Elsewhere for February 16, 2020

You should read this for 2/16/2020:

Art and Film

Japanese Illustrated Books
The Met has digitized and made publicly available over 650 eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese illustrated books from The Met’s Department of Asian Art. Almost four hundred of the books in the collection are from the Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow collection of Japanese illustrated books, purchased by the Met in 2003.

The Green Knight is a new 2020 film featuring the medieval tale known as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from BL Cotton Nero A.x. This is the trailer, featuring Dev Patel.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Stationery As A Inexpensive Way To Relive Your Childhood And The Blackfeet Indian Pencil: My Favorite Pencil Of All-Time My father used Blackfeet Indian Pencils. I’m not sure where he bought them; possibly The Nature Company. But I remember both the wooden box, and the paper slide box. They were the first “natural” pencils I remember.

Via Kirk McElhearn: Binge Reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Novels
McElhearn has been re-reading the entire Jack Reacher series, and he makes some interesting observations, even if like me, you’ve never read any of the books or seen the movies. I’ve been working my way through C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series.

Via Open Culture: Discover the Disappearing Turkish Language That is Whistled, Not Spoken I knew about Chinese and South American whistle-languages; this Turkish whistled language is new to me.


H/T Lisa Carnell:United States Spends Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education

Food and Drink

Rachel Roddy’s Recipe For Brutti Ma Buoni Hazelnut Biscuits

Brutti ma buoni, or “ugly but good”, is the name of this week’s recipe: hazelnut and egg white biscuits. Like many edible things, their origins are disputed; it seems likely that the biscuits originated in Prato, a city and commune in Tuscany where they are also known as mandorlati di San Clemente. Wherever they originated, brutti ma buoni have migrated all over Italy and are now found in pretty much every bakery next to the soft almond biscuits, the biscuits made with wine (to dip in wine) and wisp-thin cat’s tongues.

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

I find I am really missing oven-roasted beets, and beet greens.

The Messy Business of Tacos

Making tortillas by hand involves skilled labor, even with the assistance of mechanical nixtamal mills and folding presses. Moreover, tortillas, like donuts, are best eaten fresh, preferably within a few hours off the griddle. In Mexico, tortilla factories have been largely a cottage industry, conveniently located on any street corner, and operating sporadically throughout the day for customers who line up before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This just-in-time business model, however, fit poorly in the postwar “Fordist” era of giant factories pursuing economies of scale.

Mexican Cookbook Collection

UTSA’s Mexican Cookbook Collection is comprised of more than 2,000 cookbooks, from 1789 to the present, with most books dating from 1940-2000. In addition to broad general coverage, the collection includes concentrations in the areas of regional cooking, healthy and vegetarian recipes, corporate advertising cookbooks, and manuscript recipe books.

A selection of the materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online, including manuscript cookbooks from the collection. These handwritten recipe books provide an intimate view of domestic life and Mexican culinary culture. Also available online is the extremely rare 1828 cookbook, Arte nuevo de cocina y repostería acomodado al uso mexicano, once owned by Diana Kennedy.

History and Archaeology

The 200-year-old diary that’s rewriting gay history

The diary challenges preconceptions about what “ordinary people” thought about homosexuality — showing there was a debate about whether someone really should be discriminated against for their sexuality.

America’s First Drag Queen Was Also America’s First LGBTQ Activist and a Former Slave

Science and Nature

“Not just a space potato”: Nasa unveils ‘astonishing’ details of most distant object ever visited


A Conservative Judge Draws a Line in the Sand With the Trump Administration

Roger Stone Case: Chief Justice Urged To Step In As 💩🔥💰’s ‘Abuse Of Power’ Condemned

Liu had overseen numerous cases stemming from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as well as that of the former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who has long been assailed by Trump.
She reportedly resigned from the treasury department on Wednesday evening after her nomination as its under-secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, a Senate-confirmed position, was unceremoniously pulled by Trump in what appeared to be retaliation.


Via Open Culture: The e-Book Imagined in 1935

Women’s Work

Proposal to include tampons in Tennessee’s tax-free weekend faces pushback

Republicans reportedly pushed back on adding the hygiene products to the list during a Tuesday hearing, arguing that people who use the products could purchase too many if not given a limit.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Native burial sites blown up for US border wall “It’s part of the historic homeland of the O’odham. Apache are buried here. 💩🔥💰 waived the Native American Graves Protection Act to allow this.”

This is a revolting assault on the fragile rule of law

And then — and this is the part that is so disturbing — the prosecutors were ordered, either because of the president’s tweet or irrespective of it (and both scenarios are awful), to rescind their original recommendation and to ask the judge that Stone receive more lenient treatment at his sentencing. What the prosecutors were ordered to do was dangerous and unsettling and undermined everything they — and we — stood for as Justice Department professionals. They properly refused.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

California Takes Revenge on Trump

While trashing California with his gutter mouth, the president has used his office to physically trash the home to nearly one in eight Americans — seeking to make its air more polluted, its water less clean, its forests more vulnerable to catastrophic fires.
But now the Golden State is poised to strike back. By moving its presidential primary from June to March 3, California will finally exert a political influence commensurate to its size. Almost 500 delegates, a fourth of the number needed to win the Democratic nomination, are at stake.

Elsewhere for February 9, 2020

You should read this for 2/09/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

‘Deaf’ genius Beethoven was able to hear his final symphony after all

From 1818, [Beethoven] carried blank “conversation books”, in which friends and acquaintances jotted down comments, to which he would reply aloud. . . . “The conversation books are going to be a game-changer,” Albrecht said. Among the surviving examples – two in the composer’s birthplace, the Beethoven-Haus museum in Bonn, and 137 in Berlin State Library – he has so far found 23 direct references to the subject of hearing, and estimates that several dozen more will show “he could still hear something”.

