Elsewhere for December 8, 2018

You should read this for 12/8/2018:

Art and Film

Secrets of the Magus

Ricky Jay does closeup magic that flouts reality. But, rather than headline in Las Vegas, Jay prefers to live in the mysterious world of ancient mountebanks, eccentric entertainers, and sleight-of-hand artists, whose secrets he preserves with a scholarly passion, and who are his true peers in the realm of illusion.

Lara Feigel in The Guardian: How free is free love? How polyamory lost its allure

Getty museum must return 2,000-year-old statue, Italian court rules

Doctor Who backlash shows why it’s time to bin the phrase “politically correct”

Books, Writing, and Language

The Steward of Middle-earth

Education

Degrees of Ignorance

Should Studying Literature Be Fun?

Food and Drink

Melting Potatoes

Actor Tituss Burgess on His Pinot Noir

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

History and Archaeology

The boozy and violent story behind America’s Eggnog Riot

Scientists Discovered The Oldest Human Plague. It Took Down Neolithic Farmers And Changed Europe’s History

Buried among 77 other people from her village in western Sweden are the bones of a 20 year-old woman. Now an analysis of DNA extracted from her teeth reveals what likely killed her. An international team of researchers has discovered the woman, who died some 5,000 years ago, had the oldest known case of the plague.

Ava A Woman from Scotland 4,250 Years Ago

Science and Nature

“We’re sounding the alarm”: half of Canada’s chinook salmon endangered “Only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stable.”

“The really big overarching stressor is climate change,” said Hill. “That’s creating less favourable conditions for our fish in the ocean and the freshwater – and that’s exacerbated by all these other stressors.”

Society

Australia cuts plastic bag use by 80% in 3 months after supermarket ban

It was a rocky start. But three months later Australia reports an 80 percent reduction in plastic bag consumption, a cut that kept as many as 1.5 plastic bags from entering the environment, according to Australia’s National Retail Association.

Technology

Apple Computer’s Tim Cook: ‘We won’t give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists’

The debate as to whether tech platforms should let hate groups or conspiracy theorists remain on their platforms reached a fever pitch this year. That’s when Apple made a statement about conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, removing his InfoWars podcast from iTunes and his app from the App Store.

SubEthaEdit 5 – Now free and open source!

Photolemur photo editor available Thursday in Klingon, reveals Apple leadership to be aliens

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Women’s Work

Michelle Obama’s Take On “Lean In”? “That &#%! Doesn’t Work”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A Dutch church has been conducting religious services for 27 days to protect a refugee family

For the past 27 days, a small Protestant church in The Hague has been conducting round-the-clock religious services to protect an Armenian refugee family from deportation.

H/T @/_JDBurroughs_ Inexpensive Mylar blankets could save lives You can buy mylar blankets online very cheaply and they are small and easy to to carry around in a purse or bag to give to any rough sleepers you see.

It could save lives this winter.

DonorsChoose.org: Support a classroom. Build a future. Teachers all over the U.S. need your help to bring their classroom dreams to life. Choose a project that inspires you and give any amount.

Two Women Erased $1.5 Million of Strangers’ Medical Debt Just Because They Felt Like It I’ve posted about this before, but it’s still happening. 

Elsewhere for November 17, 2018

You should read this for 11/17/2018:

Art and Film

The world’s oldest figurative drawing depicts a wounded animal “The 40,000-year-old cave painting in a cave in Borneo depicts a speared animal.”

New radiometric dating identifies the oldest known figurative drawing—not a stenciled outline of a hand or an abstract design, but an actual attempt to depict a real object in an image. As far as we know, a cave wall in Indonesian Borneo was the site for the first time a person drew something, rather than just making abstract marks. The drawing is at least 40,000 years old, based on uranium-series dating of a thin layer of rock deposited on top of the drawing since its creation.

 

Books, Writing, and Language

From Madonna’s Sex to Lady Chatterley: inside the Bodleian’s explicit book club “Created at the height of Victorian prudishness, the Bodleian Library’s Phi collection was designed to protect young minds from “immoral” books. More than a century later, they’re going on display for the first time”

The One Direction Fan-Fiction Novel That Became a Literary Sensation

Isabel Allende’s Unconventional Advice for Finding Writing Inspiration

‘Ignore this’: Jonathan Franzen’s top 10 writing tips get gleefully trolled on Twitter

American novelist Jonathan Franzen has drawn the ire of fellow writers, who are mercilessly trolling him following an article in which he lists his 10 writing rules for aspiring novelists.

Education

UW-Stevens Point Eliminating 6 Majors In Humanities To Address Budget Shortfall

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is eliminating six degree programs in the humanities to address budget deficits and increasing drops in enrollment. The changes are aimed at creating a new regional university model that is more career focused, according to the university.
The university originally proposed cutting 13 degree programs, which led to student protestson campus and a sit in at the UW System Board of Regents office in Madison. The six majors that will be cut include: French, German, geography, geology, history, and two- and three-dimensional art, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What the article doesn’t specify is that the years of budget cuts took place because of the actions of Scott Walker.

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviews historian Jill Lepore: ‘The Academy Is Largely Itself Responsible for Its Own Peril’ “Jill Lepore on writing the story of America, the rise and fall of the fact, and how women’s intellectual authority is undermined”

Lepore’s history of America Jill Lepore’s These Truths is a NYT bestseller. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Food and Drink

Vitamin D And Fish Oil Supplements Disappoint In Long-Awaited Study Results

But:

While the overall results were disappointing, there appeared to be a beneficial effect when it came to one aspect of heart disease and fish oil: heart attacks.

Taking fish oil lowered the risk of heart attack by about 28 percent, which is a “statistically significant” finding, says Dr. JoAnn Manson, who is chief of the division of preventive medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She led the research.

And see also: Cardiovascular Risk Reduction with Icosapent Ethyl for Hypertriglyceridemia

Patients with elevated triglyceride levels are at increased risk for ischemic events. Icosapent ethyl, a highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester, lowers triglyceride levels, but data are needed to determine its effects on ischemic events.

Ars Technica on Homebrewing cider

American Winemakers Are Getting In On The Fun Of Beaujolais Nouveau

The third Thursday of every November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Made from gamay, the primary grape in Beaujolais, a winemaking region in eastern France, traditional Nouveau is bottled not long after the harvest and is only about two months old when you traditionally uncork it. . . . Beaujolais Nouveau isn’t just hype. It’s a way for winemakers to celebrate the end of the harvest, a two-month period of intense work—picking and sorting grapes by hand and then pressing and bottling them into wine.

Via Clare Smyth in The Guardian: Gordon Ramsey’s Broccoli Soup

History and Archaeology

Eerie recording reveals moment the guns fell silent at the end of WWI

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent. It brought an end to four years of war which crippled Europe, leaving 17 million dead including 888,246 British or Colonial servicemen. As we approach the centenary of the Armistice on November 11, the Imperial War Museum has released a recording of the moment the war ended, patched together using recordings from their collections.

‘Moai are family’: Easter Island people to head to London to request statue back “Delegation from island, backed by Chilean government, will ask for return of statue British Museum acquired in 1869”

Towering at the entrance of the British Museum’s Wellcome gallery is a 2.5-metre basalt statue from Easter Island. For indigenous Rapa Nui islanders, such statues — known as moai – carry the spirit of prominent ancestors and are considered the living incarnation of their relatives.

Next week, a delegation from the island – which has been part of Chile since 1888 and is officially known as Rapa Nui – will travel to London to request the moai’s return, emboldened by the backing of the Chilean government and the museum’s willingness to engage in talks for the first time since it acquired the statue in 1869.

Science and Nature

The 26-foot-long “unicorn of the sea” is a lesson in the wonders of collaboration

Pyrosomes, also known as unicorns of the sea, are exceptional evidence of the advantages of cooperation. These colonies of creatures, made up of hundreds or thousands of individual organisms known as zooids, travel together in a single gelatinous tunic.

