Monthly Archives: April 2021

The Hidden World

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Hidden World [Amazon, Publisher] by Paul Park, book 4 in the A Princess of Roumania series.

Park The Hidden World

The final volume of four in Paul Park’s Roumania series affords many outcomes and resolutions, but readers of the earlier books will not be surprised that it avoids a tidy ending. My Other Reader remarked my unusual facial expression while I was reading the antepenultimate chapter “The Exorcism,” and I guess I really did find it sort of horrifying. A lot of characters die in these books, but given the nature of the magic here, their deaths in no way remove them as agents from the continuing story. Where a traditional fantasy might have its protagonist’s aims clarified and streamlined over the course of its telling, this one just becomes more crowded with possible motivations and relationships.

As in what has come before, the characters here are highly imperfect, alluring, and surprising. Fascist strongman Victor Bocu steps into the limelight as a villain, and Chloe Adira with her household complicates Peter’s story. The setting remains original and provocative. Its manifold European war draws on more advanced African technologies. The alchemical legacies of the conjurors Newton and Kepler guide the coven attempting to engineer national and international destinies.

The arc of the four books seems to be something like this: In A Princess of Roumania the three apparent teenagers are displaced from somewhere like our Massachusetts into the “real” world where Roumania is. In The Tourmaline, their “real” adult personalities are ascendant, and they become embroiled in the political and sorcerous intrigues of Roumania itself. In The White Tyger they acquire more confidence and begin to integrate their Massachusetts memories with their resumed life histories in Roumania, and that integration reaches its fruition in The Hidden World. The completion of the arc is very remote from a happily-ever-after, and the aims of these books clearly differ from most of what dresses as fantasy literature.

Omnium Gatherum: 28apr2021

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

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

This post was possible because of support from generous ongoing Patrons and Members of the newsletter. Both Patrons and Members get Omnium Gatherum posts delivered immediately and directly to their email. On the blog, this will be exclusive to Patrons for one year, after which I’ll make it publicly available to everyone so they can see what they’ve been missing.

Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration

Alex Sumner reviews Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration: An Investigation into the Source of Gardnarian Witchcraft [Amazon, Abebooks] by Philip Heselton at Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition archive.

Heselton Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration

Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884 – 1964) was probably the most influential figure in the Wicca movement in the twentieth century. When, after the decrepit Witchcraft Act 1735 was finally repealed in England and Wales in 1951, Gardner was the first major figure in the Craft to “come out” and declare that he was himself a Witch. He publicly worked to disseminate information about the Craft, both as an author, and as the Curator of a museum to Magic and Witchcraft. Moreover, as a practising Witch he initiated leading lights of the Wicca movement (e.g. Doreen Valiente), and is credited as being the source of many of Wicca’s rituals, texts and beliefs.

Gardner claimed that he was publicising for the first time many things that hitherto had been kept secret. He did this guardedly, for he claimed he was being careful to protect the privacy of pre-existing Witches, from whom he had received the material that he was now making public. This mixture of secrecy and openness has had a curious effect on commentators on the Craft: it has generated something of a romance about what they purport to be the true origins of Wicca.

I have heard a number of stories bandied about concerning Gardner, from different sources, which all seek to make Gardner appear to be a sort of con-man. These include:

  • Gardner invented Wicca himself;
  • Gardner paid Aleister Crowley to write the “Book of Shadows” [2];
  • Crowley invented Wicca after discussions with Gardner;
  • Gardner was initiated by a woman named Dorothy Clutterbuck – however, she was actually a figment of Gardner’s imagination;
  • There was no pre-existing Witch-cult before Gardner wrote Witchcraft Today;
  • Gardner was deliberately misleading in the way he wrote Witchcraft Today.

It is the assertion of Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration that all of the above claims are, in fact, false.

Why should we take notice of a new biography of Gardner now, when so much has been written about him in the past? One compelling reason has arisen: the passing in recent years of Gardner’s protégée, Doreen Valiente, has meant that her personal collection of material relating to Wicca has now been made available to researchers. Indeed, this, amongst other places, is from where Philip Heselton, the author of the book under consideration, has derived his sources.

Heselton has also gone to some trouble in researching the geography of the places involved. Thus, we have it that the author willingly searches out old maps and tramps through the New Forest to deduce the sites of the various Wiccan activities which Gardner described. Heselton, himself a practitioner of Wicca, is even able to use his insider connections to gain access to Gardner memorabilia, which is today in the safekeeping of various covens.

Thus for example, in refuting the idea of Gardner inventing Wicca all by himself, Heselton is able to unearth evidence which suggests that it certainly existed by the mid-1920s – over ten years before Gardner came to live in England. Following a lead in a note in one of Valiente’s books, Heselton suggests that the original creator – or alternatively, the rediscoverer – of the Wicca movement into which Gardner was initiated, was in fact an Adept of the Stella Matutina, one of the successors of the Golden Dawn.

(Here I must point out a technical fault in Heselton’s work: he makes the mistake of saying that this lady in question, “Mother Sabine”, was a member of Waite’s group, when the evidence clearly points otherwise. She joined the Morganrothe, which was the anti-Mathers faction of the Golden Dawn at the time of the 1900 split. This later split into the Stella Matutina, a magical order, and Waite’s Holy Order of the Golden Dawn, from which Waite extracted the magic and replaced it with Christianised mysticism.)

As a magician of the Golden Dawn tradition myself, I find the idea that Wicca was founded by a fellow GD-er fascinating. Indeed, the GD was a strong influence if indirect influence in Gardner’s life in other ways as well. Gardner freely admitted to using extracts of Mathers’ Key of Solomon in his novel High Magic’s Aid: he did this, he said, because he was not allowed to give away the operative secrets of the Craft. Moreover, Heselton has found the sword which Gardner lent to the Druids to use in the Summer Solstice ceremony at Stonehenge: it corresponds exactly to the description of the Magic Sword in the Key of Solomon.

Heselton wields another sharp object – Occam’s Razor – when he comes to the claims regarding Crowley’s involvement in the Craft. We must remember that in the first half of the twentieth century, Crowley was the Occult “Celebrity” – the leading figure, in Britain as well as other parts of the world. Everyone who was anyone in the field of the occult at the time was likely either to have met Crowley, or written to him, or know someone who knew him, etc. Thus we have some authors who go about implying that because everyone in the occult movement was indirectly connected with Crowley, one way or another, Crowley was directly responsible for almost every major event in occultism during that era.