Closer to Van Eyck

This web application provides information on the current restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece, and it allows you to study the polyptych yourself. You are granted intimate access to the world of Hubert and Jan van Eyck, and to that of the art restorers who have painstakingly revealed the earlier glory of these paintings, which had been hidden for many centuries.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Stephen King quits Facebook over false claims in political ads

‘No Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition or Mumbo Jumbo’: Dorothy L Sayers and the Detection Club

Food and Drink

Sazerac Cocktail

History and Archaeology

Archaeologists Put Stone Tools Through Modern Engineering Tests

Science and Nature

Wild grey seal caught ‘clapping’ on camera for the first time “The sound resembles ‘shotgun-like cracks’ and attracts potential mates”


Cherokee Nation to preserve culturally important seeds in Arctic vault “Varieties of corn, beans and squash seen as central to Cherokee identity will be deposited in Norway’s Svalbard seed bank”


Turns out that busted Iowa Caucuses app was also extremely hackable

Women’s Work

A new app to support female journalists facing harassment is looking for beta testers

Via The Guardian; a Rachel Maddow interview: Rachel Maddow on her critics: ‘Your hatred makes me stronger. Come on! Give me more!’

“Russia interfered in the 2016 election to try to elect Donald Trump, and Donald Trump got elected and he is weirdly and irreversibly supplicant toward Russia and Putin. Like, OK, I’m going to cover that,” she says. “I don’t care what anybody says about me. I don’t play requests and I don’t worry about the criticism. If we get something wrong, I’ll correct it, but, in the absence of that, the criticism for focusing on real news stories that bother people – that’s what I get paid to do.”

Outing A Person Rarely Brings Us Closer To Their Truth

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Email release reveals chaos sowed by President Trump’s hurricane tweets

The picture that emerges from this trove of emails is one of civil servants and government employees at NOAA and the National Weather Service trying to do what was right in the midst of a political (and self-made) crisis at the top and a natural disaster (Dorian) pressuring them from without.

Photo Of Trump’s Shockingly Orange Face Launches A Thousand Memes

You’ll immediately notice that Trump’s face is glowing orange. I’m talking Big Tangerine Energy here. Definitely more bronzed than usual. Not only is his face clearly covered in tinted makeup or tanner of some sort, but there’s also clear line where the makeup ends. Trump’s hair is blown back a bit, and his pale scalp halo hovers above what looks like an orange mask.

Why Would a Billionaire Charge the Secret Service $650 a Night?

Why Would a Billionaire Charge the Secret Service $650 a Night?

the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service (in other words, the taxpayer) from $400 to $650 a night to stay at Mar-a-Lago while guarding the president. At another Trump property, his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, the Secret Service was billed $17,000 a month for a small cottage, even when the president wasn’t present. These are just snapshots. Despite heroic public-records work by the Post, there’s still no complete picture of just what the Trump Organization is charging the Secret Service.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The-Best Ways To Use Your Old Silica Gel Packets

See something? SAY SOMETHING!

For Peat’s Sake: How To Protect Bogs

Peatlands are considered the most efficient carbon sinks on Earth. The plants that grow in them capture the carbon released by the peat, maintaining an equilibrium that we cannot afford to lose. Extracted and degraded peat bogs do the opposite: they release a lot of carbon dioxide. It goes without saying that we can’t afford to destroy them while the world burns.

Elsewhere for February 2, 2020

You should read this for 2/02/2020:

Art , Music, and Film

CBS makes Star Trek: Picard pilot free on YouTube for a limited time

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

In The Internet Era, Public Libraries Are More Vital Than Ever

“Compared to a company like Google that is monetizing your pursuit of information, everyone that you interact with at a public library has a similar ethics and value framework around privacy, equity of access to information, the free marketplace of ideas, and is willing to die on that hill,” Jeff Lambert, the assistant director of digital inclusion at the Queens Public Library, told me. “As these companies get larger and more ubiquitous, and as data becomes an increasingly commodified and valuable asset, there’s a lot of public education to do.”

H/T Perks: Dear Media: Try Again. American Dirt Isn’t Cultural Appropriation. That’s Not the Issue. This is.

The problem is that [American Dirt] is misappropriating a stereotype of Mexican immigrant (and, by conflated default, Latino American) “culture,” and that stereotype sucks giant donkey balls.

Smorgasbords Don’t Have Bottoms

A decade ago, few in the industry anticipated the comeback of indie bookstores. But the numbers are unambiguous: between 2009 and 2018, the number of indies in the US grew by nearly 40 percent. Ninety-nine stores opened in 2018, up from seventy-five in 2017. The indie model depends on expertise and endless hustle — as well as the active participation of consumers who have been galvanized by buy-local campaigns.

. . .

As digital audio attains complete domination over CDs, audiobook sales keep rising, reaching nearly $1 billion in 2018, the seventh year in a row of double-digit revenue growth. Helped along by our smartphone addiction, the podcast boom, and the unending American commute, audiobooks have become the industry’s most durably growing sector

. . .

In 2012, the Obama Justice Department sued both Apple and the publishers on antitrust grounds over conspiring to fix ebook prices. Though the US district court judge Denise Cote ruled in the government’s favor, the agency model eventually became standard anyway. Print did not go extinct, but ebook sales slowed down.

Rare Charlotte Brontë ‘little book’ to go on show at Haworth

A rare book the size of a matchbox written by the teenage Charlotte Brontë will go on public display for the first time after a museum paid €600,000 (£505,000) to bring it back to Britain.

This is one of six tiny, hand-made books created by the teen aged Charlotte Brontë. This particular book contains several short stories. All five of the surviving books are now at the Brontë Haworth museum.


Classical Music Has a ‘God Status’ Problem

But since the termination of Thomas and 10 other faculty members because of harassment, Berklee has instituted new measures aimed at preventing harassment and misconduct on campus. These include a policy prohibiting intimate relationships between students and anyone working at the school, and a policy of informing potential future employers of involuntarily terminated Berklee faculty members of the terms of their termination, should prospective employers ask for a reference.

. . .

Over the past year, The Atlantic talked to more than four dozen young musicians about their experiences with classical-music education and sexual misconduct. Their accounts reveal a culture built on hierarchy, critique, and reputation, and show how such a culture can facilitate abuse.

Food and Drink

Cornstarch Does Its Best Work When It’s Hot Recipes that call for cornstarch as a thickener routinely defeat me. This article on using cornstarch in cooking has some potentially helpful tips.

