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.

Elsewhere for February 24, 2018

You should read this for 2/23/2018: Undersea paper art, Amazon, money laundering and fake books; Old English glosses and The Tremulous Hand scribe, wine, Sicilian culture, and caves. The Gate to Hell is a gas, and women who scribe. 

Art and Film

Colorful Paper-Cut Sculpture Captures the Diversity of a Coral Reef

Get to know the Dora Milaje, Black Panther’s mighty women warriors

Books, Writing, and Language

Via Krebs On Security: Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon? “Patrick Reames had no idea why sent him a 1099 form saying he’d made almost $24,000 selling books via Createspace, the company’s on-demand publishing arm. That is, until he searched the site for his name and discovered someone has been using it to peddle a $555 book that’s full of nothing but gibberish.”

Old English masterclass at the British Library

In the 13th century, a mysterious annotator with shaky handwriting made marginal or interlinear notes (glosses) in around 20 manuscripts which belonged to Worcester Cathedral Priory. The Tremulous Hand — as he is now known — was from one of the last generations of people who could understand Old English. He is thought to have suffered from a nerve condition called ‘essential tremor’, a type of uncontrollable shaking that mainly affects the hands, which today affects around four out of 100 adults over the age of 40. His glosses show that he was concerned that knowledge of the past, as well as knowledge of an earlier form of his language, should not be lost.

The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores “At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.”

Food and Drink

Prehistoric Wine Discovered in Inaccessible Caves Forces a Rethink of Ancient Sicilian Culture “But the fourth jar held the greatest surprise: pure grape wine from 5,000 years ago.”

History and Archaeology

This Roman ‘gate to hell’ killed its victims with a cloud of deadly carbon dioxide “Is it possible to walk through the gates of hell and live? The Romans thought so, and they staged elaborate sacrifices at what they believed were entrances to the underworld scattered across the ancient Mediterranean. The sacrifices—healthy bulls led down to the gates of hell—died quickly without human intervention, but the castrated priests who accompanied them returned unharmed.”


Anti-vaxxers prey on parents’ fears

Trump’s plan to replace food stamps with food boxes is his meanest idea yet

Now comes President Trump, with the meanest and dumbest approach to food stamps in recent memory. Trump’s budget proposal, released on Monday, calls for replacing half of the monthly cash benefit for most recipients with a Department of Agriculture food box containing “shelf-stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish.”

Women’s Work

Women Scribes: The Technologists of the Middle Ages

Lesbian couple sues feds for thwarting their chance to foster refugee children

During an informational phone call with the organization in charge, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, they say, they were told that same-sex couples are ineligible to apply because they don’t “mirror the Holy Family.”

Continue reading

Elsewhere for February 17, 2018

You should read this for 2/17/2017:

Art and Film

Lego’s New Hogwarts Great Hall Set Is Going to Magically Drain My Wallet

Books, Writing, and Language

When Books Read You, a Defense of Bibliomancy

Amazonian Language Once Spoken By Thousands – Now, Only One

Food and Drink

Nick Evans of Simply Recipes: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

History and Archaeology

Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents

Science and Technology

Spiderlike Creature With a Scorpion’s
Tail Is Found Trapped in Amber Four specimens found in amber. Chimerarachne yingi is tiny, about 2.5 millimeters long, with a whip-like tail almost twice its body size.

Review: The NIXPlay 10 inch Digital Frame A great 10 inch digital frame that can handle images and video, and includes a digital clock and calendar.


Report: Equifax Lost Even More Information on Consumers Than It Told the Public
“The new documents immediately bring Equifax’s credibility into even further question following numerous other damaging revelations, including a malware-infested website, executives who dumped stock after the company discovered the hack, and the news the company was warned months before about security vulnerabilities and did nothing.”

Rob Porter Is a National Security Scandal, Too A morally compromised White House staffer may have had access to America’s top secrets. Chief of Staff John Kelly has some explaining to do.