Stunning astronaut photos show Australia’s outback “like an open geology book”

Society

Children in care homes: ‘It makes residents feel more human’ “The more time young and old people spend together, the more both parties benefit”

Why are attitudes to meat so complex and personal? I draw the line at cephalopods

I eat all sorts of creatures, but I won’t touch octopus – which only exposes my hypocrisy and our complicated relationship with food

This encapsulates my own feeling about octopus. And I’m not apologetic about it.

How moving to the US made me appreciate the House of Lords

One major issue is voter suppression, which is (currently) barely a thing in the UK. Methods vary from state to state, but there’s a clear trend: disenfranchisement of predominately working-class, African American, Latino and other minority voters in places where Republicans control the state legislature. In Georgia, roughly 700,000 were purged from electoral rolls in 2017 without being informed and this year 53,000 people, 70% of whom were African American, were prevented from registering to vote for reasons as trivial as a misplaced hyphen. This process was overseen by then secretary of state Brian Kemp, who just happens to have also been Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial candidate for the GOP – and who seems to have beaten Democrat Stacey Abrams, the first black woman in history to be a major party’s nominee for governor, by a very narrow margin.

After NRA Mocks Doctors, Physicians Reply: “This Is Our Lane”

Technology

Rural Kids Face An Internet “Homework Gap”. The FCC Could Help

Seth Abramson’s Metamodernism Preceded His Resistance “He has played ‘metamodernist’ games throughout his career.”

Do we have a moral obligation to quit Facebook? and also: Facebook hired firm with ‘in-house fake news shop’ to combat PR crisis and Facebook probably didn’t want to be denying it paid people to create fake news this week, but here we are

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Via John R. Schlinder in The Observer: Team Mueller is Holding ‘Dozens of Sealed Indictments,’ According to Intel Source

Veterans haven’t received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues at VA “This is — to be kind — a train wreck,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Without the GI Bill’s housing stipend, Roundtree was kicked out of his apartment and is now living on his sister’s couch, miles from school, where he feels like a burden on his family. The new living situation required him to move all his belongings into a storage container, which he can no longer afford. Now all of his possessions are in danger of being auctioned off by the storage facility.

This Is the Saturday Night Massacre

With the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, America is in uncharted territory. The last time a president made a personnel change to undermine an investigation of his associates, Congress forced him to resign. That was when President Richard Nixon pushed out his attorney general and deputy attorney general so he could fire the special prosecutor. The fallout from this Saturday Night Massacre, as it is known, has stood as a warning to subsequent presidents. Yet President Trump has launched a piecemeal Saturday Night Massacre of his own. He first fired FBI Director James Comey last year for his handling of the Russia probe, then he fired the attorney general for failing to protect him from the Russia probe. His intent to undermine an investigation of his campaign has been clear throughout—he barely tried to hide it—but the difference this time is that he has acted with impunity. What comes next could be anything.

Melania Trump racked up $174,000 in hotel bills for a day trip to Toronto

How Trump and her staff ran up nearly $200,000 in hotel bills for a 12-hour trip is unclear (the total was nearly double the $95,050 bill for a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, where she stopped for a day last month during a trip to Africa). All six charges for the first lady’s Toronto hotel bills were paid to “miscellaneous foreign awardees” rather than a specific hotel.

Women’s Work

‘The lesson is to be hopeful’: Ilhan Omar’s journey from Somali refugee to US Congress

Ilhan Omar, who lived in a Somali refugee camp when she was a girl and was elected to the US Congress last week, has said she hopes her victory would give hope to those whose childhoods resembled hers.

Someone tried roasting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ wardrobe, and got meme’d

Women and the first world war: a taste of freedom “For many women on the home front, the war years became a springboard to liberation. But with peace came the backlash.”

‘They see no shame’: ‘honour’ killing video shows plight of Syrian women

“These are people who see no shame in killing the girl, but actually believe it’s what washes away the shame she has brought on the whole family,” says exiled Syrian writer Loubna Mrie. “An innocent girl is dead because some guy posted her pictures on Facebook.”

Nina Totenberg via NPR: How A Lawyer In The CNN Case Saved Me From Being Shut Down On My Beat

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Wallace & Gromit‘s Creators Are Giving The Company to Their Employees “Aardman Animation will be giving majority shares to their workers.”

Two Cats Have Spent Two Years Trying To Get Into A Japanese Art Museum

Why I’m helping people fight their biases

How to be kind at work, no matter how you’re feeling

If you think your workplace could use a little more kindness, one of the first steps you can take is to recognize that kindness is an action.

Some great, simple non-demanding ways to make the day better for you, and someone else.

Elsewhere for November 10, 2018

You should read this for 11/10/2018:

Art and Film

Murdered mob boss gave stolen Boston art to IRA, says former Met detective

Rembrandt and Vermeer masterpieces taken in 1990 heist linked to James “Whitey” Bulger are stashed in Ireland, says sleuth.

Extreme Sheep-Herding With LED Lights “Baaastud’s multifaceted team visits the hills of Wales to lightly promote Samsung LED TV sets with the help of sheep fitted with LED vests.”

Books, Writing, and Language

Our book launch was botched and it’s been crazy at work trying to fix it

Education

Phenomenally saddening”: inside the sordid world of America’s for-profit colleges “The new documentary Fail State, executive produced by Dan Rather, tells the 50-year tale of profit-driven colleges scamming society’s most vulnerable”

Relying heavily on federal student loans, from which it took $1.4bn in yearly revenue, Corinthian was on the brink of collapse after the department of education halted the company’s flow of federal funding due to evidence of rampant fraud in its reporting of grades and job placements.

Corinthian, a behemoth of the for-profit college industry that marketed its vocational and post-secondary programs to single mothers at or below the poverty line, was already under investigation by various federal agencies, the education department, and 20 different state attorneys general when it said it could not operate for more than a few days without an influx of cash.

And this is particularly important:

That the president himself once ran a criminal for-profit education company – and that he’d appoint in education secretary Betsy DeVos a willing foot soldier for their cause – was not something Shebanow and his team anticipated when they began work on Fail State back in 2013. The saga of Trump University has been well-documented, but DeVos’s overtures toward the for-profit industry, including the elimination or rollback of Obama-era gainful employment and student borrower defense regulations, have gone mostly under the radar. DeVos, the director explains, is also tinkering with rules mandating “substantive teacher-student interaction”, which ensures students at for-profits are not navigating their coursework alone.

Food and Drink

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe as a .pdf from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

History and Archaeology

Thomas Becket’s bloody tunic returns to Canterbury 850 years after he died

Vatican to send back historic relic worn by archbishop as he was brutally murdered

How to explain the KGB’s amazing success identifying CIA agents in the field? “Paranoid CIA heads blamed Soviet moles, but the real reason for the repeated disasters was much simpler”

A Ramp Contraption May Have Been Used to Build Egypt’s Great Pyramid “The finding could help answer a longstanding question of how massive stone blocks were hauled into place.”

It was very hard for him”: relatives remember first world war survivors

The Kindertransport children 80 years on: “I was bowled over that these non-Jewish people were nice to us

Music

The Freddie Mercury biopic isn’t homophobic – it’s inspiring

Back with the real Beatles: the White Album reviewed – archive, 1968 “Fifty years ago, the Guardian printed two reviews of The Beatles and recommended listening to ‘what is likely to be the biggest event of the pop music year’ in stereo”

What the Beatles Sounded Like Unedited “Fifty years after its debut, The White Album has been reissued to include demos and sessions, giving listeners a wider lens through which to examine the seminal work from the band.”

Science and Nature

World’s largest deep-sea octopus nursery discovered

Scientists discovered over 1,000 females, many brooding eggs, in a shimmering “octopus garden” that may be seeping natural gas or hot water.

Recent Interstellar Asteroid May Have Been Alien Artifact, Speculates New Paper

Ocean floor rover finds large shark nursery in Irish waters “Vehicle discovers school of blackmouth catsharks around thousands of egg cases”

Millions of starfish are mysteriously dying, and now scientists think they know why

Society

The American civil war didn’t end. And Trump is a Confederate president

His supporters hark back to an 1860s fantasy of white male dominance. But the Confederacy won’t win in the long run. . . . It’s worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan also hated Jews and, back then, Catholics; that the ideal of whiteness was anti-immigrant, anti-diversity, anti-inclusion; that Confederate flags went up not in the immediate post-war period of the 1860s but in the 1960s as a riposte to the civil rights movement.

