Monthly Archives: October 2021

Omnium Gatherum: 31oct2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 31, 2021

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

  • Tweet—”Pink Floyd’s Meddle turns 50 today.” Tweet—”The cover art is an ear, under water. You’re welcome.” My misheard lyric for One of These Days was “One of these days, you’re going to meet the real Jesus.” I’m not sure if my head canon wasn’t better, tbh.
  • This Icelandic priestess practises a Viking-era religion, and it’s on the rise.”
  • Tweet—”New evidence on the origins of Stonehenge has been uncovered. “The First Circle of Stonehenge” premieres November 3 at 10/9c. #SecretsDeadPBS” See The First Circle of Stonehenge, Secrets of the Dead, S19e03.
  • Constable hits Stonehenge, Hogarth does Europe and witches get a makeover – the week in art. The Royal Academy shows a new side to the landscape artist, Tate Britain takes Hogarth to the Continent and Deborah Roberts is in a fragmented mood in Liverpool – all in your weekly dispatch.”
  • Wyrmwood is making a tarot deck. Crowdfunding with 10 hours to go: “Corrupted Tarot By Wyrmwood. Over seventy artists come together to create a traditional Tarot Deck with a corrupted twist.” Watch “Corrupted Tarot“—”We reveal the Art of the Corrupted Tarot Kickstarter one by one, Meredith Graves gives us a tarot reading, and the art director Stephanie Cost calls in.” Watch “SURPRISE! We made a Tarot Deck! (also Doug is having another baby) S9E1“—”In S9E1 of Wyrm Lyfe, We launch Corrupted Tarot by Wyrmwood, check out the deck with the team, and Meredith Graves from Kickstarter stops by the shop and does some readings.” Also some FAQ “CORRUPTED TAROT! Prints, Deck Box, Foil Treatment, and Add Ons!” And “Behind the Scenes of Corrupted Tarot by Wyrmwood.”
  • The Liminal Shore: Witchcraft, Mystery and Folklore of the Essex Coast by Alex Langstone—”The Liminal Shore is a brand-new work, seeking the spookiness of the isolated salt marsh and the hidden lore of the urban shore. Detailing and cataloguing some of the captivating cultural legends, myths, and folklore from the fascinating coastline of Essex and its eerie and brooding borderland. The author explores many remarkable old folk-narratives and traditional tales of marsh-wizardry, cunning magic, and sea-witchery, alongside some of the region’s most enigmatic spine-chilling ghost-lore. The peculiar calendar-customs and eccentric festivals are also investigated, bringing to life many of the old and often forgotten rituals of this interesting and enchanted coast. Discover such characters as Hoppin’ Tom, Mother Redcap, Cunning Murrell, Rollicking Bill and Jop Summers, who among many others form part of a rich and diverse folkloric history of this deliciously atmospheric, strange, and often unexpected coastline.”
  • American Trickster: Trauma, Tradition and Brer Rabbit [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Emily Zobel Marshall—”Our fascination with the trickster figure, whose presence is global, stems from our desire to break free from the tightly regimented structures of our societies. Condemned to conform to laws and rules imposed by governments, communities, social groups and family bonds, we revel in the fantasy of the trickster whose energy and cunning knows no bounds and for whom nothing is sacred. One such trickster is Brer Rabbit, who was introduced to North America through the folktales of enslaved Africans. On the plantations, Brer Rabbit, like Anansi in the Caribbean, functioned as a resistance figure for the enslaved whose trickery was aimed at undermining and challenging the plantation regime. Yet as Brer Rabbit tales moved from the oral tradition to the printed page in the late nineteenth-century, the trickster was emptied of his potentially powerful symbolism by white American collectors, authors and folklorists in their attempt to create a nostalgic fantasy of the plantation past. American Trickster offers readers a unique insight into the cultural significance of the Brer Rabbit trickster figure, from his African roots and through to his influence on contemporary culture. Exploring the changing portrayals of the trickster figure through a wealth of cultural forms including folktales, advertising, fiction and films the book scrutinises the profound tensions between the perpetuation of damaging racial stereotypes and the need to keep African-American folk traditions alive. Emily Zobel Marshall argues that Brer Rabbit was eventually reclaimed by twentieth-century African-American novelists whose protagonists ‘trick’ their way out of limiting stereotypes, break down social and cultural boundaries and offer readers practical and psychological methods for challenging the traumatic legacies of slavery and racism.”
  • The Invention of Sacred Tradition [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] eds. James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer—”The dictionary definition of tradition refers to beliefs and practices that have been transmitted from generation to generation, however, ‘tradition’ can rest simply on the claim that certain cultural elements are rooted in the past. Claim and documented historical reality need not overlap. In the domain of religion, historically verifiable traditions coexist with recent innovations whose origins are spuriously projected back into time. This book examines the phenomenon of ‘invented traditions’ in religions ranging in time from Zoroastrianism to Scientology, and geographically from Tibet to North America and Europe. The various contributions, together with an introduction that surveys the field, use individual case studies to address questions such as the rationale for creating historical tradition for one’s doctrines and rituals; the mechanisms by which hitherto unknown texts can enter an existing corpus; and issues of acceptance and scepticism in the reception of dubious texts.”
  • Earth Spirit: Confronting the Crisis. Living the wisdom of restorative Earth Spirituality. [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by David Sparenberg—”If the human species has an evolutionary purpose that purpose is delight. Aren’t we constituted to experience and express conscious delight in the immensity and intimacy of creation, the diversity, abundance, and miracles of life? We have moved far from such purpose. Instead of imagination’s dreamers with the Earth, maturing into avatars of relationships, narrators of wonder, we are now a clear and present danger to all species. How do we change identity, direction, and move toward a future inclusive of Earth stability and Human responsibility?”
  • Give Phoebe Robinson the Title She Deserves: Boss. The comic has a publishing imprint, TV deals, even a primer on leadership she wrote after noting the absence of Black women’s perspectives in business books.” Check the Amazon author page for Phoebe Robinson.
  • The Tyranny of Neutrality in ‘AI 2041’.”—”Science fiction has historically had a contentious relationship with scientific development at the same time that technological products coming onto the market have long relied on rosy narratives for their further popularization. AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future (Currency, 2021), the latest collaboration between science fiction author Chen Qiufan and former head of Google China and current CEO of Sinovation Ventures, Kai-Fu Lee, sits solidly at the intersection of these narrative selling points — and a selling point is exactly what is being made here.” “AI 2041, then, with its unique marriage of factual explanation and fictional short stories, joins the rank of a genre that will be familiar to most readers: the techno-utopian promise. But it is perhaps more legible through the lens of ‘technological solutionism,’ a term coined by tech writer Evgeny Morozov to describe the idea that complex social phenomena — everything from politics to education to health care to agriculture — can be understood as ‘neatly defined problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes’ subject to easy optimization: ‘[I]f only the right algorithms are in place.’ The ideological framework of solutionism shifts our view of the world to redefine things such as inefficiency or human relations as problems with a technological solution. The technology itself, Lee and Chen claim, is neutral; it is human behavior that is unethical or inefficient, requiring technological intervention.” “So then is all this to say that AI 2041, as a text, is bad, as in literature, or bad, as in conceptual ethics? No to the first, but perhaps to the second.” About AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan—”How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years? AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century. Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognizable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionize medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand-new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up—both to AI’s radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it. In this provocative, utterly original work, Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China and bestselling author of AI Superpowers, teams up with celebrated novelist Chen Qiufan to imagine our world in 2041 and how it will be shaped by AI. In ten gripping short stories, they introduce readers to an array of eye-opening 2041 settings, such as: In San Francisco, the “job reallocation” industry emerges as deep learning AI causes widespread job displacement. In Tokyo, a music fan is swept up in an immersive form of celebrity worship based on virtual reality and mixed reality. In Mumbai, a teenage girl rebels when AI’s crunching of big data gets in the way of romance. In Seoul, virtual companions with perfected natural language processing (NLP) skills offer orphaned twins new ways to connect. In Munich, a rogue scientist draws on quantum computing, computer vision and other AI technologies in a revenge plot that imperils the world. By gazing toward a not-so-distant horizon, AI 2041 offers urgent insights into our collective future—while reminding readers that, ultimately, humankind remains the author of its destiny.”
  • Against longtermism. It started as a fringe philosophical theory about humanity’s future. It’s now richly funded and increasingly dangerous.” By Phil Torres, author of Human Extinction: A History of Thinking About the End of Humanity, forthcoming from Routledge, and for which I cannot yet find direct links. But you can check out his Amazon author page and website.
  • A vast, thrilling world of nature unfolds outside of human time.” By Nicholas P Money, author of Nature Fast and Nature Slow: How Life Works, from Fractions of a Second to Billions of Years [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]—”This book is a vision of biology set within the entire timescale of the universe. It is about the timing of life, from microsecond movements to evolutionary changes over millions of years. Human consciousness is riveted to seconds, but a split-second time delay in perception means that we are unaware of anything until it has already happened. We live in the very recent past. Over longer timescales, this book examines the lifespans of the oldest organisms, prospects for human life extension, the evolution of whales and turtles, and the explosive beginning of life 4 billion years ago. With its poetry, social commentary and humour, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the natural world.”
  • The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of ‘Appendix II: The Religion of Dune’“—”It is common knowledge that Frank Herbert’s classic Dune novels are chock-full of Islamic and MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) references. However, as a Muslim reader, I have long maintained that the Muslim influences go deeper than many may have realized. I am of the theory that if one is Muslim, or otherwise intimately aware of Muslim traditions, that person’s experience of Dune differs vastly from any other reader’s encounter with the saga.” Also “‘Dune’ appropriates Islamic, Middle Eastern tropes without real inclusion, critics say. ‘It’s like … our homes and foods and songs and languages are just right for Western stories, but we humans are never enough to be in them,’ one critic said.”
  • Tweet—”my PhD dissertation on issues of identity, public image, and visual representation in the Beatles’ films and videos has now been made available online worldwide. Brush up your French; it’s quite the ride.” De la scène au mythe : les films des Beatles. Questions d’identité, image publique, et représentation visuelle (From stage to myth: the Beatles’ films. Questions of identity, public image, and visual representation)—”Cette thèse discute des contributions des films et vidéos des Beatles réalisés et diffusés pendant leur période d’activité (1962-1970) à la construction de l’image publique du groupe. Ces objets visuels sont, chronologiquement : A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), « Paperback Writer » /« Rain » (1966), « Strawberry Fields Forever » / « Penny Lane » (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), « Hello Goodbye » (1967), « Lady Madonna » (1968), Yellow Submarine (1968), « Hey Jude » / « Revolution » (1968), Let It Be (tourné en 1969 mais sorti en 1970), et « Something » (1969). Notre question comporte deux volets principaux, le premier portant sur la contribution des objets de notre étude à l’image publique des Beatles, et le deuxième sur la relation de ces objets avec leur contexte socio-culturel, tout en analysant ce que cela ajoute à la construction de cette image. Nous nous interrogeons donc sur le poids que les films et vidéos des Beatles eurent dans l’élaboration de leur réputation publique, qui est en constant changement au moins durant toute la période active de leur carrière, et de quelle façon ces objets visuels jouent avec les influences de leur époque, pour mieux comprendre la façon dont ils y furent intégrés et regardés. Partant du récit communément accepté concernant la manière dont les Beatles étaient perçus pendant leurs années d’activité, et qui peut-être envisagé à travers des tournants signalant des changements dans leur image publique, nous nous demandons si ce même récit évolutif apparait à travers leurs films et vidéos. Nous proposons encore une autre manière de voir le récit construit à partir de ces objets, et qui se produit sous l’angle de l’oscillation de ces derniers entre deux pôles thématiques : l’ « escape » (évasion) et la recherche de soi. Notre hypothèse est que ces deux pôles représentatifs peuvent exister simultanément, étant pourtant complémentaires et non pas opposés.” “This thesis examines the contributions of the Beatles’ films and videos made and released during their period of activity (1962-1970) to the construction of the group’s public image. These objects are, chronologically : A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), « Paperback Writer » /« Rain » (1966), « Strawberry Fields Forever » / « Penny Lane » (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), « Hello Goodbye » (1967), « Lady Madonna » (1968), Yellow Submarine (1968), « Hey Jude » / « Revolution » (1968), Let It Be (filmed in 1969 but released in 1970), and « Something » (1969).Our research comprises two approaches, the first concerning the contributions of these objects to the Beatles’ public image, and the second the relationship between them and their socio-cultural context, analysing what this adds to the construction of said image. We examine the weight of the Beatles’ films and videos in shaping the group’s public reputation, which underwent constant changes throughout their active period, and how these objects relate to the influences of their time in order to achieve a better understanding of their reception and contextualisation. We start from the commonly accepted narrative regarding how the Beatles were perceived during their years of activity, and that can be assessed through a series of turning points that indicate changes in their public image, investigating if this can be observed in their films and videos as well. Furthermore, we propose yet another way of envisaging this narrative, which unfolds via the oscillation of these visual objects between two focal points: escape and self-searching. Our hypothesis is that these two points may exist simultaneously, therefore being complementary instead of conflicting.”
