Monthly Archives: June 2021

Omnium Gatherum: 30jun2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 30, 2021

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

  • FBI releases information on Marjorie Cameron (Jack Parsons’ wife).” Marjorie Cameron Part 01 of 01. (Apparently, a lot of this was already released from an FOIA related to Jack Parsons, but here some redactions in that material of Marjorie’s name are revealed in those.)
  • “You are the candle, you are the sword”: a profile of Dr. Leo Louis Martello.”
  • Not Real Witches: Homophobia in the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’.”
  • A Theurgist’s Book of Hours [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jeffrey S Kupperman—”Suitable for both beginners and advanced practitioners, A Theurgist’s Book of Hours is an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in developing or deepening their connection with the divine via daily praxis. This fascinating and unique work builds on the foundations laid by author Jeffrey S. Kupperman in his previous book Living Theurgy (Avalonia 2014) but also can be used independently, as it provides both the theoretical knowledge and the practical guidance needed to start incorporating theurgical prayer into your ritual practice. While these teachings provide a structured framework which draws primarily upon the Neoplatonic teachings of Iamblichus, Proclus, Pseudo-Dionysius and the lunar/solar calendar reforms of Plethon they are eminently adaptable and accessible to practitioners of any tradition which seeks direct connection and union with the divine, including Paganism, Christianity and Jewish Mysticism. In addition to detailed calendars, this unprecedented work provides all you need to form your own liturgy, including prayers, hymns and extracts from significant writings such as the Chaldean Oracles and the Greek Magical Papyri. The resulting Book of Hours is truly one of a kind, and though its roots are ancient, its applications are a valuable addition to a living tradition that evolves along with us all. Theurgy is a growing area of interest for the modern esoteric practitioner and this book will prove itself indispensable to all who seek divine connection. ‘In brief, prayer nurtures the mind, makes us more receptive to divine beings, habituates us to the otherwise potentially lethal divine light, perfects our ability to contact the gods, uplifts our minds to those of the gods, links us to them, purifies our pneumatic vehicle, brings out the divine element in the human soul, and makes us ‘the familiar consorts of the gods.’ Prayer is so important that ‘no sacred act can take place’ without it’—Jeffrey Kupperman, A Theurgist’s Book of Hours”
  • How the Prophetic Fiction of Kathrine Kressmann Taylor Exposed the Dangers of Nazism and the Rise of Hitler.” Excerpt from Margot Livesey’s introduction to the 2021 edition of Address Unknown [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor—”A rediscovered classic and international bestseller that recounts the gripping tale of a friendship destroyed at the hands of Nazi Germany In this searing novel, Kathrine Kressmann Taylor brings vividly to life the insidious spread of Nazism through a series of letters between Max, a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco, and Martin, his friend and former business partner who has returned to Germany in 1932, just as Hitler is coming to power. Originally published in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an international sensation. Credited with exposing the dangers of Nazism to American readers early on, it is also a scathing indictment of fascist movements around the world and a harrowing exposé of the power of the pen as a weapon. A powerful and eloquent tale about the consequences of a friendship—and society—poisoned by extremism, Address Unknown remains hauntingly and painfully relevant today. ”
  • “If someone can prove me wrong and show me that something I thought or did was mistaken, I’ll gladly change, because my goal is the truth and the truth has never harmed anyone. The man who’s harmed is the one who persists in his own self-deception and ignorance.”—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21 (tr. Robin Waterfield) quoted at An Open Mind.
  • The Empire of Gormenghast“—”I am re-reading the Gormenghast trilogy, which is pleasing to me. Don’t know how long ago I read it but I must have been through a lot of changes since then because the writing is amazing in a way I have no memory of. That for later; for now the thoughts which idle through my mind before sleep are about the world around Gormenghast.”
  • Samuel Hill was prophetic in 1966 when he predicted Southern churches in crisis.”—”In his monumental work, Southern Churches in Crisis, published in 1966, Samuel S. Hill Jr, then chair of the religion department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, wrote: ‘The cultural-social complex in which revivalism-fundamentalism came to birth and flourished daily undergoes significant modification. The passing of the old culture spells the decline of this culture-religion spawned in it and so closely tied to it. As a result, the last four or five years have witnessed the first trends in scores of years toward the stabilizing of religious statistics. Although the denominations do not yet acknowledge it or grasp its significance, an unprecedented era, likely to be marked by flux and decline, is breaking upon them. The heart of the matter is that the ministry of the churches is ever more irrelevant to persons in the new society. … If what the churches are doing does not relate the divine message, compassion, and power to (people’s) real lives, their understanding, their needs, and their problems, the churches act irresponsibly.’ What Samuel Hill projected into the future 55 years ago has become our present. Perhaps a brief foray into his thought will provide insight into where Southern churches have been, in order to better understand where they are right now.”
  • Following on news about “Dragon” man: “New fossils reveal a strange-looking Neanderthal in Israel
  • From the Alpha and Omega dept: “What is a heat dome? Extreme temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, explained“—”In this case, a ridge of high pressure, which is the heat dome, has become lodged in the Pacific Northwest. It is acting as a block in the atmosphere, not allowing the weather to move. The specific type of block is called an Omega block, because it looks like the greek letter Omega, and the hot air is pooling inside.”
  • Ugh. Not now Attack of the Clones! “Single bee is making an immortal clone army thanks to a genetic fluke. One bee has cloned itself millions of times over the past three decades.”
  • Ugh. Not now giant glowing space hand of, presumably, Apollo! “Giant ghostly ‘hand’ stretches through space in new X-ray views.”
  • Dinosaurs were struggling long before the asteroid hit“—”Millions of years before a massive asteroid struck what’s now the Yucatan Peninsula, the dinosaurs were already struggling. Though the devastating effects of the asteroid impact that ended the Mesozoic Era likely turned out the lights on the dinosaurs, new research suggests global cooling was already ushering them to the door.” Tweet—”Did an asteroid write this?”
  • ‘Polar dinosaurs’ may have given birth in the Arctic over 70 million years ago, study finds.”
  • Past, present and future stars that can see Earth as a transiting exoplanet.”—”In the search for life in the cosmos, transiting exoplanets are currently our best targets. With thousands already detected, our search is entering a new era of discovery with upcoming large telescopes that will look for signs of ‘life’ in the atmospheres of transiting worlds. Previous work has explored the zone from which Earth would be visible while transiting the Sun. However, these studies considered only the current position of stars, and did not include their changing vantage point over time. Here we report that 1,715 stars within 100 parsecs from the Sun are in the right position to have spotted life on a transiting Earth since early human civilization (about 5,000 years ago), with an additional 319 stars entering this special vantage point in the next 5,000 years. Among these stars are seven known exoplanet hosts, including Ross-128, which saw Earth transit the Sun in the past, and Teegarden’s Star and Trappist-1, which will start to see it in 29 and 1,642 years, respectively. We found that human-made radio waves have already swept over 75 of the closest stars on our list.”
  • Alien planets have had ‘front-row’ view of Earth for ages, astronomers say. What if we’re the aliens?”
  • ‘Edge of chaos’ opens pathway to artificial intelligence discoveries.”—”Scientists at the University of Sydney and Japan’s National Institute for Material Science (NIMS) have discovered that an artificial network of nanowires can be tuned to respond in a brain-like way when electrically stimulated.”
  • When A City-Size Star Becomes A Black Hole’s Lunch, The Universe Roils.”—”A black hole swallowing a neutron star — a star more massive than our sun but only about the size of a city — has been observed for the first time ever.”
  • NASA’s Webb Telescope Will Look Back in Time, Use Quasars to Unlock the Secrets of the Early Universe. Looking back in time, Webb will see quasars as they appeared billions of years ago. Outshining all the stars in their host galaxies combined, quasars are among the brightest objects in the universe. These brilliant, distant and active supermassive black holes shape the galaxies in which they reside. Shortly after its launch, scientists will use Webb to study six of the most far-flung and luminous quasars, along with their host galaxies, in the very young universe. They will examine what part quasars play in galaxy evolution during these early times. The team will also use the quasars to study the gas in the space between galaxies in the infant universe. Only with Webb’s extreme sensitivity to low levels of light and its superb angular resolution will this be possible.”
  • Earth-like worlds capable of sustaining life may be less common than we thought. Life on other potentially habitable worlds might not receive enough light to sustain a thriving biosphere.”
  • How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs. Well before people domesticated crops, they were grinding grains for hearty stews and other starchy dishes.”
  • From The Day of the Triffids dept: “Researcher introduces new CRISPR 3.0 system for highly efficient gene activation in plants.”
  • New Device Creates Water From Thin Air. Researchers say they have solved the tricky problem of making a totally passive, 24/7 water generating system.”—”The design works pretty well, Hächler said. In lab tests, the maximum yield his team was able to get from the device was 0.05 liters (1.8 fluid ounces) per square meter per hour, very close to the theoretical maximum yield that researchers had calculated. That means the device is able to practically produce around 1.2 liters per square meter per day, or about a third of a person’s required daily intake. This is around twice the output of some other passive technologies, the researchers said.”
  • What’s Really Happening When You Experience Déjà Vu? The study of déjà vu is now legit science, though researchers still don’t know what exactly causes it.”
  • Science Should Not Try to Absorb Religion and Other Ways of Knowing. Our diverse ways of seeing reality will never, and should never, meld into a monolithic worldview.”
  • How Underground Fiber Optics Spy on Humans Moving Above. Vibrations from cars and pedestrians create unique signals in cables. Now scientists have used the trick to show how Covid-19 brought life to a halt.”—”Fiber optic cables work by perfectly trapping pulses of light and transporting them vast distances as signals. But when a car or person passes overhead, the vibrations introduce a disturbance, or imperfection: a tiny amount of that light scatters back to the source. Because the speed of light is a known quantity, the Penn State researchers could shine a laser through a single fiber optic strand and measure vibrations at different lengths of the cable by calculating the time it took the scattered light to travel. The technique is known in geoscience as distributed acoustic sensing, or DAS.”
  • Your AI pair programmer. With GitHub Copilot, get suggestions for whole lines or entire functions right inside your editor.”—”Trained on billions of lines of public code, GitHub Copilot puts the knowledge you need at your fingertips, saving you time and helping you stay focused.”
  • Can Algorithmic Bias Teach Us about Race?“—”Machines learned racism from humans. Perhaps humans can now learn about that racism from the very machines they taught.”
  • John McAfee hideout traced to ‘ghost hotel’ with a bitcoin farm.”—”Cybersecurity guru John McAfee — who was found hanged in his jail cell this week — had been hiding out for years in a Spanish “ghost hotel” owned by a Russian who allegedly used it to run a secret bitcoin farm, according to reports.” “McAfee on Wednesday had just been ordered to be extradited to the US when he was found hanged in his Barcelona jail cell.” “Some of the US charges he faced included a pump-and-dump scheme involving cryptocurrencies that he was touting on social media. In that case, McAfee and an accomplice allegedly bilked bitcoin investors out of some $13 million in two schemes, including one where they bought up large quantities of “alt-coin,” then inflated the price of it by publicizing it on Twitter. They then sold off the cryptocurrency at the inflated price and made a $2 million profit, prosecutors said. He had been facing up to 30 years in jail if convicted of all the charges against him.” Also, previously: “Antivirus pioneer John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison.”
  • Mircea Popescu, Bitcoin Blogger and Provocateur, Reported Dead at 41. Mircea Popescu’a aggressive brand of unapologetic, uncompromising Bitcoin evangelism made his influence enduring despite his documented instances of sexism and bigotry.” Also “Bitcoin Billionaire Reportedly Found Dead.”—”Given his tremendous wealth — his holdings would have been worth almost $2 billion when Bitcoin hit all-time highs in mid-April — the crypto market is now wondering what will happen to all those assets. It’s a timely reminder that without a backup plan, digital currency holdings can easily end up being wiped off the face of the earth when their owner passes away.”
  • Discovery of Black Death bacterium in 5,000-year-old body shows ancient roots of medieval plague.”
  • Scientist recovers coronavirus gene sequences secretly deleted last year in Wuhan. He finds 13 sequences from some of the earliest cases in Wuhan.”—”Finding the origin story for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for nearly 3.9 million deaths worldwide, has been largely hampered by lack of access to information from China where cases first popped up. Now, a researcher in Seattle has dug up deleted files from Google Cloud that reveal 13 partial genetic sequences for some of the earliest cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, Carl Zimmer reported for The New York Times. The sequences don’t tip the scales toward or away from one of the many theories about how SARS-CoV-2 came to be — they do not suggest the virus leaked from a high-security lab in Wuhan, nor do they suggest a natural spillover event. But they do firm up the idea that the novel coronavirus was circulating earlier than the first major outbreak at a seafood market.” Also “Scientist Finds Early Virus Sequences That Had Been Mysteriously Deleted. By rooting through files stored on Google Cloud, a researcher says he recovered 13 early coronavirus sequences that had disappeared from a database last year.” Also, previously: “Scientist Finds Early Coronavirus Sequences That Had Been Mysteriously Deleted.”
