cow’s milk as an essential part of a daily diet, unequaled in providing calcium, protein, and other nutrients and vitamins. Cow’s milk has been promoted as a food without substitute, as being necessary and not interchangeable with foods outside the dairy food group. But as food processing and marketing expert Alissa Hamilton reveals, cow’s milk is far from essential for good health, and for many, including the majority of American adults who can’t properly digest it, milk can actually be harmful. In Got Milked, Hamilton turns a critical eye on the Dairy Food Group and the promotional programs it supports to dispel misconceptions about milk and its crucial role in our health. Interweaving cutting-edge science in a lively narrative, Got Milked opens our eyes to the many ways in which dairy can actually be harmful to our bodies. In addition, the book offers simple and tasty food and drink swaps that deliver the same nutrients found in milk products, without all the sugar, saturated fat and negative side effects. Complete with delicious dairy-free recipes and full meal plans for ‘Making it Without Milk,’ Got Milked is a unique, substantive, and important look into an industry that has hugely impacted our diets and our lives.”
  • Conservative thinkers, ideologues announce creation of ‘fiercely independent’ University of Austin alternative college. The conservative-led university says it is dedicated to ‘the fearless pursuit of truth’ and ‘reclaiming a place in higher education.'”
  • From 2019: “Yes world, there were horses in Native culture before the settlers came. Yvette Running Horse Collin’s recent dissertation, historical documents and oral histories present a compelling new story of the horse in the Americas.”—”Yvette Running Horse Collin’s recent dissertation may have rewritten every natural history book on the shelf. A Lakota/Nakota/Cheyenne scholar, Collin worked within the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Indigenous Studies program to synthesize fossil evidence, historical documents and oral history to present a compelling new story of the horse in the Americas. The horse was here well before the settlers. ‘We have calmly known we’ve always had the horse, way before the settlers came. The Spanish never came through our area, so there’s no way they could have introduced them to us,’ reads one quote from a Blackfoot (Nitsitapi) study participant in Collin’s doctoral study.” “The dissertation posits that the discrepancy between the Spanish “reintroduction” theory and the story reflected by current evidence has to do with a cultural bias that is still present within Western academia. Collin theorizes that because horses were a symbol of status and civilization in Spain during that time, and because conquerors needed to illustrate the Native people as savage and uncivilized to justify their conquest to the Queen of Spain, the truth about the relationship between Native peoples and the horse was purposefully distorted.”
  • Tweet—”You have to be almost completely lacking in historical awareness to not grasp that the slave trade is the most consequential event of modern world history, 16th century to now. It established the modern world order. There is no event in US history that wasn’t shaped by slavery.”
  • Watch “Elves | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”Christmas is coming early this year. Just maybe not in the way you’d expected it to be… Elves is on Netflix Nov 28.”
  • Tencent’s First ‘Three-Body Problem’ Trailer Sparks Rivalry With Netflix’s Adaptation“—”Tencent nabbed the rights to adapt the story into a TV series way back in 2008. Now, its version is entering a crowded playing field. There are at least two other “Three-Body Problem” adaptations in the works in China, including a film backed by IP rights holder Yoozoo Group that may have fallen permanently to the wayside and an animated take from Gen Z- and anime-leaning platform Bilibili. Netflix struck its own deal with Yoozoo to create an English-language adaptation, announcing the project last September.” Watch “Three Body Problem TV Show Trailer by Tencent.” Of course, this is about The Three-Body Problem [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, book 1 of The Three-Body Problem series—”The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.”
  • Tom Holland Says Spider-Man: No Way Home Is ‘Brutal’, ‘Dark’, and ‘Sad’. ‘What people will be really surprised about is that it’s not fun.'”—”‘What people will be really surprised about is that it’s not fun, this film,’ Holland said. ‘It’s dark and it’s sad, and it’s going to be really affecting. You’re going to see characters that you love go through things that you would never wish for them to go through. And I was just really excited to kind of lean into that side of Peter Parker.'”
  • Rescue Kitten With Four Ears Finally Finds A Forever Home“—”But just before you thought having four ears was unique enough, Midas the cat also has a beautiful heart-shaped white patch on her belly.”
  • Watch “ContraPoints: Natalie Wynn Motivational Speech“—”What kind of mind do you want to live in? Say yes to life.”

