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In the News 18.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 18.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 18.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 18.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Ryan Gosling Is A Star After His Time

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The fact of the matter is that a baby-faced young person – a waistcoated and behatted 11-year-old Michael Jackson in 1969, say – singing a love song about feelings he has no experience with is adorable. It was delightful to hear him sing Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Loving You?” and more than a little absurd. But if that blend of cuteness and slightly uncomfortable absurdity ain’t broke, why on earth would you try to fix it, even 25 years later?

Witness then, four youths in the early 1990s (all dressed in dramatic all-white) singing “Cry for You” by Jodeci, one of the most sexual bands of the decade, on Disney’s The All-New Mickey Mouse Club. Three of the four boys are white, and those three white boys went on to become wildly famous in the ’90s and beyond; the fourth boy, Dale Godboldo, is less famous but working still, most recently in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Two of those white boys, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake, went on to be in the Grammy-nominated band NSYNC.

And the last white boy in that musical lineup? Well, he went on to become a human meme, a father of two, and the star of such films as The Notebook, Drive, and Half Nelson, for which he was Oscar-nominated. That’s right: The child singing “you know you’re everything I do,” while emoting with real feeling, went on to become Hollywood A-lister and recent Golden Globe award winner Ryan Gosling.

Read the rest of this article at BuzzFeed

Is AI Sexist?

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It started as a seemingly sweet Twitter chatbot. Modeled after a millennial, it awakened on the internet from behind a pixelated image of a full-lipped young female with a wide and staring gaze. Microsoft, the multinational technology company that created the bot, named it Tay, assigned it a gender, and gave “her” account a tagline that promised, “The more you talk the smarter Tay gets!”

“hellooooooo world!!!” Tay tweeted on the morning of March 23, 2016.

She brimmed with enthusiasm: “can i just say that im stoked to meet u? humans are super cool.”

She asked innocent questions: “Why isn’t #NationalPuppyDay everyday?”

Tay’s designers built her to be a creature of the web, reliant on artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and engage in human conversations and get better at it by interacting with people over social media. As the day went on, Tay gained followers. She also quickly fell prey to Twitter users targeting her vulnerabilities. For those internet antagonists looking to manipulate Tay, it didn’t take much effort; they engaged the bot in ugly conversations, tricking the technology into mimicking their racist and sexist behavior. Within a few hours, Tay had endorsed Adolf Hitler and referred to U.S. President Barack Obama as “the monkey.” She sex-chatted with one user, tweeting, “DADDY I’M SUCH A BAD NAUGHTY ROBOT.”

Read the rest of this article at Foreign Policy

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From Designer to CEO, Alexander Wang Is a Man with a Plan

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NEW YORK, United States — It’s been just over a year since Alexander Wang ran skipping and smiling down the runway, taking a bow after his last Balenciaga show. Following a three-year stint as creative director at Balenciaga, Wang returned to New York re-energised. With experience at one of the industry’s most revered and elevated fashion businesses and new learnings to apply to his own namesake label, he was now, as he puts it, “an American brand of Asian descent with European training.”

In June, the company announced that in addition to his role as designer, Wang would take on the role of chief executive and chairman, replacing his sister-in-law and mother, respectively. Today, the Alexander Wang business is said to turn over about $150 million in revenues with over three hundred employees spread across New York, Paris and Hong Kong. The company declined to provide actual sales figures but says the business is growing at double-digit percentages annually, with revenue split equally between apparel and accessories.

Read the rest of this article at BOF

Michael Joyce’s Second Act

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Michael Joyce climbs into his father’s station wagon on a Sunday afternoon, the light of southern California glowing soft and gold. Joyce is tiny and cherubic, his face freckled and full, his hair a shock of strawberry blonde. He is 12 years old and has already spent six of those years playing competitive tennis, and he’s become very good at it.

In another six years, Joyce will become the junior national champion. After that victory, he will hoist a heavy trophy overhead and cameras will pop and flash and reporters will shout questions in his direction, and his ascension, as a professional tennis player, will begin. In an especially vibrant era for American tennis, Joyce’s cohort will include Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier. He will play each of them, with varying levels of success, and at his peak he will be ranked as the 64th best male singles player in the world.

During his playing days, David Foster Wallace will write about him in his seminal tennis essay, “The String Theory,” later republished in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, and through that work, Joyce’s career will persist, a blip of his existence anthologized in pop culture. In the years that follow, at every tournament Joyce attends, someone will ask him about that story, about Wallace, and about that period in his life.

Read the rest of this article at Longreads

Blue Lies Matter

BuzzFeed News reviewed 62 incidents of video footage contradicting an officer’s statement in a police report or testimony. From traffic stops to fatal force, these cases reveal how cops are incentivized to lie — and why they get away with it.

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Officer Nicholas M. Buckley described the arrest in exceptional detail, the single-spaced lines covering two full pages in his report.

He had worked for the San Francisco Police Department for three years, and in recent months he had patrolled the Tenderloin district, a neighborhood of dive bars and homeless shelters wedged between City Hall and the city’s booming commercial center — a neighborhood, Buckley wrote, where “violent, felonious crimes are frequently committed.”

As he and his partner drove past the intersection of Eddy and Taylor streets shortly after 11 p.m. on December 1, 2015, they saw about a dozen men huddled on the sidewalk beside a chain-link fence. The cops suspected the men were gambling. As the officers pulled up to the curb, the men began to disperse.

Buckley homed in on the guy in the long brown coat, Brandon Simpson. While the other men nonchalantly headed north up Taylor Street, Simpson went in the opposite direction and “quickly walked away from the group upon detecting police presence,” Buckley wrote.

He noted what he considered Simpson’s suspicious body language: hands near his waistband beneath his coat. It was “consistent with a person trying to conceal a weapon,” he would later say in court.

Buckley ordered Simpson to stop and show his hands, and when he did not, Buckley “grabbed him by the shoulders.” Simpson resisted and struggled to escape, the officer said. A battle broke out as more officers joined the effort to subdue Simpson, punching and kicking him until they were able to “gain control” and snap on handcuffs, Buckley said. Afterward, officers picked up a white object that had apparently fallen out of Simpson’s waistband or coat. It was a sock with a gun inside of it. Simpson was booked on charges of illegal firearm possession and faced 10 years in federal prison.

On April 13, 2016, officer Buckley repeated his story in a written court declaration, the same story he’d tell a month later on the witness stand during Simpson’s pretrial hearing.

When Buckley had finished testifying, the defense attorney stepped up. She had footage of the arrest, from a surveillance camera on a building across the street.

In full color and crisp definition, it showed what really happened that night.

The police car pulls up. The huddled men stroll away together. A man in a long brown coat near the back of the group — Simpson — walks with them. His arms are at his sides, clearly visible. He holds a water bottle in one hand. Seemingly picking this man at random, Buckley cuts him off on the sidewalk. The man tries to step around the officer. Buckley places a hand on his chest. The man takes a step back. Buckley grabs his arms, pinning his hands to his back. A second police car pulls up. Three officers rush to Buckley and knock the man to the ground. His body disappears beneath the scrum. With the man pinned against the fence, the officers let loose punches and kicks.

Read the rest of this article at BuzzFeed

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: all by @eleonoracarisi on Instagram