Elsewhere for November 15

You should read this for 11/15/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

H/T JJBenedictus decorative leaf bulletBehold These Microscopic Spacecraft

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletPresident-Elect Biden Has A Plan To Combat COVID-19. Here’s What’s In It

decorative leaf bulletBiden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletHow Bunny The Dog Is Pushing Scientists’ Buttons

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletU.S. Confirmed Coronavirus Infections Hit 10 Million

More than 10 million people have now been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in the United States as the spread of the virus accelerates at an alarming pace across the nation.
The U.S. now accounts for about one-fifth of all of the 50 million infections worldwide, more than any other nation. The data comes from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. also is also in the unenviable position of suffering more deaths than any other country. More than 237,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., and more than 1,000 are frequently dying on a daily basis.

Nope; it didn’t have to happen. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.

H/T SJS: decorative leaf bulletThis Tool Lets You See COVID Risk In Your Area In Real Time

decorative leaf bulletAt dinner parties and game nights, casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge as daily cases exceed 150,000

A record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may feel deceptively safe, officials and scientists warn — dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools. Many earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles, experts say — and is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to police and likely to increase as temperatures drop and holidays approach.
The White House coronavirus task force has been urging states that are virus hot spots to curtail maskless get-togethers of family and friends, saying in reports that asymptomatic attendees “cause ongoing transmission, frequently infecting multiple people in a single gathering.”

decorative leaf bulletMicrosoft says hackers from Russia and North Korea attacked COVID-19 vaccine makers

The hackers used various methods to carry out the attacks, according to the blog post, including brute force login attempts to steal login credentials, as well as spear-phishing attacks where the hackers posed as recruiters seeking job candidates, and as representatives of the World Health Organization.

Education

decorative leaf bulletHow Our Biggest ISPs Are Failing Students During COVID-19

When school ended last year, SOMOS realized that many of their fellow Baltimore city schoolmates who’d relied on Comcast’s Internet Essentials discount program didn’t have a connection fast or reliable enough for online school. Whenever they could get into virtual classes, they’d often get kicked off multiple times a day and sometimes multiple times during a single class. Households with multiple students or family members working from home had to schedule who could be online, when and for how long. Families were put in impossible situations, forced to negotiate whose education or work was more important, and who would have to sacrifice and fall behind.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletMiddle Eastern Roasted Vegetable Rice “This fancy, fabulous recipe for Middle Eastern Roasted Vegetable Rice can be enjoyed as an entree or side dish. It’s completely vegan, satisfying and full of flavor. Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. Chickpeas add protein and fiber. A delicious blend of turmeric and spices adds anti-inflammatory goodness. You will love this flavorful take on vegetable rice!”

decorative leaf bullet Deep-Dish Bacon and Cheddar Quiche Recipe

decorative leaf bulletSlow Cooker Spiced Oatmeal

decorative leaf bulletBest Beef Chili
“Everyone needs a recipe for classic beef chili. Make this one your go-to! It’s made with corn, peppers, tomatoes, and beans, and makes enough to freeze for later!”

decorative leaf bulletSlow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘Remarkable’ Roman villa found buried under a field in North Wales

A Roman villa has been discovered buried deep under a field in North Wales.

The structure is the first of its kind found in north-east Wales and has been described as an “exciting addition” to our knowledge about the history of the area during the Roman period.

The discovery came about after Roman artefacts were found in Rossett, Wrexham by local detectorists.

That led experts to carry out a ‘remote sensing survey’ which revealed clear evidence of the structure buried at the site.

. . .

Dr Caroline Pudney, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester said: “This exciting discovery potentially alters our understanding of north east Wales in the wake of the Roman conquest.

“Previous interpretations suggest that most people in this area either lived in settlements associated with Roman military sites or in quite simple farmsteads that continued to utilise Iron Age roundhouse architectural forms. The identification of the villa now questions this narrative.”

decorative leaf bulletHorse mastery helped mysterious Mongolian warriors build a multiethnic empire

Until now, the only accounts of the Xiongnu came from their enemies. Chinese records from 2200 years ago describe how these fierce mounted archers from the wide-open steppes of today’s Mongolia clashed with armies in what is now northwestern China. Their onslaughts spurred the Chinese to build what would become known as the Great Wall of China on their northern border, as protection against the mounted nomads. They also started to raise cavalry armies of their own.

