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Elsewhere for December 20, 2020

You should read this for 12/2o/2020:

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletBiden Administration: Here’s Who Has Been Named So Far

In his latest selection, Biden tapped Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., to lead the Department of Transportation. Buttigieg has not previously served in federal office but gained national prominence during his presidential bid in the 2020 Democratic primaries. If confirmed, he will be the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in a permanent Cabinet role.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Samuel Delany: decorative leaf bulletWhy I Write

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletRevealing Photo Series Documents School Lunches Around the World

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletFit for a king: true glory of 1,000-year-old cross buried in Scottish field is revealed at last The cross in question was part of the Viking-age Galloway hoard found in 2014.

The Galloway Hoard was buried in the late 9th century in Dumfries and Galloway, where it was unearthed by a metal detectorist in 2014. The cross was among more than 100 gold, silver and other items, including a beautiful gold bird-shaped pin and a silver-gilt vessel. Incredibly, textile in which the objects had been wrapped was among organic matter that also survived.

decorative leaf bulletBoudicca revolt: Essex dig reveals ‘evidence of Roman reprisals’

Dr Niamh Wycherley, Department of Early Irish, School of Celtic Studies, Maynooth Univeristy: decorative leaf bulletChristmas in medieval Ireland

Science and Nature

H/T Yasmin: decorative leaf bulletTasmanian devils claw their way back from extinction

For decades a ghastly facial cancer has been decimating Tasmanian devils. Spreading from animal to animal when the stocky, raccoon-size marsupials bite each other, the transmissible cancer has killed up to 80% of the devils in Tasmania, their only home for millennia. Some researchers saw extinction as inevitable. Now, a new study in Science, suggests the remaining 15,000 devils have reached a détente with the cancer. Until recently it was spreading exponentially, like the pandemic coronavirus among humans in many parts of the world. But geneticists calculate that each infected devil now transmits tumor cells to just one—or fewer—other devils. That could mean the disease may disappear over time.


The EFF responds to Facebook’s attack on Apple regarding Apple’s decison to have users opt-in to having their data useddecorative leaf bulletFacebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple Is Really Against Users and Small Businesses

Facebook’s campaign is targeting a new AppTrackingTransparency feature on iPhones that will require apps to request permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites or sharing their information with and from third parties. Requiring trackers to request your consent before stalking you across the Internet should be an obvious baseline, and we applaud Apple for this change. But Facebook, having built a massive empire around the concept of tracking everything you do by letting applications sell and share your data across a shady set of third-party companies, would like users and policymakers to believe otherwise.
Make no mistake: this latest campaign from Facebook is one more direct attack against our privacy and, despite its slick packaging, it’s also an attack against other businesses, both large and small.

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💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bullet The inside story of how Trump’s denial, mismanagement and magical thinking led to the pandemic’s dark winter

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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Something Wonderful

H/T mccarrdey Video: decorative leaf bullet

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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 13, 2020

You should read this for 1/22/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

Economist Podcasts: decorative leaf bulletThis week we speak to Viggo Mortensen, the actor best known for playing Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, about making his directorial debut and the future of indie film-making

decorative leaf bulletJames Corden proves why straight actors should think twice before playing gay

Biden-Harris Begin/h4>

decorative leaf bulletHarris assembles staff as she builds her vice presidential portfolio

decorative leaf bulletPRIORITIES
We aren’t just going to rebuild what has worked in the past. This is our opportunity to build back better than ever.

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Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

H/T Lisa C: decorative leaf bulletThe book of love: 400-year-old tome of John Donne’s poems is unveiled

The volume was discovered in 2018 in private hands at Melford Hall, the National Trust property in Suffolk, where it is believed to have been kept for at least 200 years. In 2019, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport imposed a temporary export bar on the work, warning that it was “at risk of being lost abroad” unless a UK buyer could match the £466,000 asking price.
The British Library’s acquisition – to be announced on Monday – was made possible by various sources, including the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and individuals such as Paul Chrzanowski, an American physicist and collector of early English texts, who has made numerous donations to public institutions.
The binding and watermarks suggest that it dates from between 1625 to 1635. Lock described the text as “beautifully legible, in a lovely clear hand”, with partial annotations from a later reader


decorative leaf bulletDenver’s Tattered Cover Bookstore Sold to Two Entrepreneurs This change in ownership means that Tattered Cover is now the largest Black-owned bookstore in the U.S.

The change in ownership was completed on Tuesday; Vlahos and Gilligan will stay on for a period of time as consultants. Spearman and Back have formed a limited liability company, Bended Page, with “a diverse group of Colorado-based investors and national bookselling and publishing experts” on board. The thirteen investors include Oren Teicher, the retired CEO of the American Booksellers Association and John Sargent, departing Macmillan CEO. Teicher and Sargent are among a seven-member board of directors, headed by Back, its chair, and Spearman, installed as the store’s CEO.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletThe Vaccine Is Not Coming Soon Enough for Nursing Homes COVID-19 deaths in long-term-care facilities jumped 27 percent last week.

BBC Video: decorative leaf bulletCovid-19: How everyday life has changed in Wuhan

While the rest of the world is still battling a second wave of infections, the city hasn’t had any locally transmitted cases for months. So how has Wuhan changed, and what’s life like for ordinary people living in the initial centre of the pandemic?

Food and Drink

H/T Lymond: decorative leaf bulletThe Kugel Joke

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletTudor coins dedicated to three of Henry VIII’s wives found in family garden

That was certainly the case for the unnamed New Forest family who dug up 63 gold coins and one silver coin dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. “They were out turning up the soil and all of a sudden these coins popped out of the ground … miraculously,” said Richardson. “It is quite a shocking find for them and very interesting for us.”
Probably hidden in about 1540, they include coins from Henry VIII’s reign, which are unusual in that they also, separately, feature the initials of three of his wives – Catherine of Aragon (K), Anne Boleyn (A) and Jane Seymour (I).

decorative leaf bulletFifth-century discovery suggests break with Rome did not cause steep decline in living standards for all<

But a stunning discovery at the Chedworth Roman villa in the Cotswolds suggests that some people at least managed to maintain a rich and sophisticated lifestyle.

National Trust archaeologists have established that a mosaic at the Gloucestershire villa was probably laid in the middle of the fifth century, years after such homes were thought to have been abandoned and fallen into ruin.

The mosaic, found in what may have been a summer dining room, is not quite as splendid as the ones at the villa dating to Roman times, but it seems to show the residents were clinging on to a very decent standard of living. .  . .it was possible to date the mosaic thanks to traces of carbon found in a trench dug to build a wall to create the room the mosaic was found in. Dating the carbon strongly suggested the wall was built between 424 and 544 AD. The mosaic was laid in the newly created room after the wall was built.


decorative leaf bulletSubstack isn’t a new model for journalism — it’s a very old one


decorative leaf bulletGoogle is now blocking the ads publishers sell if they don’t meet Google’s standards

Let’s be blunt: Nobody likes ads that choke their browser and slow their webpage to a crawl. No one has sympathy for ads that actively harm the user experience. Readers would rather have a functional webpage with a gray box on it than a non-functional one with an ad.
And yet…on principle alone, I still can’t quite get over the idea that Google — the world’s largest advertising company, perennially investigated by regulators for its abuse of its market power, criticized for its negative impacts on the news industry — gets to decide, unilaterally, that an ad The New York Times sold can’t be shown to a New York Times reader.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bullet‘It’s not a grave we must fit in’: the Kashmir women fighting for marital rights

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletTrump has a long history of responding to loss with anything but grace

It’s impossible to separate Trump’s behavior now from his comments well before the election in which he made clear that this was exactly how he’d respond to a loss. Over and over, Trump claimed that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud — a claim both untrue in the past and in the most recent election — and that the only way he could lose would be if rampant fraud occurred. He lost, so he worked backward to suggest that it had occurred unfairly, in the clumsiest way imaginable.

decorative leaf bulletSidney Powell’s secret ‘military intelligence expert,’ key to fraud claims in election lawsuits, never worked in military intelligence