I Didn’t Know I Was Intersex — Until I Made a Film About an Intersex Character

Experiences like mine are common for intersex people around the world. Vulnerable and scared parents adamantly follow doctors’ orders to “normalize” our bodies with unnecessary surgeries — removing or adding to our natural anatomies and pumping us with “corrective” hormones without consulting us about how we identify or how we feel. They fail to understand that gender, sex, and sexuality occur on a spectrum. Furthermore, doctors perpetuate the false idea that ‘no one is like us,’ — that we are not normal — keeping us in cycles of shame and immense loneliness. In fact, 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 people are intersex — it’s as common as having naturally red hair. Statistically, it’s likely that there is someone in your own community who is intersex but is perhaps too scared to be public about their identity (and understandably so).

Technology

Touring the recreated 1969 birthplace of the internet at UCLA

On October 29, 1969, UCLA grad student Charley Kline sat in a room in Boelter Hall and typed the first message on the ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet. He wrote “lo;” before he could get to the “g” in “login” the system crashed.

Via NPR: Supreme Court Won’t Review Decision That OK’d Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

Still, the high court’s rejection preserves the appeals court’s decision as a possible precedent and makes it even more likely that the issue will resurface if the FCC shifts its makeup — something that would happen if Democrats are able to win back the White House in 2020.
The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality is also the subject of separate legal battles, after it was challenged by tech companies and advocacy groups, in addition to more than 20 U.S. states.

He said jobs were coming back”: the Trump voters who feel cheated

“I wanted to believe in Mr Trump,” one manufacturing worker laid off after 30 years says. “This has been a slap in the face”

Trump wants voters to think the US economy is booming – is it?

As the Federal Reserve raises rates, stock markets are wobbling, and Trump has publicly attacked the Fed, an unprecedented move for a sitting president. China’s growth is stalling, Europe once more looks like it is heading for trouble, some economists are predicting a recession next year.

Greg Miller. The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy. The Apprentice review: Trump, Putin and the subversion of US democracy

“All of this happened,” Miller writes. But instead of it happening in secret, nearly all of it occurred in plain sight, overwhelming the ability of most journalists to keep up and preventing millions of average voters from reaching the rather obvious conclusion that Trump is Vladimir Putin’s apprentice.

US democracy is in crisis. But Trump is only the symptom

This situation points to the true constitutional crisis that afflicts the United States. The fact that Trump is president and the fact that the Senate and supreme court are, if not in his hands, then at least likely to back him, are not the cause of this crisis – they are symptoms of it.

The bitter reality for journalists covering a president who lies, and lies, and lies some more

Trump slams “stupid question” from female reporter, calls April Ryan a “loser”

AP: Video expert says White House clip of CNN reporter was likely doctored [Updated]

The video is altered, Shapiro told the AP, to make Acosta’s actions as he held on to the microphone look faster and more aggressive. Shapiro noted that one first indicator that the video is not an original is that the sound has been removed, which makes it easier to alter frames. Next, in a frame-by-frame comparison, several extra frames appear toward the beginning of the video, which would be true if a video manipulator was trying to slow the video down. Someone might do this if they later wanted to speed the video up, to keep the clip and its original a similar length. Sure enough, the White House’s clip appears sped up during the actual exchange between Acosta and the White House intern.

In photos: #ProtectMueller protests in cities all across America See also: #ProtectMueller protests demand justice, “Trump is not above the law.” (Video, Photos)

Women’s Work

Setting sail: one woman’s year alone at sea

She’s made us proud”: Ilhan Omar’s journey from Kenyan refugee camp to US Congress

Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, will assume office in January, sharing the historic distinction with Rashida Tlaib of being the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress.

Michelle Obama reveals miscarriage and condemns “reckless” Trump in new book

Gentleman Jack by Angela Steidele review – seductions of a secret diarist “A new account of a pioneering lesbian life draws on a diary with graphic descriptions of sex in code”

I did it for every single girl”: the first Afghan woman to scale Mount Noshaq “Conquering Afghanistan’s highest peak was once unthinkable for Hanifa Yousoufi. Then she joined a climbing group, braving frostbite and the Taliban to strike a blow for gender equality”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is working from home today, because it’s just three broken ribs

Millennial congresswoman “can’t afford rent” “The youngest woman ever elected to Congress has a problem — she can’t afford her rent. That is until she starts her new job in January.”

Ms Ocasio-Cortez joins Republican Elise Stefanik, 34, and newly-elected Democrat Ilhan Omar, 36, amongst others, in the “millennial caucus” in Congress.

She was elected to New York’s 14th congressional district, after running a progressive campaign that focussed on issues like poverty, wealth inequality and immigration.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Business Statement for Transgender Equality

We, the undersigned businesses, stand with the millions of people in America who identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex, and call for all such people to be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.

We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations. We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex.

Elsewhere for October 27, 2018

You should read this for 4/8/2018:

Art and Film

Introduce Your Kid to This Database of Paper Airplanes

Apple’s one-of-a-kind invitation art The art for the 350 invitation sent to journalists regarding the October 30th Apple event in Brooklyn, N.Y was different for each invitation. They’re all shown here.

Books, Writing, and Language

Browsing the Stacks: A Photo Appreciation of Libraries Some stunning and amazing libraries photographed, from all over the world. Much as I love my local public library in Seattle, there are many wonderful and beautiful libraries elsewhere.

Education and Academe

Via The Chronicle: What the ‘Grievance Studies’ Hoax Means

Does the hoax identify something uniquely rotten in gender and sexuality studies, or could it just as easily have targeted other fields? Is it a salutary correction or a reactionary hit job? And what does it portend for already imperiled fields? The Chronicle Review asked scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Via TLS: Tim Crane The peer review industry: implausible and outrageous

Browsing the Stacks: A Photo Appreciation of Libraries Some stunning and amazing libraries photographed, from all over the world.

Food and Drink

Grand Street Hot Toddy Cocktail “This low-alcohol drink mixes chamomile tea, amaro and sweet vermouth into a warm easy-sipping cocktail.”

History and Archaeology

The Hobby Lobby-funded Bible Museum says five of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fakes

Archaeologists discover a 2,400-year-old shipwreck, perfectly preserved

Ancient Stories Could Be More Fact Than Fiction

The Tjapwurung, an Aboriginal people in what is now southern Australia, shared the story of this bird hunt from generation to generation across an unbelievably large slice of time—many more millennia than one might think possible. The birds (most likely the species with the scientific name Genyornis newtoni) memorialized in this tale are now long extinct.

Discovery of Ancient Spearpoints in Texas Has Some Archaeologists Questioning the History of Early Americas

Archaeologists have discovered two previously unknown forms of spearpoint technology at a site in Texas. The triangular blades appear to be older than the projectile points produced by the Paleoamerican Clovis culture, an observation that’s complicating our understanding of how the Americas were colonized—and by whom.

Science and Nature

Magnificent “Voyager of the Moons” GIF from Cassini’s images from Jupiter and Saturn

Kevin M. Gill, a software engineer and data wrangler at NASA-JPL, created the fantastic video below “using still images taken by the Cassini spacecraft during its flyby of Jupiter and while at Saturn.”

The New Science of Sex and Gender

Society

‘It’s OK to be ourselves’: Atlanta’s black LGBT community in their own words

Technology

NASA brings a Hubble gyro back to life after a seven-year hibernation

 

💩🔥💰Trumpery

Groping suspect says 💩🔥💰 said it was OK to grab women

Why the Trump Administration’s New Gender Definition Worries Doctors “Discrimination against trans people is rife in the medical field, and it could get even worse if sex is defined as unchangeable.” Trump’s gender policy is both cruel and scientifically bankrupt

The administration’s definition of sex isn’t grounded in science. Even outside of transgender people, medical notions of gender rarely fit into two absolute, immutable, and mutually exclusive categories. There are lots of well-documented conditions where a person’s gender diverges from what their genes or genitals would indicate.

