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News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@gulyaeva
News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@gulyaeva
News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@gulyaeva

‘We The People’: The Battle To Define Populism

hen populism appears in the media, which it does more and more often now, it is typically presented without explanation, as if everyone can already define it. And everyone can, sort of – at least as long as they’re allowed to simply cite the very developments that populism is supposed to explain: Brexit, Trump, Viktor Orbán’s takeover of Hungary, the rise of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. The word evokes the long-simmering resentments of the everyman, brought to a boil by charismatic politicians hawking impossible promises. Often as not, populism sounds like something from a horror film: an alien bacteria that has somehow slipped through democracy’s defences – aided, perhaps, by Steve Bannon or some other wily agent of mass manipulation – and is now poisoning political life, creating new ranks of populist voters among “us”. (Tellingly, most writing about populism presumes an audience unsympathetic to populism.)

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Life And Death Of Richard Swift

News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One afternoon in April, as we climbed into an armoured car outside her office in Vauxhall, south London, I asked Lynne Owens, the country’s most senior police officer, to describe 21st-century crime in the UK. Her answer spanned most of the next two hours, as we crawled east through the traffic to Chelmsford, Essex where, as head of the National Crime Agency (NCA), she had been invited by the Policing Institute of the Eastern Region to give a lecture on the future of law enforcement.

There was Russia’s attempt to kill Sergei Skripal. A North Korean cyber-attack. Eastern European slave traffickers. Albanian cocaine smugglers. (Sensitive to singling out nationalities, Owens used the term “western Balkans”). Hundreds of billions of pounds laundered through London every year. A dramatic rise in the murder rate in the capital in four years. Historic child abuse in Rotherham. Fentanyl manufacturers in Merseyside and Manchester.

All the cases Owens cited were examples of organised crime, illicit national and transnational networks that have multiplied since the 1980s and now make an annual £1.5tn around the world and £37bn, or 1.8% of GDP, in Britain. It was to tackle this threat that the NCA was established five years ago as a national intelligence and police force – inevitably described in the press as the closest thing Britain has to an FBI. What to many might sound like a terrifying catalogue of crime, then, is to Owens, as the NCA’s director-general, a to-do list. Since we spoke, Owens’s caseload has expanded again to include investigations into the origins of Brexiter Arron Banks’s campaign cash and how an Azerbaijani banker’s wife, Zamira Hajiyeva, sustained a lifestyle that ran to spending £16m in Harrods in a decade.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Gumbo, the Classic New Orleans Dish, Is Dead. Long Live Gumbo.

NEW ORLEANS — Decades ago, soon after moving to this city from India, Arvinder Vilkhu began telling his wife and children, “If we ever have a restaurant, we must have a curried gumbo.”

Mr. Vilkhu had tasted his first gumbo in 1984 during a job interview at a New Orleans hotel. “I was so much in love,” he said of the rich dish, something between a soup and a stew. He began developing his own distinctive version after immigrating here later that year.

But it wasn’t until 2017, when the family opened their Indian restaurant, Saffron Nola, on a restaurant-dense stretch of this city’s Uptown neighborhood, that he began serving his gumbo, bright with ginger, turmeric and cilantro.

“New Orleans wasn’t ready for Indian gumbo,” said Mr. Vilkhu’s son, Ashwin, the restaurant’s general manager. “It is now.”

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

News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Most Powerful Person In Silicon Valley

News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It’s a bright September morning in San Carlos, California, and Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank, is throwing me off schedule. I’d come, as he had, to meet with the people he’s tapped to run the Vision Fund, his $100 billion bet on the future of, well, everything. After almost four decades of building SoftBank into a telecom conglomerate, Son, an inveterate dealmaker, launched this unprecedented venture two years ago to back startups that he believes are driving a new wave of digital upheaval. He has staked everything on its success–his company, his reputation, his fortune. We’d both arrived with the same basic question: Where is this massive vehicle heading? But because I wasn’t the one footing the 12-figure allowance, I understood that I’d be the one to wait.

