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News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

When detectives in a Phoenix suburb arrested a warehouse worker in a murder investigation last December, they credited a new technique with breaking open the case after other leads went cold.

The police told the suspect, Jorge Molina, they had data tracking his phone to the site where a man was shot nine months earlier. They had made the discovery after obtaining a search warrant that required Google to provide information on all devices it recorded near the killing, potentially capturing the whereabouts of anyone in the area.

Investigators also had other circumstantial evidence, including security video of someone firing a gun from a white Honda Civic, the same model that Mr. Molina owned, though they could not see the license plate or attacker.

But after he spent nearly a week in jail, the case against Mr. Molina fell apart as investigators learned new information and released him. Last month, the police arrested another man: his mother’s ex-boyfriend, who had sometimes used Mr. Molina’s car.

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

News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Problem With Putting a
Price on the End of the World

News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a Saturday afternoon in early December, inside a soaring auditorium on the campus of Stockholm University, William Nordhaus gave the crowning lecture of his half-century career as an economist. The occasion was his acceptance of the Nobel Prize in economics, which Nordhaus, a trim, soft-spoken Yale professor, had been jointly awarded. The title of the lecture was “Climate Change: The Ultimate Challenge for Economics.”

As a young professor on a sabbatical in Vienna in the mid-1970s, Nordhaus happened to share an office with an environmental researcher, who helped spark his interest in the emerging issue. While there, Nordhaus came up with the target, now famous, of holding global warming to two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. He chose the target, as he recently explained to me, because he believed that the earth has experienced similar fluctuations before and that humans had tolerated them.

The Nobel was a tribute to the originality and influence of his work developing economic models that help people think about how to slow climate change. It also seemed to be a cri de coeur from the Swedish academics who choose the economics laureates: Climate change is a threat like no other. Fatal heat waves, droughts, wildfires and severe hurricanes are all becoming more common, and they are almost certain to accelerate. Avoiding horrific damage, as a United Nations panel of scientists recently concluded, will require changes in human behavior that have “no documented historic precedent.”

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

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What the Sight of a Black Hole Means to a Black Hole Physicist

At this historic moment, the world has paused to take in the sight of humanity’s first image of the strangest phenomenon in the known universe, a remarkable legacy of the general theory of relativity: a black hole. I am moved not just by the image; overwhelmingly I am moved by the significance of sharing this experience with strangers around the globe. I am moved by the image of a species looking at an image of a curious empty hole looming in space.

I am at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., a hive of excitement. Scientists with the Event Horizon Telescope aspired for years to take the first-ever picture of a supermassive black hole, so when they gathered journalists and scientists together today for a press conference, there wasn’t much doubt as to what we were here to see.

But still, there are surprises.

At the podium is Sheperd Doeleman, the director of the Event Horizon Telescope. He welcomes us, “black hole enthusiasts.” I have the strongest memory of standing at the chalkboard in an otherwise empty classroom at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Shep, my funny friend with his funny, unmistakable, burnt-mahogany hair. Covered in chalk dust, we acquired the hard-earned mathematics of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Read the rest of this article at: Quanta Magazine

News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What Cancer Takes Away

News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before I got sick, I’d been making plans for a place for public weeping, hoping to install in major cities a temple where anyone who needed it could get together to cry in good company and with the proper equipment. It would be a precisely imagined architecture of sadness: gargoyles made of night sweat, moldings made of longest minutes, support beams made of I-can’t-go-on-I-must-go-on.

When planning the temple, I remembered the existence of people who hate those they call crybabies, and how they might respond with rage to a place full of distraught strangers—a place that exposed suffering as what is shared. It would have been something tremendous to offer those sufferers the exquisite comforts of stately marble troughs in which to collectivize their tears. But I never did this.

Later, when I was sick, I was on a chemotherapy drug with a side effect of endless crying, tears dripping without agency from my eyes no matter what I was feeling or where I was. For months, my body’s sadness disregarded my mind’s attempts to convince me that I was O.K. I cried every minute, whether I was sad or not, my self a mobile, embarrassed monument of tears. I didn’t need to build the temple for weeping, then, having been one. I’ve just always hated it when anyone suffers alone.

The surgeon says the greatest risk factor for breast cancer is having breasts. She won’t give me the initial results of the biopsy if I am alone. My friend Cara, who works for an hourly wage and has no time off, drives out to the suburban medical office on her lunch break so that I can get my diagnosis. In the United States, if you aren’t someone’s child or parent or spouse, the law does not guarantee you leave from work to take care of them.

As Cara and I sit in the skylighted beige of the conference room, waiting for the surgeon to arrive, Cara gives me the small knife she carries in her purse so that I can hold on to it under the table. After all these theatrical prerequisites, what the surgeon says is what we already know: I have at least one cancerous tumor, 3.8 centimetres in diameter, in my left breast. I hand the knife back to Cara damp with sweat. She then returns to work.

No one knows you have cancer until you tell them. I take a screen capture of John Donne’s first devotion—the one that wonders what use it is to be an earth when earths are subject to earthquakes—and post it to Facebook: “We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats, and drink, and air, and exercises, and we hew, and we polish every stone that goes to that building; and so our health is a long and a regular work; but in a minute a cannon batters all.” It gets a lot of likes. Then I follow the other instructions I find on the Internet: tell my mother, tell my teen-age daughter, deep-clean the kitchen, negotiate with my employer, find someone to watch the cat, go to the thrift store to find clothes that will accommodate my coming chemo port, worry on the phone to my friends that I—a single working mother—have no one to take care of me. Because it is decided without ceremony that the doctors will eventually take my breasts from me and discard them in an incinerator, I begin the practice of pretending that my breasts were never there.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

The Legend of Keanu Reeves

News 04.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“We’re kind of similar in our personalities, in that we’re both hermits,” Stormare says. “He’s a loner. I’m a loner. I don’t like the red carpet. Keanu—they think he’s putting on some kind of a fake face, when he’s stuttering, giving interviews on the red carpet, and he looks away and looks uncomfortable. But he really is.”

Swedish Dicks is a joint U.S.-Scandinavian production with a minuscule budget. Reeves takes a regular guest star’s wage, rides to set on his bike, doesn’t have a trailer. They’ve done two seasons; when he runs into Stormare at the gym, Reeves asks when season three is starting.

“He’s quite a funny guy, and that’s not [the roles] he gets in movies and stuff. He’s a really great comedian. He reminds me of Timothy Hutton sometimes, and Dylan McDermott,” Stormare says.

“I only have good things to say about him. Once a year, we’ll have a beer together and talk about life and things. He’s very private. He leads his life the way he wants to lead it. And I guess it can be lonely sometimes. But I think he’s just like me. There’s a comfort in being alone sometimes, especially when you’re working on something.”

They talk about the paranormal, Stormare says. Parallel universes. What’s out there. Mostly, the Reeves you find out about when you call his friends on the phone seems remarkably normal—but a little lonely, a little haunted.

“I’m sure he talked to you about it, but we both had fairly, y’know, chaotic childhoods,” says Alex Winter, who starred with Reeves in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its 1992 sequel, and will do so again in 2020’s Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Reeves did not, in fact, talk about his childhood, at all. In brief, as widely reported: Dad peaced out early. They don’t speak. Mom and some stepdads raised Reeves in various countries. He ended up Canadian. Told writer Dennis Cooper in an interview once, regarding his youth: “I mean, we did sling chestnuts at teachers’ heads, and in grade eight hash started to come around, and LSD kinda. But Toronto’s become like a shopping center now.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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