  • GOP megadonor funds S.D. troops’ border deployment.” Also “GOP donor funds South Dakota National Guard troops in Texas.” Also “Kristi Noem Uses GOP Donor’s ‘Private Donation’ For Guard Deployment To Texas. The South Dakota governor and 2024 presidential hopeful says the troops are necessary to protect the southern border from migrants trying to enter the country.”—”‘Kristi Noem is using National Guard troops like mercenaries for her personal political ambitions and some authoritarian fantasy of a personal military,’ Wellman said. ‘The whole thing is, if not illegal, incredibly inappropriate.'”
  • Inside Gun-Surrendering Criminal Mark McCloskey’s Very Sad St. Louis Rally.”—”Noted local criminal Mark McCloskey played host to a barbecue/political rally on Sunday afternoon, drawing tens of admirers to the sweltering parking lot of a closed outlet mall in St. Louis County to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the time he pulled a gun on a crowd of people who otherwise would never have noticed or cared he existed.”
  • Pastor Greg Locke Says Biden Is ‘Demon-Possessed,’ Insists Trump Is ‘Legitimate President’
  • QAnon Supporters Express Boredom With ‘Same Old’ Trump Speech: ‘This Is Getting Ridiculous’.” Getting?
  • The ruling suspending Rudy Giuliani’s law license is hilarious.”—”In cataloging Giuliani’s transgressions, the filing reads as a bemused and indignant greatest hits of Trump 2020 election lies, along with point-by-point refutations and comically timed footnotes. With every other sentence, the judges are almost shouting at the reader, ‘Get a load of the nerve on this guy!'”
  • ‘The Tea Party to the 10th power’: Trumpworld bets big on critical race theory. Republicans aren’t coy about what they are trying to do. It’s not just about changing curricula. It’s about taking back Congress.”
  • No jail time for first Capitol Riot defendant sentenced. Anna Morgan-Lloyd gets 3 years probation for entering the Capitol illegally on Jan. 6.”
  • DeSantis signs bill requiring Florida students, professors to register political views with state. Universities may lose funding if staff and students’ beliefs do not satisfy Florida’s GOP-run legislature.” Also tweet—”Public universities in Florida will be required to survey both faculty and students on their political beliefs and viewpoints, with the institutions at risk of losing their funding if the responses are not satisfactory to the state’s GOP-led legislature.” Also tweet—”This is a horrendous step toward thought control. Any university that loses state funding for refusing to submit to this regime or for cooperating and then flunking the state’s test of ideological suitability will have a strong First Amendment case I’d gladly help press pro bono.”
  • They Seemed Like Democratic Activists. They Were Secretly Conservative Spies. Operatives infiltrated progressive groups across the West to try to manipulate politics and reshape the national electoral map. They targeted moderate Republicans, too — anyone seen as threats to hard-line conservatives.”
  • Nine Little Girls“—”Some years ago, deep into a confounding research assignment for which I had been combing through the website of the South Dakota legislature, I stumbled upon the recorded testimony of a woman describing in detail her own rape and torture, and the tortures of her sisters by the same hands. In her account the acts, which allegedly took place in the 1960s and 1970s, continued for several years and had begun when they were all children some fifty years earlier.” “Like all eight of her sisters (Louise, Francine, Mary, Barbara, Joann, and three others who wish to remain anonymous), and like most victims of childhood sexual assault, she claims that she repressed memories of the abuse that she sustained while a child and a teenager. Louise, Geraldine’s older sister, alleges that she was in third grade when she became the first of her family to be abused by the priests and nuns at St. Paul’s Mission School (now called Marty Indian School), a Catholic school in Marty, South Dakota. The nine sisters were born and raised in Olga, North Dakota into a tribe of the Anishinaabe people known by the federal government as the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, to a strong-willed matriarch, the mother of seventeen children. They were among those Native toddlers whose parents had willingly sent them to Native boarding school in order to secure an education that could supply the skills necessary to thrive in this country. Others across the country were ordered from their homes by government officials, still others were allegedly forcibly taken from their families.” “By becoming aware of them, and by extension of all the men and women like the nine sisters whose lives were permanently mutilated by similar ordeals, these stories became in some sense also mine. I say this humbly. Again, I am not like them, and I have not suffered anything like what they have suffered. But it would be wrong to turn away from them for that reason, to invoke ‘alterity’ and try to forget what I have learned. Difference should not be an excuse for indifference. If one does the work of study and imagination, the arduous and respectful work, then the gulf can be adequately traversed — certainly enough to impose moral and social and political responsibilities. Strangely, solemnly, in ways totally unlike the victims and their communities, I remember. They are a part of me. Now they are a part of you.”
  • Why Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s 1783 Portrait of a Mother Nursing Broke New Ground.”—”The last time Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s portrait of Christine Geneviève Mitoire was shown in public was almost as dramatic as the first. The large-scale pastel, ‘Portrait of Madame Charles Mitoire with Her Children’ (1783), surfaced in living color this month after only being visible for the past century in black-and-white reproductions, from a photo taken when it was last on the market at a Parisian gallery.” “Mitoire’s portrait caused a stir the first time it was exhibited, too. It was part of a series of 11 portraits that Labille-Guiard exhibited in 1783 as her Paris Salon debut, the year she was admitted to the prestigious Académie Royale. Mitoire was the only woman in the series. And she was breastfeeding.”
  • Picasso painting found as builder arrested over art heist. A painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen nine years ago during a heist at a Greek gallery has been recovered.”
  • Purchased at a Landfill for $5, a David Bowie Painting Smashed an Auction Record.”
  • Mexico raids building project next to Teotihuacán pyramids.”—”Mexican archaeological officials reported last week that they had been trying since March to halt the private construction project, but work continued on what local media says were plans to build some sort of amusement park.”
  • From the Beneath the Planet of the Apes dept: “Eden Project to develop £30m ‘underground cathedral’. The Eden Project is planning an ‘underground cathedral’ by transforming a Portland cavern into a £30m tourist attraction in Dorset.”
  • Speaking of Planet of the Apes movies and Alpha and Omega level weather patterns, from 2019: “How Beneath the Planet of the Apes Nearly Buried The Franchise. How the insane Beneath the Planet of the Apes almost buried the series after two movies.”
  • Raves from the grave: lost 90s subculture is back in the spotlight. Driven by a ‘groundswell’ of young devotees and fortysomething nostalgia, a series of events is celebrating the youth movement.”
  • Rome’s Colosseum opens its underground for the first time in its history.”—”It is not only the first time in 2,000 years that the area — described as the “heart” of the building — has been open; since the underground levels, or “hypogea,” were where gladiators and animals waited before going into combat, this is the first time in the monument’s history that the public has ever been allowed in.”
  • Polish Politicians Sue Artist-Activists for Mapping ‘Atlas of Hate’.”—”A group of local governments in Poland that had declared themselves as “free from LGBT ideology” are waging a battle in court against four artist-activists who created the Atlas of Hate, an interactive map charting the country’s anti-gay zones.”
  • Affidavit: FBI feared Pennsylvania would seize fabled gold.”—”An FBI agent applied for a federal warrant in 2018 to seize a fabled cache of U.S. government gold he said was ‘stolen during the Civil War’ and hidden in a Pennsylvania cave, saying the state might take the gold for itself if the feds asked for permission, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.”
  • I’ve Cracked Zodiac, a French Engineer Says. Online Sleuths Are Skeptical. Fayçal Ziraoui caused an online uproar after saying he had cracked unsolved ciphers attributed to the Zodiac killer in California and identified him, potentially ending a 50-year-old quest.”
  • Three Core Ideas to Make Remote Work, Work.”—”Remote work, works – when we are intentional about it. My three core principles of remote work are: Embrace async. Enable autonomy. Build connection.”
  • ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ rolling rally makes first stop in Missouri.”—”According to Peter Mcindoe, with the Birds Aren’t Real movement, all birds in the United States were killed by the government and replaced by federal drones. “What makes me think that? I think the evidence is all around us, birds sit on power lines, we believe they’re charging on power lines, we believe that bird poop on cars is liquid tracking apparatus.” The movement – which has been fueled by online chatter as well as mysterious fliers posted in cities across the U.S. – is currently on tour, and Springfield was its first stop. Birds Aren’t Real relies on internet-fueled guerilla marketing to spread a silly message. Followers are poking fun at conspiracy theories like QAnon that have gone mainstream over the last few years.” Also Birds Aren’t Real.
  • Unheard Johnny Cash live album recorded by Grateful Dead engineer gets release date“—”A never-heard Johnny Cash live album from 1968 recorded by longtime Grateful Dead associate Owsley “Bear” Stanley in San Francisco is set for release on Sept. 24”. Direct via At The Carousel Ballroom April 24, 1968, also Amazon, iTunes, Spotify.
  • What is Itchfunding?. Itchfunding is just a community effort to move more games outside of traditional crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter or sites of it’s ilk, for the health of the indie game community. The ideal being that in the future, it’s easier to launch and fund a game without needing to rely on a massive corporation like Kickstarter, but also to keep all of your things in one place (in that the place you go to raise money, is also your normal store front).
  • Shipping Prices For Board Games Have Gone Through The Roof. Freight shipping costs are up 300-400%, a cost some publishers simply can’t afford to absorb.”
  • If You’re A Child Of The ’80s, I Guarantee You’ll Fall In Love With This New “Goonies” Board Game. The Goonies: Never Say Die is a new role-playing game from the creative minds at Funko Games.” Also “The Goonies get a new board game this summer. Your first look at The Goonies: Never Say Die from Funko Games.” It’s currently exclusively at Target.
  • WizKids Announces New Dungeons & Dragons Game for Kids.”—”WizKids has announced plans to publish a new Dungeons & Dragons-themed game designed to teach kids the basics of dungeon delving. Earlier this week, WizKids announced Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Scrawlers – Heroes of Undermountain, a new game for 2-4 players. Each player is given a map of one of Undermountain’s infamous levels which players then have to traverse by using a marker to draw a continuous line through the different rooms. Players attempt to score victory points by interacting with treasures, defeating monsters and gathering artifacts, keeping in mind that they have to keep drawing their line while trying to race against other players in real time. Players can choose between one of four classes, each of which has an action that they can do quicker than the other players. For instance, the Barbarian can defeat monsters quicker than other players, while the Rogue collects treasure more easily. There’s also a level up component to the game and the maps grow more difficult as they delve deeper into Undermountain. Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Scrawlers – Heroes of Undermountain will cost $25 and will be released in October.” This page says it releases in July: Pre-Order – Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Scrawlers: Heroes of Undermountain.
  • New in the saga of TSR: “TSR Is Back…. Again!” and “TSR (2) Confirms TSR (3)’s Acquisition of Trademark (Updated!).” But Ernie Gygax on New TSR, WotC Beefs, Trademarks, Licensees, 5E, & More and Tweet—”WOOOOOOOOWWWW…. *sips tea*”. Also “A TSR Announces a Star Frontiers Reboot” and “TSR Plans to Bring Back Classic RPG Star Frontiers
  • From the “Here we come, walkin’ down the street” dept: “Adelaide’s ‘Big Bird Bandits’ appear in court charged with stealing Sesame Street costume.”
  • Interview with the Vampire Series From Breaking Bad Producer Coming to AMC in 2022. Friday Nights Light writer will serve as showrunner.”—”Given the numerous spinoffs AMC has produced for The Walking Dead and the size of the Anne Rice collection, the network seems eager to expand the Vampire universe as far as it can go.”
  • Good Omens is returning for a second season on Amazon Prime Video. Crowley and Aziraphale are coming back.” Also “‘Good Omens’ Renewed For Season 2 At Amazon.” Also “Michael Sheen, David Tennant to reunite for Good Omens season 2. Season 1 was originally intended as a standalone miniseries, adapted from Terry Pratchett’s beloved 1990 novel.” Also “Really Bloody Excellent Omens…” and “A Conversation with Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett” both Neil Gaiman talking about a sequel, so it’s not out of nowhere, or something that wasn’t already contemplated by both authors, if you were concerned at all.
  • Shang-Chi Teases The MCU’s Biggest Atlantis Setup Yet. The second trailer for Shang-Chi includes what could turn out to be the biggest Atlantis setup Marvel has done yet in the MCU.”—”The dragon in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may be the biggest Atlantis setup that Marvel has attempted yet. Thus far, Marvel has avoided directly mentioning the undersea kingdom and the home of Namor the Sub-Mariner in Marvel’s movies.”
  • Watch “Legends Never Die: An Oral History of ‘The Green Knight’“, narrated by Ralph Ineson, a promo for A24’s movie The Green Knight, dir. David Lowery with Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, and Joel Edgerton; but it’s a pretty neat primer, as one might expect. The movie finally hits cinemas today. I mean, if anyone still goes to the cinema anymore. As a reminder, here’s the actual trailer.