  • Seminal novel The Vampyre mysteriously makes its way into University of Queensland library“—”‘We were looking through our rare book collection … looking for interesting examples of markings where people have left notes in books that we have,’ he said. ‘We discovered that we have this first edition of The Vampyre, attributed to John Polidori.’ Polidori’s book was written in 1816 and published in 1819 and is the first vampire story printed in the English language, but this copy is quite unique. When it was first published, the book was incorrectly attributed to Lord Byron. Polidori complained, and Byron disowned it. This copy — the first edition, second printing — is attributed to no-one, with similar copies recently selling for $15,000.”
  • The Magnificent Bribe. Half a century ago, Lewis Mumford developed a concept that explains why we trade autonomy for convenience.”—”As he pithily put it in Art and Technics, ‘If you fall in love with a machine there is something wrong with your love-life. If you worship a machine there is something wrong with your religion.’ It is not a good thing to be accepting bribes, but it’s even worse to think of those bribes as just friendly gifts.”
  • The Scholars who Deciphered the Ancient Greek Script Linear B.”
  • Tweet thread—”A short [thread] on one of my absolute favourite pieces of evidence from the Roman world, which I finally found a picture of today (and am very excited about!): This letter was written by a schoolboy, named Thonis, in the 3rd century AD, Egypt.”
  • ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ ancient Roman statues discovered in Aylesbury. Archaeologists were stunned when these ancient remains were dug up.”
  • Rare, ancient Maya canoe found in Mexico’s Yucatan“—”A wooden canoe used by the ancient Maya and believed to be over 1,000 years old has turned up in southern Mexico, officials said on Friday, part of archeological work accompanying the construction of a major new tourist train.”
  • Did Vikings and their stowaway mice beat Portugal to the Azores?. Evidence from animal remains shows Norse seafarers settled on the islands centuries before Portuguese explorers.”
  • After 30 Years of Breeding Condors, a Secret Comes Out. ‘Virgin birth’ might be more common in animals than we thought.”
  • Moran Eye Center, Spanish Researchers Successfully Test Artificial Vision for the Blind.” Also “Visual percepts evoked with an Intracortical 96-channel microelectrode array inserted in human occipital cortex.”
  • A NASA spacecraft just saw the north pole of Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter, for the first time. This distant view will get even better next year when the spacecraft zooms up close to the icy moon.”
  • Watch “Jupiter’s 3D Atmosphere Revealed by NASA’s Juno Spacecraft (Media Briefing)“—”The science team for our Juno spacecraft at Jupiter will reveal new findings that provide the first 3D look at how the planet’s roiling atmosphere operates underneath the top layers of clouds, and how these revelations offer insight into the atmospheres of giant planets elsewhere in the universe.”
  • Our universe was made by aliens in a lab, theorises Harvard scientist. Theoretical physicist Avi Loeb talks to Dazed about his speculation that human beings were created by an ‘advanced technological civilisation'”
  • First Ever Body Maps of Hallucinations Created“—”Leicester psychologists have, for the first time, created body-maps of the sensations which arise during hallucinations in people experiencing psychosis.” “Novel visual diary methods involving drawing, writing and body-mapping generated 42 MUSE maps, which set out the specific areas across the body – and beyond, in so-called peripersonal space – where participants experienced sensations during hallucinations. The study found that hallucinations were characterised by numerous feelings arising at once, often including multisensory, emotional, and embodied features. Researchers suggest further uptake of visual, ecological and prospective methods may enhance understandings of lived experiences of hallucinations.”
  • From the “Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house” dept: “First Bitcoin. Then GameStop. Now Tiny Tungsten Cubes. Online investors crave tangible pleasure of holding surprisingly heavy metal blocks; 1.7 times as dense as lead.”—”‘I keep it on my desk as a reminder of what motivates me—keep going, keep working,’ said Mr. Morris, who also invests in cryptocurrencies. ‘One day, I’ll be able to upgrade to a larger-size cube.'” “‘We’re just deprived of physical totems of our affection, and so tungsten fills that hole in our hearts,’ he said.” “‘I’m gonna be buried with my cube probably,’ said Mr. Agrawal. ‘It will be like a pharaoh buried with his possessions, so the cube will have a place of honor.'” Also “Crypto Investors Are Bidding to Touch a 1,784-Pound Tungsten Cube Once a Year. You’ll have to travel to a storage facility in Willowbrook, Illinois, to touch the forbidden cube.” Tweet—”imagine the kabba but worthless, made sometime this year, and too small to actually worship.” Tweet—”tungsten cubes are just healing crystals for men.” Tweet—”Men will literally buy cubes of tungsten rather than go to therapy.” Apropos of this, though I think these people are bonkers, I miss my NeXTcube, made from magnesium! However, I never burned it. I do keep a small plastic Borg cube model next to my iMac to remind it that it once belonged to the collective (because MacOS X was built from NeXT).
  • Massive cyber heist rocks high society jeweller Graff: Russian gang demand multi-million ransom or they’ll release private details of rich and famous – after leaking files on David Beckham, Oprah and Donald Trump . Russian hackers have taken personal details of world leaders, actors and tycoons. Victims believed to include Donald Trump, David Beckham and Sir Philip Green. Thought to be demanding millions in ransom money to stop further releases of sensitive information. Gang named Conti is behind data theft from the exclusive jewellery firm Graff.”—”Hackers have plundered the personal details of world leaders, Hollywood A-listers and billionaire tycoons in a massive ‘virtual heist’ on exclusive jewellery firm Graff, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The cyber criminals have already leaked 69,000 confidential documents on to the so-called ‘dark web’, including files relating to Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham and Sir Philip Green.”
  • McDonald’s just announced it’s completely changing the customer experience“—”Well, here’s a little announcement the global burger chain made last week. McDonald’s is now getting together with a very, very famous name in tech in order to make the drive-thru more robotic and therefore more crowd-pleasing.” “Oh, I almost forgot to mention the very famous tech name with which McDonald’s will now partner. It’s IBM. Yes, the IBM at which a Steve Jobs emissary once threw a large hammer in a famous ad. The IBM that used to be called Big Blue and now seems to be Big Intimidator of Little Companies. Well, McDonald’s has just sold IBM its McD Tech Labs — the engineers that are formerly known as Apprente — so that IBM can take on the robot-driven drive-thru dream.”
  • Tweet—”all programs are malware if you hate computers enough.”
  • Zuckerberg Uses Greek Word “Meta” to Rebrand Facebook“—”‘Meta’ is not only a Greek word that is overused in technology; it’s now also the word chosen by Mark Zuckerberg, in his attempt to rebrand Facebook’s bruised image. The word is used in speaking about internet data (‘metadata’) and in numerous sci-fi movies and series (meta-humans).” Also, from the Chevy Nova dept: “Facebook’s new Meta handle means ‘dead’ in Hebrew. ‘Don’t worry, we’re on it,’ tweets the ZAKA emergency service after the rebranding announcement, as Hebrew-speaking social media users poke fun at name change.”—”‘In Hebrew, *Meta* means *Dead*,’ tweeted Nirit Weiss-Blatt, a tech expert, in response to the company’s announcement. ‘The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come,’ she added. The ZAKA emergency service, which specializes in collecting body parts following accidents or attacks to ensure a proper Jewish burial, tweeted: ‘Don’t worry, we’re on it.'” Also “Hebrew Speakers Mock Facebook’s Name Change: ‘Meta’ Means Dead.” Also “The Facebook name was such a drag that employees referred to it as a ‘brand tax’. Employees have used the term ‘brand tax’ to refer to the negative impact of Facebook on its other brands. Since a rebranding in November 2019 that tied Facebook’s apps together, the association has hurt Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp in terms of gaining trust from younger users. Under the new Meta name, the company has already begun removing the Facebook name from several units.” Also “Hey, Facebook, I Made a Metaverse 27 Years Ago. It was terrible then, and it’s terrible now.” Also “The Metaverse Is Bad. It is not a world in a headset but a fantasy of power.” Also “What’s the metaverse? Just a distraction from Facebook’s real-life hellscape.”—”Let’s not let this Black Mirror-esque gobbledygook distract us from the very real hell Facebook has wrought in our non-augmented reality. No amount of corporate re-branding should let Zuck or anyone else off the hook for the real, tangible harms their product has manifested and continues to propagate without consequence.” Tweet—”actually Meta is the name of the company. Facebook is the monster.” Also “Zuckerberg, misinformation king, says the media is misinformed about Facebook. ‘Put some damn clothes on,’ says the nudist.” Also “An exhaustive investigation into Mark Zuckerberg’s saucy bookshelves. Slap a trilby on me and call me Philip Marlowe.”—”There are an infinite number of articles we could write about Facebook, sorry, Meta’s performance at its Connect event. The whole thing was a trainwreck.”—”Facebook/Meta obviously wanted to go meta in Connect — which is one of the more disgusting sentences I’ve ever had to write.” “So what are these empty, wordless books trying to tell us? Easy: Zuck’s idea for the metaverse is all for show and, if you scratch underneath, all you’ll find is unbearable horror of hollowness.”
  • How Facebook shapes your feed. The evolution of what posts get top billing on users’ news feeds, and what gets obscured.”
  • Tweet—”Nft-artists doing cheap knockoffs of my work, my prints being taken down from redbubble with zero warning because of random copyright claims. What a day on the internet! I don’t know what’s going on but a liberating revolution for digital artists it is not.” Tweet—”The NFT market is on it’s way to becoming the ‘high art’ market for tech bros, so you can be certain that you, a working class artist putting actual quality into the craft, will get shafted so rich people can do money laundering and tax evasion.” Tweet—”It’s so cool that tech libertarians are pitching NFTs as the future when it really is just them giving themselves jobs as middle managers for art and copyright.”
  • People Have Spent More than $1 Million on NFT ‘Girlfriends’. For the low price of $25,000, you can have a Bull Market Girlfriend of your very own.”
  • Dystopia Is Upon Us. Are You Ready? From constant surveillance to algorithms that decide what we see, society is entering territory reserved for fictional dystopias. Here’s how to push back.”
  • The Environmental Impacts of SpaceX’s Oil and Gas Gambit. A Guide for the Public.”
  • The Anger of Tesla Fans Is Becoming a Problem. They’re mobilizing to stop a needed crackdown that’s barely begun.”
  • Exponential Tech Doesn’t Serve Social Good. Why create solutions ‘at scale’ if operating at scale is itself the main problem?”
  • Children who get COVID-19 can suffer severe illness, leading Utah doctor warns. Dr. Andrew Pavia urges parents to get their young children vaccinated once eligible.”
  • 26 FDNY firehouses out of service over vaccine mandate staff shortage.” Tweet—”I’ve been saying g for some time Stop the Steal, the insurrection, QAnon antivaxx and anti mandate are part of the same disinformation amplification. FDNY and NYPD march protesting mandates chant “1776” just like they did at the Capitol”
  • America’s poor diet made Covid much worse. Washington isn’t paying attention. ‘Globally, these issues are on fire,’ said one industry consultant. ‘In the U.S., we’re like sucking our thumb.'”
  • Association of COVID-19 With New Waiting List Registrations and Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Hepatitis in the United States.”—”Alcohol consumption has substantially increased during the COVID-19 pandemic1; however, the impact on the already increasing burden of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) is unknown.2 We examined national changes in waiting list registration and liver transplantation for ALD and the association with alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hypothesized that waiting list registrations and deceased donor liver transplants (DDLTs) for alcoholic hepatitis (AH), which can develop after a short period of alcohol misuse, would disproportionately rise.”
  • Tweet—”Woman at Traverse City Sch Bd meeting this week: ‘Satan’s agenda is behind this. Masks don’t work and neither do vaccines. It’s destroying and killing. You want to program children to turn in their parents. Right now, there are classrooms in the US that are teaching cannibalism.'”
  • A look at the groups supporting school board protesters nationwide.”—”In several states and districts around the country, protestors have been disrupting school board meetings. They’re opposed to mask policies. Vaccine mandates. LGBTQ rights. Sex education. Removing police from schools. Teaching about race and American history, or sometimes, anything called ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ or even ‘social-emotional learning.’ The protests aren’t ubiquitous, but they’re widespread and intense enough that the National School Boards Association asked President Biden to step in, and Attorney General Merrick Garland then directed the FBI to help.”
  • 911 transcripts filed in updated ‘Trump Train’ lawsuit reveal San Marcos police refused to send escort to Biden bus. The highway confrontation between a Biden bus and Trump supporters made national news in the final days of the heated 2020 presidential campaign. The incident involved at least one minor collision and led to Texas Democrats canceling three scheduled campaign events.”
  • GOP lawmakers were ‘intimately involved’ in Jan. 6 protest planning, new report shows. A new Rolling Stone report claims multiple members of Congress helped plan former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss, and the Jan. 6 protests that ended in violence. Author Hunter Walker joins Yamiche Alcindor with more details.”
  • At Least 12 Republicans Who Participated In Jan. 6 Are Running For Office Next Week. Many more people who were a part of the insurrection will be on the ballot in 2022.”
  • Tweet—”After we wrote about Tucker’s Jan. 6 doc, Fox News reached out with a comment, which they asked us not to publish. We didn’t agree to that but they sent it anyway. We thought you should know even Fox News is trying to distance itself from Tucker’s doc.” Also “Fox News wants to make it ‘clear’ it isn’t airing Tucker Carlson’s Capitol riot documentary. It’s under a different Fox entity.”
