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There’s a 25th anniversary edition version of Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe coming out. I devoured this book when it first came out and I still have not read an easier-to-understand summary of modern physics and quantum mechanics.

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I saw Midnight in Chernobyl at a bookstore over the weekend and it looked interesting (esp. since I've been rewatching Chernobyl on HBO —...
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Reading Miranda July's All Fours
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Gene Kelly Doesn't Want to Perform Singin' in the Rain on the Muppet Show
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Did you know you can renew your US passport online now? The State Department is beta testing the new online renewal system for the next...
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There's a 25th anniversary edition version of Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe coming out. I devoured this book when it first came out...
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Printernet: Get a custom print version of your reading list sent right to your door. Each issue has five slots you can fill with any...
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New book out this fall: Comic Sans: The Biography of a Typeface. "Author Simon Garfield tells the story of how Comic Sans emerged from...
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There's a Devil Wears Prada sequel coming... "Gird your loins."
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Here's how auto dealerships try to scam you when buying a car. "The ideal customer is disproportionately young, disproportionately...
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The Cleverness of the Axe
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Area codes that are also HTTP response headers. For instance, 404 (Not Found) is an area code in Atlanta and 406 (Not Acceptable) is the...
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True statement that sounds completely false: Steph Curry cannot spin a basketball on his finger (without Globetrotter help).
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Baltic Ice

aerial shot of sea ice in the Baltic Sea

Oh, I really like this particular image from Bernhard Lang’s series of aerial photographs of sea ice in the Baltic (part one, part two). (via colossal)

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Cyanokites are a collection of five paper kites of different shades of blue, a sly homage to the cyanometer, an instrument designed to measure the blueness of the sky.

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Printernet: Get a custom print version of your reading list sent right to your door. Each issue has five slots you can fill with any text-based content (articles, etc.)

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Molly White: Fighting bots is fighting humans. “Any attempt at limiting bot access will inevitably allow some bots through and prevent some humans from accessing the site, and it’s about deciding where you want to set the cutoff.”

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The Cleverness of the Axe

a woodcutter swinging an axe at a tree

There’s a version of The Woodcutter and the Trees series of fables that I ran across the other day that’s particularly relevant to this moment in history:

The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe; for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them.

Or perhaps it’s always resonant because some variation of it has been told for thousands of years now.

Illustration in the triptych above by Ferdinand Hodler.

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Area codes that are also HTTP response headers. For instance, 404 (Not Found) is an area code in Atlanta and 406 (Not Acceptable) is the area code for Montana.

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Reading Miranda July’s All Fours



Have you read it? What did you think?

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This Crystal Fragment Turns Everything You See Into 8-bit Pixel Art, and It’s Fascinating. “The lens minecrafts scenery without electricity.”

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Gene Kelly Doesn’t Want to Perform Singin’ in the Rain on the Muppet Show

The legendary dancer, actor, and singer Gene Kelly appeared on The Muppet Show in season five, in what turned out to be the last episode of the show ever filmed. The episode’s gag involved Kelly being under the impression he was turning up to watch the show and not perform. Kermit tricks him into it, but in the final act, Kelly refuses to do his most famous song, Singin’ in the Rain. Until…

As Jonathan Hoefler said about this bit on Threads:

For all the satire and irony and anxiety that shaped Gen X, we were so lucky to grow up with the gentleness, wit, kindness, and respect of Jim Henson, the Children’s Television Workshop, and public television generally. How lovely is this?

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Enduring 129°F in Death Valley. “The breeze only makes things worse, by blasting apart the thin and fragile atmosphere of cooled air that millions of your pores produce by sweating. Your heart hammers faster and faster. Your cognition starts to blur.”

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Ayo Edebiri Browses the Criterion Collection

As if we needed more reasons to love her, Ayo Edebiri is a total film dork. First, there’s the account on Letterboxd — her review of Empire Strikes Back: “this movie is great but I was really shocked by how ugly Yoda was sorry if that pisses anybody off but I had only seen baby Yoda and adult Yoda is fucking busted”. And recently, she totally nerded out in the Criterion Collection closet.

The actor shares her love for sexy and stylish heist movies like Charade and Thief; praises the work of Juzo Itami (whom she calls “the G.O.A.T.”) and his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto; and talks about the African American surrealist imagery in To Sleep with Anger.