What have you been seeing around and thinking about lately? What have you seen that caught your eye? Thinking about something lately, or reading something interesting, or have a project you’re working on? Participate by tagging @[email protected] in the ‘verse with what you’ve got to share. Like, boost, or comment posts by that account to help curate the best stuff for everyone.

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“We’re all in this together,” she said, which was a typically Fifth assumption. The Ninth didn’t think anyone was in anything together, or if they were, they all had to disperse as soon as humanly possible to avoid splash damage.

Tamsyn Muir, Harrow the Ninth [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Muir Harrow the Ninth- in this together assumption disperse avoid splash damage


Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Zanoni [Amazon, Bookshop, Internet Archive, Local Library] by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

Lytton Zanoni

Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Zanoni romanticized Rosicrucianism for 19th-century readers, and it became a staple of occultist bookshelves. It tells the story of a Rosicrucian adept in the 18th century whose use of the elixir of life has sustained him since the ancient Babylonian empire, and who ultimately sacrifices his magical immortality.

Zanoni refers to the adept’s Holy Guardian Angel or personal genius as “Adonai,” a usage later adopted by both Anna Kingsford and Aleister Crowley, among others. Golden Dawn founder MacGregor Mathers first became interested in the occult after reading Zanoni. He used “Zanoni” as a nickname; his wife and close friends called him “Zan” in conversation.

Zanoni also depicts an ordeal involving “The Guardian of the Threshold.” Madame Blavatsky would evolve this phrase into “the Dweller of the Threshold,” specifically citing Zanoni, and she affirmed the reality of the phenomenon, also referencing “Porphyry and other philosophers” regarding its nature. Blavatsky was so taken with the occult descriptions in Zanoni that the first volume of her Isis Unveiled quotes the novel for more than a full page. “Such,” she writes, “is the insufficient sketch of elemental beings void of divine spirit, given by one whom many with reason believed to know more than he was prepared to admit in the face of an incredulous public” (IU, I, 286).

Crowley later took up this thread in Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente, chapter IV, verse 34: “On the threshold stood the fulminant figure of Evil … .” In his commentary, he relates this figure explicitly to Zanoni’s exposition of “the Evil Persona, the Dweller on the Threshold, portrayed sensationally for the trade by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton.”

It is hard to overestimate the influence of Zanoni on occultists in the late 19th century, and the extent to which it was credited as an informed representation of magical adeptship.

Aurum Solis

J S Kupperman reviews Aurum Solis: Initiation Ceremonies and Inner Magical Techniques [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Osborne Phillips in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition archive.

Phillips Aurum Solis

Osborne Phillips, former Chief of the Ogdoadic occult order known as the Aurum Solis, here reveals for the first time the initiatory ceremonies of that order, along with papers on their symbolism, the symbolism of the officers and some of the magical techniques and visualizations utilized in those rituals. The main symbolism of the Aurum Solis is Greek, though utilized with an hermetic understanding and with corresponding hermetic techniques. Officer titles in this degree include Hermes, the Initiator and Archmagus and Asklepias, the Assistant Adept. The third and final degree of the Aurum Solis combines Greek symbolism along with Egyptian and other ancient traditions. Aurum Solis provides a brief history of the Order and also discusses the initiatory pattern used by the Aurum Solis’ initiatory scheme known as the Fivefold Pattern of the House of Sacrifice. The book is then divided into two sections, the first dealing with the first two degrees or Outer Order of the Aurum Solis, the second concerning the third degree or Inner Order.

The Outer Order chapters, after the introduction, first discuss the temple set up used by the Aurum Solis, describing the placement of its furniture, banners and other symbolic “decoration”. Next the symbolism of the temple officers, their vestments or clothing and their pentacles or lamens is discussed. After this a ritual consecration of the temple space, along with explanations and visualizations is given. Finally the first and second degrees, called the Neophyte of the Great Work and Servitor of the Secret Flame, respectively, are given, again along with symbolism, descriptions of movements, magical techniques and visualizations.

The second section, concerning the Inner Order, follows a similar format as the previous section. First the Telesterion, the special temple or magical working space associated solely with the Aurum Solis’ third degree, is described. Next the officers and their regalia are described, along with their symbolism. The next chapter concerns the “Great One of Enchantments,” which is the name of the special Egyptian wand used in the third degree initiation, is described, along with its consecration ritual. Fourth the ritual of the third degree, called the Votary of the Sun, is described and explained. Finally there is a chapter called “The Bond of Light” that gives the consecration ritual for the Tessera; the symbol of the Work of the Aurum Solis.

Aurum Solis is an important addition to the already existing corpus of Aurum Solis materials. While it does not appear to provide the complete secrets of the Order’s initiation ceremonies on the level that Pat Zalewski’s Golden Dawn Rituals and Commentaries does, it does provide the beginning magician a framework to operate under and the experienced magician enough tools to fill in the blanks. It completes, as it were, the purpose of the Aurum Solis Magical Philosophy series, which previously gave its readers the important techniques and philosophies of the Order. The only drawback of the book is its complete lack of diagrams and drawings.

The smell pierced her. It coiled and drifted and wove through her, conjuring the last drip of whiskey in her father’s crystal decanter, the first strawberries of summer, the last scrap of Christmas pudding smeared over gold-chased bone china and licked off with lazy tongue swipes. It smelled like a sticky wetness on her fingers, coaxed out of a pretty girl in the cloak room at a Mayfair ball, slipped into a pair of silk gloves and placed on a young colonel’s scarlet shoulder during the waltz.