  • Tweet thread—”BOOM. In late night filing, Natl Archives details what Donald Trump is trying to shield w/ executive privilege. Visitor logs, call logs, switchboard logs from Jan 6. ‘Drafts of speeches, remarks, and correspondence concerning the events of January 6′”
  • QAnon Influencer Who Accuses Democrats of Being Pedophiles Is Identified as Convicted Child Molester Designated as ‘Sexually Violent Offender’
  • Oath Keepers in the State House: How a Militia Movement Took Root in the Republican Mainstream. A membership roster for the Oath Keepers, a violent extremist group whose followers have been charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection, includes state lawmakers, congressional candidates, and local government and GOP officials.”
  • University of Florida bars faculty members from testifying in voting rights lawsuit against DeSantis administration. The public university said the political scientists could pose “a conflict of interest to the executive branch” and harm the school’s interests if they testified against the law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.”
  • In This House, We List Our Beliefs in the Yard. How a lawn sign inspired by mom décor became a liberal mantra — and a symbol of a political battle over white womanhood.”—”There is a sign that has become ubiquitous on the lawns of Democrats who have lawns. “In This House, We Believe,” the sign begins, followed by a stack of progressive maxims listed in capital letters. The classic version reads: ‘Black Lives Matter / Women’s Rights Are Human Rights / No Human Is Illegal / Science Is Real / Love Is Love.’ Then the kicker: ‘Kindness Is Everything.’ When the yard sign first appeared, in the wake of the 2016 election, I barely noticed it. That era had produced such an exhausting array of ironic paraphernalia (‘covfefe’ mugs, ‘Make Donald Drumpf Again’ caps, accessories styling Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a rapper) that a placard of earnest liberal word salad hardly registered as a rich text. But over the past five years, as the sign spread across the suburbs, I found myself seduced by its chaotic jumble of typefaces, its lifestyle-blog-adjacent aesthetic, its sanctimonious final line and its curious staying power. Donald Trump is out of office. I haven’t seen a crocheted fuchsia beanie in years. But nevertheless, this sign has persisted. What began as a symbol of liberal objection to Trump has spawned a whole genre of signs enumerating political and pop-cultural obsessions. Along the way, it has come to represent the lasting psychic imprint of the 2016 election — and the crisis it spawned over the national reputation of white womanhood.” “This is the epitome of virtue signaling: an actual sign enumerating the owner’s virtues. There is something refreshing, actually, about the straightforwardness of that. Whenever I spy one in a window or on a lawn, I feel mildly annoyed and begrudgingly impressed. I can’t look away. It is so effective as a sign that it has become a symbol of signage itself. Parodic versions have flowered in the past few months, and the funniest ones poke fun at the sign’s well-meaning if absurdly ambitious brief by focusing instead on the most trivial of causes — like the version sold by the comedian Joe Mande, extolling the virtues of the 2007 thriller ‘Michael Clayton.’ Through Trump is out of office, the original signs persist, too, suggesting that the underlying cultural battle wages on. This time, according to Pew’s analysis, 53 percent of white women really did vote for Trump.”
  • Crying with laughter: British soldiers joked about mother’s ‘murder’ on Facebook. The soldier accused of killing Agnes Wanjiru on a night out in Kenya joined his fellow squaddies as they exchanged emojis making light of the tragedy.”
  • Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him.”
  • Newsweek and the Rise of the Zombie Magazine. How a decaying legacy magazine is being used to launder right-wing ideas and conspiracy theories.”
  • How Did a Billionaire in Seattle Gain So Much Power Over Global Public Health?“—”If you ask Schwab, having one of the world’s biggest global health charities work like an investment bank, that’s the real origin of ‘vaccine apartheid.’ And the cost is high. As of this month, only 27 percent of people in low-income counties have received a single coronavirus vaccine dose. Compare that to 70 percent of people in some high-income countries. On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Schwab about how the global response to COVID was shaped by the charity of Bill Gates. And when we talk about ‘vaccine apartheid,’ is an American billionaire to blame?”
  • Tweet thread—”Depositions, medical examiner reports, settlements to name a few. Pulled something north of 15,000 pages of federal court records to assist in a small way to a massive NYTimes investigation into more than 400 deaths that occurred during traffic stops.” See “Why Many Police Traffic Stops Turn Deadly. Officers, trained to presume danger, have reacted with outsize aggression. For hundreds of unarmed drivers, the consequences have been fatal.”
  • Tweet thread—”We rolled back the film from over 100 fatal traffic stops to understand how the most routine police interactions can turn deadly. We found a striking pattern — right before the “final frame” of the fatal encounter, officers put themselves in imminent peril.” See “Before the Final Frame: When Police Missteps Create Danger.”
  • Tweet thread—”THREAD: Our investigation of police traffic stops revealed how ingrained practices, from towns’ over-reliance on ticket revenue to escalating behavior by officers, needlessly endanger motorists. Let’s take a close-up look at one example …” See “The Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops. Busted taillights, missing plates, tinted windows: Across the U.S., ticket revenue funds towns — and the police responsible for finding violations.”
  • Tweet—”Jake Gyllenhaal to star in Guy Ritchie’s action-thriller ‘The Interpreter.’ He will play Sergeant John Kinley who returns to Afganistan to save Ahmed, the local interpreter who saved his life after an ambush, before the local militias reach him and his family first.” See “STX Launches Sales On Guy Ritchie Action Thriller ‘The Interpreter’ With Jake Gyllenhaal As Stranded Soldier – AFM Hot Package.” Tweet—”Afghan women face armed Taliban to demand their rights every day. They want normal lives & dont have any hero /saviour complexes despite being superheros. But in Hollywood, America is the hero again ??? My sympathies to the good Americans who know to be embarassed by this.” Also, didn’t we already sort of go through this cycle of fuckery? “Now Is a Really Bad Time to Air a Sitcom About an Afghan Interpreter for the US Military. After a rerun of the show was pulled this week, the future of ‘United States of Al’ is looking uncertain.”
  • From the K D Lang dept: “Brandi Carlile, Larger Than Life and Achingly Human. The singer and songwriter’s seventh album, ‘In These Silent Days,’ realizes and polishes her ambitions.” In These Silent Days [Amazon, Apple, Spotify, YouTube, Apple] by Brandi Carlile. Also Broken Horses: A Memoir [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Brandi Carlile—”Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, fourteen times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood. As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music. In Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile takes readers through the events of her life that shaped her very raw art—from her start at a local singing competition where she performed Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in a bedazzled white polyester suit, to her first break opening for Dave Matthews Band, to many sleepless tours over fifteen years and six studio albums, all while raising two children with her wife, Catherine Shepherd. This hard-won success led her to collaborations with personal heroes like Elton John, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Pearl Jam, Tanya Tucker, and Joni Mitchell, as well as her peers in the supergroup The Highwomen, and ultimately to the Grammy stage, where she converted millions of viewers into instant fans. Evocative and piercingly honest, Broken Horses is at once an examination of faith through the eyes of a person rejected by the church’s basic tenets and a meditation on the moments and lyrics that have shaped the life of a creative mind, a brilliant artist, and a genuine empath on a mission to give back.”
  • Watch “Lapsis – Official Trailer“—Noah Hutton’s speculative LAPSIS is an alt-present sci-fi thriller most relevant to the horror of our current, late-capitalist moment. Brillant récit qui s’amuse à écorcher les absurdes pratiques capitalistes actuelles, LAPSIS est un thriller de science-fiction brûlant d’actualité.”
  • The Terrifying Rise of the Child Influencer and the Parents Who Profit. Parents exploit a legal loophole to profit from their children.”—”How can any parent countenance this? I asked myself. The answer rapidly became clear: money.” “But how can a child at the age of two agree to put their life on YouTube?”
  • The seedy world of private lending in ‘Squid Game’ is a real temptation in South Korea.”
  • What’s Behind the Biggest US Strike Wave in a Generation. Thousands of workers across America are striking for better wages and working conditions.”
  • ‘My students never knew’: the lecturer who lived in a tent. Higher education is one of the most casualised sectors of the UK economy, and for many it means a struggle to get by.”
  • Capitalism is killing the planet – it’s time to stop buying into our own destruction. Instead of focusing on ‘micro consumerist bollocks’ like ditching our plastic coffee cups, we must challenge the pursuit of wealth and level down, not up.”
  • How Domestic Labor Robs Women of Their Love. Netflix’s Maid and three recent best-sellers depict the agonies and rage of being a low-wage housekeeper or nanny. But all fail to identify capitalism itself as the culprit.”
  • Want to See a Modern Country Commit Suicide? Take a Hard Look at Britain. Britain is Imploding as a Modern Society. Only Nobody’s Allowed to Admit It.”
  • Tweet thread—”One of the benefits of remote work is that it’s often easier to assemble people with the right mix of skills and interests when location is not a constraint.” Also “The Collective Intelligence of Remote Teams. Research shows that it’s not where we work that matters the most — it’s how the work is done and who is doing it.”
  • Prince Andrew Mounts Attack Against Woman Who Accused Him of Sexual Abuse. Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, said the woman was seeking financial gain from one of the world’s best known royal families.”
  • 85% of gay people are possessed by evil, sweary ghosts – according to a not-at-all ludicrous study. Do you wake up each morning and feel the following: Lack of physical anchoring to this plane of existence, ectoplasm trailing you as you walk and an irrational desire to ghost any man you go on a date with?”
  • High School Crowns Zachary Willmore as First Male Homecoming Queen“—”A student at a Missouri high school is the first male in the school’s history to be crowned Homecoming Queen. Zachary Willmore, a senior and varsity cheerleader at Rock Bridge High School, took home the honor last weekend.”
  • Germany debates how to form gender-neutral words out of its gendered language“—”How do you pronounce a word with an asterisk or a colon in the middle? And what’s the German word for inclusivity? These are just two questions businesses and organizations in Europe’s largest economy have been asking themselves as the country tries to advance gender equality. In Germany, the debate about gender-neutral and inclusive language is complicated by grammar. Just as in many other languages, gender in German isn’t denoted by personal pronouns alone. German nouns that refer to people have traditionally been masculine or feminine. So, a male citizen is a Bürger and a female citizen is a Bürgerin. But in the plural, the masculine is traditionally used by default — a point that’s been contentious at least as far back as the second wave of feminism in the 1960s.”
  • Fight bears and steal ancient culture alongside Lara Croft in official Tomb Raider RPG. Spelunking and firearms are fundamental research skill, promise.” See “Thank You to the Fans – 25 Years of Tomb Raider!“—”We’re super excited to reveal Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders, a tabletop adventure that lets you team up with Lara. Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders is a passion project of Senior Technical Designer Matthew Gaston, who has been developing it since 2007 and playtesting internally since 2009. In Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders, players will assume the roles of fictional characters in the mysterious world of Tomb Raider. These characters work for Lara Croft, who has more leads to follow than she has time to follow them. Players will explore ancient sites to discover information and artifacts – guided by the campaign’s Raid Master. Campaigns will focus on knowledge, language, and investigative skills in addition to action-oriented skills to keep it true to the franchise roots.” “Get your raiding team ready – the core rule book and the first adventure: Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders: Mark of the Phoenix will be released later this year as a holiday gift to our fans.” Also in that announcement: “As we announced earlier this year, a new Tomb Raider anime series is coming to Netflix! Legendary Television and Netflix are hard at work on the series, which will pick up after the events of the Tomb Raider survivor trilogy. As previously announced, Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter, Captain America, Mission Impossible 7) will be voicing Lara Croft, joining a roster of incredibly talented women who have brought Lara Croft to life over the past 25 years.”
  • Hey, this looks like it’s gonna turn it up to 11. Watch “Masters of the Universe: Revelation – Part 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”Reclaim the Power. Fight for the Universe. The epic conclusion to Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Part 2) premieres on November 23rd. Only on Netflix.”
  • Watch “We Asked a Sword Expert to Make a Realistic Lightsaber Fight“—”Niko embarks on a quest to make the most famous Sci-Fi weapon more realistic. He enlists the help of Sword Expert Luke LaFontaine in order to create a duel based on real sword techniques. On top of that, he has some new ideas on how to approach the visual effects…”
  • I just … didn’t think it was possible for that film to get even better, tbh, but where we are. “Billie Eilish dropped in to play Sally in Danny Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas concert last night. Paul Reubens, Weird Al Yankovic, and original cast member Ken Page also lent their voices to Elfman’s show.” Also “Billie Eilish Performs Sally’s Song at Nightmare Before Christmas Concert.” Watch “Billie Eilish performs Sally’s Song (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas“—”Billie Eilish performs Sally’s Song (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Live to Concert Film at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California on 10/29/2021.” Watch “Billie Eilish & Danny Elfman perform (Simply Meant to Be) from The Nightmare Before Christmas 2021“—”Billie Eilish and Danny Elfman perform Finale / Reprise (Simply Meant to Be) (Live) from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Live to Concert Film at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California on 10/29/2021.”
  • Watch “Midnight Mass [ASMR Father Paul Roleplay]“—”Please join us all in welcoming the lovely Father Paul Hill as he comes to Pioneer’s Lash to lead its wayward congregation towards the Third Covenant. If only Father Paul practiced what he preached, you all wouldn’t be in this mess. Happy Halloween!”

