Elsewhere for March 6, 2021

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You should read this for 3/6/2021:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletWhy “L.A. Story” Is Still a Relevant (and Poignant) Satire of Los Angeles See also: Steve Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker Remember L.A. Story.

L.A. Story captures so much of Los Angeles’ and Hollywood and film cultures around L.A. in the late 1980s and early 90s. I love it dearly, still, though I suspect much of the humor and sly wit is lost on those who are not Angelenos. This film, now thirty years old, was also my introduction to the Celtic-infused music of Enya; I think her best tracks are in this film.

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletBiden Backs Amazon Warehouse Workers’ Union Drive

Biden warned in his video that there should be “no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda” during union elections. He said, “It’s not up to an employer” to decide any union election.

decorative leaf bulletLifelong Educator, Miguel Cardona, Confirmed As Education Secretary

Before being nominated by President Biden, Cardona served as Connecticut’s education commissioner for the past year and a half, arguing forcefully that schools should reopen during the COVID-19 crisis in order to keep equity gaps from growing ever wider. Before that, he spent his entire career working for the public school system that helped raise him — as a fourth grade teacher, principal and assistant superintendent in the old factory town of Meriden, Conn.

decorative leaf bulletNeera Tanden Withdraws As Nominee For Office Of Management And Budget

It had become increasingly clear that Tanden’s nomination was in trouble after multiple key senators said they wouldn’t support her, citing her tweets criticizing some members of Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., was the most significant opponent. Without his support, Tanden needed to find a Republican to support her in the equally divided Senate. . . .

decorative leaf bulletHow The White House Got 2 Pharma Rivals To Work Together On COVID-19 Vaccine

But it was after the early February phone call that officials felt like J&J had embraced the push, said a second official who was involved in the talks. “They understood this was a wartime effort. This was their legacy. This was their time.”

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletInterview: George M Johnson: ‘Queer characters tend to die at the end of books’

decorative leaf bulletFederal Court Says There’s Nothing Wrong With Arresting Someone For Parodying A Police Department Facebook Page

Despite it being readily apparent this was not an official Parma PD page, Parma officers arrested Novak in March 2016. The page had only been live for 12 hours, but the PD claimed Novak’s page “interrupted police operations.“ The Parma PD made the most of its apparently underutilized resources to stop this resident from making fun of it. To shut down a Facebook parody, the Parma PD deployed seven officers, three warrants, one subpoena, and hundreds of tax dollars to seize a bunch of electronic devices from Novak’s house and throw him in jail. Novak spent four days in jail before being released and was ordered to report to a probation officer.

Novak was acquitted of the felony “disruption of service” charge. His ensuing lawsuit made its way to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which refused to grant qualified immunity to Parma PD officers. Unfortunately — despite indicating it strongly felt the PD’s actions violated Novak’s First and Fourth Amendment rights — it refused to make a call on either issue, sending it back to the district court for more fact-finding.

decorative leaf bullet Avoid Using These Triggering Phrases to Describe People. . . . because they are often inaccurate, too broad to be useful, and needlessly dismissive.

Climate Change | Climate Repair

decorative leaf bullet“The river was stolen from us”: a tribe’s battle to retake the Skagit River

The tribe wants Seattle to remove the Gorge Dam, the lowest of the three dams, and return the river to the section the city de-watered. The tribe says Seattle’s century of hydroelectric work on the Skagit has contributed to a sharp drop in river’s salmon runs, which has ripple effects across the region. The Skagit is the last American river outside of Alaska still home to all five species of wild salmon, although the fish stocks are dwindling: Two species are now listed under the Endangered Species Act and a nearby resident killer whale population, which depends on the Skagit River’s salmon for survival, is listed as endangered.

Coronavirus | COVID-19</h4

decorative leaf bulletOne Pfizer or Oxford Covid jab ‘significantly’ prevents hospitalisation in older people

A single shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers dramatic protection against hospital admission and severe disease in older people, according to a new study from Public Health England (PHE).
Matt Hancock hailed the real-world data, which found either vaccine is more than 80% effective at preventing hospital admission around three to four weeks after the first dose.

decorative leaf bulletBiden to announce ‘historic partnership’: Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, officials say

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine — an unusual pact between fierce competitors that could sharply boost the supply of the newly authorized vaccine, according to senior administration officials.

