Art, Music, and Film
Podcast from December 2020: The Economist Asks: Viggo Mortensen How to talk about dementia—in real life and on screen
The actor, best known for playing Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, talks about directing his first feature film on caring for his parents who suffered from dementia. Anne McElvoy asks him why he prefers cinema to home-streaming and whether he believes people will return to the big screen after the pandemic.
Mortenson has some very good things to say about coping with dementia in your family, and I was particularly taken by his assertion that correcting someone who isn’t in the here and now, isn’t helpful or kind; I think he’s right.
Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Department of the Interior has been used as a tool of oppression against America’s indigenous peoples. In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the agency is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes.
Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language
Serious Fun Podcast: Episode 31: Martha’s Merry(?) Murderbots (w/ Martha Wells) I’m a definite Martha Wells fan, and I have really loved Martha Wells’ Murderbot books and novels, particularly in the Time of COVID-19. Good writer, good books, and a new one Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries Book 6) drops on April 27, 2021.
Climate Change | Climate Repair
Coronavirus | COVID-19
Paul brought it again Thursday, and Fauci again made clear he has little patience for Paul’s nonexpert theories about the outbreak and Paul’s reading of studies about it.
At a Senate hearing, Paul pressed Fauci on health experts’ continued recommendation of masks even for people who have contracted the virus or who have been vaccinated. Paul repeatedly suggested wearing masks in those cases was “theater” — pointing specifically to Fauci wearing masks even though he has been vaccinated. . . . Fauci, though, noted that we simply don’t have enough information to be able to draw the kind of firm conclusion that Paul had — and that in the absence of that, mitigation is still the name of the game.
Fauci was fabulous during the HIV crises, and he’s still fabulous. Rand Paul isn’t.
The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday it is scrapping a controversial formula, championed by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, that granted only partial student loan relief to borrowers who were defrauded by private, for-profit colleges. It will instead adopt what it’s calling a “streamlined approach” for granting borrowers full relief.
Food and Drink
History and Archaeology
A tomb unearthed in Spain has prompted archaeologists to reconsider assumptions about women’s power in Bronze Age European societies.
See the original Antiquity article: Emblems and spaces of power during the Argaric Bronze Age at La Almoloya, Murcia
The IAA said the scrolls it found were Greek translations of the books of Zechariah and Nahum from the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and were radiocarbon-dated to the 2nd century AD. The name of God is written in Hebrew.
new research into an Orkney Iron Age site suggests it was the scene of a massive prehistoric party, which saw the guests tuck into an astonishing amount of limpets and periwinkles.
More than 18,600 shells were found in a pit at The Cairns site, at South Ronaldsay.
Now radiocarbon dating technology has shown the pit was used in the fifth or sixth century AD, apparently to cook the shellfish before they were handed out to hungry guests. The shells – all 18,637 of them – were then put carefully back into the pit, perhaps as cooks and guests tidied up after their get-together.
Politics and Society
How Gop-Backed Voting Measures Could Create Hurdles For Tens Of Millions Of Voters “At least 250 new laws have been proposed in 43 states to limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting.”
In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee, according to data compiled as of Feb. 19 by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. Even more proposals have been introduced since then. . . . But in most cases, Republicans are proposing solutions in states where elections ran smoothly, including in many with results that Trump and his allies did not contest or allege to be tainted by fraud. The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those in cities and Black voters in particular, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic — laying bare, critics say, the GOP’s true intent: gaining electoral advantage.
Via NPR with audio and a partial transcript: Wave Of Bills To Block Trans Athletes Has No Basis In Science, Researcher Says
Often missing from the culture-war aspect of the debate is a focus on the type of questions that Dr. Eric Vilain has spent much of his career researching. Vilain, a pediatrician and geneticist who studies sex differences in athletes, says there are no good faith reasons to limit transgender women’s participation in sports, especially at the high school level. Vilain has advised both the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA, and says these laws generally aren’t based in scientific evidence, but rather “target women who have either a different biology or … simply look different.”
