Omnium Gatherum: 18jul2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for July 18, 2021

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

  • CALL FOR ARTISTS. Satanic Panic: Witches, Dragons & Monsters in Pop Culture.” “The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick along with the Lake Witch announces a call for local northeast Ohio artists for Satanic Panic: Witches, Dragons & Monsters in Pop Culture. Submitted work will be judged on originality, aesthetics, design elements, technique, execution, quality, and creative use of materials. Artistic excellence is the overriding criterion for artist selection. Application Deadline: July 25, 2021.”
  • Crowdfunding effort with 28 days to go: “The Crimson Eye Tarot Deck. Tarot reimagined by illustrator Evangeline Gallagher, based on the Rider-Waite tarot deck.”
  • A crowdfunding effort part of a larger campaign, with 165 days to go: “Saving the Honresfield Library. Honresfield Library is a rare treasure trove of literary manuscripts, with works by Jane Austen, Robert Burns, Walter Scott and the Brontës. It is being sold and FNL is spearheading the campaign to save it for the nation. This Big Give appeal is one element of our campaign to raise £15million.” Also “The Brontë Archive Needs to be Secured for Public Use and Made Accessible.”
  • Friday essay: Satan is back (again) — the Devil in 5 dark details. The Devil’s modern resurgence might explain a reported increase in apparent demonic possessions in both conservative Catholic and Protestant churches. The rise has fuelled the growth of church ministries that claim to drive out demons. And the conspiracy theorists of QAnon have notoriously created baseless moral panic about the imagined sexual abuse of children in Satanic cults. Given the amount of publicity the Devil is currently attracting, it’s worth reviewing his history. Here are five things worth knowing.”
  • Stoicism and the Eleusinian Mysteries. How Marcus Aurelius was Initiated into the Cult of Demeter.”
  • The Right Chemistry: John Dee mixed science and the occult. The enigmatic polymath who had once been the toast of the court of Queen Elizabeth I died in poverty.”
  • When Buddhism Goes Bad. How My Mindfulness Practice Lead Me To Meltdown.”
  • Frank Zappa’s favourite books about the occult.”
  • The Paul McCartney error that led to Beatles album ‘Sgt. Pepper’“—”The titular character of the song has long been mused over. Many have attributed the mythical figure to the occultist Aleister Crowley. The writer gained fame during the sixties, and The Beatles were certainly aware of his work.”
  • From 2013: “Feminist Archaeology versus the Goddess Movement.” [Also]—”Both Feminist Archaeology and the contemporary Goddess Movement seek to discover women’s lives, roles and status in the past, but for different reasons and with varying degrees of plausibility in their methods and interpretations. This article looks at the way the interpretation of the past is approached by feminist archaeologists and by Goddess Movement participants. A brief explanation of feminism precedes a description of feminist archaeology. This is followed by a portrait of the Goddess Movement and its relationship to archaeology, in particular the Anatolian site of Çatalhöyük. A critique of the Goddess Movement’s claim to be feminist leads to the conclusion that the past should not be distorted to promote political issues in the present.”
  • The New Old Days“—”Different places, different customs. Minneapolis having been, in its early days, largely populated by Scandinavians, we have—thanks to the infamous Founder Effect—a local culture of public privacy. You don’t stare at other people, especially not at strangers. Really—so long as they’re not doing anything harmful—it’s best to pretend that they’re not even there. (Dysfunctional as this may sound, it’s probably the reason why there’s such a large, self-assured pagan community here. Here, we could get away with it.)”
  • Archangel or goddess? A new trail raises questions about the pagan past at Lake Nemi.”—”Earlier this month, the hilltop town of Nemi, Italy, opened a nature trail to small cave that served as a hermitage site for local monks. But the trail bears the name of Saint Michael the Archangel, raising questions about the name and its relation to the famous Temple of Diana on the shores of the eponymous lake.”
  • Further Back And Faster: A Return To Coil’s Love’s Secret Domain. On the arrival of WaxTrax’s 30th anniversary reissue, Stephen Thrower talks to Mark Pilkington about the making of Coil’s testament to sensual derangement.”
