News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On September 7, 1674, Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, a fabric seller living just south of The Hague, Netherlands, burst forth from scientific obscurity with a letter to London’s Royal Society detailing an astonishing discovery. While he was examining algae from a nearby lake through his homemade microscope, a creature “with green and very glittering little scales,” which he estimated to be a thousand times smaller than a mite, had darted across his vision.

Two years later, on October 9, 1676, he followed up with another report so extraordinary that microbiologists today refer to it simply as “Letter 18”: Van Leeuwenhoek (lay-u-when-hoke) had looked everywhere and found what he called animalcules (Latin for “little animals”) in everything.

He found them in the bellies of other animals, his food, his own mouth, and other people’s mouths. When he noticed a set of remarkably rancid teeth, he asked the owner for a sample of his plaque, put it beneath his lens, and witnessed “an inconceivably great number of little animalcules” moving “so nimbly among one another, that the whole stuff seemed alive.” After a particularly uncomfortable evening, which he blamed on a fatty meal of hot smoked beef, he examined his own stool beneath his lens and saw animalcules that were “somewhat longer than broad, and their belly, which was flat-like, furnished with sundry little paws”—a clear description of what we now know as the parasite giardia.

With his observations of these fast, fat, and sundry-pawed creatures, Van Leeuwenhoek became the first person to ever see a microorganism—a discovery of almost incalculable significance to human health and our understanding of life on this planet.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a sunny afternoon in June of 2018, artist Gina Adams took the stage at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. She wore a large medallion of colourful beads, which caught the light and glittered as she spoke.

Adams, who was in her early 50s at the time, talked nervously but with evident delight as she expressed her gratitude for being selected as summer artist-in-residence for the department of studio art. She took a deep breath and greeted the audience in Anishinaabemowin, her voice and manner relaxing momentarily as she spoke: “Boozhoo, aaniin.”

Adams began by talking about her Ojibwe grandfather. “As a young child, I spent time with him, walking through the woods, talking about plants and spirit medicine. My grandfather is of Midewiwin descent, and I am of Midewiwin descent from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota,” she said. “My grandfather, however, was removed at age eight. He was sent to the Carlisle School.” The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, founded in 1879 in Pennsylvania, was the model institution for the 367 federally run residential schools in the United States, which sought to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children.

Adams was born in Connecticut and grew up in York, Maine, a seaside town two hours’ drive from Dartmouth. Her artwork is heavily influenced by the crafting traditions of her Lithuanian and Irish-American ancestors, and by the history of violent displacement and cultural fracturing of Indigenous communities. According to Adams, her great-great-grandfather was the Ojibwe chief Wabanquot, signatory to the Treaty with the Chippewa of the Mississippi. She is often pictured wrapped in one of her pieces from the Broken Treaty Quilts series, in which she embroiders the text of 19th-century treaties on vintage quilts.

In a 2020 interview with Public Radio Tulsa, she explained that the inspiration for the series came to her in a dream. “My Anishinaabeg ancestors are very tied and connected to our dreams, and with the medicine that can come from our dreams,” she said. “I’m very directed intuitively that way.” As a child, she told the interviewer, she was haunted by recurring nightmares of Indigenous people being massacred; her grandfather would take her for walks and calm her by speaking Ojibwe.

A year after her residency at Dartmouth, Adams joined the faculty at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, a small, public post-secondary institution in Vancouver. She was one of four new Indigenous faculty members recruited as part of a targeted cluster hire, which brought the number of Indigenous faculty to nine and increased the faculty body to 74. In a press release, Gillian Siddall, the university’s president and vice-chancellor, wrote that the cluster hire signalled “our genuine commitment to Indigenization and creating a safe cultural space for Indigenous students.”a

Read the rest of this article at: MacLean’s

At the end of the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, a pre-recorded hologram of Tony Stark bids farewell to his young daughter by saying, “I love you 3,000.” The touching moment echoes an earlier scene in which the two are engaged in the playful bedtime ritual of quantifying their love for each other. According to Robert Downey Jr., the actor who plays Stark, the line was inspired by similar exchanges with his own children.

The game can be a fun way to explore large numbers:

“I love you 10.”

“But I love you 100.”

“Well, I love you 101!”

This is precisely how “googolplex” became a popular word in my home. But we all know where this argument ultimately leads:

“I love you infinity!”

“Oh yeah? I love you infinity plus 1!”

Whether it’s on the playground or at bedtime, children encounter the concept of infinity long before math class, and they understandably develop a fascination with this mysterious, complicated and important concept. Some of those children grow up to be mathematicians fascinated with infinity, and some of those mathematicians are discovering new and surprising things about infinity.

You might know that some sets of numbers are infinitely large, but did you know that some infinities are bigger than others? And that we’re not sure if there are other infinities sandwiched between the two we know best? Mathematicians have been pondering this second question for at least a century, and some recent work has changed the way people think about the issue.

In order to tackle questions about the size of infinite sets, let’s start with sets that are easier to count. A set is a collection of objects, or elements, and a finite set is just a set that contains finitely many objects.

Read the rest of this article at: Quanta Magazine



News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Quiet Political Rise of David Sacks, Silicon Valley’s Prophet of Urban Doom

Last month, Chesa Boudin, the former district attorney of San Francisco, spoke with the leftist podcaster and political commentator Katie Halper on YouTube about the recall campaign that removed him from office in June. Soon after taking office in January 2020, Boudin, a former public defender who had promised a program of criminal legal reform, police accountability, and decarceration, was held responsible for San Francisco’s crime and social dysfunction by a coalition of business leaders, tech moguls, and even some of his former subordinates at the district attorney’s office.

