49 thoughts on “Year 1 a.t. (After Trump)

  1. Trump’s final hope rests with Tommy Tuberville. Sad!


    Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (R.-Ala.) poses for a portrait on Feb. 22. (Elijah Nouvelage/For The Washington Post)

    T**** has found his stable genius brother

    President-unelect Trump has studied every play in the Coups-for-Dummies playbook: court challenges, pressure on Republican officials to overturn the election, even a half-baked plan for martial law from pardoned convict Michael Flynn. But no luck.
    Now, Trump’s final hope rests with Tommy Tuberville.
    This is like finding out your death-row appeal will be argued by Sidney Powell.
    Tuberville — or “Tubs,” from his college football coaching days — is the Republican senator-elect from Alabama, and he’s proposing to object to the election results in the Senate on Jan. 6. Trump exulted: “Great senator.”
    Problem is, Tubs, if he were a Democrat, is what Trump might call a “low-IQ individual.” In their wisdom, the voters of Alabama chose to replace Democrat Doug Jones, who prosecuted the Birmingham church bombing, with a man who recently announced his discovery that there are “three branches of government,” namely, “the House, the Senate and the executive.”

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  2. It’s Not a Big Tech Crackdown, It’s an Anti-Monopoly Revolution

    Critical developments across sectors of the economy show that the movement against corporate power is winning—at last.


    Ten states have filed a new antitrust lawsuit against Facebook and Google alleging illegal collusion to manipulate the online advertising market and limit competition.

    The policy center of America has now been convinced that the situation in corporate America has grown out of control.

    In the past two months, the federal government has filed more major anti-monopolization cases against large businesses (two of them) than in the previous 20 years (one of them). On top of that, two state coalitions have filed significant anti-monopolization cases against Google, while state attorneys general have separately joined the federal cases against Google and Facebook. One of the two state cases against Google alleges illegal monopoly coordination with Facebook, closing the circle.

    These actions, focused on Big Tech, are critically important. They attack multiple aspects of the abuse of power that many companies in the sector exhibit. They include Google’s payments to Apple and other manufacturers and browser companies to entrench its search monopoly; its exploitation of customer data and manipulation of search results to benefit its own products; the duopoly rigging of the online advertising market; and Facebook’s illegal mergers to maintain its dominance.

    Illegal tying, collusion through payoffs and market rigging, steering and self-preferencing allegedly “neutral” markets, and a growth-through-acquisition strategy practically run the gamut of monopoly behavior. And as one of the most powerful sectors in American life and politics, one that during the pandemic has only grown in strength and power, it’s natural to target Big Tech for antitrust enforcement.

    And yet, these cases against Google and Facebook are not the most important antitrust actions taken in recent weeks. What is happening right now is not merely a crusade against a handful of tech firms that have gotten into the crosshairs of some policymakers and media types. It reflects an entirely new way to think about corporate power and corporate dominance, buoyed by the tech-lash but occurring across a variety of sectors and contexts.

    That’s important, because it shows that the thinking that propped up the giants of the Second Gilded Age is being rethought.

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  3. Enough is enough. Here’s what we should do to defend against the next Russian cyberattacks.


    Information technology staff at the University of Vermont Medical Center scan the hospital’s computer systems for malware on Nov. 20 in Burlington, Vt. (Ryan Mercer/AP)

    The details are still trickling in, but it seems possible that the latest Russian cyberattacks against the Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury and State; the National Institutes of Health; and possibly dozens of companies and departments will turn out to be one of the most important hacking campaigns in history.

    The current reporting suggests that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), long considered Russia’s most advanced intelligence agency in cyber operations, managed to compromise the servers of an important vendor of information technology software and implant a back door. This company, SolarWinds, services tens of thousands of corporate and government clients, and its products naturally have access to critical systems. Since March, we’ve now learned, the SVR has been able to use this toehold to jump into the networks of a variety of highly sensitive organizations. I expect the true impact of the overall campaign won’t be known for months or years as thousands of companies scramble to determine whether they were breached and what was stolen.

    While we don’t have all the details, it is already clear that something is wrong with how our country protects itself against the hackers working for our adversaries in Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. As the Biden administration puts together its plan to secure the United States against these kinds of attacks, and Congress considers how to update the existing bipartisan cybersecurity consensus, I offer three initial fixes.