Trump’s midterms strategy: Lying his ass off to scare white people into voting Republican

Women’s Work

New Online: Diarist Documents Eventful Times on the Confederate Home Front

Women and girls are harassed ‘relentlessly’ from a young age, government report says

Women and girls are enduring street harassment “so frequently” that it is normalised to become “a routine part of everyday life,” a new government report has found.

See also:

The Trump administration says there are two sexes. The science says they’re wrong.

For example, babies with male chromosomes (XY) can can be born with testes but ambiguous genitalia, which can raise questions of gender assignment. Some women naturally produce lots of testosterone. People born with two XX chromosomes — who are typically female — may have a specific gene for male genitalia. And some people live for decades unaware that they share attributes of both sexes.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Plants For Birds

Bring birds to your home today by growing native plants. With Audubon’s Native Plant Database, you can find the best plants for the birds in your area. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment. Explore all of our native plant resources here

How to be an ally who stands with transgender people

Stephen King sells film rights for story to Welsh teenagers for $1

Introducing 1Password for Democracy 1Password is offering free accounts to anyone running for political office

Elsewhere for October 20, 2018

You should read this for 10/20/2018:

Art and Film

Birds: Spiritual Messengers of the Skies” Audubon New Mexico has joined with The Center for New Mexico Archaeology — New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to emphasize the importance of birds in our environment and cultures.

Books, Writing, and Language

Marvel fires Star Wars writer for ‘negativity’ against toxic fans on social media Chuck Wendig is fired by Marvel “Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring.” You can see Wendig’s Twitter thread here, and his blog post In Which I Am Fired From Marvel explains the rest. Here are the essential points: Wendig included LGBT characters in Star Wars: Aftermath. Mind, these characters weren’t having Hot Queer Sex or anything; they just were quietly Not Straight. The mere existence  of queer characters incited the less astute members of SWars fandom to campaign against the Aftermath, and Wendig, including fake negative reviews that are startlingly similar. These one-star reviews were orchestrated via FB and other social media; it’s pretty easy to see it happening, and the massive numbers of negative reviews appeared minutes after Aftermath was officially released. Wendig notes

I also started receiving TONS of harassment – harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube.

This includes all sorts of abuse, but some of the YouTube videos are way over the top. But Aftermath and two subsequent books by Wendig performed very well. But the official reason for his firing:

Today I got the call. I’m fired. Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.

Basically, because I was not civil.

Disney/Marvel/LFL had been aware of Wendig’s social media presence and welcomed it, and certainly benefited from it. His presence online has always been blunt, and profane. The takeaway here is that they caved in to the worst elements of fandom. They did not have their author’s back. They had no problem with him being trolled. Wendig says of his Marvel editor: “He seemed genuinely upset at my tweets and profanity, so maybe that’s accurate.”

Here’s the thing, though: They should have either had a policy in place about social media and advised Wendig about it first, or never hired him. Because one of the reasons Wendig’s books sold was that his name was on the cover. In other words, they chose the trollish fanbase, who aren’t paying to read the books, over the paying fanbase, and their author’s civil rights. As Wendig puts it:

To conclude: this is really quite chilling. And it breaks my heart. I am very sad, and worried for the country I live in, and the world, and for creative people all around. Courage to you all. I have a dire fear this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

P.S. Vote in November like your life depends on it. Because it just might.

Wendig is absolutely right; we need to take back America in order to function as a nation with equal rights.

Is your coworker an assclown or an asshat? Linguists explain the difference The OED is on it, and yes, there is a difference.

‘The streets are haunted’ – Colm Tóibín explores literary Dublin This is a lovely essay about the presence of Irish literary figures in Dublin. And it’s got Cuchulainn!

Education

Free edX online course: How the U.S. Government Works & How to Get Involved From Georgetown University:

This is not your average government class: Our primer offers an overview of the basics, how they apply today, plus the tools you need to make your voice heard.

Play Video: How the U.S. Government Works & How to Get Involved

Food and Drink

Traditionally, the Gimlet is made with Gin. But lately, vodka Gimlets have become very popular. You’ll need to make simple syrup. Use fresh squeezed limes for a much better cocktail.

History and Archaeology

Iran’s Ancient Engineering Marvel The kariz (Farsi) or qanat (Arabic)

Science and Nature

Same-sex penguin couple is madly in love and has adopted an egg

H/T Introversion: A Sand Dollar’s Breakfast Is Totally Metal

Society

Trump Didn’t Win In Spite Of The Access Hollywood Tape. He Won Because Of It.

Even after he won, his supporters were given the benefit of the doubt that they had voted for him in spite of him saying that — that his appeal was so great to them otherwise that they were willing to overlook this transgression. But they didn’t overlook it. They heard it and they liked it. They liked the idea of this rich white man being able to put women in their place. They voted for him because of this. . . . When he said, “And they just let you,” it gave these people a glimmer of hope for a power they felt they once had and have since lost. That’s what “putting someone in their place” means. It means that you have the power “and they just let you.”

Germany protest: Tens of thousands march against far right Only 40,000 had been expected; over 240,000 marched.

Long-Secret Watergate ‘Road Map’ May Soon Be Public. Could It Guide Mueller’s Team?

The Justice Department held that the president could not be indicted, however. Accountability required impeachment, which must begin in Congress — in the House Judiciary Committee — and Jaworski’s office set down a plan for how, legally, to transmit their work to members of Congress.

No one is convinced by the Saudi story of a ‘fistfight’ that went wrong

Technology

Oh Look, The FCC Is Lying Again In Its Latest Court Filings On Net Neutrality See Also: Washington State Laughs At Federal Attack On State Net Neutrality Laws

Cherokee Official Says Trump-Warren DNA Debate Isn’t Helping Tribe

Decades Later, ‘Spy’ Magazine Founders Continue To Torment Trump

30 years ago, Spy magazine sent “refund” checks for $1.11 to 58 rich people. The 26 who cashed those got a another check, for $.64. The 13 who cashed those each got a check for $.13. Two people cashed the $.13 checks—Donald Trump and Jamal Khashoggi’s arms-dealer uncle Annan. @KBAndersen

South Carolina Is Lobbying To Allow Discrimination Against Jewish Parents

Women’s Work

A $21,634 bill? How a homeless woman fought her way out of tow-company hell

Nicola Sturgeon quits BBC event over Steve Bannon invitation

Nicola Sturgeon has pulled out of a conference being jointly hosted by the BBC next month after learning that Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon had been invited to take part.
Scotland’s first minister said that allowing Bannon to freely express his opinions risked “legitimising or normalising far-right, racist views”.

Shirkers: a movie mystery 25 years in the making “In 1992, young-film-maker Sandi Tan’s debut feature was stolen by its director. Here, she tells the story of its surprise rediscovery and how it inspired her new documentary.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The philosophy of Pay It Forward is that through acts of kindness among strangers, we all foster a more caring society. In the book, Reuben St. Clair, a social studies teacher in Atascadero, California, challenges his students to “Change the world”. That’s something we would all like to do, right? What if we could change the world, even in some small way? One of the students in the class is Trevor, who takes the challenge to heart. As he goes about his day, he wonders what he could do, just a twelve year old student, to change the world. He starts by showing kindness to a stranger, and from there, moves on to the next person he can help.  The Pay It Forward Foundation

Elsewhere for October 13, 2018

You should read this for 10/13/2018:

Art, Film and TV

Via The Week: The first female Doctor Who might also be the best.

I spend the first season of every regeneration in Doctor Who grouchily acclimating to the new face before reluctantly being won over by the finale.
That just makes it all the more surprising that following Jodie Whittaker’s Sunday night debut, I was hooked within minutes. I have a feeling other fans felt the same — there is no doubt in my mind that she will be a great Doctor. In fact, she might just be the best in a generation.

