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In the News 26.01.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 26.01.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 26.01.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

The Genius Of Recognizing Genius

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I recently watched a documentary about Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend. Kobe grew up in my hometown, so I was aware of his superstar status earlier than most people. At his high school games, he looked like a man playing with boys. No one was surprised when he was drafted by the NBA in the first round, at the age of 17.

We expect genius to always look like that. When we see someone of extreme accomplishment, it is almost inconceivable that their special gifts weren’t always apparent, but they usually aren’t. To take just one famous example, Albert Einstein wasn’t even made a full professor until 1911, seven full years after his miracle year.

Read the rest of this article at Forbes

How China Conquered France’s Wine Country

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In 1996, Chinese premier Li Peng surprised his audience at the National People’s Congress by toasting the Ninth Five-Year Plan with red wine: “Drinking fruit wines is helpful to our health, does not waste grain, and is good for social ethics,” he announced. For China’s rapidly growing underclass, this gesture signaled a commitment to rein in the fraud and waste epitomized by party banquets, where officials were known to drink each other under the table with bottles of Moutai Flying Fairy and other spirits derived from grain. For the elites in question, it was an unmistakable signal that business as usual required a new currency. Within a few years, they were using bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild to gain favor and ease transactions.

As Suzanne Mustacich relates in Thirsty Dragon: China’s Lust for Bordeaux and the Threat to the World’s Best Wines, representatives from Bordeaux, France’s largest wine-growing region, saw Li’s endorsement as an invitation to “conquer” the Chinese wine market. It was a goal that they believed themselves uniquely positioned to accomplish. Bordeaux’s wines—such as Château Haut-Brion, Château Latour, and Château Cos d’Estournel—communicated luxury, and Bordeaux’s official classification system, which dates back to Napoleon, was easy to sell as a lengthy gift catalog “ratified by pomp and history.” Although Bordeaux’s 1855 Classification rules created for the Exposition Universelle de Paris in that year were never meant to be permanent, the rankings they generated were considered so successful that only a few changes have been made in the century and a half since. In Mustacich’s words, what began as a price list for visiting tourists became a “calling card” and “an immutable promotional tool” for businessmen seeking to introduce Bordeaux wines into new markets.

Read the rest of this article at New Republic

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Fourth Industrial Revolution Brings Promise and Peril for Humanity

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Until the spasm in the markets interfered, Davos 2016 was supposed to be about how humankind will cope in the new age of the smart machine. While share prices were gyrating, the bigger picture was obscured. There is a fourth industrial revolution happening and it is likely to be as profound in its effects as the previous three.

The first Industrial Revolution was about harnessing steam power so that muscle could be replaced by machines. The second was driven by electricity and a cluster of inventions from the late 19th century onwards – including the internal combustion engine, the aeroplane and moving pictures. A third revolution began in the 1960s and was based on digital technology, personal computing and the development of the internet. Industrial Revolution 4.0 will be shaped by a fresh wave of innovation in areas such as driverless cars, smart robotics, materials that are lighter and tougher, and a manufacturing process built around 3D printing.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

London’s Fashion Evolution

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JUST BEFORE LONDON’S September fashion week, the designer Erdem Moralioglu opened his first store on South Audley Street in Mayfair—a 2,000-square-foot space on two stories, complete with a Victorian fern garden; Alvar Aalto seating; art by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Jean Cocteau; and a harlequin-pattern marble floor. That same week, designer Simone Rocha opened her flagship on nearby Mount Street—the opposite side of town from grungier East London, where both live and work. These were just the latest advances by London-based designers including Roksanda Ilincic,Christopher Kane, Victoria Beckham and stiletto master Nicholas Kirkwood, all of whom recently established their first boutiques in their hometown. For these largely independent players, the expansion into brick-and-mortar is intensely personal. “I wanted the feel of a pied-à-terre,” says Moralioglu, who owns his business outright and designed the space with his architect boyfriend, Philip Joseph.

Read the rest of this article at The Wallstreet Journal

The Remarkable Influence of David Lynch

The legendary director will be back on television next year, returning to a genre he helped transform.

Executive producer David Lynch attends the premiere of the movie "Surveillance" at the Landmark theatre in Los Angeles June 15, 2009.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni   (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT) - RTR24P90

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.

And yet that show, with its heady and immersive storytelling, is just one chapter in the story of how Lynch—who turned 70 this week—cemented his status as one of the most influential American auteurs in the last quarter century. To fully understand how Lynch shaped modern film and TV, it’s worth studying three of his most iconic films, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, andMulholland Drive: works that paved the way for everything from the body-horror genre and TV’s female antiheroes to suburban dystopias and bingeable, serial storytelling. Made over the span of 25 years, these films track the evolution of Lynch’s particular sensibility—one that both celebrates American culture and holds a funhouse mirror up to it, forcing viewers to question their own values and sense of reality.

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic

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