February 14, 2019
Cat and squirrel play-fight Sorry, those looking for a despair, outrage or poop fix, there's none of that in this post. TW: Do not search the web for this topic, most end very badly.
Jeremy Dutcher is a First Nations classically trained tenor, musician, and composer whose debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa [Youtube playlist], sung entirely in the "severely endangered" language of Wolastoqey, won the 2018 Polaris Prize, which is awarded annually to the best full-length Canadian music album. You can watch him perform a stunning medley of his album at the Polaris Gala, and accept the prize. Dutcher is a Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) member of the Tobique First Nation, and his album is based on traditional Wolastoqiyik songs, often sampling century-old wax cylinder recordings of his ancestors' singing, to devastatingly beautiful effect. [more inside]
We’ve trained a large-scale unsupervised language model which generates coherent paragraphs of text, achieves state-of-the-art performance on many language modeling benchmarks, and performs rudimentary reading comprehension, machine translation, question answering, and summarization — all without task-specific training. [more inside]
The weird things dogs do when they poop serve a purpose. Afterwards, be sure to monitor the color of their poop to keep abreast of their health. And don't be too upset when they eat poop. It's probably an ancient pack-survival behavior. They'll even venture outside the species and eat cat poop—it smells like cat food to them.
In 2009, a secret Facebook group called the Ligue du LOL (The League of LOL), led by young French male journalists, started harassing fellow journalists, writers, bloggers and activists - predominantly targeting women and minorities (also NYT), disrupting the lives and ruining the careers of their victims through barrages of sexist, racist and homophobic insults, pornographic montages, prank calls, and Twitter-coordinated attacks, online and IRL. The existence of the group was revealed last week, resulting in a flood of heartbreaking testimonies (megathread on r/feminisme (in French)), and in an intense bout of soul-searching in the progressive French media: not only the victims had been ignored before last week, but most of the Ligue members are now prominent journalists in major left-wing publications. [more inside]
This Person Does Not Exist is a single-serving website that does only one thing: algorithmically generate fake human faces. Refresh for more. [more inside]
If you're sick of the simpering sweetness of this supposed saint's day (Catholic.com), you might enjoy some Victorian vinegar Valentines, as recounted by Atlas Obscura, with more from Collector's Weekly (previously). If you want to copy some salty prose or rather precise, personal poetry, The Satirical Valentine Writer (circa 18xx, via Archive.org) could be your new friend, itself a response to the earlier Valentine Writers, such as Richardson's New London Fashionable Gentlemen's Valentine Writer or, the Lover's Own Book (1828, Archive.org) and the new and improved Sentimental Valentine Writer, containing a selection of the best and newest Valentine Poetry (1850, Archive.org). [more inside]
“Lawyer up!” each future divorcée is exhorted, by those who’ve been there. The call to arms is a directive, not a suggestion. But what if the future divorcée—like me, like so many—cannot afford a lawyer? (SL The Atlantic)
Bald eagle named Justice missing from nest in D.C.: Things appeared to be going fine at the nest, with a hint of spring and new life in the air. Liberty and Justice mated Saturday, experts said, and fertilized an egg. But in that afternoon, a new, younger male eagle showed up at the nest. [more inside]
Kenyan film director Wanuri Kahiu wanted a hopeful African love story she could adapt into a film. She found what she was looking for in Jambula Tree, a Caine Prize-winning short story by Ugdandan author Monica Arac de Nyeko about the love and courtship of two young women. Kahiu's film is named Rafiki--Swahili for "friend"--which, as Kahiu frequently states in interviews, "is how queer Kenyans need to introduce their partners in a society where it is not yet safe to name their love directly." The film premiered at Cannes in 2018 (trailer here), but the Kenyan Film and Classification Board banned it back home. After suing the government, Kahiu won a 7-day suspension of the ban to allow Rafiki to qualify for the Academy Awards; the theaters were packed, breaking box office records, but the Kenyan Oscars selection committee declined to submit Rafiki for consideration. Africa Is A Country has more on the film, which plays against the backdrop of Kenya's expected February 22nd Constitutional Court ruling on colonial-era laws that criminalize homosexuality.
“The defenders of authority dread the advent of a free motherhood, lest it will rob them of their prey. Who would fight wars? Who would create wealth? Who would make the policeman, the jailer, if woman were to refuse the indiscriminate breeding of children? The race, the race! shouts the king, the president, the capitalist, the priest. The race must be preserved, though woman be degraded to a mere machine, — and the marriage institution is our only safety valve against the pernicious sex-awakening of woman. But in vain these frantic efforts to maintain a state of bondage.” - Anarchist agitator Emma Goldman, “Marriage and Love.” 1914
In the coming decades, the climates of North American cities will shift to those of locations that are hundreds of miles away or, in some cases, to climates "with no modern equivalent in North America”. An interactive map shows what the climates of 540 urban areas in the US and Canada will feel like 60 years from now. [more inside]
NPR spent nearly a year talking to high school students about their attitudes about guns. Here is their reporting in a 20 minute video -- Senior Spring: How Teens Feel About Guns In America.
Did you ever wonder where the rollerblades you had in the 90s are now? If you donated them to a charity shop, there's a good chance that they ended up in a container of secondhand clothing exported to Africa (a trade known by the Swahili word mitumba, meaning “bundles”), made their way to a skate shop in central Nairobi, and right now are in the possession of a stylishly attired young Kenyan, racing deftly down a busy street in Kenya's inline skating craze.
She lay every morning under an avalanche of details, blissed: pictures of breakfasts in Patagonia, a girl applying foundation with a hardboiled egg, a shiba inu in Japan leaping from paw to paw to greet its owner, white women’s pictures of their bruises – the world pressing closer and closer, the spider web of human connection so thick it was almost a shimmering and solid silk. Patricia Lockwood writes about being online.
THE LONELY LIFE OF A YACHT INFLUENCER: Alex Jimenez (aka TheYachtGuy) might look like he’s comfortably residing in the lap of luxury on Instagram, but the truth is, he’s kinda lost at sea.
Does reading on the toilet help you poop? references a 2011 Guardian article (previously). If you don't have a serious need to go, and you haven't overdone it on the cherries, then maybe. Science says that 52.7% of Israeli adults indulged, to no effect either way. Other issues abound e.g. is it offensive to read the bible while on the toilet? Does also being naked help? Or phoning your cable company? Or wearing a hat while reading? What potty-prose is most suitable? Moby Dick? Otherwise, perhaps some oats? Serious point: read if you want, but always look back.