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

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

Masters of Atlantis

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus review Masters of Atlantis [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Charles Portis.

Portis Masters of Atlantis

In his fourth novel, Charles Portis offers the compound biography of a fictional 20th-century initiatory order that arrived in the US following World War I and experienced ups and downs at the hands of its various aspirants and adepts. The author clearly intends the reader to be amused by the eccentric partisans of the Gnomon Society, yet his tone is largely sympathetic. I originally read this book at the recommendation of the head of one of the world’s most venerable esoteric bodies, and Portis does indeed give a far more accurate picture of the ambitions and concerns of most of today’s Rosicrucians and occult Freemasons than any wide-eyed Dan-Brownishness can provide. Shelve it between Foucault’s Pendulum and the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons.

During the act of procreation, the force that bonds two people together escaping solitude is in essence a trait that exists in each person, a madness which is imbued with a grief that slowly draws toward the depths of death.

Sadegh Hedayat, trans. Naveed Noori, The Blind Owl [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Hedayat The Blind Owl act procreation force bond people together escaping solitude madness grief depths death

Seeing a Large Cat

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Seeing a Large Cat [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Elizabeth Peters, book 9 of the Amelia Peabody series.

Peters Seeing a Large Cat

This ninth Amelia Peabody mystery is the first that I have shared from cover to cover with my Other Reader. We both enjoyed it quite well. It continues the formula established by Peters in the earlier books, this time covering (to my irrelevant excitement) the 1903-1904 excavation season in Egypt. 

The “large cat” of the title is perhaps Ramses Emerson, who sports whiskers as a surprise at the outset of the novel, and whose relations with the feline members of the household constitute an ongoing subplot. This volume of the series is one in which the younger generation of Emersons gain a significant degree of independence. Their separate perspective is supplied through the device of excerpts from a “Manuscript H,” supposedly written by Ramses and containing events he would best know, although referring to him in the third person.

On the other hand, the Cat could equally be Katherine Jones, a new character who seems likely to recur in future stories, and whose cat-like qualities are emphasized in descriptions. The gerundial phrasing of the title alludes to the ancient Egyptian dream-interpretation papyrus that is Peabody’s translation project for the season. What indeed is the significance of “seeing a large cat” in one’s dream? This book combines entertaining adventure with ominous portents for its protagonists.

