Elsewhere for September 22, 2018

You should read this for 9/22/2018:

Just One Thing

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

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

Art and Film

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

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

An Introduction to the Rothschild Pentateuch, an Illuminated Hebrew Masterpiece

Books, Writing, and Language

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

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

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

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

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


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

Food and Drink

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

History and Archaeology

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

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

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

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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

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

Science and Nature

Hurricane Florence looks massive from the International Space Station

It’s hard to spread the idiot fruit

These domesticated foxes came from a famous Russian experiment

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

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

Puppies spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria in recent diarrhea outbreak

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


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

Are Narcissists More Likely to Experience Imposter Syndrome?

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


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

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

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

Women’s Work

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

Facebook is letting job advertisers target only men

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Hilary Clinton in The Atlantic: American Democracy Is in Crisis

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

This post contain affiliate links.

Elsewhere for September 15, 2018

You should read this for 9/14/2018:

Art and Film

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

Books, Writing, and Language

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

Is Amazon getting too big?

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

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

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

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

Food and Drink

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

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

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

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

History and Archaeology

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

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

Ritual Sacrifice May Have Shaped Dog Domestication

Bogs are unique records of history – here’s why

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

Hundreds of Roman gold coins found in basement of old theater

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

Science and Nature

Deteriorating Kepler Space Telescope Refuses to Die

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

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

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

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


BBC issues internal guidance on how to report climate change

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

How Big Tech Swallowed Seattle

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

Australian firefighters shot at while battling US wildfire


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

Women’s Work

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

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

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

Elsewhere for September 8, 2018

You should read this for 9/8/2018:

Art and Film

15 Things You Might Not Know About Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Adventure Time’s Producer Was Concerned Queer Representation Might Draw ‘Too Much Attention’

Who hates Star Wars for its newfound diversity? Here are the numbers. And see also this: The Washington Post’s Analysis of Star Wars’ Toxic Fandom Doesn’t Go Deep Enough

Books, Writing, and Language

Secrets, lies and a child: William Boyd on the truth behind Chekhov’s marriage “In 1902, as he pondered The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov had another question on his mind: who was the father of his wife’s unborn child?”

Drops teaches vanishing native Hawaiian language on iOS and Android

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell on why we need libraries – an essay in pictures

Food and Drink

From Garrett McCord of Simply Recipes: How to Make Granola in the Slow Cooker

From Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes: Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Discover Perry, Your New Cider Alternative

History and Archaeology

Celtic Spotlight – An Irishman’s Diary about the Harvard Archaeological Mission to 1930s Ireland

The idea of Ireland as home to an ancient civilisation that had escaped the globalisation of the Roman Empire had attractions for those who championed the purity of races. It also appealed to wealthy Irish-American backers of the project, who in the eyes of traditional US elites, still had to prove themselves white.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Send One Scary Email This Weekend

Read Research Papers Trapped Behind a Paywall With This Chrome Extension

Science and Nature

Waning Martian Dust Storm Could Herald the Return of NASA’s Opportunity Rover “With all the dust in the air, and with Opportunity unable to collect enough incoming solar light, NASA had to suspend operations and put the rover into hibernation mode to conserve energy.”

Society & Politics

For Older Voters, Getting The Right ID Can Be Especially Tough


Benedict Evans: Tesla, software and disruption

Via WIRED: Biohackers Encoded Malware In A Strand Of DNA

Women’s Work

Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is to fund scholarship for women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers.

Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been awarded a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars.
This was also the subject of the physics Nobel in 1974, but her male collaborators received the award.

See also: Pulsar Discoverer Jocelyn Bell Burnell Wins $3 Million Breakthrough Prize

Elsewhere for September 1, 2018

You should read this for 9/1/2018:

Art and Film

A Critical Analysis of Kinect Star Wars’ “I’m Han Solo” Song, the Definitive Text on the Character There are things that, once seen, can’t be unseen.

Via The Huntington Library’s Verso: Alice Klose on Sustainable Luxury The exhibition “Sustainable Luxury: Morris & Co. Textiles and Wallpapers from The Huntington’s Art Collections,” on view in the Huntington Art Gallery’s Works on Paper Room through November 12, comprises 18 drawings, wallpapers, and textiles created by Morris and his long-time collaborator John Henry Dearle, selected from The Huntington’s holdings of Morris & Co. materials.”