So infectiously joyful! As one of the YT commenters said:

Between the prepared list on her phone and the Radiohead t-shirt I feel like this was the closest the comments section has been to having one of us in the closet

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There’s a Devil Wears Prada sequel coming… “Gird your loins.”

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XKCD: A Crossword Puzzle

A Crossword Puzzle

Although I am slightly disappointed this isn’t a “real” crossword puzzle, I do admire Randall Munroe’s commitment to the bit. And then there’s the gray letters…

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I’ve linked to these before, but the Do Not Reply images (which gently dunk on social media reply guys) are now available on their own site — and you can order IRL stickers too.

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The Teasingest Teaser Trailer for Severance Season Two

Well, the teaser trailer answers almost no questions about the second season of Severance, so job well done with the teasing there lads. Here’s one thing though: the season starts on January 17, 2025 on Apple TV+. Oh, and this:

In season two, Mark and his friends learn the dire consequences of trifling with the severance barrier, leading them further down a path of woe.

Season 2 reunites its ensemble cast of stars including Emmy Award nominee Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Tramell Tillman, Zach Cherry, Jen Tullock, Michael Chernus, Dichen Lachman, Emmy Award winner John Turturro, Academy Award winner Christopher Walken and Academy and Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette, and welcomes new series regular Sarah Bock.

✅ Teased
✅ Interest piqued
✅ New event created in my calendar for Jan 17
✅ And a stick of butter

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Did you know you can renew your US passport online now? The State Department is beta testing the new online renewal system for the next several months.

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New book out this fall: Comic Sans: The Biography of a Typeface. “Author Simon Garfield tells the story of how Comic Sans emerged from speech bubbles on educational software to become one of the most recognized — and reviled — typefaces on Earth.”

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The Science Behind the Emotions in Inside Out 2

For National Geographic, Tony Hale (who played Fear in Inside Out 2) talks to psychologist and author Dr. Lisa Damour about Pixar’s new film, her role as a consultant for the filmmakers, and what science says about the emotions in the movie. From The Kid Should See This:

By blending Pixar’s storytelling with scientific expertise, the Inside Out films and this discussion help make the complex topic of emotional development approachable and more familiar. They offer viewers of all ages vocabulary to better understand and express their feelings, while normalizing the intricate emotional experiences we encounter throughout life.

I have heard a lot of good things about Damour’s books from other parents, particularly Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents.

Vox also has a really interesting article on the science of the emotions of Inside Out 2, with quotes from Damour and emotion scientist Dacher Keltner.

One of the things that happens when people become teenagers is that their brain becomes more sophisticated, and it allows for self-conscious emotions. Before age 13, kids are concrete in their thinking. They can’t always see things from another perspective. Then around 13 or 14, the ability to picture oneself on the outside, to imagine different scenarios, arrives as a result of brain development.

With that arrival comes the ability to be embarrassed and to imagine what other people think of you. Or to have envy, to want something somebody else has and to want to know why you don’t have it. Ennui is so funny and wonderful and really maps onto the natural disdain and over-it-ness teenagers can have for everything. Then, of course, anxiety is a major player in this movie. What anxiety requires is the ability to imagine and anticipate. Fear is our response to the threat right in front of us, whereas anxiety is picturing things that might happen.

See also The Making of “Inside Out 2” episode of Damour’s podcast.

As the parent of two teens and also as someone who perhaps remembers a little too much what it felt like to be a teenager, I found Inside Out 2’s portrayal of the emotions (and how to manage them) to be really convincing. (via the kid should see this)

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The International Astronomical Union is currently running an open competition to name one of Earth’s quasi-moons. They’re doing this in association with Radiolab — remember their Zoozve episode?

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If dragons were real, how might fire-breathing work? “A dragon could draw on some chemistry used by the bombardier beetle. This insect has evolved reservoirs adapted to store hydrogen peroxide…”

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True statement that sounds completely false: Steph Curry cannot spin a basketball on his finger (without Globetrotter help).

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I saw Midnight in Chernobyl at a bookstore over the weekend and it looked interesting (esp. since I’ve been rewatching Chernobyl on HBO — even better than I remember). Has anyone read this? Is it good?

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Free Shipping on Kottke Tees

Hey folks. My pals at Cotton Bureau are celebrating their 11th birthday. So, for the next three days (until the end of July 11), all of their shirts come with free shipping!

