She plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, speaks three or four languages word for word without book, hath all the good gifts of nature, knows a hawk from a handsaw, and can see a church by daylight. The rest is subject to fancy.

Elsewhere for June 11, 2017

You should read this for 6/11/2017:

Tim O’Reilly via Medium: Do More! What Amazon Teaches Us About AI and the “Jobless Future”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos exposes her ignorance in front of Congress: What we just learned from Betsy DeVos’s painful appearance before Congress “DeVos said Tuesday on Capitol Hill that she won’t offer protections to ensure that public money is not used by for-profit education companies to make their owners rich.

She also said that private schools accepting federal funds in a voucher program would have to follow federal laws but would not promise to protect LGBTQ or other students from discrimination if the law on the issue is foggy.”

Muslim and Latino communities in Southern California mix during Ramadan ““Taco Trucks at Every Mosque,’ is about building community during an administration that really has tried to break our spirit with the Muslim ban and the building of the border wall and separating our families and instilling fear.”

More bad news for Devos: Senators accuse DeVos of ‘quick about-face’ on climate change “A conservative think tank that does not believe in human-induced climate change has been sending to hundreds of thousands of K-12 and college science teachers materials that reject basic principles on which nearly all climate scientists agree — and now, some U.S. senators are asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos whether staff members in her department have anything to do with it.”

Harvard yanks acceptances from at least 10 students — and everybody has an opinion “In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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Elsewhere for June 4, 2016

You should read this for 6/4/2017:

Bone fragment from ancient 1,500-pound ground sloth unearthed beneath Crenshaw Boulevard“For the third time in six months, crews working on a Los Angeles rail system expansion have unearthed fossils of beasts that roamed the Southland many millennia ago.”

Curiosity rover finds its crater was habitable for 700 million years “And there are indications that groundwater persisted for far longer.”

Paying Inmates Minimum Wages Helps the Working Class “Prisoners are farmed out for pennies an hour to private industry, undercutting compensation for everyone else. That should end.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery: The Paris Accords Roundup 💩🔥💰

Lenore Taylor in The Guardian: It’s way past time to speak truth to climate arguments this stupid This the best article I’ve read in terms of explaining exactly why pulling out of the Paris climate agreement is criminally stupid. “To make the ridiculous case that abandoning Paris was good for the US economy, Trump didn’t just have to ignore science, but also the pleading of the US business community he was purporting to defend – the 630 business leaders who wrote to him in January demanding that he keep Barack Obama’s climate plan and stick with the Paris deal, and the long list of businesses and business leaders who have attacked his decision, including the chief executives of Tesla, Goldman Sachs and Disney and companies including Nike, BP, IBM, Apple, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Morgan Stanley, Unilever and Mars.” Read the whole thing, and do check the links. This is a clear, easy to follow argument.

Michael Bloomberg Offers $15 Million to Make Up for Washington’s Share of the Paris Accord Costs

Mayor Eric Garcetti says LA will adhere to Paris agreement after #45 withdraws“LA will lead by committing to the goals of the accord”

Ben and Jerry on 6 Reasons Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Agreement Was Totally, Definitely the Right Move I’m particularly fond of reasons 3 “Being a Global Pariah Is Really Cool” wherein æPulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement is not going to make us popular with the rest of the world. Nope — 194 countries worked really hard to figure out how to reduce their emissions to a manageable level, so when we keep on puffing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, they might get a little testy with us. But that’s okay, the cool countries are always loners anyway. And we probably don’t need other countries’ support in order to achieve our international goals . . . right?”

All over the world buildings were lit in green in support of the Paris Accords.

