Omnium Gatherum: 19sept2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for September 19, 2021

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

  • So, the people that bought Boleskine are asking for more money, this time for the roof. “‘Raise the Roof’ of Boleskine House“—”We Need Your Help by Christmas 2021 to ‘Raise the Roof’ of Boleskine House!”
  • Tweet—”Hi Internet! I’m Drew and THIS IS MY FACE. If this GIF has ever brought you joy in the past, I humbly ask you to consider making a donation to the National MS Society. It would mean a lot to me and to those I know affected by the disease! Donate at http://BlinkingGuy.com ”
  • Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick Opens New Exhibit on 1980s Satanic Panic. Friday, September 17, 2021“—”The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick (which recently co-presented the first exhibition of Burt Shonberg’s work in over fifty years) has just opened a new show examining one of the strangest periods in American history – the Satanic Panic of the 1980s.”
  • Andrew W.K. (who played bass in Current 93) has a new solo studio album out God Is Partying which includes a track Babalon.
  • Upcoming crowdfunding effort: “The Call of Cthulhu Chocolate Bar. H. P. Lovecraft-inspired chocolate bar. Nori seaweed, ginger spice, & candied ginger in dark chocolate. Handmade & bean-to-bar.” Tweet thread—”OPEN BOOK CHOCOLATES presents THE CALL OF CTHULHU CHOCOLATE BAR. NORI SEAWEED, GINGER SPICE, & CANDIED GINGER IN DARK CHOCOLATE. Launching on KICKSTARTER MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH.” “You can order all 12 of our flavors via Kickstarter! Alice in Wonderland. Sherlock Holmes. Jane Eyre. Pride & Prejudice. Les Miserables. Treasure Island. The Raven. The Tale of Genji. A Little Princess. The Great Gatsby. A Christmas Carol. The Call of Cthulhu.”
  • the annihilation quest. A visit to some early writing.”—”you wake in the morning, you had gone to bed last night and in some corner of your mind as always you wished to wake up finding yourself changed, not the current form. how do you distract yourself today, how do you escape? there is something inside you that wishes for annihilation, you see yourself in the mirror, horrid foul beast stares back, lattice form, reflection. you go about your day, seeing ways to annihilate the view of you, things to distract yourself with. you suffer dysphoria midday, you dont think much of it, it is after all a constant, 6 pm, you see your razor, you know shaving would make you feel better but you see in your mind blood, the ultimate annihilation. you shower, someone asked you a question today about understanding, this question is a wild horse, it bucks against the brain, it stresses you out, the water runs across this flesh, you cannot understand because ghosts are haunting you, and so you engage in the annihilation quest.”
  • The Stoic Virtues and Code of Honor. What might a code of conduct based on Stoicism look like?”—”Stoics liked to have lists that could be easily committed to memory. Most obviously, there is their list of four cardinal virtues, which goes back at least as far as the portrayal of Socrates in the dialogues of Plato: Wisdom (sophia), Righteousness (dikaiosune), Fortitude (andreia), and Temperance (sophrosune); or Wisdom, Justice, Courage, and Moderation, in more modern language. These virtues came to be represented by four corresponding animals in the traditional symbol known as the tetramorph: the man of wisdom, eagle of justice, lion of fortitude, and ox or bull of temperance.”
  • This feminist witch introduced California to Goddess worship. Z Budapest helped bring Goddess religion to the U.S. in the ’70s, and was arrested for reading tarot. Now she lives in a retirement community.”
  • Celestial Intelligences Angelology, Cabala, and Gnosis: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Quest for the Perennial Philosophy by Greg Kaminsky, preorders open Sept 22, due Nov/Dec—”The work of Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is both significant and interesting for a number of reasons. First, his writings provide both an approach to, and an understanding of, ancient wisdom traditions (philosophical and religious systems) and the way that we receive them in modern times. This is partly a discovery of how Western society and culture honors these traditions, but tends to be fundamentally disconnected from them in the course of daily life. Ultimately, this is a recognition that the esoteric traditions of the West are fragmentary at best, but also a realization that these fragments are our legacy and by working with them mindfully, we may still traverse a spiritual path that leads from delusion to wisdom. Second, studying Pico and his work reveals the manner in which a fundamentally Jewish esoteric doctrine and tradition –Kabbalah – was adapted and then adopted by Christian philosophers because it was a living, extant tradition and has a monotheistic character. Third, a close reading of Pico’s works reveals new insights into the ways that angels were thought of, and even worked with, in an esoteric and mystical manner Pico is a natural focus for all of these questions because his own work and writings places him not only at the center of these investigations, but also at the center of the rebirth of the Western esoteric tradition. Pico’s 900 Theses and subsequent Apologia (from which his Oration (on the Dignity of Man) is excerpted) contain the foundation for the rediscovery of Western esotericism from the mists of time along with the public declaration that magic and the Cabala were the keys to knowing the truth of religion, the world, and oneself. Pico’s own story of this discovery and the way in which he felt compelled to share it with the world are extraordinary and dramatic, so he is a most suitable vehicle for the expression of these ideas. Through his writings, we can understand the way in which Western esotericism had been relegated to the dustbin of history before Pico so boldly plucked it from the trash heap to exalt it as it should be. He exposed the manner in which we could see that there exist equivalences and correspondences in various traditions and schools of thought. This can be understood as a sort of syncretism, but also a way to understand that, on some level, truth can be expressed in different ways that may be more accessible to different people in different places at different times. Pico also shows us how a fully extant, living esoteric system can be adapted and appropriated if one feels righteous in doing so. It was the deficiency in Western esotericism that there was no living system as all the ancient religions were dead and gone – except for Judaism. All that was required was the Spanish Inquisition to convert some Kabbalists and then exile them to Italy where they translated for and tutored Pico. From there it was no great task to adapt the once Jewish Kabbalah to a now Christian Cabala. This conversion made all subsequent esoteric practice in the West really flourish and one could say that Pico’s adaptation of the Cabala is the act that has had more influence on Western esoteric thought and practice for the following 500 years and counting than any other. Lastly, Pico and his philosophy engages with angels and the orders of angels in unique ways to teach a system of thought and action – contemplation really – that is designed to lead to gnosis and/or theosis. The really beautiful thing about Pico’s system is that it perfectly mirrors all great mystical systems of the world in the specific methods that it employs. One of the things I really enjoyed was exploring how Pico’s explanation of how one goes from delusion to wisdom compared with Jewish Kabbalah, but there is ample territory to explore comparisons with many esoteric paths.”
