Elsewhere for April 13, 2019

You should read this for 4/13/2019:

Art and Film

Horse Race Announcer Sues Over Bill Murray Film That Included His Trademarked Tagline

People’s confusion as to what trademark law protects and doesn’t protect is a source of neverending frustration for those of us who simply cannot stand the growth of ownership culture. There is this pervasive and growing sense by those who aren’t particularly well informed that trademark law simply allows one to own a word or phrase to the exclusion of every other person’s use. That, obviously, is not the case and it’s always worth reiterating over and over again that the point of trademark law is to prevent the public from being misled as to the source of a good or service. And, yet, that baseline fact eludes far too many people.

Books, Writing, and Language

Vonda N. McIntyre, 70, Champion of Women in Science Fiction, Dies . See also Feminism, astronauts, and riding sidesaddle: Talking to Dreamsnake’s Vonda McIntyre

One thing I want to emphasize is that people like Kate Wilhelm, and Ursula Le Guin, and Joanna Russ, and Andre Norton, and Anne McCaffrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley kicked down doors in their generation that people in my generation got to walk through. I don’t think I would have existed as the writer I am now if it weren’t for those writers. What they did was amazing, because when they were kicking down those doors, those doors were a lot stronger and a lot thicker.

McIntyre, along with Tiptree/Sheldon, Butler, Cherryh, and a host of other women writing SF & F had a profound effect on me as a kid in rural N.H. in the 1970s and early 1980s. I wrote Vonda McIntyre as a teen looking for more SF and F by women. She was one of the handful of writers who wrote back, and did something profoundly wonderful: She gave me reading suggestions. I’ll always regret never being able to thank her in person. I’m so glad McIntyre was able to finish her novel Curve of the World. I hope I get to read it.

Via NPR: ‘Losing Earth’ Explores How Oil Industry Played Politics With The Planet’s Fate

In his new book, Losing Earth, Rich writes that in the late 1980s, the American Petroleum Institute began paying scientists to write op-eds questioning climate science. He describes the effort as a campaign to “sow propaganda [and] disinformation, to buy off politicians and scientists, and, ultimately, to convert an entire political party to denialism.”

Via Jennifer Anne on Twitter: So here’s the thing–I am worried that publishing is killing libraries, and that will, in turn, kill publishing.

Here are cold, hard numbers:
Penguin Random House usually charges $55/ copy of an ebook, and they need to be repurchased every 24 months.
Simon and Schuster usually charges list price, and they need to be repurchased every 12 months

Liz Fosslien via The New York Times: The Author’s Journey “A graphic look at the life cycle of writing a book.”

H/T SFWA: Ursula LeGuin interviewed by John Wray: Paris Review Fall 2013.

Jo Walton’s Reading List: March 2019 As Walton herself says:

I read a whole bunch of things, and a whole bunch of kinds of things, fiction and non-fiction, genre and non-genre, letters, poetry, a mix.

I’m really really excited by Walton’s new column; I’m a Jo Walton fan, but anyone who loves books will like this monthly feature.


Louis E. Metzger IV in Medium: Duke University’s Homme Hellinga Scandal: The Untold Story of How Students Risked their Careers to Fight a Cover-Up

This is a perceptive piece in the context of university politics and deliberate coverup, ““Move along, there’s nothing to see here” was the university’s apparent position. With so much of Hellinga’s grant money on the line, it was not in Duke’s interest to look closely at the professor’s potential culpability” but also, in the darker aspects of graduate study:

Duke’s Biochemistry students were uncommonly collegial, perhaps because many of the faculty did not inspire confidence. Whether it was the professor who frequently kept graduate students for a decade, or the one who routinely had doctoral students quit several years into their thesis projects without completing their degrees, the place was not exactly filled with role models.

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Ham and Asparagus Quiche

History and Archaeology

Avebury’s Stone Circles May Have Honored Neolithic Dwelling See also: The Square Inside Avebury’s Circles

Science and Nature

Our coast isn’t disappearing or vanishing; it’s being violently destroyed

. . . the term “lost coast” is equally off target. It’s like saying we misplaced a treasured item, or it was taken by an act of God.
None of those gentle things caused 2,000 square miles of marsh, swamp and uplands to become open water since the 1930s.
They were destroyed. By us.

Curiosity Rover Spots a Pair of Solar Eclipses on Mars

Earth’s glaciers lost 9 trillion tons of ice. That’s the weight of 27 billion 747s.

That’s how much ice Earth’s glaciers lost in the 55 years between 1961 and 2016. An international team of scientists used satellite and direct field observations to conclude that Earth’s glaciers have melted such a profound sum of ice in the last half-century. They published their report Monday in the journal Nature.


The New Science of How to Argue—Constructively


Study: average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their smartphone

See the full study.

Everyone hates my big stupid horse in Red Dead Online “He is my friend.”

Via Jeff Carlson, a piece for The Seattle Times on How to be smart about applying Apple updates Carlson offers some sensible “upgrade advice to help prevent problems where possible, and tips on what to do if they occur.”

Russia Is Tricking GPS to Protect Putin “The Kremlin’s manipulation of global navigation systems is more extensive than previously understood.”

Researchers at a Washington-based think tank have noticed that a funny thing happens whenever Russian President Vladimir Putin gets close to a harbor: The GPS of the ships moored there go haywire, placing them many miles away on the runways of nearby airports.
According to a new report by security experts with the group C4ADS, the phenomenon suggests that Putin travels with a mobile GPS spoofing device and, more broadly, that Russia is manipulating global navigation systems on a scale far greater than previously understood.

Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices

Exodus, as the malware for Android phones has been dubbed, was under development for at least five years. It was spread in apps disguised as service applications from Italian mobile operators. Exodus was hidden inside apps available on phishing websites and nearly 25 apps available in Google Play. In a report published two weeks ago, researchers at Security without Borders said Exodus infected phones estimated to be in the “several hundreds if not a thousand or more.”

Women’s Work

Celebrating women in tech: Meet Sue Khim co-founder and CEO of “A huge number of women have successful careers in STEM-related industries. The more you know about them, the more you understand that it’s not rare — it’s normal.”

Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Retiring as a Judge, Trump’s Sister Ends Court Inquiry Into Her Role in Tax Dodges

President Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, has retired as a federal appellate judge, ending an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The Head of Lettuce “Bowdoin College student Trevor Kenkel and his greenhouses full of fish are disrupting Maine’s agricultural landscape”

Compared to conventional farms, Springworks Farm uses about nine million fewer gallons of water to annually produce one million heads of lettuce.

The Girl on the Train

I met a girl on the train last night.

I was on my way home after work. It’s about 10pm, and the subway is pulling up to my stop. I’ve been stressed about my own stuff for days now and I’m in my little bubble and just as I stand up the girl across from me starts talking.

Elsewhere for April 7, 2019

You should read this for 4/7/2019:


Are the Humanities History?

Last year, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, facing declining enrollments, announced it was eliminating degrees in History, French, and German. The University of Southern Maine no longer offers degrees in either American and New England Studies or Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, while the University of Montana has discontinued majors and minors in its Global Humanities and Religions program. Between 2013 and 2016, US colleges cut 651 foreign-language programs.

And this:

An obvious remedy would be to place more stress on good writing; courses on how to write for the informed laity should be central to all humanities instruction. But the humanities need a more thorough overhaul, drawing on the tools developed by the tech world to capture and convey the complex, tortured, confounding, and inspiring story of human cultures and civilization. The vogue-ish term “digital humanities” usually refers to the use of computing to archive and analyze texts and records, but practitioners could apply digital technologies to create works that appeal beyond the ivory tower. For instance, the podcast Irish History—currently the most popular digital audio show in Ireland—offers a two-hour “Dublin Famine Tour” that uses multimedia effects to recreate what the city was like in 1845.

History and Archaeology

Via History News Network: Ronald L. Feinman on The Red Scare: From the Palmer Raids to Joseph McCarthy to Donald Trump

During his nearly five years of power from February 1950 to December 1954, McCarthy was aided by a zealous young man not all that different in character or motivation from J. Edgar Hoover three decades earlier.  McCarthy’s chief aide was attorney Roy Cohn, who zealously attacked innocent people who were accused of being Communists (Reds), or soft on Communism (Pinkos). Many believed he lacked any sense of ethics or honor and he was much feared.  Even after McCarthy fell from favor and then died in 1957, Cohn’s prominence continued and spent his remaining career as an attorney who often chose to represent reprehensible elements of society, including Organized Crime. He was also known for his wild social life.
Then, Roy Cohn met a young real estate entrepreneur named Donald Trump. The two men became close friends and Cohn impressed upon Trump how to exploit and play “hard ball” to gain ever more wealth and public influence.  As others have argued, Cohn was one of the most influential people in the development of Trump’s public persona and political views.  

Science and Nature

H/T Yasmine: California’s ‘Superbloom’ of Wildflowers Looks Spectacular from Space!

H/T: Wirecutter At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why.

“Scientists are also intrigued by Ms. Cameron’s extraordinarily low anxiety level. On an anxiety disorder questionnaire, she scored zero out of 21. She cannot recall ever having felt depressed or scared.”


Your Speech, Their Rules: Meet the People Who Guard the Internet

As a joke, I say I’m an internet janitor. I just clean up the shit. My real answer is, “I work for this website. And most people use it for good, but the people who don’t use it for good, I kick them off the website.” And it’s that simple. The people who do bad things, I kick them off.

Report Finds More Than 47,000 ‘Structurally Deficient’ Bridges In The U.S.

According to a new report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, more than 47,000 bridges in the U.S. are in poor condition and in need of urgent repairs. The organization, which analyzes data from the Federal Highway Administration and releases an annual report on bridges, estimates it will take more than 80 years to fix all of the nation’s deficient bridges.


Courtesy of Wirecutter: Lessons From the Asus Hack: How to Keep Your Computer Safe

Kira Swisher in the New York Times: I’m a Tech Addict and I’m Not Ashamed

Glenn Fleishman via TidBITS: Fed Up with Facebook? Move Your Family to Slack

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Norway to Return Easter Island Artifacts

Brad Simpson: I’m a historian of genocide and mass violence.

Let’s be clear. Trump talks like a Nazi, like Rwandan genocidaires, like the Indonesian military folks who killed 500,000 civilians in six months in 1965. This is the pre-language of genocide, the dehumanizing of future victims.

Elsewhere for March 30, 2019

You should read this for 4/8/2018:

Art and Film

H/T Bronwen: In bloom: the art of drawing and painting Australian plants – in pictures

Big tobacco: top US arts institutions under fire for accepting donations “Smithsonian and other leading museums continue taking tobacco donations even as others reject funds from big pharma”

Books, Writing, and Language

An Alternate Ending for F+W Media F + W Media, the owner of Writer’s Digest and a number of other “niche” magazines and Web sites has declared bankruptcy.


This Is How You Kill a Profession “How did we decide that professors don’t deserve job security or a decent salary?”

College faculty were not defeated after great struggle, after a battle with a winner and a loser. College has simply been redefined, over and over, in ways that make faculty irrelevant. College teaching, as a profession, is being eliminated one small, undetected, definitional drop at a time.

