Elsewhere for April 14, 2018

You should read this for 4/14/2018:

Books, Writing, and Language

A Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain
An elegy for handwriting? This TLS review of two books about handwriting discusses Ann Trubek’s somewhat wretched and very slanted The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting. As a card-carrying Medievalist, I want to note that Trubek has wrenched her potted history of Medieval hands out of historicity and into the fantasy  land of what she’d like to be true, as a left-handed writer who felt victimized by the school system. Instead of Ann Trubek’s book, I recommend The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting by Philip Hensher, or for the more scholarly inclined American, Tamara Plakins Thornton’s Handwriting in America A Cultural History (YUP, 1998), presently on my TBR list.
Via NPR: Why learning Latin stays with you forever In high school, my guidance counselor would not approve me taking Latin; she didn’t think I was, as she put it, “academic enough.” In fairness to her, I had struggled with French, ultimately deciding, on my own, to repeat the first year (learning languages is harder still when you’re dyslexic). In fairness to me, this same guidance counselor urged me to go to Colby-Sawyer, get a business degree and “Meet a nice young man going to Dartmouth for medical school.” I have, since that conversation at 16, earned a Ph.D. with philological emphasis, not at Colby-Sawyer. But Latin called to me, and I have continued to learn it, first via a summer cram course as an undergraduate, later by painstakingly reading and translating and, occasionally, pulling out my hair. Latin is still enormously useful as a grounding in how languages work, particularly, oddly, how English is different from Latin and works quite well. It’s also a wonderful language. As Frankie Thomas says in this interview:

Unlike beginner’s Spanish or French, which teach you to say, “I would like a salad,” and “Where is the library?” beginner Latin teaches you to talk like a supervillain.

The Language Rules We Know But Don’t Know We KnowThis BBC piece was inspired  when “a single paragraph from a book [Mark Forsyth] wrote called The Elements of Eloquence went viral. Forysyth manages to explain some of the more arcane aspects of English that native speakers know, but don’t know we know, like the ablaut reduplication process and adjectival precedence (why there may be little green men, but there are less likely to be green little men. Unless. Because in English, there’s almost always an exception.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s remains rediscovered in wine cellar I’m just going to live this here for you to read.


Beware The Academic Vanity Honeypot “How a hacker weaponized flattery and took over my Twitter account.”

This dot-ML seemed—because I was blinded by Larry Summers’ marquee macroeconomic celebrity—perfectly credible. Whoosh. I landed on a hinky page that asked for my .  . . Twitter credentials.

But wait, there’s more:

From the indictment: “In general, those spearphishing emails indicated that the purported sender had read an article the victim professor had recently published, and expressed an interest in several other articles, with links to those additional articles included.”

This kind of phishing attack; targeted, specific, and “normal” seeming is really successful. Falling for it is natural, but do be cautious. Be suspicious; not clicking isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Food and Drink

It’s Spring. Have some asparagus. May I recommend the Creamy Asparagus soup?

History and Archaeology

From the newly opened Getty Villa curator David Saunders on 10 Ways to Look at Ancient Greek Vases. This is art, history, and the early use of text. Also beautiful pictures.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Building better maps for the disability community

“When I want to go to a bar or restaurant, I search on my phone for the menu or location,” she said. “I don’t need to check if I can use the bathroom there, or if I can reach the bar or a table. But that’s what my friends who use wheelchairs have to do.”
The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma This is a courageous piece; well-worth reading. It’s a reminder to reach out and make it better for others. Just acknowledging surviving is important and helpful.

Science and Nature

Puffin beaks are fluorescent and we had no idea
A Perplexing Marijuana Side Effect Relieved by Hot Showers
Newly discovered brain injury in vets linked to PTSD Scar tissue found in the brains of combat veterans who suffered from PTSD could mean that many cases of the disorder are caused by physical trauma


Embattled EPA chief’s calendar shows industry had his ear
In other words, based on an analysis of Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule Reuters reporters did the math; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Pruitt had 25-times more meetings with industry representatives than he had meetings with environmental advocates during his first seven months in office.
Via NPR: States Turn To National Guard To Help Protect Future Elections From Hackers

After Russian-backed hackers probed election-related systems in at least 21 states in 2016, election officials, whose focus has traditionally been on making sure that polling places run smoothly and that results are speedily reported, now have to focus on protecting their computer systems.

6 Facts About Fake News In The 2016 Election

For example, it’s still troubling if fake news convinces people at the extreme liberal or conservative end of the spectrum of things that aren’t true — even if it doesn’t change their votes.
And there is evidence that fake news is effective at changing beliefs. One 2017 studyfrom researchers at Yale University found that the more people were exposed to a given fake news statement, they more they believed it.


I’m moving away from Facebook as rapidly as possible. It’s not really feasible for me to completely abandon it given my job. That said, I suggest not deleting your Facebook account, but removing all the data, including friends where possible. Abandoning or deleting the account means that your name space, your name and identity, become available for someone else to claim. 
Send Facebook & Twitter a message: Use MeWe instead

How to see if your Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica

Women’s Work

Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis “The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.”

Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers

On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplacesorder then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts The two principles rules 💩🔥💰 revoked are pretty important for equal opportunity for women.
It’s official: Steven Mnuchin is the greatest sycophant in Cabinet history
$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip

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