Monthly Archives: July 2021

Omnium Gatherum: 28jul2021

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

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

  • Today: “Occultism Today: Mitch Horowitz and Richard Smoley in Conversation by The Theosophical Society in America. Free. Wed, July 28, 2021. 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT. Online. A lively dialogue between two of today’s most formative voices of the esoteric. Topics include UFOs, technology, and more with time for Q&A.”
  • Reminder: “This Year’s Perseid Meteor Shower Will Be Super-Bright With Up To 50 Shooting Stars An Hour.”—”This year’s show began on July 17 and will last until August 26. The peak will be on the night of August 11, running into the early hours of August 12. That’s when the rate of shooting stars will be at its highest, with about 50 meteors per hour.”
  • Welcome to the 2021 Fates and Graces Mythologium! The 2021 Mythologium explores this year’s theme of Myth and Healing from many viewpoints, from the foundations of the field to contemporary issues in myth. You’ll find 2 and 1/2 days of presentations from 50 mythologists on 18 different panels, along with a keynote speech by Dr. Dennis Patrick Slattery. Panel topics range from Mythic Healers to Healing Tales of Wonder, Healing Psyche and Soma, and many, many more. Read on for a preview of the magic that the community of mythologists has created!” July 30–Aug 1.
  • I’d bet it’s not the first time all the people who can’t accept and respect Simone Biles saying “no” haven’t accepted or respected someone saying “no”. But, I mean, other than that she doesn’t owe an explanation to anyone, here’s a thing: “The Twisties“—”On Twitter, former gymnast and diver Catherine Burns explained that Biles was likely experiencing a case of ‘the dreaded twisties’.” “I used to write a lot about this kind of thing in this loosely connected series of posts on relaxed concentration. This phenomenon goes by many names — performance anxiety, stage fright, choking, the yips, cueitis (in snooker), and target panic (for archers) — and the world-class are not immune. Daniel Day-Lewis had stage fright so bad he quit the stage decades ago — an affliction he shared with Laurence Olivier, Barbra Streisand, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. If you’ve read anything at all about this stuff, Biles’ case of the twisties doesn’t seem so unusual or mysterious — it’s just one of those things that makes her, and the rest of us, human.”
  • Stonehenge A303 tunnel: High Court challenge bid dismissed. A High Court challenge against a proposed £27bn road scheme that includes the Stonehenge road tunnel has been dismissed.”
  • The U.S. has finally taken back the Epic of Gilgamesh . . . from Hobby Lobby.“—”A recent update to a story I can’t believe everyone isn’t talking about every day: the U.S. Department of Justice has formally seized the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet (a cuneiform tablet inscribed with part of the Epic of Gilgamesh) from Hobby Lobby (the craft store).”
  • U.S. Government Sells Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan Album to Unknown Buyer. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, seized from Shkreli in 2018, was sold to fulfill a forfeiture money judgment in the disgraced pharma exec’s ongoing securities fraud case.”
  • Sigillum Dei Coin Token [Also] created for the Dee Sanction RPG.
  • Weird World News • Foundry VTT Access“—”Check out this groovy game based off your favorite cartoons from the 1970s. Players control intrepid members of an Extreme News Team on the hunt for UFOs, ghosts, mothmen, and other cryptids. But not all is as it seems—for every authentic cryptid uncovered, there’s another half-dozen frauds: executors disguised as bigfoot trying to bilk the rightful heirs out of an inheritance; restauranteurs in mummy bandages trying to stamp out competition; or a ruthless robber-baron masked as a vampire trying to buy land cheap. Unveil the frauds and stop the monsters in Weird World News, the latest Fate World of Adventure from André la Roche.” Old setting of thematic interest, now available for Foundry VTT. (Also, check out: “A COLOSSAL offer of the FATE tabletop roleplaying game system. FATE WORLDS AND TOOLKITS. FATE OF CTHULHU, FORTY-FIVE Worlds of Adventure, five TOOLKITS, and LOTS more.” Which includes Weird World News, Fate of Cthulhu, and more.)
  • Which fictional character embodies your Enneagram personality type?.”—”After years of obsessing over the Enneagram and making everyone I know take it, I now give you the Enneagram personality types as fictional characters.”
  • Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Matthew Clark—”Soma and hoama are among the earliest recorded substances that supposedly elicit religious ecstasy. Mentioned in the sacred texts of the Brahmans, the Vedas, and in the Zoroastrian Avesta respectively, the mystery of their botanical identity has been contested by scholars since the eighteenth century. Many plants and fungi have been proposed in the intervening years, including Amanita muscaria and Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), and even ergot. None of which, however, reliably fit available evidence. In Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond, scholar Matthew Clark proposes that soma/hoama is instead an ayahuasca-like plant complex made up of different species. He argues that the widespread use of this ancient ritual drink in Asia means that different plants would have been used depending on geographical location. Thus he examines a range of candidates that reliably grow on the right areas and which in combination might produce an effect similar to the so-called ‘classic’ psychedelics. These early ecstatic experiences, he suggests, contributed to the emergent concept and ritual techniques of mysticism.”
  • Man is the Animal: A Coil Zine” About Man Is the Animal: A Coil Zine – Issue 1—”New zine dedicated to Coil: the esoteric music project pursued by Jhonn Balance and Peter Christopherson. Coil are greatly mourned and yet their project feels just as urgent now as it did when they were here. This zine will pore over the products they left behind, hoping to reinvigorate a living interest in their radical praxis. A5 perfect bound zine, 60 pages.”
  • Massively Popular Webtoon ‘Lore Olympus’ Coming to Print From Del Rey. Online Version Has 5.1 Million Followers.”—”Del Rey has announced it will publish a print edition of the webtoon Lore Olympus, by Rachel Smythe, which has racked up 5.1 million followers on the Webtoon platform. The webtoon, which was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2019 and is up for a Harvey Award this year, is a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades that also engages larger issues such as coming of age and dealing with sexual trauma and PTSD.” About Lore Olympus: Volume One [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Rachel Smythe, due October, 2021—”Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of the best-known stories in Greek mythology from creator Rachel Smythe. Persephone, young goddess of spring, is new to Olympus. Her mother, Demeter, has raised her in the mortal realm, but after Persephone promises to train as a sacred virgin, she’s allowed to live in the fast-moving, glamorous world of the gods. When her roommate, Artemis, takes her to a party, her entire life changes: she ends up meeting Hades and feels an immediate spark with the charming yet misunderstood ruler of the Underworld. Now Persephone must navigate the confusing politics and relationships that rule Olympus, while also figuring out her own place—and her own power. This full-color edition of Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated webcomic Lore Olympus features a brand-new, exclusive short story, and brings Greek mythology into the modern age in a sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.” Also Lore Olympus: Volume Two [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] due February, 2022. Also, check out the web comic.
  • Love and Other Liberties.” About Libertie [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kaitlyn Greenidge—”The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award-winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself. Coming of age in a free Black community in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else–is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her light-skinned mother, Libertie will not be able to pass for white. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it–for herself and for generations to come. Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our past.”
  • “The gods exist. The first prerequisite for understanding the belief and the cult of the Greeks is that we realise and accept this as a given fact just as they did. Knowledge of their existence is based on a perception, be it internal or external, be it the perception of the godhead itself or of something in which we discern its effect.”—Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1848-1931), Der Glaube der Hellenen, I, quoted at The Gods Are There.
  • “Everything that can be bought is worth little: I spit this doctrine into the faces of hucksters.”—Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Summer 1882-Winter 1883/84), tr. Paul S. Loeb and David F. Tinsley, quoted at Of Little Worth.
  • Ugh. Not now cosmic ray gun! “NASA’s Fermi Spots a Weird Pulse of High-Energy Radiation Racing Toward Earth.”—”On August 26, 2020, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected a pulse of high-energy radiation that had been racing toward Earth for nearly half the present age of the universe. Lasting only about a second, it turned out to be one for the record books – the shortest gamma-ray burst (GRB) caused by the death of a massive star ever seen.”
  • Ugh. Not now astroids fired from arachnid planets! “Flashing meteor that exploded over Norway landed somewhere in a nearby forest.”
  • Hubble finds evidence of water vapor on Jupiter’s largest moon. Researchers re-examined new and archival datasets to make the discovery.”—”Scientists have discovered the first evidence of water vapor on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. They used new and archival datasets from the Hubble Space Telescope to find the vapor, which forms when ice on the surface sublimates and turns from solid to gas.”
  • Ugh. Not now extinction event! “Then the Birds Began to Die. I carried on for more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, but I didn’t see the next plague coming.”
  • Ugh. Not now past extinction event! “DNA from 93-year-old butterfly confirms the first US case of human-led insect extinction“—”The Xerces blue butterfly was last seen flapping its iridescent periwinkle wings in San Francisco in the early 1940s. It’s generally accepted to be extinct, the first American insect species destroyed by urban development, but there are lingering questions about whether it was really a species to begin with, or just a sub-population of another common butterfly. In a new study in Biology Letters, researchers analyzed the DNA of a 93-year-old Xerces blue specimen in museum collections, and they found that its DNA is unique enough to merit being considered a species. The study confirms that yes, the Xerces blue really did go extinct, and that insect conservation is something we have to take seriously.”
  • Ugh. Not now worm sign! “Sandstorm swallows city in northwestern China. A sandstorm that lifted at least 100 metres (330ft) has left a city in northwestern China covered in dust. Videos of Dunhuang show the wall of sand slowly creeping over buildings and highways. The town is located on the edge of the Gobi Desert, which is known for its harsh climates.”
  • Acoustic Tweezers Can Pick Objects Up With Sound Waves – Without Any Physical Contact. Hemispherical array of ultrasound transducers lifts objects off reflective surfaces.”—”The ability to move objects without touching them might sound like magic, but in the world of biology and chemistry, technology known as optical trapping has been helping scientists use light to move microscopic objects around for many years.” “Enter acoustic trapping, an alternative which uses sound instead of optical waves. Sound waves may be applied to a wider range of object sizes and materials, so much so that successful manipulation is possible for millimeter-sized particles. Though they haven’t been around for as long as their optical counterparts, acoustic levitation and manipulation show exceptional promise for both lab settings and beyond. But the technical challenges that need to be surmounted are big. In particular, it is not easy to individually and accurately control vast arrays of ultrasound transducers in real-time, and get the right sound fields to lift objects far from the transducers themselves, particularly near surfaces that reflect sound. Now, Researcher Shota Kondo and Associate Professor Kan Okubo from Tokyo Metropolitan University have come up with a new approach to lift millimeter-sized objects off a reflective surface using a hemispherical array of transducers.”
  • From 2019: “Cats communicate with the help of bacteria living in their butts. KittyBiome researchers want to study the cat microbiome to improve health and understand scent-based communication.”
  • Earth’s ‘vital signs’ worsening as humanity’s impact deepens.”—”The global economy’s business-as-usual approach to climate change has seen Earth’s “vital signs” deteriorate to record levels, an influential group of scientists said Wednesday, warning that several climate tipping points were now imminent. The researchers, part of a group of more than 14,000 scientists who have signed on to an initiative declaring a worldwide climate emergency, said that governments had consistently failed to address the root cause of climate change: ‘the overexploitation of the Earth’.”
  • From 2020: “Sharing doesn’t make you a sucker. This scientist has the numbers to prove it. With the Human Generosity Project, Athena Aktipis wants to show that cooperation makes humans stronger.”
  • Under pressure, ‘squishy’ compound reacts in remarkable ways. From insulator to metal and back again—a new transition phenomenon reported by Rochester and Las Vegas researchers ‘will find a place in physics textbooks.'”
  • Chronic pain might impact how the brain processes emotions. Chemical ‘messengers’ called neurotransmitters help regulate our emotions – but scientists have noticed a disruption to their levels in people with chronic pain.”
  • Investigation: How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires. The Wall Street Journal created dozens of automated accounts that watched hundreds of thousands of videos to reveal how the social network knows you so well.” They only need to watch one thing: how much time a person stays on each bit of content. That also means they are always watching, even when, and especially, apparently, when you are too.
  • The Day the Good Internet Died. For a small slice of time, being online was a thrilling mix of discovery, collaboration, creativity, and chaotic potential. Then Google Reader disappeared.” Personally, I’ve used a lot of different RSS tools over the years, including Google Reader and the subsequent, but also now dead, Digg Reader. Right now, I mostly use NetNewsWire for actively following over 200 RSS feeds. And, yep! That’s just one of several ways I’m constantly curating things for Omnium Gatherum. By the by, did you know that Hermetic Library, not just the blog, but the site itself, has an RSS feed of changes available? Also, from 2019: “The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job. A decade of squandered potential can be laid at the feet of those you trusted to create a democratic online world.” I still wistfully long for a version of Twitter that is RSS inside and out, from the top to the bottom. But, if this mythical Good Internet ever comes back, I’m ready with venerable website and blog full of content old and new!
  • All Work and No Play“—”Video games, like any creative product, reflect and refract the conditions of their production. Today, what they most resemble is twenty-first-century work.”—”Usually I spend untold swaths of time playing games whose status as entertainment—much less as art—confounds me, even as I trudge on, checkpoint to checkpoint, level to level. What kind of subject am I being shaped into by these processes? And what kind of political economy demands that sort of subject? What, to be blunt, would I be spending my time doing otherwise?” Humbly, I recommend a commitment to only doing things that have opportunity for creative output. That was my own conclusion for myself inspired by T Polyphilus’ book reviews project where he decided that if he was going to read something, he’d best have something to say about it, even if it was only a couple sentences. For example, if you’re not writing, recording or streaming creatively because of a game, don’t play it. Any game that you grind for no real or tangible return on your time should not be an acceptable exchange. So, if you want to play games, video or tabletop, then start reviewing them, streaming them, posting videos about them; anything, but make it matter somehow. Like the practice of Will asks: “To what end?” I submit: if you’re going to do something, have an answer to that question.
  • This Is Not a Cat.”—”This feline beauty was created entirely by an algorithm. Every time you refresh the webpage This Cat Does Not Exist, you’ll get a different algorithm-generated, hyperrealistic cat. Confused? Scared? So are we.” Also This Cat Does Not Exist.
  • New algorithm flies drones faster than human racing pilots.”—”For the first time, an autonomously flying quadrotor has outperformed two human pilots in a drone race. The success is based on a novel algorithm that was developed by researchers of the University of Zurich. It calculates time-optimal trajectories that fully consider the drones’ limitations.”
  • Cheat-maker brags of computer-vision auto-aim that works on ‘any game’. Capture cards, input hardware, and machine learning get around system-level lockdowns.”—”The basic toolchain used for these external emulated-input cheating methods is relatively simple. The first step is using an external video capture card to record a game’s live output and instantly send it to a separate computer. Those display frames are then run through a computer vision-based object detection algorithm like You Only Look Once (YOLO) that has been trained to find human-shaped enemies in the image (or at least in a small central portion of the image near the targeting reticle). Once the enemy is identified on the screen, these cheating engines can easily calculate precisely how far and in which direction the mouse needs to move to put that enemy (or even a specific body part, like the head) in the center of the crosshairs. That data is then sent to an input-passthrough device like the Titan Two or the Cronus Zen, which emulates the correct mouse input and fires a shot at superhuman speed.”
  • Soft Robot Hand Is First to Be Fully 3-D-Printed in a Single Step. Then it played Super Mario Bros.”—”A soft robotic hand has finally achieved a historic accomplishment: beating the first level of Super Mario Bros. Although quickly pressing and releasing the buttons and directional pad on a Nintendo Entertainment System controller is a fun test of this three-fingered machine’s performance, the real breakthrough is not what it does—but how it was created. The Mario-playing hand, as well as two turtlelike ‘soft robots’ described in the same recent Science Advances paper, were each 3-D-printed in a single process that only took three to eight hours.”
  • Bipedal robot developed at Oregon State makes history by learning to run, completing 5K.”—”Cassie the robot, invented at Oregon State University and produced by OSU spinout company Agility Robotics, has made history by traversing 5 kilometers, completing the route in just over 53 minutes.” Watch “OSU Bipedal Robot First to Run 5K.”
  • Facebook Halts Oculus Quest 2 Sales Over ‘Skin Irritation’. Despite claiming in December that only ‘0.01% of people using Quest 2’ were affected.” Also “Facebook Technologies Recalls Removable Foam Facial Interfaces for Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headsets Due to Skin Irritation Hazard (Recall Alert).”
  • White House calling out critics of door-to-door vaccine push.” Also “Microsoft went from door to door to take malware-infected routers offline. When it became clear that the fight against the malicious software called Trickbot could not be won remotely, Microsoft resorted to drastic measures and sent employees from door to door in order to manually take infected networking hardware offline.”
  • Militaries plunder science fiction for technology ideas, but turn a blind eye to the genre’s social commentary.”—”One of the most interesting tools for thinking about future defence technology isn’t big data forecasting and the use of synthetic training environments, but narrative and imagination. And we get this from science fiction. That might sound fanciful, but many militaries are already engaging with the genre.” “But while science fiction provides military planners with a tantalising glimpse of future weaponry, from exoskeletons to mind-machine interfaces, the genre is always about more than flashy new gadgets. It’s about anticipating the unforeseen ways in which these technologies could affect humans and society – and this extra context is often overlooked by the officials deciding which technologies to invest in for future conflicts.”
  • From 2019: “The 1968 sci-fi that spookily predicted today. In the first of BBC Culture’s new series on fiction that predicted the future, Hephzibah Anderson looks at the work of John Brunner, whose vision of 2010 was eerily accurate.”—”In his 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar, for instance, he peers ahead to imagine life in 2010, correctly forecasting wearable technology, Viagra, video calls, same-sex marriage, the legalisation of cannabis, and the proliferation of mass shootings. Equally compelling, however – and even more instructive – is the process by which Brunner constructed this society of his future and our present.”
  • From 2020: “Climate change and the pandemic are both failures of the imagination.”—”Even with the evidence right in front of us, our imagination often fails. You know on paper that something can happen, but you don’t imagine that it really will. Failure of the imagination is, to me, the central thing that unites climate change and the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
  • The total health and climate consequences of the American food system cost three times as much as the food itself. Diet-related disease, climate change and inequity: The true costs of the American diet.”
  • We Know How This Ends. The incoherent arguments of covid-19 anti-vaxxers mirror the climate denial movement.”—”You need only look at climate denial to see the outcome. While there are some differences between the two forms of denial—climate denial was funded heavily by polluting industries and treated as legitimate by the media, to take just two examples—the mechanisms and endpoints are likely to be the same.” “These are all crank arguments easily swatted away if you know the deal. But if you don’t, they offer a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style approach to justifying your end goal of not changing the status quo.”
  • I’m a Parkland Shooting Survivor. QAnon Convinced My Dad It Was All a Hoax. ‘I don’t know how to help someone that far gone.'”
  • From the Department of Pre-Crime dept:Pasco Sheriff’s Office letter targets residents for ‘increased accountability’. Critics of the agency’s intelligence programs called the letter ‘patronizing’ and ‘offensive,’ and raised continued concerns about civil rights.” Tweet—”Pasco Sheriff’s Office (FL) creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks, etc. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.”
    Tweet—”…And already I call bullshit. The HIGH likelihood is that the Pasco County, Fl. Sheriff is using deeply biased predictive policing metrics to generate these “prolific offender” lists. I want a direct investigation of exactly WHO is most often getting ‘randomly’ ‘checked up on.'”