Women’s Work

An LGBTQ leader on why playing devil’s advocate is BS

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

There’s a Pretty Good Chance President Trump Is Being Blackmailed

All in all, the odds are disconcertingly high that Russia, or somebody, has blackmail leverage over the president of the United States.

Trump appointed official charged with overseeing the safety of the nation’s railroads has resigned “effective immediately,” after POLITICO raised questions about whether he was simultaneously working as a public relations consultant in Mississippi. “Heath Hall became the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting chief after being appointed deputy administrator in June. But he subsequently appeared at least twice in local media reports last summer as a sheriff’s department spokesman in Madison County, Miss., where he has long run a public relations and political consulting firm.
The firm also continued to receive payments from the county for its services from July through December, despite Hall’s pledge in a federal ethics form that the business would be “dormant” while he worked at DOT.”

Donald Trump Talks Family, Women in Unearthed Transcript: “When I Come Home and Dinner’s Not Ready, I Go Through the Roof”

Former Trump Campaign Adviser Was More Than A Coffee Boy, Fiancee Says This is a bizarre rabbit-hole which looks like it will end in Italy.

Mangiante is from Italy, and she first met Papadopoulos after the presidential campaign, when Papadopoulos sent her a message on LinkedIn. Mangiante and Papadopoulos had both briefly worked at the same office in London — the London Centre for International Law Practice — though at different times. That office was run by the “professor” described in court papers filed by the special counsel’s office, a man later identified as the Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud.

Trump Administration Plans To Defang Consumer Protection Watchdog

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis to protect Americans from being ripped off by financial firms.

Now, President Trump’s interim appointee to run the bureau Mick Mulvaney is making radical changes to deter the agency from aggressively pursuing its mission.

Which is scarier — that Trump doesn’t read his daily intel briefing, or that Jared Kushner does?

It is hard to tell what should be more worrisome: the fact that the commander in chief doesn’t bother to read his daily compilation of the nation’s most urgent intelligence, or the fact that his son-in-law — who has been unable to obtain a security clearance — does.

In other words, the White House has been thoroughly subverted by Russia, and the door is wide open. And don’t forget this:

It is hard to miss the irony of it all: Wasn’t the main driver of the scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails the fact that it suggested she was careless in handling the nation’s secrets?

White House reels as FBI director contradicts official claims about alleged abuser The White House’s claims of not knowing about domestic violence allegations against Rob Porter were challenged by FBI Director Christopher Wray’s timeline.

The latest bout of turbulence is exacerbated by the administration’s reputation, earned over 13 chaotic months, for flouting institutional norms and misrepresenting facts to the public — a culture set by the president himself.

In other words, where 💩🔥💰 is concerned, business as usual is liar, liar, pants on fire.

Money, Guns, Russia, NRA and 💩🔥💰

Elsewhere for February 10, 2018

You should read this for 2/10/2017:

Art, Film, and Music

In Conversation: Quincy Jones I’m not really sure what to make of this err . . . interview? Performance ? Confessional? It’s interesting though.

Books, Writing, and Language

via The BBC on Spain cracks King Ferdinand’s 500-year-old secret code “Ferdinand of Aragon’s letters have tantalised historians for centuries. Constructed using more than 200 special characters, they were deciphered by the country’s intelligence agency.”

Via Life Hacker: Comic Books Are Books  Ask anyone who’s worked with illuminated manuscripts if they think comic books are books; of course they are.

Charles Sprawson wrote a celebrated book. Then he vanished

Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays

Food and Drink

Coffee, Caffeine, and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review “Given the spectrum of conditions studied and the robustness of many of the results, these findings indicate that coffee can be part of a healthful diet.”

Easy Peach Cobbler I know the recipe calls for fresh peaches, but you can use frozen peaches, or even canned peaches or canned cherries.