    First, we need to build a cyberspace equivalent of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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  4. From the “Cheap Shots” Department

    Wall Street Journal Debases Itself

    Another Murdoch publication scrapes the gutter


    Jill Biden arrives to join operation gratitude to assemble care packages for deployed US troops, on 10 December in Washington DC. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

    And thus begins a parade of has-beens and wannabes taking cheat shots at Democrats for their 15 seconds of fame. Sadly this is the first of many more to come.

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  5. Here’s What Medicare For All Supporters In Congress Can Actually Do

    Progressives in the U.S. House have the leverage to make demands for both performative gestures and for substantive change. Will they?

    If you are among the majority of Americans who want the government to guarantee health care to all, the current political moment raises a question: What can you realistically hope for, considering that the incoming Democratic president opposes the idea?

    Over the weekend, there has been a raging debate on social media, in which some progressive critics began demanding that lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez use their votes in the upcoming House Speaker election as leverage to get a commitment for a floor vote on Medicare for All legislation. The idea is that because the House is so narrowly divided, a handful of progressive icons in Congress could torpedo Nancy Pelosi’s bid to get reelected Speaker, unless she agrees to schedule such a vote.

    A floor vote on existing Medicare for All legislation absolutely could be a useful organizing tool — it could clarify which Democratic lawmakers actually support the idea; which Democrats are merely feigning support by just co-sponsoring the bill but not voting for it; and which Democrats actively oppose it. That would provide a helpful roadmap for future primaries and pressure against the opponents.

    However, only asking for that performative vote — rather than also asking for things that might change the structural power dynamic — would be a waste, and yet another instance of progressives reverting to a feckless tradition of prioritizing spectacles rather than the wielding of actual power.

    If members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus were serious about championing Medicare for All — and about using their momentary power in the Speaker race as leverage — they could do much more than merely push for a ceremonial Medicare for All vote that might be helpfully clarifying, but also would very likely fail.

    They could additionally condition their vote for Pelosi on a commitment that she:

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  6. How this medieval philosopher would debunk Trump’s election claims

    If William of Occam, medieval philosopher, were transported by time-travel to the present moment, he might not find everything to be unfamiliar. Much of his career was devoted to one of the epic election disputes of all time, King Louis of Bavaria pitted against Pope John XXII over control of the Holy Roman Empire — a battle that raged across Europe in the 14th century and echoes to this day in one of humanity’s great works of art, Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”
    William’s enduring contribution is the logical principle that bears his name, Occam’s razor, which cuts keenly into today’s election controversy. He teaches that the simplest explanation that fits observable facts is probably the nearest to the truth.

    In his plain Franciscan tunic, William steps from his time capsule into 2020, razor in hand, and applies himself to the available facts. For more than four years, the political scene has been dominated by a rare genius of publicity, an attention hog whose personality Americans find almost uniquely compelling. Enrapturing supporters and enraging critics, the incumbent president has stoked such passions that many consider his reelection bid to be among the most important elections in U.S. history. Billions of dollars have been raised and spent to maximize voting. More votes are counted than ever before.

    Two explanations are offered to old William to explain the numbers. One is that the intensity of publicity and depth of passions drove record participation. The other is that the U.S. Postal Service engaged in a widespread conspiracy to steal ballots and sell them to co-conspirators who filled them out using fake identities and delivered them inside food trucks to counting stations. The FBI and Justice Department know all about it, but are covering it up.
    Hmm, says William after a brief contemplation. The first explanation seems a good deal simpler — and thus more likely.

    Next the philosopher turns to the number of votes for each candidate. Given the huge turnout, William is not surprised to learn that the incumbent president received many, many votes. In another year, his 74 million would be a record, but his opponent received even more: 81 million. What could explain this?

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  7. When it Comes to Facebook, the Need for Action Has Been Obvious for a Long Time.

    It’s not too late for the government to take back power from Big Tech


    Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

    “It will be the lawyer employment act of 2020,” one regulator joked to me about the prospect of Facebook sucking up every hired legal gun in Washington to battle the F.T.C. and the states.

