Elsewhere for August 29, 2020

AI assisted images of Roman emperors Augustus and Maximinus Thrax derived fromt heir statues

You should read this for 8/30/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

AI assisted images of Roman emperors Augustus and Maximinus Thrax derived fromt heir statues
Daniel Voshart’s AI renditions of Roman emperors Augustus and Maximinus Thrax, paired with their statues Image: Daniel Voshart

decorative leaf bulletHow a designer used AI and Photoshop to bring ancient Roman emperors back to life

One of my favorite Earle performances is an acoustic cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” which he recorded in 2017 for Hamburger Küchensessions, a German series in which musicians perform from the corner of a kitchen. Take a breath before you watch it. His eyes are fluttering, and he appears unshaven, a little jittery. But his voice is beautiful—fragile and strong.

decorative leaf bulletThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: At Least It’s Over Now

Indeed, what is perhaps most depressing about Jackson’s swollen Hobbit enterprise is the way it retrospectively diminishes his Lord of the Rings trilogy. The latter were genuinely good films—better, I think, than any Tolkien fan (and I count myself decidedly among them) had any reason to hope for. It seems a very long time ago now, but all three were nominated for Best Picture and the third film actually won.

I saw the first of the Peter Jackson Hobbit films in a theater; it broke my heart sufficiently that I haven’t seen the other two. I’m not alone in that, apparently. I still love the 1977 Rankin and Bass directed animated The Hobbit, despite its many and obvious flaws.

decorative leaf bulletOn Appeal, ‘Star Trek Discovery’ Still Doesn’t Infringe On Video Game’s Copyright

This is yet another instance where the idea/expression dichotomy of copyright law comes into play. This dichotomy dictates that copyright can be afforded to specific expression, but not to a general idea. And certainly not to an idea comprised essentially of real life scientific discovery. So, if Discovery told the same story about the same tardigrade creature, merely having a tardigrade in its plot is not somehow infringement just because both works are set in space.
While “[t]he distinction between an idea and its expression is an elusive one,” Crichton, 84 F.3d at 587-88, Abdin’s space-traveling tardigrade is an unprotectible idea because it is a generalized expression of a scientific fact -namely, the known ability of a tardigrade to survive in space.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

H/T Lymond. Redditor Ultach: decorative leaf bulletI’ve discovered that almost every single article on the Scots version of Wikipedia is written by the same person – an American teenager who can’t speak Scots But see Shock an aw: US teenager wrote huge slice of Scots Wikipedia

But Michael Dempster, the director of the Scots Language Centre based in Perth, takes a more ameliorative approach and says he is now in conversation with the Wikimedia Foundation about the prospect of properly re-editing the teenager’s contributions.
“We know that this kid has put in an incredible amount of work, and he has created an editable infrastructure. It’s a great resource but it needs people who are literate in Scots to edit it now. It has the potential to be a great online focus for the language in the future.”
Dempster, a first-language Scots speaker himself, says that he is assessing how to put together a team of volunteers to undertake a mammoth re-editing task.

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Books seen behind Boris Johnson tell their own story

“Whichever librarian managed to get not just the “The Twits” but also “Betrayed”; “Resistance” and “Fahrenheit 451” in the shot behind Johnson has my admiration,” tweeted Sam Freedman, a former senior policy advisor at the DfE. Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury about a society where books are banned.

But wait: Leicestershire librarian “feels sorry” for PM over book backdrop

“It was a message for the management team, not for Boris Johnson. I did feel sorry for him,” said the 48-year-old librarian from Leicestershire, who wants to remain anonymous.
She said she had left the Coalville school six months ago after requests for more support in the library were not acted upon and admitted displaying the titles along the top shelves during her last week at the school in February.

More here.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletGenetic data show how a single superspreading event sent coronavirus across Massachusetts — and the nation

By the meeting’s end on Feb. 27, the infection had infiltrated many more people: a research director, a photographer, the general manager for the company’s east division. They took the virus home with them to the Boston suburbs, Indiana and North Carolina, to Slovakia, Australia and Singapore.

decorative leaf bulletSome Trump administration claims on effectiveness of convalescent plasma are wrong or dubious, scientists say

The FDA commissioner appeared to have mixed up absolute risk reduction and relative risk reduction, which are basic concepts in economics and in the presentation of data from clinical trials.

decorative leaf bulletLive updates: CDC says not all close contacts need to get tested after coronavirus exposure, alarming experts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance for coronavirus testing this week. It now says that many people who have been exposed to the virus through close contact with someone who later tested positive “do not necessarily need a test” if they are not experiencing symptoms. Experts are expressing concern about the change, noting that people without symptoms are responsible for a large share of transmissions.