Omnium Gatherum: 7nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 7, 2021

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

  • V Isn’t Always for Vendetta“—”But, ironies abound. The copyright for the mask is owned by one of America’s largest corporations, so each one purchased helps fill their coffers. And, even though Guy’s image and face has never been more well known, Bonfire Night as a holiday is losing ground at a rapid pace to the popularisation of Halloween through the proliferation of American culture (though Halloween’s roots can be traced back to the Celts, the British seem reluctant to claim it as their own). Most ironic, is that a plot designed to pit one faction of Britain against another, has in reality had the opposite effect. London, Wales, and most of other regions of this United Kingdom come together to commemorate 5 November. The historical purpose for the celebration holds little importance to the families that congregate in the muddy fields across the country. They gather in their communities, clinging to their glow-sticks, and ketchup-covered chips, much as they cling to their fading traditions. They ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ together at the exploding lights in the sky before wandering off home, content that they have enjoyed a shared experience of wonder, regardless of their religion or political affiliation. And, maybe, that’s what Guy Fawkes was going for after all.”
  • Stonehenge breakthrough as ‘revolutionary technology’ exposes ‘previously unseen features’. Researchers have made the breakthrough discovery that engraved chalk plaques at Stonehenge depict real objects and not only abstract patterns, as was previously thought.”—”Engraved chalk plaques were an important cultural marker in the Neolithic period. Utilising the advancement of photographic techniques, it is possible to suggest that Neolithic artists used objects known to them in the real world as inspiration for their artistic expression.” “The application of modern technology to ancient artefacts has allowed us not only a better understanding of the working methods of the Neolithic artists. But also a rare glimpse into their motivations and mindsets.”
  • Stop intellectualising pop culture. The response to ‘Dune’ shows an over-educated society reading profundity into mere entertainment.” Tweet—”lol, it’s Dune.” Tweet—”Dune has pages upon pages of discussion about the conflicts between religion and politics, and how things like monarchical power and capitalism have an impact on religious observance or indigenous people. It’s overwhelmingly political.” Tweet—”Imagine reading a book or watching a movie explicitly about how colonialist, extractivist capitalism paired with an overwhelmingly white Christian theocracy leads to endless war with and displacement of Muslim peoples, and then demanding that people “stop intellectualising it.” Tweet—”author of that piece will have an aneurysm if they ever make a movie out of God Emperor of Dune.” Of course, this is about the recent movie, but also about the Dune series.
  • Ancient History Shows How We Can Create a More Equal World. New research on humanity’s deep past holds lessons for the future.” Adapted from The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by David Graeber and David Wengrow—”A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation. For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself. Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume. The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action.”
  • What Created the American Crisis of Subminimum Pay? Saru Jayaraman on the System’s Roots in Slavery.” Excerpt from One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Saru Jayaraman—”Before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the country, more than six million people earned their living as tipped workers in the service industry. They served us in cafes and restaurants, they delivered food to our homes, they drove us wherever we wanted to go, and they worked in nail salons for as little as $2.13 an hour—the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991—leaving them with next to nothing to get by. These workers, unsurprisingly, were among the most vulnerable workers during the pandemic. As businesses across the country closed down or drastically scaled back their services, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs. As in many other areas, the pandemic exposed the inadequacies of the nation’s social safety net and minimum-wage standards. One of New York magazine’s ‘Influentials’ of New York City, one of CNN’s Visionary Women in 2014, and a White House Champion of Change in 2014, Saru Jayaraman is a nationally acclaimed restaurant activist and the author of the bestselling Behind the Kitchen Door. In her new book, One Fair Wage, Jayaraman shines a light on these workers, illustrating how the people left out of the fight for a fair minimum wage are society’s most marginalized: people of color, many of them immigrants; women, who form the majority of tipped workers; disabled workers; incarcerated workers; and youth workers. They epitomize the direction of our whole economy, reflecting the precariousness and instability that is increasingly the lot of American labor.”
  • ‘I Am Disgusted with Things as They Are.’ Ralph Ellison on the Injustice and Poverty of 1937 New York. In a Letter to His Mother, the Author of Invisible Man Describes His Life in Harlem.” From From Letters of Note: New York City [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] compiled by Shaun Usher, part of the Letters of Notes series—”An exciting new volume of letters about the Capital of the World–from George Washington, Kahlil Gibran, Audrey Hepburn, Martin Scorsese, and more–from the author of the bestselling Letters of Note collections. Peter Schagen writes to the Dutch West India Company about the purchase of ‘Manhattes.’ Mayor Ambrose Kingsland urges the city council to create what became Central Park. E. B. White bemoans taxi cab design to Harold Ross, cofounder of The New Yorker. Bianca Jagger sets the record straight about that white horse in Studio 54. New York City goes by many names–Gotham, Empire City, the City That Never Sleeps–and once served as the capital of America. It came together as we know it in 1898 and has become one of the world’s most powerful, most important megacities, shaping art, culture, finance, and media across the globe. This iconic collection of thirty letters smartly explores the history of life in the five boroughs. You’ll need more than a New York minute to enjoy it all.”
  • Belabored: Work Without the Workers, with Phil Jones“—”How do you take industrial action when your workplace is your computer? In his new book, Phil Jones considers the millions of ‘microworkers’ around the world who process data for digital platforms.” About Work Without the Worker: Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Phil Jones—”An accessible analysis of the new forms of work whose seismic changes will increasingly determine the future of capitalism. Automation and the decline in industrial employment have lead to rising fears of a workless future. But what happens when your work itself is the thing that will make your job obsolete? In the past few years, online crowdworking platforms – like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Clickworker – have become an increasingly important source of work, particularly for those in the Global South. Here, small tasks are assigned to people online, and are often used to train algorithms to spot patterns, patterns through machine learning those same algorithms will then be able to spot more effectively than humans. Used for everything from the mechanics of self-driving cars to Google image search, this is an increasingly powerful part of the digital ecomomy. But what happens to work when it makes itself obsolete. In this stimulating work that blends political economy, studies of contemporary work, and speculations on the future of capitalism, Phil Jones looks at what this often murky and hidden form of labour looks like, and what it says about the state of global capitalism.”
  • Justice Department files antitrust suit to block $2 billion merger of Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster. The administration said the proposed merger ‘would likely harm competition in the publishing industry.’ That loss of competition would undermine authors’ power to obtain advances and other services crucial for their books and careers, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division alleged in a civil lawsuit.”
  • Scientists trace origin of Mars meteorites on Earth to ‘Tooting Crater’. It looks like bits of Tooting likely tooted out into space and later landed on our planet.”
  • Organic molecules revealed on Mars by Curiosity’s new kind of experiment“—”An international team of space researchers working with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has found previously unknown organic molecules on Mars using a new experiment aboard the Curiosity rover.”
  • This bizarre ‘superbubble’ spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope has scientists scratching their heads. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how it formed.”
  • An ancient fireball turned miles of this desert to glass“—”The Atacama Desert in Chile has been used as a way to simulate alien environments, like Mars on Earth. Now, researchers believe it was the site of an ancient comet explosion intense enough to create giant slabs of silicate glass, according to a new study.” Also “Stargazers in Chile’s Atacama Desert search for alien life and ‘dark energy’“—”In Chile’s dry Atacama Desert, stargazers are scanning the clear night skies to detect the existence of life on other planets and study so-called ‘dark energy,’ a mysterious cosmic force thought to be driving the accelerating expansion of the universe.”
  • James Webb: Hubble telescope successor faces ‘two weeks of terror’. Engineers like to describe the process of landing a rover on Mars as the ‘seven minutes of terror’.”—”The successor observatory to the mighty Hubble telescope has been built to see the very first stars to shine in the Universe. These very faint, very distant targets require a huge telescope design, one that is so big it has to be folded to fit inside its launch rocket, and then, once in orbit, unfolded again to begin taking pictures of the cosmos. This unfurling has been called an origami exercise in reverse, where the delicate figure is the size of a tennis court. It all takes place over a period of about 14 days, immediately after the launch in mid-December.”
  • Discovery of Pompeii slaves’ room sheds rare light on real Roman life. Cramped room contains beds, chamber pot and other items used in slave family’s ‘precarious’ existence.”
  • Tweet—”My new favorite historical artifact is this 1,000 year old, 14-sided die from Korea with instructions for a drinking game.” “Known as a juryeonggu (주령구, lit. ‘liquor command tool’), each side of the die has an action, like ‘drink two cups’ or ‘dance without music’.”
  • Top psychologist group apologizes for its role in perpetuating racism. ‘APA sincerely and formally apologizes to communities of color for these actions and inactions,’ the apology read.”
  • Dr. Aaron T. Beck, Developer of Cognitive Therapy, Dies at 100. It was an answer to Freudian analysis: a pragmatic, thought-monitoring approach to treating anxiety, depression and other mental disorders, and it changed psychiatry.”
  • MIT researchers create AI system that could make robots better at handling objects. The system can manipulate more than 2,000 objects.”—”A team of scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has developed a system that could one day give robots that same kind of dexterity. Using a model-free reinforcement AI algorithm, they created a simulated, anthropomorphic hand that could manipulate more than 2,000 objects. What’s more, the system didn’t need to know what it was about to pick up to find a way to move it around in its hand.”