Food and Drink

H/T Yasmine: How L.A.’s Early Italian Pioneers Transformed the City’s Food Scene

History and Archaeology

H/T Bronwen: The seasons and flavours of Indigenous baking

As award-winning writer Bruce Pascoe explains in his book Dark Emu and across other writing, the discovery of those grinding stones in western New South Wales dating back around 30,000 years and the 25-year-old grinding stone from in the Notrhern Territory, suggest that Indigenous Australians were likely the world’s first bakers.

Science and Nature

Texas is having its biggest bluebonnet bloom in a decade


The wayfaring founder of an agrarian lit mag is calling Down East Maine home — and reimagining the area’s rural economy.

Myke Cole on The Poisonous Cult of the Military Hero

Been thinking a lot about Trump’s attacks on McCain, and on the universal outcry about slandering a “hero.”

It made me reflect on how poisonous and destructive that term is.

So, I wrote about it

H/T Metafilter: All About Pete

Pete Buttigieg is not the shining star he might appear:

By leveling fees and fines, the city leaned on homeowners to make repairs or have their houses demolished. In many cases, Buttigieg said, the homeowners proved impossible to find amid a string of active and inactive investment companies. In other cases, he said, they were unwilling or unable to make repairs.


Your AirPods Will Die Soon

A lot of barely chargeable AirPods and wireless mice and Bluetooth speakers are ending up in the trash as consumers go through products—even expensive ones—faster than ever.

Women’s Work

She Was Betrayed by a Gentleman’s Handshake

The history of invention is littered with men who took credit for women’s ideas. Take Monopoly, for example: As the story goes, an unemployed man named Charles Darrow invented the beloved American board game in the 1930s, sold it, and became a millionaire. All of that happened, except the part where he invented the game.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Via NPR: What You Need To Know About The Russia Investigations: The Dossier

Generally speaking, the wide aperture afforded by a counterintelligence investigation might be key to understanding some of the biggest lingering mysteries of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians in 2016—mysteries that, if solved, could explain the president’s continued deference toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and skepticism about his conduct on the part of the U.S. intelligence community.

For example, was the fact that Trump pursued a multimillion-dollar real-estate deal in Moscow during the election—and failed to disclose the deal to the public—enough for the Russians to compromise him? Why did the administration attempt to lift the sanctions on Russia early on in Trump’s tenure, even after it had been revealed that Russia had attacked the 2016 election? And what about the internal campaign polling data that Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, gave to the suspected Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik in August 2016—an episode that, according to one of the top prosecutors on Mueller’s team, went “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating”?

The Critical Part of Mueller’s Report That Barr Didn’t Mention “The special counsel’s most interesting findings about Trump and Russia might be in his report’s narrative description of key relationships.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

HT Yasmine: L.A. River’s Invasive Weeds Find An Artistic Purpose

Elsewhere for March 23, 2019

You should read this for 3/23/2019:

Art and Film

Russell Shorto writing for the New York Times Magazine: Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud

Why is the Mona Lisa not the Mona Lisa?

One of the great riddles of modern times is why a 500-year portrait of a Florentine housewife, of no rank or title, is today the most famous painting in the world. But the mystery around that portrait has now deepened. New findings suggest that Leonardo da Vinci’s most celebrated work may not depict M(ad)onna Lisa, wife of the silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, at all.

Books, Writing, and Language

Translator of Homer Emily R. C. Wilson on Twitter: So that you can all feel my pain, here are a few more reasons why it’s more or less impossible to translate Homer into English in a satisfactory way.

Letterlocking: The Long-Lost Art Of Using Paper-Folding To Foil Snoops

“Letterlocking” is a term coined by MIT Libraries conservator Jana Dambrogio after she discovered a trove of letters while spelunking in the conservation lab of the Vatican Secret Archives; the letters had been ingeniously folded and sealed so that they couldn’t be opened and re-closed without revealing that they had been read. Some even contained “booby traps” to catch the unwary.

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew This freezes really well.

History and Archaeology

H/T Lisa C: L.D. Burnett on Getting the Right History vs. Getting the History Right

H/T PNH: Myke Cole on How the Far Right Perverts Ancient History—And Why It Matters

Hanson’s wildly successful 1989 book on ancient infantry combat, The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece, advanced the breathtakingly bigoted and utterly false notion that manly, honest, close-combat is the Western legacy of battle, and that perfidy, trickery, and ruse is the Eastern legacy, and that therefore the Western way has rightly come to dominate.

. . .

The right wing’s distortion of the West’s fighting roots in the ancient world – roots that were by any measure polyglot, diverse and multicultural, resonate to the point of vibration with conservative movements that by definition lift up the past.

Science and Nature

H/T Mac: Woman Sets Up Tiny Photo Booth to Capture Birds Eating in Her Backyard There are a lot of fairly large images of birds, so the page may be a little slow to load.

NASA issues space herpes warning as virus reactivates in astronauts “The stress on the body of spaceflight is believed to contribute to suppressing the immune system and helping the virus to grow.”

There are eight known herpes virus, including the strain for chickenpox, which once contracted will stay within their hosts’ nerve cells for their entire life.
They are mostly kept suppressed by the immune system, but if the immune system itself is suppressed by space exploration, then they could pose a significant risks to astronauts travelling to Mars or beyond.


When Not Reading The Fine Print Can Cost Your Soul

‘Everything Just Came Flooding Back’: Sparks Of Teen Romance Rekindled 28 Years Later

In the summer of 1981 in Louisiana, Liz Barnez, then, 16 and Lori Daigle, then 17, shared a secret kiss.

