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In the News 29.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 29.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 29.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 29.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Hidden Assets, Hidden Costs

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The Panama Papers opens with an engaging first-person account by Bastian Obermayer, a well-known investigative journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, of how the whole story started: an unsolicited email from a John Doe offering “data”. As soon as Obermayer accepted the twin conditions of total anonymity and encrypted communications, he received “a big bunch of documents”.

These mostly concerned the alleged smuggling of $65 million out of Argentina on behalf of its President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – hardly startling news if true, given the country and the person but the documents also included what really mattered: full corporate information on the 123 name-plate-only (“shell”) companies that were used to zig-zag the money surreptitiously around the world, all of them formed by a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.

Read the rest of this article at The Times Literary Supplement

On Finding Your Purpose: An Extraordinary Letter by Hunter S. Thompson

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In April of 1958, a 22 year-old Hunter S. Thompson wrote a letter on the meaning of life when asked by a friend for advice. What makes his response all the more profound is the fact that at the time, the world had no idea that he would become one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Therefore his beliefs about purpose were hypothetical—they were statements of faith.

But if it’s true that our beliefs really do become our reality, then there’s no better example of a life fully realised than the one of Hunter S. Thompson. Let his perspective inspire you:

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

Read the rest of this article at Tranquilmonkey

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Big Data, Google and the End of Free Will

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For thousands of years humans believed that authority came from the gods. Then, during the modern era, humanism gradually shifted authority from deities to people. Jean-Jacques Rousseau summed up this revolution in Emile, his 1762 treatise on education. When looking for the rules of conduct in life, Rousseau found them “in the depths of my heart, traced by nature in characters which nothing can efface. I need only consult myself with regard to what I wish to do; what I feel to be good is good, what I feel to be bad is bad.” Humanist thinkers such as Rousseau convinced us that our own feelings and desires were the ultimate source of meaning, and that our free will was, therefore, the highest authority of all.

Read the rest of this article at The Financial Times

The Court That Rules The World

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Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

Read the rest of this article at Buzzfeed

Like. Flirt. Ghost: A Journey Into The Social Media Lives Of Teens

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For teenagers these days, social media is real life, with its own arcane rules and etiquette. Writer Mary H. K. Choi embedded with five high schoolers to chronicle their digital experiences. There’s twin sisters Lara and Sofia in Atherton, California; Ahmad in New Haven, Connecticut; Mira in San Francisco; and Ubakum in Houston. As with most teens, they’re elusive creatures. But when Choi asked them targeted questions, they were able to deconstruct their own behavior in exhaustive detail.  You’ll ❤️ what Choi discovered.

LARA AND SOFIA

Atherton, California

LARA HAS JUST updated her Instagram with a picture. It’s of her and her twin sister, Sofia, in bathing suits, doing the backstroke in crystalline water. It’s shot from afar, from a height, and the girls look like synchronized swimmers or else mermaids. They’ve taken dance classes since they were three—jazz, hip hop, and ballet—and the grace and confidence with which they move their long limbs in tandem is hypnotizing. The likes are immediate. The first comment is a classic—emoji with the heart eyes—the second, “cuties.” The third features three emoji with heart eyes.

Lara and Sofia are shy, almost painfully so, with people they don’t know. They move around in the world with heads close, chatting conspiratorially. This belies how substantial their Instagram reach is. Each 16-year-old has more than 1,000 followers, especially surprising when you realize that their feeds are locked, and the girls say they at least vaguely know every single person that follows them. Perhaps more impressive, though: Each post on their feeds has at least 300 likes—meaning that roughly a third of their followers have signaled their approval. Just to give you an idea, only a fraction of Kim Kardashian’s 78 million followers actually like her photos, about 2 percent.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @vivaluxuryblog, @elsas_wholesomelife, @lamusadelasflores