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In 1986, 18-year-old cartoonist Ben Edlund created The Tick as a mock-hero mascot for a newsletter for New England Comics, where he was a customer. A few pages of The Tick were included in the New England Comics Newsletter in '86, and two years later, NEC published the first of the black-and-white comic book series, featuring wacky superheroes and bizarre super villains. From there, The Tick and his compatriots has been in a three-season cartoon series on Fox Kids, a live-action series on Fox in 2001, and again as live-action in an Amazon exclusive production. One of the many things that makes The Tick’s situation unique is that Edlund has been centrally involved with every version since the ’80s, including the most recent live-action series. [more inside]
Today is the 10th day of the United States of America v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and Richard W. Gates III (PDF). The dramatic courtroom events so far include secretive conferences between Judge T.S. Ellis, the federal prosecutors, and Manafort's defense lawyers, the judge repeatedly snapping at Mueller's team, mounting evidence of Manafort's financial fraud and corruption from government experts and immunized witnesses, and stunning plea-bargain testimony from Manafort's former partner and protégé, the newly clean-shaven Rick Gates. The Prosecution's case in Paul Manafort trial is close to wrapping up (CNN), and the New York Times has begun to write his political obituary: The Rise and Fall of Paul Manafort: Greed, Deception and Ego. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is winding up his "working vacation", during which he's stumped at rallies for GOP mid-term candidates, stirred up his trade wars, explored shutting down the government to get his border wall, and obsessed over the Manafort trial. (Politico) [more inside]
In this essay we investigate personal memory systems, that is, systems designed to improve the long-term memory of a single person. In the first part of the essay I describe my personal experience using such a system, named Anki ... The second part of the essay discusses personal memory systems in general. Many people treat memory ambivalently or even disparagingly as a cognitive skill: for instance, people often talk of “rote memory” as though it's inferior to more advanced kinds of understanding. I'll argue against this point of view, and make a case that memory is central to problem solving and creativity. A detailed long read from Michael Nielsen including a discussion of how he prepared himself to write an article on AlphaGo for Quanta Magazine.
Universal basic income hasn't made me rich. But my life is more enriching: "The Finnish basic income trial, of which I am part, finishes at the end of the year. Having been interviewed by nearly 70 separate media outlets, from the BBC to Le Figaro, the question I have been asked most often has been: how has the basic income trial changed my life? My answer is simple. In money terms, my life has not changed at all. However, the psychological effects of this human experiment have been transformative. I vastly prefer basic income to a benefits system fraught with complicated forms, mandatory courses and pointless obligations... it gives you security to chase other opportunities. It pushes you to seek fulfilling work – and isn't that what unemployment benefits should do?" [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)
NandGame.com will take you though building a working computer, starting from the most basic components. [more inside]
Michaeleen Doucleff for NRP: Maybe the problem, when it comes to back pain, isn't how much Americans are sitting, but the way we're sitting. If we change the way we sit, it will help to decrease back problems. Take a look at people who are sitting down – not face-on but rather from the side, in profile, so you can see the shape of their spine. There's a high probability their back is curving like the letter C. To straighten out the C shape, [Jenn] Sherer says, "we need to position the pelvis in a way that this tail could wag." In other words, we need to untuck our tails. To do that, Sherer says, you need to bend over properly when you go to sit down.
Maeve Higgins writes on Irishness, immigration, and race: Being white in America is so potent, so seductive, it can blind a person without them knowing it. Being white can make a whole community forget who they are and where they came from. The year Frederick Douglass visited Ireland was the year the country began its terrible spiral into a famine that ultimately killed a million people. There had been food shortages before, and the extent of the disaster was not yet clear, but he writes in a letter of the horror of leaving his house and being confronted with the sight of hungry children begging on the street. It’s painful to look through that lens at the present and see so many powerful Irish-Americans, like Paul Ryan, whose great-great-grandfather survived the famine and fled to America in 1851, doing everything they can to stop today’s refugees from entering the very country that gave their family sanctuary when they most needed it. [more inside]
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.
"Bullshit jobs are ones where the person doing them secretly believes that if the job (or even sometimes the entire industry) were to disappear, it would make no difference [to society] — or perhaps, as in the case of say telemarketers, lobbyists, or many corporate law firms, the world would be a better place." Imagining a World With No Bullshit Jobs
WHAT CATS KNOW ABOUT HUMANS: A THREAD A short Twitter thread that may resonate if you live with a cat.
An educator's take on her brother and boys like him. First person essay. [CW: DV, animal cruelty]
It’s Easier to Leave the Solar System Than to Reach the Sun. The center of the solar system is a tricky destination, but NASA is going. [more inside]
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.
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.
“When radicals attack each other in the game of good politics, it is due at least in part to the fact that this is a place where people can exercise some power. Even if one is unable to challenge capitalism and other oppressive structures, even if one is unable to participate in the creation of alternative forms of life, one can always attack others for their complicity, and tell oneself that these attacks are radical in and of themselves.” The stifling air of rigid radicalism, an excerpt from Joyful Militancy.
"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]