Kelly Robson, A Human Stain [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Robson A Human Stain smell pierced her coiled drifted wove conjuring whiskey sticky wetness

Omnium Gatherum: 27jun2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 27, 2021

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

  • Ghosts I Have Seen: Austin Spare, Spirits and Spiritualism with Robert Shehu-Ansell, of Fulgur Press, presented by The College Of Psychic Studies. Thursday 22nd July 2021: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (UK Time), online. “Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956) was one of the first professional English artists to publicly embrace the occult and paranormal. Fêted by his contemporaries for his skill as a draughtsman, throughout a working life of more than fifty years, Spare never wavered from his vision of a world populated by spirits. In this fully illustrated lecture, the expression of Spare’s interest in spirits and spiritualism will be traced throughout his life, work and friendships; from his early experiments with planchettes and automatism, c.1904–1910, to his later large pastel series, c. 1955, ‘Ghosts I Have Seen’.”
  • No, Disney Isn’t Trying to Own the Norse God Loki“—”I know the whole “Disney steals the god Loki” story sounds plausible, because Disney did actually try to claim the phrase Dia de los Muertos before public outcry shut them down, so they have shown they are ready to be cultural appropriators if they think there is profit in it. And if they ever do try to claim ownership of medieval books and their contents and the names of the gods within them, or any other thing that properly belongs to the entire world and should always be freely available to everyone, then we should indeed fight them on that. But that’s not what is happening right now.” Also “Petition demands Disney stop trademarking Norse gods.”
  • Godkiller: Spiderland Returns in Black Mask September 2021 Solicits” About Godkiller hardcovers and Godkiller: Walk Among Us – Complete Collection—”The beloved, ultra-not-for-kids, dystopic saga about teenage orphan Tommy and escaped slave-girl Halfpipe who travel through a post-nuke, fascist-run wasteland in search of a new heart for Tommy’s dying sister.”—”From Matteo Pizzolo (CALEXIT) and Anna Wieszczyk, the comic that Zac Thompson said “pushed me further than I’ve ever been pushed” returns to ratchet up the chaos, spitting punk rock fury, thundering into your eyeballs and running roughshod across your brains with its often mindbending, sometimes horrifying, always clever & devious tale of sci-fi magic, apocalyptic sex, and subversive mindbombs.” One review says “A singular vision full of fresh elegant brutality and dark humor, it’s like some genius commissioned Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Gilliam, and Aleister Crowley to reinvent dystopia fiction.” Apparently one of the covers also has a character in one of Crowley’s iconic poses, from Aha! in Equinox I, 3.
  • ‘An Unquiet Grave’ review: grief-stricken widower gets lost in the after-wife. On the anniversary of his beloved’s passing, a man tries to bring her back from the dead”—”At what stage in your Average Joe Shmoe’s grief does a black magic ritual appear to be a viable option? Was counselling too expensive? Did the self-help books fail? And what fast-track studies did he undertake to become an Aleister Crowley-style mega-mage just a year from the catalytic tragedy? Gymnastic suspension of disbelief is required to be settled with the idea before Jamie the Warlock gets cracking with the incantations.”
  • Rod & Ring: An Initiation IntoA Mesopotamian Mystery Tradition by Samuel David on preorder—”History tells us of the mystery traditions of Isis, Dionysius, and Mithras – but what of the mysteries of Inanna, Enki, and Dumuzid? Author Samuel David’s Order of the Rod & Ring seeks to fill those lacunae with a spiritual journey that combines traditional Mesopotamian praxis with a contemporary paradigm. Immerse yourself in this mystery tradition as you undertake a mythopoetic journey informed by historical, religious, and cultic practices, as well as mythology, and research from experts in the field of Assyriology. Prepare yourself to approach the shrine of the gods as their supplicant; take up the Divine Measures bestowed upon humanity as their servant, and brave the dark as you descend into the depths of the Underworld; be reborn as the temple steward and pass through the Heavenly gates to present yourself as one worthy to be entrusted with their holy regalia: the Rod and the Ring.”
  • Occult Imperium: Arturo Reghini, Roman Traditionalism, and the Anti-Modern Reaction in Fascist Italy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Christian Giudice, due Dec, 2021—”Christian Giudice’s Occult Imperium explores Italian national forms of Occultism, chiefly analyzing Arturo Reghini (1878-1946), his copious writings, and Roman Traditionalism. Trained as a mathematician at the prestigious University of Pisa, Reghini was one of the three giants of occult and esoteric thought in Italy, alongside his colleagues Julius Evola (1898-1974) and Giulian Kremmerz (1861-1930). Using Reghini’s articles, books, and letters, as a guide, Giudice explores the interaction between occultism, Traditionalism, and different facets of modernity in early-twentieth-century Italy. The book takes into consideration many factors particular to the Italian peninsula: the ties with avant-garde movements such as the Florentine Scapigliatura and Futurism, the occult vogues typical to Italy, the rise to power of Benito Mussolini and Fascism, and, lastly, the power of the Holy See over different expressions of spirituality. Occult Imperium explores the convergence of new forms of spirituality in early twentieth-century Italy.”
  • Healthcare Has a Race—and Gender—Problem. Elinor Cleghorn on the Struggle for Black Women to Be Heard.” More about Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Elinor Cleghorn—”A trailblazing, conversation-starting history of women’s health–from the earliest medical ideas about women’s illnesses to hormones and autoimmune diseases–brought together in a fascinating sweeping narrative.”
  • George Barbier’s Imaginary Lives.”—”It’s always satisfying when one perennial subject here connects to another. Imaginary Lives is a story collection by Symbolist writer Marcel Schwob that George Barbier lavishly illustrated in a new edition published in 1929.”
  • Dessinateurs et humoristes: George Barbier“—”One of the regular Bon Ton contributors was George Barbier (1882–1932), an artist whose work has appeared in several posts here, and who I look for now and then when browsing library archives. Searching for new Barbier may be at an end, however, since the more recent uploads at Gallica include almost all of the books that he illustrated. It’s no surprise that these have turned up eventually—it was only a matter of time—but among the cache there’s a unique item that I’d never have expected to see.” “As for the Barbier scrapbook, if you like the artist’s drawings this is a delight to look through, a cornucopia of camp frivolity replete with all the usual crinolined ladies, powdered wigs, mischievous Cupids, tiny dogs, and almost as many nude males as there are females. There’s also a picture bearing the title “The Great God Pan” although as a representation of the deity it’s closer to Aubrey Beardsley than anything from Arthur Machen.”
  • The art of John Alcorn, 1935–1992.”—”Another member of the Groovy Set, John Alcorn was a very prolific illustrator and designer whose career included a period at Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast’s Push Pin Studios. Alcorn’s art predates the groovy look, and also extends beyond it, but since I have a taste for this quasi-psychedelic style all the examples here are from the late 1960s/early 1970s.”
  • What If Procrastination Is an Essential Part of Our Writing Process?.”—”For as long as I am involved in those tasks, the thing that I am supposed to be writing remains in glorious, perfectible potentia. As Annie Dillard puts it in The Writing Life: ‘It is a glowing thing, a blurred thing of beauty. Its structure is at once luminous and translucent: you can see the world through it.’ It remains on the cusp of realization; it belongs to tomorrow.”
  • Paramount Options Rediscovered Wright Novel for Seven Figures.”—”The rediscovered, initially unpublished, novel by Richard Wright, The Man Who Lived Underground, has been optioned by Paramount in a seven-figure deal. The manuscript was discovered in 2010 by Wright’s daughter, Julia Wright, who found it in his archive at Yale. (Wright died in 1960.) Initially rejected by publishers—Wright had submitted the book after the success of Native Son, but found no takers—the title was published in April by Library of America.” About The Man Who Lived Underground [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Richard Wright—”A major literary event: an explosive, previously unpublished novel about race and violence in America by the legendary author of Native Son and Black Boy. Fred Daniels, a Black man, is picked up by the police after a brutal double murder and tortured until he confesses to a crime he did not commit. After signing a confession, he escapes from custody and flees into the city’s sewer system. This is the devastating premise of this scorching novel, a never-before-seen masterpiece by Richard Wright. Written between his landmark books Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), at the height of his creative powers, it would see publication in Wright’s lifetime only in drastically condensed and truncated form, and ultimately be included in the posthumous short story collection Eight Men (1961). Now, for the first time, by special arrangement with the author’s estate, the full text of the work that meant more to Wright than any other (“I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration”) is published in the form that he intended, complete with his companion essay, “Memories of My Grandmother.” Malcolm Wright, the author’s grandson, contributes an afterword.”
  • HC Inks Deal with MLK Jr. Archives.”—”Judith Curr, president and publisher of HarperOne Group, negotiated the deal with Amy Berkower, president, Writers House and agent for the King estate; and Eric D. Tidwell of Intellectual Properties Management, manager of the King estate. The deal gives HC world rights to publish new books from the archives across all formats, including children’s books, e-books, audiobooks, journals, and graphic novels in all languages.”
  • Lessons of a self-published writer: independent bookstores are good, Amazon not so much..”—”Despite a pandemic, Engel—and his cameraman Brady—visited 30 bookstores between New Orleans and New York, asking booksellers why they did what they did, and why it’s important. The results are now here, in a second documentary called The Bookstour, which you can watch by making a donation to BINC, the wonderful nonprofit fundraising organization that supports booksellers in need.” Watch “The Bookstour” trailer.
  • Jean-Paul Sartre: between existentialism and Marxism.”—”French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, born on 21 June 1905, is remembered primarily as one of the main proponents of existentialism—a philosophy centring on the absolute freedom of the individual, which was popular in Europe in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Less known is his political activism and commitment, from World War Two onwards, to socialism.”
  • Barriers, Privileges, and Invisible Labor: A Sino Diaspora Translator’s Perspective.”—”As a racialized, genderqueer woman translator working with Chinese literature, I translate as a form of reclamation and resistance. There has been an increasing number of discussions in the literary translation community recently about whether any translator should have the right to translate any text. This question, however, can be quite simplistic and misleading. It overlooks the power dynamics at play in the field, such as the barriers that affect who can break into translation and the undervaluing of less formal forms of expertise such as lived experiences. It overlooks that, in addition to working as a translator on the page, marginalized translators often need to “translate” many times over, performing additional emotional labor when it comes to justifying their anti-oppressive approaches to translation and navigating biases in the publishing and translation industries.”
  • Decolonizing Your Bookshelf: The What, the Why, and the How.”—”Decolonizing your bookshelf means actively examining and resisting colonialist narratives in the books that you read, and diversifying your reading to include books by authors from communities that have been victims of colonialism and systemic racism. The importance of combating the cultural and psychological effects of colonialism perpetrated through language was argued by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o in his classic work, Decolonising the Mind. While the very act of reading and writing in English and other European languages across the world, and especially in former colonies, cannot be dissociated from colonialist underpinnings, the practical and subversive potential of the colonized appropriating the colonizer’s language to counter colonialist narratives cannot be ignored.”
  • Yes, No, Maybe So: A Generation of Thinkers Grapples With Notions of Consent. Recent novels, philosophical inquiries, young adult and romance fiction, films and television shows join a robust academic literature to explore the term and its limits.”
  • Why bother organizing your books? A messy personal library is proof of life. As the French writer Georges Perec wisely put it, book arrangements are ‘hardly any more effective than the original anarchy.'”