This makes me very happy. I haven’t seen Doctor Who since 2007, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Books, Writing, and Language

American democracy is fracturing. Libraries say they know how to help

“The library is quietly one of the places that is saving democracy,” says Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library. If that sounds like self-serving hyperbole, consider: more people visited the New York Public Library last year (around 17 million) than all museum visits and sporting events in the city combined.

Libraries build community and sustain spirits. They’re a crucial part of a well-educated democracy.

Via WIRED staff: Twenty Five Of Our All-Time Favorite Books

The Printed Word in Peril/a> “The age of Homo virtualis is upon us.” See Also: “>Brave New World vs Nineteen Eighty-Four (H/T Caxton).

I understand Self is concerned about the digital precipice we’re poised on, ready to fall. But I also think that we have larger worries, like the demise of democracy, and the devastation of climate change. I’m more worried about the future depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale than those of Huxley or Orwell. I don’t share Self’s concerns about the literary novel, at all.

Why So Many Fantasy Novels Are Obsessed With Academia

Education

Teaching students about geography, one Google Hangout at a time

I used Google Hangouts Meet to connect my class with another one in an unknown state. To solve the mystery of where the other class was located, students shared fun facts about their state and asked yes or no questions like, “Are you west of the Mississippi River?”

Orthodoxxed! On “Sokal Squared”

The orthodoxy these men represent is not an orthodoxy of scientific legitimacy but rather the emerging consensus of tech bros, Davos billionaires, and alt-right misogynists. Each of these groups has its own reasons to hate feminist and other critical scholarship—whether for ideological reasons, positivist data fetishism, or the perception that they are uncommodifiable and hence worthless. 

Food and Drink

Poor Man’s Two-Egg Pasta Dough Recipe “Making homemade pasta dough doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need are two eggs, flour and oil—ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.”

Via WineMag.com: TOP 100 BEST BUYS OF 201

With 16 countries and more than 35 different grape varieties represented, this list has all the wines you want, from tried-and-true Prosecco and California Zin to out-of-the-box selections from Texasand Bulgaria.
And to top it off, this list boasts an average bottle price just over $12 and an average rating just under 90 points. 

History and Archaeology

A philosopher explains how our addiction to stories keeps us from understanding history

When I say “narrative,” I don’t mean a chronology of events; I mean stories with plots, connected by motivations, by people’s beliefs and desires, their plans, intentions, values. There’s a story.
The problem is, these historical narratives seduce you into thinking you really understand what’s going on and why things happened, but most of it is guessing people’s motives and their inner thoughts. It allays your curiosity, and you’re satisfied psychologically by the narrative, and it connects the dots so you feel you’re in the shoes of the person whose narrative is being recorded. It has seduced you into a false account, and now you think you understand.

Narrative lust is real.

How We Know Ancient Humans Believed In the Afterlife

This beautiful data visualization shows what Middle Eastern thinkers discovered long before the West

A History of Opium “Opium has been known and used for more than 7,000 years. A brilliantly researched and wide-ranging study brings its history up to date.” A review of Milk of Paradise: A History of Opium by Lucy Inglis

Science and Nature

Cassini Grand Finale Reveals Saturn’s Rings Blast the Planet With Organic Rain

The Saturn-orbiting Cassini-Huygens spacecraft died fighting—in fact, it kept gathering data right up until its final plummet into the gas giant. The daring plunge revealed incredible new things about the charismatic planet—like organic ring rain.

See also: This is What NASA Learned When Cassini Dove Into Saturn

Sinking Santa Cruz: climate change threatens famed California beach town

And then there’s the fires . . .

💩🔥💰

How Facebook polarized us during the Kavanaugh hearings

. . . a nagging question about the social network has been whether its viral mechanics — and the viral mechanics on YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms — have accelerated the split between the left and the right.

Today we have two stories that examine that phenomenon. The first concerns the fight over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. At a time when the sharing of news articles on Facebook is in general decline, the wrenching battle over Kavanaugh has been a top performer on the site. And many of the top performing posts, reports Craig Silverman, are among the most partisan in nature

This is very much related to the already familiar phenomena in print journalism: controversy, and even negativity, sells papers. It’s what drove yellow journalism.

Colin Powell: It’s now ‘me the president’ instead of ‘we the people’

FACT CHECK: Trump’s False Claims On ‘Medicare For All’ President Trump wrote an op-ed column that contained numerous unsubstantiated and false claims about healthcare.

The president is trying to play on the fears of seniors — who vote in large numbers — with the claim that any effort to improve health security for younger Americans must come at their expense. But that is a false choice.

This Disney heiress is here to tell you exactly what the 1% did with Trump’s tax cuts. “Spoiler: They didn’t create more jobs and increase salaries.”

Technology

Hardening macOS

See also Brad Terpstra’s How to Make Your Mac as Secure as Possible.

Women’s Work

A prestigious university just awarded a literary prize to one of its janitors

Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

But by 2015, the company realized its new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical posts in a gender-neutral way.

That is because Amazon’s computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period. Most came from men, a reflection of male dominance across the tech industry.

In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable. It penalized resumes that included the word “women’s,” as in “women’s chess club captain.” And it downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges, according to people familiar with the matter.

This viral airport ‘mansplaining’ story shows what male allyship can look like.

Are women in science any better off than in Ada Lovelace’s day?

On the Trail of Missing American Indian Women “Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, an amateur sleuth, believes that every human being deserves to be searched for.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A Twitter convo about self-appreciation was the best thing on the internet this week

How a mom’s “This Is My Son” anti-feminist brag went viral — and completely backfired This this is what the ‘net is for. Also cats.

Elsewhere for October 6, 2018

You should read this for 10/6/2018:

Art and Film

Molly Ringwald writing in The New Yorker: What About “The Breakfast Club”?

Books, Writing, and Language

Language buffs are trying to track down the Chinese proverb Mike Pence quoted

Though the aggressive tone of the whole speech shocked observers of China-US relations, one nugget in particular caught the attention of some China watchers: a reference by Pence to what he said was an “ancient Chinese proverb” that goes, “Men see only the present, but heaven sees the future.” After dropping that saying, Pence said, “As we go forward, let us pursue a future of peace and prosperity with resolve and faith.”

I suspect that this is a made-up proverb, or one completely so wrenched from the original that its meaning has changed. I am very distrustful of the overt Evangelical language of Pence’s speech; he thinks he speaks for God.

Scientists Used X-Rays to Virtually Unravel a Burnt 400-Year-Old Scroll This isn’t new, as a technique, though we are getting better. See for instance X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll and First “Virtual” Unrolling of Ancient Scroll Buried by Vesuvius Reveals Early Text

Education

Move over, Sokal Hoax

“Rick and Morty” Sting Predatory Journals

. . . another sci-fi sting has taken place, based this time on Rick and Morty. The stinger, Farooq Ali Khan, created a hilarious paper called Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites and their Transmissibility in Zygirion Simulation.

What an Audacious Hoax Reveals About Academia “Three scholars wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions.”

Food and Drink

How To Freeze and Reheat Cooked Rice

Spiced Mulled Hot Cider (Works in a slow cooker or on a stove).

History and Archaeology

The Viruses That Neanderthals Spread to Humans

When modern humans left Africa for Europe tens of thousands of years ago, they met Neanderthals and had sex with them. The evidence of those encounters remains inside most of us today; 2 to 3 percent of the DNA of non-African humans comes from Neanderthals.

The bits of Neanderthal DNA that have persisted are not entirely random. Scientists have wondered whether they offered some advantage in the early days of humanity, as they cluster, curiously, around genes related to skin, hair, and the immune system.

Science and Nature

An Appreciation Of Holly, The Fat Bear Mom Who Adopted And Raised An Abandoned Cub

Japanese spacecraft drops box-shaped robot on asteroid’s surface

Good night Kepler. NASA’s Planet Hunter is Almost out of Fuel, and has Gone Into Sleep Mode

The Kepler mission is coming to an end. The planet-hunting spacecraft that transformed our understanding of exoplanets and other solar systems is almost out of fuel. What little fuel remains is being held in reserve to ensure that the last of its data can be sent home.