Via The Washington Post: Thirty states and scores of companies said Thursday that they would press ahead with their climate policies and pursue lower greenhouse gas emissions, breaking sharply with President Trump’s decision to exit the historic Paris climate accord.” These companies include Apple, Morgan Stanley and Royal Dutch Shell. Other companies supporting continuing the Paris Accords include Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mars, Schneider Electric, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. States including California, New York and Washington will continue to keep the agreements supported by the Paris Accords. California Governor Jerry Brown notes:

The California economy last year increased 40 percent faster than the rest of the country. In fact, following policies even tougher than what Paris is calling for, the California economy is boosted. Trump is wrong when he says Paris is bad for jobs. It’s good for jobs. The jobs of the future.

Washington state Governor Inslee, New York Governor Cuomo, and California Governor Brown announce formation of United States Climate Alliance “I am proud to stand with other governors as we make sure that the inaction in D.C. is met by an equal force of action from the states. Today’s announcement by the president leaves the full responsibility of climate action on states and cities throughout our nation. While the president’s actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up.” — Governor Jay Inslee. “California, Washington and New York, which together account for a fifth of the country’s economy, say they’re committed to upholding the goals of Paris despite Trump’s pullout.”

Mayors of U. S. cities are pledging continued support for the Paris Climate Accords, including Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto. ‘The United States joins Syria, Nicaragua & Russia in deciding not to participate with world’s Paris Agreement. It’s now up to cities to lead.” The United States Conference of Mayors “Strongly Oppose Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”

Luke Kemp, a lecturer in International Relations and Environmental Policy, Australian National University, argues in a piece in Nature Climate Change and summarized in his article The world would be better off if Trump withdraws from the Paris climate deal for The COnversation that “US withdrawal would minimise risks and maximise opportunities for the climate community. Simply put: the US and the Trump administration can do more damage inside the agreement than outside it.” He may have a point, honestly, given the current idiocy of #45 and his cadre, given the possibility of vetos, and delaying tactics if the U.S. were part of the accords going forward.

Panicked White House goes into lockdown, refuses all Russia questions

Elsewhere for May 28, 2017

You should read this for 5/28/2017:

Via Dave Zirin in The Nation: A Lynching on the University of Maryland Campus “Richard Collins III was killed Saturday night because of the color of his skin.”

Via The Atlantic: That Time the TSA Found a Scientist’s 3-D-Printed Mouse Penis “I do outreach at the drop of a hat, and I’m ready to teach a bit of evolution to the TSA if they’re interested. And they were freaking out.”

A belligerent man in a Trump hat was kicked off a flight as a crowd chanted: ‘Lock him up!’

Via Time Magazine: Bill Gates Discusses His Lifelong Love for Books and Reading

Movie theater fires back after uproar over women-only showings of ‘Wonder Woman’ And after a male minority objected, Alamo scheduled more showings for women who identify as women.

Buttermilk chocolate cake with coffee

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Elsewhere for May 21, 2017

You should read this for 5/21/2017:

Via The New York Times: The World Is Getting Hacked. Why Don’t We Do More to Stop It?

Ransomware Attacks Ravage Computer Networks In Dozens Of Countries “So this attack is raising one of these fundamental issues that we talk about in the security world, about whether NSA surveillance protects people or creates unexpected damage that does more harm than good.”

Dutch king reveals double life as an airline pilot for KLM King Willem-Alexander has been ferrying passengers around for 21 years, but they are never told there’s a royal in the cockpit.

Noah Berlatsky Better Suggestions “A lot of well intentioned but confused folks think that political change happens through rational discourse and persuasion.”

Jaed Coffin via Down East Magazine: The Mystery of Maine Mystery Writers “We live in one of the least homicidal, most neighborly places in the country. Why has crime fiction become our de facto state literary genre?”

Alex Tizon in The Atlantic: My Family’s Slave “She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.”

Corn on the Cob Cooked in Milk and Butter. This Southern corn-on-the-cob cooking method is incredible. Really.


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Elsewhere for May 14, 2017

You should read this for 5/14/2017:

Via the BBC: Obamacare v Republican plan compared

FCC and Congress Work to Roll Back Net Neutrality“he FCC, under a new chairman aligned with the Trump administration, is moving fast to undo the net neutrality framework that has been upheld by the courts. Furthermore, the Republican-controlled Congress is moving to strip the FCC of the authority it used to create that legal foundation in the first place, so in the future the FCC would not have the authority to “redo” the “undo.” And it’s all being done in the name of “restoring freedom.”

