Omnium Gatherum: 10aug2022

An irregular hodgepodge of links beyond the library curated together from @OmniumGatherum at Hrmtc I∴O∴ and more … Omnium Gatherum for August 10, 2022.

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

  • The Weird. A crowdfunding effort upcoming Summer 2022 …”—”The Weird will help you make NPCs, creatures, places, magic items, gear, spells and abilities, names, appearances, backgrounds, plots, structures, vehicles—and yes, even player characters—more interesting, no matter the setting or system. This hefty, beautifully illustrated tome will contain GM and player advice for implementing and dealing with the weird. It will be filled with literally thousands of weird ideas to pick from or roll randomly.” “It’s not just random strange ideas, though: it’ll also be packed with advice on how these weird inspirations might affect your game. The weirdness is organized by type and degree (from “interesting” to “gonzo” and everything in between), so you can make a shield a bit more interesting or the ghost you wanted to put in the next adventure totally surreal. And that’s just for starters.” Also “A decade on and Monte Cook Games is still setting the bar for innovation in tabletop RPGs. Co-founders Monte Cook and Shanna Germain talk about keeping it weird — and inclusive — for a decade.”
  • Weiser Antiquarian Books Catalogue No. 273: Aleister Crowley is now on-line
  • Lilancholy: a guide to a secret world” Crowdfunding effort with 29 days to go … “This is a special book. An experiment of form. A marriage of fiction and play. The end product of the lyric game movement. Lilancholy is a guide to surviving encounters with fairies. I jokingly call it “evil warioware” as it’s filled with a plethora of tiny games that fairies will challenge you to. A collection of school yard games warped into horror experiences, all wrapped inside of its own fiction.” “It’s a novel. It can be read and experienced as such. It’s a guidebook. There are sections that detail rules and explain spells. It’s a (lyric) game. It’s meant to be played.” Download a preview PDF. Also, more from the campaign page about “lyric games”: “Lyric games are still a relatively new part of gaming culture, the term itself only being coined in 2019 by John R. Harness. But even then, many things from the past have fallen under the umbrella of lyric games. As a form, it seeks to push the boundaries of a game’s poeticism. It’s more interested in the experience of reading the game as opposed to the experience of sitting at a table, or even of ‘playing’ the game.” Watch “Lilancholy Trailer“—”Check out the trailer for my latest book and help us fund it on kickstarter!”
  • VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence.” On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.”
  • The Nearly Perfect Necromancy of Lady Mondegreen: A Practical Guide to Malaprop Magic by Clint Marsh & Alexis Berger. “In The Nearly Perfect Necromancy of Lady Mondegreen, author Clint Marsh plumbs the promise of malaprop magic, showing us how we might breathe new life into art, romance, and other creative endeavors. This practical and humorous essay features whimsical illustrations by Alexis Berger.”
  • Christianity and Poetry“—”Most Christians misunderstand the relationship of poetry to their faith. They consider it an admirable but minor aspect of religious practice—elegant verbal decoration in honor of the divine. They recognize poetry’s place in worship. Congregations need hymns, and the Psalms should be recited. A few cultured believers even advocate the spiritual benefits of reading religious verse.” “But most Christians have a more practical and morally urgent sense of their faith. Who has time for ­poetry when so many important things need to be ­done? Art is a luxury, perhaps even a distraction, not a necessity. Gird up thy loins like a grown-up and put away childish things, including the charming frippery of verse. Such attitudes misconstrue both poetry and worship. Christianity may be ­many things, but it is not prosaic.”
  • Last Conviction in Salem Witch Trials Is Cleared 329 Years Later“—”The exoneration of Elizabeth Johnson Jr., the last person whose name was not officially cleared, came from the efforts of an eighth-grade civics teacher and her students.”
  • At 31, this young traiteur is dedicated to documenting the Cajun healing tradition“—”Colby Hébert was just 11 years old when he received a French prayer from his grandmother and officially became a traiteur. Now, 20 years later, Hébert is on a mission to preserve the Cajun healing tradition for generations to come.”