History and Archaeology

Sprawling Mayan network discovered under Guatemala jungle and this from National Geographic: Laser Scans Reveal Maya “Megalopolis” Below Guatemalan Jungle

Researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Tomb of 5th Dynasty top official Hetpet discovered near Pyramid of Khafre on Giza Plateau After almost 109 years of searching, the tomb of Hathor’s priestess Hetpet has been uncovered

Genetic study of prehistoric girl: Dating and DNA show Paleoamerican-Native American connection “Cave diver Alexandro Alvarez inspects the newly-discovered skull of Naia, the 12,000-13,000 year-old human skeleton discovered in a submerged cave on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. An international team of researchers detailed their analysis of what is the oldest most complete, genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”

This is from May, 2014; the original article was published in the journal Science.

Individuals from 9,000 or more years ago have morphological attributes—physical form and structure—distinctive from later Native American peoples,” said Douglas Kennett, professor of environmental archaeology, Penn State. “What we have here is the unique combination of an adolescent Paleoamerican skeleton with a Native American DNA haplotype.

First modern Britons had ‘dark to black’ skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals “The genome of Cheddar Man, who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair”

There’s video from the BBC.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

83,500 Vintage Sewing Patterns Put Into Online Database From Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, And Simplicity

Science and Technology

Brent Simmons wisely notes: On Missing the Point “There’s no sacred verse that says businesses acting lawfully can’t be criticized. Nothing says we can’t advocate for change. In fact, I’d say that that’s part of capitalism, too.”

John Perry Barlow has died.

Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus the former: “I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls ‘turn-key totalitarianism.’”

See this 1995 conversation between John Perry Barlow, and bell hooks. See also John Perry Barlow’s Principles of Adult Behavior (via Steve Silberman on Twitter).

Confessions of a Digital Nazi Hunter “In the wake of Trump’s victory, I built a bot to expose bigots. Then Twitter suspended it — and kept the bigots.”


Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike “ICE has arrested a U.S. army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and has two U.S. citizen children. His name is Miguel Perez Jr. and he has lived in the U.S. since he was 8 years old.”

Does college turn people into liberals? A new study reveals that students gain an appreciation for views across the political spectrum during their first year in college

Among all students, 48 percent viewed liberals more favorably in their second year of college than when they arrived on campus. However, among the same students, 50 percent also viewed conservatives more favorably. In other words, college attendance is associated, on average, with gains in appreciating political viewpoints across the spectrum, not just favoring liberals.

Foxconn package cost Wisconsin eight times as much per job as similar 2017 state jobs deals “To land the massive Foxconn factory, Gov. Scott Walker has committed the state to paying more than eight times as much per job as Wisconsin will provide under similar job creation deals struck last year, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis has found.”

‘Pillar of the community’ deported from US after 39 years to a land he barely knows

Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

NPR on the GOP memo: Get Ready For Another Week Of Memo Madness — This Time Over Democrats’ Response

Nunes’ memo charges that “biased” officials in the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers in asking for a warrant to monitor the communications of a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

Although the document makes a narrow case about the specific practices involving Page, Trump and his supporters also say it suggests a “systemic” pattern of abuse. That is not described.

Trump also said on Twitter that it “totally vindicates” him. It does not; the memo delineates how the FBI’s Russia investigation began earlier with another foreign policy aide who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Elsewhere for February 3, 2018

You should read this for 2/3/2018:

Art and Film

Gallery removes naked nymphs painting to ‘prompt conversation’
Manchester Art Gallery takes down work by Waterhouse and asks public to post reactions

February from the DaCosta Hours. This is a 15th century manuscript illuminated by Simon Bening, of Ghent.

Books, Writing, and Language

Over at Judith Tarr’s re-read of Andre Norton’s Daybreak 2250 (1952). After the Apocalypse: Andre Norton’s Daybreak — 2250 A.D. This was the first SF book I ever read, though it would be more accurate to say my brother read it to me, (or at least parts of it).

Here, seven years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Norton gives us the complete destruction of Western civilization and the near-destruction of the human race. She knows about radiation poisoning, she speculates about the range and quality of mutations from it, and she makes it clear that she sees no other end to the atomic age than a cataclysmic blowup.

