Elsewhere for February 10, 2018

You should read this for 2/10/2017:

Art, Film, and Music

In Conversation: Quincy Jones I’m not really sure what to make of this err . . . interview? Performance ? Confessional? It’s interesting though.

Books, Writing, and Language

via mirabilis.ca: The BBC on Spain cracks King Ferdinand’s 500-year-old secret code “Ferdinand of Aragon’s letters have tantalised historians for centuries. Constructed using more than 200 special characters, they were deciphered by the country’s intelligence agency.”

Via Life Hacker: Comic Books Are Books  Ask anyone who’s worked with illuminated manuscripts if they think comic books are books; of course they are.

Charles Sprawson wrote a celebrated book. Then he vanished

Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays

Food and Drink

Coffee, Caffeine, and Health Outcomes: An Umbrella Review “Given the spectrum of conditions studied and the robustness of many of the results, these findings indicate that coffee can be part of a healthful diet.”

Easy Peach Cobbler I know the recipe calls for fresh peaches, but you can use frozen peaches, or even canned peaches or canned cherries.

History and Archaeology

Sprawling Mayan network discovered under Guatemala jungle and this from National Geographic: Laser Scans Reveal Maya “Megalopolis” Below Guatemalan Jungle

Researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Tomb of 5th Dynasty top official Hetpet discovered near Pyramid of Khafre on Giza Plateau After almost 109 years of searching, the tomb of Hathor’s priestess Hetpet has been uncovered

Genetic study of prehistoric girl: Dating and DNA show Paleoamerican-Native American connection “Cave diver Alexandro Alvarez inspects the newly-discovered skull of Naia, the 12,000-13,000 year-old human skeleton discovered in a submerged cave on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. An international team of researchers detailed their analysis of what is the oldest most complete, genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”

This is from May, 2014; the original article was published in the journal Science.

Individuals from 9,000 or more years ago have morphological attributes—physical form and structure—distinctive from later Native American peoples,” said Douglas Kennett, professor of environmental archaeology, Penn State. “What we have here is the unique combination of an adolescent Paleoamerican skeleton with a Native American DNA haplotype.

First modern Britons had ‘dark to black’ skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals “The genome of Cheddar Man, who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair”

There’s video from the BBC.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

83,500 Vintage Sewing Patterns Put Into Online Database From Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, And Simplicity

Science and Technology

Brent Simmons wisely notes: On Missing the Point “There’s no sacred verse that says businesses acting lawfully can’t be criticized. Nothing says we can’t advocate for change. In fact, I’d say that that’s part of capitalism, too.”

John Perry Barlow has died.

Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus the former: “I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls ‘turn-key totalitarianism.’”

See this 1995 conversation between John Perry Barlow, and bell hooks. See also John Perry Barlow’s Principles of Adult Behavior (via Steve Silberman on Twitter).

Confessions of a Digital Nazi Hunter “In the wake of Trump’s victory, I built a bot to expose bigots. Then Twitter suspended it — and kept the bigots.”


Green card veteran facing deportation starts hunger strike “ICE has arrested a U.S. army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and has two U.S. citizen children. His name is Miguel Perez Jr. and he has lived in the U.S. since he was 8 years old.”

Does college turn people into liberals? A new study reveals that students gain an appreciation for views across the political spectrum during their first year in college

Among all students, 48 percent viewed liberals more favorably in their second year of college than when they arrived on campus. However, among the same students, 50 percent also viewed conservatives more favorably. In other words, college attendance is associated, on average, with gains in appreciating political viewpoints across the spectrum, not just favoring liberals.

Foxconn package cost Wisconsin eight times as much per job as similar 2017 state jobs deals “To land the massive Foxconn factory, Gov. Scott Walker has committed the state to paying more than eight times as much per job as Wisconsin will provide under similar job creation deals struck last year, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis has found.”

‘Pillar of the community’ deported from US after 39 years to a land he barely knows

Women’s Work

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

NPR on the GOP memo: Get Ready For Another Week Of Memo Madness — This Time Over Democrats’ Response

Nunes’ memo charges that “biased” officials in the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers in asking for a warrant to monitor the communications of a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

Although the document makes a narrow case about the specific practices involving Page, Trump and his supporters also say it suggests a “systemic” pattern of abuse. That is not described.

