You should read this for 9/19/2021:
Art, Music, and Film
Meet the Little-Known Genius Who Helped Make Pixar Possible “Alvy Ray Smith helped invent computer animation as we know it—then got royally shafted by Steve Jobs. Now he’s got a vision for where the pixel will take us next.”
His former colleagues at Pixar are unanimous in recognizing his contributions. But after he left, Smith’s name was removed from the website, an excision that he feels was somewhat of a betrayal. Catmull says he doesn’t see websites as historical documents.
Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language
On Tuesday, journalism and literature Twitter blew up after a user posted a 20-part thread decrying the lack of diversity among writers and editors at one of the most vaunted publications in the country, The New Yorker.
The stats offered about the print magazine were stunning: In the last 15 years, less than 0.01% of print features and critical pieces were edited by a Black editor. More women were able to publish profiles in the magazine between 1925 and 1935 than between 1990 and 2000. And over the last 30 years, spanning 1990 to 2020, few to no reviews of cinema, fine arts or classical music were published by either women or writers of color.
Food and Drink
Via COOKIE + Kate: Simple Blueberry Cake
This blueberry cake is my official summertime dessert. I hope it becomes yours, too. It’s tender, fully loaded with blueberries, and simple to make—no mixer required. It’s a dream!
This blueberry cake recipe is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, which makes it extra delicious. Thanks to the blueberries and maple syrup, it’s nicely sweet but not over the top.
History and Archaeology
Now researchers say they have found some of the earliest evidence of humans using clothing in a cave in Morocco, with the discovery of bone tools and bones from skinned animals suggesting the practice dates back at least 120,000 years.
Two skeletons have been discovered in a London graveyard which could change our view of the history of Europe and Asia.
Analysis of the bones, found in a Roman burial place in Southwark, discovered that they dated to between the 2nd and 4th Century AD and were probably ethnically Chinese.
Searching for the Fisher Kings .bqIn the waters of southern Florida, the creative Calusa people forged a mighty empire
Politics and Society
Preaching to the choir, shouting in an echo chamber — whatever your preferred metaphor is, a study published earlier this week in the Journal of the European Economic Association sheds some light on what may be happening when people are surrounded by others with like-minded views — and especially when they have a tough time gauging whether the information being presented within the chamber is accurate.
Science and Nature
In January 2006 a group of children in summer camp in Waikato, New Zealand, went on a fossil-hunting field trip with a seasoned archaeologist. They kayaked to the upper Kawhia harbour, a hotspot for this sort of activity, and they expected to find fossils of shellfish and the like, as they regularly did on these Hamilton junior naturalist club expeditions.
But on this day, just before heading home, close to where they’d left the kayaks and well below the high tide mark, they noticed a trace of fossils that looked like much more than prehistoric crustaceans. After careful extraction, an archaeologist later identified it as the most complete fossilised skeleton of an ancient giant penguin yet uncovered.
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Remember Genius? The startup that started out decoding rap lyrics (and named Rap Genius) but then wanted to create a new layer on top of the entire internet and “annotate the world”?
Read the piece, but for me this is the takeaway in terms of Genius’ attempts to game the ecconomics of attention via social annotation:
But here’s the truth: Annotation is just a comment box you can put anywhere on a web page. Some annotations are great! If you have a coherent community with shared goals and common values, they can be amazing and create something on a Wikipedia scale. But they have all the flaws of the comment box, too — namely, they’re a great place to see people be assholes to one another, and most people don’t much of unique value to add to the discussion.
I can’t say R.I.P. Genius, since they’re not going away. But R.I.P. to a vision of cultural commoditization, of tech-bro arrogance, and of anyone saying the word “homiesourced” ever again.
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An independent aristocrat, Mary Edwards of Kensington was a leading figure in 18th-century London. She was also thought to be the richest woman in the world.
If her name and image are not familiar now, there are two likely reasons: first, the most important portrait of Edwards is rarely loaned out for show; and second, her story – that of a wealthy Englishwoman who deliberately turned her back on marriage – does not easily fit the established history of her era.
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