Elsewhere for May 26, 2018

You should read this for 5/26/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Earliest Version of Our Alphabet Possibly Discovered “The earliest example of our alphabet — a possible mnemonic phrase that helped someone remember “ABCD” — has been discovered on a 3,400-year-old inscribed piece of limestone from ancient Egypt, a scholar believes.”

Food and Drink

The 18th-century chocolate champions “Chocolate was introduced to England around 1600, first and foremost as a drink, and remained popular in that form for over 200 years.”

History and Archaeology

Early evidence of use of a bit on domestic donkeys found in the Near East “Ancient donkey remains from the Early Bronze Age (EB) show tooth wear linked to bit-wearing” See also: Archaeologists uncover earliest evidence for equid bit wear in the ancient Near East This is a link to a .pdf of the original journal article by the researchers.

A robot submarine found the ‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks.’ It’s worth billions. “On June 8, 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the San José’s gunpowder ignited during a battle with British ships, sending 600 sailors to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — along with gold, silver and emeralds from mines in Peru, a total haul valued at some $17 billion in today’s dollars.”

London dig unearths Roman bones, jewels and single flake of gold—Museum to show rare artifacts alongside ethnically diverse human remains

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Stop Throwing Cellphone Batteries in the Trash, You’re Firebombing Garbage Trucks

Science and Nature

Here’s why there are so many coyotes and why they are spreading so fast “Coyotes have been around forever. Today’s species originated from ancestors that lived alongside saber-tooth tigers, mastodons and dire wolves.”

Society

Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim’s mother says

See also:

Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained

Technology

Here’s Amazon’s explanation for the Alexa eavesdropping scandal “

I mean, that all does sound pretty unlikely. But the fact that Alexa can interpret background conversation as a confirmation is a big problem.” I would not give Amazon or its devices access to my contacts list.

Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

💩🔥💰’s Unsecured iPhones Make Clinton’s Basement Server Look Like Fort Knox

This revealing anecdote unmasks 💩🔥💰’s dehumanization game

Elsewhere for May 19, 2018

You should read this for 5/19/2018:

Art and Film

Jinx Allen Craig obituary “Young American who was the subject of a famous photograph when she was gallivanting in Italy in 1951”

Report: The Wrath of Khan Director Reveals He Was Making a Star Trek Trilogy for CBS, But It’s Been Delayed

Books, Writing, and Language

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy

Education

A black Yale student fell asleep in her dorm’s common room. A white student called police. Napping while black. The student, a black graduate student, was in her own dorm’s common room, napping. A white student called the police.

Food and Drink

How a Wine Newbie Got an Unexpected Education

Via NPR: Washington Politics Adding To Mental Health Crisis Among Farmers “Suicide rates among farmers are higher than any other profession in the United States and now some experts and Senators worry Washington politics could be making farmland stresses even worse.”

History and Archaeology

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer long wondered if he’s related to JFK. At 72, he learned the truth.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million “ylvia Bloom, a legal secretary from Brooklyn, worked for the same law firm for 67 years while quietly amassing a fortune. In her will, she left more than $8 million for college scholarships.”

For six decades, ‘the man with the golden arm’ donated blood — and saved 2.4 million babies

A barista refused to serve a man ‘being very racist’ to a Muslim. Her bosses backed her.

Science and Nature

The Really Big One “An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.”

Republican congressman Mo Brooks (R Alabama) explains sea-level rise: it’s rocks falling into the sea

Society

‘They don’t belong’: police called on Native American teens on college tour “A mother on the tour told authorities the young men were ‘creepy’ and ‘really stand out’, causing them to miss the rest of the event”

CIA Nominee Gina Haspel Faces A Senate Showdown

She was at a black site prison in Thailand where al-Qaida suspects were waterboarded in 2002. And in 2005, she wrote a cable calling for the destruction of videotapes that showed that waterboarding.

In other words, she assisted in torture, and then tried to have the evidence of that torture destroyed.

She saved thousands to open a medical clinic in Nigeria. U.S. Customs took all of it at the airport.

How the religious right is shrinking itself: Overzealous Christianity is driving people away “New study suggests that as the religious right grows ever more radical, it drives ever more people out of church”

Technology

Wild Ride: Turning School Buses Into Homes on Wheels

Women’s Work

Secrets Of A Maya Supermom: What Parenting Books Don’t Tell You

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

As the ‘King of Debt,’ Trump borrowed to build his empire. Then he began spending hundreds of millions in cash.

What is Mueller
 looking at? This is a concise, well-organized break down of what and who and why.