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bullet‘Magical’ monolith appears on Isle of Wight beach in the UK

decorative leaf bulletHumpback whale snapped during New York City harbour visit

Bjoern Kils photo of a Humpback statue of liberty
Bjoern Kils’ photo graph of a Humpback whale in view of the statue of Libery

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Elsewhere for December 6, 2020

You should read this for 12/06/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletNetflix Removes ‘Chappelle’s Show’ From Service Upon Request From Dave Chappelle Who Blasts ViacomCBS For Licensing His Show Without Paying Him

decorative leaf bulletMissing Australian Masterpiece Spent 115 Years Hiding in Plain Sight

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletGSA ready to begin transition; Biden to name first female heads of national intelligence, treasury

Earlier Monday, Biden announced several picks for top jobs in national security and foreign relations, and is also expected to name Janet L. Yellen as treasury secretary, according to three people in close communication with aides to the president-elect.
The nominations are: Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security, the first immigrant in that position; Avril D. Haines as director of national intelligence, the first woman in that position; and former secretary of state John F. Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

H/T Andy W: decorative leaf bulletWith Ni’Var, Discovery Pays Homage to an Original Star Trek Fanzine

decorative leaf bulletNora Roberts explains it to a Debra The blog post on Nora Roberts’ own blog is here. Debra starts demonstrating full-on entitlement and Dunning-Krueger here. Never, ever do this to a writer. It makes me miss a former boss’s response to an annoying customer: “You can’t buy our books. We don’t want you as a customer.”

decorative leaf bulletWhy Some Libraries Are Ending Fines

Ellen Muehlberger @emuehlbe on coining doom scrolling: decorative leaf bulletHere at the end of 2020, you might be wondering: who invented the best word of the year, namely “doomscrolling”?

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletMost coronavirus cases are spread by people without symptoms, CDC now says

æCDC and others estimate that more than 50% of all infections are transmitted from people who are not exhibiting symptoms,”

decorative leaf bulletMask Mandates Work To Slow Spread Of Coronavirus, Kansas Study Finds

Researchers analyzed coronavirus infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bullet10 Indian Instant Pot Recipes for Rich, Comforting Flavor Fast Butter chicken, palak paneer, lentils, dal . . .

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet“Crazy, Noisy, Freaked-Out Dance Music for Weirdos”: The queer legacy of 3909 Sunset Boulevard

decorative leaf bullet‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest

One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest.
Hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.

Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletOn A Tour Of ‘America’s Amazon,’ Flora, Fauna And Glimpses Of Alabama’s Past

In his new book, Saving America’s Amazon: The Threat to Our Nation’s Most Biodiverse River System, Raines explores the remarkable array of flora and fauna, as well as the history, found in this vast river delta on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Think pitcher plant bogs, purple iris fields, colorful dart fish and tiny seahorses.


H/T Elizabeth A. decorative leaf bulletG.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden

General Motors turned its back Monday on the Trump administration’s legal fight to nullify California’s strict fuel economy rules, signaling that it was ready to work with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to reduce climate-warming emissions from cars and trucks.
The decision by Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, to withdraw her company’s support for Trump administration efforts to strip California of its ability to set its own fuel efficiency standards was a striking reversal. It was also a signal that corporate America is moving on from President Trump.

decorative leaf bulletHow can you be LGBTQ+ at an evangelical university? In secret


decorative leaf bulletStanding with Dr. Timnit Gebru — #ISupportTimnit #BelieveBlackWomen

Until December 2, 2020, Dr. Gebru was one of very few Black women Research Scientists at the company, which boasts a dismal 1.6% Black women employees overall. Her research accomplishments are extensive, and have profoundly impacted academic scholarship and public policy. Dr. Gebru is a pathbreaking scientist doing some of the most important work to ensure just and accountable AI and to create a welcoming and diverse AI research field.
Instead of being embraced by Google as an exceptionally talented and prolific contributor, Dr. Gebru has faced defensiveness, racism, gaslighting, research censorship, and now a retaliatory firing. In an email to Dr. Gebru’s team on the evening of December 2, 2020, Google executives claimed that she had chosen to resign. This is false. In their direct correspondence with Dr. Gebru, these executives informed her that her termination was immediate, and pointed to an email she sent to a Google Brain diversity and inclusion mailing list as pretext.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletProf Sarah Gilbert: The woman who designed the Oxford vaccine

H/T Jasmine: decorative leaf bulletPortraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Favorite Collars and the Stories Behind Them

decorative leaf bulletRemarkable story of Madagascar’s last queen emerges from Surrey attic


decorative leaf bulletComputer repairman at center of Hunter Biden laptop scandal closes shop

H/T: Chris Johnson decorative leaf bulletThe Trump Regime Ends as It Began: Full of Clumsy Palace Intrigue, Serial Incompetence, and Wild Paranoia

Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was quietly installed at the Justice Department as a White House liaison a few months ago. She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud, the people said…

Stirrup had also extended job offers to political allies for positions at some of the highest levels of the Justice Department without consulting any senior department officials or the White House counsel’s office and also attempted to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers, a violation of the government’s human resources policies, one of the people said.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletHelicopter pilot finds ‘strange’ monolith in remote part of Utah See also: Mysterious Monolith Has Been There For Years, According To Google Earth.

decorative leaf bulletCreative Christmas Cards That Deserve an Award Notice, please, the kind of award is not specified.

decorative leaf bullet

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Elsewhere For November 23, 2020

You should read this for 11/23/2020:

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletBiden Administration: Here’s Who Has Been Named So Far

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletStar Wars author appeals to Disney in fight over royalties

Disney has been accused of failing to pay royalties to the acclaimed author Alan Dean Foster for his bestselling novelisations of films including Star Wars and Alien, in a fight over copyright that is being described as unprecedented and grotesque

. . .

Foster and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), which is assisting him, claim Disney has ignored multiple queries from his agents, legal representatives and the SFWA.

And see also: Disney (Disney!) Accused Of Trying To Lawyer Its Way Out Of Paying Royalties To Alan Dean Foster

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletU.S. Hits 11 Million Coronavirus Cases, Adding 1 Million In A Week

More than 11 million confirmed coronavirus cases have been recorded in the United States, according to a COVID-19 tracker by Johns Hopkins University. The country reported 166,555 new cases on Sunday, with 1,266 new deaths.
The staggering milestone was reached only six days after the U.S. hit 10 million cases. Positive test rates and hospitalization rates are on the rise across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalizations continue to climb. More than 69,000 people were hospitalized as of Sunday, more than ever before.

decorative leaf bulletTrump coronavirus adviser tells Michigan to ‘rise up’ against new shutdown orders

On Sunday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) announced a three-week “pause to save lives,” closing colleges, high schools, workplaces and in-person dining as new coronavirus cases have spiked.
After she appealed to the Trump administration to intervene in the pandemic, White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas responded with a call to action. But instead of supporting Whitmer’s efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in Michigan, he urged residents to reject the state’s public health guidelines.

. . .

Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, joined the White House as a pandemic adviser in August despite having no background in public health or infectious diseases. He has promoted a controversial approach that would fully reopen the U.S. economy by attempting herd immunity, implementing a strategy used by officials in Sweden that reportedly gained favor with Trump.

H/T Lisa C: decorative leaf bulletPolitics played a role in pandemic shelter-in-place orders, WMU researchers find

Analyzing the length of time between when each state’s COVID-19 incidence reached one case per 100,000 people and when (or if) a SIPO was enacted, a pattern began to emerge. States with both a Democratic governor and legislature enacted SIPOs a week earlier than states with both a Republican governor and legislature. Eight states never issued a SIPO by the time other states began to ease restrictions in May 2020, and all of those states had Republican governors and legislatures.
“It was truly which political parties had control of the state directly that mattered,” Mingus says.
Those decisions had repercussions, Corder adds, pointing to a Columbia University study indicating that 55% of reported deaths as of May 3, 2020, could have been avoided if control measures had been implemented just a week earlier. “Weeks of delay translates into thousands of lives.”

decorative leaf bulletA server filmed a viral video of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts maskless. Then she was fired.