Blame wood-burning stoves for winter air pollution and health threats

The Most Alarming Argument in Jill Lepore’s These Truths


Via A Book Apart Authors Answer: What Are Your Top Tips For Working Remotely?

H/T O’Reilly — Benedict Evans: Microsoft, Facebook, Trust And Privacy

There are strong parallels between organised abuse of Facebook and FB’s attempts to respond, in the last 24 months, and malware on Windows and Office and Microsoft’s attempts to respond, 20 years ago.

After the porn ban, Tumblr users have ditched the platform as promised Tumblr has lost 30 percent of web traffic since December

Women’s Work

Military Doctors Told Them It Was Just “Female Problems.” Weeks Later, They Were In The Hospital.

Your New Bicycle: Beto, childcare, and the cool

Via NPR: After Years Of Abuse By Priests, #NunsToo Are Speaking Out

“The Vatican is a world of men; some truly are men of God,” says Sister Catherine Aubin, a French Dominican nun who teaches at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome. “Others have been ruined by power. The key to these secrets and silence is … abuse of power. They climb up a career staircase toward evil.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

In 1958, a synagogue was bombed. An editor’s response won a Pulitzer — and his words ring eerily true today

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

H/T PNH: Charlotte Sometimes on Twitter about book day and community and making things better for kids: Ok. I have a really long story about World Book Day. Indulge me or mute me, I am a bit emotional this morning….

Cork Statue Pays Tribute To Choctaw Tribe’s Generosity During The Irish Famine

Elsewhere for March 9, 2019

You should read this for 3/9/2019:

Art, Film and Music

Amanda Palmer has a new album coming out and NPR is streaming it for free!

Books, Writing, and Language

Los Angeles Times Wants Rights to Books Written by Staff

One of the nation’s leading newspapers is attempting an unprecedented rights grab, according to its writers. In the midst of contract negotiations with its newsroom staff, the Los Angeles Times, purchased last year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, has proposed that its journalists, as a condition of employment, cede control of any books or other creative works made outside of their daily journalistic duties.

Via Ryan Starkey: Every Native British and Irish Language

See also A Brief History of British and Irish Languages


Broken Trust: Texas’ huge school endowment pays out less and less for schoolchildren

The Permanent School Fund has failed to match the performance of peer endowments, missing out on as much as $12 billion in growth and amassing a risky asset allocation, a yearlong Houston Chronicle investigation reveals.

Food and Drink

H/T Scott: Why Washington State’s Wine Scene Has Become So Experimental

Ten Years of Open That Bottle Night

In 2009, a group of people with a love of wine and connections to the University of Puget Sound decided to celebrate Open That Bottle Night. Our wines on that February evening included a sparkling wine and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State, a classic Bordeaux, a Chateauneuf du Pape, a California port-style wine, and a Sauternes. The only “rule” of our gathering was that each participant had to bring a story with his or her wine.

Via Elise Bauer on Simply Recipes: Spicy Vegetarian Chili

History and Archaeology

3,400-year-old human remains at schools’ site

The findings included cremation urns, and in one place small pieces of human bone.
The urns were decorated with finger-tip or fingernail impressions.
The human bone was radiocarbon dated as being 1374 – 1125 BC, up to 3,400 years-old.

First Nations clam gardens at least 3,500 years old, B.C. study finds

First Nations built and maintained shellfish gardens on Quadra Island beginning at least 3,500 years ago, according to a newly published study.
The age and sophistication of this technology for shellfish cultivation is evidence of Indigenous management systems that long predate contact with Europeans, said Simon Fraser University archeologist Dana Lepofsky, a co-author.

Science and Nature

WWF’s Secret War: One Of The World’s Biggest Charities Funds Guards Who Have Tortured And Killed People

A second person may be “cured” of HIV A new study tells the story of a man who had HIV, and now doesn’t, after a stem-cell transplant.

H/T Mac: Mysterious new orca species likely identified

These orcas, referred to as type D killer whales, were previously known from amateur photographs, fishermen’s descriptions, and one mass stranding—but never encountered in their natural state by cetacean experts. Unlike the other known types of orcas, they have a more rounded head, a pointier and narrower dorsal fin, and a very small white eye patch. They’re also several feet shorter in length, Pitman says. (See exclusive underwater video of type D orcas.)


Why Facebook Still Seems to Spy on You


BBEdit 12.6 to Return to the Mac App Store

BBEdit being able to return to the Mac App Store is great news for customers (modulo bugs) and for Bare Bones, but I’m not sure what it means for the store in general. Although there has finally been some progress, this feels like Apple giving up. They can’t or don’t want to really fix the sandbox to work well with pro apps, but they do want them to be in the store, so they’ll just let them ask for blanket permissions. BBEdit gets to be in the store, and Apple gets to say that everything (except Xcode) is sandboxed, even though it’s kind of security theater.

The president just called the CEO of Apple ‘Tim Apple’ “His name is Tim Cook and he’s sitting right there”

See also this and this from Scott Knaster and “Tim Apple” is funny until it isn’t

Women’s Work

The Disturbing True Story Behind the Iconic ‘Afghan Girl’ Photo

What Historians Are Tweeting: The Women Historians Who Inspire on International Women’s Day

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Everyone Is In Love With This Professor Who Stepped In When His Student Couldn’t Find a Babysitter

H/T: Eating with Dignity: A Conversation with Food Forward

Food Forward organizes gleaning activities — called “picks” or “harvests” — on private properties (including homes and commercial farms), in public spaces and at farmers and wholesale markets to “recover” produce. What they collect is donated to “direct-service agencies” that feed the hungry.