Elsewhere for May 5, 2018

You should read this for 5/5/2018:

Art and Film

An Investigation of Black Figures in Classical Greek Art

Books, Writing, and Language

Artificial Intelligence Is Cracking Open the Vatican’s Secret Archives “A new project untangles the handwritten texts in one of the world’s largest historical collections.” This is the kind of thing that the Internet makes possible. This particular piece about the OCR methodology being used to decipher Medieval and Renaissance hands also has one of the best explanations of how OCR actually works that I’ve ever seen.

Education

British schools are replacing analog clocks with digital ones to help clueless students I’m not really a fan of the headline here; not being able to read an analog clock doesn’t make the students “clueless.” It does suggest that teachers need to start teaching little kids to tell time on an analog clock. I had a terrible time in third grade learning to tell time; it made not sense to a visually impaired dyslexic kit with less than solid spatial relation abilities. The teachers tried to teach us to tell time based on the position of the hands geometrically, that is, half past, or quarter to, and the like. My mom was the one who actually taught me to tell time. She taught me to count by fives, and then, to count by fives in terms of the minute or “long hand.” That worked, and eventually, the method of telling time based on the relative position of the hands (rather than counting) just sort of happened. I do think it’s a worthwhile skill, because it’s a very rapid way of gauging time, and because it also teaches the concepts of half and quarter and three quarters, which apply to not only counting time, but geometry in general, and analog clocks have spawned metaphors that are deeply embedded in English.

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp It’s rhubarb season, and this is a simple and great way to enjoy rhubarb and fresh strawberries.

History and Archaeology

40,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Unearthed in Australia Almost 100 flaked stone tools estimated to be up to 40,000 years old were uncovered in southeastern Australia during sewer work. The finds will be analyzed by the traditional land owners, documented and re-buried.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A man sitting next to screaming children on an American Airlines flight helped their mom calm them down — and his act of kindness is going viral

Science and Nature

HomeFeatured
Horses Remember Facial Expressions of People They Have Seen Before
“A study by the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth reveals that horses can read and then remember people’s emotional expressions, enabling them to use this information to identify people who could pose a potential threat.”

Society

A Growing Problem for the Military Transgender Ban: Facts “In separate statements over the past month, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force; the commandant of the Marine Corps; and the incoming commandant of the Coast Guard, testified to Congress that transgender service members do not impair the cohesion of military units or discipline.”

 

Technology

Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Thinks Only Black People Are On Welfare, But, Really, White Americans Receive Most Benefits

Elsewhere for April 28, 2018

You should read this for 4/28/2018:

Art and Film

Watch This In-Depth Take on Everything Wrong With The Hobbit Movies “critic Lindsay Ellis has embarked on an epic journey of her own, to dissect the failures and follies of The Hobbit. In a series of three critical videos, Ellis runs the gamut through all three films and the morass of hubris and bad decisions that brought them together.”

‘Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World’ Review: A Cross-Cultural Journey Begins

Books, Writing, and Language

Collection of Jewish jokes shouldn’t shy from the sorrow behind the humor

History and Archaeology

Swedish archaeologists uncover brutal 5th century massacre

Remains of 140 children found in Peru, pointing to world’s largest ancient child sacrifice

 It’s estimated that the children — and 200 young llamas — were sacrificed about 550 years ago, when the area was home to the pre-Columbian Chimú civilization. The Chimú was the second-largest empire in Peru before Spanish colonization, next to the Incas, who were also known to sacrifice children during rituals.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy

13 semis line Detroit freeway to help man considering suicide

U Street assault victim gets new teeth, replaced for free by DC dentist

I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful loving LGBTQ community before anything else. It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ‘one’.”

Science and Nature

At the Bottom of the Ocean, Octopus Moms Cling to Their Bad Decisions “ Scientists found them clustered on the sea floor, trying to grow their young in a warm bath that will certainly kill babies and moms alike.”

Society

How Trump’s Trans Military Ban Backfired. Spectacularly.

Ever since July 2017, when Trump acceded to the religious right and tweeted a ban on transgender military service without consulting military leaders first, the administration has been dealt blow after blow, suffering two major defeats in the past week alone.

Women’s Work

Via the Getty Publications Virtual LibraryMary Beard ‘cut’ from US version of Civilisations, fearing ‘slightly creaky old lady isn’t ideal for US TV’


Julia Margaret Cameron: Complete Photographs

According to one of Julia Margaret Cameron’s great-nieces, “we never knew what Aunt Julia was going to do next, nor did anyone else.” This is an accurate summation of the life of the British photographer (1815–1879), who took up the camera at age forty-eight and made more than twelve hundred images during a fourteen-year career. Living at the height of the Victorian era, Cameron was anything but conventional, experimenting with the relatively new medium of photography, promoting her own art though exhibition and sale, and pursuing the eminent personalities of her age—Alfred Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Thomas Carlyle, and others—as subjects for her lens. For the first time, all known images by Cameron, one of the most important nineteenth-century artists in any medium, are gathered together in a catalogue raisonné.