Omnium Gatherum: 27oct2021

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

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

  • Hold The West Memphis Police Accountable“—”The case of the West Memphis Three, the three young men wrongfully convicted of a triple murder in West Memphis, Arkansas was heard around the world. Two of the boys, Jason and Jessie, were sentenced to life in prison. Damien Echols was sentenced to death. After spending 18+ years in prison, the three gained their freedom through an Alford Plea following cutting-edge DNA testing of physical evidence used to incriminate them. This plea ensured that they would not be able to bring a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas for wrongfully imprisoning them under almost any circumstances… and their records would forever bear the mark of ‘murder.’ Fast-forward to 2021: Due to even more advances in DNA testing, evidence that would, apparently, clear the men could be re-tested with even greater accuracy. As such, Damien Echols’ legal team has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to have access to the data to submit it to even more rigorous testing. The bad news: the West Memphis Police Department is saying they cannot give it up because it was destroyed in a fire (even though none was reported). This means that they were either lying about the evidence being destroyed or that they destroyed valuable evidence which could clear the names of three innocent men. We are asking Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, and Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge to compel the West Memphis PD to fulfill their legal obligation to hand over the remaining evidence so the truth may be known once and for all.”
  • Blackburn Masonic Hall sold as users fall. A TOWN’S masonic hall has been sold following dwindling numbers of members using it.”—”The company has now put its furnishings, regalia and kitchen, restaurant and bar equipment up for auction. The proceeds of both sales will go to the East Lancashire Masonic Charity while the lodges currently using it will go to other nearby masonic halls including in Darwen and Whalley.”
  • History of Witchcraft. Haunting stories and legends abound as autumn settles in the west, from tales of witchcraft to imaginings of magic and enchantment. But what are the origins of these images, ideas, and traditions? Freely available until the end of 2021, this collection of OUP books, journals, and online products delves into the history of witchcraft from Scotland and Germany to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. How did witchcraft and fantasy affect daily life in early modern Scotland and Germany? Have historians lost sympathy for the victims of the Salem Witch Hunt? How did the occult influence healthcare in twentieth-century China? Join us this season as we uncover the origins and investigate the lasting impact of witchcraft, magic, superstition, and the occult throughout history.”
  • The Goddess Nut and the Wisdom of the Sky Goddess [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Lesley Jackson, part of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses series—”The Goddess Nut and the Wisdom of the Sky is a fascinating and in-depth study of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Nut, in her aspects as both Sky and Tree Goddess together with all that she encompasses. Lesley Jackson presents the history and myths of the Sky Goddess within the context of Ancient Egyptian culture and religion, providing considerable insights into what is currently known about how the ancient Egyptians related to the visible cosmos and how it informed their belief in the unseen realm and the afterlife. Nut, like many goddesses, is a Mother Goddess, referred to as the Great One, Lady of Heliopolis and the Mistress of the Two Lands. Nut is also the Mother of the Gods, who gave birth to the god Ra, and to another five divine children with Geb: Osiris, Horus the Elder, Seth, Isis and Nephthys. She is the Great Encloser, and Shentayet, the “Mysterious One”, alluding to the important role she held in the afterlife. Her name was written as Nwt using the hieroglyph symbols of a circular water pot and a loaf above the sky symbol. Explore Nut’s depictions, her epithets, her sacred animals and family connections, as well as her essential role in the Ancient Egyptian creation myth which tells the story of the creation of the Cosmos. This book explores this and many of Nut’s other important roles in mythology, religion and in other aspects of life as well as the fluidity of the inter-relationships of the Egyptian Gods. The Ancient Egyptian calendar, marked by the movement of the stars, the significance of stellar alignment and the decan stars (including Sirius) and their role in dividing the year, the Moon and lunar cycles and many other forms of timekeeping are also explored. This book is highly recommended not only to students of Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, but also to all those who have ever looked up to the night sky with awe and wonder.”
  • He Won the Nobel. Why Are His Books So Hard to Find? After Abdulrazak Gurnah was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, he instantly gained a wider international audience, something publishers are now scrambling to accommodate.” About Afterlives [Amazon, Bookshop UK, Publisher, Local Library] by Abdulrazak Gurnah
  • Here’s an exclusive 1st look at ‘Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships’ from Hero Collector. Try saying ‘Colonial Viper’ in your mind without it being in a old-school Cylon voice. You can’t, can you?” About Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships [Amazon, Bookshop, Local Library] by Paul Ruditis and Mark Wright—”This new book goes behind the scenes on the award-winning TV series Battlestar Galactica to discover the concepts behind the designs of dozens of spaceships! Battlestar Galactica debuted on TV in 1978 and acquired a phenomenal following, breaking new ground for TV drama and winning several awards. It returned to TV screens in 2003 in a critically acclaimed reimagined series, with Time Magazine naming it one of the 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. This behind-the-scenes guide looks at the creation of the ships in both the original and the reimagined series, including vessels of the ragtag fleet and those of the Cylon enemy. Featuring artwork from the groundbreaking first series and the 2004 reimagined series, this volume explores the art of ship creation from the first sketches to the finished designs of the modelmakers. Covering 18 key ships from the two shows, including the Galactica itself, the Vipers and the Cylon Raiders, the pages are packed with original concept art from designers Eric Chu, Andrew Probert and legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie.”
  • When the Times Book Review Panned the Classics. Some of today’s best-loved books — think ‘Catch-22,’ ‘Tender Is the Night’ and even ‘Anne of Green Gables’ — had a rocky reception in our pages.”
  • ‘Unfilmable’ Books That Hollywood Should Try to Adapt After ‘Dune’.”
  • A Scientific Explanation for Your Urge to Sniff Old Books.” Excerpt from Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jude Stewart—”An extraordinary, strange, and startlingly beautiful exploration of smell, the least understood of our five senses. Overlapping with taste yet larger in scope, smell is the sense that comes closest to pure perception. Smell can collapse space and time, unlocking memories and transporting us to worlds both new and familiar. Yet as clearly as each of us can recognize different smells–the bright tang of citrus, freshly sharpened pencils, parched earth after rain–few of us understand how and why we smell. In Revelations in Air, Jude Stewart takes us on a fascinating journey into the weird and wonderful world of smell. Beginning with lessons on the incredible biology and history of how our noses work, Stewart teaches us how to use our noses like experts. Once we’re properly equipped and ready to sniff, Stewart explores a range of smells—from lavender, cut grass and hot chocolate to cannabis and old books—using smell as a lens into art, history, science, and more. With an engaging colorful design and exercises for readers to refine their own skills, Revelations in Air goes beyond science or history or chemistry–it’s a doorway into the surprising, pleasurable, and unfamiliar landscape of smell.”
  • How Do We Make Sense of the Meaning of Consciousness?.” Except from Feeling & Knowing: Making Minds Conscious [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Antonio Damasio—”From one of the world’s leading neuroscientists: a succinct, illuminating, wholly engaging investigation of how biology, neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence have given us the tools to unlock the mysteries of human consciousness. In recent decades, many philosophers and cognitive scientists have declared the problem of consciousness unsolvable, but Antonio Damasio is convinced that recent findings across multiple scientific disciplines have given us a way to understand consciousness and its significance for human life. In the forty-eight brief chapters of Feeling & Knowing, and in writing that remains faithful to our intuitive sense of what feeling and experiencing are about, Damasio helps us understand why being conscious is not the same as sensing, why nervous systems are essential for the development of feelings, and why feeling opens the way to consciousness writ large. He combines the latest discoveries in various sciences with philosophy and discusses his original research, which has transformed our understanding of the brain and human behavior. Here is an indispensable guide to understand­ing how we experience the world within and around us and find our place in the universe.”
  • ‘We Were Alive and Life Was Us.’ How Ken Kesey Created LSD Subculture.” Excerpt from The Shattering: America in the 60s [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Kevin Boyle—”From the National Book Award winner, a masterful history of the decade whose conflicts shattered America’s postwar order and divide us still. On July 4, 1961, the rising middle-class families of a Chicago neighborhood gathered before their flag-bedecked houses, a confident vision of the American Dream. That vision was shattered over the following decade, its inequities at home and arrogance abroad challenged by powerful civil rights and antiwar movements. Assassinations, social violence, and the blowback of a ‘silent majority’ shredded the American fabric. Covering the late 1950s through the early 1970s, The Shattering focuses on the period’s fierce conflicts over race, sex, and war. The civil rights movement develops from the grassroots activism of Montgomery and the sit-ins, through the violence of Birmingham and the Edmund Pettus Bridge, to the frustrations of King’s Chicago campaign, a rising Black nationalism, and the Nixon-era politics of busing and the Supreme Court. The Vietnam war unfolds as Cold War policy, high-stakes politics buffeted by powerful popular movements, and searing in-country experience. Americans’ challenges to government regulation of sexuality yield landmark decisions on privacy rights, gay rights, contraception, and abortion. Kevin Boyle captures the inspiring and brutal events of this passionate time with a remarkable empathy that restores the humanity of those making this history. Often they are everyday people like Elizabeth Eckford, enduring a hostile crowd outside her newly integrated high school in Little Rock, or Estelle Griswold, welcoming her arrest for dispensing birth control information in a Connecticut town. Political leaders also emerge in revealing detail: we track Richard Nixon’s inheritances from Eisenhower and his debt to George Wallace, who forged a message of racism mixed with blue-collar grievance that Nixon imported into Republicanism. The Shattering illuminates currents that still run through our politics. It is a history for our times.”
  • Mummy’s older than we thought: new find could rewrite history. Discovery of nobleman Khuwy shows that Egyptians were using advanced embalming methods 1,000 years before assumed date.”