  • Pan: From Arcadia to Arkham – Panic terror and HP Lovecraft – I.”—”Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is not an author that one might immediately associate with Pan, yet Pan is present in various guises throughout his fiction and poetry, perhaps more recognizably so in his earlier prose, and more menacingly in his later works. To begin this series of posts on Lovecraft and Pan, I will take a look at the appearance of Classical themes in Lovecraft’s early work, where the Arcadian ideal is, for the most part, untainted by terror.”
  • Instagram—”⬅️Гортайте серію фото📸 Думаю такого виду піраміди Хеопса єдиного з 7 Чудес стародавнього світу, яке дожило до наших днів, Ви ще не бачили. Ходять легенди, що на вехівці було золоте закінчення, а на цих фото Ви можете побачити на якій основі воно стояло, а також можна прочитати надписи тих людей які ще від часів фараонів до 20ст вилазили на піраміду.” (⬅️Flip through a series of photos📸 I don’t think you’ve seen this kind of pyramid of Cheops, the only one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World that has survived to this day. There are legends that the landmark had a golden end, and in these photos you can see on what basis it stood, and you can read the inscriptions of those people who from the time of the pharaohs to the 20th century climbed the pyramid.)
  • From 2014, but free on Amazon: Initiation into the Mysteries of the Ancient World [Amazon] by Jan N. Bremmer. Of course, the PDF and ePUB are also free from the publisher, as this is Open Access. “The ancient Mysteries have long attracted the interest of scholars, an interest that goes back at least to the time of the Reformation. After a period of interest around the turn of the twentieth century, recent decades have seen an important study of Walter Burkert (1987). Yet his thematic approach makes it hard to see how the actual initiation into the Mysteries took place. To do precisely that is the aim of this book. It gives a ‘thick description’ of the major Mysteries, not only of the famous Eleusinian Mysteries, but also those located at the interface of Greece and Anatolia: the Mysteries of Samothrace, Imbros and Lemnos as well as those of the Corybants. It then proceeds to look at the Orphic-Bacchic Mysteries, which have become increasingly better understood due to the many discoveries of new texts in the recent times. Having looked at classical Greece we move on to the Roman Empire, where we study not only the lesser Mysteries, which we know especially from Pausanias, but also the new ones of Isis and Mithras. We conclude our book with a discussion of the possible influence of the Mysteries on emerging Christianity. Its detailed references and up-to-date bibliography will make this book indispensable for any scholar interested in the Mysteries and ancient religion, but also for those scholars who work on initiation or esoteric rituals, which were often inspired by the ancient Mysteries.”
  • Tap into your ‘deep spring’ with transformative spiritual listening“—”The act of learning [in Indigenous societies] is all about waiting and listening, not asking questions.” Also, from 2010: “Learning to read the signs: law in an Indigenous reality“—”This article examines Aboriginal views of knowledge, time and space, and discusses the implications of these views for understanding Aboriginal legal systems. In doing this, we adopt an Indigenous perspective formed and informed by the ancient holistic knowledge systems of Aboriginal people. The article is part of a new wave of Indigenous scholarship where Indigenous thinkers worldwide are seeking to elucidate the nature of our systems and their interaction with Western ways of knowing.”
  • From the Eurythmy dept: “How Movement and Gestures Can Improve Student Learning“—”Sit down, sit still and use your head. In our brain-centric culture, we often equate thinking with quiet focus. But when it comes to deep learning, the brain is only part of the story”. About The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Annie Murphy Paul—”A bold new book reveals how we can tap the intelligence that exists beyond our brains—in our bodies, our surroundings, and our relationships. Use your head. That’s what we tell ourselves when facing a tricky problem or a difficult project. But a growing body of research indicates that we’ve got it exactly backwards. What we need to do, says acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul, is think outside the brain. A host of “extra-neural” resources—the feelings and movements of our bodies, the physical spaces in which we learn and work, and the minds of those around us— can help us focus more intently, comprehend more deeply, and create more imaginatively. The Extended Mind outlines the research behind this exciting new vision of human ability, exploring the findings of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and examining the practices of educators, managers, and leaders who are already reaping the benefits of thinking outside the brain. She excavates the untold history of how artists, scientists, and authors—from Jackson Pollock to Jonas Salk to Robert Caro—have used mental extensions to solve problems, make discoveries, and create new works. In the tradition of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, The Extended Mind offers a dramatic new view of how our minds work, full of practical advice on how we can all think better.”
