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Elsewhere for December 25, 2016

You should read this for 12/25/2016: Encouraging kindness in social networks, a Trumpish short story, finding the lost kingdoms, and Spirograph is even better than you remembered.

Kevin Barrett of Postlight on Building Kind Social Networks“In reality, addressing abuse is not a scale, but a switch.”

A five year project to investigate the “lost” kingdoms of Northern Europe.

Via Ars Technia: The Greatest Spirograph in the World. Really. Watch the videos.

NORAD’s Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

A Trump Christmas Carol by Roz Kaveney, Laurie Penny, John Scalzi, & J0 Walton. Nicely done.

And the complete A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, annotated.


Buy me a Coffee! If you find this post or this site interesting, and would like to see more, buy me a coffee. While I may actually buy coffee, I’ll probably buy books to review.


Elsewhere for December 18, 2016

You should read this for 12/18/2016:

Via The New York Post The chilling stories behind Japan’s ‘evaporating people’“Of the many oddities that are culturally specific to Japan — from cat cafés to graveyard eviction notices to the infamous Suicide Forest, where an estimated 100 people per year take their own lives — perhaps none is as little known, and curious, as “the evaporated people.”

Jesus was not born in a stable. On the meaning of NT Greek Kataluma.

Via Amy Rawe An Open Apology To Dolly Parton There’s a lot more to Dolly Parton than just a fabulous singer, songwriter and musician.

And here’s how it looks from Canada; Scott Gilmore writing for Maclean’s on Russia’s American coup “But it happened, moment by moment, until we woke up in a cold day in December and realized that Moscow had effectively installed the next president of the United States.

That sounds hyperbolic, doesn’t it? Even writing it I have to pause and stare at that sentence. But these are the facts: The CIA and over a dozen other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia hacked into both the Republican and Democratic party computers. Senior Russian officials have admitted that they leaked the Democratic data to WikiLeaks. Those emails were then strategically published over the course of the presidential campaign. Why? A member of the House Intelligence Committee states there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ Russia’s goal was to elect Donald Trump.”

Now you can Fact-Check Donald Trump’s tweets.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake A light cake, often served in the morning with coffee; perfect for Christmas.

Elsewhere for December 11, 2016

You should read this for 12/11/2016:
The social functions of humor, why Donald Trump isn’t funny, maybe you were wrong about the MacBook Pro, we’re all Muslim here, now, how are you, dinosaur feathers and ginger cookies.

Jason P. Sneed via Twitter 8/9/2026 on the social functions of humor, reposted here.

Ben Lovejoy from 9to5 Mac MacBook Pro Diary: I’m one week in, and it turns out my first impressions were wrong I think a lot of people’s first impressions of Apple’s new MacBook Pro are going to prove wrong. Kinda like when Apple released the iPod and people said “Who would buy this?” Or the iMac. Or the iPhone.

We’re All Muslim Now Change your Facebook religious descriptor to Muslim to make it harder to use Facebook to target Muslims—something some people are already doing by scanning FB profiles and then sending abusive posts.

Dinosaur tail trapped in amber sheds light on evolution of feathers Scroll down to see the photo of the actual piece of amber; really amazing. Also it explains so much about feral chickens.

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter Now imagine what he’ll do with the full force of the Oval Office, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service to do his bullying.

The right has its own version of political correctness. It’s just as stifling. “Political correctness has become a major bugaboo of the right in the past decade, a rallying cry against all that has gone wrong with liberalism and America. Conservative writers fill volumes complaining how political correctness stifles free expression and promotes bunk social theories about ‘power structures’ based on patriarchy, race and mass victimhood.”

Why haven’t we seen Donald Trump’s tax returns? Why hasn’t he divested? Maybe the Answer Is That He Can’t Divest Because he owes too much money to too many people—including millions to China.

The Best Music for Productivity? Silence What I’m taking away from this piece is the suggestion near the end to take a fifteen minute break wherein you just listen to music, really listen.

via Bon AppetitTriple-Ginger Cookies

Jason P. Sneed on the Social Function of Humor

Jason P. Sneed on Twitter on 8/9/2016:

1. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the social function of humor (in literature & film) and here’s the thing about “just joking.”
2. You’re never “just joking.” Nobody is ever “just joking.” Humor is a social act that performs a social function (always).
3. To say humor is social act is to say it is always in social context; we don’t joke alone. Humor is a way we relate/interact with others.
4. Which is to say, humor is a way we construct identity – who we are in relation to others. We use humor to form groups…
5. …and to find our individual place in or out of those groups. In short, joking/humor is one tool by which we assimilate or alienate.
6. IOW, we use humor to bring people into – or keep them out of – our social groups. This is what humor *does.* What it’s for.
7. Consequently, how we use humor is tied up with ethics – who do we embrace, who do we shun, and how/why?
8. And the assimilating/alienating function of humor works not only only people but also on *ideas.* This is important.
9. This is why, e.g., racist “jokes” are bad. Not just because they serve to alienate certain people, but also because…
10. …they serve to assimilate the idea of racism (the idea of alienating people based on their race). And so we come to Trump
11. A racist joke sends a message to the in-group that racism is acceptable. (If you don’t find it acceptable, you’re in the out-group.)
12. The racist joke teller might say “just joking” — but this is a *defense* to the out-group. He doesn’t have to say this to the in-group.
13. This is why we’re never “just joking.” To the in-group, no defense of the joke is needed; the idea conveyed is accepted/acceptable.
14. So, when Trump jokes about assassination or armed revolt, he’s asking the in-group to assimilate/accept that idea. That’s what jokes do.
15. And when he says “just joking,” that’s a defense offered to the out-group who was never meant to assimilate the idea in the first place.
16. Indeed, circling back to the start, the joke *itself* is a way to define in-group and out-group, through assimilation & alienation.
17. If you’re willing to accept “just joking” as defense, you’re willing to enter in-group where idea conveyed by the joke is acceptable.
18. IOW, if “just joking” excuses racist jokes, then in-group has accepted idea of racism as part of being in-group.
19. Same goes for “jokes” about armed revolt or assassinating Hillary Clinton. They cannot be accepted as “just joking.”
20. Now, a big caveat: humor (like all language) is complicated and always a matter of interpretation. For example, we might have…
21. …racist humor that is, in fact, designed to alienate (rather than assimilate) the idea of racism. (Think satire or parody.)
22. But I think it’s pretty clear Trump was not engaging in some complex satirical form of humor. He was “just joking.” In the worst sense.
23. Bottom line: don’t accept “just joking” as excuse for what Trump said today. The in-group for that joke should be tiny. Like his hands.

Mr. Steed is an attorney (an appellate lawyer in Dallas, TX) and a reformed English Ph.D.

Elsewhere for December 4, 2016

You should read this for 12/4/2016: Water not war, Pepper nuts, scraps of poetry and authenticity (or the lack thereof) online

Secretary of State contender Petraeus knowingly leaked secrets to his biographer and lied to FBI “Retired Army general David Petraeus, who stepped down as CIA chief amid the scandal of an extramarital affair and pleaded guilty to divulging classified information, has emerged as a top contender as secretary of State in the incoming Trump administration.”

Ursula Le Guin on the 2016 Election “In the atmosphere of fear, anger, and hatred, opposition too easily becomes division, fixed enmity. I’m looking for a place to stand, or a way to go, where the behavior of those I oppose will not control my behavior.”

Mark Peters muses in The Boston Globe about Slang — language at our most human And the online arrival of Green’s Dictionary of Slang.

Via The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson on Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry “On letters, envelopes, and chocolate wrappers, the poet wrote lines that transcend the printed page.” Thanks to Amherst College, you can see digital images of Dickinson’s “scraps” as she wrote them at the Emily Dickinson Archive.

President Obama’s final Rolling Stone interview, the day after election 2016.

From Gizmodo.com Reddit Is Tearing Itself Apart “For the past 11 years, an eternity in internet time, Reddit has touted itself—repeatedly, and loudly — as the place to have “authentic conversations” online. For a variety of reasons, that sentiment has always rang hollow. Now, Reddit, in its goal to be a laissez-faire haven of (relatively) free expression, has been overrun by nationalist trolls. Its staff of volunteer moderators is losing hope in the site’s future.”

NPR on Unlocking Dyslexia: A Special Series This is some of the best and most thoughtful coverage of dyslexia, its possible causes, coping mechanisms, and what it’s like to move through a sea of text with dyslexia as a pilot.

Via The Joy of Cooking, German pfefferneuse, “pepper nuts,” a traditional spiced cookie that many of us strongly associate with Christmas.

Elsewhere for November 27, 2016

You should read this for 11/27/2016: Nazis for real, Black sea Medieval shipwrecks, Collectible Christmas ornaments to Make America Grate Again, and Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

‘Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect Stop it with the “alt right”and “White Nationalists” euphuisms; they’re Nazis. Call them Nazis. Don’t help them hide.

Preserved by the conditions deep below the Black sea, the ships hail from c. 13th century on. The condition of the ships is remarkable; there are hopes that the depth and absence of oxygen-producing bacteria may even preserved paper and fiber.

ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’“You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism.”