In the hubbub of Son’s visit, my 9 a.m. meeting gets rescheduled multiple times until it’s set for 4:30 p.m. When I finally arrive at the Vision Fund’s offices, just off California’s Highway 101, I’m struck by how mundane they are. Son is known for big, showy statements. He reportedly paid $117 million for a home in Woodside in 2013, the highest price ever in the U.S. This glass and concrete building, on the other hand, could be found in any part of suburban America.

The room where I wait is spartan. There is an empty desk in one corner, and a conference table with a fake-wood veneer. I try to read the pale gray scribbles on a whiteboard, hoping they might shed light on what happens in this place, but the surface has been too well scrubbed. The interior glass walls of the conference room have been lined with a white, papery substance that turns anyone on the other side into apparitions.

Read the rest of this article at: Fast Company

When The Ice Melts: The Catastrophe Of Vanishing Glaciers

News 01.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The fall lasts long enough that I have time to watch the blue ice race upward, aeons of time compressed into glacial ice, flashing by in fractions of seconds. I assume I’ve fallen far enough that I’ve pulled my climbing partner, Sean, into the crevasse with me. This is what it’s like to die in the mountains, a voice in my head tells me.

Just as my mind completes that thought, the rope wrenches my climbing harness up. I bounce languidly up and down as the dynamic physics inherent in the rope play themselves out. Somehow Sean has checked my fall while still on the surface of the glacier.

I brush the snow and chunks of ice from my hair, arms and chest and pull down the sleeves of my shirt. Finding my glacier glasses hanging from the pocket of my climbing bib, I tuck them away. I check myself for injuries and, incredibly, find none. Assessing my situation, I find there’s no ice shelf nearby to ease the tension from the rope, so Sean will not be able to begin setting up a pulley system to extract me.

I look down. Nothing but blackness. I look at the wall of blue ice directly in front of me, take a deep breath and peer up at the tiny hole I made when I fell through the snow bridge spanning the crevasse – the same bridge Sean had crossed without incident as we made our way up Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier towards Mount Marcus Baker in the Chugach Range.

“You get to look down one more time, then that’s it,” I tell myself out loud.

Again, there’s only the black void yawning beneath me, swallowing everything, even sound. My stomach clenches. I remind myself to breathe.

“Sean, are you OK?” I yell as I clamp my mechanical ascenders to the rope in preparation to climb up.

“Yeah, I’m all right, but I’m right on the edge,” he calls back. “I can’t set up an anchor, so we’re just going to have to wait for the other guys to catch up.”

Time passes. The onset of hypothermia means I can’t control my body from periodically shaking. To ignore my fear of dying, I gaze meditatively at the ice a few feet in front of me as I dangle.

The miniature air pockets found in the whiter ice near the top of the glacier have long since been compressed, producing the mesmerising beauty of centuries-old turquoise ice. Slightly deeper into the crevasse is ice that has been there since long before the Neanderthals.

I hang suspended in silence, mindful not to move for fear of dislodging Sean. Giving my full attention to the ice immediately within my vision, I focus on how the gently refracting light from above seems to penetrate and reflect off the perfectly smooth wall. Staring into it, the blue seems infinite. Despite the danger of my situation, the glacier’s beauty calms me.

Eventually our two other teammates arrive and work to extract Sean from his perch just six inches from the edge of the crevasse. The three of them set up a three-way pulley system. Laboriously, my teammates begin to haul me up, inches at a time, out of what nearly became my tomb. I continue to focus on the delicately shifting shades of blue in the ice as I draw closer to the surface.

My teammates pull me up to the lip of the crevasse. I repeatedly plunge the pick of my ice axe into the snow and haul myself out, never before as grateful for being on top of a glacier. I stand and gaze up at a mountain to the west, behind which the sun has just set. Snow plumes stream off one of its ridges, turned into red ribbons by the setting sun. Snowflakes flicker as they float into space.

As relief floods my shivering body, I roar in gratitude. Utterly overwhelmed by being alive and surrounded by the beauty of the mountain world, I hug each of my three climbing partners. Now that I am safe, it sinks in just how close to death I’ve been.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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