  • Study rethinks notions about the relationship between the Olmec and Mayan cultures. A study using laser mapping technology or LiDAR in the states of Veracruz and Tabasco could transform our notions about the origins of Mesoamerican civilisations.” Also “Hundreds of ancient ceremonial sites found in southern Mexico. Researchers have uncovered 478 ceremonial sites that were probably built by the Olmec and the Maya thousands of years ago.”
  • 4,250-year-old Hattian golden beak-spouted ewer returns to Turkey.”
  • ‘Teaching us wonder’: Turkey embarks on cultural mission to preserve its fairytales. Mammoth task to collate magical folklore of Anatolian plateau involves thousands of stories.”
  • From 2019: “Artificial Intelligence Study of Human Genome Finds Unknown Human Ancestor. The genetic footprint of a “ghost population” may match that of a Neanderthal and Denisovan hybrid fossil found in Siberia.”—”The researchers trained the computer to analyze eight different models of the most plausible theories of early human evolution across Eurasia. The models came from previous studies that attempted to come up with a scenario that would result in the current picture of the human genome, including its known Neanderthal and Denisovan components. ‘With each of these eight models, we calculate over weeks of computations how well they are able to reach the actual, present genetic composition of humans,’ Bertranpetit says. ‘Every time we do a simulation, it’s a simulation of a possible path of human evolution, and we have run those simulations thousands of times, and the deep learning algorithms are able to recognize which of the models best suit the data.’ The machine’s conclusion? An ancestor species is present in our lineage that we have yet to identify. ‘By far, the only models we tested that really are backed by the data are the ones having this ghost population introgression,’ Bertranpetit says.” Also “Artificial intelligence applied to the genome identifies an unknown human ancestor. Scientists use deep learning for the first time ever to account for human evolution.”
  • On the origin of minds. Cognition did not appear out of nowhere in ‘higher’ animals but goes back millions, perhaps billions, of years.”
  • The search for alien tech. Radio signals is old hat: now it’s all about hunting for extraterrestrial technosignatures. But do we want to be found?”
  • Inside the Indonesian cave where oldest animal art was found“—”Archaeologists discovered the world’s oldest known animal cave painting in Indonesia. A panel showing wild pigs believed to have been made 45,500 years ago was found in a cave in a remote valley on the island of Sulawesi. Previously, rock art found in European sites were considered to be the world’s oldest narrative artworks. BBC Indonesia was given rare access to film inside the cave.”
  • Rare ‘flesh-eating’ STD on the rise in UK, doctor warns“—”The CDC says donovanosis causes painless ‘beefy red’ lesions on the genitals that can bleed. These spreading, bleeding lesions led many to call the STD ‘flesh-eating,’ although it does not actually eat the flesh as it spreads.”
  • Crab in amber reveals an early colonization of nonmarine environments during the Cretaceous“—”Amber fossils provide snapshots of the anatomy, biology, and ecology of extinct organisms that are otherwise inaccessible. The best-known fossils in amber are terrestrial arthropods—principally insects—whereas aquatic organisms are rarely represented. Here, we present the first record of true crabs (Brachyura) in amber—from the Cretaceous of Myanmar [~100 to 99 million years (Ma)]. The new fossil preserves large compound eyes, delicate mouthparts, and even gills. This modern-looking crab is nested within crown Eubrachyura, or ‘higher’ true crabs, which includes the majority of brachyuran species living today. The fossil appears to have been trapped in a brackish or freshwater setting near a coastal to fluvio-estuarine environment, bridging the gap between the predicted molecular divergence of nonmarine crabs (~130 Ma) and their younger fossil record (latest Cretaceous and Paleogene, ~75 to 50 Ma) while providing a reliable calibration point for molecular divergence time estimates for higher crown eubrachyurans.” “Here, we describe a previously unknown eubrachyuran crab, Cretapsara athanata, preserved in Cretaceous amber (~99 Ma, Cenomanian) from Myanmar, Southeast Asia (Figs. 1 and 2). This is the oldest occurrence of a true crab in amber and one of the oldest crown group eubrachyurans known. Micro–computed tomography (CT) digital reconstructions reveal that antennae, large compound eyes, mouthparts with multiple fine hairs, and even gills are preserved (Figs. 3 and 4). Our phylogenetic analysis supports the establishment of a new family with a unique mixture of primitive and advanced characters.” Also “Tiny ‘immortal’ crab entombed in amber discovered in a first of its kind. Scientists say it could represent a bridge between freshwater and marine species.”
  • Some of the world’s oldest rubies linked to early life. Carbon residue that was once ancient life found encased in a 2.5 billion-year-old ruby.”—”While analyzing some of the world’s oldest coloured gemstones, researchers from the University of Waterloo discovered carbon residue that was once ancient life, encased in a 2.5 billion-year-old ruby.”
  • Ancient asteroids struck Earth frequently, delayed rise of life – study. Some of these asteroids were around 10 kilometers in size, and struck the Earth 10 times as often as current models would have suggested.”
  • Signs of first planet found outside our galaxy. Astronomers have found hints of what could be the first planet ever to be discovered outside our galaxy.”
  • Watch “Could These Distant Planets Support Life? | Universe I BBC Earth”—”Meet TRAPPIST-1, an ultra-cool dwarf star almost twice as old as our sun, but less than 1% as bright. And seven Earth-sized planets are in its orbit that could have the potential for supporting life…”
  • Watch “Water Discovered In Space! | Planet Explorers | BBC Earth”—”If you know about Saturn from Interstellar, you will love this. There may not be a wormhole, Saturn has 82 crazy moons, with one of them hosting a liquid ocean and erupting geysers. And like the best Sci-Fi movies, there’s good women at the helm. Dr Leah – Nani Alconcel is one of the team that has changed the way we see the solar system today.”
  • How climate change is changing northern Sweden and the people who live there. A journalist from the AFP news agency visits the far north of Sweden, where global warming is happening three times faster than in the rest of the world.”
  • Greenhouse gas levels hit record; world struggles to curb damage. UN seeks ‘dramatic increase’ in climate commitments. Summit will seek to avert menacing levels of warming. UK’s Johnson says COP26 outcome is ‘touch and go’. We need to revisit our whole way of life – Taalas.”
  • Treating beef like coal would make a big dent in greenhouse-gas emissions. Cattle are a surprisingly large producer of greenhouse gases.”
  • Elephants born without tusks in ‘evolutionary response’ to violent poachers. Rare genetic condition in Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique has become far more common after years of hunting.”
  • A Prototype Original iPod. If you can believe it, the iPod is 20 years old, today.”—”Now, there are a lot of mysteries in the Panic Archives (it’s a closet) but by far one of the most mysterious is what you’re seeing for the first time today: an original early iPod prototype. We don’t know much about where it came from. But we’ve been waiting 20 years to share it with you.”
  • The robots have infiltrated Buffalo Wild Wings. Flippy the Robot has a brand new baby brother-bot.”—”In early 2018—18 whole months before I founded The Takeout’s official Robot Beat—my predecessors premptively rejoiced at the ‘failure’ of Flippy, the burger-cooking, French fry-frying, and ‘definitely not evil’ A.I. robot. Its public debut was an absolute disaster, with Flippy becoming quickly overwhelmed by orders and breaking down before its shift was over. Oh, what simpler times those were! Back then, we could delude ourselves into thinking that it would be years before the robots posed a serious threat, forgetting that robots literally devote 100% of their time working towards their ultimate goal: total fast food domination. By 2019 it became clear to us at The Takeout that we could put nothing past the robots, because much like human babies, they quickly grow up and start destroying everything in their paths. By 2020, Flippy successfully infiltrated White Castle, and within months, it was a valued employee. And now, after a relatively silent 2021, Flippy has spawned. This unholy robo-progeny is named Flippy Wings, and it’s already taken a major step toward the full-fledged subjugation of the chicken wing industry.”
  • From the Uplift dept: “Are We on the Verge of Chatting with Whales? An ambitious project is attempting to interpret sperm whale clicks with artificial intelligence, then talk back to them.”
  • OM Digital Launches ‘OM System’ Brand, Leaving Olympus Name Behind“—”OM Digital, the company that was spun off from Olympus early this year by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), is making its next major step: rebranding the cameras it will produce as OM System and leaving the Olympus name behind. OM System will be the new name of the company’s line of interchangeable lens cameras, lenses, compact digital cameras, audio products, and binoculars and all Olympus imaging and audio products will be released under this new brand going forward.”
  • Amazon ‘Delivery Partners’ Hit Amazon With $15 Million Lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon ‘controlled nearly every aspect’ of two Portland delivery companies’ businesses and ‘created unsafe working conditions.'”
  • Inside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources Problem. A knot of problems with Amazon’s system for handling paid and unpaid leaves has led to devastating consequences for workers.”
  • Curiouser and curiouser. Whistleblower is kinda cringe. A pox on both their houses. “Inside the Big Facebook Leak. In a time of mega-leaks, journalists’ sources have become power players. Frances Haugen, the former Facebook product manager who shared company documents, led a meticulous media rollout.” Also “Facebook’s Internal Chat Boards Show Politics Often at Center of Decision Making. In hot debates, employees and management spar over allegations content rules aren’t enforced for Breitbart and other right-wing publishers for fear of public blowback. Other internal documents show management expresses wariness of appearing biased.” Also “People or profit? Facebook papers show deep conflict within.” Also “Frances Haugen took thousands of Facebook documents: This is how she did it. The company’s documents were available on its internal social network, which resembles the Facebook used by billions.”
  • ‘Mark Changed The Rules’: How Facebook Went Easy On Alex Jones And Other Right-Wing Figures. Facebook’s rules to combat misinformation and hate speech are subject to the whims and political considerations of its CEO and his policy team leader.” Tweet—”Mark Zuckerberg is what happens when someone takes Bill Hicks’ ‘righteous indignation/trapped/anger dollar’ rant as unironic marketing guidance.”
  • Facebook built an undersea cable to connect its data centers to Asia. The project was 2 years late and suffered from leaks of drilling fluid, sinkholes and abandoned buried equipment. The project finished almost two years late, and prompted Oregon to pass new legislation regulating future undersea cable projects in the state.”