Trump Make America Great Again Red Cap Collectible Ornament “There was a blue ornament, it was smarter than this one, had a lifetime of experience, supported trees of all colors and beliefs, and (get this) was loved by two million more people than this ornament but somehow this ornament is the one on Amazon.” Read the reviews and the comments.

The history of urbanization, 3700 BC – 2000 AD See cities appear on a world map in a clever animation of history.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie This is probably the easiest possible pie recipe. Obtain (or make) pie shell. Measure and mix ingredients. Cook. Eat.

Elsewhere for November 20, 2016

You should read this for 11/20/2016: Fake news, Poetry, Irish Speaking Truth To Power, Internment In our Future, and Cardamom

Obama used to be a law professor. This is key. . . . Trump walked into the Oval Office like a two-pump-chump freshman thinking it was syllabus day, and what he got was the first day of law school, and he hadn’t done the reading like everyone else had, and Professor Obama decided to put him in the hot seat.”

Senator Aodhán O’Riordáin to the Irish Seanad regarding the U.S. election: “America has just elected a fascist and the best thing that the good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him, is it OK to still bring the shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day?”

Via BuzzFeed: Some Renegade Facebook Employees Form Task Force To Battle Fake News

A. E. Stallings for The Times Literary Supplement Why bother with poetry? “The pleasures of poetry are subversive, and perhaps always have been.”

From Sean Patrick Hughes What Now?“If insistence on decent treatment of all Americans makes me a liberal in the eyes of conservatives, then maybe we should take some time to reflect on who our modern conservatives actually are. The world is watching.”

Bernie Sanders Could Replace President Trump With Little-Known Loophole Are you paying attention? Are you reading carefully and critically?

Via The Washington Post and George Takei: They Interned my Family: Don’t Let Them Do It to Muslims “I came to see the internment as an assault not only upon an entire group of Americans, but upon the Constitution itself — how its guarantees of due process and equal protection had been decimated by forces of fear and prejudice unleashed by unscrupulous politicians.”

Via Epicurious: Orange Sweet Rolls (with a pinch of Cardamom!)

Elsewhere for November 13, 2016

You should read this for 11/13/2016:

 

Ancient Greek mosaics revealed.This is old news, but more restoration has taken place. These are stunning. Go look.

Newly discovered cave etchings date from between 12,000 and 14,500 years ago. Beautiful images of animals, some of them to very large scale, discovered in a cave in the Basque town of Lekeitio.

Via Smithsonian Magazine: Canada Can’t Figure Out Why the Ocean Floor Is Beeping

Masha Gessen via The New York Review of Books Autocracy: Rules for Survival
“However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that Trump is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a ‘normal’ politician. There has until now been little evidence that he can be one . . . Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.”

Neal Gabler on BillMoyers.com Farewell, America “Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans?”

Greek Chicken and Potatoes via Epicurious

Elsewhere for October 23, 2016

You should read this for 10/23/2016:

On the campaign trail in Ohio, President Obama blasts the GOP “The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time, . . . They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.”

Why We’re Living in the Age of Fear “Jen Senko believes that her father was brainwashed. As Senko, a New York filmmaker, tells it, her father was a ‘nonpolitical Democrat.’ But then he transferred to a new job that required a long commute and began listening to conservative radio host Bob Grant during the drive. Eventually, he was holing himself up for three hours every day in the family kitchen, mainlining Rush Limbaugh and, during commercials, Fox News.”

From Arizona Republic’s Mi-Ai Parrish via Medium.com How do we respond to threats after our endorsement? “We chose patriotism over party. We endorsed the Democrat. And then the reaction started pouring in. Threats against our business. Threats against our people.”

The United Federation of “hold my beer, I got this”

Medieval historian David M. Perry writing at CNN.com points out that This is not the Crusades: There’s nothing medieval about ISIS Perry notes: “As a medieval historian, I’ve been watching the ways in which Trump, other politicians, and even plenty of journalists characterize ISIS and its horrific actions as “medieval.” I’ve always thought it was a mistake, but a mistake mostly limited to the world of rhetoric. On Friday, that changed.”

The white flight of Derek Black“Derek Black, 27, was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he began to question the movement’s ideology.”

Lemon Almond Bars from Southern Living.

Elsewhere for October 16, 2016

You should read this for 10/16/2016:

Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence From the Executive Office of the President National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology; .pdf file.

The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About

Via The Economist Barack Obama writes about the four crucial areas of unfinished business in economic policy that his successor will have to tackle There’s a succinct but historically accurate pocket history of America’s economy in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Via Southern Living: Braised Beans with Collard Greens and Ham Perfect for a fall Sunday.

America’s “Government” Cheese Glut

Via The Guardian Michelle Obama has dragged this US election out of the gutter

via PBS’s Nature Super Hummingbirds” streaming online until 11/12/2016.