Sally Yates Testifies: “We Believed Gen. Flynn Was Compromised” “We believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians,” Yates told a Senate subcommittee on Monday. “To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security adviser compromised by the Russians.”

One Hearing, Two Different Realities — And The Data Prove It “Flynn was left in the job, with all of his clearances, for 18 days after Yates met with White House counsel Don McGahn. He was only let go after the information became public through news reports.”

Actual words my coworkers have said to me, a woman in tech Yes, it’s all true, and more and worse besides.

The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked “A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of [#45] and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?”

From King Arthur Flour: Chocolate Stout Cake with stout, cocoa, chocolate, and butter, with lots of butter, also sour cream and heavy cream . . . oh, and butter.

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Elsewhere for May 7, 2017

You should read this for 5/7/2017:

Via The New York Times: Gorsuch, in Sign of Independence, Is Out of Supreme Court’s Clerical Pool “The pool has been criticized for giving too much power to law clerks and for contributing to the court’s shrinking docket.”

Via Medium: Thousands of Veterans Want to Learn to Code — But Can’t

Via The New York Times Cooking: Homemade Pita Bread and a recipe for Tzatziki.

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Elsewhere for April 30, 2017

You should read this for 4/30/2017:

Via NPR: A Watergate Villain Walks Into A Berkeley Restaurant. What Could Go Wrong? One of the thing I love best about this food culture history piece is the Editor’s Note: “This post is about chefs and they can be quite coarse when they talk. Don’t be surprised by a little foul language.”

Via Slate: The Empty Waistband “As Sotomayor pointed out in her dissent, both of these rulings warp the law in an effort to reach a police-protective outcome.” See also The Supreme Court’s double standard for qualified immunity cases “But I found Alito’s description of the court’s neutral principles of certiorari a little hard to fully accept for several reasons.”

From the March for Science: A Brain Hat

University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit says “The auditor said that because of recent tuition hikes, she recommends the Office of the President should refund available funds in the reserves by returning them to the campuses for the benefit of students.” . . . “Auditors said salaries paid to those in the president’s office are much higher than the pay of comparable positions in other state government jobs.” Here’s the actual audit.

Via Medium: Stephen Levy interviews Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. Twitter’s CEO on the president, the future of the product, and the harassment problem.

19th Century Princess And Cookbook Author Was Also Georgia’s First Feminist “Georgia is having something of a gastronomic renaissance, with restaurateurs improvising beyond staples like walnut paste-stuffed veggies and shashlik. The trend is largely toward fusion and innovation, but it is also about putting history on the menu.”

Go Ahead, Have That Fourth Cup of Coffee “A new scientific review on the safety of caffeine says drinking up to four cups of coffee, or about 400 milligrams of caffeine, is pretty safe.”

UNC Professor Andrew Reynolds Gorka: Is the #FakeTerrorismExpert’s Ph.D fake? “Gorka is a fraud — a charlatan of the most brazen hue — a snake-oil salesman whose supposed Ph.D dissertation would have never passed muster in America or Britain and to put the cherry on the cake was approved by a fraudulent panel of examiners.”

Calans Mai or May Day or Beltain

Tea brack “—a.k.a. Irish Freckle Bread — is a moist, close-grained, packed-with-fruit breakfast bread.” And yes, it’s made with strong brewed tea (and better if you also add a tiny bit of Irish).

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Elsewhere for April 23, 2017

You should read this for 4/23/2017:

Via Business Insider: Undercover in An iPhone Factory: What it’s really like to work in a Chinese mega-factory, according to a student who spent 6 weeks there

It’s time to start thinking about Cold Brew Coffee

Silicon Valley executives are hiring philosophers to teach them to question everything Maybe some day they’ll move upstream to rhetoric, and learn how to reason as well as how to talk about thinking.