Regarding Wicca, the facts are these. Gardner did meet Crowley, towards the end of the latter’s life. Crowley apparently made Gardner a IV° in the OTO, although it seems that what really happened was that Gardner drew up the charter himself and thrust it under Crowley’s nose, to sign. The Charter which Gardner displayed at the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft was almost certainly his own design: it is in his style of calligraphy, and shows a marked ignorance of the finer points of Thelema and the OTO. However, Gardner never used this charter, and probably wasn’t really interested in the philosophy of the OTO: he certainly never understood its grading structure! Gardner admitted to Valiente that he had incorporated some of Crowley’s poetry in the Book of Shadows. Gardner also wrote that when he first saw the Wicca materials, he believed Crowley may have had a hand in it.

It was this last admission that has caused some conspiracy theorists to believe that Gardner was deliberately being misleading – that Gardner had paid Crowley to write the material. However, it is Heselton’s contention that what really happened was that a third party had lifted some material from Crowley’s published works – hence Gardner may just have been telling the truth.

The real story of the origin of Wicca, according to Heselton, would appear to be something like this. Gardner, on his retirement, returned to England in 1936, and made contact with a number of colourful characters, who though unconnected were all involved with “alternative lifestyles”. These included a group of people in a Hampshire village amongst whom were a former GD Adept, as noted above, and an authoress of children’s books who incorporated Pagan themes into her stories. They had formed a Wicca group by at least 1925: this was the so-called “New Forest Coven”.

Gardner was also a Naturist, and met people interested in alternative or Pagan spirituality through Naturist clubs to which he belonged. Crucially, one of his many friends was the pioneering founder of what was possibly the first open air museum in Britain. This heavily influenced Gardner, and was what probably inspired him to help set-up, and eventually take-over, the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft on the Isle of Man.

There really was a “Dorothy Clutterbuck” – actually, a lady named Dorothy St. Quintin Fordham (née Clutterbuck), who was a prominent member of the community in the Hampshire village where the members of the New Forest coven lived. Gardner was initiated into Wicca at her house in 1939, although not by her – the Witch whom Gardner looked upon as his initiatrix was another lady entirely.

Wicca was the abiding passion of Gardner’s life – which was a quite something, as being a mercurial character he often dropped things if he lost interest in them. Given Gardner’s fascination with it, it is not surprising that he felt the urge to write about witchcraft. However, in the first half of the 20th century, this was technically impossible, as there was still on the statute books an obsolete piece of legislation known as The Witchcraft Act 1735, which still outlawed the Craft in England and Wales. Therefore, what Gardner did was to write about the Craft in the form of a fictional novel – High Magic’s Aid (1947). Written as an adventure set in mediaeval times, Gardner put a lot of Wiccan belief into the mouth of the heroine – a young Witch called Morven. Heselton quotes Patricia Crowther, who told him what Gardner said when he presented a signed copy of High Magic’s Aid in 1960: “Darling, take notice of Morven’s words, they will teach you much.” [3]

But this novel did not satiate Gardner’s urge to write. In 1953, he wrote the seminal Witchcraft Today – this time a non-fiction book. The Witchcraft Act 1735 had been repealed, and replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 – which technically meant that being a Witch was no longer a crime. In this light, Gardner was able to publicly profess that he was a Witch, and that he was well acquainted with other Witches – hence he could describe their practices from personal experience. His first steps in this direction were at the opening of the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft on the Isle of Man. Just a month after the Act had been repealed, he marked the opening of the museum by publicly performing a spell for good fortune. But what he really wanted to do was to express himself in print. Hence when in 1952 the book Witchcraft by Pennethorne Hughes came out, he was galvanised to refute what he saw as distorted descriptions of the Craft, and slanders against himself and his Wicca friends. Hence the appearance of Witchcraft Today in 1953.

Now here we come to a curious fact! When Gardner wrote High Magic’s Aid in 1946, he consulted his initiatrix in the Craft, whose witch-name was “Dafo”, as to what he could and could not include. The rituals which she proscribed, Gardner replaced in the book with portions from The Key of Solomon. In 1952, Gardner again sought “Dafo’s” permission, before writing Witchcraft Today – which she gave, because she herself did not like Hughes’ book. “Dafo” stipulated that Gardner should at least respect the privacy of the Witches, which he did. Therefore, Gerald Gardner remains probably the first and possibly only founder of a modern Occult movement, who instead of defying his initiators, remained loyal to them!

Being a Gardnerian Witch himself, it is clear from the text that Heselton intends his book to be a suitable monument to Wicca generally, and Gardner in particular. Gardner as a man, did have his faults: for example, despite the fact that he enjoyed a successful career, he was still ashamed of his lack of any formal education. This led Gardner to deceive others into believing that he held non-existent academic qualifications, such as a Ph.D. He may also have deceived Crowley into thinking he held more Masonic degrees than he actually did! On the other hand there is speculation that Gardner may have had an extra-marital affair with another Witch.

Yet it is clear from Heselton’s writing that he regards Gardner’s personal shortcomings as relatively trivial: especially when compared to his main achievement, of publicly establishing the Craft in modern Britain. And in a sense, Heselton is right, for so long as we accept that Gardner was not the inventor of Wicca, but the medium for its publication, then ultimately the Craft transcends Gardner. Although Gerald Gardner certainly deserves full credit for bringing it to a modern audience.

I would therefore recommend this book. It is refreshing to read a book on Wicca by an author who writes as a Historian first, and a Wiccan second. For in doing so Philip Heselton has managed to collate a fascinating array of data which uncovers the previously unknown history of the Craft.


Gardner, G B: High Magic’s Aid, 1949, Michael Houghton

Gardner, G B: Witchcraft Today, 1954, Rider.

Heselton, Philip: Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration, 2003, Capall Bann.

Hughes, Pennethorne: Witchcraft, 1952

King, Francis: Ritual Magic In England, 1970, Spearman.

Mathers, S L Macgregor (ed): The Key of Solomon.