  • The Serpent Ikons: A Sorcerous Distortion of the Tarot de Marseille Major Arcana by Helena van El & Shandi AzK Bouscatier, due Q2 2022—”The Serpent Ikons: A Sorcerous Distortion of the Tarot de Marseille Major Arcana is a card deck, philosophical commentary, and grimoire; combining at the very heart of its creation primal art, writing, and magickal practice. Forged in the fire of passion for the Mysteries, the Serpent Ikons are an oblation to the Self and its Daemon in the most sacred of experiences – one’s Life as a deliberate, Initiatory journey fashioned by the creativity and will of the magician. The Serpent Ikons have their roots in the revolt against any religious authority imposing a singular and unilateral relationship with spiritual forces. They embrace the Witch’s way; that torturous path that defies dogma and distorts order. In The Serpent Ikons, the major arcana of the Tarot de Marseille have been subverted to act as a transgression of the Tarot tradition: the Operant needs only the Self for guidance, and prognostications are consciously chosen then brought into being through ritual with one’s Daemon. Together artist Shandi Azk Bouscatier and author Helena van El have woven a spell of stunning visuals, deep contemplation, and profound magickal practice; and together they invite you to the intimate world of The Serpent Ikons.”
  • Qabalah for Wiccans: Ceremonial Magic on the Pagan Path [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jack Chanek, due Dec 2021—”Take your Pagan practice to new heights with this guide to Hermetic Qabalah from a Wiccan perspective. Author Jack Chanek shows you how to connect Qabalistic concepts to the Gods and the essential components of Wiccan ritual, making it simple to enhance your practice. Featuring correspondences, journal prompts, and dozens of exercises, Qabalah for Wiccans teaches you to use Qabalah for spellcasting and incorporate its symbolism into Wiccan rituals and workings. Explore the Tree of Life, learn to use it for meditation and pathworking, and discover the significance of the individual Sephiroth. Uncover Qabalistic connections to Wiccan theology and deepen your worship of Pagan deities. This book makes Qabalah less intimidating, showing you how it works and why it matters.”
  • The Incoming of The Aeon of Maat: Correspondence between Frater Achad, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Yorke, and Others, 1948-49 [J D Holmes, Publisher] eds. Michael Staley & Michael Barnam —”For many years, Charles Stansfeld Jones (Frater Achad) was a close colleague of Aleister Crowley in the A. A. and O.T.O., his ‘Magical Son’ and heir-apparent, involved in magical operations such as the Amalantrah Working of 1918. However, Jones began to develop and express his own vision of a forthcoming Aeon of Truth and Justice, as foreshadowed in the third chapter of The Book of the Law , an enigmatic text of three short chapters transmitted to Crowley in 1904 by a praeter-human Intelligence, Aiwass. Crowley saw the work of Jones as increasingly divergent from his own work as prophet of the Aeon of Horus, and the two men became ever more estranged. The distrust reached a climax when Crowley accused Jones of stealing a crate of his rare books and manuscripts. This accusation culminated in the ‘Release’ of 1926, a legal document dissolving all financial relationships between them. After many years of silence between the two men, Crowley wrote to Jones in 1936, asking for help in preparing The Equinox of the Gods for publication later that year. Although this correspondence started in a friendly and creative fashion, it soon descended into acrimony, resulting in the purported expulsion of Jones from the O.T.O. Soon after the death of Crowley in December 1947, Gerald Yorke wrote to Charles Stansfeld Jones asking for a copy of the latter’s Liber 31 , the record of Jones’s discovery of AL as the Key to The Book of the Law . This request initiated a correspondence between Yorke and Jones which continued until the death of Jones on 24th February 1950. Because Jones had come to see Yorke as an archivist, much of this voluminous and fascinating correspondence dealt with historical matters in the relationship between Jones and Crowley. Crowley had Willed his papers to be sent to his successor, Karl Germer, in New York. To ensure that an archive of at least some of the papers remained in England, Kenneth Grant and Gerald Yorke were making typed copies of what seemed to them the most important diaries and other documents prior to the despatch of the originals to Germer. At the same time, John Symonds was writing a biography of Crowley, referred to in this correspondence under the working title the Life and eventually published in 1951 as The Great Beast. On 2nd April 1948, Jones announced the Incoming of the Aeon of Truth and Justice, also known as the Ma-Ion and the Aeon of Maat. From this time onwards the correspondence included material documenting the unfolding of the new Aeon which Jones had detected, in which he explored its ramifications and implications. Kenneth Grant drew upon this correspondence in the course of his Typhonian Trilogies , referring to it in Outside the Circles of Time as ‘Official and Unofficial Correspondence Concerning the Incoming of the Ma-Ion and the Aeon of Maat’. With the permission of the heirs of Jones and Yorke, the correspondence is here published at a length of 544 pages with printed endpapers, a frontispiece, an introductory essay, a section of plates, footnotes, and an Index.”
