Elsewhere for July 28, 2019

You should read this for 7/27/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

Free Book Vending Machines Launched Across All NYC Boroughs

Rebuilding Jane Austen’s Library

The collaboration is called “Reading with Austen.” Users can hover over the shelves and click on any of the antique books, summoning bibliographic data and available photos of pertinent title pages, bookplates, and marginalia. Digging deeper, one can peruse a digital copy of the book and determine the whereabouts of the original.


Toddlers engage more with print books than ebooks, developmental researchers say “Researchers find that toddlers verbalize and interact more with their parents when reading sessions feature print books, not tablets.”

History and Archaeology

Romano-Saxon Site Found in England the site was occupied during the Iron Age, Roman, and Saxon periods. Finds include eight Iron Age roundhouses, some of which date to 100 B.C.E, remains of three people who had been buried in a crouched position some 2,500 years ago. According to archaeologist Stephen Macaulay of Oxford Archaeology East:

What makes this site really significant is we have evidence of early Saxon occupation mingled with the latest Roman remains

Archeologists confirm near-legendary tale of crusaders’ siege of Jerusalem

“The chroniclers talk about ‘rivers of blood’ running in the streets of the city, and it may not be an exaggeration,” said project co-director Shimon Gibson, a historian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in a recent statement. Amid looting, burning, and worse, crusaders slaughtered Muslims, Jews, and even local Christians, whom they considered heretics. “They turned Jerusalem into a ghost town,” said Gibson.

Dare to Dream: William J. Powell, Booster of Black Flight


Lessons from testing decades of forgotten rape kits: serial rapists are common, they don’t follow a pattern, they’re not very bright, and they’re often the same men who commit acquaintance rape “An Obama-era subsidy for clearing rape kit backlogs, combined with DNA testing, has completely upended the conventional wisdom on rapists and how they commit their crimes.”

By ignoring the rapes of sex workers, poor women, women of color, addicted women and disabled women, cops allowed men who were also committing property crimes and crimes of violence go free; and by not bothering to DNA-test rape kits from acquaintance-rapes, cops allowed strings of stranger rapes to go unsolved.


Play These Retro Video Games With Your Kid

Women’s Work

Via the magnificent Blair Macgregor: Seeing Is Understanding ‘This is about speaking up, creepers, and what good men don’t always see.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

USA TODAY’s Editorial Board: Trump is ‘unfit for the presidency’

This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency.
From the day he declared his candidacy 15 months ago through this week’s first presidential debate, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.

Better to have a few rats than to be one

We would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Archived – The End of Coal

Coal went from 25% of Ontario’s supply mix in 2003 to zero in 2014, all while grid reliability and domestic supply improved. The elimination of coal stands as the single largest GHG emissions reduction action on the continent and was primarily responsible for Ontario achieving its ambitious 2014 emissions reduction target of 6% below 1990 levels.

H/T Jeff C. A first for U.S.: Clean energy generates more power than coal

‘Restore UK bogs’ to tackle climate change

James Patterson’s Holiday Bonuses for Booksellers

Elsewhere for July 20, 2019

You should read this for 7/21/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Via The New Yorker: The Art of Aphorism

Poetry and Prophecy, Dust and Ashes “A review of The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, by Robert Alter”

Food and Drink

H/T Heather G: Lemon Tart with Walnut Crust

Sweet Corn and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

History and Archaeology

What Is A Concentration Camp?

Lost in this furor is the fact that Ocasio-Cortez did not make a Holocaust analogy when she referred to concentration camps. Widely accepted definitions of concentration camp are worded differently but agree in substance. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines concentration camp as: “a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard.” The Oxford English Dictionary offers some history: “a camp where non-combatants of a district are accommodated, such as those instituted by Lord Kitchener during the Boer War (1899–1902); one for the internment of political prisoners, foreign nationals, etc., esp. as organized by the Nazi regime in Germany before and during the war of 1939–45.” The Encyclopedia Britannica offers a similar definition: “internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order.”

Science and Nature

A fence built to keep out wild dogs has dramatically altered the Australian landscape

Zombifying fungus bypasses the brain to make ants its puppets, study finds


Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.

Between 1910 and 1997, African Americans lost about 90% of their farmland. This problem is a major contributor to America’s racial wealth gap; the median wealth among black families is about a tenth that of white families. Now, as reparations have become a subject of national debate, the issue of black land loss is receiving renewed attention. A group of economists and statisticians recently calculated that, since 1910, black families have been stripped of hundreds of billions of dollars because of lost land. Nathan Rosenberg, a lawyer and a researcher in the group, told me, “If you want to understand wealth and inequality in this country, you have to understand black land loss.”


Via TidBITS: Free VPN Investigation

Over half of the most popular free VPN apps are run by secretive companies with hidden Chinese ownership. Very few do enough to earn the trust of the privacy-conscious.

Rich Mogull in TidBITS: Apple Flexes Its Privacy Muscles

Apple is upping its privacy game to levels never before seen from a major technology company. That is, beyond improving privacy in its own products, the company is starting to use its market strength to extend privacy through the tendrils that touch the Apple ecosystem.

Writing with a pencil is better than with a pen

Women’s Work

Meet Margaret Hamilton: The Woman Behind the Apollo Project I’ve linked to this before, but the piece has some new information.

Via Twitter and @Mary Robinette Kowal‏Verified account @MaryRobinetteLet’s talk about peeing in space. “Several people, in response to my NY Times essay, have said that women couldn’t go into space because we lacked the technology for them to pee in space.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

How our House members voted in response to ‘racist comments’

“It is not the first time I’ve heard, ‘Go back to where you came from,’” said Jayapal, who represents part of Snohomish County, in the protracted and passion-filled floor debate. “It is the first time I have heard it coming from the White House.”