    It’s about time, even if it’s been a very long 22 years.

    It was 1998 when Microsoft finally landed in the cross hairs of the federal government, when the Justice Department and 20 state attorneys general alleged in an antitrust lawsuit that the software giant had abused its market power to crush competition. It was the last time the government took meaningful action against the unfettered rise of a tech behemoth.

    The Big Tech companies that have sprouted up since the Microsoft case have been treated by government as if they were the most delicate of flowers, in need of more nurturing than the most finicky of ferns. There have been laughable fines, while one merger after another was allowed to sail on by.

    Those charged with regulation have given companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon a very wide berth to grow into some of the most valuable entities in the history of the planet. Their founders are among the richest people ever.

    It all came to a halt with the announcement in October that the Justice Department was finally taking aim at Google in an antitrust lawsuit focused on search and advertising. And on Wednesday, in the most potent government action since the Microsoft case, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Facebook has employed anticompetitive tactics that allowed it to bully and bury rivals. The filing, after an 18-month investigation, recommends breaking up the company.

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  8. No One Expects Civility From Republicans

    What’s worse: making Sarah Sanders leave a restaurant, or terrorizing election officials?


    Damon Winter/The New York Times

    Why Sarah Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant is bigger news than armed right wing protestors with bullhorns terrorize outside the home of elected officials and election workers isn’t?

    Perhaps you remember the terrible ordeal suffered by the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the Red Hen in 2018. She was awaiting her entree at the Virginia farm-to-table restaurant when the co-owner, appalled by Sanders’s defense of Donald Trump’s administration, asked her to leave. This happened three days after the homeland security secretary at the time, Kirstjen Nielsen, was yelled at for the administration’s family separation policy as she tried to dine at a Mexican restaurant in Washington.

    These two insults launched a thousand thumb-suckers about civility. More than one conservative writer warned liberals that the refusal to let Trump officials eat in peace could lead to Trump’s re-election. “The political question of the moment,” opined Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal, is this: ‘Can the Democratic Party control its left?’”

    Somehow, though, few are asking the same question of Republicans as Trump devotees terrorize election workers and state officials over the president’s relentless lies about voter fraud. Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, described her family’s experience this past weekend: “As my 4-year-old son and I were finishing up decorating the house for Christmas on Saturday night, and he was about to sit down and to watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns in the dark of night.”


    The house of Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state, was besieged by Trump supporters, some armed, over the weekend. Credit…Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News, via Associated Press

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  9. It’s Time to Scare People About Covid

    Our public messaging about the virus should explain the real costs — in graphic terms — of catching the virus.


    Outside of the Stephens Memorial Hospital emergency entrance in Breckenridge, Texas.Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

    It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism.

    I still remember exactly where I was sitting decades ago, during the short film shown in class: For a few painful minutes, we watched a woman talking mechanically, raspily through a hole in her throat, pausing occasionally to gasp for air.

    The public service message: This is what can happen if you smoke.

    I had nightmares about that ad, which today would most likely be tagged with a trigger warning or deemed unsuitable for children. But it was supremely effective: I never started smoking and doubt that few if any of my horrified classmates did either.

    When the government required television and radio stations to give $75 million in free airtime for antismoking ads between 1967 and 1970 — many of them terrifyingly graphic — smoking rates plummeted. Since then, numerous smoking “scare” campaigns have proved successful. Some even featured celebrities, like Yul Brynner’s posthumous offering with a warning after he died from lung cancer: “Now that I’m gone, don’t smoke, whatever you do, just don’t smoke.”

    As the United States faces out-of-control spikes from Covid-19, with people refusing to take recommended, often even mandated, precautions, our public health announcements from governments, medical groups and health care companies feel lame compared to the urgency of the moment. A mix of clever catchphrases, scientific information and calls to civic duty, they are virtuous and profoundly dull.

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  10. The Media Is Finally Tuning Trump Out

    On Wednesday, the president delivered one of the most insane speeches of his political career. The press barely batted an eye

    For years, the legacy media and cable news feasted on a smorgasbord of Trump’s lies. Now, at the twilight of his presidency, they’re choosing to cosplay Edward R. Murrow.