Science and Nature
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The Antikythera Mechanism has baffled experts since it was found on a Roman-era shipwreck in Greece in 1901.
The hand-powered Ancient Greek device is thought to have been used to predict eclipses and other astronomical events.
But only a third of the device survived, leaving researchers pondering how it worked and what it looked like.
Apple discontinues the HomePod, but the HomePod mini will live on I’m disappointed. I love my HomePod Mini so much I was planning on buying a pair of HomePods.
Developed by Astroscale, a Japanese-UK company, the mission will be operated from the UK’s in-orbit servicing control centre (IOCC) at Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell, near Oxford. The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration mission (Elsa-d) is a small satellite designed to find, rendezvous and clamp on to an unwanted satellite. It will then push it into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.
SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of ver 200 apps for macOS and iOS for a flat subscription fee.
This singer is one of an estimated 1,000 women in northern Ghana who have fled their homes because of witchcraft accusations — and the fear that they will be physically attacked as a result. Reasons vary for such allegations: Some charges arise so that land they owned could be stolen. Other times women with mental or physical disabilities are condemned. Virulent sexism, ageism or personal jealousies are usually part of these accusations.
See also: Witch Camp (Ghana): I’ve Forgotten Now Who I Used To Be review – magical sound of the marginalised “Sung in little-spoken Ghanaian dialects, these haunting, spontaneous songs by women accused of witchcraft are unlike anything you have ever heard.”
She declined interviews and stepped out of photographs – even family ones, so that as we were looking this week for images for the order of service at her cremation, we had very few, and those were stolen moments gleaned before she could practise her invisibility trick.
Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland, on 31st March 1844. He studied at the Universities of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and Balliol College, Oxford. He was elected to an Open Fellowship at Merton College, moving there in 1869. Lang was prolific in a number of disciplines, such as pre-history, the relationship between myth and religion, and Scottish history, and was particularly prominent in the field of folklore, being a founding member, in 1878, of the Folklore Society, and its president during the International Folk-Lore Congress in London in 1891. He died on 20 July 1912. It is perhaps paradoxical, given the prevailing view at that time that children’s books were not real literature, that he is probably best remembered for his children’s books, particularly the ‘coloured’ series of fairy books. More ironic still, it was his wife who did the majority of the work on these.
Which brings me to my all-time favorite bit of terrible social media advice: don’t feed the trolls.
No one who has ever dealt with online trolls has ever said this seriously to someone dealing with mass, ongoing harassment. Most of the time, this particular bit of advice comes from Steve with 25 Twitter followers or someone’s mom on Facebook. So let’s talk about trolls.
💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰
The district attorney is sifting through millions of pages of his tax records. The state attorney general has subpoenaed his lawyers, his bankers, his chief financial officer — even one of his sons.
And that’s just in New York. Former president Donald Trump is also facing criminal investigations in Georgia and the District of Columbia related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Trump must defend himself against a growing raft of lawsuits: 29 are pending at last count, including some seeking damages from Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, when he encouraged a march to the Capitol that ended in a mob storming the building.
Pay It Forward and Make It Better
“When shade-grown coffee is well-managed, it’s the most amazing crop for biodiversity and you’ll hardly know that you’ve walked into a coffee-growing area,” he says. “There won’t be much change in birdsong because the canopy remains full of life, with everything from huge morpho butterflies and moths to monkeys, toucans and anacondas.”
That continuity of canopy is crucial for birds and monkeys that will not travel across gaps due to risk of predation. “Coffee provides this nice, smooth movement possibility,” adds Whaley, who explains that this fragile ecosystem relies on some highly intricate relationships. “There might be a single type of bee that pollinates a specific orchid that provides the vital nectar food for one particular hummingbird. If you lose that one bee, all those relationships collapse.”
Animated Knots Pretty much any kind of knotyou’ve every heard of, and plenty you haven’t, organized by use, with animated tutorials for tying them.
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Buy me a Coffee! If you find this post or this site interesting, and would like to see more, buy me a coffee. While I may actually buy coffee, I’ll probably buy books to review.