Stacey Abrams Contains Multitudes [ungated link] - "Abrams went on to write seven more Selena Montgomery books (one of which, 'Never Tell', is in development with CBS), as well as two nonfiction works under her own name, while pursuing her day jobs as a tax lawyer, business owner, state lawmaker, candidate for governor and voting-rights advocate, to name a few."
*that famous Annie Dillard line
*that famous Annie Dillard line
This summer, five ginormous monsters are taking up residence at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. "Dambo admits that the stories and concepts he comes up with might be lost on visitors. "It doesn't really matter for me," he says. What matters is that his trolls draw people into nature "to have a good experience there." He also hopes they see that garbage can be turned into something big and beautiful. "I like to think that my art can help change people's perspective from trash being something that has no value to something that has a big value," he says." [more inside]
A historical analysis, from both musical and fashion perspectives, of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back."
An engaging overview of the unusual life of mathematician Alexander Grothendieck, by Luca Signorelli. [more inside]
Inside a viral website: This is an account of running istheshipstillstuck.com. [Via Popbitch]
Why people and organizations need to not look busy "Any time we eliminate slack, we create a build-up of work. DeMarco writes, “As a practical matter, it is impossible to keep everyone in the organization 100 percent busy unless we allow for some buffering at each employee’s desk. That means there is an inbox where work stacks up." [more inside]
Thursday, August 20, I got back from a 9 day pack trip with my packgoats. I took Grant, Albert, Bryce and Benson. A charming, vaguely anthropomorphic trail review of a person hiking alone with four goats. [more inside]
A Monotown (monocity, моногород), is a local community dominated by a single company. There are a lot of them. Their architecture is often striking. [more inside]
How a fringe religious movement in Japan built a pro-Trump social media Happy Science has adopted American far-right ideology for its own gain, just like Falun Gong.
The Slander Industry [slNYT] Two NYT reporters investigate "the secret, symbiotic relationship between those facilitating slander and those getting paid to remove it" by having one of them submit himself to a reputation-wrecking website and seeing where else his face and name popped up, then going to the reputation-repair sites. A follow-up of sorts to this article (earlier on the blue). (Via boingboing).
From writer Anne Helen Petersen: “Prophets of Place: Centering Waco in the Shiplap Frontier of Fixer Upper” is truly my platonic ideal of an academic article: deeply interdisciplinary, beautifully written, accessible and rigorous. It’s the work of Ph.D. student Rebecca Lea Potts, and I was thrilled when she agreed to talk more about her route to this work, Texas, her mini-shiplap dissertation, and the sort of Christian music that you JUST KNOW is Christian. [more inside]
Golf's Missing Links. John and Marie Llewellyn's website gathers together information about quondam community golf courses, mostly focussed on the late 19th and early 20th century in the UK but with some Irish and a smattering of mainland European courses as well. Each course has a few bits of historical documentation, usually some soothingly trivial contemporary local news reports ("[I]n matches like these the score is not the single object. The home club were, I am told, as hospitable as ever...") and occasionally some interesting accompanying photos. [more inside]
Politician's Zoom Background Can't Hide Fact That He's Actually Driving — Andrew Brenner, a state senator in Ohio, is getting some heat for driving while participating in a Zoom call earlier this week. The Ohio Senate is currently taking up a bill that would create additional penalties for distracted driving and a local newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, pointed out the irony of the situation. But local media aren’t discussing perhaps the funniest aspect of this whole minor scandal: Brenner turned on a virtual background to make it appear like he was at home in his office. And he failed miserably., Gizmodo, Matt Novak, 5/6/2021.
Muslim prayer rugs tend to be rectangular. Cats love bounded areas. You can see where this is going: "the biggest trial in prayer is not the devil, but cats" [translation from Malay. The thread is mainly in Indonesian and Malay, but I trust the visuals are sufficient]. As the second Ramadan in COVID season swings around, many families have to adapt and commit their taraweeh/terawih prayers at home. Last year, a similar thread went viral, with Muslims sharing their compromise prayer rugs for their kitties. Muslims really do love felines. Per Dr Stephennie Mulder in her twitter thread: 'Cats hold a revered place in Islam', so much so it was worth commenting on by Europeans during the time of the Ottoman Empire.