Creek Indians donate $180,000 to cover funeral costs for 23 Alabama tornado victims

In Alabama, authorities confirm that The Poarch Band of Creek Indians donated $180,000 to cover all costs for funeral services and interment for the 23 people killed in Sunday’s tornado in Lee County.

Elsewhere for March 2, 2019

You should read this for 3/2/2019:

Art and Film

Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes Will Direct Patrick Stewart Once More for the Picard Show

Books, Writing, and Language

More from Nora Roberts: How to spot scammers…and raise hell

Food and Drink

Chicken and Dumplings

History and Archaeology

Fetishizing family farms

Given the inhuman scale of ecological crises like climate change and food insecurity, family farming offers a seductive mythology, anchored in a fantasy of permanence and human scale. But it’s a mythology all the same, and one largely disconnected from the history of rural family life in America.

A 2,000-year-old tattoo needle still has ink on the tip Archaeologists found the oldest tattooing tool ever discovered in North America.

Science and Nature

Migrating blue whales rely on memory to find their feeding grounds

On their annual migration, their path takes in the spots that have proven to be the most reliable feeding grounds over the years. In doing this, the whales may bypass hotspots that pop up and fade from one year to the next, suggesting that they rely heavily on memory to find a solid meal. But in a world where “normal” is shifting rapidly, the endangered whales may no longer be able to rely on the abundance of those old, faithful feeding grounds.

Singing mice could offer clues about how human brains manage conversation “One part of the mouse’s brain creates the song, another coordinates the duets.”


Warren Buffett Letter: Full Text

This is the annual letter that Warren Buffett (and Charlie Munger) deliver to Berkshire Hathaway share holders. I started reading these about twenty five years ago, and have learned a lot from them in terms of basic accounting principles for understanding stocks and investments.

‘Not In Compliance’: Wilbur Ross, The Trump Official Who Keeps Watchdogs Up At Night

Ross failed to divest assets when he said he would — despite telling ethics officials he had done so. His inaccuracies and omissions have also prompted serious questions about whether he took official actions that could affect his personal financial interests, which would violate conflict of interest law — something he has repeatedly said he hasn’t done.

PG&E: It’s likely our equipment was “ignition point” for deadly Camp Fire


The Trauma Floor The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America

The video depicts a man being murdered. Someone is stabbing him, dozens of times, while he screams and begs for his life. Chloe’s job is to tell the room whether this post should be removed. She knows that section 13 of the Facebook community standards prohibits videos that depict the murder of one or more people. When Chloe explains this to the class, she hears her voice shaking.
Returning to her seat, Chloe feels an overpowering urge to sob. Another trainee has gone up to review the next post, but Chloe cannot concentrate. She leaves the room, and begins to cry so hard that she has trouble breathing.

AI won’t relieve the misery of Facebook’s human moderators “The problem of online content moderation can’t be solved with artificial intelligence, say experts”

Moderating content doesn’t have to be so traumatic

How to hear (and delete) every conversation your Amazon Alexa has recorded

Internet trolls forced Rotten Tomatoes to limit comments on new movies

Women’s Work

Carrie Ann Lucas Dies At Age 47, You Probably Haven’t Heard Of Her And That’s A Problem

This photo of Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib from the Cohen hearing says it all

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

H/T Elizabeth: China approves Donald Trump-branded spas, escort services, hotels and massage parlours without US Congress permission

The President’s lawyers applied for the trademarks in April last year, at the same time the then Presidential candidate Trump was accusing China of “ripping off” the US and deliberately manipulating its currency to its own advantage.

Janet Yellen: Trump Is An Even Bigger Idiot Than He LooksThe former Federal Reserve chair cannot adequately express how dumb our president is.

From NPR: ‘Low IQ,’ ‘SPECTACULAR,’ ‘Dog’: How Trump Tweets About African-Americans

NPR examined Trump’s Twitter feed between June 1 and Labor Day. It provided a snapshot of a president who directs venomous tirades at black public figures who bash him, while singling out black celebrities who support him for praise.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

How New Orleans Reduced Its Homeless Population By 90 Percent

This is the key point:

“You just accept them as they are and you provide the housing first,” Kegel says. “Then, once they’re in their apartment, you immediately wrap all the services around them that they need to stay stable and live the highest quality life that they can live.”

Elsewhere for February 23, 2019

You should read this for 2/22/2019:

Art and Film

Books, Writing, and Language

This Chrome extension lets you learn a new language by watching Netflix

. Language Learning with Netflix is a Chrome extension that lets you watch shows with two subtitles on at the same time so you can visually pair translations with dialogue and learn some new vocabulary in the process. It’s a clever service that makes use of Netflix’s massive catalog and all of the major languages in which it already offers subtitles, including Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

Where Do New Languages Come From?

The WPA’s horseback librariansThe WPA’s horseback librarians

H/T Beth: How Humans Invented Writing — Four Different Times

H/T Patrick: Nora Roberts on serial plaigirist Cristiane Serruya: Plagiarism, Then And Now

Cristiane Serruya, a self-published ‘writer’ based in Brazil seems to have made a living stealing from actual writers. In this case, a reader again (it’s always a reader, and bless you every one) contacted Courtney Milan, a successful romance writer, a smart woman with a strong spine–and a lawyer, to tell her she’d been plagiarized. If you want to know more about this, check out Courtney’s blog–she lays it out really well.


University police warn students to be on the lookout for a helicopter mom

Food and Drink

Himalayan Salt Is Just Salt, But Pink

Soak Your Beans in the Fridge for Faster Meal Prep

H/T Jeff: Some of Portland’s Best Chefs Go Sober “Drugs and booze nearly gutted a generation of Portland’s best chefs. Now they’re setting the table for sober kitchen culture.”