    Finally the kiss of media death, he’s become boring and predictable

    On Wednesday, for 46 minutes, President Trump gave perhaps the most deranged speech of his political career—which means it was arguably the most deranged speech of any presidency since a drunk Andrew Johnson made a shamefaced Abraham Lincoln sit through his slurry vice presidential inaugural address. “This election was rigged. Everybody knows it,” Trump said in a video posted on social media. “I don’t mind if I lose an election, but I want to lose an election fair and square. What I don’t want to do is have it stolen from the American people. That’s what we’re fighting for, and we have no choice to be doing that.”

    “We already have the proof. We already have the evidence, and it’s very clear,” he continued. “Many people in the media, and even judges, so far have refused to accept it. They know it’s true. They know it’s there. They know who won the election, but they refuse to say you’re right. Our country needs somebody to say, ‘You’re right.’” It was, The Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote, “four weeks distilled into less than an hour.” The president was whiny, unhinged, and in short supply of any evidence for his increasingly fantastical claims of an election snatched from him by evil Democrats, conniving journalists, and on-the-take judges. Even for Trump, it was an obscene display: an impotent and operatic cacophony of lies and grievances.

    Naturally, the president called it “the most important speech” he had ever made. On that score, he found scant agreement from the media, who barely treated it as an event. Obviously, reporters offered up some dire reviews, warning readers that Trump’s extended rant was “insane,” “dangerous,” and “filled with false allegations”—the sort of warning labels that have been typically appended to the president’s diatribes over the past month. But beyond these perfunctory comments, the press simply tuned Trump out, treating it neither as an important address nor an existential threat to the country. It was a potential glimpse into Trump’s postpresidency: a continual, wild descent into a web of conspiracy and vindictiveness, daring the media to look away. For this day, the cameras managed to keep their attention pointed elsewhere.

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  11. The MAGA Revolution Devours Its Own

    Republicans encouraged Trumpist havoc. Now it’s coming for them.


    Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    “It has to stop!”

    Gabriel Sterling, a Georgia election official and longtime Republican, held a news conference this week in which, with barely contained rage, he excoriated Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud and the threats of violence those lies inspired.

    He railed against Trump’s campaign lawyer, Joseph diGenova, who called for the shooting of Christopher Krebs, a federal cybersecurity official fired by Trump for saying that the election wasn’t rigged. (DiGenova later claimed he was joking.) Sterling described a “20-something tech” involved in the vote tabulation who was getting death threats.

    “It has to stop!” he said, visibly seething. “Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop.”

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    It might not be so simple for Trump to pardon his children and Giuliani

    A pardon is not one size fits all


    The sun sets at the White House on Monday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

    Blank pardons are rare and yet to be challenged in court

    President Trump’s holiday gift list, news reports suggest, may include broad pardons for his three oldest children and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, even before they have been charged with any crimes. But if Trump believes such pardons would protect the recipients from federal prosecution, he should think again. In addition to violating core democratic ideals, such a move might well prove beyond his constitutional authority.
    Pardons come in many varieties, but the vast majority are issued to individual offenders for specific charges or convictions. Blanket pardons for individuals — such as Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon for “all offenses against the United States” — are exceptionally rare. Over the past half-century there is only one other example: George H.W. Bush’s pardon of officials caught up in the Iran-contra affair “for all offenses” within the jurisdiction of the independent counsel.

    Both of these pardons were heavily criticized at the time, and with good reason. A blanket pardon inevitably hides from public scrutiny what is being immunized, undermining accountability. It offers the opportunity for unscrupulous presidents to protect friends and accomplices from the reach of the law. And it can lead to errors, since the pardon may immunize an offender for crimes beyond the president’s intentions. This is not to say that blanket pardons have no benefits; some believe that Ford’s pardon of Nixon helped the nation move on from Watergate. But the risks of a blanket pardon outweigh the benefits.

    Trump, of course, has never been one to concern himself with these niceties. And that raises the question: While blanket pardons are unseemly, are they also unlawful exercises of the president’s pardon power? The pardons for Nixon and the Iran-contra defendants don’t offer an answer, since neither was challenged in court.

