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In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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RT, Sputnik And Russia’s New Theory Of War

One morning in January 2016, Martin Steltner showed up at his office in the state courthouse building in western Berlin. Steltner, who has served for more than a dozen years as the spokesman for the Berlin state prosecutor, resembles a detective out of classic crime fiction: crisp suit, wavy gray hair and a gallows humor that comes with having seen it all. There was the 2009 case of the therapist who mistakenly killed two patients in an Ecstasy-infused session gone wrong. The Great Poker Heist of 2010, in which masked men stormed a celebrity-studded poker tournament with machetes and made off with a quarter-million dollars. The 2012 episode involving the Canadian porn star who killed and ate his boyfriend and then sent the leftovers home in the mail. Steltner embraced the oddball aspect of his job; he kept a picture of Elvis Presley on the wall of his office.

But even Steltner found the phone calls he received that morning confounding. They came from police officers from towns far outside Berlin, who reported that protests were erupting, seemingly out of nowhere, on their streets. “They are demonstrating — ‘Save our children,’ ‘No attacks from immigrants on our children’ and some things like that,” Steltner told me when I met him in Berlin recently.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How To Spend It: The Shopping List For The 1%

In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On 7 October 1967, the Financial Times, then the most buttoned-up newspaper in Britain and quite possibly the world, discreetly added a regular new page to its Saturday edition. Buried deep inside the paper, behind the usual thicket of articles about share prices and companies and pensions, the page was introduced to readers a little euphemistically, as “a guide to good living”. In small letters across the top of the page, the FT spelled out what “good living” meant. The page was called How to Spend It.

In the still slightly austere postwar Britain of 1967, where the great majority of the FT’s prosperous readership of 150,000 lived, spending opportunities were limited. The new, monochrome page had an article about installing home central heating, then a relative luxury; about a new electric coffee maker; and about how to select and cook a pheasant: “Choose carefully. Hens are always best.” The most expansive piece was on an old-fashioned Scottish hotel owned by state-run British Rail. “The visitor is received with all the ceremony of an arrival at a country house,” wrote the reviewer. “You go into the immense hall and no one takes any notice.”

Fifty-one years later, the rich are very different. It may be hard to imagine now, but for much of the 20th century, they were a relatively small, even beleaguered group: held in check in Britain and other western countries by high taxes and steadily more egalitarian social values. Today, they are an ever more dominant and international elite: lightly taxed, politically pivotal, admired as much as criticised, and so untethered from everyone else in their lifestyles that they exist in “a parallel country”, as the American investigator of the wealthy Robert Frank puts it. Since 1980, the share of national income taken by the richest 1% of Britons and Americans has almost trebled. Across the world as a whole, the 1% now have half of all the wealth, the highest proportion for almost a century.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” ― Seth Godin

The above image is my “Culture Wall,” created by GapingVoid, a company that helps people design their organizational culture. The art is done by Hugh MacLeod, who has drawn pictures for books by Seth Godin and many other influential individuals and companies.

This Culture Wall is intended to create an environment that continually reminds me of what I stand for and what I aspire toward.

This Culture Wall surrounds me as I work. According to Jason Korman, the CEO of GapingVoid, art can be used as “cultural artifacts” that act as triggers. But even more, they create a shared vision, set of beliefs, expectations, and direction for desired behavior.

Read the rest of this article at: Ladders

In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Caves All The Way Down

In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the middle of a psychedelic renaissance. Research into the healing potential of psychedelics has re-started at prestigious universities such as Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Imperial College London, and is making rock stars out of the scientists carrying it out. Their findings are being reported with joy and exultation by mainstream media – on CNN, the BBC, even the Daily Mail. Respectable publishers such as Penguin are behind psychedelics bestsellers such as Michael Pollan’s book How To Change Your Mind (2018), which was reviewed enthusiastically across the political spectrum. Silicon Valley billionaires are putting their blockchain millions into funding psychedelics research, and corporates are preparing for a juicy new market. The counterculture has gone mainstream. Turn on, tune in, sell out.

The renaissance involves the resurrection of many ideas from the first ‘summer of love’ in 1967, in particular, the mystical theory of psychedelics. This idea was introduced by Aldous Huxley in his classic The Doors of Perception (1954). Having studied mystical experiences for more than a decade without really having one, Huxley took mescaline, and felt that he’d finally been let in to the mystics’ club. Other 1960s gurus such as Alan Watts, Ram Dass and Huston Smith were also convinced that psychedelics led to genuine mystical experiences, and would be a catalyst for Western culture’s spiritual awakening.

The mystical theory of psychedelics has five key tenets. The first is that psychedelics lead to a mystical experience of unitive, non-dual consciousness, in which all is one, you are united with It, God, the Tao, Brahman, etc. This experience is timeless, ineffable, joyful and noetic (you know that it is true).

Second, that the psychedelic experience is the same as the experience of mystics, found in all religions. Different religions use different terms for ultimate reality, but all mystics are really having the same non-dual experience. This is the theory of the ‘perennial philosophy’, promoted by Huxley and other perennialists. It’s known in religious studies as the ‘universal core of religious experience’ theory.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

Bad Romance

In the News 07.20.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On June 4th, a group of lawyers shuffled into a federal court in Manhattan to argue over two trademark registrations. The day’s hearing was the culmination of months of internet drama — furious blog posts, Twitter hashtags, YouTube videos, claims of doxxing, and death threats.

The lawyers carried with them full-color exhibits of the trademarks in context. First up, two shirtless men with stethoscopes, embracing a woman, with the words Her Cocky Doctors boldly printed below. Next: two shirtless men flanking a woman in a too-big firefighter’s jacket, with the words Her Cocky Firefighters emblazoned in the same font.

“What is in the content of Her Cocky Firefighters?” asked the judge, surveying the exhibits.

“It appears to be a male-female-male romance,” said a lawyer for one of the defendants. “Beyond that, I imagine it involves one or two of the male characters is a firefighter.”

The judge looked over Her Cocky Doctors. “Two male figures. One seems to be wearing a stethoscope, indicating he is a doctor, but he is stripped to the waist.”

“Doesn’t look like my doctor, your Honor,” said the lawyer drily.

They were gathered there that day because one self-published romance author was suing another for using the word “cocky” in her titles. And as absurd as this courtroom scene was — with a federal judge soberly examining the shirtless doctors on the cover of an “MFM Menage Romance” — it didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

The fight over #Cockygate, as it was branded online, emerged from the strange universe of Amazon Kindle Unlimited, where authors collaborate and compete to game Amazon’s algorithm. Trademark trolling is just the beginning: There are private chat groups, ebook exploits, conspiracies to seed hyperspecific trends like “Navy SEALs” and “mountain men,” and even a controversial sweepstakes in which a popular self-published author offered his readers a chance to win diamonds from Tiffany’s if they reviewed his new book.

Much of what’s alleged is perfectly legal, and even technically within Amazon’s terms of service. But for authors and fans, the genre is also a community, and the idea that unethical marketing and algorithmic tricks are running rampant has embroiled their world in controversy. Some authors even believe that the financial incentives set up by Kindle Unlimited are reshaping the romance genre — possibly even making it more misogynistic.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

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

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