  • The Unraveling of the Trump Era. The Trump administration desperately wanted to cut government benefits, and it had outside help to do so. But very few of its new rules held up.”—”Trump’s failures to permanently change government policy were remarkably diverse.”
  • Op-Ed: Voting Rights Should Be Treated Like Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure. ‘As we’re seeing in the senate, roads and bridges— not the stability of our democracy— elicit bipartisan cooperation,’ black pac executive director adrianne shropshire says.”
  • What If the Fed Worked for the People? This is How It Can Start Curbing Inequality.“—”The Fed has been Wall Street’s bank. It’s time for it to directly serve Main Street too. The Fed created two lending facilities for municipalities and medium-sized businesses in 2020. While few loans were made and the programs have expired, those efforts showed that the Fed can lend directly to Main Street. With help from Congress, the Fed can go further. Legislators could give the Fed new authority to set up FedAccounts, an account for every American with the central bank. The Fed could become a bank for the people, so individuals can borrow or receive money from the Fed directly in times of crisis—a benefit that only financial institutions currently enjoy.”
  • Stories From Canada’s Indigenous Residential School Survivors.”—”Set up in the 19th century, Canada’s residential schools were used to force assimilation of First Nations children. Thousands died there. Hundreds buried in recently discovered unmarked graves. Today, On Point: Survivors of Canada’s residential schools.”
  • Enigmatic Optics: Postal Service Issues Mystery Message Forever Stamps.”—”The pane of 20 stamps is a visual riddle spelling out a difficult-to-discern message. Each colorful square contains a letter in an interesting pattern. Designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, the seemingly random patterns were carefully placed so that when put all together, the message reads — spoiler alert — “More Than Meets the Eye!” The reverse side of the pane also provides the solution.”
  • A Dazzling Corrective to the White-washing of Ancient Rome.”—”Colori dei Romani: I mosaici dalle Collezioni Capitoline (Colors of the Romans: Mosaics from the Capitoline Collections), an exhibition now on view at the Montemartini Power Station display space, just south of central Rome, has thrown open many windows like this for visitors. Curated by Claudio Parisi Presicce, Nadia Agnoli, and Serena Guglielmi, the exhibition is separated into four sections: the first explores the history and development of the mosaic form in Roman art; the second puts mosaics, frescoes, statues and artifacts together to create a sense of what it was like to live in luxurious residences of the empire’s ruling class; the third gives an example of how mosaics were used in religious buildings and sacred spaces; and the final section, a tiny coda, looks at tomb mosaics.” Colori dei Romani: I Mosaici dalle Collezioni Capitoline, through September at Centrale Montemartini, Rome.
  • Over 100 Unpublished Hokusai Drawings Resurface in New Exhibition.”—”The Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai may be best known for his woodblock print “Under the Wave off Kanagawa” (c. 1830–32), an image of a frothy cresting wave dwarfing a glimpse of the great Mount Fuji behind it. Also called “The Great Wave,” the composition has acquired iconic status in pop culture as in fine art, inspiring subsequent oeuvres from Debussy’s orchestral piece La mer to an untold number of tattoos around the world. But some of the most intriguing works Hokusai created over the course of his seven-decade career have remained comparatively secretive. Among them is a group of 103 small drawings the artist produced for an unpublished encyclopedia titled Banmotsu ehon daizen zu (The Great Picture Book of Everything), to be shown at the British Museum in an eponymous exhibition opening this September.” Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything, September—January, 2022 at British Museum.
  • Fish fraud is rampant — and Subway’s tuna scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. A viral investigation into the content of Subway’s “tuna” is a portent of a much larger fish regulatory problem.”—”So why is fish fraud prevalent? The answer boils down to lack of regulation, poor regulatory bodies, and the profit motive — in other words, capitalism behaving as usual.”
  • Tweet—”A 👀 story. A white pianist passed off recordings of a Japanese pianist as her own. A prominent white critic wrote the recordings “flow so naturally” when he thought it was the white pianist but said they were “faceless” & “flaccid” when it thought it was the Japanese pianist.” Also “A Violinist on How to Empower Asian Musicians. Jennifer Koh, an acclaimed soloist, calls on classical music to make space for artists of Asian descent, who remain marginalized in the field.” Also, from 2019: “The remarkable story of concert pianist Joyce Hatto, and how the classical world was duped. In the early 2000s, all the major critics were raving about the newly discovered recordings by the little-known, semi-retired pianist Joyce Hatto. Little did they know that her recordings would become involved in one of the biggest hoaxes in classical music history.”—”It turns out that instead of these recordings being made by Joyce Hatto herself, they were re-published recordings issued by Barrington-Coupe under his wife’s name, ripping off the recordings of a total of 92 other pianists. Hatto’s release of two Rachmaninov concertos was actually recorded by Yefim Bronfman, and her recording of the Studies on Chopin’s Études by Leopold Godowsky (one of the hardest pieces in the piano repertoire), was in fact made by pianist Carlos Grante. Barrington-Coupe later admitted that he made small audio alterations to the audio of released recordings to dupe customers and critics into thinking these were original, selling them with the Joyce Hatto name through his own label, Concert Artists. He confessed the scam to Gramophone magazine in February 2007, saying ‘I did it for my wife’.”
  • Al Lord Profited When College Tuition Rose. He Is Paying for It. As chief executive of student-lending giant Sallie Mae, Al Lord helped drive up the costs of college. Now that he is footing tuition checks for his grandchildren, he said he has new sympathy for ordinary families.”
  • ‘There have been many death threats, but I’ll never stop’ – Randal Plunkett, Baron of Dunsany, on rewilding his family estate. Naturalist and film-maker Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany, took an unorthodox gamble when he decided to ‘rewild’ his family’s Co Meath demesne. In the face of aggression, vandalism and threats, he’s built a thriving 750-acre nature reserve.”
  • The New Moral Code of America’s Elite. Two students went to Amy Chua for advice. That sin would cost them dearly.”—”I don’t credit homespun wisdom with any special salience. But the suggestion that it may be useful to morally evaluate oneself before volunteering to monitor everyone else’s conduct isn’t a ridiculous one. It’s wise to be careful that, in one’s zeal for justice or fairness or the more prosaic things that ride beneath those banners, one doesn’t lose sight of one’s own moral obligations or aspirations.” “What else could they have done? It takes an admirable perceptiveness to know when the truth can’t save you anymore.”
  • Watch “Housing Discrimination: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Tweet—”For me, the moment in this segment that hit hardest, was when the Black homeowner discovered after her home doubled in value when the appraiser thought it was owned by a white man, realized that she herself was the one seen as reducing her home’s value.”
  • Tenant Screening Algorithms Enable Racial and Disability Discrimination at Scale, and Contribute to Broader Patterns of Injustice.”—”Despite the existence of FCRA protections in theory, tenants still face substantial risks in practice. Today, with the aid of new algorithmic tools, landlords can send prospective tenants’ applications to automated systems that compare their data against millions of records – some incomplete, unreliable, or easily confused – with little to no opportunity for recourse, even if the law prohibits discrimination.” “As a result of these disparities, information about past arrests, evictions, or defaulted loans can thus be proxies for race and disability. Our community members are at higher likelihood for disruptions to income and housing stability, which can directly impact eligibility for future rental applications.”
  • $20,000 Price Tag Of San Francisco Trash Can Prototypes Stuns Residents, City Leaders.”—”DPW says the price would be about $4,000 per can once it’s mass-produced. An existing green trash can recently purchased by the Department of Public Works costs a little over $1,200.”
  • Police Are Telling ShotSpotter to Alter Evidence From Gunshot-Detecting AI. Prosecutors in Chicago are being forced to withdraw evidence generated by the technology, which led to the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo earlier this year.”
  • The traffic light gets a dazzling, 21st century makeover. The stop sign’s days look numbered, too.”—”Instead of stacking red, yellow, and green lights on top of one another—with each light’s relative position signaling when it’s time to stop or go for color-blind drivers—the studio developed a stop light that’s one continuous panel. And so that entire panel turns red, yellow, and green. How is this better, you may wonder. For people who see color, it’s a bigger panel. The overall signal to stop or go is more overt. For color-blind drivers, Art. Lebedev Studio added icons (an ‘X’ for stopping, a ‘!’ for slowing down, and an arrow to go)—a plan that seems promising but worth testing to prove out. However, the largest advantage to this light is what else it can do when you combine colors and iconography to convey strange or shifting rules of the road.”
  • Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter.”—”Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company’s handling of sexual misconduct.” Tweet—”Here’s the letter in full. It doesn’t just stand with AB workers, doesn’t just criticize Ubisoft bosses. It calls for industry-wide action and change, with publishers and developers getting involved.”
  • Lucasfilm Hired the YouTuber Who Used Deepfakes to Tweak Luke Skywalker ‘Mandalorian’ VFX. A YouTuber known as Shamook has earned nearly 2 million views for his deepfake ‘Mandalorian’ video.” So, that probably means they aren’t going to do that recasting I was hoping for … and give us all the full Thrawn Trilogy live action series of my dreams.
  • Generating AI “Art” with VQGAN+CLIP.”—”Hands-on neural networks for mere mortals.”
  • Scam-baiting YouTube channel Tech Support Scams taken offline by tech support scam. ‘It was pretty convincing until the very end,’ says host Jim Browning.”
  • Watch “Identifying Bird Sounds with the BirdNET Mobile App“—”Have you ever heard a bird sound you couldn’t ID? Learn how to use BirdNET to identify your mystery birds on a trip through Sapsucker Woods!” Also “BirdNET. The Easiest Way To Identify Birds By Sound.”—”How can computers learn to recognize birds from sounds? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Chemnitz University of Technology are trying to find an answer to this question. Our research is mainly focused on the detection and classification of avian sounds using machine learning – we want to assist experts and citizen scientist in their work of monitoring and protecting our birds. BirdNET is a research platform that aims at recognizing birds by sound at scale. We support various hardware and operating systems such as Arduino microcontrollers, the Raspberry Pi, smartphones, web browsers, workstation PCs, and even cloud services. BirdNET is a citizen science platform as well as an analysis software for extremely large collections of audio. BirdNET aims to provide innovative tools for conservationists, biologists, and birders alike.”
  • Watch “The Sounds of Space: A sonic adventure to other worlds.”—”Space is more than just a feast for the eyes. It’s a feast for the ears. You just have to know where — and when — to look. Floating in the silent void of space are trillions of islands of sound, each with their own sonic flavor — some eerily familiar, some wildly different than Earth’s. And even space itself was once brimming with sound. This short film takes you on a journey back in time and to the edge of our solar system and beyond, to discover what other worlds of sound are lurking beyond Earth’s atmosphere. You won’t believe your ears :)”
  • This Man Does Not Make Poppers. For decades, poppers have been the go-to sex drug for gay men. But where do they come from?”
  • A24, are you okay? “There’s This Eerie Movie Called ‘Lamb’ Coming Out, And I Am Soooo Intrigued. Described as a ‘twisted Nordic folktale.'” Watch “Lamb“, official trailer, from A24; written & directed by Valdimar Jóhannsson, with Noomi Rapace. Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough: WTF?

