Elsewhere for December 30, 2017

You should read this for 12/30/2017:

Books, Writing, and Language

Via Twtter @Sarah Mei: Sarah Mei quotes her favorite Simon & Schuster editorial comments on Milo Yiannopoulos’s contracted-then-rejected book. She then posts selections from the editorial comment, which are revelatory and amusing. It’s just as horrific a MS as you’d expect from Milo. But see also: ‘Unclear, unfunny, delete’: editor’s notes on Milo Yiannopoulos book revealed

hy Words Matter: What Cognitive Science Says about Prohibiting Certain Terms Scientific American asks an expert about the 💩🔥💰 administration’s latest CDC language guidance

Food and Drink

The dark side of your $5 Footlong: Business owners say it could bite them

History and Archaeology

Why people really want to move to Idaho but are fleeing its neighbor, Wyoming

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

NORAD Santa Tracker: The Backstory

‘I WANT IT TO STOP’ Teens are committing suicide in record numbers. We need to fix this.

Science and Technology

Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options “This account of the United States’ piecemeal response to the Russian disinformation threat is based on interviews with dozens of current and former senior U.S. officials at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and U.S. and European intelligence services, as well as NATO representatives and top European diplomats.”

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance Apple has a perfectly reasonable response to battery management and now one pays attention. They’re too busy having hysterics.

Elsewhere for December 23, 2017

You should read this for 12/23/2017:

Art and Film

My fun with an artist scam artist

James Panero in The Atlantic: Andrew Wyeth forever I greatly admired Wyth’s art as a child, but increasingly his paintings have reminded me of landscapes in Medieval Books of Hours, and of propaganda art. This article helps explain why, and also casts light on why Christina’s World is so very creepy.

Star Wars Breakout Kelly Marie Tran on The Last Jedi and Kylo Ren’s Shirtless Scene See also Becoming Rose on YouTube

Trump-loving troll says he created bots to post bad reviews of ‘The Last Jedi’ because he’s mad about feminism

Books, Writing, and Language

The College Student Who Decoded the Data Hidden in Inca KnotsThis is really interesting in that it shows just how very sophisticated the signals were, and it’s a good example of using digital technology and counting tools (spreadsheets) to assist human pattern matching and interpretation.

Food and Drink

Via The British Library: A medieval recipe for gingerbread Less ginger and more a spiced cookie, but still interesting.

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers I may borrow a slow cooker to make this.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Via @ZachWahlsTwitter: “IOWA — Remember that young man from Iowa who spoke to the Iowa legislature a few years ago about growing up with two moms? Hi. That was me — and today, I’m announcing my campaign to join the Iowa legislature. I hope you’ll support our campaign.”

Science and Technology

Dinosaurs Were Around Before Saturn Had Rings “Data from the Cassini space probe suggests that the rings may be as young as 150 million years old”

Twitter Says It Will Ban Threatening Accounts, Starting Today This is a little late but it’s something. I’m also sure that the trolls will just keep generating new accounts.

Lost species of bee-mimicking moth rediscovered after 130 years You really need to see the images for one.


Let it go: The Arctic will never be frozen again “The Arctic as we once knew it is no more.
The region is now definitively trending toward an ice-free state, the scientists said, with wide-ranging ramifications for ecosystems, national security, and the stability of the global climate system. It was a fitting venue for an eye-opening reminder that, on its current path, civilization is engaged in an existential gamble with the planet’s life-support system.”

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Predictions in a Polish journalist’s 15-point guide to surviving authoritarianism proved frighteningly accurate after Trump’s first year “Nearly a year ago, intuitively recognizing the Trump administration’s authoritarian aspirations, Polish journalist and activist Martin Mycielski wrote “Year 1 Under Authoritarianism.” In those early, nerve-racking days following Trump’s inauguration, the piece was shared across social media, an ominous portent of what was to come. The document — helpfully subtitled, “What To Expect?” — offered a list of predictions and warnings about Trump’s first year in office, and exhortations to fight back at every turn.”

Elsewhere for December 16, 2017

You should read this for 12/16/2017:

Art and Film

How Star Wars Was Saved In The Edit

Books, Writing, and Language

UK libraries closing. Figures show children worst hit by UK library cuts Official figures show more than 100 libraries closed last year, with campaigners warning that the heaviest impact is being made on the youngest readers.”

Don’t worry. Yale still teaches Shakespeare I like the fact that Yale added course options and stretched the canon rather than simple swapping out “dead white males.” I think everyone should read moar, rather than less. And while DWM are dominant in early literature, their language (particularly Chaucer and Shakespeare) shaped English. We can’t build a better future without understanding our past.

CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity
“ The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.”

