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In the News 03.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 03.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@ritafarhinoirot
In the News 03.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@pollunaa
In the News 03.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@pollunaa

The Cambridge Analytica Files
‘I made Steve Bannon’s Psychological Warfare Tool’: Meet The Data War Whistleblower

The first time I met Christopher Wylie, he didn’t yet have pink hair. That comes later. As does his mission to rewind time. To put the genie back in the bottle.

By the time I met him in person, I’d already been talking to him on a daily basis for hours at a time. On the phone, he was clever, funny, bitchy, profound, intellectually ravenous, compelling. A master storyteller. A politicker. A data science nerd.

Two months later, when he arrived in London from Canada, he was all those things in the flesh. And yet the flesh was impossibly young. He was 27 then (he’s 28 now), a fact that has always seemed glaringly at odds with what he has done. He may have played a pivotal role in the momentous political upheavals of 2016. At the very least, he played a consequential role. At 24, he came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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The Refugee Detectives

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Three years ago, overcome by the squalor of my home, I decided to hire a cleaner. I scanned Craigslist, feeling a prick of guilt; few things arouse class angst as reliably as the purchase of domestic help. Then I remembered another option. Near my Connecticut home was a refugee-resettlement center. On weekdays, dozens of recent arrivals loitered there, eager for work. This seemed to offer a solution to both my squalor and my angst. To pay a Craigslist gig worker felt a little icky. To pay a refugee—well, that felt magnanimous, almost patriotic.

I wrote to the resettlement center, which sent me a stack of résumés. Even the ones from Congolese herders were well formatted and in English—the result, surely, of polishing by the center’s staff. The stories, I found, made propulsive reading, despite the outline form. I was tempted to request more résumés for the understated drama alone. Each was the timeline of a life interrupted in a distant, volatile land and now picked up, improbably, in a snowy New England town.

The other trait distinguishing these résumés was that nearly every one contained what I, as someone whose job often involves listening skeptically to people’s stories, would call irregularities, little details that seemed odd, that begged for explanation. An Afghan with no formal education claimed to know a language not spoken in any country she had visited; an African doctor whose CV could have gotten him a job with the World Health Organization in a week was working a cash register in Bridgeport. Two refugees claimed to be from, respectively, Zambia and Tanzania, countries without war or persecution that could justify asylum. (The refugees had almost certainly claimed different nationalities in their application for asylum.) Another said she was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a major generator of refugees—but spoke languages that suggested origin in the now relatively safe country of Rwanda. It was as if the center had sent me a dozen jigsaw puzzles, all with either missing pieces or extra ones.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent & shop.thisisglamorous.com

On Mount Everest, The world’s Highest Lab Is Uncovering The Secrets Of Extreme Fitness

On May 23, 2007, Professor Mike Grocott and his team of climbers – eight medical researchers, two cameramen shooting a documentary and 15 Sherpas carrying equipment or guiding the climb – were 300 metres from the summit of Mount Everest when they hit a big problem.

Just ahead of them, a man from another party was in trouble, staggering around and gasping for air. His body had became hypoxic and his oxygen-starved brain began to swell. His team buzzed their doctor at a camp below on a two-way radio, who reassured them that he would be OK.
Grocott, an expert in high-altitude sickness, had a different opinion: it was clear to him that the man was dying. “It often happens,” says Grocott. “If you’re a doctor on a mountain, you expect to be called on to help people.”

As the light began to fade and the temperature dropped, the man’s condition worsened. Vijay Ahuja, a medical student in Grocott’s team, insisted they get involved. The stricken man’s colleagues conceded there was a problem, but it was now too dark to take him down to safety. Recognising the seriousness of the situation, one of the doctors on Grocott’s team, Dan Martin, began treatment. Martin worked through the night, managing to keep the seriously ill climber alive until dawn, when the patient’s team were able to transport him down the mountain.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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The NYPD Investigator Who’s
Determined to Bust Weinstein

Early in the evening of March 27, 2015, a young Italian model named Ambra Battilana walked into the NYPD’s 9th Precinct house, a few blocks from Tompkins Square Park. She was so physically and emotionally distressed that the desk sergeant almost called an ambulance. When two patrol officers transported her to the 1st Precinct house, in Tribeca, she cried throughout the short drive. There, at 8:20 p.m., she made a formal complaint that she had been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein.

