Virtual reality bus tour of ancient Rome.
Interesting little Tyler Cowen post comparing the Enlightenment in Scotland and Ireland.
Long-lost 1898 film of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is rediscovered in a Dutch museum. Not just the oldest known film of Mardi Gras, but the oldest known film of New Orleans.
Long Scott Siskind review of a book about homelessness in San Francisco, summarizes lots of data on these questions.
Liberace performs "Feelin' Groovy." Sometimes you have to wonder.
There are still plenty of credentialed biologists who think natural selection can't really account for evolution as we know it, and want to consider alternatives.
Charlie Warzel at The Atlantic covers one of the real crises of modern life: Google Search is clogged with ads and getting less and less useful. Likely much of the problem lies not with them, but with the ever increasing SEO war being waged by web sites. But some of it is Google themselves. For example, they are trying to fight fraud etc. by directing people to safe sites, even when those sites are useless. (Like Web MD on drug side effects; scared of lawsuits, they just repeat the warning labels without any context, which is not helpful.) Warzel complains that Google is burying "interesting" results, and I am finding the same.
Sculptor Daniel Popper at the Morton Arboretum, figures that are part human, part plant.
I just discovered that in 2016 a painting judged by experts to be a "sublime" Mark Rothko and purchased by a top collector was exposed as a recent fraud, causing it to lose all its value.
Twenty years ago many internet experts said online shopping would make it easier to find and enjoy offbeat art, leading to a Renaissance in fringe music, film, and books. But it didn't happen; so far as anyone can tell, blockbusters and best sellers get a bigger market share than ever. Ted Gioia asks, "Where did the long tail go?" As I have reason to know, the self-publishing of niche books has been a particular falure.
US tech sources are reporting that the Chinese government used fake social media accounts to stir up environmental opposition to a new rare earth mining project in Texas, an operation dubbed Dragonbridge. Didn't have any more luck than real environmentalists do in Texas. (Since I posted that, the news has gone mainstream: here is the Washington Post.)
NY Times feature on Montana's oldest general store, opened in 1900. I've read a lot of oral history focusing on the early 20th century, and one of the themes is the huge part those stores played in in rural life. They often acted as brokers for local produce (from apples on Catoctin Mountain to hand-hewn railroad ties is eastern Virginia), allowing people to trade for outside goods they needed. They served as banks, extending credit in lean seasons. Plus they were the center of social life for many men.
Interesting research aid from the 18th century.
Two orcas with a taste for shark liver transform an ecosystem.
Easy-read chart summarizing the crisis in Sri Lanka.New study, based on surveys asking people about their mental situation over the past 30 days: "The prevalence of psychological distress increased from 16.1% in 1999–2000 to 22.6% in 2017–2018 . . . Statistically significant increases in the prevalence of distress were observed across all age, gender, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment subgroups examined. Rates of serious psychological distress increased from 2.7% in 1999–2000 to 4% in 2017–2018."
Short video of a Russian surface-to-air missile that "boomeranged" back toward its launcher immediately after launch.
More US military men saying that Russia will eventually run out of men and other resources and start to lose the war in Ukraine. This gave me a sudden vision of German military men saying the same thing in 1944.
Igor Girkin's summary of the front-line situation on June 27: "Time is working both against the so-called 'Ukraine' and the RF. But against the RF, time is working harder."
Institute for the Study of War assessment for June 29, with a note on how Russia plans to annex captured areas of southern Ukraine.
Russia abandoned Snake Island (again) on June 29, after finding it indefensible. Twitter thread on what this means. I keep thinking that since the Russian Navy has contributed so little to this war, their inability to defend one small island must be humiliating. And with Putin sacking generals right and left, the admirals must be nervous.
And the Institute for the Study of War for June 30, with notes on the withdrawal from Snake Island and the fighting in Lysychansk.
Dmitri, who translates intercepted Russian phone calls and other sources, says the recent Russian successess in the Donbas have raised the morale of Russian soldiers in a way that is immediately obvious in their calls home.