The video went viral this week, leaving critics slamming Ricketts for refusing to issue a mask mandate in the state as coronavirus cases surge. But Montanez faced her own blowback: She was fired on Tuesday from the bar, for violating the company’s social media and cellphone policy, according to the owner.

decorative leaf bulletRachel Maddow

Watch: Rachel
reports that she’s been off the air for most of the past two weeks because her longtime partner Susan Mikula is sick with Covid-19 – so sick that “at one point we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her.” Mikula is recovering now.


decorative leaf bulletThe Legacy Of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

To the president who asked her to run the Department of Education, she was a loyal lieutenant who argued for her department’s irrelevance in a nation where control of schools is a local affair — that is, until she argued the opposite, at the president’s urging, and threatened schools with a loss of federal funding if they refused to reopen mid-pandemic.

. . .

To her critics, including the nation’s teachers unions, she was a stone-cold villain who famously suggested guns belong in some schools (to fend off bears), who needed the vice president’s vote to survive confirmation and who spent four years disparaging American public education.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bullet9 Tips for Perfect Mashed Potatoes The thing that I most often want to tell cooks making mashed potatoes is to salt the water before you cook the potatoes, and let them sit a minute in the warm pot after you drain the water. They’ll be savory and less watery that way.

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletTranscript: NPR’s Full Interview With Former President Barack Obama Regarding 🤥🤥👖🔥’s refusal to acknowledge the realiity that he lost, definitively, to President Elect Joe Biden:

I take it seriously. I don’t think he’ll be successful in denying reality. And you’re starting to see a few Republican elected officials go ahead and say, “Look, Joe Biden has been elected and we need to move on in the transition.” I’m distressed that you haven’t seen more Republican leadership make this clear because the amount of time that’s being lost of in this transition process has real-world effects. Look, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re in the middle of an economic crisis. We have serious national security issues.
And as I describe when I was elected for all the differences that I had with George W. Bush, he and his administration could not have been more gracious and effective in working with us to facilitate a smooth transition. And since we were in the middle of a big financial crisis, at that point, my ability to get fully briefed from a Hank Paulson, my abilities — since we were in the middle of two wars — to get immediately briefed on what was happening in Afghanistan and Iraq, what terrorist threats were out there that meant we hit the ground running and allowed us to be more effective in our responses. And so, it is yet one more example of how Donald Trump’s breach of basic democratic norms is hurting the American people.

H/T Lane: decorative leaf bulletWorld’s first 100% complete T-rex skeleton found locked in battle with a Triceratops<

The pair – nicknamed the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ – are preserved together in what is thought to be a predator-prey encounter, where both fought to the death. Entombed in sediment in Montana, they were discovered by professional fossil hunters – a cattle rancher cowboy and two pals.


Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletBlue whale sightings off South Georgia raise hopes of recovery

Blue whales were abundant off South Georgia before industrial whaling – established on the island in 1904 – killed 42,698 of the animals there. Most of these whales were slaughtered before the mid-1930s but despite the legal protection in the 1960s, illegal hunting continued until the early 1970s.

decorative leaf bulletThe secret world of pygmy seahorses, where males give birth – photo essay


decorative leaf bullet‘Sound walks’ offer a new way to travel in lockdown

decorative leaf bulletHow The U.S. Fended Off Serious Foreign Election Day Cyberattack

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bullet

decorative leaf bullet‘My mother was like a steel fist in a velvet glove’: the real Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn spent the second world war with her mother in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation. Her uncle was among the Dutchmen rounded up and shot. She saw Jewish women and children loaded into wagons. “It haunted her for the rest of her life,” says Ferrer. Van Heemstra had by this time renounced fascism and worked with the resistance in the Netherlands. Like many Dutch children, Hepburn did her bit, too, carrying messages hidden in her shoes, says Ferrer, who has written a biography of his mother

decorative leaf bulletHow Two French Introverts Quietly Fought the Nazis

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletTrump Fires CISA Director Chris Krebs, Who Corrected Voter Fraud Disinformation

Christopher Krebs, the Department of Homeland Security director who had spearheaded a campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud, has been fired, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Trump, in two misleading tweets about the security of the U.S. election, said Krebs’ termination was “effective immediately.”

decorative leaf bulletHow Dolly Parton Answers the ‘Why Don’t You Have Kids?’ Question And see also: Dolly Parton helped fund Moderna’s vaccine. It began with a car crash and an unlikely friendship.

decorative leaf bulletTrump election party draws scrutiny as guests test positive And then there were 5 and still more.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletThis dog is both a good dog and a bad dog at the same time.

decorative leaf bulletTiny owl rescued from New York Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

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Elsewhere for November 15

You should read this for 11/15/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

H/T JJBenedictus decorative leaf bulletBehold These Microscopic Spacecraft

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletPresident-Elect Biden Has A Plan To Combat COVID-19. Here’s What’s In It

decorative leaf bulletBiden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletHow Bunny The Dog Is Pushing Scientists’ Buttons

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletU.S. Confirmed Coronavirus Infections Hit 10 Million

More than 10 million people have now been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in the United States as the spread of the virus accelerates at an alarming pace across the nation.
The U.S. now accounts for about one-fifth of all of the 50 million infections worldwide, more than any other nation. The data comes from Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. also is also in the unenviable position of suffering more deaths than any other country. More than 237,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., and more than 1,000 are frequently dying on a daily basis.

Nope; it didn’t have to happen. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.

H/T SJS: decorative leaf bulletThis Tool Lets You See COVID Risk In Your Area In Real Time

decorative leaf bulletAt dinner parties and game nights, casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge as daily cases exceed 150,000

A record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may feel deceptively safe, officials and scientists warn — dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools. Many earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles, experts say — and is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to police and likely to increase as temperatures drop and holidays approach.
The White House coronavirus task force has been urging states that are virus hot spots to curtail maskless get-togethers of family and friends, saying in reports that asymptomatic attendees “cause ongoing transmission, frequently infecting multiple people in a single gathering.”

decorative leaf bulletMicrosoft says hackers from Russia and North Korea attacked COVID-19 vaccine makers

The hackers used various methods to carry out the attacks, according to the blog post, including brute force login attempts to steal login credentials, as well as spear-phishing attacks where the hackers posed as recruiters seeking job candidates, and as representatives of the World Health Organization.


decorative leaf bulletHow Our Biggest ISPs Are Failing Students During COVID-19

When school ended last year, SOMOS realized that many of their fellow Baltimore city schoolmates who’d relied on Comcast’s Internet Essentials discount program didn’t have a connection fast or reliable enough for online school. Whenever they could get into virtual classes, they’d often get kicked off multiple times a day and sometimes multiple times during a single class. Households with multiple students or family members working from home had to schedule who could be online, when and for how long. Families were put in impossible situations, forced to negotiate whose education or work was more important, and who would have to sacrifice and fall behind.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletMiddle Eastern Roasted Vegetable Rice “This fancy, fabulous recipe for Middle Eastern Roasted Vegetable Rice can be enjoyed as an entree or side dish. It’s completely vegan, satisfying and full of flavor. Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. Chickpeas add protein and fiber. A delicious blend of turmeric and spices adds anti-inflammatory goodness. You will love this flavorful take on vegetable rice!”

decorative leaf bullet Deep-Dish Bacon and Cheddar Quiche Recipe

decorative leaf bulletSlow Cooker Spiced Oatmeal

decorative leaf bulletBest Beef Chili
“Everyone needs a recipe for classic beef chili. Make this one your go-to! It’s made with corn, peppers, tomatoes, and beans, and makes enough to freeze for later!”

decorative leaf bulletSlow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘Remarkable’ Roman villa found buried under a field in North Wales

A Roman villa has been discovered buried deep under a field in North Wales.

The structure is the first of its kind found in north-east Wales and has been described as an “exciting addition” to our knowledge about the history of the area during the Roman period.

