Sunday, June 30, 2019

       New Stoppard play

     I can never forget,

but no matter how much it hurts,

how dark it gets,

or no matter how far you fall,

Former government minister offers explosive character assessment of Scott Morrison in new book

LIKE TOM, I’D LIKE TO SEE THIS FAST, PLEASE: Wow: Scientists May Have Promising Cure For Baldness.

The Daily Mail noted, “On Thursday, the more advanced process was presented at the conference and involves placing 3D biodegradable scaffolds – made from the same material as dissolvable stitches – with mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells and placed under the skin of nude mice, which lack body hair. When the biodegradable scaffold disappears, all that's left is healthy hair growing as normal.”

 They've announced that Tom Stoppard has a new play coming out, Leopoldstadt, premiering on the West End on 25 January in a production directed by Patrick Marber -- there's even already an official site.  
       See also for example Mark Brown's piece in The Guardian, Jewish district inspires Tom Stoppard in 'personal' new play. 

Mrs. T posted this message and photograph on her Facebook page yesterday. I asked her if I could make them more widely available, and she agreed. I hope they will give you some idea of how gallantly she is fighting back against the ravages of pulmonary hypertension and sepsis. In addition, her message will answer some of the questions you’ve been asking me.
I am proud beyond imagining to have been blessed with such a partner. Her courage inspires my awe. May she soon receive the Big Call.
*  *  *

My arms, with PICC lines and medical pumps attached. Yes, they are heavy and awkward, but I’m grateful to live in a first-world country where, despite all the problems with our health-care system, I’m still alive. My FB friends will probably know that I don’t like to talk about my health here, but I wanted you to know I’m very slowly getting stronger. I am spending 24/7 on the couch (very comfy!) in lieu of a hospital bed, and need to be waited on hand and foot (and my family has stepped up to the plate!).
My Eustachian tubes have closed due to the use of a high-velocity bi-pap, so I am mostly deaf for the time being. Talking still takes a lot of energy, so I won’t want visitors until further notice.
Many, many thanks for all the expressions of support—I am more grateful than you can know.
TO BE FAIR, WE’VE ALL HAD TO LEARN THIS THE HARD WAY: Florida Man Learns the Hard Way That Mixing Pufferfish and Cocaine Is a Very Bad Idea.

Via Jason Kottke

I keep track of every media thing I “consume”, so here are quick reviews of some things I’ve read, seen, heard, and experienced in the past month. I just started reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson; I loved his The Devil in the White City. On the TV front, I’m holding off on season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale and season 2 of Big Little Lies for some reason…don’t want to get sucked into anything right now, I guess. Ditto for catching up on the Historical Cinematic Universe…just not feeling it at the moment. As always, don’t pay too much attention to the letter grades…they’re higher in the summer than in the cold, depressing winter.
Deadwood: The Movie. A fitting end to one of the best shows on TV. It was great to be able to spend a little more time with it. (A-)
Booksmart. I loved this movie. Great soundtrack too. (A)
Thermapen Mk4. Finally got tired of my anxiety about overcooking my meat. Been using it with the reverse sear to great effect. (B+)
Serial season 3. I couldn’t make it through more than two episodes of each of the previous two seasons, but I went the distance on this one. Is the American system of justice just? I doubt it. (A-)
Working by Robert Caro. The DVD extras for The Power Broker and the LBJ books. I don’t have time to read a 3000-page biography of Lyndon Johnson right now, but Working made me want to do it anyway. (A-)
Persuasion System. The latest album from Com Truise. Great for working to. (B+)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. An idiosyncratic and deeply personal little museum. I felt very much at home there. (A)
Small Steps, Giant Leaps. Apollo 11 artifacts paired with historic scientific tomes from the likes of Galileo & Newton go together like chocolate and peanut butter. (A-)
Mary Queen of Scots. Nothing much here to distinguish this from your usual historical drama. (B)
Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris. Great show at the MFA. Was not a particular fan of Toulouse-Lautrec before but perhaps I am now. (A-)
Street Food. Interesting to compare this to David Gelb’s other show, Chef’s Table. Same focus on quality ingredients and serving great food, but very different ends of the economic spectrum. (B+)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Caught the peak of the cherry blossoms. Beautiful. But crowded. (A-)
Salt Fat Acid Heat. This wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I can see what other people love about it. The final episode is the strongest and I thought Nosrat’s emphasis on shopping as a vital part of cooking was interesting. (B)
Summer in Vermont. It’s been spectacular here lately. (A)
Normal People by Sally Rooney. I burned through this in only two days. (A)
Cumulonimbus Mammatus
Cumulonimbus mammatus. They’re no asperitas clouds, but cumulonimbus mammatus is still one of the best clouds around. (A)
The Ezra Klein Show interview with Alison Gopnik. Gopnik’s ideas about gardeners vs carpenters and explore vs exploit are fascinating frameworks for thinking about human creativity. (A-)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. It’s tough to maintain a coherent story told over several generations, but Lee manages it easily. (A-)
No Country for Old Men. Masterful. (A)
Chernobyl. Sometimes bureaucracy is no match for the truth. See also the accompanying podcast. (A-)
The Lives of Others. Got on a bit of a Cold War kick. (A-)
Always Be My Maybe. Strong ending. (B+)
Toy Story 4. Hollywood is often accused of being super liberal, but I thought the values depicted in this movie were quite conservative. (B+)
Anima. Thom Yorke’s solid third solo album. (B+)
13 Minutes to the Moon. There’s lots of Apollo stuff out there right now and some of it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. But this podcast from the BBC is substantial, with interviews from key players, including Apollo software engineer Margaret Hamilton, who doesn’t give many interviews these days. (A-)
Bad Times at the El Royale. Rhymes with Tarantino but not that well. This should have been 90 minutes long. (B-)
Long Shot. Why did this flop? It’s not exactly great but it works fine. (B)
Past installments of my media diet are available here.