She also, even before Brown v. Board of Education and right in the middle of the McCarthy era, made clear that the future will not be pure white, though it may be relentlessly patriarchal. Her hero may have fair skin but he’s something other than Aryan-Caucasian, and his closest friend is African-American, descended from the Tuskegee Airmen. The implicitly white Plains people actually have a female leader, and the only women who speak in the whole novel speak at the end against the men’s insistence on perpetual war.

Paged Media approaches (Part 1 of 2) Paged Media is an Open Source initiative suite of JavaScripts to paginate HTML/CSS in the browser for the purposes of exporting print-ready, or display-friendly, PDF from the browser.

Via The Oregonian: Ursula Le Guin on fiction vs. ‘alternative facts’: Letter to the editor

Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them.  The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.”  The sun rises in the east.  To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.

Food and Drink

Glenn Fleishman writing for The Economist Explains: Why the genome of wheat is so massive It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome

DC College Student Creates KnoNap to Detect Drugs in Drinks “The KnoNap tests for at least 26 of the 40 most commonly used drugs as rape drugs”

History and Archaeology

Living with cauldrons – Iron Age feasting at Glenfield Park See also Elsewhere for December 9, 2017.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The Fight to Save the Country’s Most Scenic Acre “One acre inside Grand Teton National Park is for sale for $5 million. Its future says a lot about our national parks, Jackson Hole, and the tension between preserving history and budding tourism.”

Indonesian christians in state of NJ are fleeing to this church to prevent ICE from deporting them. This church is amazing! Governor Murphy of NJ,“God Help Us.”

Via NPR: Business And Wildlife Groups Skip The Fight, Work Together To Save A Species

The biggest company involved in what’s called the Georgia Gopher Tortoise Initiative is Georgia Power, the largest electric company in the state. With all its power plants, it’s also a major landowner. And gopher tortoises live at some of those plants, including Plant Hatch, a nuclear facility in south Georgia.

Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying

Science and Technology

The Great Crack-Up TIME magazine with NASA: Aerial Photos of Antarctica Reveal the Devastating Toll of Climate Change

Listen to Orcas mimicking human voices – audio This is much more than it seems, and again, supports the assertion that we need to stop treating Orcas as pets or experimental subjects.

Nigel the lonely gannet dies as he lived, surrounded by concrete birds


The Financial Times’s 404 page is an ingenious, hilarious introduction to major concepts in economic theory.”

A Partial List of Companies That Definitely Could Have Afforded to Pay Their Employees a Good Wage at Any Point Before the GOP Tax Bill “if you look beyond the press releases, the idea that these companies are handing over a significant portion of their tax windfall to their employees quickly becomes laughable.”

Glenn Fleishman offers A First Look At The Spheres, Amazon’s Wild New Corporate Biodome “When I toured the Amazon Spheres with one of the building’s lead architects, its head horticulturist, and Amazon’s real-estate chief, they didn’t conceal their delight while showing off botanic and design treasures in the gem-like building.”

‘Get out of the country!’: Navajo lawmaker harassed by Arizona Trump supporters accusing him of being here “illegally.”

Via The New York Times Editorial Board: The Republican Plot Against the F.B.I.

Women’s Work

Via The Harvard Business Review: When More Women Join the Workforce, Wages Rise — Including for Men

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Federal judge appears receptive to emoluments lawsuit against Trump “A federal judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of an effort by the Justice Department to throw out a lawsuit against President Trump alleging his company’s business with state governments and foreign countries violates the Constitution.”

Trump Turns GOP Into a Conspiracy of Dunces “The cynical men in Washington and Moscow who are feeding the crazy-eyed, conspiratorial imaginings of the Republican Party base under Donald Trump know what they’re doing.”

As they voted Monday night to release their version, while denying the Democrats the chance to release their rebuttal, the scam was clear. The first clue is that the memo is being rolled out as part of a PR effort so clumsy, obvious, ham-fisted, and covered in its own drool that it could only appeal to the most deluded Deep State fantasists. Naturally, it has been in more or less constant rotation on Fox News and the fever swamp of pro-Trump fake-news sites.

