Omnium Gatherum: 6jun2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 6, 2021

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

  • Fulgur Press, UK, is having a sale, up to 60% off selected titles.
  • How to watch next week’s ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse.”—”Last month’s ‘super flower blood moon’ lunar eclipse was hardly the only exciting celestial event of the season. Next week brings an even bigger spectacle — a rare ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse. On June 10, skywatchers all over the world will be able to view the eclipse.”
  • Upcoming events at Treadwell’s, London, through Sept.
  • Crowdfunding with 24 days to go: “The Literary Tarot. A Tarot Deck Unlocking the Secrets of Classic Literature.”—”We are Brink Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the world through storytelling. To create our latest endeavor, The Literary Tarot, we reached out to some of the greatest authors and cartoonists of our time and asked them to pair a tarot card with a seminal book that embodies the meaning of the arcana.”
  • Crowdfunding with 27 days to go: “FILTH & GRAMMAR. The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook.”—”Award-winning Editor SHELLY BOND has been throwing red ink at comic book writers, artists, letterers, colorists, and logo designers for over three decades. FILTH & GRAMMAR: THE COMIC BOOK EDITOR’S SECRET HANDBOOK is her 160-page magnum opus, a step-by-step guide to making comic books from cover to cover. It’s the first time Bond reveals the alchemy and method to her editorial madness.”
  • How the pineal gland became an obsession for both spiritualists and sci-fi writers. The endocrine gland has become culturally linked with metaphysics, drug-induced states, and even time travel.”
  • Readers’ Letters: Children today get away with far too much. ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’ This infamous dictum of the celebrity occultist Aleister Crowley seems to have been the basis of any ‘morality’ we have been responsible for inculcating in our children for many decades now – hence, I believe, the increasing lawlessness and violent tendencies we are daily witnessing in them: the tendency of some children to be violent to their parents, along with shameless posing for nude photos and an obsession with pornography, can all be traced back to too much freedom and not enough, if any, moral guidance.” Tweet—”The Crowned and Conquering Child gets away with too much shit! And it’s all Aleister Crowley’s fault!! Why, back in my Æon, we had to walk uphill, both ways, across the Abyss!!!” Also.
  • Can Occult Disciplines Like Astrology, Tarot Improve Mental Health?
  • More on this: “Legends of Tomorrow star Caity Lotz on directing a semi-animated Astra-centric hour.”—”Titled ‘The Satanist’s Apprentice,’ the hour explores how Astra (Olivia Swann) is adjusting — or rather, not adjusting — to life on Earth. Unfortunately, John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is of no help whatsoever, so she turns to an unlikely source for support: alien-magic researcher Aleister Crowley, whom Constantine bound on Earth.”
  • Captives of Habit. ‘Sick Souls, Healthy Minds’”—”John Kaag’s short, luminously written Sick Souls, Healthy Minds serves as both a biography and an introduction to William James’s thought.” About Sick Souls, Healthy Minds: How William James Can Save Your Life [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by John Kaag—”In 1895, William James, the father of American philosophy, delivered a lecture entitled “Is Life Worth Living?” It was no theoretical question for James, who had contemplated suicide during an existential crisis as a young man a quarter century earlier. Indeed, as John Kaag writes, “James’s entire philosophy, from beginning to end, was geared to save a life, his life”—and that’s why it just might be able to save yours, too. Sick Souls, Healthy Minds is a compelling introduction to James’s life and thought that shows why the founder of pragmatism and empirical psychology—and an inspiration for Alcoholics Anonymous—can still speak so directly and profoundly to anyone struggling to make a life worth living. Kaag tells how James’s experiences as one of what he called the “sick-souled,” those who think that life might be meaningless, drove him to articulate an ideal of “healthy-mindedness”—an attitude toward life that is open, active, and hopeful, but also realistic about its risks. In fact, all of James’s pragmatism, resting on the idea that truth should be judged by its practical consequences for our lives, is a response to, and possible antidote for, crises of meaning that threaten to undo many of us at one time or another. Along the way, Kaag also movingly describes how his own life has been endlessly enriched by James. Eloquent, inspiring, and filled with insight, Sick Souls, Healthy Minds may be the smartest and most important self-help book you’ll ever read.”
