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an aural noise

word salad: After multiple albums, EPs and film scores, it took two more trips to the far corners of the world, one to Arizona with the Hopi Indians and the other with the nomads of the Mongolian steppes, for Holeg Spies to create his new opus Axis Mundi Reload.

some of the things I read while eating breakfast in antisocial isolation

The Vietnamese Cafés Where Koi Fish Are the Stars
These lavish coffeeshops are aquatic wonderlands.

Inside King Koi Coffee Garden. Embiggenable. Become coffeed at home.

SAIGON’S DISTRICT 5 WAS ONCE home to the Casino Grande Monde, a casino of elephantine proportions built to end underworld control over gambling in the late 1930s.

Nothing of that sort exists today. But people have found a different way to relax.

On the grounds of bygone vice and grandeur, Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism now operates District 5’s Cultural Center. Within the compounds of the cultural center is a very peculiar café: Koi Garden Coffee.

In pools set into the floor, at least five breeds of Japanese koi fish swim around customers sitting at tables sunk within large ponds. As people sip on typical Vietnamese beverages such as cà phê sữa đá, hundreds of koi flock tableside in hopes of getting a snack.

Guests feed fish at Koi Garden Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 5.

Koi Garden Coffee’s manager, who goes by Minh, first thought that people would enjoy being “islanded” by schools of adorable koi a few years ago, after seeing elderly men feeding fish at ponds in a smaller neighborhood café. Now, he runs Koi Garden Coffee along with his brother.

What Happens When the GOP Catches the Car?
When minority rule and unpopular policies collide.

My dog hates UPS trucks (and Amazon trucks, and motorcycles, and mail trucks). We’ll be walking on a sidewalk when the hated delivery guy drives by, and she’ll mightily lunge and strain to get at him. But, of course, she’s leashed, so (hopefully) we’ll never find out what would happen if my dog had a climactic showdown with the UPS truck.

The Republican Party is like my dog (in this regard only — my dog is far more kind, dignified, and lovable than most of the current GOP). They’ve been straining toward objectives that seemed unreachable, but have been restrained from reaching them. But they’ve also been gnawing on the leash that holds them back. The leash seems about to break, and we’ll see what happens when the Republican Party gets exactly what they’ve wanted for so long.

What does the GOP want? A set of staggeringly unpopular policies. The modern GOP stands for (as far as I can tell; the party no longer has an official platform):

  • Fewer restrictions on guns
  • More restrictions on abortion
  • Tax cuts for the wealthy
  • Making it harder to vote
  • Undermining the legitimacy of our democracy
  • Inaction on climate change

All of these policy initiatives are unpopular, some of them staggeringly so:

Republican politicians have spent the last decade or so — especially since Donald Trump took control of the party — performatively promising more and more radical action, especially on culture-war issues like abortion and guns, to their base. The hard-core partisans love it and have rewarded politicians who have taken the most extreme positions on these issues.

Russia Admits to Sabotage

Things continue to blow up, fall apart or catch on fire within the Russian Federation. For some time all these were coincidences. Some are likely Ukrainian actions, which Ukraine still is keeping mum about. We are at war, and Ukraine has proven to be very good about operational security.

I cannot say the same about Russia.

Now there is an admission that there is more to these fires, explosions, and sundry civil defense matters than just coincidence. Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency on Belgorod. This is not just the city, but the region. The Oblast not only contains the city, that keeps having issues with fuel and ammunition going up in flames but the whole municipality.

The katsapyachy bridge in the Kursk region also came down. Now the explanation is either a bad translation or somebody is trying to further dehumanize Ukrainians. This was done by Aphids from Biolabs. Now, referring to Ukrainians as insects is exactly the kind of dehumanization that leads to war crimes. But it is also an admission of who could be behind this.

An Old Anti-Coffee Experiment Saw Everyone But The Coffee Drinker Die

Coffee is bad for you, say a lot of people, because anything that feels good has to be bad for you. Caffeine is a drug, and drugs are bad, right? And so some people, seeking to keep their bodies pure, strip coffee from their diets and plan to live till a hundred.

We don’t have any real evidence that drinking coffee shortens your lifespan, and it’s possible that the opposite is true, with caffeine appearing to reduce the risks of getting various diseases. This is despite a whole lot of experiments that started out with the idea that coffee is bad for you, including one famous one from back in the 18th century.

King Gustav III of Sweden taxed coffee heavily and eventually even totally banned it. He believed coffee hurts people, in some ill-defined way, and he commissioned an experiment on two twins to prove this. Each of these men were on death row, and the king commuted their sentences in return for the following demand: One of them must drink three pots of coffee every day for the rest of his life, while the other would drink tea. The tea drinker, hypothesized the king, would long outlive the coffee drinker.