Books, Writing, and Language

Via The Washington Post: Carnegie Library heist: The $8 million alleged inside-job that ‘cannibalized’ rare books in Pittsburgh Via Rare Book Monthly: Arrests Made in $8 Million Theft from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library


You Shouldn’t Have to Read These Books in High School

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Bacon Jame, and Tomato Jam.

Mussels in Red Chili, Tomato & Coconut Broth Mussels, in a broth of red curry paste mixed with tomato and coconut milk, with white wine.

History and Archaeology

Human remains found by archaeologists at Waterford site

“The excavations, under the guidance of archaeologists Dave Pollock and Jo Moran, “revealed that that the motte was refortified during the 17th century, possibly during the 1640s rebellions or during Cromwell’s incursions,” Ms O’Connor said.

During the 18th century gallows were built in the area.

Science and Nature

Hybrid Hominin: This Girl’s Mother and Father Came From Two Different Species

Will the Opportunity Rover Wake Up Soon?

Bees Get Buzzed on Pesticides, Keep Coming Back for More “Not only can they harm bees, the insects seem to be learning to prefer food laced with the pesticides.”

From Science Mag, H/T Yamin: How the house sparrow made its home with humans “The house sparrow’s closeness to humans might have changed its genes, giving it a larger beak and a tolerance for a starchy diet.”

Another Juno Flyby, Another Amazing Sequence Of Images Of Jupiter “In July of 2016, the Juno spacecraft established orbit around Jupiter, becoming the first spacecraft since the Galileo probe to study the planet directly.”


Via YouTube: Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district in his native El Paso, first elected in 2012. He’s challenging Ted Cruz for the Senate. ‘I can think of nothing more American’: Beto O’Rourke responds to question on NFL protestsRead this for more:  What Democrats can learn from Beto O’Rourke viral speech on patriotism and peaceful protest

Story by Amanda Fortini; Photographs by Joshua Dudley Greer: What Happened in Vegas The days, weeks, and months after the worst mass shooting in modern American history


So I’ve checked out Mastodon (see this: A Beginner’s Guide to Mastodon) and Brent Simmons pretty much speaks for me in this post:

I’m a Goddamn Social Media Professional

Apple and Amazon Have the Most Annoying Ongoing Feud in Tech

Social Media Mobs

Women’s Work

Via Twitter Steven Sinofsky @stevesiResponding and commenting on Why Women Stay Out of the Spotlight at Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery and Short Pence 💩🔥💰

Why Mike Pence is such a sycophant ‘Pence believes that God has a plan for him, and if that plan requires him to temporarily abandon his principles as well as his dignity, so be it.”


Elsewhere for August 25, 2018

You should read this for 8/25/2018:

Art and Film

Via The British Library: A bumper crop of manuscripts part 1 and part 2. The British Library is doing stellar service both in terms of getting mss. digitized and presenting them to the public in ways that make them accessible to non-scholars.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Is Finally Being Made, Thanks to Apple I’m of two minds about this; first, The Foundation trilogy is a core part of “Old School” canon SF. Second, while I thought they were really interesting when I read the trilogy at ten, the two times I’ve tried since to re-read them, I just can’t. The second and third books, which prominently feature Bayata Darrell and her grandaughter Arkady Darell, grate on my nerves. There’s a reason that I started looking in my teens for SF written by women.

Books, Writing, and Language

Via NPR: Readers See Themselves In The Many Worlds Of Seanan McGuire

Part of how we learn empathy, part of how we learn to be human, is by reading and listening and viewing stories, and seeing people that don’t look like us.


The Unsexy Truth About the Avital Ronell Scandal

It’s almost as if Reitman could have no life apart from her. Indeed, according to the complaint, when Reitman had visitors — a member of his family, a friend — Ronell protested their presence, seemingly annoyed that Reitman should attend to other people in his life, that he had other people in his life. That really is the harassment: the claims she thought she could make on him simply because he was her advisee.

Via Life Hacker: What College Freshmen Need to Know About Their Student Loans

Food and Drink

How to Make Ginger Switchel æThink of switchel as that refreshing summer drink you didn’t know you needed—there’s a reason farmers used to drink it after working in the fields all day. Made with fresh ginger, vinegar, water, and honey, it couldn’t be simpler to make!”

