Maya Angelou’s Partnership with Hallmark

I’d forgotten about this completely… fascinating read: Billy Collins, then U.S. Poet Laureate and a fellow Random House writer, questioned Angelou’s partnership with Hallmark, the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States and, among the literati, commonly associated with trite expressions. “It lowers the understanding of what poetry actually can do,” Collins said to the Associated Press. “Hallmark cards has always been a common phrase to describe verse that is really less than poetry …

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One of my fav hippos from the Middle Kingdom

Poor little fella’s legs, though… Each of the sculpted hippo’s legs was ritually broken in order to render it harmless in the afterlife. In ancient Egypt herds of hippos were a constant threat to farmers’ fields. The first pharaohs hunted hippos in the marshes and eventually drove them far south into Upper Egypt. Hippos became associated with chaos, and the hunt for hippos became a metaphor for how the pharaohs of ancient Egypt could conquer …

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Why not just write on your own blog and monetize there?

I get the allure of Substack and applaud the move to decentralized platforms, but why not write on your own blog if your goal is independence and direct interaction with your own audience? It’s not that difficult. So many more benefits to creating in your own space, on your own domain, with your own platform… And despite a handful of departures over politics, that wave is growing for Substack. The writers moving there full time …

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Universe as a self-learning computer

The researchers explain the universe as a learning system by invoking machine learning systems. Just like we can teach machines to perform unfolding functions over time, that is, to learn, the laws of the universe are essentially algorithms that do work in the form of learning operations. Source: Physicists working with Microsoft think the universe is a self-learning computer

Muons’ Magnetic Moment

Evidence is mounting that a tiny subatomic particle called a muon is disobeying the laws of physics as we thought we knew them, scientists announced on Wednesday. The best explanation, physicists say, is that the muon is being influenced by forms of matter and energy that are not yet known to science, but which may nevertheless affect the nature and evolution of the universe. The new work, they said, could eventually lead to a breakthrough …

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Signal’s Crypto Problem

Similar thoughts on Signal’s cryptocurrency announcement yesterday to Diehl’s post here… (side note: I wish more people still used blogs as their social outlet for these types of thoughts): Signal users are overwhelmingly tech savvy consumers and we’re not idiots. Do they think we don’t see through the thinly veiled pump and dump scheme that’s proposed? It’s an old scam with a new face. Via Stephen Diehl – Et tu, Signal?

Hauntology and Valhalla

Like many who went through college and then grad-school in the religion / literature / philosophy circles, I’ve read and pondered my share of Derrida and the consequences of ontology on our “demon-haunted world” … another reason I’ve absolutely loved playing AC Valhalla (about 125 hours in at this point since picking it up over the Holidays). A pun coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the early ’90s, hauntology refers to the study of …

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Krill

Perhaps they’re trying to tell us something, Like the dolphins who do a double-backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the Star Spangled Banner, the whales may be sending us a message that we’re misinterpreting as an adorably sophisticated trick. The oceans are warming, the seas are rising, and maybe—just maybe—the whales have had enough. They’ve gathered as many young humpbacks as possible to come together and send one final message: so long, and thanks …

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Humans and Religion

Many mental ingredients are necessary for religion as-we-know-it. But scholars emphasize three tendencies in particular, which are pronounced in humans, but minimally expressed in other species: We seek patterns, infer intentions and learn by imitation. Source: The Human Brain Evolved to Believe in Gods | Discover Magazine

Time to update your Exchange Server

If your company or organization uses Microsoft Exchange for email, you’re going to want to run the latest update… At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations, multiple sources tell KrebsOnSecurity. The espionage group is exploiting four …

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Being baptist (Lenten Reflection on 1 Peter 3:18-22)

There was a dream and one day I could see it; Like a bird in a cage I broke in And demanded that somebody free it And there was a kid with a head full of doubt; So I’ll scream ’til I die; And the last of those bad thoughts are finally out. I’m baptist. That’s a quirky self-identification these days. However, it’s one that is a core part of who I am. Along the …

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Dereliction

Crescendo of conspiracy until the mountingOf evidence with harm accumulates on the back. The Redbird creeks on a branch feedingIn the ice rain over a frozen land finished with white. Glass covered floors in the palace of Ithaca wettingThe tile with a strange homecoming of fire and blood. A nostos for the Cunning to a land forgettingAnd has forgotten his words and deeds. The one much prayed for by those in a sardonic mood smilingThe …

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David Bowie’s Station To Station and Art as Literature

David Bowie had an immense and long-lasting impact on me and I’ve been revisiting his music (even more than usual) lately as it has been 5 years since his passing on. I first dove into Bowie because of Nirvana (I know, I know). Nirvana was the first band that I discovered early for myself, and that music has also shaped much of my own aesthetic. Their cover of Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” …

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American Churches and The Digital Divide 

The company also found that one-third of faith-based organizations reported an increase in donations during the 2020 pandemic—specifically, ones with more of a digital presence. Churches with YouTube channels, Instagram pages, and prominent websites saw 533 percent more donations than those without. Technology like this can help churches of all kinds, but it has been a lifeline for some smaller and more rural churches, which have been more vulnerable in the pandemic. Source: The Digital …

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American Allegory and The Middle

If that’s what you took from it, you’re reading too much into it.” Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘I remember my faults today. Once Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard. We dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning. A young Hebrew was there with us, a …

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We Need Local Newspapers Again

But Nextdoor has gradually evolved into something bigger and more consequential than just a digital bulletin board: In many communities, the platform has begun to step into roles once filled by America’s local newspapers. “Anecdotally, Nextdoor has gone from being kind of sub-Facebook to actually being the main platform you hear people discussing as a vector for local news and events and discussions,” says Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at …

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Biden on Running for President in 2015

Eventually, Colbert got around to asking about the campaign, recalling that Biden had said recently that he wasn’t sure if he is “emotionally prepared” to run for President. Biden looked up at the klieg lights and gave a jut of the chin. “Look, I don’t think any man or woman should run for President unless, No. 1, they know exactly why they would want to be President. And, No. 2, they can look at folks …

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Biden Administration’s Whitehouse.gov WordPress Setup

Fascinating breakdown here… With the change of administrations comes a new website, and this morning the all-new Whitehouse.gov debuted. Like its predecessor, the site is powered by WordPress – but this version carries […] Source: Whitehouse.gov Chooses WordPress, Again – Pagely®

“Wait, you’re playing Pac-Man?”

We finished up with our science lesson this morning and sat down at the kitchen table for a snack. This is usually when the five-year-old has “tablet time” (we’re not the type of parents that abides by the “Screen Time!” mantra or severely restricts device usage…). As I was putting snacks out, I noticed he was playing Pac-Man. PAC-MAN. “Wait, you’re playing Pac-Man?” I asked in that sort of parental stunned manner that even a …

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Tech companies freezing political spending and why tech still matters

This is the death knell of PACs for tech companies with activist employees,” one source told Axios. “This is the final straw.” — via Axios This is a really fascinating development. First Microsoft and now Facebook are suspending PAC (Political Action Committee) spending in Washington. They’re joining financiers Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, along with Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield (caveat — our insurance co), Boston Scientific, and Commerce Bank. Bank of America (caveat …

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