• Here’s one more reason to quit Facebook. The company, which now calls itself Meta, banned its employees from discussing the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade openly. New York Times reporters Mike Isaac and Ryan Mac broke the story:

In the May 12 memo, which was obtained by The New York Times, Meta said that “discussing abortion openly at work has a heightened risk of creating a hostile work environment,” so it had taken “the position that we would not allow open discussion.”

The policy has led to frustration and anger, the people said. On Friday, some contacted colleagues and managers to express their dissent with the company’s stance. Managers were advised to be empathetic but neutral on the topic, while messages that violated the policy in team chats were removed, two people said. In the past, Meta employees often used internal communication forums to discuss sociopolitical issues and current events.

  • Important words on the overturning of Roe v. Wade from the perspective of a Native American woman:
  • On the bright side, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as a US Supreme Court justice today:
  • The current financial crisis birthed the new term “Skimpflation.” What is it, exactly? Edward Helmore of the Guardian offers this explanation:

It’s a simple in concept – struggling with shortages of workers and goods, companies are skimping on what they offer consumers while, in many cases, charging the same price or more for that service.

But skimpflation may have profound consequences, and may even go some way to account for the rising tide of consumer dissatisfaction seen in increasing air rage incidents and even the Biden administration’s plummeting poll numbers.

  • If you think that democracy was invented by the Ancient Greeks, think again because a new study found that jackdaws cast a vote on when to take flight together. BBC reporter Georgina Rannard writes:

“When a bird calls, it’s casting a vote or signalling it wants to leave,” Prof Thornton explains. The collective decision to depart then rests on two things.

The first is noise volume and the second is the crescendo or how rapidly the noise levels increase.

Once the birds reach consensus, the roost of thousands launches from the tree within five seconds on average, forming one of the famous winter UK spectacles.

When the noise levels rise more rapidly, the roost leaves earlier, the researchers say.

  • Stealing French bulldogs, sometimes at gunpoint, is apparently a thing now. Thomas Fuller reports for the New York Times:

With their perky ears, their please-pick-me-up-and-cradle-me gaze and their short-legged crocodile waddle, French bulldogs have become the “it” dog for influencers, pop stars and professional athletes. Loyal companions in the work-from-home era, French bulldogs seem always poised for an Instagram upload. They are now the second-most-popular dog breed in the United States after Labrador retrievers.

Some are also being violently stolen from their owners. Over the past year, thefts of French bulldogs have been reported in MiamiNew YorkChicagoHouston and — especially, it seems — across California. Often, the dogs are taken at gunpoint. In perhaps the most notorious robbery, Lady Gaga’s two French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, were ripped from the hands of her dog walker, who was struck, choked and shot in last year’s attack on a Los Angeles sidewalk.

The price of owning a Frenchie has for years been punishing to the household budget — puppies typically sell for $4,000 to $6,000 but can go for multiples more if they are one of the new, trendy varieties. Yet owning a French bulldog increasingly comes with nonmonetary costs, too: The paranoia of a thief reaching over a garden fence. The hypervigilance while walking one’s dog after reading about the latest abduction.

  • Kevin Ford worked for Burger King for 27 years and never missed a day of work. How did management reward him for his loyalty? They gifted him a goodie bag which includes a Starbucks reusable mug, a bag of Reese’s candy, pens, lanyards, and other ridiculously cheap items. A video the 54-year-old posted online to humbly appreciate the gifts went viral with many people criticizing Burger King for its insulting gifts. But some did more than just leave sarcastic comments and set up a GoFundMe for Ford, raising over $270,000. So it’s a happy end, I guess.
  • Oh no, it finally happened: The first case of cat-to-human COVID-19 transmission was reported in Thailand. Smriti Mallapaty writes for nature magazine:

Researchers say the results are convincing. They are surprised that it has taken this long to establish that transmission can occur, given the scale of the pandemic, the virus’s ability to jump between animal species, and the close contact between cats and people. “We’ve known this was a possibility for two years,” says Angela Bosco-Lauth, an infectious-disease researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

  • The town of Hayle in southern England provided a blank wall for graffiti artists “to express themselves,” according to the BBC. Good on them.
  • And finally, look at the beautiful shell of this tortoise, which belongs to an endangered species in Madagascar:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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Kimetha Vanderveen’s paintings are about the interaction of materiality and light, the bond between the palpable and ephemeral world in which we live.

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...