Episode 250 – The One Where We Learned About Books, Bleach, & Bidets

Aug 23, 2019

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In This Week’s Show, episode 250, we’ll start in a flourishing age of patronage and reason, then end in a flushing of American populist rationalization.

Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while St. Timothy (the patron saint of stomach ailments) hasn’t struck us down yet, we are trying his patience!

Shea’s Life Lesson

Eat more fiber…

Jenn’s Actual Lesson

Did you know that the collective genome of all the bacteria living in your gut is at least 150 times larger than your own genome?

But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!

This Week’s Beer

Mural Agua Fresca by New Belgium collab with Cerveceria Primus, Mexico City

BA Link: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/335648/

  • BA Rating: 3.52/5
  • Style:  Fruit and Field Beer
  • ABV: 4%
  • Aaron: 5
  • Jenn: 5
  • Steve: 6

This Week’s Show

Round Table Discussion

Big News!

We have an address to send us beer again! Beer donations can be sent attn: Big Gay Jim to the Bear Bottom Bar & Grill. Check out the show notes and/or https://BearBottom307.com for an address.

You should really just check out https://bearbottom307.com anyway.

Big thanks to Big Gay Jim and Hubby for letting us use their location for beer donations, which, we’re actually kind of in need of. The last of the donations have gone pretty quickly so if you were thinking of supporting the show and patreon.com/w4w sounds too much like sending us money, you can send us beer instead!

Dum Dum Followup again: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/08/14/flat-earthers-homemade-rocket-grounded-due-to-bad-craigslist-water-heater/

Headlines Hotshots

Patreon Publishing

No, it’s not actually about Patreon… thank the powers…

  • https://anticastamperiaarmena.com
  • http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190708-the-city-that-launched-the-publishing-industry

Since we’re talking about education today – or lack thereof – I thought it might be interesting to dive into some of the earliest ways information of stored. I’m not going to go so far as cave paintings but instead will focus on the earliest printed books.

Germany is often considered the birthplace of publishing because of Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the movable type printing press in the mid-15th century – not to be confused with WordPress’s homage-named movable block editor which is decidedly less revolutionary. But we’re going to gloss over Johannes as well and move straight to Venetian bookbinders.

The modern Antica Stamperia Amena is dedicated to the preservation of artisan bookmaking. Paolo Olbi is a craftsman there.

Located in Dorsoduro neighborhood of Venice in an 18th-century building built for the Zenobio family the Antica is now owned and operated by the Armenian Mekhitarist (mecha-tourist) Fathers of Venice (an Armenian Catholic congregation).

“Since typographic art arrived in Venice in 1469, [the printing industry] underwent an extraordinarily large development because of the features of the lagoon city,” explained Federica Benedetti, a librarian at the Marciana National Library of Venice, one of Italy’s oldest surviving public libraries. “[Venice was] the main naval force in the Mediterranean Sea – it was in the centre of a thick net of commercial relations with the greatest European and non-European powers. Merchants and artisans [brought over] technological innovations and capital.”

Thanks to the cities dominance in trade Venice quickly became a hub of publishing and print trade. Perhaps most important was the notion of the freedom of the press. At the time, Venice was such a powerful hub of commerce that even Rome and the Catholic Church were unable to censor it.

Vince was, essentially, the Spacing Guild of its day.

“Printers came here because [we] had freedom of [the] press,” Olbi said. “[Venice] was a Republic, not a Signoria [a government run by a lord].”

One of these printers was Aldus Manutius (man-utes-use-a), a humanist and a trained scholar of Greek and Latin classics. Manutius moved to Venice in 1490. Like other scholars, artists and intellectuals, he was attracted by the city’s relative liberty and inspired by the potential of an intellectual renaissance away from the Church’s restrictive grip.

In 1495 he printed his first book, the Erotemata (eh-luta-mata) by Constaine Lascaris. It was, basically, a book of Greek grammar.

Manutius (man-utes-use-a) embarked on “an ambitious publishing-educational programme to disseminate and protect the classic Greek and Latin culture,” according to Benedetti.

He pioneered the ‘formato in ottavo’ for his classics editions – the printing of small, portable books that measured one eighth of the initial sheet of paper from which they were cut. Predecessors of today’s paperbacks, they were easy to carry around and more affordable to buy. “He was a very entrepreneurial man,” Olbi said. “For us it might be [nothing], but for the epoch that was used to extremely large and heavy books, it was a significant development.”

