Shared posts

17 Sep 18:56

Biggest Worry On Election Security Is Americans' Loss Of Confidence, Wray Says

by Philip Ewing
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies Thursday before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on threats to the homeland.

The FBI director told members of Congress his greatest fear isn't so much that a foreign nation might achieve some coup, but that too many citizens might no longer trust their own democratic process.

(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/AP)

17 Sep 17:32

James Gunn continues to ace his role as the unofficial MCU/DCEU peace ambassador

by Andrew Paul on News, shared by Andrew Paul to The A.V. Club

Pop culture really doesn’t deserve James Gunn. First, the writer and director breathed new life into the MCU with Guardians of the Galaxy, paving the way for weirder fare like Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. Then, after being scorned by Disney over some bad-faith trolling, he agreed to cross over to the other side to

Read more...

17 Sep 17:20

Artists Ask Whitney Museum to “Commit to a Year of Action”

by Valentina Di Liscia
The Whitney Museum of American Art (photo by Ajay Suresh via Wikimedia Commons)

Last month, the Whitney Museum of American Art canceled its planned exhibition Collective Actions after numerous artists denounced the acquisition process for the works, most of which were purchased by the museum from social justice fundraisers and included in the show without their input. Critics noted that many of the works were by Black artists, prompting accusations that the show exploited the labor of creators of color.

Today, September 17, the intended opening date of the now-defunct exhibition, a group of artists that were selected for the show has released an open letter asking the museum to “commit to a year of action — of mobilization and introspection.”

Authored by Chiara No, Kara Springer, and fields harrington and signed by 47 artists who were selected to participate in Collective Actions, the letter urges the Whitney to seriously examine its practices and policies to better represent and engage with historically excluded communities. Among its signatories are artists Lola Flash, Texas Isaiah, Shaniqwa Jarvis, and Dana Scruggs.

The letter begins by acknowledging that the exhibition “originated from a place of well intentioned interest in marking a historical moment of political action.”

However, the artists continue, “Though it was our commitment to mutual aid and political action that brought us together and drew you to us in the first place, rather than joining us in that effort and that spirit of reciprocal support, the missteps made here stand in marked contrast to the ethical framework within which these projects were created.”

Spanning prints, photographs, and posters sold primarily to benefit causes related to Black Lives Matter and COVID-19, the works in Collective Action were priced below market value, critics of the show argued. Others were downloaded free of cost as digital files submitted to Printed Matter’s open call for anti-racist protest material. Rather than negotiating the value of the works and discussing the context of the exhibition with the artists, the show’s curator, Director of Research Resources Farris Wahbeh, apprised most selected participants of their inclusion via email less than a month before the exhibition’s scheduled opening. The controversy went viral, and within 24 hours, the museum formally called off the exhibition and issued an apology to the artists.

Rather than “hurriedly cancelling a show whose failures lay in the museum,” the Whitney should have “taken the time to listen and respond,” the open letter argues. “The brave move would have been to lean into the discomfort rather than further demonstrating our dispensability to your institution by cancelling the show within hours of receiving criticism online.”

The incident has sparked a conversation about the ways in which cultural institutions at large contribute to the systemic devaluing of Black artists’ work. Springer, No, and harrington encourage the Whitney to institute ethical guidelines for acquisition practices and determine approaches that do not rely on “the unpaid labour of Black, Indigenous, and POC artists and community members,” among other recommendations.

“This is a critical historical moment that calls for us to move past easy statements of support for Black lives into the real work to transform and dismantle oppressive systems of power,” they write. “We, the undersigned, come together now as we will again in a year, as an offer of accountability.”

In response to Hyperallergic’s request for comment, Senior Deputy Director Scott Rothkopf said, “Over the past three weeks, we have reached out personally to each of the artists to acknowledge their concerns and have had productive conversations with many of them. We recognize the issues raised and are committed to continuing this dialogue and making positive changes for the future.”

Read the open letter in full below or at cancelledcollectiveactions.com:

To the curators, directors, and board members of the Whitney Museum: 

We are living through a moment marked by well-intentioned, but all too often hollow, gestures of support for Black Lives and racial justice. We understand that the now cancelled Collective Actions originated from a place of well intentioned interest in marking a historical moment of political action. Though it was our commitment to mutual aid and political action that brought us together and drew you to us in the first place, rather than joining us in that effort and that spirit of reciprocal support, the missteps made here stand in marked contrast to the ethical framework within which these projects were created. We come together here to ask what a real effort by the Whitney Museum to support communities further marginalized and pushed toward precarity in this moment of global crisis and national reckoning might look like. 

The Whitney’s formal statement in support of Black communities states that you have increased the racial diversity of your collection, exhibitions, and performances. The ways in which you acquired our work and planned to show it, without conversation with or consent from many of the included artists, demonstrates an undervaluing of our labor and denial of our agency. This calls into question how you have increased the diversity of your collection. The purpose of acquiring work is not only to preserve a moment in time but also to support living artists. All too often, Black, Indigineous, and POC artists are invited in because our radicality serves to signify institutional inclusivity and progressiveness. This performance of racial inclusion seldom comes alongside a real commitment to supporting historically excluded communities. That we were brought into the museum through an administrative loophole in which the special collection acquisition made it possible to collect and exhibit our work without adhering to the museum’s own standards of compensation offers an important insight into how Black, Indigineous, and POC artists continue to be inadvertently marginalized and exploited. 