This includes the handsome Hypertext Tee:

two shirts, one black and one white, with a bright multi-colored 'hypertext' printed on them

And the Process Tee (dark colors | light colors):

two t-shirts, one dark and one light, with a squiggly pattern that is jumbled up on the left but gets straight and smooth on the right

Just use code HBDCB11 at checkout for free shipping within the US and 50% off international shipping. You can see all your Kottke shirt options on the Goods page.

Reminder: 50% of the profits from the Process Tee will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. Thanks to your support, I’ve been able to donate more than $4,700 to the NNAF so far.

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Here’s how auto dealerships try to scam you when buying a car. “The ideal customer is disproportionately young, disproportionately female, and disproportionately a person of color.”

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Project 2025 in a Nutshell

Yesterday I posted about The Terrifying Project 2025, the conservative plan to reshape America in the event of Trump’s victory in November. Marisa Kabas wrote a great one-sentence summary of the project:

Project 2025 is conservatives’ vision for an American society that’s a result of gutting all the gains made by the civil rights, abortion rights, LGBTIA+ rights, voting rights and environmental rights movements in order to establish an authoritarian government run by loyalists committed to serving a white, Christian nationalist agenda.

What I like about that description is that the authors of the plan wouldn’t really disagree with it. The plan’s uncomplicated & proud sincerity in wanting to roll back all the rights fought for in this country since the 1950s is what makes it so alarming.

Biden is The Candidate. Gabrielle Blair on the practical facts of the Democratic nominee. “If he ever needs to be [replaced], the replacement is already in place. That’s literally part of the job of the Vice-President.”

Gladiator II

Ok, this trailer for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II really got me wound up. Denzel Washington, Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen — I am here for all of it. November 22 can’t come soon enough (for several reasons…)

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The Avengers Assemble for Lakota Dub

Members of the original cast of The Avengers (Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo) reunited to dub the movie in the Lakota language.

Mark Ruffalo and members of the initiative sit down with us to share the story of this amazing reunion and its very special cause. From the recording studio to the big screen, we explore this important cinematic milestone and celebrate the release that took over 15 months, 62 Lakota-Dakota language speakers, and the original Avengers team to come together and Assemble!

More details from the Lakota Times:

On June 14th, 2024, Disney plus will release the Avengers film that will be dubbed in Lakota. Cyril “Chuck” Archambault, Ray Taken Alive, Dallas Nelson, Lawrence Archambault along with the Lakota Reclamation Project, Grey Willow Studios, students from McLaughlin school, elders from the Standing Rock community and many others have all worked very hard together to complete this project.

A couple of years ago, Ray and Chuck talked about the idea of dubbing the Avengers movie. From there, Chuck spoke with Mark Ruffalo about the idea and Ruffalo said he will get back to them about it. Several months later, a meeting was set up with Marvel and Disney to discuss this idea. Not only did they approve of the project, but Marvel and Deluxe studios helped them through it.

From there, they were able to receive a grant to help with funding, within the budgets they made sure that the Elders would be the highest paid in the project.

Here’s the poster for the Lakota dub, which is now streaming on Disney+ (change the language option to Lakota).

See also Why Star Wars Was Dubbed Into the Navajo Language.

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The Onion highlights some of the lesser-known Project 2025 plans. “Immigration through Ticketmaster: By privatizing immigration, it ensures all immigrants pay the service fee, order processing fee, and the occasional surge pricing fees.”

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Project 2025 would be a disaster for the environment. “It would be game over for climate progress in the US, turning the reins of our government over to the polluters.”

The Terrifying Project 2025

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on Project 2025, the extremist conservative plan for America if Trump wins the 2024 election — a wish-list to continue their fascist takeover of America.

One key goal of Project 2025 is to purge all government agencies of anyone more loyal to the constitution than to Trump — a process Trump himself started in October 2020 when he thought he would remain in office.

Trump has promised to give rightwing evangelical Christians what they want. Accordingly, Project 2025 calls for withdrawing the abortion pill mifepristone from the market, expelling trans service members from the military, banning life-saving gender affirming care for young people, ending all diversity programs, and using “school choice” to gut public education.

Project 2025 also calls for eliminating “woke propaganda” from all laws and federal regulations — including the terms “sexual orientation”, “diversity, equity, and inclusion”, “gender equality”, and “reproductive rights”.