  • Essay on Thelema, Number Nine [J D Holmes] by J Edward Cornelius & Erica M Cornelius—”A fine cloth copy, limited and signed. An excellent mix of essays on Thelema may be found in the new, and penultimate, volume in the series, including the first part of a major essay on the Tarot. The second part will be issued in the final volume in the series, number Ten. A partial list of contents: Essays by J.E. Cornelius: The Foundation Stones: The Two Paths of Tzaddi and Resh; On the I Ching Sticks Used by Aleister Crowley; On the Grid of “Liber al Vel Legis”; Know Thyself: A Precursor to “My Autobiography”; They Come in the Dark, a Short Story; others. Selections by Erica M Cornelius: On the Four Powers of the Sphinx, and the Fifty Gates of Understanding; On Thelema and the Egregore; On Thelemic Solitary Practice; On the Yama of Attention, others. Berkeley: Cornelius, 2021. Limited to 200 copies only, signed. 319 pages. Tall octavo.”
  • Kabbalah and Sex Magic: A Mythical-Ritual Genealogy [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Marla Segol—”In this provocative book, Marla Segol explores the development of the kabbalistic cosmology underlying Western sex magic. Drawing extensively on Jewish myth and ritual, Segol tells the powerful story of the relationship between the divine and the human body in late antique Jewish esotericism, in medieval kabbalah, and in New Age ritual practice. Kabbalah and Sex Magic traces the evolution of a Hebrew microcosm that models the powerful interaction of human and divine bodies at the heart of both kabbalah and some forms of Western sex magic. Focusing on Jewish esoteric and medical sources from the fifth to the twelfth century from Byzantium, Persia, Iberia, and southern France, Segol argues that in its fully developed medieval form, kabbalah operated by ritualizing a mythos of divine creation by means of sexual reproduction. She situates in cultural and historical context the emergence of Jewish cosmological models for conceptualizing both human and divine bodies and the interactions between them, arguing that all these sources position the body and its senses as the locus of culture and the means of reproducing it. Segol explores the rituals acting on these models, attending especially to their inherent erotic power, and ties these to contemporary Western sex magic, showing that such rituals have a continuing life. Asking questions about its cosmology, myths, and rituals, Segol poses even larger questions about the history of kabbalah, the changing conceptions of the human relation to the divine, and even the nature of religious innovation itself. This groundbreaking book will appeal to students and scholars of Jewish studies, religion, sexuality, and magic.”
  • Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kristen J. Sollée—”Traveling through cities and sites across Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Kristen J. Sollée—a second-generation witch herself—explores the witch as a figure of female power and persecution. By infusing an adventurous first-person narrative with extensive research and imaginative historical fiction, Witch Hunt captures the magic of travel to make an often-overlooked period of history come alive. Between the 15th-17th centuries, a confluence of political, economic, and religious factors inspired witch hysteria to ignite like wildfire across Europe, and, later, parts of America. At the heart of the witch hunts were often dangerous misconceptions about femininity and female sexuality, and women were disproportionately punished as a result. Today, this lineage of oppression remains an important reference point through which we can contemplate women’s rights—and human rights—in the Western world and beyond. Witch Hunt isn’t only an exploration of the horrors of history, but also uncovers how the archetype of the witch has been rehabilitated. For witches are not just haunting figures of the past; the witch is also a liberatory icon and identity of the present.”
  • Missing Witches: Recovering True Histories of Feminist Magic [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Risa Dickens and Amy Torok—”A guide to invocations, rituals, and histories at the intersection of magic and feminism, as informed by history’s witches–and the sociopolitical culture that gave rise to them. When you start looking for witches, you find them everywhere. As seekers and practitioners reclaim and restore magic to its rightful place among powerful forces for social, personal, and political transformation, more people than ever are claiming the identity of “Witch.” But our knowledge of witchcraft and magic has been marred by erasure, sensationalism, and sterilization, the true stories of history’s witches left untold. Through meditations, stories, and practices, authors Risa Dickens and Amy Torok offer an intersectional, contemporary lens for uncovering and reconnecting with feminist witch history. Sharing traditions from all over the world–from Harlem to Haiti, Oaxaca to Mesopotamia–Missing Witches introduces readers to figures like Monica Sjoo, HP Blavatsky, Maria Sabina, and Enheduanna, shedding light on their work and the cultural and sociopolitical contexts that shaped it. Structured around the 8 sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, each chapter includes illustrations by Amy Torok, as well as invocations, rituals, and offerings that incorporate the authors’ own wisdom, histories, and journeys of trauma, loss, and empowerment. Missing Witches offers an inside look at the vital stories of women who have practiced–and lived–magic.” Amusingly, to me, especially in light of the topic of the book, if you scroll down to the “from the publisher” section on the Amazon page, there’s some social media images. One of them is “All acts of love and pleasure are rituals.” This is, of course, actually, (slightly modified) Aleister Crowley, from The Law of Liberty [also], which was incorporated into Gerald Gardner’s book of shadows.
  • When Nazis tried to trace Aryan race myth in Tibet. In 1938, Heinrich Himmler, a leading member of Germany’s Nazi party and a key architect of the Holocaust, sent a five-member team to Tibet to search for the origins of the supposed Aryan race. Author Vaibhav Purandare recounts the fascinating story of this expedition, which passed through India.” By Vaibhav Purandare, author of Hitler And India: The Untold Story of His Hatred For the Country And Its People [Amazon]—”Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, is a perennial bestseller in India, with even street-side bookstalls prominently displaying stacks of it. The name ‘Hitler’—anathema almost everywhere else in the world—is tossed about casually in the Indian subcontinent, not infrequently invoked in praise. Many Indians still harbour the notion that the Führer was a friend of the Indian people and had extended wholehearted support to their freedom struggle. To journalist and historian Vaibhav Purandare, this clearly suggested that Indians continued to be largely unaware of the German dictator’s views on India, in spite of the fact that they are unambiguously expressed in his own writings. This lacuna spurred him on to delve into the archives—in Germany, India and elsewhere. The result of Purandare’s research is this comprehensive and painstaking portrait and analysis of Hitler’s outlook on India and its people, his opinion of their struggle against the British Raj, and his take on Indian history, culture and civilisation. Also within these pages are surprising details of Netaji Bose’s entanglement with the Reich, the experience of other Indians living in Nazi Germany, the mission that Hitler sent to the Himalayas in search of ‘pure-blood Aryans’, and a number of other little-known historical nuggets. Accessible and rich in detail, Hitler and India is the very first examination of what India meant to a figure who, perplexingly, remains quite alive in the country.”
