Elsewhere February 5, 2023

You should read this for 2/05/2023:

Art, Music, and Film

decorative leaf bulletTudor Mystery review – who could have painted such medieval strangeness?

our weird kids in black clothes turn their big eyes in unison as they sing what you imagine is a melancholy song about death. The great, great (and a few more greats) grandmother of Wednesday Addams is on keyboards, playing the virginals, the leader of the group. Her clothes are grave but more decorated than her brothers’ dark jerkins. She looks at you in a charged, even angry, way.

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletHide your books to avoid felony charges, Fla. schools tell teachers

The removals come in response to fresh guidance issued by the Florida Department of Education in mid-January, after the State Board of Education ruled that a law restricting the books a district may possess applies not only to schoolwide libraries but to teachers’ classroom collections, too.

House Bill 1467, which took effect as law in July, mandates that schools’ books be age-appropriate, free from pornography and “suited to student needs.” Books must be approved by a qualified school media specialist, who must undergo a state retraining on book collection.

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Food and Drink

decorative leaf bulletThe best way to de-seed a pomegranate is also the most therapeutic

decorative leaf bulletThe link between our food, gut microbiome and depression

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bullet‘Incredible’ Roman bathers’ gems lost 2,000 years ago found near Hadrian’s Wall

decorative leaf bulletMetal detectorist unearths Tudor gold pendant linked to Henry VIII in Warwickshire

What the Birmingham cafe owner had discovered was a huge and quite spectacular early Tudor pendant and chain, made in gold and enamel and bearing the initials and symbols of Henry VIII and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.

Politics and Society

H/T @Kissane: decorative leaf bulletAlternative Facts, Alternative Truths

Using scripture this way is not particularly surprising: the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was centered on the idea that sacramental rituals and the teachings of Catholic authorities were obscuring the centrality of scripture as the word of God. However, it was not until observing a “direct reading” of the Bible that I saw how literal translations of the Bible are used as a mechanism for other critical assessment.

This observation is relevant to more than what happens inside Bible studies. At one point during the meeting, the Pastor turned from the Bible to the new tax reform bill, where he encouraged the group to apply the same “deep reading.” The group poured over the text together, helping each other decide what it really meant rather than relying on mainstream media coverage of the bill. In that moment, I realized that this community of Evangelical Christians were engaged in media literacy,

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletThe great European house cat migration

Until recently, we thought cats spread to northern Europe from the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity, around the 3rd to 7th century AD. 
Advances in zooarchaeology in the last 20 years have complicated that picture. 
We now know that domesticated cats were present in Serbia and Poland around 6000 BC.

See also:

It also could be said that cats domesticated themselves; they were attracted to the rodents that feasted off the harvests of the earliest farmers. They chose us, not the other way around. In turn, those early farmers appreciated this welcome form of pest control. So, unlike dogs — which were domesticated earlier, initially for hunting — cats weren’t bred for various specific purposes. They arrived as a “ready-made” symbiotic species, so to speak.

H/T Nan: decorative leaf bulletThe Secret Life of Urban Crows

This, according to Swift, is what its like to attend a crow funeral—an instinctive ritual that evolved generations ago and was just discovered by humans; Swift coauthored an article on her findings in the journal Animal Behaviour in 2015. The gist: Upon spotting one of its dead, the flock attends to the fallen bird en masse with loud shrieking. Given enough time the throng will mob any predator it thinks is responsible, like say, a human in a Dick Cheney mask, or in a mask like the one Swift had in her bag (the lab affectionately refers to that be-soul-patched fellow as Joe).

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decorative leaf bulletTwitter GodMode still available to all engineers, following hack of Apple and other accounts This was supposedly close in 2020. Nope.

decorative leaf bulletIvory for Mastodon Review: Tapbots Reborn

There’s an intangible, permeating quality about Tapbots apps that trascends features and specs: craftsmanship. With Ivory, launching today on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, you can instantly appreciate that level of care and refinement that the Texas-based duo is well known for after more than a decade on the App Store. But there’s something else, too: for the first time in a few years, it feels like Mark and Paul are having fun again.

decorative leaf bulletMysterious ‘whirlpool’ appears in the night sky above Hawaii Probably related to a SpaceX satellite.

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletThe miracle of the commons Far from being profoundly destructive, we humans have deep capacities for sharing resources with generosity and foresight

Even before Hardin’s ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ was published, however, the young political scientist Elinor Ostrom had proven him wrong. While Hardin speculated that the tragedy of the commons could be avoided only through total privatisation or total government control, Ostrom had witnessed groundwater users near her native Los Angeles hammer out a system for sharing their coveted resource. Over the next several decades, as a professor at Indiana University Bloomington, she studied collaborative management systems developed by cattle herders in Switzerland, forest dwellers in Japan, and irrigators in the Philippines. These communities had found ways of both preserving a shared resource – pasture, trees, water – and providing their members with a living. Some had been deftly avoiding the tragedy of the commons for centuries; Ostrom was simply one of the first scientists to pay close attention to their traditions, and analyse how and why they worked.

decorative leaf bullet‘A lot of the demons seem a little cheesy now’: Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy, her burnout and her comeback

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

decorative leaf bulletFarmer dies; town learns he secretly paid strangers’ pharmacy bills

Something Wonderful

decorative leaf bulletWith the discovery of 12 new ones, Jupiter now has more moons than any other planet

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