Elsewhere for February 19, 2022

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You should read this for 2/19/2023:

Books, Libraries, Writing, and Language

decorative leaf bulletFrom the Unshelved Comic Strip

decorative leaf bullet3D Imaging of an Italian Stationery Binding

decorative leaf bulletOldest complete Hebrew Bible expected to break auction records

The earliest and most complete Hebrew Bible ever discovered – a “vital touchstone of human history” that dates back more than 1,100 years – is to be sold at auction.
The ninth-century volume, referred to as the Codex Sassoon, is a critical link between the Dead Sea scrolls and the Bible of today. It is being offered by Sotheby’s with an estimate of $30m-$50m (£25m-£42m), making it the most valuable historical document or manuscript to appear at auction.

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decorative leaf bulletFlorida Teacher Is Fired for Posting Viral Video of Empty Classroom Bookshelves

Brian Covey, a substitute teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, was fired this week for posting a video showing rows of empty bookshelves in his classroom in late January, which several local teachers did after schools in the Florida’s Manatee and Duval counties received a directive to “remove or cover all classroom libraries until all materials can be reviewed.”

Wait till DeSantis finds out what’s in the Bible!

History and Archaeology

decorative leaf bulletAncient road found beneath new town in Devon

Last year, the team at Sherford found “Ice Age megafauna” including mammoth, rhino and wolf remains.
Now experts have discovered the area was also a “key route” for human communities thousands of years ago.

Politics and Society

decorative leaf bulletHeat pumps boom in Maine, despite frigid cold and oil industry pushback

Science and Nature

decorative leaf bulletCelebrities and scientists mourn mountain lion P-22 at sold-out memorial

City’s most famous feline was euthanized last year after being hit by vehicle, but his legacy lives on with a highway wildlife crossing.

decorative leaf bulletOn routine house call, pest control finds 700 pounds of acorns in the walls

After arriving at the house around 8 a.m. with two colleagues, Castro used a drywall knife to create a 4-by-4-inch hole in a second-floor bedroom’s wall. Acorns rushed out of the pocket. Castro said the pile stood about 20 feet high.

decorative leaf bulletTiny creature unlocks life before the ice age

A cave in Canada has been declared a globally significant location to preserve a rare amphipod.
Stygobromus canadensis is believed to have survived since before the glaciation of the surrounding landscape during the last ice age.

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decorative leaf bullet“Link In Bio” is a slow knife

We don’t even notice it anymore — “link in bio”. It’s a pithy phrase, usually found on Instagram, which directs an audience to be aware that a pertinent web link can be found on that user’s profile. Its presence is so subtle, and so pervasive, that we barely even noticed it was an attempt to kill the web.

H/T @emilymbender@dair-community.social via @baldur@toot.cafe: decorative leaf bulletWe come to bury ChatGPT, not to praise it.

Large language models (LLMs) like the GPT family learn the statistical structure of language by optimising their ability to predict missing words in sentences (as in ‘The cat sat on the [BLANK]’). Despite the impressive technical ju-jitsu of transformer models and the billions of parameters they learn, it’s still a computational guessing game. ChatGPT is, in technical terms, a ‘bullshit generator’. If a generated sentence makes sense to you, the reader, it means the mathematical model has made sufficiently good guess to pass your sense-making filter. The language model has no idea what it’s talking about because it has no idea about anything at all. It’s more of a bullshitter than the most egregious egoist you’ll ever meet, producing baseless assertions with unfailing confidence because that’s what it’s designed to do.

decorative leaf bulletWhat teens think parents should know about phones

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Women’s Work

decorative leaf bulletCodebreakers find, decipher lost letters of Mary, Queen of Scots

An international team of codebreakers said Wednesday they have found and deciphered the long lost secret letters of 16th-century monarch Mary, Queen of Scots, one of the most argued-over figures in British history.

decorative leaf bullet‘I had to get out of there’: an Australian survivor of homosexuality ‘cures’ tells her story

One time after pretending to take her pills, Clayton hid behind a curtain. She says it was then that she overheard that she had been nominated by staff for brain surgery. “I heard them saying ‘Lee Clayton, we’re going to send her off to have a cingulo’. I thought, ‘No you’re not’. I had to get out of there.

Something Wonderful

Carl Bergstrom: decorative leaf bulletHow to befriend crows

If you feed them regularly, they will come to recognize you. They’re remarkably good at recognizing faces, gaits, and even the sound of a particular car’s engine.
In the rain wearing a new jacket with the hood up? They recognize me.
After a year away from the office due to COVID policies, I thought my office friends would have forgotten me. No. They spotted me within a few yards of the parking garage.

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