inspiration & news

In the News 18.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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Photo by dear laura

Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z

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Hear the word “millennial,” and plenty of images spring to mind. There’s Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, in his hoodie, earning his first billion by the age of 23. There’s Miley Cyrus, preening for the cameras in a flesh­baring act that recalls a Snapchat sexting session. There’s Lena Dunham, TV’s queen of overshare, spiraling into navelgazing soliloquies that seem scripted from the therapist’s couch. They’re brash, they’re narcissistic, they’re entitled. Or so the cliché goes. But what about “Generation Z,” the generation born after millennials that is emerging as the next big thing for market researchers, cultural observers and trend forecasters? With the oldest members of this cohort barely out of high school, these tweens and teens of today are primed to become the dominant youth influencers of tomorrow. Flush with billions in spending power, they promise untold riches to marketers who can find the master key to their psyche.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

The Hound of Basketville: On Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Detective Novel

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From one perspective, the century-long transfer of prestige from intellectual culture to physical culture that created the modern sports-entertainment complex is an inevitable and arguably even healthy response to the alienation from the body that’s a more or less inescapable feature of mechanized modern life; from another, it’s just kind of sick and sad, an elevation of our most animalistic qualities — muscle, speed, aggression, force — over the intelligence and creativity once thought to distinguish humanity at its finest. When you spend your days in floating fluorescent cubicles staring at glowing screens, it’s maybe only natural that you would want those screens to have bodies on them; on the other hand, a society that considers Tom Brady a more significant cultural figure than just about any artist, scientist, philosopher, or poet is pretty obviously hell-bent on going down a perilous cul-de-sac. Mozart wrote the Jupiter symphony, but this guy — he flings oblong balls through space! But then, unless you’re going to front like you’re not eight matrices deep in your own private dreamworld of electronic representations, maybe it’s good just to have a way to experience space?

As someone who often writes about sports, I feel caught, a lot of the time, between imaginative optimism and materialist nihilism, and I am not saying this to sound fancy but because it reflects an actual crisis in the way I think about my job. That is, I try to find what’s beautiful and interesting and strange in what I myself am all too ready to view as dumb interactions of matter. In doing so, am I helping to lift meaning out of a universe that’s hostile to it, or am I serving as a propagandist for the thing that’s killing thinking? I don’t always know, and it scares me. Most of the time, I can convince myself that there’s value in this. Other times, I meet someone who actually cares whether the Cowboys win on Sunday, not “cares” in the way you care about something you’ve semi-arbitrarily decided to invest emotional energy in to make your life more exciting, but actually cares in the way you care whether your family is fed and the war is postponed till next week. At those times, I feel despair, and I think about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Read the rest of this article at Grantland

Is another human living inside you?

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Once upon a time, your origins were easy to understand. Your dad met your mum, they had some fun, and from a tiny fertilised egg you emerged kicking and screaming into the world. You are half your mum, half your dad – and 100% yourself.

Except, that simple tale has now become a lot more complicated. Besides your genes from parents, you are a mosaic of viruses, bacteria – and potentially, other humans. Indeed, if you are a twin, you are particularly likely to be carrying bits of your sibling within your body and brain. Stranger still, they may be influencing how you act.

Read the rest of this article at The BBC

Why We Should Welcome Migrants

I love seeing Europeans line up in airports to applaud arriving refugees. But humanitarianism will not guide policy for long. We liberals need to argue from Europe’s self-interest: our continent has the need, the space and the ability to accept people. Here’s the pragmatic manifesto for welcoming refugees into Europe.

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Read the rest of this article at The Financial Times

Caitlyn Jenner and Our Cognitive Dissonance

While biology shows us gender can be fluid, our brains struggle to see it that way.

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Somewhere in the middle of the night in a Central African rainforest, a chimpanzee gives birth. Soon after, as the sun rises, mother and newborn sit there, dazed, amid a coffee klatch of friends and relatives. Inevitably, at some point, virtually every member of the group will come over, pull the kid’s legs apart and sniff: Boy or girl?

It’s the most binary question in biology, producing an answer that is set in stone. But in reality the binary nature of gender isn’t all that binary after all. Biologists have long known about exceptions to the boring, staid notion that organisms are, and remain, either female or male. Now our culture is inching toward recognizing that the permanent, cleanly binary nature of gender is incorrect.

In fact, it’s headline news. Bruce Jenner, a male gold medalist in the 1976 Olympics and a cover boy on a Wheaties box, is now Caitlyn Jenner, a 2015 cover girl on Vanity Fair. Laverne Cox, a transgender actor, is nominated for an Emmy for outstanding actress. America has seen openly transgendered individuals serve as a mayor, state legislator, judge, police officer, a model for a global cosmetics brand, and a high school homecoming queen. Even amid the appallingly high rates of discrimination and violence against the transgendered, there is a growing recognition that gender designation need not be permanent.

Read the rest of this article at Nautilus

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.