Welcome to the 156th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of the perennially virid online writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. This newsletter comes to you as always from the waterproof keyboard of the editor of The New Leaf Journal, Nicholas A. Ferrell. I had a bit more non-New Leaf Journal work than expected last week, but I still managed to produce a respectable number of new articles. Below, you will find our usual weekly recap accompanied by links from around the web and other news and notes.
I was somewhat surprised to discover that I published five new articles since mailing the previous newsletter.
I added a large number of articles to my around the web list, so we will go with 18 links from around the web this week. I will experiment with putting the links in sections.
High-Level Iranian Spy Ring Busted in Washington
Lee Smith for Tablet Magazine. October 2, 2023.
Certainly of concern.
America's border war has begun: TODD BENSMAN's dramatic eyewitness report on Texas' invasion of a Mexican cartel island crawling with gang members and ringed with sniper nests... and it's all happening INSIDE the U.S.
Todd Bensman for Daily Mail. October 5, 2023.
These Daily Mail headlines always make it hard to add anything.
Why Is America Still Flying the A-10 Warthog, a Cold War Relic?
Daniel Nasaw for The Wall Street Journal. April 13, 2023.
Warthog: Oh yeah Wall Street Journal, maybe YOU'RE the "Cold War relic."
UN Security Council approves Haiti security mission led by Kenya
Peter Weber for The Week. October 2, 2023.
File this away in "things that can only end well."
Does Ankara attack mark strategy shift for Turkey's PKK?
Amberin Zaman for Al Monitor. October 2, 2023.
The Belarus-Russia Alliance: An Axis of Autocracy in Eastern Europe
Jonathan Masters for Council on Foreign Relations. September 27, 2023.
I think the Belarusian President might be flattered by the headline.
Who Was Peter J. Ortiz, the American Spy Who Surrendered to the Nazis to Save Civilians?
Katie Sanders and Nick Reynolds for Smithsonian Magazine. April 19, 2023.
He lived an interesting life (understatement of the newsletter).
Ancient necropolis from 2,000 years ago unearthed next to Paris train station
AFP. April 19, 2023.
A neat, not entirely unexpected, discovery in Paris.
Photographs of the Los Angeles Alligator Farm (ca. 1907)
Public Domain Review. May 11, 2023.
"The lack of regulations for the safety of captive animals, staff, or visitors allowed for a level of casual proximity with adult alligators that would be unthinkable today." (You can tell the author doesn't play golf in Florida.)
The WordPress “Zombie” Plugins Pandemic Affects 1.6M+ Websites
Patchstack. August 25, 2023.
I have seen at least one plugin in the official WordPress repository that has not been updated in 16 years.
Jenny’s Daily Drivers: Raspberry Pi Desktop
Jenny List at Hackaday. September 5, 2023.
I'd sooner recommend Bodhi Linux for the sort of device used for the experiment in the article.
Tax Filing Websites Have Been Sending Users’ Financial Information to Facebook
Simon Fondrie-Teitler, Angie Waller, and Collin Lecher for The Markup. November 22, 2023.
Ethics at their finest.
Adorable Squirrel Portraits Show Their Unexpected Side
Sara Barnes for My Modern Met. June 19, 2023.
A voluntary outdoor squirrel photo studio.
Sea Lampreys, Long Reviled, Are Finally Getting Some Respect
Ted Williams at Yale Environment 360. May 15, 2023.
The cover photo for the article illustrates why this has been a difficult sell.
Estanque de los Chinescos (Chinese Pond) in Aranjuez, Spain
Atlas Obscura. May 19, 2023.
An 18th century pond and garden in Spain drawing inspiration from China and classical Greece.
The Origins of NYC's Famous Egg Cream and Where to Find One
Rebecca Olshan for Untapped New York. July 6, 2023.
I never had an egg cream but at least I now know where to find one.
Testing my site on obscure browsers - Part 1 - Litebrowser
Yukinu. July 6, 2022.
I never heard of Litebrowser so I will concur that it is obscure.
Manuel Moreale. May 26, 2023.
It is a good post. However, it is about search engines and AI, not answering machines.
Let's check in on our archives...
An Essay on Productivity, Production, and Productive Leisure
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 24, 2021.
Inspired my new essay on productivity.
Halloween and the Pumpkin with a Mask
Nicholas A. Ferrell. October 23, 2020.
Wearing the mask around its arms (arms?).
Ghostwriter Markdown Editor Review
Nicholas A. Ferrell. October 7, 2021.
I am writing this newsletter in Ghostwriter. My positive 2021 review has aged well.
American Beauty Pasta Mural in Brooklyn
Nicholas A. Ferrell. October 13, 2022.
I saw it today. It looks the same as it did last year so it is still hanging in there.
The Bees of October
Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 6, 2020.
I saw a butterfly yesterday (October 6). That may have been more unexpected than the bee. It was flying too fast for a good photo.
The Quarantine Sessions: An Original Composition
Victor V. Gurbo. June 4, 2020.
Victor V. Gurbo on one of his many original songs (link to rendition included).
I list our most-read articles from the previous newsletter week (Friday to Saturday) in each edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. These statistics come courtesy of Koko Analytics, our local, privacy friendly page-counting solution (see my review). Below, I present the 5 most-visited articles for 2023 newsletter week 40. (Note: All stats are for 2023 only.)
Nothing ever goes right all at once. We are beginning to see some improvement with DuckDuckGo and Bing after being out of Bing's index for much of 2023. However, our Google hits have declined the last few weeks. Go figure.
As for the ranking itself, my Pokémon statistics study scored its second top placement after two near-misses subsequent to its first top placement. It also became the second (and potentially last) article to notch 30 weekly top fives in 2023, joining my tsuki ga kirei essay which made its 39th appearance of the year. The weekly runner up was 2022's Norton Safe Search review, which posted its best weekly-finish thus far. This also marked a rare week wherein there were no 2023 articles present in the ranking.
It is now possible to follow The New Leaf Journal directly via ActivityPub using your Mastodon account or similar ActivityPub based accounts (e.g., Pleroma, Misskey, Soapbox, etc.). This will allow you to see our newest articles in your social stream. I explained how this all works in one of this week's articles.
I came across an interesting resource for viewing individual Xs or X accounts (formerly known as Tweets and Twitter). While I do not do this often, there are times when you come across a link in an article and either do not have or do not want to use an X account. I previously used a browser extension called LibRedirect to automatically redirect Twitter (or X?) and Reddit links to privacy front-ends (see my reviews of ProxiTok and Neuters for a general understanding of how these work). One issue is that the privacy frontends often go up and down, and while LibRedirect is very configurable, it takes too much effort to prune instances for my use-case. Enter Twiiit, a small resource which redirects you to Nitter instances (Nitter is an X, formerly known as Twitter, front-end) that are actually online. My limited tests have been positive. I may write an article on this in the future.
Thank you as always for reading and following The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the content but are not already a regular reader, you can sign up for our Saturday newsletter via email or our our newsletter's RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. See the options here.
I look forward to reporting back to you next week.
Until October 14,
Cura ut valeas.