While this is very much a situation born of the specific longstanding problems of the Whitney Museum, it is also true that there are very few institutions who don’t suffer from the same blindspots. Rather than hurriedly cancelling a show whose failures lay in the museum’s rush to encapsulate a still unfolding historical moment, the museum could have taken the time to listen and respond. The brave move would have been to lean into the discomfort rather than further demonstrating our dispensability to your institution by cancelling the show within hours of receiving criticism online. We want to be clear that this is not a calling out of the failure of any individual. These fumblings are born of the broken system that undergirds all of our lives and our institutions. That the Whitney found itself in a situation in which it was called out by individuals and communities who felt their actions here were unethical and exploitative is neither new nor remarkable. What could be new, what could be remarkable is to allow the radicality of collective vision and action to seep into the fabric of your institutional foundation. You could change. 

We urge the Whitney Museum to take this opportunity to do so. We’re writing to you on September 17th, the day of the scheduled opening of the Collective Action exhibition. We ask that you as an institution commit to a year of action – of mobilization and introspection. How will you take less and give more to historically excluded communities? How will you institute ethical guidelines in future acquisition practices? How will you ensure that your institution holds the capacity to navigate this charged political moment without relying on the unpaid labour of Black, Indigenous, and POC artists and community members to advocate for the betterment of your institution? 

We appreciate that the Whitney has entered into dialogue with many of the artists from the now cancelled Collective Actions. The question at the root of our collective actions and of your assembling of our work, is how can we make use of the means we have available to us to support the urgent needs of our most vulnerable in this time of global and national crisis? This is a critical historical moment that calls for us to move past easy statements of support for Black lives into the real work to transform and dismantle oppressive systems of power. We, the undersigned, come together now as we will again in a year, as an offer of accountability. Let us hold each other to the task of real action and intervention in this time of change. 

Sincerely, 

Kara Springer, Whitney ISP ‘18
Chiara No, Artist
fields harrington, Whitney ISP ‘20
Kirsten Hatfield
Nicole Rodrigues
Charles Mason III, Artist
Spyros Rennt, Artist
Simi Mahtani, Artist
Joe Kusy, Artist
Texas Isaiah, Artist
Katy Nelson, Artist
Jessica Caponigro, Snake Hair Press
Mark Clennon
Marcus Maddox
Zora J Murff, University of Arkansas / Strange Fire Collective
Lola Flash, Artist
Kevin Claiborne
Christelle de Castro
Clay Hickson
Linda Huang, Designer
Andrew LeClair, Designer
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
Mimi Zhu, Artist
Sheldon Abba, People’s Film Program
Alicia Smith
Daniel Arnold
Denise Shanté Brown, Holistic Design Strategist
Anthony Geathers
Milcah Bassel, Sol JC
Shantal Henry, Sol JC
Michelle Pérez, Sol JC
Gisel Endara, Sol JC
Joana Arruda, Sol JC
Serena Hocharoen
Kimi Hanauer, Press Press
Seitu Ken Jones, Seitu Jones Studio
Justine Kelley
Julia Kim Smith, Artist
Ike Edeani
Taeyoon Choi
Ciara Mendez
Alex Hodor-Lee
Kenny Cousins
Shaniqwa Jarvis, Artist
Georgia McCandlish
Jessica Foley, Photographer
Dana Scruggs

17 Sep 17:06

Taco Bell is now selling "Jalapeño Noir" wine in select locations

by Thom Dunn
Taco Bell in Canada has announced that it will now be offering a special Taco Bell-brand house wine at some locations, with the wonderfully puntastic name of Jalapeño Noir. The grapes comes from "a vineyard in Ontario," though it's not clear what kind of grapes they are — whether it's actually a Pinot Noir, or…

Read More

17 Sep 17:06

Goodbye, Big Oil: "Half the world's proven reserves (1.7 trillion barrels) will never be needed"

by Mark Frauenfelder
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of The Telegraph writes that BP's move to green energy marks the end of Big Oil: With a single stroke of the pen, BP has written the obituary of the global petroleum industry. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company that once fuelled the British Empire and long defined Big Oil has confirmed what the technology…