  • Book Review: A Garland of Forgotten Goddesses.” About A Garland of Forgotten Goddesses: Tales of the Feminine Divine from India and Beyond [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Michael Slouber—”Imagining the divine as female is rare—even controversial—in most religions. Hinduism, by contrast, preserves a rich and continuous tradition of goddess worship. A Garland of Forgotten Goddesses conveys the diversity of this tradition by bringing together a fresh array of captivating and largely overlooked Hindu goddess tales from different regions. As the first such anthology of goddess narratives in translation, this collection highlights a range of sources from ancient myths to modern lore. The goddesses featured here battle demons, perform miracles, and grant rare Tantric visions to their devotees. Each translation is paired with a short essay that explains the goddess’s historical and social context, elucidating the ways religion adapts to changing times.”
  • Review: ‘The Divinatory Arts’ by Papus.” About The Divinatory Arts: Graphology – Palmistry – Physiognomy – Astral influence [Amazon] by Papus (Gérard Encausse)—”Dr Gérard Encausse, also known by his mystical name Papus, was one of the greatest French occultists of the 19th Century, and the founder of modern Martinism. Originally created for the readers of the newspaper Le Figaro and with original engravings of Gary de Lacroze, a famous French hermeticist, this small collection published under the title Les Arts Divinatoires is a simplified introduction to the occult sciences and the divinatory arts.Never before published in English, this work defines and gives the main points of graphology, palmistry, and physiognomy, and succinctly discusses astral influences. Very interesting to read and easy to apply, Papus’ practical instructions allow a first original approach to these disciplines.”
  • Cool Runnings. The incisive long-form criticism of Jenny Diski.” About Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told? [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jenny Diski—”Jenny Diski was a fearless writer, for whom no subject was too difficult, even her own cancer diagnosis. Her columns in the London Review of Books – selected here by her editor and friend Mary-Kay Wilmers, on subjects as various as death, motherhood, sexual politics and the joys of solitude – have been described as ‘virtuoso performances’, and ‘small masterpieces’. From Highgate Cemetery to the interior of a psychiatric hospital, from Tottenham Court Road to the icebergs of Antarctica, Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told? is a collective interrogation of the universal experience from a very particular psyche: original, opinionated – and mordantly funny.”
  • The Failures That Made Ian Fleming. The creator of James Bond had an unremarkable career in intelligence and considered his own books ‘piffle.'” About The World Is Not Enough: A Biography of Ian Fleming [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Oliver Buckton—”The definitive history of the flamboyant life of Ian Fleming and his most famous creation, James Bond. This new biography of Ian Fleming presents a fresh and illuminating portrayal of the iconic creator of James Bond. Oliver Buckton provides the first in-depth exploration of the entire process of Ian Fleming’s writing—from initial conception, through composition, to his involvement in the innovative publication methods of his books. He also investigates the vital impact of Fleming’s work in naval intelligence during World War Two on his later writings, especially the wartime operations he planned and executed and how they drove the plots of the James Bond novels. Buckton considers the vital role of wartime deception, disinformation, and propaganda in shaping Fleming’s later techniques and imaginative creations. Offering a radically new view of Fleming’s relationships with women, Buckton traces the role of strong, independent, and intelligent women such as Maud Russell, Phyllis Bottome, and his wife, Ann, on Fleming’s portrayal of female characters. The book concludes with a thorough analysis of the James Bond films from Eon productions, and their influence in promoting, while also distorting, the public’s recognition of Fleming’s writing.”
  • Belabored: Critical Race Panic in Schools, with Jesse Hagopian.”—”A new right-wing campaign to ban “critical race theory” aims to crack down on teachers who teach honestly about racism. How can teachers protect themselves and their students?”
  • Open Letters, Open Secrets: Laurence Ralph on Police Torture in Chicago.” Interview with Laurence Ralph, author of 2014’s Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]; and 2020’s The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
  • Shirley Jackson on Navigating Literary Fame Alongside Financial Uncertainty.” Excerpt from, and more about, The Letters of Shirley Jackson [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] edited by Laurence Jackson Hyman with Bernice M Murphy.