The discovery came about after Roman artefacts were found in Rossett, Wrexham by local detectorists.

That led experts to carry out a ‘remote sensing survey’ which revealed clear evidence of the structure buried at the site.

. . .

Dr Caroline Pudney, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester said: “This exciting discovery potentially alters our understanding of north east Wales in the wake of the Roman conquest.

“Previous interpretations suggest that most people in this area either lived in settlements associated with Roman military sites or in quite simple farmsteads that continued to utilise Iron Age roundhouse architectural forms. The identification of the villa now questions this narrative.”

decorative leaf bulletHorse mastery helped mysterious Mongolian warriors build a multiethnic empire

Until now, the only accounts of the Xiongnu came from their enemies. Chinese records from 2200 years ago describe how these fierce mounted archers from the wide-open steppes of today’s Mongolia clashed with armies in what is now northwestern China. Their onslaughts spurred the Chinese to build what would become known as the Great Wall of China on their northern border, as protection against the mounted nomads. They also started to raise cavalry armies of their own.

The equestrian empire of the Xiongnu left no written records. But biology is now filling out their story, and those of other Central Asian cultures in antiquity. Two studies—a sweeping survey of ancient DNA from more than 200 individuals across 6000 years and an analysis of horse skeletons from just before the rise of the Xiongnu—trace population movements across Central Asia and the key role played by horsemanship. The results “show the horse was probably the driver of some of the ancestry shifts we see in the human population,” says Ludovic Orlando of Paul Sabatier University, who was not involved in the paper. “The horse provided new range in patterns of human mobility and allowed people to travel long distance faster.”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletEuropa’s Nightside [Might] Glows in the Dark The original title is a little misleading; I’ve altered it.

In a few years, NASA will be sending a spacecraft to explore Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Known as the Europa Clipper mission, this orbiter will examine the surface more closely to search for plume activity and evidence of biosignatures. Such a find could answer the burning question of whether or not there is life within this moon, which is something scientists have speculated about since the 1970s.

In anticipation of this mission, scientists continue to anticipate what it will find once it gets there. For instance, scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently conducted a study that showed how Europa might glow in the dark. This could be the result of Europa constantly being pummeled with high-energy radiation from Jupiter’s magnetic field, the study of which could tell scientists more about the composition of Europa’s ice.


decorative leaf bulletPostal worker admits fabricating allegations of ballot tampering, officials say

decorative leaf bulletThe Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud “The president and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. Officials contacted by The Times said that there were no irregularities that affected the outcome.”

The New York Times contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; none reported any major voting issues.

. . .

What emerged in The Times’s reporting was how, beyond the president, Republicans in many states were engaged in a widespread effort to delegitimize the nation’s voting system.
Some Republicans have even turned to lashing members of their own party who, in their eyes, did not show sufficient dedication to rooting out fraud. In Georgia, where Mr. Biden is leading, the two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are in a runoff to gain re-election, have called for the resignation of the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. “The secretary of state has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections,” the senators said in a statement.

decorative leaf bulletWhat is MeWe? Everything you need to know about the social network competing with Parler.

Now, MeWe is experiencing a boom just like Parler as pro-Trump supporters boycott Facebook and Twitter over their anti-misinformation policies in the aftermath of Trump’s defeat in the election.

It should also be noted that unlike Parler, MeWe does have users who aren’t conservative. It’s not even all about politics like it is with Parler. There are MeWe groups for supporters of the Green Party, groups for dog and cat lovers, and arts and music groups, to name a few. However, the most active users on the site seem to be there to discuss conservative politics.


decorative leaf bulletVatican enlists bots to protect library from onslaught of hackers<

So far, about 25% of the library’s documents have been digitised. The project started with “unique, most famous and fragile pieces”, said Miceli. They include one of the world’s oldest manuscripts, an illustrated fragment of Virgil’s Aeneid that dates back 1,600 years. The collection also contains Sandro Botticelli’s 1450 illustration of the Divine Comedy; poems, technical notes and sketches by Michelangelo; ancient manuscripts of the Inca people; and historical treaties and letters.

. . .

But, said Miceli, digitisation means “we have to protect our online collection so that readers can trust the records are accurate, unaltered history”. He added: “While physical damage is often clear and immediate, an attack of this kind wouldn’t have the same physical visibility, and so has the potential to cause enduring and potentially irreparable harm, not only to the archive but to the world’s historical memory. In the era of fake news, these collections play an important role in the fight against misinformation and so defending them against ‘trust attacks’ is critical.
“Less Hollywood, but still concerning, is a ransomware attack on the library – a well-known attack that infiltrates companies unseen and then locks down files incredibly quickly until you pay a hefty sum. Ransomware today moves at machine-speed, outstripping humans’ ability to spot and stop the attack before it escalates.

decorative leaf bulletJapanese town deploys Monster Wolf robots to deter bears “Officials say there have been no bear encounters since arrival of robots in wolves’ clothing”

decorative leaf bulletReview: HomePod mini See also: Apple Homepod Mini Review: Playing Small Ball

decorative leaf bulletmacOS 11.0 Big Sur: The Ars Technica review

SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of 75+ apps for a single price.

Women’s Work

H/T Introversion: decorative leaf bulletAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez ends truce by warning ‘incompetent’ Democratic party

The real problem, said Ocasio-Cortez, was that the party lacked “core competencies” to run campaigns.
“There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee,” she told the Times’ Astead Herndon. “And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party – in and of itself – does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.”

. . .

Grassroots activism that produced large turnout in Detroit, Philadelphia and Georgia was crucial to Biden’s win, and if the Democratic party fails to recognise that and incorporate the grassroots, the party disintegrates at the ballot box, Ocasio-Cortez said.
“It’s really hard for us to turn out nonvoters when they feel like nothing changes for them. When they feel like people don’t see them, or even acknowledge their turnout,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

See also this from someone on the ground.

decorative leaf bulletRobin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County, Ga. — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week.

Kemp’s all-night coverage was public service journalism in its purest form. Physically and mentally exhausted, fueled by nothing but leftover Thai drunken noodles and the belief that if she didn’t watch it nobody would, Kemp spent nearly a day inside the stout government building where officials were counting votes. At that moment, it wasn’t just her county that needed a local reporter — her country did, too.

decorative leaf bulletWoman the hunter: Ancient Andean remains challenge old ideas of who speared big game

When archaeologists discovered the bones of a 9000-year-old human in a burial pit high in the Andes, they were impressed by a tool kit of 20 stone projectile points and blades stacked neatly by the person’s side. All signs pointed to the discovery of a high-status hunter. “Everybody was talking about how this was a great chief, a big man,” says archaeologist Randy Haas of the University of California (UC), Davis.

Then, bioarchaeologist Jim Watson of the University of Arizona noted that the bones were slender and light. “I think your hunter might be female,” he told Haas.

