Elsewhere for February 20, 2021

You should read this for 2/20/2021:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletPBS American Masters Archive Releases 1,000+ Hours of Uncut, Never-Before-Seen Interviews: Patti Smith, David Bowie, Neil Young & More The full PBS American Masters archive is here

Biden Begins

decorative leaf bulletBiden has started erasing Trump’s legacy. Now the hard part starts.

But now that Biden has undone the most easily reversible Trump policies, the hard part begins — especially after the impeachment trial hampered early Senate action. While liberals are pushing Biden to do more, goals such as expanding health care and strengthening gun control would probably require new laws, which are much harder to enact.

Daring Fireball | John Gruber: decorative leaf bulletWhite House Chief Of Staff Ron Klain On Twitter

Klain’s use of Twitter is a fascinating contrast with Trump’s. For many of you, I’m sure, there are nothing but bad connotations when it comes to the use of Twitter from the White House. But Klain’s use of Twitter strikes me as nearing the canonical ideal of how Jack Dorsey might have imagined Twitter being used by, say, the White House. It harks back to the early days of Twitter, when the prompt was “What are you doing?” Except Klain is tweeting not about what he, personally, is doing, but rather what the administration is doing.

decorative leaf bulletInside the new President’s routine: Oval Office fires and early bedtimes

The President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified update on the country’s top intelligence, is back to a daily occurrence after happening only sporadically under Trump. Joined in the Oval Office by Vice President Kamala Harris — who has used an iPad to receive the briefing, like Obama — Biden is run through the update by a range of intelligence professionals.
He has expressed a preference for a fire built in the Oval Office fireplace, and sometimes adds a log himself to keep it going. His dogs, two German Shepherds called Major and Champ, sometimes join him.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletBaen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence And see also: Weisskopf Announces Hiatus for Baen’s Bar I left the Bar in 2015; the writing was on the wall in large letters that racist, homophobic content was just fine with Weisskopf et al. I knew Jim Baen; he was the first person I ever demoed Voyager’s Ebook toolkit for, and he remembered me at subsequent encounters, to my surprise, and sent me an ARC of a Bujold book. I can’t imagine him, conservative pro-military supporter that he was, being ok with the kind of name-calling and sneering that became rampant on the Bar, where language like “fucking dyke” and “little faggot” have become acceptable and objections are shrugged off and jeered at. Brace for incoming sneers from Weisskopf et al about “cancel culture” and thin skin. And yes, I’ve stopped buying Baen books; sorry Lois, but your publisher sucks.

Weisskopf is doubling down.

Coronavirus | COVID-19

decorative leaf bulletCovid infecting humans through animal host ‘probable’

decorative leaf bulletJo Whiley offered Covid vaccine before sister in care home with diabetes

decorative leaf bulletLibrarian fired after allegedly burning books by Trump and Ann Coulter

“It’s our job to ensure that all walks of life have access to information without judgment or prejudice … Whether these materials were actually destroyed in a fire or even if they were just removed, that does go against our policy,” the spokesperson said then.
“Because at the end of the day, we believe that censorship has no place in a library.”/blockquote>/p>

decorative leaf bulletThe Librarian War Against QAnon

But the present moment demands serious inquiry into why decades of trying to make information literacy a universal educational outcome hasn’t prevented a significant portion of the population from embracing disinformation while rejecting credible journalistic institutions. . . . We are experiencing a moment that is exposing a schism between two groups: those who have faith that there is a way to arrive at truth using epistemological practices that originated during the Enlightenment, and those who believe that events and experiences are portents to be interpreted in ways that align with their personal values. As the sociologist and media scholar Francesca Tripodi has demonstrated, many conservatives read the news using techniques learned through Bible study, shunning secular interpretations of events as biased and inconsistent with their exegesis of primary texts such as presidential speeches and the Constitution. The faithful can even acquire anthologies of Donald Trump’s infamous tweets to aid in their study of coded messages.

decorative leaf bulletGay’s The Word: Tributes paid to Peter Dorey who opened first LGBTQ+ bookshop


decorative leaf bulletBiden Says He Wants Most K-8 Schools Open 5 Days A Week By His First 100 Days

decorative leaf bulletIf Schools Follow CDC Guidance, Biden’s Reopening Goals Could Be Hard To Reach

Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletThe falafel is part of my Israeli psyche – here’s my recipe

This delicacy needs to be eaten in the street, in the sun, in a pitta stuffed to the brink of explosion with as many falafel balls as can fit and then one on top, chopped salad and cabbage salad, pickles, hot sauce – fiery red from fermented chillies or dark green from herbs – and, of course, tahini to keep it all together and to lubricate. It must drip down your arms and chin and destroy your shirt as you bite.