  • Free ebook from Moon Books: Weathering the Storm by Ellen Evert Hopman and Danu Forest—”Written in three parts, psychological, spiritual and practical, Weathering the Storm is an anthology offering support to those of us who are isolated or vulnerable. The book has a primary Pagan focus but will be of interested to all those interested in Mind Body Spirit matters and in alternative lifestyles and spiritualities. Covering areas from loneliness and anxiety, self-care and gardening, to cooking and crystals, Weathering the Storm is a book designed to help everyone through uneasy, unprecedented times. A complementary compendium of hope, from the writers and publishers behind Moon Books.”
  • Occam’s razor and the limits of simplicity. This—widely misunderstood—theoretical touchstone has guided our scientific and philosophical enquires for centuries. But is complexity always such a bad thing?” About Life Is Simple: How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free and Shapes the Universe [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Johnjoe McFadden—”A biologist argues that simplicity is the guiding principle of the universe. Centuries ago, the principle of Ockham’s razor changed our world by showing simpler answers to be preferable and more often true. In Life Is Simple, scientist Johnjoe McFadden traces centuries of discoveries, taking us from a geocentric cosmos to quantum mechanics and DNA, arguing that simplicity has revealed profound answers to the greatest mysteries. This is no coincidence. From the laws that keep a ball in motion to those that govern evolution, simplicity, he claims, has shaped the universe itself. And in McFadden’s view, life could only have emerged by embracing maximal simplicity, making the fundamental law of the universe a cosmic form of natural selection that favors survival of the simplest. Recasting both the history of science and our universe’s origins, McFadden transforms our understanding of ourselves and our world.”
  • From July: “The Radical Women Who Paved the Way for Free Speech and Free Love. Anthony Comstock’s crusade against vice constrained the lives of ordinary Americans. His antagonists opened up history for feminists and other activists.” About The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship & Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Amy Sohn—”The New York Times–bestselling author Amy Sohn presents a narrative history of Anthony Comstock, anti-vice activist and U.S. Postal Inspector, and the remarkable women who opposed his war on women’s rights at the turn of the twentieth century. Anthony Comstock, special agent to the U.S. Post Office, was one of the most important men in the lives of nineteenth-century women. His eponymous law, passed in 1873, penalized the mailing of contraception and obscenity with long sentences and steep fines. The word Comstockery came to connote repression and prudery. Between 1873 and Comstock’s death in 1915, eight remarkable women were charged with violating state and federal Comstock laws. These “sex radicals” supported contraception, sexual education, gender equality, and women’s right to pleasure. They took on the fearsome censor in explicit, personal writing, seeking to redefine work, family, marriage, and love for a bold new era. In The Man Who Hated Women, Amy Sohn tells the overlooked story of their valiant attempts to fight Comstock in court and in the press. They were publishers, writers, and doctors, and they included the first woman presidential candidate, Victoria C. Woodhull; the virgin sexologist Ida C. Craddock; and the anarchist Emma Goldman. In their willingness to oppose a monomaniac who viewed reproductive rights as a threat to the American family, the sex radicals paved the way for second-wave feminism. Risking imprisonment and death, they redefined birth control access as a civil liberty. The Man Who Hated Women brings these women’s stories to vivid life, recounting their personal and romantic travails alongside their political battles. Without them, there would be no Pill, no Planned Parenthood, no Roe v. Wade. This is the forgotten history of the women who waged war to control their bodies.” Two things, of course, you might have already realized this was in part about Ida Craddock, who should have had a specific page somewhere on the site before but, heck, at least she does now. The second, probably coincidentally, it struck my eye that this books title is basically the actual translation of the original Swedish title of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Män som hatar kvinnor!
  • Call For Submissions. Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein is looking for guest-bloggers—specifically women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folk, writers with disabilities—to write brief essays about their experiences with the works of H. P. Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos, and interactions with publishing, fandom, and scholarship.”
  • New books will be hard to come by for the rest of the year. Book buyers, beware: New books will be in short supply for the rest of 2021.”—”Publishers are warning sellers and consumers that supply chain issues have forced a major slowdown in book production and threaten a shortage of certain titles for the rest of the year. Supply chain problems have touched almost every aspect of book production, storage, and delivery, mostly as a result of Covid-related bottlenecks. Printer capacity issues plagued the publishing industry last year, too, though 2021 is expected to be worse.”
  • When did humans start wearing clothes? Discovery in a Moroccan cave sheds some light.”—”In popular culture, cave men (and women) are often draped in furs, but archaeological evidence of what our Stone Age ancestors actually wore and how they made clothes is thin. Fur, leather and other organic materials generally aren’t preserved, especially beyond 100,000 years ago. However, researchers say 62 bone tools used to process and smooth animal skins found in a cave in Morocco may be some of the earliest proxy evidence for clothing in the archaeological record. The tools are between 90,000 and 120,000 years old.”
  • Woolly mammoth resurrection project receives $15 million boost“—”The scientific efforts to resurrect the woolly mammoth, which went extinct 4,000 years ago, just got a $15 million boost. A group of geneticists led by Harvard Medical School’s George Church envisions the mammoth once again roaming its natural habitat. The goal is to use genetic engineering to create a living elephant-mammoth hybrid that looks just like a woolly mammoth. Proponents of the project believe the beasts could help restore the Arctic tundra ecosystem and preserve the endangered Asian elephant, the woolly mammoth’s closest relative. This bold plan is fraught with ethical issues. Some scientists question if we know enough to make such an attempt — and the larger point of such an undertaking. But the thought of being up close with a once-extinct creature is a tantalizing one.”
