I won!

Oh, no, I only came in second.

Through the transom today (blocked, actually, by my ISP’s glitchy spam filters):

FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT.
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD.
BATCH NUMBER: FB-0281/544
SERIAL NUMBER: 99352748-2020
TICKET NUMBER: FB-172-60
CATEGORY: 2ND

The entire Facebook team are very happy to inform you that your name appeared on the FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY and we are giving out the total sum of US$2,000,000.00 (Two Million UNITED STATE DOLLARS) which is what you have just won.

Your name was selected in a raffle that was made for the FACEBOOK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY for the year 2020 with the lucky number (FB-225-7736) so we need your fast response so that we can proceed with the claim process of your winnings.

Your name was selected by Mr Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook (Founder & Chief Executive Officer ). The promotion was made to make all Facebook users to benefit from the profit the company made while they use Facebook, Facebook is the first and ever largest means of meeting both old and new friends, the promo was done to serve as a means of appreciation to visitors on our site and also to help people to fight off poverty and to maintain a good standard of living, kindly contact Mr. Thomas Charles the Facebook Promo Coordinator and appointed as your claims officer via this email ([REDACTED]) immediately with the following information about you below:

Full Name:
Residential Address:
Private Mobile Number:
Date Of Birth
Occupation:

As soon as he gets your email with all the information stated above he will tell you on what next to do as regards the claiming and receiving of your winnings of US$2,000,000.00

Congratulations to you again on your winnings in the Facebook Promo 2020, we do hope you be among the lucky winners of the 2021 Lottery

Note: For security reasons and due to the mix-up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this notification strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by non-participants of this program. BE WARNED

FACEBOOK COMPANY
LOTTERY DEPARTMENT

Oops, sorry about not keeping “this notification strictly from public notice…”

I love how the winning ticket number in the header doesn’t match the one in the body.

Does this mean that I have to sign up for Facebook now?

Leachate

Richard Sullivan checks in at Freshkills Park, formerly the site of New York’s Fresh Kills landfill.

While the following graf is somewhat alarming,

Freshkills is possibly the least likely poster child for urban ecological restoration in the world, and it is radical not just for the way it works — by encouraging flora and fauna do as they please — but for its sheer size. It is almost unbelievable that New York City would set aside a parcel of land as big as Lower Manhattan south of 23rd Street — and just let it go to seed.

Sullivan reports that biodiversity is making progress:

Back in 2015, I was teaching a science seminar at CUNY’s Macaulay College when I visited Freshkills along with hundreds of sophomores, all of us part of a bioblitz, an invasion of citizen scientists who in this case documented Freshkills’ growing list of flora and fauna: bats skittering past the methane recovery stations, herons wading in the murky trash-bottomed tidal streams. My first trip in 2001 was marked by sightings of mostly gulls; that weekend, our group reported 314 species in North Park’s 233 acres. Our bioblitz team was said to be the first to spot a blackjack oak tree on Staten Island, formerly a resident exclusively of the south, now showing up in New York as New York warms.

* * *

Meanwhile, newly planted grasses in Freshkills have attracted a steady population of birds, including the largest colony of grasshopper sparrows in New York State.

Nevertheless, when Freshkills opens to the public,

I’ll also think of the new Amazon fulfillment center nearby that’s standing on what could have been restored wetlands, another sad trade-off.

Patchy

John Logan, “The labor-busting law firms and consultants that keep Google, Amazon and other workplaces union-free”.

A lack of effective federal reporting requirements means there isn’t a lot of data on this union-busting industry. We do know that a lot of companies are using it.

According to a Cornell labor expert, about 75% of all U.S. employers have engaged the services of a consultant or law firm to stymie efforts by workers to organize – and are spending an estimated US$340 million a year to do so.

The Labor Relations Institute, which has offered clients a money-back guarantee that it could prevent unionization, makes an appearance in the film American Factory.