Other items in the Project 2025 blueprint are precisely what Trump has called for on the campaign trail, including mass arrests and deportations of undocumented people in the United States, ending many worker protections, dropping prosecutions of far-right militias like the Proud Boys, and giving additional tax cuts to big corporations and the rich.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that climate change is a “hoax”. Project 2025 calls for expanding oil drilling in the United States, shrinking the geographic footprint of national monuments, terminating clean energy incentives, and ending fossil fuel regulations.

Trump has said he’d seek vengeance against those who have prosecuted him for his illegal acts. Project 2025 calls for the prosecution of district attorneys Trump doesn’t like, and the takeover of law enforcement in blue cities and states.

The 900-page document was prepared by Heritage Foundation, whose president stated recently on a right-wing podcast that “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be”. (This is the same logic used by abusers: “Why did you make me do that to you?”)

[The Wikipedia article about Project 2025 seems like a pretty good summary with lots of direct quotes and citations.]

This all sounds sort of alarmist until you actually read what’s written in the document, like this passage on abortions:

Because liberal states have now become sanctuaries for abortion tourism, HHS should use every available tool, including the cutting of funds, to ensure that every state reports exactly how many abortions take place within its borders, at what gestational age of the child, for what reason, the mother’s state of residence, and by what method.

It’s like that old bit of advice: “When people show you who they are, believe them”. Conservatives are literally telling us their plans for exacting a fascist regime under Trump…we should believe them.

More on Project 2025 from John Oliver:

The consequences of Schedule F could be catastrophic for the government. As Jacqueline Simon, the policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, put it: “There will be a massive exodus of competence.”

“When you fire everyone who knows what they’re doing and only hire people who will say yes to the rich guy in charge, that’s not a recipe for good government,” Oliver added. “It’s a recipe for the Titan submersible.”

With a civil service full of loyalty appointees, Trump wouldn’t need Congress to pass a national ban on abortion drugs, for example, when his head of the Food and Drug Administration could just rule them “unsafe” — a plan specifically outlined in Project 2025.

Education Week simply states one of Project 2025’s goals: “The U.S. Department of Education would be eliminated.”

Politico: Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration:

The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 offers more visibility into what policy agenda a future Trump administration might pursue. It says policies that support LGBTQ+ rights, subsidize “single-motherhood” and penalize marriage should be repealed because subjective notions of “gender identity” threaten “Americans’ fundamental liberties.”

It also proposes increasing surveillance of abortion and maternal mortality reporting in the states, compelling the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of “chemical abortion drugs” and protecting “religious and moral” objections for employers who decline contraception coverage for employees. One of the groups that partners with Project 2025, Turning Point USA, is among conservative influencers that health professionals have criticized for targeting young women with misleading health concerns about hormonal birth control. Another priority is defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care to low-income women.

The Guardian: US hard-right policy group condemned for ‘dehumanising’ anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric:

Purveyors of pornography, Roberts writes, “are child predators and misogynistic exploiters of women. Their product is as addictive as any illicit drug and as psychologically destructive as any crime. Pornography should be outlawed. The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered.”

And I found these two pieces helpful in explaining the plan: Project 2025: A wish list for a Trump presidency, explained (BBC) and Project 2025, the policy substance behind Trump’s showmanship, reveals a radical plan to reshape the world (The Conversation).

How to Stop Fascism: Five Lessons of the Nazi Takeover

From Timothy Snyder again, this time on what lessons we can draw on to prevent America’s collapse into fascism.

4. Big business should support democracy. In the Germany of the 1930s, business leaders were not necessarily enthusiastic about Hitler as a person. But they associated democracy with labor unions and wanted to break them. Seeing Hitler as an instrument of their own profit, business leaders enabled the Nazi regime. This was, in the end, very bad for business. Although the circumstances today are different, the general lesson is the same: whether they like it or not, business leaders bear responsibility for whether a republic endures or is destroyed.

I loved his succinct conclusion:

It’s simple: recalling history, we act in the present, for a future that can and will be much better.

Fascism and Fear and the Media

Do Not Obey In Advance

Historian and scholar Timothy Snyder, who wrote On Tyranny and this amazing piece about the fascism of Trump and the conservative movement, wrote about a crucial difference in how the media are covering Biden versus how they cover Trump.