By nine o’clock, the commander of the NYPD’s Special Victims Division, Michael Osgood, had been notified. Osgood understood immediately that the case had to be handled with extreme care. He and Lieutenant Austin Morange, head of the SVD’s Manhattan unit, mapped out a plan to keep the case under wraps, to prevent Weinstein from calling in his army of high-powered lawyers and publicists. Knowledge of the investigation, they decided, would be confined to a small circle of detectives and supervisors. Their reports, contrary to standard procedure, wouldn’t be loaded on the NYPD’s system, and Osgood orally informed his boss, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, rather than putting his briefing in writing.

Then Morange called Martha Bashford, head of the Sex Crimes Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, to apprise her of the complaint. The call was made reluctantly, after much internal debate. Osgood’s team felt that ever since 2011, when District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had been blasted in the press for dropping a sexual-assault case against IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the DA’s office had been gun-shy about taking on powerful defendants. While Osgood cannot talk about the case his team built against Weinstein, sources close to the investigation provided the first detailed account of its inner workings — and how the police became convinced that Vance’s office was systematically working to derail the investigation.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

Vladimir Putin’s Politics Of Eternity

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Americans and Europeans have been guided through our new century by what I will call the politics of inevitability – a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done. In the American, capitalist version of this story, nature brought the market, which brought democracy, which brought happiness. In the European version, history brought the nation, which learned from war that peace was good, and hence chose integration and prosperity.

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, communism had its own politics of inevitability: nature permits technology; technology brings social change; social change causes revolution; revolution enacts utopia. When this turned out not to be true, the European and American politicians of inevitability were triumphant. Europeans busied themselves completing the creation of the European Union in 1992. Americans reasoned that the failure of the communist story confirmed the truth of the capitalist one. Americans and Europeans kept telling themselves their tales of inevitability for a quarter-century after the end of communism, and so raised a millennial generation without history.

The American politics of inevitability, like all such stories, resisted facts. The fates of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus after 1991 showed well enough that the fall of one system did not create a blank slate on which nature generated markets and markets generated rights.

Iraq might have confirmed this lesson, had the initiators of America’s illegal war reflected upon its disastrous consequences. The financial crisis of 2008 and the deregulation of campaign contributions in the US in 2010 magnified the influence of the wealthy and reduced that of voters. As economic inequality grew, time horizons shrank, and fewer Americans believed that the future held a better version of the present. Lacking a functional state that assured basic social goods taken for granted elsewhere – education, pensions, healthcare, transport, parental leave, vacations – Americans could be overwhelmed by each day, and lose a sense of the future.

The collapse of the politics of inevitability ushers in another experience of time: the politics of eternity. Whereas inevitability promises a better future for everyone, eternity places one nation at the centre of a cyclical story of victimhood. Time is no longer a line into the future, but a circle that endlessly returns the same threats from the past. Within inevitability, no one is responsible because we all know that the details will sort themselves out for the better; within eternity, no one is responsible because we all know that the enemy is coming no matter what we do. Eternity politicians spread the conviction that government cannot aid society as a whole, but can only guard against threats. Progress gives way to doom.

In power, eternity politicians manufacture crisis and manipulate the resultant emotion. To distract from their inability or unwillingness to reform, they instruct their citizens to experience elation and outrage at short intervals, drowning the future in the present. In foreign policy, eternity politicians belittle and undo the achievements of countries that might seem like models to their own citizens. Using technology to transmit political fiction at home and abroad, eternity politicians deny truth and seek to reduce life to spectacle and feeling.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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