  • Own Two Cats? Scientists Need Your Help“—”The misconception that cats are independent and like to be left alone is outdated, and we need to provide cat-owners with more educational resources to ensure their cats’ welfare in the home”
  • Watch “The Strange Orbit of Earth’s Second Moon (plus The Planets)
  • Watch “Is The Dust Bowl Happening Again?“—”In the 1930s, the US experienced what has been called its greatest ecological disaster, when the dust bowl ravaged the midwest, eroding topsoil, destroying crops, and displacing millions. As climate change exacerbates drought across much of the US in places like Phoenix and the larger Colorado River basin, damaging dust storms and haboobs are becoming more common, leading many experts to ask whether we might be heading into another dust bowl? In this episode of Weathered, we speak to a leading expert about this growing threat, the various hazards that dust storms pose to our health, and how best to prepare ourselves and stay out of harm’s way. Weathered is a show hosted by meteorologist Maiya May and produced by Balance Media that helps explain the most common natural disasters, what causes them, how they’re changing, and what we can do to prepare.”
  • Governments falling woefully short of Paris climate pledges, study finds. As Cop26 meeting approaches, analysis shows world is on track for 3C temperature increase if present trends continue.”
  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak starts a new space company Privateer, to clean up space debris.” Tweet—”Now that’s interesting. Woz calling it “Privateer” & focusing on cleaning up what is often dismissed as space trash but is, in effect, the remnants of highly specialized telecommunications & space faring technology w/ all kinds of encoded systems & components? Interesting indeed”
  • Was this written in the 19th century? *stares in Coal country* “Amazon’s New ‘Factory Towns’ Will Lift the Working Class. Plentiful new jobs at higher wages in places with cheaper housing sounds like a solution to inequality.” Also “Amazon Is Creating Company Towns Across the United States. In more and more of the country Amazon acts like an employer in a company town, sucking up whole communities and shaping public goods and services to fit its profit-making needs.”
  • Apple reportedly threatened to boot Facebook from the App Store over human trafficking concerns. Apple threatened to remove Facebook from its App Store after a report about an online slave market. The BBC in 2019 reported that human traffickers were using Facebook’s services to sell domestic workers. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook knew about the practice even before Apple made its threat.”
  • Internal Facebook Documents Show How Badly It Fumbled the Fight Against Anti-Vaxxers: Report. Facebook researchers warned that anti-vaxxers were deluging comment sections with propaganda, but the company was slow to take action.”
  • Facebook forced troll farm content on over 40% of all Americans each month. Report blames Facebook’s prioritization of engagement over all else.”
  • Facebook VP disputes report claiming the platform knows about multiple flaws it doesn’t fix. The Wall Street Journal wrote a series of articles about the platform’s problems.”
  • A Detroit community college professor is fighting Silicon Valley’s surveillance machine. People are listening. Chris Gilliard grew up with racist policing in Detroit. He sees a new form of oppression in the tech we use every day.”
  • Drugs, robots and the pursuit of pleasure – why experts are worried about AIs becoming addicts“—”What links these seemingly unconnected events is something strangely akin to addiction in humans. Some AI researchers call the phenomenon ‘wireheading’. It is quickly becoming a hot topic among machine learning experts and those concerned with AI safety.”
  • Google’s Incredible New Photo AI Makes ‘Zoom And Enhance’ a Real Thing“—”You may well have seen sci-fi movies or television shows where the protagonist asks to zoom in on an image and enhance the results – revealing a face, or a number plate, or any other key detail – and Google’s newest artificial intelligence engines, based on what’s known as diffusion models, are able to pull off this very trick.”
  • Citing human rights risks, UN calls for ban on certain AI tech until safeguards are set up. ‘We cannot afford to continue playing catch-up regarding AI.'”—”The United Nations Human Rights chief on Wednesday called for a moratorium on the sale of and use of artificial intelligence technology that poses human rights risks — including the state use of facial recognition software — until adequate safeguards are put in place. The plea comes as artificial intelligence develops at a rapid clip, despite myriad concerns ranging from privacy to racial bias plaguing the emerging technology.”
  • EXPLAINER: What are ‘Crisis Standards of Care?’“—”As the spread of the delta variant continues unabated in much of the U.S., public health leaders have approved health care rationing in Idaho and parts of Alaska and Montana. At least five more states — Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas — are nearing capacity with more than 90% of their intensive care unit beds full, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The move to ration healthcare comes amid a spike in the number of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. Crisis standards of care allow health care providers to give scarce resources, like ventilators, to the patients most likely to survive.” “At the extreme end of the spectrum, crisis standards of care generally use scoring systems to determine which patients get ventilators or other life-saving medical interventions and which ones are treated with pain medicine and other palliative care until they recover or die.”
  • A Tsunami of Disability Is Coming as a Result of ‘Long COVID’. We need to plan for a future where millions of survivors are chronically ill.”
  • Many faith leaders say no to endorsing vaccine exemptions“—”As significant numbers of Americans seek religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates, many faith leaders are saying: Not with our endorsement.” “The issue is becoming more heated as public- and private-sector employers increasingly impose mandates. A clerical letter wouldn’t necessarily be needed for someone to be granted an exemption — federal law requires employers make reasonable accommodations for ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs — though a clergy endorsement could help bolster a person’s claim.”