Kevin Pang: Learn to make Vietnamese beef pho in record time

Carrie Havranek for Simply Recipes: 21 Best Recipes With Ripe Summer Tomatoes Personally, I don’t think you can get any better than a Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Caprese Salad or classic BLT, but there are other options . . .

From Elise Bauer on Simply Recipes How to Make Corn Tortillas. I’m going to try making tortillas again, this time, with this step-by-step recipe.

History and Archaeology

Via Smithsonian: Drought Reveals Giant 4500-Year Old Irish Henge

An unusually high number of henges and ancient sites have been found over the decades along the River Boyne; together, they make up the Brú na Bóinne Unesco World Heritage site. But the size and layout of the new henge, located close to the valley’s 5,000-year-old Newgrange monument, makes it an important find.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Crayola ColorCycle: Recycle your markers Crayola ColorCycle will accept all brands of plastic markers, not just Crayola markers. That includes dry erase markers & highlighters. Collect the dead markers (ask your friends and local teachers and schools), Crayola ColorCycle will send you a free shipping label to ship them back to Crayola to be recycled. FAQs here

Science and Nature

Rehabilitation facilities at capacity, complicating unusual die-off of seals in New England “the number of dead or stranded harbor seals continues to climb in Maine and New Hampshire as marine scientists broaden their search for the cause.”

How to Get a Cat to Like You I generally succeed with cats, mostly, I think, because I’m quiet, non-threatening, and good at ignoring them.

Scientists Put Paint on Ants to Study How They Form Societies

“Even though we work with genetically identical individuals that are as homogeneous as you can get them, there still seems to be some variabliity between them in terms of their tendencies,” study corresponding author Daniel Kronauer from The Rockefeller University told Gizmodo. “Where do these differences come from?”


The incoherent, divisive dogma of cultural appropriation outrage Cultural appropriation is damaging. But it’s also the way cultures collide; I think, for me, the bottom line is how the culture being appropriated responds and wants their cultural ways and objects treated. I’d rather err on the side of courtesy.


I didn’t become a physician to do data entry “in terms of creating a smooth workflow for physicians and in facilitating meaningful face to face encounters with our patients, all EHR systems have completely failed.” See also: Dont Let Patient Care Interfere With Documentation/ from Christopher Johnson, M.D.

Brent Simmons has left Twitter

Last night I deleted all my tweets going back to the beginning of Twitter time. (Except for a mysterious 49 tweets that apparently can’t be accessed?)

And I tried to make my profile info very clear about me not being there any more. Removed avatar and background image. Changed bio to “Finished with Twitter.” Changed display name to the name of this blog.

In his followup post Brent notes: “Twitter from the outside now looks like a massive world-wide frenzy for no reason. It’s the illusion of something valuable.”

I’m done with Twitter Matt Haughey has also left Twitter. “So long Twitter, I want to say it’s not you, it’s me, but it’s mostly you. Especially Jack.” I’m preparing my exit, from both Twitter and Facebook. Work stuff requires a presence on both, but I’m moving away personally. Currently checking out Mastodon. Not sure about my long-term plans.

Via NPR: Facebook Shuts 652 Iran-Backed Accounts Linked In Global Disinformation Campaign. And see: <a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/23/russian-trolls-spread-vaccine-misinformation-on-twitter”>Russian trolls ‘spreading discord’ over vaccine safety online</a>. “Study discovered several accounts, now known to belong to the same Russian trolls who interfered in the US election, tweeting about vaccines.”<blockquote>The study discovered several accounts, now known to belong to the same Russian trolls who interfered in the US election, as well as marketing and malware bots, tweeting about vaccines.

Russian trolls played both sides, the researchers said, tweeting pro- and anti-vaccine content in a politically charged context.</blockquote>

Gita Jackson in Kotaku: We Can’t Fix The Internet

Women’s Work

How Often Do You Really Need a Pap Smear?

Google has awarded Fifteen grants to support computing research for undergraduate women

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Sen. Claire McCaskill confirms unsuccessful Russian hacking attempt “Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says Russian hackers tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate her Senate computer network, raising questions about the extent to which Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 elections.”

Microsoft: We found more Russian hacking tries ahead of U.S. midterms

Microsoft said Tuesday it has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections. The company said a hacking group tied to the Russian government created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Other fake domains were designed to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate.