  • Mother Cow, Mother India: A Multispecies Politics of Dairy in India by Yamini Narayanan, due February 2023—”India imposes stringent criminal penalties, including life imprisonment in some states, for cow slaughter, based on a Hindu ethic of revering the cow as sacred. And yet India is among the world’s leading producers of beef, leather, and milk, industries sustained by the mass slaughter of bovines. What is behind this seeming contradiction? What do bovines, deemed holy in Hinduism, experience in the Indian milk and beef industries? Yamini Narayanan asks and answers these questions, introducing cows and buffaloes as key subjects in India’s cow protectionism, rather than their treatment hitherto as mere objects of political analysis. Emphasizing human–animal hierarchical relations, Narayanan argues that the Hindu framing of the cow as “mother” is one of human domination, wherein bovine motherhood is simultaneously capitalized for dairy production and weaponized by right-wing Hindu nationalists to violently oppress Muslims and Dalits. Using ethnographic and empirical data gathered across India, this book reveals the harms caused to buffaloes, cows, bulls, and calves in dairying, and the exploitation required of the diverse, racialized labor throughout India’s dairy production continuum to obscure such violence. Ultimately, Narayanan traces how the unraveling of human domination and exploitation of farmed animals is integral to progressive multispecies democratic politics, speculating on the real possibility of a post-dairy society, based on vegan agricultural policies for livelihoods and food security.”
  • Silent Comedy Star Harold Lloyd Had A Somewhat NSFW Hobby“—”More recently still, I was a little shocked to discover that Harold Lloyd, that squeaky-clean character who seemed like the sight of a woman’s breasts might make him keel over, became a prolific amateur photographer later in life. And that hobby involved looking at many, many boobs.” Also “Silent Film’s Third Genius : Harold Lloyd Put on His Glasses–and Made Film History.” A couple editions of the book: Harold Lloyd : Hollywood Pin-up en 3-D !, Harold Lloyd’s Hollywood Nudes in 3-D!, 3-D Hollywood.
  • George Orwell loved the work of forgotten author Jack Hilton. Now a Manchester bartender has revived it. Hilton died modestly and unacclaimed, and for 80 years his novels have been virtually impossible to get hold of after they went out of print, the ownership of the publishing rights unknown.”
  • Inside the War Between Trump and His Generals. How Mark Milley and others in the Pentagon handled the national-security threat posed by their own Commander-in-Chief.”—”Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade. This doesn’t look good for me.” From The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. Also “Trump Asked Aide Why His Generals Couldn’t Be Like Hitler’s, Book Says. The former president once asked his chief of staff why his military leadership couldn’t be more like the German generals who had reported to Adolf Hitler, according to an excerpt.”
  • A Biochemist’s View of Life’s Origin Reframes Cancer and Aging. The biochemist Nick Lane thinks life first evolved in hydrothermal vents where precursors of metabolism appeared before genetic information. His ideas could lead us to think differently about aging and cancer.” About Transformer: The Deep Chemistry of Life and Death by Nick Lane
  • Belonging: Natural histories of place, identity and home by Amanda Thomson—”Reflecting on family, identity and nature, Belonging is a personal memoir about what it is to have and make a home. It is a love letter to nature, especially the northern landscapes of Scotland and the Scots pinewoods of Abernethy – home to standing dead trees known as snags, which support the overall health of the forest. Belonging is a book about how we are held in thrall to elements of our past. It speaks to the importance of attention and reflection, and will encourage us all to look and observe and ask questions of ourselves. Beautifully written and featuring Amanda Thomson’s artwork and photography throughout, it explores how place, language and family shape us and make us who we are.”
  • Undefined Boundary, the Journal of Psychick Albion, V1 I1—”From William Blake to Julian Cope, there have been innumerable seers who have engaged with their British locales in modes of hallucinatory intensity. These visionaries reassert a radical potentiality to the question of Albion which remains perpetually relevant. Undefined Boundary will explore this psychedelic and numinous underbelly of British culture with a view to keeping the sacred flame alive.”
  • Necronomicon: Fragments of Nergak by Simon—”The new book of Rituals from the Magical Arts of the Necronomicon.” Or, in other words: “More” “Necronomicon” “by” “Simon”
  • On Faith, Liminality, and Rulership: Outtakes from Sasha Ravitch’s Interview with J.M. Hamade on the Sun of Knowledge.” About The Sun of Knowledge (Shams al-Ma’arif): An Arabic Grimoire in Selected Translation by Ahmad Ibn ‘Ali Al-Buni, illo & commentary J M Hamade, trans Amina Inloes (affiliate link)
  • How saving a bookshop can strengthen society. Bookshops strengthen the social fabric, one of many reasons The TS Bookshop must be saved, argues Mary Dalmau.”
