Elsewhere for March 27, 2021

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You should read this for 3/27/2021:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletWhy are historical figures presumed straight? Francis Lee on causing outrage with Ammonite

Lee considers himself an outsider. “There just aren’t that many queer working-class people in the film industry,” he says. So he was taken aback to be informed that he shouldn’t tell lesbian stories. “It’s been a real lesson for me in identity politics. I know I can’t talk for Mary because I’m not a 19th-century palaeontologist, but I do think I can talk with her. What I tried to do was to take this working-class woman, who hadn’t been recognised in her lifetime, and elevate her. I wanted to contextualise her in terms of a relationship. And because men had blocked and overlooked her, and reappropriated her work for themselves, I felt that this relationship couldn’t be with a man.”

decorative leaf bulletA Gem of a Mystery “Curator Kenneth Lapatin sleuths out the truth about the Getty Gnaios”

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bullet200 Million Shots In 100 Days: Biden Issues New Vaccine Goal

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletHow Libraries Are Leading The Way To Digital Equity

Broadband and computers, critical to all libraries, fit into the ecology of libraries in different ways, depending on the demographics, the wants and needs, and technological experience of their customers. Here are three examples. . . . In a quickly changing digital environment, Tetzloff describes a neighborhood where lots of people are left behind. “People come in and are very unsure how to use computers. It is a lot of our job: How to use a mouse, use a computer, from square one.” Then he continues importantly, “Even kids. In conventional wisdom, kids are naturals; they’ve grown up with it. But in fact, our kids are not very good at technology. They know how to get to favorite games, look at videos. But they don’t have the slightest idea how to research a paper for school.”

These are the kids who haven’t grown up exposed to the internet, who have no access at home, who don’t have a parent who can teach them. For them, “the tech gap is getting worse, not better,” he said. . . . In Hilliard, broadband is the thing. More people have their own devices, and bring them in to log on to the library’s Wi-Fi. Looking around the study tables and into the small meeting rooms, she says that everybody is using the Wi-Fi. Why? “Some can’t afford Wi-Fi, for sure.” Teenagers will come in with the iPads issued by their schools to use Wi-Fi they may not have access to at home.

decorative leaf bullet‘Self-satisfied pork butcher’: Shakespeare grave effigy believed to be definitive likeness

A groundbreaking discovery means we finally know at least how Shakespeare wanted to be seen.
The effigy above his grave in Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon was thought to have been installed several years after his death in 1616 and, as a posthumous memorial, not an actual likeness. The 20th-century critic John Dover Wilson once characterised it as that of a “self-satisfied pork butcher”. But new research has found that the bust was in fact modelled from life by a sculptor who knew him.

decorative leaf bulletPeter S. Beagle and Ownership Group Regain Control of Rights to His Work Following Sale Approved by Bankruptcy Court

For Peter Beagle, his journey over the past several years has reinforced the dangers of elder abuse and the urgent need to shine a spotlight on this far too common and sinister crime.  Older people, and often older writers, can be easy targets, particularly individuals whose age might make them more susceptible to claims that they’re in cognitive decline.  These types of insidious suggestions and claims – notions that someone has dementia or looks like “they’re losing it” –serve to reinforce typical fears, creating and heightening self-doubt even when it is not warranted.  The result can be terrifying for any vulnerable older person.  The risk for the elderly is great when confronted by someone like Beagle’s former manager who, as described by the Superior Court of California in Beagle’s case, “…presents as an extremely intelligent, articulate, overly-aggressive hustler and pitchman…[with]…a flair for the dramatic that is at best loosely based in truth.”

Climate Change | Climate Repair

decorative leaf bullet“Climate facts are back”: EPA brings science back to website after Trump purge

Canceled four years ago by a president who considered global warming a hoax, climate crisis information has returned to the website of the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of Joe Biden’s promise to “bring science back”.

The revival of a page dedicated to the climate emergency reverses Donald Trump’s order in 2017 to drop all references to it from government websites, and prioritises the Biden administration’s pledge to “organize and deploy the full capacity of its agencies to combat the climate crisis”.

In a statement, Michael Regan, confirmed by the US Senate last week as the federal agency’s new head, said: “Climate facts are back on the EPA’s website where they should be. Considering the urgency of this crisis, it’s critical that Americans have access to information and resources so that we can all play a role in protecting our environment, our health and vulnerable communities.”

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletHow Iceland clamped down to conquer coronavirus

When I asked Gylfi what had given Iceland this edge, he was adamant: “It has been the scientists making up the rules, not the politicians. That matters. They know what they are talking about, the politicians do not.”