Food and Drink

Anthony Bourdain: On Reacting To Bad News “It is an incredibly difficult and wrenching thing to come forward, to go public with claims of sexual assault or misconduct — as I have seen up close. Women risk a crushing level of public skepticism, vilification, shaming, and retribution. They have nothing to gain, and everything to lose.”

History and Archaeology

Egypt uncovers ancient tombs at Luxor “Archaeologists in Egypt have displayed items, including a mummy, from one of two previously unexplored tombs in the ancient Nile city of Luxor.”


Charles P. Pierce via Esquire: I Don’t Think the Moral High Ground Exists Anymore Some thoughts on Al Franken’s departure.

Elizabeth Shackelford, a distinguished U.S. diplomat who was seen as a rising star at the State Department, has resigned after writing a searing letter to Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson, accusing him of gutting the department and damaging America’s standing across the world.

Jerry Brown: California saved its economy by doing the exact opposite of what the GOP wants “Recognizing the threat of climate change, cutting fat from the budget and raising taxes — that’s the threefold plan California’s Gov. Jerry Brown (D) says brought his state’s economy back from the brink.”

The Takedown of Title IX “Inside the fight over federal rules on campus sexual assault.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

First the jury convicted this 19-year-old maid for stealing. Then they took up a collection to pay her fine This story is a lot more complicated than it might seem at first; lots to think about.

Science and Technology

Recently detected crash provides hints to size, innards of these stellar cores

Ticks Trapped in Amber Were Likely Sucking Dinosaur Blood “Paleontologists have found entombed in amber a 99-million-year-old tick grasping the feather of a dinosaur, providing the first direct evidence that the tiny pests drank dinosaur blood.” There are pictures!

The Great Red Spot Descends Deep Into Jupiter “. . . the iconic storm descends at least 200 miles beneath the clouds and possibly much deeper. That is one of the latest findings of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which passed directly over the storm in July.”

<p><a href=”https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16777500/ajit-pai-net-neutrality-republican-politics-whoops”>Ajit Pai just handed Republicans a bag of shit</a> “Killing net neutrality isn’t just bad policy, it’s bad politics.”</p>

Pai has never sat down and seriously engaged his critics to make a persuasive case that changing these enormously popular rules will somehow increase competition, lower prices, or increase service levels for the vast majority of Americans who have but one or two choices for broadband service. He has never said that he’s actually opposed to blocking or throttling and identified a mechanism under his new rules by which those activities would be even slightly limited. His own FCC CTO wrote a letter saying his rollback went too far and needed some prohibitions against blocking; Pai appears to have brushed that aside.

Women’s Work

How Women Brewsters Saved The WorldJust another reminder that the brewing of beer was a gendered task for a very long time, and often, it was women’s work. Margery Kempe was a brewer; so was Saint Bridget.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump. “He tells far more lies, and far more cruel ones, than ordinary people do.”

<p><a href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/12/15/trump-judicial-nominee-fumbles-basic-questions-about-the-law/”>Trump judicial nominee fumbles basic questions about the law</a> “

For five painfully awkward minutes, Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission and a lawyer with no trial experience, fumbled with Kennedy’s questions, visibly uncomfortable as the lawmaker pressed him about how things work in a federal courtroom.”</p>

<p><a href=”https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/top-dem-warns-republicans-may-have-already-ended-house-russia-probe-and-will-go-after-mueller-next/”>Top Dem warns Republicans may have already ended House Russia probe — and will go after Mueller next</a> “The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat fears his Republican colleagues are planning to wrap up the Trump-Russia probe after Christmas — and prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from finishing his investigation.”</p>

Elsewhere for December 9, 2017

You should read this for 11/4/2017:

Art and Film

Via Literary Review: a book review o He Made Masterpieces with Manure: Traces of Vermeer by Jane Jelley “On the acknowledgements page of Traces of Vermeer, Jane Jelley thanks one friend who tracked down pig bladders and another who harvested mussel shells from a freshwater moat. Jelley, a painter, takes her research on the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer (1632–75) out of galleries and archives and into the studio.”

Books, Writing, and Language

Texas Prisons Ban 10,000 Books. No ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ for Inmates.The books that are banned are an odd mix, particularly in the context of the ones that aren’t banned.

Food and Drink

How To Make Crispy Perfect Latkes Every Time “Latkes are traditionally cooked on Hanukkah, along with other fried foods, to commemorate the miracle of the menorah oil in the Jewish Temple.”

History and Archaeology

Ancient sword and other incredible items discovered during dig at Glenfield Park “ Prehistoric cauldrons, a complete ancient sword and third century BC brooch, and dress pins are among the nationally significant findings discovered by University of Leicester archaeologists.” There’s a photo gallery of the items.