  • The Rich, Weird, and Frustrating World of Depression-Era Travel Guides. The ‘American Guides’ were unusual not only for their shaggy opulence and Americana maximalism, but also for their source of funding: the federal government.”
  • Towards the Heart of a Book: In Praise of the Epigraph. Thomas Swick on the Importance of the ‘Ceremonial Gate'”
  • The Imitation of Consciousness: On the Present and Future of Natural Language Processing. Stephen Marche Considers AI, Machine Learning, and ‘the Labyrinth of Another’s Being'”
  • 5,500-Year-Old Burial Mound With Stone Circle Unearthed In Ukraine.“—”In east-central Ukraine excavations of a unique kurgan or burial mound have been underway for more than 1.5 months. The discovery was made during road works in the village of Novooleksandrivka, some ten kilometres south of the large town of Dnipro.” Watch “В Новоалександровке раскапывают древний скифский курган” (An ancient Scythian burial mound is being excavated in Novoaleksandrovka)
  • Discovery of ‘Dragon Man’ Skull in China May Add Species to Human Family Tree. A laborer discovered the fossil and hid it in a well for 85 years. Scientists say it could help sort out the human family tree and how our species emerged.”—”Scientists on Friday announced that a massive fossilized skull that is at least 140,000 years old is a new species of ancient human, a finding that could potentially change prevailing views of how — and even where — our species, Homo sapiens, evolved.” Also “‘Dragon man’ fossil may replace Neanderthals as our closest relative.”—”A near-perfectly preserved ancient human fossil known as the Harbin cranium sits in the Geoscience Museum in Hebei GEO University. The largest of known Homo skulls, scientists now say this skull represents a newly discovered human species named Homo longi or “Dragon Man.” Their findings, appearing in three papers publishing June 25 in the journal The Innovation, suggest that the Homo longi lineage may be our closest relatives—and has the potential to reshape our understanding of human evolution.” Also “Dragon Man: ancient skull from China could be new human species. A huge cranium found in the Songhua River in China represents a new sister lineage for Homo sapiens. It dates to at least 146,000 years old.” Also “Massive human head in Chinese well forces scientists to rethink evolution. ‘Dragon man’ skull reveals new branch of family tree more closely related to modern humans than Neanderthals.”
  • Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: draft UN report.”—”‘Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems,’ it says. ‘Humans cannot.'”
  • Chinese rocket manufacturer outlines manned Mars mission roadmap, timetable.”—”China’s prime rocket manufacturer has unveiled a roadmap for the country’s future manned Mars exploration missions, which not only includes manned landing missions but also Mars base building.”
  • Yeah, but where are they going to find quarters for the machine?! “Tide to Design First Laundry Detergent for Space, To Begin Stain Removal Testing on International Space Station in 2022. The Procter & Gamble laundry brand partners with NASA in a Space Act Agreement to explore how to efficiently clean astronauts’ clothing in resource-constrained environments, including the Artemis Moon missions and future Mars missions.”
  • This ought to hold up in the space washing-machine! “Ultralight material withstands supersonic microparticle impacts. The new carbon-based material could be a basis for lighter, tougher alternatives to Kevlar and steel.”
  • Is it … blood from when they MURDERED A PLANET?! “Pluto is covered in huge red patches and we don’t know what they are.”
  • NASA Head Seeks New Funding for Annual Moon Landings ‘Over a Dozen Years’.”
  • Even the Hubble Space Telescope’s backup computer is glitching now — raising new questions about what’s gone wrong.” Also “Operations Underway to Restore Payload Computer on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. NASA Completes Additional Tests to Diagnose Computer Problem on Hubble Space Telescope”
  • Electric Vehicles Won’t Save Us. Why EV’s are false prophets in the fight for a better world.”—”This isn’t a story about Elon Musk, or Tesla, or a contrarian take about how “oil is good, actually.” I unconditionally support electric vehicles in their quest to take over the primacy of gasoline-powered vehicles in the market. But I don’t save that enthusiasm for their prospects on society broadly. From the perspective of the built environment, there is nothing functionally different between an electric vehicle and a gasoline propelled one. The relationship is the same, and it’s unequivocally destructive. Cars, however they’re powered, are environmentally cataclysmic, break the tethers of community, and force an infrastructure of dependency that is as financially ruinous to our country as it is dangerous to us as people. In order to build a more sustainable future and a better world for humanity, we need to address the root problems that have brought us to where we so perilously lie today.”
  • A Messy Utopia Is All We Might Get. Climate change didn’t just wreck the planet; it closed off and reshaped the future. Even utopia—if we reach it—will be a mess.”
  • AI helps return Rembrandt’s The Night Watch to original size. Rijksmuseum reproduces Dutch master’s work in all its glory, 300 years after it was cut to fit between doors.” Also Operation Night Watch
  • Facebook Filed a Patent For an AR Hat, The Latest in its Evolving AR Push“—”Forget AR glasses, according to a new patent registered by Facebook, The Social Network is developing an AR hat, which would expand the immersion of the device, and facilitate more advanced AR experiences within an isolated, standalone unit.”
  • What Happened to Electronic Civil Disobedience?.”—”I first encountered electronic civil disobedience when researching a later project by EDT. My journey into the topic was littered with broken links, 404 pages, static screen grabs. I wondered why these works of net-based protest art had been largely forgotten, and whether there was any merit in dusting them off today. ”
  • Google turned me into a serial killer.”—”As I was scrolling through my inbox today, I stumbled upon an e-mail from a former colleague of mine who wanted to inform me that a Google search of my name yields a picture of me linked to a Wikipedia article about a serial killer who happens to have the same name as mine.”
  • Do Chance Meetings at the Office Boost Innovation? There’s No Evidence of It. For some, the office even stifles creativity. As the pandemic eases in the U.S., a few companies seek to reimagine what work might look like.”
  • Genome study reveals East Asian coronavirus epidemic 20,000 years ago.”—”An international study has discovered a coronavirus epidemic broke out in the East Asia region more than 20,000 years ago, with traces of the outbreak evident in the genetic makeup of people from that area.”
  • Fifty-nine labs around world handle the deadliest pathogens – only a quarter score high on safety.”—”That still leaves a large proportion of scientific research on coronaviruses carried out in countries with no oversight of dual-use research or gain-of-function experiments. This is particularly concerning as gain-of-function research with coronaviruses is likely to increase as scientists seek to better understand these viruses and to identify which viruses pose a higher risk of jumping from animals to humans or becoming transmissible between humans. More countries are expected to seek BSL4 labs, too, in the wake of the pandemic as part of a renewed emphasis on pandemic preparedness and response. While the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a stark reminder of the risks posed by infectious diseases and the importance of a robust biomedical research enterprise for saving lives, we also need to keep in mind that such research can carry risks of its own. Good science and smart policy, however, can keep those risks in check and allow humanity to reap the benefits of this research.”
  • Maybe We’re Asking Vaccine Skeptics the Wrong Question. There’s a better way to frame their options.”—”all of us are going to get vaccinated one way or the other. Sooner or later—and probably sooner, since the supercharged delta variant already accounts for 10 percent of U.S. infections, and that share is doubling every two weeks—people who don’t take one of the approved vaccines will get the virus. They might think of that as an alternative to vaccination, but it’s not. The virus will do the same thing the vaccines do: It will provoke their immune systems to develop antibodies. The difference is that the virus, unlike the vaccines, will attack their bodies and quite possibly kill them.”
  • Israel Is Sending Robots With Machine Guns to the Gaza Border. The ‘world’s largest open-air prison’ gets a new set of guards.”
  • Wait. Hold on. What exactly is in this ‘cultured meat’ being made in Israel? “Future Meat Technologies Launches World’s First Industrial Cultured Meat Production Facility. Company opens the first industrial cultured meat facility, with immediate outlook toward U.S. expansion.”
  • The Gas Tax is Obsolete. Here’s a Better Idea. It’s based on the simple principle that those who benefit should contribute.”—”The solution is to evolve from a “user pays” to a “beneficiary pays” system. This approach recognizes that in our modern economy there are many beneficiaries who are not “users” of the national highway system but are definitely dependent on it. Right now, many who benefit from our transportation system do not pay for its upkeep or improvement. For instance, anyone who has packages delivered to their front door or uses ride-sharing services or shops at a retailer that gets goods delivered by truck are beneficiaries of the national highway system even if they never get behind the wheel of a car.”
  • Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’ Lands at AMC. Author Anne Rice’s well-traveled ‘Vampire Chronicles’ novels have found a new TV home: AMC Networks.” Also “‘Interview With the Vampire’ Series Ordered at AMC.”—”AMC is officially moving forward with a series adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire.” News of the series order comes just over a year after Variety exclusively reported that AMC had acquired the rights to Rice’s book series “The Vampire Chronicles” and “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches.” “Interview With the Vampire” is the first series to be greenlit out of the acquisition.” Also “‘Interview With The Vampire’ Series Greenlighted At AMC; Rolin Jones Set As Showrunner, Mark Johnson To Oversee Franchise
  • 50 Vintage Photos Of Pride Parades In The U.S. These photos highlight the evolution of LGBTQ Pride over decades.”
  • The 400 Years Project. A photography collective looking at the evolution of Native American identity, rights, and representation.”
  • The Media Pays Attention When Trans People Die, But The Living Are Struggling With Grief. Violent attacks and discriminatory laws have taken a toll on the mental health of trans people. Many wish there was as much attention on the well-being of those living with traumas as there is on those who have been killed.”
  • The doctors are not all right. Doctors need mental health support, but the medical profession often punishes them for getting it.”
  • Why Play at Orientalism?“—”To build the history of the world into a single game, code, or narrative would be the height of hubris. Yet, although Paradox gets one aspect right—different eras demand different engines—it makes the horrible assumption that the pinnacle of civilization is the modernity of the global North.” “orientalist games can tell us a lot about what orientalist accounts of history assume and what arguments they make. As we analyze game mechanics, we must be ready for the representations we find there, pleasant or not.”
  • Orchid Thought to Be Extinct in UK Was Discovered Blooming on the Rooftop of London Bank.”—”The small-flowered tongue orchid, or serapias parviflora, is normally found in the Mediterranean, and hasn’t been seen in the UK for over a decade. But 15 plants have been found on the 11th floor garden of the Japanese Investment Bank Nomura in the City.”
  • Lego develops first bricks made from recycled plastic bottles. Activists welcome move but warn recycling should not be default solution to plastics crisis.”
  • Postal Service Makes the Sun Shine Bright With Forever Stamps.”—”The Postal Service highlights stunning images of the sun that celebrate the science behind the ongoing exploration of our nearest star. Printed with a foil treatment that adds a glimmer to the stamps, the images on these stamps come from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft launched in February 2010 to keep a constant watch on the sun from geosynchronous orbit above Earth. The striking colors in these images do not represent the actual colors of the sun as perceived by human eyesight. Instead, each image is colorized by NASA according to different wavelengths that reveal or highlight specific features of the sun’s activity. One of the stamps highlights sunspots, two feature images of coronal holes, two show coronal loops, two depict plasma blasts, one is a view of an active sun that emphasizes its magnetic fields, and two show different views of a solar flare.”
  • Tweet—”This chart is a work of art. I hope multiple people got paid well to make it and I hope they get hit by a bus.” “The longer you look at it the more things you find wrong with it” Also “CNN Has a Strong Contender for the Worst Chart You’ll Ever See“—”This chart is a violent crime.” Also tweet—”ftfy” (fixed that for you).