The CDC is clearly caving in to pressure from 🤥🤥👖🔥. Because asymptomatic transmission is so high, people who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 absolutely should be tested. We must have more testing, not less. We need free, fast, and readily available testing for at least two years to put this thing to rest.

Education

Maryanne Wolf: decorative leaf bulletScreen-based online learning will change kids’ brains. Are we ready for that? As much as I respect Wolf, I think she’s painting with far too broad a brush.

Part of the problem is that a lot of the instructional technology, especially in K-12, where the technology is deployed in an emergency, is at best poorly implemented in terms of pedagogy. I would much rather see less reliance on streaming live video Zoom et al, and more on text, audio, and two way or multiple voice audio. Less reliance on large video streams and lectures, and more on small group sessions. I’d prefer Discord over Zoom, in other words. Use Zoom or other live streams for specific purposes, and for short periods of time. Hours of live-stream is really not a good choice for students or teachers. It’s crucial to have a pedagogical reason for using a tool, not just using the tool because it’s what’s there. Don’t forget analog still works with digital transmission, and there’s always asynchronous text (chat and discussion) as well as generic HTML with images.

decorative leaf bulletTeachers Know Schools Aren’t Safe to Reopen

decorative leaf bulletUniversities sound alarm as coronavirus cases emerge just days into classes — 530 at one campus

Colleges and universities that brought students back to campus are expressing alarm about coronavirus infections emerging as classes have barely started, raising the possibility everyone could be sent home.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletThe best summer tomato salads use just a few ingredients to generate big flavors

Before we freestyle, know there’s one nonnegotiable: For a tomato to shine no matter how ripe, it needs salt. Cut the tomatoes in any way that moves you, then put them in a bowl and gently sprinkle them with salt (sugar, too, if they really need help).

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The evidence shows the colony left Roanoke Island with the friendly Croatoans to settle on Hatteras Island. They thrived, ate well, had mixed families and endured for generations. More than a century later, explorer John Lawson found natives with blue eyes who recounted they had ancestors who could “speak out of a book,” Lawson wrote.

The two cultures adapted English earrings into fishhooks and gun barrels into sharp-ended tubes to tap tar from trees.

decorative leaf bulletYou Can Roast Tomatoes in the Microwave

decorative leaf bulletBlueberry farmers warn of ‘disaster’ crop

For the past five years, Maine’s growers had begun to export frozen wild berries to China, as reported by US broadcaster NBC last year. This was a very useful new market, as growers had been struggling to sell all their crop due to the cheaper cultivated berries in a saturated US market.

However, sales to China basically halted in April 2018 when Beijing imposed 80% tariffs on US frozen blueberries in response to President Trump’s levies on Chinese imports.

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘The mystery is over’: Researchers say they know what happened to ‘Lost Colony’

Teams have found thousands of artifacts 4-6 feet below the surface that show a mix of English and Indian life. Parts of swords and guns are in the same layer of soil as Indian pottery and arrowheads.

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At the center of this drama was an official of the Vatican curia who, as we now know from other newly revealed documents, helped persuade Pope Pius XII not to speak out in protest after the Germans rounded up and deported Rome’s Jews in 1943—“the pope’s Jews,” as Jews in Rome had often been referred to. The silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust has long engendered bitter debates about the Roman Catholic Church and Jews. The memoranda, steeped in anti-Semitic language, involve discussions at the highest level about whether the pope should lodge a formal protest against the actions of Nazi authorities in Rome. Meanwhile, conservatives in the Church continue to push for the canonization of Pius XII as a saint.

. . .

The newly available Vatican documents, reported here for the first time, offer fresh insights into larger questions of how the Vatican thought about and reacted to the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, and into the Vatican’s mindset immediately after the war about the Holocaust, the Jewish people, and the Roman Catholic Church’s role and prerogatives as an institution.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletEveryone Took Pictures of Comet NEOWISE, Including Hubble

decorative leaf bulletWhy do birds sing? Because they’re all on drugs

decorative leaf bulletPenguins Are Nature’s Best Snugglers “How they huddle is so mathematically perfect that mathematicians can’t design a better way themselves.”