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.

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

The Devourer Below

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Devourer Below [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Charlotte Llewelyn-Wells, cover by John Coulthart, book 5 of the Arkham Horror series.

Llewelyn-Wells The Devourer Below

The Devourer Below is the fifth volume of Arkham Horror fiction to be issued under the Aconyte imprint. While the previous four have been novels, this one is a collection of short stories by various authors. I was thus expecting a wide assortment of tales, joined only by their early 20th-century Arkham, Massachusetts setting and the involvement of assorted investigator characters from the Fantasy Flight Arkham Files games. I was in fact pleasantly surprised to find that these stories are far more interrelated than that.

Players of Arkham Horror: The Card Game may recognize “The Devourer Below” as the title of the third and final scenario of “The Night of the Zealot,” the campaign included with that game’s core set. All of the stories in this book relate to that starter campaign, featuring the servitors of the Great Old One Umôrdhoth. (Umôrdhoth is based on Mordiggian, from Clark Ashton Smith’s story “The Charnel God.”) Such servitors are largely a mix of ghouls and human cultists.

Specific enemy characters from the card game campaign figure in the stories, as do the important investigator allies Leo De Luca and Lita Chantler. Investigator protagonists include Tony Morgan, Carolyn Fern, Joe Diamond, Daisy Walker, Agnes Baker, Wendy Adams, and Finn Edwards. On the whole, I found the enemy-focused stories more satisfying than the investigator-centric ones, but I liked both and appreciated the variety.

As a suite of connected tales of yog-sothothery, The Devourer Below is just fine. As a supplement to the Arkham Horror games, it is good. As an amplification of the core set adventure cycle in Arkham Horror: The Card Game, it is very good.

This book appends a “tease” reprint of the opening chapter of Ari Marmell’s Arkham Horror novel Litany of Dreams, oddly included in the table of contents as if it were one of the stories written for this volume. It also sports the third Arkham Horror fiction cover art by John Coulthart. I like these highly detailed multi-panel covers a lot.