The equestrian empire of the Xiongnu left no written records. But biology is now filling out their story, and those of other Central Asian cultures in antiquity. Two studies—a sweeping survey of ancient DNA from more than 200 individuals across 6000 years and an analysis of horse skeletons from just before the rise of the Xiongnu—trace population movements across Central Asia and the key role played by horsemanship. The results “show the horse was probably the driver of some of the ancestry shifts we see in the human population,” says Ludovic Orlando of Paul Sabatier University, who was not involved in the paper. “The horse provided new range in patterns of human mobility and allowed people to travel long distance faster.”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletEuropa’s Nightside [Might] Glows in the Dark The original title is a little misleading; I’ve altered it.

In a few years, NASA will be sending a spacecraft to explore Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Known as the Europa Clipper mission, this orbiter will examine the surface more closely to search for plume activity and evidence of biosignatures. Such a find could answer the burning question of whether or not there is life within this moon, which is something scientists have speculated about since the 1970s.

In anticipation of this mission, scientists continue to anticipate what it will find once it gets there. For instance, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently conducted a study that showed how Europa might glow in the dark. This could be the result of Europa constantly being pummeled with high-energy radiation from Jupiter’s magnetic field, the study of which could tell scientists more about the composition of Europa’s ice.

Society

decorative leaf bulletPostal worker admits fabricating allegations of ballot tampering, officials say

decorative leaf bulletThe Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud “The president and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. Officials contacted by The Times said that there were no irregularities that affected the outcome.”

The New York Times contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; none reported any major voting issues.

. . .

What emerged in The Times’s reporting was how, beyond the president, Republicans in many states were engaged in a widespread effort to delegitimize the nation’s voting system.
Some Republicans have even turned to lashing members of their own party who, in their eyes, did not show sufficient dedication to rooting out fraud. In Georgia, where Mr. Biden is leading, the two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are in a runoff to gain re-election, have called for the resignation of the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. “The secretary of state has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections,” the senators said in a statement.

decorative leaf bulletWhat is MeWe? Everything you need to know about the social network competing with Parler.

Now, MeWe is experiencing a boom just like Parler as pro-Trump supporters boycott Facebook and Twitter over their anti-misinformation policies in the aftermath of Trump’s defeat in the election.

It should also be noted that unlike Parler, MeWe does have users who aren’t conservative. It’s not even all about politics like it is with Parler. There are MeWe groups for supporters of the Green Party, groups for dog and cat lovers, and arts and music groups, to name a few. However, the most active users on the site seem to be there to discuss conservative politics.

Technology

decorative leaf bulletVatican enlists bots to protect library from onslaught of hackers<

So far, about 25% of the library’s documents have been digitised. The project started with “unique, most famous and fragile pieces”, said Miceli. They include one of the world’s oldest manuscripts, an illustrated fragment of Virgil’s Aeneid that dates back 1,600 years. The collection also contains Sandro Botticelli’s 1450 illustration of the Divine Comedy; poems, technical notes and sketches by Michelangelo; ancient manuscripts of the Inca people; and historical treaties and letters.

. . .

But, said Miceli, digitisation means “we have to protect our online collection so that readers can trust the records are accurate, unaltered history”. He added: “While physical damage is often clear and immediate, an attack of this kind wouldn’t have the same physical visibility, and so has the potential to cause enduring and potentially irreparable harm, not only to the archive but to the world’s historical memory. In the era of fake news, these collections play an important role in the fight against misinformation and so defending them against ‘trust attacks’ is critical.
“Less Hollywood, but still concerning, is a ransomware attack on the library – a well-known attack that infiltrates companies unseen and then locks down files incredibly quickly until you pay a hefty sum. Ransomware today moves at machine-speed, outstripping humans’ ability to spot and stop the attack before it escalates.

decorative leaf bulletJapanese town deploys Monster Wolf robots to deter bears “Officials say there have been no bear encounters since arrival of robots in wolves’ clothing”

decorative leaf bulletReview: HomePod mini See also: Apple Homepod Mini Review: Playing Small Ball

decorative leaf bulletmacOS 11.0 Big Sur: The Ars Technica review


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Women’s Work

H/T Introversion: decorative leaf bulletAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez ends truce by warning ‘incompetent’ Democratic party

The real problem, said Ocasio-Cortez, was that the party lacked “core competencies” to run campaigns.
“There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee,” she told the Times’ Astead Herndon. “And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party – in and of itself – does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.”