[1] [cover] Image courtesy of

[2] King, Ritual Magic In England (1970). This appears to be the original source of the claim: I shall not bother with later sources who repeat the assertion without any new evidence.

[3] Heselton, p223.

We lend libraries the qualities of our hopes and nightmares; we believe we understand libraries conjured up from the shadows; we think of books that we feel should exist for our pleasure, and undertake the task of inventing them unconcerned about any threat of inaccuracy or foolishness, any terror of writer’s cramp or writer’s block, any constraints of time and space.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Manguel The Library at Night libraries our hopes nightmares books pleasure inventing unconcerned

Wiccan Genius or Pagan Savant?

Samuel Scarborough reviews What’s Your Wicca IQ? [Amazon, Abebooks] by Laura Wildman at Wiccan Genius or Pagan Savant? in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition archive.

Wildman What's Your Wicca IQ?

How well do you know your Wiccan or pagan material? Are you just starting on the path or have you been practicing for years? Have you ever wondered just how you could test your knowledge of the material that you should know as a practicing witch or pagan? Well, here is a book that will be able to help you out. The last twenty years have seen the growth of interest in Wicca, witchcraft, and Neo-Paganism. Wicca has been acknowledged one of the fastest growing religions in North America, and there are innumerable websites and books on the subject.

Laura Wildman is a Third Degree Gardnerian Witch trained in the Protean tradition. She has taught and lectured on Wicca for more than fifteen years and is a legally recognized Wiccan clergy in Massachusetts. Mrs. Wildman is also a faculty member and chair of the Interfaith Development and Community Rites of Passage Department at Cherry Hill Seminary, a Pagan seminary in Vermont.

The book is broken down into six distinct chapters that each deal with a specific topic, and a seventh chapter to grade yourself as to where you fall in the Wiccan IQ scale, but if you are expecting just another run of the mill recipe book on paganism or Wicca and witchcraft, then you will be disappointed. Each chapter has several sections of questions with multiple-choice answers and a few matching questions that relate to a more narrowed focus within the broad categories of the chapter. There is no other information on the topic of the chapter, other than the very brief introduction. The answers to each section of questions are at the end of the chapter. The object is to test your knowledge of the topic at hand. The chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter 1 – You Believe What?! Witches, Wiccans, Pagans, and Their Beliefs
  • Chapter 2 – Tools of the Trade. Within, Without, and All About the Circle
  • Chapter 3 – Which Witch is Which? The History of the Witch
  • Chapter 4- Burn Two Candles and Call Me in the Morning – Spellcraft
  • Chapter 5 – Unraveling Entrails – The Art of Divination
  • Chapter 6 – Cerebellum Ceremonium – Ceremonial Magic
  • Chapter 7 – Putting It Together – What is Your Wicca I. Q.?

Unlike many books that have questions and answers in them, Mrs. Wildman actually explains the answers in some detail in the answer section of each chapter. This is not simply a question 1. A; format, there is a brief explanation of the answer and in many cases a cite as to where the information can be found, i.e. what book, etc. Also, in many cases there is a listing of a book or books that may be of help on a particular subject listed under the question. Her reason for this format on the answers to show the subject taking the test where their strengths lie and what they need to work on, not just to parrot back a series of answers to the questions. Finally, in each chapter is method to calculate your score in that chapter, along with a maximum test score possible in that chapter.

Chapter seven of this book is where it is all comes together. This is where you tally your scores from the previous chapters and then tabulate the score. This score can range from 0-1234. The scores are further broken down into four categories.

  • 0-307: Dedicant
  • 308-676: First Degree
  • 677-1046: Second Degree, Priest or Priestess of the Craft
  • 1049-1243: Third Degree, High Priest of Priestess of the Old Religion

These sections are further explained as to having the general knowledge that would go along with having that particular degree within a Tradition or bestowed upon you by the gods. Having answered the questions to the level of 677-1046 does not make you a Priest or Priestess within the Craft; it just means that you understand the material to that level.

Also, in chapter seven, there is a section for evaluating each chapter on a similar scale of Dedicant through Third Degree. This is like the rest of the book used to see what sections you may need to strengthen so that you can better use the knowledge of your chosen path.

Here is a book that will help you with your knowledge of paganism and Wicca and witchcraft that any person on that path can use regardless of learning or time practicing. Do not expect an easy time in taking the tests. The material covered in these questions is very thorough and will take some thought on the part of the person answering the questions.

Overall, this book should be in any personal library of any practicing magician regardless of Tradition. From Neo-Pagan to Ceremonial magician, this book has something to offer any practicing magician.

“Time to stand down, maybe.” “Nope. Just because there’s no government doesn’t mean our oaths are over. We’ll keep doing what we were tasked to do. Save civilians.”

Karen Traviss, The Best of Us [Amazon, Bookshop]

Hermetic quote Traviss The Best of Us keep doing what we were tasked to do save civilians

Omnium Gatherum: 25apr2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for April 25, 2021

