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As the partial US government shutdown winds up its fourth week, we learned that President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about his Moscow Tower Project
(BuzzFeed), a bombshell development immediately condemned by Democrats
(Politico) as obstruction of justice if not an impeachable offense
(Lawfare). House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler both pledged to investigate
(AP). Attorney General nominee Bill Barr, writing to DAG Rod Rosenstein last June about "Muller's 'Obstruction' Theory"
, also declared, "[I]f a President […] suborns perjury[…], then he, like anyone else, commits the crime of obstruction." In other Cohen news, the Wall Street Journal revealed he hired an IT Firm to rig early CNBC, Drudge Polls to favor Trump
, subsequently stiffing the firm and Trump (allegedly). Cohen still intends to testify before before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on on February 7th, despite concerns for his family
(CNN) after Trump's repeated hostile public remarks
asks, "What's a dirty secret that everybody in your industry knows about but anyone outside of your line of work would be scandalized to hear?"
Twitter responds with dozens of reports of systemic fraud, abuse, prejudice, corruption, incompetence, and precarity from restaurants, heavy industry, non-profits, technology, theatre, shipping, customer service, flower arranging, medicine, law, art, education, government, senior care, agriculture, telecommunications, and virtually every other sphere of modern economic activity.
Deconstructing Mindfulness: Embracing a Complex Simplicity.
"There’s been a marked increase in studies of mindfulness and meditation in recent years. I’m worried that many of today’s researchers may think they know what they’re doing. ... [I]t makes all the sense in the world that we deconstruct mindfulness, by which I mean that we understand it to have a history, a 'side view.' It’s not a given or an absolute. It comes from somewhere. Mindfulness has been constructed."
Donald Knuth Lectures
- a playlist of 110 lectures (most of them about an hour long) on TeX, mathematical writing, algorithms, data structures, hardware, cryptography...
Through trial and error (mostly error, he says), Vermonter Peter Burke has developed a great way to enjoy fresh greens year-round without special equipment and at low cost. He describes his method in a book
and a podcast
. Yankee ingenuity at its finest.
In 1966, David Attenborough, the controller of the recently launched BBC2, asked historian Kenneth Clark to host a show, which would become Civilisation
(Wikipedia), which inspired audiences in the UK and US to go to head to art museums after each of the 13 episodes originally aired, in 1969 and 1970, respectively, as noted in The Seductive Enthusiasm of Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”
by Morgan Meis for the New Yorker. Almost 50 years later, BBC returned to the theme, now titled Civilisations
(Wikipedia), with three presenters, Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Schama, who looked beyond the Great Men of Europe
(BBC). And it's all online ...
American football season is winding down. The college football season is already over, and there are only three more NFL playoff games. (Although the Alliance of American Football
will kick off its inaugural season in February!) Now that we don't have games to keep us occupied anymore, let's turn our attention to Xs and Os instead. If you can't tell the difference between a 3x1 spread and a flexbone, jump in to some Xs and Os blogs and start learning. By next season's kickoff, you'll be able to impress all your rowdy friends when you say things like "oh, that's a simple smash concept
to the boundary with the H-back check-releasing to the flat, gives the QB an easy hi-lo read".
The clampdown on opioid prescriptions is hurting pain patients.
released last month by Human Rights Watch paints a cautionary and at times harrowing picture of what pain patients are experiencing today. Because of well-intended efforts to address the overdose crisis, many doctors are severely limiting opioid prescriptions. Patients who rely on opioid analgesics are being forcibly weaned off the medication or seeing their prescriptions significantly reduced. Other patients are unable to find doctors willing to treat them at all."
This Science Fiction Novelist Created a Feminist Language from Scratch
- "Can a language be designed specifically to express the thoughts and feelings of women? In 1984, the linguist Suzette Haden Elgin wrote a science fiction novel to test this question. The result was Native Tongue
, a dystopian tale of a future America that has been widely compared to The Handmaid's Tale
. It was a pioneering feminist experiment, sold as a paperback original with a big green alien on the cover." (via
“Yet while they introduced some novel details, neither Gantt nor Taylor created the task system. It has a much longer history and was one of the principal methods of organizing labor under slavery. Under the task system, an enslaved person would be assigned a set “task” or quota that he or she was expected to complete by the end of the day; this was in contrast to the gang system, where enslaved people labored under constant supervision for a set period of time. In some cases, slavers who used the task system even gave monetary bonuses for achievement above set targets. They “dangled the carrot” in a way that resembles not just Gantt’s methods but those of the gig economy today. Indeed, except for the base payment and the critically important ability for workers to quit, Gantt’s new system was in nearly every respect the same as the system used by some slaveholders, a fact that Gantt made no attempt to hide. Rather, he acknowledged that the word “task” was “disliked by many men” because of its connection to slavery, and he regarded this negative connotation as its “principal disadvantage.” How Slavery Inspired Modern Business Management
is a YouTube channel devoted to full length science fiction movies, many of which are Italian - but not all, I think. Of course there is
Hiroaki Sato (LitHub
, 11/5/2018), "Haiku: The Evolution of a Strict Poetic Game
": "In simplest terms, haikai meant rejection of poetic diction and adoption of language in daily use. Orthodox court poetry did not tolerate references to quotidian, down-to-earth things like shiru
, 'soup,' and namasu
, 'fish salad,' so incorporating daily elements was haikai. As Bashō himself explained, harusame no yanagi
, 'willow in spring rain,' represented the world of court poetry, but tanishi toru karasu
, 'a crow picking pond snails,' was haikai, according to Bashō's disciple Hattori Tohō."
David Dorr, who in 1853 became the first African American to visit the Holy Land
, couldn’t pass up the trip – he was a slave, forced to travel with his owner Cornelius Fellowes. Dorr later wrote about his three-year journey through Europe and the Middle East in a unique travel book, A Colored Man Round the World
, which provided white readers with a rare look, before the Civil War, at an educated Black perspective. Slaves back then were erased from history, but Dorr, turning the tables, wrote as if he was traveling alone, and barely mentioned Fellowes except to mock him as clumsy or awkward.