Now, the researchers report that the burial was indeed that of a female, challenging the long-standing “man the hunter” hypothesis. Her existence led them to reexamine reports of other ancient burials in the Americas, and they found 10 additional women buried with projectile points who may also have been hunters. “The message [of the new finding] is that women have always been able to hunt and have in fact hunted,” says archaeologist Bonnie Pitblado of the University of Oklahoma, Norman, who was not part of the study.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletVoices from the fight: An oral history of the four-year movement to defeat Donald Trump

decorative leaf bulletViral videos of poll workers filling in ballots don’t show what Trump supporters want you to believe

decorative leaf bulletGOP leaders’ embrace of Trump’s refusal to concede fits pattern of rising authoritarianism, data shows

Now, according to data released by an international team of political scientists just before the Nov. 3 election, it’s possible to quantify the extent to which the Republican Party no longer adheres to such principles as the commitment to free and fair elections with multiple parties, the respectful treatment of political opponents and the avoidance of violent rhetoric.
“The Republican Party in the U.S. has retreated from upholding democratic norms in recent years,” said Anna Lührmann, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and a former member of the German parliament. “Its rhetoric is closer to authoritarian parties, such as AKP in Turkey and Fidesz in Hungary.”

decorative leaf bulletMore than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel

The spread of the coronavirus — which has sidelined roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team — is believed to be partly linked to a series of campaign rallies that President Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, according to the people, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation.

decorative leaf bulletLegal Avenues Closing As Trump Lawsuits Meet With Defeat Or Dead Ends

decorative leaf bulletDefense secretary sent classified memo to White House about Afghanistan before Trump fired him

After consulting with senior military officers, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sent a classified memo to the White House this month expressing concerns about additional cuts, according to two senior U.S. officials familiar with the discussion. Conditions on the ground were not yet right, Esper wrote, citing the ongoing violence, possible dangers to the remaining troops in the event of a rapid pullout, potential damage to alliances and apprehension about undercutting the negotiations.

decorative leaf bulletIn Trump’s final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal

Engineering much of the post-election purge is Johnny McEntee, a former college quarterback who was hustled out of the White House two years ago after a security clearance check turned up a prolific habit for online gambling.
A staunch Trump loyalist, McEntee, 30, was welcomed back into the fold in February and installed as personnel director for the entire U.S. government. Since the race was called for President-elect Joe Biden, McEntee has been distributing pink slips, warning federal workers not to cooperate with the Biden transition and threatening to oust people who show disloyalty by job hunting while Trump is still refusing to acknowledge defeat, according to six administration officials.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletHow to Safely Intervene in a Conflict

decorative leaf bulletStockton boy spread McDonald’s drive-thru kindness

decorative leaf bulletA teen with autism lost motivation for his walks to the post office. So strangers are sending cards to his P.O. Box.

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletTwitter pranksters flood pro-Trump march hashtag with pancake pics

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

Elsewhere for November 8, 2020

You should read this for 11/082/2020:

The Dodgers won the World Series.

Trump and Pence are out (and I devoutly hope headed for prison)

Kamela Harris and Joe Biden are the VP Elect and President Elect

It should have been Warren, but I’m happy with Biden and Harris.

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletAmmonite is not the evolutionary leap for lesbian film it thinks it is

decorative leaf bulletEngage! A brief history of ‘TNG’ memes

decorative leaf bulletTom Baker: ‘Being loved pleases me very much indeed’

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletSupermarket staff: ‘We feel unsafe when customers don’t wear masks’

Arron’s worked at a supermarket in Wrexham for seven years. He loves his job, his colleagues and his regular customers.
But he’s looking for new work now because of shoppers who don’t wear face masks.
“There are people who work and shop in supermarkets who still have a fear of catching Covid – me being one of them,” he says. “It really does bother me.”

decorative leaf bulletCovid: Antibodies ‘fall rapidly after infection’

The Imperial College London team found the number of people testing positive for antibodies has fallen by 26% between June and September.
They say immunity appears to be fading and there is a risk of catching the virus multiple times.

decorative leaf bullet‘A whole lot of hurt’: Fauci warns of covid-19 surge, offers blunt assessment of Trump’s response

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, said in a wide-ranging interview late Friday. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

decorative leaf bulletA woman died of coronavirus on a plane. Her fellow passengers were never notified.

decorative leaf bulletCovid: How to survive a winter lockdown, from those who’ve done it

decorative leaf bulletWhite House chief of staff Mark Meadows tests positive for coronavirus

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Oct. 25. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations.”
Meadows has for months openly brushed off the importance of wearing masks during the pandemic. On Election Day, Meadows visited the Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, where he was photographed not wearing a mask.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletA spice boom has left manufacturers scrambling, and packaging materials can’t keep up

decorative leaf bulletA guide to lentils: How to choose and use the tiny protein-packed powerhouses See this recipe: Greek Lentil and Spinach Soup With Lemon</>

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletA Virginia state senator found headstones on his property. It brought to light a historic injustice in D.C.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletWater ice on the Moon may be easier to reach than we thought, new studies claim

decorative leaf bulletStudent ‘blown away’ after capturing Mars in back garden


decorative leaf bulletTraveller families win court battle over living on land they own

decorative leaf bulletThe War Comes Home: The Evolution of Domestic Terrorism in the United States

White supremacists and other like-minded extremists conducted two-thirds of the terrorist plots and attacks in the United States in 2020, according to new CSIS data. Anarchists, anti-fascists, and other like-minded extremists orchestrated 20 percent of the plots and attacks, though the number of incidents grew from previous years as these extremists targeted law enforcement, military, and government facilities and personnel.


decorative leaf bulletApple’s HomePod Mini

SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of 200+ apps for a single price.

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletThe Queen’s Two Bodies

“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman,” Elizabeth said to her soldiers, “but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”

decorative leaf bullet2 Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize In Chemistry For Genome Editing Research

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded this year to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for their work on “genetic scissors” that can cut DNA at a precise location, allowing scientists to make specific changes to specific genes.
“This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true,” the Nobel Committee said in announcing the prize.

decorative leaf bulletMarysville girl one of country’s first to earn Eagle Scout

BaronFig: $10.00 off on quality notebooks and writing instruments. BaronFig makes super notebooks and planners in several sizes and colors, with dot grid, blank, or lined paper. The BaronFig Squire pen is magnificent.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletTrump was way worse than I feared in 2016. Here’s how.

About Trump’s behavior, of course, we had more than foreshadowing — we had ample evidence of who he was and how he might govern. The candidate who couldn’t bring himself to denounce former Klansman David Duke became the president who saw “very fine people, on both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville. The candidate who launched his campaign with the warning that Mexican rapists and other criminals were flooding across the border became the president who separated migrant mothers from their babies. The candidate who denounced “fake news” became the president who accused the media of being the “Enemy of the People.”
The candidate who complained about the “rigged” election became the president who refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. The candidate who led “lock her up” chants about his 2016 opponent became the president who asserted that his 2020 opponent, his opponent’s son, his predecessor and his previous opponent should all be thrown in jail, and who criticized his own attorney general for failing to be aggressive enough in going after these political enemies.

decorative leaf bulletTop Trump adviser bluntly contradicts president on covid-19 threat, urging all-out response

A top White House coronavirus adviser sounded alarms Monday about a new and deadly phase in the health crisis, pleading with top administration officials for “much more aggressive action,” even as President Trump continues to assure rallygoers that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.

decorative leaf bulletThe real reason Trump is terrified of losing the presidency: fear of prosecutio

If Trump loses the election, there may be calls to investigate and prosecute him for possible crimes involving obstruction of justice, violating the emolument clause of the constitution, and/or tax fraud, among others. Citizen Trump would face investigation without the luxury of “executive privilege” or the legal chicanery of the attorney general, William Barr, who has acted more like Trump’s personal lawyer than the nation’s top law enforcement official, to protect him. Accordingly, Trump has even more reason to lie, cheat and sow discord in order to retain office, because losing the White House could land him in court or even behind bars.

decorative leaf bulletThe painful simplicity of Trump’s new Turkey scandal “The Halkbank scandal is simple: a foreign dictator asked Trump to corrupt his own country’s justice system, and the Republican president gladly said yes.”

decorative leaf bulletUSPS processed 150,000 ballots after Election Day, jeopardizing thousands of votes

Despite assurances from Postal Service leaders that agency officials were conducting daily sweeps for misplaced ballots, the mail service acknowledged in a court filing Thursday that thousands of ballots had not been processed in time, and that more ballots were processed Wednesday than on Election Day.

. . .

Under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major Trump financier who took over the agency in June, first-class mail delivery rates have steadily declined, especially in urban areas that are bastions of Democratic voters. DeJoy said in public statements that facilitating an election in which a record 198 million Americans were eligible to vote by mail was his “sacred duty” and that the agency was up to the task. But the Postal Service’s summer struggles bled into election season almost immediately as Americans began voting in October.

. . .