It should seem odd that media calls to step down were not first directed to Trump. If we are calling for Biden to step aside because someone must stop Trump from bringing down the republic, then surely it would have made more sense to first call for Trump to step aside? (The Philadelphia Inquirer did). I know the counter-arguments: his people wouldn’t have cared, and he wouldn’t have listened. The first misses an important point. There are quite a few Americans who have not made up their minds. The second amounts to obeying in advance. If you accept that a fascist is beyond your reach, you have normalized your submission.

“Do not obey in advance” is Snyder’s very first lesson from his 20 Lessons from the 20th Century about fighting authoritarianism:

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

Note: Illustration by the awesome Chris Piascik.

The Forgotten Black Explorers Who Transformed Americans’ Understanding of the Wilderness. Esteban, York and James Beckwourth charted the American frontier between the 16th and 19th centuries.

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We Talking About Practice

From Heather Cox Richardson, writing on the night of the debate, a reminder of just how bad Trump’s performance was, a shambolic spectacle that was met with shrugs because that’s what we expect of him:

In contrast, Trump came out strong but faded and became less coherent over time. His entire performance was either lies or rambling non-sequiturs. He lied so incessantly throughout the evening that it took CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale almost three minutes, speaking quickly, to get through the list.

Trump said that some Democratic states allow people to execute babies after they’re born and that every legal scholar wanted Roe v. Wade overturned — both fantastical lies. He said that the deficit is at its highest level ever and that the U.S. trade deficit is at its highest ever: both of those things happened during his administration. He lied that there were no terrorist attacks during his presidency; there were many. He said that Biden wants to quadruple people’s taxes — this is “pure fiction,” according to Dale — and lied that his tax cuts paid for themselves; they have, in fact, added trillions of dollars to the national debt.

Richardson also quotes Monique Pressley’s debate night tweet, which is perhaps the most crisp and concise summary of the whole thing:

The proof of Biden’s ability to run the country is the fact that he is running it. Successfully. Not a debate performance against a pathological lying sociopath.

Maybe this is just me, but I immediately thought of Allen Iverson’s response to a question about practice from the media:

Listen, we talking about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game. We talking about practice. Not a game, not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game. We talking about practice, man.

While he might be fine at blustering his way through debates (practice), Trump, famously, was bad at being president and actually didn’t like the job (the game). Like, we don’t have to imagine how Trump would perform as president because he did the job, poorly & ruinously, for four years. Biden has logged 3.5 years as president and has been very productive on behalf of the American people. We can directly compare them! And their teams! Politics & governance is a team sport, and Trump’s team is a flaming dumpster fire. So let’s stop talking about practice (and the media’s horse race coverage) and start focusing on the game.

An interesting teaser trailer for F1, the racing drama starring Brad Pitt — it’s like a 90-second music video. Joseph Kosinski is directing…he did Top Gun: Maverick, which makes me optimistic about this one.

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Appalling vs. a Whole Other Level of Appalling

Rebecca Solnit: Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out of the race?

I am not usually one to offer diagnoses of people I’ve never met, but it does seem like the pundit class of the American media is suffering from severe memory loss. Because they’re doing exactly what they did in the 2016 presidential race — providing wildly asymmetrical and inflammatory coverage of the one candidate running against Donald J Trump.

They have become a stampeding herd producing an avalanche of stories suggesting Biden is unfit, will lose and should go away, at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic. They do this while ignoring something every scholar and critic of journalism knows well and every journalist should. As Nikole Hannah-Jones put it: “As media we consistently proclaim that we are just reporting the news when in fact we are driving it. What we cover, how we cover it, determines often what Americans think is important and how they perceive these issues yet we keep pretending it’s not so.” They are not reporting that he is a loser; they are making him one.

I’ve been watching this play out over the last few weeks and whatever the media (especially the NY Times) and pundits are doing here is much more alarming to me than Biden’s poor debate performance. Especially considering:

Speaking of coups, we’ve had a couple of late, which perhaps merit attention as we consider who is unfit to hold office. This time around, Trump is not just a celebrity with a lot of sexual assault allegations, bankruptcies and loopily malicious statements, as he was in 2016. He’s a convicted criminal who orchestrated a coup attempt to steal an election both through backroom corruption and public lies and through a violent attack on Congress. The extremist US supreme court justices he selected during his last presidential term themselves staged a coup this very Monday, overthrowing the US constitution itself and the principle that no one is above the law to make presidents into kings, just after legalizing bribery of officials, and dismantling the regulatory state by throwing out the Chevron deference.