Elsewhere for August 18, 2018

You should read this for 8/18/2018:

Art and Film

H/T to @Lymond: Disney Takes Stand Against “Overzealous Copyright Holders” As the Hollywood Reporter notes: “forget any sense of irony.”

Oddly, and suprironicaly, as BoingBoing notes, the “fair use” defense Disney is using has a lot to be said in its favor.

Books, Writing, and Language

H/T to @cstross: Life in London, plus, a Macaw

Hundreds Of Newspapers Denounce Trump’s Attacks On Media In Coordinated Editorials

Ready For A Linguistic Controversy? Say ‘Mhmm’

History and Archaeology

A candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel Spouting ahistorical nonsens about Robert E. Lee and slavery Gets schooled by a Civil War historian who cites primary sources

Science and Nature

The mysterious Pilostyles is a plant within a plant H/T Bronwen

Via The New York Times Magazine and Nathaniel Rich with Photographs and Videos by George SteinmetzAfter 17 Days And 1,000 Miles, A Mother Orca’s ‘Tour Of Grief’ Is Over

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

his narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it. Jake Silverstein


Patriotic Millionaires: Millionaires who think everyone should pay a fair share of taxes—and that the really wealthy are getting away with not paying. Watch this video,


Vis WIRED (h/t/ SJS): Even Anonymous Coders Leave Fingerprints

RESEARCHERS WHO STUDY stylometry—the statistical analysis of linguistic style—have long known that writing is a unique, individualistic process. The vocabulary you select, your syntax, and your grammatical decisions leave behind a signature. Automated tools can now accurately identify the author of a forum post for example, as long as they have adequate training data to work with. But newer research shows that stylometry can also apply to artificial language samples, like code. Software developers, it turns out, leave behind a fingerprint as well.

An 11-year-old changed election results on a replica Florida state website in under 10 minutes

Women’s Work

Via Esquite: You Want Nancy Pelosi Out? Find Somebody Better

Pelosi’s not inconsiderable accomplishments. For example, not a single Democratic member of the House voted for any of the schemes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nor for the ludicrous tax package that the president* signed into law. Red state, blue state—in the House, it didn’t matter, because Nancy Pelosi held her caucus together. That takes a kind of otherworldly political skill, considering that Chuck Schumer is forever calculating which of his senators he can afford to lose while waiting patiently for Susan Collins to sell someone out again.

I think Nancy Pelosi has been magnificent, and I don’t want anyone else. Let’s take back the House and let’s do it with Nancy Pelosi at the helm.

Elsewhere for August 11

You should read this for 8/11/2018:

Art and Film

Books, Writing, and Language

Losing My Son to Reading “Books helped me gain independence. So it saddens me just a bit to see my son reading on his own.”

A Friendly Reminder that Comic Books Still Count as Reading

[A] study conducted at California State University, Northridge, found that for students to improve their vocabulary they must be exposed to as many complex or difficult words as possible. Their research found that the “language used by comics is far more advanced than that the oral communication of college graduates, and uses almost twice as many rare or difficult words!”

A rough guide to making a manuscript A great illustrated “How To” from the British Library.


Betsy DeVos’s summer home deserves a special place in McMansion Hell And Betsy DeVos deserves her own Special Place, too, right along with folks who talk at the theater.

Food and Drink

Lemon-Roasted Beets, Braised Greens, and Grilled Carrots with Beet Gastrique and Ricotta Cheese [with video]

Sicilian Home-made Ricotta Cheese This recipe is richer and creamier than others in part because it uses buttermilk instead of vinegar.

History and Archaeology

A sixth-century Lombard warrior buried in northern Italy appears to have worn a prosthetic weapon.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

GoFundMe for Flint, MI: I’m fundraising to provide clean drinking water for the residents of Flint. Whether it’s $5 or $1,000, 100% of every donation you provide will be invested in operating this #SaveFlintChallenge campaign, and used to purchase bottled water

The residents of Flint STILL don’t have access to clean drinking water, unless someone in the community like Little Miss Flint or Pastor Rob, provides it for them. Further investigation reveals the replacement of all the lead pipes necessary to provide clean water to Flint residents, won’t be completed until 2020.

