Elsewhere for May 25,2019

You should read this for 5/25/2019:

Books, Writing, and Language

Making Monographs Open “A project that aims to slash the cost of producing monographs could help make more of them available to the public for free. But will scholars participate?”

Why Are So Many Longtime L.A. Bookstores Closing?

It’s conventional to blame the internet, and more specifically, Amazon, for the loss of longtime booksellers; indeed, in the same two-year period as these local businesses have perished in L.A., Amazon has opened three physical locations in the Los Angeles area. But interviews with bookstore owners suggest that multiple factors, including proprietors retiring, older models of bookstore aging out and businesses no longer staying within a family, are also at play in the turnover of L.A.’s literary spaces.

Who said indie bookstores are dying? Not in the Bay Area, thank you

But while there’s no doubt that Amazon has had a major effect on our book-buying habits, I’m happy to report that here in the Bay Area, the indies are thriving. And better still, a new crop of young, passionate booksellers has sprung up, ensuring that the future looks bright for those of us who love nothing better than to get lost for hours in a well-curated bookstore.

Emphasis mine—LLS

The Digital Public Library of America has re-released the Mueller Report as a well-formatted ebook instead of a crappy PDF


Andrew Kay in The Chronicle: Academe’s Extinction Event “Failure, Whiskey,
and Professional Collapse at the MLA”

The number of jobs in English advertised on the annual MLA job list has declined by 55 percent since 2008; adjuncts now account for all but a quarter of college instructors generally. Whole departments are being extirpated by administrators with utilitarian visions; from 2013 to 2016, colleges cut 651 foreign-language programs. Meanwhile the number of English majors at most universities continues to swoon.

See also Kay’s earlier article: Pilgrim at Tinder Creek

Food and Drink

H/T Rae: Gas Leak at University of Canberra Library in Australia Revealed to Be Durian Fruit

Via Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious, raspberry crumble tart bars a recipe from Ruth Cousineau.

History and Archaeology

Archaeologists Discover the First Ever Iron-Age Shield Made of Bark in England

Radiocarbon dating suggested the shield was made sometime between 395 and 255 B.C., which dates it to the middle of the Iron Age. It was crafted from either alder, willow, poplar, hazel or spindle bark and stiffened to withstand pressure with strips of either apple, pear, quince or hawthorn wood. It also had a woven boss, or a round piece of material that shields against blows, that protected its handle. The outside of the shield sported a checkerboard pattern in red mineral paint.

The “Enderby Shield” is discussed in press releases from the University of Leicester and The University of York.

Science and Nature

A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers “Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?”

When researchers wanted to work out which genes might affect a disease or trait, they made educated guesses, and picked likely “candidate genes.” For depression, SLC6A4 seemed like a great candidate: it’s responsible for getting a chemical called serotonin into brain cells, and serotonin had already been linked to mood and depression. Over two decades, this one gene inspired at least 450 research papers.


Neil deGrasse Tyson Q & A @ Overheard

California power company caused wildfire that killed 85, investigation finds

The Camp fire, which killed 85 people and almost completely incinerated the town of Paradise, was sparked by transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric in the early morning of 8 November last year, investigators concluded. “Tinder dry vegetation” and high winds “caused extreme rates of spread”, Cal Fire said in a statement.


Via The Atlantic: The Groups Bringing Forum Culture to Facebook

The core appeal of tag groups, however, is not their function as a reaction meme. It’s the escape they offer from the wider internet.
Joining a tag group is sort of like entering an AOL chat room, or discovering a new GeoCities web ring. The groups are open enough that usually anyone can join, and they tend to have a mix of people representing different areas, demographics, and interests. “To me, it reminds me of my early days on the internet,” says Gary Allen, who is also a member of 6,000 tag groups. “It’s like forum chatting.”

Tag groups offer the perfect balance of randomness and familiarity that makes forming new friends easy. Meeting people in a tag group feels serendipitous but comfortable, and that’s what keeps people coming back for more. You might not have hobbies in common with fellow tag-group members, but you share a similar sense of humor or an outlook on life that makes chatting easy. “It’s more personality bonding than curiosity bonding,” Connor says.

Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us? “Artisanal versions of Twitter and Facebook hope to keep the good while jettisoning the bad.”

According to this way of thinking, sites like Facebook and Instagram encourage conformism because it makes your data easier to process and monetize. This creates the exhausting sense that you’re a worker in a data factory rather than a three-dimensional individual trying to express yourself and connect with other real people in an organic way online.
When the problem is framed this way, the solution promoted by the IndieWeb movement becomes obvious: own your own servers.

One Year Into The GDPR: Can We Declare It A Total Failure Yet?

This entire approach is backwards and silly. If we want to have better control over our privacy we’re not going to do it through demanding better privacy policies, or confusing data protection laws. We need to create the incentives to put the actual control of the data back into the hands of the users. And that doesn’t just mean a right to download your info. It means that you have full control over your data and get to control what apps and services can access it and for what reasons. That’s not the world we have today, and nothing in the GDPR gets us any closer to it.

Apple’s keyboard ‘material’ changes on the new MacBook Pro are minor at best

At the end of the day, Apple’s butterfly keyboard has a much bigger flaw, one that this model’s tweaks cannot fix: too many people have simply lost faith in this design. Apple could theoretically combat that loss of trust with more candor, but it certainly hasn’t been forthcoming thus far. Getting the company to even admit that there might be a problem has been a years-long process.

Brian Warren ‘s Mac Open Web “A collection of open and indie Mac, iOS, and web apps that help promote the open web.”

Sam Biddle, reporting for The Intercept via John Gruber: FACEBOOK’S CREEPY DATA SHARING WITH PHONE CARRIERS

Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads.

Women’s Work

H/T Rae: ‘Knitting Is Coding’ and Yarn Is Programmable in This Physics Lab “For Elisabetta Matsumoto, knot theory is knit theory.”

Study confirms impacts of cold offices on women’s productivity

While women’s gripes about frigid workspaces have long been dismissed as a sign of oversensitivity, a study published in PLOS ONE argues differently. The University of Southern California and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center had 543 students in Berlin perform tasks and steadily raised the temperature of the environment. Temperatures in each session varied in increments from 61 degrees Fahrenheit to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. 
As the temperature increased, women’s performance did as well. Although men performed better at lower temperatures and worse at higher temperatures, the disparity was less pronounced than women’s performance across temperatures.


💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Trump Has Now Shifted $1.3 Million Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Business

Under DOJ’s Own Theory For Prosecuting Julian Assange, Donald Trump Probably Violated The Espionage Act

Some keep saying that this is somehow different because the NY Times is a “legitimate news organization” while Wikileaks is not, but that distinction is both ridiculous and legally meaningless. It is legally meaningless because there is nothing in the 1st Amendment that reserves any of the rights — including the rights associated with “freedom of the press” — to “legitimate news organizations.” Indeed, having the government declare who is and who is not a “legitimate news organization” would be a fundamental violation of the 1st Amendment itself.
It’s also stupid, because remember who our President is? He’s been talking about “the failing NY Times” and insisting that it publishes “fake news.”

Distorted Nancy Pelosi videos show platforms aren’t ready to fight dirty campaign tricks

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