Education

decorative leaf bulletGiving kids a break is the best way for them to ‘catch up’ after a year of disruption

Much of the debate has focused on how to help pupils “catch up” on their “lost learning”. This narrative is profoundly unhelpful and potentially damaging, due to the psychological pressure it places on children and young people. It’s our national obsession with summative assessment that makes children feel that they have “fallen behind” if they haven’t learned certain things at certain times. But in every year group, pupils are at various stages of cognitive, physical and emotional development. There is no such thing as “behind,” there is only where children are at. Besides, if we truly believe that everyone can be a lifelong learner, then a few months of parents struggling to teach phonics is a brief bump on their educational journey.

decorative leaf bulletDon’t Help Your Kids With Homework

The official title is clickbait; the internal title “Don’t Help Your Kids With Homework” and the summary are accurate: “Focus on prioritization and process, not the assignment itself.” It’s actually a reasonable, helpful article, despite the official title.

decorative leaf bulletEx-Bristol student unable to read at 13 now studying for PhD

William Carter, 22, has severe dyslexia and dyspraxia and was mocked because he could not read at primary school.

His grades improved rapidly after his dyslexia was diagnosed.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletHow to Ferment Your Own Pickles Without Freaking Out

decorative leaf bulletCook Your Dried Beans With Citrus Peel

A word of advice: Take it easy on the zest. Since whole rind releases so much citrus oil as it cooks, you can definitely overdo it. One or two half-inch-wide strips are all you need for a pound of dried beans—so if you’re cooking less than that, be sure to use even narrower strips. You can always add more to the next batch.

decorative leaf bulletHow to understand and use feta, star of TikTok’s viral pasta recipe See also: TikTok’s viral baked feta pasta is worth the hype

decorative leaf bulletHow to Make Your Own Chili Oil

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletArchaeologists find unique ceremonial vehicle near Pompeii

Archaeologists have unearthed a unique Roman ceremonial carriage from a villa just outside Pompeii, the city buried in a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.

The almost perfectly preserved four-wheeled carriage, made of iron, bronze and tin, was found near the stables of an ancient villa at Civita Giuliana, about 700 metres north of the walls of ancient Pompeii.

See also: Pompeii: Archaeologists unveil ceremonial chariot discovery and A ‘Lamborghini’ Of Chariots Is Discovered At Pompeii. Archaeologists Are Wowed.

decorative leaf bulletRare Bronze Age Spearhead Found In Gorey

A metal spearhead dating back more than 3,000 years has been found in Jersey.
It was uncovered on the beach at Gorey last August by metal detectorist Jay Cornick, who took it to Jersey Heritage to be recorded. . . . It dates to between 1207 and 1004 BC. It’s now on display at the Museum and Art Gallery.

decorative leaf bulletHidden scenes in ancient Etruscan paintings revealed

Scientists using a new technique have uncovered the colorful and once-hidden scenes in paintings of the ancient Etruscans, a group of people who flourished on the Italian peninsula around 2,500 years ago at a time before Rome became powerful.

For instance, they found new details in a painting from the “Tomb of the Monkey” and scenes of an underworld in another work of art.

Audio: decorative leaf bullet Why the first US cowboys were black

Historians estimate that one in four cowboys were African American, though you’d never guess because the conventional Hollywood image of a cowboy is a white man. Black cowboys have been written out of history, along with the original cattle-raising Native Americans and Mexican vaqueros who taught them. So what are the real origins of cowboy culture in the US? Josh Toussaint-Strauss talks to some of the Black riders who are keeping the history of Black cowboy culture alive

decorative leaf bulletWho Built the Egyptian Pyramids & How Did They Do It?: New Archeological Evidence Busts Ancient Myths

The evidence suggests they were built by a force of skilled laborers, as the Veritasium video above explains. These were cadres of elite construction workers who were well-fed and housed during their stint. “Many Egyptologists,” including archeologist Mark Lehner, who has excavated a city of workers in Giza, “subscribe to the hypotheses that the pyramids were… built by a rotating labor force in a modular, team-based kind of organization,” Jonathan Shaw writes at Harvard Magazine. Graffiti discovered at the site identifies team names like “Friends of Khufu” and “Drunkards of Menkaure.”

This is interesting in light of recent archaeological research suggesting that Stonehenge was built by similar community supported labor. See Feeding Stonehenge.

decorative leaf bullet Tintern ‘secret’ medieval tunnel system found by accident

The 4ft (122cm) high tunnel was “tucked away” underneath a footpath running parallel to the Angiddy Brook, and appears to follow the brook’s route along the valley.