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

  • Brion Gysin portrait by Ulrich Hillebrand. “This exquisite portrait of artist/author Brion Gysin was taken in Basel in 1981 by Swedish-German photographer Ulrich Hillebrand. We have made it available in an edition of 30 hand-numbered prints, signed by the photographer in verso. Trapart Books aficionados will recognize the image as the cover image of BRION GYSIN: HIS NAME WAS MASTER by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.” Also Brion Gysin: His Name Was Master: Texts and Interviews by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge & Peter Christopherson edited by Andrew McKenzie, introduction by Carl Abrahamsson.
  • “Purgatory” senior studio—”The University of Dallas Drama Department is proud to present “Purgatory” by W.B. Yeats, directed by senior John Muncy. Performances will be available April 30 through May 2.” “‘Purgatory,’ one of the last works by William Butler Yeats, is a dark and haunting tragedy about an old man who, in a desperate attempt to take charge of his troubled past, returns to his once-great family estate, dragging his 16-year-old son along with him” I gandered all over the Drama pages at the university website, but did not find more information, so I’ve written the contact on their department’s subsite, and will share anything I hear, if this is something that will be available live online or recorded for later viewing.
  • Crowdfunding with 25 days to go: “Fantôme: A Multidimensional Tarot Deck. A bewitching 78-card tarot deck inspired by classical illustrations in geometric design and equipped with a multidimensional guidebook.”
  • Crowdfunding with 36 days to go: “The Complete Gaia. The Complete Gaia collects the entire fantasy comic in two A4 hardcover volumes. A making-of + art book supplements the graphic novel.” Via email—”Gaia is a high fantasy comic written by the German author Oliver Knörzer (Novil) and drawn by the Indonesian artist Puri Andini (Powree). The story follows a group of graduates of a magic academy who try to save their friend Lilith, an enchanting and amazingly talented wizard, from execution after she was falsely accused of murder. On their quest, the heroes cross paths with Viviana, a master thief who may be able to help them. But neither Lilith nor Viviana is quite what she seemed at first, and they soon face dark forces that move kings like pawns on a chessboard. Gaia was inspired by role playing games such as Baldur’s Gate and Final Fantasy. The comic has been praised for its complex story, the original setting, which incorporates some science fiction elements, and the smart and charismatic female characters.” This comic used to place ads on the library site back when I was able to offer a more indie ad placement option through, now defunct, Project Wonderful. In many ways, even if I see way more clicks and revenue now, I much preferred those scrappy, indie ads to what I’m now running, but it is what it is! They contacted me about this because Hermetic Library was among their most important publishers! Glad they saw some traffic and benefit from that. Anyhow, they also say their funding effort is “on track to become one of the most funded webcomic campaigns of all time.” Cool! Good on them!
  • Following news about the devastation of the library by wildfire: tweet—”This is urgent: the African Studies Library at UCT is asking for anyone who has copied or scanned materials from the library to upload them here. Please retweet/pass on this request.” There’s a lesson here about preservation, digital and distributed.
  • Legendary Occultist ALEISTER CROWLEY Gets Remixed By Dark Electronic & Witch House Artists For A New Release.”—”Now an eclectic group of electronic, rock and industrial artists have gathered to remix some of the only surviving recordings Crowley made, the historic wax recordings from 1910-1914, all featured on the brand new release Black Magic. Using those tapes as raw material, these artists have conjured up all new sonic masterpieces, breathing new life into Crowley’s words. From witch house icons Ritualz and ∆aimon to internationally renowned instrumentalist Jozef Van Wissem and space rock supergroup Hawkestrel, Black Magic is a truly unique and thrilling release!” “The album also features an all-new denoised and remastered collection of the wax recordings.” Watch Aleister Crowley & Neoslave – Rise Above You, official music video, dir. Vicente Cordero, from the album Black Magic by Neoslave from Cleopatra Records, available eventually on all of the things.
  • Did you ever realise, Lord Rama was much ahead of his time?—”Lord Rama is known as ‘Maryada Purushottam’ because of his character and morals.”—Lord Ram was much ahead of his time. Lord Rama, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, is ‘the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband and above all, the ideal king.’ He is a symbol of the victory of right over evil. Lord Rama characterises how a man should fulfil his moral commitments and should strictly follow his limits so that social order can be maintained. It is precisely due to this fact; he is known as ‘Marayada Purushottam’ or ‘The man of limits.'”
  • Cracking the code of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Artificial Intelligence tools enable researchers to ‘shake hands’ with ancient scribes.”—”The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered some seventy years ago, are famous for containing the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and many hitherto unknown ancient Jewish texts. But the individual people behind the scrolls have eluded scientists, because the scribes are anonymous. Now, by combining the sciences and the humanities, University of Groningen researchers have cracked the code, which enables them to discover the scribes behind the scrolls. They presented their results in the journal PLOS ONE on 21 April.” Also “Artificial intelligence based writer identification generates new evidence for the unknown scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls exemplified by the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa)“—”The Dead Sea Scrolls are tangible evidence of the Bible’s ancient scribal culture. This study takes an innovative approach to palaeography—the study of ancient handwriting—as a new entry point to access this scribal culture. One of the problems of palaeography is to determine writer identity or difference when the writing style is near uniform. This is exemplified by the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa). To this end, we use pattern recognition and artificial intelligence techniques to innovate the palaeography of the scrolls and to pioneer the microlevel of individual scribes to open access to the Bible’s ancient scribal culture. We report new evidence for a breaking point in the series of columns in this scroll. Without prior assumption of writer identity, based on point clouds of the reduced-dimensionality feature-space, we found that columns from the first and second halves of the manuscript ended up in two distinct zones of such scatter plots, notably for a range of digital palaeography tools, each addressing very different featural aspects of the script samples. In a secondary, independent, analysis, now assuming writer difference and using yet another independent feature method and several different types of statistical testing, a switching point was found in the column series. A clear phase transition is apparent in columns 27–29. We also demonstrated a difference in distance variances such that the variance is higher in the second part of the manuscript. Given the statistically significant differences between the two halves, a tertiary, post-hoc analysis was performed using visual inspection of character heatmaps and of the most discriminative Fraglet sets in the script. Demonstrating that two main scribes, each showing different writing patterns, were responsible for the Great Isaiah Scroll, this study sheds new light on the Bible’s ancient scribal culture by providing new, tangible evidence that ancient biblical texts were not copied by a single scribe only but that multiple scribes, while carefully mirroring another scribe’s writing style, could closely collaborate on one particular manuscript.”