  • US library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors: ‘We will not ban the books’. Residents of Jamestown, Michigan, voted this week to shut down town’s library rather than tolerate certain LGBTQ books.”
  • ‘Content’ Erases Wall Between Fact & Fiction.” Excerpt from Content by Kate Eichhorn.
  • Am I Normal? by Sarah Chaney review – it’s OK to be strange. An examination of the 200-year-old history of the notion of ‘normal’ and its power to alienate and oppress.” About Am I Normal?: The 200-Year Search for Normal People (and Why They Don’t Exist) by Sarah Chaney.
  • Gillian Tindall: From Mont Blanc to Magaluf.” About Tourists: How the British Went Abroad to Find Themselves by Lucy Lethbridge.
  • How Universal Are Our Emotions? Psychologists have argued that affect is profoundly shaped by culture. They shouldn’t feel so confident.” About Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions by Batja Mesquita.
  • The Making of a Conspiracy Theory. On the fabrication of well-poisoning accusations in medieval Europe.” Excerpt from Poisoned Wells: Accusations, Persecution, and Minorities in Medieval Europe, 1321–1422 by Tzafrir Barzilay.
  • When Cities Treated Cars as Dangerous Intruders. To many urban Americans in the 1920s, the car and its driver were tyrants that deprived others of their freedom.” Adapted from Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City by Peter Norton.
  • The Nearly Perfect Necromancy of Lady Mondegreen: A Practical Guide to Malaprop Magic by Clint Marsh & Alexis Berger—”In The Nearly Perfect Necromancy of Lady Mondegreen, author Clint Marsh plumbs the promise of malaprop magic, showing us how we might breathe new life into art, romance, and other creative endeavors. This practical and humorous essay features whimsical illustrations by Alexis Berger.”
  • Textbook publisher: NFTs will let us squeeze even more money out of students. But is there any reason to do it?”—”Textbook publisher Pearson suggests blockchain tech could let it take a cut of secondary textbook sales, capturing a section of the book market that’s so far escaped it.” Also “Pearson Says Blockchain Could Make It Money Every Time E-Books Change Hands“—”The move to digital helps diminish the secondary market, and technology like blockchain and NFTs allows us to participate in every sale of that particular item as it goes through its life,” by tracking the material’s unique identifier on the ledger from ‘owner A to owner B to owner C,’ said Bird, a former Disney executive.”—”It’s not the only new technology Pearson is looking at. ‘We have a whole team working on the implications of the metaverse and what that could mean for us,’ Bird added.'” ?
  • ‘The Sandman’ review: Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic gets the adaptation of dreams“—”Imprisoned by Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), an advocate of real-world Satanist Aleister Crowley” I think in both comic and show “rivals” would be more accurate, right? But, in the comic, I recall Burgess is more clearly modeled after Crowley’s look. Also “Enter “Sandman,” right on time for us to relate to his plight. Maybe Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece was always meant to be a TV series about survival and hope in the age of deceit.” Also “In the ’90s, ‘The Sandman’ was a Rosetta Stone for weirdos like me. Every detail from Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series, right down to Death’s eyeliner, became a secret handshake among literate freaks.”
  • Ex-Scientologists Came Forward with Shocking Child Trafficking Claims. Now They Say They’re Being Stalked. The three plaintiffs, all former members of the church’s hardcore Sea Org, filed an amended suit that also accuses Scientology head David Miscavige of dodging being served.”
  • Son of Prometheus: The Life and Work of Joséphin Péladan by Sasha Chaitow, pre-order now open, due September 2022. “With great joy we announce the forthcoming publication of Son of Prometheus by Sasha Chaitow. Based on her PhD thesis this ground-breaking in-depth study of the life and works of French esotericist Joséphin Péladan will precede her trilogy on Péladan’s esoteric work and art to be released by Theion in the coming years.” “This book is the first scholarly study of the life and work of Joséphin Péladan that succeeds in placing it in the context of the history of Western Esotericism while also providing a clear roadmap to the entirety of Péladan’s initiatory teachings and philosophy of the esoteric power of art.”
