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In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Paris On Foot: 35 Miles, 6 Days And One Blistered Toe

Not long ago, I spent a week walking around Paris. Before you yawn jadedly, let me clarify: I walked all the way around Paris. I began each day by donning a pair of beat-up Sauconys, consuming a prodigious breakfast at my hotel near the Porte Dorée, tucking a notebook and pen into my pocket, and proceeding on foot in a counterclockwise direction along the perimeter of the oval-shaped metropolis.

I did not visit the Latin Quarter, the Marais, or Montparnasse. I skipped the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. I neglected to slurp oysters at Le Procope, eat ice cream at Berthillon, or stroll along the banks of the Seine — though I crossed the oxbowed river several times along un-famous bridges. In all, I notched some 35 miles (resuming my journey each morning by taking the Métro roughly to where I’d left off the previous day), a trek that included centrifugal excursions into the collar suburbs and occasional dips into the outer precincts of the city proper.

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

In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A Dark Consensus About Screens And Kids Begins To Emerge In Silicon Valley

In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

SAN FRANCISCO — The people who are closest to a thing are often the most wary of it. Technologists know how phones really work, and many have decided they don’t want their own children anywhere near them.

A wariness that has been slowly brewing is turning into a regionwide consensus: The benefits of screens as a learning tool are overblown, and the risks for addiction and stunting development seem high. The debate in Silicon Valley now is about how much exposure to phones is O.K.

“Doing no screen time is almost easier than doing a little,” said Kristin Stecher, a former social computing researcher married to a Facebook engineer. “If my kids do get it at all, they just want it more.”

Ms. Stecher, 37, and her husband, Rushabh Doshi, researched screen time and came to a simple conclusion: they wanted almost none of it in their house. Their daughters, ages 5 and 3, have no screen time “budget,” no regular hours they are allowed to be on screens. The only time a screen can be used is during the travel portion of a long car ride (the four-hour drive to Tahoe counts) or during a plane trip.

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

After The Fire

You would have been able to see it well before dawn if you lived across those fields, or if you happened to be travelling one of those dark and deserted highways: a spot of fire burning bright on the horizon, hot orange flames licking upward to the sky, a house disintegrating into embers below.

The first firefighters arrived around 7:30, when the family who lived in the house would usually have been up having breakfast, getting ready for work or chores.

In the country, it is friends and relatives who are called to help. On that morning, 16 volunteer firefighters from town and the farms around – local people who knew, as soon as they heard the location, whose house was in flames, whose lives were disappearing into thick plumes of smoke in the winter sky.

Jeff Ensign was the first to call Jason Klaus that morning. He knew Jason. He also knew Jason’s parents, Gordon and Sandi, and Jason’s sister, Monica. Jason was at home in his trailer across the property when the phone rang.

“The house is burned to the ground,” Jeff said when Jason answered the phone. “Where are your mom and dad?”

“They’re there. They’re in the house,” Jason told him. “They didn’t go nowhere. And Monica was there too.”

Jason was 38, more than six feet tall and heavy-set, “a typical big-hearted farm boy” one person who knew him recalled. He’d lived his entire life on that land, just as his father had done. The farm was a short drive from Castor, a town of less than 1,000 people, a dot on the map an hour and a half east of Red Deer.

Jason’s trailer was a three-minute drive from his parents’ house, the same land but accessible by its own long driveway. Though Jason was at his parents’ house every day and ate most of his meals there, the trailer afforded him space and privacy, distance for partying or bringing women home, the things his parents didn’t like in their house.

Read the rest of this article at: The Globe And Mail

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What’s Next For Podcasting

In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The podcast market will discover the answer to a foundational question about its future in the next few years. Will it continue along the path of music streaming, where all podcasts are available everywhere on free, ad-supported tiers? Or, will it follow the path of streaming TV into paid subscription services with exclusive content?

Today, effectively all of the industry’s revenue is from advertising — at least in the United States. However, we’re seeing the first steps being taken toward paid subscriptions and exclusive content. Based on numerous discussions I’ve had with top figures in podcasting over the last month, it’s clear that popular shows are getting large offers for exclusivity on podcasting platforms, major Hollywood players are entering the market and some top VCs are willing to back new streaming platforms taking a Netflix approach to podcasts (like Luminary Media, which raised a $40 million seed round).

Many in the industry are deeply skeptical of that business model, and for good reason: We don’t have concrete evidence that consumers in the U.S. will pay for podcasts and ad revenue is becoming quite lucrative for the top shows as the format gains popularity. But that precedent has hardly been entrenched, as the sector is only just now gaining mainstream consumer interest and getting attention from Hollywood.

And, there’s a macro problem with betting on ads. The dominance of Facebook and Google over all digital ad spending has already driven a shift to subscriptions across music, video and publishing. Even with dramatic market growth, podcasting doesn’t have a comparative advantage in competing against the scale and ad-targeting of the duopoly.

Read the rest of this article at: Techcrunch

America’s Next Civil War

In the News 10.29.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Everyone in Canada with any power has the same job. It doesn’t matter if you’re prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, or premier of Alberta; it doesn’t matter if you’re the mayor of a small town or a ceo of a major company, if you run a cultural institution or a mine. Canadians with any power at all have to predict what’s going to happen in the United States. The American economy remains the world’s largest; its military spending dwarfs every other country’s; its popular culture, for the moment, dominates. Canada sits in America’s shadow. Figuring out what will happen there means figuring out what we will eventually face here. Today, that job means answering a simple question: What do we do if the US falls apart?

American chaos is already oozing over the border: the trickle of refugees crossing after Trump’s election has swollen to a flood; a trade war is underway, with a US trade representative describing Canada as “a national security threat”; and the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military the world has ever known openly praises authoritarians as he attempts to dismantle the international postwar order. The US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and scorned the bedrock nato doctrine of mutual defence. Meanwhile, the imperium itself continues to unravel: the administration is launching a “denaturalization task force” to potentially strip scores of immigrants of their US citizenship, and voter purges—the often-faulty processes of deleting ineligible names from registration lists—are on the rise, especially in states with a history of racial discrimination. News of one disaster after another keeps up its relentless pace but nonetheless shocks everybody. If you had told anyone even a year ago that border guards would be holding children in detention centres, no one would have believed you.

We have been naive. Despite our obsessive familiarity with the States, or perhaps because of it, we have put far too much faith in Americans. So ingrained has our reliance on America been, we are barely conscious of our own vulnerability. About 20 percent of Canada’s gdp comes from exports to the United States—it’s a trade relationship that generates 1.9 million Canadian jobs. This dependence is even clearer when it comes to oil—something the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will ship our natural resources to global markets, could remedy. The fact that the premier of British Columbia tried to stall the project in a show of regional power is a sign of a collective failure to recognize how perilous our position is. Ninety-nine percent of our oil exports go to a single customer. And that customer is in a state of radical instability. According to a recent poll from Rasmussen Reports, 31 percent of likely US voters anticipate a second civil war in the next five years.

We misunderstood who the Americans were. To be fair, so did everybody. They themselves misunderstood who they were. Barack Obama’s presidency was based on what we will, out of politeness, call an illusion, an illusion of national unity articulated most passionately during Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America—there’s the United States of America.” It was a beautiful vision. It was an error. There is very much a red America and a blue America. They occupy different societies with different values, and the political parties are emissaries of those differences—differences that are increasingly irreconcilable.

Many Canadians operate as if this chaos were temporary, mainly because the collapse of the United States and the subsequent reorientation of our place in the world are ideas too painful to contemplate. But, by now, the signs have become impossible to ignore. The job of prediction, as impossible as it may be, is at hand.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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

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