  • Facebook Warns Anonymous Content Against ‘Recklessly’ Proceeding With ‘An Ugly Truth’ TV Adaptation.” About An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang—”Award-winning New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang unveil the tech story of our times in a riveting, behind-the-scenes exposé that offers the definitive account of Facebook’s fall from grace. Once one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories, Facebook has been under constant fire for the past five years, roiled by controversies and crises. It turns out that while the tech giant was connecting the world, they were also mishandling users’ data, spreading fake news, and amplifying dangerous, polarizing hate speech. The company, many said, had simply lost its way. But the truth is far more complex. Leadership decisions enabled, and then attempted to deflect attention from, the crises. Time after time, Facebook’s engineers were instructed to create tools that encouraged people to spend as much time on the platform as possible, even as those same tools boosted inflammatory rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and partisan filter bubbles. And while consumers and lawmakers focused their outrage on privacy breaches and misinformation, Facebook solidified its role as the world’s most voracious data-mining machine, posting record profits, and shoring up its dominance via aggressive lobbying efforts. Drawing on their unrivaled sources, Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang take readers inside the complex court politics, alliances and rivalries within the company to shine a light on the fatal cracks in the architecture of the tech behemoth. Their explosive, exclusive reporting led them to a shocking conclusion: The missteps of the last five years were not an anomaly but an inevitability—this is how Facebook was built to perform. In a period of great upheaval, growth has remained the one constant under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Both have been held up as archetypes of uniquely 21st century executives—he the tech “boy genius” turned billionaire, she the ultimate woman in business, an inspiration to millions through her books and speeches. But sealed off in tight circles of advisers and hobbled by their own ambition and hubris, each has stood by as their technology is coopted by hate-mongers, criminals and corrupt political regimes across the globe, with devastating consequences. In An Ugly Truth, they are at last held accountable. ”
  • Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse.”
  • Jeff Bezos Reveals Plans to Build a Space Station Called ‘Orbital Reef’. The station is envisioned as a ‘mixed-use business park’… but in space.” A Starbucks on every Lagrange point.
  • Tweet—”Tired: Kessler Syndrome is a serious impediment to our continued ability to operate in Earth orbit. Wired: Kessler Syndrome is a necessary impediment to rich idiots who believe they can escape to space to avoid the ecological catastrophe they’re causing down here.”
  • I Was Hacked. The Spyware Used Against Me Makes Us All Vulnerable. Invasive hacking software sold to countries to fight terrorism is easily abused. Researchers say my phone was hacked twice, probably by Saudi Arabia.”
  • Watch this spoof promo for facegoomicroappama™️: “Made By Us.”
  • A Patent Troll Backs Off. We scared them off… this time.”—”tldr; The patent troll Jason Nguyen of Altair Logix couldn’t shake us down so he dropped the case. It cost us $12,645.”
  • In secret vaccine contracts with governments, Pfizer took hard line in push for profit, report says.”
  • 3 Teens with COVID-19 Developed Sudden Severe Psychiatric Symptoms. Why? UCSF-Led Study Shows Unruly Immune System May Trigger ‘Turncoat’ Antibodies.”
  • Watch “UK Covid cases could hit 100,000 a day – BBC Newsnight.”
  • ‘It’s absolutely getting worse’: Secretaries of state targeted by Trump election lies live in fear for their safety and are desperate for protection“—”Officials and aides in secretary of state offices in Arizona and other states targeted by former President Donald Trump in his attack on last year’s election results told CNN about living in constant terror — nervously watching the people around them at events, checking in their rearview mirrors for cars following them home and sitting up at night wondering what might happen next.”
  • A QAnon conspiracy theory about election fraud is becoming a pro-Trump push for traceable ballots.”
  • Tweet thread—”this is still really difficult for me to talk about so apologies for any missed words/typos/lack of clarity. i want to talk about something i observed outside the us capitol on january 6th. it hasn’t really been discussed because you had to be there, not as a rioter, to see it.” “people who were there to document know what i’m talking about. it’s the thing none of us can put into words. but you see it in our eyes, how our demeanor changes when we go back to that day in our memory. a black hole opens up.” “Angry since 60s they have to share USA w non-white, non-Xian, increasingly educated/bilingual ‘others’-cuz the marginalized’s progress is their ‘loss’. Its revenge on a world that they aint prepared/able to compete in. World’s passing em by and they rage at their own indolence.”
  • EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff. Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a ‘blanket pardon’ from the Oval Office.”
  • It’s Time to Officially Clear the Names of the ‘Groveland Four’. In 1949, three young Black men and a teenager were wrongfully accused of raping a white teen girl. Now, a state prosecutor wants to get the case dismissed.”
  • United States issues its 1st passport with ‘X’ gender marker. Advocates have long been calling for an ‘X’ marker on federal IDs as more Americans have come out as nonbinary, or neither exclusively male nor female.” Also “US State Department issues first passport with X gender marker.” Also “Issuance of the First U.S. Passport with an X Gender Marker.”
  • Democrats’ billionaire tax would heavily target 10 wealthiest Americans, but alternative plan is emerging. Many lawmakers want to resolve their differences by the end of the week, but they are still stuck on the thorny issue of taxation.” Counterpoint from an asshole: Tweet—”Exactly. Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.” Countercounterpoint: “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax. ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing.”
  • Tweet—”The judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial says lawyers cannot call the 2 people he killed ‘victims.’ Rittenhouse killed 2 people and wounded another with an AR-15 style weapon. The judge says ‘victim’ is too ‘loaded’ but will let lawyers call them ‘rioters, looters or arsonists.'” Tweet—”To put it plain, the Wisconsin Judge in Rittenhouse’s case has ruled that lawyers can use the prejudicially loaded words which make the jury sympathetic *To Rittenhouse,* but not a word which would accurately describe his VICTIMS.” Tweet—”I just saw that the judge in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse ruled that the prosecution may not refer to the people he shot as victims. Justice isn’t blind if you are BLM.” Definition of victim from Merriam-Webster. Sitting judge needs a dictionary or two sent to him, probably c/o the courthouse.
  • ‘Ignored for 70 years’: human rights group to investigate uranium contamination on Navajo Nation. Boost for advocates’ group is step further in decades-long fight against mining pollution.”
  • The Evangelical Church Is Breaking Apart. Christians must reclaim Jesus from his church.”—”‘Nearly everyone tells me there is at the very least a small group in nearly every evangelical church complaining and agitating against teaching or policies that aren’t sufficiently conservative or anti-woke,’ a pastor and prominent figure within the evangelical world told me. (Like others with whom I spoke about this topic, he requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.) ‘It’s everywhere.'”
  • Churchgoers Shocked After Their Pastor Is Arrested for Sex Crimes.”
  • The Netflix Series That Should Make Religious People Uncomfortable. ‘Midnight Mass’ is a morally urgent critique of how faith can fuel everyday cruelty and violence.”
  • Tweet—”They are just saying it out loud now. Theocracy is the goal. They do not believe in the separation of church and state because they believe they have ‘dominion’ over all of us. If you disagree, start saying so.”
  • ‘The Liberty Way’: How Liberty University Discourages and Dismisses Students’ Reports of Sexual Assaults“—”The school founded by evangelist Jerry Falwell ignored reports of rape and threatened to punish accusers for breaking its moral code, say former students. An official who says he was fired for raising concerns calls it a ‘conspiracy of silence.'”
  • Rats, mold, roaches: Howard students stage sit-in over housing conditions. Students at historically Black college in DC say conditions are deplorable and would rather sleep at student center than dorms.”
  • Watch “Cowboy Bebop | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”COWBOY BEBOP is an action-packed space Western about three bounty hunters, aka “cowboys,” all trying to outrun the past. As different as they are deadly, Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) form a scrappy, snarky crew ready to hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals — for the right price. But they can only kick and quip their way out of so many scuffles before their pasts finally catch up with them. Based on the beloved anime series, COWBOY BEBOP is executive produced by André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum and Scott Rosenberg of Midnight Radio, Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements of Tomorrow Studios, Makoto Asanuma, Shin Sasaki and Masayuki Ozaki of Sunrise Inc., Tim Coddington, Tetsu Fujimura, Michael Katleman, Matthew Weinberg, and Christopher Yost. Nemec serves as showrunner. Original anime series director Shinichirō Watanabe is a consultant on the series, and original composer Yoko Kanno returns for the live-action adaptation. The series also stars Alex Hassell and Elena Satine. Watch Cowboy Bebop, a live-action series, only on Netflix Nov. 19.” Also this drips style: “Cowboy Bebop | Official Teaser ‘Lost Session’ | Netflix.”
  • 50 years ago, The Electric Company used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills.”
  • Watch “Israeli Scuba Diver Discovers Ancient Crusader Sword“—”The diver was about 150 meters (170 yards) off the coast in five-meter-deep water when he made the discovery. ‘The most interesting thing is that this is one of the first… the complete sword that ever found in Israel and in a very good preservation,’ says Kobi Sharvit, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit.” Also “Diver finds 900-year-old sword in Mediterranean Sea“—”A sword believed to have been used by a crusader knight some 900 years ago was discovered on Tuesday by an amateur diver in the Mediterranean Sea.”
  • Watch “You Can Buy This Flying Vehicle Now – Jetson One | How Much Does It Cost? eVTOL.”
  • Tweet—”WOW! Image Comics announces that there will no longer be any 2nd prints of comics. You’re going to see more and more of this.”
  • Björk’s New Pandemic Album Will Be Ideal For Clubbing In The Living Room.”
  • Ugh. The Owl House canceled. Disney+ needs an Adult Swim solution or something, or else move stuff like that to Hulu; because The Owl House is awesome and didn’t deserve to die. “Owl House Was Canceled Due To Exec Deciding It Didn’t Fit the Disney Brand. Dana Terrace, the creator of Disney Channel’s The Owl House, offers some clarity on why the animated series’ third and final season was cut short.” Also “Owl House boss shares real reason why Disney cancelled the show. ‘Really grinds my guts, boils my brain, kicks my shins.'”
  • Either way, it’s better than an NFT, tbh: Tweet—”If you pay your $250 maybe you’ll get the original $20,000 Warhol, but you’ll never know.”
  • Tweet thread—”A Long, Definitive Thread on ‘Flat Art’ (or, as I will be refusing to call it, ‘Corporate Memphis’)” “The discourse around people who are tired of “flat art” has been going on for several years now. So I’ve been wanting to do a break down of where flat art comes from, what are the misconceptions, what are the criticisms, and which criticisms are worth paying attention to.”
  • We are Sex-bob-omb! “Space Engine Systems to test Mach 5 Spaceplane in Manitoba Canada”—”SES will deploy its Sexbomb lift body aircraft from a stratospheric balloon that lifts it to 110,000 ft. It will free fall to Mach 1.8 where the DASS engine ram jet fires to take it to Mach 5 at 57,000 ft over the northern barren lands, before gliding back to Lynn Lake.”
  • I mean, that tracks. “Hiker lost on mountain for 24 hours ignored calls from rescuers because he didn’t recognize phone number.”
  • Spooky Halloween: the origin of ‘spook’.” Also “Spooks are spooks, but don’t ignore organic pumpkins.”
  • Watch “Why Vampires Hate Garlic – A Transylvanian Recipe from 1580.”
  • Tweet—”Bride of Frankenstein isn’t ready for marriage ??‍♂???”—”There’s something about being brought to life purely to be the helpmate of a hideous monster that’s really bumming me out.”

