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In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@sindiarifi via @dana_chels
In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@paris.with.me
In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@paris.with.me

R.I.P., The Celebrity Profile

All glossy magazine superstar covers may look the same from a distance, but inside, you’re never quite sure what you’ll find.

Take the October issue of GQ, which features Paul McCartney. For decades he has leaned on familiar Beatles anecdotes, presuming that decades-old chestnuts may still pass for warm. But in GQ, over the course of several long conversations, he revealed himself to be unstudied, slightly wishy-washy and much less preoccupied with the sanctity of his own image than you might think — he even offered a recollection about the Beatles’ teenage sexual adventures that led to a characteristically sweaty New York Post headline: “Beat the Meatles.”

The story worked in two ways: For the reader and fan, it was appealingly revealing; for Mr. McCartney, who’s been famous so long he is more sculpture than human, it was a welcome softening.

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

In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

No, I Will Not Debate You

In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There are some stupid mistakes that only very smart people make, and one of them is the notion that a sensible argument seriously presented can compete with a really good piece of theatre.

Every day, people on the internet ask why I won’t “debate” some self-actualizing gig-economy fascist or other, as if formal, public debate were the only way to steer public conversation. If you won’t debate, the argument goes, you’re an enemy of free speech. You’re basically no better than a Nazi, and certainly far worse than any of the actual Nazis muttering about not being allowed to preach racism from prestigious pulpits. Well-meaning liberals insist that “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” anti-fascists disagree, the far right orders more popcorn, and round and round we go on the haunted carousel of western liberal thought until we’re all queasy.

This bad-faith argument is a repeating refrain of this low, dishonest decade, and this month it built to another crescendo. In the U.S., The New Yorker bowed to public pressure and disinvited Steve Bannon, Trump’s neo-nationalist former chief strategist, from its literary festival. And in the U.K., The Economist chose to do the opposite.

I’m accidentally responsible for a very small amount of the fuss here. I was due to speak at the Economist’s Open Future festival, where Bannon was scheduled to be interviewed by the editor in chief directly after the “future of MeToo” panel I’d be on with journalists Laura Bates and Ally Fogg. My note to The Economist, in part:

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

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Instagram Is Supposed To be Friendly. So Why Is It Making People So Miserable?

When 24-year-old fashion blogger Scarlett Dixon posted a picture of herself having breakfast, the internet turned nasty. “The best of days start with a smile and positive thoughts. And pancakes. And strawberries. And bottomless tea,” Dixon wrote on her scarlettlondon Instagram feed, under an image of her looking flawless on a freshly made bed flanked by heart-shaped helium balloons.

The sponsored post – for Listerine mouthwash, a bottle of which is visible on the side of the shot – was swiftly reposted on Twitter. “Fuck off this is anybody’s normal morning,” wrote Nathan from Cardiff. “Instagram is a ridiculous lie factory made to make us all feel inadequate.” His post, which has garnered more than 111,000 likes (22 times as many as Dixon’s original) and almost 25,000 retweets, prompted a wave of criticism, with the more printable comments ranging from “Fakelife!” and “Bunny-boiler” to “Let’s pop her balloons” and “Who keeps Listerine on their bedside table? Serial killers, that’s who.”

That hostility feels par for the course on Twitter. The social network is a notorious hotbed of abusive strangers hurling abuse at other abusive strangers, who then all occasionally come together to bully a celebrity off the internet over some minor failing, such as being a woman in a Star Wars film. Instagram, by contrast, looks like the friendliest social network imaginable. It’s a visually led community where the primary method of interaction is double-tapping an image to like it, where posts that go viral tend to do so because of positivity rather than outrage and where many of the biggest accounts are famous dogs and cats. What’s not to like?

