Misidentifying At Speed


L. Rhodes

Editorial ellipses: Being the writerly sort, I often find myself thinking about punctuation — about what a given mark achieves, and whether or not it's likely to perform as I intend it to. So I tend to appreciate meditations like the one posted by the literary philosopher Robert Minto at his blog, concerning the convention(s) for indicating that material has been omitted from a quotation. Robert Minto


Cops and cars: The introduction of the automobile catalyzed a rapid change in the nature of policing in the U.S. As with other modes of law enforcement, those changes have frequently involved a disproportionate racial dynamic. In the year that a traffic stop precipitated the death of Sandra Bland, 27% of police killings of unarmed citizens began with a traffic stop, and black Americans are subject to traffic stops at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Boston Review


"… the biggest disaster in the history of the music business": In the aftermath of a 2008 fire that burned down significant portions of the Universal Studios backlot, officials assured reporters that an archive of irrepleaceable music recordings had not been damaged. Turns out, that wasn't true, and the damage was extensive:

The vault housed tape masters for Decca, the pop, jazz and classical powerhouse; it housed master tapes for the storied blues label Chess; it housed masters for Impulse, the groundbreaking jazz label. The vault held masters for the MCA, ABC, A&M, Geffen and Interscope labels. And it held masters for a host of smaller subsidiary labels. Nearly all of these masters — in some cases, the complete discographies of entire record labels — were wiped out in the fire.

According to the findings of this extensively investigated article, half a million or more individual song recordings may have been lost. NYT Magazine


After cyberpunk: Vincent Kinian pointed me to this essay on the death of cyberpunk and what comes next. Ingrid Wolff


Troublemakers in Timor: Australian biologists hope DNA samples from crocodiles in East Timor will help explain an increasing incidence of fatal encounters with the locals. As interesting as the research, though, is the relationship of the Timor-Leste to the native crocs:

Timorese call crocodiles "abo," the Tetum-language word for grandparent, and killing them is culturally taboo as well as illegal. […]

Many locals do not believe that native crocodiles are behind the increase in attacks; they blame migrants, or murderous "troublemakers," who they say play by a different set of rules than the local "grandfathers." NYT


Misreading: Until 1946, Biblical translators typically rendered the word arsenokoitai into their languages' equivalent of "pedarasty," if they translated it at all. The 1940s is when American translators initiated a push to replace those translations with the word "homosexuality" and its cognates. From there, it spread to other languages, fostering a mistaken impression that the Bible asserted a definitive position on a form of sexual expression that had no precise designation until the middle of the 19th century. Forge