History and Archaeology

Ancient poop reveals what happened after the fall of Cahokia

Based on the amounts of coprostanol present in sediment layers dating to the centuries between the fall of Cahokia and the arrival of European colonists in the area, it turns out that indigenous groups moved back into the area around the abandoned city within a century or so after its collapse. That contradicts the popular idea that huge swaths of what is now the Midwest were basically empty when Europeans showed up.

Go read the article; the data suggests that flooding led to the city being emptied, and climate change affected the ability to grow corn. Eventually grasslands and bison arrived, with the indigenous population increasing.

Science and Nature

This beautiful, hypnotic video of the sun is in the highest resolution ever taken

Purell’s Unproven Disease-Fighting Claims Get Sanitized After Fda Warning

Among the questionable claims are that Purell sanitizer:

  • “kills more than 99.99% of most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] & VRE [vancomycin-resistant enterococci].”
  • “can reduce student absenteeism by up to 51%… Additionally, teachers who follow this program also experience a 10% reduction of absenteeism.”
  • “may be effective against viruses such as the Ebola virus, norovirus, and influenza.”

While alcohol-based sanitizers have been shown to effectively kill many germs, that finding is different from data indicating that sanitizer use reduces infections and the spread of disease.

Short version: Wash your hands. Wash your hands frequently.


The Sims at 20: two decades of life, love and reorganising the kitchen

The Sims is so enormously compelling because it offers the fantasy of control over life itself, including all the things that are so maddeningly unpredictable in the real world – relationships, careers, family, house renovations. The rules of The Sims essentially state that if you work hard and do everything you’re supposed to do – get a job, buy a house, progress through the ranks to earn more money and buy more stuff – happiness will follow. It’s a beguiling capitalist fantasy – and even if things aren’t going well, you can always type in the “motherlode” cheat code to shower yourself in riches.

YouTube reversed my bogus copyright strike after I threatened to write this


Should Your Antivirus Software Be Spying On You?

Back in August, Wladimir Palant, the creator behind Adblock Plus, wrote a blog post detailing how Avast Online Security and Avast Secure Browser were collecting and selling the browsing data of the Czech company’s 400 million users. In response, both Opera and Mozilla pulled Avast extensions from their respective add on markets, forcing Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek to go on a PR tour last month to downplay the issue.

Vicek’s going to have another busy week. A joint investigation by both Motherboard and PC Magazine (you should read both) obtained documents highlighting how the company collects the browsing data of its 450 million active antivirus customers, then, with the help of a third party outfit named Jumpshot, sells access to that data to a laundry list of companies:

Update: After this article was written, Avast’s CEO came out with a statement stating that the company would be shutting down its data collection and sale efforts, and terminating its relationship with Jumpstart. Again, something that would have never happened if a journalist hadn’t discovered it

See also: Avast shutters data-selling subsidiary amid user outrage

New “Off-Facebook Activity” Portal Lets You Know Where You’re Being Followed “It’s helpful to know which businesses track you, but you can’t do much about it.”

How Myst’s designers stuffed an entire universe onto a single CD-ROM

Women’s Work

“She’s more qualified than you are for your job”: Seth Meyers blasts Pompeo over bizarre NPR tantrum

It seems Secretary of State Mike Pompeo really didn’t like the line of questioning in a recent interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly. So, like any respectable public figure, he dodged the question, waited until the mics were off, and threw a little tantrum. This included Pompeo apparently expressing a belief that Americans “don’t care about Ukraine” — a belief Seth Meyers easily poked holes in on Tuesday’s episode of Late Night.

See also: After Contentious Interview, Pompeo Publicly Accuses NPR Journalist Of Lying To Him. Keep in mind that Mary Louise Kellly is a solid old-school veteran journalist, who has a particular emphasis on international security, is well published, the co-host of All Things Considered, educated at Harvard University (1993) with degrees in government, French language, and literature. Two years later, she completed a master’s degree in European studies at Cambridge University in England. She knows where the Ukraine is, even if Pompeo can’t find it with both hands.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Video appears to show Trump ordering Marie Yovanovitch’s removal

“Get rid of her!” Trump says on the tape, reportedly addressing a White House aide at the dining table.
“Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Seth Meyers Brings Receipts On Trump’s History Of Bullying And Revenge After Impeachment Threats

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

How to fight racism using science

We all know someone who has casually racist opinions: the misattribution of elite athletic success to ancestry rather than training, that east Asian students are naturally better at maths; or that Jews are innately good with money. Racism may be back, so get tooled up, because science is no ally to racists. Here are some standard canards of prejudice, and why science says something different.

Planting 1 Trillion Trees Might Not Actually Be A Good Idea

The lead author of that study, however, cautions against pitting all tree planting efforts against forest conservation. “It’s not like these two things are in competition,” says Wayne Walker, a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. Maintaining existing forests should be a priority, but restoring trees to places where they’ve been lost can sometimes be the next best option, he says. Still, not all tree-planting initiatives are created equal. The location, species planted, and how people are involved can all jeopardize success.

Short answer: Protect the indigenous peoples and their forests in the Amazon and elsewhere, and plant appropriate trees in a thoughtful way.

Elsewhere for January 26, 2020

You should read this for 1/26/2020:

Art and Film

Via Open Culture: A Medical Student Creates Intricate Anatomical Embroideries of the Brain, Heart, Lungs & More

Methods both scientific and artistic are a source of fascination for Khan, who began taking needlework inspiration from anatomy as an undergrad studying biomedical sciences.

Open Culture: How to Draw Like an Architect: An Introduction in Six Videos

Trump unveils logo for Starfleet … er, Space Force … and Trekkers take to Twitter

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Dedicated followers: collectors of book inscriptions share their notes

Food and Drink

How to cook the perfect mapo tofu, including a recipe

History and Archaeology

Selective Hearing “On the specious new history podcasts”

ABC News, Australia: Budj Bim Cultural Landscape fire reveals new sections of ancient aquatic system

The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, which includes an elaborate series of stone-lined channels and pools set up by the Gunditjmara people to harvest eels, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List last year.
Some parts of the landscape, which also features evidence of stone dwellings, have been dated back 6,600 years — older than Egypt’s pyramids.