  • A Photographer Retraces New York’s Forgotten Springs and Wells. James Reuel Smith documented over 160 springs between 1897 and 1903. Decades later, photographer Stanley Greenberg followed Smith’s footsteps.” About Springs and Wells, Manhattan and the Bronx [Publisher] by Stanley Greenberg.
  • Roberto Bolaño’s best advice for writing short stories is . . . pretty wild.” Also scans from 2010 of the 2006 magazine layout: ““Advice on the Art of Writing Short Stories” — Roberto Bolaño.”—”9. The honest truth is that with Edgar Allan Poe, we would all have more than enough good material to read. 10. Give thought to point number 9. Think and reflect on it. You still have time. Think about number 9. To the extent possible, do so on bended knees.”
  • My Home Is Where I Am.”—”Slowly, story after story, my tongue unfurled. I went from mute to voluble.”
  • The Idiosyncratic School of Reading. And the guiding muse of Whim.”—”Pleasure, then, is no enemy of discipline. Jacobs, one of the strongest contemporary advocates for the Idiosyncratic School, has superbly encapsulated Woolf’s point in his ‘one dominant, overarching, nearly definitive principle for reading’: Read at Whim. Whim stands as an obvious alternative to the Vigilant call for Will. Yet notice the capital ‘w’ in ‘Whim.’ It differentiates Whim from the ordinary, lower-case sort, which the critic defines as ‘thoughtless, directionless preference that almost invariably leads to boredom or frustration or both.’ Followers of Whim, by contrast, make a serious commitment to knowing themselves as readers so that their idiosyncrasies—their peculiar interests, their reading backgrounds, those loves and hatreds sacred to Woolf—may provide coordinates for future action.” Largely about an essay which is available as How Should One Read a Book? [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Virginia Woolf.
  • Booksellers at Hong Kong’s book fair are being forced to self-censor their selections.” Also “Hong Kong book fair sees self-censorship and fewer books.”
  • The American Booksellers Association promoted an anti-trans book, apologized, and then deleted it.”
  • On Makeup As a Tool for Queer Resistance. Rae Nudson Considers the History of the Stonewall Raids and the Protests That Followed.” Excerpt from All Made Up: The Power and Pitfalls of Beauty Culture from Cleopatra to Kim Kardashian [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Rae Nudson—”A fascinating journey through history and culture, examining how makeup affects self-empowerment, how people have used it to define (and defy) their roles in society, and why we all need to care. There is a history and a cultural significance that comes with wearing cat-eye-inspired liner or a bold red lip, one that many women feel to this day, even if we don’t realize exactly why. Increasingly, people of all genders are wrestling with what it means to be a woman living in a patriarchy, and part of that is how looking like a woman—whatever that means—affects people’s real lives. Through the stories of famous women like Cleopatra, Empress Wu, Madam C. J. Walker, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marsha P. Johnson, Rae Nudson unpacks makeup’s cultural impact—including how it can be used to shape a personal or cultural narrative, how often beauty standards align with whiteness, how and when it can be used for safety, and its function in the workplace, to name a few examples. Every woman has had to make a very personal choice about her relationship with makeup, and consciously or unconsciously, every woman knows that the choice is never entirely hers to make. This book also holds space for complicating factors, especially the ways that beauty standards differ across race, class, and culture. Engaging and informative, All Made Up will expand the discussion around what it means to participate in creating your own self-image.”
  • €4.55m Marquis de Sade manuscript acquired for French nation. Original scroll of The 120 Days of Sodom, written while the writer was jailed in the Bastille, has been bought as an ’emblem of artistic freedom'”
  • Edward Gorey’s Toys. The brilliantly macabre writer and illustrator also made his own stuffed dolls, which have a stylishness and craftsmanship in keeping with all his art.”
  • Proust’s Madeleine Was Originally a Slice of Toast. The publication by Gallimard of the earliest manuscript of what would become ‘In Search of Lost Time’ lays bare the autobiographical origins of Proust’s key themes, including his ambivalence about his Jewishness.”