This experiment was ahead of its time in many ways. It largely predated the whole concept of clinical trials. The idea to focus on twins, to exclude any differences due to genetics, was particularly inspired, since this also predated the entire scientific concept of genes (though people have always suspected something like genes exist, based on how we look like our parents). Still, the experiment was doomed never to produce useful data. Even picking twins, it’s impossible to control all the many variables that affect lifespan, and no experiment with a sample size this small can tell us much of anything.

A citizen from Moscow tells aboout Russia

No bombs have exploded in Moscow. The city is not under siege by any foreign army. The experience of the citizens of Moscow cannot be compared with the situation in Ukraine. Life seems normal. As usual, Moscow’s Garden Ring Square is bustling with traffic. The metro station in front of me is crowded. In fact, the routine of life has not changed.

But that normal life ended on February 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to conduct an operation in Ukraine in the name of a “special military operation.”

I also have experience living in communist Russia. Now the world’s largest country has changed.

Let me cover ‘Special Military Operation Russia’.

I got in the car and drove to the supermarket. Out of habit, I turned on the radio. It had a station called Echo of Moscow. Gonch was my favorite Russian radio station, the most authoritative source of information.

But in recent weeks, all independent Russian media outlets have been shut down. Now there is a state-of-the-art radio station, Sputnik, which supports Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

As I passed the Gradon Ring, I passed in front of a theater with a huge banner with the Latin letter Z on the building. Z is a symbol of Russian action on Ukraine.

There was also a huge Z sign outside the Russian railway headquarters building. When I passed a lorry, it also had a Z sticker on it. In recent weeks, it has been written on the doors of the houses of critics of the Z-Kremlin.

Business is booming in shopping malls. Many stores — international brands — have closed. Hundreds of foreign companies have suspended operations in Russia since Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

The supermarket is full of shelves. The shortage of sugar in Russia last month — the result of a panic attack — has apparently been resolved. But the product range seems smaller than before. And prices have risen over the past two months.

If You Shamed Someone for Panicking, You Were Wrong
We need solidarity, not hope.

Panic is what happens when people don’t take warnings seriously until the last minute and then scramble for a solution.

They don’t plan or coordinate.

Then, it’s too late.

Recently there’s been a slew of attacks on anyone who expresses any sense of urgency or anger at the state of the world, especially the complacency and lack of compassion they see among people. They call us everything from doomers to merchants of doom and rant about how we’re destroying people’s mental health by fear-mongering.


As I write this, the stock market has fallen 1,200 points. A bombshell study just landed showing definitively that Omicron was never intrinsically mild, and that our corporate news media has basically been lying to the public for the last six months, at the behest of our president. This information hits as yet another wave takes off in the U.S., after endless warnings from experts about what mass infection does to our society.

A recent meta-study of 21 articles has found that Long Covid definitely impacts children, up to 1 in 4. A major scientific journal also recently announced that we don’t know nearly enough about the virus to be dropping mask mandates and declaring victory. To top it all off, the general public is finding out that herd immunity was wrong.

They’re finding out the hard way.

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

Bill reacts to the unprovoked attack on comedian Dave Chappelle and the latest scandal to envelop conservative Christian congressman Madison Cawthorn in his Real Time monologue.

THANKS to HBO and Real Time with Bill Maher for making this program available on YouTube.

When we talk about misinformation, we always focus on the producers, never the consumers. But keeping you safe and sorting out the lies from the truth – that’s your job.

アウトドアリビングを探検するまるはなみり。Maru&Hana&Miri explore outdoor living.


SELF | RELATIONSHIPS: A Lie Transformed Children’s IQs. Why You Need Radical Self-Belief.
An academic study that transformed our understanding of expectations.


A UCLA study of IQ reveals the critical importance of your mindset, your peers, and how you can lift yourself to greater heights.

The path to this study began in, of all places, Greek mythology.

. . .

A lusting artist

Pygmalion was a brilliant sculptor on the Greek island of Cyprus.

He was a dashing man, extremely talented, and thus was a highly eligible bachelor. There was tremendous pressure for him to marry.

Oddly, he was not interested in any of the women, which was causing discontent on the island.

The goddess Aphrodite visited him to understand the issue. As she walked in, she marveled at the beauty of the statues that lined his studio. She was amazed that every statue resembled her. She was honored by his work and tribute and would repay him very soon.

Pygmalion’s greatest creation, named Galatea, was enchantingly beautiful and a near-perfect mirror image of Aphrodite. He’d fallen in love with this statue and thus could not marry any other woman.

After hearing Pygmalion’s pleading prayers to make the statue real, Aphrodite granted him the wish.

One night, as he leaned in to kiss the statue, he was surprised to feel soft human lips meeting his own.

This moment is depicted in the priceless painting “Pygmalion and Galatea” by Jean-Léon Gérôme:

This story represents the power of transformation and belief.

Ed. More tomorrow? Possibly. Probably. Maybe. Likely, if I find nothing more barely uninteresting at all to do.

Ed., etc. I didn’t have time to do this today.

Assimilation Complete