Trump also said on Twitter that it “totally vindicates” him. It does not; the memo delineates how the FBI’s Russia investigation began earlier with another foreign policy aide who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Elsewhere for February 3, 2018

You should read this for 2/3/2018:

Art and Film

Gallery removes naked nymphs painting to ‘prompt conversation’
Manchester Art Gallery takes down work by Waterhouse and asks public to post reactions

February from the DaCosta Hours. This is a 15th century manuscript illuminated by Simon Bening, of Ghent.

Books, Writing, and Language

Over at Tor.com Judith Tarr’s re-read of Andre Norton’s Daybreak 2250 (1952). After the Apocalypse: Andre Norton’s Daybreak — 2250 A.D. This was the first SF book I ever read, though it would be more accurate to say my brother read it to me, (or at least parts of it).

Here, seven years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Norton gives us the complete destruction of Western civilization and the near-destruction of the human race. She knows about radiation poisoning, she speculates about the range and quality of mutations from it, and she makes it clear that she sees no other end to the atomic age than a cataclysmic blowup.

She also, even before Brown v. Board of Education and right in the middle of the McCarthy era, made clear that the future will not be pure white, though it may be relentlessly patriarchal. Her hero may have fair skin but he’s something other than Aryan-Caucasian, and his closest friend is African-American, descended from the Tuskegee Airmen. The implicitly white Plains people actually have a female leader, and the only women who speak in the whole novel speak at the end against the men’s insistence on perpetual war.

Paged Media approaches (Part 1 of 2) Paged Media is an Open Source initiative suite of JavaScripts to paginate HTML/CSS in the browser for the purposes of exporting print-ready, or display-friendly, PDF from the browser.

Via The Oregonian: Ursula Le Guin on fiction vs. ‘alternative facts’: Letter to the editor

Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them.  The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.”  The sun rises in the east.  To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.

Food and Drink

Glenn Fleishman writing for The Economist Explains: Why the genome of wheat is so massive It has over five times as much DNA as the human genome

DC College Student Creates KnoNap to Detect Drugs in Drinks “The KnoNap tests for at least 26 of the 40 most commonly used drugs as rape drugs”

History and Archaeology

Living with cauldrons – Iron Age feasting at Glenfield Park See also Elsewhere for December 9, 2017.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The Fight to Save the Country’s Most Scenic Acre “One acre inside Grand Teton National Park is for sale for $5 million. Its future says a lot about our national parks, Jackson Hole, and the tension between preserving history and budding tourism.”

Indonesian christians in state of NJ are fleeing to this church to prevent ICE from deporting them. This church is amazing! Governor Murphy of NJ,“God Help Us.”

Via NPR: Business And Wildlife Groups Skip The Fight, Work Together To Save A Species

The biggest company involved in what’s called the Georgia Gopher Tortoise Initiative is Georgia Power, the largest electric company in the state. With all its power plants, it’s also a major landowner. And gopher tortoises live at some of those plants, including Plant Hatch, a nuclear facility in south Georgia.

Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying

Science and Technology

The Great Crack-Up TIME magazine with NASA: Aerial Photos of Antarctica Reveal the Devastating Toll of Climate Change

Listen to Orcas mimicking human voices – audio This is much more than it seems, and again, supports the assertion that we need to stop treating Orcas as pets or experimental subjects.

Nigel the lonely gannet dies as he lived, surrounded by concrete birds


The Financial Times’s 404 page is an ingenious, hilarious introduction to major concepts in economic theory.”

A Partial List of Companies That Definitely Could Have Afforded to Pay Their Employees a Good Wage at Any Point Before the GOP Tax Bill “if you look beyond the press releases, the idea that these companies are handing over a significant portion of their tax windfall to their employees quickly becomes laughable.”

Glenn Fleishman offers A First Look At The Spheres, Amazon’s Wild New Corporate Biodome “When I toured the Amazon Spheres with one of the building’s lead architects, its head horticulturist, and Amazon’s real-estate chief, they didn’t conceal their delight while showing off botanic and design treasures in the gem-like building.”

‘Get out of the country!’: Navajo lawmaker harassed by Arizona Trump supporters accusing him of being here “illegally.”

Via The New York Times Editorial Board: The Republican Plot Against the F.B.I.

Women’s Work

Via The Harvard Business Review: When More Women Join the Workforce, Wages Rise — Including for Men

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Federal judge appears receptive to emoluments lawsuit against Trump “A federal judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of an effort by the Justice Department to throw out a lawsuit against President Trump alleging his company’s business with state governments and foreign countries violates the Constitution.”