Elsewhere for April 21, 2018

You should read this for 4/21/2018:

Art and Film

Randall Grahm On His Iconic Wine Labels

Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard has blazed his own wine trail for decades. But it’s not just what’s in the bottle that has garnered attention. From Le Cigare Volant to A Proper Claret and beyond, the labels that adorn Grahm’s creations are equally compelling and original. He talks with us about the first labels that captivated him, breaking from the traditional design and his collaboration with a myriad of artists.

Books, Writing, and Language

Lots of coverage last week and this regarding James Comey’s about-to-be-related book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

This observation about Comey’s book in the Washington Post’s The Fix caught my eye:

Perhaps the only politician who comes off well in the excerpts so far is Obama. Comey says Obama’s kindness in the aftermath of the Clinton investigation nearly brought him to tears. The Post’s Rucker reports:

Comey writes that Obama sat alone with him in the Oval Office in late November and told him

“I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view.”

On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, “Boy, were those words I needed to hear . . . . I’m just trying to do the right thing.”

“I know,” Obama said. “I know.”

The Post’s Amber Phillips neatly sums up my personal take on Jame’s Comey’s book thus far (I haven’t read it yet):

But for nearly everyone else, this book is Comey’s version of the unvarnished truth, which can pretty much be summed up like this: At one time or another, the former FBI director felt pressured by members of each party to shape an investigation in their favor.

In other words, politicians will probably see this book the same way they see everything: through their own, often self-serving, partisan lens.

The Washington Post has posted some excerpts and commentary. This piece James Comey’s memoir: Trump fixates on proving lewd dossier allegations false by Phillip Rucker is one example.  It’s worth reading. It includes this:

Comey recalls being struck that neither Trump nor his advisers asked about the future Russian threat, nor how the United States might prepare to meet it. Rather, he writes, they focused on “how they could spin what we’d just told them.”

With [James R. Clapper Jr., then the director of national intelligence] and then-CIA Director John O. Brennan — both Obama appointees — still in the room, Priebus and other Trump aides strategized for political advantage, Comey writes. The Trump team decided they would emphasize that Russian interference had no impact on the vote — which, Clapper reminded them, the intelligence community had not determined.

Education

From NPR: Arizona Teachers Vote To Strike, Sparking Statewide WalkoutTeachers in Arizona held a strike vote on Thursday that launched Arizona’s first-ever statewide walkout and turned down a proposed pay raise — instead demanding increased school funding.

But as the article points out, “according to the Associated Press”:

“Teachers themselves could face consequences in this right-to-work state, where unions do not collectively bargain with school districts and representation is not mandatory. The Arizona Education Association has warned its 20,000 members about a 1971 Arizona attorney general opinion saying a statewide strike would be illegal under common law and participants could lose their teaching credentials.”

Food and Drink

The Canadian Cheese Cartel

Dry-Fried Green Beans

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

At the Waffle House, she cut up a customer’s food for him. It changed her life.

‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees “The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia”

Woman Who Shared Philadelphia Starbucks Arrest Video Tells Her Story

Society

UK’s Top Sgt Major Rips Racist Soldiers A New One In Twitter Video

Comey’s remarkable new admission helps explain how Trump won. Regarding Hilary Clinton and emails:

Under ordinary circumstances he’d never publicly criticize the subject. Comey has repeatedly said this case was extraordinary because the FBI would come under heavy scrutiny after closing a probe into a presidential candidate, and he didn’t want the public to lack confidence in the electoral outcome if Clinton won. Comey repeated this to NPR.

The take-home lesson from this:

As Jonathan Chait explains, Comey’s willingness to let such concerns influence these episodes reflects the success of a decades-long campaign by Republicans and GOP-aligned media to skew the political dialog by hyping fake scandals, which in this case led Comey to act to “avoid charges of favoritism,” thus willingly handing bad-faith actors leverage over law enforcement. It’s hard to read Comey’s NPR interview as anything other than confirmation of this. Worse, Comey also revealed that not allowing this to happen would have been a perfectly appropriate outcome.

From Starbucks to Hashtags: We Need to Talk About Why White Americans Call the Police on Black People

Technology

Fact-checking Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Facebook and data collection

In some cases, Facebook collects data about its users even when they’re not on Facebook’s website or apps. For example, third-party websites that feature Facebook’s “Like” button send some user data back to Facebook. Although the process is slightly different, “Share” buttons on websites and other tools essentially do the same thing.

Malestrom Lives!

Lawmakers question FBI’s decision to take Apple to courtA group of 10 representatives — split evenly between Republicans and Democrats—said the report raised concerns that the FBI officials didn’t exhaust the agency’s technical options “precisely because they wanted the suit against Apple to go forward,” the article adds.