The agency also removed more than 700 high-speed mail sorting machines, close to 15 percent of its inventory, over the summer, a decision that cut the Postal Service’s processing capacity by 21.4 million pieces of paper mail per hour. The agency routinely moves 450 million mail items a day.
Almost immediately, postal performance suffered. In the first five weeks after DeJoy’s policies took effect, more than 7 percent of the nation’s first-class mail was delayed.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletD.C. woman, 90, watches gym classes from her window all day. When the gym found out, they painted her a mural

decorative leaf bulletThis Is Joe Biden When No One Is Watching

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletIn Historic Move, Colorado Voters Decide To Reintroduce Gray Wolves

In a move criticized as “ballot box biology,” passage means Colorado will become the first state where voters direct the reintroduction of gray wolves rather than the federal government. Those previous efforts have brought populations of wolves back to the northern Rockies, New Mexico, Arizona and the Carolinas.

One complicating factor is the Trump Administration’s recent decision to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list.
If it survives expected legal challenges, it could make Colorado’s task easier, since state wildlife managers won’t need permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the species. But it also may mean the state won’t be able to receive federal grants for the project.

decorative leaf bulletWhy hundreds of parrots visit this same terrace every day


Buy me a Coffee! If you find 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 October 25, 2020

You should read this for 10/25/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletAnimaniacs reboot coming to Hulu! With Spielberg producing and the original cast

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

H/T Lisa Carnell: decorative leaf bulletThe Changing Politics of Reading Harry Potter in the Post-Trump U.S. This was deliveredOctober 16, 2020 at the Harry Potter Conference of Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletAs schools and offices open up, here’s what building managers should do to reduce SARS-CoV-2 particles in the air we breathe

Scientists say portable air cleaners (also called air purifiers) with HEPA filtration can remove virus particles that cause COVID-19

Portable HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) rated air filters remove more than 99 percent of airborne particles regardless of the particle size. Dr. Miller’s team partnered with Harvard University to created a calculator to help you find the right air cleaner for your room size and type. Look for a certification from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). You can find a list of verified units here. You will also want to make sure the clean air delivery rate (CADR) matches or exceeds the square footage of the room you are trying to clean.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletA Disturbing Twinkie That Has, So Far, Defied Science

decorative leaf bulletwhole wheat chocolate oat cookies

. . . [W]hen, like most of us, I ran low on white flour in April, I used whole wheat instead and discovered that the recipe wasn’t just as good as it was with white flour, but better. Crunchier, more flavorful, and even nuanced.

decorative leaf bulletEasy Tomato Soup

This Classic Tomato Soup is rich with a velvety texture. It’s easy to make with canned tomatoes, and perfectly suited for all of your grilled cheese dipping needs. Better than a can of Campbell’s and just about as easy!

History and Archaeology

H/T Lisa Carnell and Yasmin: decorative leaf bulletHuge cat found etched into desert among Nazca Lines in Peru “Feline geoglyph from 200-100BC emerges during work at Unesco world heritage site”

The dun sands of southern Peru, etched centuries ago with geoglyphs of a hummingbird, a monkey, an orca – and a figure some would dearly love to believe is an astronaut – have now revealed the form of an enormous cat lounging across a desert hillside.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletBirth of Cloned Przewalski’s Foal Offers Genetic Diversity for This Endangered Species

On Aug. 6, 2020, the world’s first successfully cloned Przewalski’s horse was born in Texas at the veterinary facility of a ViaGen Equine collaborator, Timber Creek Veterinary. The foal, born to a domestic surrogate mother, is a clone of a male Przewalski’s horse whose DNA was cryopreserved 40 years ago at the San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) Frozen Zoo®. The colt’s birth revives genetic diversity that had been lost to the world and has now been recovered due to this important partnership between Revive & Restore, ViaGen Equine and San Diego Zoo Global.

H/T Jasmin: decorative leaf bulletWhy skimping on sleep makes your brain crave sweets


decorative leaf bulletPope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples


decorative leaf bulletHow does Google’s monopoly hurt you? Try these searches

Googling didn’t used to require so much … scrolling. On some searches, it’s like Where’s Waldo but for information.
Without us even realizing it, the Internet’s most-used website has been getting worse. On too many queries, Google is more interested in making search lucrative than a better product for us.

SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of 75+ apps for a single price.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletSupport Indie Bookstores With Your Holiday Shopping

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletTurn up the sound: PROTECTING HER KITTENS (sound up)
This mama wasn’t stalking a hiker like some news headlines would lead you to believe.

Buy me a Coffee! If you find 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 October 17

You should read this for 10/17/2020:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletStar Trek: Discovery season three review – its most thoughtful series yet

h4 style=”margin: 15px 5px 15px 5px; color: #000066;”>Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletThe Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe (AOR)

The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe (AOR) uses digital technologies to enable the systematic exploration of the historical reading practices of Renaissance scholars nearly 450 years ago. This is possible through AOR’s corpus of thirty-six fully digitized and searchable versions of early printed books filled with tens of thousands of handwritten notes, left by two of the most dedicated readers of the early modern period: John Dee and Gabriel Harvey.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletCovid-19 virus ‘survives on some surfaces for 28 days’ “The virus responsible for Covid-19 can remain infectious on surfaces such as banknotes, phone screens and stainless steel for 28 days, researchers say.”

Even so, these results highlight the need to wash hands as well as touchscreens regularly and to avoid touching one’s face in order to minimise the risk of infection.

decorative leaf bulletNearly 10,000 minks dead from Covid-19 outbreak at Utah fur farms

decorative leaf bulletRemdesivir has very little effect on Covid-19 mortality, WHO finds

The drug, made by the US biotech firm Gilead, has been talked up as a potential cure and was taken by Donald Trump. A trial in the US had previously showed it reduced the length of stay in hospital. But the gold-standard Solidarity WHO trial, which was based on a far larger sample – 3,000 people on the drug, compared with as many who were not – showed remdesivir had little effect on deaths over 28 days.

decorative leaf bulletIs COVID-19 a Preexisting Condition? “What could happen if we lose the Affordable Care Act during the pandemic”

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletItaly’s olive oil production drops by a quarter as ‘tree leprosy’ takes toll

History and Archaeology

H/T Librarythingtim: decorative leaf bulletA Profanity Filter Banned the Word ‘Bone’ at a Paleontology Conference

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletThe Carina Nebula. Seen With and Without Adaptive Optics

HT Jasmin: decorative leaf bulletCrown shyness is a phenomenon observed in some tree species, in which the crowns of fully stocked trees do not touch each other, forming a canopy with channel-like gaps

decorative leaf bulletThe Colorful Walls of an Exposed Impact Crater on Mars


decorative leaf bulletPlanned Parenthood Corrects Ted Cruz’s Definition of Birth Control


decorative leaf bulletWhat the experts use: Andrew Marino’s podcasting gear

podcasting is a creative form available to anyone who has a computer, a microphone, and an internet connection. We spoke to Andrew Marino, audio engineer and producer at The Verge, to find out what he recommends for those who want to try this out as well.

decorative leaf bulletOracle founder donated $250,000 to Graham PAC in final days of TikTok deal

Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletAmmonite: Who was the real Mary Anning?

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletRudy Giuliani Is My Father. Please, Everyone, Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

To anyone who feels overwhelmed or apathetic about this election, there is nothing I relate to more than desperation to escape corrosive political discourse. As a child, I saw firsthand the kind of cruel, selfish politics that Donald Trump has now inflicted on our country. It made me want to run as far away from them as possible. But trust me when I tell you: Running away does not solve the problem. We have to stand and fight. The only way to end this nightmare is to vote. There is hope on the horizon, but we’ll only grasp it if we elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

decorative leaf bulletWhite House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump

The warnings were based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

SetApp: A Suite of macOS Apps for a Single Price Affiliate link for a great collection of 75+ apps for a single price.

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletWhat the Astronauts Saw as They Orbited the Moon During Apollo 17

This is what Apollo 17 astronauts saw in December of 1972 as they came around the farside of the Moon: the blue and white crescent Earth rising above the stark lunar horizon. And now image editing guru Kevin Gill has sharpened the image, giving it more texture, color and contrast. I can imagine this sharp, spectacular view must be close to what the astronauts saw with their own eyes.  