  • Tibet opens rare ancient books to readers worldwide. — Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has filled an online “treasure house” for lovers of Tibetan culture worldwide. — The regional ancient book protection center announced it had uploaded rare ancient books with over 20,000 folios to an online platform. — Users can search, copy and download the valuable books for free on the platform.” Um. Okay, but there’s no link to the actual thing in the article?! And, in spite of my google-fu, and plowing through tons of articles about this, I can’t find even a single one that actually links to the correct official Tibet Library site for this. IDEK. WTH. Welp. Here’s one article with a video of some of the preservation work at “Tibet expands online library of rare ancient text“.
  • Pan: the unformed Pan in DH Lawrence’s animist vision – II“—”Continuing from the previous post in this series, here are some further explorations of D.H. Lawrence’s animist vision of Pan. Again, the main texts I’ll be drawing from are the novella St. Mawr and the essay Pan in America. Both the essay and St. Mawr were conceived in 1924, when Lawrence was living in New Mexico.”
  • Hyggetru.”—”What does it look when gods of exploration, raiding, and warriorship, turn their attention to sufficiency, comfort, innovation? If you look at these countries now they are paragons of Sane Social Capitalism and Care, which Norse Gods most reflect that reality? Do Thor and Loki take a backseat to Freyr and Freya? Did the Vanir won in the long game after all? Maybe Balder is resurrected? Can there be a Swedenborgian Asatru? What would a Heathen Hof designed by Hans Wegner look like?I don’t know, but I suspect people are already looking at this. I think maybe a family trip to Scandanavia is in order….”
  • The Journey to Enlightenment Tarot from Watkins Wisdom Academy, a free online course—”The Journey to Enlightenment Tarot communicates in a special way helping to show the way forward giving encouragement and makes you realise that you are always connected and never alone. You just need to ask for guidance and advice will be offered, tools to help calm your mind and ways of unblocking emotions, go deep on an emotional level to help you connected into profound emotions to reveal you best way forward to start living to your full potential. This FREE course will give you a detailed overview and a variety of sample spreads to get your started working with this truly unique Tarot deck. Allow The Journey of Enlightenment Tarot to illuminate your path and shine for others to follow. Enjoy this journey to Enlightenment!”
  • KLF Re-Enactment Society
  • Um, not like AMORC hasn’t been public and even running ads for decades, but, sure, okay, whatever: “A centuries-old secret society is hanging out in Facebook groups.”—”With committed social media managers and members across multiple states and countries, it makes sense that a pivot online could serve as a savior of sorts to their community. But their transition from existing only in the shadows to working within one of the most infamously public spaces in the world is a fascinating choice. With what we know about the lack of privacy on Facebook, their willingness to embrace the platforms shows that the group is more dedicated to the ‘society’ aspect of secret society than they ever were to the ‘secret.'”
  • These Full Moon Rituals Are Actually Magick.”
  • Tweet—”The popularity of the phonograph forced OTO co-founder Henry Klein to expand his business from music boxes to games of chance. “Forgotten Templars” discusses the Bijou & Pickwick (p 109-110). I just came across a Klein & Co. ad for a game that is new to me: the Gimbal Automatic.” Kinda on a tangent, but I recently saw this video “RARE Japanese Toshiba Typewriter” which reminded me of the old Hammond Multiplex ads that appeared in The International and The Fatherland.
  • Watch “Antinous Subtitled.” HT Antinous the Gay God—”You must watch this brilliant video by @Cambridge_Uni Prof #CarolineVout which traces the life and deification of #Antinous with insights into #Hadrian’s #Hellenistic philosophy and the #Braschi #Antinoos/#Dionysus statue. All in just 4:30 minutes!”
  • Synchronicity and the Emergent Pattern of a Deeper Reality. Looking at one of the many examples of synchronicity in our world. What, if anything, does it mean?” Mentions Fernando Pessoa, Aleister Crowley, and more.
  • How to Write Faster and Find Your Voice. You need to figure out if you’re a poet or a ghost” HT Lili Saintcrow—”Write. Just write. You won’t be able to get away from your voice; it will follow you even unto the ends of the earth. That’s the good news; the bad news is you have to write, over and over, to let it out…”
  • I’ve mentioned The End of Policing by Alex S Vitale being on offer as an ebook for free from Verso before, but here it is again: tweet—”The problem is not one bad apple, the problem is the racist and oppressive institution of policing. THE END OF POLICING ebook by @avitale is now available for free. ‘The best solution to bad policing may be an end to policing.'” About The End of Policing [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Alex S. Vitale—”How the police endanger us and why we need to find an alternative.”
  • Here’s another recent book from Verso: Planet on Fire: A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Mathew Lawrence and Laurie Laybourn-Langton—”A radical manifesto for how to deal with environmental breakdown.” The ebook was free on Earth Day, but I missed mentioning it in time.
  • Book: ‘Pessoa: A Biography’ by Richard Zenith – Editor’s Note. Like Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce, Richard Zenith’s Pessoa immortalizes the life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.” About Pessoa: A Biography [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Richard Zenith, due July 2021—”Eighty-five years after his wrenching death in a cramped Lisbon apartment, where he left more than 25,000 manuscript sheets in a wooden trunk, Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) remains one of the most enigmatic and underappreciated poets of the twentieth century. Celebrated for writing in dozens of different poetic voices, known as heteronyms, Pessoa has finally found his definitive biographer in renowned translator Richard Zenith. Setting the story of Pessoa’s life against the nationalistic currents of early twentieth-century European history, Zenith charts the depths of Pessoa’s explosive imagination and literary genius. Much as José Saramago brought one of Pessoa’s heteronyms to life in The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, Zenith traces the backstories of virtually all of Pessoa’s imagined personalities, demonstrating how they were projections, spin-offs, or metamorphoses of Pessoa himself. Nothing less than a literary masterpiece, Zenith’s monumental work confirms the power of Pessoa’s words to speak prophetically to the disconnectedness of modern life.”