At every step, Iceland has followed the science, led by Prof Gudnason and his team, with politicians nowhere to be seen in the daily briefings.

Education

decorative leaf bulletA DeVos System Allowed 12 Minutes to Decide Student Loan Forgiveness “Education Dept. documents filed in federal court describe a process that denied 130,000 claims from borrowers who say schools misled them.”

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made no secret of her disdain for a program intended to forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who were ripped off by schools that defrauded their students. She called it a “free money” giveaway, let hundreds of thousands of claims languish for years and slashed the amount of relief granted to some successful applicants to $0.

Then, after a class-action lawsuit made it impossible to stall any longer, her agency built what amounted to an assembly line of rejection.

NPR Audio (with transcript): decorative leaf bulletNew Data Highlight Disparities In Students Learning In Person

As of January and early February of this year, 44% of elementary students and 48% of middle school students in the survey remained fully remote. And the survey found large differences by race: 69% of Asian, 58% of Black and 57% of Hispanic fourth graders were learning entirely remotely, while just 27% of White students were.

Conversely, nearly half of white fourth-graders were learning full-time in person, compared with just 15% of Asian, 28% of Black and 33% of Hispanic fourth-graders. The remainder had hybrid schedules.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletMadhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery was a guide to another world

There was this terrible British version of curry cooked at home involving onions, cooking apples, chuck beef and astringent curry powder,” Lawrence says. Jaffrey’s recipes promised something else. Here is a deep, rust-coloured Kashmiri rogan josh, bursting with clove and asafoetida. Here’s aubergine in the pickling style, here is chana dal and makkhani murgha, or butter chicken. Here is a guidebook for another place entirely.

decorative leaf bulletRachel Roddy’s recipe for chicken with rosemary, tomatoes and olives

. . . a recipe from Oretta Zanini Di Vita’s The Food of Rome and Lazio: History, Folklore and Recipes, and the section about the cooking of the Ciociaria, the name given to the Roman countryside that extends from the south of Rome to Cassino. The recipe is one of dozens of variations on the hunter’s-style chicken theme, but in this version, rosemary – pungent, resinous, bitter and beautiful – is queen, hence the name, pollo al rosmarino.

decorative leaf bulletHow to make the perfect sole meunière – recipe

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘This is radical love’ – the glorious, rich history of black queer Britain

We launched the digital archive Black and Gay, Back in the Day on Instagram at the start of LGBTQ History Month on 1 February. We wanted to document the lives of Black queer people in Britain – not just those seen as icons or famous figures but the everyday people who contributed to the building of Black culture and frequented Black spaces. The response was overwhelming – and our collection of images, based on public submissions, is growing every week.

Our priority is the history that has been buried – the old clothes, creased photographs, leaflets and posters – hidden in people’s homes. This gives our archive the feel of a family photo album, with images that evoke memories, connect old lovers and educate younger Black queers about the spaces that have existed in the past.

decorative leaf bulletVesuvius killed people of Pompeii in 15 minutes, study suggests

Numerous studies have confirmed that the estimated 2,000 people who died in the Roman city were asphyxiated rather than killed by the lava. And work by researchers from the University of Bari, in collaboration with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, says the pyroclastic flow – a dense, fast-moving current of solidified lava pieces, volcanic ash and hot gases – engulfed Pompeii just a few minutes after the volcano erupted.

decorative leaf bulletWelsh rabbits serve up prehistoric finds on tiny Skokholm Island

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletFour Proud Boys leaders charged over alleged roles in US Capitol attack

Four men described as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group have been charged in the US Capitol riot, as an indictment ordered unsealed on Friday presents fresh evidence of how federal officials believe members planned and carried out a coordinated attack to stop Congress certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

At least 19 leaders, members or associates of the neo-fascist Proud Boys have been charged in federal court with offenses related to the 6 January riot, which resulted in five deaths.
The latest indictment suggests the Proud Boys deployed a much larger contingent in Washington, with more than 60 users “participating in” an encrypted messaging channel for group members created a day before.

decorative leaf bullet‘Walk One Day In Our Shoes’: Life Near Minimum Wage

When experts study low-wage jobs, workers like Montooth and Barnes are actually often left out, because traditionally, labor data focus on the “prime working age” of 25 to 54. Martha Ross from the Brookings Institution decided to expand her research to workers 18 to 64, including part-timers — and was shocked at her discovery.

