Aretha Franklin died today at 76 from complications due to pancreatic cancer. Beginning singing at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, she went "secular" in 1960 with Capitol Records, but her fame took off in 1967 with Atlantic, where she would record such hits as "Respect", "Natural Woman", and "Think". She signed with Arista in 1979 and appeared in "The Blues Brothers" in 1980. Among her many standout moments, one that was surprising and immensely memorable was her 1998 Grammy performance of "Nessun Dorma", filling in for Pavarotti. She had 18 Grammies, 75 million record sales, and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987). Rest in peace.
Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Meg) has been cast as Batwoman in an upcoming crossover event in the CW's "Arrowverse." [more inside]
A four-part BBC World Service documentary series based on listening to four different environments around the world. The first half-hour is The Sounds Of The Maasai Mara, in which wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson explores the sounds of the African Plains. [more inside]
National Geographic: At 18, Katie Stubblefield lost her face. At 21, she became the youngest person in the U.S. to undergo the still experimental surgery. Follow her incredible story. [CW: Extremely graphic images and descriptions of facial injuries and reconstruction; suicide; overdose]
Blessed redeemer! It's the piebald moose. Friends Nancy Andrews and Roxanne Rowsell captured a piebald (ghostly white) moose on video. The footage of the rare moose is interesting, but it's the women's Newfoundland accents and their charmingly goofy commentary that have sent it viral.
In Pennsylvania, a state with 500 school districts, the funding crisis of public education is not a breaking news story. It's been the reality for years. Students study in decaying buildings, can only dream about art classes and fight the stigma of being from "that school." The crisis of funding public education is imminent as the court is set to look into how Pennsylvania funds public education and if it violates the State Constitution. In this series, we explore deepening inequities across school districts and ask: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved? [more inside]
When my mom cooked sambal from scratch, she moved with controlled haste. Her eyebrows would furrow as she used her index finger to mix belacan, a pungent shrimp paste, with water. “Open all the windows!” she would suddenly yell, her warning to my brother, father and me that fiery chiles would be hitting her oiled wok in a few minutes.Sambal, a Pungent Reminder of Home and Hardship (SLNYT)
Voltron: Legendary Defender Had a Gay Character All Along [Vulture] [SPOILERS] “For those who grew up on the classic ’80s cartoon Voltron, Netflix’s remake, Voltron: Legendary Defender, will seem quite different. Yes, five mechanical lions still combine to form a giant robot that kicks ass in space, but the show has been modernized in ways large and small.” [more inside]
I think that the stars have really aligned. I think that it’s my team, it’s the fact that we were all so dedicated to telling honest stories and to just fighting and fighting to get this material through and make it so entertaining that you could never deny how sweet and thoughtful and entertaining it is that there’s just no way to say no. Rebecca Sugar on Steven Universe and LGBTQ representation. Stephen Universe just had a history making same sex marriage in a kids cartoon and has recently had a movie announced.
"Your body is yours and yours alone. " Don’t let it be dictated or moulded into something you don’t want. Dress it how you want. Wear what you think feels good and looks good, but trust me some bandwagons aren’t worth jumping on. Your body’s going to change and then change some more and then when you think it’s finally stopped, it changes again. Keep your body hair, shave your body hair, do what you want it’s up to you, but do it for you.” (Niellah Arboine) [more inside]
For most of my life, there has been a Rihanna single — or multiple Rihanna singles, or multiple songs defined by a Rihanna hook — playing prominently on Top 40 radio. So it's not enough to say Rihanna is the air. Rihanna shaped the texture and taste of the air by consistently doing what pop, at its very best, is supposed to do: taking disparate genres — rock, EDM, dancehall, trap and even dubstep — and turning them into something that makes sense to us, to everyone. If she's not seen as taking musical risks, it's only because so many of them paid off. Jenny Gathright argues for Rihanna as the most influential musician of the 21st century.
Hilary Woods carries a range of influences into her music, from her education in dance, to growing up surrounded by music -- her father was a pianist, and in her house there was "a huge mix of folk music and Irish ballads very heavy metal." You can hear all these influences on her debut album, Colt (Bandcamp) Although it is lithe and warm, there is an austerity to its texture that harkens back to the forbidding tones of heavier music. (FACT Rated interview + review). If Grouper’s stark, intense minimalism (Bandcamp) is best visualized as the darkest corner of the coldest house, then Colt ... is the desolate, cinematic landscape outside it (London in Stereo). [more inside]
"If power can be held through atomic bombs, colonial peoples may never be free." (pdf link) [more inside]
The efforts by Green Watch from Edmonton station to charm the misbehaving bird went smoothly at first, and she responded positively, telling her would-be rescuer that she loved him back. But, Jessie soon launched a foul-mouthed tirade against the fire crew, telling the fire fighters to “f*** off”.