Hero cop of Pulse shooting is being terminated from force “An officer hailed as a hero for his actions during the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando is being let go just six months before he would have become vested in his pension.”

Supreme Court Seems Split In Case Of Baker Vs. Same-Sex Couple; Eyes Now On Kennedy This is one that I’m not really sure of the right thing to do. I’m leaning towards the idea that the baker has a right to say no to making a cake; but if the baker has that right, the baker needs to be prepared to be perceived as and identified as a bigot, and that customers have a right to take their business elsewhere.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Australia Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill by Massive Landslide – Just Four MPs Vote No The opposition was pretty vile, and underhands, resorting to mail-in polls, etc, but the people were pretty clear about what they wanted. Once again, love wins.

Science and Technology

Nighttime satellite images used for digital animations show the start and rapid spread of the first SoCal wildfires, and other images show banners of smoke crossing the Pacific.

Women’s Work

Facebook Is Filling Its “Jail” With Women Instead of the Men Harassing Them Once again, it’s all about protecting the poor, delicate mens and their feels.

From Boudicca to the Amazons, historian, author and broadcaster Bettany Hughes uncovers the truth behind some of the most famous warrior women in history. “Tracing the hard evidence of warrior women – real and imagined – helps us chart attitudes to women through time. Fascinatingly, thanks to the re-examination of bone evidence discovered in the 1960s, it seems mounted women warriors from the Sarmatian Danube might even have ended up fighting within the Roman army, stationed at the Roman fort of Brocavum, Cumbria, near Hadrian’s Wall. ”

How Neolithic farming sowed the seeds of modern inequality 10,000 years ago “A recent research paper examining inequality in early Neolithic societies confirms what early-20th century anthropologists already knew, on the basis of comparative studies of farming societies: that the greater the surpluses a society produced, the greater the levels of inequality in that society.”

A teacher moves from D.C. to a dream job in Paris. Is it what she expected?This is more about pedagogy than the travails of travel.

Elsewhere for November 18, 2017

You should read this for 11/18/2017:

Art and Film

“Comfort Woman” Memorial Statues, A Thorn In Japan’s Side, Now Sit On Korean Busses

15,000-Year-Old Rock Art Found In Egypt “Adel Kelani described the discovery as important because it dates to the same period of markings founds in caves in southern France, Spain and Italy, which confirms the idea that art and civilisation during that time spread from Africa to Europe and not vice versa.”

A Guide to Fantasy and Science Fiction Made for Black People, by Black People

Books, Writing, and Language

The real reasons so many young people can’t write well today — by an English teacher

Scurrilous manuscript that could have undone John Donne discoveredOstensibly a library catalogue in Latin, this early parodic work relies on disreputable jokes about contemporary figures—in Latin.

On Academic Precarity We have an exploitive academic environment in which grad students, adjuncts and lecturers are exploited, in which students have no choice but to go into debt to finance their education, and then, are exploited again as adjunct labor.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein via The Atlantic: The Odyssey and the Other “What the epic can teach about encounters with strangers abroad and at home.”

In historic move, Christopher Tolkien resigns as director of Tolkien Estate This change is in large part what lies behind Amazon’s success at licensing Tolkien materials for a television series; Christopher was a true scholar, not only of his father’s work, but of Medieval literature, and that sensibility informed much of his editorial decisions, as well as his genuine care with his father’s literary vision. I hope the 93 year-old Christopher is able to enjoy his respite.

Food and Drink

The Forgotten, Fascinating Saga Of Crisco People keep telling me Crisco is lard; it is not it is, like lard, a form of shortening, as is butter. But lard is made from animal fat; Crisco is made from vegetable oil.

Sweet & Sour Roasted Brussels Sprouts “A dash of sweet white wine and some simple spices already in your pantry form a Brussels sprouts glaze that pairs perfectly with a classic roasted chicken.”

Pear Bundt Cake “Cardamom, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon add warm spice to this pear bundt cake.” This recipe is from a wine site, and I think it would pear well with wine, but it also looks like a great holiday brunch or savory-sweet dessert play too.


She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened. “How a small group of self-made experts came to advise Congress on disinformation campaigns is a testament to just how long tech companies have failed to find a solution to the problem. For years, the informal group — about a dozen or so people — have meticulously logged data and published reports on how easy it was to manipulate social media platforms.”

History and Archaeology

Found: Never-Developed Photos of Mount St. Helens Erupting “Photographer Kati Dimoff found the film at a Portland Goodwill.”


The Fungus That Turns Ants Into Zombies Is More Diabolical Than We Realized This is one of those things I really wish I could share with Alice Sheldon | James Tiptree Jr. She would have been all over it.