What It’s Like To Be A Blind Software Engineer At Amazon “Michael Forzano has worked at Seattle’s e-commerce giant for nearly six years, using a regular laptop with a screen he’s never seen.

Facebook-quitting advice from a professional internet quitter “One thing I always tell people, and it’s something I wish I did a better job of putting into practice, is to ‘keep it small.’”

Women’s Work

Via NPR reporting on the research of Kelly Dittmar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.A Record 309 Women Are Running For Seats In The House (And 1,103 Men) While the number of women filing to run is almost a 90-percent increase over 2016’s numbers, the number of men running has also risen; the total percentage of women is still a mere 22%

‘Nerves of steel’: She calmly landed the Southwest flight, just as you’d expect of a former fighter pilot

Too Many Men “In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation”

The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile

Trumpery

In Closed-Door UN Meetings, Trump Administration Officials Pushed Abstinence For International Women’s Health Programs

The leaked Comey memos just blew up in Trump’s face

Simply put, the memos confirm that Trump did, in fact, try to exert a level of control over his FBI director, and over an ongoing investigation into his and his cronies’ conduct, that is wildly at odds with norms dictating that law enforcement should be free of political and/or presidential interference.

Elsewhere for April 14, 2018

You should read this for 4/14/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

A Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain

An elegy for handwriting? This TLS review of two books about handwriting discusses Ann Trubek’s somewhat wretched and very slanted The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. As a card-carrying Medievalist, I want to note that Trubek has wrenched her potted history of Medieval hands out of historicity and into the fantasy  land of what she’d like to be true, as a left-handed writer who felt victimized by the school system. Instead of Ann Trubek’s book, I recommend The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting by Philip Hensher, or for the more scholarly inclined American, Tamara Plakins Thornton’s Handwriting in America A Cultural History (YUP, 1998), presently on my TBR list.

Via NPR: Why learning Latin stays with you forever In high school, my guidance counselor would not approve me taking Latin; she didn’t think I was, as she put it, “academic enough.” In fairness to her, I had struggled with French, ultimately deciding, on my own, to repeat the first year (learning languages is harder still when you’re dyslexic). In fairness to me, this same guidance counselor urged me to go to Colby-Sawyer, get a business degree and “Meet a nice young man going to Dartmouth for medical school.” I have, since that conversation at 16, earned a Ph.D. with philological emphasis, not at Colby-Sawyer. But Latin called to me, and I have continued to learn it, first via a summer cram course as an undergraduate, later by painstakingly reading and translating and, occasionally, pulling out my hair. Latin is still enormously useful as a grounding in how languages work, particularly, oddly, how English is different from Latin and works quite well. It’s also a wonderful language. As Frankie Thomas says in this interview:

Unlike beginner’s Spanish or French, which teach you to say, “I would like a salad,” and “Where is the library?” beginner Latin teaches you to talk like a supervillain.

The Language Rules We Know But Don’t Know We KnowThis BBC piece was inspired  when “a single paragraph from a book [Mark Forsyth] wrote called The Elements of Eloquence went viral. Forysyth manages to explain some of the more arcane aspects of English that native speakers know, but don’t know we know, like the ablaut reduplication process and adjectival precedence (why there may be little green men, but there are less likely to be green little men. Unless. Because in English, there’s almost always an exception.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s remains rediscovered in wine cellar I’m just going to live this here for you to read.

Education

Beware The Academic Vanity Honeypot “How a hacker weaponized flattery and took over my Twitter account.”

This dot-ML seemed—because I was blinded by Larry Summers’ marquee macroeconomic celebrity—perfectly credible. Whoosh. I landed on a hinky page that asked for my .  . . Twitter credentials.

But wait, there’s more:

From the indictment: “In general, those spearphishing emails indicated that the purported sender had read an article the victim professor had recently published, and expressed an interest in several other articles, with links to those additional articles included.”

This kind of phishing attack; targeted, specific, and “normal” seeming is really successful. Falling for it is natural, but do be cautious. Be suspicious; not clicking isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Food and Drink

It’s Spring. Have some asparagus. May I recommend the Creamy Asparagus soup?

History and Archaeology

From the newly opened Getty Villa curator David Saunders on 10 Ways to Look at Ancient Greek Vases. This is art, history, and the early use of text. Also beautiful pictures.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Building better maps for the disability community

“When I want to go to a bar or restaurant, I search on my phone for the menu or location,” she said. “I don’t need to check if I can use the bathroom there, or if I can reach the bar or a table. But that’s what my friends who use wheelchairs have to do.”

The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma This is a courageous piece; well-worth reading. It’s a reminder to reach out and make it better for others. Just acknowledging surviving is important and helpful.