Elsewhere for January 27, 2018

You should read this for 1/27/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Ursula K. Le Guin, the spiritual mother of generations of writers; John Scalzi pays tribute

The speaking of her name and of her words goes on, and will go on, today and tomorrow and for a very long time now. As it should. She was the mother of so many of us, and you should take time to mourn your mother.

Do read Jo Walton’s Bright the Hawk’s Flight on the Empty Sky: Ursula K. Le Guin.

Apple’s Getting Back Into the E-Books Fight Against Amazon

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole Eggs, cheese, breakfast sausage, and tater tots cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan.

Also from Simply Recipes: 9 Great Chili Recipes

History and Archaeology

Dogs & Their Collars in Ancient Mesopotamia

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Dean Allen is gone. John Gruber, Jason Kottke and Om Malik remember Dean, and Dean remembers his mom

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Malala Fund partnership: “Our values align”

One, equality is at the core of our belief and values and, two, that education is the great equalizer of people. If you believe both of those, it’s not an extension at all to say, “how do we help Malala achieve her vision of educating 130-million young girls around the world?”

Education is key in terms of making the world better, and that means all sorts of education, both practical and academic.

Science and Technology

Horace Dediu from ASYMCO: The Apple Cash FAQ Best read in conjunction with Rene Ritchie’s Understanding Apple and its huge pile of cash.

Red handfish “needle in haystack” population found at second Tasmanian location.


Sally Yates, former U. S. Acting Attorney General: Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates

We are not living in ordinary times, and it is not enough for us to admire our nation’s core values from afar. Our country’s history is littered with individuals and factions who have tried to exploit our imperfections, but it is more powerfully marked by those whose vigilance toward a more perfect union has prevailed.

So stand up. Speak out. Our country needs all of us to raise our collective voices in support of our democratic ideals and institutions. That is what we stand for. That is who we are. And with a shared commitment to our founding principles, that is who we will remain.

The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provide crucial intel about Russia’s interference in US-elections
The Dutch infiltrated Cozy Bear’s network, even hacking the security cameras outside the building the Russian hackers worked in— allowing the Russian hackers to be identified and compared to known Russian spies.

The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It’s also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Women’s Work

Lindy West via The New York Times: Why Is Fixing Sexism Women’s Work?

Sexism is a male invention. White supremacy is a white invention. Transphobia is a cisgender invention. So far, men have treated #MeToo like a bumbling dad in a detergent commercial: well-intentioned but floundering, as though they are not the experts. They have a chance to do better by Time’s Up

GOP candidate says feminists have ‘snake-filled heads,’ hopes daughters don’t become ‘she devils’ Republican Senate candidate Courtland Sykes (Mo.)

I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have my daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives

As The Washington Post notes:

The candidate, Courtland Sykes, wrote that “radical feminism” has a “crazed definition of modern womanhood.”

“They made it up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads,” he said. “Men and women are different and gender-bending word games by a goofy nest of drugstore academics aren’t going to change anything — except the fantasy life of those confused people in ivory towers.”

Elsewhere for January 19, 2018

You should read this for 1/20/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea

How to Keep a Zibaldone, the 14th Century’s Answer to Tumblr

The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

Food and Drink

It’s Time to Stop Picking Stouts Over Porters

The History of Texas Sheet Cake Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and often, with pecans and coconut. Here’s the Library of Congress opining on the origins of Texas Sheet Cake, a recipe from Texas Monthly and an interesting vintage recipe for an intriguingly related sheath cake

Switzerland bans boiling lobsters alive I think pithing them or using a knife is a lot more humane.

History and Archaeology

11,500-year-old infant remains reveal ancient population “This is the first genomic evidence that all Native Americans can be traced back to the same population that migrated using a land bridge.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Experiment Is a Success Here’s the gist:

that wages in Seattle are up, low-wage employment increased in the city, and the number of hours worked increased. They reported earlier this year that the wage increase had “near zero” impact on restaurant employment. And this week, in their final study for the city, the Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team released a reportproving prices at restaurants and grocery stores haven’t increased because of the minimum wage.