Ancient African skeletons hint at a “ghost lineage” of humans

Artifacts indicate that humans have occupied Shum Laka on and off for at least 30,000 years, and there are skeletons that date back thousands of years. The research team behind the new work tried to obtain DNA from 18 different skeletons and succeeded with four: a young child and an adolescent from a single grave 8,000 years old, and neighboring graves of two young boys from about 3,000 years ago.

Science and Nature

H/T Frances: Our Secret Delta “An epic story about power, beauty and how one of South Carolina’s last great places faces new threats”

Another Beautiful Image of Jupiter from Juno During a Flyby. Great Work by Gerald Eichstadt and Sean Doran


Artificial Personas and Public Discourse

We can hope that our ability to identify artificial personas keeps up with our ability to disguise them. If the arms race between deep fakes and deep-fake detectors is any guide, that’ll be hard as well. The technologies of obfuscation always seem one step ahead of the technologies of detection. And artificial personas will be designed to act exactly like real people.
In the end, any solutions have to be nontechnical. We have to recognize the limitations of online political conversation, and again prioritize face-to-face interactions. These are harder to automate, and we know the people we’re talking with are actual people. This would be a cultural shift away from the internet and text, stepping back from social media and comment threads. Today that seems like a completely unrealistic solution.


Chatbots Are a Danger to Democracy “We need to identify, disqualify and regulate chatbots before they destroy political speech.”

In the days following the disappearance of the columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Arabic-language social media erupted in support for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was widely rumored to have ordered his murder. On a single day in October, the phrase “we all have trust in Mohammed bin Salman” featured in 250,000 tweets. “We have to stand by our leader” was posted more than 60,000 times, along with 100,000 messages imploring Saudis to “Unfollow enemies of the nation.” In all likelihood, the majority of these messages were generated by chatbots.

Walt Mossberg from 2016: Mossberg: The iCloud loophole and Daring Fireball: Regarding Reuters’s Report That Apple Dropped Plan for Encrypting iCloud Backups See also Michael Tsai’s roundup: Apple Dropped Plans for End-to-End Encrypted iCloud Backups After FBI Objected

Report: Bezos’ phone uploaded GBs of personal data after getting Saudi prince’s WhatsApp message

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Alexander Hamilton dispensed of Trump’s impeachment defense in 1788

Trump’s primary argument—issued in a response to the House impeachment trial brief and summons he received this weekend—is that the impeachment is bunk because the articles fail to allege a “violation of law or crime, let alone ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ as required by the Constitution.” The president also complains that he’s been deprived of due process, relying on the standards outlined for criminal trials.
The historical record, however, doesn’t support Trump’s position that the two processes must mirror each other in form or function. Some have even called comparisons between impeachment and criminal proceedings “bogus” and “bad-faith arguments.”

Trump’s Impeachment Brief Is a Howl of Rage

Read together, Cipollone’s October letter and this new document written with Sekulow set expectations for the president’s defense: barely contained, and barely coherent, rage—a middle finger stuck at the impeachment process, rather than any kind of organized effort to convince senators or the public that the president’s conviction would be unmerited, imprudent, or unjust.

. . .

But the president isn’t fundamentally making a legal case here. His arguments are that his phone call was “perfect,” that there’s a “deep state” conspiracy against him, and that impeachment is an effort to overturn an election. You don’t need good lawyers to make such silly arguments. You need lawyers who will yell untruths loudly, lawyers whose very presence will argue the us-against-them nature of the president’s defense.

Robert Reich: If Impeached By The House, Trump Is Literally Unpardonable | Opinion

If Trump is impeached by the House, he can never be pardoned for these crimes. He cannot pardon himself (it’s dubious that a president has this self-pardoning power in any event), and he cannot be pardoned by a future president.
Even if a subsequent president wanted to pardon Trump in the interest of, say, domestic tranquility, she could not.

Elsewhere for January 19, 2020

You should read this for 1/19/2020:

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Hear Christopher Tolkien (RIP) Read the Work of His Father J.R.R. Tolkien, Which He Tirelessly Worked to Preserve


How College Became a Commodity “Market-based thinking is at the heart of how academe thinks of itself. That’s a travesty.

H/T: YamineTwo States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.

The books have the same publisher. They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation’s deepest partisan divides.

Hundreds of differences — some subtle, others extensive — emerged in a New York Times analysis of eight commonly used American history textbooks in California and Texas, two of the nation’s largest markets.

Food and Drink

Easy Homemade Hummus

Homemade hummus only takes 5 minutes, and it’s so much better than store-bought. All you need are a few cans of chickpeas, some tahini, olive oil, some seasonings, and a food processor.

History and Archaeology

From Ancient Scotland to Online Auctions: A Tale of Roman Nails

Science and Nature

Forgotten trove of fossil feathers belonged to tiny polar dinosaurs

Young sea eagle takes up residence among Oxfordshire’s red kites


Every Mac wallpaper from Cheetah to Catalina, combined into a single image It’s really lovely, and you can download it.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

How ‘Lock Her Up!’ just blew up

And now an investigation authorized by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into potential wrongdoing by Clinton has turned up a total of zero wrongdoing of any sort by either Hillary or Bill Clinton — or anyone associated with the Clinton Foundation.
Now, contrast that with another multi-year probe originating in the Justice Department: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That inquiry led to 199 criminal counts against 37 people and entities. Seven people pleaded guilty; six were sentenced to prison. And Mueller concluded that not only had Russia engaged in a deep and broad effort to influence the election to help Trump and hurt Clinton but also that Trump himself had engaged in a series of behaviors during the investigation that could have been construed as obstructive.

Trump ‘abused’ and ‘harassed’ Kirstjen Nielsen over border, new book reveals

when the then secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, warned the president that shutting down the border would be illegal, the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, approved the radical measure – despite it being against the law.

‘Muslim’ Is Not an Insult

In response to the tweet, the White House press secretary told Fox News that the president was “making it clear that Democrats are … almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans.” But if the president simply wanted to link Democrats to Iran’s supreme leader, he could have tweeted any number of images that did not include them wearing attire worn by millions of Muslims around the world, none of whom has anything to do with ayatollahs or terrorism.