Omnium Gatherum: 25jul2021

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

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

  • Crowdfunding with 25 days to go: “Alphonse Mucha Lost Art Nouveau Masterpiece Expanded Edition. An expanded paperback edition of Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha’s Symbolist Masterpiece, a fine art book studying the lost 1899 artworks.” This is an expanded paperback edition from Century Guild. You can watch me open and flip through the hardcover at Unboxing and first look at Alphonse Mucha’s Le Pater from Century Guild. Check it out, either way, but if consider supporting them and getting it for your library!
  • From the 23rd: Tweet—HAPPY MAYBE DAY! Do please enjoy NEW TRAJECTORIES 2021 :))) A free 119 page digital zine powered by the negative entropy of Maybe Logic! ” [PDF]
  • Crowdfunding with 7 days to go: “Giordano Bruno – De Magia. The Complete Latin Magical Writings of Giordano Bruno. A New Translation by Paul Summers Young.”
  • Tweet—”The Australian film ‘Under a Pagan Sky’ at the Brighton Film Festival, UK, for just £3. Examines the practices and lifestyles of Witches and Pagans across Australia. For only a limited time (19-25 July) get your tickets for the Brighton Film Festival here: ” Also “Interview with Helen Browning, the director of ‘Under a Pagan Sky’
  • The divine Dante. At 700, Dante’s Divine Comedy is as modern as ever – a lesson in spiritual intelligence that makes us better at being alive.”
  • In a tweet, Rodney Orpheus brought this old thread from 2020 to people’s attention recently. Thread—”A #wiccan history thread. I’m currently reading a superb PhD thesis by Lisa Crandall, entitled “Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft As Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner”. It is from 2013. /1″ Small point, but people keep saying this was for a PhD, but this was a Masters Thesis (not PhD) from 2013: Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft as Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner by Lida Crandell which is permalinked at University of Ottawa, and linked there in full as a PDF. The thesis references Hermetic Library a couple times, which is always nice to see. Also, you may be interested in an earlier analysis The Influence of Aleister Crowley upon “Ye Bok of ye Art Magical” by Roger Dearnaley along with the other materials at Crowley’s influence on Gardnerian Wicca.
  • Nathalie Boltt, &c.Philosophy Labs: Some Recommendations (guest post). The “lonely-armchair methodology” is one way of approaching philosophy, but it’s not the only way.“—”In this guest post*, Joseph Vukov (Loyola University Chicago), Kit Rempala (Loyola University Chicago), and Katrina Sifferd (Elmhurst University) discuss an alternative, the philosophy lab, which they recently wrote about in their article, ‘Philosophy Labs: Bringing Pedagogy and Research Together,’ in Teaching Philosophy.” Or, you know, not just teaching but for, say, some kind of club with esoteric interests.
  • Panpsychism, the idea that inanimate objects have consciousness, gains steam in science communities. An expanding notion of what “consciousness” is could have profound repercussions.”
  • Ideas that work. Truth, knowledge, justice – to understand how our loftiest abstractions earn their keep, trace them to their practical origins.”
  • Sylvia Plath’s tarot deck just sold for $200,000.
  • I’ve always scoffed at superstition – but will the tarot have the last laugh? Some might say the cards are divine. I say they are a Rorschach test.”
  • Tweet—”*clears throat, taps mic* due to everything about me as a person, this will be a thread of star trek characters as the 22 major arcana of the tarot.”
  • New Age Grifter: The True Story of Gabriel of Urantia and his Cosmic Family [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Joseph L Flatley, due August 2021—”Gabriel of Urantia is the leader of a UFO religion based in the desert of southern Arizona. He has spent the last three decades weaving together his belief system, a tapestry of Eastern spirituality, Born Again Christianity, and New Age doggerel. In a compound near the Mexican border, his disciples tend the garden, take classes, and serve their guru while they wait for the end of the world. Joseph L. Flatley is a journalist who has spent years investigating Gabriel and his cult, the Global Community Communications Alliance. The result is New Age Grifter: The True Story of Gabriel of Urantia and his Cosmic Family. More than just another true crime book, it places Gabriel’s religious community in the broader context of contemporary American belief.”
  • Tweet—”Ginsberg’s Moloch… We live inside its mouth.”
  • Tweet thread—”Around the year 1640, an unknown antiquary was visiting some of the historic sites around London – in his own words “intending to notice the fast ruining places and things that have been passed by or little mentiond” by historians..”
  • Night School Volume I: The Sworn and Secret Grimoire by the Master Arbatel, translated for our age by Count Abaka (Jake Stratton-Kent). “It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Night School Volume I: The Sworn and Secret Grimoire by the Master Arbatel, translated for our age by Count Abaka, who is none other than Jake Stratton-Kent. In The Sworn and Secret Grimoire Jake honours the venerable grimoire tradition of forging a forgery.” “A ‘Guide to Grimoiring’ is well overdue, with unqualified persons claiming to fill the gap only to muddy the waters further. Simplifying the processes involved is unhelpful, what is required is to render them comprehensible and ‘user friendly’ in a time where they are regaining their deserved prestige as monuments of a tradition preceding the Christian era while nonetheless bring rooted in it. These processes are demanding and require both work and study in order to succeed. So too the ‘by rote’ attitude exhibited by some writers on the subject requires a counterblast. Forging and reforging grimoires has always been a part of their real nature; in a metallurgical as well as a literary sense. Ritual composition from scratch is a neglected but necessary skill, requiring a qualified and informed approach, which the current work addresses. So too this handbook departs from the homogenised ‘Solomonic’ form, drawing instead on the great iconoclast and revitaliser of tradition, Paracelsus. While avoiding Christophobia, the implications for a more pagan (or pagan friendly) approach to the grimoires, compatible with the Greek Magical Papyri and other predecessor forms, are greatly increased by this shift of emphasis. Welcome to the Night School.”
  • Watch “Hilma af Klint: The Life of an Artist.” Also “The Life & Art of Hilma Af Klint: A Short Art History Lesson on the Pioneering Abstract Artist.”
  • Ten Small Raisins.” About Inky Fingers: The Making of Books in Early Modern Europe [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Anthony Grafton—”The author of The Footnote reflects on scribes, scholars, and the work of publishing during the golden age of the book. From Francis Bacon to Barack Obama, thinkers and political leaders have denounced humanists as obsessively bookish and allergic to labor. In this celebration of bookmaking in all its messy and intricate detail, renowned historian Anthony Grafton invites us to see the scholars of early modern Europe as diligent workers. Meticulously illuminating the physical and mental labors that fostered the golden age of the book–the compiling of notebooks, copying and correction of texts and proofs, preparation of copy–he shows us how the exertions of scholars shaped influential books, treatises, and forgeries. Inky Fingers ranges widely, tracing the transformation of humanistic approaches to texts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and examining the simultaneously sustaining and constraining effects of theological polemics on sixteenth-century scholars. Grafton draws new connections between humanistic traditions and intellectual innovations, textual learning and craft knowledge, manuscript and print. Above all, Grafton makes clear that the nitty-gritty of bookmaking has had a profound impact on the history of ideas–that the life of the mind depends on the work of the hands.”
  • Night of the Guillotine.” About The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Colin Jones—”The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning-point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced. By 12.00 midnight at the close of the day, following a day of uncertainty, surprises, upsets and reverses, his world had been turned upside down. He was an outlaw, on the run, and himself wanted for conspiracy against the Republic. He felt that his whole life and his Revolutionary career were drawing to an end. As indeed they were. He shot himself shortly afterwards. Half-dead, the guillotine finished him off in grisly fashion the next day. The Fall of Robespierre provides an hour-by-hour analysis of these 24 hours.”
  • Equality and the elites. How political ideas such as ‘levelling up’ draw on centuries of meritocratic thinking.” About The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Adrian Wooldridge—”Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their birth. While this initially seemed like a novel concept, by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world’s ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left? In The Aristocracy of Talent, esteemed journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge traces the history of meritocracy forged by the politicians and officials who introduced the revolutionary principle of open competition, the psychologists who devised methods for measuring natural mental abilities, and the educationalists who built ladders of educational opportunity. He looks outside western cultures and shows what transformative effects it has had everywhere it has been adopted, especially once women were brought into the meritocratic system. Wooldridge also shows how meritocracy has now become corrupted and argues that the recent stalling of social mobility is the result of failure to complete the meritocratic revolution. Rather than abandoning meritocracy, he says, we should call for its renewal.”
  • Ken Starr helped Jeffrey Epstein with ‘scorched-earth’ campaign, book claims. Book by Miami Herald journalist details extraordinary efforts by special prosecutor who hounded Bill Clinton to aid sex trafficker.” About Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Julie K Brown—”Dauntless journalist Julie K. Brown recounts her uncompromising and risky investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex trafficking operation, and the explosive reporting for the Miami Herald that finally brought him to justice while exposing the powerful people and broken system that protected him. For many years, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s penchant for teenage girls was an open secret in the high society of Palm Beach, Florida and Upper East Side, Manhattan. Charged in 2008 with soliciting prostitution from minors, Epstein was treated with unheard of leniency, dictating the terms of his non-prosecution. The media virtually ignored the failures of the criminal justice system, and Epstein’s friends and business partners brushed the allegations aside. But when in 2017 the U.S Attorney who approved Epstein’s plea deal, Alexander Acosta, was chosen by President Trump as Labor Secretary, reporter Julie K. Brown was compelled to ask questions. Despite her editor’s skepticism that she could add a new dimension to a known story, Brown determined that her goal would be to track down the victims themselves. Poring over thousands of redacted court documents, traveling across the country and chasing down information in difficulty and sometimes dangerous circumstances, Brown tracked down dozens of Epstein’s victims, now young women struggling to reclaim their lives after the trauma and shame they had endured. Brown’s resulting three-part series in the Miami Herald was one of the most explosive news stories of the decade, revealing how Epstein ran a global sex trafficking pyramid scheme with impunity for years, targeting vulnerable teens, often from fractured homes and then turning them into recruiters. The outrage led to Epstein’s arrest, the disappearance and eventual arrest of his closest accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and the resignation of Acosta. The financier’s mysterious suicide in a New York City jail cell prompted wild speculation about the secrets he took to the grave-and whether his death was intentional or the result of foul play. Tracking Epstein’s evolution from a college dropout to one of the most successful financiers in the country–whose associates included Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton–Perversion of Justice builds on Brown’s original award-winning series, showing the power of truth, the value of local reportage and the tenacity of one woman in the face of the deep-seated corruption of powerful men.”
  • Surfing as Sacrament: Returning to New York’s Waves on September 12, 2001.” From The Drop: How the Most Addictive Sport Can Help Us Understand Addiction and Recovery [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Thad Ziolkowski—”In this revelatory and original book, award-winning author of the acclaimed surf memoir On a Wave illuminates the connection between waves, addiction, and recovery, exploring what surfing can teach us about the powerful undertow of addictive behaviors and the ways to swim free of them. Addiction is arguably the dominant feature of contemporary life: sex, gambling, exercise, eating, shopping, Internet use–there’s virtually no pleasurable activity that can’t morph into a destructive obsession. For Americans under the age of fifty-five, the leading cause of death is drug overdose. But there is another side of addiction. In some instances, the very activities that can lead to addiction can also lead out of it. As neurologists have recently discovered, surfing is a kind of study in the mechanism of addiction, delivering dopamine to the pleasure center of the brain and reshaping priorities and desire in a feedback loop of narrowing focus. Thad Ziolkowski knows this dynamic intimately. A lifelong surfer, he has been surrounded by addiction since his boyhood. In this unique, groundbreaking book, part addiction memoir, part sociological study, part spiritual odyssey, Ziolkowski dismantles the myth of surfing as a radiantly wholesome lifestyle immune to the darker temptations of the culture and discovers among the rubble a new way to understand and ultimately overcome addiction. Combining his own story with insights from scientists, progressive thinkers and the experiences of top surfers and addicts from around the world, Ziolkowski shows how getting on a board and catching a wave is a unique and deeply instructive means of riding out of the darkness and back into the light. Yet while surfing is his salvation, its lessons can applied to other activities that can pull us free from the lethal undertow of addiction and save lives.”
  • Sexual Politics and Female Power: Stories from the Playboy Bunny Resort.” About Shoulder Season [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Christina Clancy—”Once in a lifetime, you can have the time of your life. The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life. Living in the “bunny hutch”–Playboy’s version of a college dorm–Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle–and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years. From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose–and gain–when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy’s Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.”
  • A (Black) Gat in the Hand: Carroll John Daly & the Birth of Hardboiled Pulp.”
  • The Sound of My Inbox. The financial promise of email newsletters has launched countless micropublications — and created a new literary genre.”
  • “There is an important sense in which it is correct to say that all written works in antiquity were a kind of samizdat, not because they were always, or even usually, illicit, but because their circulation was restricted to copies prepared by hand and passed by hand from person to person.”—M.I. Finley, “Censorship in Classical Antiquity,” in his Democracy Ancient and Modern, quoted at Samizdat.
  • Thoreau in Good Faith.”—”The writer went to Walden to reorient his world, so that the woods, rather than the town, centered his spiritual map.”
  • “Tradition is a great corrupter. It may preserve important facts, though even then the preservation may take the form of seizing on one important or merely picturesque fact and embroidering it. […] This is exactly the kind of thing that seizes the imagination of mankind; but it constitutes a warning against expecting popular tradition to preserve reliable history for long periods.”—Andrew Robert Burn (1902-1991), Persia and the Greeks: The Defence of the West, 546-478 B.C, quoted at A Great Corrupter.
  • The secret afterlives of medieval widows. Widows in the Middle Ages weren’t always the penniless, powerless figures we’ve made them out to be—they’re the reason why Britain has its beautiful monuments and churches.”
  • Yes, I Love Books, but Please Don’t Take Me to a Bookstore.”—”Arbitrary numbers to you, a point of anxiety for me. I’m book-full.”
  • The Quiet Mysticism of Almanacs.”—”‘The secret of The Old Farmer’s Almanac: pay attention,’ Tim Clark, a former editor at the Almanac, once told me. ‘Pay attention to the sky, and the winds, and the tides, and the number of acorns on the ground in the fall, and what the animals are doing, and which way the birds are flying. Pay attention. And that’s what a farmer in 1792 — or 1292 — had to do to survive.'”
  • America’s Obsession With Self-Help. From ‘The Old Farmer’s Almanac’ to ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ what do bestselling guides to self-improvement reveal about the United States?”