Trump Spoke With Cohen As They, Aides, Sealed Hush Money Deals In 2016

Elsewhere for July 13, 2019

You should read this for 7/13/2019:

Art and Film

Where are all the Bob Ross Paintings? Video

Books, Writing, and Language

How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross

It’s fair to say Terry Gross knows some things about talking to people. The host and co-executive producer of NPR’s “Fresh Air” has interviewed thousands of personalities over the course of her four-decade career.

Sarah Parcak Thinks We Need to Learn From the Fall of Egypt’s Old Kingdom “In a new book, the archaeologist makes the case that ancient history illuminates solutions to modern problems.”

Food and Drink

Breaking Down the Differences Between Gin and Genever “If you’re not familiar with genever, you’re certainly not alone. But an influx of genevers to the U.S.—as well as domestic gin bottlings inspired by the spirit—means that now is a great time to get to know Holland’s native ­distillate.”

Decades ago, he stole a tree branch. Now he is the Durian King

Breakfast recipes generously shared by Biltmore chefs Orange cranberry scones, and cinnamon buns, included.

History and Archaeology

James Monroe Enslaved Hundreds. Their Descendants Still Live Next Door “A small African-American community has existed less than 10 miles from the president’s former plantation for generations. Only recently has the full extent of their relationship been revealed.”

Peleliu’s Battle

Peleliu, along with the rest of the Palauan archipelago, was settled at least 3,000 years ago by migrants from islands in Southeast Asia. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Palau was colonized by Spain, then Germany, and, in 1914, by Japan. In preparation for war, two of Peleliu’s five traditional villages were razed to make way for an airfield constructed by the Japanese in the late 1930s. The Japanese used forced Palauan labor to dig many of the caves in which they would hide during the battle, but evacuated the island’s natives before the Americans invaded. Peleliu’s remaining three villages were destroyed in the battle, along with the island’s previously abundant vegetation. “When people returned [in 1946], they found their island devoid of anything green,” says Sunny Ngirmang, director of Palau’s Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation. “It was all white limestone, and you could see from one side of the island to the other—that’s how bare it was.”

Viking bones and DNA will decay quickly as Greenland thaws

Viking settlers abandoned Greenland some 600 years ago. But the frozen ground has preserved centuries of the seafarers’ hardy existence on the western shores of the remote landmass, including bones and DNA.
The Vikings, though, didn’t first step foot on Greenland. The Saqqaq people arrived there first, around 3,800 years before the Vikings, as did other nomadic peoples. Yet now, all of their culturally invaluable organic remains are under threat from amplified Arctic warming — the fastest changing region on Earth.

Science and Nature

The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim

Ancient life awakens amid thawing ice caps and permafrost

This bright purple ribbon—named STEVE—is an entirely new celestial phenomenon


“The Columbia Journalism Review has appointed public editors for a group of four news organizations because they won’t do it themselves.”

H/T Sylvia: Promise of training with luxury hotel group entraps visa workers

Every fortnight, Arindam Biswas watched as his boss deposited $1626 into his bank account. Then like clockwork, more than half his fortnightly wages disappeared – reclaimed by his employer as rent for a shared bedroom.

Russian spy sub crew prevented nuclear accident at cost of their lives


Apple is silently removing Zoom’s web server software from Macs

After all of the drama over Zoom’s use of a hidden web server on Macs, Apple itself has decided to step in, TechCrunch reports. It is issuing a silent update — meaning your Mac will get it without any interaction on your part — to remove the web server, which was designed to save Safari users an extra click, from any Mac that has Zoom’s software installed.

Although Zoom itself issued an emergency patch yesterday to remove that web server, apparently Apple is concerned that enough users won’t update or are unaware of the controversy in the first place that it’s issuing its own patch. It makes perfect sense not only because many users may not open Zoom for some time, but also because many of them had uninstalled the app. Before Zoom’s emergency update, uninstalling the app left the web server on your computer — so Zoom wouldn’t have a way to uninstall it with an updated app. That means the only reasonable and easy way for those people to get this patch would be for Apple to provide it.

Website drive-by attacks on routers are alive and well. Here’s what to do

Besides watching out for spoofed sites, people can protect themselves by keeping router firmware updated or, when updates are no longer available, replacing the router. Also key is ensuring that administrative passwords are strong. Periodically checking a router’s DNS settings is a good idea as well. It should either be blank or, better yet, use the freely available server offered by content delivery network Cloudflare. Avast has more information on DNS hijacking here.

Women’s Work

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the 2020 Presidential Race and Trump’s Crisis at the Border

I think what we need to be doing right now is coming home as a party. I don’t think we should be afraid of being the party of F.D.R. I don’t think we should be afraid of being the party of working people. And it feels to me that at some point we did start becoming afraid of those things.

The best female masturbation positions that aren’t like the ones you see in porn

World Cup heroes Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan go to the White House after all (sorta)

H/T ElaineA: Vicky Ward, the former Vanity Fair reporter assigned in 2002 to write a profile on Epstein. See this Twitter thread:

In 2002, I was assigned to write a profile of Jeffrey Epstein for Vanity Fair. This was that piece. But what was published was far from the whole story.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

I just installed solar panels because now’s the time

Elsewhere for July 6, 2019

You should read this for 7/6/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

The Rise of Junk Science “Fake publications are corrupting the world of research—and influencing real news”

The new online model created an opportunity for profits: the more papers publishers accepted, the more money they generated from authors who paid to be included—$150 to $2,000 per paper, if not more, and often with the support of government grants. Researchers also saw substantial benefits: the more studies they posted, the more positions, promotions, job security, and grant money they received from universities and agencies. Junk publishers—companies that masquerade as real publishers but accept almost every submission and skip quality editing—elbowed their way in.