Trump impeachment: Democrats announce new evidence ahead of vote

Mr Parnas was given updates on the ambassador’s location and mobile phone use by a man named Robert F. Hyde. Mr Hyde is a Republican Congressional candidate in Connecticut and Trump campaign donor.
“She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off,” one message reads. “They will let me know when she’s on the move,” another says.
Ms Yovanovitch has called for an investigation into the messages. “The notion that American citizens and others were monitoring [her] movements… is disturbing,” her lawyer said.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030

By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

Elsewhere for January 12, 2020

You should read this for 1/12/2020:

Art and Film

Last week, a post on the r/SaltierThanCrait subreddit — a forum that started as a place for Star Wars fans to pick apart 2017’s The Last Jedi — caused an eruption. Written by a user named egoshoppe, the message claimed director J.J. Abrams’ original cut of The Rise of Skywalker was 40 minutes longer than the film’s two hour, 22-minute theatrical runtime and contained a large chunk of material that would have made some fans happier, including a scene featuring actors Hayden Christensen and Samuel L Jackson, reprising their roles to help fellow Jedi Rey defeat the resurrected Emperor Palpatine.

. . .

The Star Wars fandom is now a nesting doll of speculation, paranoia, and anxiety about corporate overreach — growing more insular and reactionary in the eight years since Disney took over Star Wars.

The Mandalorian – Spaghetti Western Trailer

Books, Writing, Libraries, and Language

Statement by T. S. Eliot on the opening of the Emily Hale letters at Princeton It must have been profoundly difficult for Eliot to write this deeply personal and introspective letter.

Romantic fiction awards cancelled after racism row prompts mass boycott “The 2019 Rita awards for romance writing have been pulled after more than 300 books were withdrawn from competition in protest.”

As of Tuesday morning, more than 300 books had been withdrawn from the contest by authors who were critical of the RWA’s recent decision to discipline romance author Courtney Milan over her public criticism of passages in Kathryn Lynn Davis’s Somewhere Lies the Moon. Milan, a longtime critic of racism in the romance industry, had called Davis’s novel a “racist mess” for its depictions of Chinese women; Davis and her fellow romance novelist Suzan Tisdale responded by filing formal ethics complaints with the RWA, alleging Milan was a “bully” who had hurt their careers.

The RWA’s behavior, and their hypocritical inappropriate response to Courtney Milan is just the final idiocy in a twenty year history of bad behavior.

Chinese Skiers Training In Norway Ask Local Library To Remove ‘Controversial’ Books

The Norway Today site reports on the latest attempt by Chinese citizens to censor material in other countries. It involves a delegation of more than 40 Chinese cross-country skiers, along with 15 coaches and managers, who are in the Norwegian municipality of Meråker to train for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

“They” is the word of the decade

Food and Drink

You Don’t Have To Preheat Your Popcorn Oil

Jane Carnall @eyeedinburgh: On the British and Tea

History and Archaeology

Japan’s Sacred Island

The sheer cliffs of the small island of Okinoshima rise abruptly out of the sea some 40 miles off the coast of the Japanese island of Kyushu. Okinoshima’s sole resident is a Shinto priest who serves as the caretaker of small wooden shrines built among huge boulders on its southern half. For followers of Shintoism, Japan’s indigenous religion, Okinoshima is the sacred home of a trio of goddesses who, among their many responsibilities, ensure the safety of mariners. Fishing communities on the island of Oshima and in the nearby Munakata region on Kyushu still retain beliefs associated with the goddesses that originated perhaps some 2,000 years ago.

Archaeologists find graves of high-status Romans in Somerset

Steve Membery, an archaeologist and member of the South West Heritage Trust, which has overseen the excavations, said: “This site is a significant discovery. The individuals were evidently of some status. Most graves in Roman Britain are pretty much a rectangular cut with someone laid on their back. They’ve actually built these graves. There’s been a lot more care taken over these.”

Via Dr. Caitlin R. Green: A man of possible African ancestry buried in Anglo-Scandinavian York

The aim of the following brief note is to direct attention to a burial from a late ninth- to early eleventh-century cemetery in York. The burials here were originally excavated in 1989–90, but an osteological analysis in 2015 suggested that one of the people buried here was a man of possible African or mixed ancestry.

But this bit is particularly interesting:

In addition to such archaeological parallels, attention can also be drawn to the evidence of the eleventh-century Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, which relates the story of a Viking raid on Morocco (Mauritania) in the mid-ninth century that led to the taking of ‘a great host’ of captives . . . This account was discussed at length in a previous post, and the notion that it reflects real events is supported by Al-Bakrī’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-Mamālik, which relates that ‘Majūs [Vikings]—God curse them—landed at Nakūr [Nekor, Morocco], in the year 244 (858–9).

Read the post, and follow Dr. Green’s blog; it’s well worth it.

Science and Nature

H/T Charlie Stross — Nature: Television viewing and cognitive decline in older age: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing “Overall our results provide preliminary data to suggest that television viewing for more than 3.5 hours per day is related to cognitive decline.”

Ditching coal in the US is saving lives, helping crops


The Americans dying because they can’t afford medical care “Millions of Americans – as many as 25% of the population – are delaying getting medical help because of skyrocketing costs”

Despite millions of Americans delaying medical treatment due to the costs, the US still spends the most on healthcare of any developed nation in the world, while covering fewer people and achieving worse overall health outcomes. A 2017 analysis found the United States ranks 24th globally in achieving health goals set by the United Nations. In 2018, $3.65tn was spent on healthcare in the United States, and these costs are projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.5%t over the next decade.

Via NPR: Deceased GOP Strategist’s Daughter Makes Files Public That Republicans Wanted Sealed This has to do with GOP interest in re-districting to support a racist, classist agenda, as well as 💩🔥💰’s desire for a citizenship question on the census, also racially motivated.

Technology and the Net

Turn-by-turntables: How drivers got from point A to point B in the early 1900s

We Get Signal: ‘All Your Base Are Belong to Us’ Is 15 Years Old This piece about the “All your base” meme came out in February of 2016, but I completely missed it.