What have you been seeing around and thinking about lately? What have you seen that caught your eye? Thinking about something lately, or reading something interesting, or have a project you’re working on? Participate by tagging @[email protected] in the ‘verse with what you’ve got to share. Like, boost, or comment posts by that account to help curate the best stuff for everyone.

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Omnium Gatherum: 23jun2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 23, 2021

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

  • Modern Occultism: From Hermeticism to Today—History, Theory, and Practice. A twelve-week, live online course with Mitch Horowitz. Wednesdays, 8–9:30 p.m. ET / 7–8:30 p.m. CT. August 4–October 20, 2021. Occult scholar and widely known voice of esoteric ideas Mitch Horowitz (“solid gold”—David Lynch) presents a lively, intellectually serious historical and practical exploration of modern occultism. This twelve-week course provides a comprehensive overview of the ideas, people, movements, and practices that shape our concepts of the esoteric today—and what they offer the contemporary seeker. Each class will be presented live with ample time for questions and exchange. On-demand viewing will be available for missed classes. No background reading is required for the course, but helpful supplementary books include Mitch’s Occult America, One Simple Idea, and The Seeker’s Guide to the Secret Teachings of All Ages. Price: $150 early bird (first 25 people) • TS members: $175 • general public: $200″ Also “Enjoy a free introduction to the course—Occultism Today: Mitch Horowitz and Richard Smoley in Conversation—on Wednesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. ET via Zoom!”
  • Crowdfunding with 23 days to go: “Candles. An original graphic novel about magic and monsters by Lyndon White.”—”Generation after generation, people are taught one thing – never, ever, use magic… When a plague known as Dark-bark begins to spread over the land, one by one infected villagers disappear into the enchanted forest never to be seen again. When it reaches her village, a young girl called Grace sets out to destroy the evil witch she knows is responsible, desperate to save her family by any means possible – even if that means she must break the greatest taboo of all and steal the witch’s magic. As candles flicker through the forest and wolves howl into the night sky, Idris, a flamboyant sorcerer, and his talented apprentice Ava, are cast out of town when their magical talents are discovered. Furious and determined, they seek to root out the source of the Dark-bark that has spread such misery across the land and prove once and for all that magic really can be a force for good. Candles is a fantasy story, suitable for all ages, and is about magic, family, and a plague that has no mercy. It takes its lead from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and Studio Ghibli. ”
  • Edward de Bono obituary. Author, doctor and inventor of the term lateral thinking who wrote more than 60 books on his original and unorthodox theories.”
  • At Death’s Door in Cancun: Sun, Sea, and Santa Muerte by Kate Kingsbury—”This article describes a visit to a Santa Muerte shrine in Cancun, offering insight into why devotees are dedicated to the Mexican Saint of Death. Rites to the folk saint allow locals to express their needs and demands in a tourist city where they are otherwise beholden to visitors and their requirements. A quiet form of feminism is at play at the shrine, run by a woman, self-identified bruja, shaman, and curandera, Yuri Mendez, and her all-women team who support their community through their spiritual offerings and in return acquire prestige and financial independence.
  • Sovereign Citizens Try To Steal Woman’s New House, Claiming It’s Theirs.”—”This weekend, TikTok user Shanetta, or @regblackgrl, published an absolutely riveting account of her interactions with a group of Moorish sovereign citizens who kept trying to steal the house she recently purchased, claiming they owned it as part of their “ancestral estate” and going so far as to actually break in and change the locks. Because it’s TikTok and the videos are only allowed to be like a minute long, it is a 49-part series (plus more videos in a Q&A series). I watched the whole damn thing.”
  • The Hidden Structure of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Pierre Hadot’s study, which is presented as an Introduction to Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations?” About Introduction aux Pensées de Marc Aurèle [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Pierre Hadot—”En écrivant ses Pensées, Marc Aurèle bâtit en lui-même une citadelle inaccessible aux troubles des passions. Mais cette citadelle, où règne la sérénité, n’est pas une tour d’ivoire dans laquelle il se réfugierait en un égoïsme transcendant ; elle est bien plutôt à la fois le haut lieu, d’où l’on accède à un immense champ de vision, et la base d’opérations qui permet d’agir au loin. Autrement dit, les Pensées sont le livre d’un homme d’action, qui cherche la sérénité, parce qu’elle est la condition indispensable de l’efficacité, et pour qui l’action humaine n’a de valeur profonde et durable que si elle s’insère dans la perspective du Tout de l’Univers et de la communauté de tous les hommes. Une telle attitude n’est autre que le stoïcisme lui-même, précisément tel qu’Epictète l’avait révélé à Marc Aurèle. C’est pourquoi la présente introduction aux Pensées de Marc Aurèle pourra être lue en un certain sens comme une introduction au stoïcisme antique. N’y aurait-il pas finalement un stoïcisme éternel qui, à travers le temps et l’espace, serait l’une des attitudes possibles de la conscience humaine ?” (By writing his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius builds in himself a citadel inaccessible to the troubles of the passions. But this citadel, where serenity reigns, is not an ivory tower in which he would take refuge in a transcendent egoism; rather, it is both the high place, from which one has access to an immense field of vision, and the base of operations which allows action from afar. In other words, the Meditations are the book of a man of action, who seeks serenity, because it is the indispensable condition of efficiency, and for whom human action has no deep and lasting value except if it fits into the perspective of the All of the Universe and the community of all men. Such an attitude is none other than Stoicism itself, precisely as Epictetus revealed it to Marcus Aurelius. This is why this introduction to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius can be read in a certain sense as an introduction to ancient Stoicism. Would there not ultimately be an eternal stoicism which, across time and space, is one of the possible attitudes of human consciousness?)
  • This tiny minority of Iraqis follows an ancient Gnostic religion – and there’s a chance they could be your neighbors too.” By James F McGrath, co-editor of The Mandaean Book of John: Critical Edition, Translation, and Commentary [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Charles G Häberl and James F McGrath—”Given the degree of popular fascination with Gnostic religions, it is surprising how few pay attention to the one such religion that has survived from antiquity until the present day: Mandaism. Mandaeans, who esteem John the Baptist as the most famous adherent to their religion, have in our time found themselves driven from their historic homelands by war and oppression. Today, they are a community in crisis, but they provide us with unparalleled access to a library of ancient Gnostic scriptures, as part of the living tradition that has sustained them across the centuries. Gnostic texts such as these have caught popular interest in recent times, as traditional assumptions about the original forms and cultural contexts of related religious traditions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have been called into question. However, we can learn only so much from texts in isolation from their own contexts. Mandaean literature uniquely allows us not only to increase our knowledge about Gnosticism, and by extension all these other religions, but also to observe the relationship between Gnostic texts, rituals, beliefs, and living practices, both historically and in the present day.”
  • A Star Is Born. The history of the asterisk.” Excerpt from Hyphens & Hashtags*: *The Stories Behind the Symbols on Our Keyboard [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Claire Cock-Starkey—”In our digital world, we owe much of our ability to communicate to the punctuation marks, mathematical symbols, and other glyphs that hover on the edges of our keyboard. Without these symbols, it would be impossible to convey meaning–our words would run in endless unbroken lines of letters and numbers. These marks, which have their origins in the earliest written communications, have evolved over many hundreds of years.Hyphens & Hashtags presents the histories of these stalwart symbols, revealing the long road many have taken on their way to general usage. In the age of digital communication, some symbols have gained additional meanings. The obscure pound sign has transformed into the hashtag, an essential component of social media. The colon now serves double duty as the eyes of the smiley-face emoticon. Alongside the historical roots of these tools, this book also considers ever-evolving modern usage and uncovers those symbols which have now fallen out of fashion. Hyphens & Hashtags casts a well-deserved spotlight on these deceptively simple marks, whose handy knack for conveying meaning in simple shorthand can marshal our sentences, clarify a calculation, or add some much-needed emotion to our online interactions.”
  • ‘Undreamed Shores’ Review: The Women Who Changed Anthropology. Taking on physical risk and arduous journeys, female researchers found their biggest obstacles were the attitudes of male colleagues.” About Undreamed Shores: The Hidden Heroines of British Anthropology [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Frances Larson—”In the first decades of the 20th century, five women arrived at Oxford to take the newly created Masters diploma in Anthropology. Though their circumstances differed radically, all five were intent on travelling to the furthest corners of the globe and studying remote communities whose lives were a world away from their own. In the wastelands of Siberia; in the pueblos and villages of the Nile and New Mexico; in the midst of a rebellion on Easter Island; and in the uncharted interiors of New Guinea, they found new freedoms. They documented customs now long since forgotten, and bore witness to now-vanished worlds. Through their work they overturned some of the most pernicious myths that dogged their gender, and proved that women could be explorers and scientists, too. Yet when they returned to England they found loss, madness, and regret waiting for them. Following the lives of her subjects through women’s suffrage, two world wars and on into the second half of the 20th century, Larson’s masterful biography is a revelatory portrait of a pioneering quintet, one whose contribution has for too long been left uncelebrated.”
  • The irreplaceable art of translation. As long as people joke, swear and use irony, computers will never take the place of translators.”
  • Africa writes back. European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong.”
  • The cooling of John le Carré. On the British spy novelist.”
  • When Losing Is Likely. Wendell Berry’s conservative radicalism.”—”True, Berry is a certain kind of Christian and a certain kind of conservative, but just for that reason he is also a certain kind of friend to Scialabba’s goals for the world’s improvement. Not all of them, to be sure, but who can find a friend like that? On the contrary: given the overturned table of contemporary politics, it’s catch as catch can. All the more so if Berry’s art, like Chiaromonte’s, like Macdonald’s, avoids a moralistic reduction of politics to personal responsibility, and embodies instead the refusal to separate what belongs together: truth and justice, art and activism, private and public. That refusal was radical in their time, and it remains radical today.”
  • For Literary Novelists the Past Is Pressing. Historical fiction was once considered a fusty backwater. Now the genre is having a renaissance, attracting first-rank novelists and racking up major prizes.”
  • Horrible Sanity: An Edgar Allan Poe for Our Time.” About The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John Tresch—”An innovative biography of Edgar Allan Poe—highlighting his fascination and feuds with science. Decade after decade, Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the most popular American writers. He is beloved around the world for his pioneering detective fiction, tales of horror, and haunting, atmospheric verse. But what if there was another side to the man who wrote “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”? In The Reason for the Darkness of the Night, John Tresch offers a bold new biography of a writer whose short, tortured life continues to fascinate. Shining a spotlight on an era when the lines separating entertainment, speculation, and scientific inquiry were blurred, Tresch reveals Poe’s obsession with science and lifelong ambition to advance and question human knowledge. Even as he composed dazzling works of fiction, he remained an avid and often combative commentator on new discoveries, publishing and hustling in literary scenes that also hosted the era’s most prominent scientists, semi-scientists, and pseudo-intellectual rogues. As one newspaper put it, “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science—not merely a poet—not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more.” Taking us through his early training in mathematics and engineering at West Point and the tumultuous years that followed, Tresch shows that Poe lived, thought, and suffered surrounded by science—and that many of his most renowned and imaginative works can best be understood in its company. He cast doubt on perceived certainties even as he hungered for knowledge, and at the end of his life delivered a mind-bending lecture on the origins of the universe that would win the admiration of twentieth-century physicists. Pursuing extraordinary conjectures and a unique aesthetic vision, he remained a figure of explosive contradiction: he gleefully exposed the hoaxes of the era’s scientific fraudsters even as he perpetrated hoaxes himself. Tracing Poe’s hard and brilliant journey, The Reason for the Darkness of the Night is an essential new portrait of a writer whose life is synonymous with mystery and imagination—and an entertaining, erudite tour of the world of American science just as it was beginning to come into its own.”