Astronomers may have discovered the first moon ever found outside our Solar System

The astronomy team from Columbia University found this distant satellite, known as an exomoon, using two of NASA’s space telescopes. They first spotted a signal from the object in data collected by the planet-hunting telescope Kepler, and then they followed up with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is in orbit around Earth. Thanks to the observations from these two spacecraft, the team suspect this moon orbits around a Jupiter-sized planet located about 4,000 light-years from Earth. And this planet, dubbed Kepler-1625b, orbits around a star similar to our Sun.

Wild Sparrows Learn Experimental Songs Yes, they’re birds, but there are some interesting similarities between these sparrows and human language learners.

A rare flower that blooms every 12 years is sweeping the hills in southern India

Over the past two months, the Strobilanthes kunthianus shrub, locally known as the neelakurinji (blue flower), has bloomed across the hills of Munnar, covering the landscape with a carpet of lilac and blue.

The plants die after they seed; it takes twelve years for the seeds to reach maturity and bloom.

Humpback Whale Calls Persist Across Generations

Now researchers find humpback whales — including females and young — communicate with calls that stay the same over multiple generations. The discovery is re-shaping what scientists know about how and why whales talk to each other.

Canada: sea ice prevents crucial supply deliveries to isolated communities “Paulatuk, Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay were unable to receive shipments of food, fuel and lumber”

Society

Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding A Politically Explosive Secret

Why would the Nuneses, Steve King, and an obscure dairy publication all conspire to hide the fact that the congressman’s family sold its farm and moved to Iowa? I went to Sibley to find out. Things got a little strange.

Decades of Trump’s inheritance fail to explain how he’s funding mysterious cash purchases

starting in 2006, Trump began a cash spending spree of $400 million on 14 new properties, ostensibly with no external loans. Analysts and journalists have spent a lot of time puzzling over where in his illiquid business empire he found the cash to do that.

A Google search led to the biggest scoop of the Trump tax fraud story

The Trump family created All County as a way to pass money from father to children without the IRS noticing. Fred Trump essentially paid inflated maintenance costs for his buildings to All County, which then paid the legitimate costs to vendors and repair men. All County’s owners, the Trump children, kept the extra cash. Even worse? Fred Trump used the higher costs to justify raising rents.

Cushy office perks are a trap At a startup where I worked, the founder was enamored of showing new or prospective employees the Italian cappucino machine in the kitchen, and telling us that the coffee was free. He also boasted to investors that he paid an Emmy award-winning employee sub-standard wages.

Technology

Twitter suspends academic who quoted feminist STEM research

Bots and trolls on Twitter are as fired up by Ford-Kavanaugh as you are

And see also: Star Wars: The Last Jedi abuse blamed on Russian trolls and ‘political agendas’

More than half of the hostile responses to The Last Jedi, episode eight of the Star Wars saga, were politically motivated trolling or the result of non-human bot activity, according to an academic paper published by a US digital media expert.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Russian Trolls, And The Disintegration Of Discourse

How to Protect Yourself After Facebook’s Recent Hack . And also: How to Delete Your Facebook Account: A Checklist

Fake Comments Are Plaguing Government Agencies And Nobody Much Seems To Care

The problem’s become a bit of an epidemic, but despite the fact that this kind of behavior pollutes the public discourse and undermines the democratic process, not much (read: mostly nothing) is being done about it. Given our obsession (perhaps justly) with Russian disinformation efforts, you’d think there’d be a little more concern that the only opportunity the public is often given to provide feedback on major policy decisions or mergers, are often corrupted by widespread efforts to generate industrialized, artificial enthusiasm.

Women’s Work

Overlooked No More: Ruby Payne-Scott, Who Explored Space With Radio Waves “Payne-Scott helped establish the field of radio astronomy by using radio waves to detect solar bursts, but she was forced to resign after she got married.”

Women in public service were expected to resign when they wed. Her colleagues at the government research center considered her so integral to their work that they helped keep her marriage a secret; she wore her wedding band on a necklace.

The last woman to win the physics Nobel had to work for free most of her career

How Joan Jett Started the Runaways at 15 and Faced Down Every Barrier for Women in Rock and Roll

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Norway wants to clean up our oceans. Here’s how it could work.

HOW I DISCOVERED MY DEPRESSION—AND BEGAN TO CONFRONT IT “With suicide rising among undiagnosed American depressives, I recognized it was time to admit I needed help.”

The Swedish wasteland that’s now a sustainability star

Stockholm is home to one of the world’s most famous eco-neighbourhoods, Hammarby Sjöstad. But does it really offer a template for green urban living that can be replicated in other fast-growing cities?

Promoting inclusive storytelling with the Google Podcasts creator program æBeginning today, through November 18th, the application window is official open globally for the first round of the Google Podcasts creator program, which will kick off in January 2019.”

The Google Podcasts creator program is focused on three main pillars: empowering and training underrepresented voices through an accelerator program, educating a global community with free tools, and showcasing participants’ work as a model for others. PRX, alongside a global advisory committee, will select teams to receive mentorship, seed funding, and an intensive 20-week training. Applications will be accepted from around the globe. You can learn more and apply to the program on PRX’s Google Podcasts creator program website.

Elsewhere for September 29, 2028

You should read this for 9/29/2018:

Art and Film

This Theory Shows Why C-3PO Is the Secret Hero ofStar Wars

Via BoingBoing: Do not miss this anime trailer for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Oceania review – marvels of the human mind that were ripped off by modernists

How much art from the Pacific islands – as well as Africa – Picasso saw before painting Les Demoiselles is disputed, but there are so many daring, confrontational artistic inventions here that it becomes obvious the presence of such pieces in European collections must have been fundamental to the shattering of Europe’s own artistic assumptions at the end of the 19th century.

Uncovering Ancient Preparatory Drawings on Greek Ceramics

Books, Writing, and Language

“Ew,” “Yowza,” And Other New Scrabble Words To Up Your Game

“Traditionally, they were not in the dictionary but because so much of our communication is texting and social media that is written language, we are finding more transcribed speech and getting a new group of spellings for the dictionary.”

The new mother’s tale: a Kent walk in Chaucer’s footsteps

Alaska declares emergency for Native American languages “Governor Bill Walker aims to promote and preserve all 20 recognized indigenous tongues in the state before they die out”

Most of the 20 languages belong to one of two large language families, known as Inuit-Yupik-Unanga, or Eskimo-Aleut, and Athabaskan-Eyak-Tinglit.

The Talmud Is Finally Now Available Online

Education

The Girls Who Live in an All-Boys World “Until schools help boys understand personal accountability, they are tacitly endorsing the misogyny that still thrives in some elite classrooms.”

“Because it’s all about them. It’s like we’re here for their benefit.”

I’ve just finished my PhD, and now I feel lost without academia

Food and Drink

 

the retractions, corrections, and today’s resignation all stem from Wansink’s own admission of statistical scavenging to find meaningful conclusions in otherwise messy dieting data. The result is that many common dieting tips—such as using smaller plates to trick yourself into shoveling in less food and stashing unhealthy snacks in hard-to-reach places—are now on the cutting board and possibly destined for the garbage bin.

Via Smitten Kitchen: Breakfast Burritos

From Simply Recipes: Our 12 Favorite Cookie Recipes to Make in the Fall I’m not usually one to make cookies because of repetitive stress concerns and carpal tunnel, but I’m looking pretty closely at Giant Ginger Cookies

History and Archaeology

Newly discovered letter by Galileo resolves puzzling historical mystery “Letter shows Galileo lightly edited his original words to appease Catholic Church”

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia “A revolutionary American scientist is using subatomic physics to decipher 2,000-year-old texts from the early days of Western civilization”

Humans braved Australia’s hostile desert interior thousands of years earlier than thought

Humans came to Australia about 65,000 years ago. Artifacts and remains of ancient campfires suggest that, after arriving on the tropical northern shore, the first Australians reached the west coast and southern Australia 49,000 to 50,000 years ago.  . . . archaeologists Peter Veth and Jo McDonald of The University of Western Australia in Perth investigated a site known as Karnatukul, which lies within a subregion of the Western Desert called the Little Sandy Desert. The ancient rock shelter, weathered into a sandstone cliff, has yielded thousands of objects—stone tools and other artifacts, as well as charcoal and more recent rock paintings of snakes, turtles, and human figures—that suggest the area remained a popular stop for native Australians for tens of thousands of years.