Science and Nature

The quack behind the MSG scare is still stoking fear for profit

Great Black Hawk in Biddeford, ME.


From Eric Meyer, Mr. CSS: Securing Web Sites Made Them Less Accessible

A local caching server, meant to speed up commonly-requested sites and reduce bandwidth usage, is a “man in the middle”.  HTTPS, which by design prevents man-in-the-middle attacks, utterly breaks local caching servers.  So I kept waiting and waiting for remote resources, eating into that month’s data cap with every request.

Ajit Pai admits FCC lied about “DDoS,” blames it on Obama administration

The FCC claimed it was hit by the DDoS attack just after comedian John Oliver asked his viewers to submit comments opposing Pai’s net neutrality repeal.

Apple’s response to Congressional privacy inquiry is mercifully free of horrifying revelations

Women’s Work

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 110th birthday of Mary G. Ross. Mary G. Ross, the first American Indian female engineer, whose major contributions to the aerospace industry include the development of concepts for interplanetary space travel, manned and unmanned earth-orbiting flights, and orbiting satellites.

Japan Medical School Confirms Altering Scores To Limit Women

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

The Day Trump Told Us There Was Attempted Collusion with Russia

We can all move forward understanding that there is a clear fact pattern about which there is no dispute:
* The President’s son and top advisers knowingly met with individuals connected to the Russian government, hoping to obtain dirt on their political opponent.
* Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and members of the Clinton campaign were later used in an overt effort to sway the election.
* When the Trump Tower meeting was uncovered, the President instructed his son and staff to lie about the meeting, and told them precisely which lies to use.
* The President is attempting to end the investigation into this meeting and other instances of attempted collusion between his campaign staff and representatives of the Russian government.

Elsewhere for August 4, 2018

You should read this for 8/48/2018:

Art and Film

Jann Haworth: The forgotten creator of the Sgt. Pepper cover “Peter Blake is celebrated as the creator of the sleeve art of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album. But his collaborator has been forgotten. As Sgt Pepper turns 50, ALASTAIR McKAY talks to American Pop artist Jann Haworth about art, celebrity, sexism, and her role in a modern design classic.”

The Hilarious Story Of Warrnambool’s Wombat

Books, Writing, and Language

Dear Suzanne Brockmann

My First Comic: Enter Sandman


Food and Drink

Blueberry Blues “Growers leave fields unharvested as they confront plummeting prices and a glut of frozen berries.”

For most of the past decade, Maine has typically yielded some 80 to 100 million pounds of wild blueberries annually, about 99 percent of which are sold frozen. But this year’s harvest, like last year’s, is predicted to be much smaller. Three years ago, food processors began urging farmers to cut back production — their freezers were overflowing.

If you haven’t had Wild Maine blueberries, you should check Trader Joe’s or your local grocer’s freezer section. The flavor is amazing. Truly.

A Beginner’s Guide to Craft Chocolate

Science and Nature

Researchers searched all day for the grieving orca mother. Then they found her, still clinging to her calf.As of this morning, she’s still swimming with her deceased calf, her family around her.

Built to Burn We need to do better about building reluctant to burn structures, starting with the roof, and working down and out to the landscaping. Fires are going to get worse, and more common, as water decreases.


Alaska Airlines: Gay couple separated, seats given to straight couple

“We could not bear the feeling of humiliation for an entire cross-country flight and left the plane,” Cooley added. “I cannot believe that an airline in this day and age would give a straight couple preferential treatment over a gay couple and go so far as to ask us to leave.”


The Bullshit Web

Women’s Work

Mary Ellis obituary One of the last ‘Atagirls’ of the second world war, Mary Ellis flew more than 400 Spitfires. She was 101.

During her war service Ellis flew an estimated 76 types of aircraft, including 400 different Spitfires – among them every marque produced between 1941 and 1945 – and it remained her favourite aircraft. But that fighter was just one plane among many; there were North American Mustang fighters, and twin-engined Baltimore bombers, and once, having landed a Wellington bomber in East Anglia, she found the unbelieving ground crew searching the plane to find the man who had really flown it.

Something Happened At The Mall The Other Day

Brooklyn woman who died during power outage remembered as ‘tireless advocate’ Elizabeth Ramos was on the board of Disabled in Action. She sued Uber. She died during blackout in social housing that refused to allow her to use back-up generator for her breathing equipment.