In 2018, John Means was a 25-year-old soft-tossing lefty in his third straight year of double-A. Drafted in the 11th round by the Baltimore Orioles, and making it only up to #29 on the team's prospect list, the end of his baseball career seemed near enough that he set up a LinkedIn page advertising his (limited) experience as a substitute teacher. Today, he no-hit the Seattle Mariners, becoming the first Orioles starter to throw a no-hitter since Jim Palmer more than 50 years ago. [more inside]
Ed Ward was an early records reviewer for Rolling Stone and the Rock Historian for Fresh Air with Terry Gross until they refused to have him as a guest to promote The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1.. Against the orders of boss Jann Wenner, he launched the career of legendary critic Lester Bangs. After moving to Austin and working for the Austin American-Statesman, he was instrumental in the founding of South By Southwest. Ed died over the weekend at the age of 72. [more inside]
This week is Senators Week on Defector, featuring posts on one or both of the upper house of the United States Congress and the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team. [more inside]
Former NBA players Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles host the Knuckleheads podcast, a series of freewheeling discussions with current and former NBA and WNBA players. Their first question is always the same: "When you first got to the league, who was the first person to bust your ass?" The answers are funny, enlightening, surprising and (almost) always humble; players often remember the exact number of points their buster scored in years- or decades-old games. They offer a unique window into what it's like to make the transition to the upper echelons of professional sports, when someone who has spent their life as the best player in the gym suddenly realizes that they still have a lot to learn. Here's Gary Payton with the paradigmatic "welcome to the NBA" moment, but there's much more inside. [more inside]
"I just wanted him to value me enough to break up with me." "When you are ghosted, you may feel like you should quietly accept the rejection and never bother the person again—either to prove that you “get the message” or because you want to preserve your dignity. This is exactly what your ghoster wants: to not have to deal with you. " [more inside]
biking is (not just) for boys (from peopleforbikes) Roshun Austin grew up poor in Memphis, Tennessee, the middle of five girls raised in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. “Religiously, there were a lot of things that girls could not do,” said Austin. “In the Holiness Pentecostal tradition, whistling was considered sinful, as was skipping. We couldn’t even wear pants, so riding a bike wasn’t that acceptable.”
The Pastry A.I. That Learned to Fight Cancer. An AI program that recognizes unwrapped pastries for Japanese bakeries, built before image-recognizing neural networks became widespread, turns out to be useful for recognizing cancer cells. [more inside]
How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life [ungated link] - "Between 1920 and 2020, the average human life span doubled. How did we do it? Science mattered — but so did activism." (NYT, PBS) [more inside]
Buy Nothing groups are part of the Internet gift economy, currently only on Facebook. The idea is "give where you live" and to "buy nothing". Now they are building a sharing app, currently in beta.
The Brilliant Stupidity of Robert Palmer’s 1986 No. 1 Hit, ‘Addicted to Love’. A brief reflection on the 'utterly ridiculous', 'absolutely iconic', and 'brilliantly idiotic' song on the thirty-fifth anniversary of its hitting #1. [SLVariety]
Ultra-runner Sabrina Verjee is struggling through blizzards even as you read this, on her latest attempt for a record-setting run of the Wainwright Fells Round, after becoming the first woman to do the run continuously last year. Her almost unbelievable effort to climb 214 peaks, without stopping, in less than six days, in the British "spring" weather, can be followed live here. [more inside]
Sugar in COVID-19 (YT) from the Blue Brain Project at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland [more inside]
Hottest front-room seats: the best theatre and dance to watch online. The list is a tiny bit UK-centric, but if you have other online performances you'd like to recommend, that would be excellent :).
Leverage: Redemption is coming. The heist-of-the-week TV series Leverage is coming back some time in 2021, with much of the original cast and some new additions, notably including Noah Wyle. (No Timothy Hutton, but Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, and Aldis Hodge are all back.) The series will be available on IMDB's IMDB-TV streaming service. Leverage on MeFi Fanfare.
Marvel Studios Celebrates The Movies.
Marvel blasts off with a megatrailer for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel blasts off with a megatrailer for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Colette is a 25 minute documentary by Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard about a visit made by 90-year-old Colette Marin-Catherine, to the Nordhausen concentration camp where her brother died. They were both members of the Resistance. She is accompanied by 17-year-old history student Lucie Fouble. The film won the Oscar for best documentary short this year.
The Adventure Zone Season 4 trailer (SLYT). It's another beautiful (and well-scored!) TAZ trailer from animator Mimi Chiu!