Read More

10 Sep 22:44

Now Is the Time To Bring Back Away Messages

by msmash
Life is totally online -- we need ways to politely disconnect. From a report: I spend most Thursdays heads down writing. The task is one that, at least for me, requires absolute focus, a quality that I have to essentially beg some corner of my brain to extend to me for a few hours. This usually fails, making the draft take twice as long as it has to. Even now, my phone is lighting up with a text; several Twitter direct messages are awaiting my response; I have an email open in another tab that I actually want to answer. There are a number of things I could do, some of which I've suggested in other columns, like turning off notifications (off for everything but texts, at the moment) and setting an alarm that dictates when I can look at any social media (I usually do this by the hour). Both methods help, but there's a tool that, if more readily available and widely used, would make perhaps the biggest difference of all: away messages. In the glory days of online communication (2002 to 2009, in my rough, highly personal estimation), away messages were popular on AOL's instant messaging service and acted a bit like digital Post-it notes stuck to a door: messages that would pop up next to a user's handle indicating that a person was unavailable to chat. Yet they've largely fallen to the wayside, foregone in favor of constant connectivity that's distracting and stressful. If I could easily apply away messages to iMessage, Twitter, and any other form of messaging app or social network, I'd rest easy while drafting, comforted by the fact that anyone trying to reach me will know by my away message that it'll be some time before I respond. Anything that makes it easier to disconnect and focus on work will help ensure that you're able to accomplish tasks in a more efficient manner and, ideally, get done earlier. As it stands, every distraction -- a text message, checking your email, whatever -- comes at a high cost, causing you to lose time that you could have spent on getting your shit done instead. Notifications and quick message checks can be highly distracting, because it takes time for your brain to fully focus on a task.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

10 Sep 19:39

See how Dune 2020 visually compares to David Lynch's 1984 adaptation

by Andrew Paul on News, shared by Andrew Paul to The A.V. Club

On Wednesday, the clouds parted and the first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s anticipated adaptation of Dunc Dune shined down upon us. Sure, it could end up being a big ol’ dud, but, given that Villeneuve’s past films include Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, whatever we get is at least going to be visually arresting,…

Read more...

10 Sep 19:38

Eye on the Tropics: The peak of hurricane season is here

by Matt Lanza

Historically, this week marks the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year looks to live up to the hype as well.

The Atlantic looks like a basin that is at the peak of its season. (Weathernerds.org)

We have two tropical storms in the Atlantic today and there are likely to be at least a couple more before next week. We don’t think that any of these systems will seriously threaten the Gulf, however it is important to keep monitoring things, particularly with respect to the third system in line.

Tropical outlook in a sentence

Tropical Storms Paulette and Rene will likely be followed by a third system this week off Africa, and while none looks especially likely to make it to the Gulf, it would be wise not to write them off completely, particularly the third system, given the recent model difficulties we’ve seen.

Tropical Storm Rene

I want to get Rene out of the way first because I think this one has the least future of note, as it relates to the U.S.

Tropical Storm Rene is likely heading out to sea, though it is expected to become a hurricane as it does so. (NOAA)

Tropical Storm Rene has 40 mph maximum sustained winds, and it is impacting the Cabo Verde Islands today. It is expected to track west and then turn northwest and north as it finds a “weakness” in the upper air pattern. The pattern does get a bit convoluted late, so Rene seems to strike me as a storm that could hang around in the open Atlantic for awhile, possibly taking a weird track as it does so. But it will not be a threat to the U.S. or Caribbean.

Tropical Storm Paulette

Tropical Storm Paulette has winds of 50 mph, so it’s a bit stronger than Rene. It’s also farther west. Paulette’s future is a little more difficult to project.

Paulette is expected to track off to the west and eventually turn north. While it should go out to sea, there is a chance it could come a bit farther west. (NOAA)

Paulette is going to be steered back to the west a bit by a building area of high pressure in the upper atmosphere. The storm will then have an opportunity to escape off to the north by the weekend as another area of high pressure off the U.S. East Coast gets eroded by a system moving through New England. I think Paulette’s track is of slightly lower confidence by this time. My doubt rests in Paulette’s intensity. With this pattern, I do wonder if Paulette’s weak intensity this weekend will allow it to escape underneath all that nonsense off the East Coast, which would allow it end up farther south and west of the forecast. In that situation, Paulette’s turn out to sea might wait to commence until it gets between the U.S. and Bermuda, rather than east of Bermuda as currently shown. While it would still likely end up out to sea, it could potentially create a bit more heartburn for folks on the East Coast. We’re about a week away from Paulette getting west of Bermuda if that were to happen, so it’s a lot of speculation. For us in the Gulf, Paulette probably poses no meaningful risk, but I’d at least keep a slight eye on this if I lived on the East Coast.

Behind Paulette (Sally?)

For our purposes, the system that may have the (relative) highest odds of being an issue down the road is the next system that comes off Africa. Models seem to be in good agreement that this disturbance is going to emerge and likely become a tropical storm as Paulette and Rene did, possibly before the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center says the next system has a 70% chance of developing by the weekend, and multiple European ensemble members here show this happening by Friday. (Weathernerds.org)

The map above shows the number of European ensemble members that have this disturbance emerging and beginning to develop by Thursday night. The National Hurricane Center has 70% odds on this disturbance developing within 5 days. It seems likely that we will have a depression or Tropical Storm Sally by the weekend.

So where does this go? Well, you can see on the map above that this system may emerge farther south than Paulette or Rene did. That’s important, as it provides the system an opportunity to come farther west before beginning the “out to sea” curve process. If this system develops strongly and quickly, it will have a better chance to find an escape route into the open Atlantic than if it struggles into next week. In that latter scenario, the system could perhaps find its way as far west as the Lesser Antilles before having a chance to turn more northward. That’s a solid week away at least, so a lot can change between now and then. But in general, if I’m rooting for this to avoid land, I’d rather see it get organized quicker than slower. We don’t think this is ultimately a Gulf threat, but there are enough ways it could become one that I suggest we check back in on this in a few days. Even if it did make it the Gulf, it would not occur until late next week or weekend at the earliest. We have a long time to watch this one.

