morning 07.02.16

New Horizons Receives Mission Extension to Kuiper Belt, Dawn to Remain at Ceres. Onward to 2014 MU69 and Adeona can wait.

How women shaped indie rock: ‘the lyrics could never have come from a male perspective’. Article accompanying a new compilation on Cherry Red. A lot of brilliant music that I don’t listen to often enough these days. I still regret not discovering Young Marble Giants earlier than I did. Never recall seeking out Alison Statton’s next band Weekend. Outside the flavor of my normal fare, but impossible not to hear how she made a mark on a generation of indie bands.

Fire discovery sheds new light on ‘hobbit’ demise. Since the revision of Homo floresiensis disappearing 50,000 years ago (previously 13,000 years ago) it seemed less chance for overlap with Homo sapiens. Now there’s evidence of human fire use Liang Bua 41,000 years ago.

It seems that Hillary Clinton will finally be interviewed by the FBI in the coming days, perhaps even today. It’s a slight relief that Lynch announced she’d accept whatever recommendations the FBI makes and presumably not pull the shit Holder & others did in the Petraeus case. However, Bloomberg news says:

Earlier Friday, a top Justice Department official told Bloomberg that Lynch would reserve her right to overrule prosecutors’ recommendation — an option attorneys general typically possess, but rarely use, in criminal cases.

So we could still see her pull the same shit as Holder with Petraeus. That probably won’t go down though, as this case is far more expansive.

The possibility of Lynch’s total recusal and a special prosecutor being named was an uncomfortable scenario. The last thing needed was a delay in the case and it being handed to Congressional Republicans. If anything happens, it needs to happen now, before the Democratic convention.

The rumors in comments on Reddit made it sound like Bill Clinton did indeed ambush Lynch and she couldn’t extricate herself diplomatically from the situation. The local news crew was tipped off about the meeting anonymously. Allegedly, the FBI security detail on Lynch said no photos or cellphones were allowed. It’s hard to trust the rumors as some spun into this weird world in which Clinton couldn’t have been golfing at all and he didn’t look like he’d been in 100 degree weather. Bill Clinton is a lying, corrupt bastard, but he really did have business in Phoenix.

morning 07.01.16

A few months ago, I realize there probably isn’t a single bookstore between Hammond, LA and Jackson, MS. Nor do I think there is one between Natchez, MS and Hattiesburg, MS. There aren’t many libraries in that space either. That’s large desolate area for reading.

Ancient Shrine That May Hold Buddha’s Skull Bone Found in Crypt. This is highly unlikely but what the hell? The stupa is 1,000 years old, found beneath Grand Bao’en Temple in Nanjing, China.

The coup to oust Jeremy Corbyn from Labour leadership was planned six months ago. It doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with Brexit. Those scumbag Blairite opportunists have been waiting for the moment to strike.

It’s startling that the bright spot on Ceres is a deposit of sodium carbonate. More on Gizmodo. It makes sense that a salt would cause such a reflective feature, but the hydrothermal activity is mighty surprising.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft sent its first photograph of Jupiter and moons back to Earth. This is going to be amazing.

morning 06.27.16

First images of 12,000-year-old Mexican mammoth skeleton emergeMammuthus columbi. Mexico City. I vaguely recalled an  original report of the discovery of this fossil in 2013, which stated the mammoth fell in a ditch and was buried by ash during a volcanic eruption. Now one of the paleontologists on the excavation says the position of the bones suggests that the mammoth could have been butchered by humans.

I never watched a minute of Vinyl outside of the initial trailer. It looked godawful, a turgid, male midlife crisis fantasy. My friend Damien hate-watched it, but he has a different relationship with that period and that music than I do. Even the reportedly superior material that should have informed Vinyl, Dannen’s book Hit Men, looks rancid. Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People really is more my speed. The Pitchfork post-mortem of Vinyl makes me ache to experience just how bad the show is. It might be worth taking a day or two to savor a little bile before I cancel HBO Go in the aftermath of the Game of Thrones finale.

Speaking of nostalgia, the Baffler has an article, The Nostalgia Gap. It plunges through the accelerated cycle of nostalgia, weaves through the lacuna of the actual ’70s, nostalgia as propaganda, and where this is taking us- the hyperreal and simulations of simulation.