  • Against Politics. Communists and fascists are very often the same unpleasant people, wrote Thomas Mann—literary champion of the German bourgeois. He was right.” About Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Thomas Mann, 2021 reissue translated from the German by Walter D Morris, introduction by Mark Lilla—”A classic, controversial book exploring German culture and identity by the author of Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain, now back in print. When the Great War broke out in August 1914, Thomas Mann, like so many people on both sides of the conflict, was exhilarated. Finally, the era of decadence that he had anatomized in Death in Venice had come to an end; finally, there was a cause worth fighting and even dying for, or, at least when it came to Mann himself, writing about. Mann immediately picked up his pen to compose a paean to the German cause. Soon after, his elder brother and lifelong rival, the novelist Heinrich Mann, responded with a no less determined denunciation. Thomas took it as an unforgivable stab in the back. The bitter dispute between the brothers would swell into the strange, tortured, brilliant, sometimes perverse literary performance that is Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, a book that Mann worked on and added to throughout the war and that bears an intimate relation to his postwar masterpiece The Magic Mountain. Wild and ungainly though Mann’s reflections can be, they nonetheless constitute, as Mark Lilla demonstrates in a new introduction, a key meditation on the freedom of the artist and the distance between literature and politics. The NYRB Classics edition includes two additional essays by Mann: “Thoughts in Wartime” (1914), translated by Mark Lilla and Cosima Mattner; and “On the German Republic” (1922), translated by Lawrence Rainey.”
  • Et Tu, Brute?” About Day of the Assassins: A History of Political Murder [Amazon UK, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Burleigh “The traditional image of a political assassin is a lone wolf with a rifle, aimed squarely at the head of those they wish to kill. But while there has been enormous speculation on what lay behind notorious individual political assassinations – from Julius Caesar to John F. Kennedy – the phenomenon itself has scarcely been examined as a special category of political violence, one not motivated by personal gain or vengeance. Now, in Day of the Assassins, acclaimed historian Michael Burleigh explores the many facets of political assassination, explaining why it is more frequent in certain types of society than others and asking if assassination can either bring about change or prevent it, and whether, like a contagious disease, political murder can be catching. Focusing chiefly on the last century and a half, Burleigh takes readers around the world, from Europe, Russia, Israel and the United States to the Congo, India, Iran, Laos, Rwanda, South Africa and Vietnam. And, as we travel, we revisit notable assassinations, among them Leon Trotsky, Hendrik Verwoerd, Juvénal Habyarimana, Indira Gandhi, Yitzhak Rabin and Jamal Khashoggi. Throughout, the assassins themselves are at the centre of the narrative, whether they were cool, well-trained professional killers, like the agents of the NKVD or the KGB – or, indeed, the CIA – or men motivated by the politicization of their private miseries, like Gavrilo Princip or Lee Harvey Oswald. Even some of those who were demonstrably mad had method in their madness and acted for comprehensible political motives. Combining human drama, questions of political morality and the sheer randomness of events, Day of the Assassins is a riveting insight into the politics of violence.”
  • Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] is a new book by Emily Midorikawa—”Queen Victoria’s reign was an era of breathtaking social change, but it did little to create a platform for women to express themselves. But not so within the social sphere of the séance–a mysterious, lamp-lit world on both sides of the Atlantic, in which women who craved a public voice could hold their own. Out of the Shadows tells the stories of the enterprising women whose supposedly clairvoyant gifts granted them fame, fortune, and most important, influence as they crossed rigid boundaries of gender and class as easily as they passed between the realms of the living and the dead. The Fox sisters inspired some of the era’s best-known political activists and set off a transatlantic séance craze. While in the throes of a trance, Emma Hardinge Britten delivered powerful speeches to crowds of thousands. Victoria Woodhull claimed guidance from the spirit world as she took on the millionaires of Wall Street before becoming America’s first female presidential candidate. And Georgina Weldon narrowly escaped the asylum before becoming a celebrity campaigner against archaic lunacy laws. Drawing on diaries, letters, and rarely seen memoirs and texts, Emily Midorikawa illuminates a radical history of female influence that has been confined to the dark until now.” Emma Hardinge Britten was inducted into the Order of the Eagle in April 2003. I’ve just added the beginning of an entry for Emma Hardinge Britten in Hermeneuticon.