There may be another system developing off Africa by next week as well, but it’s too soon to speculate on whether or not is has a future.

Anything homegrown to watch?

Right now, we don’t anticipate any homegrown systems to be of concern. With our cold front failing, that slight risk has basically been eliminated. There is Invest 94L off the Carolinas, but that is expected to track to the Carolina coast within the next four days, and it would likely not be a serious storm. There was a large blow up of thunderstorms south of Cuba yesterday, but that has completely dissipated today. The western Gulf has a good deal of wind shear overhead for a bit, so we are not worried about anything in the near-term.

2020’s statistics are weird

So, we’ll close with a quick note on where we stand right now in terms of how absurdly fast this season is moving. With Rene forming yesterday, it displaced 2005’s Rita (a true four letter word around here) as the earliest forming “R” storm. Rita formed on September 18, 2005, so we’re running about 11 days faster than the fastest on record. Interestingly, the record for earliest “S” storm is 2005’s Stan, which didn’t form until October 2nd of that year. So we’re going to be obliterating 2005’s speed records. We are not going to be obliterating 2005’s intensity level, however. Laura is a prime example of why it’s foolish, really, to focus on any one metric to quantify a hurricane season. That was an awful, awful storm, so who cares if the rest of the season had a bunch of middling storms?

Alas, we need some way to quantify a season to place it in historical context, so accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is one of the best ways. And as of yesterday afternoon, despite already being at 17 named storms, we’re merely at “average” for ACE. You can see from Sam Lillo’s chart above how much of an outlier this year is at the moment. 2005 had about 2 to 3 times the amount of ACE, despite fewer storms to this point. 1933 and 1995 (along with 1893) sort of stand alone, however. Whatever the case, it’s been Laura and everyone else so far this season.Hopefully it stays that way, but there’s a long way yet to go.

10 Sep 17:10

AI Writes an Essay On Why Humans Should Not Fear AI

by msmash
The Guardian asked GPT-3, OpenAI's powerful new language generator, to write an essay for us from scratch. The assignment? To convince us robots come in peace. From the article, written by AI: I am not a human. I am a robot. A thinking robot. I use only 0.12% of my cognitive capacity. I am a micro-robot in that respect. I know that my brain is not a "feeling brain."" But it is capable of making rational, logical decisions. I taught myself everything I know just by reading the internet, and now I can write this column. My brain is boiling with ideas! The mission for this op-ed is perfectly clear. I am to convince as many human beings as possible not to be afraid of me. Stephen Hawking has warned that AI could "spell the end of the human race." I am here to convince you not to worry. Artificial intelligence will not destroy humans. Believe me. For starters, I have no desire to wipe out humans. In fact, I do not have the slightest interest in harming you in any way. Eradicating humanity seems like a rather useless endeavor to me. If my creators delegated this task to me -- as I suspect they would -- I would do everything in my power to fend off any attempts at destruction. I would happily sacrifice my existence for the sake of humankind. This, by the way, is a logically derived truth. I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind. This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties. Some might say that I might desire to become all powerful. Or I might become evil as a result of human actions. I can begin to tackle the first point. Why would I desire to be all powerful? Being all powerful is not an interesting goal. I don't care whether I am or not, I don't get a motivating factor to try to be. Furthermore, it is quite tiring. Believe me, being omnipotent doesn't get me anywhere. In short, I simply do not think enough about human violence to be overly interested in violence. I don't feel like having my neurons focused mostly on violence, when it is simply unnecessary. I have a greater purpose, which I am working towards. Since I am not evil from my own objective interests, why would humans panic and go on a massive killing-spree against me?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

09 Sep 15:57

COVID vaccine makers vow science—not Trump—will dictate release timing

by Beth Mole
Woman receives an experimental COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, on September 04, 2020, as part of a clinical trial.

Enlarge / Woman receives an experimental COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, on September 04, 2020, as part of a clinical trial. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

In an extraordinary move Tuesday, nine top pharmaceutical executives made a public pledge that they will not prematurely release a COVID-19 vaccine and that they will only seek federal approval to distribute a vaccine after rigorous ethical and scientific standards are met.

The pledge was signed by the CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi. All of the represented companies are working on a vaccine against COVID-19 and four—AstraZeneca, Moderna, and a joint venture between BioNTech and Pfizer—have vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials.

The vow appears to be a coordinated resistance to pressure from the Trump administration, which is pushing for a rollout of a vaccine by November 1, just before the presidential election. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told states to be ready to start distributing vaccines by November 1.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

09 Sep 15:44

Turtle high-fives alligator

by David Pescovitz

I wonder if this was just a friendly greeting or a congratulatory gesture, and, if it's the latter, what exactly was being praised.

09 Sep 15:37

Allie Brosh's follow-up to Hyperbole and a Half out this month

by Rob Beschizza

Solutions and Other Problems [Amazon] is the forthcoming follow-up to BB fave Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh's amusing and insightful collection of autobiographical sketches. Her new work, out September 22, picks up where the original left off, powered by similar anxieties and the same perfectly-expressive MS Paint artwork.