Cue the barky laugh

“I’ve been working on a podcast for the last year and trying to learn everything I can learn about that form of storytelling, as a matter of history, so, if I’m out walking, I listen. Though, to be fair, this started a long time ago when someone gave me an iShuffle or whatever that thing was called, that thing you wore around your neck on a lanyard, and I was teaching Tristram Shandy that semester so I ordered the audiobook and then, by mistake, I listened to the whole thing on shuffle play. Without realizing it. Only later did I come to understand this is what Sterne wanted! In 1767!”

Hyperdisease

Our (MacPhee and Preston Marx) hypothesis gained some credence from well examined instances of widespread population collapses due to disease in the modern era, such as the rinderpest epizootic in eastern Africa in the 1890s, which attacked most of the region’s native even-toed ungulates and caused appalling mortality. Some species were very seriously affected, with one subspecies of hartebeest disappearing in the early twentieth century in possible correlation with the disease’s outbreak. A more recent example of a disease-induced disaster was the die-off of more than 80 percent of the central Asiatic wild herd of saiga antelope (Saiga tartarica …) in 2015-2016 from hemorrhagic septicemia, or blood poisoning due to bacterial infection. There are still other examples of almost unbelievable mortality in wild animals within breathtakingly short intervals, all of which underlines the fact that there is really nothing in ordinary nature that can bring down the standing crop of a species as quickly as emerging infectious diseases.

Ross D. E. MacPhee, End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals (2018), pp. 181-182

Environmental fastid?

This week’s winner of the clumsy spam scam:

RE. YOUR FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES.

I AM MR. STEPHEN CROCKARD. HEAD INTERNATIONAL POLICE(INTERPOL) UK}.
THIS ORGANIZATION IS SET UP TO FIGHT AGAINST,CORRUPTION,CRIME AGAINST
CHILDREN,CYBERCRIME,DRUGS,ENVIRONMENTAL FASTID,FINANCIAL CRIME,
FUGITIVES,MARITIME PIRACY,ORGANIZED CRIME,PEOPLE
SMUGGLING,PHARMACEUTICAL CRIME, TERRORISM,TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN
BEINGS,TRAFFICKING IN ILLICIT GOODS,VEHICLE CRIME, WANTED PERSON,WAR
CRIME,WEAPON, WORKS OF ART ETC IN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY.

That stray “}” just melts my heart. And who knew that Interpol was investigating works of art?

Breath and light

The play, as seen from the side, seemed to have little to do with her. She watched it, the way you watch an oncoming train, wondering if it will stop at a far platform—and suddenly you realise it is coming straight at you. There was no avoiding this thing. She would have to step into it, a kind of collision in time. The play was alive. It was made of air, with rules of iron. It was a marvel, and when it was over you were also Marvelous, Darling.

—Anne Enright, Actress, p. 50

But we disagree about “e-mail”

Anne Fadiman, of my generation and fellow sentence-diagrammer, distinguishes the nonbinary they and the generic singular they and makes a persuasive case for both.

My students endorse the singular they not because they’re snowflakes but because they’re activists. The nonbinary they appeals to them because even if they’re not nonbinary themselves, they wish to support those who are; the generic they appeals to them because they wish to be inclusive: Why would you say “If someone has a question, he or she should stand up” when there might be a they in the room?

EPIC

[Clem] Whitaker and [Leone] Baxter won nearly every [political] campaign they waged…. Every campaign needs a theme. Keep it simple. Rhyming’s good (“For Jimmy and me, vote ‘yes’ on 3.”) Never explain anything. “The more you have to explain,” Whitaker said, “the more difficult it is to win support.” Say the same thing over and over again. “We assume we have to get a voter’s attention seven times to make a sale,” Whitaker said. Subtlety is your enemy, “Words that lean on the mind are no good,” according to Baxter. “They must dent it.” Simplify, simplify, simplify. “A wall goes up,” Whitaker warned, “when you try to make Mr. and Mrs. Average American citizen work or think.”

—Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States (2018), p. 451

One of the first efforts by Whitaker and Baxter’s Campaigns, Inc. was to defeat Sinclair Lewis’s bid to be elected governor of California in 1934.