August 2, 2020
After 50 years of secession, the Principality of Hutt River will rejoin Australia. [more inside]
Quest for the Man-Sized Spider Jenny Nicholson goes on a road trip to find an extremely large spider.
As the fall college football season barrels ever closer despite COVID, SEC officials told players in a private phone call this week, “There are going to be outbreaks. We’re going to have positive cases on every single team in the SEC. That’s a given. And we can’t prevent it (wapo).” Meanwhile, players at the Pac12 stand united in a series of demands to protect and benefit both scholarship and walk-on athletes addressing concerns related to COVID, economic freedom, medical care, and racism, among other things, and plan to sit out the season until demands are met. [more inside]
Each month, Islington Folk Club here in North London eases the boredom of lockdown by holding a competition called Trad2Mad, inviting its members and friends to post YouTube performances of themselves singing, unaccompanied, a traditional folk song, a modern pop song you might never have expected to hear in that style, or any other damn thing they feel like contributing. A shortlist is them produced, votes gathered and a winner selected. There were a few entries I really liked this month, which you'll find direct links to below. [more inside]
Hanif Abdurraquib's ongoing "playlist project" SIXTY EIGHT 2 OH FIVE includes year-by-year playlists and links to live performances from 1968 to 2005, and essays from friends "about a single album that turned their world upside down." Essays to date: "2005: Keyshia Cole, The Way It Is," by Nabila Lovelace; "1976: Bob Dylan, Desire," by Matt Mitchell; "1993: Janet Jackson, Janet", by Aricka Foreman; "1969: Johnny Cash, At San Quentin," by Adia Victoria; "2000: Jill Scott, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1," by Tomás Miriti Pacheco; and "1997: Radiohead, OK Computer," by Vivian Lee; "1991: Pearl Jam, Ten," by Nicholas Russell. [more inside]
A Complicated History of Han Chinese Anti-Blackness. (Medium) Frankie Huang reflects on the relationship between Han chauvinism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness. Previously, Eileen Huang (no relationship) calls out the Asian-American community to reflect on the contributions of Black activists to Asian-American civil rights. [more inside]
How a Cheese Goes Extinct Ruby Tandoh writes about the culture, history and anthropology of cheesemaking through the lens of the British artisanal cheese industry. "When you talk with cheese aficionados, it doesn’t usually take long for the conversation to veer this way: away from curds, whey, and mold, and toward matters of life and death. With the zeal of nineteenth-century naturalists, they discuss great lineages and endangered species, painstakingly cataloguing those cheeses that are thriving and those that are lost to history."
Here Are All the Winners From the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards [Billboard link] Full list and links below the fold. [more inside]
Kara Brown is starting a new fiction book club. The first book of the month is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. [more inside]
Randonautica claims to be a "quantumly generated Choose Your Own Adventure game" for smartphones. With over 10 million downloads and often false or exaggerated viral videos on TikTok and YouTube, the app has been criticised for saying it can read your thoughts (NYT). Daniel J. Rogers, a physicist who has worked with quantum random number generators, called Randonautica’s "mind-machine interaction" theory “completely absurd.”
Data isn't just being collected from your phone. It's being used to score you. - "Operating in the shadows of the online marketplace, specialized tech companies you've likely never heard of are tapping vast troves of our personal data to generate secret 'surveillance scores' — digital mug shots of millions of Americans — that supposedly predict our future behavior. The firms sell their scoring services to major businesses across the U.S. economy. People with low scores can suffer harsh consequences." [more inside]