Elsewhere for October 11, 2020

You should read this for 10/11/2020:

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletTwo more beloved L.A. indie bookstores reach an existential crossroads

decorative leaf bulletListen to Shakespeare in a Whole New Way

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletWhite House overruled FDA to shorten testing period for Covid-19 vaccine

A senior administration official confirmed the move to block the guidelines to the Associated Press on Monday evening, saying the White House believed there was “no clinical or medical reason” for the additional requirement. The White House action was first reported by the New York Times.
It is the latest example of the administration undercutting its own experts working to combat Covid-19. The FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn, has been attempting to shore up public confidence in the FDA vaccine review, vowing career scientists, not politicians, would decide if the shots are safe and effective for mass vaccination.

decorative leaf bullet‘Brain fog’: the people struggling to think clearly months after Covid

“Brain fog seems like such an inferior description of what is actually going on. It’s completely crippling. I am unable to think clearly enough to [do] anything,” says Nicholson-McKellar, adding that the experience would be better described as cognitive impairment.


decorative leaf bulletEven In COVID-19 Hot Spots, Many Colleges Aren’t Aggressively Testing Students

The data from more than 1,400 colleges were compiled by the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College and analyzed by NPR. They show that more than 2 out of 3 colleges with in-person classes either have no clear testing plan or are testing only students who are at risk — mostly when they feel sick or have had contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

. .*nbsp;.

Experts say that because up to 40% of people with the coronavirus do not show symptoms, frequent and rapid testing of large numbers of students is the best way to fend off major outbreaks on campuses. Research from this summer shows that most cases are spread by people without symptoms, often called silent spreaders.

decorative leaf bullet

There are two factors that make it particularly hard to track the spread of new coronavirus infections. The first is that symptoms can appear up to two weeks after a person first contracts the virus, making it much harder to establish the point of infection. The second is that some people don’t show symptoms at all, making it harder to find new cases in the first place.
Given that, tracing the outbreak of coronavirus cases apparently linked to the White House — an outbreak that has now spread to nearly three dozen people — would have been difficult under the best conditions. That the White House doesn’t appear to be particularly eager to aid in that effort simply introduces another layer of difficulty, obscuring the public’s ability to understand how President Trump and his team contracted the virus and where it may have spread.

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletSugar adds more than sweetness to baked goods. Here’s what to know before you cut it.

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletPrevious incident may have led Orcas to target boats, say experts

Since 10 August, crews sailing off the Spanish region of Galicia have reported 22 interactions with orcas – also known as killer whales – a third of which have resulted in varying degrees of damage to their boats. In a handful of cases, boats have been left with damaged steering systems.

After studying photos and video footage of the encounters, a working group of Spanish and Portuguese experts, including marine biologists and government officials, has identified three orcas present in 61% of the incidents.

decorative leaf bulletTrees Are Time Machines “Arborists are planting trees today that must survive decades of global warming. The health, comfort, and happiness of city dwellers hang in the balance.”


decorative leaf bulletRevealed: Amy Coney Barrett lived in home of secretive Christian group’s co-founder

Amy Barrett, who graduated from Notre Dame Law in 1997 at the top of her class, has said she met Jesse while she was in law school but has not offered other details. Records show that other individuals who appear to be members of the People of Praise have also gotten married following periods of living in the Ranaghan household.

Insider accounts by former members who are now critical of the organization suggest that the group has “well-developed courtship and marriage traditions” which are closely followed. One critic, former member Adrian Reimers, has said in writings about his experience that people who are in the community do not usually date until the matter has been prayed upon by an individual’s “head” – or spiritual leader – who helps make decisions about whether a couple ought to get married.

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here are only a few details about Barrett’s history with the People of Praise. While Barrett has identified herself as a Catholic, and belongs to a conservative church in Indiana, People of Praise is an ecumenical group that – some literature shows – sees itself as distinct from other Christian groups in that its members have entered a covenant – or a vow – to support each other “financially and materially and spiritually”.

decorative leaf bulletWhy Americans Have Turned to Nesting

I couldn’t control much in the pandemic, but I could control what happened in my own 450 square feet. As summer began to creep toward fall, my ambitions expanded: Install a new showerhead? Paint my cabinets? Put up a peel-and-stick tile backsplash? What couldn’t I do with Google, a Home Depot credit card, and a total willingness to lose my security deposit?

Yep; various friends have, like me, been trying to maximize space and minimize stuff.

decorative leaf bullet‘Mail voting doesn’t work for Navajo Nation’: Native Americans face steep election hurdles

Tribal advocates estimate that some voters have to drive anywhere from 40 to 150 miles roundtrip to pick up their mail. But the Arizona lawsuit Yazzie v Hobbs also pointed out that the reservation’s 27,425 square miles are covered by just 24 post offices and 15 postal service providers. The slightly smaller state of West Virginia has roughly 10 times the population, but it’s covered by 725 post offices and postal service provider sites.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletExtraordinary women: courage and defiance through war and hardship – in pictures

A selection of photographs by photojournalist Tom Stoddart shot over several decades all over the world showcase the will, endurance, and perseverance of women in war and extreme situations. The book and exhibition Extraordinary Women aims to gives a voice to women around the world whose perspectives are often left unheard.

decorative leaf bulletKamala Harris reminding Mike Pence ‘I’m speaking’ is every woman in a meeting

While Mike Pence didn’t quite reach Trump levels of shouting over his opponent and moderator, the VP refused during almost every single one of his answers to acknowledge moderator Susan Page’s polite requests that he stop talking when his time was up, and interrupted Harris when her time was not.

decorative leaf bulletHillary Clinton Says She Was Right All Along

Hillary Clinton has been in lockdown like everyone else. It feels like Groundhog Day, she told me Wednesday afternoon. But existential exhaustion looks different for a woman who has spent the past four years thinking about the final month of the 2016 election—and who worries that Vladimir Putin, disinformation, and our deep political divides will still threaten American democracy even if Biden wins. In many ways, Clinton feels vindicated by how the Trump presidency has played out, and by what Americans have learned about him over the past four years—including the recent revelation that he paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2017.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletPanic and confusion permeate White House after 🤥🤥👖🔥’s Covid diagnosis

decorative leaf bullet5 big questions about the White House’s botched handling of 🤥🤥👖🔥’s coronavirus diagnosis

decorative leaf bulletAfter Donald Trump’s deranged balcony address, we’re all gasping together

Once he’d wheezed through the unpleasantries, all that remained was to remove his mask and set about infecting any remaining staff yet to be exposed to his droplets. Think of Trump as the 83rd Airborne, parachuting his deadly particles deep into butlers’ respiratory systems. He won’t give you a Purple Heart, but he might give you purple lungs.
Alas, it’s disappointing to find potential victims failing to feel grateful for the opportunity. One current secret service agent assigned to the first family’s detail expressed frustration, telling CNN: “We’re not disposable.” Two housekeeping staff have already tested positive for the virus. As the events of the past week show, the president’s respect for human life is so low that he is willing to send an entire army of servants into 14-day isolation or worse in order to keep up a steady stream of trans-fats being fed to him. Dying in the line of duty used to mean taking a bullet for the president; it could now involve taking him a Diet Coke. Thank you for your drinks service.

NPR: decorative leaf bulletRetired General Backs Biden, Says A 2nd Trump Term Would Put Democracy ‘At Risk’

Retired four-star Air Force Gen. Chuck Boyd is one of hundreds of military voices speaking out against President Trump this election. Late last month, Boyd, who fought in Vietnam and spent seven years there as a prisoner of war, joined nearly 500 national security leaders who endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

In a video endorsement, Boyd says that ever since he returned from Vietnam, he has been a Republican, “but quietly.” He goes on: “I fervently believe that military officers should not get involved in presidential politics, even when retired. But this year is different.”

That’s because, Boyd tells NPR, he thinks Trump is a danger to democracy.

decorative leaf bulletHow removal under the 25th Amendment works: A beginner’s guide

Something Wonderful

The Proud Boys were emboldened by Trump’s words. Then, LGBTQ couples reclaimed the group’s hashtag.