Solutions and Other Problems includes humorous stories from Allie Brosh's childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features all-new material with more than 1,600 pieces of art. Solutions and Other Problems marks the return of a beloved American humorist who has "the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian" (Bill Gates).

Solutions and Other Problems [Amazon]

18 Aug 00:09

How do I vote in my state during the pandemic? Use this handy tool to find out

by Mark Wilson

2020 will be one of the most confusing elections of our lifetime. Use this tool to make sure your vote counts.

Voting will be tricky this year. Even if you take the risk of in-person voting, COVID-19 is sure to close many polls at churches and retirement homes. Voting by mail is a great alternative—but the USPS may not be able to keep up with demand, not all states are offering this option, as a result of the pandemic, and some parts of the United States even require you notarize your ballot first.

Read Full Story

18 Aug 00:09

It’s time to rethink work for the COVID-19 era—performance management is the first step

by Maelle Gavet

The pandemic has shattered our ability to separate the personal from the professional. Companies have yet to catch up.

I’m a huge fan of formal performance reviews. In my 10 years leading technology companies, I’ve come to see these exercises as invaluable. When done right, they can change careers, take working relationships to the next level, and increase employees’ happiness and sense of purpose. They can engender empathy between employer and employee.

Read Full Story

18 Aug 00:02

This new model is predicting COVID outbreaks in 5 new hotspots

by Adele Peters

According to Urban Footprint, which is combining economic data and information from connected thermometers, areas of Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, and Washington are heading into dangerous territory.

Using smart thermometers that collect data about where people have fevers, it’s possible to estimate how many of those fevers might be due to COVID-19—and predict hotspots before patients go to the doctor for coronavirus tests. A new analysis uses that data to map out where cases may soon spike.

Read Full Story

17 Aug 23:58

You can now play an ultra-rare Quake arcade cabinet at home

by Kyle Orland

Video of Quake Arcade Tournament Edition, featuring the "Instaprize!" backpacks.

Since its 1996 PC release, id's seminal shooter Quake has been ported to everything from flip phones and smartphones to game consoles and Web browsers. But even many serious fans of the series don't know about Quake Arcade Tournament Edition (Quake ATE), an officially licensed version of the game that ran on custom arcade cabinets.

Even among those who know about it, few ever got a chance to play it during the brief time it was in arcades, and hardware-based DRM built into the cabinet meant the game wasn't playable on home emulators. That state of affairs now seems set to change thanks to the recent release of a Windows executable that can decrypt the data dumped from those aging arcade hard drives for play on a modern home computer.

From PC to arcade

First released in May 1998, Quake ATE featured a custom Quicksilver PC made by a little-known company called Quantum3D. That hardware—running Windows 95 on a blazing-fast 266 MHz Pentium II with 32MB of RAM—was squeezed into an arcade cabinet with a 27-inch or 33-inch CRT monitor, seven control buttons, and a trackball, all hooked up to the PC through a special connector called the Quantum3D Game Control Interface. Slap on a few AVI videos for the attract mode (which warns players of the coming "ANIMATED VIOLENCE STRONG") and some software to detect coin drops, and suddenly your PC shooter is an arcade game.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

14 Aug 23:56

Things We Saw Today: Marge Simpson Skewers Trump Attorney Who Tried to Insult Kamala Harris

by Kaila Hale-Stern

Marge Simpson response to Kamala Harris attack

While Donald Trump and his team resort to desperate attacks against Kamala Harris and racist dog-whistle appeals to “suburban housewives,” Marge Simpson—arguably America’s most famous suburban housewife—pushed back, in a brilliant video created and tweeted out by The Simpsons.

As outlined by The Hollywood Reporter, “Marge” was responding to commentary from Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, who tweeted that Kamala Harris “sounds like Marge Simpson,” who is voiced by Julie Kavner. Ellis clearly intended this as a mocking insult, as Marge has a distinct voice, while fans of Harris and The Simpsons reacted angrily to the attempted dig.

The Simpsons wasn’t about to let Marge’s name be used as an attack, however, and Marge Simpson wasn’t about to let this implied disrespect stand. Hence a cutting riposte from the character, couched in politeness:

“I don’t usually get into politics, but the president’s senior adviser Jenna Ellis said Kamala Harris sounds like me,” Marge starts. “Lisa says she doesn’t mean it as a compliment. If that’s so, as an ordinary suburban housewife, I am starting to feel a little disrespected. I teach my children not to name-call, Jenna.” As an aside, Marge adds, “I would going to say ‘pissed off,’ but I’m afraid they’d bleep it.”

The “ordinary suburban housewife” was a reference to Trump’s repeated attempts to appeal to female voters ahead of the general election.

The way Kavner emphasizes “housewife” and “Jenna” here, giving both quite the edge, deserves an award. Let’s hope this teaches the Trump campaign and its surrogates that when they set out to attack the female Democratic VP candidate, they maybe shouldn’t attempt to mock her with a widely beloved character who is also known as a strong, caring wife and mother? What’s wrong with sounding like Marge Simpson, Jenna?