  • The Trauma Anti-Vaxxers and Anti-Maskers Are Inflicting on Children“—”The anti-mask, anti-vax zealots are everywhere around our children, who are desperately trying to simply find normalcy and to learn in the middle of an unprecedented disaster. They are in school board meetings, carpool lines, PTA gatherings, high school parking lots, varsity football games. They have brazenly invaded these places and disrupted the extraordinarily difficult work of teachers and school administrators, to ignorantly demand the removal of sensible safeguards that they claim are traumatic and harmful to children. The irony of the incendiary rhetoric and performative hysteria of these people—is that if not for them, our kids would be fine. If not for them, the worst of this would be over. The sad reality is that these people are the source of our children’s trauma”
  • Naomi Wolf Demands Retraction of My Article For Good of Her ‘Reputation’. PR reps for the Lenny Dykstra of the anti-vax movement included a subtle legal threat in their email.”—”Since being booted off of Twitter for spreading misinformation, Wolf has taken to the airwaves, appearing on alleged Jeffrey-Epstein-media-advisor Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show, and tweeted via her husband’s account. My article, ‘Fresh Off Twitter Ban, Naomi Wolf to Headline Anti-Vax Juneteenth Event,’ described Wolf’s headlining of a talk/potluck the organizers of which likened the fight against common sense health mandates by anti-vaxxers to the centuries-long struggle against chattel slavery in the US. The event would later be cancelled, as I detailed in a follow-up piece. I will not be retracting my article.”
  • Tweet—”Covid is killing you, but it’s stupidity you’re dying from.”
  • Oh. That’s what it was. “Biden Takes Rare Step To Share Nuclear Submarine Technology With Australia.” Also “Why France is angry about the US and UK giving Australia nuclear-powered submarines.”—”The French government says it was betrayed when Australia pulled out of their existing multi-billion dollar defense deal, agreeing instead to attain nuclear-powered submarines through a new deal with the United States and the United Kingdom. The effort to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines — a major step toward countering China as President Joe Biden works to build international backing for his approach to Beijing — is part of a new trilateral partnership among the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, dubbed ‘AUKUS.’ High-ranking French officials said the AUKUS deal was a stab in the back and a move that ‘shows a lack of coherence.’ In response to the trilateral agreement, a French official told CNN on Friday that France has recalled its ambassador to the US for ‘consultation’ — marking what’s believed to be the first time the French have resorted to such a move in modern times.”
  • Until the mid-1990s, Republicans and Democrats worried about climate change equally. Voters on the right were then persuaded to quit worrying by a well-documented misinformation campaign. Storms and fires will not bring an escape from America’s stuck climate politics. But look hard enough and an exit is visible.”
  • Hold on. A remote AI gun? “Mossad assassinated Iran’s chief nuke scientist with remote AI gun — report. Some would say that the operation succeeded in throwing Iran’s nuclear program into chaos for some months, but that Tehran has long since recovered.”—”Next, the report details how the sniper who took out Fakhrizadeh did so remotely from Israel, over 1,600 kilometers away, since the hit squad had long ago left Iran. The gun which was used was a special model of a Belgian-made FN MAG machine gun attached to an advanced robotic apparatus.” Not sure how that’s AI, tbh. But, still. Wtaf.
  • Tweet—”FYI: In the SCOTUS challenge to MS’s 15-week abortion ban, Jonathan Mitchell, the architect of TX’s SB 8, has filed an amicus brief on behalf of TX Right to Life. The brief invites the Court to overrule Roe & Casey AND Lawrence & Obergefell, 2 major LGBTQ equality decisions.” Tweet—”I’ve been telling y’all they don’t plan to stop with abortion.” Tweet—”The author of the Texas abortion bill said that overturning Roe v. Wade will make women practice abstinence. Now I have a question. Why are women forced to practice abstinence and men aren’t?” Also “Behind the Texas Abortion Law, a Persevering Conservative Lawyer. Jonathan Mitchell has never had a high profile in the anti-abortion movement, but he developed and promoted the legal approach that has flummoxed the courts and enraged abortion rights supporters.”
  • Do they know it’s Cringemas? (feat. Lyndal Rowlands), podcast—”We’re joined by climate journalist Lyndal Rowlands to discuss New Corp’s two-week admission that climate change exists. Then we dig into reality show The Activist, and the weird people behind it.” Also “CBS’ ‘The Activist’ Goes From Competition Show to Documentary After Harsh Blowback. The so-called ‘Oppression Olympics’ was originally poised to be a five-week competition show that pitted activists against activist in a battle for relevancy on social media.”
  • 1,400 Dolphins Were Killed in Faroe Islands. Even Hunting Supporters Were Upset. Graphic images of the animals raised ire among activists, and some locals said the killings undermined the work of whale hunters who follow a centuries-old tradition that helps feed local people.”
  • Richard Woodman-Bailey lays newly minted coin at Stonehenge.” He’d placed a coin at Stonehenge 63 years earlier, and is putting another one in place as some repairs are taking place.
  • The perfectionism trap. Society bombards us with instructions to be happier, fitter and richer. Why have we become so dissatisfied with being ordinary?”
  • Ministers plan legal requirement for broadcasters to make ‘clearly British’ shows like Only Fools and Horses. Media Minister John Whittingdale told a Royal Television Society conference programmes such as Fleabag, Derry Girls and the Carry On films would meet the requirement.”—”The UK’s public service broadcasters will have a legal requirement to produce ‘distinctively British’ programmes under plans drawn up by ministers.” Also “We want more Britishness on TV, John Whittingdale tells broadcasters. The BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 will be forced to make more programmes with “Britishness” at their core under government plans. John Whittingdale, the media minister, said the government wants to ensure that public service broadcasters celebrate British values following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.”
  • The Louvre’s Art Sleuth Is on the Hunt for Looted Paintings. Emmanuelle Polack is the face of the French museum’s efforts to return stolen works. But some discoveries have put her employer in an awkward situation.”
  • Haha. I see what you did there: “Opinion: Putting a Black Character in ‘God of War’ Would Be Like Putting a Middle Eastern Character in the Bible“—”Counterpoint: Could you imagine changing the race of Jesus? Not even changing the plot, just like, swapping his skin color and changing the language he speaks? Just to make it easier to relate to him? No. That would be like making the Pharaoh some African dude. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, because you have no respect for history.”