  • Can we keep human inconsistency from confusing expert advice? Human variability is great—except when it gets in the way of consistent guidance.” About Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein—”Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients—or that two judges in the same courthouse give markedly different sentences to people who have committed the same crime. Suppose that different interviewers at the same firm make different decisions about indistinguishable job applicants—or that when a company is handling customer complaints, the resolution depends on who happens to answer the phone. Now imagine that the same doctor, the same judge, the same interviewer, or the same customer service agent makes different decisions depending on whether it is morning or afternoon, or Monday rather than Wednesday. These are examples of noise: variability in judgments that should be identical. In Noise, Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organizations alike are unaware of it. They neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions. Packed with original ideas, and offering the same kinds of research-based insights that made Thinking, Fast and Slow and Nudge groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers, Noise explains how and why humans are so susceptible to noise in judgment—and what we can do about it.”
  • U Mad?. How to troll book people and other gullible romantics.” By Lauren Oyler, author of Fake Accounts [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”Narrated with seductive confidence and subversive wit, Fake Accounts challenges the way current conversations about the self and community, delusions and gaslighting, and fiction and reality play out in the internet age.” Also “Delete Your Fake Account“—”In her new novel Fake Accounts, Lauren Oyler paints a bleak portrait of a social media–addled world saturated with loneliness and alienation. It’s incredibly accurate. But there must be a way out of the nightmarish social landscape she depicts.”
  • Branching out: is communication possible between trees and people? Trees communicate with each other, store memories and respond to attacks. They have a profoundly positive effect on our emotions … but can we know how they feel about us?” Adapted from The Heartbeat of Trees: Embracing Our Ancient Bond with Forests and Nature [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst, due later this month—”From the Author of the New York Times Bestseller, the Hidden Life of Trees. A powerful return to the forest, where trees have heartbeats and roots are like brains that extend underground. Where the color green calms us, and the forest sharpens our senses. In The Heartbeat of Trees, renowned forester Peter Wohlleben draws on new scientific discoveries to show how humans are deeply connected to the natural world.In an era of cell phone addiction, climate change, and urban life, many of us fear we’ve lost our connection to nature—but Peter Wohlleben is convinced that age-old ties linking humans to the forest remain alive and intact. Drawing on science and cutting-edge research, The Heartbeat of Trees reveals the profound interactions humans can have with nature, exploring: the language of the forest, the consciousness of plants, and the eroding boundary between flora and fauna.”
  • Read an excerpt from The Hidden Palace, the sequel to the decade’s best fantasy novel. The story of The Golem and The Jinni resumes on June 8.” About The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Helene Wecker, book 2 of The Golem and the Jinni series—”In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I—the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.”
  • How the Poets Wrote of Billie Holiday.” Excerpt from Guard the Mysteries [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Cedar Sigo. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Wave Books—”Guard the Mysteries is a compendium of five talks presented by poet Cedar Sigo for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series. Retracing the ways in which he first encountered the realm of poetry, Sigo plumbs the particulars of modern critique, identity politics, early influences, and poetic form to produce a singular autobiography of voice. Across these lectures, Sigo explores his childhood on the Suquamish Reservation, while paying homage to revolutionary artists, teachers, and thinkers whom have shaped his poetic aesthetic. Simultaneously timeless and extremely timely, these talks ponder the presences that California Buddhism, LGBTQ+ experiences, and Native Nations occupy in the poetic world and the world at large. ”
  • John Steinbeck’s estate urged to let the world read his shunned werewolf novel. Rejected and hidden away since 1930, an early murder mystery by the Nobel-winning author is ‘an incredible find’.” Also.