For more data, see this piece about the study.

Science and Technology

Those frozen NC alligators have thawed out and they are really grouchy now “A video posted earlier this week of the alligators frozen in place – with only their snouts above the ice – got hundreds of thousands of views across the world, and raised questions about how the alligators survive. ”


Mike Pence Turned Beet Red During MLK Service as Black Preacher Went Off About ‘Shithole’ Remarks

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a free-lance journalist and spare-time genealogist who has been calling out anti-Immigration public figures by pointing out their own family history of immigration. Meet The Woman Confronting Public Figures With Their Immigrant Histories “Jennifer Mendelsohn uses census records and ship manifests to put anti-immigrant hypocrisy on blast with #resistancegenealogy”

If you know anything about American immigration history, every single generation looks down on the last generation of immigrants and insists that these new immigrants are inferior and can’t possibly become American. It’s just exhausting to have to point this out over and over again. That these same people who see themselves as such quintessential Americans, their ancestors were at one point exactly the kind of newcomers who they’re now saying have no right to be American, aren’t going to fit in in America, aren’t up to snuff. It’s just ridiculous.

One of the current catch phrases in the GOP is “chain immigration.” That’s a dog-whistle reference to the historical and universal immigration process where one or two family members immigrate, establish themselves, and then help their other family members immigrate. It’s the way human immigration has always worked (including Neolithic farmers in Ireland). The people decrying immigration are generally here because of ancestor immigrants and chain immigration. It’s related to the larger trend of people essentially thinking “I got mine” and not worrying about the rest of humanity.

Elsewhere For January 13, 2018

You should read this for 1/13/2018:

Art and Film

Some amazing photos from DownEast Magazine’s 2018 Reader Photo Contest. These are not professional photographers, but they took pictures as if they were.

January from the Da Dosta Hours, work of Simon Bening c. 1515. This medieval illuminated and beautiful book of hours is in the collections of The Morgan Library

Emily Asher-Perrin on Wow, People Are Really Mad at Poe Dameron Smart, well-written, but spoilers galore. See also her equally smart and perceptive Luke Skywalker Isn’t Supposed to Be “Nice”. Also SPOILERS.

Books, Writing, and Language

Michael Wolff Did What Every Other White House Reporter Is Too Cowardly to Do You really should read this; here’s why: Wolff got it on tape. And

Wolff has spent this week thoroughly exploiting Trump and his minions the same way they’ve exploited the cluelessness of others. And he pulled it off because, at long last, there was a reporter out there willing to toss decorum aside and burn bridges the same way Trump does.

The Top Ten Most Important And Historically Lost Ancient Documents There’s a familiar theme with regards to the reasons for these lost (destroyed) books. We seem to be perpetually destroying books for the same stupid reasons.

Streaming from BBC Radio: Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys A new, six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s mythical fantasy about the trickster god Anansi and his unsuspecting son Charlie. Starring Jacob Anderson and Lenny Henry.

Regarding the Em Dash

Women Writing About the Wild: 25 Essential Authors Some really wonderful and under-read writers here; women who wrote about nature. Some of these have been ruthlessly “borrowed” from by male writers, often, without credit. And sometimes, when credited by the male writer, they were silently uncredited by later writers, who attributed their words to someman else.

History and Archaeology

Bronze Age Children’s Toys Found In Southern Siberia

Indian researchers say carvings found in Kashmir may be the oldest depiction of a dying star ever discovered Ordinarily, I’d say meh, constellation identification and naming is culturally driven, but with Orion and Taurus, there are handful of IE early languages that identify them as a hunter and a bull, so this strikes me as plausible. It also reminds me of Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night.

Viking centre discovered in Cork city predates Waterford settlement

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A physician homebuilder tries to upend the nursing home industry — and give seniors back their independence

“I spent my career trying to change the nursing home industry,” he said. “But I’ve come to realize it’s not really going to change. So now what I’ve got to do is make it so people don’t need nursing homes in the first place. That what this is about.”