The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington State. I haven’t seen these—yet, but I’ve got plans. See also this video about the Channeled scablands narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart

First visitor from beyond our solar system has an origin “They realized it wasn’t a comet at all, since it lacks a comet’s trademark fuzzy bubble surrounding its core. That meant it must actually be an asteroid, a hunk of space rock from a distant solar system.” It’s probably from somewhere near the Carina and Columbia constellations, and started our way about 40 million years ago.

Prehistoric, Dinosaur-Era Shark With Insane Teeth Found Swimming Off Coast Of Portugal

Aboriginal people spread native plants by hand, new study finds

No Excuses, People: Get the New Shingles Vaccine I’m less sure about the new two-shot Shingles vaccine (Shingrix) than the article author is; I’d like to see more data in particular about people who have already had shingles and / or the previous Shingles vaccine. The CDC panel that voted on whether to endorse the new vaccine was not unanimous.


“The fact that a great many men I have spoken to genuinely seem to think that the main issue here is how and whether they’re going to be able to get laid in the future is… I’m going to swallow a scream, and say that it’s “interesting.”

Keystone Pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota This is exactly what protestors and experts predicted would happen. Keep in mind that Federal and other U.S. authorities sprayed protestors with water in freezing temperatures, and caused one woman to lose an arm.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Australia votes YES to Marriage Equality Good on ya!

Women’s Work

Victorian Marine Biologist Margaret Gatty’s Stunning Drawings of Seaweed

Elsewhere for November 4, 2017

Art and Film

The Très Riches Heures calendar page for November.

Books, Writing, and Language

Friday November 6 was Fountain Pen Day.

Food and Drink

Via Martha Stewart Sweet Potato Biscuits

History and Archaeology

Roman Theater Discovery Near Jerusalem’s Western Wall Delights Archaeologists “Jerusalem was always inhabited and there were always different cultures and nations that lived here,” Lieberman said. “It’s very hard to find the remains from the different periods. You usually find a foundation here, a wall there. But to find something standing completely whole doesn’t happen so much in Jerusalem, especially not from the late Roman period.”

Here’s Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at West Point, talking about the Confederacy the way John Kelly should have. Via Jack Runyan (@JackDRunyan) November 1, 2017

Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor ““We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” researcher Ryan Bohlender told Science News. “Human history is a lot more complicated than we thought it was.”

Love Tokens From The Thames “The magical potential of throwing a coin into the water has been recognised by different cultures in different times with all kinds of meanings. Yet since we can never ask those who threw these tokens why they did it, we can only surmise that engraving your beloved’s name upon a coin and throwing it into the water was a gesture to attract good fortune. It was a wish.”


Iceland Bans American Televangelists

Tim Cook says the tech giants have something much greater to be concerned about than the fact that Russian agents exploited social media to sway the American publid.

“I don’t believe that the big issue are ads from foreign government. I believe that’s like .1 percent of the issue,” Cook told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in an exclusive interview airing Wednesday night. “The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers, and so, to influence their thinking,” Cook said. “And this, to me, is the No. 1 through 10 issue.”

How Facebook made money dividing the US into adversarial political subgroups

Via Day 2 of the Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing: This Is A Very Big Deal”: Feinstein Lights Into Big Tech Over Russian Meddling “Feinstein made it clear that, going forward, Big Tech should expect to operate under a microscope. “We are not going to go away, gentlemen,” she said. “And this is a very big deal. I went home last night with profound disappointment. I asked specific questions, I got vague answers. And that just won’t do. You have a huge problem on your hands. And the U.S. is going to be the first of the countries to bring it to your attention, and other countries are going to follow, I’m sure, because you bear this responsibility. You created these platforms, and they are being misused. And you have to be the ones to do something about it—or we will.”

Via the AP: Inside story: How Russians Hacked the Democrats’ Emails Source claims “Confidential” was added to at least one non-confidential email, other emails came not from the DNC, but from Podesta’s Inbox. And yes, the methodology was phishing.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Helen Macdonald on the Wonderful, Optimistic World of Hawks “When Helen Macdonald’s father died suddenly, she turned to an unusual form of grief-management for solace: training a goshawk.”

Shire Sharing “Shire Sharing is a collaborative effort among New Hampshire activists to address community needs through voluntary action and direct charity. We raise funds, collect goods, coordinate deliveries and connect with our community. We are a non-profit, comprised of volunteers only; that means that all of your donations go directly to helping families in need.” Their current goal is feeding 600 families for Thanksgiving.

Science and Technology

Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change “The Trump administration released a dire scientific report Friday calling human activity the dominant driver of global warming, a conclusion at odds with White House decisions to withdraw from a key international climate accord, champion fossil fuels and reverse Obama-era climate policies.”