  • The Quiet Mysticism of Almanacs“—”Now that we no longer need them to make it through the winter, almanacs have become both escapism and a kind of meditation. They invite us to take things as they come, to delight in the sediment of everyday life. They are a call to observe the natural world, both the grand and the humble: eclipses and harvest moons, but also changing leaves and hatching insects. Watching things grow — even reading about watching things grow — connects almanac readers to a tradition that exists outside a highly technologized, often isolated, modern world. With their reminders to count acorns and to avoid killing spiders, almanacs have this wisdom — of small things.”
  • The Art of The Con“—”Fictional portrayals of the art world today are rarely more flattering, but new stock tropes have replaced salon-going philistines foolishly jeering at the avant-garde and pompous painters assured of their superiority. The contemporary art world is, more often than not, represented as a ridiculous shell game in which empty provocation is propped up by canny marketing and rampant financial speculation. Collectors are rich idiots looking to be flattered, gallerists are shrewd capitalists who cloak luxury retail operations in the pretense of a higher calling, curators are overeducated airheads in Prada who have memorized the Frankfurt School Cliff’s Notes, successful artists are talentless fakers who look the part, or naive and corruptible dupes. Critics, of course, are bloviating hacks, not to mention, the dumbest ones of all, since they don’t even stand to profit from their participation in this charade.”
  • The Endless Pursuit of Better. How the aspirational class lost its way.”
  • Utopia and Dystopia Are Twins—Both Are Born Out of Criticism. But it is only Utopia that allows us to dream together.”
  • Apropos of this, I played Chekhov on stage in a high school production of Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor. “‘It was sickening’: Read Chekhov’s withering review of his own first play’s opening night.
  • “We are born only once, and we cannot be born twice; and one must for all eternity exist no more. You are not in control of tomorrow and yet you delay your [opportunity to] rejoice. Life is ruined by delay and each and every one of us dies without enjoying leisure.”—Epicurus, Sententiae Vaticanae 14 = fragment 204 Usener (tr. Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson) quoted at “One Life Only.”
  • “Your thoughts reach higher than the air; You dream of wide fields’ cultivation, The homes you plan surpass the homes That men have known, but you do err, Guiding your life afar. But one there is who’ll catch the swift, Who goes a way obscured in gloom, And sudden, unseen, overtakes And robs us of our distant hopes— Death, mortals’ source of many woes.”—Richard Kannicht and Bruno Snell, edd., Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, Vol. 2: Fragmenta Adespota, rev. ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007), p. 53 quoted at “Your Thoughts and Dreams.”
  • Is the Universe Open-Ended? An intriguing proposal about what makes reality tick under the surface.”
  • Ugh. Not now Borg! “Massive DNA ‘Borg’ structures perplex scientists. Researchers say they have discovered unique and exciting DNA strands in the mud — others aren’t sure of their novelty.”—”The Borg have landed — or, at least, researchers have discovered their counterparts here on Earth. Scientists analysing samples from muddy sites in the western United States have found novel DNA structures that seem to scavenge and ‘assimilate’ genes from microorganisms in their environment, much like the fictional Star Trek ‘Borg’ aliens who assimilate the knowledge and technology of other species.”
  • Elusive glass octopus spotted in the remote Pacific Ocean. Only its eyes, optic nerve and digestive tract are opaque.”—”Like other “glass” creatures, such as glass frogs and certain comb jellies, glass octopuses are almost completely transparent, with only their cylindrical eyes, optic nerve and digestive tract appearing opaque. The expedition crew reported two encounters with the glass octopus — an impressive count given that previously there was such limited footage of these clear cephalopods, scientists had to learn about them by studying chunks of them in the gut contents of their predators.”
  • Octopuses: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Web Exclusive).”—”John Oliver explains why octopuses are cool, great, and yes, called ‘octopuses’.” Unfortunately, he’s woefully wrong on one point. The plural really should be “octopodes” no matter what he says.
  • (As I’ve said often, and could explain further, as I did for a particular college Speech class and have plastered on my personal website: “The Goats, Squirrels and Octopodes are in Cahoots, and should be presumed Armed and Dangerous!” By the by, I absolutely hate mollusks. The whole phylum Mollusca is filled with nothing but yucky abominations. But, especially be wary of the alien intelligences known as octopodes. Nothing that squishy should be that smart. And yet, still, no one should ever eat them. They’re amazing. Gross, evil, and awful, yes, but also amazing.)
