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In the News 10.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 10.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Great British Brexit Robbery: How Our Democracy Was Hijacked

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In June 2013, a young American postgraduate called Sophie was passing through London when she called up the boss of a firm where she’d previously interned. The company, SCL Elections, went on to be bought by Robert Mercer, a secretive hedge fund billionaire, renamed Cambridge Analytica, and achieved a certain notoriety as the data analytics firm that played a role in both Trump and Brexit campaigns. But all of this was still to come. London in 2013 was still basking in the afterglow of the Olympics. Britain had not yet Brexited. The world had not yet turned.

“That was before we became this dark, dystopian data company that gave the world Trump,” a former Cambridge Analytica employee who I’ll call Paul tells me. “It was back when we were still just a psychological warfare firm.”

Was that really what you called it, I ask him. Psychological warfare? “Totally. That’s what it is. Psyops. Psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’. We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.”

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian




How Homeownership
Became the Engine of
American Inequality

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The son of a minister, Ohene Asare grew up poor. His family immigrated from Ghana when he was 8 and settled down in West Bridgewater, Mass., a town 30 miles south of Boston, where he was one of the few black students at the local public school. “It was us and this Jewish family,” Asare remembered. “It was a field day.” His white classmates bullied him, sometimes using racial slurs. His father transferred Asare when he was 14 to Milton Academy, which awarded Asare a scholarship that covered tuition and board. His parents still had to take out loans worth about $20,000 for his living expenses. But the academy set Asare up for future success. He and his wife, Régine Jean-Charles, whom he got to know at Milton, are in their late 30s. She is a tenured professor of romance languages and literature at Boston College, and Asare is a founder of Aesara, a consulting and technology company.

Two years ago, the couple bought a new home. Set on a half-acre lot that backs up to conservation land in Milton, Mass., the 2,350-square-foot split-level has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open-concept kitchen and dining area, a finished basement, hardwood floors and beautiful touches throughout, like the Tennessee marble fireplace and hearth. It cost $665,000. “This is the nicest house I’ve ever lived in,” Asare told me.

Asare and Jean-Charles have four children and earn roughly $290,000 a year, which puts them in the top 5 percent of household incomes in the country. After renting for the first years of their marriage, they participated in a home buyers’ program administered by the nonprofit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. The program allowed Asare and Jean-Charles to purchase their first home in 2009 for $360,000 with a 10 percent down payment, half of what is typically required. In 2015, they sold it for $430,000. There is a reason so many Americans choose to develop their net worth through homeownership: It is a proven wealth builder and savings compeller. The average homeowner boasts a net worth ($195,400) that is 36 times that of the average renter ($5,400).

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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Erik Spiekermann: No Free Pitches

In the News 10.05.17 - Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets - 03

Erik Spiekermann insists he’s retired, that his whirlwind schedule and backlog of projects is all just a hobby. One day he’s in his hometown of Berlin, where he’s currently overseeing his experimental letterpress workshop, galerie p98a.The next he’s off to San Francisco, where Edenspiekermann, the digital branding and product company he founded, has an office. Then it’s on to Los Angeles for a presentation at the Art Center of Los Angeles, before flying across the country to speak at the Type Directors Club in New York City. He spends the next day in Manhattan – a Saturday – taking meetings beginning at 9:30 a.m. to plan future endeavors, rather than kicking back.

This is not a man who lazes away his days, especially when you consider that Spiekermann regularly takes his bike out for 20-, 30-, 40-mile spins. “Ever since I’ve had four stents put in my heart, I’m good as new,” he says. Given his body of work and superhuman level of accomplishment, however, Spiekermann could certainly justify never working another day in his life. The type designer, information architect, and entrepreneur has created branding for Audi, Bosch, VW and German Railways, as well as done a way-finding redesign for Düsseldorf Airport and a makeover of The Economist. Along with Edenspiekermann, he has founded two other businesses, MetaDesign and FontShop. We caught up with Spiekermann in New York City to reflect on his storied career, understand how he parlayed his creative talent into a number of thriving companies, and learn why he needs to live to 100 to be able to finish half of what he has on his plate in the coming years.

Read the rest of this article at 99u

Malcolm Gladwell on Why We Shouldn’t Value Speed Over Power

In the News 10.05.17 - Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets - 04 - This Is Glamorous

Malcolm Gladwell, known for his deep inquiries into how the social sciences impact our day-to-day lives, recently sat down for a talk with Adam Grant, a Wharton psychology professor whose latest book, Originals, deals with the character traits that foster creative success. In this conversation, at the Wharton School People Analytics Conference, Malcolm and Adam debated whether our ways of evaluating success are biased towards speed and discussed how colleges and workplaces might make space for growth that takes a little longer.

