Elsewhere for March 17, 2018

You should read this for 3/17/2018:

Art and Film

Sex and death in the classical world From striking coffin portraits to boldly erotic statues, the art of the Romans and Greeks tells us compelling stories about how they lived, died, and loved.

Books, Writing, and Language

In defense of real books
It’s Time To Worry When Colleges Erase Humanities Departments

They may not have “value” according to strict economic rules, but the liberal arts do have a leavening value that helps make every student more than just a future drone, narrowly confined to his or her job without an awareness, let’s say, of cultural context or an appreciation for art and literature. Applying strict cost/benefit analyses to academic fields may seem like a short-term cure, but in the long run, eliminating the humanities and other “unprofitable” fields does more harm than good.

Food and Drink

Porchetta “Inspired by a famous Roman butcher, this slow-cooked dish of pork surrounded by crispy skin makes a memorable dinner with ample leftovers.”

This take on butcher Vito Bernabei’s porchetta—a perennial Roman favorite—replaces the traditional pork belly and loin with pork shoulder, which is easier to find and work with. Don’t be daunted by the size: Leftovers make fantastic sandwiches.

History and Archaeology

National Geographic: For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It
Humans crossed with Denisovans more than once, new study shows “DNA extracted from the fragments previously revealed cross-species breeding. Yet a new study in the journal Cell shows the ancient hanky-panky did not stop in Siberia: Humans who traveled across South Asia mated with a separate group of Denisovans, as well.” The actual paper was published in the journal Cell; you can see “Analysis of Human Sequence Data Reveals Two Pulses of Archaic Denisovan Admixture” here.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

How The Richest Black American And His Billionaire Partner Became Top Philanthropists

Smith wrote in an unpublished statement when he became the first black American to sign the Giving Pledge, committing to contribute half of his net worth to philanthropic causes during his lifetime. “We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create onramps that empower ALL people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender, or color of skin.”

Research Update: Medicaid Pulls Americans Out Of Poverty, Updated Edition Among other things:

• Medicaid had a larger effect on child poverty than all non-health means tested benefits combined. It is estimated to reduce child poverty by 5.3 percentage points.

PHOTOS | Students protest against gun violence across the country

Science and Nature

Scott Kelly Spent a Year in Space, and Now He Has Different DNA Than His Identical Twin Brother

When Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a 340-day voyage aboard the International Space Station (ISS) two years ago, he was 2 inches taller than he’d been when he left. His body mass had decreased, his gut bacteria were completely different, and — according to preliminary findings from NASA researchers — his genetic code had changed significantly.

The coolest thing about this is the possible connection with genetic modification triggered by stress and / or the immune system.
More Political Science: Proposed laws protect “Lyme literate” doctors from discipline “More Political Science: Proposed laws protect “Lyme literate” doctors from discipline.


The skin care wars, explainedWhen we talk about skin care, we’re talking about women, their bodies, and their money.

Because in our culture, anything that women love is co-opted by two forces: corporations, which attempt to commercialize what used to be subversive, and concern trolls, who tell women that the thing they like and take pleasure from is secretly bad for them in particular and society as a whole. And while the two co-opting forces might seem to be opposed to each other, they’re actually mutually reinforcing agents of the same patriarchal myths about women.

A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they’re so pissed off “Hint: it’s not about the economy.”
Graduate students need more mental health support, new study highlights “There is a mental health crisis in graduate education, and research institutions need to take action to address it. That’s the take-home message from a global survey of Ph.D. and master’s students published today.”

Approximately half of the students with anxiety or depression reported not having supportive relationships with their PIs, as measured in a variety of ways, including whether the students feel valued, whether their PIs have a positive impact on their mental well-being, and whether they feel that their PIs are assets to their careers.

This is key; graduate students, especially in a Ph.D. program, need a solid mentor. If your chair is largely interested in using your services as an employee, there’s less incentive for the faculty member to actually mentor you, particularly in the context of your dissertation and research. The long-term conventional exploitation of graduate students labor and scholarship that’s openly acknowledged but shrugged off as “that’s just how things are.” As a general note, a dissertation chair who takes six months to give you feedback on a 60 page chunk of your dissertation is a dirtbag.


Elevators, talking to the Cloud.
Via Nature: ‘News’ spreads faster and more widely when it’s false
How A Twitter Fight Over Bernie Sanders Revealed A Network Of Fake Accounts One Democratic Party consultant said an unnamed client controlled many of these accounts.
Via The New Yorker: Struggle to Detoxify the Internet “How do we fix life online without limiting free speech?”

Is it possible to facilitate a space for open dialogue without also facilitating hoaxes, harassment, and threats of violence? Where is the line between authenticity and toxicity? What if, after technology allows us to reveal our inner voices, what we learn is that many of us are authentically toxic?

Trolls set a cunning trap. By ignoring their provocations, you risk seeming complicit. By responding, you amplify their message.

In a first, U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid
“Beginning in March 2016, or possibly earlier, Russian government hackers sought to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday.”

Women’s Work

Rolling StoneInterviews Rachel Maddow
The Women Who Made The Internet
A nun begged Katy Perry not to buy her convent — then collapsed and died
I’m with the nuns on this one, if they in fact pooled their money initially to buy the convent building, as reported here. Note by the way, that these aren’t your everyday nuns: < blockquote>In the 1950s, the house sold to Catholic philanthropists Daniel and Bernardine Murphy Donohue, who eventually sold it to the nuns at a discount (they pooled their money to buy it). Now the last sisters are worried the archdiocese will land a big windfall from selling the place and cut them out (they want their living expenses covered).
Meet The Woman Who Poisoned Makeup To Help Over 600 Women Murder Their Husbands Giulia Tofana killed hundreds of men in 17th-century Italy when she turned her makeup business into a poison factory, selling a deadly concoction called Aqua Tofana, thought to have been laced with arsenic, lead, and belladonna.
Drag Elsa frees a Boston police wagon stuck in the snow. Bar patrons go wild.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Rachel Maddow on 💩🔥💰:

Trump has mastered the political media by causing you to lose focus and then re-center on whatever it is he’s just said,” she tells me later. “But I’m not interested in what the president has to say.

Stormy Daniels Is Running Rings Around Trump’s Lawyer

If the Republic is saved just because the people trying to steal it are dumb, I’ll take it.

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick for CIA director, tied to use of brutal interrogation measures

Haspel was in charge of one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons where detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harrowing interrogation measures widely condemned as torture.
When those methods were exposed and their legality came under scrutiny, Haspel was among a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees on the brink of physical collapse.

The Washington Post on 💩🔥💰’s New appointee to the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow: “Trump has just put the country’s economic fate in the hands of the man who has arguably been more publicly and consistently wrong about the economy than any person alive.”
What can you expect from an idiot who has had multiple bankruptcies, at the expense of contractors and employees?

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