The Last Word, Your First Cocktail Choice

The key to the drink is Green Chartreuse, a French herbal liqueur with a history even more colorful than the cocktail. The original recipe was created in 1605, intended as a medicinal elixir. Today, the spirit is made from 130 plants, the identity of which are only known by two of the Carthusian monks of La Grande Chartreuse, which makes it one of the most closely guarded secrets in the spirits world”

History and Archaeology

Researchers Use AI to Discover Evidence of Unknown Human Ancestor In Our DNA

Last summer, a team of researchers found a bone fragment in Russia that belonged to a child conceived by a Neanderthal mother and Denisovan father. This remarkable finding suggested that not only were Homo sapiens interbreeding with Neanderthals and Denisovans, but these two species were also interbreeding with one another. This discovery appeared to point to the hypothetical missing third species that could account for the inexplicable parts of the modern human genome. The obstacle geneticists faced was to map not only Neanderthal and Denisovan interbreeding, but also interbreeding between Homo sapiens and a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid.

H/T Beth: The Lost World of the Maya is Finally Emerging From the Jungle

Tim Clarkson: Tintagel and the Battle of Camlann

The Lab Discovering DNA in Old Books “Even the beeswax used in seals is rich with data about the past, including the flowers that grew in that region year to year”

Sarah Fiddyment, a postdoctoral research fellow working with Collins, shadowed conservationists for several weeks. She saw that they used white Staedtler erasers to clean the manuscripts, and wondered whether that rubbed off enough DNA to do the trick. It did; the team found a way to extract DNA and proteins from eraser crumbs, a compromise that satisfied everyone.

They should have included Michael Drout.

Science and Nature

This Scary Map Shows How Climate Change Will Transform Your City You can find the interactive climate change map here.

Opportunity did not answer NASA’s final call, and it’s now lost to us

And yet from that moment on, Opportunity and its sister rover Spirit began plugging along the surface of Mars. Originally designed for 90-day lifetimes, the rovers persisted. Spirit lasted until 2010, when its batteries were unable to keep the spacecraft’s critical components from freezing. But Opportunity kept on keeping on amidst the harsh terrain. It roved a staggering 45.16 kilometers across the Red Planet, a distance unmatched by any rover on the Moon or Mars. In 2016, as it climbed a hill, Opportunity’s tilt reached 32 degrees, the steepest ever for any rover on Mars.

H/T Bronwen: World’s largest bee, missing for 38 years, found in Indonesia


Grand Canyon tourists exposed for years to radiation in museum building, safety manager says


Hackers keep trying to get malicious Windows file onto MacOS

Google, Apple Called Out For Hosting Saudi Government App That Allows Men To Track Their Spouses’ Movements

Now available: Kashmir Hill’s final Good Bye Big Five article on blocking all 5 tech giants: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft:

A couple of months ago, I set out to answer the question of whether it’s possible to avoid the tech giants. Over the course of five weeks, I blocked Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple one at a time, to find out how to live in the modern age without each one.
To end my experiment, I’m going to see if I can survive blocking all five at once.

Women’s Work

The Post-it wall outside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office got so big she had to move it

Michelle Obama just shared a glorious text exchange with her mom from Grammys night

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

If Trump Declares An Emergency To Build The Wall, Congress Can Block Him

Elsewhere for February 10, 2019

You should read this for 2/10/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

Ian Parker via The New Yorker “Dan Mallory, who writes under the name A. J. Finn, went to No. 1 with his début thriller, The Woman in the Window. His life contains even stranger twists.” A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions

Nicola Griffith interviewed by Alexis Smith for Moss


Why study English? We’re poorer in every sense without it

Similarly in the US, a longterm decline in the popularity of humanities courses accelerated sharply after the financial crisis of 2008/09; having accounted for 22% of all US degrees in the late 1960s, they now make up less than 5%. Writing in the Atlantic last year, historian Benjamin Schmidt called this a “crisis”, arguing that the cause is students’ anxieties about the job market and an increasingly instrumental view of higher education as a means to boost future earnings (even if graduate employment statistics provide limited justification for the switch from arts to sciences).

Food and Drink

Should I Drink Red Wine?

It’s from 2015, but it’s still interesting in terms of the potential health benefits of red wine in moderation (resveratrol) vs the calories.

A Winter Garden

Sarah has farmed seaweed for eight years. However, this enterprise, Springtide Seaweed, is her first try at running a complete business. In a licensed 35 acres of mud-bottomed bay, she and her partner puzzle out the best ways to raise their crops, which need cold clean water to thrive. Their seaweeds cling to ropes, horizontal long lines that hang 6 feet down. Each species requires specific light intensities. The trick is to have some of them throw a flickering shade onto others, but not too much, and to allow them all to absorb the amount of light they need, but not enough for the winter sun to scorch them.

Wine could help solve writer’s block, says study That’s not, at all, what teh study actually says, of course.

Dorie Greenspan’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Rose Levy Beranbaum : The Chewiest, Crackliest Molasses Cookies Have a Genius Little Secret

History and Archaeology

New article ponders the mystery of carved stone balls

Over 200 carved stone balls have been found in Scotland, the size of oranges and each distinctively decorated. They were made in the Neolithic, and no one knows why.

See the pictures and links in the article; these are carefully, often intricately carved from stone.

Science and Nature

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.