  • Watch “#InBetweenSneak | Adobe MAX Sneaks 2021″—”A picture speaks a thousand words…but what if it could say more? Project In-Between presents a new way to cherish your memories of times past. Let’s say for example you have two images taken moments apart. Project In-Between utilizes the power of Adobe Sensei to generate an animated bridge between the pair of pictures, breathing new life into old photos. This isn’t just for static images though — by providing a short video clip Project In-between can also produce silky smooth slow-motion footage so you can savor every moment again and again.”
  • Fb now attacking anyone who’s had the letters “meta” in their name, applied retroactively. Tweet—”…Cripes. :/” Also Tweet—”Facebook filed its trademark application for Meta this week and I’ve never seen anything like this.” And “Wow! Facebook (Meta) just unpublished our game studio page.
  • Amazon takes another swipe at union as Alabama rematch looms.”
  • Tweet—”Today is the 50th Anniversary of the 1st Edition of Unix…. It was targeted at the PDP-11/20 with 8kW of memory (16,384 bytes)….”
  • He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen? Philip Agre earned his PhD in 1989 in computer science, but his greatest impact came when he left the technical side of the field and helped create the field of social informatics, or the study of how technology and humanity interact. Then he disappeared, leaving behind a legacy of work that was eerily prescient in predicting how technology would impact society.”
  • Newsmax reporter’s tweets blocked for claiming Covid vaccine contains satanic marker“—”Twitter suspended Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson for posting blatant misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine, including claims the shots contain tracking devices linked to the devil.” “‘Dear Christians: the vaccines contain a bioluminescent marker called LUCIFERASE so that you can be tracked. Read the last book of the New Testament to see how this ends,’ Robinson wrote in a now-deleted tweet. That claim has been debunked: The Covid-19 vaccines do not contain luciferase.” By the by, lucifrase sounds cool, but not the way they make it out to be. Via Wikipedia—”Luciferase is a generic term for the class of oxidative enzymes that produce bioluminescence, and is usually distinguished from a photoprotein.” As an aside, check out Luciferase [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sam Branton—”Luciferase is a collection of monochrome drawings. They follow on from Branton’s previous series Deluge which imagined the aftermath and impact on wildlife after a great flood. In Luciferase, Branton uses light from an arcane phenomena to illuminate, and to catch off guard, what might be taking place if animals were left in the dark for too long.”
  • HPV vaccine cutting cervical cancer by nearly 90%. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine is cutting cases of cervical cancer by nearly 90%, the first real-world data shows.”
  • That escalated quickly. “Why some alleged Capitol rioters are acting as their own attorneys“—”Speaking to Judge Lamberth, Hostetter said he wanted to represent himself, in part, to save on expensive legal bills, and also to expose what he views as a ‘corrupt’ prosecution. The judge proposed appointing a standby attorney to help Hostetter with some of the legal intricacies of his case. Hostetter agreed on the condition that the attorney not have ‘any association with secret societies such as Yale’s Skull & Bones, Freemasonry, or other organizations that require oaths or vows of secrecy that often feed into the masonic lodges such as the Elks Club, for example, which could potentially be a big part of my case.'”
  • Alleged Jan. 6 Rioter Tries to Sell Home on Zillow, Inadvertently Reveals Cache of Explosives: FBI“—”But it was a picture included in a sales listing for his house on Zillow that led to his latest troubles. In a photo from ‘what appears to be Brown’s office,’ FBI agents spotted a whiteboard with columns labeled ‘Food,’ ‘Clothing,’ ‘Shelter,’ ‘Currency,’ ‘Communicate,’ ‘Move,’ and ‘Shoot,’ the warrant states. In the ‘shoot’ column, it continues, ‘there are numerous firearms listed and explosive devices such as ‘flash bangs.” The entry on the whiteboard indicated that Brown had the flash bangs ‘on hand,’ the filing says, adding that Brown ‘is not registered to possess explosive devices.'”
  • Tweet—”The endpoint for millions of QAnon followers appears to be a bloodbath against Democrats and Jews. The movement, meanwhile, is in the midst of change. Will they become a new religion, or end up a terrorist group like the Klan?” Also “Is Qanon a Tragedy, a Danger, or a Terrorist Group? Freedom of religion is one of America’s top values and deserves respect. Terror groups, on the other hand, have no place in a civilized society.”
  • Texans pass all 8 state constitutional amendments, including COVID-19 shutdown protections for churches. With only nine percent of registered voters casting a ballot, Texans handily approved Propositions 3 and 6, which were both drafted to skirt pandemic restrictions.”
  • Authorities Arrest Analyst Who Contributed to Steele Dossier. Igor Danchenko, a Russia analyst who worked with Christopher Steele, the author of a dossier of rumors and unproven assertions about Donald J. Trump, was taken into custody as part of the Durham investigation.”
  • You Damn Karens Are Killing America. Democrats aren’t going to win over the majority of white women, and they need to stop trying and instead court the diverse coalition that can save this country from itself.”
  • Milk, it does a body political-economic good. Tweet and replies—”‘A gallon of milk was $1.99. Now it’s $2.79. When you buy 12 gallons a week times four weeks, that’s a lot of money.’ @EvanMcS goes grocery shopping with the Stotlers and shows us how badly inflation is hitting the middle class.” Tweet—”Interviewing the family who adopted 14 children about how much their groceries cost” is the new ‘finding an Obama-Trump voter in a diner in Ohio’.” Tweet—”12 gallons of milk is the new 30-50 feral hogs.” Tweet—”The whole milk retail price per gallon in this country has not been $1.99 since 1979. Also, who is buying 12 gallons of milk a week? Did CNN stop to ask any of these questions?” Tweet—”The average price of a gallon of milk in America has has not been $1.99 at any time in the last 26 years. (The tables I found didn’t go past 1995.) It’s currently around $3.64; last year, it was in the $3.50 range. Exceedingly few households buy a dozen gallons of milk per week.” Tweet—”Instead of making jokes about milk we should make the case to the Stotlers that we passed a $300/per child/month tax credit that both of their Republican senators voted against.” Tweet—”there’s always some story like ‘people are suffering because milk went up 5 cents’ and never ‘we have to budget for milk because our rent went up $500, our health care is $10,000/year, my kids’ college fund requires $100k and every house in our budget is now $100k more expensive’.” Tweet—”You spoke to a family with 9 kids? Because that’s representative of a typical family? Did you discuss the $2250/mo (or more depending on ages) in CTC they are getting as parents now (and those of us without kids aren’t) to help with basic child needs costs?” Also “CNN Explains How Joe Biden’s Inflation Hurts Typical American Family With Nine Kids.”—”The Stotlers seem like a pretty nice family, with their nine kids, because don’t most American families in 2021 have nine kids? We guess 11 people in a family is pretty close to the national average of 3.15 members, so good enough for CNN. Let’s watch this perfectly atypical family make sense of all the terrible inflation that’s happening these days. Listen carefully, because we have a feeling some of the numbers these nice folks rattle off just might be the teensiest bit inaccurate…”
  • Israeli government brands human rights groups ‘terrorists’“—”Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared six prominent Palestinian NGOs and human rights groups ‘terror organisations’ in October. They include the oldest Palestinian human rights organisation, Al-Haq, which was established in 1979, as well as two political prisoner advocacy groups: Addameer and Defence for Children International-Palestine. The latter campaigns specifically for the rights of Palestinian child political prisoners.”
  • Only 1 Black Juror Is Chosen for Trial Over Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing. After a grueling selection process, opening statements in the case against three white men accused of chasing down and killing Mr. Arbery are expected to begin on Friday.” Tweet—”Reminder that jury selection regularly weeds out people w/ similar life experience to the alleged victim of race- or gender-based violence but not those w/ similar experiences— or BELIEFS— to the alleged perpetrators. Another way white is rendered ‘neutral’ while Black is ‘Other’.”
  • A High School Suspended a 15-Year-Old After She Reported Sexual Assault. The student is now also required by her school to attend a class called ‘Sexual Harassment is Preventable.'”
  • Marilyn Manson’s accusers detail his alleged abuse. ‘He’s so much worse than his persona’.”—”For three decades, goth rock singer Marilyn Manson reveled in his image as the ultimate pop-culture villain. In a U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, the British-born actor Esmé Bianco is waging a legal battle to prove that his menacing persona was all too real.”
  • Profit-hungry hippies aren’t progressive“—”In the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, locals pride themselves on their reputation for progressive thinking and sustainable living. Before the pandemic, this meant that residents could avail themselves of whale-song healing sessions, and specialists were available to perform reiki on ailing trees. Alternative medicine posed no serious risk to the community at large: only its purchasers might experience non-fatal overdoses of “detoxifying” frog poison or waste money on fraudulent ‘cures’ for serious illnesses. But things have taken a more sinister turn since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. NSW’s regional counterculture capitals have experienced a political awakening, emerging as some of country’s most concentrated and stubborn anti-vaccine communities.”
  • Meet Australia’s Batshit Insane Mining Billionaires. If you want to know why a country that regularly catches fire has such disastrous climate policy, start here.”
  • Drug Users Are Nostalgic for ‘Old-School Heroin’ as Fentanyl Takes Over. In many former heroin strongholds in the U.S. and Canada, the opioid is disappearing, fueling fentanyl overdoses and prompting some users to push for a renaissance.”
  • The Ketamine Cure. The once-taboo drug has been repurposed to treat depression and is even available for delivery. But how safe is it?”
  • Eliza Clark Sees a Future for Y: The Last Man“—”We’ve talked in the writers’ room about how the first stage of the apocalypse is grief and scrambling. The second stage is sex. I think there’s a way in which the second season would be expansive and queer and exciting. Now we’ve shed our old identities and are starting to actually make our lives in the present instead of being so attached to the past.”
  • Tweet—”Labor education power point, circa 1949.”
  • Monkeys and Pole Assassins and Longhorns, oh my! Texas special teams coach implicated in bizarre #MonkeyGate animal-attack scandal.” Also “A Texas football coach’s monkey bit a child and started the strangest sports story of the year. The monkey, ‘Pole Assassin’ and Halloween have made everything go wild.”—”The monkey’s jaws apparently had to be pried off the small child.”
  • The Empathy Racket. The pious and dreary insistence on heightened empathy as a proper or desirable response to art is made only by those with a stunted understanding of what art is.”
  • Finneas, a Pop Star’s Secret Weapon, Strides Into the Spotlight. He’s won eight Grammys alongside his sister, Billie Eilish, and worked with some of the genre’s biggest stars. Now the 24-year-old musician is arriving as a solo artist with ‘Optimist.'” Optimist [Amazon, Apple, Spotify, YouTube] by Finneas.
  • Unpacking: A zen puzzle game about unpacking a life. Unpacking is a game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration, you are invited to create a satisfying living space while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking. Over the course of eight house moves, you are given a chance to experience a sense of intimacy with a character you never see and a story you’re never told.”