  • Mouse thought extinct for 150 years found living on island.” Heh. That’s a long lived mouse! And still livin’ the good island life at that age? Wait. What? Oh. Never mind.
  • Parts Of The Amazon Rainforest Are Now Releasing More Carbon Than They Absorb.”—”In addition to deforestation and fires, the study says the rise in emissions from the Amazon has been accelerated by warming temperatures and “moisture stress” during the dry season. The eastern areas have less moisture than the west during already-difficult dry periods, which now have become drier and have lasted longer due to climate change.” “For generations, Amazonia, which spans more than two million square miles, was a reliable carbon sink, meaning that it naturally absorbed high levels of carbon dioxide from the air, and it played an important role in keeping the global environment stable. However, in recent decades, humans have increasingly contributed to the degradation of the Amazon, upsetting a crucial natural balance.”
  • Sea walls might just make floods someone else’s problem, study suggests. As sea levels rise, our defenses against flood damage might not work as planned.”
  • Venice bans cruise ships from the city center — again.”
  • ‘It Is All Connected’: Extreme Weather in the Age of Climate Change. The storm that brought flooding and devastation to parts of Europe is the latest example of an extreme weather event. More are expected.”
  • Siberian city residents advised to stay home to avoid smoke from wildfires.”
  • Scorched, Parched and Now Uninsurable: Climate Change Hits Wine Country. If any nook of American agriculture has the means and incentive to outwit the climate crisis, it is Napa Valley. But so far, vineyards here show the limits of adapting to a warming planet.”
  • Civilization Could Collapse By 2040, New Research Validates Old MIT Study. Scientists at MIT had released research on how the world would fare between 1972 and 2060. The model considered factors like pollution, food production and population. A new study has now evaluated the findings of the 1972 MIT research”
  • From 1988: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate“—”‘Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming,’ he said. ‘It is already happening now.'”
  • Hubble is back, thanks to backup hardware. Next up is getting the scientific instruments back out of safe mode.” Also “Hubble Space Telescope Is Back in Action After NASA Fixes Odd Glitch. Switch to backup hardware resurrects the orbiting observatory, which had been offline since June.”
  • Farmer Stumbles Onto Egyptian Pharaoh’s 2,600-Year-Old Stone Slab. The large sandstone marker may be connected to a military campaign led by the 26th dynasty ruler Apries.” Also “When Apries heard of it, he sent against Amasis an esteemed Egyptian named Patarbemis, one of his own court, instructing him to take the rebel alive and bring him into his presence. Patarbemis came, and summoned Amasis, who lifted his leg with an unseemly gesture (being then on horseback) and bade the messenger take that token back to Apries.”—Herodotus 2.162.3 (tr. A.D. Godley) quoted at “An Unseemly Gesture?
  • A new microwave scanner can track moving objects through walls, Superman-style. A new multipurpose technology could locate people trapped in burning buildings, or even speeding junk hurtling through space.”
  • South Korean toilet turns excrement into power and digital currency.”—”Using a toilet can pay for your coffee or buy you bananas at a university in South Korea, where human waste is being used to help power a building.”
  • The Wasp That Reprograms Spiders“—”Scientists have observed a new parasitic behavior between a wasp and a social species of spider, where the spider re-learned an ancestral behavior!”
  • How scientists discovered the universe is really freaking huge. Edwin Hubble’s name is everywhere in astronomy. Henrietta Leavitt’s should be too.”
  • ‘It’s an Alien Life Form’: Davie Bowie on the Internet’s Exhilarating and Terrifying Potential.” Full 2016 interview mentioned, watch “David Bowie speaks to Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight (1999)“. “the Internet, which absolutely establishes and shows us that we are living in total fragmentation.” “I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the Internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying.” “It’s an alien life form. [Laughs] Is there life on Mars? Yes, it’s just landed here.”
  • Michigan man wrongfully accused with facial recognition urges Congress to act.” Also “Black teen kicked out of skating rink after facial recognition camera misidentified her.”