  • Andrew Garfield says Tammy Faye was the first reality star. The once and maybe future Spider-Man says once you let cameras into your private life, you can never get them out.”
  • Why MLMs Like LuLaRoe Are Disturbingly Similar to Cults. VICE spoke with a cult expert about the parallels between LuLaRoe and the high-control groups he’s spent his career studying.”—”In an effort to further explore LuLaRoe’s cult-like traits, VICE called up Ross, who walked us through the parallels between LuLaRoe and many of the organizations he’s spent his career studying. According to Ross, LuLaRoe isn’t a one-of-kind case. All too often, he explained, MLMs pull straight from the cult playbook to recruit and retain the people whose lives they consume.”
  • Watch “Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye” official trailer, coming November 24 on Disney+. “Disney+ and Marvel Studios invite you on an unexpected holiday getaway, unwrapping a brand-new teaser trailer and poster today for “Hawkeye,” a new series set in post-blip New York City. Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a Super Hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.”
  • Watch “Batman: The Audio Adventures” official trailer, on HBO Max. “A tale of life and death in Gotham City. After years of vigilante crime fighting, Batman prepares to become an official Gotham member of the Gotham City Police Department, deepening the rift between himself and Catwoman, who’s been using Gotham criminals as her personal ATM. Meanwhile, Two-Face is deteriorating, his two halves at war and his obsession with duality out of control — which his rival the Penguin is more than happy to take advantage of. The Riddler, after years in the shadow of Batman’s A-list foes, is desperate to have his work taken seriously. And the Joker has big, big plans for Valentine’s day…”
  • Watch “C’mon C’mon | Official Trailer HD | A24″—”From writer/director Mike Mills and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann and Woody Norman. C’mon C’mon – In Theaters this November.”
  • Watch “NINE DAYS | Official Trailer (2021)”—”Will (Winston Duke) spends his days in a remote outpost watching the live Point of View (POV) on TV’s of people going about their lives, until one subject perishes, leaving a vacancy for a new life on earth. Soon, several candidates — unborn souls — arrive at Will’s to undergo tests determining their fitness, facing oblivion when they are deemed unsuitable. But Will soon faces his own existential challenge in the form of free-spirited Emma (Zazie Beetz), a candidate who is not like the others, forcing him to turn within and reckon with his own tumultuous past. Fueled by unexpected power, he discovers a bold new path forward in his own life. Making his feature-film debut after a series of highly acclaimed and award-winning short films and music videos, Japanese Brazilian director Edson Oda delivers a heartfelt and meditative vision of human souls in limbo, aching to be born against unimaginable odds, yet hindered by forces beyond their will…”
  • Watch “Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands” official gameplay reveal trailer—”✨fantastical destinations?️ ?shroomie bois? ⚔️shooty! slashy! casty! smashy!? ?sheep a shark? ?CRABHOUSE CRABHOUSE CRABHOUSE?” “Embark on an epic adventure full of whimsy, wonder, and high-powered weaponry! Bullets, magic, and broadswords collide across this chaotic fantasy world brought to life by the unpredictable Tiny Tina. Roll your own multiclass hero and loot, shoot, slash, and cast your way through outlandish monsters and loot-filled dungeons on a quest to stop the tyrannical Dragon Lord. Everyone’s welcome, so join the party, throw on your adventuring boots, and be Chaotic Great!” Coming March, 2022.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Debuts First Official D&D Musical. The first-ever Dungeons & Dragons musical is coming to D&D Celebration 2021, and it will feature Anthony Rapp, Azie Dungey, and Vico Ortiz.”—”The DM of The Circus of Sound event is Kelly D’Angelo (Miracle Workers), and the players consist of musicians who have appeared in movies, TV shows, video games, and theater. The group includes Anthony Rapp (Rent, Star Trek: Discovery), Jason Charles Miller (Godhead, Critical Role), Azie Dungey (Girls5eva, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Vico Ortiz (American Horror Story), and Mariah Rose Faith (Nightmare Time). It’s unclear if they will all be playing as D&D’s popular Bard class, but if there was ever a time to run an all-Bard party in D&D, the first legitimate D&D musical seems like it should be it.”
  • Doctor Who’s First Female Doctor Deserves Better“—”Doctor Who should absolutely be applauded for finally putting a female Time Lord at the helm of the TARDIS. But as we start to consider the legacy of the Thirteenth Doctor and what Whittaker’s run means in the larger scope of the show’s history, it’s difficult not to conclude that the folks in charge (be it showrunner Chris Chibnall, larger BBC overlords, or some mix of both) never quite knew what to do with her. And that’s a real shame.” “It is also Whittaker whose Doctor has yet to have a true showcase episode, like Capaldi’s “Heaven Sent,” David Tennant’s “Midnight” or even Matt Smith’s “The Doctor’s Wife,” the sort of era-defining installment that allows viewers to understand the iconic character in a new way. And the decision to add John Bishop’s Dan Lewis for Thirteen’s final season, rather than allow Yaz to serve as a sole companion, means we’ll never even get to see this Doctor establish a close one-on-one relationship with anyone else, as we have with every other modern incarnation.” “Perhaps the announcement that Thirteen’s final season will be one long serial story means that we’ll finally have the chance to really delve into her character in a way that the previous two seasons haven’t allowed us to do. Whittaker deserves the chance to truly shine – and fans deserve to properly get to know this Doctor before we have to say goodbye.”
  • Tweet thread—”Welp, Paizo just fired their two most senior customer service people (one a woman, one a POC) for apparently being too willing to push back on abusive management. Of course, this also means that the last person they might retaliate against for me airing dirty laundry is gone.”
  • Tweet—”AOC’s dress is performative. criticizing the dress is also performative. everything is performative. we’re all performing. welcome to clown school.” Tweet—”We must imagine Pagliacci happy.”