The One Remaining Use of the Word “Macintosh”

H/T John Gruber: Bruce Schneier on Scaring People into Supporting Backdoors

Which particular horseman is in vogue depends on time and circumstance. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the US government has been pushing the terrorist scare story. Recently, it seems to have switched to pedophiles and child exploitation. It began in September, with a long New York Times story on child sex abuse

Women’s Work

Finland’s new prime minister wants her country on a four-day workweek

‘I left parts of my body in Iraq’: Duckworth rips into GOP rep who said Democrats ‘love’ terrorists In case you missed it, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia is a low-life lying coproplite who isn’t interested in anyone or anything but himself.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

The Horror of Trump’s Wounded Knee Tweet

Legal minds clapped right back after Trump’s absurd war tweet

But as Oona Hathaway, a professor of international law at Yale Law School, pointed out, the president’s tweet violates the War Powers Act in a number of ways.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Native American Remains Reinterred in Arizona

“It’s an amazing time, because the relationships between the tribes and the archaeological community are totally different than they were a decade ago,” commented Kim Spurr of the Museum of Northern Arizona. “People are complying with the tribes and understanding why this is important.” </blockquote

Elsewhere for January 4, 2020

You should read this for 1/4/2020:

Art and Film

Roman Statues Weren’t White; They Were Once Painted In Bright Colors: Vox Explores Why History Has Overlooked This

Melinda Snodgrass with thoughtful commentary and SPOILERS: The Rise of Skywalker I am particularly struck by her last full paragraph.

Books, Writing, Libraries, and Language

A Portrait of Public Libraries

Phillip Pullman: The Sound and the Story
Exploring the World of Paradise Lost

The 20 Best Books of a Decade That Unmade Genre Fiction Ignore the title; it’s really about Le Guin and Jemisin.

One of the world’s largest private equity firms just bought one of the world’s largest library ebook companies That “library ebook company” is Overdrive. And the company that bought them is KKR, who, in 2018 acquired RBMedia/RBDigital and Audiobooks.com, “providers of audiobooks and other materials to libraries and consumers.” Given the standard practices of such companies, this is not good news for Overdrive or its users.

Ancient switch to soft food gave us an overbite—and the ability to pronounce ‘f’s and ‘v’s

When humans switched to processed foods after the spread of agriculture, they put less wear and tear on their teeth. That changed the growth of their jaws, giving adults the overbites normal in children. Within a few thousand years, those slight overbites made it easy for people in farming cultures to fire off sounds like “f” and “v,” opening a world of new words.

Interesting, but we need a lot more research and comparison, including with non-I.E. languages.

When Does Burnout Begin? The Relationship Between Graduate School Employment And Burnout Amongst Librarians. See also The Separation of Work and Study

The 10-Digit ISBN Is Getting Retired Next Year


James Hatch: My semester with the snowflakes~

Michigan charter schools got millions in taxpayer money for schools that never opened

A federal program awarded $7.7 million to charter schools in Michigan that never opened. That’s according to a report from the Network for Public Education. . . . “The most disturbing thing that I found from reviewing the documentation from these grants was that there really appeared to be no prohibition on conflicts of interest,” Ulbrich says.
The report from the Network for Public Education lists several examples from Michigan in which charter school operators paid themselves, or their family members, tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees for schools that never opened.

H/T Tim Spaulding: Audrey Watters:
The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the Decade

For the past ten years, I have written a lengthy year-end series, documenting some of the dominant narratives and trends in education technology. I think it is worthwhile, as the decade draws to a close, to review those stories and to see how much (or how little) things have changed. You can read the series here: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.
I thought for a good long while about how best to summarize this decade, and inspired by the folks at The Verge, who published a list of “The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech,” I decided to do something similar: chronicle for you a decade of ed-tech failures and fuck-ups and flawed ideas.

Food and Drink

White Chicken Chili This works for people who can’t eat beef, or tomatoes. I’ve also made it with pork, which I like even better. Serve it with some Guacamole.

History and Archaeology

The Names of 1.8 Million Emancipated Slaves Are Now Searchable in the World’s Largest Genealogical Database, Helping African Americans Find Lost Ancestors

Science and Nature

Six Eclipses, Four Supermoons and A Rare ‘Great Solstice Appulse’: A Skywatcher’s Guide To 2020

Gavin Evans: The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’ “Its defenders claim to be standing up for uncomfortable truths, but race science is still as bogus as ever”

Although race science has been repeatedly debunked by scholarly research, in recent years it has made a comeback. Many of the keenest promoters of race science today are stars of the “alt-right”, who like to use pseudoscience to lend intellectual justification to ethno-nationalist politics. If you believe that poor people are poor because they are inherently less intelligent, then it is easy to leap to the conclusion that liberal remedies, such as affirmative action or foreign aid, are doomed to fail.

Via NPR: The True Story Of A Man-Eating Tiger’s ‘Vengeance’

“The story of the tiger that in 1997 was wounded by a poacher who also stole part of its kill: the tiger found the poacher’s cabin, destroyed his belongings, waited at least half a day for him to return, then killed and ate him



The Old Internet Died And We Watched And Did Nothing

The internet of the 2010s will be defined by social media’s role in the 2016 election, the rise of extremism, and the fallout from privacy scandals like Cambridge Analytica. But there’s another, more minor theme to the decade: the gradual dismantling and dissolution of an older internet culture.

Here Are the 207 Members of Congress Who Just Asked SCOTUS to Consider Overruling Roe v. Wade


H/T Eric Meyer: Matt Holt:

Women’s Work

H/T Lisa Carnell: Once-Suppressed Dorothea Lange Photos Capture Wartime Paranoia

Soon after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, paving the way for the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) inexplicably hired Lange to photograph the removal proceedings and detentions. It’s possible the WRA was inspired by her powerful Depression-era documentation for the Farm Security Administration. . . . Perhaps predictably, the WRA saw subversion in even Lange’s most innocuous-looking photographs and suppressed her work during the war.