  • What Ever Happened to IBM’s Watson? IBM’s artificial intelligence was supposed to transform industries and generate riches for the company. Neither has panned out. Now, IBM has settled on a humbler vision for Watson.”—”Some of the big customers are in health, like Anthem, a large insurer, which uses Watson Assistant to automate customer inquiries.”
  • US cracks down on ‘Fulfilled by Amazon,’ citing sale of 400,000+ hazardous items. Amazon shipped hair dryers with electrocution risk and CO detectors that don’t work.”
  • Google executive steps down after offensive manifesto about antisemitic past. Reportedly following months of employee frustration.”
  • The Space Tourism Industry Is Stuck in Its Billionaire Phase. The spectacle of launching billionaires into space is the beginning of a long road ahead.”
  • Netflix will start publishing video games, has hired former EA exec. Follows years-long tiptoe into interactive specials, game-based TV series.”
  • YouTube Regrets. Mozilla and 37,380 YouTube users conducted a study to better understand harmful YouTube recommendations. This is what we learned.”—”We now know that YouTube is recommending videos that violate their very own content policies and harm people around the world — and that needs to stop.”
  • Tweet thread—”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.” “Despite claims of “decentralization”, the cryptocurrency industry is controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures who, with time, have evolved to incorporate many of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace.”
  • Is Satoshi cashing out? 640 nine-year-old Bitcoin on the move. After remaining dormant for over nine years, a Satoshi-era wallet has been activated. The owner initiated a transfer of 640 BTC to an unidentified wallet on the network. Idle addresses hold over nine percent of the circulating supply.”
  • Tim Berners-Lee sells web source code NFT for $5.4m. The original source code for the world wide web has been sold as a non-fungible token, making $5.4m (£3.9m).” But, actually: “I’m selling a picture that I made, with a Python program that I wrote myself, of what the source code would look like if it was stuck on the wall and signed by me.”
  • Apple’s weather app won’t say it’s 69 degrees. It’s not so nice.” Also “If You Guys Are Really Us, What Number Are We Thinking Of?
  • Delta Is Driving a Wedge Through Missouri. For America as a whole, the pandemic might be fading. For some communities, this year will be worse than last.”
  • Feds arrest CA homeopath for selling COVID pellets, fake CDC vaccine cards. Homeopath: ‘It is like an energy medicine… made from the disease particles themselves.'”
  • MAGA-Branded ‘Freedom Phone’ Is a Black Box That Should Be Avoided at All Costs. Nobody can blame GOP voters for wanting a phone that prioritizes privacy and autonomy, but the Freedom Phone can’t be trusted.” Also “MAGA World’s ‘Freedom Phone’ Actually Budget Chinese Phone. MAGA Influencers are pushing a phone preloaded with apps like Parler and Rumble that appears to be a vastly more expensive version of a phone made in China.”
  • ‘You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War’: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump from Striking Iran. Inside the extraordinary final-days conflict between the former President and his chairman of the Joint Chiefs.”
  • We Now Know Exactly What the Trump-Backed Arizona ‘Audit’ Is Going to Do.”—”The breadcrumbs that Logan, Petersen, and Fann laid out in the hearing were enough to preview what is likely in store when Logan releases his report in the weeks ahead. Without specifically challenging the vote count, Logan spent much of the hearing dropping outrageous-sounding numbers of suspicious vote tallies to insinuate fraud without actually proving anything. This appears to be Logan’s ultimate game plan, straight out of the Kraken playbook: Drop dozens of disproven or easily disprovable charges into a report, claim there is a massive cover-up of election fraud, and wave his hands at the big picture even as his charges are easily shown, one by one, to be lies.” “On this and other already litigated and debunked myths, Logan is seeking to extend the audit indefinitely while Trump is claiming victory.”
  • Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz will face congressional challenge from COVID-19 whistleblower Rebekah Jones.” Also “Fired Covid-19 Data Manager is Now Running for Congress.”
  • Virginia will use a $700 million grant to roll out statewide broadband. It’s accessing the funding from the American Rescue Plan.”
  • The Left Needs Free Speech. What gives leftists the space to promote unpopular positions is the respect most Americans give to free speech.”