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  12. Astronomers unveil most detailed 3D map yet of Milky Way

    Images will enable scientists to measure the acceleration of the solar system and the mass of the galaxy


    Data gathered from the European Space Agency’s Gaia observatory should provide clues as to how the solar system formed and the rate at which the universe has expanded since the dawn of time. Photograph: ESA/Gaia/DPAC

    “What we’re really doing here is getting a very detailed map of the local universe that’s in three dimensions for stars out to a few hundred light years,”

    Astronomers have unveiled the most precise 3D map yet of the Milky Way, an achievement that promises to shed fresh light on the workings of the galaxy and the mysteries of the broader universe.

    The vast electronic atlas was compiled from data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Gaia observatory which has been scanning the heavens since it blasted off in 2013 from Kourou in French Guiana.

    The map contains enough detail for astronomers to measure the acceleration of the solar system and calculate the mass of the galaxy. These in turn will provide clues as to how the solar system formed and the rate at which the universe has expanded since the dawn of time.

    Read more


    In other unearthly news New mystery metal monolith appears on a California mountaintop


  13. The afterlife of the #Resistance

    With Trump gone, will the counterforce he galvanized melt away or find new purpose?


    Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis/Getty

    But here’s the deal, as Biden would say: America cannot afford the “resistance” to melt away once Trump finally leaves the scene.

    What does the #Resistance resist now?

    For four forever years, President Trump has given a great many Americans a focus. For their minds, for their news consumption, for their rage. Hate him or hate him, Trump was, if many are to be honest with themselves, purpose-giving. He lent the normally dull onward grinding of democracy, the markups and floor votes and rule changes, a cosmic, thundering sense of meaning.

    When he goes, and he will go, there will be deserved relief. But there will also be a void. To live in the Trump era was to be amped up all the time, on high alert, on constant war footing, in fight-or-flight mode, ready to roll. When he leaves the scene, politics will hardly fade away. Nor can we afford for it to. But for many it will go back to being more like homework than an addictive horror movie: something you have to dedicate yourself to because it’s important, as opposed to something from which you cannot pry your eyes away.

    Many proud citizens of the #Resistance, after marching and meme-ing and quote-tweeting and door-knocking all these years, are likely to step back from political engagement. After all, these years were exhausting. And with the incoming Biden administration, it is possible to feel that, whatever your differences with the president-elect or his team, overall or on particular policy issues, they are rational, competent actors who dwell in the world of reality and will not attempt to buy Greenland.

    Read more


  14. Photographer confirms humans removed mysterious Utah monolith

    * Four men destroyed metal pillar, saying: ‘Leave no trace’
    * Monolith had sparked intense interest and wild theories


    Rocks mark the location where a metal monolith once stood in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Spanish Valley, Utah, south of Moab near Canyonlands national park. Photograph: Kelsea Dockham/AP

    “Mother Nature is an artist, it’s best to leave the art in the wild to her.”

    A mysterious monolith that baffled officials and adventurers when it appeared and then swiftly disappeared in the remote Utah desert was removed by four men – not aliens, as many around the world might have hoped.

    A group of friends who were photographing the monolith captured the removal last Friday night, then shared the images on Instagram.

    As the men “walked off with the pieces, one of them said, ‘Leave no trace,’” Ross Bernards told the New York Times.

    The monolith was discovered in Utah late last month, prompting origin theories ranging from fine art to leftovers from TV or film, to even aliens.

    Bret Hutchings, the Utah department of public safety helicopter pilot who discovered the monolith while conducting a count of bighorn sheep, had declined to reveal its location.

    “One of the biologists spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings told local media, estimating the monolith to be between 10ft and 12ft high. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’”

    Thrill-seekers agreed, and within days visitors found it, just east of the Canyonlands national park. Amid mounting international attention, a copycat monolith was reported in the hills of Romania.

    The object’s origins remain unknown. A spokesperson for gallerist David Zwirner told the Guardian it was not a work by the late artist John McCracken. The spokesperson later told the New York Times it could be by McCracken, but confusion remains.

    Nick Street, a Utah public safety spokesman, said the monolith was embedded into the rock. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said the monolith was “considered private property” and it would not investigate as such matters were “handled by the local sheriff’s office”.