Omnium Gatherum: 3nov2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for November 3, 2021

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

  • The Enormous Hole That Whaling Left Behind. The mass slaughter of whales destroyed far more than the creatures themselves.”—”In the 20th century, the largest animals that have ever existed almost stopped existing. Baleen whales—the group that includes blue, fin, and humpback whales—had long been hunted, but as whaling went industrial, hunts became massacres. With explosive-tipped harpoons that were fired from cannons and factory ships that could process carcasses at sea, whalers slaughtered the giants for their oil, which was used to light lamps, lubricate cars, and make margarine. In just six decades, roughly the life span of a blue whale, humans took the blue-whale population down from 360,000 to just 1,000. In one century, whalers killed at least 2 million baleen whales, which together weighed twice as much as all the wild mammals on Earth today. All those missing whales left behind an enormous amount of uneaten food. In a new study, the Stanford ecologist Matthew Savoca and his colleagues have, for the first time, accurately estimated just how much. They calculated that before industrial whaling, these creatures would have consumed about 430 million metric tons of krill—small, shrimplike animals—every year. That’s twice as much as all the krill that now exist, and twice as much by weight as all the fish that today’s fisheries catch annually. But whales, despite their astronomical appetite, didn’t deplete the oceans in the way that humans now do. Their iron-rich poop acted like manure, fertilizing otherwise impoverished waters and seeding the base of the rich food webs that they then gorged upon. When the whales were killed, those food webs collapsed, turning seas that were once rain forest–like in their richness into marine deserts. But this tragic tale doesn’t have to be ‘another depressing retrospective,’ Savoca told me. Those pre-whaling ecosystems are ‘still there—degraded, but still there.’ And his team’s study points to a possible way of restoring them—by repurposing a controversial plan to reverse climate change.”
  • “‘Dust specks’ are genome building blocks. Scientists have discovered that tiny ‘microchromosomes’ in birds and reptiles, initially thought to be specks of dust on the microscope slide, are linked to a spineless animal ancestor that lived 684 million years ago.”
  • High speed ultrafast laser anisotropic nanostructuring by energy deposition control via near-field enhancement“—”It is challenging to store the exponentially increasing amount of data in the information age. The multiplexed optical data storage with merits of high data density (hundreds of terabytes/disk), low energy consumption, and long lifetime could open a new era in data storage technology. The recent progress in five-dimensional (5D) optical data storage based on anisotropic nanostructures written by femtosecond (fs) laser pulses in transparent materials reveals its potential for real-world applications, but high writing speed and density remain a major challenge. Here, we propose a method for rapid and energy-efficient writing of highly localized anisotropic nanostructures in silica glass by energy modulated megahertz-rate fs pulses. An isotropic nanovoid is initially generated with pulse energy above the microexplosion threshold and then elongated to an anisotropic nanolamella-like structure via the near-field enhancement effect by lower energy pulses, minimizing the unwanted thermal effects from megahertz-rate fs pulses. The anisotropic nanostructures are exploited for 5D data storage with a rate of 106voxels/s, corresponding to a demonstrated fast information recording of ∼225kB/s and a potentially high-density data storage of ∼500TB/disk.” Also “High-speed laser writing method could pack 500 terabytes of data into CD-sized glass disc. Advances make high-density, 5D optical storage practical for long-term data archiving.”
  • Researchers boost human mental function with brain stimulation. A U of M Medical School study indicates this method could be a new approach to treating a variety of severe mental illnesses.”—”In a pilot human study, researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital show it is possible to improve specific human brain functions related to self-control and mental flexibility by merging artificial intelligence with targeted electrical brain stimulation.”
  • UTSW study finds potential strategy for fighting obesity. Lab safely replicates weight-loss benefits of plant linked to harmful side effects.”
  • ReSkin Could Help Researchers Discover a Sense of Touch“—”Picking up a blueberry or grape without squishing it isn’t hard, but try teaching it to a robot. The same goes for walking on ice, turning a key to unlock a door or cooking a favorite dish. When it comes to the senses, touch remains a challenge for artificial intelligence and robotics researchers. Carnegie Mellon University and Meta AI (formerly Facebook AI) hope to change that through a new tactile sensing skin they believe will increase the sense of touch in robotics, wearables, smart clothing and AI. Called ReSkin, the technology is affordable, durable and easy-to-use. It harnesses advances in machine learning, soft robotics and magnetic sensing to create a skin that is versatile and as easy to apply as a bandage.”
  • Project Kuiper announces plans and launch provider for prototype satellites“—”Amazon’s Project Kuiper will launch two satellites by Q4 2022 on ABL Space Systems’ all-new RS1 rocket.”
  • Using ocean plastic waste to power ocean cleanup ships“—”A team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University believes that the plastic amassing in floating islands in the oceans could be used to power the ships that are sent to clean them up. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes how ocean plastics could be converted to ship fuel.” Also check out “The Ocean Cleanup begins cleaning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch“—”The nonprofit global cleaning crew called The Ocean Cleanup, led by founder and CEO Boyan Slat, announced recently that it had reached viability of its ocean plastic-collecting System 002 technology and plans to begin cleaning plastic pollution in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch immediately while beginning development of System 003. ”
  • No-longer-facebook will no longer book faces. “Facebook Says It Will Shut Down Facial Recognition System. Some limited uses for Facebook’s facial recognition software will remain, however.” Tweet—”Make no mistake, facial recognition’s flaws aren’t news to Facebook execs. They have the data, they knew the dangers posed to POC and women, yet they still chose to put profit over people. Today’s move to shut these systems down only sweeps dirt under the rug. Don’t be fooled.”
  • Microsoft Teams enters the metaverse race with 3D avatars and immersive meetings. Microsoft and Meta are on a collision course for metaverse competition.” Everyone is a Vtuber now, or, you know, Clippy cosplayer. No, seriously: I bet there’s some MS BOB/MS Agent/Comic Chat DNA in here. If there isn’t, there should be. Also, as an aside Microsoft at one point had some patents on context-sensitive music generation, which I vaguely recall was out of Asheron’s Call development, of all places; I wonder some times what happened to that, as it seems like it would be useful stuff again too?
  • Billionaires See VR as a Way to Avoid Radical Social Change. Tech oligarchs are encouraging the creation of virtual worlds as a cheap way to avoid problems in the real one.”
  • The Great Cop Vax Mandate Apocalypse That Never Happened. The Police Benevolent Association claimed as many as 10,000 NYPD officers could resign over the vaccine mandate. It didn’t happen.”
  • Tweet—”There is currently a large crowd of what appears to be QAnon believers at the AT&T Discovery Plaza in downtown Dallas. A popular QAnon theory recently is that JFK Jr. of the Kennedy family will be making a big announcement at Dealey Plaza by the grassy knoll sometime tomorrow.” Um. JFK, jr. died in 1999. So not only do they think that Turnip is president, but that the dead will come back to make it happen. Sure, and, also, wow. Also watch “QAnuts Gather for JFK Jr’s Triumphant Return & Klan Mom Marjorie Taylor Greene Racks Up Mask Fines“—”This is like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, but without the charm.”
  • Warnings of violence before Jan. 6 precipitated the Capitol riot. Law enforcement agencies failed to heed mounting warnings of coming violence as Trump propelled his supporters to Washington in a last desperate attempt to overturn the election results.”
  • A Former Far-Right Extremist Testified About How ‘Unite The Right’ Rally Organizers Planned For A Racial Holy War. Samantha Froelich said she overheard white nationalists discussing ‘right-wing death squads’ for the 2017 Charlottesville rally and the legality of using cars as weapons against counterprotesters.”
  • There’s One Thing Missing from the Washington Post’s Massive January 6 Report. There is more to be discussed and digested, on the fly, because the coup is ongoing.”
  • The Radical Capitalist Behind the Critical Race Theory Furor. How a dark-money mogul bankrolled an astroturf backlash.”—”Once again, the forces of capitalism are harnessing racism to do their dirty work. More than 25 states have introduced legislation or taken other action that, backers claim, is aimed at banning “critical race theory” (CRT) from schools and government programs. Several states have already passed these bills, and discussion on this topic leads Fox News every night. The common story about this surge of action is that this is a new ‘Tea Party’ moment—a genuine uprising by grassroots Americans who are furious about CRT and demanding action from their state legislatures. But that story ignores the clear influence of a carefully built campaign by the network of radical free-market capitalist think tanks and action groups supported by billionaire businessman Charles Koch and his late brother David.”
  • Juan Williams: ‘Parents’ rights’ is code for white race politics.”
  • GOP candidate: Michael Flynn trying to run extortion plot on U.S. officials to reinstall Trump. Pennsylvania Senate candidate Everett Stern made the bombshell accusation in a press conference Saturday.”
  • How extremist Christian theology is driving the right-wing assault on democracy“—”Progressive policies and positions are supposed to be rooted in reality and hard evidence. But that’s not always the case when it comes to the culture wars that have such an enormous impact on our politics — especially not since the unexpected evangelical embrace of Donald Trump in 2016, culminating in the ‘pro-life’ death cult of anti-vaccine, COVID-denying religious leaders. If this development perplexed many on the left, it was less surprising to a small group of researchers who have been studying the hardcore anti-democratic theology known as dominionism that lies behind the contemporary Christian right, and its far-reaching influence over the last several decades.”
  • Tweet—”New: The EPA allows polluters to turn neighborhoods into ‘sacrifice zones’ where residents breathe carcinogens. ProPublica reveals where these places are in a first-of-its-kind map and data analysis.” Also “Poison in the Air. The EPA allows polluters to turn neighborhoods into ‘sacrifice zones’ where residents breathe carcinogens. ProPublica reveals where these places are in a first-of-its-kind map and data analysis.”
  • UK companies ‘must offer more to workers or face exodus’. Thinktank says higher pay, shorter working week or better benefits can help solve labour market crisis.”
  • Tweet thread—”BREAKING: #Epstein’s Paris apartment is for sale. We have matched real estate pics to photos taken by his butler Valdson Cotrin. But what did the real estate agent have to say …. ” Also “Barclays CEO Staley departs after Epstein probe.”
  • FLDS Church fined nearly $1 million in child labor case“—”U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish fined the church and its bishop, Lyle Jeffs, as well as the owner of a southern Utah company where hundreds of children were put to work on a farm picking pecans…”
  • Tweet thread—”Most people have heard or used the term Uncle tom when we refer to a sell-out, but did you know that the inference is totally wrong. The real Uncle Tom was a hero, Josiah Henson, was an abolitionist who helped slaves escape among other great things.” Also, from 2008, “Why African-Americans Loathe ‘Uncle Tom’. Folklorist Patricia Turner discusses “Uncle Tom” — the lead character in the anti-slavery novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe — as part of NPR’s In Character series. The series examines the fictional characters who have defined American life.”
  • After Black driver is handcuffed and arrested, Va. prosecutor says she never should have been pulled over. A Black Defense Department employee who was hesitant to get out of her car at 2 a.m. was pulled from the car by police, then charged with resisting arrest and eluding police. After prosecutors watched the video, all charges were dropped.” Also tweet thread—”1/ On March 6th I was illegally pulled over and dragged out of my car by a Virginia State trooper. I was arrested for DUI but blew 0.0. To retaliate, he filed false charges, towed my car, and left me without my phone or wallet in 20-degree weather. Story:”
  • Making Communities Safe, Without the Police. Effective responses to violence—preventing it, interrupting it, holding people accountable, and helping people heal—already exist. We need to learn from and invest in them.”
  • How the ‘Craigslist of Guns’ Helps Arm Cartels in Mexico. Investigators traced guns found in the border city of Reynosa back to Americans who used the website Armslist.”
  • Designing a Workflow For Thinking. We’re living in a golden age of tools for thought. But with so many options, it’s important to carve out time every year or two for a ‘creative inventory’ of how you discover and organize your ideas.”
  • Hackers threaten to out Israeli LGBTQ dating site users. A hacking group calling itself Black Shadow threatened Sunday to reveal personal details of a million users of Israeli’s leading LGBTQ dating site, an attack some cyber experts linked to Iran.”
  • Endless Nameless. Gender reconsidered as ‘vibes’.”
  • The Resurgence of Waffle Gardens Is Helping Indigenous Farmers Grow Food with Less Water. In the face of climate change and persistent droughts, a growing number of people from Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico and elsewhere are adopting the traditional farming practice.”
  • Nostradamus? Dat U? Tweet #McRibNFT
  • Tweet—”We, the workers of Image Comics, have formed a union.”
  • United Paizo Workers episode of You Had To Be There: A D&D Storytelling Podcast—”On this special episode of You Had To Be There, I sit down with two employees of Paizo, the RPG publishing company of Pathfinder and Starfinder. Jason Tondro is a Senior Developer and Alex Speidel is an Organized Play Coordinator at Paizo. However, they were also part of the driving force that led Paizo to recognize the employee’s desire to unionize, making Paizo the first-ever RPG publishing company to have a union.”
  • The History Of The Runestaff: Future Sci-Fi Fantasy From Michael Moorcock.”
  • The day Alec Baldwin shot Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza. Interviews with multiple members of the “Rust” crew paint an hour- by-hour picture of a cascade of bad decisions that created a chaotic set on which a lead bullet was put into a prop gun.”
  • Watch, from 2020, “Little Women vs. All The Other Little Women“—”Greta Gerwig’s 2019 Little Women is far from the first adaptation. With so many version out there, why make another one? In this video I compare 4 film adaptations of Little Women to show what Greta Gerwig brings to the table with her new adaptation.” About Little Women dir. Greta Gerwig, with always luminous Saoirse Ronan (and includes “Paul Atreides” and “Yelena Romanov” & many more) from, because of course it is, A24. Also, from 2019, “The Compromises of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’” and, from 2020, “How Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ Misses the Mark.” But, check out the comparison. Gerwig’s version seems leagues better than any of those others in so many ways. Also, watch “How I Wrote Little Women — Greta Gerwig’s Writing Advice“—”Greta Gerwig breaks down her process for creating the new adaption of the classic Little Women story. She talks about how she made the story come to life, while also staying true to the original text. Learn why she never outlines and why the hardest part of writing isn’t hitting pages.”
  • Speaking of A24: watch “The Beach | Official (Infinite) Trailer HD | A24″—”This Thanksgiving, spend a week at THE BEACH – a new, sensory experience from A24. Presented as a continuous week-long streaming event only in the A24 Screening Room. THE BEACH – Streaming November 22-28 only in the A24 Screening Room. RELEASE DATE: November 22-28, 2021. DIRECTOR: Warwick Thornton. CAST: Warwick Thornton, three chickens, a dog, a mud crab.”
  • And, more A24: “Lamb | Baby Ada Doll™ | Official Promo HD | A24″—”BRING HER HOME. Post a video to your Instagram feed, Twitter, or Tiktok about why you should be Ada’s primary caregiver and tag @A24 with #AdoptAda — you could win the one-of-a-kind Baby Ada Doll. Winner announced Monday, November 11 2021.”
  • Watch “Station Eleven | Official Teaser | HBO Max”—”STATION ELEVEN is a post-apocalyptic saga spanning multiple timelines. This limited drama series tells the stories of survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost. Stream STATION ELEVEN debuting December 16.” Based on Station Eleven [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Emily St John Mande—”An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse—the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.” “Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.”