Ancient DNA reveals the secrets of a devastating European disease “Comparison with modern strains offers glimpses of the pathogen’s evolutionary history.”

Peru’s last Incan city reveals its secrets: ‘It’s genuinely a marvel

The sprawling ruins are, scholars agree, the last capital of Vilcabamba: a holdout Inca state that resisted for decades after the conquistadors landed in Peru in 1532, executed the emperor Atahualpa, and occupied the Inca capital of Cusco.
Forgotten for centuries, the city of Espíritu Pampa – also known as Old Vilcabamba – has only been cleared in recent decades.

Science and Nature

Scientists Find ‘Super-Earth’ In Star System From ‘Star Trek’ “Like Spock’s home world Vulcan, this newly discovered exoplanet orbits the 40 Eridani triple star system.” The exoplanet is “the closest Sun-like star with a known planet.”

One of the world’s oldest—and deadliest—diseases has undeniably racist roots “When the mummy of the Egyptian woman—who died in 600 BC—was examined by pathologists in the 1820s, they concluded that she had died of ovarian cancer. But further investigations in the 1980s dismissed this hypothesis, provoking new mystery about her cause of death. ”

In 2009, advances in DNA technology finally allowed scientists to detect the lethal organism that was present in samples of tissue all over Irtyersenu’s body: lungs, gallbladder, bone.

Via JPL: Dust Storms on Titan Spotted for the First Time

“Titan is a very active moon,” said Sebastien Rodriguez, an astronomer at the Université Paris Diderot, France, and the paper’s lead author. “We already know that about its geology and exotic hydrocarbon cycle. Now we can add another analogy with Earth and Mars: the active dust cycle, in which organic dust can be raised from large dune fields around Titan’s equator.”

The Lingering Curse That’s Killing Killer Whales

Via BoingBoing: RoundUp disrupts honey bee gut bacteria

The weed killer glyphosate, better known as Monsanto’s RoundUp, is touted by the manufacturer as a perfectly harmless herbicide. But a study led by bee experts at the University of Texas, Austin found that RoundUp leads to disruptions in the gut biome of honeybees and is responsible for the colony collapse disorder that’s plagued bees for the last decade.

Society

Via The New Yorker:How Russia Helped To Swing The Elections for 💩🔥💰

Elizabeth Warren’s Ambitious Fix for America’s Housing Crisis “The Massachusetts Democrat introduced legislation that takes aim at segregation, redlining, restrictive zoning, and the loss of equity by low-income homeowners.”

First, a quick summary of the bill. It aims to lower the cost of developing housing so landlords don’t have to make rents so high, coming at the issue from two different angles. From one end, it tries to increase the supply of affordable housing by pouring billions of federal dollars into programs that subsidize developments in rural, low-income, and middle-income communities.
From the other end, the bill attempts to strip away the zoning laws that made developing housing so expensive in the first place.

Funded largely by restoring the estate tax to Bush-era levels; this makes it hard to sell to the GOP, but the bill might pass (or some version of the bill) if Dems take the House.

Kavanaugh
Mark Judge: author, Kavanaugh’s schoolfriend … witness?

“A man must be able to read a woman’s signals, and it’s a good thing that feminism is teaching young men that no means no and yes means yes,” Judge wrote.
“But there’s also that ambiguous middle ground, where the woman seems interested and indicates, whether verbally or not, that the man needs to prove himself to her.
“And if that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion.”

That’s not just a declaration about rape culture as white male privilege, it’s homoerotic in its emphasis on male sexual performance and male gaze.

Technology

How to Play Google’s Text Adventure Easter Egg in Chrome I really do love a good Easter Egg, and this one is both fun and charming.

NYT sues FCC, says it hid evidence of Russia meddling in net neutrality repeal NTY suit alleges that the FCC acted ilegally by hiding net neutrality comment records.

. . . the FCC falsely claimed that an outage in its public comment system was caused by multiple DDoS attacks, when in fact the outage was caused by the FCC’s inability to handle an influx of pro-net neutrality comments. The comment system was also overrun with bots and comments that were fraudulently submitted in people’s names without their knowledge.

Russian troll sites infiltrated Donald Trump subreddit as recently as this month

Reddit users have uncovered an elaborate campaign to seed Reddit’s most popular pro-Trump community with content linked to Russian influence operations, as detailed in a post on Friday night.

Reddit’s Largest Pro-Trump Subreddit Appears To Have Been Targeted By Russian Propaganda For Years

Russia’s Elite Hackers Have a Clever New Trick That’s Very Hard to Fix

The malware ESET observed does not itself actively steal data from an infected device. Think of it not as a robber, but as a door into your house that’s so hidden, you can’t see it even if you pore over every wall. LoJax gives Fancy Bear constant, remote access to a device, and the ability to install additional malware on it at any time.

Women’s Work

Paleolithic Women Likely Knew A Lot More About Loving Their Bodies Than We Do

In this change of perspective—from outside the body to inside it, from male to female—there is the introduction of something we conspicuously lack even today: The idea of a woman who, gazing down at her own pregnant figure, sees her body as a thing of true wonder, and decides to turn it into a sculpture, to reproduce and preserve its shape.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

England Returns Ancient Egyptian Artwork

Investigation by golf publication helps free wrongfully convicted man

The Markup “Today, The Markup, a new journalism venture founded by Sue Gardner, former head of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson, investigative journalists formerly at ProPublica, officially launches. The Markup will focus on investigative journalism that seeks to uncover how powerful institutions are using and abusing technology in ways that harm real people and damage society.”

Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Reinstated as Endangered Species, Judge Rules US District Court Judge Dana Christensen overturned the controversial decision by the 💩🔥💰 administration to remove federal protections from Yellowstone’s iconic grizzly bears.

The August 2017 decision was based on poorly applied science. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, which enforces the Endangered Species Act, “illegally negotiated away its obligation to apply the best available science in order to reach an accommodation with the states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana,” Christensen wrote

Elsewhere for September 22, 2018

You should read this for 9/22/2018:

Just One Thing

If you only read one thing, this should be it.

Yuval Noah Harari: The Myth of Freedom Governments and corporations will soon know you better than you know yourself. Belief in the idea of ‘free will’ has become dangerous. Harari is the author of some great books: Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and the just released 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I’m working my way through them.

Art and Film

Artist Jen Bartel may have started out drawing Sailor Moon, X-Men, and Ghostbusters fan art, but now she’s creating covers for some of today’s biggest comic books. Much as some writers moved from (and often, continued writing) fan fic, so artists apprentice (and often, continue) by creating fan art.

The 5 most obvious Apple references in Pixar films I love Easter Eggs, and visual ones are often particularly clever. And yes, seeing that Mac made me grin.

An Introduction to the Rothschild Pentateuch, an Illuminated Hebrew Masterpiece

Books, Writing, and Language

The extraordinary reading habits of Defense Secretary James Mattis “‘You stay teachable most by reading books, by reading what other people went through,’ Mattis has said.”

Mary Shelley’s Handwritten Manuscript of Frankenstein: This Is “Ground Zero of Science Fiction,” Says William Gibson See also: Mary Shelley’s Handwritten Manuscripts of Frankenstein Now Online for the First Time. If you haven’t read Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus recently, consider The Norton Critical Editions Frankenstein.

Via the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden: Trending: Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available Online Read the research your taxes pay for, even if #45 can’t manage it. By the way: some of these are startlingly well-written in addition to being well-researched.

I’m pleased to announce that, for the first time, the Library of Congress is providing Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports to the public. The reports are available online at crsreports.congress.gov. Created by experts in CRS, the reports present a legislative perspective on topics such as agriculture policy, counterterrorism operations, banking regulation, veteran’s issues and much more.