  • Tweet—”A 40-year friend of a Capitol Police officer reported the officer for disclosing the secure location he evacuated lawmakers to on Jan. 6. The friend believed the officer was aligned with the rioters, per USCP discipline reports obtained by McClatchy.” See “Capitol Police officers face discipline for selfies with rioters, internal documents show.” “Tweet—”remember when AOC said on one of the capitol officers directing her to a safe location had anger and hostility in his eyes—and she wondered whether he was trying to put her in a vulnerable situation—and she was mocked by both left and right? a lot of y’all owe her an apology.” Tweet—”There were several reasons I refused to stay in the ‘secure location’ on the 6th. This was one of them. Few people want to discuss the reality and implications of this because it’s politically difficult, fraught, and unpopular, but it’s right there. And we need to talk about it.”
  • The miracle of the commons. Far from being profoundly destructive, we humans have deep capacities for sharing resources with generosity and foresight.”
  • Watch “How I Re-Designed the Traditional Bass Guitar: Industrial Design Process“—”This video explores the industrial design process, from napkin sketch to prototype. I talk about formulating a product design goal, creating design criteria, starting with crude napkin sketches, and finally going into 3D CAD. The final result of all of this effort is a CNC’ed bass guitar prototype.”
  • Watch “A Day in Roaring 20’s Berlin | 1927 AI Enhanced Film [ 60 fps,4k]”—”Experience the real Babylon Berlin of the 1920’s. AI enhanced with deep learning techniques. From dawn until dusk in three minutes. Berlin of the Weimar Republic was a multi-cultural city. Teeming with flappers, bobbed hair, cloche hats, and the dancing girls of Berlin’s infamous Cabaret scene.”
  • Watch “Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched Is the Only Folk Horror Documentary You Ever Need to See. io9 debuts the trailer for Kier-La Janisse’s festival hit, a 3-hour deep dive into the witchy, creepy subgenre.”—”Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched arrives on VOD on October 26; it will also roll out for limited theatrical bookings and even more festival play dates throughout the fall (check the film’s official website for updates). It comes to home video on December 7, and Severin Films is already anticipating anyone who comes away from a viewing determined to watch as many of the films highlighted in the documentary as possible by offering up a massive Blu-ray box set. ‘All the Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror’ contains “19 of the best-known, least-known, rarely-seen and thought-lost classics of folk horror from around the world, all restored from the best available vault elements,” according to a press release, plus special features galore for each individual film, a copy of Jim Williams’ wonderful Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched soundtrack, and more.”
  • Horror artist turns Frozen coloring book into catalog of terror.”
  • Watch “Locke & Key Season 2 | Teaser Trailer | Netflix”—”Official teaser for Locke and Key season 2, coming to Netflix on October 22, 2021. Locke & Key follows 3 siblings who, after the murder of their father, move to their ancestral home only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities.”
  • Watch “Midnight Mass | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”This little island, so sleepy it might be dead. The isolated community on Crockett Island experiences miraculous events – and frightening omens – following the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest. An original series from Mike Flanagan come to Netflix on September, 24th.”
  • ‘Flight Of The Navigator’ Female Reboot In The Works At Disney With Bryce Dallas Howard Directing & Producing.”
  • Netflix Is Transforming Matt Wagner’s Grendel Into a Series“—”This one comes straight out of left field: Netflix has given a series order to an adaptation of Matt Wagner’s Grendel, and it’s already got a whole cast and everything. Abubakr Ali will star as Hunter Rose, who is not just a fencer, not just a writer, and not just a fencer-writer but also an assassin—as his alter ego, Grendel. As you can see in Netflix’s tweet below, Grendel wears a fancy outfit and a creepy mask. The character was first introduced in 1982 and had a complicated publication history before winding up at Dark Horse, which has a first-look deal with Netflix.” Also “Netflix Orders ‘Grendel’ Series Based On Dark Horse Comic With Abubakr Ali To Star, 8 More Cast“—”With Ali’s casting, he becomes the first Arab Muslim male actor to portray a series lead in a comic book adaptation.”
  • Message in a bottle from Japan washes up on Hawaii beach after 37 years. Discovery made by a local girl comes decades after the bottle was put into the sea by schoolchildren as part of an experiment to monitor ocean currents.”
  • There’s an unofficial PbtA TTRPG for Infinity Train! “Infinity Train – the Unofficial Tabletop RPG” by Henry Kathman—”Infinity Train: The UNOFFICIAL Roleplaying Game is an adaptation of the 2019 Cartoon Network Miniseries which seeks to recreate the experiences of the show for a tabletop setting. This game is meant to be played with 2-6 players, one of whom will act as the Conductor (or Gamemaster) of this mysterious train, while the other players take the roles of denizens of this train or passengers who found themselves transported from earth to this world. This game will use the Powered by the Apocalypse tabletop gaming system, taking much inspiration from games like Babes in the Wood, Monster of the Week, and Dungeon World. While players will not be required to have any previous experience or knowledge about roleplaying games, a basic familiarity with these concepts will prove helpful. This game will primarily take place aboard the titular Infinity Train; a strange train that has the capabilities of creating anything that can be imagined. If you haven’t already seen this show, it comes with a high recommendation to anyone playing this game. While this game is designed to be enjoyed by fans of the show, the system can still be enjoyed by fans of speculative fiction stories like The Twilight Zone, Portal, and The Library of Babel, or any fans of western animated cartoons like Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall. Using both sets of inspirations will greatly help create interesting situations to help your passengers arrive at their proper destination in life.”
  • Honey, I Joined a Cult. It’s time to start working towards that ultimate goal of enlightenment, faith and money…lots and lots of money. Create, customise, expand and manage your own cult whilst listening to funky music in Honey, I Joined a Cult!” A casual indie simulation developed by Sole Survivor Games, from Team 17.
  • From 2012: “Electron Microscope Zooms In, Finds Life on Life on Life. There’s a bacterium on a diatom on an amphipod on a frog on a bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea!”

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