Society

decorative leaf bulletHow to prevent your mail ballot from being rejected

decorative leaf bulletWhat Katie Porter taught us at the DeJoy hearing

DeJoy does not know basic facts about postal prices or even about voting by mail. “I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I am concerned about your understanding of this agency,” Porter said matter-of-factly. “And I am particularly concerned about it because you started taking very decisive action when you became postmaster general. You started directing the unplugging and destroying of machines, changing of employee procedures and locking of collection boxes.” When asked about the changes under his watch that have impacted service, he insisted they were not his and he did not know who was responsible.

decorative leaf bullet‘I wasn’t surprised. I was just hurt’: A Black professor says police demanded proof she lives in her own house

Technology

decorative leaf bulletAdobe accidentally deleted people’s photos in latest Lightroom update

From Kirk McElhearn: decorative leaf bulletHow to Prepare Your Mac to Upgrade to macOS Big Sur

decorative leaf bulletAutonomy Online: A Case For The IndieWeb

There is an alternative to corporate bubbles online — it’s called the IndieWeb. Build your own personal websites, control your online presence, and learn on your own terms.


SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of 75+ apps for a single price, now with iOS support too!


Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletThe untold tale of the woman who dug up ancient sea monsters

It’s not looking good for Washington state’s NFL team: decorative leaf bulletFrom dream job to nightmare
More than a dozen women allege sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former team employees at Redskins Park
; Lewd cheerleader videos, sexist rules: Ex-employees decry Washington’s NFL team workplace, and Daniel Snyder has now embarrassed — and exposed — the entire NFL

This is what the NFL gets for not scraping Daniel Snyder off its shoe before now. “The good bits” is the phrase that will haunt the league. That’s the description of the soft porn videos of cheerleaders; outtakes of nipples and crotches inadvertently exposed and intentionally collected, allegedly for the enjoyment of some of the juvy little pervs in the Washington football club’s upper management.

decorative leaf bulletFor female politicians, talking about cooking can be fraught. Kamala Harris is breaking that mold, too

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletPostal Service Slowdowns Cause Dangerous Delays In Medication Delivery

Among those who depend on the service are vulnerable residents: patients with chronic health issues, rural residents, veterans and the elderly.
“People who depend on this vital service to get their medications have a very significant potential for having negative health outcomes,” says Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency physician in Michigan and the executive director of the Committee To Protect Medicare, a nationwide group of physicians advocating for health care affordability.

decorative leaf bullet‘I Moved on Her Very Heavily’: Part 1

Who are the people who came forward to say that Trump treated them exactly as he described: as fungible collections of body parts to paw at whenever it suited his purposes? Why did the women decide to tell their stories, and what has life been like since? Carroll’s lawsuit remains in progress; the president has denied all of the women’s allegations, and the White House declined to comment for this story.
Natasha Stoynoff, the subject of this first installment, likens herself and her fellow accusers to the proverbial canaries in the coal mine: among the first to warn the world about the essential nature of the 45th president of the United States.

decorative leaf bulletMiles Taylor’s very serious allegations against 🤥🤥👖🔥, explained

“The president said to the senior leadership of the Department of Homeland Security, behind the scenes, ‘We should not let anyone else into the United States,’ ” Taylor says in the video. “And even though he’d been told on repeated occasions that the way he wanted to do it was illegal, his response was to say, ‘Do it. If you get in trouble, I’ll pardon you.’ ”

Standford Professor Michael McFaul @McFaul:
decorative leaf bulletFor those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week at the RNC.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletShields Up, Nichelle Nichols ! “Sadly, many well-known celebrities, including Rosa Parks, Stan Lee, Mickey Rooney, and Casey Kasem reportedly suffered elder abuse in their later years. Unfortunately, this has also happened to Nichelle.” The actual legal complaint is linked, but Nichols’ family is helping her sue to regain her property and control over her finances.

decorative leaf bulletHas the Great WFH Experiment Delivered for Workers with Disabilities?

• The unemployment rate for workers with a disability peaked in April at 18.9%. It was 14.3% for workers without a disability.
* By July, unemployment for workers with a disability had fallen to 14.3%, while it hit 10.3% for workers with no disability.
Now, competing for limited open positions, disabled workers have to combat misperceptions that they are higher risk and more expensive.

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletEssential Reads on Feminism for Adults

Lisa

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.

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