Elsewhere for October 6, 2018

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You should read this for 10/6/2018:

Art and Film

Molly Ringwald writing in The New Yorker: What About “The Breakfast Club”?

Books, Writing, and Language

Language buffs are trying to track down the Chinese proverb Mike Pence quoted

Though the aggressive tone of the whole speech shocked observers of China-US relations, one nugget in particular caught the attention of some China watchers: a reference by Pence to what he said was an “ancient Chinese proverb” that goes, “Men see only the present, but heaven sees the future.” After dropping that saying, Pence said, “As we go forward, let us pursue a future of peace and prosperity with resolve and faith.”

I suspect that this is a made-up proverb, or one completely so wrenched from the original that its meaning has changed. I am very distrustful of the overt Evangelical language of Pence’s speech; he thinks he speaks for God.
Scientists Used X-Rays to Virtually Unravel a Burnt 400-Year-Old Scroll This isn’t new, as a technique, though we are getting better. See for instance X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll and First “Virtual” Unrolling of Ancient Scroll Buried by Vesuvius Reveals Early Text


Move over, Sokal Hoax
“Rick and Morty” Sting Predatory Journals

. . . another sci-fi sting has taken place, based this time on Rick and Morty. The stinger, Farooq Ali Khan, created a hilarious paper called Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites and their Transmissibility in Zygirion Simulation.

What an Audacious Hoax Reveals About Academia “Three scholars wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions.”

Food and Drink

How To Freeze and Reheat Cooked Rice
Spiced Mulled Hot Cider (Works in a slow cooker or on a stove).

History and Archaeology

The Viruses That Neanderthals Spread to Humans

When modern humans left Africa for Europe tens of thousands of years ago, they met Neanderthals and had sex with them. The evidence of those encounters remains inside most of us today; 2 to 3 percent of the DNA of non-African humans comes from Neanderthals.
The bits of Neanderthal DNA that have persisted are not entirely random. Scientists have wondered whether they offered some advantage in the early days of humanity, as they cluster, curiously, around genes related to skin, hair, and the immune system.

Science and Nature

An Appreciation Of Holly, The Fat Bear Mom Who Adopted And Raised An Abandoned Cub
Japanese spacecraft drops box-shaped robot on asteroid’s surface
Good night Kepler. NASA’s Planet Hunter is Almost out of Fuel, and has Gone Into Sleep Mode

The Kepler mission is coming to an end. The planet-hunting spacecraft that transformed our understanding of exoplanets and other solar systems is almost out of fuel. What little fuel remains is being held in reserve to ensure that the last of its data can be sent home.

Astronomers may have discovered the first moon ever found outside our Solar System

The astronomy team from Columbia University found this distant satellite, known as an exomoon, using two of NASA’s space telescopes. They first spotted a signal from the object in data collected by the planet-hunting telescope Kepler, and then they followed up with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is in orbit around Earth. Thanks to the observations from these two spacecraft, the team suspect this moon orbits around a Jupiter-sized planet located about 4,000 light-years from Earth. And this planet, dubbed Kepler-1625b, orbits around a star similar to our Sun.

Wild Sparrows Learn Experimental Songs Yes, they’re birds, but there are some interesting similarities between these sparrows and human language learners.
A rare flower that blooms every 12 years is sweeping the hills in southern India

Over the past two months, the Strobilanthes kunthianus shrub, locally known as the neelakurinji (blue flower), has bloomed across the hills of Munnar, covering the landscape with a carpet of lilac and blue.

The plants die after they seed; it takes twelve years for the seeds to reach maturity and bloom.
Humpback Whale Calls Persist Across Generations

Now researchers find humpback whales — including females and young — communicate with calls that stay the same over multiple generations. The discovery is re-shaping what scientists know about how and why whales talk to each other.