From Newsweek: Measles Outbreak: Children Of Anti-Vaxxers Are Asking How To Get Vaccinated Without Their Parents Knowing

Ex-CIA and FBI director threatened by scammer, then helps put him in prison

Exclusive: Thousands of Black Votes in Georgia Disappeared and No One Can Explain It

As if it were a too on-the-nose movie plot, Abrams’ Republican opponent in the race for governor was Brian Kemp. As Georgia’s longtime secretary of state, Kemps presided over the state’s elections, voting machines and vote tallying. And as a vote suppressor, Kemp’s record of disenfranchising voters was unmatched.


How did Apple’s AirPods go from mockery to millennial status symbol?

Will Chinese firm’s stake in Reddit normalise censorship?

The creation of concentration camps for a million Uighurs in Xinjiang has not been enough to persuade any of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs receiving funds from Chinese companies to refuse the cash. Neither is it apparently enough of a deterrent to stop the US companies investing in China to stop their plans to enter the market.

Women’s Work

She made history as a Navy pilot. An all-female squadron just flew over her funeral “Capt. Rosemary Mariner, who died Jan. 24, broke barriers throughout her career, opening doors for other women”

H/T Beth: American women are 50% more likely to die in childbirth than their mothers

Furthermore, while the maternal-death rate has fallen in most developed nations and has improved in many developing ones, it has risen in the US.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

A United States Government (USG) Memorandum Released by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley to NBC News Shows According to Him that the USG: “planned to traumatize children and intentionally create a humanitarian crisis”

Trump appears to mock Elizabeth Warren with genocide joke and people are livid

Trump’s properties routinely employed (and abused) undocumented Latinx workers, including dozens from a single Costa Rican town

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Via WIRED: Meet The Blind Youtubers Making The Internet More Accessible

“Every time I say I’m visually impaired,” says Casey Greer. “someone will try to shut me down, saying ‘Well then how did you type this comment?!’ It feels silly that in 2019, I always have to explain that blind people use and love the internet just as much as anybody else.”

Elsewhere for February 2, 2019

You should read this for 2/2/2019:

Art and Film

Stunning Trailer for Apollo 11 Brings Us Never-Before-Seen Footage of the Moon Mission

Last year, the filmmakers behind Apollo 11 were discussing making a documentary to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, when an archivist informed them that extensive, unseen 70mm footage of the mission existed at the National Archives. The footage became the basis for the documentary Apollo 11 and now we’re getting our first look at it with a new trailer.

H/T Sylvia: These Australian artists are making waves with work that explores the complex, contested issue of identity

Books, Writing, and Language

Frederick Douglass’s Irish odyssey

In spring 1845, Douglass published his first book– Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. The memoir stirred fresh hostilities. To avoid physical harm or being forcibly returned (by bounty-hungry “slave-catchers”) to his bondage in Maryland, it was decided that, until things cooled down, he would leave the United States for a while, for a hastily and incompletely planned lecture tour of the British Isles.


In a Children’s Theater Program, Drama Over a Peanut Allergy

The conflict over accommodating a child’s allergy turned into a legal battle that highlights the isolation that people with food allergies often face

Food and Drink

Blend This Crazy-Looking Citrus Right Into Your Booze

Buddha’s hand—so called because it looks like a hand with (too many fingers)—is a fragrant fruit that’s pretty much all zest and pith, making it good for infusing (and zesting) and not much else.

But it’s wonderful for enhancing gin or vodka, and making your own infusion.

H/T Jeff: Lifelike ‘Succulent Cakes’ Turn Prickly Plants into Delicious Desserts

History and Archaeology

New Thoughts on Neolithic Artifacts From England

The Folkton Drums, a set of 4,000-year-old decorated chalk cylinders discovered more than 100 years ago in a child’s grave in northern England, and a similar carved chalk cylinder recovered more recently near England’s southern coast, may have been replicas of wooden measuring devices employed by Neolithic monument builders, according to a Live Science report.

European colonizers killed so many Native Americans that it changed the global climate, researchers say

European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.

Before this study, some scientists had argued the temperature change in the 1600s, called the Little Ice Age, was caused only by natural forces.
But by combining archaeological evidence, historical data and analysis of carbon found in Antarctic ice, the UCL researchers showed how the reforestation — directly caused by the Europeans’ arrival — was a key component of the global chill, they said.

You can find the study Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492 at Science Direct.

Science and Nature

Here it is, the high resolution photo of MU69 We’ve all been waiting for.

On December 31st, 2018, NASA’s New Horizons mission made history by being the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) named Ultima Thule (2014 MU69). This came roughly two and a half years after New Horizons became the first mission in history to conduct a flyby of Pluto. Much like the encounter with Pluto, the probe’s rendezvous with Ultima Thule led to a truly stunning encounter image.


Warren Apologizes To Cherokee Nation For DNA Test


Goodbye Big Five

Reporter Kashmir Hill spent six weeks blocking Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple from getting my money, data, and attention, using a custom-built VPN. Here’s what happened.

This is week 3 of the six weeks of Blocking the Big 5: I Cut Google Out Of My Life. It Screwed Up Everything

Apple Shows Facebook Who Has the Power in an App Dispute

The situation stemmed from a dispute after Facebook violated Apple’s rules by publicly distributing a research app that allowed it to snoop on users’ online activity. When Apple discovered the transgression this week, it revoked Facebook’s special access to apps and updates that run on its iPhone software.