Czech Republic Inaugurates a Tax-Deductible Book Allowance for Employees This helps writers, designers, publishers and their employees, and it helps the readers.

Science and Technology

How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it.

Genetic Clues Link Depression and Alcohol Dependence

Extraterrestrial Hypatia Stone Rattles Solar System Status Quo

In 2013, researchers announced that a pebble found in south-west Egypt, was definitely not from Earth. By 2015, other research teams had announced that the ‘Hypatia’ stone was not part of any known types of meteorite or comet, based on noble gas and nuclear probe analyses.

I’m not sure what this means, either, but it’s intriguing. And it makes me recall the meteor Oumuamua in 2017 that was not from this solar system. And the “alien” minerals found in a meter fragment on the island of Skye. There are more things in Heaven and Earth . . . “Researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars’ surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.”


First here’s the Washington Post regarding < href=””>the testimony of the CEO of research firm Fusion GPS to Congress about the Trump dossier his firm produced during the presidential campaign. “It’s not made up. It wasn’t politically motivated. And it did not set out with the intention to smear Donald Trump.” And see this thorough point-by-point response to the testimony from ElizabethCMcLaughlin, a lawyer, CEO and former a securities fraud and human rights litigator. She has citations and analysis.

President Obama explains ‘what the Russians exploited’ in new interview with Letterman

Women’s Work

Female professors get more grief from students, study finds ‘Students wouldn’t take no as an answer … I always suspected that gender could play a role

Research from Eastern Washington University has found that women working in education are more often requested to give extensions, boost grades and be more lenient when it comes to classroom policy.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

How Trump fulfilled a 30-year fantasy of becoming president, with a little help from the Kremlin

Elsewhere for January 6, 2018

You should read this for 11/4/2017:

Art and Film

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ at 25: Through the Wormhole With the Cast and Creators

Books, Writing, and Language

Bookstore Chains, Long in Decline, Are Undergoing a Final Shakeout Another reason to buy local. Bookstores like libraries provide a real service and information that an algorithm can’t.

Food and Drink

Hummus. It’s the food of my people. Serve it with warm pita bread, or toast points or crudités.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Confined By Leprosy, But Open To The World: Remembering ‘Ambassador’ Mr. Pete

Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion “After a troll lashed out at Silverman, she found him help for his pain.”

Science and Technology

Niagra Falls is covered in ice, and it’s absolutely stunning Go look at the pictures.

There is a Whole Cottage Industry of Doctors Helping Parents Skip Their Kids’ Vaccines In California, medical exemptions for shots are on the rise.

Winter storm Grayson blows in and dumps snow on the U.S. East coast. It also brought a hawk to the feeders.

Writer Donna Migliaccio has foxes in her yard! She’s got pictures, too. But wait, there’s more: The Christmas Foxes in January.

Sharp-Shinned hawk at a bird feeder.


NSA’s top talent is leaving because of low pay, slumping morale and unpopular reorganization “Since 2015, the NSA has lost several hundred hackers, engineers and data scientists, according to current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. The potential impact on national security is significant, they said.” No kidding! This is not good; if I were the NSA, I’d start heavy recruiting, and I’d look a women and minorities in particular. That’s a good way to solve the staffing problem, and improve the NSA’s organizational culture.

Women’s Work

Why Is Fixing Sexism Women’s Work?

That question — why is it our responsibility to fix the system that victimizes us? — has dogged me ever since. I thought about it when I sat on an all-female panel in front of a mostly female audience talking about how to fix gender bias in comedy. I think about it every time a reporter asks me how victims of internet trolling can make ourselves safer online.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump’s New York Times Interview Is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline The NYT interview is here. 💩🔥💰 displays not only his native malevolent Narcissim, but I absolutely think he has dementia and is sliding fast. And here’s NPR’s fact-check of 💩🔥💰 insane mendacious interview.