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

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The Fiery Brook

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Fiery Brook: Selected Writings [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Ludwig Feuerbach, trans. Zawar Hanfi, part of the Radical Thinkers series.

Feuerbach Hanfi The Fiery Brook

Editor/translator Hanfi considers Feuerbach valuable solely as a precursor to Marx, a perspective which certainly limits the usefulness of Hanfi’s extensive introduction. The selections in this volume are quite worthwhile, however. Five out of eight are first ever published translations into English, and they include programmatic essays covering the span of Feuerbach’s intellectual work from his first breaks with Hegel (“Toward a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy” 1839) until 1844. Although Hanfi doesn’t remark it, the latter year is significant in being the year in which Feuerbach’s writings were subjected to withering public criticism from Max Stirner. This volume thus neglects the significantly different (and to my mind, even more interesting) positions of the later Feuerbach developed in The Essence of Religion and its sequels. It does, however, include the essays “Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy” and “Principles of the Philosophy of the Future,” which show Feuerbach’s emergence from his anti-Hegelian analytic phase into a new work of synthesis and positive theory on atheistic, “sensuous” grounds. These two essays are in an aphoristic form that presages the work of Nietzsche, and they expound in part the anthropotheistic principle that is at the core of my interest in and sympathy for Feuerbach. 

The early, anti-Hegelian pieces are often rather muddled, and this feature evidently stems from a stylistic limitation (later overcome) to attempt always to present flawed and obsolete philosophies from their own “point of view,” to “let each phenomenon speak for itself.” (179 n.) The constructive progress of Feuerbach’s views is evident, due to the chronological arrangement of the contents of this collection, and the recapitulation involved in the final “Fragments Concerning the Characteristics of My Philosophical Development.” The preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity is far more incisive and persuasive than the introduction to the first. 

Even in the “Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy” there is much unwelcome (to my mind) valorization of pain and suffering. In the later works, this gives way to an emphasis on enjoyment and love. Throughout, once Feuerbach has broken with the “theologians and speculative fantasts,” he emphasizes the reciprocity of humanity with sensual nature, and the sovereignty of man–however unwitting–over the God he has created. 

“The new and only positive philosophy … is the thinking man himself” (169). It is “certainly based on reason as well, but on a reason whose being is the same as the being of man; that is, it is based not on an empty, colorless, nameless reason, but on a reason that is of the very blood of man” (239). “Truth is man and not reason in abstracto; it is life and not thought that remains confined to paper, the element in which it finds and unfolds its existence” (249). “Truth does not exist in thought, nor in cognition confined to itself. Truth is only the totality of man’s life and being” (244, all italics in originals). 

There is much development evident in the writings collected here, but the book ends on an appropriate note: “”What am I? Is that your question? Wait until I am no more.” (296) He still had “more” to him, as subsequent decades and major works would show, even if they are not addressed by this volume.