Adam: 10,000 hours might be your most widely discussed bit of writing—arguably, the most misunderstood, as well. What would you actually like us to conclude about expertise and deliberate practice?

Malcolm: I was interested in the idea that if it takes you a long time to master something, then that must mean that you need a lot of help, and that you must be in a situation that’s patient.

That’s what interested me—the context. If we’re all naturals, then the context in which we perform what we do is irrelevant. If you’re born being able to be a scratch golfer, then why do we need to spend money developing young golfers? But actually, not only does it take a long time to get good, even if you’re really talented to begin with, it takes an incredibly long time.

Not even Roger Federer could be a great tennis player without a coach, without a place to go and play tennis, without parents who drive him there. Roger Federer, for years, was known for having a terrible temper. At the beginning of his career he was thought to be someone who would never amount to true greatness because he didn’t have the requisite personality. He would have meltdowns, throw his racket, storm off the court. They were like, “Ugh, another one of these people who’s going to squander his talent.”

Read the rest of this article at Heleo

Malibu’s Lost Boys

Surfing was still a strange and exotic art in 1961, when Mike Nader, Duane King, and Larry Shaw escaped their troubled homes for the beach at Malibu. Becoming acolytes to the dashing, lawless Miki Dora, the three boys found themselves at the crest of a craze sparked by one of the girl surfers on the scene, whose father wrote the novel Gidget about her obsession. Sheila Weller revisits an underground culture of big waves and wild times, which ended in a blaze of Hollywood decadence, drugs, and death.

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One summer day in 1961, three 16-year-old Beverly Hills boys—Mike Nader, Duane King, and Larry Shaw—got up at dawn in their separate homes and eagerly pulled on their swim trunks. The sport that was their lifeline—surfing—had been lifted from obscurity two years earlier by a Sandra Dee movie called Gidget, but it still wasn’t something young America was dying to do, the way dancing to rock ‘n’ roll and twirling Hula Hoops had been. That would start to change that day, though, when a Life-magazine photographer would sight the boys riding the waves at Malibu and make them stars of a photo spread. The seven-page article, “The Mad, Happy Surfers: A Way of Life on the Wavetops,” published that September in an issue with Jackie Kennedy welcoming readers to the newly redecorated White House on the cover, would loft surfing into the national consciousness just before the first Beach Boys song, “Surfin’,” broke into the pop charts. These were the 1961 Beach Boys, mind you—they of the short hair, the Hawaiian shirts, and the frat-rats-in-training voices that had yet to ascend to choirboy eloquence—so the surfing fad would be pegged initially as the province of bland, spoiled sons of Leave It to Beaver parents living in the suburbs. As Tom Wolfe would soon declare of surfer culture in “The Pump-House Gang,” a signature piece of New Journalism, “practically everybody comes from a good family.”

Well, not everybody. Something in those Life pictures—a glint of desperation in Larry Shaw’s Tom Sawyer grin, maybe, or Mike Nader’s somber glare despite his goof of surfing in a tuxedo—betrayed a soulful undertone. Also, there was the matter of the boys’ guru, Miki Dora, who, though absent from the Life article, was a dark prince of the beach: a great surfer and a beguiling sociopath. The boys copied his every gesture. Who but Miki could have taught them to glide not just over the waves but also over their baroquely unhappy home lives? “We were a group of lost boys,” says Larry Shaw. “The mystique of Miki, coupled with the mystery of the ocean, saved us.” In the process, an underground saga of surf culture—50s beach bum, California girl, hip Hollywood, and noir L.A. in equal measure—would come to be written on the salty wind of the Pacific coastline.

As Mike Nader slid his board into his woody that morning, there was much for the ocean to blot out. His mother, Minette, a stunning onetime backup singer for Lena Horne who’d had Mike when she was 17, had recently been in a scary accident. After too many drinks, with her Yorkie on her lap, she had driven her Jaguar off Mulholland Drive. It was her second brush with death in two weeks. Before that, her violent young lover (for whom she had left a perfectly nice, older sugar daddy, who was a bookie) had hurled a hundred-pound slab of flagstone at her and barely missed killing her. On another recent occasion, Mike came to his mother’s rescue by taking a gun from under his bed and threatening to kill the man if he didn’t stop beating her.

Read the rest of this article at Vanity Fair

Image Credits

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top Images: @katerinaberezhna; @katie.one; @genialegenia