Thriving Garden in Sealed Bottle Hasn’t Been Watered in Over 40 Years

Scientists Unearth Near-Complete Marine Reptile Fossil in India “Palaeontologists have unearthed the remains of an ichthyosaur, a prehistoric creature more frequently seen in North America and Europe.”

Meet Burrito: The Extremely Rare Male Tortoiseshell Kitten

Does Your Cat Love You? 7 Signs to Look For

Women’s Work

What to do about strong-willed female employees

Continue reading

Elsewhere for October 28, 2017

You should read this for 10/28/2017:

Art and Film

Internet “Entrepreneur” Shocked That Copyright Owner Sued Him For Stealing Their Work Isn’t it interesting that plagiarists and copyright abusers are always shocked and surprised?

A Long Time Ago: Martha Wells on How Star Wars Inspired Her Writing See also this nifty piece by SF writer Elizabeth Bonesteel: A Long Time Ago: Elizabeth Bonesteel on Seeing Star Wars in Theaters/p>

Namatjira matriarch dies shortly after return of copyright to family “Under the terms of the 1957 agreement, 87.5 per cent of Namatjira’s interest in his copyright — the Namatjira inheritance, if you will — was assigned to Legend Press, for which Namatjira was paid £10.” If you’re not familiar with Albert Namatjira’s work, you really need to check it out.

Let Us Gather Round and Cry About The Ghost and Mrs. Muir  This is the original 1947 film; it’s charming.

Rare ghostly image of Mary Queen of Scots discovered hidden beneath artwork
“A previously unknown rare portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, as she would have looked as she languished in captivity in England some four and a half centuries ago, has been discovered underneath a later painting of a Scottish nobleman.”

Books, Writing, and Language

The State Of Sexual Harassment In The Library

Noel Malcolm  reviews Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann “A transformative history – in Tudor times there were Africans living and working in Britain, and they were free”

Kirkus Reviews and the Plight of the “Problematic” Book Review “In altering a recent review of the young-adult novel “American Heart,” Kirkus somehow managed to misunderstand both the nature of reviewing and the nature of books.” I can understand the desire to add a codicil, but not the way they did this, and not given this reviewer. Offer an additional POV, or even a new review.

Cambridge academics seek to ‘decolonise’ English syllabus ““It is also not just about adding texts but about rethinking the whole question of Britishness, Englishness and what they mean in relation to the empire and the post-imperial world, questions of race, gender, sexuality and so on. There’s also a sense that the curriculum should have an expansive sense of ‘Britain’ and English literature itself.” I am all for expanding the curricula. However, Chaucer, Shakespeare in particular are crucial in terms of understanding the evolution of English as a language; cut people like Thoreau, or Smollett or Richardson or Dryden; not Chaucer and not Shakespeare. Use them to highlight the issues, not bury them.

‘I Was Blind And Complicit And Just, Like, Did Nothing’: New Republic Staffers Speak Out

Food and Drink

Michigan lawmaker wants to charge Nestlé $20M a year for water extraction

Wines Are No Longer Free to Travel Across State Lines “The efforts to curtail interstate shipping, many retailers believe, are a result of heavy lobbying by wine and spirits wholesalers, supported by generous campaign contributions to state legislators and other elected officials. In New York State, for example, wholesalers have given $2.7 million to candidates for office, compared with $678,000 donated by retailers, according to the Nation Institute on Money in State Politics.”

History and Archaeology

Limerick castle crumbles in furious winds during storm  Ophelia finished the work of  Time. ”A book entitled Castles and Big Houses describes Rathcannon Castle as “a manor of the Earls of Kildare after the Rebellion of Silken Thomas Fitzgerald of Kildare House in 1534.”

Neanderthals With Disabilities Survived Through Social Support “A re-analysis of a 50,000 year old Neanderthal skull shows that, in addition to enduring multiple injuries and debilitations, this male individual was also profoundly deaf. Yet he lived well into his 40s, which is quite old by Paleolithic standards. It’s an achievement that could have only been possible with the help of others, according to new research.”

Rare Solar Navigation Tool Found in Ancient Shipwreck “The device was found on a ship that once belonged to a fleet led by Vasco da Gama during Europe’s ‘Golden Age of Exploration.”


Leaked White House Memo Outlines Plans For All-Out War On Women’s Health
“The memo, which reads like a wish-list straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale, says Title X funding to help low-income women afford birth control “should be cut in half at least.” The money would be diverted in part to “childcare programs” — a move that suggests the Trump administration knows cutting Title X funding would result in more (unintended) pregnancies and births. ”/p>

Myth Busters Adam Savage: gender is a spectrum. The closer you look at ANYTHING the blurrier the lines get. INCLUDING GENDER. LIFE is complicated.

Americans Are Retiring Later, Dying Sooner and Sicker In-Between Oh brave new GOP world. You’re killing your own in order to feast on their bones.