Getting inside the head and life of Polish literary prodigy Bruno Schulz. I’d missed the existence of this book by Maxim Biller. It looks interesting, but again Schulz is a Christlike figure, in that his death overshadows his actual work. It’s all Shoah literature. All of his Jewish identity, all of his gnostic vision of the world- it feeds to his murder by Nazis. His being extinguished overshadows the nature of his actual writing. It didn’t help that his lost novel is titled Messiah. It seems Biller and the reviewer grasp this. There’s hope that Schulz’s surreal poetry echoes in Biller’s work.

morning 06.26.16

It’s funny how Simon Critchley now possibly most famous for his love of David Bowie. A search on Twitter turns up dozens upon dozens of mentions of his book on Bowie. Anyway, Critchley’s written a piece on Rousseau’s play Narcisse, posted recently on Naked Punch but presumably from 2006. The play itself isn’t very good it turns out. However, inequality and narcissism!

Why Jorge Luis Borges matters 30 years after his death. It’s a fluff piece, but Luisa Valenzuela has a bit in there. The Lizard’s Tail has been on a list of book to check out for many years. I looked her up to find an interview with Valenzuela in the Paris Review that I’ve not read before. Whenever I read in earnest again, her work needs to be explored immediately.

Gurdjieff’s special salad! This looks… shall I say…. absolutely disgusting. Gurdjieff’s palate was very different from mine. Dangerous Minds also threw in a link to Peter Brook‘s Meetings with Remarkable Men.


midday 06.25.16

Poison used on arrow tips 13,000 years ago in East Africa. Nifty. Kuumbi Cave on Unguja Island off Zanzibar. The poison is supposed to be from the Mkunazi plant. I think this is Ziziphus mucronata. It’s the sap and not the fruit that’s used in arrow poison. There’s sparse documentation of the sap being mixed with beetle larva for arrow poison by the San people. Odd. This feels worth digging into more. Exciting.

France trolling Britain over Brexit is good stuff. “A nation that can’t behead its Queen is not to be trusted!”


We laugh ourselves into the abyss.

These jade axeheads from the Italian Alps that wound up in Scotland are beautiful. They’re dated as 6.000 years old. One is the Cairnholy fragment. The featured one is the Greenlaw axehead. Another complete one came from Sweet Track (yeah, not Scotland.)

A review of Peter Green’s translation of The Iliad. The argument about Achilles’ spear is far funnier than it probably should be. Continuity, people! Continuity!

The Corpse of the Author: Literary Pilgrimage 400 Years After Cervantes. “el manco de Lepanto.”

morning 06.25.16

The theme music of Democracy Now irritates the shit out of me. I love the show, but damn it.

Jacobin has an interview with a teacher explaining the Oaxaca struggle. It’s been a pain digging up substantial reporting on what’s going in Mexico, mostly reports on the violence, but few details on what the Nieto administration is pushing through that is causing such strife. (Slate has a decent piece.) It’s a little surprising that there’s little connection to the 2014 mass kidnapping and murder of 43 Iguala students.

I noticed a few people posting & tweeting how cool it is that a woman is now the mayor of Rome. Yeahhhhhhh…. about that… Virginia Raggi is a member of the Five Star Movement. When that name popped up in the news articles breathlessly reporting how exciting it is to have a woman in charge, the gears began turning. Italian politics is not any strength of mine. A friend used to keep me up on Italy’s politics way back when, but we’ve drifted apart as years have crept by. The Wikipedia article has the movement’s ideology as something kinda sympathetic, but they clearly have creepy fascist tendencies. A Jacobin article from last fall helps flesh out a little more about the Five Star Movement. It’s even more relevant now because with Britain’s referendum declaring intent to leave the European Union, the Five Star Movement looks like the force that will drive any effort to cleave Italy from the EU. BTW Its leader has repeatedly made racist comments, about London’s first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan and posting a photo of an opposition politician in blackface, accusing African immigrants of importing tuberculosis. So good luck cheering the election of Virginia Raggi, American progressives.


midday 06.20.16

I got around to watching “The Big Short” this weekend. We’re still fucking doomed. I never read the Michael Lewis book, but was familiar with the dissections of the aftermath through other journalism. It agitates me that the movie was a critical and financial success, but apparently the lesson of the story didn’t connect with most people. Wall Street and the government colluded in taking the world economy to the brink of utter disaster yet got away with the loot, starting the cycle again. No one should be making a credible campaign on a continuation of Obama’s policies, especially not Clinton. We’re fucking doomed. Doomed. ((The cute celebrity cameos didn’t do much for me, but were used more sparingly than I expected. A relief.))