  • Watch “MORBIUS – Official Trailer (HD).” Seems like this might be a complete mess.
  • Watch “Landscapers (2021) | Official Teaser | HBO”—”HBO’s four-episode limited series Landscapers, starring Emmy-winner Olivia Colman and Emmy nominee David Thewlis, debuts Monday, December 6 on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.” Queen Elizabeth and Professor Lupin in a murder mystery?!
  • Watch “The Book of Boba Fett | Official Trailer | Disney+”—”Every galaxy has an underworld. Experience the new trailer for The Book of Boba Fett. The Original Series starts streaming December 29 on Disney+. ‘The Book of Boba Fett,’ a thrilling Star Wars adventure teased in a surprise end-credit sequence following the Season 2 finale of ‘The Mandalorian,’ finds legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett and mercenary Fennec Shand navigating the galaxy’s underworld when they return to the sands of Tatooine to stake their claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt and his crime syndicate. ‘The Book of Boba Fett’ stars Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen. Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Robert Rodriguez, Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson are the executive producers.”
  • Good Omens 2: Neil Gaiman Shares Looks at David Tennant, Michael Sheen.”
  • Zack Snyder returns to Netflix with mythology anime Twilight of the Gods. We don’t know what it’s about but we know who’s in it.”—”The Army of the Dead and Justice League director revealed the first look at his upcoming Netflix anime Twilight of the Gods, which is all about Norse mythology, during Netflix’s Geeked Week event on Thursday. Apparently the show will be Snyder’s own take on traditional mythology. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything else about the show. The one extra bit teasing we did get is an announcement of the show’s cast and the characters they’ll be playing. Among the highlights of the cast are John Noble (Lord of the Rings) as Odin, Paterson Joseph (The Beach) as Loki, Corey Stoll (Ant-Man) as Hrafnkel, Kristopher Hivju (Game of Thrones) as Andvari, Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones) as Thor, and Peter Stormare (Fargo) as Ulfr. Based on the characters, we can probably expect plenty of Asgardian intrigue.”
  • Tweet—”Fascinating archival find – the original internal study at CBS about how audiences actually responded to War of the Worlds. Really worth reading, almost nobody thought there was an alien invasion. People interpreted it through the prism of their personal fears.”
  • Watch, and wait for it: “An Aimsir Láithreach Oíche Shamhna 2021“—”Scéal na haimsire ar oíche Shamhna 2021. Halloween weather report 2021 on TG4.”

