Listened to Key Takeaways from the Trump's Affidavit Release from The Brian Lehrer Show | WNYC
Katie Benner, Justice Department reporter at The New York Times, joins with takeaways and the latest news from the release of the affidavit in the FBI search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

Some interesting and useful depth here beyond a lot of the usual political rhetoric.
Listened to How Indigenous elders read the stars by Sarah Kanowski from Conversations (ABC)
Working over many years with several Indigenous Elders, Duane has published The First Astronomers, a complete overview of traditional First Nations star knowledge.

A great introduction to the book The First Astronomers.
Listened to Historian Uncovers The Racist Roots Of The 2nd Amendment by Dave Davies from Fresh Air | NPR

In her new book, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America, Anderson traces racial distinctions in Americans’ treatment of gun ownership back to the founding of the country and the Second Amendment, which states:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The language of the amendment, Anderson says, was crafted to ensure that slave owners could quickly crush any rebellion or resistance from those whom they’d enslaved. And she says the right to bear arms, presumably guaranteed to all citizens, has been repeatedly denied to Black people.

This is the sort of history that should be more commonplace in our schools. Why was I not taught this? What an excellent little interview. Going to buy Carol Anderson’s book in triplicate. 
Listened to Grain and transport As wheat travelled, it created the modern world by Jeremy Cherfas from eatthispodcast.com

Cereals provide their offspring with a long-lived supply of energy to power the first growth spurt of the seed. Thousands of years ago, people discovered that they could steal some of the seeds to power their own growth, taking advantage of the storability of seeds to move the food from where it grew to where it might be eaten. Wheat, the pre-eminent cereal, moved along routes that were ancient before the Greek empire, carried, probably, by ox-drawn carts and guided along these black paths by people remembered in Ukraine today as chumaki.

In this episode, Scott Nelson, author of Oceans of Grain, tells me about the various ways in which the ability to move wheat more efficiently changed world history, geography and economics, for starters.

Notes

  1. Scott Reynolds Nelson’s book Oceans of Grain is published by Basic Books.
  2. Listen to Persephone’s Secret, if you haven’t already, and I promise no vengeful gods will render you dumb.
  3. Banner photo of a grain elevator and train in Wichita Falls, Texas by Carol M. Highsmith. Image of a 19th century Chumak by Jan Nepomucen Lewicki; Public Domain.
  4. Transcript coming soon.

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In the trailer for this short series, I presumed some context about the relationship of the topic to the Ukraine, but missed the true mark with the additional context provided here.

Even better, I suspect that some of the history here is right up my alley in relation to work I’ve been doing on oral cultures. Some of it “sounds” like early oral Ukrainian culture is eerily reminiscent to Milman Parry’s work on orality among the guslars of Yugoslavia and reading I’ve been doing on Indigenous astronomy! What a great find. I’ve immediately ordered a copy of the book.

I wouldn’t expect these sorts of information and insight in a typical podcast about food, but Jeremy Cherfas always delivers the goods.

Listened to Persephone’s secret: The Eleusinian Mysteries and the making of the modern economy by Jeremy Cherfas from eatthispodcast.com

Many people take the myth of Demeter — Ceres in Latin — and her daughter Persephone to be just a metaphor for the annual cycle of planting and harvesting. It is, but there may be more to it than that. Why else would it be worth scaring participants in the Eleusinian Mysteries into saying absolutely nothing about what went on during these initiation rites into the cult of Demeter and Persephone?

Maybe the story hides a secret so valuable that it was worth protecting.

Elucidating the Eleusinian Mysteries is one small element in Scott Reynolds Nelson’s new book, Oceans of Grain. It looks at the many, many ways in which wheat and human history intertwine, which he’s been working on for years. It was finally published on 22 February this year.

Two days later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

Today, what the story of Persephone is really about. And over the next three weeks, Scott Nelson and I will be talking about how wheat has influenced human affairs, as it is still doing today.