  • There Is No Debate Over Critical Race Theory. Pundits and politicians have created their own definition for the term, and then set about attacking it.”
  • John Lewis fought for voting rights. If you’re against that, you’re against him. No other tribute is worthy of his life and work.”
  • Under the skin of OnlyFans. OnlyFans, a social media platform best known for explicit content, has boomed during the pandemic. But from receiving terrorism videos to racial abuse and rape threats, a BBC investigation based on the experiences of dozens of women reveals concerns about how the British-run site is structured, managed and moderated.”
  • Why People Are So Awful Online. On social media, we are all hammers seeking nails.”
  • The Story of 3 Women Roadtripping After They Discovered They Were All Dating the Same Dude Is Going to Be a Netflix Movie, Right? A group of women became friends and are hitting the open road after finding out that they had the same boy.”
  • Geocaching While Black: Outdoor Pastime Reveals Racism And Bias.” Also “Geocaching While Black. I geocache. I’m black. Let’s see how they mix…”
  • Blade Runner: Black Lotus’ Cast Has Been Revealed. Peyton List, Jessica Henwick, Josh Duhamel, and Brian Cox join the animated Adult Swim and Crunchyroll show based on the Blade Runner films.”
  • Scarlet Hollow is a horror-mystery game with sharp writing, dark humor, and hand-drawn art from award-winning graphic novelist Abby Howard.” Watch “Scarlet Hollow” official trailer. “From award-winning graphic novelist Abby Howard, Scarlet Hollow is a horror visual novel and adventure game where your choices deeply matter. Hand-drawn backgrounds and sprites work together with a complex relationship system to bring to life an immersive world of charming (and terrifying) characters. Who lives, who dies, and the fate of an entire town rests on your shoulders. Return to the town your mother tried to protect you from and solve a mystery that spans generations.”
  • From March: “‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Spinoff Series “Wellington Paranormal” Getting US Premiere in July!.”—”In addition to FX’s series, the world of “What We Do in the Shadows” was also expanded upon with the spinoff “Wellington Paranormal,” focused on the film’s easily-manipulated police officers, Mike Minogue and Karen O’Leary. From creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the series premiered in New Zealand back in 2018, and it’s now getting a US release.” You can now watch the first two episodes of “Wellington Paranormal” on CW.
  • Black Widow happened at the only time Marvel was capable of making it. What happens when your first superheroine is actually a reformed supervillain.” Also “Is Black Widow as close as we’ll ever get to a female James Bond? This week’s Galaxy Brains considers how Black Widow expands the potential of the female spy on screen.” Also “How Marvel reinvented Black Widow. ‘Nat is and always will be the Black Widow’”
  • Netflix’s Never Have I Ever is Disney Channel weird and Friday Night Lights real. The newly arrived season 2 isn’t realistic, but it’s completely believable.”
  • I took Pornhub’s tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s nudes. Believe it or not, the adult site’s ‘Classic Nudes’ self-guided tour was less pervy than it was enlightening. Getting lost at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is less a rite of passage than it is a reality of exploring such a ginormous museum space.”
  • From 2020: “Porn star Nacho Vidal held in Spain after man dies in toad-venom ritual. A Spanish porn actor is being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter after a photographer died during a toad-venom ritual, police say.”
  • Shawshank Redemption is actually about the power of libraries.”—”In a sense, Shawshank Redemption is really a movie about the wonders of books, the way they can bring people together, uplift their spirits, and offer a kind of escape.”
  • Tweet—”I’m extremely here for this Britney Spears.” “I’m gonna go read a mother fucking fairy tale now!!! […] go read a fucking book”.
  • The Cats of Ulthar is a first-person adventure horror game prototype created and developed by Alessandro Capriolo. The Cats of Ulthar is based on a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft. In the tale, an unnamed narrator relates the story of how a law forbidding the killing of cats came to be in a town called Ulthar.” Watch “The Cats of Ulthar” trailer.
  • Dictionary.com’s newest words include the Covid-inspired ‘long hauler’ and the more lighthearted ‘yeet’.” Also “The latest Dictionary.com words include several from African American Vernacular English and phrases related to race and identity.”

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