Crowdfunding Campaign Countdown: November 2021

Here’s a selection of crowdfunding campaigns, bundles, &c., that are counting down, ones that I’ve noticed and am currently watching for November, 2021.

  • 20 hours to go: “Our Haunt by Jamila R. Nedjadi. A creepy-cozy TTRPG about a found family of ghosts and their haunted home.”
  • 30 hours to go: “King Tut’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Weird West Extravabonanza. An All-New, All-Different WEIRD WEST RPG/OSR ZINE from Planet X Games.”
  • Only a few days left to pre-order, and then never again available, probably: “The Crimson Scales“—”The Crimson Scales is a comprehensive all-in-one custom unofficial fanmade expansion compatible with Gloomhaven, complete with a game box and the following materials. This is not an official product of Cephalofair Games.”
  • 3 days to go: “Follow Me Down. A GMless, two-player tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, Powered by the Apocalypse.”
  • 3 days to go: “Holler: An Appalachian Apocalypse for Savage Worlds. A Savage Worlds roleplaying game by Appalachian poet & professor, Tim Earley.”
  • 4 days to go: “Skulls of Sedlec Expansion Collection (and reprint). 3 new expansions featuring Merchants, Zealots, and Champions. Plus free solo expansion. Only $10!”
  • 5 days to go: “Tournament Arc: the sports anime roleplaying game. A sports anime inspired GM-less RPG for everyone.”
  • 6 days to go: “Meow the Infinite: Book Two. An epic all-ages graphic novel series about a starfaring princess and her fearless feline companion.”
  • 6 days to go: “The Satanic Coloring Book – Volumes 1 & 2. Explore the world of Satanism in this two volume set of coloring books featuring the NSFW ‘Rituals’ and all ages ‘Animals.'”
  • 7 days to go: “From Aug 2016, hardboiled-fantasy SAVAGE WORLDS tabletop roleplaying in the Big Easy. DEADLANDS NOIR. The complete NOIR line from PINNACLE ENTERTAINMENT.”
  • 7 days to go: “War Within RPG – Set in a Tense Cold War Arena. A New RPG based in an alternative 1980s Cold War Arena where the players take control of a country and try to survive the coming storm.”
  • 10 days to go: “Traveler’s Ironsworn: Deluxe Edition. Enhance your Ironsworn experience with super-durable color-coded reference cards and a sleek new interface for mobile devices.”
  • 10 days to go: “Humble RPG Book Bundle: Warhammer Fantasy RPG by Cubicle 7“—”Explore the world of Warhammer. Gather your party and delve into the grim and perilous world of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with this bundle of RPG ebooks from Cubicle 7. Get essential tomes like the core rulebook and bestiary, dive deeper into the setting with sourcebooks, and strike out on quests across the Old World with a host of adventures. Plus, your purchase helps support WaterAid America!”
  • 14 days to go: “Our sixth offer of Cthulhu Mythos tabletop roleplaying game ebooks. TENTACLES 6. APOCTHULHU, TINY CTHULHU, HIDEOUS CREATURES, BAYT AL AZIF, and more.”
  • 17 days to go: “Humble Dungeons & Monsters 3D Printable Tabletop Bundle“—”Build a 3D printed fantasy world. Add new dimensions to your tabletop role-playing journeys with this collection of 3D-printable fantasy models. Fire up your 3D printer and create lively townsfolk and town squares; design dank dungeons and dangerous locations to explore; and manifest all manner of creatures to level up your next RPG session. Plus, your purchase will support Cancer Research UK and the Make a Wish Foundation.”
  • 17 days to go: “Pinsta Instant Camera – Micro Darkroom and Negative Enlarger. Analogue Photography for Everyone! Shoot, Develop, Enlarge and Customise Your Own Prints without a Darkroom.”
  • 17 days to go: “Fool’s Gold: Into the Bellowing Wilds. A 5th edition campaign setting based on the hit Youtube series by Dingo Doodles and Felix Irnich.”
  • 17 days to go: “Questlandia RPG – Updated and expanded. A worldbuilding roleplaying game about ill-fated kingdoms and the people who live there, now with new art and expanded rules.”
  • 17 days to go: “The Worst Generation: A Masks: A New Generation Supplement. A third party supplement for Masks: A New Generation bringing a new city setting, new content for official works and six new playbooks!”
  • 18 days to go: “Planebreaker—Explore the Planes for 5e. Explore exotic alternate planes with this 5e tome from legendary RPG designers Bruce Cordell, Sean Reynolds, and Monte Cook.”
  • 19 days to go: “Humble RPG Book Bundle: Numenera by Monte Cook Games“—”You’re invited to the RPG world of Numenera! Welcome to the world of Numenera, a tabletop roleplaying game of exploration and discovery set a billion years in the future. The game is easy to learn and fun to play, and this bundle of digital corebooks, adventures, bestiaries, maps, guides, and more contains everything you need for your journey. The Ninth World awaits you!”
  • 22 days to go: “PiBox: A Modular Raspberry Pi Storage Server. Raspberry Pi CM4 + 2x SATA SSDs. 1.3″ Display, HDMI, 2 USB ports, and USB-C powered. Plug and Play. Open and hackable.”
  • 22 days to go: “SF tabletop roleplaying ebooks in the Third Imperium of CLASSIC TRAVELLER. TRAVELLER IMPERIUM TOUR. The new FACSIMILE EDITION, ALIEN MODULES, ATLAS, TRAVELLER ADVENTURE, and more .PDFs.”
  • 27 days to go: “Cthulhu Hack RPG Second Edition. The award-winning tabletop roleplaying game of Investigation and Revelation in Lovecraft’s Dark Universe.”
  • Upcoming: “Mimics, An Unnecessary Work, for Use With Fantasy RPGs. This is completely worthless and should be avoided. You do not need a haphazard and random selection of mimic ideas, right?”
  • Upcoming: “REACH OF THE ROACH GOD – Part of A Thousand Thousand Islands. A system-neutral tabletop RPG campaign, inspired by the vast caves of Southeast Asia.”

Update 2nov2021

Update 3nov2021

  • 29 days to go: “Class War: The Jacobin Board Game. Workers and capitalists battle for the future of society in an entertaining new game.” From Jacobin magazine.