    The San Juan county sheriff declined to investigate, jokingly uploading to its website a “Most Wanted” poster with suspects replaced by aliens. But the sheriff’s office then reversed its decision and announced an investigation with the BLM.

    Read more


  15. Sunday’s selections

    In Key States, Republicans Were Critical in Resisting Trump’s Election Narrative

    They refuted conspiracy theories, certified results, dismissed lawsuits and repudiated a president of their own party.


    Election workers recounting ballots in Atlanta this month.Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

    Where it counted, Republicans put country before party & it was beautiful

    The telephone call would have been laugh-out-loud ridiculous if it had not been so serious. When Tina Barton picked up, she found someone from President Trump’s campaign asking her to sign a letter raising doubts about the results of the election.

    The election that Ms. Barton as the Republican clerk of the small Michigan city of Rochester Hills had helped oversee. The election that she knew to be fair and accurate because she had helped make it so. The election that she had publicly defended amid threats that made her upgrade her home security system.

    “Do you know who you’re talking to right now?” she asked the campaign official.

    Evidently not.

    If the president hoped Republicans across the country would fall in line behind his false and farcical claims that the election was somehow rigged on a mammoth scale by a nefarious multinational conspiracy, he was in for a surprise. Republicans in Washington may have indulged Mr. Trump’s fantastical assertions, but at the state and local level, Republicans played a critical role in resisting the mounting pressure from their own party to overturn the vote after Mr. Trump fell behind on Nov. 3.

    The three weeks that followed tested American democracy and demonstrated that the two-century-old system is far more vulnerable to subversion than many had imagined even though the incumbent president lost by six million votes nationwide. But in the end, the system stood firm against the most intense assault from an aggrieved president in the nation’s history because of a Republican city clerk in Michigan, a Republican secretary of state in Georgia, a Republican county supervisor in Arizona and Republican-appointed judges in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

    Read more from NYT in a pdf

    Read WaPo’s article on the same subject as pdf


    ‘Sistine Chapel of the ancients’ rock art discovered in remote Amazon forest

    Tens of thousands of ice age paintings across a cliff face shed light on people and animals from 12,500 years ago


    The paintings are being filmed for a major Channel 4 series to be screened in December, Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon. Photograph: Ella Al-Shamahi

    One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest.

    Hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.

    Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.

    These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study.

    The discovery was made last year, but has been kept secret until now as it was filmed for a major Channel 4 series to be screened in December: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.

    The site is in the Serranía de la Lindosa where, along with the Chiribiquete national park, other rock art had been found. The documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, told the Observer: “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”

    Read more at The Guardian


  16. Saturday

    On monoliths in aluminum and silicon

    Two days after a helicopter pilot revealed its existence, people began sharing their own shots of the unexplained piece


    David Surber with the monolith in Red Rock Desert, Utah, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Photograph: @davidsurber_/Reuters

    Some intrepid visitors have been flocking to a remote part of southern Utah in a bid to be among the first to see the mystery metal monolith.

    The structure in the Red Rock desert was first discovered last week from the air by a helicopter pilot and wildlife officers who were carrying out an annual count of bighorn sheep.

    They did not share its coordinates, hoping to put people off trying to make their own pilgrimages in case they got lost in the remote area. But for some, the intrigue was overwhelming.

    Theories abound over mystery metal monolith found in Utah
    Read more

    Around 48 hours after news of their finding was made public, pictures appeared on Instagram of people who had managed to find it.

    Read more


    Big Tech has immense power. Here’s how Europe and the United States are trying to rein them in


    Menlo Park (USA), tourists photogra​ph themselves in front of the Faceb​ook symbol, just a few steps from t​he company entrance. From the series ‘Silicon Valley Tour’ by Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/INSTITUTE

    It wasn’t that long ago that Facebook proudly touted the motto “move fast and break things” as the hallmark of its unstoppable growth. And every time Steve Jobs conjured up the next miracle machine from his bag of tech tricks, it was couched in Apple’s credo of nonconformity, “Think Different”.

    But times have changed, and nowadays these slogans might be better applied to the actors in the political arena who are working hard to put the brakes on the tech giants that have run amok. Heavy fines, prosecutions, and even breaking up the monolithic platforms are all on the table.