  • The dark side of our age of fitness. A new book explores the link between neoliberalism and working out.” About The Age of Fitness: How the Body Came to Symbolize Success and Achievement [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Jürgen Martschukat, trans. by Alex Skinner—”We live in the age of fitness. Hundreds of thousands of people run marathons and millions go jogging in local parks, work out in gyms, cycle, swim, or practice yoga. The vast majority are not engaged in competitive sport and are not trying to win any medals. They just want to get fit. Why this modern preoccupation with fitness? In this new book, Jürgen Martschukat traces the roots of our modern preoccupation with fitness back to the birth of modern societies in the eighteenth century, showing how the idea of fitness was interwoven with modernity’s emphasis on perpetual optimization and renewal. But it is only in the period since the 1970s, he argues, that the age of fitness truly emerged, as part and parcel of our contemporary neoliberal era. Neoliberalism enjoins individuals to work on themselves, to cultivate themselves in body and mind. Fitness becomes a guiding principle of social life, an era-defining network of discourses and practices that shape individuals’ actions and self-conceptions. The pursuit of fitness becomes a cultural repertoire that is deeply ingrained in our institutions and way of life. This wide-ranging book shows how deeply fitness is inscribed in modern societies, and how important fitness has become to success or failure, recognition or exclusion, in a society that sets great store by self-responsibility, performance, market, and competition. It will be of great value not only to those interested in sport and fitness, but also to anyone concerned with the conditions of success and failure in our societies today.”
  • Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me by John Sutherland review – a poisonous love. In thrall to Larkin’s genius: racism, drink and despair in a generous account of a tortured relationship over four decades.” About Monica Jones, Philip Larkin and Me: Her Life and Long Loves [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher] by John Sutherland—”Monica Jones was Philip Larkin’s partner for more than four decades, and was arguably the most important woman in his life. She was cruelly immortalised as Margaret Peel in Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and widely vilified for destroying Larkin’s diaries and works in progress after his death. She was opinionated and outspoken, widely disliked by his friends and Philip himself was routinely unfaithful to her. But Monica Jones was also a brilliant academic and an inspiring teacher in her own right. She wrote more than 2,000 letters to Larkin, and he in turn poured out his heart to her. In this revealing biography John Sutherland explores the question: who was the real Monica? The calm and collected friend and teacher? The witty conversationalist and inspirational lecturer? Or the private Monica, writing desperate, sometimes furious, occasionally libellous, drunken letters to the only man, to the absent man, whom she could love? Was Monica’s life – one of total sacrifice to a great poet – worthwhile? Through his careful reading of Monica’s never-before-seen letters, and his own recollections, John Sutherland shows us a new side to Larkin’s story, and allows Monica to finally step out from behind the poet’s shadow.”
  • The Grand Biocentric Design: How Life Creates Reality [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Robert Lanza and Matej Pavšič with Bob Berman—”What if life isn’t just a part of the universe … what if it determines the very structure of the universe itself? The theory that blew your mind in Biocentrism and Beyond Biocentrism is back, with brand-new research revealing the startling truth about our existence.” “A new installment in the series that blew readers’ minds with Biocentrism and Beyond Biocentrism, The Grand Biocentric Design offers an even deeper dive in to the nature of reality and our universe based on the latest groundbreaking research.”
  • Blake Bailey, Philip Roth, and the Biography That Blew Up. The author of one of the year’s biggest books has been accused of sexual assault. Strangely, it was precisely his subject that exposed him to scrutiny.”
  • Compiling the Canon. The story of a surprisingly influential sixteenth-century English poetry anthology.”
  • Coleridge the philosopher. Though far more often remembered as a poet, Coleridge’s theory of ideas was spectacular in its originality and bold reach.” By Peter Cheyne, author of Coleridge’s Contemplative Philosophy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher]—”Coleridge’s Contemplative Philosophy is not just a work of history of philosophy, it addresses a figure whose thinking is of continuing interest, arguing that contemplation of ideas and values has consequences for everyday morality and aesthetics, as well as metaphysics. The volume will be of interest to philosophers, intellectual historians, scholars of religion, and of literature.”
  • Enough With Literature as Self-Improvement! In his dispiriting literary survey Wonderworks, Angus Fletcher reduces centuries of passionate art into the stuff of self-help videos.” About Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Angus Fletcher—”A brilliant examination of literary inventions through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante, that shows how writers have created technical breakthroughs—rivaling any scientific inventions—and engineering enhancements to the human heart and mind.”
  • Speaking Power to Truth. Academic freedom’s most determined adversaries are inside academia.” About What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Ulrich Baer—”Angry debates about polarizing speakers have roiled college campuses. Conservatives accuse universities of muzzling unpopular opinions, betraying their values of open inquiry; students sympathetic to the left openly advocate against completely unregulated speech, asking for “safe spaces” and protection against visiting speakers and even curricula they feel disrespects them. Some even call these students ‘snowflakes’-too fragile to be exposed to opinions and ideas that challenge their worldviews. How might universities resolve these debates about free speech, which pit their students’ welfare against the university’s commitment to free inquiry and open debate? Ulrich Baer here provides a new way of looking at this dilemma. He explains how the current dichotomy is false and is not really about the feelings of offended students, or protecting an open marketplace of ideas. Rather, what is really at stake is our democracy’s commitment to equality, and the university’s critical role as an arbiter of truth. He shows how and why free speech has become the rallying cry that forges an otherwise uneasy alliance of liberals and ultra-conservatives, and why this First Amendment absolutism is untenable in law and society in general. He draws on law, philosophy, and his extensive experience as a university administrator to show that the lens of equality can resolve this impasse, and can allow the university to serve as a model for democracy that upholds both truth and equality as its founding principles.”
  • How to Become an Intellectual in Silicon Valley. A guide for the dangerous of thought.”
  • Street Gang is a Sesame Street history lesson full of surprises. Behind the scenes (and under the surface) on the show’s first 20 years.” About Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street dir Marilyn Agrelo, based on the book Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher] by Michael Davis—”Sesame Street is the longest-running-and arguably most beloved- children’s television program ever created. Today, it reaches some six million preschoolers weekly in the United States and countless others in 140 countries around the world. Street Gang is the compelling, comical, and inspiring story of a media masterpiece and pop-culture landmark. Television reporter and columnist Michael Davis-with the complete participation of Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the show’s founders-unveils the idealistic personalities, decades of social and cultural change, stories of compassion and personal sacrifice, and miraculous efforts of writers, producers, directors, and puppeteers that together transformed an empty soundstage into the most recognizable block of real estate in television history.” Also “How the documentary ‘Street Gang’ tells ‘vast story’ of influential ‘Sesame Street’