Update 7nov2021

Update 8nov2021

  • 15 days to go: “Advanced Lovers and Lesbians. Draw your sword and bare your heart with new character types, fresh settings, and even more ways to enjoy Thirsty Sword Lesbians!”—”Draw your sword and bare your heart with this new print supplement for Thirsty Sword Lesbians! Ten new character playbooks, four adventures, 20+ settings, and a toolbox full of inspirational mechanics will take your game to the next level in Advanced Lovers & Lesbians.”
  • 29 days to go: “Down In Yongardy: A Troika! Solo Gamebook. An epic, choose-your-path gamebook inspired by Fighting Fantasy using the mechanics and setting of Troika!”—”Troika! is everyone’s favourite Fighting Fantasy retroclone. Down In Yongardy takes Troika! back to its roots, stripping the mechanics back for solo play and throwing you into a branching-path solo adventure just like the ones you used to love.”
  • Upcoming: “HANNIBAL: Artbook. A ‘Printed In Blood’ licensed Artbook collection celebrating the television masterpiece that was ‘Hannibal’.”

Update 9nov2021

  • 15 days to go: “Women are Werewolves, a nonbinary story game. Play as non-binary characters in a family where only the women transform into werewolves. On the next full moon, who will you be?”—”Women are Werewolves is a card-based story game in which players take on the roles of nonbinary characters who belong to a family in which only the women transform into werewolves.”
  • 21 days to go: “World Auto Racing. The card game that puts you in the driver’s seat! Race through dynamic courses, install mods, utilize your team and fight for the win!”
  • 27 days to go: “LATAM Breakout. Five new games from emerging creators in Latin America, brought to print with support from SoulMuppet Publishing.”
  • Upcoming: “The Krampus Collection 2021. Enamel pins, Christmas cards, treats, and tricks for naughty kids.”
  • Upcoming: “The Cleaning of Prison Station Echo. Survive, solve, or save in this hallucinatory prison crawl for the newly updated Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG.”
  • Upcoming: “CY_BORG. Nano-infested doomsday RPG about cybernetic misfits and punks raging against a relentless corporate hell.”

Update 10nov2021

  • 21 days to go: “Bridge to Elsewhere Short Story Anthology! A ship is only as good as her crew. These are their stories.”—”In the vastness of space, there’s room for all types of adventures. Scientists seek to solve the mysteries of the universe. Explorers look for lost alien civilizations or new worlds to support life. Planet builders and planet smugglers create life and steal worlds. And some human spacefarers navigate with the help (or hindrance) of feline or feathered companions. The universe contains infinite possibilities—but while space is limitless, it’s the people who travel it that make their adventures worth reading. And many of the decisions they make happen on the bridge of a spaceship.”

Update 11nov2021

  • Bone Heart Crusaders. A Crusade Into the Valley of the Unfortunate Undead | Mörk Borg Adventure.”

Update 12mov2021

  • 19 days to go: “Humble Manga Bundle: Lone Wolf & Cub by Koike from Dark Horse.”—”A timeless samurai tale. Discover the sprawling, epic story of a swordsman and his son in this Lone Wolf and Cub collection from Dark Horse. This landmark manga series, written by the brilliant Kazuo Koike and featuring the breathtaking visuals of Goseki Kojima, is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of graphic fiction ever created, inspiring countless storytellers, artists, and filmmakers across Japan and the West. Own these and other classic Koike works like Crying Freeman and Lady Snowblood in this bundle supporting the Hero Initiative and the charity of your choice.”

Update 14nov2021

  • 11 days to go: “Graveyard of the Lost Gods, a Mörk Borg Soundscape. A collection of nine haunting tracks and associated encounter hooks.”—”Available as a digital soundscape ($2 perk) or a 12″ vinyl record ($32 and higher), this new third-party Mörk Borg soundtrack and encounter hooks is intended for experienced gamemasters who enjoy wiping out the party. TPK4LIFE!” Via email—”This new 12″ vinyl record project features nine encounter hooks and one haunting track for each encounter idea. With game content printed on the inner sleeve and an 11″ x 22″ double-sided insert, this new record + game material is packed with enough destruction and doom to slaughter the entire party! Designed for experienced gamemasters.”
  • Now launched with 17 days to go, and barely keeping up with adding new stretch goals: “CY_BORG. Nano-infested doomsday RPG about cybernetic misfits and punks raging against a relentless corporate hell.”—”The heresiarchs that forced MÖRK BORG upon this dying world present the hard-wired, deck hacking, brick-throwing spin-off.” “CY_BORG is a complete rules-light, rage-heavy tabletop roleplaying game based on and compatible with MÖRK BORG. Easy to play, easy to hack.”
  • Now launched with 17 days to go, and barely keeping up with adding new stretch goals: “Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG 1st Edition Boxed Set. Everything you need to play Mothership® in one horrifying box.”—”Welcome to Mothership, the award-winning sci-fi horror tabletop RPG where you and your crew try to survive in the most inhospitable environment in the universe: outer space! You’ll excavate dangerous derelict spacecraft, explore strange unknown worlds, encounter hostile alien life and examine the horrors encroaching upon your every move.” “The game has been in development since 2017 and has won numerous awards since its release. This Boxed Set updates our early release edition and completes it, making this the official First Edition.”
  • 18 days to go: “ATOMIKA: GOD IS RED OMNIBUS by Sal Abbinanti and Andrew Dabb. The complete series plus rare pinups by Bradstreet, Colan, Cooke, Fabry, Romita Sr., Ross, Sienkiewicz, Turner and more!”—”God is Red follows ATOMIKA across a 12-issue story arc, as he travels the Soviet Union doing battle with the old mythological gods of Slavic Russia. It was originally published as a series by Mercury Comics. The new ATOMIKA: GOD IS RED Omnibus collects the entire story in a single volume with 350+ pages! In addition to the complete 12-issue series, The ATOMIKA: God is Red Omnibus includes 75+ pages of all-new art—featuring rare and never-before-seen covers & pin-ups by Tim Bradstreet, Claudio Castellini, Gene Colan, Darwyn Cooke, Glen Fabry, David Mack, Eric Powell, John Romita Sr., Alex Ross, Steve Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Turner, and more!”
  • Underground Maps & Passkeys, a Blades in the Dark charity bundle. “Underground Maps & Passkeys is a collection of alternative starting situations for Blades in the Dark, along with other odds and ends, written and compiled by members of the official Blades Discord community. Attend Charterhall University’s exhibition of new alchemical and electroplasmic technologies. Ensure Duskwall’s latest 5-star restaurant gets the reviews it deserves. Race high-speed sparkcraft skiffs against other daredevils on the secret canals beneath the city. Whether you’re looking for an alternative starting scenario to the one presented in the core Blades rulebook, to play a game of Fiasco set in Duskwall, or just to see how other people have interpreted the world of Blades, this zine has something for you.” “All profits from Underground Maps & Passkeys will be donated to The Bail Project, an organization dedicated to ending cash bail and, in the meantime, paying bail for those that cannot afford it.”

Update 15nov2021

  • 18 days to go: “Sprawlscape. Cyberpunk urban sandbox generator for MOTHERSHIP RPG and Network 23. Draw cards, build your sprawl, set it on fire.”—”SPRAWLSCAPE brings cyberpunk to MOTHERSHIP: a card-based procedural engine to create and populate cyber sprawls within minutes. 60+ colour saddle-stitched pages, plenty of tools, killer art, infinite combinations. AND MEGADECK: stand-alone custom deck of 52+ cards to create and visualise your cyber megapolis. It comes with transports, waterways, hooks, NPCs, 1000+ named locations and much more. Each card is also a map. Cards can be used as stand-alone one-page city-crawls.” “A procedural city urban builder compatible with MOTHERSHIP RPG and Network 23; easily portable to any other system out there, be it OSR, PbtA, or Solo.”