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Support this podcast: on Patreon

I’ve fallen way behind on making my listen posts public and hope to remedy the issue, particularly for the better podcasts I listen to. What better way to start than a new short series in Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent Eat This Podcast?
Listened to Episode 2 - Zines! by This Is Altadena from This is Altadena (Podomatic)

What is a zine? The name "zine" is a shortened version of "fanzine" which is a portmanteau of the word "fan" and "magazine". Most people that think of zines think of punk rock and the punk community, where the DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos is more than just a slogan, it's a way of life. In truth, "zines" have been around for centuries, going back to Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet "Common Sense". These homemade publications can be about anything their creators desire - music, art, politics, or something personal. Chloe Cavelier sits down for a conversation with library staffer and resident zine expert Alice Wynne to discuss the past, present and future of zines and Altadena Public Library's very own zine collection. Later Chloe speaks with Bob Lucas Branch manager Diana Wong to discuss Bob's new and improved demonstration garden. Subscribe to This Is Altadena at any and all of the places you get podcasts including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

I got a copy of the library’s zine last Friday. This is such a cool project. They’ve reached out to me briefly as a steward of a Little Free Library, but I’ll have to stop in and pick up a few copies to have in my library.
 
I’d like to join the next session to see what I might add to help people bring their zines into online spaces as well. I see a lot of overlap here with some of my work with the IndieWeb.

 

Listened to Episode 1 - The Legacy and Art of Charles White by This is Altadena from This is Altadena (Podomatic)

Welcome to This Is Altadena, a podcast hosted by the Altadena Libraries, celebrating people’s life experiences and stories, and the hidden histories of Altadena, California. In our inaugural episode, we look at the life and times of Altadena legend, artist Charles White. Library staffer Chloe Cavelier sat down with community members Veronica Jones, Keni Arts, and Eugene Hutchins for 3 in-depth conversations about Charles White, his art and legacy, and his ties to our thriving local art community. Then later, our own Aaron Kimbrell chats with resident Teen Librarian Isabelle Briggs about the amazing programs and services offered in the teen department here at the Altadena Library District. For more about Charles White, don't hesitate to reach out to the Altadena Library: https://www.altadenalibrary.org For more about Keni Arts, visit his website: https://keniarts.com

This podcast is simply awesome! It makes me proud to be a resident of Altadena, CA. Can’t wait to see what they continue to come up with.
Listened to You Missed a Spot from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Revealing Zello's role in last week's riot, making a case for deplatforming, and exploring the idea of responsible social media. 

Evidence shows that insurrectionists used the walkie-talkie app Zello to help organize the riot at the capitol. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the platform has resisted oversight, despite warnings that it was enabling right-wing extremism. Plus, how to sniff out the real corporate boycotts from the PR facades. And, how to build social media that doesn't exploit users for profit.

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in last week's insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], writer for Platformer, on why this wave of social media scrubbing might not be such a bad thing. Listen.

3. Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid], professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, and Americus Reed II [@amreed2], professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business, on the true costs of corporate boycotts. Listen.

4. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how to build digital spaces that do not monetize our social activity or spy on us for profit. Listen.

Music from the show:
Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar
The Hammer of Loss — John Zorn — A Vision in Blakelight
Hard Times — Nashville Sessions — Songs of the Civil War
What’s that Sound? — Michael Andrews
In the Bath — Randy Newman
Boy Moves the Sun — Michael Andrews
Ain’t Misbehavin’ — Hank Jones

Listened to How the School Transmission Conversation Became So Muddled from On the Media | WNYC Studios

Coronavirus spreads in schools. Just like it spreads everywhere else.

Over the past 10 months, debates have raged over how to keep the coronavirus in check. What to open? What to close? Where does the virus spread, and where are we relatively safe? Through it all, one kind of space in particular has been the subject of vigorous debate — and, starting a few months into the virus, a kind of unexpected conventional wisdom emerged: that schools were relatively safe. In the midst of the darkness, it brought some welcome light: kids are safe! They can go to school! While other institutions closed, countries around the world — particularly in Europe and the UK — kept their schools open.

And yet, in response to rising rates and a new, more contagious variant, many of those same countries have since closed their school doors. It turns out that, if you believe the epidemiologists, schools do, in fact, bring risk of transmission. How could we ever have thought otherwise? Rachel Cohen has been covering the debates around school closings and openings, most recently at The Intercept. In this week's podcast extra, she tells Brooke about how the school transmission narrative has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, and how our understanding of the issue came to be so muddled.