  • Ugh. Not now Goa’uld mothership! “Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza to fly (safely) by Earth Sunday.”
  • Ugh. Not now acid spitting biomechanoids! “Acid-shooting whip scorpions are roaming a national park in Texas.”—”But the vinegaroons, which are nocturnal and can’t see very well, are “relatively benign unless you annoy them,” the park says.” Oh. Okay. Never mind. Also, are vinegaroons tasty on chips?
  • Tablet Reveals Babylonians Studied Trigonometry Before the Greeks.”—”In recent years, there have been all kinds of anthropological breakthroughs radically shifting our ideas of ancient life and the capacities of our prehistory predecessors — from the discovery of the world’s oldest home in South Africa to new evidence that titanium dioxide was utilized in Inca objects some 400 years before its “discovery” in the United States. In the same vein, research performed by scientists at UNSW Sydney has revealed that a famous 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet is inscribed with accurate trigonometry.”
  • Tentacled droplets swim with stored heat energy.”—”If ever a science fiction movie director were seeking inspiration for how to depict tiny robotic alien life forms, they need look no further than those created by a team of scientists in Bulgaria, Poland, the UK and China. Beginning as innocuous oily droplets about 20–40μm across floating in water, these structures take on faceted, crystal-like shapes when cooled to around 2-8°C – even though they aren’t frozen. Then things get really weird.” Also watch “Tentacled droplets swim with stored heat energy.”
  • Solar Dynamics Observatory: Artificial Intelligence Helps Improve NASA’s Eyes on the Sun“—”A group of researchers is using artificial intelligence techniques to calibrate some of NASA’s images of the Sun, helping improve the data that scientists use for solar research. The new technique was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on April 13, 2021. ”
  • Secrets of Mars’ core revealed for the first time.” Also “Marsquakes reveal the mysterious interior of the red planet.”—”When NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars in 2018, the mission team hoped the stationary spacecraft would be able to perform a checkup on the red planet’s interior. Now, InSight and its instruments have exceeded those goals, revealing the mysteries of the Martian crust, mantle and core that have eluded scientists until now. It’s the first time we’ve been able to peer inside and map the interior of another planet beyond Earth. The InSight mission team was able to achieve this extraordinary feat by tracking marsquakes on the red planet — like the earthquakes we experience on Earth, just a little bit different.” Also “What’s Inside Mars? Scientists Map Internal Structure for the First Time. For the first time, scientists have mapped the internal structure of a planet other than Earth, revealing the properties of Mars’ core and mantle.”
  • DeepMind Releases Accurate Picture of the Human Proteome – ‘The Most Significant Contribution AI Has Made to Advancing Scientific Knowledge to Date’. DeepMind and EMBL release the most complete database of predicted 3D structures of human proteins. Partners use AlphaFold, the AI system recognized last year as a solution to the protein structure prediction problem, to release more than 350,000 protein structure predictions including the entire human proteome to the scientific community.”
  • Researchers detect first ‘moon-forming’ disc surrounding exoplanet.”—”For the first time, scientists have clearly identified a ring of gas and dust circling a planet outside our solar system — a discovery that could help reveal how planets and moons are formed, a study showed Thursday. The disc surrounds an exoplanet dubbed PDS 70c, one of two gas giants similar in size and mass to Jupiter that orbit the star PDS 70, nearly 400 light years from our solar system.”
  • Five Ways Humans Evolved to be Athletes. An archaeologist explores human athletic paleobiology to explain how our prowess in sport has deep roots in evolution.”
  • Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar.”—”Spider silk is said to be one of the strongest, toughest materials on the Earth. Now engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have designed amyloid silk hybrid proteins and produced them in engineered bacteria. The resulting fibers are stronger and tougher than some natural spider silks.”
  • 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite found in horseshoe footprint. The meteorite is a rare carbonaceous chondrite.”—”A crumbling hunk of rock found in a field in England is a rare meteorite from the earliest days of the solar system, dating back about 4.6 billion years. The meteorite was found in Gloucestershire in March […] The meteorite was sitting in the imprint of a horseshoe left behind in a field”
  • Strange 3D-printed shapes test 150-year-old mathematical theory.”—”A strange shape described by mathematician Lord Kelvin in 1871 and predicted to behave unusually in a fluid has finally been fully studied in the real world thanks to 3D printing – and it seems Kelvin may have been wrong. The behaviour of the shape, called an isotropic helicoid, has been described in fluid dynamics textbooks, but it hadn’t been directly measured until now.”
  • The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated. A new analysis pins one-third of global greenhouse gases on the food system by including long-overlooked factors such as transportation, packaging, and waste.”
  • The FAA Changed Its Definition of ‘Astronaut’ on the Same Day Jeff Bezos Went to Space. New FAA rules say Jeff Bezos doesn’t qualify for its astronaut wings.”
  • Tweet—”Interesting thread highlighting the confusion regarding ownership in the NFT space. Person makes a physical copy of the artwork displayed in their NFT. IMO they can’t, the NFT is not the work, and it’s not a licence either.”
  • Wally Funk Is Defying Gravity and 60 Years of Exclusion From Space. Ms. Funk’s trip to space with Jeff Bezos is reason to celebrate. But the launch this week, decades after she was denied the opportunity, also raises questions about whom space is for.” Also tweet—”‘Now that you have experienced the majesty of space, the wonder of the stars, how do you-‘ ‘I will industrialize it'”
  • Tweet—”Replacing traditional recreational trips to space for billionaires with robust public transport could offset carbon emissions – if billionaires would ride them. A team is addressing obstacles that prevent billionaires from changing their practices.”
  • Amazon reportedly worked on an Alexa wearable for kids. With GPS and some kind of integration with Amazon Kids Plus.”
  • Amazon applies for patent on secondary delivery vehicle to carry packages from truck to doorstep.” For my own part, I always imagined that deliveries would eventually be done via train cars packed with drones, that got moved around from city to city and then would release a swarm into the sky of the last miles to people’s doors.
  • The ‘Fyre Fest’ of overnight camps closed after 6 days. Camp Quinebarge did not go as planned. The rustic, long-running New Hampshire camp abruptly shut down earlier this month after just six days. Camp directors informed parents, who had shelled out $3,400 for two weeks, that they needed to pick up their children the next morning.”
  • Anti-lockdown lunacy: from the elites to the streets.”—”On the national day of ‘freedom rallies’, thousands of people protested in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane against both NSW’s lockdown and the national vaccination program, under the influence of a range of right-wing Trumpian anti-science conspiracy crap and social Darwinist individualism masquerading as the call for ‘freedom’.”
  • Watch “Do you see what I see?” Directed and Edited by Brad Abrahams. “From illustrating for Sesame Street to exposing the New World Order, this is the story of the controversial and recently departed David Dees, unofficial artist of conspiracy theory culture. What sent him down the rabbit hole, and is there a path out?”
  • Leaked RNC emails prove Republicans always knew Trump was lying about 2020 fraud. Lies of omission aren’t real lies in the GOP leadership’s eyes.”
  • Two-thirds of Southern Republicans want to secede. And that number is rising.”
  • From 2020: “Three Cheers for Socialism. Christian Love & Political Practice.”—”Is this freedom? From what, exactly? […] the classical social democrat or democratic socialist might be forgiven for thinking that Americans are curiously deluded regarding their own supposed inalienable liberties.”
  • Texan Republican Cancel Culture Targets the Teachings of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Why did Texas senators vote to drop Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” from school curriculums?”
  • Kyrsten Sinema’s Strategy of Refusing to Do Anything About Anything Is Not Impressing Voters, Poll Says. Arizona offers a natural experiment in whether people would rather see a Democrat hold out for Republican cooperation or just pass stuff they like.”
  • Appeasement, in our century.”—”Thus has Joe Biden given up the fight for democracy, in exchange for the breadcrumbs that the Dark Lord will allow.”
  • Alabama district attorney aims to prosecute a woman for taking a prescribed drug while pregnant.”—”Now she has been indicted on a felony charge because, when she was eight months’ pregnant, she refilled a legitimate opioid prescription to treat her crippling pain. If Blalock were to be convicted, her case could set a dire precedent, not only for pregnant people, but for anyone seeking a prescription for a controlled substance in the state. Blalock says her orthopedist never asked if she were pregnant when she came in to refill her hydrocodone prescription, which she’d had for years. Weeks later, she gave birth to a baby boy with no sign of neonatal abstinence syndrome. A positive drug screen, however, triggered an investigation. Investigators confirmed Blalock had a valid prescription. A pill count proved she’d been taking her medication as prescribed. Then, in a move that appears to be calculated to evade provisions of Alabama’s chemical endangerment law that are carved out for pregnant women taking legitimately prescribed medication, Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly charged Blalock with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.”
  • ‘Incel’ plotted to kill women in Ohio State University mass shooting, federal prosecutors say.”
  • Missouri attorney general says he will sue to stop mask mandate in St. Louis, St. Louis County. Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a tweet that he intends to file a lawsuit to ‘stop this insanity'” Also Tweet—”Our top priority is protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people of St. Louis City and County. Nobody is surprised that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit to serve his own political ambitions.”
  • Companies claim there’s a labor shortage. Their solution? Prisoners. Worker advocates say prison labor programs exploit workers with few options as bosses refuse to raise wages to attract employees”
  • Shoplifting Is Big News; Stealing Millions From Workers Is Not.”—”An alleged “crime surge” at Walgreens drugstores in San Francisco was a hot topic for Bay Area news outlets in the early months of 2021.” “FAIR identified 309 published pieces on the 21-second video, using a combination of Nexis and Google advanced search to find every article published by a news outlet, from the video’s publication on June 14 to July 12—a 28-day timeframe. Compare this to another Walgreens-related theft story: the November settlement of a wage theft and labor law violation class-action lawsuit against Walgreens, filed by employees in California for $4.5 million.”
  • Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women. The lawsuit highlights multiple instances of harassment and discrimination that are ‘a violation of state civil rights'”. Also “Activision Blizzard appoints former Trump official as its chief administrative officer. “Mike Pompeo’s attack dog” joined the publisher earlier this week.”
  • The Supreme Court may toss Roe. But Congress can still preserve abortion rights. A simple majority vote in the Senate would nullify the threat to reproductive health posed by the Mississippi case.”
  • Why I’m glad that I’m an ‘overthinker’.”—”‘Just going with it’ is not something I do. I have to really understand what I’m doing and then I think through almost every possibility and eventuality, like a mind map on steroids. And I plan. When people say things like: “Who could have imagined XYZ would happen?” about some entirely predictable outcome, my most common response is “I could”. I have realised that for most people I am an overthinker, but for me, it is others who underthink. I just think.”
  • Want to Be Happier? Science Says Buying a Little Time Leads to Significantly Greater Life Satisfaction. Buying things won’t make you happier. But research shows that buying time can, as long as you do it the right way.”
  • From 2012: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Oliver Burkeman—”Success through failure, calm through embracing anxiety—a totally original approach to self-help. Self-help books don’t seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can’t even agree on what “happiness” means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way? Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it’s our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent person’s guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.
  • Mending the metabolic rift: Marxism, nature and society. Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism provides the key to understanding the environmental catastrophe we’re witnessing, and to gaining a clearer picture of what’s needed to repair our damaged relationship with the Earth.”
  • Watch “The Forgotten R-Rated Cancelled Black Widow Film.”
  • Watch “The Game Prototype That Had to Be Banned by Its Own Studio.”—”After the huge success of games like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, Halfbrick Studios began prototyping some new ideas for their next game. This is the story behind one of those prototypes; a game that caused so many problems within the studio, its creators were forced to ban it from being played entirely.” Reminds me of when a friend and I tried to play Peter Suber’s Gnomic, and found that it was not at all fun like we thought it would be, with a lot of the same flaws and fallout mentioned for this quite different, in the particulars, game.
  • Watch “Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Evolution as an Action Hero.” The voice cast of Kevin Smith’s He-Man series is pretty awesome, and the strength and centering of SMG’s role at Teela is a cool part of the update; that’s tweaking the shit out of some people, but to hell with them. I’d forgotten that SMG was the Seventh Sister in Rebels!
  • By the Power of Grayskull, ‘He-Man’ Is Back—Beefier and Better Than Ever. The new Netflix series honors its predecessor in ways notable and sly, while also humanizing its larger-than-life heroes and villains. Kids of the ’80s, rejoice.”
  • Watch “Demonic“, dir Neill Blomkamp, with Carly Pope, Chris William Martin,
  • The Uniqueness of the Hammer Camera: Jack Asher and Arthur Grant. Jane Nightshade goes behind the camera to take a closer look at the cinematographers who helped give Hammer its ‘bright, bold and scary’ visual appeal…”
  • ‘Protected Again And Again’: How A Fencer Made It To The Tokyo Olympics Despite Sexual Assault Allegations. The US Center for SafeSport was tasked with investigating sexual abuse claims at Olympic programs. But in the first Summer Games since the agency’s creation, Team USA fencers say the system failed them.” Tweet—”A white man accused of sexual assault is given more leeway than a black woman who smoked weed.”
  • More on this, forced perspective big screen ad tech, but these are from last year: “From 3D big ‘wave’ to future of ‘Fourth Screen’ in everyday life” and “Ultra-High-Resolution 3D Like Giant Display“.
  • Can You Tell If These Cherries Floating in Water Are a Simulation? Researchers have developed a new method of 3D modeling surface tension and the results are frighteningly realistic.”
  • Watch “How One Man In Egypt Is Keeping This 200-Year-Old Tile Tradition Alive“—”Saied Hussain has been hand making tiles out of cement for over 50 years. He says he’s one of the last still doing this work in Egypt — most other workshops couldn’t withstand competition from marble and ceramic tiles. We went to Cairo to see how his business is still standing.”
  • Watch “In Their Shoes” trailer for an upcoming short film—”Here’s a cheeky preview on the short film i have been working hard on over the last few months! I will release the full film on Friday 30th July.”
  • Watch “Why French sounds so unlike other Romance languages.” Kinda wild. I kept hearing Werner Herzog’s disdain for French in my mind whilst watching this.
  • The Key to Understanding Iran Is Poetry. From angry cab drivers to COVID-19 to the war against ISIS, Iranians speak of their frustrations and hopes through verse.”
  • Surrounded by naked furries! From 2013, watch “Hentai Corporation – Equilibristic Brides [CENSORED]” More surrounded by naked people! (It takes a while to get to that specifially, but the whole thing is wacky so …) Watch “Glass Animals – Space Ghost Coast To Coast.”
  • Carl Sagan Predicted The Mess 2021 Would Be 25 years Ago.”—”Astrophysicist and author Carl Sagan managed to predict a lot of the things the challenges America faces in the year 2021 all the way back in 1995 when he was writing a book published just before his death in 1996.” A clip of Sagan calling out Star Wars, and then a pointedly prognostic passage from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] is read—”A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace”

