The Rooster is CROWNED!

The 2021 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes, has concluded. Catch up on all the action!

Biden has yet to make good on his plan to raise the annual refugee cap above Trump's historically low 15,000.
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Turning the minute vibrations of spiderwebs into audible tones that may help us understand how arachnids communicate.

Critics persist. “I’m not going to call u kitty/kittyself or doll/dollself just bc u think its cool,” one TikToker wrote in a video caption. “Pronouns are a form of identity not an aesthetic.” But what’s the difference between an aesthetic and an identity anyway?

A good guide to neopronouns, noun-self pronouns, and other “leading edge behavior.”

↩︎ The New York Times
An open-source library of markings and stickers that businesses used during the pandemic for social distancing.
Some stunningly flattened landscapes by Turkish artist and photographer Aydin Büyüktas
People who cycle on a daily basis have 84% lower carbon emissions from their daily travel than those who don't.

Being vaccinated does NOT mean you can use an incredibly powerful magic necklace to turn yourself into a football player so you can smuggle some footballs into football practice so football players can play football.

A couple AIs take on the cautionary meme “Being vaccinated does NOT.”

↩︎ AI Weirdness
A fake beauty site enables victims of domestic violence to safely “shop” while receiving covert help.
"There were about 25 mannequins in the basement." Interview with the realtor of Baltimore's "sexy funeral goth house."

We’re all anxiously sizing up how everyone else’s decisions have worked out to reassure ourselves that our own are vindicated—that we are, in some sense, winning.

From 2009, but still relevant: A midlife phenomenon is to start judging your peers’ choices in life with envy and contempt.

↩︎ The New York Times
A "landmark" study says a novel vaccine approach for the prevention of HIV has shown promise in Phase I trials.
Six months after being diagnosed with Covid-19, one in three patients also experience a psychiatric or neurological illness.
A new concept car from Volvo offers a digital detox by possessing a central "garden shaft."
John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band get cleaned up, but "is tailoring historic albums for today’s tastes a good idea?"

The "Lost Tapes of the 27 Club" project uses Google's AI program Magenta to imagine later music from some of the famous musicians who died at 27—Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse (heard above). From Rolling Stone:

O’Connor and his team used a similar process for lyrics, using a generic AI program called an artificial neural network. They were able to input the artist’s lyrics and start off with a few words and the program would guess the cadence and tone of the poetry to complete it. “It was a lot of trial and error,” O’Connor says, adding that the team examined “pages and pages” of lyrics for turns of phrase that syllabically fit the vocal melodies Magenta produced.

See also: Jason Kottke on the secret of synchronization.

Nearly two decades after it was written, the Killers' hit "Mr. Brightside" has been in the UK Top 100 for the past five years.
"I vividly remember crying when I woke up for school one morning." Comprehending death through Tamagotchi.
"Monetization of emotional memory isn’t just can also inhibit personal growth." When algorithms resurface pain.