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletHighwayman’s 1750 confessions reveal ‘unusual’ ambivalence about gay sex

decorative leaf bullet‘Astonishing’ dig reveals domestic life in the iron age

When archaeologists began excavating land near the iron age hillfort at Wittenham Clumps, a famous Oxfordshire landmark, they were hopeful of unearthing something of interest because the area has been occupied for more than 3,000 years. But nothing prepared them for the excitement of discovering an extended iron age settlement, with the remains of more than a dozen roundhouses dating from 400BC to 100BC – as well as an enormous Roman villa built in the late third to early fourth century.

Politics and Society

H/T Dan Frakes: decorative leaf bulletI’ve Seen The Evidence, And There’s A Lot Of It, And It’s Overwhelming And Very Persuasive, And I’ve Decided To Ignore It

decorative leaf bulletAnother part of the Stonehenge mystery has been unearthed before our eyes

decorative leaf bulletViking age artefacts discovered on Isle of Man declared treasure

“The arm ring is a rare find. Gold items were not very common during the Viking age. Silver was by far the more common metal for trading and displaying wealth. It has been estimated that gold was worth 10 times the value of silver and that this arm ring could have been the equivalent of 900 silver coins,” she said.

The gold arm ring found by the amateur metal detectorist Kath Giles. Photograph: Manx National Heritage Museum
“Kath’s hoard can be dated on stylistic and comparative grounds to about AD950, a time when the Isle of Man was right in the middle of an important trading and economic zone. The Viking and Norse influence remained strong on the island for a further 300 years, long after much of the rest of the British Isles.”

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletMarvel at UAE Hope orbiter’s first image of Mars

decorative leaf bulletFeral camels rounded up in Australian outback and sold online for weed control

decorative leaf bulletMount Etna erupts in spectacular fashion – in pictures


decorative leaf bulletPocketBook launches 7.8-inch e-reader with new color E Ink screen

decorative leaf bulletHow to Recognize a ‘Shitpost’ on Social Media Definition:

“To post off-topic, false, or offensive contributions to an online forum with the intent to derail the discussion or provoke other participants.”
On a basic level, you could accurately equate shitposting with trolling. Every shitpost, in some way, is an act of trolling. But there’s a distinction: Trolling, even when it’s quite depraved, is performed blatantly (i.e., the troll makes no attempt to hide the fact that they are trolling, even if their behavior is genuinely reprehensible). Shitposters, on the other hand, pretend to be unaware of their transparent attempts to deliberately churn the waters and piss people off. (As with any unwritten rule of social media etiquette, some caveats apply, but the trope of the unwitting shitposter bears out). . . . But quote-tweeting only furthers the reach of a shitpost, even if you’re attempting to skewer or mock the post you’re amplifying. To that end, if you must add yours to the deluge of takes that spreads across the web in a given day, consider taking a screenshot of the offending post instead.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletNasa’s pioneering black women

decorative leaf bullet‘We wanted people to see that we exist’: the photographer who recorded lesbian life in the 70s

decorative leaf bulletMy porn life: what my years as a sex writer taught me about my desires

decorative leaf bulletA gay first lady? Yes, we’ve already had one, and here are her love letters.

In 1969, a descendant of Bishop Whipple’s donated a collection of family papers to the Minnesota Historical Society. It is doubtful she knew the full contents of the boxes she gave away. When the staff discovered the love letters, a memo warned that some of the letters “strongly suggest that a lesbian relationship existed between the two women” and should be hidden from the public.

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

decorative leaf bulletHouse Homeland Security chairman sues Trump and Giuliani, accusing them of inciting Capitol riot

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) alleged in federal court in Washington that Trump and Giuliani’s false claims that the election was stolen fomented a raid that violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 law enacted after the Civil War to bar violent interference in Congress’s constitutional duties.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletVolunteers In Texas Are Saving Thousands Of Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles From The Storm

Volunteers in coastal Texas have rescued thousands of sea turtles from frigid waters and shores during the historic winter storm and are working creatively to house them as much of the region remains without power.

Keep in mind that many of these people have been without heat or power for three days or more.

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Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletLook! It’s a bouncing baby orca

L86 is the first orca born to K pod or L pod since January 2019.

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