  • Satellite images show just how bad California’s drought is. California looks way worse from space this year than it did last June.”
  • We Should Abolish the Left Turn, Science Suggests. It does make a lot of sense.”
  • Ugh. Not now “cancer-like parasite”! “A Rare, Cancer-Like Parasite Is Emerging in North America. Alveolar echinococcosis remains rare and treatable, but a more virulent tapeworm strain imported from Europe has become firmly established in Alberta, Canada.”
  • Growing food with air and solar power: More efficient than planting crops.”—”For several years, researchers around the world have been looking into the idea of growing “food from air,” combining a renewable fuel resource with carbon from the air to create food for a type of bacteria that create edible protein.”—”They compared the efficiency of the system with a 10-square-kilometer soybean field. Their analysis showed that growing food from air was 10 times as efficient as growing soybeans in the ground. Put another way, they suggested that a 10-square-kilometer piece of land in the Amazon used to grow soybeans could be converted to a one-square-kilometer piece of land for growing food from the air, with the other nine square kilometers turned back to wild forest growth. They also note that the protein produced using the food-from-air approach had twice the caloric value as most other crops such as corn, wheat and rice.”
  • Earth Has a 27.5-Million-Year ‘Heartbeat’, But We Don’t Know What Causes It“—”But through all of that, it seems Earth has been keeping time. A new study of ancient geological events suggests that our planet has a slow, steady ‘heartbeat’ of geological activity every 27 million years or so. This pulse of clustered geological events – including volcanic activity, mass extinctions, plate reorganizations and sea level rises – is incredibly slow, a 27.5-million-year cycle of catastrophic ebbs and flows. But luckily for us, the research team notes we have another 20 million years before the next ‘pulse’.”
  • How our ancestors conquered the dark to produce the world’s oldest art.”—”To shed light on how Stone Age artists might have worked in these dark, hard-to-access spaces, archaeologists in Spain have scoured the archaeological record to look for evidence of how early humans used wood and other substances to make torches and lamps that could have illuminated their stone canvas.” “Based as much as possible on archaeological evidence found in Paleolithic caves, the researchers made their own versions of prehistoric torches and grease lamps. The team then tested how well they worked inside Isuntza 1 Cave in the Basque region of Spain.” Also “Archaeologists recreated three common kinds of Paleolithic cave lighting. Experiments could enhance our understanding of the origin of prehistoric art in caves.”
  • Venus may still be active based on ‘pack ice’ finding“—”A new analysis of radar images taken by NASA’s Magellan mission, which mapped the surface of Venus in the early 1990s, revealed evidence of tectonic motion. This motion on the Venusian surface looks like blocks of crust that have moved against one another, much like broken chunks of pack ice. Pack ice are the large pieces of floating ice that can be seen in a mass together in polar seas, like the waters around Antarctica.”
  • Ugh. Not now zombies! “Mushroom growing out of fossilized ant reveals new genus and species of fungal parasite.”—”Oregon State University research has identified the oldest known specimen of a fungus parasitizing an ant, and the fossil also represents a new fungal genus and species.”
  • Ugh. Not now Mongo! “2014 UN271: A possible dwarf planet from the Oort Cloud on a tour through the Solar System”—”This new object, 2014 UN271, is not just unusual, but radically exceptional among all known bodies in the Solar System to date. Discovered about 29 AU out from the Sun and currently around 22 away, its orbit takes it from just beyond the orbit of Saturn (10.9 AU) all the way out to the Oort Cloud – no, not the Hill Cloud. the Oort Cloud.” “Based on the given absolute magnitude, and given how exceptionally red it looked in 2014 precovery images from CFHT (the g – r color was 0.9, and r – i was 0.5!) I would estimate at an albedo of 0.01-0.08 a diameter of 130-370 kilometers (nominally 160) which puts it on a similar scale, if not larger than, Sarabat’s huge comet C/1729 P1, and almost undoubtedly the largest Oort Cloud object ever discovered- almost in dwarf planet territory! I have little doubt in my mind that as this gets closer to the Sun, it will begin displaying the coma and tail typical of every other object yet seen in its orbit. It almost feels premature to ascribe any sort of theoretical slope to it with how little precedent there is for objects like this, but if Hale-Bopp is any indication with its slope of 20 at large distances, then 2014 UN271 could possibly reach magnitude 13 in early 2031 – but I wouldn’t count on much brighter than 16 or 17 just yet. Either way, that’s impressively bright, and this object should make an exceptional target of study in the next couple of decades to accompany how exceptional an object it looks to be.”
  • Rainbo’s Tonya Papanikolov Believes in the Magic of Mushrooms.”
  • Can tripping on ketamine cure PTSD? I decided to try. When conventional therapy and drugs fail, a new wave of clinics are helping patients get high.”
  • Technology could make the renewable energy source a more viable choice.”—”One major challenge in scaling up [solar steam generation] technology is the limit in the capillary force beyond a certain column height, when the water cannot wick fast enough to keep up with the evaporation process. The capillary force, based on the surface tension that causes water to ‘climb’ a porous paper towel, drives the water toward the evaporator. Inspired by mangrove trees thriving along coastlines, the researchers bypassed this hurdle by creating a synthetic tree to replace the capillary action with transpiration, the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from leaves, stems, and flowers. Transpiration can pump water up insulating tubes of any desired height.”
  • Two Viking burials, separated by an ocean, contain close kin. Two Viking Age warriors from the same family died hundreds of kilometers apart.”
  • Bio-inspired hydrogel protects the heart from post-op adhesions.”—”A hydrogel that forms a barrier to keep heart tissue from adhering to surrounding tissue after surgery was developed and successfully tested in rodents by a team of University of California San Diego researchers. The team of engineers, scientists and physicians also conducted a pilot study on porcine hearts, with promising results.”
  • Pathogenic bacteria rendered almost harmless. By identifying one of the mechanisms regulating the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a UNIGE team is proposing a new strategy to combat this bacterium, which is resistant to many common antibiotics.”
  • Team describes science-based hiccups intervention.”—”In the publication, the scientists coined a new term for the intervention: the ‘forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool,’ or FISST” “FISST is a rigid drinking tube with an inlet valve that requires forceful suction to draw water from a cup into the mouth. The suction and swallow simultaneously stimulate two nerves, the phrenic and vagus nerves, to relieve hiccups. Forceful suction induces the diaphragm, a sheaf of muscle that inflates the lungs during breathing, to contract. The suction and swallow also prompt the epiglottis, a flap that covers the windpipe during swallowing, to close. This ends the hiccup spasms.”
  • From the Niven’s Droud dept: “Implantable Brain Device Relieves Pain in Early Study. Experiment Offers What Study Authors Call a ‘Blueprint’ for the Development of Brain Implants to Treat Pain Syndromes & Brain-Based Disorders Like Anxiety, Depression & Panic Attacks.”
  • Nerve stimulation effective in patients with untreatable cluster headaches. Extremely painful chronic cluster headaches – sometimes referred to as ‘suicide headaches’ – can be prevented by stimulating the occipital nerve in the back of the head, according to research conducted by Professor Emeritus of Neurology Michel Ferrari from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The study showed that nerve stimulation reduces the frequency and severity of attacks in patients who could not be treated with medication. The researchers reported in The Lancet Neurology that some subjects continued to feel the benefits for several years.”
  • It’s True: Stress Does Turn Hair Gray (And It’s Reversible).”—”And while it may seem intuitive that stress can accelerate graying, the researchers were surprised to discover that hair color can be restored when stress is eliminated, a finding that contrasts with a recent study in mice that suggested that stressed-induced gray hairs are permanent.”
  • Anti-aging protein in red blood cells helps stave off cognitive decline. Mice lacking ADORA2B in their blood exhibit accelerated aging, including poor memory and hearing deficits.”
  • Physicists bring human-scale object to near standstill, reaching a quantum state. The results open possibilities for studying gravity’s effects on relatively large objects in quantum states.”
  • Bacteria serves tasty solution to plastic crisis. Scientists have devised a novel way of tackling the mounting issue of plastic pollution… by using bacteria to transform plastic waste into vanilla flavouring.”
  • Tweet—”Neither our evolutionary history nor our adoption of technology has come about with the express purpose of promoting a sustainable, healthy and equitable world. These days we rewire society to sell ads. 9/n”. Also “Stewardship of global collective behavior.”–”Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.”
  • Twitch bans popular streamers Amouranth and Indiefoxx after yoga ASMR streams. This wasn’t about a hot tub stream.” Also “For hot tub streamer Amouranth, harassment is just part of the job. Kaitlyn Siragusa chats about what it’s like to work as a hot tub streamer.”
  • Social media thrives on shame – but how should we handle an offensive past coming to light? We need to give people a chance to change without diminishing the hurt caused to marginalised communities.”
  • OnlyFans to Pivot Away From Pornography, Seeking $1 Billion USD Valuation.” Also “OnlyFans Seeks New Funding at Valuation Above $1 Billion.” Also tweet—”Build online platform off sex workers and queer people (craigslist, tumblr, onlyfans), ban the folks that built the platform, profit. Rinse and repeat.” Also, from 2020: “How the rich and famous stole OnlyFans from sex workers. Sex workers brought tens of millions of people to the subscriber-only social network. Now they say it’s dumping them in favour of celebrities.” Also “The 1% of OnlyFans. It’s easier than ever for privileged folx to start sex work for clout, often at the expense of marginalized sex workers.” Also “The Shady, Secret History Of OnlyFans’ Billionaire Owner” and “OnlyFans owners officially made billions from lockdown porn boom.”
  • Reworking the Erotic Landscape. How trans sex workers navigate, educate, activate and otherwise work the system.”
  • Um, hey, Jack, that includes you, unfortunately. “Patreon CEO Jack Conte on Why Creators Can’t Depend on Platforms. Who really owns your audience?” And, they left SWers in the dust too.
  • The problem, as always, is payment processing and reaching the audience, but “Sex Workers Are Coding Their Own FuturesMore sex workers are leaving behind the restrictions of platforms such as OnlyFans by coding—and controlling—their own sites.”—”With the rise of freelance marketplaces such as OnlyFans, hundreds of thousands of sex workers are taking more control over their direct sales and bypassing traditional marketplaces such as strip clubs and porn studios. Performers can choose what type of content to make, how they promote it and who they sell it to. Some see this development as a tool for liberation, furthering the progress of fourth-wave feminism by subversively using tools such as social media to challenge censorship and claim self-sovereignty.”
  • Tim Cook called Nancy Pelosi to warn her against disrupting the iPhone with impending antitrust bills. Big Tech lobbyists are fighting “tooth and nail” against regulation.”
  • Amazon Prime Day Is Dystopian. The subscription service is Amazon’s greatest—and most terrifying—invention.”
  • Amazon labels millions of unsold products for destruction, new investigation finds. A peek inside the ‘destruction zone’ at one Amazon warehouse in the UK.”—”ITV found stacks of boxes marked “destroy” that were filled with electronics, jewelry, books, and other new or gently used items in one warehouse’s “destruction zone.” The news outlet caught the practice on camera while going undercover at the Dunfermline fulfillment center in Scotland. It says it tracked some of the goods to recycling centers and a landfill. About 124,000 items at Dunfermline were labeled “destroy” during a single week in April, according to an internal document obtained by ITV News. Just 28,000 items were set aside for donations during the same period. About half of all the stuff that’s trashed are things that people returned, a former Amazon employee told ITV. While the other half are “unopened and still in their shrink wrap,” the ex-employee said.”
    Also tweet—”FINALLY environmentally destructive consumerism can take place WITHOUT the consumer!”