Has Magic Been Displaced By Science? Not At All

One of the stories that inspires me is that it is documented that a honey badger killed a lion in a one-on-one. 
~Nick Cummins

While his 2GB colleagues earn millions, Bill Crews gets a casual rate

He supports voluntary euthanasia and opposes school chaplains. No wonder people ask, 'Are you really a minister?'.

As promised, Lutz has posted the source code for each project to her GitHub account: Mercury topographyasteroid orbits. What a great resource for aspiring data visualization designers. Stay tuned to her siteTwitter, or Tumblr for upcoming installments of the atlas.

Has Magic Been Displaced By Science? Not At All

Far from having evaporated, ‘folkloric disenchantment’ is still common today in the writings of self-described magicians, shamans and witches. But we also find its analogue in academic disciplines. In this academic version of the myth, nostalgia for vanished magic has been replaced by the idea that a scientific worldview has stepped in to replace more primitive folk-belief systems. – Aeon

MuckRock: “A new field guide on bringing transparency into communities from the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and MuckRock Last August, with support from the Online News Association, we partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism to explore new ways of teaching public records to students and the broader community. Five workshopsfour articles, and a hundred public records requests later, our partners at the Engagement Lab have put together a new website, Make FOIA Work, and downloadable guide on what we’ve learned, ideas to make Freedom of Information work more exciting and accessible, and a blueprint for others to build on. Part of what made this project so exciting for us was that it tackled public records from a very different perspective than we usually see. Instead of the focus being on exemptions, appeals, and the tradecraft of requesting, we instead spent a lot of time talking with the public about what they wanted to see out of their government — and then helped them get answers. User-centered design was at the heart of the entire project, from talking with people about what issues they cared about to help develop the project’s focus on gun purchasing and campaign financing to participatory workshops that invited people to file their first requests or help sift through documents that lay at the heart of the project…”
MIT Technology Review: “..a newdigital forensics technique promises to protect President Trump, other world leaders, and celebrities against such deepfakes—for the time being, at least. The new method uses machine learning to analyze a specific individual’s style of speech and movement, what the researchers call a “softbiometric signature.”  The researchers, from UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California, used an existing tool to extract the face and head movements of individuals. They also created their own deepfakes for Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton using generative adversarial networks…The research, which was presented at a computer vision conference in California this week, was funded by Google and DARPA, a research wing of the Pentagon. DARPA is funding a program to devise better detection techniques…

Vox – “Amazon has a counterfeit book problem. But it isn’t really a problem for Amazon itself, reporter David Streitfeld argued in an investigation published in the New York Times on Sunday. In fact, publishers and authors whose books are photocopied or otherwise plagiarized just come to rely on Amazon even more. 

New via LLRX – Elder Resources on the Internet 2019 – The current estimated U.S. population 65 and older has reached a new milestone: 53,710,125 and growing daily. To provide come context to this number, “50 million seniors is more than the population of 25 states combined…” By 2030, the estimated population of those over 65 will be 70 million. This timely guide by Marcus Zillmanidentifies a range of online resources on aging, assisted living, senior health care and senior legal issues, as well as information on retirement

This is one of several alphabets assembled by Belgian type designer Clotilde Olyfffrom stones collected at the beach.

Clotilde Olyff

Here are a few more examples, some of which were featured in this book called3D Typography:

To celebrate their 100th episode, The Allusionist podcast shared 100 Things We’ve Learned About Language from The Allusionist (transcript). Here are a few of my favorites from the list:

3. ‘Girl’ could originally be used to refer to a child of any gender — it didn’t specifically denote a female child until the late 14th century.

12. The best thing I’ve learned from the Allusionist is that the dictionary is a record and not a rule book! And language is too dynamic and complex for there to be a right and a wrong.

14. Dictionaries: can’t trust them, they’ve got deliberately fake words, or mountweazels, as copyright traps.

20. A few more quick eponyms: the saxophone is named after its inventor Adolphe Sax. He also invented the saxhorn, saxotromba, and saxtuba which didn’t all catch on.

27. Words like laser, scuba, taser — and the care in ‘care package’, those are all acronyms. [Whoa, I did not know about CARE package! -j]

45. I looked up the step in stepchild or stepparent and found it meant ‘grief’. I know some of you use different terms; since the episode, I’ve been borrowing ‘bonus’.

54. My favourite portmanteau discovery: ‘Velcro’ is a portmanteau — of velour and crochet.

56. Also very literal: ‘log in’, after the log on a knotted rope that would be thrown overboard from a ship to measure its speed — calculated by the length of rope unspooled over a particular time — and that would be logged in the log book.

100. ‘Arseropes’. What a wonderful word for the human intestines! Why don’t we use it still? [From John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible -j]

Amongst much fine work on his website and Instagram, Manuelo Bececco’s photos of forest canopies are my favorites. And did you notice the crown shynessin the first photo?

Crown shyness, a phenomenon where the leaves and branches of individual trees don’t touch those of other trees, forming gaps in the canopy.

Christopher Nolan will be out with his latest film next year, Tenet. To celebrate, IndieWire has collected a list of 30 films that Nolan has mentioned in the past as having an impact on his filmmaking. The title of that post calls these his “favorite” movies, but it’s perhaps more fair to call it his list of blockbuster influences, films that are grand in scale, personal in nature, and a little cerebral…with some quirky oddballs thrown in for good measure. Here’s a selection:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Blade Runner
For All Mankind
Star Wars
Street of Crocodiles
The Tree Of Life