Vanishing in the Wild, These Salamanders Found Refuge in a Convent

A note from the editorial leadership of The Verge “Newsrooms must stand up to targeted campaigns of harassment.”

Since announcing her new job with The New York Times, a widespread campaign of harassment has targeted Verge reporter Sarah Jeong for a number of tweets she wrote years ago. Many of those now reacting to these tweets have intentionally taken them out of context, and she has since received an unrelenting stream of abuse from strangers on the internet.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Parents Were Targeted Under The “Zero Tolerance” Policy, A New Analysis Of Immigration Data Finds “The Trump administration said family separation was the result of a ‘zero tolerance’ prosecution strategy. But a new analysis shows that parents with children were the ones sent to court, while adults without kids weren’t.”

Russia Sold Off Almost All Holdings In US Securities Before Helsinki Meeting Curious that; don’t know what it means, but it’s a striking coincidence, and a thing to wonder at in any circumstances. People generally don’t divest in bulk without some really good reasons.

Elsewhere for July 28, 2018

You should read this for 7/28/2018:

Art and Film

US Postal Service Ordered to Pay Artist $3.5M For Copyright Infringement “A case of mistaken artwork has cost the US Postal Service millions of dollars.” Note that the USPS “The USPS had paid Getty Image $1,500 to license the image.”

Books, Writing, and Language

Today in Bad Ideas: Replace Libraries With Amazon

Sci-fi convention Worldcon reorganizes its programming amid exclusion backlash

Suzanne Brockmann gave a kick-ass speech at RWA.


Rethinking Education in America America’s schools are being left behind, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama’s education secretary, and author of How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest Serving Secretaries of Education in an interesting interview:

About 100 years ago, America made secondary education in high school compulsory. That was almost unprecedented, a massive leap forward, and it drove a lot of our economic boom over the past 100 years. The problem is we haven’t moved past that and we haven’t adjusted the model. Obviously, the world is radically different from that time, but unfortunately education isn’t much different. And you see other nations out-educating, out-investing, out-innovating us. Not only have the skills needs changed dramatically, but we now have a globally competitive economy, a flat world. It’s no longer Iowa versus Indiana versus Montana for jobs, we’re competing with India and China and Singapore and everywhere else. That’s the world where our kids – my kids – are going to grow up into, and we’re never going to go back the opposite direction. It’s only going to accelerate.

Food and Drink

Roughing It? “A decade ago, Jennifer Scism was running a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York. But along the way she married a Mainer, got tired of the grind, moved to York, and started backpacking.”

History and Archaeology

Woman Who Revealed Racism as Reason for WW2 Internment Camps Dies

he real reason, according to the document drafted by Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, and uncovered by Herzig-Yoshinaga in 1982, stated incarceration was because authorities considered it “impossible to separate the sheep from the goats” when looking for spies among Japanese-Americans because of the cultural similarities of all.

Sensational archaeological find is likely Germany’s oldest library “Archeologists in Cologne are sure they have found what looks like the foundations of the oldest verifiable library in Germany. It was built by the Romans about 1,800 years ago.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A Swedish student stopped an Afghan man’s deportation by refusing to sit down on a plane

Federal Judge Rules for Transgender Teenager Denied Restroom Access at Florida School The judege’s ruling states:

“When confronted with something affecting our children that is new, outside of our experience, and contrary to gender norms we thought we understood, it is natural that parents want to protect their children. But the evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy or safety of any of his fellow students. Rather, Drew Adams is just like every other student at Nease High School, a teenager coming of age in a complicated, uncertain and changing world. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy.”

Science and Nature

What Climate Change Looks Like In 2018 “During the first five months of 2018, nearly every continent experienced record warm temperatures, and May 2018 marked the 401st consecutive month in which temperatures exceeded the 20th century average. ”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump sees dead people. And they talk.

Mueller examining Trump’s tweets in wide-ranging obstruction inquiry

Elsewhere for July 21, 2018

Art and Film

Actress Marsha Hunt, 100, Has Matters Of Principle

Hunt is the last surviving member of what was known as the Committee for the First Amendment. It was a group of a few dozen big Hollywood names, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Huston and Judy Garland.