The president’s comment telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” provided a boost to the group on social media, emboldening its members to use Trump’s words as a rallying cry. Two days later, amid rising outrage, Trump denounced the group.

But then actor and activist George Takei suggested a clever comeback — a way to drown out the hate on social media and replace it with something, well, gay.

“What if gay guys took pictures of themselves making out with each other or doing very gay things, then tagged themselves with #ProudBoys. I bet it would mess them up real bad. #ReclaimingMyShine,” Takei, who is gay, tweeted on Thursday. See also decorative leaf bulletGay men have taken over the Proud Boys Twitter hashtag See also The Proud Boys Are Furious That Gay Men Have Taken Over #ProudBoys On Twitter
and Twitter users flood #ProudBoys hashtag with gay pride images and

Elsewhere for October 4, 2020

You should read this for 10/04/2020:

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletTrending: ‘schadenfreude’
Lookups spiked 30,500% on October 2, 2020

Schadenfreude was our top lookup on October 2nd, by a very considerable margin, following President Trump’s announcement that he and the First Lady had tested positive for COVID-19.

decorative leaf bulletUse the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary When You Need to Define a Word

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletStudy shows Trump is a super-spreader — of coronavirus misinformation

A Cornell University study of more than 1 million news articles concluded that “the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of [a] covid-19 misinformation ‘infodemic.’ ”

decorative leaf bulletHow We Survive the Winter “The coming months of the pandemic could be catastrophic. The U.S. still has ways to prepare.”

decorative leaf bulletScrutiny on Rose Garden event after Kellyanne Conway and other guests test positive for Covid “At least seven people who attended event for Trump’s supreme court nominee have confirmed they have coronavirus”

H/T Daring Fireball—Link round-up from Jason Kotke: decorative leaf bulletHow to Protect Yourself from the Aerosol Spread of Covid-19


decorative leaf bulletIn Internet Dead Zones, Rural Schools Struggle With Distanced Learning

This pandemic has shone a glaring light on a lot of inequalities. The federal government estimates that more than a third of rural America has little or no Internet. In numerous recent interviews, educators have told NPR they’re concerned the rural-urban divide will only worsen if kids can’t get online to learn.

Morning Brew newsletter — a free daily morning newsletter that’s a well-written, intelligent round-up of business news that’s actually interesting: Morning Brew Referral link .

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletSunday best: 17 expert tips for the perfect roast dinner, from brining the chicken to bashing the potatoes One of the things I love about this meditative collection of Sunday dinner tips is that it is So Very British.

History and Archaeology

Video: decorative leaf bulletMaliwawa Figures: Ancient Aboriginal art ‘unlike anything seen before’ “Professor Paul Tacon explains how the 572 paintings known as the Maliwawa Figures offer a glimpse into life more than 6,000 years ago.”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletWildlife Photographer Captures a Rare Black Panther Roaming in the Jungles of India

decorative leaf bulletHalf a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Make a Global COVID Vaccine “A number of potential coronavirus vaccines are using something called squalene, from shark liver. Experts estimate that about 3,000 sharks have to die to extract a single tonne of the stuff.”

decorative leaf bulletHumpback whales seize chance to sing in Alaska’s cruise-free Covid summer

Hubble image showing the spiral galaxy NGC 5643
spiral galaxy NGC 5643 in the constellation of Lupus (the Wolf)
Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.; acknowledgment: Mahdi Zamani

decorative leaf bulletHubble stared at this magnificent galaxy for nine hours to capture the perfect shot


Senator Klobucher has had enough: these are the facts.

H/T Roseanne: decorative leaf bulletI Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.

lived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens.

This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

decorative leaf bulletJaime Harrison brought his own plexiglass divider to debate Lindsey Graham

If there’s one word that can perfectly describe Jaime Harrison in his first debate against Sen. Lindsey Graham, it’s “prepared.”

On Saturday, Harrison — South Carolina’s Democratic Senate candidate — spent the debate masterfully discussing key issues such as the Supreme Court nominee, COVID-19, and more with the Republican senator. But Harrison didn’t stand out solely for his words. His actions, one in particular, also made quite a statement.

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decorative leaf bulletThe best podcasting apps on iOS in 2020 I want to add a shout-out to my own favorite: Pocketcasts for iOS, Android, macOS.

Voting Resources

decorative leaf bulletHow to track your ballot like a UPS package

decorative leaf bulletHow to vote in your state

decorative leaf bulletHow to prevent your mail ballot from being rejected</a

Women’s Work

Via libbyjones715: decorative leaf bulletMost people who know the name Sophie Scholl know she was a 21 year old German student activist who was executed by the Nazis for distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets on her college campus. But people don’t talk about what happened leading up to her execution, or what happened after.

decorative leaf bulletWomen Value Their Group Texts in Normal Times. During the Pandemic They’ve Become a Lifeline

We are scared and we are exhausted and we are often by ourselves. We know better than to complain too much because no one besides the women like us seem to want to hear it.

decorative leaf bulletHow I learned to love being an Essex girl

decorative leaf bullet‘Priceless skill’: The Māori hunter helping women swap the food bank for the rifle

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰</h4

decorative leaf bulletPostal Service workers quietly resist DeJoy’s changes with eye on election

Mechanics in New York drew out the dismantling and removal of mail-sorting machines until their supervisor gave up on the order. In Michigan, a group of letter carriers did an end run around a supervisor’s directive to leave election mail behind, starting their routes late to sift through it. In Ohio, postal clerks culled prescriptions and benefit checks from bins of stalled mail to make sure they were delivered, while some carriers ran late items out on their own time. In Pennsylvania, some postal workers looked for any excuse — a missed turn, heavy traffic, a rowdy dog — to buy enough time to finish their daily rounds.
“I can’t see any postal worker not bending those rules,” one Philadelphia staffer said in an interview.

decorative leaf bullet‘INFECTED’: How the media scrambled to cover Trump and the first lady’s positive coronavirus tests

decorative leaf bulletDonald Trump tests positive for Covid and goes into quarantine – live updates

decorative leaf bulletBefore testing positive for coronavirus, Trump scoffed at many health guidelines

In the seven months since the outbreak first spread across the U.S., he has flouted seemingly every basic health guideline put forth by his own government in response.
He repeatedly refused to wear a face mask, and held large rallies with hundreds of supporters who did the same, often in violation of local ordinances. He allowed the White House to continue its daily operations with scant social distancing, exposing himself to dozens of people who had taken few protections against the virus.

decorative leaf bulletTapes reveal Melania Trump appearing to downplay child separation policy, bemoaning Christmas decorations

Last month, Winston Wolkoff told The Washington Post’s Jada Yuan that the first lady used private email accounts, iMessage, and Signal, an encrypted messaging app, while at the White House. Critics said the finding was hypocritical considering the president’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, who used a private email server while she was secretary of state.

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Trump suggests that the migrant children are treated well at the border and have a higher quality of life than they did in their home countries.

“The kids, they say, ‘Wow I will have my own bed? I will sleep on the bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?’ It’s so sad to hear it, but they didn’t have that in their own countries, they sleep on the floor,” she said. “They are taken care of nicely there. But you know, yeah, they are not with parents, it’s sad. But when they come here alone or with coyotes or illegally, you know, you need to do something.”

— People said this about slavery, too. It’s still wrong, and yes, still untrue.

💩🔥💰 VOTE 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletPelosi Prepares Democrats For Rare Possibility The House May Decide The Election

If the outcome of the election is not clear by Jan. 6, the decision goes to the House. But the vote is not as straightforward as Democrats having the majority of seats overall. Each state would get a single vote, which would be determined by the party that has the majority of members from that state.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bullet8 Black-Owned Bookstores for Buying Your Next Great Read

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Something Wonderful

Via Morning Brew: decorative leaf bulletSo Much Better than watching paint dry

Via Morning Brew: decorative leaf bulletFrench Press Coffee To Water Ratio Calculator

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