New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations

Anthony Bourdain Wonders What He Could Have Done

The Danger of President Pence This man is evil; 💩🔥💰 is a tool, Pence will officiate like a ghoul while sabotaging the rights of women, and criminalizing same-sex marriage. That’s his hope.

Rachel Maddow: Trump’s TV Nemesis She’s brilliant, she’s compassionate, and she’s literate.

What Is Money Laundering? And Why Does It Matter To Robert Mueller? Cui bono ? Follow the money.

Four Quitters Walk Into a Bar… To swap war stories from an administration they couldn’t serve for one more minute.

KENTUCKY: State Loses Appeal, Ordered To Pay $222K In Legal Fees To The Gay Couples Who Sued Kim Davis
Here’s the thing; she can be as hateful and bigoted as she likes on her own time. She was on the clock as a duly appointed official of the state. She needs to follow the laws and regulations of her office.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Parents are exhausting their children. An eighth-grade boy explains how.

‘Death Cleaning’ Is the Newest Way to Declutter. Here’s What to Know “There’s a Swedish word for my dad’s newfound willingness to unload and declutter: dostadning, a hybrid of the words for death and cleaning. And as morbid as it sounds, that’s exactly what death cleaning is: the process of cleaning house before you die, rather then leaving it up to your loved ones to do after you’re gone.

Science and Technology

Georgia lawmaker: Can people with HIV be ‘legally’ quarantined? “A Georgia state representative — who is also an anesthesiologist and the wife of the former federal Health and Human Services secretary . . . “What are we legally able to do?” Dr. Betty Price, a Republican, asked Dr. Pascale Wortley, director of the HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Surveillance Section at the Georgia Department of Public Health. “I don’t want to say the ‘quarantine’ word, but I guess I just said it. … What would you advise, or are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

‘Neopets’: Inside Look at Early 2000s Internet Girl Culture “How one game community inspired a legion of girls.”

Women’s Work

One of the last Bletchley Park ‘listeners’ dies Alison Robins taught herself German to intercept Nazi messages in WWII and pass the secrets to codebreakers.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

GOP Politicized Military Deaths Under Obama, Now Says Don’t Criticize 💩🔥💰

John Kelly and the Dangerous Moral Calculus of Working for 💩🔥💰 Anyone in politics or government who works for Donald Trump, whether on the payroll or in some other supporting role, is forced to make a sacrifice. Working for Trump means that one’s credibility is likely to be damaged, so there is a kind of moral calculation that any Trump supporter must make: Does working for him serve some higher purpose that outweighs the price of reputational loss?

What John Kelly got wrong about Rep. Frederica Wilson and the Johnson family

Empty barrels

💩🔥💰 Teases, Threatens And Dodges With ‘We’ll See What Happens’ “Trump’s frequent use of phrases like “big league” and “believe me” have gotten plenty of attention. But functionally those are filler words, without much meaning in practice. “We’ll see what happens” is different. It can be a veiled threat, an admission that the president doesn’t know what will happen, a tease or simply a way of blowing off a question.’

The cascade of missteps that turned one White House error into a messy week

By Col. Robert Killebrew, U.S. Army (Ret.): An Old Colonel Looks at General Kelly “A thousand years ago when I was about to begin my military career, a wise old retired Marine colonel, a veteran of the carnage at Tarawa, gave me some advice.”

President Donald Trump kicked off Thursday with a series of tweets that all but accused Hillary and Bill Clinton of corruption and accepting of millions of dollars from Russia. He also slammed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for knowing about a deal that gave a Russian state-run company control of 20 percent of the uranium in the United States, but not shutting it down. “Yes, the foundation received money and Bill Clinton was paid to give a speech, but there’s no evidence the Clintons were paid by Russians to push through the uranium deal.”

The New Yorker’s newest President Trump cover is the most brutal one yet

Elsewhere for October 21, 2017

You should read this for 10/21/2017:


Macro Photos That Capture the Beauty of Peacock Feathers

Books, Writing, and Language

School district pulled ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from shelves because it ‘makes people uncomfortable’That’s kind of the point; wrong-doing is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It’s called having a conscious.

Glenn Fleishman via Medium on Re: Coding the Lobster How Emojis became “official.”

How UNH Turned A Quiet Benefactor Into A Football-Marketing Prop This isn’t the first time I’ve been embarrassed and ashamed by UNH. The library is important; the football team? Not so much.

Sarah Hughes via The Guardian: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles: far more than sex and swords “This saga of a courageous 15th-century Scottish nobleman, contending over six volumes with many a lethal challenge, has kept me rapt for 30 years.”