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, and Merck regularly use junk journals to communicate about their drugs for chronic back pain, diabetes, arthritis, hiv, and other conditions.

Food and Drink

Sam Adams Summer Ale I’m clearly in the minority, but I genuinely look forward to this seasonal release; it arrives in April and disappears in August.

History and Archaeology

The Moon Landings Have a Nazi Problem

Science and Nature

Oyster Shells Inspire Scientists To Create Glass That’s Much Harder to Shatter

The Latest Insanely Beautiful Image of Jupiter Captured by Juno


The rent’s less damned high: rents falling in most of America’s most expensive cities

EverQuest’s long, strange 20-year trip still has no end in sight “A game born in an era of dial-up Internet is still doing well after all this time—how?!”



YOUR ITUNES MOVIES, your Kindle books—they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.

“The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

Women’s Work

From Hurricane Katrina to Hilltop Golf Course, Card answers the call

“I like to fix broken things,” she explains. “I can see clearly when there’s something I can help.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle “Uhura” Nichols checks out the Space Shuttle Enterprise (1977)

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump poll numbers went up each time Russian Internet Research Agency Twitter accounts became active: Study

Trump praises 1775 revolutionary army, claims they ‘took over airports.’

“In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York . . . Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

Fort McHenry was important in the War of 1812 and not the Revolutionary War. Fort McHenry wasn’t built until 1798; airports, like air planes are 19th century.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Could Planting Tons of Trees Solve Climate Change?

“Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment. If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere … to levels last seen almost a century ago.”

Elsewhere for June 29, 2019

You should read this for 6/29/2019:

Art and Film

Thousands urge Netflix to cancel ‘Good Omens.’ It’s on Amazon Prime

Riz Ahmed’s Star Wars Celebration Chicago Appearance Was Canceled Because Homeland Security Wouldn’t Let Him Board His Flight

On the first day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago this past April, it was suddenly announced that Riz Ahmed—who played Imperial courier-turned Rebel hero Bodhi Rook in Rogue One—had to cancel his appearance at the convention. Now, the actor’s revealed why, and it’s another reflection of being a minority attempting to travel in the U.S.

Books, Writing, and Language

The Holocaust Survivor Who Deciphered Nazi Doublespea

Blumental, from the beginning, gathered words.
In every Nazi document he came across, he circled and underlined innocuous terms like “abgang” (exit) or “evakuierung” (evacuation). He knew what these words actually meant when they appeared in memos and bureaucratic forms: They were euphemisms for death. A mission of his own took shape: to reveal the ways the Nazis had used the German language to obscure the mechanics of mass murder and make genocide more palatable to themselves.

Food and Drink

H/T Ken @alawine: The Beginner’s Guide To Pairing Wine With Chocolate

The Best Bar Regulars Are the Quiet Ones

History and Archaeology

Exquisitely Designed 2,000-Year-Old Roman Shoe Discovered in a Well

Stonewall at 50: How it Played out in Newspapers

The Stonewall uprising was a series of six-day protests that began in the early morning of June 28, 1969, and centered around the Stonewall Inn, a gay tavern in New York City’s Greenwich Village on Christopher Street. This particular event (also called the Stonewall rebellion or Stonewall riots), represents a turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights. Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970, marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with an assembly on Christopher Street and the first Gay Pride march in U.S. history, covering the 51 blocks to Central Park.

Science and Nature

New climate ‘stripes’ reveal how much hotter your hometown has gotten in the past century

A social media campaign called #ShowYourStripes is flooding the climate science community with beautiful blue and red striped barcodelike images, each of which represents more than a century of temperature data for virtually all countries and all 50 U.S. states.

See also: Ed Hawkins Show Your Stripes.


Some penguins are gay. Get over it.

Ronnie and Reggie got together in 2014, and famously adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple a year later. The pair shared parenting duties of their chick, Kyton, until he fledged the nest. They remain as strong as ever and are often found snuggled up in their nest box together.
The duo share their home with 91 other penguins, including fellow same sex couples Nadja and Zimmer and Dev and Martin, as well as one-year-old Rainbow who hatched during Pride celebrations last year and will celebrate her first birthday this weekend.


In-the-wild Mac malware kept busy in June—here’s a rundown

Women’s Work

Viking warrior women? Reassessing Birka chamber grave Bj.581

The warrior woman has long been part of the Viking image, with a pedigree that extends from the Valkyries of Old Norse prose and poetry to modern media entertainment. Until recently, however, actual Viking Age evidence for such individuals has been sparse. This article addresses research showing that the individual buried at Birka in an ‘arche- typal’ high-status warrior grave—always assumed to be male since its excavation in 1878—is, in fact, biologically female.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Same-sex couple receives adorable note thanking them for their Pride flag

Create a Music Playlist for a Loved One With Dementia

Love is Love

I’m gay, and I’ve just left my church of fifteen years to come out. I’ve already left my church job, lost my network, my home, most of my friends, and my family’s understanding. In a really strange time in my life, a little bit apocalyptic, #GoodOmens
 was a heartstopping watch.