Inside the Tokyo temple where the ‘waving cat’ was born

Maneki-nekos traditionally wear a bib and bell, sometimes painted on, to represent the Gotokuji monk taking special care of his cat. They are also usually depicted holding coins, but being of a Samurai family’s temple, Gotokuji maneki-nekos are empty-handed.
In the warrior society, while the opportunity for success is offered, it is up to the person making the wish to capture it.

Books, Writing, and Language

Amazon’s Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback

Wilde about Paris: the sex, drink and liberation of Oscar Wilde’s “lost” years


How one Maryland high school successfully boosted minority student enrollment in advanced classes

“In GT classes, teachers break it down as simple as possible and put the time into explaining it to us,” he said. “After school, teachers are available for additional help and make themselves available around the students’ schedule. … My relationship with teachers has helped me to gain confidence to approach my teachers to explain things more. In classes at Hammond, the teachers are more approachable and easier to talk to.”

Value matters in choosing a college. But not just the price kind.

Via Forbes: How Common Core Testing Damaged High School English Classes

The standards treat reading as a skill that can exist in a vacuum, independent of context or content. The accountability tests, put in place to show how well we have (or haven’t) taught the standards double down on that, with reading selections that are carefully chosen so that prior knowledge cannot be a factor. This makes sense to a point; if you ask questions about themes in The Great Gatsby, those questions clearly favor students who have studied the work. Instead, students have to be “surprised” by an excerpt from some work they’ve never heard of before. There’s a whole discussion to be had about the inseparable nature of reading and prior knowledge, but in the meantime, teachers have been given a clear message–the evaluation of your teaching effectiveness will have nothing to do with how well you teach (or don’t) classic literature.

That means that primary teachers are pushed to focus on test prep rather than actual reading instruction, and that in turn runs the risk of squashing any hope of fostering a love of reading in students. By the time they get to high school, reading is just some dumb game they have to learn to play for that big test at the end of the year.

Food and Drink

Discovery of 14,000-Year-Old Toast Suggests Bread Can Be Added to Paleo Diet

Archaeologists have uncovered the earliest evidence of bread-making at a site in northeastern Jordan. Dating back some 14,400 years, the discovery shows that ancient hunter-gatherers were making and eating bread 4,000 years before the Neolithic era and the introduction of agriculture.

History and Archaeology

Why Race Is Not a Thing, According to Genetics “Scientists are unlocking the secrets to how we’re all related—to each other and to the species that came before us.”

When you analyze the amount of DNA of the three species that we know interbred (Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens), they don’t quite add up, which makes us confident that we also carry the DNA of another human species for which we have no bones and no DNA. The shadow of another human species—its trace—is inside us all right now.

The Iceman’s Last Meal Consisted of Fat, Wild Meat, and Cereals

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Allan Monga’s story is so quintessentially American, it’s little wonder it went viral earlier this year. 

Science and Nature

In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy

79 Moons of Jupiter and Counting “The latest survey of the region around the gas giant turned up a dozen new moons, including an oddball that was going in the wrong direction.”


In about 20 years, half the population will live in eight states

Abuse, neglect and a system that failed: The tragic lives of the Hart children “Programs designed to protect children ushered six siblings to their deaths — and no one has been held accountable since their adoptive mother drove them off a cliff”

“Her reactions were overblown, and the punishments seemed unnecessarily cruel.”

Visualizing the spread of true and false news on social media


“I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, The Man Who Created The World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets “Berners-Lee has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

‘Did Donald 💩🔥💰 just WALK IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN?’ 💩🔥💰 is an uncouth lout, a poltroon, and a despot.

When it comes to lying, 💩🔥💰 is nonstop #45 is #liarliarpantsonfire

“I didn’t criticize the prime minister,” Trump said, shortly after criticizing the prime minister. He blasted Theresa May’s handling of Brexit and declared that her fiercest political rival, Boris Johnson, “would be a great prime minister.” Hours later, Trump dismissed the reprinting of his own words as “fake news,” even though the Rupert Murdoch-run Sun tabloid had his attacks on tape.

Trump and Putin: what we know is damning “In Helsinki, Trump’s true message to Putin is: “Thank you.” And we have no idea what to do about it.”

And see Ezra Klein’s point-by-point on Twitter

The Russia Investigations: How Many More Maria Butinas Are There?