  • “Do Not Ask Me Who I Am”. Foucault and neoliberalism.”—”We just can’t seem to shake Foucault. The French philosopher, loathed or loved, has not dimmed in significance since his death of AIDS in 1984. In many ways the patron saint of contemporary humanistic inquiry, Michel Foucault’s work remains a source of both inspiration and frustration to scholars today. Conservatives, in turn, have long enjoyed propping him up as a left-wing bogeyman.” “But not everyone on the left is rushing to defend the thinker. In spite of his reputation as a progressive icon, Foucault has always had an at best contentious relationship with leftist politics.”
  • Gollancz’s Pride Reading List.”—”This Pride, we wanted to share our favourite SFF books with either LGBTQIA+ characters or that are written by LGBTQIA+ authors. We are committed to amplifying diverse voices and enriching genre fiction with stories outside the mainstream. From Elizabeth May and Laura Lam’s Sunday Times bestseller Seven Devils, to Richard K. Morgan’s A Land Fit for Heroes trilogy, we have a host of brilliant fiction to help diversify your bookshelf.”
  • Researchers perform magic tricks for birds, who are not amused. Can an animal without hands recognize when humans are using sleight-of-hand tricks?”
  • Cancer ‘power failure’ stops the spread of tumor cells.”—”New research from the University of Salford shows that cutting off the fuel supply can effectively stop the spread of cancer cells.”
  • Researchers develop prototype of robotic device to pick, trim button mushrooms.”
  • The psychologists signing up for psychedelic therapy training: ‘Amazing things can happen’. The global renaissance of psychedelic drugs in the treatment of mental health gains further legitimacy in Australia as psychologists sign up for clinical trials.”—”What it demonstrates is if you put enough ritual and intention into something, amazing things can happen.”
  • Researchers learn how swimming ducks balance water pressure in their feathers while diving.”
  • Better Popping Potential for Popcorn.”
  • Spiders can sniff out and avoid killer ants, SFU study finds.”—”The findings, published recently in Royal Society Open Science, give us a peek inside the enduring struggle between spiders and ants, and could lead to the development of natural repellents for homeowners worried about unwanted eight-legged guests.”
  • From the Watchmen dept: “NASA Squid In SpaceX Mission To International Space Station.”
  • NASA is getting serious about UFOs.”—”Nelson added that he does not believe the UFOs are evidence of extraterrestrials visiting Earth. “I think I would know” if that were the case, Nelson said. But, he acknowledged, it’d be premature to rule that out as a possibility.”
  • Sharks Almost Went the Way of the Dinosaurs 19 Million Years Ago. Analysis of the fossil record shows a mysterious mass extinction that decimated the diversity of sharks in the world’s oceans, and they’ve never fully recovered.” Also “The world saw a shark-pocalypse 19 million years ago, and we don’t know why. Researchers find evidence of a huge shark die-off but aren’t sure what happened.” Also “An early Miocene extinction in pelagic sharks.”
  • From the Darth Sidious dept: “Researchers rewire the genetics of E. coli, make it virus-proof. A revised genetic code is a pathway for bacteria to do things that seem unnatural.”
  • Luring bacteria into a trap. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Basel have developed a vaccine that protects animals from Salmonella. These bacteria often escape the effects of vaccination by genetically modifying their protective coat. The researchers have succeeded in manipulating this process to lure the bacteria into an evolutionary trap.”
  • Watch “Archeologists have discovered a mystery at the bottom of Lake Huron.”—”Two small artifacts recovered from the depths have a big story to tell. They are challenging what we think we know about how humans lived in North American nearly 10,000 years ago.”
  • Venus can’t wait—NASA plans blockbuster return to hothouse neighbor.” Also “Venus is so very nice, NASA is going there twice. ‘The Venus community is absolutely elated.'”