Now we have Wall Street rattling sabers at Clinton at the possibility of Warren as her VP pick. That too could be kabuki though. Everything at this stage seems to be theatrics. It’s too convenient. Wall Street won’t even boast what was in Clinton’s speeches. Why would they openly throw their weight around protesting Warren? Yeah, this is bullshit.

One thing I learned from the movie is Michael Burry is now focused on water as a commodity. That’s absolutely terrifying. Don’t forget that the Bushes bought a 98,840 acre ranch in Paraguay a decade ago, allegedly to grab a piece of the water rights of the Guarani Aquifer.

It’s painful to see how many science academics on Twitter support Clinton. When it washed over me that these are exactly the kind of professionals who value education over everything, who benefit most from the idea of meritocracy, it was a painful sensation. I admire these people and their work. They should be able to recognize rebranded Social Darwinism in the New Gilded Age.

10 Great, Old Concerts You Can (Legally) Stream in High Quality. Pitchfork’s right. I don’t use the Internet Archive nearly enough. That Brian Eno interview and the 1989 Robyn Hitchcock performance require coming back to in the immediate future.

The Islamic Roots Of Science Fiction. Nifty article by Charlie Jane Anders. Most of the material is familiar when I was on an Arabian Nights tangent/binge, but I never followed the threads further. I also keep toying with picking up Anders’ novel. The premise doesn’t grab me but I dug her Io9 articles.

morning 06.19.16

Tabby Boyajian’s Kickstarter for $100,000 to pursue the study of KIC 8462852 has been fully funded! I think I donated.

Iranian Archaeologists Uncover Palaeolithic Stone Tools On Qeshm Island. Bam-e Qeshm. 40,000 years old. I’m holding out for hope that something older might turn up on future expeditions because coastal migration. These sites could likely be underwater.

Fish may have evolved to live on land more than 30 times. Yay evolution. It’s always great to see an adaptation, trait, behavior, ect. arise multiple times because it’s key in persuading Intelligent Design people that none of this is by design.

Chapo Trap House has been entertaining me for the past couple of days. These guys had been popping up on my Twitter feed for awhile. I didn’t follow them as closely because they delight more in shit-talking than the kind of stuff Billmon posts. I love shit-talking, but tend to use Twitter more as a newsfeed with commentary, as opposed to clowning dipshits. I give up. I need Chapo Trap House in my life now. Binging on the old episodes has been bracing me for this shitshow the Clinton administration will be, because they’re further along the curve on acceptance of that absurd horror than I have.1 Connor Kilpatrick of Jacobin eased me into rooting for Hillary as an accelerationist strategy. The Justified riff with Boyd Crowder as a Bernie supporter & Woke Raylan Givens is fucking genius.

  1. I’m still hung up on the FBI investigation of the private email server, probably a dead end. []

Midday 06.17.16

No additional piece of the Antikythera Mechanism have been found at shipwreck survey. Well, that sucks. Here’s to future expeditions. It’s still mystifying that it’s a singular object, with no evidence of its design being widespread.

Primordial Galaxy Has Farthest Oxygen Ever Detected in the Universe. 13.1 billion light-years distant. Galaxy SXDF-NB1006-2.

Small Asteroid Is Earth’s Constant Companion. 2016 HO3. This is nifty. It’s only a couple hundred feet in size. It should be sticking with us for a few centuries.

Asteroid 2016 HO3 has an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth

morning 06.17.16

Remainder: Tom McCarthy and Omer Fast’s avant-garde explosion. Oh, a film adaptation of Remainder has been made. That seems unnecessary, but it could be interesting. “a redoubling of the redoubling of the redoubling.”

Never fucking mind. I’ll be watching the shit out of that. It still pains me not to have seen the adaptation of Ballard’s High-Rise

The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife. Speaking of redoubling, I love a good historical fraud, but this is something else. It’s a shame Umberto Eco isn’t around to see this story to unfold.

LIGO Does It Again: A Second Robust Binary Black Hole Coalescence Observed. More evidence of gravitational waves. GW151226: The Boxing Day event. Observing Run 2 starts Fall of 2016.

How the Homo floresiensis kept their tools as they shrank into island life. They retained tool use but the technology didn’t advance. I was ignorant how Mata Menge looks now. Surprising.