  • FYMA: A Lesser Key“—”FYMA: A Lesser Key to the Appropriation of Jewish Magic & Mysticism is a guide to understanding the history and results of antisemitism in western occult and esoteric movements, from the origins of “Solomonic” magic in medieval and Renaissance ceremonial grimoires, through the late 19th & early 20th century occult revival’s “Qabalistic” ritual, to ongoing appropriation and demonization in the 21st century.” “A labor of love & spite, the zine is both a personal and academic look at a widely ignored topic. This is a 22-page DRM-free PDF, with an original art cover and historic/public domain interior illustrations. A text-only version is also provided for accessibility.” Tweet—”after half a year of work, my academic zine on the history of antisemitism & appropriation in western occult movements is done ? a 22-page PDF full of citations, illustrated with historic & public domain images, pay-what-you-want (or FREE!)”
  • Sea creatures pollinate marine plants and algae, surprising scientists. Once thought to be a land-only phenomenon, pollination may have existed in the ocean millions of years before terrestrial plants appeared.”
  • From 2021: “Stanford astrophysicists report first detection of light from behind a black hole. Fulfilling a prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, researchers report the first-ever recordings of X-ray emissions from the far side of a black hole.”
  • Archaeologists Unearth ‘Lord of the Rings’-Like Fortress in Lost City“—”Archaeologist Michael Brown of Germany’s Heidelberg University and colleagues believe they may have found Natounia, an ancient military and religious complex in the Zagros Mountains dating to more than 2,000 years ago.”
  • Sea creatures pollinate marine plants and algae, surprising scientists. Once thought to be a land-only phenomenon, pollination may have existed in the ocean millions of years before terrestrial plants appeared.”
  • It’s raining PFAS: even in Antarctica and on the Tibetan plateau rainwater is unsafe to drink“—”Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made hazardous chemicals that are spread globally in the atmosphere and as a result they can be found in the rainwater and snow in even the most remote locations on Earth. During the last 20 years, guideline values for PFAS in drinking water, surface waters and soils have decreased dramatically due to new insights into their toxicity. As a result, the levels in environmental media are now ubiquitously above guideline levels.”
  • Mehr als kalter Kaffee. Vor allem im Sommer ist er der Renner: Cold Brew Coffee. Fix zubereiten geht aber leider nicht. Ein Team aus der Chemiefakultät der UDE wollte das ändern und hat dafür ein neues Brühverfahren entwickelt: Anstatt den Kaffeesatz für mindestens zwölf Stunden bei Raumtemperatur ziehen zu lassen, dauert ihr Prozess nur drei Minuten – dank Laser. Ihr Ergebnis haben sie in npj Science of Foodveröffentlicht.” (More than cold coffee. Especially in summer it is a hit: cold brew coffee. Unfortunately, it is not possible to prepare it in a fixed manner. A team from the UDE chemistry faculty wanted to change that and developed a new brewing process for this: Instead of allowing the coffee grounds to steep at room temperature for at least twelve hours, the process only takes three minutes – thanks to the laser. They published their results in the Science of Food journal.) Freakin’ lasers!
  • New hardware offers faster computation for artificial intelligence, with much less energy. Engineers working on ‘analog deep learning’ have found a way to propel protons through solids at unprecedented speeds.”
  • Trees and fungi are the ultimate friends with benefits“—”Trees might seem like the type who prefer to keep to themselves, but beneath your feet they are busy forming secret relationships with vast networks of underground fungi.” “It’s a friends-with-benefits arrangement that’s been around for millions of years, but researchers are only just beginning to unravel the secrets of how trees and fungi interact”
  • French Scientist Trolls Twitter By Claiming Chorizo Slice Is Actually A Distant Star. You never sausage a star as this.” Also: “Top scientist admits ‘space telescope image’ was actually a slice of chorizo.”
  • Billionaires are funding a massive treasure hunt in Greenland as ice vanishes“—”A band of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, among others, is betting that below the surface of the hills and valleys on Greenland’s Disko Island and Nuussuaq Peninsula there are enough critical minerals to power hundreds of millions of electric vehicles.”
  • The Problems with AI Go Way Beyond Sentience“—”A chatbot is a function. Functions are not sentient. But functions can be powerful. They can fool people. The important question is who will control them and whether they are used transparently.”
  • Electronics are built with death dates. Let’s not keep them a secret. Our analysis of 14 popular consumer devices found most could stop working in 3 to 4 years because of irreplaceable batteries. Here’s how we get the tech industry to design products that last longer — and do less damage to the environment.”