I too discovered The Lymond Chronicles as a teen, and have worn out various editions, and purchased them for friends. I wrote about my relationship with Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles here, but with the seasonal swing towards autumn, I’m about to begin re-reading them, and this time, I’m planning to write about it. Just in time, too; there’s apparently a Lymond Chronicles television series in the making.

Food and Drink

Easy Meat And Cheese Stromboli Via Simply Recipes: You start by using prepared (or purchased) pizza dough, which you roll out, layer with meat, cheese and savory toppings. “Stromboli is a long roll of meat and cheese wrapped in pizza dough, which is then cut into individual slices for serving. It’s an Italian-American invention from the 1950s, apparently named for the film “Stromboli,” which was on the silver screen at the time.”

Also via Simply Recipes: Parker House Rolls.

History and Archaeology

American Fascism, in 1944 and Today
“Seventy-three years ago, The New York Times asked the sitting vice president to write an article about whether there are fascists in America, and what they’re up to.”

Hundreds of Mysterious Stone ‘Gates’ Found in Saudi Arabia’s Desert I wonder what these man-made stone structures are; and I wonder if they were meant to direct water. They remind me a little of fish traps made of stone.

Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds Some of the oyster mounds that I remember as a kid are no more. Oyster mounds are heaps of discarded oyster shells left by native Americans in the distant past, which often reveal all kinds of data, as well as artifacts.


After Herald Catches Prison Guards Running Child “Fight Clubs,” State Attacks Reporters

Cristina Alonso, a 22-year-old college student from Spain, planned to visit Oregon for six weeks this summer. Instead, border agents sent her to NORCOR jail in the The Dalles for over 48 hours. Her friend, Professor Laurie Bridges, shares the shocking story.

Hero-Princess-General Carrie Fisher Once Delivered a Cow Tongue to a Predatory Hollywood Exec

How Congress allied with drug company lobbyists to derail the DEA’s war on opioids

Molly Ringwald Says She Has Worked with Several “Harvey Weinsteins” “I could go on about other instances in which I have felt demeaned or exploited, but I fear it would get very repetitive,” she said. “Then again, that’s part of the point. . . . Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected president.”

“This is the future that Liberals want.” “When Twitter user @polNewsNetwork1 posted a photo of a Muslim woman and a drag queen riding the subway next to each other on Wednesday, and proclaimed them as “the future that liberals want”, we’re pretty sure they weren’t expecting the response they received from the Internet.”

Pay It Forward

He Broke the Law to Build a Better Nursing Home “All those animals in a nursing home broke state law, but for Thomas and his staff, it was a revelation. Caring for the plants and animals restored residents’ spirits and autonomy; many started dressing themselves, leaving their rooms and eating again. The number of prescriptions fell to half of that of a control nursing home, particularly for drugs that treat agitation. Medication costs plummeted, and so did the death rate.”

There’s still time to save the Great Barrier Reef from dying “We’re killing one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. It’s not too late to change.”

Science and Technology

Watch astronauts flip when they get to play with a fidget spinner on the space station “We’re not entirely sure if fidget spinners are still a thing on Earth. But judging by a new video from NASA, they’re still cool on the International Space Station.”

FCC’s DDoS claims will be investigated by GAO


💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

‘He believes his own lies’: Trump has a fake Renoir painting he’s been claiming is real for decades

Trump Given A Subpoena For All Documents Relating To Assault Allegations
“A woman who said Donald Trump groped her has subpoenaed his campaign for documents about “any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.” Trump has denied her accusations and is fighting the subpoena.”

Trump Denies Family Claim He Disrespected Fallen Soldier

Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn’t follow through

Father of fallen soldier wants to learn to use Twitter so he can call Trump ‘a damn liar’ “Mr. Brooks lost his son Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, 30, in a “mishap” during an engagement with ISIS forces in Iraq. He told the Post that the White House never called, in spite of Trump’s claims to the contrary.”

Via NPR: Numbers Disagree With Trump Golf Course Claim Of ‘Millions To Charity’

Elsewhere for October 14, 2017

You should read this for 10/14/2017:


Living with gods: highlight objects A British Museum blog post highlighting some of the objects in the upcoming exhibit;  Living with gods: peoples, places and worlds beyond . These objects representing various religions and philosophies about life and death and existence highlight the ways humans are similar. See also this post about the Lion Man figure 40,000-year-old walrus ivory figurine found in Stadel Cave, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, the oldest known evidence of religious belief in the world.