H/T Sylvia: Canberra family turning bottle caps into plastic hands and arms for children

Elsewhere for June 22, 2019

You should read this for 6/22/2019:

Art and Film

Stonewall survivor tells his story of the uprising

Joe Negrelli, a SAGE participant and Stonewall survivor, tells his firsthand story of the Stonewall uprising in 1969.
This video features archival footage throughout the decades, including highlights from Gay & Proud, a film by lesbian pioneer Lilli Vincenz, documenting the first-annual pride march. At the time Gay & Proud was made, no television networks would distribute it.

Mark Hamill calls for Carrie Fisher Walk of Fame star to replace Donald Trump’s

Star Wars: The Last Jedi actor Mark Hamill has called for Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star to be replaced by one for Carrie Fisher, his co-star in multiple Star Wars movies.
Hamill retweeted an article from August 2018 reporting that West Hollywood City Council had voted to remove Trump’s star. Hamill added: “Good riddance! (and I know just who should replace him…) #AStarForCarrie.”

H/T Lisa Carnell: Thanks for making Detroit cool, artists. Here’s your eviction.

“It was artists moving back to Detroit that started the renaissance, and now those are the people getting pushed out,” said Pat Domanski, a painter who was forced out of her studio on Grand River in May along with the others.
Arts advocates say that’s reality nowadays in Detroit: The city is hip in part because of its bohemian vibe, but as public art has helped boost property values artists are forced out through rising rents or building sales.

Books, Writing, and Language

When Gloria Vanderbilt Reviewed ‘Harriet the Spy’

Food and Drink

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

History and Archaeology

Concentration Camps Existed Long Before Auschwitz

And they exist now near U.S. borders.

The Photographer Who Captured 20th-Century Queer Life “Joan E. Biren’s images from the ’70s and ’80s—which appear in the new exhibit “Art After Stonewall”—reflect an effort to document and encourage lesbian love.”

“I wanted to be a photographer in large part because I needed to see images of lesbians, and it was a visceral thing. I wanted a reflection of my reality, and I think everybody wants that,” JEB told the historian Kelly Anderson in 2004 as part of Smith College’s Voices of Feminism Oral History Project. “My experience is that there’s an enormous hunger among people to be able to see themselves.”

Science and Nature

Song of the Rarest Large Whale on Earth Recorded for the First Time

For the first time ever, scientists have recorded the song of a right whale. And not just any right whale, but the rarest of them all. A team with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) first heard the song of the North Pacific right whale in 2009, but they weren’t able to visually confirm what animal was making the sounds until 2017.

Via Open Culture: The Atlas of Space: Behold Brilliant Maps of Constellations, Asteroids, Planets & “Everything in the Solar System Bigger Than 10km”

Narlugas Are Real “A very strange hybrid whale was the offspring of a narwhal mother and a beluga father.”

Seals in Scotland Were Taught to Sing the Star Wars Theme — Watch


FCC Chair Ajit Pai promised that killing Net Neutrality would spur investment and improve service: a year later, service and investment have declined

A year ago, Trump FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality, leveraging illegal, fraudulent industry dirty tricks to ram his rule through the process; all along, he claimed that Net Neutrality was a drag on investment, competition and service improvements, and that Americans would see immediate benefits once he was done killing Net Neutrality.
It’s been a year, and while Pai has touted major gains in broadboand investment, these were also a fraud, with the big telcos slashing investment, slashing jobs, sucking up massive tax subsidies (no, even more massive), while continuing to deliver the slowest, most expensive data in any developed country.

No, anti-vaccine hysteria didn’t emerge from grassroots. This rich NYC couple funded it.

“A myth of the anti-vaccine movement is that it emerged organically through the rise of social media,” says Washington Post investigative reporter Amy Brittain. “We looked into the $$$ behind the movement and found a well-funded operation, driven largely by one Manhattan couple who gave millions to the cause.”

Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates school Mitch McConnell on American history

The matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress, but it is also a question of citizenship. In HR 40, this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement, and reject fair-weather patriotism. To say that a nation is both its credits and its debts. That if Thomas Jefferson matters, so does Sally Hemings. That if D-Day matters, so does black Wall Street. That if Valley Forge matters, so does Fort Pillow. Because the question really is, not whether we will be tied to the “some things” of our past, but whether we are courageous enough to be tied to the whole of them.

There’s a transcript of Coates’ testimony.


Dumbest ‘Gotcha’ Story Of The Week: Google, Genius And The Copying Of Licensed Lyrics

Copyright cases tend to have to be settled in court, or by agreement between the parties; I’m not sure that the encoding via punctuation wouldn’t represent added value. But mostly, I hope that somewhere in the licensing festival that the lyric creators were paid.

BODIES IN SEATS “At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site in North America, one contractor has died, and others say they fear for their lives”

But in return for policing the boundaries of free expression on one of the internet’s largest platforms, individual contractors in North America make as little as $28,800 a year. They receive two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute lunch each day, along with nine minutes per day of “wellness” time that they can use when they feel overwhelmed by the emotional toll of the job. After regular exposure to graphic violence and child exploitation, many workers are subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

This isn’t how to do content moderation; you own your platform Facebook. You can and should just say No to valueless, exploitive, inappropriate and damaging content. This isn’t a problem that’s silicon-based; it’s human. We did this before technology, and we need to do it better now.