Speaking to Halper, Boudin gave a passionate defense of his policies, while also zeroing in on the moneyed forces arrayed against him. “There’s no limit to how much you can donate to a recall in San Francisco,” he said, “and it’s very easy to hide the true source of those funds.”

The interview wrapped up, but the conversation wasn’t over. Halper invited her audience to discuss on Callin, a growing podcast platform, “the astroturf recall” that removed Boudin. But there was a glaring, unacknowledged irony: Callin, which has attracted a swathe of very online journalists from the left, right, and murkier ideological corners, was co-founded by David Sacks, a venture capitalist and longtime tech executive who was one of Boudin’s earliest and most vocal opponents. Sacks had branded Boudin “the Killer D.A.” whose policies caused innocent people to die. He told former Fox News star Megyn Kelly that there was “chaos and lawlessness in San Francisco,” a product of “Soros D.A.s” with their “progressive agenda of decarceration.” He challenged Boudin to a public debate—“if you have the huevos,” Sacks said—and then accused him of backing out of an agreed upon appearance on All-In, the popular podcast Sacks co-hosts with fellow tech investors Jason Calacanis, Chamath Palihapitiya, and David Friedberg. Sacks was also one of the biggest recall donors; at one point in 2021, nearly one-third of all donations against Boudin came from him. Halper was trying to parse Boudin’s loss on a platform run by the man who had helped lead it. (“Under a system of global capitalism and tech monopolies, all platforms have owners,” Halper said. “But I don’t speak for them, and they don’t speak for me.”)*

Read the rest of this article at: The New Republic

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News 21.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When news broke in June that the Supreme Court had struck down Roe v. Wade, we were not the only ones who thought back to Barbara Kruger’s iconic silkscreen “Untitled (Your Body Is a Battleground).” Originally created in 1989, the piece, for better or worse, remains timely — like much of Kruger’s other work. Her immediately recognizable and frequently imitated style has resulted in some of the most indelible images in contemporary art. At 77, she is still working — producing art that is entirely original, as well as revisiting older pieces with a new slant or in a fresh medium. This year, a retrospective spanning four decades, Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You., has traveled the U.S., offering an opportunity to reflect on the breadth of her influences and influence. Kruger is omnivorous, drawing from advertisements, the internet, right-wing message boards, memes, and even previous appropriations of her own pieces, from the fashion label Supreme’s mimicry to Krugeresque images pulled from Tumblr. Primarily comprising large-scale installations, the show brings together large-scale collages, sound pieces, annotated texts, and video works that juxtapose kittens with right-wing political rhetoric.

One of your most famous pieces — “Untitled (Your Body Is a Battleground)” — was initially made for the 1989 women’s march on Washington, which was a protest for legal abortion. How have you thought about the newer iteration of the women’s march, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade?

I just hope that all those folks marching for reproductive rights and privacy for all bodies had the power of the Supreme Court in mind when they voted in the past few presidential and midterm elections. Their choices, considering the closeness of those elections, brought us the composition of the current court. What’s happened in terms of Roe was so predictable and could have been avoided. It is more urgent than ever that people vote strategically and realize how their votes, because of the courts, will determine the feel of your (our) days and nights.

I don’t vote “my conscience” because the world is bigger than my or anyone else’s narcissistic conscience. For years, many third-party candidates assured us that if Roe was overturned, it wouldn’t be a problem because it would simply become a state issue. This was always uttered by a man without a uterus. I cannot be an apologist for the incrementalism of the Democratic Party, but I have to vote strategically. I will not forget the era of Bush v. Gore, when many votes cast around the University of Florida, along with the power of Sandra Day O’Connor, brought us the beginning of the current rightward cast of the Supreme Court, which in fact began even earlier with the egregious Clarence Thomas.

The “old left,” even when it was made up of young college students, was never what you could call “intersectional.” It continued to marginalize the issues of gender and race, refusing to see the necessity of engaging these concerns simultaneously and with urgency.

Trump is not responsible for all of this. I mean, the right has been watering these noxious weeds of grievance and supremacy for almost three centuries. But the genie is totally out of the bottle now. And no one should be surprised.

In some of your most recent work, you engage explicitly with Trump’s presidency —

I would dispute that. Yes, there were two moments in “Untitled (No Comment)” where there were split-second images of Trump and there were pictures of Michael Cohen. I’ve done covers for The New York Times and New York [including an October 2016 image of Trump’s face with the word LOSER across his nose in Kruger’s trademark Futura Bold Oblique] that were very specific moments — they were incident-related — but most of my work has really not been that. I try to take a broader view of how power is threaded through culture and how we are to one another, how we adore or abhor one another, how we caress or kiss or slap one another. Those have been concerns of mine. But I really don’t think it’s so much about Trump. It’s just that Trump is an excellent salesman and lots of people are buying what he’s selling.

I don’t make political art. I don’t make feminist art. I’m a woman who’s a feminist. I don’t make women’s art. I think those categories marginalize anyone’s work. I’m engaged with ideas of power and picturing, of pleasure and punishment, of lives and their beginnings and ends, and how, amid moments of pleasure and tenderness, there are explosions of destruction, subjugation, and the insanity of war.

Read the rest of this article at: The Drift

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.