Books, Writing, and Language

Florida Superintendent Orders Ban on All Books Judged ‘Inappropriate’

The order from Superintendent Mike Thomas targets for removal any library materials, textbooks, or supplemental texts that contain “profanity, cursing, or inappropriate subject matter.”
It is unclear exactly what prompted Thomas’ action at this time, but if followed to the letter it would undoubtedly decimate both curricula and library collections. For just a small taste of the impact, consider the four books on the district’s summer reading list for 8th graders:
* Lord of the Flies by William Golding
* The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
* Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
* Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick

Food and Drink

Slow Cooker Carnitas Breakfast Tacos Start the pork roast cooking in the slow-cooker the night before; then add eggs and the usual taco trimmings for a hearty autumn breakfast. I’m already ready for breakfast (or lunch or dinner). The recipe calls for a pre-packaged marinated roast, but really, you can do that yourself before crocking the roast.

History and Archaeology

Facebook know-it-all mansplains ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ costume — to woman who designed it

Law and Order

Homage to Catalonia: What just happened in Spain’s would-be breakaway region?

Outside observers are amazed to see such chaos and violence in a stable, modern democracy. But Spain isn’t one. For people in Catalonia, and Catalan people around the world, it’s impossible to shake the image of a police officer grabbing a woman by the hair and throwing her downstairs, then using his baton to strike an elderly lady who is raising her hands in the air in a sign of peaceful protest. Or the image of riot police stomping on people of all ages who are sitting on the floor, hitting them and shoving them aside, breaking their bones even after they’ve moved out of their way. It is hard to reconcile those images of the nearly 900 Catalan citizens injured in recent protests, with the idea that Spain is a modern, robust democracy, as people in other Western nations apparently consider it.

John Kelly’s personal cellphone was compromised, White House believes

A September White House memo follows news that Chief of Staff and former director of Homeland Security John Kelly’s personal cell phone had been compromised potentially as early as December 2016.’

California challenges Trump’s rollback of birth control mandate “California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era policy that required employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. Xavier Becerra said:

Donald Trump wants businesses and corporations to control family planning decisions rather than a woman in consultation with her doctor. These anti-women’s health regulations prove once again that the Trump administration is willing to trample on people’s rights

The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the story and the New Yorker took it farther: From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories “In the course of a ten-month investigation, thirteen women interviewed said that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them.”

And in that context: Harvey Weinstein may have been fired illegally by The Weinstein Company. The company “wrote a contract that said Weinstein could get sued over and over for sexual harassment and as long as he shelled out money, that was good enough for the Company”

Rebecca Solnit On Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, And Blaming Women For The Acts Of Men “Harvey Weinstein is Hillary Clinton’s fault, we have learned from many sources. So is eczema and the Civil War and the fact that your child refuses to learn to tie shoelaces and sticks to Velcro shoes.”

Pay It Forward

Veteran Who Stole Truck to Save 30 Vegas Shooting Victims Surprised With New Car

Science and Technology

A horrendously bad “vaxed/unvaxed” study rises from the dead yet again

It’s not the cost of Pence’s trip that was galling. It was the preparation for it.

These Are the Oldest Known Flowers in the World Found in the fossil record, these plants are more than 100 million years old

How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets “The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.”

Starving Killer Whales Are Losing Most of Their Babies

A nearly 70 percent miscarriage rate is threatening the future of the southern resident killer whales. “Despite having special protections from both the Canadian and American governments, there are only 78 of these salmon-eating whales left. And as recent research shows, the southern resident population is set to slowly atrophy and ultimately disappear. On top of habitat degradation, climate change, and other challenges, the whales have another problem: they’re not having enough babies.

Penguin disaster as only two chicks survive from colony of 40,000

In the colony of about 18,000 breeding penguin pairs on Petrels Island, French scientists discovered just two surviving chicks at the start of the year. Thousands of starved chicks and unhatched eggs were found across the island in the region called Adélie Land (“Terre Adélie”).

Continue reading

Elsewhere for October 7, 2017

You should read this for 10/6/2017:


The Très Riches Heures for October October is the month for seeding the winter wheat.

Books, Writing, and Language

The Scholastic Book Fair inspires authentic analog nostalgia that goes back for decades

Food and Drink

For me, October is the Month of Apples. Apple cider, apple sauce and apple butter. Pick your own orchards in New England typically offer Apple Cider Doughnuts; this Bon Appétit Cider Doughnut recipe is particularly good because it calls for apple cider, apple butter and buttermilk.

History and Archaeology

Seattle teen calls out her dad’s Native American art. He learns she’s right

Law and Order

My marriage was over. Why couldn’t I get my old name back?

The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee you the rights you think it does

Why We Never Talk About Black-on-Black Crime: An Answer to White America’s Most Pressing Question

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Science and Technology

After Hurricane Irma on Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Partisan Gerrymandering Got the Sotomayor Treatment ”The Justice has a knack for crafting simple, devastating questions. She was at her best in Gill v. Whitford.”

Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream
“ A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right ‘killing machine.’”

Continue reading