Women’s Work

Sex toy company sues MTA over rejected ads

The lawsuit, filed today, points out that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has regularly approved ads focused on sexuality in recent years, including erectile disfunction drug ads from Hims and Roman, posters for the Museum of Sex, promotion of PrEP and condoms from the New York City Health Department, and more. Dame says the rejection of its sex toy ads is rooted in sexism and is a result of the MTA’s “squeamishness about openly acknowledging female sexual pleasure.”

The Problem With HR “For 30 years, we’ve trusted human-resources departments to prevent and address workplace sexual harassment. How’s that working out?”

That the #MeToo movement kept turning up so many shocking stories at so many respected places of employment seemed to me to reflect a massive failure of human resources to do the job we have expected it to perform. Even Harvey Weinstein’s company, after all, had an HR department.

Oh, please, HR doesn’t care about employees, HR is there to cover the company’s legal ass. More often than not, HR is a tool that protects and helps harassers.


ReportbytheO ceofCongreswomanKatiePorter(CA-45) Frequently asked questions about the Mueller Report, impeachment,
and more

Guardian told it was target of Saudi hacking unit after Khashoggi killing

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The 9 Nanas

In Tennessee, you will find a “secret society” of sorts that consists of 9 women who call themselves “The 9 Nanas.” The mission of this “secret group” is simple – to spread happiness by performing random acts of kindness for those in need. The 9 Nanas have been carrying out this mission in secret for over 30 years. Even their husbands had no idea what the ladies were up to! And to think – it all started with pound cake!

Elsewhere for June 15, 2019

You should read this for 6/15/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

Children’s Book Selections

This special collection presents children’s books selected from the General and Rare Book Collections at the Library of Congress. The collection includes classic works that are still read by children today, and lesser-known treasures drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of historically significant children’s books. The books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and free to read, share, and reuse however you’d like.

These are books that are historically important, not necessarily “great books for kids.” Some of them are offensive, and are preserved and presented in an effort to help us not repeat the errors of our past.

The strange “No Frills” series of totally generic genre fiction books from the 1980s

The Bookshop: The story of Australia’s oldest LGBTI bookstore

Food and Drink

900-Year-Old Grape Pips Reveal Unbroken History Of French Wine Variety

techniques such as grafting, rather than being planted from seeds, since this offers far greater consistency when it comes to the grapes.
That has led some to suggest that certain varieties might have remained essentially unchanged across two millennia since the Roman boom in wine production in the Mediterranean. Grapes were first domesticated more than 6,000 years ago in south-western Asia.
The latest research suggests that might not be too far-fetched. Scientists say they have discovered vines producing savagnin blanc grapes today are genetically identical to vines grown in Orléans 900 years ago.

See also: A Medieval Grape Is Still Used to Make Wine

Kale Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, and Pecans

The Simply Recipes Guide to Fancy Salts

History and Archaeology

Human remains found on Canadian beach are confirmed to be Irish famine victims

Via Open Culture: A map of the locations in Homer’s Odyssey See also: An Interactive Map of Odysseus’ 10-Year Journey in Homer’s Odyssey

Science and Nature

Night owls: Simple sleep tweaks boost wellbeing

What’s Causing the Huge Mass Anomaly Beneath the Moon?

The South Pole-Aitken basin is a huge crater produced by an ancient impact on the Moon, whose longest axis would span from New York City to Omaha, Nebraska. Beneath this basin lies a strange anomaly—an excess of mass extending at least 300 kilometers down, more than 10 times the depth of the Earth’s crust.

Via BoingBoing: At-a-glance map of current planetary exploration spacecraft

Emily Lakdawalla and her colleagues at one of my favorite science nonprofits The Planetary Society prepared this fascinating map titled “Where We Are: An At-A-Glance Spacecraft Locator.”


U.S. embassies defy State Department and continue to rock the Pride flag

Americans are too poor to survive whether or not they’re working

A new study from the United Way claims that 43% of American households are in a status called “asset limited, income constrained, employed” (ALICE), which denotes employed people who can’t afford housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, and a cellphone — the basics of modern living.

An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border


Jeff Carlson in The Seattle Times on Apple’s WWDC announcements: Apple rolls out high-powered Mac Pro and revamps several software services

Carlson on the new Mac Pro:

Remarkably, Apple says the thermal system is so efficient that the Mac Pro will be quiet. In fact, the specifications come across as the product of development teams who have spent the last six years feeling like they have something to prove.

While you’re sleeping, your iPhone stays busy. Here’s what is happening and how to limit app tracking.

The problem is, the more places personal data flies, the harder it becomes to hold companies accountable for bad behavior – including inevitable breaches.

I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old Computer

H/T BoingBoing; Calum Booth animationThe most popular social media networks each year, gloriously animated

That’s just scratching the surface though, I’ve watched that social media bar chart race multiple times and always find another interesting nugget. One thing’s for certain, judging by how many times the top spot changed hands over the past 16 years, none of the social media giants should be resting on their laurels. Really, anything can happen.

What I’d like to see is a comparison animation showing Blogger, Moveable Type, Tumblr, WordPress, and similar blogging/CMS platforms for the same era. I’m speculating we are seeing a small, steady return to individual content platforms.

Women’s Work

Women Have Fought to Legalize Reproductive Rights for Nearly Two Centuries

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Key Nixon Accuser Returns To Capitol With Sights Set On Another President

Nixon lawyer John Dean explains the parallels between Trump and Watergate

“In many ways the Mueller Report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate ‘Road Map’  was to President Richard Nixon,” Dean said, reading from his prepared testimony (pdf). “Stated a bit differently, Special Counsel Mueller has provided this committee a road map.”

