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News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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The World’s Greatest Delivery Empire

In Beijing, it’s often cheaper to have food delivered than to get it yourself. Like, way cheaper. Abey Lin, a 19-year-old Californian studying at Beijing Film Academy, uses his smartphone to order a local restaurant’s roast duck dish for 20 yuan ($2.99), about 80 percent less than it costs at the register, via delivery app Meituan. He can get a 40 percent discount on two pizzas topped with golden potatoes and barbecued seafood. Meituan charges $1.46 for a bean curd dish from another shop, a little over a third of the price on the restaurant’s menu. It would be tough for Lin to beat that price even if he had a kitchenette to make the dish himself. “It blew my mind,” he says.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On Flooding: Drowning the Culture in Sameness

News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 1995, the Emmy nominees for Best Drama were Chicago Hope, ER, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files. In 1996, the Emmy nominees for Best Drama were Chicago Hope, ER, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files. In 1997, the Emmy nominees for Best Drama were Chicago Hope, ER, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files. That is: Two cop shows set in New York, two medical shows set in Chicago, and some aliens, spread across four networks, represented the height and breadth of the art form for three years running.

I literally just copied that entire first paragraph from a Deadspin article written by Sean T. Collins. It appeared last week, when every site seemed to be writing about Netflix. His was the best piece. Somehow, within that flood of Netflix content, everyone found that article — it has almost 300,000 page views. I may as well have copied it for all the traffic my actual column — which was not about Netflix — got.

There was definitely a twang of why bother? while I was writing last week, just as there is every week. Why bother, and Jesus Christ, why am I not faster? The web once made something of a biblical promise to give all of us a voice, but in the ensuing flood — and the ensuing floods after that — only a few bobbed to the top. With increased diversity, this hasn’t changed — there are more diverse voices, but the same ones float up each time. There remains a tension that critics, and the larger media, must balance, reflecting what’s in the culture in all its repetitive glory while also nudging it toward the future. But we are repeatedly failing at this by repeatedly drowning ourselves in the first part. This is flooding (a term I just coined, so I would know): the practice of unleashing a mass torrent of the same stories by the same storytellers at the same time, making it almost impossible for anyone but the same select few to rise to the surface.

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

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Stop Letting Modern Distractions Steal Your Attention

When David Rock needs to immerse himself in his work, he goes offline. Being reachable, he knows, will tank his productivity.

In fact, Dr. Rock, the C.E.O. of The Neuroleadership Institute and author of “Your Brain at Work,” was able to write four books during several flights to and from Australia. He credits the long stretches of uninterrupted time with granting him the ability to fully concentrate on assembling those book drafts.

Sure, not everyone can hop a 13-hour flight to Australia when they need to finish a project. But the lesson Dr. Rock learned is applicable regardless: Making ourselves inaccessible from time to time is essential to boosting our focus. A 2017 survey from the American Psychological Association found that being constantly and permanently reachable on an electronic device — checking work emails on your day off; continuously cycling through social media feeds; responding to text messages at all hours — is associated with higher stress levels.

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

News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Can We Stop AI Outsmarting Humanity?

News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It began three and a half billion years ago in a pool of muck, when a molecule made a copy of itself and so became the ultimate ancestor of all earthly life. It began four million years ago, when brain volumes began climbing rapidly in the hominid line.

Fifty thousand years ago with the rise of Homo sapiens sapiens.

Ten thousand years ago with the invention of civilization.

Five hundred years ago with the invention of the printing press.

Fifty years ago with the invention of the computer.

In less than thirty years, it will end.

Jaan Tallinn stumbled across these words in 2007, in an online essay called Staring into the Singularity. The “it” was human civilisation. Humanity would cease to exist, predicted the essay’s author, with the emergence of superintelligence, or AI, that surpasses human-level intelligence in a broad array of areas.

Tallinn, an Estonia-born computer programmer, has a background in physics and a propensity to approach life like one big programming problem. In 2003, he co-founded Skype, developing the backend for the app. He cashed in his shares after eBay bought it two years later, and now he was casting about for something to do. Staring into the Singularity mashed up computer code, quantum physics and Calvin and Hobbes quotes. He was hooked.

Tallinn soon discovered that the author, Eliezer Yudkowsky, a self-taught theorist, had written more than 1,000 essays and blogposts, many of them devoted to superintelligence. He wrote a program to scrape Yudkowsky’s writings from the internet, order them chronologically and format them for his iPhone. Then he spent the better part of a year reading them.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Outdoor Voices Blurs the Lines Between Working Out and Everything Else

News 04.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The hashtag #doingthings has been used about a hundred and twenty-five thousand times on Instagram. That’s a little less than #kalesalad, but more than, say, #labradorpuppies. Most of the posts are connected to the clothing brand Outdoor Voices, which was founded by a graduate of the Parsons School of Design named Tyler Haney, in 2014, when she was twenty-five years old. OV makes crop tops and shorts and leggings and fleeces that are soft but well structured and come in colors like lagoon and rose quartz—the company’s advertising helped pioneer a now ubiquitous consumer aesthetic of tasteful minimalist saturation that you might call Sensual Organic Algorithm. Women’s apparel makes up eighty per cent of the company’s sales. The trademark OV look is a racerback crop top and a matching pair of high-waisted leggings, an outfit designed to shape and flatter the body, and to expose it: OV’s textured compression fabric is so snug that it borders on disciplinary, and its leggings “sculpt” the body, like Spanx. The clothes photograph beautifully—somehow, they make the wearer look as if she were put on earth to be viewed on Instagram, posing against a forest vista in flamingo-colored spandex and a smile.

Outdoor Voices is frequently described as an athleisure brand, although Haney, who was a serious athlete in her teens, hates the term, associating it with clothes that were made for watching TV while occasionally thinking about the gym. “Every product that we make is made to sweat in,” she has said. Chip Wilson, the Canadian founder of Lululemon, the company sometimes credited with creating the athleisure market, also refuses the label: in his memoir, “Little Black Stretchy Pants,” he insists that athleisure is for Diet Coke-drinking mall shoppers in New Jersey who wear pink velour, whereas the ideal Lululemon customer is a thirty-two-year-old woman named Ocean who earns six figures and has ninety minutes to work out every day. But both OV and Lululemon appeal to the desire to wear workout clothes around the clock, and Haney has succeeded in part because Wilson’s ritzy vision—picture Ocean in black leggings and a rich-mom tank top—has, for many younger women, become passé. Athleisure, in any case, means different things for different people. I tend to think of it as activewear that costs more than seems entirely sensible, or as a spandex-clad arm of the long-standing ideology that urges women to improve the market value of their physical form.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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