Trump Turns GOP Into a Conspiracy of Dunces “The cynical men in Washington and Moscow who are feeding the crazy-eyed, conspiratorial imaginings of the Republican Party base under Donald Trump know what they’re doing.”

As they voted Monday night to release their version, while denying the Democrats the chance to release their rebuttal, the scam was clear. The first clue is that the memo is being rolled out as part of a PR effort so clumsy, obvious, ham-fisted, and covered in its own drool that it could only appeal to the most deluded Deep State fantasists. Naturally, it has been in more or less constant rotation on Fox News and the fever swamp of pro-Trump fake-news sites.

Elsewhere for January 27, 2018

You should read this for 1/27/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Ursula K. Le Guin, the spiritual mother of generations of writers; John Scalzi pays tribute

The speaking of her name and of her words goes on, and will go on, today and tomorrow and for a very long time now. As it should. She was the mother of so many of us, and you should take time to mourn your mother.

Do read Jo Walton’s Bright the Hawk’s Flight on the Empty Sky: Ursula K. Le Guin.

Apple’s Getting Back Into the E-Books Fight Against Amazon

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole Eggs, cheese, breakfast sausage, and tater tots cooked in the oven in a cast iron pan.

Also from Simply Recipes: 9 Great Chili Recipes

History and Archaeology

Dogs & Their Collars in Ancient Mesopotamia

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Dean Allen is gone. John Gruber, Jason Kottke and Om Malik remember Dean, and Dean remembers his mom

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Malala Fund partnership: “Our values align”

One, equality is at the core of our belief and values and, two, that education is the great equalizer of people. If you believe both of those, it’s not an extension at all to say, “how do we help Malala achieve her vision of educating 130-million young girls around the world?”

Education is key in terms of making the world better, and that means all sorts of education, both practical and academic.

Science and Technology

Horace Dediu from ASYMCO: The Apple Cash FAQ Best read in conjunction with Rene Ritchie’s Understanding Apple and its huge pile of cash.

Red handfish “needle in haystack” population found at second Tasmanian location.


Sally Yates, former U. S. Acting Attorney General: Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates

We are not living in ordinary times, and it is not enough for us to admire our nation’s core values from afar. Our country’s history is littered with individuals and factions who have tried to exploit our imperfections, but it is more powerfully marked by those whose vigilance toward a more perfect union has prevailed.

So stand up. Speak out. Our country needs all of us to raise our collective voices in support of our democratic ideals and institutions. That is what we stand for. That is who we are. And with a shared commitment to our founding principles, that is who we will remain.

The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provide crucial intel about Russia’s interference in US-elections
The Dutch infiltrated Cozy Bear’s network, even hacking the security cameras outside the building the Russian hackers worked in— allowing the Russian hackers to be identified and compared to known Russian spies.

The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It’s also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Women’s Work

Lindy West via The New York Times: Why Is Fixing Sexism Women’s Work?

Sexism is a male invention. White supremacy is a white invention. Transphobia is a cisgender invention. So far, men have treated #MeToo like a bumbling dad in a detergent commercial: well-intentioned but floundering, as though they are not the experts. They have a chance to do better by Time’s Up

GOP candidate says feminists have ‘snake-filled heads,’ hopes daughters don’t become ‘she devils’ Republican Senate candidate Courtland Sykes (Mo.)

I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have my daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives

As The Washington Post notes:

The candidate, Courtland Sykes, wrote that “radical feminism” has a “crazed definition of modern womanhood.”

“They made it up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads,” he said. “Men and women are different and gender-bending word games by a goofy nest of drugstore academics aren’t going to change anything — except the fantasy life of those confused people in ivory towers.”

Elsewhere for January 19, 2018

You should read this for 1/20/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea

How to Keep a Zibaldone, the 14th Century’s Answer to Tumblr

The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

Food and Drink

It’s Time to Stop Picking Stouts Over Porters

The History of Texas Sheet Cake Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and often, with pecans and coconut. Here’s the Library of Congress opining on the origins of Texas Sheet Cake, a recipe from Texas Monthly and an interesting vintage recipe for an intriguingly related sheath cake

Switzerland bans boiling lobsters alive I think pithing them or using a knife is a lot more humane.