There’s a new book about the Voynich ms. Here’s a review from Eamon Duffy via The New York Review of Books

Shakespeare was born today. He’s still pretty good.

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Elsewhere for April 16, 2017

You should read this for 4/16/2017:

Here’s the Fine Print On The Country’s Biggest-Ever Free College Plan “The bill is what’s known as a ‘last-dollar’ program.’ Translation: Students must first apply for, and use, other money like federal Pell Grants, before turning to the scholarship. That, in turn, means that low-income students have less to gain from the scholarship than do students from families who are too wealthy to qualify for those grants.”

Scott Rosenberg on How Google Book Search Got Lost “Google Books was the company’s first moonshot. But 15 years later, the project is stuck in low-Earth orbit.”

Pan Baked Lemon Almond Tart This is really a different take on a tart; almost a sweet frittata.

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Hot Cross Buns

Image credit CJorsch

Hot cross buns! Hot cross Buns!
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny, two a penny
Hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
If you haven’t got a penny
A ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
Well God bless you.

One of my very favorite childhood associations with Easter is that my mother would make hot cross buns a few days before Easter Sundsay. We would often have them on Good Friday, and we almost always had them for breakfast on Easter morning. Strictly speaking, they’re actually Cross Buns, meant to be served “hot.” Cross buns are a sweet bread, with a sweet yeast dough made with currants and cinnamon; sometimes cloves or other spices, or candied orange peel are used. The round bun is then marked with a knife on the top; the cook makes two quick slashes with the knife before baking, and then (or in stead of) decorated with a white sugar-based glaze drizzled on the top of the warm-from-the-oven bun in the shape of a cross.

Despite a fair number of assertions that hot cross buns are pagan, the limited verifiable data we have about their origins associates cross buns firmly with England, Christianity, and the season of Lent, or more accurately, with Good Friday. The earliest specific reference we have is from 1733, when, according to the OED, Poor Robin’s Almanack asserts that “Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, with one or two a penny hot cross buns,” in an alternate version of the nursery rhyme at the top of this post. In Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1791), Boswell notes: “9 Apr. An. 1773 Being Good Friday I breakfasted with him and cross-buns,” another probable reference to the proverbial Hot Cross bun. The buns were usually sold hot, fresh from the bakery, or sometimes, from street vendors.

In the Elizabethan era, Queen Elizabeth I passed a law forbidding bakers to make spiced breads and buns and sell on days other than those specified in the statute of 1592, which reads:

That no bakers, etc, at any time or times hereafter make, utter, or sell by retail, within or without their houses, unto any of the Queen’s subject any spice cakes, buns, biscuits, or other spice bread (being bread out of size and not by law allowed) except it be at burials, or on Friday before Easter, or at Christmas, upon pain or forfeiture of all such spiced bread to the poor

People would be free to make cross buns at home, for personal consumption; they just couldn’t sell them. There’s some suggestion of a tradition that called for using the same dough for the Sunday communion wafer to make the buns; though I’m finding many references to this as practice, none of the references, printed or digital, cite a primary source for the practice, and frankly it sounds a little suspect to me. I don’t know the reason behind the statute, except perhaps, that because of the cross and the tradition of serving them on Good Friday that the buns had a strong association in the popular mind with Catholicism, something that Elizabeth I, as a Protestant monarch, was understandably touchy about. The statute didn’t last long; by the time James I took the throne it was already proving difficult to enforce, and the crown soon abandoned the attempt, and the law. In addition to the tradition of only preparing them on Good Friday, for many Catholics there’s a parallel tradition that that is all that they may eat.

There are a number of recipes for cross buns online. This one calls for cinnamon, allspice, currants and orange rind, and is likely much closer to the “authentic” eighteenth century (and presumably older) versions. This one, using British measuring units also uses orange, and lime. This is a very straight-forward cinnamon and currants version. This is the recipe for Hot Cross Buns mother used when I was a child and that I still use today.