Science and Nature

Puffin beaks are fluorescent and we had no idea

A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers

Newly discovered brain injury in vets linked to PTSD Scar tissue found in the brains of combat veterans who suffered from PTSD could mean that many cases of the disorder are caused by physical trauma

Society

Embattled EPA chief’s calendar shows industry had his ear

In other words, based on an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule Reuters reporters did the math; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Pruitt had 25-times more meetings with industry representatives than he had meetings with environmental advocates during his first seven months in office.

Via NPR: States Turn To National Guard To Help Protect Future Elections From Hackers

After Russian-backed hackers probed election-related systems in at least 21 states in 2016, election officials, whose focus has traditionally been on making sure that polling places run smoothly and that results are speedily reported, now have to focus on protecting their computer systems.

6 Facts About Fake News In The 2016 Election

For example, it’s still troubling if fake news convinces people at the extreme liberal or conservative end of the spectrum of things that aren’t true — even if it doesn’t change their votes.

And there is evidence that fake news is effective at changing beliefs. One 2017 studyfrom researchers at Yale University found that the more people were exposed to a given fake news statement, they more they believed it.

Technology

I’m moving away from Facebook as rapidly as possible. It’s not really feasible for me to completely abandon it given my job. That said, I suggest not deleting your Facebook account, but removing all the data, including friends where possible. Abandoning or deleting the account means that your name space, your name and identity, become available for someone else to claim. 

Send Facebook & Twitter a message: Use MeWe instead


How to see if your Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica

Women’s Work

Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis “The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.”

Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers

On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplacesorder then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts The two principles rules 💩🔥💰 revoked are pretty important for equal opportunity for women.

It’s official: Steven Mnuchin is the greatest sycophant in Cabinet history

$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip

Elsewhere for April 7, 2018

You should read this for 4/7/2018:

Art and Film

Amazing Macro-Photography Of Individual Snowflakes [10 Pictures]

Books, Writing, and Language

22 Ambassadors Recommend the One Book to Read Before Visiting Their Country

If male authors described men in literature the way they describe women

Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And ‘Media Influencers’

In today’s installment of “I’m Not Terrified, You Are,” Bloomberg Law reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.”

The details of the attached Request for Information, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.

The administraiton’s desire to build a black list of journalists and high-profile media engagement citizens is in absolute goose-stepping alignment with 💩🔥💰’s hostility towards the media, and his deliberate attack on truth, including labeling any reporting, no matter how accurate it is, as “fake news” if it doesn’t effuse over him and his actions.

Education

What Apple’s education announcements mean for accessibility

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

James Patterson donating $2 million to classroom libraries

The Truth About Kill Pens – Are You REALLY Saving a Life?

Society

John Oliver Goes Off on Sinclair, Calls News Anchors ‘Members of a Brainwashed Cult’

“Yeah. Nothing says ‘We value independent media’ like dozens of reporters forced to repeat the same message over and over again like members of a brainwashed cult,” said Oliver. “I guess what I’m saying here, Sinclair, is that as a news organization, I believe you make no sense.”

Here’s NYMag.com on the same story: News Anchors Reciting Sinclair Propaganda Is Even More Terrifying in Unison

Seattle’s KOMO used to be a good station, before Sinclair.

And then there’s this from Newsweek: Media Giant Sinclair Hired Reporter From Russian Propaganda Outlet Rt Who Produced ‘Must-Run’ ‘Deep State’ Segment

Sinclair national correspondent Kristine Frazao produced the segment. Before joining Sinclair in 2013, she was an anchor/correspondent at RT, formerly Russia Today, for more than three years, according to her LinkedIn page. RT is an international television network funded by the Russian government. The Columbia Journalism Review called it “the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet.”

Technology

Twitter postpones platform change that would cut off third-party apps Basically, Twitter proposed cutting third-party apps that run outside of a Web browser and depend on “streaming services” from Twitter for their data. These apps are crucial for disabled users, since several of them run on hardware (like macOS) that Twitter’s own apps do not.

Even in a best-case scenario, it would only potentially restore the push notification side of things; it sounds like third-party Twitter clients just won’t have any practical way of offering a live-updating timeline anymore. “You will see delays in real-time updates during sporting events and breaking news,” the developers say.