History and Archaeology

11,500-year-old infant remains reveal ancient population “This is the first genomic evidence that all Native Americans can be traced back to the same population that migrated using a land bridge.”

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage Experiment Is a Success Here’s the gist:

that wages in Seattle are up, low-wage employment increased in the city, and the number of hours worked increased. They reported earlier this year that the wage increase had “near zero” impact on restaurant employment. And this week, in their final study for the city, the Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team released a reportproving prices at restaurants and grocery stores haven’t increased because of the minimum wage.

For more data, see this piece about the study.

Science and Technology

Those frozen NC alligators have thawed out and they are really grouchy now “A video posted earlier this week of the alligators frozen in place – with only their snouts above the ice – got hundreds of thousands of views across the world, and raised questions about how the alligators survive. ”


Mike Pence Turned Beet Red During MLK Service as Black Preacher Went Off About ‘Shithole’ Remarks

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a free-lance journalist and spare-time genealogist who has been calling out anti-Immigration public figures by pointing out their own family history of immigration. Meet The Woman Confronting Public Figures With Their Immigrant Histories “Jennifer Mendelsohn uses census records and ship manifests to put anti-immigrant hypocrisy on blast with #resistancegenealogy”

If you know anything about American immigration history, every single generation looks down on the last generation of immigrants and insists that these new immigrants are inferior and can’t possibly become American. It’s just exhausting to have to point this out over and over again. That these same people who see themselves as such quintessential Americans, their ancestors were at one point exactly the kind of newcomers who they’re now saying have no right to be American, aren’t going to fit in in America, aren’t up to snuff. It’s just ridiculous.

One of the current catch phrases in the GOP is “chain immigration.” That’s a dog-whistle reference to the historical and universal immigration process where one or two family members immigrate, establish themselves, and then help their other family members immigrate. It’s the way human immigration has always worked (including Neolithic farmers in Ireland). The people decrying immigration are generally here because of ancestor immigrants and chain immigration. It’s related to the larger trend of people essentially thinking “I got mine” and not worrying about the rest of humanity.

Elsewhere For January 13, 2018

You should read this for 1/13/2018:

Art and Film

Some amazing photos from DownEast Magazine’s 2018 Reader Photo Contest. These are not professional photographers, but they took pictures as if they were.

January from the Da Dosta Hours, work of Simon Bening c. 1515. This medieval illuminated and beautiful book of hours is in the collections of The Morgan Library

Emily Asher-Perrin on Wow, People Are Really Mad at Poe Dameron Smart, well-written, but spoilers galore. See also her equally smart and perceptive Luke Skywalker Isn’t Supposed to Be “Nice”. Also SPOILERS.

Books, Writing, and Language

Michael Wolff Did What Every Other White House Reporter Is Too Cowardly to Do You really should read this; here’s why: Wolff got it on tape. And

Wolff has spent this week thoroughly exploiting Trump and his minions the same way they’ve exploited the cluelessness of others. And he pulled it off because, at long last, there was a reporter out there willing to toss decorum aside and burn bridges the same way Trump does.

The Top Ten Most Important And Historically Lost Ancient Documents There’s a familiar theme with regards to the reasons for these lost (destroyed) books. We seem to be perpetually destroying books for the same stupid reasons.

Streaming from BBC Radio: Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys A new, six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s mythical fantasy about the trickster god Anansi and his unsuspecting son Charlie. Starring Jacob Anderson and Lenny Henry.

Regarding the Em Dash

Women Writing About the Wild: 25 Essential Authors Some really wonderful and under-read writers here; women who wrote about nature. Some of these have been ruthlessly “borrowed” from by male writers, often, without credit. And sometimes, when credited by the male writer, they were silently uncredited by later writers, who attributed their words to someman else.

History and Archaeology

Bronze Age Children’s Toys Found In Southern Siberia

Indian researchers say carvings found in Kashmir may be the oldest depiction of a dying star ever discovered Ordinarily, I’d say meh, constellation identification and naming is culturally driven, but with Orion and Taurus, there are handful of IE early languages that identify them as a hunter and a bull, so this strikes me as plausible. It also reminds me of Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night.

Viking centre discovered in Cork city predates Waterford settlement

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

A physician homebuilder tries to upend the nursing home industry — and give seniors back their independence

“I spent my career trying to change the nursing home industry,” he said. “But I’ve come to realize it’s not really going to change. So now what I’ve got to do is make it so people don’t need nursing homes in the first place. That what this is about.”

