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News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@janicejoostemaa
News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@justhelenmarie
News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@elledecor

Our Culture of Contempt

I live and work in Washington. But I’m not a politics junkie. To me, politics is like the weather — it changes a lot, people drone on about it constantly, and “good” is mostly subjective. I like winter, you like summer; you’re a liberal, I’m a conservative. In the 2012 presidential election season, my wife and I had a bumper sticker custom-made for our Volvo that read “Vegans for Romney” just to see the reaction of other Washington drivers.

My passion is ideas, especially policy ideas. While politics is like the weather, ideas are like the climate. Climate has an impact on weather, but they’re different things. Similarly, ideas affect politics, but they aren’t the same. When done right, policy analysis, like climate science, favors nerds with Ph.D.s. And that’s me. For 20 years, I’ve been a professor of public policy and president of a think tank in Washington. (For a decade before that I made my living as a musician, but not the cool kind — I played in a symphony orchestra.)

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

News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Sharing Economy Was Always a Scam

News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Founded in 2014, Omni is a startup that offers users the ability to store and rent their lesser-used stuff in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. Backed by roughly $40 million in venture capital, Omni proclaims on its website that they “believe in experiences over things, access over ownership, and living lighter rather than being weighed down by our possessions.”

If you’re in the Bay Area, you can currently rent a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo from “Lan” for the low price of $1 per day; “charles” is renting a small framed lithograph for $10 a day; and “Tom” is renting a copy of the film Friends With Benefits (68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) on Blu-ray for just $2 a day. Those prices don’t include delivery and return fees for the Omni trucks traversing the city, which start at $1.99 each way.

In 2016, Omni’s CEO and co-founder Tom McLeod said that “lending enables Omni members to put their ‘dormant’ belongings to good use in their community.” That same year, Fortune said Omni “could create a true ‘sharing economy.’” For a while, the tenets of the sharing economy were front and center in Omni’s model: It promised to activate underutilitized assets in order to sustain a healthier world and build community trust. In 2017, McLeod said, “We want to change behavior around ownership on the planet.”

Just three years later, those promises seem second to the pursuit of profit. In 2019, the Omni pitch can be summed up by the ads emblazoned on its delivery trucks: “Rent things from your neighbors, earn money when they rent from you!”

Read the rest of this article at: OneZero

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Huawei: The Story of a

Controversial Company

It was 1 December 2018. US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping were dining on grilled sirloin followed by caramel rolled pancakes at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

They had a lot to discuss. The US and China were in the middle of a trade war – imposing tariffs on each other’s goods – and growth forecasts for both countries had recently been cut as a result. This was adding to the fear of a slowing global economy.

In the event, the two leaders agreed a truce in the trade war, with Donald Trump tweeting that “Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward!”

But thousands of kilometres north in Canada, an arrest was taking place that would throw doubt on this rapprochement.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and Ren Zhengfei’s eldest daughter, had been detained by Canadian officials while transferring between flights at Vancouver airport.

The arrest had come at the request of the US, who accused her of breaking sanctions against Iran.

Read the rest of this article at: BBC

News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How Imagination Will Save Our Cities

News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2017 science-fiction novel New York 2140, the city of the future has become a vertical super-Venice, after being flooded by rising seas caused by global warming melting the Arctic ice caps.1 While the lower stories of many of Manhattan’s skyscrapers have been overtaken by the sea, residents continue to live in those above, accessing them via boathouses and pontoons. A tangle of sky-bridges connect the lofty heights of many of these skyscrapers, the streets beneath now canals traversed by countless boats and gondolas. Ruins litter the intertidal zone, inhabited by the desperate and the poor; while airships agglomerate above the buildings into sky villages. Robinson’s imagined New York of the future hasn’t succumbed to the ravaging effects of climate change; rather, it has adapted to the changes by radically reshaping its built environment.

Despite the fact that climate change is already affecting vulnerable cities like New York—principally featuring an increased incidence and severity of urban flooding—it remains a phenomenon that is dominated by future predictions. Even by the cautious estimates of the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014, cities are in for a rough ride in the next century. By 2100 the rise in global temperatures is almost certain to exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and, alarmingly, already reached that level for a short time in early 2016. Sea levels will rise by anything up to a meter, or more if current predictions prove to be over-optimistic (and New York 2140 is based on an estimated rise of 15 meters, or 49 1/4 feet, over the next 100 years). At the same time, the oceans will also warm and become more acidic; and the turbulence of the atmosphere will intensify, leading to more extreme weather events and a greater risk of flooding.2 Cities are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly coastal or tidal-river-based conurbations—including 22 of the world’s major cities according to the Stern Review of 2006.3

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

How Youtube Made a Star Out of This Super-smart Film Critic

News 03.08.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

LINDSAY ELLIS IS just about ready to start shooting a video in her personal studio—aka a tiny second-floor room in Ellis’ western Los Angeles home—and the 34-year-old writer and YouTube essayist is making some final preparations. She gently repositions a couple of pet tortoises resting in a tank nearby, so they won’t noisily thunk their heads against the wall mid-shoot. Then she heads to a shelf stocked with Transformers of varying sizes, colors, and allegiances.

“Which Starscream should I use?” she asks, scanning her collection. She eventually selects a handful of figures, including miniature-sized versions of Starscream and Windblade that recently appeared on her wedding cake, and carries them back to her desk.

If you’ve seen any of Ellis’ videos on YouTube, where she has more than half a million subscribers, you’re no doubt aware of her love for all things robots-in-disguise-related. A Transformer sometimes appears in the background as she narrates one of her thoughtful, deeply researched film-criticism essays, which have included such entries as “The Ideology of the First Order” and “The Death of the Hollywood Movie Musical.”

And for the past two years, she’s been slowly rolling out The Whole Plate, a series that deconstructs the ear-drum-splitting mayhem of the Transformers franchise through various academic lenses: Feminism. Marxism. Auteur theory. (There’s even an entry titled “Queering Michael Bay.”) Together, Ellis’ Whole Plate videos have earned nearly 4 million views on YouTube—a remarkable tally, considering that some of the platform’s most popular film-criticism genres appear to be “Dudes Still Yelling ’Bout Porgs” or “I Just Noticed Wes Anderson’s Fonts, and I Have Some Thoughts (Part 1 of 18).”

Ellis’ deftly edited essays are in a genre all their own. She rarely focuses on the big-name new releases of the moment. And she doesn’t care much for what she calls “thing-bad” videos, in which someone piles on the bile toward a beloved film. Instead, she approaches movies, even the ones she doesn’t especially love, with a combination of scholarly rigor, film-history acumen, and reliable wryness.

Watching her clips is like taking a Screen Aesthetics 101 class with a cool professor, and then hanging out at the campus coffee shop afterward, listening in as she riffs about, say, the significance of a giant robot peeing on John Turturro. Or the complicated blandness of Disney’s Pocahontas. Or the stilted rebelliousness of 2005’s Rent adaptation. “The things I think most about,” Ellis says, “are things that are deeply flawed but have this really interesting potential.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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