Women’s Work

Jill McCabe: The president attacked my reputation. It’s time to set the record straight

‘He saw our children as possessions’: my husband killed our sonsClare Throssell is working to change UK laws so the family courts procedures are changed. “A forthcoming domestic abuse bill is likely to prevent abusers being allowed to cross-examine their victims.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Fact check: Trump administration departs from reality on wall, census, Amazon

Elsewhere for March 31, 2018

You should read this for 3/31/2018:

Art and Film

The National Museum Of Scotland Is Putting Its Entire Collection Online “Using Google Arts and Culture’s museum view experience, which is similar to how Google’s Street View works, tourists can view the 20,000 objects on display at the National Museum. The virtual display also includes 1,000 pictures of objects from the Edinburgh museum’s collection.” It’s a little hard to navigate, but you can see high resolution 3-images of a lot of objects as well as “tour” the museum. Google is not the greatest in terms of UI.

Books, Writing, and Language

NPR’s The Indicator PodCast on Too Small To Fail This is about the resurgent of independent bookstores, bookstores owned by individuals, families, and small businesses. They got beat up, badly, by chains in the 1990s, then the Internet and Amazon smacked them in 1995. Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle reader in 2007 was another blow. Waldenbooks, Borders, Barnes and Noble, also were hit hard by Amazon and ebooks. Now, since 2009, the independent bookstore has had a resurgence; the number of independent bookstores in the U.S. is now up almost 40% since 2009. Hand-selling, the experience, and the role of exceedingly knowledgeable staff who know their communities.

Why Trump Appointees Refer To ‘Optics’ When Discussing Spending Scandals

The optics versus the facts. That’s the problem.

This wrenching of optics out of the original meanings to mean “The way a situation or action appears to the general public: Voters were put off by the optics of the candidate’s financial dealings” (s. v. AHD) is a perfect example of Orwellian politically correct language; language designed to obfuscate truth.

Education

A University of Wisconsin campus pushes plan to drop 13 majors — including English, history and philosophy “The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point has proposed dropping 13 majors in the humanities and social sciences — including English, philosophy, history, sociology and Spanish — while adding programs with “clear career pathways” as a way to address declining enrollment and a multimillion-dollar deficit.”

Congress rebukes DeVos over her plans to reorganize the Education Department

Congressional legislation seeks to fund school vouchers for military families — despite major opposition from military families

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Watch what happened when older students saw young kids protesting gun violence on a N.Y. street I’m so impressed with the current under 21 generation; let’s hope that we don’t mess things up so badly that not even they can make things better. </p

Technology

Tim Cook says Facebook should have regulated itself, but it’s too late for that now Tim Cook: “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Apple’s not perfect, but I do appreciate their stance on user data and privacy.

Women’s Work

More States Move To End ‘Tampon Tax’ That’s Seen As Discriminating Against Women

I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends.

The idea that we are to blame, even implicitly, for the murders of our friends and teachers is a slap in the face to all Stoneman Douglas victims and survivors.

Also? Stop telling women and girls to “be nice” to jerks. Stop letting jerks behave like jerks because “they’re just boys.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

The White House Has an ‘Enemy List’ Full of Reporters “I’m there to get the president’s opinions and his answers. He was the one elected to office. Not the White House staff.”

Elsewhere for March 24, 2018

You should read this for 3/24/2018:

Art and Film

Easter Egg Art: Hatched From An Ancient Tradition To Celebrate Rebirth

Books, Writing, and Language

The art of the big lie: the history of fake news From the Reichstag fire to Stalin’s show trials, the craft of disinformation is nothing new.

This Woman Wrote Her Novel At A Tire Store And Now They Are Her Biggest Fans

Food and Drink

Pizza Rustica or Easter Pie “A deep-dish cousin to quiche that’s packed with Italian deli meats and cheeses like prosciutto, pepperoni, soppressata, mozzarella and provolone, this rich pie, also called Easter pie, is traditionally made on Good Friday and served on the holiday to celebrate the end of Lent. ”

History and Archaeology

Big Cats and ‘Ritual’ Dogs Lived in Maya Captivity “The ancient Maya were keeping big cats in captivity and transporting dogs long distances as early as 400 B.C., according to a new analysis of animal bones from the central Guatemala site of Ceibal. ”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

I posted a huge note for the thief who stole my bike. Then my doorbell rang. “My bike was stolen a week ago Saturday. It was half my fault, half my husband’s fault, and 100 percent the fault of the person who stole it. Left with a lock, a front wheel and a heavy heart, I did the only thing I could think of: I decided to leave the thief a little note.”

Andrew McCabe was just offered a job by a congressman so he can get his full retirement. And it just might work.

Women Are Offering Their Prom Dresses To Strangers Online For Free In Hopes Of Making A Teen’s Day This a great idea; I bet lots of people have a dress that they’ll never wear after their own prom but that someone in need would be delighted to wear to a prom. I know there were girls at my high school who couldn’t afford a prom dress—and so stayed at home.

Science and Nature

Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has operated for 40 years, 6 months and 16 days as of March 21, 2018. And it’s just had its lifespan extended (again!).