    Read more


  17. Friday noir

    The War on Reality Explained

    …By David Brooks? . . .and other news

    The Rotting of the Republican Mind

    It’s been one of the most popular questions of the 21st starting with the 2000 election. How did Republicans get so crazy. Of all the explanations I’ve come across, and it pains me to say this, conservative writer David Brooks explains it the best. According to his research in a nutshell, the divide between those of us in the truth/fact based world and those on the other side is a result of the migration of the people who work I the information economy to the prosperous cities.

    While big cities have been growing and improving the smaller cities and rural areas have fallen into decline. Mostly responsible for this migration is whether or not you have a college degree. Those left behind in the less densely populated places see everything around them crumbling and they feel less safe. It’s this state of affairs that opened the door for people like Donald T****, Alex Jones, et. al. to take advantage of their fears with real fake news telling them what they want to hear. These fake facts give rise to the conspiracies that have come to bond Republicans giving them a sense of unity. This is how they don’t believe in climate science, Biden won the election and Covid-19 is not a big deal.

    (On the plus side this same situation has. Georgia Republican voters questioning why bother to vote in January for the Senate elections if the “fix” is already in. What goes around comes around.)

    Read the whole piece


    ‘Mini desk. Tiny hands. Small soul’: T**** mocked for giving speech at little table


    * Photograph: Erin Scott/Reuters*

    Actor Mark Hamill said it best:

    “Maybe if you behave yourself, stop lying to undermine a fair election & start thinking of what’s good for the country instead of whining about how unfairly you are treated, you’ll be invited to sit at the big boy’s table.”

    Read more


    How the Late Late Toy Show became an unlikely Irish TV institution Annual special
    – where garish sweaters meet unrestrained children – airs on Friday evening


    A guest on this year’s show, which centres on the works of Roald Dahl. Photograph: RTÉ

    It is possibly the most anticipated moment in Ireland’s cultural calendar, a television event that draws huge ratings, unites the diaspora and is parsed as a barometer for the mood of the nation.

    Expectation builds months in advance, rumours about the theme, leaks about participants, sometimes alarm that the formula may change.

    At 9.30pm on Friday the theme music will play and it will begin: the 2020 Late Late Toy Show – an annual institution built around a host, his jumpers, children, toys and some indefinable ingredient that has kept the nation rapt year after year, decade after decade.

    It started in 1975 as a segment in the Late Late Show, RTÉ’s long-running weekly chatshow, and expanded to take over an entire show each year, turning into an extravaganza that has at times included an elephant and the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jerry Seinfeld but reverberates because of the younger guests. Some of them have serious illnesses but they all play, opine and upstage any adults.

    Read more


  18. Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

    Not tired of T**** losing, World shakes its head at U.S., Remembering The Last Waltz

    Thanks

    It was a one of a kind last time for The Band’s epic swan song which will forever be associated with Thanksgiving. Thanks The Band.

    The nation survived a cartoonish attack on the most precious part of our democracy. Thanks judges everywhere.

    How will the nation survive the instance of millions to throw common sense and their sense of responsibility and probably ignite the mother of all super-spreader events? No thanks to you.

    Be safe, don’t be selfish.


  19. Weird Wednesday

    Things stranger than Donald T**** being President


    Wildlife officials discovered a monolith embedded in the rock in southeastern Utah. The authorities say they do not know how deep it goes, or how long it has been there.Credit…Utah Department of Public Safety

    A Weird Monolith Is Found in the Utah Desert, at least Randy Quaid was not involved

    What could be more fitting than a strange object being found in the Utah this week? It sure beats reading T**** tweets



    Illustration: Michael Haddad for The Intercept

    Congress has the power to override Supreme Court decisions, here’s how

    History is full of instances where Congress “overruled” Supreme Court decisions. A recent example is the Lilly Ledbetter action to stop employers from paying women less for the same work. The Supreme Court had ruled Ledbetter case was beyond the statute of limitations, but that wasn’t the end of the story. All Congress had to do was amend The Title VII Civil Rights Act and thus paving the way for pay equity for women. It’s not the first time the high court has been overruled and it won’t be the last


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