While most of his fellow publishers continued to use the Gutenberg-popularised Gothic type, the Aldine Press began to print in ‘aldino’. Widely known today as italics because it was invented in Italy by an Italian, this new font was created by Francesco Griffo, a punch cutter who worked with Manutius (man-utes-use-a). So you have the Italians to thank whenever I embed a pun in the show notes. In a nutshell, he needed smaller, more condensed lettering to make Greek texts easier to read, especially on his smaller pages.

At the time, Venice was the heart of Italian publishing. It produced a little more than half of all books at the time. Some 250 publishers printed at least 25,000 editions in the 15th and 16th centuries. And because of their ability to print smaller, cheaper, and more accessible books, literacy flourished – much to the chagrin of the Church.

Armenian Mekhitarist (mecha-tourist) Congregation, whose monastery on the island of San Lazzaro became home to one of Venice’s most important printing houses and was instrumental in the printing revolution. So it’s fitting they now oversee Olbi and his workshop. At 81, Olbi is one of Venice’s most famous bookbinders and the only one with his own printing press. For more than 50 years he’s been working with paper, making hand-bound notebooks, leather-embossed photo albums and hand-printed diaries.

“The most beautiful things are made by hand.”

If you want to know more about Olbi there’s a link in the show notes. He’s trained over 100 book-binders in his career and is currently training two apprentices to take over when he can no longer work. Despite a lack of funding, the acqua alta (Venetian high-tide) which causes many problems for his ground-level paper shop, and the mass-marketed, trinket and souvenir shop nature of modern Venice, which he blames on his generations desperate attempts to make Venice a thriving port-city again, he’s managed to bring bookbinding back into the forefront of Venice’s heritage areas.

This Week’s Stories

Inna Godda I don’ta trusta

Well, okay folks. Since I have the short attention span of a small child or perhaps a goldfish on crack and couldn’t decide on a single topic to focus on, we’re reverting to our esteemed past with a stories show. The major difference is that I’ll be taking all of the stories rather than giving you a break and allowing my co-hosts to contribute stories of their own. It’s my show and I’ll show it as I choose to damnit. With that said, let’s get right into it, shall we?

I want to kick it off with an uplifting story of a douchey white guy, in this case, Kentucky State Rep. Brandon Reed, a Republican minister from Hodgenville, who pushed through a Kentucky law requiring all schools to prominently display “In god we trust”. That’s not the uplifting part though, as I think we can all agree. It’s fucking moronic, excludes those of differing beliefs, and generally goes against what the country was founded upon.

The actually uplifting part of the story is that Lexington, Kentucky’s Fayette County Public Schools chose to comply with the letter of the law, just as they were mandated to do, but in the best way possible. Rather than creating non-inclusive signage to comply, they simply framed oversized images of the back of one dollar bills and placed them in the schools. The signs are compliant since the back of the US one dollar bill has “In God We Trust” just above the word “ONE”.

The dipshit Reed, who sponsored the bill is not happy, which makes me even more happy, saying, “It is extremely disappointing to see Fayette County Public Schools spend time searching for silly loopholes to a law that passed with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans…” Okay, I could go on a rant about how this fucking mental midget just doesn’t get it, or if he does, panders to his constituents regarding the state sponsorship of religion, but that would just be a waste of time at this point. What I’d rather do is congratulate the school district for making the creative effort to comply with stupidity while also making a genuine effort to be inclusive of all those who have to spend their time within the walls of their buildings.

I’d like to wrap up this story with a bit about how American Atheists are attempting to help the rest of the Kentucky schools do the right thing too. They’ve created a historically accurate poster available for free to anyone who wants one which features a short history lesson of the nature of our nation’s motto which says the following:

  • In 1956, at the height of the Cold War, Congress passed a law declaring In God We Trust the national motto of the United States in order to distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union. This replaced the traditional motto of the United States, first adopted by Congress in 1782: E Pluribus Unum, Latin for “Out of many, one”

This sign complies with the letter of the Kentucky law by having In God We Trust prominently displayed, but it is much smaller than E Pluribus Unum.

Now we can wait for a followup when the fuck heads of the Kentucky legislature mandate that all of the in god we trust signs be six foot wide and embossed gold foil on parchment and placed directly in front of the main entrance.

