November 20, 2018
Fallout 76 – a pointless walk in the post-apocalypse [The Guardian] “Fallout 76’s setting is honestly beautiful, with its autumnal forests, irradiated bogs, ski lodges, folktales, and mountains hollowed by mining. It deserves to have a better game attached to it. There are some striking places to find, including a settlement built up from the stripped parts of a nearby crashed aeroplane. Following Vault 76’s overseer’s story is at times heartbreaking, even if it is told through tapes, and a mission that involves a veil, a mansion and a mysterious order was a highlight. But this potential is obscured by the game’s many problems. Previous Fallout games always had something to say about the post-apocalypse and the human factors that led to it; here, it’s reduced to shooting mutants and picking up rubbish.” [YouTube][Trailer] [more inside]
Harry Leslie Smith, 95, WW2 RAF pilot and fierce anti-fascist (previously), had a fall while traveling in Canada and is in the emergency room. Things don't look good. His son John has taken over the account and is keeping everyone apprised: "Thank you all for keeping vigil over Harry with me. It truly is less lonely this way for me." [more inside]
The Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Project is a 40-mile, $10-12 billion superconducting magnetic levitation (SCMaglev) line that promises a 15-minute trip from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD. The project is the first phase of a SCMaglev line between Washington, DC, and New York, City that would reduce travel time from about 3 hours on Amtrak's Acela Express Train to approximately 1 hour. [more inside]
November 20, 2018 is the nineteenth annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance. [more inside]
Less than five weeks to Christmas Day! How's it going in the UK? Polar bears are enjoying themselves, unlike viewers of the Swansea Christmas parade (especially drivers), or a preacher in Grimsby. John Lewis advertises Twitter and the other John Lewis hawks pianos that are undercut by Lidl and stollen. Heathrow is oddly quiet, rude elf, and this cheese toastie looks a bit meaty. Other food? Pizza fingers in school, or chocolate turkey with Marmite sprouts - though chicken > turkey. Fashion? Men buy jumpers and beard lights while women buy wreaths. Seasonal coffee? Um, maybe not. You can sort-of get a tree for five quid, or very un-English instant gratification, or teacher something pricey. Or buy a Spanish village through Goop - though Sweden's gift is more sensible.
Filmmaker Tom Roes tracks down the photographer behind the ubiquitous photo of a red bike in Amsterdam from IKEA and finds out how a very personal image can become a generic commodity. (Make sure to turn the English captions on the YouTube video)
A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. "For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year," wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record "a failure of bread from the years 536–539." Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse... Ann Gibbons writes 1300 words for Science.
After a conspicuous absence from all things SB Nation for what seems like forever, future MacArthur fellow Jon Bois (so many previouslies) has teamed up with Chapo Trap House's Felix Biederman (previously) for an in-depth, five-part deep dive into the history and cultural implications of mixed martial arts. [more inside]
"In 2012, there were 292,074 robberies of all kinds, including bank robberies, residential robberies, convenience store and gas station robberies, and street robberies. The total value of the property taken in those crimes was $340,850,358. By contrast, the total amount recovered for the victims of wage theft who retained private lawyers or complained to federal or state agencies was at least $933 million in 2012. This is almost three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies that year. Further, the nearly $1 billion successfully reclaimed by workers is only the tip of the wage-theft iceberg, since most victims never sue and never complain to the government." [more inside]
A Portrait of Love and Struggle in Post-Industrial, Small-City America By Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. Shaming people who live in poverty is an old reflex in America. Kenneally reminds us that the fault lines of capitalism are everywhere within our nation, running through the very foundation we keep building upon. Her excavations blast through any attempt to deny it. In her book’s opening essay, she refers to her photographs as “new fossils.” With taking pictures, Kenneally writes, “comes the power to manufacture a record that future generations will consider fact.” Whether we choose to look or not, these images are facts.
A new trailer for the latest movie staring Warren G Harding*. Armie Hammer guest stars, along with a surprise appearance. Also starring: William Henry Harrison*, Richard Nixon*, Jimmy Carter*, and Bill Clinton*. Don't miss the previous movie trailers with Warren G and friends. [more inside]
There is no credible scientific debate over whether the Earth is flat. But that makes a conference of flat-Earth believers a rather exaggerated lens through which to view a much more mainstream trend. Across the country, established authorities are losing their influence. [more inside]
CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce. In a rather stunning advisory, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising people not to eat romaine lettuce and to throw away any such lettuce they have on hand. The Public Health Agency of Canada has issues a similar warning. The reason: Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. The CDC is advising that consumers do not eat any romaine lettuce because no common supplier or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.
Termite mounds that are still in use despite being almost 4,000 years old are spread over an area the size of Britain in a remote Brazilian forest. In the course of digging tunnels over thousands of years, "the termites moved more than 10 cubic kilometers (that’s more than 2.6 trillion U.S. gallons) of earth," and the entomologists investigating them took soil samples that "indicated mound fill dates between 690 to 3820 years ago."
Tossing a Bird That Does Not Fly Out of a Plane, Anne Lowrey, The Atlantic - The Yellville, Arkansas Turkey Trot used to involve a live turkey dropped from a plane. " To paraphrase Joseph Stalin, one turkey thrown out of a plane is a tragicomedy; 46 million turkeys killed in a slaughterhouse is Thanksgiving dinner. " [Note: article graphically describes factory farming practices and other animal abuse]
“Our own species is having the greatest impact on the park and the quality of the experience is becoming a casualty.”
With 66% of the US supporting a New Green Deal and congresspeople and activist groups joining forces, a question arises. What can the New Green Deal learn from the old New Deal about how to get the changes we need? (Previously Degrowth/New Green Deal)
Maybe Graphics Cards will be cheaper this holiday season? Every Major Cryptocurrency has dropped in the last week, as the Crypto meltdown continues. [more inside]
"Shortcut Roulette is a game of chicken with your social life built entirely on iOS 12 Shortcuts. When you activate the shortcut, your phone will execute one of [up to] 100 possible functions: maybe it'll send your last five selfies in a PDF to a modelling agency, maybe it'll send your nudes to your boss, maybe you'll get lucky and it'll do nothing." Via HackerNews, where the developer is soliciting beta testers for this wonderful, awful idea.
Here’s what’s astounding: Chiles are native only to Central and South America (Time Magazine, 2007). That means that until Christopher Columbus sailed for the New World in 1492, there were no chiles (Capsicum on Wikipedia) anywhere else. Not in India. Not in Thailand. Not in China or Korea. [...] For the past few years, I’ve been studying the route(s) chiles took around the globe, with an eye to understanding not just when they arrived in different lands but what happened afterward: How did chiles get so deeply integrated into these cuisines? How did that ferocious shift in food alter their cultures? And what do chiles mean to chile eaters today? How the Chile Pepper Took Over the World, an exploration and article by Matt Gross for Medium. [more inside]
First Mark Renton became a DJ manager, then Irvine Welsh reinvent himself as a Techno producer. Soon, at the age of 60.
Surveillance capitalism and targeted advertising have become the norm on the internet, and it's hurting all of us. (slVice)