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.

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

I lost my head and once again behaved like a madman. As a matter of fact, I was literally mad with rage. I screamed and yelled like the men of Soror, showing my fury as they did by hurling myself against the bars, biting them, foaming at the mouth, grinding my teeth, behaving in short in a thoroughly bestial fashion.

Pierre Boulle, Planet of the Apes [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Boulle Planet of the Apes lost my head madman rage screamed yelled thoroughly beastial fashion

“This is our land!” he screamed. “It is not your land! I’ve got two big guns, and you ain’t got none. I’ll blow your head off, if you don’t fuck off! This land was made for only me!” He was singing. Angry. Having the time of his life.

C Robert Cargill, Sea of Rust: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Cargill Sea of Rust our land not your land made for only me

Omnium Gatherum: 21jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 21, 2021

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

  • Occultism with a Side of Salt podcast has re-branded and re-focused as Magnolias And Magic.
  • Announced back in May, but presumably still happening: Tweet—”Announcing: Negativland @negativlandland will be taking the stage this September 17, 2021! ⚡ Over a year in the making, this show will be the iconic band’s first live performance since 2005. Limited amount of early bird tickets are on sale now: ”
  • Tweet—”What’s your favorite James Bond novel? Join us at the #TransatlanticBookFair (July 22-27) for a panel discussion exploring Ian Fleming and his iconic character, #JamesBond. More info: I’ll be talking about Ian Fleming’s book collection on this panel. Lilly Director Dave Randall on James Bond: “He is no Sherlock Holmes, yet he may outlive his era. He represents senseless violence, technical knowledge, etc., to a degree which may make him a symbol of our time.”
  • Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity and Psychoanalytic Theory. A webinar with authors Sheldon George and Derek Hook. 23 July, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Pay what you can.” Online, but presented by Freud Museum, London. About Lacan and Race: Racism, Identity and Psychoanalytic Theory [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sheldon George and Derek Hook—”This edited volume draws upon Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to examine the conscious and unconscious forces underlying race as a social formation, conceptualizing race, racial identity, and racism in ways that go beyond traditional modes of psychoanalytic thought. Featuring contributions by Lacanian scholars from diverse geographical and disciplinary contexts, chapters span a wide breadth of topics, including white nationalism and contemporary debates over confederate monuments; emergent theories of race rooted in Afropessimism and postcolonialism; analyses of racism in apartheid and American slavery; clinical reflections on Latinx and other racialized patients; and applications of Lacan’s concepts of the lamella, drive and sexuation to processes of racialization. The collection both reorients readers’ understandings of race through its deployment of Lacanian theory and redefines the Lacanian subject through its theorizing of subjectivity in relation to race, racism and racial identification. Lacan and Race will be a definitive text for psychoanalytic theorists and contemporary scholars of race, appealing to readers across the fields of psychology, cultural studies, humanities, politics, and sociology.”
  • Philosophy and Mysticism by Chaosmos ∞ Freigeist Verlag. Free. Sat, Jul 24, 2021, 4:00 AM – Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 12:00 PM CDT. Philosophical mysticism is about to live a renaissance in the 21st century. We’re excited to announce an online conference on 24 & 25 July.”—”Philosophical mysticism is about to live a renaissance in the 21st century. Not only is it able to provide a promising alternative to the dichotomy of orthodox theism and atheism; it also is compatible with a wide range of contemporary trends in global thought such as Speculative Realism, Non-Philosophy, Kyoto School, etc.”
  • Crowdfunding effort with 33 days to go: “Tarot of the Greek Magical Papyri – The PGM Tarot. Magical immersion in the symbols and images of the mysticism and sorcery of antiquity in your hands.”
  • Tweet—”The @westmemphispd at it again. Still hiding from truth in the #wm3 case. After @ScottEllington agreed to test evidence, his replacement claims it’s lost. Destroyed in a fire that never happened. Listen to ep. ‘Now you see it; Now you don’t’ for deets.”
  • Here’s an actual play report from 2019 for a session of the tabletop RPG Twilight 2000 which includes use of a German folk tale translated by Jürgen Hubert. “Going Home: The Witch of Bad Wilsnack.”
  • Enrollement is closed, but this does looks interesting. “The Jungian Mystery School. A fourteen-week programme led by an international faculty of senior philosophers and psychoanalysts on the intersection of Jungian Psychology and the Mystical Tradition.”
  • Wait. Whut? Army horoscope ASVAB?! Tweet—”Welcome to hell”
  • Ritual: An Essential Grimoire [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Damien Echols and Lorri Davis, due April ’22—”Damien Echols and Lorri Davis share their most valuable magickal practices for invoking the support of divine energy in your life. We so often feel like our lives are beyond our control, so how can it be true that we somehow create our reality? The Western tradition of magick tells us that our thoughts and intentions do shape the world—and that ritual is one of the most effective tools for becoming conscious participants in our own destiny. “Ritual teaches us that we are never truly powerless,” says Damien Echols. With Ritual: An Essential Grimoire, he joins his wife and teaching partner Lorri Davis to bring you an invaluable collection of practices for daily use. Magickal ritual goes beyond creating good habits or routines. Each practice Damien and Lorri share is a grounding point that enables divine energy to enter the physical world—uniting earthly efforts with the unseen forces of creation. This grimoire (or book of spells) contains rituals and meditations for protection, joy, love, luck, prosperity, creativity, and spiritual insight—all presented in plain, accessible language that anyone can use. Damien and Lorri used magick to help them get through the most trying times—to help free Damien from his wrongful incarceration, then to help both of them heal from the traumatic aftereffects of his imprisonment. ‘Many of these rituals are the very same we used to rebuild our lives,’ Lorri says. ‘We share these practices in the hopes that you will use them to survive, thrive, and create the life you desire.'”
  • Curses [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lish McBride—”Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling’s curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother’s choosing before her eighteenth birthday. Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family’s cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt naïve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom. Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother’s debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself?”
  • Bawdy Tales and Trifles of Devilries for Ladies and Gentlemen of Experience [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] with art by Eugène Lepoittevin with introduction by Sarah Burns and afterword by Fanny Woodcock, due November 2021—”Commissioned by and for wealthy aristocrats for their private amusements, we introduce you to a selection of stories, poems, limericks, and bon mots assured to delight the most refined of connoisseurs. Complimented by rare erotic lithographs by renowned illustrator Eugene Lepoittevin. Lepoittevin’s Devils first appeared to acclaim in 1832. Originally, his devil was an impish troublemaker. At the behest of his publisher, he created a new series of lithographs featuring his devils ala erotique. The drawings are more humorous than titillating and reflect the sense of absurdity prevalent in European eroticism. Even so, the drawings were long banned in Europe and the United States, with the government going so far as to confiscate copies intended for the Kinsey Institute in 1956. The selection of writings is culled from humorous erotic pastiches and rare writing privately printed for exclusive collectors by underground publishers that have long been hidden in the Private Case of the British Library and the L’Enfer of the Biblioteque nationale du France. Bawdy Tales is designed with the collector in mind, utilizing vegan leather and gold embossing to simulate period morocco binding. Art Historian Sarah Burns introduces Lepoittevin’s work and career. Expert collector of written erotica, “Lady Fanny Woodcock” contributes a short history of the erotic book in Western culture.”
  • Should You Give Up Caffeine? This Author of a Book on Mind-Altering Drugs Thinks So. Your caffeine addiction is probably affecting you way more than you realize, argues Michael Pollan in his new book.” About This Is Your Mind on Plants [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Michael Pollan—”From number one New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, a radical challenge to how we think about drugs, and an exploration into the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants–and the equally powerful taboos. Of all the things humans rely on plants for–sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber–surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime? In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs–opium, caffeine, and mescaline–and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings? In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively–as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.” Also “The plants that change our consciousness. How three plant-derived drugs – caffeine, opium and mescaline – shape society. Michael Pollan argues in his latest book, This is Your Mind on Plants.” Also “Caffeine makes us more energetic, efficient and faster. But we have become so dependent that we need it just to get to our baseline” by Michael Pollan.
  • Ugh. Not now zombie frogs! “Meet the ‘zombie frog,’ a new species found in the Amazon. The spooky-looking amphibian is less scary than it appears to be. But it might already be endangered, as deforestation rates continue to go up.”
  • It’s Summer, And That Means The Mysterious Return Of Glacier Ice Worms.”—”These thread-like worms, each only about an inch long, wiggle up en masse in the summertime, late in the afternoon, to do — what? Scientists don’t know. It’s just one of many mysteries about these worms, which have barely been studied, even though they’re the most abundant critter living up there in the snow and ice.” “There are so many,” says Hotaling, a researcher at Washington State University. An estimated 5 billion ice worms can live in a single glacier.
  • Ugh. Not now billions of chthonic hentai ice tentacles! “15,000-year-old viruses discovered in Tibetan glacier ice. Most of the viruses were previously unknown to humans, study finds.”—”Scientists who study glacier ice have found viruses nearly 15,000 years old in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China. Most of those viruses, which survived because they had remained frozen, are unlike any viruses that have been cataloged to date.”
  • Ugh. Not now on-schedule societal collapse! Oh. Wait. I mean, carry on as expected, then. “MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule. A 1972 MIT study predicted that rapid economic growth would lead to societal collapse in the mid 21st century. A new paper shows we’re unfortunately right on schedule.” “new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data”
  • Russia’s permafrost is thawing – and it could make melting polar ice caps look like a sideshow.”
  • Germany mounts huge rescue effort after floods leave dozens dead and many more missing.”
  • Horror on ‘Line 5’ as Chinese subway floods. At least twelve died and five others were injured in the subway flood, according to city authorities, as water coursed below ground on Tuesday evening in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan province.”
  • The Mine That Made A Difference. Teenagers in Australia successfully sued the government for failing its duty to protect them from the ravages of the climate crisis.”
  • Stoking the fires of change. Photojournalist Stuart Palley ’11 experiences wildfires in the moment. SMU researcher Chris Roos looks at them through the long lens of archaeology. Ultimately, their perspectives are the same: Wildfires are getting worse, and there’s an urgent need to adopt coexistence strategies.”—”An unusually hot, dry spell bakes the landscape. Ready to say goodbye to summer, friends gather for Labor Day barbecues in neighborhoods surrounded by forest. Winds whip up and embers fly. In the blink of an eye, 1,500 structures are set aflame.”
  • Greenland suspends oil exploration because of climate change“—”The future does not lie in oil.”
  • We Must Begin Planning Now for an Inevitable Sea Level Rise.”—”Most books about our climate emergency are sobering reads. John Englander’s new book, Moving to Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward, is certainly no exception. A trained oceanographer, Englander lays out the scientific case for what he calls “unstoppable” sea level rise with utter conviction. But to his great credit he follows that litany of fairly grim news with practical advice and glimmers of hope. His short book should be a primer for coastal city planners and public officials. We have some time, he writes, but not all the time in the world, so we need to get our collective brains around the problem and begin planning for it now.” About Moving To Higher Ground: Rising Sea Level and the Path Forward [Amazon, Bookshop, Author, Local Library] by John Englander—”Ice on land is melting, and sea level is rising, both at astonishing rates never seen in recorded history. Are you, your property, investments, and family ready for these unprecedented changes? Read Moving to Higher Ground and… Learn how Sea Level Rise (SLR) is unstoppable for many centuries due to excess heat already stored in our oceans – and how soon our shorelines will go underwater. Understand how disastrous SLR will profoundly affect more than 10,000 coastal communities as soon as 2050, both in the U.S and around the world. What will happen where you live? How much will the water rise? And when? Find out why extreme weather events, forest fires, and flooding share the same causes as catastrophic SLR, but weather disruptions are temporary and SLR permanent. Devastatingly so. Discover what industries and properties will feel the greatest, and earliest, impacts. Learn what all planners and coastal property owners need to know now to urgently begin to move and adapt. Examine the unique problems faced by the military, Infrastructure planners, architects, flood managers, policy planners, banks, insurance companies, and real estate businesses. And some unique solutions. Find out how and why government policy makers have been completely ineffective delivering any successful strategy for climate change and sea level rise. Answer the questions, WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW? And what does THE PATH FORWARD look like? In time of great financial and environmental peril, WHO WILL LEAD US? Prepare to be surprised at the answer. John Englander is a renowned oceanographer and expert on climate change and sea level rise. His best-selling first book, High Tide on Main Street, was published in 2012.”
  • The Maori Vision of Antarctica’s Future. Maori may have been first to reach Antarctica, in the seventh century. But the past matters less than what lies ahead, Indigenous scholars say.”
  • NASA beams back spectacular images of Jupiter and our solar system’s biggest moon, Ganymede.”—”NASA’s Juno probe has flown closer to Jupiter and its largest moon, Ganymede, than any other spacecraft in more than two decades — and the images it beamed back of the gas giant and its icy orb are breathtaking. Juno approached Ganymede on June 7, before making its 34th flyby of Jupiter the following day, traveling from pole to pole in under three hours.”
  • A powerful jet emerges from a black hole in unprecedented detail in new images. The new images show a black hole jet at 16 times sharper resolution than previously possible.”
  • Our universe might be a giant three-dimensional donut, really.“—”Imagine a universe where you could point a spaceship in one direction and eventually return to where you started. If our universe were a finite donut, then such movements would be possible and physicists could potentially measure its size.”
  • Research Suggests We’re All Getting Less Creative and Scientists Think They Know Why. Scores on standard tests of creativity have been declining for decades.”—”‘A researcher at the University of William and Mary analyzed 300,000 Torrance Test scores since the ’50s. She found that creativity scores began to nosedive in 1990. She concluded that we’re now facing a ‘creativity crisis,” reported author Michael Easter on Medium recently. That sounds alarming, but the good news is that, unlike the decline in IQ scores, scientists have a pretty good guess what’s causing our collective creativity to tank. Scientists blame ‘our hurried, over-scheduled lives’ and ‘ever increasing amounts of (time) interacting with electronic entertainment devices,’ Easter explains.” “The good news is that just as scientists are clear about the cause of our ‘creativity crisis,’ they are clear on what individuals can do to reclaim their natural inventiveness. Actively scheduling time to think, reflect, and experiment into your days, putting reasonable boundaries on your use of passive tech (there are obviously countless ways to use your devices to express yourself and create), varying your routine and your company, and getting out for more long walks can all help ensure you’re bucking the trend and nurturing your personal creativity.”