Adjusting for regional differences in the cost of living, Ross found 53 million low-wage workers in America, with median earnings of $10.22 an hour, or $17,950 a year.
“This is a huge swath of our labor market,” Ross says. “It really made me think about the kinds of jobs that we’re creating.”

decorative leaf bulletHow the US Tax Code Privileges White Families

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletTardigrades: nature’s great survivors

decorative leaf bulletSmooth newts to turn gardens into mating hotspots after dark

decorative leaf bulletHumans Accidentally Created a Death Trap for Bald Eagles

But as the toll rose, to more than 70 eagles in total, the mass die-off of America’s national bird in the president’s home state took on outsize symbolic importance. Scientists around the country were detailed to the case, but they kept coming up empty: It wasn’t botulism. It wasn’t heavy metals. It wasn’t pesticides. It didn’t seem to be anything known to man.


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Technology

decorative leaf bulletThe Mess At Medium

But in the end, frustrated that Medium staff journalists’ stories weren’t converting more free readers to paid ones, Williams moved to wind down the experiment — throwing dozens of journalists’ livelihoods into question, just as he had in 2015, when he laid off 50 people amid a pivot away from advertising on the site. (This 2019 history of the company by Laura Hazard Owen in Nieman Lab offers a definitive look at the company’s stop-start relationship with journalism up to that point.) . . . But interviews with 14 current and former Medium employees over the past day paint a portrait of a dysfunctional company built to celebrate writing only to become famous for its poor treatment of writers.

And not only writers: In recent weeks, Medium’s chief operating officer and vice president of engineering left the company. Several other engineers are leaving or planning to. Williams is now the company’s CEO, de facto COO, and since last year, its head of product.

What Medium did well was creating the UI for writing. Not so much with curation, editing, etc.


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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletAlone in Oman: Covid worsens abuse for trafficked women

sha knew she was in trouble when her passport was snatched from her hands. The 27-year-old from Sierra Leone had just arrived in the Omani capital, Muscat, believing she was to start a well-paid job at a restaurant. Instead, her recruitment agent bundled her into a car and drove her to a house where she was told she would be working as a live-in maid.
“My agent told me he could take my passport because he had bought me,” she says. “I was confused. How can you buy a human being?”

decorative leaf bulletTop Saudi official issued death threat against UN’s Khashoggi investigator

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰 Trump 🤥🤥👖🔥 The Insurrection President

decorative leaf bulletRoger Stone keeps appearing in Capitol breach investigation court filings

The images show Stone had previous interactions with at least three more defendants who prosecutors have accused of being players in organizing the Jan. 6 breach. Although investigators continue to bump into Stone as they probe members of the Oath Keepers and of the Proud Boys, another right-wing group charged with leading the assault, it remains unclear what that means as prosecutors review what, if any, influence Stone, other high-profile right-wing figures or Trump associates had on them.

decorative leaf bulletFormer Green Beret, Army reservist who wore Hitler mustache jailed pending trial on Jan. 6 Capitol riot charges

Hale-Cusanelli ran an antisemitic podcast, wore a Hitler mustache to work and shared violent, racist fantasies with colleagues, prosecutors said. After the Capitol breach, which disrupted Congress’s confirmation of the 2020 presidential election results and the peaceful transfer of power, Hale-Cusanelli expressed hope for a “civil war, at a time when we’re having concerns about that in this country,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James Nelson said.

. . .

Separately, a federal magistrate denied bond for Jeffrey McKellop, 55, of Augusta County, Va., who served two enlistments totaling 22 years in the Army, including as a Special Forces communications sergeant.

McKellop is accused of throwing a flagpole at a police officer like a spear and assaulting three other officers, according to the FBI and court documents.

decorative leaf bulletProsecutors Allege ‘Substantial Evidence’ Of Oath Keepers Conspiracy To Storm Capitol

The founder of the Oath Keepers militia had a 97-second phone call with a senior member of the group who minutes later took part in a military-style “stack” formation with other Oath Keepers to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to federal prosecutors.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bullet“A letter tells someone they still matter”: the sudden, surprising return of the pen pal

In between lockdowns, she had been making paintings of the city’s board houses, or “den ol bode house”, in the local Krio language. These wooden dwellings were being replaced by large concrete developments, and Modarres wanted to document them before they disappeared. Cloistered in her rooms, she posted her pictures to Instagram and a Sierra Leone Facebook group, asking if anyone wanted to receive one and perhaps, she added tentatively, become a pen pal. In the end, she sent out around 60 paintings.

decorative leaf bulletThe Americans Who Knitted Their Own Safety Net

Stuff I Wrote

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletWildfires: Cambridgeshire archive saves couple’s wedding album

decorative leaf bulletMars Perseverance iPhone wallpapers

decorative leaf bulletUluru waterfalls: Rain brings ‘unique’ sight to Australian landmark Do check the images and video in the link; amazing!


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