  • Physicists unlock multispectral secrets of earliest color photographs. French physicist Gabriel Lippmann created the first color photographs in 1891.”
  • Research sheds light on origins, age of massive impact crater.”—”‘Because it is very well preserved, it points to a possibly very young age, as young as the onset of the Younger Dryas period (between 11,500 and 14,500 years ago),’ said Silber. ‘Or alternatively, if old, it tells us about the erosional processes that might have taken place in that area.'”
  • Cosmic Map of Ultrahigh-Energy Particles Points to Long-Hidden Treasures. Ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays twist and turn on their way to Earth, which has made it nearly impossible to identify the colossal monsters that create them.”
  • You say that like it’s a good thing: “Neuralink Brain Chip Will End Language in Five to 10 Years, Elon Musk Says.” Counterpoint: watch “Language Is A Virus (From Outer Space)” by Laurie Anderson.
  • Prehistoric carvings of red deer found in Scottish neolithic tomb. Amateur archaeologist exploring Dunchraigaig cairn found animal depictions by chance.”
  • Accelerating deployment of offshore wind energy alter wind climate and reduce future power generation potentials.”
  • Arctic sea ice thinning twice as fast as thought, study finds. Less ice means more global heating, a vicious cycle that also leaves the region open to new oil extraction.”
  • Mysterious protein makes human DNA morph into different shapes. Human and mosquito cell nuclei have their own shapes, and researchers can mold one to look like the other.”
  • Can virtual reality help seniors? Study hopes to find out.”—”Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab will be working with John Knox’s 1,200 residents, who will have ready access to the equipment under the supervision of staff members. The goal is to see whether virtual reality can improve their mood, strengthen their relationships with staff and make them more receptive to technology. Other senior communities in the United States and elsewhere will soon be added by the California university.”
  • TikTok updates US privacy policy to collect ‘faceprints and voiceprints’ (but won’t explain what they are). TikTok needs to offer meaningful explanations of the data it’s collecting.”
  • Amazon Calls Warehouse Workers ‘Industrial Athletes’ in Leaked Wellness Pamphlet. The leaked pamphlet asks workers to “monitor your urine color” and alter their lifestyle so they don’t get injured on the job.”
  • Supreme Court reins in definition of crime under controversial hacking law. Justices reject US gov’s broad interpretation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”—”The case hinged on the word ‘so’ as used in the CFAA’s prohibition on ‘obtain[ing] or alter[ing] information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter.'”
  • Facebook to end “Trump exemption” for politicians’ posts. ‘Newsworthiness’ exemption would allow some controversial posts through, reports say.” Also “Nigeria suspends Twitter operations, says platform ‘undermines its corporate existence’.”
  • Amazon’s Cost Saving Routing Algorithm Makes Drivers Walk Into Traffic. ‘It’s fucking horrendous, honestly. [You’re crossing] multiple lanes, busy traffic.'”
  • Amazon warehouse injuries ‘80% higher’ than competitors, report claims.”
  • Amazon Will Stop Testing Job Seekers For Marijuana And Now Backs Legalizing Weed.”
  • Counterpoint: “Amazon Wants to Connect Your Smart Speaker and Doorbell With Your Neighbor’s. It’s Actually Pretty Cool!
  • Facebook Is Testing a New ‘Prayer’ Post Feature.” Also “Likes and prayers: Facebook tests new ‘prayer post’ feature. The idea for prayer posts grew out of the myriad ways users have connected over Facebook while distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the spokesperson.” Also “Facebook Introduces New ‘Prayer Request’ Posts. We reached out to Facebook for more information regarding screenshots that circulated on Twitter.”
  • A death in Cryptoland. When reports emerged in 2019 that the CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange had died, it left over a quarter of a billion dollars of customers’ funds in limbo. While authorities investigated, one online sleuth decided to dig deeper to find the money.”