  • Grammar-Nerd Heaven. A new exhibit showcases the surprisingly contentious history of English grammar books.” About “Taming the Tongue in the Heyday of English Grammar (1711-1851)” from the collection of Bryan A. Garner, an exhibition at The Grolier Club, New York, through May 15, 2021.
  • Bacteria from a Brazilian copper mine work a striking transformation on an essential metal.”—”Scientists have discovered a bacterium that can transform waste from copper mining into a more useful form of pure copper, providing a potentially inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to synthesize the valuable metal and clean up polluted environments.”
  • What Do You Call a Bunch of Black Holes: A Crush? A Scream? There are pods of whales and gaggles of geese. Now astronomers are wondering which plural term would best suit the most enigmatic entity in the cosmos.”
  • Black hole is closest to Earth, among the smallest ever discovered. Astronomers dub it “The Unicorn,” call it something special.”
  • New NASA Visualization Probes the Light-bending Dance of Binary Black Holes.” Watch “The Doubly Warped World of Binary Black Holes.”
  • I mean, it’s totally a Flash Gordon spaceship, innit?! “NASA’s bold bet on Starship for the Moon may change spaceflight forever. ‘It is transformational to degrees no one today can understand.'”
  • Researchers drill down to the core of wellbeing worldwide. What’s the best way to build personal wellbeing?”
  • Using exoplanets as dark matter detectors. Temperature of planets reveal new details, scientists say.”
  • Mars has right ingredients for present-day microbial life beneath its surface, study finds. New research suggests that rocks in the Martian crust could produce the same kind of chemical energy that supports microbial life deep beneath Earth’s surface.”
  • Cracking open the mystery of how many bubbles are in a glass of beer .”—”The researchers estimated there could be between 200,000 and 2 million bubbles released before a half-pint of lager would go flat. Surprisingly, defects in a glass will influence beer and champagne differently, with more bubbles forming in beer compared with champagne when larger imperfections are present, the researchers say.”
  • NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Extracts First Oxygen from Red Planet.”—”‘This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,’ said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for STMD. ‘MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one day seeing humans on Mars. Oxygen isn’t just the stuff we breathe. Rocket propellant depends on oxygen, and future explorers will depend on producing propellant on Mars to make the trip home.’ For rockets or astronauts, oxygen is key, said MOXIE’s principal investigator, Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory.”
  • Micro-molded ‘ice cube tray’ scaffold is next step in returning sight to injured retinas.”—”Tens of millions of people worldwide are affected by diseases like macular degeneration or have had accidents that permanently damage the light-sensitive photoreceptors within their retinas that enable vision. The human body is not capable of regenerating those photoreceptors, but new advances by medical researchers and engineers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison may provide hope for those suffering from vision loss.”
  • Flushing a Public Toilet? Don’t Linger, Since Aerosolized Droplets Do.”
  • Electrifying cement with nanocarbon black. A collaboration between MIT and CNRS has yielded a cement that conducts electricity and generates heat.”
  • The Latest in Airport Jobs: Beekeeper. Beehives create green spaces where you’d least expect them.”
  • From the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog dept: “Where’s my horse-sized rabbit?“—”‘An ongoing debate in evolutionary biology concerns whether biological or environmental processes are more important in shaping biological diversity,’ states Tomiya, ‘as characterized by the ‘red queen’ and ‘court jester’ hypotheses.’ ‘For some time, the court jester model—ascribing diversity to abiotic forces such as the climate—has been dominant, due to the difficulty of studying biological interactions in the fossil record.'”
  • Cancer researchers work through night as pandemic restricts access to labs.”—”Scientists estimated advances for cancer patients would be put back by an average of 17 months following the first lockdown – and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) is now appealing for new funding amid fears that the delay could now be as much as two years.”
  • My lockdown smelled like lavender. The scent industry boomed during the pandemic. But for me, calming candles weren’t enough.”
  • It’s Going to Be Weird, but We Need to Learn to Live With Germs Again. The health of our bodies and microbiomes may depend on society’s return to lifestyles that expose us to bacteria, despite the risks.”
  • These architects popularized the open office. Now they say ‘the open office is dead’. Clive Wilkinson Architects championed open offices for big companies such as Google and Microsoft. Now, as the pandemic has led to a massive overhaul of work life, they envision something completely different.”
  • The Grocery Price Shock Is Coming to a Store Near You.”
  • Farmers Are Using Their Stimmys To Grow Free Food for Their Communities. Fed up with the government’s failures during the pandemic, #1400Challenge is inspiring people to turn their front yards into communal gardens.”
  • Why lawmakers are so interested in Apple’s and Google’s ‘rents’. You can’t understand the app store debate without some grasp of antitrust jargon.”
  • Minutes before Trump left office, millions of the Pentagon’s dormant IP addresses sprang to life. Just moments before then president Trump left office, a Florida company claimed responsibility for 56 million IP addresses owned by the Pentagon. Three months later, it was managing nearly 175 million.” Also “The Mystery of AS8003.”
  • Twitter Takes Down Tweets From MP, MLA, Editor Criticising Handling Of Pandemic Upon Government Request.”
  • Thinking of buying an electric vehicle? Read this first. Switching from combustion engines to electric cars is only half the battle; the U.S. must also make clean transportation accessible to all.”
  • The Whole Earth Catalog, Where Counterculture Met Cyberculture. Long before Facebook or Twitter, an L.L. Bean-style catalog for hippies inspired the creation of one of the world’s first social networks.”
  • Coding experts tell Salon Mike Lindell’s botched social site was doomed to fail. One ‘grandmaster’ in the content software Drupal describes Lindell’s social platform as ‘not even student work’.”
  • European MPs targeted by deepfake video calls imitating Russian opposition. Politicians from the UK, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania tricked by fake meetings with opposition figures.”
  • Pentagon investigated suspected Russian directed-energy attacks on U.S. troops. Defense officials have briefed congressional committees on the use of mysterious weapons against American service members.”
  • Someone called the cops on their own smart vacuum. It’s not ‘stealing’ your dirt — it’s supposed to take it!”
  • 4chan founder Chris Poole leaves Google. Poole was a controversial hire for Google+, and he’s out after five years.”
  • Bad software sent postal workers to jail, because no one wanted to admit it could be wrong. Data from the Horizon system was used to prove they stole money — but they didn’t.”