  • Thread is an epic primer by Doctorow on the ongoing Uber grift. Includes interrobangs.
  • Joe Keery, Lamorne Morris, Richa Moorjani Join ‘Fargo’ Season 5 at FX“—”The trio join previously announced season leads Jon Hamm, Juno Temple, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Most details about the character each will play is being kept under wraps. As previously announced, the new season is set in 2019 and asks the questions when is a kidnapping not a kidnapping, and what if your wife isn’t yours?”
  • ‘The first transmission of semen by fax’: the story of Bruce Dickinson’s batsh*t crazy horror movie Chemical Wedding. God, w*nking and Aleister Crowley – how Bruce Dickinson made his critically slated horror movie Chemical Wedding.”
  • Belphegor unleash hell in new video for ‘The Devils’.” Watch “BELPHEGOR – “The Devils” [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
  • 30 Days Lost in Space. A Hands On Story-Telling Experience Led By A Retired NASA Researcher / College Professor. Repair your broken spaceship, launch into orbit, and make it home alive.”—”Problem-solve your way out of all the messy consequences of getting stranded on an alien planet. Every day we will be working together to get you off that unfamiliar planet and getting closer to your return home. We will challenge you, quiz you, reward you, and be there for you when you need help. It won’t be the easiest thing you’ve done but after this 30-day challenge, you will have the knowledge to build your own projects from scratch!”
  • Watch “Batmobile raid hearing canceled, San Mateo DA considers dropping case — EXCLUSIVE“—”Holy breaking news, Batman, in the criminal case involving a replica of the Batmobile from that 1960s TV show. The San Mateo County District Attorney has called off the arraignment for the Batmobile builder from Indiana, who’s facing two criminal charges in a dispute with a wealthy realtor from Atherton.” More on this.
  • Ants infest woman’s Kindle — and start buying books on Amazon.” Did they buy Antkind: A Novel by Charlie Kaufman?
  • Watch “The Goats’ Origins | VFX Behind The Scenes of Thor: Love and Thunder“—”Jake Morrison, VFX Supervisor for Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder breaks down how Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder came to life in the film!”
  • ‘Batgirl’ Debacle Pushes DC Back Once Again. Warner Bros. wants to reach the heights of Marvel Studios, but it lacks the patience and understanding of its characters to ever get there, writes The Hollywood Reporter contributor Richard Newby.”— “Of course, the argument is that the risk of Batgirl wasn’t worth the possible reward. Yet, it so frequently seems that minority-led and -directed films are the projects considered risks. The cancellation of Batgirl is just another mark on the Hollywood myth that films led by women and people of color don’t make money. Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter famously thought of Black Panther and Captain Marvel as risks, blocking them from being made for years. We saw how those turned out.” “If a Batgirl movie with Keaton was considered too big a risk for Warner Bros. Discovery, that doesn’t bode well for the previously announced “in development” projects like Black Canary, Static, Hourman, Plastic Man and Zatanna. With Wonder Twins already canceled after the casting process, it seems that Zaslav has a lack of imagination when it comes to the variety of characters, tones and genres at his disposal.” Also “The DCEU is fine, if by fine you mean a flaming dumpster fire perched on the edge of a volcano full of poison sharks. All hell has broken loose.” Also “Warner Bros. Discovery Thinks Fandom/HBO Max Is for the Boys“—”they decided to take it one step further by saying that HBO Max has a ‘male skew’ and that it is the ‘Home of ‘Fandoms” vs. Discovery+’s ‘female skew’ while being the ‘Home of ‘Genredoms.”” Not just braindead, but also sexist AF: Discovery Plus HBOmax sexist AF slide Tweet—”My wife told me she wanted to watch Pretty Little Liars on HBO Max, I slapped the remote out of her hand & told her she had to watch Property Brothers like [Warner Bros Discovery] says.” Also “The Boys Fires Shots At Warner Bros. and DC With the ‘Launch’ of Vought++.” Tweet—”Vought is bringing your streaming together in one, fairly easy-to-use app. VTV+, VNN+ and VSN+ are now part of Vought++! It’s plus-plus, for only an additional $29.99 per month. Rewatch Dawn of the Seven with the guys, dive in to Property Flippers with the gals, plus more!” Tweet—”Those bellends also pulled all their Starlight, Soldier Boy, and Seth Rogen content. Unsubscribe.”

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.