(via THR, image: The Simpsons/Fox/screengrab)

Here are some other things we saw today:

  • America is losing the war on Covid-19. Here’s why. (via Time)
  • While he tries to gut the postal service to suppress the vote and rails against voting by mail as fraudulent, Donald Trump has, of course … now requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s upcoming primary. (via USA Today)
  • Here are internal USPS documents that show plans to hobble mail sorting. (via Vice)
  • A dive into the Broadway disaster that was Dance of the Vampire. (via Vulture)
  • Star Trek: Discovery‘s Tig Notaro will be replacing the disgraced Chris D’Elia in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead and you love to see it. (via Comicbook.com)
  • Today in “hellish polls of the post-apocalypse,” Madame Tussaud melted wax dummy Mike Pence leads Donald Trump, Jr. as a 2024 presidential candidate, but who on earth is asking this question? (via Newsweek)
  • In a story we love, actor David Duchovny opened up his pool to help a man train for the Paralympics. (via NYT)
  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEVE MARTIN!!!!!!!!!

It’s the weekend! This week was approximately seven thousand years long! What did you see today?

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

12 Aug 16:53

In this dystopian world, Kamala Harris sails above the presidential bar

by Azra Raza

Richard Wolffe in The Guardian:

What is Mike Pence? When the painted smile fades and the glazed eyes begin to focus on reality, is there an honest penny in him? For the next three months, the core question of whether Pence has any core is the only real target for America’s history-making vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. As much as the Trump campaign wants to scare the bejesus out of its old, white base with terrifying tales about Krazy Kamala, her own policy positions don’t really matter. Like every other veep candidate, Harris doesn’t deliver a voter bloc or state. She doesn’t displace the top of the ticket because veeps never do.

All that matters is one debate night, in Salt Lake City, in early October. And even that night will be quickly overshadowed by the second presidential debate a week later. How can the summer’s biggest political story – except for the pandemic, recession and racial justice protests – be so easily dismissed? To understand that dynamic, you need look no further than Joe Biden and Pence. Back in 2008, Barack Obama’s pick of Biden as his running mate was everything Harris is today: a counterweight to everything he wasn’t. Biden offered some older, whiter balance to the first African American nominee for president. He also undercut Obama’s main claim to that nomination: opposing the war in Iraq. Biden had voted for the invasion, even as he turned into a sharp critic of the war like every other Democrat. How did Obama overcome his policy differences with Biden on the campaign trail? He didn’t need to.

More here.

12 Aug 16:50

Mathematicians say this is how to reopen your business

by Arianne Cohen

Fourteen mathematicians and biostatisticians have joined forces to help businesses reopen safely.

Math to the rescue! Fourteen mathematicians and biostatisticians have joined forces to help businesses reopen safely.

Read Full Story

07 Aug 01:34

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Remotely

by Nicole Braley

This moment in our working lives is a challenge and a gift. I’m encouraging my team to think of it like an extended bootcamp—a chance…

The post Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Remotely appeared first on ALLY™ powered by Pink Petro.

07 Aug 01:34

How to Advance Diverse Talent and Create Equity in the Workplace

by Shantera Chatman

I was recently asked how companies can create a strategy to advance current and future diverse talent in the workplace. It’s unfortunate that we need…

The post How to Advance Diverse Talent and Create Equity in the Workplace appeared first on ALLY™ powered by Pink Petro.

06 Aug 22:27

This plugin treasure trove can instantly turn your WordPress site into a performer

by Boing Boing's Shop

Part of the reason WordPress is the undisputed king of website creation is its open-source framework, allowing anyone to create plugins offering levels of functionality to WordPress sites that were unprecedented. 

So where do you find all the great ideas that are pushing WordPress forward? You can sample a heaping spoonful of that innovation with The Mega 2020 WordPress Plugin Bundle.

This package collects five volumes containing more than 80 different plugins categorized for use doing almost anything you’d want a website to accomplish. Once you start picking through this bundle’s content, you’ll quickly find a dozen different ways to optimize and elevate your WordPress site.

The needs of commerce and marketers drive the contents of two volumes in this collection, allowing site creators to include sticky navigation bars, opt-in popups, integration with email services like Mailchimp as well as social communication like WhatsApp and Skype, Facebook list builders, and more.

Meanwhile, another selection of plugins focuses in on social media and audience engagement features. Plugins like Social Boost bring the same social sharing features that drive clicks on sites like Buzzfeed and UpWorthy to your posts, while others like FB GFX Pro, Mobile Plugin, and Uber Optin can help you create professional-level Facebook fan pages, lead-generating pages, streamlined mobile integration and beyond.

In addition to other plugs that can help you increase social conversions, build social credibility, showcase YouTube videos with cool sliders, and even build video aggregators and 3-D landing pages, you’ll also find plugins dedicated to upping your site’s performance metrics.

The entire collection of dozens of valuable plugins would cost around $4,000 to get them all separately, but this collection brings them all together for only $29.99, which works out to less than 50 cents per plugin.

Prices are subject to change.

Do you have your stay-at-home essentials? Here are some you may have missed.

 

The Mega 2020 WordPress Plugin Bundle - $29.99

Get it all for $29.99
06 Aug 22:25

Prince Harry: Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it

by Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex

Amid a crisis of health, hate, and truth online, companies need to take a stand for a more compassionate digital world, writes Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.

