Sunday Spectacle: Trappist-1 or Bust!

THE MAGICAL WAR HEATS UP: Witch spells vs. Christian prayer. Buzzfeed continues its efforts to become a legitimate news source by reporting on the magical conflict outside Trump Tower Friday night/Saturday morning.

Binding spells will be cast with every new moon. Find out more here.

Witchery, I’m happy to say, has seen a bit of a resurgence lately. A Brief History Of The Tumblr Witch

“‘Tumblr Witch’ is not an identity, but the Tumblr witch is concerned with identities. Unlike the Wicca bloggers, the Tumblr witch is unlikely to define herself seriously as a witch. But undeniably the concept of the Tumblr witch is tied up in intersectional feminism, in a desire to reclaim power, and to laugh as she does so.”


FUTURE WATCH: MIT Technology Review predicts technology advances we’ll see this year. They see major advances in paralysis reversal, the trucking industry’s embrace of self-driving trucks, and major leaps in quantum computing, among others.


TRAPPIST-1 OR BUST!:, of all places, has a nice summary of the NASA announcement about finding a cluster of exoplanets around Trappist-1.

“Seven worlds orbit the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, a mere 40 light-years away. In May 2016 astronomers using the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) announced the discovery of three planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Just announced, additional confirmations and discoveries by the Spitzer Space Telescope and supporting ESO ground-based telescopes have increased the number of known planets to seven. The TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely all rocky and similar in size to Earth, the largest treasure trove of terrestrial planets ever detected around a single star. Because they orbit very close to their faint, tiny star they could also have regions where surface temperatures allow for the presence of liquid water, a key ingredient for life.”


BOT EXPLAINER: O’Reilly has a provides a brief introduction to our bot-filled future. And, by future, I mean present.


SPEAKING OF BOTS: The release date of the new MST3K has been announced. In the not-too-distant-future, next April 14 AD, the bots and a new cast will launch on Netflix.


READING IRAN: Some Iranian authors worth checking out.

“Things We Left Unsaid is set in Abadan—a city built around a major old refinery—in the early 1960s during the era of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Pirzad, who was born and raised in Abadan, writes with great precision and detail about a woman’s everyday experiences and emotions. Her style is casual, natural, and subtle, which was new for Iranian novels. The narrator, Clarice Ayvzaian, is an unfulfilled Armenian housewife whose life changes when Emile and her family move next door. Clarice slowly finds herself falling in love with Emile as the families’ lives get entangled. She also gets involved with the women’s movement. Although the book does provide a sense of the place, and references to social events such as women’s suffrage and the Armenian genocide, it is not a political or social realist novel.”


READING HORROR: Nominees for Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker awards are announced.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)


FREE MONEY: The NYT looks at an effort to provide a Universal Basic Income to villagers in Kenya. The Future of Not Working.

“GiveDirectly wants to show the world that a basic income is a cheap, scalable way to aid the poorest people on the planet. “We have the resources to eliminate extreme poverty this year,” Michael Faye, a founder of GiveDirectly, told me. But these resources are often misallocated or wasted. His nonprofit wants to upend incumbent charities, offering major donors a platform to push money to the world’s neediest immediately and practically without cost.”


SK8: Girls in India take up skateboarding.

“In 2013, Atita and her friends built a skate park in Bengaluru with the help of the HolyStoked Collective, and began teaching skateboarding to underprivileged children. She eventually launched Girl Skate India — an initiative to teach girls how to skate, promote gender equality in skating and highlight up-and-coming female skaters in India. Girl Skate India works with Holystoked to host classes for young girls and aims to make skate parks open to skaters of all genders.”



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