  • JBS: Cyber-attack hits world’s largest meat supplier. The world’s largest meat processing company has been targeted by a sophisticated cyber-attack.” Also “Ransomware attack disrupts Massachusetts ferries.” Also “Did Paying a Ransom for a Stolen Magritte Painting Inadvertently Fund Terrorism? The theft of a deeply personal painting by the Belgian artist was a national tragedy. Now an investigation points to a tragedy greater still.”
  • Bing Censors Image Search for ‘Tank Man’ Even in US. ‘There are no results for tank man,’ the Bing website reads after searching for the term.”
  • Remember Keanu Reaves hacking improv in Johnny Mnemonic that ended up inspiring many others? Watch “AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch (4K). Control Apple Watch with gestures, without touching it.” Also “Apple Has a Decade-long Lead in Wearables.”
  • The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins. Throughout 2020, the notion that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab was off-limits. Those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept us in the dark.”—”There are reasons to doubt the lab-leak hypothesis. There is a long, well-documented history of natural spillovers leading to outbreaks, even when the initial and intermediate host animals have remained a mystery for months and years, and some expert virologists say the supposed oddities of the SARS-CoV-2 sequence have been found in nature. But for most of the past year, the lab-leak scenario was treated not simply as unlikely or even inaccurate but as morally out-of-bounds.” Counterpoint, from …March: “WHO Points To Wildlife Farms In Southern China As Likely Source Of Pandemic.”
  • Sustained surveillance for disease outbreaks at global hot spots may be the key to preventing the next pandemic. The next pandemic is already happening – targeted disease surveillance can help prevent it.”
  • ‘She’s an angry goddess’: India’s coronavirus deities, ‘disease-curing’ shrines offer hope to desperate devotees. A long entrenched tradition of turning to faith in calamitous times has seen Indians flock to shrines and temples as the pandemic rages on. The country’s chronically underfunded health system is part of the reason, though such practices have a long history – and not everyone believes.”
  • Joe Biden, Donald Trump and the Weimar Republic: History’s dark lessons. America in the 2020s is disturbingly reminiscent of Germany 100 years ago. Spoiler: That didn’t end well.”
  • Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think. Two philosophers of science diagnose our age of fake news.”
  • The Republican plot to steal the 2024 election“—”Republicans have spent nearly seven months making bogus charges of fraud in the 2020 election under the banner of ‘stop the steal.’ Now they have segued into a ‘start the steal’ offensive to ensure that they will win the 2022 and 2024 elections — even if most voters once again support the Democratic Party.”
  • The filibuster must go: Restore majority rule to save our democracy.”
  • Watch “QAmom – Confronting my mom’s conspiracy theories.”—”My mom got sucked into the world of internet conspiracies so I made this little movie about it.”
  • No co-operation, no comment: Missionary Oblates who ran Kamloops school won’t release records The federal government and churches have fought for more than 20 years over making records available to groups trying to identify residential school victims.” Also “Canada lowers flags after discovery of bodies at school site.”
  • Update: Law Student Who Made Fun of the Federalist Society Will Be Allowed to Graduate After All.”
  • Arizona plans to execute prisoners with the same deadly gas used by the Nazis at Auschwitz, documents show.”—”Cyanide is lethal in that it prevents the body from using oxygen. It was used in both World Wars — by French and Austrian troops in World War I, and by Nazi Germany in World War II, said a 2014 fact sheet by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The trade name for hydrogen cyanide is Zyklon B.”
  • Spare a Thought for the Billions of People Who Will Never Exist. As world population growth slows, the never-conceived are the ultimate forgotten ones.” Also replies. Also tweet—”And while we’re at it, let’s spare a thought for all the billions of stars that never reached fusion, the evolutionary dead ends that went nowhere, the alternate universes that never spawned out of physics that don’t exist. Now shut the fuck up, BW.”