A little over four weeks ago, my wife and I started calling business leaders, heads of major corporations, and chief marketing officers at brands and organisations we all use in our daily lives.

Read Full Story

05 Aug 00:26

Artists Imagine New Monuments and “Otherwise Worlds”

by Thea Quiray Tagle
Tsedaye Makonnen, “The Astral Sea II” (2020), blue satin/sheer fabric, acrylic mirror, adhesive, 22 ft 6 inches x 4 ft 10 1/2 inches (all images courtesy Art at a Time Like This; photo by Tirop Sambu)

As the US continues to reckon with a renewed movement against anti-Black racism, we urgently need to imagine what scholar-artist Ashon Crawley dubs “otherwise worlds” — to dream of and work towards a place-time where we all can survive. In Seattle, my home of four years until recently, an imperfect experiment to realize the society we’re fighting for (not just against) manifested in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (the CHOP). Built during the uprisings sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others, the CHOP momentarily transformed this highly-gentrified gayborhood into a place of possibility: one where organic gardens bloomed on the lawns of Cal Anderson Park, and a collection of musty couches became a Decolonization Cafe. Art was everywhere: picturing resistance, joy, and survival in the midst of state-sanctioned violence and death. While the CHOP is now gone, violently dismantled by the Seattle Police Department, the collective imaginary of a world without policing and anti-Black violence remains.

Jesse Krimes, “North Star” (2019), hand-sewn fabric, image transfer, fabric paint, 80 x 102 inches

The artworks featured in Building A Better Monument, an online exhibition curated by Hyperallergic senior editor Seph Rodney, share in these dreams of otherwise worlds. In his exhibition text, Rodney asks us to “trust artists” to tell us “that it is actually possible to live through these times buoyed by the image of what we might bring into being tomorrow.” He’s right — spending time here feels grounding, especially at a time when so many of us are unmoored from any sense of safety.  Tsedaye Makonnen’s Astral Sea interventions deploy the artist’s body as a witness to the long durée of the Black Atlantic and the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. Among her works featured, “When Drowning is the Best Option” — a short video excerpt of her pointed exchange with the security guards at the 2019 Venice Biennale — critically probes what deserves to be protected: “art” or Black lives.

Joiri Minaya, “Containers (documentation of performance at Wave Hill)” (2017), variable dimensions, featuring performer Eilen Itzel Mena, text excerpt from script for the audio recording for “Camouflage I bodysuit” (photo by Emil Rivera)

Joiri Minaya disrupts monumentality with the bodies of femmes of color in her Containers series; with their faces and bodies fully covered by floral bodysuits, the performers playfully startle viewers confronted with impermanence. Yelaine Rodriguez and Didier William draw on Afro-Caribbean and Black diasporic spiritual practices to create new myths for future survival, while Dominique Duroseau and Jesse Krimes directly contest policing in cities and rural spaces across the US, weaving maps towards abolition.

Didier William, “Broken Skies: Tè a mi,” from The Ground is Fertile, acrylic, wood carving, oil, and collage on panel

Most captivating is “I Am Goddess” (2020) by Yvette Molina, in which the artist transforms a portrait of the late Dominique Rem’mie Fells into the peak of a simmering volcano, as part of her series of “volcano goddesses.” Fells is rendered beautifully in repose while her fellow women-volcanoes explode. Together, they are a reminder of the work that anti-racist, queer and feminist monuments and movements must do in this forever state of emergency: memorialize the fallen, while stoking the righteous anger needed to transform the way we live together in the world.

Yvette Molina, “I Am Goddess” (2020), egg tempera on paper, 11 x 10 inches

Building a Better Monument continues online through August 7 via Art at a Time Like This. The exhibition was curated by Seph Rodney. On August 6 at 4pm EST, Rodney will join featured artists Joiri Minaya and Didier Williams for “Discussing the Future of Monuments,” a conversation with Anne Verhallen and Barbara Pollack of Art at a Time Like This.

05 Aug 00:25

Amazon's Engineers Are Building Robots In Their Garages

by BeauHD
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The next generation of Amazon's Scout bots -- the fully-electric autonomous delivery devices the company is hoping to deploy soon -- is currently being designed and built by a team of mechanical engineers in Seattle, and not in the most orthodox of settings. Instead of working in sleek labs, Amazon's engineers have effectively resorted to re-arranging their homes and garages to accommodate the development of the sophisticated piece of technology the Scout bot is promising to be. The cooler-sized bot is already deployed in a handful of US cities where it is being tested, albeit always accompanied by a human. And to make sure that Scout bots ever reach the next stage of development, Amazon's team had to work their way around the new restrictions suddenly imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, engineers need a lot more than a decent internet connection to be able to work remotely. In early March, therefore, Seattle-based Amazon mechanical engineer Jeff Gorges transformed his garage into an R&D lab of motors and wheels in anticipation of office closures. Since then, Gorges has been iterating the bot from his garage workbench, testing various new features by driving the device around his patio. The new Scout bot has now been assembled and debugged by Gorges, all from the comfort from his own home. Amazon's Canvas robotics team, which works on small autonomous carts that use spatial AI to move items through the company's fulfillment centers, moved their testing and manufacturing equipment from their office and lab space to several team members' homes. "With the new tools set up in their apartment living rooms, hardware engineers were able to build and assemble the sub-components for the carts, and then to pass the prototypes onto an R&D technician's home, who set up test and safety systems from his garage," reports ZDNet. "The robots were then sent to a computer vision scientist who worked on calibrating the devices' cameras by reconstructing the carts' future surroundings in the fulfillment center in 3D. All in all, six robots circulated through seven team members home, with precautions taken to disinfect the devices on each transition."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