NASA receives response from Voyager 1 spacecraft 13 billion miles away after 37 years of inactivity

Society

HHS strips lesbian, bisexual health content from women’s health website Oh look! The New Lesbian Invisibility is now Federally integrated.

HHS said the pages and links, some of which were first posted in 2012, were taken down as part of a routine update. “The outdated lesbian and bisexual health pages were removed and the health content was integrated into the relevant health topics pages across the website,” an HHS spokesperson said.
However, the Sunlight Foundation determined that existing health topic pages do not appear to have been updated with new material and the now-missing lesbian and bisexual health content was not integrated elsewhere.

Ageism is real. Cutting ‘Old Heads’ At IBM æAs it scrambled to compete in the internet world, the once-dominant tech company cut tens of thousands of U.S. workers, hitting its most senior employees hardest and flouting rules against age bias.”

Technology

Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters

The data analytics firm that worked with [#45’s] election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in the tech giant’s biggest ever data breach, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

Following the Cambridge Analytica dots means the trail is getting closer and closer to #45 and Russia.

Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university Data company gave briefing to Moscow firm Lukoil, and the lecturer who developed the crucial algorithm worked for St Petersburg university

And now this:

Facebook may have violated FTC privacy deal, say former federal officials, triggering risk of massive fines “Two former federal officials who crafted the landmark consent decree governing how Facebook handles user privacy say the company may have violated that decree when it shared information from tens of millions of users with a data analysis firm that later worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign.”

Also check out this February 2016 NPR piece by Scott Detrow on how Ted Cruz campaign staff used Cambridge Analytica’s data services . See this from CEO Alexander Nix:

Yes, demographics and geographics are important,” he says. “But really what’s important is to start clustering people by personality.

Your decision-making is based on your personality,” he says. “And not on your gender. Nor is it based on your age or your wealth or any other demographic or geographic factor.

It’s no wonder that Analytica has suspended CEL Alexander Nix who has made the following statements:

An investigation from UK broadcaster Channel 4 recorded Nix discussing a supposedly hypothetical plan to entrap politicians. Nix also discussed Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Trump Campaign. He claimed the company started the “Crooked Hilary,” meme and that “our data informed all the strategy.” He also discussed his company’s use of a self-destructing email service and disguising social media ads.

Oh, and they’ve changed their company name to Emerdata Limited, but the board of directors, including the Mercers, Jenneir and Rebekah Mercer, etc. are all the same.

‘Lone DNC Hacker’ Guccifer 2.0 Slipped Up and Revealed He Was a Russian Intelligence Officer

Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU), The Daily Beast has learned. It’s an attribution that resulted from a fleeting but critical slip-up in GRU tradecraft.

Women’s Work

Who Maps the World?Too often, men. And money. But a team of OpenStreetMap users is working to draw new cartographic lines, making maps that more accurately—and equitably—reflect our space.

Starbucks eliminates gender pay gap in U.S. workforce, aims to do the same worldwide Starbucks announced that it has reached “100 percent pay equity among all genders and minority groups for its U.S. workforce.”

In the U.S., the average pay gap between women and men doing the same or similar work is about 20 percent. That means the average woman makes 80 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same job. The gap for women of color is even larger.

Via Smithsonian: The Tragedy of Cattle Kate

Kate was merely a woman looking to set out a life for herself on the frontier. Even though some local papers put out more accurate accounts soon after her lynching, the mythical version—wild woman meets her just end—is what stuck. Today, experts agree that Watson’s greatest crime was probably her willingness to cross boundaries.

In effect, she was murdered for being different.

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Elsewhere for March 17, 2018

You should read this for 3/17/2018:

Art and Film

Sex and death in the classical world From striking coffin portraits to boldly erotic statues, the art of the Romans and Greeks tells us compelling stories about how they lived, died, and loved.

Books, Writing, and Language

In defense of real books

It’s Time To Worry When Colleges Erase Humanities Departments

They may not have “value” according to strict economic rules, but the liberal arts do have a leavening value that helps make every student more than just a future drone, narrowly confined to his or her job without an awareness, let’s say, of cultural context or an appreciation for art and literature. Applying strict cost/benefit analyses to academic fields may seem like a short-term cure, but in the long run, eliminating the humanities and other “unprofitable” fields does more harm than good.

Food and Drink

Porchetta “Inspired by a famous Roman butcher, this slow-cooked dish of pork surrounded by crispy skin makes a memorable dinner with ample leftovers.”

This take on butcher Vito Bernabei’s porchetta—a perennial Roman favorite—replaces the traditional pork belly and loin with pork shoulder, which is easier to find and work with. Don’t be daunted by the size: Leftovers make fantastic sandwiches.