Dean also compared Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey to Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, in what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre. He also noted parallels between Trump’s attempts to shut down the Mueller investigation via White House counsel Don McGahn to his own experience as Nixon’s counsel. “I certainly hope Don McGahn is a key witness” to this hearing, Dean said.

The Many Lies Of Sara Huckabee Sanders: As Sarah Sanders Signs Off, A Look Back At Her Biggest Lies

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The dad from that viral baby video is demonstrating a crucial parenting skill

H/T PNH for Arkady Martine: Everyone’s World Is Ending All the Time: notes on becoming a climate resilience planner at the edge of the anthropocene

Then, take note: in fact, lambkins, we will live. All despite ourselves, we will live—and be irrevocably changed, as we have irrevocably changed the world.

Elsewhere for June 8, 2019

You should read this for 6/8/2019:

Art, Music, and Film

Metadata Is The Biggest Little Problem Plaguing The Music Industry “It’s a crisis that has left, by some estimations, billions on the table unpaid to musicians.”

The problem, they said, was metadata. In the music world, metadata most commonly refers to the song credits you see on services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes all the underlying information tied to a released song or album, including titles, songwriter and producer names, the publisher(s), the record label, and more. That information needs to be synchronized across all kinds of industry databases to make sure that when you play a song, the right people are identified and paid. And often, they aren’t.

Books, Writing, and Language

How we discovered three poisonous books in our university library


Trump administration cancels English classes, soccer, legal aid for unaccompanied child migrants in U.S. shelter

Food and Drink

Lemon Cheesecake A gingersnap crust, lemon zest in the batter, and lemon curd topping.

Honey-Mustrad dressing Honey, lemon juice, oil, two kinds of mustard, red-wine vinegar, black pepper and salt.

History and Archaeology

An Incredible Fossil Contains a Whole School of 259 Fish

In 2016, Nobuaki Mizumoto was visiting the dinosaur museum in his hometown of Katsuyama, Japan, when he came across an unexpected display—not of a dinosaur, but of a school of fish. It was embedded in limestone shale and exhibited in a corner with no particular fanfare. Yet the 50-million-year-old fossil was clearly extraordinary: 259 tiny fish bodies with eyes and spines and even fins. All but a few faced the same direction, as if frozen mid-swim.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died “DePalma’s thesis adviser estimated that the site will keep specialists busy for half a century. “Robert’s got so much stuff that’s unheard of,” he said. “It will be in the textbooks.”

Science and Nature

New layers of water ice have been found beneath Mars’ North Pole

These layers were found to be 90% water in some places, and are believed to be the remnants of ancient polar ice sheets. If melted, the researchers indicate that they would create a global ocean with a depth of at least 1.5 meters (5 feet).

The Trump admin really, really doesn’t want you to see this climate science

The same scientific agencies that rocketed Neil Armstrong to the moon and forecast the landfall of hurricanes that pummel the U.S. coast also expect dramatic changes to Earth’s climate this century, should humanity continue to heat the planet.

But the Trump administration no longer wants many federal scientists to consider longer-term consequences of saturating the atmosphere with the potent heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide, now likely at its highest level in millions of years.


Notes arguing over flower ownership are the most British thing ever

How to remove your private info from the web in an afternoon

After Leaving Thousands in Agony, the CDC Is Finally Clarifying Its Painkiller Restrictions

The guideline urged doctors to be cautious about prescribing opioid doses higher than 90 morphine equivalents (a way to compare opioids of different strengths) and to generally avoid prescribing any opioids for chronic pain, if at all possible. Introduced in a country facing the worst overdose crisis in history, it was not surprising that what was intended as a set of recommendations rapidly hardened into legal and insurance strictures.

The State Department will start asking visa applicants for their social media accounts


Facebook’s engagement is sinking with no end in sight

Inside the Apple Team That Decides Which Apps Get on iPhones Phillip Shoemaker, the former head of App Store reviews discusses why apps get rejected, competition between Apple and developers, and planning for WWDC. See also Phillip Shoemaker’s Medium article: Apple v. Everybody

On one hand, Apple owns the App Store and should be able to handle the apps on that store however they see fit. On the other hand, there is only one way to install apps onto an iPhone, and that’s through the App Store. With that kind of power, I think it behooves Apple to start thinking about fair competition, especially in the light of regulator scrutiny:

For my part, I think Apple needs to be better about revenue sharing with artists and developers; developers selling though the App store pay Apple a 30% cut to Apple. Why not have a scalable percentage tied to units sold, starting at 10%, and capping at 15%? A standard royalty fee for an agent who sells a book to a publisher is 15%. Apple is not adding value to the product, just to the purchsing experience, and doesn’t have the issues book stores have with returning a printed book (which is why book stores have a substantial lower price for purchasing books from publishers to re-sell).

Women’s Work

Via History News Network: “Candace Wellman is the author of two recent books published by Washington State University:  Peace Weavers, Uniting the Salish Coast through Cross-cultural Marriages (2017) and Interwoven Lives, Indigenous Mothers of Salish Coast Communities (March, 2019). Their eight biographies are the product of 21 years of research and writing. She is also a public speaker and consultant on the subject. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.”Where Did the Indigenous Community Mothers Go?

Historians did not consider that elite Native women’s families might have had their own agenda when they married their daughters to men they considered to be of equal status. Indigenous community mothers seem to have been an uncomfortable truth for historians and other writers that did not fit with the Euro-American mythology they sought to build around “the first white woman” in town. The result was their now-conspicuous absence.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Judge bars Trump from building border wall sections with emergency funds

“The position that when Congress declines the executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” the judge wrote in granting a temporary injunction to stop construction.

