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News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Dementia Stopped Peter Max from Painting. For Some, that Spelled a Lucrative Opportunity.

The scene played out for years. Twice a week, in the late afternoon, above the Shun Lee Chinese restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a creaky elevator would open, and out would step an elderly man. Thin as a rail, with a sparse mustache, he would sometimes have little idea about where or who he was. A pair of security doors would buzz unlocked once surveillance cameras identified him as the artist Peter Max.

Inside, he would see painters — some of them recruited off the street and paid minimum wage — churning out art in the Max aesthetic: cheery, polychrome, wide-brushstroke kaleidoscopes on canvas. Mr. Max would be instructed to hold out his hand, and for hours, he would sign the art as if it were his own, grasping a brush and scrawling Max. The arrangement, which continued until earlier this year, was described to The New York Times by seven people who witnessed it.

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

News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Happy Ever After: 25 Ways to Live Well Into Old Age

News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When Susan Saunders was 36, her mother was diagnosed with severe dementia. “I had a toddler, a newborn, a full-time job as a TV producer – and I became a carer as well.” As a teenager, she had watched her mum care for her own mother, who had the same condition. “I became determined to do everything I could to increase my chances of ageing well.”

Annabel Streets’ story is similar. When she was a student, her grandfather died from cancer months after he retired; later, she watched her mother care for her grandmother, who lived with dementia and crippling rheumatoid arthritis for nearly 30 years. “When I developed a chronic autoimmune disease, I knew things had to change. But by then I had four young children and there was precious little time for my own health.”

Together, Saunders and Streets started researching the latest science on how to have a healthier, happier old age and how to apply it to their own lives, and blogged about their findings for five years. Their Age Well Project has now been published as a book, compiling almost 100 shortcuts to health in mid- and later life – and Streets and Saunders, who are both in their 50s, say they have never been in better health.

What did they learn?

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper

When Yale recently decided to relocate three-quarters of the books in its undergraduate library to create more study space, the students loudly protested. In a passionate op-ed in the Yale Daily News, one student accused the university librarian—who oversees 15 million books in Yale’s extensive library system—of failing to “understand the crucial relationship of books to education.” A sit-in, or rather a “browse-in,” was held in Bass Library to show the administration how college students still value the presence of books. Eventually the number of volumes that would remain was expanded, at the cost of reducing the number of proposed additional seats in a busy central location.

Little-noticed in this minor skirmish over the future of the library was a much bigger story about the changing relationship between college students and books. Buried in a slide deck about circulation statistics from Yale’s library was an unsettling fact: There has been a 64 percent decline in the number of books checked out by undergraduates from Bass Library over the past decade.

Yale’s experience is not at all unique—indeed, it is commonplace. University libraries across the country, and around the world, are seeing steady, and in many cases precipitous, declines in the use of the books on their shelves. The University of Virginia, one of our great public universities and an institution that openly shares detailed library circulation stats from the prior 20 years, is a good case study. College students at UVA checked out 238,000 books during the school year a decade ago; last year, that number had shrunk to just 60,000.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Ian Fleming Explains How to Write a Thriller

News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There is no literary spy—and perhaps no literary character, full stop—more famous than James Bond, which should already be enough of an argument for any aspiring writer, but particularly any aspiring writer of thrilling tales, to seek advice from his creator, Ian Fleming.

Luckily, I recently stumbled across an essay by Fleming, aptly entitled “How to Write a Thriller,” which appeared in the May 1963 issue of Books and Bookmen, only a little over a year before the author’s death. (I admit that the below version has been pieced together from a few incomplete online sources, primarily this one, which was reprinted by Peter Morwood, and which seems to have been a slightly different edit from the Books and Bookmen version.) It meanders a little, and it’s a little pompous in places (even as it tries to be casual about it) and parts of it have not aged particularly well (delicate shade of pink, indeed), but in the end, most of it is still pretty good advice.

The craft of writing sophisticated thrillers is almost dead. Writers seem to be ashamed of inventing heroes who are white, villains who are black, and heroines who are a delicate shade of pink.

I am not an angry young, or even middle-aged, man. I am not “involved.” My books are not “engaged.” I have no message for suffering humanity and, though I was bullied at school and lost my virginity like so many of us used to do in the old days, I have never been tempted to foist these and other harrowing personal experiences on the public. My opuscula do not aim at changing people or making them go out and do something. They are written for warm-blooded heterosexuals in railway trains, airplanes and beds.

Read the rest of this article at: Lit Hub

‘A Zombie Party’: The Deepening Crisis of Conservatism

News 05.29.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Conservatism is the dominant politics of the modern world. Even when rightwing parties are not in power, conservative ideas and policies set the shape of society and the economy. Ever since the transformative 1980s governments of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – with their new fusion of disruptive capitalism and social traditionalism – the assumption in Britain, the US and far beyond has been that conservatism is the default setting of democratic politics.

Even when other parties have been in office, leaders such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have continued with the conservative project of privatising the state and deregulating business. For decades, armies of rightwing activists – with rich financial backers and many allies in the media – have successfully spread and entrenched conservative ideas.

Many of conservatism’s opponents have come to expect that, somehow, it will always prevail. Despite the spectacular failure of Theresa May’s premiership and the unpopularity of her divided party, the contest to succeed her is likely to dominate British politics this summer, as if the identity of the Tory leader is its weightiest matter. The Republican Donald Trump, despite the most consistently bad approval ratings of any modern US president, is widely thought to have a good chance of re-election. In today’s otherwise unstable, fast-changing political world, conservatism has an air of permanence.

Yet this aura has led to an overconfidence about conservatism’s underlying health. In Britain and the US, once the movement’s most fertile sources of ideas, voters, leaders and governments, a deep crisis of conservatism has been building since the end of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. It is a crisis of competence, of intellectual energy and coherence, of electoral effectiveness, and – perhaps most serious of all – of social relevance.

This crisis has often been obscured. The collapse of Soviet communism in the 80s, the apparent triumph of capitalism during the 90s, the western left’s own splits, dilemmas and failures, and the ongoing surge of rightwing populism have all helped maintain conservatism’s surface confidence. Meanwhile, the rightwing media’s fierce, enduring faith in the ever-more distant politics of Thatcher and Reagan has helped delay the moment of recognition that those politics have grown obsolete. The right is still winning elections, from India to the European parliament, but transatlantic conservatism as we have known it since the 80s – pro-capitalist, anti-government, controlled by the traditional parties of the right – may be dying.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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