  • How to Rearrange Your Post-Pandemic ‘Friendscape’. Re-entry offers an opportunity to choose which relationships we wish to resurrect and which are better left dormant.” Also satirizing tweets—”We’re not saying abandon your friends. Just the depressed or fat ones, or anyone struggling with a substance abuse problem, or anyone who isn’t “enterprising” “oh, and don’t forget anyone who isn’t “studious” – preferably at the post grad or managerial level”
  • Is THIS the secret to happiness? Scientists say the key to being content is lowering your expectations – but not so far that it leaves you miserable. Researchers created a mobile game that tracks happiness as people play. It involves a series of risk taking and decision making activities with rewards. The team say this allowed them to link expectations with happiness levels. They say that managing expectations, not too high or too low, boosts happiness. The authors say that we should treat happiness as a tool rather than a goal.”
  • Feel free to stop striving: learn to relish being an amateur.”—”The role of practice ought to be revised so that striving is replaced by fulfilment, and notions of success and failure are erased”
  • Joanna Koerten’s Scissor-Cut Works Were Compared to Michelangelo. And then, snip by snip, she was cut out of the frame of Renaissance art history.”
  • Types of Intuition. Thomas Nagel on human rights and moral knowledge.”
  • What Happens When a Metaphor Becomes Real? The humanities can reveal the truth of the world’s crises, everything from contagions like the pandemic to apocalypses like right-wing violence.”
  • If You Frame It Like That. So much depends on the way a work is formatted.”
  • The Last Black Stage” by Harmony Holiday, previously mentioned. “I see rehearsal space, rehearsal tapes, dressing rooms, cooking sessions, woodsheds, after-hours performances, and backstage as Black sacred spaces, places where we are most like ourselves, where we fray and ignite, where the real show begins and in some cases also ends or diminishes—formal performances being minstrel versions of the intentions that survive only on their outskirts. There’s an oral and gestural history of the interactions in all these clandestine spheres surrounding the stage, which are one sphere of deconstructed performance practice where life and art collaborate to outwit the market and make beautiful interludes that cannot be readily packaged and sold and consumed. In these moments of rejecting showmanship, we undo the self-cannibalizing aspects of Black performance in the West with a tattered, unedited coming together, with bonds built of interruptions, clumsiness, pandemonium, elegance, secret exchanges that force us to confront what we deny about ourselves because they reveal how we behave when we think the gaze is attenuated. Improvisation fails when it is insincere, so our best music comes from these intimate places, off-limits to most critics, fans, and spectators.”
  • Like, um, She-Ra meets Summer Camp Island meets Gravity Falls? Watch The Owl House, “Season 2 Trailer“. Season 1 is on Disney+.
  • Like, um, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind meets Avatar: The Last Airbender? Watch Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+.
  • First look at Borderlands movie teases Lilith, Tiny Tina, and Claptrap. New photos reveal a game-accurate translation.” With Cate Blanchett as Lilith, Kevin Hart as Roland, Jack Black as Claptrap, Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina, and Florian Munteanu as Krieg, & c.
  • Marvel’s new tabletop RPG will let you play as your favorite heroes or create your own. Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game will include Avengers and X-Men.”
  • Netflix’s Sweet Tooth makes the end of the world a little cozier. A warmer take on a post-apocalyptic future.” Also “Netflix’s Sweet Tooth is a dark, beautiful fairytale for a weary world. This adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s post-apocalyptic comic improves the characters and deepens the story.”
  • ‘Unseaworthy’ Noah’s Ark replica detained at Ipswich Waterfront. A giant replica of Noah’s Ark has been deemed unseaworthy and detained where it is docked.”
  • Something something Orphic Hymn to Dionysos something something mutual support and solidarity of Maenads: tweet—”The wisdom of crowds is surprisingly powerful, even if the crowd is drunk. This paper got undergrads drunk & found that while intoxicated individuals make a lot more errors, the consensus of groups of drunks is as accurate as that of groups of sober folks.” Also “Groupdrink: the effects of alcohol and group process on vigilance errors.” Ah! hahahaha. I see what they did there!

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