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Inside The Infinite Imagination Of A Computer

In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In New York in 1997, the reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov faced off against Deep Blue, a computer specially designed by IBM to beat him. Following a similar match in Philadelphia the previous year, which Kasparov won 4–2, the man widely regarded as the greatest chess player of all time was confident of victory. When he lost, he claimed some of Deep Blue’s moves were so intelligent and creative that they must have been the result of human intervention. But we understand why Deep Blue made those moves: its process for selecting them was ultimately one of brute force, a massively parallel architecture of 14,000 custom-designed chess chips, capable of analysing 200 million board positions per second. At the time of the match, it was the 259th most powerful computer on the planet, and it was dedicated purely to chess. It could simply hold more outcomes in mind when choosing where to play next. Kasparov was not outthought, merely outgunned.

By contrast, when the Google Brain–powered AlphaGo software defeated the Korean Go professional Lee Sedol, one of the highest-rated players in the world, something had changed. In the second of five games, AlphaGo played a move that stunned Sedol and spectators alike, placing one of its stones on the far side of the board, and seeming to abandon the battle in progress. “That’s a very strange move,” said one commentator. “I thought it was a mistake,” said the other. Fan Hui, another seasoned Go player who had been the first professional to lose to the machine six months earlier, said of it: “It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move.” And he added, “So beautiful.” In the history of the 2,500-year-old game, nobody had ever played like this. AlphaGo went on to win the game, and the series.

AlphaGo’s engineers developed its software by feeding a neural network millions of moves by expert Go players, and then getting it to play itself millions of times more, developing strategies that outstripped those of human players. But its own representation of those strategies is illegible: we can see the moves it made, but not how it decided to make them. The sophistication of the moves that must have been played in those games between the shards of AlphaGo is beyond imagination, too, but we are unlikely to ever see and appreciate them; there’s no way to quantify sophistication, only winning instinct.

Read the rest of this article at: Dazed

Highsnobiety Built An Empire At The
Intersection Of Sneakers, Fashion, And Music

In the News 09.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At Highsnobiety, we’ve always seen ourselves as a publisher sitting at intersections—the intersection of music and fashion, the intersection of luxury and street. We love being in that sweet spot, bridging these different worlds. Music and fashion, and music and sneakers, are huge because suddenly you have popular personalities speaking about our world. It gave our world so much more attention from the outside when the Kanye Wests and Drakes started moving into fashion. The effect is huge on fashion, on streetwear, on sneakers, and I think the effect is also big on music.

The people who are arriving into and running these luxury houses—Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Riccardo Tisci—they understand streetwear. They’ve grown up with Supreme and skateboarding, and with Stüssy and A Bathing Ape.

They’re realizing, “Ok, if Off-White can sell $700 hoodies, then we can sell $700 hoodies.”

For them, limited-edition, premium quality t-shirts—that are not cheap—are the norm, and to a certain degree they’re also bringing that to the luxury world. Luxury embraces it because it works. Ultimately, those are just businesses. They’re realizing, “Ok, if Off-White can sell $700 hoodies, then we can sell $700 hoodies—and $500 t-shirts, $500 shoes.” It offered a completely new consumer to those luxury houses.

I’ll never forget, we hosted events for Gucci around the fall 2016 GucciGhost collection. These were in-store events, so Gucci stores needed to invite their top clients. You had skateboarders and streetwear kids and young fashion enthusiasts coming from our invite guest list, and you had women in their sixties standing at that same event, because those are the top clients of the brand. Suddenly, these brands now managed to open up a completely new consumer base.

Luxury sneakers and accessories were always part of Highsnobiety. I truly believe we were among the very first to break that barrier. Luxury fashion took a little bit longer—I just didn’t feel like the streetwear market was ready for it—that really came more toward 2009, 2010, 2011. To us, the barriers completely broke down, and then we could really just go all in.

Now, I think those barriers are completely gone. A Supreme t-shirt is worth as much as a Givenchy t-shirt, and a Balenciaga sneaker is worth as much as a crazy limited Nike shoe. I feel like there’s complete freedom now in that sense.

Everything is now a community. I think that’s the biggest thing that changed.

Read the rest of this article at: Quartz

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

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