See also:

Apple blocks Google from running its internal iOS apps and from TechCrunch’s Josh Constine: We dismantle Facebook’s memo defending its “Research” See also this solid piece with a timeline by TidBITS’ Josh Centers: Certificate Wars: A Quick Rundown of Apple’s Dustup with Facebook and Google

Women’s Work

H/T Bronwen: Hidden women of history: Kathleen McArthur, the wildflower woman who took on Joh Bjelke-Petersen

The unlikely leader of this campaign was a wildflower painter named Kathleen McArthur, who led the Caloundra branch of an environmental group the Australian newspaper called “the most militant of conservation cells”.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

See this Twitter thread from Incredible reporting by @partlowj @Fahrenthold provides the best look yet at how Trump’s private business has relied on the labor of undocumented workers — even as he railed they were stealing jobs from Americans.@mateagold of the Washington Post: https://twitter.com/mateagold/status/1089283908208902145

Incredible reporting by @partlowj @Fahrenthold provides the best look yet at how Trump’s private business has relied on the labor of undocumented workers — even as he railed they were stealing jobs from Americans.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Patton Oswalt brings help to ailing man who trolled him on Twitter

H/T Lisa C: Meet the Chicago woman who rented hotel rooms for the homeless during deep freeze

Elsewhere for January 26, 2019

You should read this for 1/27/2019:

Art and Film

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the History of Dance, Gender, and American Identity

But while many in the media celebrated the sight of a youthful Ocasio-Cortez and her Boston University pals dancing together, missing from these conversations was an appreciation of the role that dancing bodies have long played in American political life.

The Treasure Behind the Wall

Books, Writing, and Language

I’ve been reading and enjoying the Phryne Fisher murder mysteries by Australian writer Kerry Greenwood. They’re fun well-written well-researched historic post World War I mysteries set in Australia (mostly) featuring a female detective who has been favorably compared to a feminist Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayers).


Who Wants to Be a College President?

Food and Drink

Via Wirecutter: Everything You Need to Start Baking Bread

History and Archaeology

What I’m Reading: An Interview With Historian Stacy D. Fahrenthold

A Tyrant’s Temper Tantrum

King Charles I of England, frustrated at the limitations of his otherwise powerful position, decided to dissolve Parliament in March of 1629 and to clap several of the opposition’s leaders in irons. The monarch had come to an impasse over issues as lofty as religious conformity and as mundane as the regulations concerning tonnage, eventually finding it easier to simply dissolve the gathering than to negotiate with them. Historian Michael Braddick explains that the “King was not willing to assent to necessary measures” in governance, and that Charles was intent on “upholding his right to withhold consent” as he saw it, believing that “without that power he was no longer a king in a meaningful sense.” Charles was a committed partisan of the divine right of kings, truly believing himself to be ennobled to rule by fiat, and regarding legislators as at best an annoyance, and at worst as actively contravening the rule of God.

Science and Nature

An Indian researcher uncovered why some lizards have stripes and others don’t

Gemologist Finds Insect Trapped in Opal Instead of Amber


Socially conscious investing has quadrupled in the past decade

In short, what constitutes socially responsible investing is often in the eye of the beholder. Acceptable criteria is subjective and broad, spanning the gamut of investors’ personal values. But stringency may be an effective insurance policy in the long run: environmental or governance disasters often come with high associated losses—not least in terms of public relations.

Atlantic Readers Respond to Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’ “In the August 1963 issue, The Atlantic published King’s famous letter under the title “The Negro Is Your Brother.” Readers’ responses were largely positive.”

H/T Jeff Carlson: This Seattle concierge has secrets he won’t tell


Via Stephen Hackett of RelayFM and 512Pixels:  Twitter is Over 

I like my little community on Twitter, but I know it is a hellscape of abuse for many. I use it to promote my work and to talk with my audience, but every time I open my replies, I brace myself for something terrible to be there, waiting for me to see it.

Digital detoxes are a solution looking for a problem

Research often tends to treat all technology use as equal. This assumption overlooks the fact that we have a different experience with each kind of technology we use. For example, mindlessly scrolling Instagram is very different to chatting on WhatsApp, or using a fitness tracker.

Women’s Work

The night I was mistaken for a call girl

They had relegated me to the corner by the loos simply because I was an unaccompanied woman.

Via Alison Smith for Granta: Her Left Hand, The Darkness

H/T Bronwen: The two Lucys: Kiwi botanists in their brothers’ shorts “Two trailblazing women, both called Lucy, explored some of New Zealand’s most remote places in the name of botanical knowledge.”

California’s new surgeon general changed the way we understand childhood trauma

Years of treating underprivileged kids in Bayview-Hunters Point, one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods, had shown her that the kids with the most severe history of trauma often exhibited the worst symptoms.

That realization would lead her to change the way she treated patients—and to become one of the chief advocates in the US medical community about how screening kids for early adversity can help them become healthier adults.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Via Medium: Vicky Alvear Shecter What Happened When a Trump Supporter Challenged Me About the Wall

The US bought $108,000 worth of ammunition to fend off an unarmed migrant caravan

There’s More Here Than People Realize

With Michael Cohen’s decision to postpone his testimony before Congress, people are starting to focus on President Trump’s repeated attacks on Cohen’s unnamed “father-in-law”. It is outrageous that a sitting President would repeatedly threaten anyone with legal action, especially in a case when it is done with the intention of squelching testimony against him. But this isn’t just out of the blue character assassination.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Librarian Honors a Dying Tree by Turning It Into a Little Free Library

H/T Lisa Carnell: How to assist federal workers impacted by the shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of government employees — many still required to come into work — are turning to food banks and other programs to make ends meet.
The national park system, airports, and even the space program have all been impacted. Meanwhile, average citizens are stepping up to help those in government service who are not getting paid. They are also volunteering to take care of national institutions that ordinarily rely on government employees.
There are many opportunities for you to make a difference.

Half a million rank-and-file Marriott employees are now watching for sex traffickers