Harberger Taxation and Open Source - "A novel approach to creating a self-sustainable digital commons" (via)
Everything is Alive is an unscripted interview show / podcast in which all the subjects are inanimate objects. In each episode, a different thing tells us its life story--and everything it says is true." There have been three episodes so far: 1. Louis, can of soda; 2. Maeve, lamppost; 3. Dennis, pillow. They're not "sequential," but I do suggest listening to them in order.
Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of Web Summit, announced today that the invitation to speak extended to Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far right party Rassemblement National will be rescinded by the Lisbon tech conference. [more inside]
"The oldest known surviving film made by an African-American director, Within Our Gates is a searing account of the US racial situation during the early twentieth century, including the years of Jim Crow, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Migration of Southern blacks to cities in the North, and the emergence of the “New Negro”. Directed by Oscar Micheaux, the film is one of the earliest and finest examples in the genre of “race films”. Produced outside the main Hollywood machine, these films were purposefully made for an all-black audience, featured black actors, and became important arenas through which representations of African-Americans in mass culture were contested." (Within Our Gates YouTube) - Industrious African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux designed a cunning film that is in so many ways an inversion of The Birth of a Nation. Where Griffith simplifies history, Within Our Gates complicates it. - This movie is very much the antithesis of Birth. The black characters are given a depth and humanity that would have been denied them in standard Hollywood productions. Sylvia in particular is amazing considering the period: she is a female character who manages to be independent and intelligent, - Restored 'Race Films' Find New Audiences (NPR)
i do not have a boyfriend so I made one out of boxes of wine. i took my boyfriend i made out of boxes of wine to his first #pride and he loved it. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT my boyfriend i made out of boxes of wine and i are moving in 2gether. my boyfriend i made out of boxes of wine took me to the garden and surprised me...guys i said YES!!! [more inside]
Do you have a problem? Do you want a book to help you solve it? Book Therapist is Rosalie Knecht, LMSW, a licensed therapist and author of the novels Relief Map and Who is Vera Kelly? (Tin House, June 2018). She will be taking questions monthly for Lit Hub at email@example.com. [more inside]
What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is the Accused? After a year long Title IX investigation, NYU Philosophy professor suspended Avitall Ronnell for the coming academic year for sexually harassing a male graduate student. A number of feminist scholars, including Judith Butler, have announced their support for Professor Ronell in a letter. The letter cites the "international standing and reputation" of Professor Ronell, and accused the victim of waging "a malicious campaign against her." Zizek also signed the letter. [more inside]
According to the New York Times (and the curator of an exhibition of her work), Donna Gottschalk is the most famous lesbian photographer you've never heard of (NYT Link) [more inside]
Anna Coleman Ladd, a sculptor, made lifelike masks for soldiers of WW I. World War I caused the death of millions of combatants and civilians, while countless soldiers suffered from injury and disfigurement. Perhaps the most disheartening were facial injuries, as soldiers had to not only deal with the physical loss, but also the constant psychological stress of wondering how people would react to their changed appearance.
Based on the 2017 US Census Bureau Population Estimates, Overflow Data compiled this handy chart to answer the question above. You can sort the columns, and even break up each generation into smaller age ranges. [more inside]
You’ve seen rankings of superhero movies, of Netflix originals, of various Hollywood Chrises. But there’s one ranking you haven’t seen: CAPES. The 60 Greatest Capes in Movie History.
Somewhere along the way a rosé company might realize your restaurant is popular or has some buzz, particularly around the wine program. They might stop by, drop off a business card, send an email, and hint that they’d make it worth your while to add their wine to the list. A lot of these deals span the gray area of ethics, from direct cash incentives to trips, dinners, sporting game tickets, complimentary product, etc. Anything to get an edge. There are only so many slots on a wine list and oh-so-many wines out in the world. (Bon Appetit) [more inside]
How do you like to find your own fun after putting hundreds of hours into a game? by Danielle Riendeau [Waypoint] “It’s funny to me, just how much I love this game and feel like it’s part of my life. I think about it in idle moments, craving the feeling of a great turn, scrambling the enemy bugs across the map so they destroy each other. It’s fascinating to me that I keep setting goals for myself, long after the marathon of the game’s own achievement system (no cakewalk) has been completed. I guess I just like Into the Breach this much. How about you, dear readers? Is there a game out there that you love so much, that you’ve played half to death, that you’ve made your own increasingly ridiculous goals for, to keep things interesting?”