Via the BBC: Bringing Shakespeare’s neglected women out of the shadows The Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester is doing is putting on a single new production of play created by playwright Jeanie O’Hare. O’Hare combined all the lines spoken by Queen Margaret of Anjou from four existing Shakespeare plays (Margaret of Anjou appears in Shakespeare’s Henry VI parts one, two and three, and in Richard III.). O’Hare provided connecting dialog to render a consistent story. I confess to having read the plays this way.

Education

Times Newer Roman is a sneaky font designed to make your essays look longer This is why some decades ago, most English teachers teaching undergraduates switched to a word count; the Word Processor makes this simply for writers, and it cuts way down on papers that were deliberately formatted for a deceptive page-count.

Food and Drink

Slow Cooker Cider Pulled Pork I’m definitely going to try this. When I have a crock pot . . .

History and Archaeology

Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy “Cemeteries from the Longobard spread into Italy tell tales of migration and mixing.”

Ancient Gold and Pearls Discovered on Danish Island The gold is stunning, and the ornamentation reminds me of why the phrase Hiberno-Saxon is used for interlace styles.

A Roman cemetery has been unearthed on the site of a housing development in North Lincolnshire. Besides the graves and grave-goods of a number of men, women, and children, the archaeologists have found “a 2nd Century Roman villa with a mosaic floor.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Via BBC: A widower ‘full of regret’ offers advice to a young woman

Why it matters that Bert and Ernie are gay, which they are “It’s a way to tell more kids that they, too, belong in the world”

Science and Nature

Hurricane Florence looks massive from the International Space Station

It’s hard to spread the idiot fruit

These domesticated foxes came from a famous Russian experiment

Researchers Discover a Pattern to the Seemingly Random Distribution of Prime Numbers “The pattern has a surprising similarity to the one seen in atom distribution in crystals.”

A 558-Million-Year-Old Mystery Has Been Solved “Scientists have finally confirmed that a weird ribbed oval called Dickinsonia is an animal.” This is the oldest known animal, and it’s quite lovely.

Puppies spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria in recent diarrhea outbreak

The CDC was first clued into the outbreak in August 2017, when the Florida Department of Health reported that six people had been infected with a type of bacteria that causes fevers, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. By February 2018, the CDC discovered that more than 118 people in 18 states had been infected with the same thing: a bacteria calledCampylobacter that’s usually linked to eating raw chicken or food contaminated by chicken juices.

Society

Our political upheaval wasn’t caused by mob rule, but by institutions designed to preserve elite oversight This is an interesting companion piece to Harari’s “The Myth of Freedom.”

Are Narcissists More Likely to Experience Imposter Syndrome?

Worry Less About Crumbling Roads, More About Crumbling Libraries Increasingly, my charitable donations are going to local libraries, because they create community, and they often coordinate access to basic needs as well as books, movies, periodicals, the Internet, classes, job hunting . . . .

Technology

Read an E-Book in Chunks Via Email With Bookman
Requires an ePub file. Signing up for the service gets you the ability to read three books via email for free. Afterward, you need to buy “Bookman tickets” for future titles. One ticket is $2, but you can get three for $4.

Court Orders FCC To Hand Over Data On Bogus Net Neutrality Comments

A big source of the bogus comments appear to have originated with GQ Roll Call, on behalf of an “anonymous client” (which most assume is either a major broadband provider like AT&T or Comcast, or some other proxy partisan organization they covertly fund). Hopefully the data, whenever it arrives, helps shine a little more light on precisely what it is the FCC pretty clearly doesn’t want exposed to the light of day.

Women’s Work

“The Matilda Effect”: How Pioneering Women Scientists Have Been Denied Recognition and Written Out of Science History and see also: Jocelyn Bell Burnell Discovered Radio Pulsars in 1974, But the Credit Went to Her Advisor; In 2018, She Gets Her Due, Winning a $3 Million Physics Prize

Facebook is letting job advertisers target only men

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Hilary Clinton in The Atlantic: American Democracy Is in Crisis

Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.

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Elsewhere for September 15, 2018

You should read this for 9/14/2018:

Art and Film

The oldest drawing in the world was done with an ocher crayon

Books, Writing, and Language

Report from the Field: Seeing Is ChangingUK poetry publisher Eyewear’s Twitter meltdown is a symptom of deeper problems.

Is Amazon getting too big?

Via Cory Doctorow and Boing Boing: Not in our name: Why European creators must oppose the EU’s proposal to limit linking and censor the internet

But the Society of Authors and its allies have it wrong here. Articles 11 and 13 are catastrophes for both free expression and artists’ livelihoods. They’re a bargain in which Europe’s big entertainment companies propose to sell Big Tech an Eternal Internet Domination license for a few hundred mil, cementing both Big Content and Big Tech’s strangleholds on our ability to earn a living and reach an audience.

Who wrote that anonymous NYT op-ed? Text similarity analyses with R

How Baltimore’s independent bookstores are thriving in the age of Amazon

Food and Drink

Via Katie Workman from Simply Recipes: Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas

H/T MEC: Apple Turnovers With an All-Cheddar Crust

7 Things to Know About Making Cold Brew Coffee at Home (+ a Recipe!)

Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon, Arugula, and Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Sauce

History and Archaeology

Archaeologists have uncovered a medieval board game in a secret chamber beneath an ancient Russian castle.

When is it OK For Archaeologists to Dig Up the Dead?

Ritual Sacrifice May Have Shaped Dog Domestication

Bogs are unique records of history – here’s why

Greek Farmer Stumbles Onto 3,400-Year-Old Tomb Hidden Below His Olive Grove
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/greek-farmer-stumbles-3400-year-old-tomb-hidden-below-his-olive-grove-180970197/

Hundreds of Roman gold coins found in basement of old theater

The coins, at least 300 of them, date back to the late Roman imperial era and were found in a soapstone jar unearthed in the basement of the Cressoni Theater in Como, north of Milan.

Science and Nature

Deteriorating Kepler Space Telescope Refuses to Die

Via NPR Podcasts: Bird Notes “When not in the radio studio, Dwight Davis likes to go afield with his binoculars and watch birds. “Birdnotes” is a result of his long-time interest in birds, a short feature that can be about almost any aspect of bird life, from migration to coloration to birds in art to song.”

Eight bird species are first confirmed avian extinctions this decade “Most of the extinctions were caused by deforestation in South America’—deforestation which those of us not living in South America or Asia, probably benefitted from. Also: æThe poo-uli, or black-faced honeycreeper, was found on the island of Maui in Hawaii but was last sighted in 2004. Attempts to breed the bird in captivity failed.” Feral cats are partly to blame, but we introduced felix to the islands.

Pass It On: Sheep and Moose Teach Knowledge Of Migration Routes
There’s audio, as well as text. Worth listening to!

For birds, where and when to start that journey is based on genetics, and signals from stars, and magnetic fields from the earth. But for some larger mammals like sheep and moose, they’re not born knowing where to go. They need to learn a mental migratory map—and it’s often passed down from other herd members.

Society

BBC issues internal guidance on how to report climate change

Be aware of ‘false balance’: As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate. Although there are those who disagree with the IPCC’s position, very few of them now go so far as to deny that climate change is happening. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.

How Big Tech Swallowed Seattle

And yet, as cities try to crib from Seattle, the town itself is full of doubt and anger. The turbocharged growth has exacerbated traffic, despite huge investments in public transit. Housing prices have shot up faster than in any major city in the U.S. for most of the past two years. Homelessness has reached crisis levels. Formerly subdued City Council meetings routinely devolve into shouting matches.

Australian firefighters shot at while battling US wildfire

Technology

Warm light bulbs vs cool light bulbs: Which should you buy? “Different color temperature light bulbs have different purposes. Here’s what color you need.”

Women’s Work

Inside The Culture Of Sexism At Riot Games. And see also: Two Riot Employees Leave Under Complicated Circumstances After PAX Session Excluding Men [UPDATE]

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Donald Trump’s grandfather Friedrich Trump ran a restaurant, bar, and brothel in British Columbia.