  • Disney’s amazing bipedal robot Groot looks like Asimo discovered cosplay. The latest product of Disney’s R&D lab is a free-walking robot.”
  • Consent Is Not an Ethical Rubber Stamp. Discussions about technology privacy emphasize the need for user consent. But that’s the wrong way to think about this problem.”
  • Pepper the robot talks to itself to improve its interactions with people\.”—”Inner speech is common in people and can be used to gain clarity, seek moral guidance, and evaluate situations in order to make better decisions. To explore how inner speech might impact a robot’s actions, the researchers the researchers built a cognitive model of inner speech that makes robots able to speak to themselves and deployed them in a commercially-available Pepper robot. The scientists found that, with the help of inner speech, Pepper is better at solving dilemmas. In one experiment, the user asked Pepper to place the napkin at the wrong spot, contradicting the etiquette rule. Pepper started asking itself a series of self-directed questions and concluded that the user might be confused. To be sure, Pepper confirmed the user’s request, which led to further inner speech.” “Comparing Pepper’s performance with and without inner speech, Pipitone and Chella discovered that the robot had a higher task-completion rate when engaging in self-dialogue. ”
  • Enhancing virtual walking sensation for seated observer using walking avatars. Embodiment of a full-body or hands-and-feet avatar with rhythmic foot vibration induces illusory walking sensation without actual limb movement.” Also “Researchers’ VR walking simulator feels surprisingly close to the real thing.”
  • 2 Killed in Driverless Tesla Car Crash, Officials Say. ‘No one was driving the vehicle’ when the car crashed and burst into flames, killing two men, a constable said.”
  • Neo-Nazis And White Supremacists Are Coding Their Language On Telegram To Recruit More People. MAGA and QAnon adherents are ‘veering very quickly into some of the most intense stuff out there, stuff [that’s been circulating] on hardcore neo-Nazi groups for years,’ one expert said.”
  • Conservative versus liberal: A knock-down, drag-out climate policy fight. Experts weigh in on Canada’s Conservative party’s proposed carbon levy.”
  • How the Trial Over Floyd’s Death Flipped the Script for Black Victims. George Floyd was presented as a full person, not just a body beneath a police officer’s knee. Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in his murder, remained an aloof figure.”
  • There Will Be More Derek Chauvins. Powerful political actors are committed to ensuring that the system of American policing remains unchanged.”
  • Grim List Of Deaths At Police Hands Grows After Chauvin Verdict. Police officers in Ohio, California and North Carolina have killed Black people since Derek Chauvin was found guilty.”
  • Documents Reveal Cops Chasing Absurd Antifa and BLM Tips. George Floyd’s killer cop is guilty, but we’re still learning about just how weird police got when protests exploded in his name.”
  • Climate activists shouldn’t call the cops on each other.”
  • Greek life is losing members. Here’s why. From racist slurs to classism, three students share the reasons why they left — or dismantled — their fraternities and sororities.”
  • The ‘America First Caucus’ Is Backtracking, But Its Mistaken Ideas About ‘Anglo-Saxon’ History Still Have Scholars Concerned.”
  • Harriet Tubman: archaeologists find abolitionist’s lost Maryland home. Known as one of US history’s singular heroes, Tubman is believed to have spent time at the cabin as a child and teenager.”
  • Benny Hinn Loses $3 Million Lawsuit to Mail Order Company.”—”Hinn runs one of America’s most profitable faith healing ministries, which his nephew, Costi Hinn, has described as a ‘money making mafia.'”
  • An Oklahoma woman was charged with felony embezzlement for not returning a ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ VHS tape more than 20 years ago.”
  • Maybe the real video game influence on violence was violent religious extremism all along. “Violence-legitimizing verses in religious scriptures increase support for lethal violence. A survey experiment among Christians, Muslims and Jews in seven countries shows the mobilizing potential of religious scripture.”—”Extremist perpetrators of violence often quote verses from their religion’s holy scriptures that authorize, or even prescribe, attacks on enemies of the faith. Abdullah H., the Syrian now on trial who stabbed a homosexual couple with a knife and killed a man in Dresden in October 2020, also testified that he had been inspired to commit the crime by a Quranic sura. However, whether the religious motivation that extremist perpetrators of violence emphasize is causally related to their actions is often doubted. Now, WZB researchers Ruud Koopmans and Eylem Kanol can prove for the first time that verses in religious scriptures that legitimize violence can increase support for killing enemies of the faith.”
  • The guards caring for Chernobyl’s abandoned dogs. The descendants of pets abandoned by those fleeing the Chernobyl disaster are now striking up a curious relationship with humans charged with guarding the contaminated area.”
  • Watch “Gender Reveal Blast Rocks Town With 80 Pounds of Explosives.” Also “Gender reveal party using 80 pounds of explosives sets off earthquake reports. New Hampshire man turns himself in to police after detonating explosives as part of a gender reveal party held in a quarry.” Also “A huge explosion cracked house foundations in New Hampshire. An ‘extreme’ gender-reveal party was to blame. A gender-reveal celebration at a concrete plant in rural New Hampshire involved someone detonating 80 pounds of Tannerite, an over-the-counter explosive, police said.”
  • That’s ace! “Why Gen Zers Are Choosing Celibacy. ‘I only want to be with a man who has earned my trust, who worships the ground I walk on.'”
  • I’m Asexual. This Is What It’s Like For Me To Date. Asexual or ‘ace’ people like me experience limited to zero sexual attraction.”
  • Sick Of Ads For Period Panties And Baby Gear, I Changed My Gender. ‘Privately I griped about how ridiculous it was that so many people assumed all women wanted children, and now my targeted ads were doing it, too.'”
  • Inside the multi-million dollar orgasm cult endorsed by Hollywood. A story of idealism and desire, of Californian sex communes….and three-hour orgasms.”
  • Burnt out: is the exhausting cult of productivity finally over? In the last decade, employees have been encouraged to see work and life as interchangeable, and to hustle ever harder. But the pandemic has brought a new reckoning.”
  • The Dark Side of the Houseplant Boom. American culture is becoming more and more preoccupied with nature. What if all the celebrations of the wild world are actually manifestations of grief?”
  • The Psychology Behind Why Our Green Habits Have Changed. Last year marked a return to using disposable coffee cups and driving instead of using public transport. Can we get back on track?”
  • Art book reveals the most interesting ideas behind Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. All the rides, attractions, and characters that made it into the Disney theme park land — and some that didn’t.”
  • An investigation into the lack of kissing in the Marvel Cinematic universe. Do the superheroes know there are many reasons to kiss? We should tell them.”
  • No, not the movie! “A Brief History of Pulp Fiction.”
  • The Year Nerd Culture Took Over the Mainstream.”
  • Watch “When a character speaks a different language but doesn’t get subtitles.”
  • If you’ve got access to Disney+, check out Earth to Ned, s01e15, “Alien vs. Nedator” for a silly, fun poke at conspiracy theory and paranoia.

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