Hillary Clinton appointed chancellor of Queen’s University, Belfast “She is the university’s 11th chancellor and first woman to take up the post.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

U.S. government ‘retires’ (read removes) detailed pollution map from internet “The National Library of Medicine’s Toxmap application shed light on pollution nationwide. It’s no longer available to the public.NLM”

Constitution expert: By trying to out Ukraine whistleblower, Trump “has violated yet another law” “Trump has used his Twitter account to post the name of a man believed to be the Ukraine scandal whistleblower”

“The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (ICWPA) outlaws actions by government officials or agencies that directly or indirectly encourage retaliatory actions against employees who legitimately perform a whistleblower role in the intelligence community, as the whistleblower in this case clearly did regarding a matter of urgent concern, as determined by the Inspector General.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Brent Simmons: My New Year’s Resolution Is to Focus My Anger

Elsewhere for December 20, 2019

You should read this for 12/20/2019:

Art and Film

Hello, my name is Kristin and I have never seen a single Star War.

After learning some incredible facts about moisture farming from
I’ve decided to watch every movie over the span of one week beginning with the original trilogy.

Patrick Stewart on Revisiting Two Lifelong Roles, in A Christmas Carol and Star Trek: Picard

Books, Writing, and Language

A ‘Mic Drop’ on a Theory of Language Evolution “Linguists now think our ancestors might have been chattering away for ages longer than they previously believed.”

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas review – how Austen’s reputation has been warped “Cheap books create canonical authors. Jane Austen, it turns out, was popular for longer with more readers than previously thought”

Food and Drink

Dutch Stroop Wafels You’ll need a Pizelle iron.

History and Archaeology

In Tulsa, an investigation finds possible evidence of mass graves from 1921 race massacre

After nearly a century, Tulsa may be closer to finally answering whether bodies of black people killed in the 1921 race massacre were dumped into mass graves after one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history.

Science and Nature

H/T Yasmin: Granny killer whales pass along wisdom—and extra fish—to their grandchildren

Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds

Sound plays an important role in various fish behaviours such as reproduction, feeding and territorial disputes. Nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory. “You get the dusk and dawn choruses like you would with the birds in the forest,” says Steve Simpson, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, UK.


Queer Like Pete “Buttigieg is getting slammed for being a type of gay man America doesn’t understand.”

H/T Benedict Evans: Vox We asked 2020 Democratic candidates 7 key questions on technology

H/T Joshua Nudell @jpnudell: There is a petition to stop a statue of Ceres from returning to the top of the Missouri statehouse on the grounds that it is a false idol. Seriously. See: Petition created to halt ‘Ceres’ from returning back to Capitol building


Microsoft to finally shut down to do list app Wunderlist on May 6, 2020 Wunderlist was a great app, one that did one thing but did it really, really well. I used it for all kinds of lists, including shared lists for To Dos and shopping. Wunderlist has a blog post about the shutdown.

H/T Riggins: hoakley on Time Machine: How it works, or fails to This is a series of in-depth well-written articles about macOS Time Machine, how it works, and how to cope with (and solve) problems.

H/T anildash From 2012: The Web We Lost
See also: “Link In Bio” is a slow knife

Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy

It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps. You’ve probably never heard of most of the companies — and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlor.

Freaked Out? 3 Steps to Protect Your Phone

The Biggest Social Media Operation You’ve Never Heard of Is Run Out of Cyprus by Russians

It is run by Russian nationals and based in and managed from Cyprus, with U.S. operations housed in a shared work space in New York. It funds itself with ad revenues from YouTube and Google worth tens of millions of dollars. And in 2018, it purchased a small suite of Facebook advertisements targeting U.S. citizens on political issues—and it made those purchases in rubles.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump’s team photoshops his face over Greta Thunberg’s on Time Person of the Year cover

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

LEGO is Now Offering to Pay For You to Ship Your Unused Bricks to Children in Need

The world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood now has its first houses “A giant 3D printer is currently squeezing out new homes in rural Mexico. Each one takes 24 hours and lets local families upgrade from a shack to a two-bedroom house. Could this be part of the global housing solution?”

Elsewhere for December 8,n2019

You should read this for 12/8/2019:

Art, Music, and Film

H/T TidBITS: Amazon Music gives the gift of free streaming

H/T: Anna: How To Make Star Wars Paper Snowflakes

Snow Brawl

Snowbrawl is a fun short film of a children’s snowball fight shot as if it were a John Wick or Mission Impossible action sequence. David Leitch, the uncredited co-director of John Wick and director of Deadpool 2, shot the whole thing for Apple on an iPhone 11 Pro.

Books, Writing, and Language

Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out

Dane Neller, the owner of Shakespeare & Co. in New York City, just opened his third indie bookstore, and he’s proving the naysayers wrong.
“Bookstores are back and they’re back in a big way,” he said. “I’m not giving to to hyperbole — it was record-breaking for us.”


The New Humanities Once-robust fields are being broken up and stripped for parts.

Food and Drink

H/T John Scalzi: A Conversation With the Team That Made Bread With Ancient Egyptian Yeast

Mulling Over Mulled Wine

History and Archaeology

George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them to refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.
Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Science and Nature

H/T Yasmine: Measles makes body ‘forget’ how to fight infection

Measles has a devastating impact on the body’s immune system that could make it harder to fight infections for years, a pair of studies show.
The virus can cause “immune amnesia” – meaning the body forgets how to fight bugs it once knew how to beat.
Measles also resets the immune system to a “baby-like” state, compromising its ability to devise ways of tackling new infections.
Experts said the findings showed the importance of vaccination.


Waiting for Obama


That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It

The purpose of the Tyra account, we believe, was not to spread heartwarming messages to Americans. Rather, the tweet about Warrick Dunn was really a Trojan horse to gain followers in a larger plan by a foreign adversary. We think this because we believe @IamTyraJackson was an account operated by the successors to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA). Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted the IRA for waging a massive information war during the 2016 U.S. election. Since then, the IRA seems to have been subsumed into Russia’s Federal News Agency, but its work continues. In the case of @IamTyraJackson, the IRA’s goal was two-fold: Grow an audience in part through heartwarming, inspiring messages, and use that following to spread messages promoting division, distrust, and doubt.