When Homer envisioned Achilles, did he see a Black man? This question is posed by Tim Whitmarsh, a professor of Greek culture, discusses the trouble of applying modern notions of race on historic figures, looking specifically at the trouble of defining "xanthos hair", and notes many of the Greek statues that seem white to us now were in antiquity painted in colour. "The differences [in descriptions of race, and color] are instructive – and, indeed, clearly point up the oddity of the modern, western obsession with classification by pigmentation." [more inside]
...as wide as the gates of morning to the whole people." Frederick Law Olmstead, most well-known for designing Central Park, also designed many other parks across the U.S. And now the Library of Congress has digitized his papers. [more inside]
The Weight of Numbers: Air Pollution and PM2.5
Emanating from smokestacks, vehicle engines, construction projects, and fires large and small, airborne pollution – sometimes smaller than the width of a human hair, and very often the product of human activity – is not just contributing to climate change. It is a leading driver of heart disease and stroke, lung cancer, and respiratory infections the world over. Exposure to such pollution, the most deadly of which scientists call PM2.5, is the sixth highest risk factor for death around the world, claiming more than 4 million lives annually, according to recent global morbidity data. Add in household pollutants from indoor cooking fires and other combustion sources, and the tally approaches 7 million lives lost each year.[more inside]
After years of painstaking acoustic measurements, Hempton identified this spot on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula as the quietest place in the U.S.—the spot most free of our man-made noise pollution. He has nurtured this square inch, guided people to it, and protected it from encroaching cacophony of our modern world. But now it faces its biggest threat yet.
Sumerian goddess Ninkasi, Hildegarde von Bingen, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stir the cauldron in this history of brewing by Heather Hogan at Autostraddle [more inside]
Mars Rover Opportunity was put to sleep by a planet-wide dust storm that didn't allow her solar panels to recharge her batteries. The dust storm has died down, and as the engineers wait for her to wake back up, they've been greeting her every day with a different wake up song. Space.com has the article, and the article has a Spotify playlist.
Cities of the World Where You Don’t Need AC or Heat - lookup available at Guardian
What's a scientific study that strongly affected the way you think, but which later turned out to probably be wrong? From Zach Weinersmith on Twitter.
"The sheer invisibility of Native people leads to some very warped perspectives about contemporary Native life. Forty percent of respondents did not think that Native people still exist. While 59 percent agree that 'the United States is guilty of committing genocide against Native Americans,' only 36 percent agree that Native Americans experience significant discrimination today — meaning nearly two-thirds of the public perceive Native Americans as experiencing little to no oppression or structural racism... ." Reclaiming Native Truth's report on how the American public views Native Americans. [more inside]
Half a billion years ago, Habelia optata lived and hunted prey at the bottom of a warm shallow Cambrian sea. Protected by its thick, hard, spiny armor, it walked on five pairs of articulated legs. Only 2 to 3 centimeters long, it detected and grasped smaller less fortunate animals. With its many comparatively large jaws, it cracked through the hard shells of its prey.How Art Makes Better Science: a short case study of the 2-D and 3-D interpretations by Joanna Liang of one of the many weird creatures of the Burgess Shale. via [more inside]
The last of San Francisco's series of now-defunct amusement parks was Playland at the Beach, which closed in 1972. in 2008, Playland Not-At-The-Beach opened to the public across the Bay in El Cerrito. It contains memorabilia related to Playland, Sutro Baths, a miniature version of the Sells-Floto Circus created by Isaac and Donald Marcks, a variety of pinball machines and other amusements, and even a room devoted to Eartha Kitt. Unfortunately, the building is slated to be demolished and like its predecessor, replaced with condos, so Playland Not-At-The-Beach is closing Labor Day 2018, and its contents will be auctioned.
This week is National Afternoon Tea (not High Tea) Week. But what is Afternoon Tea? It can be simple (scones, jam, cream, tea) or elegant or expensive. There are do's and dont's. It's not this, or this, and just c'mon, but is found in Yorkshire or Bolton or Liverpool or London or Belfast or (suspended reality) Harrogate or the Falklands or far from Britain. Some options, and more and some more - and one to reignite the English class war. The tea can be red and the food can be based around chocolate or a Dundee cake or dim sum or fish or of course gin or fruit or Harry Potter, or be for dogs, or be oh not again served by hipsters. Or, you could make your own, perhaps a healthy option, or construct one at Ikea. May attract criminals or Her Majesty. Clothing optional.
Advert for cat caring job on Greek isle brings deluge of candidates. “From experience, the job is most suitable for someone 45+ years of age, who’s responsible, reliable, honest, practically inclined – and really with a heart of gold! You will at times be expected to trap or handle a feral or non-sociable cat … so cat whispering skills should come natural to you.”
In Kirk Wallace Johnson's new book, The Feather Thief, he writes about a 2009 theft of almost 300 rare and exotic birds from the British Natural History Museum at Tring, and the then 20-year-old flautist who stole them. National Geographic has an excerpt from the book, and This American Life presents the story in this week's episode.