  • At most, just 7% of the human genome is unique to our species. We share most genes with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other ancestors.. Just 1.5% to 7% of the human genome is unique to our species, a new study suggests. Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other ancestors share most of the same genes found in modern humans. Genes unique to humans are involved in brain development, which may be what sets our species apart.”
  • More about this: “Scientists just discovered long-sought-after ‘grandmother neurons’.”—”What happens in your brain when you recognize your grandmother? In the 1960s, some neuroscientists thought a single brain cell called the “grandmother neuron” would light up only at the sight of your grandmother’s face. Almost immediately, neuroscientists began to dismiss the theory — a single neuron could not correspond to one idea or person, they argued. More than 50 years later, new research in monkeys shows that “grandmother neurons” may exist after all.”
  • Brain implant gives paralyzed man ability to ‘speak’ again.”—”A paralyzed man who lost his ability to speak has been given a voice again after scientists implanted a device to decode his brain waves — a potentially game-changing medical breakthrough for people who cannot communicate due to stroke, accidents or illness.”
  • Derbyshire cave house identified as ninth-century home to exiled king. Anchor Church cave is thought to be one of the oldest intact domestic interiors found in the UK.”
  • Leading Science. Sometimes, research is like elite sport. In the middle of this sport-laden summer, the editorial board chose elite sport as a kick-off for the theme of this issue. Which price are you prepared to pay to reach the top? Just like in sport, top-flight researchers can experience many hardships.” Tweet—”Your regular dose of toxicity from our national science funder. “Not everyone is good enough or has the right attitude to succeed.” And ‘striving to reach the top is an individual’s free choice. You have a choice, nobody is forcing you.’ Wow. Just wow.”
  • Dogs tune into people in ways even human-raised wolves don’t. A study supports the idea that domestication has wired dogs’ brains for communicating with people.” Also “Study Shows Why You Can’t Have Wolves as Pets. Hand-reared wolf puppies remained wild and afraid of strangers but in dogs, communication skills emerge in early puppyhood, says Duke University-led study.”
  • Harvard-MIT Quantum Computing Breakthrough – ‘We Are Entering a Completely New Part of the Quantum World’.”
  • Tweet—”It is easier for a rocket to pass through the eye of a needle than for a billionaire to enter the kingdom of God.” Tweet—”Again: very VERY happy Wally Funk finally got her due. Wish it hadn’t taken a tax cheating, union-busting, hoarding, monopolizing multi-billionaire to get her there. The values we embed in technoscientific ventures matter.” Tweet—”All these billionaires going into space are like the losing kids entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.” Tweet—” Congratulations to Ernst Blofeld and Hugo Drax for the successful launch of their space-based world domination platforms.” Tweet—”I prefer watching the launches of independent bookstores. They’re a lot more entertaining. And they actually occupy space.”
  • The Emperor’s New Rocket: Last Words on Branson’s Big Ride. I’m fine with launching his wealthy clientele into space. It’s bringing them back I’m not crazy about.”—”he’s a self-indulgent parasite, a space-age Nero fiddling while the world burns.”
  • From 2018, tweet—”You wake up from cryonic suspension. Jeff Bezos is staring down at you. ‘Welcome to Colony 6745’, he says. ‘You’re Jeff Bezos!’ you sputter. ‘I’m a Jeff Bezos’, he replies. ‘Every Amazon space colony has a Jeff Bezos. Now, would you prefer to start in packing or deliveries?'”
  • Why we can’t stop talking about billionaires. Tech billionaires emerged from a year of hardship as more than leaders of iconic companies. They are central — almost too central — characters in American life.”
  • But how do I print a banner out on tractor feed paper? “You Can Now Revisit the Most Popular Desktop Publishing App of the ’80s in Your Browser. Dust off the dot-matrix printer and create retro-tastic birthday cards and banners at home with The Print Shop.”
  • An evening with Kindle Vella: First impressions of Amazon’s new attempt to reimagine reading.”—”The serialized story is a mainstay of the literary world, a tried-and-true formula for creating a tantalizing tale, from opening hook to closing cliffhanger. But it’s the rare author who can keep readers engrossed in a narrative when the unparalleled drama of their own lives is just a tap or click away. That’s the fundamental challenge facing Kindle Vella. I experienced it myself while spending a few hours with Amazon’s new “episodic story platform” after its official release Tuesday afternoon. Despite the ‘Kindle’ in the name, Amazon isn’t offering Vella via its line of e-readers, at least not yet.”
  • Netflix Plans to Offer Video Games in Push Beyond Films, TV. Netflix Inc., marking its first big move beyond TV shows and films, is planning an expansion into video games and has hired a former Electronic Arts Inc. and Facebook Inc. executive to lead the effort.”
  • A bunch of yeqrs ago, I imagined that Amazon would start using train cars as carriers filled with drones to travel around and deliver swarms of packages. Also “Women busted for drone cigarette delivery during hotel COVID lockdown.”
  • BREAKING: Austrian Supreme Court asks CJEU if Facebook “undermines” the GDPR by confusing ‘consent’ with an alleged ‘contract’.” Also tweet thread—”Heads up, people who don’t follow GDPR news: This case is a big deal. It’s basically asking the CJEU to rule that FB’s whole ads system violates the GDPR.”
  • Social Media States. Social media companies, which yield state-like power, have a lot to learn from early modern company-states like the East India Company.” Um, and, you know, learn from the example of the Templars, probably.
  • Facebook Knifes Its Own Analytics Tool to Hide Its Ben Shapiro Problem. Facebook reportedly reassigned dozens of employees at its data tool CrowdTangle after it showed right-wing content thrives on the News Feed.”
  • Tweet thread—”I am often asked if I will “return to cryptocurrency” or begin regularly sharing my thoughts on the topic again. My answer is a wholehearted “no”, but to avoid repeating myself I figure it might be worthwhile briefly explaining why here…” “After years of studying it, I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity.” “This is the type of dangerous ‘free for all’ capitalism cryptocurrency was unfortunately architected to facilitate since its inception.”
  • MS BOB, which was a major interesting but flawed shell-on-a-shell release from the Agent project headed by Melinda French, who met future partner Bill Gates whilst project manager; from pre-history to birth to emoji, Clippy’s had a long wild ride! “Microsoft is bringing back Clippy“—”Clippy hasn’t had an easy life. Microsoft’s iconic but polarizing virtual assistant first appeared in Windows 97 as a small paper clip to help Microsoft Office users. It was given the boot by Office 2007.” But Scuzz the Rat was always the best of them.
  • ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’ Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients.”—”‘I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,’ wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. ‘One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.'”
  • Tweet—”NEW: probably the most important Covid chart I’ve made. As Delta goes global, it’s a tale of two pandemics, as the heavily-vaccinated Western world talks of reopening while deaths across Africa and Asia soar to record highs.”
  • U.S. Surgeon General Calls Covid Misinformation ‘Urgent Threat’.” Also tweet—”Disinformation is the other pandemic that’s killing people. Science has provided us an incredibly effective vaccine, and yet people are still dying because of the utter bullshit they read and hear from those infected with anti-vax anti-science propaganda.”
  • Tweet thread—”1/ Here is a comprehensive review of the data on whether we need COVID BOOSTER SHOTS. THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: IF YOU HAVEN’T YET GOTTEN A COVID VACCINE, NOW’S THE TIME! I’ll put a Threadreader unroll at the end for those of you who find that more convenient to read/share.”
  • Siouxsie Wiles: Boris Johnson’s dangerous experiment puts everyone at risk. On Monday, despite case numbers soaring, all Covid-19 restrictions in England will be lifted. Siouxsie Wiles explains why for many, ‘Freedom Day’ will be anything but.” “From Monday, if people get infected, it’ll be their fault for not being cautious or vigilant enough. It’s a narrative that is grossly offensive given it will disproportionately impact those whose jobs and income put them in harm’s way”.
  • “‘We didn’t want to be in the news’: Pastor pleas for ‘mercy’ after 125 in his ‘masks optional’ summer camp get Covid. Hundreds may have been exposed to the Delta variant due to the camp.” Tweet—”Camp Fuckaround-Findout”
  • Jeanette Archer Accusing Boris Johnson and UK Government of Being Satanic Child Killers 15-5-2021.”—”Here multiple false-accuser Jeanette Archer, whose allegations have already been investigated in detail by the British police and found ‘no case to answer’, hi-jacks an anti-Covid Rules protest in London to falsely accuse Boris Johnson, his cabinet and the entire civil-service of being Satanic child killers hooked on adrenochrome. Other idiots in the caucus of SRA fundie believers in the UK accompany her to display their own lack of intellectual rigour and ability to believe any old tosh some attention seeker puts out as long as it has the suffix ‘Satan’ attached to it.”
  • Apple under pressure over iPhone security after NSO spyware claims. Apple urged to work with rivals after alleged surveillance of journalists, activists.” Also “In Orban’s Hungary, spyware was used to monitor journalists and others who might challenge the government. The deployment of the tool, confirmed with forensics, shows a willingness to use tactics previously deemed out-of-bounds.”
  • ‘Reichstag moment’: Joint Chiefs chairman feared Trump was laying groundwork for coup.”
  • Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House. Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy.”—”There are paragraphs on how Russia might insert ‘media viruses’ into American public life, which could become self-sustaining and self-replicating. These would alter mass consciousness, especially in certain groups.” Where’s the antimemetics division when you … wait. what was I saying? “Trump did not respond to a request for comment.” 👀 Tweet—”Leaked papers say that Putin ordered an operation to put Trump in WH at a meet w top officials in January 2016. That operation did happen but it would have been planned well before Jan 2016. Also leaks don’t come from Russia. This is strategic and masked.” “Russian intelligence documents don’t just appear like that especially with something like installing a president into US. Russian intel services would leak documents to mask the true events that happened and create a legend. It is interesting they decided to do this to trump now.”
  • Tweet—”don’t buy into nazi trash”.
  • ‘The real damage’. Why FEMA is denying disaster aid to Black families who’ve lived for generations in the Deep South.”
  • We Still Won’t Admit Why So Many People Believe the Big Lie. Six months after the insurrection it triggered, it’s clear that the stolen-election nonsense is just a drop in a tidal wave of bullshit.”
  • Tweet—”Scoop: Justice Dept is quietly seeking a 50-year bar to release of grand jury material – a rule which, if adopted by the courts, would keep Mueller-Trump records secret until 2069…” “…If this rule had existed then, we would still be waiting for the release of the Nixon grand jury material in 2023 or 2024…” Also “Justice Department seeks 50-year bar to release of grand jury material.”
  • Justice Department Sought Reporter Records from Security Firm Proofpoint, in Bid to Unmask Leak Sources. Documents unsealed by a court this week reveal that the Justice Department didn’t just go after email providers to obtain reporter records, but also went after the security firm Proofpoint.”
  • Tweet—”I’ll stop calling them sociopaths when they stop acting like sociopaths.”
  • An American Kingdom. A new and rapidly growing Christian movement is openly political, wants a nation under God’s authority, and is central to Donald Trump’s GOP.”
  • From the Pledge of Allegiance dept: “Lindsey Graham pledges to ‘go to war’ for Chick-fil-A amid Notre Dame protest. Notre Dame students objected to a possible Chick-fil-A on campus, citing the company’s “history of antagonism toward the LGBTQ+ community.”
  • No Black parents, teachers or scholars invited to Missouri hearing on teaching race.”
  • From the #HasBenAndJerrysTweetedYet? dept: “Israel Warns Unilever Chief Over Ben & Jerry’s Boycott. Ice cream maker will no longer sell in occupied territories. Move spurs tension between Ben & Jerry’s and parent Unilever.” Also “Ben & Jerry’s says it will stop sales in ‘occupied Palestinian territory’. The announcement broke about two months of social media silence by the Vermont company, which has long supported progressive causes but came under mounting pressure to stop ice cream sales in the settlements following Israel’s intense response to Palestinian rocket attacks in May.” “The decision was a significant win for pro-Palestinian groups who have pushed companies to divest their business and financial dealings with Israel, but was sharply condemned by Israeli government officials and some Jewish groups in the United States. The company said it would not renew a long-standing agreement with its factory in Israel after next year but would ‘stay in Israel through a different arrangement.'” Also “Israel vows to ‘act aggressively’ against Ben & Jerry’s.”
  • Huh. I wonder what could possibly be the reason. Check out the side by side photo of the teams. “Women’s Handball Players Are Fined for Rejecting Bikini Uniforms. Norway’s beach handball players were each fined 150 euros for wearing shorts rather than the required bikini bottoms. A spokeswoman for the International Handball Federation said she didn’t know the reason for the rule.”
  • Tweet thread—”People often assume that the Greeks invented democracy. But societies throughout history have independently built systems in which a large portion of the population shared political power. My new favorite examples are the ganas & sanghas, the republics of ancient India.”
  • William F. Nolan, Iconic Sci-Fi Author Who Co-Penned ‘Logan’s Run’, Dies at 93. The wordsmith churned out hundreds of pieces throughout his illustrious career, including biographies, short stories, nonfiction, poetry and prose.”
  • I mean, I’m kind of a special collections curator, and I find things in here that reflect my experience. “The Evolving Role of a Special Collections Curator.”
  • Shanghai Astronomy Museum“—”Drawing inspiration from astronomical principles, the design invokes the experience of orbital motion. Each of the building’s three principal forms – the Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere – act as functioning astronomical instruments, tracking the sun, moon, and stars and reminding visitors that our conception of time originates in distant astronomical objects.”
  • The Myth and Magic of Generating New Ideas. A mathematician on how to get the mind into motion.”—”The origin stories of big ideas, whether in math or any other field, generally highlight the eureka moments….But arduous, mundane work is a key part of the process; without it, the story is just a myth.”
  • One Change at Work Could Boost Your Health and Productivity. Iceland experiment reveals to work better, you should work less.”
  • In ‘My Unorthodox Life,’ Julia Haart Bares More Than Just Her Knees. Less than a decade after fleeing a repressive ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Haart heads a global talent empire. Her next challenge? Letting viewers peek behind the curtain.”
  • ‘Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time’. ‘Loki’ proves that Marvel needs to ditch the oldest plot cliché in the book.”
  • Tweet—”We’re not going to spoil #Loki – promise! – but if you’ve already seen the final episode of Tom Hiddleston’s time-hopping adventure, we think you may have spotted lots and lots of Kintsugi. Here’s a thread about this Japanese art of repair! Thread.”
  • See the road sign that’s about to take over America. Electric vehicles are about to take over American roadways, which means there’s a prime opportunity to replace gas station signs with something better.”
  • Jackson Browne: Downhill from Everywhere review – voice of the boomers faces his mortality. Still regarded as the most artful of 1970s west coast singer-songwriters, Browne frets about the environment and his use by date.” About Downhill From Everywhere
    [Amazon, Spotify, Apple] by Jackson Browne. Also “Jackson Browne: ‘I think desire is the last domino to fall’