Eleven Ways Of Smelling A Tree: David Haskell invites us into the unique and sometimes surprising aromas of eleven different species of trees (Emergence Magazine) - "I kneel at the pile of fresh wood chips and scoop a double handful to my nose. A wet-green aroma: chopped lettuce and asparagus, backed by a whisper of tannin. Four hours ago, an ash tree stood here. Now, its trunk and limbs are gone, hauled off by the arborist’s crew. A stump grinder’s spinning maw turned the trunk’s base and the upper roots into a heap of pulverized sawdust. A circle of golden leaves on the ground marks the extent of the canopy, an imprint that will be raked away by evening. I lower my head and inhale again. Chopped fennel, a hint of mushroomy soil. The odor is intense, like diving in, mouth open. All at once, years of slowly accumulated aromas in ash wood are liberated into the air."
How Batteries Work: Inside The Batteries Powering Your Car, Phone and More - "From electric vehicles to your cell phone, lithium ion batteries have evolved quickly over the past few years. Bloomberg Green charted the evolution of their makeup and how they work." (Bloomberg: The Next Generation of Batteries | How a New Generation of Batteries Will Change the World) [more inside]
John Swartzwelder gives an interview to The New Yorker.
Gates suggested that it could be unsafe to share the critical information that allows vaccines to be more widely produced “Typically in global health, it takes a decade between when a vaccine comes into the rich world and when it gets to the poor countries.” Yet, in the past few months, the danger of not transferring the knowledge more quickly has become painfully clear, with deaths climbing in India, Brazil, and other parts of the world that have been unable to procure adequate supplies of vaccines while richer countries stockpile them. [more inside]
The Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical first identified Neurotypical Syndrome in 2002. A condition characterized by "preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity," this life-long disorder is complex and has no known cure. Will Rogers goes into detail about some of the hallmarks of Neurotypical Syndrome. Fortunately, recent research into the double empathy problem has revealed new ways in which we might learn to accommodate individuals with this condition. [more inside]
Modern CPU Architecture Part 1 – Key Concepts (Part 2 – Microarchitecture Deep Dive)[1,2] [more inside]
Every spring, fish swim right through Utrecht, looking for a place to spawn and reproduce. Some swim all the way to Germany. There is a problem, however: they often have to wait a long time at the Weerdsluis lock on the west side of the inner city, as the lock rarely opens in spring. We have come up with a solution: the fish doorbell! An underwater camera has been set up at the lock, and the live feed is streamed to the homepage. If you see a fish, press the digital fish doorbell.You too can help horny little fishies get to their make out spot by ringing the doorbell for them, as explained here. Bonus points if you live on the other side of the world, as the fish like to swim mostly at night.
Except for the simple difference in size, there are no meaningful differences between men’s and women’s brain structure or activity that hold up across diverse populations. [more inside]
The Radio We Could Send to Hell — Silicon carbide radio circuits can take the volcanic heat of Venus., IEEE Spectrum, 4/28/2021. Its average surface temperature is 464 °C, sulfuric acid droplets fill the atmosphere, and its surface pressure is ~90 times Earth’s. Venus is considered Earth’s planetary twin: their size and mass are very close, and perhaps it once had massive oceans (with life) like Earth. But what cataclysm caused Venus to lose its water? Scientists think Earth’s fate may be similar as our climate changes, but to gather more data new Venusian robotic landers and rovers are needed. Can we build them to survive and explore its hostile environment for months or years? We can.
The Ernie Flatt Dancers put the variety in variety show with their weekly numbers on The Carol Burnett show. Here they are dancing to Emerson Lake & Palmer's Hoedown. Here's guest star Ken Berry with the Dancers. Or Sally Struthers. And here, flip-dancing with Dick Van Dyke. They certainly had Versatility! [more inside]
After six years of successful partnership and transforming the men’s health and media spaces for the better, MEL and Dollar Shave Club’s financial relationship will come to an end in 60 days. [more inside]
Not a UFOlogist, but it's been a long trip since people started seeing things in the sky and wanting to believe they were there for a reason. Recently the U.S. government, after years of denial, has sort-of-centralized reporting on UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). For Those Who Want To Believe and Those Who Want To Disprove rages on, as the Unidentifed Aerial Phenomena Task Force report, expected in June 2021, will be probably just one more light in the sky to debate about.