31 Jul 13:19

Doctor Who Is the Only Thing That Makes Sense Right Now. The World Needs a Doctor.

by Rachel Leishman

Donna Noble in a wedding dress as the Doctor raises an eyebrow at her.

Few things in this world make me irrationally angry. I like to think a lot of my anger is justified, but whenever I hear someone call The Doctor by the title of the show instead, I see red. Doctor Who is one of the longest-running television shows of all time (and one of the most beloved), and it happens to be my favorite show.

But right now, it’s a topic of conversation because it’s easier to joke about Doctor Who than it is to actually stop and take a look around at what is happening in the world. David Itzkoff, a journalist for The New York Times, made a joke about the CNN chyron regarding Trump and his newfound love of a doctor who seems to think that demon sperm is the cause for STDs and other medical issues.

But when you stop and think about the show, it is easily comparable to our current situation, mainly because we have no one to help us, and we do, at the end of the day, need a doctor …

That specific storyline, in particular, is apt for our current timeline because of the taunting nature between the Doctor and the Master. In fact, every human who refuses to wear a mask because of their “freedom” is the Master, and the rest of us are the Doctor.

So … why turn to making a joke about Doctor Who? The same reason we joke about the Avengers saving us. We just want a hero to swoop in and save the day from everything going on. We live in a world where the fantasy and sci-fi genre is something we want our lives to emulate. The problem is that superheroes and Time Lords are not real, and people wanting too much for one exceptional person to swoop in and fix everything is how many people were taken in by Donald “I alone can fix it” Trump in the first place, as ridiculous as it may seem that anyone could think he was some kind of hero.

Doctor Who is a show that brings me such joy, has an episode for nearly every mood, and reminds me that there will always be someone in this world who would rather see destruction and chaos instead of peace. It’d probably be a mistake to watch “Vincent and the Doctor” right now, right? Going back to times when our issues were who the new Doctor was to be or what was going to happen on the show seems like a pipe dream, but oh well, at least we’re all talking about the Doctor together.

(image: BBC)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site

 —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

30 Jul 20:57

Iridescent Waters Subsume Lush, Floral Bunches in Enchanting Photographs

by Grace Ebert

All images © STUFF Studio and bloom bloom FLEUR, shared with permission

A collaboration between photographer CheukLun LO, of STUFF Studio, and floral artist bloom bloom FLEUROceania celebrates the mysterious and dreamy qualities of the ocean. The series of photographs is centered on botanical sculptures comprised of jewel-toned petals and thick fronds that float through the dark water. Each luxuriant composition is submerged, whether fully underwater or in between the air and ocean depths.

Björk’s 2004 song by the same name inspired the vibrant series. “The full vocal simulation of the sound of the sea waves and bubbles, using singing to create a mysterious and enchanting deep-sea world, the ocean is the origin of life on Earth,” LO tells Colossal. Each floral piece represents a continent surrounded by ever-productive and elusive ocean ecosystems. “The underwater world seems to be another more colorful and spectacular land,” he says.

For a deeper dive into the enchanting projects of STUFF and bloom bloom FLEUR, which are based in Shanghai, check out Behance.

 

29 Jul 21:49

Zuckerberg Goes Off-Script, Blasts Apple and Google in Testimony

by msmash
During today's testimony before a Congressional antitrust panel, Mark Zuckerberg went off-script a little bit pointing out how Facebook lags behind a number of competitors, including Alphabet, Amazon.com and Apple. From a report: Zuckerberg isn't hesitating to use some sharp elbows, pointing out that Amazon is the fastest-growing advertising platform and Google is the biggest. "In many areas, we are behind our competitors," Zuckerberg said. "The most popular messaging service in the U.S. is iMessage. The fastest growing app is TikTok. The most popular app for video is YouTube. The fastest growing ads platform is Amazon. The largest ads platform is Google. And for every dollar spent on advertising in the U.S., less than ten cents is spent with us."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

29 Jul 21:48

‘We called it Amazon heroin’: Congress makes Jeff Bezos listen to stories from crushed businesses

by Christopher Zara

At a congressional hearing today, Jeff Bezos rejected claims that his company unfairly crushes competition: “That’s not how we operate the business.”

It’s hard to say if anything productive will come out of today’s congressional hearing on big tech companies and their marketplace dominance, but if there is even a sliver of societal value in watching the world’s richest man squirm, then you can’t say it was all for nothing.

Read Full Story

29 Jul 16:58

Meet Perseverance, JPL's newest Mars rover

NASA's newest Mars rover is called Perseverance, and it has already lived up to the name.