A Single Scandal Sums Up All of Trump’s Failures

. . . new Washington Post reporting about President Donald Trump’s border wall especially valuable. The Post writes about how Trump has repeatedly pressured the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security to award a contract for building a wall at the southern U.S. border to a North Dakota company headed by a leading Republican donor.

Why Trump Is Rolling Back LGBTQ Health-Care Protections

On Friday, Donald Trump’s administration started rolling back two controversial legal provisions related to the Affordable Care Act: protections against discrimination based on gender identity, and based on the termination of a pregnancy. Advocates for LGBTQ and women’s health care see this proposed reversal as a pointed attack on transgender people and patients who have received abortions—the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to limit the rights of marginalized populations.

Trump administration bans CDC from saying “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” and more

The Trump administration has banned seven words from the Centers for Disease Control’s upcoming budget documents, the Washington Post reports. The words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

Trump Is Making The Same Trade Mistake That Started The Great Depression

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

H/T Lisa C: Remembering the US soldiers who refused orders to murder Native Americans at Sand Creek

Viral ‘Egg Boy’ announces he’s donated his GoFundMe money to charity

Notes arguing over flower ownership are the most British thing ever And also I met the author of the viral ‘don’t pick my flowers’ note

1st class to grow up with Kzoo Promise: ‘Its unreal’< See The Kalamazoo Promise/p>

Elsewhere for May 25,2019

You should read this for 5/25/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

Making Monographs Open “A project that aims to slash the cost of producing monographs could help make more of them available to the public for free. But will scholars participate?”

Why Are So Many Longtime L.A. Bookstores Closing?

It’s conventional to blame the internet, and more specifically, Amazon, for the loss of longtime booksellers; indeed, in the same two-year period as these local businesses have perished in L.A., Amazon has opened three physical locations in the Los Angeles area. But interviews with bookstore owners suggest that multiple factors, including proprietors retiring, older models of bookstore aging out and businesses no longer staying within a family, are also at play in the turnover of L.A.’s literary spaces.

Who said indie bookstores are dying? Not in the Bay Area, thank you

But while there’s no doubt that Amazon has had a major effect on our book-buying habits, I’m happy to report that here in the Bay Area, the indies are thriving. And better still, a new crop of young, passionate booksellers has sprung up, ensuring that the future looks bright for those of us who love nothing better than to get lost for hours in a well-curated bookstore.

Emphasis mine—LLS

The Digital Public Library of America has re-released the Mueller Report as a well-formatted ebook instead of a crappy PDF


Andrew Kay in The Chronicle: Academe’s Extinction Event “Failure, Whiskey,
and Professional Collapse at the MLA”

The number of jobs in English advertised on the annual MLA job list has declined by 55 percent since 2008; adjuncts now account for all but a quarter of college instructors generally. Whole departments are being extirpated by administrators with utilitarian visions; from 2013 to 2016, colleges cut 651 foreign-language programs. Meanwhile the number of English majors at most universities continues to swoon.

See also Kay’s earlier article: Pilgrim at Tinder Creek

Food and Drink

H/T Rae: Gas Leak at University of Canberra Library in Australia Revealed to Be Durian Fruit

Via Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious, raspberry crumble tart bars a recipe from Ruth Cousineau.

History and Archaeology

Archaeologists Discover the First Ever Iron-Age Shield Made of Bark in England

Radiocarbon dating suggested the shield was made sometime between 395 and 255 B.C., which dates it to the middle of the Iron Age. It was crafted from either alder, willow, poplar, hazel or spindle bark and stiffened to withstand pressure with strips of either apple, pear, quince or hawthorn wood. It also had a woven boss, or a round piece of material that shields against blows, that protected its handle. The outside of the shield sported a checkerboard pattern in red mineral paint.

The “Enderby Shield” is discussed in press releases from the University of Leicester and The University of York.

Science and Nature

A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers “Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?”

When researchers wanted to work out which genes might affect a disease or trait, they made educated guesses, and picked likely “candidate genes.” For depression, SLC6A4 seemed like a great candidate: it’s responsible for getting a chemical called serotonin into brain cells, and serotonin had already been linked to mood and depression. Over two decades, this one gene inspired at least 450 research papers.


Neil deGrasse Tyson Q & A @ Overheard

California power company caused wildfire that killed 85, investigation finds

The Camp fire, which killed 85 people and almost completely incinerated the town of Paradise, was sparked by transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric in the early morning of 8 November last year, investigators concluded. “Tinder dry vegetation” and high winds “caused extreme rates of spread”, Cal Fire said in a statement.


Via The Atlantic: The Groups Bringing Forum Culture to Facebook

The core appeal of tag groups, however, is not their function as a reaction meme. It’s the escape they offer from the wider internet.
Joining a tag group is sort of like entering an AOL chat room, or discovering a new GeoCities web ring. The groups are open enough that usually anyone can join, and they tend to have a mix of people representing different areas, demographics, and interests. “To me, it reminds me of my early days on the internet,” says Gary Allen, who is also a member of 6,000 tag groups. “It’s like forum chatting.”

Tag groups offer the perfect balance of randomness and familiarity that makes forming new friends easy. Meeting people in a tag group feels serendipitous but comfortable, and that’s what keeps people coming back for more. You might not have hobbies in common with fellow tag-group members, but you share a similar sense of humor or an outlook on life that makes chatting easy. “It’s more personality bonding than curiosity bonding,” Connor says.

Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us? “Artisanal versions of Twitter and Facebook hope to keep the good while jettisoning the bad.”