Women’s Work

H/T Kira Cee: First she saved my life. Then she rescued me again with a Thanksgiving invitation

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Naomi Shihab Nye Gate A-4

H/T Kira Cee: Oldest Person In Australia Likes To Knit Mini Sweaters For Injured Penguins

What would happen if we randomly gave $1,000 to poor families? Now we know.

“Cash transfers benefited the entire local economy, not just direct recipients. As money made its way through the area, both families who did and did not receive cash ended up substantially better off.”

Elsewhere for November 23, 2019

You should read this for 6/22/2019:

Art and Film

The Mandalorian: Everything we know about the new Star Wars show on Disney Plus

Books, Writing, and Language

H/T Ari:

Eradicating the e-Word: Musings on Myaamia Language Reclamation

A significant part of my professional work involves challenging the e-word and naysayers of language reclamation like Dr. Baking Soda. This partly occurs by my pointing out that even if a language has no living speakers, it can be brought back into use so long as it is documented and claimed by people who want to learn it. This is an attested process: many Miami adults now speak myaamia. Some children acquire myaamia at home, alongside English. Community members increasingly locate themselves as Miamis by introducing themselves in myaamia, as I did for this essay. Some Miamis tweet in myaamia.

H/T Brent Simmons: You’re probably using the wrong dictionary


What’s Lost When Black Children Are Socialized Into a White World

Behaviors that many black parents might consider annoying but developmentally appropriate, such as an ill-timed joke or talking back to an adult, are treated by school staff as cause for suspension. From there, students are pushed out of classrooms, lose learning time, and can end up in the school-to-prison pipeline. “It’s a totally different environment, a totally different culture,” Black said when we spoke in July 2018.

From the office of the Provost at Indiana University Bloomington: On the First Amendment

Moreover, in my view, students who are women, gay, or of color could reasonably be concerned that someone with Professor Rasmusen’s expressed prejudices and biases would not give them a fair shake in his classes, and that his expressed biases would infect his perceptions of their work. Given the strength and longstanding nature of his views, these concerns are reasonable.
Therefore, the Kelley School is taking a number of steps to ensure that students not add the baggage of bigotry to their learning experience:
* No student will be forced to take a class from Professor Rasmusen. The Kelley School will provide alternatives to Professor Rasmusen’s classes;
* Professor Rasmusen will use double-blind grading on assignments; if there are components of grading that cannot be subject to a double-blind procedure, the Kelley School will have another faculty member ensure that the grades are not subject to Professor Rasmusen’s prejudices.
If other steps are needed to protect our students or colleagues from bigoted actions, Indiana University will take them.

The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right. Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right

The European Middle Ages seem to be having a moment. Although it’s true that, essentially since the time they ended, the period has been used to justify the shape of an author’s contemporary world, the appropriation of the Middle Ages by white supremacists in the last few years has been particularly notable. These white nationalists have used the Middle Ages as the source of their own “Lost Cause,” referencing, for example, the medieval Crusades as a great defensive struggle in which a unified, white Europe defended itself from a hostile, non-white, Islamic invader—even though this understanding is a myth.

‘It’s all white people’: Allegations of white supremacy are tearing apart a prestigious medieval studies group

Facing several hundred people in an auditorium in downtown Washington this month, Rambaran-Olm spoke for less than a minute: The International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS) was encouraging and emboldening white supremacists, she said, an attitude typified by its refusal to change its name. Rambaran-Olm, a woman of color, was stepping down as the group’s second vice president, effective immediately.

Food and Drink

Cook Fresh Corn on the Cob in Your Microwave

Spiced Mulled Wine

History and Archaeology

The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right. Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right


The great American labor paradox: Plentiful jobs, most of them bad

The numbers tell one story. Unemployment in the US is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. More Americans have jobs than ever before. Wage growth keeps climbing.
People tell a different story. Long job hunts. Trouble finding work with decent pay. A lack of predictable hours.

Federal Judge Asks DEA To Explain Why All 179 Of Its Stash House Sting Targets Are Minorities

The twist is the drug stash house is fake. There are no drugs. There are no armed guards protecting the drugs. Once the mark arrives with a weapon and a plan of attack, the ATF arrests the person for thinking about robbing a fake stash house to steal nonexistent drugs.
The other twist is the prosecution. Since the drugs never existed, the ATF is free to claim the targeted stash was large enough to trigger mandatory minimum sentences.


Michael Tsaihas a great roundup of commentary regarding 1Password’s recent influx of investor capital

I agree in principle, but I would like to see a list of top-quality consumer apps developed by software companies that took lots of VC money. I don’t see any in my Dock.

—Michael Tsai. See also Om Malik Some thoughts on iPassword funding + How to do strong passwords

Nikki Haley lost her password, so she sent confidential info over unclassified system “Former US Ambassador to the UN was responding to North Korea nuke testing.”

Women’s Work

Men still earn more than women—even after they’re dead

Marie Kondo Goes Full Goop “The tidying guru helped America clean out its closets. Now she wants to fill them back up.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

‘His beliefs are appalling’: email scandal sparks calls for Stephen Miller to resign

The communications had revealed the top aide’s obsessive focus on injecting white nationalist-style talking points on immigration, race and crime into the far-right website Breitbart, both during and after Donald 💩🔥💰’s successful bid for the White House.

. . .

Miller, one of the few people to remain in the administration since 💩🔥💰 took office in January 2017, is understood to be the architect behind hardline immigration policies including family separation and the Muslim ban.

Devin Nunes Is Living in a Fantasyland “The representative’s claims about stories reporting on the Trump administration are part of a universe of untruth.”

At Fox News, on talk radio, and on the web, American conservatives have built a communications system that effectively consolidates in-group identity. Much of the time, the talkers and listeners do not themselves understand what they are saying. They use key words and phrases as gang signs: badges of identity that are recognized without necessarily being understood.

💩🔥💰 War on Expertise Is Only Intensifying

💩🔥💰 has repeatedly denigrated law-enforcement officials at the FBI, moved to evict scientists from the policy-making process, excluded the Central Command general with direct responsibility for the region from his abrupt decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, and even sparred with meteorologists over his mistaken insistence that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama in September.