Elsewhere for December 30, 2017

You should read this for 12/30/2017:

Books, Writing, and Language

Via Twtter @Sarah Mei: Sarah Mei quotes her favorite Simon & Schuster editorial comments on Milo Yiannopoulos’s contracted-then-rejected book. She then posts selections from the editorial comment, which are revelatory and amusing. It’s just as horrific a MS as you’d expect from Milo. But see also: ‘Unclear, unfunny, delete’: editor’s notes on Milo Yiannopoulos book revealed

hy Words Matter: What Cognitive Science Says about Prohibiting Certain Terms Scientific American asks an expert about the 💩🔥💰 administration’s latest CDC language guidance

Food and Drink

The dark side of your $5 Footlong: Business owners say it could bite them

History and Archaeology

Why people really want to move to Idaho but are fleeing its neighbor, Wyoming

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

NORAD Santa Tracker: The Backstory

‘I WANT IT TO STOP’ Teens are committing suicide in record numbers. We need to fix this.

Science and Technology

Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options “This account of the United States’ piecemeal response to the Russian disinformation threat is based on interviews with dozens of current and former senior U.S. officials at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and U.S. and European intelligence services, as well as NATO representatives and top European diplomats.”

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance Apple has a perfectly reasonable response to battery management and now one pays attention. They’re too busy having hysterics.

Elsewhere for December 23, 2017

You should read this for 12/23/2017:

Art and Film

My fun with an artist scam artist

James Panero in The Atlantic: Andrew Wyeth forever I greatly admired Wyth’s art as a child, but increasingly his paintings have reminded me of landscapes in Medieval Books of Hours, and of propaganda art. This article helps explain why, and also casts light on why Christina’s World is so very creepy.

Star Wars Breakout Kelly Marie Tran on The Last Jedi and Kylo Ren’s Shirtless Scene See also Becoming Rose on YouTube

Trump-loving troll says he created bots to post bad reviews of ‘The Last Jedi’ because he’s mad about feminism

Books, Writing, and Language

The College Student Who Decoded the Data Hidden in Inca KnotsThis is really interesting in that it shows just how very sophisticated the signals were, and it’s a good example of using digital technology and counting tools (spreadsheets) to assist human pattern matching and interpretation.

Food and Drink

Via The British Library: A medieval recipe for gingerbread Less ginger and more a spiced cookie, but still interesting.

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers I may borrow a slow cooker to make this.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Via @ZachWahlsTwitter: “IOWA — Remember that young man from Iowa who spoke to the Iowa legislature a few years ago about growing up with two moms? Hi. That was me — and today, I’m announcing my campaign to join the Iowa legislature. I hope you’ll support our campaign.”

Science and Technology

Dinosaurs Were Around Before Saturn Had Rings “Data from the Cassini space probe suggests that the rings may be as young as 150 million years old”

Twitter Says It Will Ban Threatening Accounts, Starting Today This is a little late but it’s something. I’m also sure that the trolls will just keep generating new accounts.

Lost species of bee-mimicking moth rediscovered after 130 years You really need to see the images for one.


Let it go: The Arctic will never be frozen again “The Arctic as we once knew it is no more.
The region is now definitively trending toward an ice-free state, the scientists said, with wide-ranging ramifications for ecosystems, national security, and the stability of the global climate system. It was a fitting venue for an eye-opening reminder that, on its current path, civilization is engaged in an existential gamble with the planet’s life-support system.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Predictions in a Polish journalist’s 15-point guide to surviving authoritarianism proved frighteningly accurate after Trump’s first year “Nearly a year ago, intuitively recognizing the Trump administration’s authoritarian aspirations, Polish journalist and activist Martin Mycielski wrote “Year 1 Under Authoritarianism.” In those early, nerve-racking days following Trump’s inauguration, the piece was shared across social media, an ominous portent of what was to come. The document — helpfully subtitled, “What To Expect?” — offered a list of predictions and warnings about Trump’s first year in office, and exhortations to fight back at every turn.”