According to this way of thinking, sites like Facebook and Instagram encourage conformism because it makes your data easier to process and monetize. This creates the exhausting sense that you’re a worker in a data factory rather than a three-dimensional individual trying to express yourself and connect with other real people in an organic way online.
When the problem is framed this way, the solution promoted by the IndieWeb movement becomes obvious: own your own servers.

One Year Into The GDPR: Can We Declare It A Total Failure Yet?

This entire approach is backwards and silly. If we want to have better control over our privacy we’re not going to do it through demanding better privacy policies, or confusing data protection laws. We need to create the incentives to put the actual control of the data back into the hands of the users. And that doesn’t just mean a right to download your info. It means that you have full control over your data and get to control what apps and services can access it and for what reasons. That’s not the world we have today, and nothing in the GDPR gets us any closer to it.

Apple’s keyboard ‘material’ changes on the new MacBook Pro are minor at best

At the end of the day, Apple’s butterfly keyboard has a much bigger flaw, one that this model’s tweaks cannot fix: too many people have simply lost faith in this design. Apple could theoretically combat that loss of trust with more candor, but it certainly hasn’t been forthcoming thus far. Getting the company to even admit that there might be a problem has been a years-long process.

Brian Warren ‘s Mac Open Web “A collection of open and indie Mac, iOS, and web apps that help promote the open web.”

Sam Biddle, reporting for The Intercept via John Gruber: FACEBOOK’S CREEPY DATA SHARING WITH PHONE CARRIERS

Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads.

Women’s Work

H/T Rae: ‘Knitting Is Coding’ and Yarn Is Programmable in This Physics Lab “For Elisabetta Matsumoto, knot theory is knit theory.”

Study confirms impacts of cold offices on women’s productivity

While women’s gripes about frigid workspaces have long been dismissed as a sign of oversensitivity, a study published in PLOS ONE argues differently. The University of Southern California and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center had 543 students in Berlin perform tasks and steadily raised the temperature of the environment. Temperatures in each session varied in increments from 61 degrees Fahrenheit to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. 
As the temperature increased, women’s performance did as well. Although men performed better at lower temperatures and worse at higher temperatures, the disparity was less pronounced than women’s performance across temperatures.


💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Has Now Shifted $1.3 Million Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Business

Under DOJ’s Own Theory For Prosecuting Julian Assange, Donald Trump Probably Violated The Espionage Act

Some keep saying that this is somehow different because the NY Times is a “legitimate news organization” while Wikileaks is not, but that distinction is both ridiculous and legally meaningless. It is legally meaningless because there is nothing in the 1st Amendment that reserves any of the rights — including the rights associated with “freedom of the press” — to “legitimate news organizations.” Indeed, having the government declare who is and who is not a “legitimate news organization” would be a fundamental violation of the 1st Amendment itself.
It’s also stupid, because remember who our President is? He’s been talking about “the failing NY Times” and insisting that it publishes “fake news.”

Distorted Nancy Pelosi videos show platforms aren’t ready to fight dirty campaign tricks

Elsewhere for May 11, 2019

You should read this for 5/11/2019:

Art and Film

Exhibition to Examine Balthazar, a Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance European Art

Early medieval written legends report that one of the three kings who paid homage to the Christ Child in Bethlehem was from Africa. But it would take nearly 1,000 years for European artists to begin representing Balthazar, the youngest of the three kings, as a black man. Why? The explanation can be found through a closer look at the history of this period—specifically, in the rise of the African slave trade in mid-1400s.

Books, Writing, and Language

Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now


In L.A. Unified elementary schools, library books could be off-limits to many students

In the recent past, some libraries have been locked up despite the district having spent millions on new books. Typically, elementary school libraries are open only every other week as it is, and aides split their time between two schools.

E. O. Wilson Interview: A Legendary Scientist Sounds Off on the Trouble With STEM

The right way to create a young scientist who’s going to be on fire by the time they’re in college is to let them pick something, some subject, that has really excited them. If they dream of space exploration, if they dream of curing a cancer, if they dream of going to distant jungles and discovering new species — whatever their dream is, let them dream.

History and Archaeology

Southend burial site ‘UK’s answer to Tutankhamun’

Science and Nature

Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace

Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in. When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction.

“It’s no longer enough to focus just on environmental policy,” said Sandra M. Díaz, a lead author of the study and an ecologist at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. “We need to build biodiversity considerations into trade and infrastructure decisions, the way that health or human rights are built into every aspect of social and economic decision-making.”


Trans-inclusive Design

Late one night a few years ago, a panicked professor emailed me: “My transgender student’s legal name is showing on our online discussion board. How can I keep him from being outed to his classmates?” Short story: we couldn’t. The professor created an offline workaround with the student. Years later this problem persists not just in campus systems, but in many systems we use every day.

Women’s Work

H/T Roseanne: Vibrator at center of tech sexism controversy gets its award back

“Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR [virtual reality] porn in point of pride along the aisle. Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outright banned,” she said.

Protesting with her Feet: The World’s Fastest Middle-Distance Woman versus Sports Governing Bodies

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses

But in the granular detail of tax results, it gives a precise accounting of the president’s financial failures and of the constantly shifting focus that would characterize his decades in business. In contrast to his father’s stable and profitable empire of rental apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, Mr. Trump’s primary sources of income changed year after year, from big stock earnings, to a single year of more than $67.1 million in salary, to a mysterious $52.9 million windfall in interest income. But always, those gains were overwhelmed by losses on his casinos and other projects.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

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