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletThe making of Madison Cawthorn: How falsehoods helped propel the career of a new pro-Trump star of the far right

Key parts of Cawthorn’s talk, however, were not true. The friend, Bradley Ledford, who has not previously spoken publicly about the chapel speech, said in an interview that Cawthorn’s account was false and that he pulled Cawthorn from the wreckage. An accident report obtained by The Washington Post said Cawthorn was “incapacitated,” not that he was declared dead. Cawthorn himself said in a lawsuit deposition, first reported by the news outlet AVL Watchdog, that he had been rejected by the Naval Academy before the crash.

decorative leaf bulletCalculator For The Billionaires

Some billionaires seem confused about how much they would pay under Elizabeth’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax. Don’t worry, now we have a calculator for that too.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletGlow-in-the-dark sharks found off New Zealand coast

The three species were already known to marine biologists but this is the first time that the phenomenon of bioluminescence — organisms emitting light — has been identified in them.
While many marine animals – as well as some insects such as fireflies – produce their own light, this is the first time it has been found in larger sharks.

decorative leaf bulletNASA’s latest Mars rover has the same processor as an iMac from 1998

Perseverance is running on none other than a PowerPC 750, a single-core, 233MHz processor with just 6 million transistors that’s most famous for powering the original “Bondi blue” iMac from 1998. It’s the same type of processor that NASA already uses in its Curiosity rover.

Technology

decorative leaf bulletRedditor invented ‘Paper Civ’ while dreaming of playing Civilization

One Redditor says that while they waited to be able to afford the real McCoy, they created a version of Civilization to play in their notebook at school. They called it ‘Paper Civ.’

decorative leaf bulletUnlocking history through automated virtual unfolding of sealed documents imaged by X-ray microtomography

decorative leaf bulletA few rightwing ‘super-spreaders’ fueled bulk of election falsehoods, study says

A report from the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a group that includes Stanford and the University of Washington, analyzed social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok during several months before and after the 2020 elections.

It found that “super-spreaders” – responsible for the most frequent and most impactful misinformation campaigns – included Trump and his two elder sons, as well as other members of the Trump administration and the rightwing media. . . . “If there is a limit to how much content moderators can tackle, have them focus on reducing harm by eliminating the most effective spreaders of misinformation,” said said Lisa Fazio, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the psychology of fake news but was not involved EIP report. “Rather than trying to enforce the rules equally across all users, focus enforcement on the most powerful accounts.”


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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletRestoration influencer: how Charles II’s clever mistress set trends ahead of her time

Mancini, a mistress of Charles II, was a renowned Italian beauty who famously fled to England dressed as a man to escape her abusive aristocratic husband. But she also wielded her fame and status to create a subversive space in London where royal mistresses could meet, gamble, drink champagne and discuss science and literature on an equal footing with men, according to Annalisa Nicholson, a researcher in French Studies at Cambridge University.

decorative leaf bulletThe Little-Known Female Scientists Who Mapped 400,000 Stars Over a Century Ago: An Introduction to the “Harvard Computers”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰 | Donald Trump and Domestic Terrorism

decorative leaf bulletUS militia group draws members from military and police, website leak shows

A Guardian investigation of a website leak from the American Patriots Three Percent shows the anti-government militia group have recruited a network across the United States that includes current and former military members, police and border patrol agents.

But the leak also demonstrates how the radical group has recruited from a broad swath of Americans, not just military and law enforcement. Members include both men and women, of ages ranging from their 20s to their 70s, doing jobs from medical physics to dental hygiene and living in all parts of the country.

decorative leaf bullet‘I’ll get away with anything’: 13 not-so-greatest hits from the Capitol riot arrest records Yes, it was domestic terrorism, and these are not people to feel sorry for.

decorative leaf bulletThe two big discrepancies in the testimony on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

decorative leaf bulletState Department aide appointed by Trump stormed the Capitol, beat police with a riot shield, FBI says

Klein was still employed at the State Department as a staff assistant on Jan. 6 when he joined a mob in a tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol, the FBI said. Then he allegedly “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” at the building’s entrance, according to the complaint. After ignoring officers’ orders to move back, he assaulted officers with a riot shield that had been stolen from police, the complaint said, and then used the shield to wedge open a door into the Capitol.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletCOVID Has Maine Fishermen Supplying School Lunches

When an anonymous donor asked how to help, Hudson and her colleagues came up with Fishermen Feeding Mainers, a new program that guarantees five boats a modest but viable minimum of $2 per pound. Local companies process the fish — hake, pollack, haddock, and monkfish — which goes to Good Shepherd Food Bank and other food-assistance groups, Maine’s Wabanaki tribes, and schools as near as Westbrook and as far as Millinocket.

“Some school nutritional directors were like, ‘Oh boy, how’s seafood going to go over with elementary and middle-school kids?’” Hudson says. “But it’s actually gone over really well.” Now on cafeteria trays: fish tacos, Parmesan-crusted fillets, fish cakes, and more. The association is fundraising to keep the program going at least through spring.


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Stuff I Wrote

decorative leaf bulletMarch from Walters Museum W.425

decorative leaf bulletPencil Sharpeners

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bullet200,000 Buddhists celebrated a holy day over Zoom and the pictures are beautiful

Via PBS: decorative leaf bulletMuch Ado About Nothing A modern live filmed performance in a park, in a modern setting and context, and I not only don’t hate it, I think it’s fabulous.


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