History and Archaeology

National Geographic: For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It

Humans crossed with Denisovans more than once, new study shows “DNA extracted from the fragments previously revealed cross-species breeding. Yet a new study in the journal Cell shows the ancient hanky-panky did not stop in Siberia: Humans who traveled across South Asia mated with a separate group of Denisovans, as well.” The actual paper was published in the journal Cell; you can see “Analysis of Human Sequence Data Reveals Two Pulses of Archaic Denisovan Admixture” here.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

How The Richest Black American And His Billionaire Partner Became Top Philanthropists

Smith wrote in an unpublished statement when he became the first black American to sign the Giving Pledge, committing to contribute half of his net worth to philanthropic causes during his lifetime. “We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create onramps that empower ALL people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender, or color of skin.”

Research Update: Medicaid Pulls Americans Out Of Poverty, Updated Edition Among other things:

• Medicaid had a larger effect on child poverty than all non-health means tested benefits combined. It is estimated to reduce child poverty by 5.3 percentage points.

PHOTOS | Students protest against gun violence across the country

Science and Nature

Scott Kelly Spent a Year in Space, and Now He Has Different DNA Than His Identical Twin Brother

When Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a 340-day voyage aboard the International Space Station (ISS) two years ago, he was 2 inches taller than he’d been when he left. His body mass had decreased, his gut bacteria were completely different, and — according to preliminary findings from NASA researchers — his genetic code had changed significantly.

The coolest thing about this is the possible connection with genetic modification triggered by stress and / or the immune system.

More Political Science: Proposed laws protect “Lyme literate” doctors from discipline “More Political Science: Proposed laws protect “Lyme literate” doctors from discipline.

Society

The skin care wars, explainedWhen we talk about skin care, we’re talking about women, their bodies, and their money.

Because in our culture, anything that women love is co-opted by two forces: corporations, which attempt to commercialize what used to be subversive, and concern trolls, who tell women that the thing they like and take pleasure from is secretly bad for them in particular and society as a whole. And while the two co-opting forces might seem to be opposed to each other, they’re actually mutually reinforcing agents of the same patriarchal myths about women.

A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they’re so pissed off “Hint: it’s not about the economy.”

Graduate students need more mental health support, new study highlights “There is a mental health crisis in graduate education, and research institutions need to take action to address it. That’s the take-home message from a global survey of Ph.D. and master’s students published today.”

Approximately half of the students with anxiety or depression reported not having supportive relationships with their PIs, as measured in a variety of ways, including whether the students feel valued, whether their PIs have a positive impact on their mental well-being, and whether they feel that their PIs are assets to their careers.

This is key; graduate students, especially in a Ph.D. program, need a solid mentor. If your chair is largely interested in using your services as an employee, there’s less incentive for the faculty member to actually mentor you, particularly in the context of your dissertation and research. The long-term conventional exploitation of graduate students labor and scholarship that’s openly acknowledged but shrugged off as “that’s just how things are.” As a general note, a dissertation chair who takes six months to give you feedback on a 60 page chunk of your dissertation is a dirtbag.

Technology

Elevators, talking to the Cloud.

Via Nature: ‘News’ spreads faster and more widely when it’s false

How A Twitter Fight Over Bernie Sanders Revealed A Network Of Fake Accounts One Democratic Party consultant said an unnamed client controlled many of these accounts.

Via The New Yorker: Struggle to Detoxify the Internet “How do we fix life online without limiting free speech?”

Is it possible to facilitate a space for open dialogue without also facilitating hoaxes, harassment, and threats of violence? Where is the line between authenticity and toxicity? What if, after technology allows us to reveal our inner voices, what we learn is that many of us are authentically toxic?

Trolls set a cunning trap. By ignoring their provocations, you risk seeming complicit. By responding, you amplify their message.

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid
“Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.”

Women’s Work

Rolling StoneInterviews Rachel Maddow

The Women Who Made The Internet

A nun begged Katy Perry not to buy her convent — then collapsed and died

I’m with the nuns on this one, if they in fact pooled their money initially to buy the convent building, as reported here. Note by the way, that these aren’t your everyday nuns: < blockquote>In the 1950s, the house sold to Catholic philanthropists Daniel and Bernardine Murphy Donohue, who eventually sold it to the nuns at a discount (they pooled their money to buy it). Now the last sisters are worried the archdiocese will land a big windfall from selling the place and cut them out (they want their living expenses covered).

Meet The Woman Who Poisoned Makeup To Help Over 600 Women Murder Their Husbands Giulia Tofana killed hundreds of men in 17th-century Italy when she turned her makeup business into a poison factory, selling a deadly concoction called Aqua Tofana, thought to have been laced with arsenic, lead, and belladonna.

Drag Elsa frees a Boston police wagon stuck in the snow. Bar patrons go wild.

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