  • What the Crypto Crowd Doesn’t Understand About Economics. Digital currency has always been a highly unusual asset class, but it won’t stay that way forever.”
  • Monero emerges as crypto of choice for cybercriminals. Untraceable “privacy coin” is rising in popularity among ransomware gangs.”
  • ‘Woke up sweating’: Some Texans shocked to find their smart thermostats were raised remotely. Some said they didn’t know their thermostats were being accessed from afar until it was almost 80 degrees inside their homes.”
  • Canon put AI cameras in its Chinese offices that only let smiling workers inside. The latest example of dystopian workplace surveillance.”
  • Tweet—”Today I Learned Twitter openly admits that it sells the entire Twitter firehose to NTT Data, which then resells to facial recognition provider NEC Corporation, which “cross-analyzes” tweets with proprietary data (facial rec?).”
  • Hyundai × Boston Dynamics: Welcome to the future of mobility. In June, Hyundai officially acquired Boston Dynamics, an acquisition which represents a significant leap forward towards our overall goal of ‘Progress for Humanity.’ To celebrate the occasion, we’ve created two films which showcase the amazing robots from Boston Dynamics, and our friends from BTS.”
  • ‘Flashed’ nanodiamonds are just a phase. Rice produces fluorinated nanodiamond, graphene, concentric carbon via flash Joule heating.”—”Diamond may be just a phase carbon goes through when exposed to a flash of heat, but that makes it far easier to obtain. The Rice University lab of chemist James Tour is now able to “evolve” carbon through phases that include valuable nanodiamond by tightly controlling the flash Joule heating process they developed 18 months ago. Best of all, they can stop the process at will to get product they want.”
  • They’d beam ads directly into our eyeballs if they could. Wait. Oh no. “The one developer who publicly agreed to try Facebook’s VR ads is already backing away. Resolution Games won’t test Facebook ads in Blaston anymore.” Also “Facebook’s VR advertising plans feel inevitable, but it’s starting off rocky. Commentary: The first planned app to test ads backed out. Here’s a suggestion for what should come next.”
  • A CCTV Company Is Paying Remote Workers in India to Yell at Armed Robbers. Clerks at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores are being constantly monitored by a voice of god that can intervene from thousands of miles away.”
  • ‘I don’t think you can have an anti-racist tech company at scale’. Surveillance expert Chris Gilliard reflects on 2020’s racial justice protests, the hypocrisy of tech companies’ commitments, and where we are one year later.”
  • They lost their loved ones to Covid. Then they heard from them again.”
  • Stanford researchers find signs of inflammation in brains of people who died of COVID-19. A detailed molecular analysis of tissue from the brains of individuals who died of COVID-19 reveals extensive signs of inflammation and neurodegeneration, but no sign of the virus that causes the disease.”
  • This Pandemic Isn’t Over. The smallpox epidemic of the 1860s offers us a valuable, if disconcerting, clue about how epidemics actually end.”
  • The slow transitions of a lingering pandemic. COVID-19 is ebbing in some parts of the world.”
  • The Bizarre Long COVID Symptom That Makes Your Favourite Food Smell Like Trash. Many people lose their sense of smell after contracting COVID-19. For most, it comes back fine. For others, not so much.”
  • Billy Eichner Has Some Tips for Post-Pandemic Living. The actor fills us in on getting back to regular life, playing Matt Drudge and the future of ‘Billy on the Street'”
  • American workers don’t want to go back to normal, and that makes sense.”
  • Is this the end of productivity? Amid the pandemic, workers whose jobs once defined their lives are questioning what it was all for.”
  • The Tyranny Of Time. The clock is a useful social tool, but it is also deeply political. It benefits some, marginalizes others and blinds us from a true understanding of our own bodies and the world around us.”
  • Trump Wanted His Justice Department to Stop ‘SNL’ From Teasing Him. ‘SNL’ amounted to ‘nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials,’ Trump tweeted in 2018, pondering whether his thought “’should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?'” Also “Trump Rages Against ‘Saturday Night Live’ In Unhinged Conspiracy Rant The former president claims he could be back in power soon.”
  • ‘Pure insanity’: How Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department to help overturn the election. New documents and emails reveal how far the president and his supporters were willing to go to try to keep Donald Trump in office in
    a frenzied three-week stretch that tested Justice Department leaders.”

  • Scoop: Trump works refs ahead of book barrage“—”Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.”
  • Fox’s anti-“critical race theory” parents are also GOP activists. One “everyday American” “parent” is a GOP consultant who worked for the RNC in 2020.” Also tweet—”Went through today’s New Yorker profile of an anti-CRT activist, and highlighted in yellow all direct quotes, paraphrases, or quotes passed on by that activist. Blue is other “concerned parents,” green is Kimberlé Crenshaw. Mind-boggling. Basically sponsored content.”
  • A Lawyer For Jan. 6 Defendants Is Giving Her Clients Remedial Lessons In American History. D.C. attorney H. Heather Shaner says that books and movies about the uglier parts of American history are “a revelation” for some of her Capitol attack clients.”
  • The Politics of Recognition in The Age of Social Media.”—”The quest for recognition is more exacting and slower than that for reputation, and appreciating this distinction is a first step to seeing beyond the cultural limits of the platform, towards the broader political and economic obstacles that currently stand in the way of full and equal participation.”
  • French spyware bosses indicted for their role in the torture of dissidents. An investigation into the sale of surveillance technologies to Libya and Egypt has led to charges against leaders at one company.”
  • India Walton Poised To Become Buffalo’s First Socialist Mayor. Walton, who would also be the city’s first female mayor, ran on police accountability and addressing poverty in one of the country’s poorest cities.”
  • Dems in power but can’t get anything done, divided against themselves? Story old as time, so as tempting as it is to blame the DINOs … yeah, actually, still going to blame those race for the Overton middle “moderates” … “Biden faces growing pressure from the left over voting bill
  • Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection.”—”Alabama sheriffs who lost reelection in 2018 personally pocketed funds and deleted public records, an investigation by and ProPublica found. Holes were drilled through government-issued smartphones and leftover rice was poured down the drain, among other things. It’s a longstanding tradition that sheriffs aren’t typically held accountable for.”
  • US Army has hidden or downplayed loss of firearms for years. The U.S. Army has hidden or downplayed the extent to which its firearms disappear, significantly understating losses and thefts even as some weapons are used in street crimes.”
  • Israeli Supreme Court rejects challenge to open-fire rules“—”Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a legal challenge to the military’s rules on when soldiers can fire their weapons amid weeks of violent protests that have killed dozens of Palestinians on the border with Gaza. Six human rights groups had asked the court to declare as unlawful any regulations that allow soldiers to open fire at unarmed civilians. But in its unanimous ruling, the court sided with the Israeli military, which argued that the protests were taking place in the context of a long-running armed conflict with the Islamic militant group Hamas which rules Gaza and that weapons-use regulations are subject to the rules of armed conflict. Such rules provide greater leeway for the use of lethal force than those governing law enforcement practices.”
  • Lawmakers mark Juneteenth by reviving ‘abolition amendment’. As the nation this week made Juneteenth a federal holiday, honoring the end of the enslavement of Black people, lawmakers are reviving calls to end a loophole in the Constitution that allowed another form of slavery — forced labor for those convicted of some crimes — to thrive.”
  • How to cheat on your taxes.”
  • Money Is Piling Up For America’s Family Dynasties. A new study warns of rapidly growing fortunes being concentrated in fewer hands that have never known hard work.”
  • Tweet—”This is the temperature change globally from 1850, in Sweden from 1860 and in the Arctic Ocean from 1893. It seems we’re almost running out of colours… Find the stripes for your region at , an initiative by the University of Reading. #ShowYourStripes”
  • Philosophy’s lack of progress. For centuries, all philosophers seem to have done is question and debate. Why do philosophical problems resist solution?”
  • History As End. 1619, 1776, and the politics of the past.”
  • ORCA Mixed-Use Development + Park“—”The slender residential towers are placed to maximize permeability, preserve view corridors and encourage connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists. The towers are articulated with stepping balconies and connected with elevated bridges containing amenities for residents. The bridges between towers form dramatic urban windows which frame city views and maximize visual porosity.” When I was there, I was told that for a period of time some buildings in Edinburgh was designed with a top-level deck, with the intention of connecting them via sky walkways. I can never find a reference for that when I look for more information, but it’s a little factoid that I’ve stored away.
  • FFS. Another one? “The VR Myst remake is also coming to the Mac and PC this fall. It’s playable even if you don’t have a headset.”
  • Sweet Tooth review: Evidently The Walking Dead just needed a deerboy. It’s light(ish) but includes masks, disease-driven death, and humans being bad to each other.”
  • Voxel Throne Generator—”This generator is created for the Procedural Generation Challenge on /r/proceduralgeneration. It generates simple voxel thrones and displays an ugly preview for them. It can also export a throne as a VOX file …”
  • There’s literally an episode This American Life on “Fiasco” largely about a performance of Peter Pan that went wrong. Tweet—”can’t wait for school plays again so we can get more moments like when my friend played Peter Pan”. Remembering that one time when an actor got sick and fainted right before curtain, and threw an entire production I was in into disarray …
  • The clever folds that kept letters secret. Hundreds of years ago, people developed ingenious methods to secure their letters from prying eyes – and they did it with only paper, adhesive and folds.”
  • Watch “I met a WITCH | Sorĉiston renkontis mi.”—”Sydney trains can be a scary place early in the morning. Frumatene, Sidnejaj trajnoj povas esti timiga loko.”

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