Canada: sea ice prevents crucial supply deliveries to isolated communities “Paulatuk, Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay were unable to receive shipments of food, fuel and lumber”


Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding A Politically Explosive Secret

Why would the Nuneses, Steve King, and an obscure dairy publication all conspire to hide the fact that the congressman’s family sold its farm and moved to Iowa? I went to Sibley to find out. Things got a little strange.

Decades of Trump’s inheritance fail to explain how he’s funding mysterious cash purchases

starting in 2006, Trump began a cash spending spree of $400 million on 14 new properties, ostensibly with no external loans. Analysts and journalists have spent a lot of time puzzling over where in his illiquid business empire he found the cash to do that.

A Google search led to the biggest scoop of the Trump tax fraud story

The Trump family created All County as a way to pass money from father to children without the IRS noticing. Fred Trump essentially paid inflated maintenance costs for his buildings to All County, which then paid the legitimate costs to vendors and repair men. All County’s owners, the Trump children, kept the extra cash. Even worse? Fred Trump used the higher costs to justify raising rents.

Cushy office perks are a trap At a startup where I worked, the founder was enamored of showing new or prospective employees the Italian cappucino machine in the kitchen, and telling us that the coffee was free. He also boasted to investors that he paid an Emmy award-winning employee sub-standard wages.


Twitter suspends academic who quoted feminist STEM research
Bots and trolls on Twitter are as fired up by Ford-Kavanaugh as you are
And see also: Star Wars: The Last Jedi abuse blamed on Russian trolls and ‘political agendas’

More than half of the hostile responses to The Last Jedi, episode eight of the Star Wars saga, were politically motivated trolling or the result of non-human bot activity, according to an academic paper published by a US digital media expert.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Russian Trolls, And The Disintegration Of Discourse
How to Protect Yourself After Facebook’s Recent Hack . And also: How to Delete Your Facebook Account: A Checklist
Fake Comments Are Plaguing Government Agencies And Nobody Much Seems To Care

The problem’s become a bit of an epidemic, but despite the fact that this kind of behavior pollutes the public discourse and undermines the democratic process, not much (read: mostly nothing) is being done about it. Given our obsession (perhaps justly) with Russian disinformation efforts, you’d think there’d be a little more concern that the only opportunity the public is often given to provide feedback on major policy decisions or mergers, are often corrupted by widespread efforts to generate industrialized, artificial enthusiasm.

Women’s Work

Overlooked No More: Ruby Payne-Scott, Who Explored Space With Radio Waves “Payne-Scott helped establish the field of radio astronomy by using radio waves to detect solar bursts, but she was forced to resign after she got married.”

Women in public service were expected to resign when they wed. Her colleagues at the government research center considered her so integral to their work that they helped keep her marriage a secret; she wore her wedding band on a necklace.

The last woman to win the physics Nobel had to work for free most of her career
How Joan Jett Started the Runaways at 15 and Faced Down Every Barrier for Women in Rock and Roll

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

Norway wants to clean up our oceans. Here’s how it could work.
HOW I DISCOVERED MY DEPRESSION—AND BEGAN TO CONFRONT IT “With suicide rising among undiagnosed American depressives, I recognized it was time to admit I needed help.”
The Swedish wasteland that’s now a sustainability star

Stockholm is home to one of the world’s most famous eco-neighbourhoods, Hammarby Sjöstad. But does it really offer a template for green urban living that can be replicated in other fast-growing cities?

Promoting inclusive storytelling with the Google Podcasts creator program æBeginning today, through November 18th, the application window is official open globally for the first round of the Google Podcasts creator program, which will kick off in January 2019.”

The Google Podcasts creator program is focused on three main pillars: empowering and training underrepresented voices through an accelerator program, educating a global community with free tools, and showcasing participants’ work as a model for others. PRX, alongside a global advisory committee, will select teams to receive mentorship, seed funding, and an intensive 20-week training. Applications will be accepted from around the globe. You can learn more and apply to the program on PRX’s Google Podcasts creator program website.

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