*hair-tearing-out sounds*

There I Ruined It: Kermit the Frog sings Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice to the tune of Rainbow Connection.

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Whoever the Democratic Candidate Is, Americans Have Already Lost. “If you take your eye off the ball of democracy for any length of time, no amount of history will save you. Americans have taken our eyes off the ball.”

Here’s what the web looked like in 1994, including the likes of Yahoo!, GNN, Pathfinder, IBM, The Amazing FishCam, and Pizza Hut.

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Interesting convo about AI. “Working with AI has made me even more impressed with the kinds of things that every two-year-old is doing. It has also made the intelligence of octopuses, brine shrimp, and all the other creatures around us more vivid.”

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Diary Comics, July 1

Hello, Edith here! I usually post from six months ago, but I can’t resist sharing something from the other day.

altamont enterprise copy1.jpg

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Archaeologists have discovered that Denisovan humans survived for at least 100,000 years on the Tibetan plateau. And they may have survived there as late as 32,000 years ago, meaning they could have mixed with modern humans.

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Season three of The Bear “struggles to make its point about the abuses and toxicity of the restaurant industry because it is willing to absolve the real-life chefs who have actually engaged in that kind of demeaning behavior.”

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“What My Adult Autism Diagnosis Finally Explained”

For New York magazine, Mary H.K. Choi writes about her family and her recent autism spectrum disorder diagnosis: I Was Diagnosed With Autism in My 40s. It Gave Me a Lot of Answers.

For Sam, the diagnosis altered everything. Provided a sense of relief that was oceanic. The framing of our relationship changed. I learned about pathological demand avoidance, a pattern of behavior that is still up for debate in the ASD world but that for me represented a seismic OS update. It explained why I would unfailingly refuse to do something when asked, and why a demand or request would trigger an overwhelming sense of panic and certitude that I would only disappoint the person asking. This was me when Sam knocked on my door.

Let’s just say that paragraph resonated more than a little. See also Hannah Gadsby Talks About Her Autism Diagnosis.

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A 4000-year-old Minoan structure with labyrinthine walls has been uncovered in Crete. (Could this be the legendary maze of King Minos? (Probably not…wrong location.))

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Wells Fargo analysts ordered 75 identical burrito bowls from 8 different Chipotles and found that portion sizes varied wildly. The biggest bowl was almost 2x heavier than the smallest. Wild that they don’t standardize this from a cost perspective.

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“The Last Rave”

I just found out over the weekend about my pal Emily Witt’s new book, Health and Safety, and lo, there’s an excerpt of it in the fiction issue of the New Yorker. I didn’t know what to include here, so I just took the opening paragraphs…the rest of it is pretty intense.

On March 6, 2020, Andrew and I went to a rave. If it weren’t for what happened later, I don’t think it would have stood out in my memory. A couple of days before, I had met a friend at the movie theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to see “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” It was the first time I saw someone trying to open a door with his elbows. My friend and I ordered separate popcorns as a hygienic precaution. I remember someone behind us coughing, and being aware of it.

On Friday night, before the party, I put a single drop of LSD into a glass of water. I drank half, and Andrew drank the other half. For the next couple of hours, while he made beats in his studio, I lay in bed with my eyes closed, listening to one of the final mixes made by Andrew Weatherall, a British d.j. who had got his start in the nineteen-eighties club scene and had recently died. The tracks had titles like “Jagged Mountain Melts at Dawn” and “The Descending Moonshine Dervishes.”

I sat up in bed, and, as the waves of acid broke over me, I wrote down some thoughts. I was a magazine writer, but I was thinking of going to Brazil to write a book about the Amazon rain forest. The problem with trying to write a book about the Amazon rain forest was that it was a place that was much better left alone, like Everest, or the moon. I looked over at the cat, who was sitting on an ottoman, her eyes two glowing lamps of annoyance. It was time to go out.

I read Witt’s first book, Future Sex, and really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to Health and Safety (Bookshop).

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Ohhhhh coooool, a grinning foreskin robot. A team recently “unveiled a technique for creating lifelike robotic skin using living human cells”. Don’t watch the video if you ever want to sleep again.

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