Czech Republic Inaugurates a Tax-Deductible Book Allowance for Employees This helps writers, designers, publishers and their employees, and it helps the readers.

Science and Technology

How to Fix Facebook—Before It Fixes Us An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it.

Genetic Clues Link Depression and Alcohol Dependence

Extraterrestrial Hypatia Stone Rattles Solar System Status Quo

In 2013, researchers announced that a pebble found in south-west Egypt, was definitely not from Earth. By 2015, other research teams had announced that the ‘Hypatia’ stone was not part of any known types of meteorite or comet, based on noble gas and nuclear probe analyses.

I’m not sure what this means, either, but it’s intriguing. And it makes me recall the meteor Oumuamua in 2017 that was not from this solar system. And the “alien” minerals found in a meter fragment on the island of Skye. There are more things in Heaven and Earth . . .

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7038 “Researchers using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found eight sites where thick deposits of ice beneath Mars’ surface are exposed in faces of eroding slopes.”


First here’s the Washington Post regarding < href=”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/09/its-not-a-fabrication-six-times-the-company-behind-the-trump-russia-dossier-contradicted-trump/”>the testimony of the CEO of research firm Fusion GPS to Congress about the Trump dossier his firm produced during the presidential campaign. “It’s not made up. It wasn’t politically motivated. And it did not set out with the intention to smear Donald Trump.” And see this thorough point-by-point response to the testimony from ElizabethCMcLaughlin, a lawyer, CEO and former a securities fraud and human rights litigator. She has citations and analysis.

President Obama explains ‘what the Russians exploited’ in new interview with Letterman

Women’s Work

Female professors get more grief from students, study finds ‘Students wouldn’t take no as an answer … I always suspected that gender could play a role

Research from Eastern Washington University has found that women working in education are more often requested to give extensions, boost grades and be more lenient when it comes to classroom policy.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

How Trump fulfilled a 30-year fantasy of becoming president, with a little help from the Kremlin

Elsewhere for January 6, 2018

You should read this for 11/4/2017:

Art and Film

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ at 25: Through the Wormhole With the Cast and Creators

Books, Writing, and Language

Bookstore Chains, Long in Decline, Are Undergoing a Final Shakeout Another reason to buy local. Bookstores like libraries provide a real service and information that an algorithm can’t.

Food and Drink

Hummus. It’s the food of my people. Serve it with warm pita bread, or toast points or crudités.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Confined By Leprosy, But Open To The World: Remembering ‘Ambassador’ Mr. Pete

Sarah Silverman’s response to a Twitter troll is a master class in compassion “After a troll lashed out at Silverman, she found him help for his pain.”

Science and Technology

Niagra Falls is covered in ice, and it’s absolutely stunning Go look at the pictures.

There is a Whole Cottage Industry of Doctors Helping Parents Skip Their Kids’ Vaccines In California, medical exemptions for shots are on the rise.

Winter storm Grayson blows in and dumps snow on the U.S. East coast. It also brought a hawk to the feeders.

Writer Donna Migliaccio has foxes in her yard! She’s got pictures, too. https://donnamigliaccio.com/2017/12/26/the-christmas-foxes/ But wait, there’s more: The Christmas Foxes in January.

Sharp-Shinned hawk at a bird feeder.


NSA’s top talent is leaving because of low pay, slumping morale and unpopular reorganization “Since 2015, the NSA has lost several hundred hackers, engineers and data scientists, according to current and former U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. The potential impact on national security is significant, they said.” No kidding! This is not good; if I were the NSA, I’d start heavy recruiting, and I’d look a women and minorities in particular. That’s a good way to solve the staffing problem, and improve the NSA’s organizational culture.

Women’s Work

Why Is Fixing Sexism Women’s Work?

That question — why is it our responsibility to fix the system that victimizes us? — has dogged me ever since. I thought about it when I sat on an all-female panel in front of a mostly female audience talking about how to fix gender bias in comedy. I think about it every time a reporter asks me how victims of internet trolling can make ourselves safer online.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump’s New York Times Interview Is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline The NYT interview is here. 💩🔥💰 displays not only his native malevolent Narcissim, but I absolutely think he has dementia and is sliding fast. And here’s NPR’s fact-check of 💩🔥💰 insane mendacious interview.

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.