. . .

Grassroots activism that produced large turnout in Detroit, Philadelphia and Georgia was crucial to Biden’s win, and if the Democratic party fails to recognise that and incorporate the grassroots, the party disintegrates at the ballot box, Ocasio-Cortez said.
“It’s really hard for us to turn out nonvoters when they feel like nothing changes for them. When they feel like people don’t see them, or even acknowledge their turnout,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

See also this from someone on the ground.

decorative leaf bulletRobin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County, Ga. — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week.

Kemp’s all-night coverage was public service journalism in its purest form. Physically and mentally exhausted, fueled by nothing but leftover Thai drunken noodles and the belief that if she didn’t watch it nobody would, Kemp spent nearly a day inside the stout government building where officials were counting votes. At that moment, it wasn’t just her county that needed a local reporter — her country did, too.

decorative leaf bulletWoman the hunter: Ancient Andean remains challenge old ideas of who speared big game

When archaeologists discovered the bones of a 9000-year-old human in a burial pit high in the Andes, they were impressed by a tool kit of 20 stone projectile points and blades stacked neatly by the person’s side. All signs pointed to the discovery of a high-status hunter. “Everybody was talking about how this was a great chief, a big man,” says archaeologist Randy Haas of the University of California (UC), Davis.

Then, bioarchaeologist Jim Watson of the University of Arizona noted that the bones were slender and light. “I think your hunter might be female,” he told Haas.

Now, the researchers report that the burial was indeed that of a female, challenging the long-standing “man the hunter” hypothesis. Her existence led them to reexamine reports of other ancient burials in the Americas, and they found 10 additional women buried with projectile points who may also have been hunters. “The message [of the new finding] is that women have always been able to hunt and have in fact hunted,” says archaeologist Bonnie Pitblado of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, who was not part of the study.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletVoices from the fight: An oral history of the four-year movement to defeat Donald Trump

decorative leaf bulletViral videos of poll workers filling in ballots don’t show what Trump supporters want you to believe

decorative leaf bulletGOP leaders’ embrace of Trump’s refusal to concede fits pattern of rising authoritarianism, data shows

Now, according to data released by an international team of political scientists just before the Nov. 3 election, it’s possible to quantify the extent to which the Republican Party no longer adheres to such principles as the commitment to free and fair elections with multiple parties, the respectful treatment of political opponents and the avoidance of violent rhetoric.
“The Republican Party in the U.S. has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years,” said Anna Lührmann, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and a former member of the German parliament. “Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary.”

decorative leaf bulletMore than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel

The spread of the coronavirus — which has sidelined roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team — is believed to be partly linked to a series of campaign rallies that President Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, according to the people, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation.

decorative leaf bulletLegal Avenues Closing As Trump Lawsuits Meet With Defeat Or Dead Ends

decorative leaf bulletDefense secretary sent classified memo to White House about Afghanistan before Trump fired him

After consulting with senior military officers, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sent a classified memo to the White House this month expressing concerns about additional cuts, according to two senior U.S. officials familiar with the discussion. Conditions on the ground were not yet right, Esper wrote, citing the ongoing violence, possible dangers to the remaining troops in the event of a rapid pullout, potential damage to alliances and apprehension about undercutting the negotiations.

decorative leaf bulletIn Trump’s final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal

Engineering much of the post-election purge is Johnny McEntee, a former college quarterback who was hustled out of the White House two years ago after a security clearance check turned up a prolific habit for online gambling.
A staunch Trump loyalist, McEntee, 30, was welcomed back into the fold in February and installed as personnel director for the entire U.S. government. Since the race was called for President-elect Joe Biden, McEntee has been distributing pink slips, warning federal workers not to cooperate with the Biden transition and threatening to oust people who show disloyalty by job hunting while Trump is still refusing to acknowledge defeat, according to six administration officials.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletHow to Safely Intervene in a Conflict

decorative leaf bulletStockton boy spread McDonald’s drive-thru kindness

decorative leaf bulletA teen with autism lost motivation for his walks to the post office. So strangers are sending cards to his P.O. Box.

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletTwitter pranksters flood pro-Trump march hashtag with pancake pics


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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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