  • https://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article233993192.html?fbclid=IwAR0ZAqF7975ctsP5gxBEYEhmg-zog8o88EckZB9eQH-sZDzrZcFBGV5IbkU
  • https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/08/15/atheist-group-wants-to-help-other-ky-schools-sidestep-the-in-god-we-trust-law/
  • Original Motto Protect https://originalmotto.us
  • Secular Yakking: https://secularyakking.podbean.com/

Bleach is not a vitamin

Just in case you were starting to begin to possibly consider the slight chance that the world is getting a bit better, let me sock that wind right out of your sails. The simple fact is that stupid appears to be winning. Big case in point is the US Food and Drug Administration warning again last week that drinking bleach is dangerous, potentially life-threatening, and you should not do it. Well, fuck. How am I supposed to spend my weekends and medicate my children? What if they caught the autisms? Now what?

Those of us, apparently in the minority, who aren’t idiots think to ourselves, “What the fuck are people thinking?”. I’m becoming more and more convinced that thinking people are quickly becoming outnumbered by those who just believe whatever they see online, completely lacking what used to be known as common sense. (aaron-so rare it’s practically a super power) In the last 10 or so years, there has been a rise in unscrupulous online vendors who market “miracle” bleach concoctions, claiming that they can cure everything from AIDS to hepatitis to hair loss. More scary yet are those who are using chlorine dioxide “treatments” in order to attempt to “cure” their children of autism, a condition that isn’t curable since it’s innate to the person’s being, much like their sexual expression, or their left-handedness. People have such an urge to “cure” their children’s other-ness that they seriously would risk the kid’s life vs just learning to deal with the situation.

Poison control centers across the US have seen over 16,500 cases involving chlorine dioxide since just 2014, with about 2500 under the age of 12, over 2100 showing serious side effects with 50 of those, life-threatening and eight deaths. The problem is that those who are prone to believing the word of charlatans are generally the same people who aren’t swayed by statistics (fuck math). These are folks who believe in anecdote as science, in exception as a rule, and goddamnit, homeopathy is medicine.

The origins of using chlorine dioxide which is a mix of sodium chlorite and an acid activator such as citric acid, begin with Jim Humble. This former scientologist claimed he’d used it to heal a case of malaria while in South America. He went on to create a religion devoted to the substance and called it… wait for it… Miracle Mineral Solution, claiming it would cure pretty much anything. This was picked up by a Chicago real estate agent named Kerri Rivera, who brought the snake oil to the autism community with her book, “Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism.” She, of course, has no credentials having anything whatsoever to do with medicine or healing anything other than homelessness. She claims a degree in homeopathy, which at least wouldn’t be actively damaging, and that she “works with MDs and PhD scientists.” She now has a line of supplements and a consultation business to “treat” autistic children while she travels the autism cure circuit. She has a “clinic” in Mexico and claims to have cured over 500 children. Holy horseshit!

There are some who are trying to improve the situation though. Melissa Eaton and Amanda Seigler from North Carolina and Florida respectively are a couple of moms who have spent much of their free time infiltrating more than a dozen private Facebook groups for parents of autistic children. Feeling that someone should do something about ignorant fuckwits who are poisoning children, they disguise themselves as parents looking for answers about their kid’s autism, and once they gain admittance, they take screenshots of posts from parents who describe giving their kids “treatments”. They will then research the identity of these people and alert local child Protective Services, which they’ve done over 100 times since 2016.

Another person fighting the good fight is Emma Dalmayne. She is autistic herself and is a loud disability rights champion from London. She has autistic children and was the inspiration for Seigler and Eaton. After she wrote a series of articles published by the Daily Mirror, Facebook in 2018 closed several of Kerri Rivera pages and groups (who naturally went on to open new groups with more carefully vetted members). More recently Amazon banned her book as well as another similar one. Then days later, YouTube began deleting her videos and channels.

I know this feels like trying to blow out a forest fire with a soda straw, but I sincerely hope these efforts continue and cuts the legs off of just a bit more of the dangerous stupid in the world.

  • https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/08/the-fda-warns-not-to-drink-bleach-in-case-you-needed-that-reminder/
  • https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/moms-go-undercover-fight-fake-autism-cures-private-facebook-groups-n1007871
  • Jenn’s Bleach Story: https://www.waiting4wrath.com/w4w-183

Next Week’s Beer

Breaking Bud by Knee Deep Brewing Company

Donated By: Aaron

Faith In Humanity Restored

Jenn’s local news

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