  • Cristela Alonzo to Host The CW’s ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple’. The comedian, writer and producer will guide contestants through challenges in the network’s reboot of the Nickelodeon game show.”
  • Someone appears to have collected what they say is the entire legendary book, mentioned by the documentary as being secretly shared and widely influential in the industry. Tweet—”The Moebius-illustrated story book for Jodorowsky’s DUNE, all here, now. You’re very welcome” Google Photos shared folder.
  • Personally, I find this series, based on Luke Pearson’s comics, with a consistently brava and nuanced on-point voice performance by Bella Ramsey (see her live action in a breakout Game of Thrones role, and maybe skip her in the first 2 seasons of the Worst Witch remake, unless you’re really a fan of that in particular, maybe as a guilty pleasure), to be lots of fun. But, Hilda s02e03 “The Witch” is especially awesome. The library’s secret room has a secret room that has … And, the language of magic is Swedish. Too many neat things for me in this episode to mention them all.
  • Tweet—”Very cool: a Redditor figured out that the reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s round, mirrored visor in a famous Apollo 11 lunar photo is, optically, a fisheye image of Buzz’ POV at that instant. He extracted & remapped those image pixels into a new VR-like view.” Also “I unwrapped Neil Armstrong’s visor to 360 sphere to see what he saw.
  • Watch “Musicians create album from Rumi’s 13th-century poetry. Musicians create album from Rumi’s 13th-century poetry. Nadim Namaan and Dana Al Fardan spent their time under lockdown interacting through screens and jetting between Doha, Dubai, and the UK to record songs written using translations of Rumi’s poems.” Also “Dana Al Fardan composes second musical ‘Rumi’ with co-writer Nadim Naaman.”
  • From the “Zoom Zone” dept: tweet—”Well, this is horrifying”.
  • We narrowly missed a reboot of Reservoir Dogs with an all Black cast. While on the ReelBlend podcast, Tarantino said wanted his last film before retiring to be a reboot featuring all Black actors.”
  • From the Blowback dept: Tweet—”witchtok went and hexed the damn moon. Seems that the moon has responded.”
  • Tweet thread—”Have you ever wondered why we don’t find fossils in the Appalachian mountains? The truth is, we do, they’re just not the kind of fossils you might think of—there are no mammals, no dinosaurs, no reptiles. There’s something else entirely. 🧵”
  • TIL there was an ancient Egyptian canal that existed for millennia. “The Wadi Tumilat and the ‘Canal of the Pharaohs’.” Also “The Timeline of the Plans and Projects to Link the Eastern Mediterranean Region to the Red Sea by Water: The Egyptian Canals Which Preceded the Suez Canal.”
  • Tweet—”Every time someone says I shouldn’t complain about some aspect of society because things are SO MUCH BETTER than they were 50 years ago, I think about how lucky we are that people 50 years ago ignored the same advice.”
  • I was there during the troubles of ’85. I visited the actual HQ of the real opposition campaign in Seattle’s Pioneer Square district. What I’m saying is that I’ve seen things. And … unless they’re adding cocaine back (see the aforementioned Michael Pollan book, I suppose), I don’t give a damn. I mean, it’s basically someone known for shag rugs saying they’re going to change the composition of the yarn in some way. Who the hell cares? Sit down, everyone. Stop drinking that coloured sugar-water swill. If you’re going to drink poison, there’s a lot more fun than that to be had, after all. Make your own at home, even! “Coca-Cola Is Changing the Flavor of a Soda. Again. The company promised “an even more iconic Coke taste” for its new version of Coke Zero. But some anxious consumers remember the New Coke debacle of 1985.”

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It was a snake, cold of eye, its tongue flickering, its fangs dripping with poison. It hissed, and a drop of poison from its mouth dripped onto Loki’s face, making his eyes burn. Loki screamed and contorted, writhing and twisting in pain. He tried to get out of the way, to move his head from beneath the poison. The bonds that had once been the entrails of his own son held him tightly.

Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Gaiman Norse Mythology snake cold eye tongue fangs dripping poison Loki burn screamed contorted writing twisting pain bonds entrails son held tightly