Update 16nov2021

  • Launched with 8 days to go: “The Krampus Collection 2021. Enamel pins, Christmas cards, treats, and tricks for naughty kids.”—”Season’s greetings! My name is Kristopher McClanahan and my wife Lindsay and I love monsters! Together we formed Deeply Dapper back in 2010 to sell my artwork and our creations. Every holiday season, we make custom monster Christmas Cards and Krampus sends his minions to crack their birch branches and rattle their chains to keep us on task through the winter. This is the SIXTH ANNUAL KRAMPUS COLLECTION!” “This year, I’ve continued my infatuation with Beistle and similar Halloween decor from the 1930’s-1950’s with a Krampus design based on a classic paper decoration.” “This is also a SHORT project: Only 9 DAYS! It ends on November 24th, so don’t wait!”
  • 19 days to go: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The Adventure Game by Modiphius Entertainment. An epic co-operative or solo adventure across Skyrim with hundreds of hours of gameplay. Return to Skyrim with friends!”—”Play solo or with up to three friends. Explore a world on the brink of doom. Choose from six different characters as part of the base game. Expand your selection with an additional four with the Dawnguard expansion. Follow their unique playstyles and specializations, or choose your own path.”
  • Open for late pledges, closing pledge manager Summer 2022: “Arydia: The Paths We Dare Tread by Far Off Games. An open world, campaign based, cooperative fantasy role playing board game for 1-4 players. All miniatures come Pre-Painted!” But, also: “By popular demand, we’re offering our first game, XIA and expansions for you to add on to your pledge.”

Update 17nov2021

  • 14 days to go: “From Aug 2016, the tabletop post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG from DREAM POD 9. TRIBE 8. EVERYTHING YOU NEED for a campaign of horror, hope, and dream magic.”—”Weaver, attend! We’ve resurrected our August 2016 Tribe 8 Bundle featuring the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game Tribe 8 from Dream Pod 9. When demonic Z’bri horrors enslave humanity, the Earth Goddess manifests magical avatars called Fatimas to overthrow the demons. But life under the Fatimas is no utopia either. Tribe 8 player characters are the Fallen — outcasts from the seven Fatima tribes — determined to build from the world’s ashes an eighth tribe and a new society. The past is dead. Your future begins now.” Also “TRIBE 8: TRIBES IN THE DARK“—”The Tribe 8 RPG was first released in 1998 and became a cult classic. Its post-apocalyptic, dark fantasy setting was presented through a line of twenty-three books, including a second edition. The game chronicled the rise and tribulations of the Fallen – outcasts from the society created by the demi-goddesses known as the Fatimas – in the wake of humanity’s liberation from enslavement by demonic beings called the Z’bri. The new game line will leverage the Forged in the Dark system to bring more player agency and narrative focused play to the beloved world of Vimary. With planned conversion appendix to allow use of the older Tribe 8 books with the new system.”

Update 18nov2021

  • Upcoming (Dec 7th): “Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland. Face the mythic creatures of Britain and Ireland in this expansion to the multiple award-winning Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying.” Via email—”Do you dare to leave the Mythic North and set sail for mist shrouded isles? Free League today announced a crowdfunding campaign for Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland set to launch at Kickstarter on December 7, at 3 pm CET. Face the mythic creatures of Britain and Ireland in the upcoming expansion to the multiple award-winning Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying. The brand new setting invites you to experience gothic horror mysteries in the lands of Mary Shelley, Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. Written by industry legend and ENNIE-winner Graeme Davis (The Enemy Within) and beautifully illustrated by ENNIE-winning artist Johan Egerkrans. More in-depth information will be revealed at the launch of the Kickstarter on December 7, at 3 pm CEST. Join the Society and discover the horrible truth behind the old tales.”

Update 21nov2021

  • 4 days to go: “Relic (Original System + 5e Conversion). A tabletop RPG of camaraderie, teamwork, exploring the wilderness, and encountering colossal titans in a world haunted by its past.”—”Relic is a tabletop RPG of camaraderie, teamwork, exploration, balance with nature, and encountering colossal titans in a world haunted by its past. Players take on the role of titan hunters traversing their way across three unique settings, looking to confront the great titans that roam the land and forge a safe future for humanity. It’s a game about brave souls working together to overcome challenges far, far greater than themselves.”
  • 12 days to go: “ZERO Sievert. A post apocalyptic game inspired by STALKER.”—”ZERO Sievert is a post apocalyptic 2D game inspired by STALKER. Explore a fictional part of Russia after an old nuclear power plant explodes, releasing radiation that has changed the environment and living beings.”

Update 22nov2021

  • 7 days to go: “Be Like a Crow. A solo journalling RPG where you get to be like a crow.”—”All you need is a pen and paper, a deck of playing cards, and your unbridled imagination to take flight. This Kickstarter is for a solo-RPG that will allow you to become a crow and do crowy things whilst journalling your experiences. The softcover A5 rulebook contains everything you need to get started in a few minutes, as well as beautiful corvid-themed artwork.”

Update 23nov2021

  • 26 hours to go: “Moonlight on Roseville Beach. A Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror”—”Moonlight on Roseville Beach: A Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror is a tabletop roleplaying game that brings together the supernatural investigations and monster hunting of the weird fiction tales of the 20s and 30s from pulp magazines like Weird Tales with the queer romance and adventure of the 50s, 60s, and 70s novelists like Ann Bannon.”
  • 7 days to go: “MARK OF DRACULA, a gothic zine. Make your own classic gothic horror film. An rpg for Side Quest 2021. #SideQuest2021″—”Mark of Dracula is a gothic horror RPG for 2+ players and a Night Mother — the game’s facilitator. Create your own classic monster movie ripped right out of the Victorian era!”
  • 15 days to go: “The modern fantasy tabletop roleplaying game from MODIPHIUS. LIMINAL. Face the Hidden World on the boundary between the ordinary and supernatural”
  • 16 days to go: “Things That Go Squeak in the Night. A tabletop roleplaying game about brave mice in a modern world of urban fantasy.”—”Things That Go Squeak in the Night is a rules-light tabletop role-playing game where you play heroic mice saving human children from evil faeries and demons, all while keeping yourselves secret from adults, in a contemporary urban fantasy setting.”
  • 59 days to go: “HELL NIGHT. A doom biker RPG rule-artbook inspired by badass metal covers and the spirit of a strange decade. Ride beyond and behold.”—”HELL NIGHT is Doom Biker RPG setting based in the 80s that will be presented in a visually stunning artbook. Each page will feature mindblowing illustrations and a powerful writing which will inspire you to delve further into this world which feels like your favorite badass metal album cover. The book will provide a fully immersive agnostic setting experience with an optional system of preference which has been tried & tested successfully with the authors former works (Neurocity and Warpland) and can be explained to a newcomer to the RPG hobby in 15 minutes.” “All of this set in the roaring, goddamned 80s. Where being cool matters more than being good, and the way your hair looks while riding that badass chopper is a powerful statement worth risking brain damage.”

Summary for the month of October 2021

I burned out.

I don’t know if I’m going to keep going but definitely not for a while. And, if I ever do more new videos, I’m not going to bother trying to do livestreams whilst I record them. I think I’m completely done with live streaming now.

I don’t know what will happen to this blog if I completely stop. I might just leave it, or at some point I might fold it into my personal blog, which I’ve not done anything with for years now either. But, they could be together and “sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock”.

But, I’m just done. I can’t even. My very first stream was way back in Sept 2014. I just can’t end up having been doing this shit for 10 years, admittedly off and on, and nothing to show for it. And that’s what it will be if I keep trying with it until 2024, just around the corner. I’m clearly not going to find an audience. I’m either not doing what people want to watch, or not willing to do what needs to be done to get people to watch what I do. I’m just smashing my head against concrete for no reason. So, preemptively before reaching a decade, and finally after almost a decade, fuck it.

Anyhow, instead of streaming and posting videos this last month, I tried for a lot of October to try to pay for seats at games online, but off-camera. The first one was a one-shot that went okay. The second one was a two-shot that went pretty great. I thought at that point maybe things would go well, so I tried to schedule and play a bunch more. But, no, things got shitty and nothing else worked out. So, yeah, still not able to play well with others, I guess, for whatever and various reasons.

Anyhow, I did a little bit of stuff on YouTube. What stuff I did was in a single live stream, now unlisted. But, I edited and posted some stuff from that as separate videos.

Not that it matters, but there it is. *shrug*