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In the News 01.11.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 01.11.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 01.11.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 01.11.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Zadie Smith – What Beyoncé Taught Me

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The connection between writing and dancing has been much on my mind recently: it’s a channel I want to keep open. It feels a little neglected – compared to, say, the relationship between music and prose – maybe because there is something counter-intuitive about it. But for me the two forms are close to each other: I feel dance has something to tell me about what I do.

One of the most solid pieces of writing advice I know is in fact intended for dancers – you can find it in the choreographer Martha Graham’s biography. But it relaxes me in front of my laptop the same way I imagine it might induce a young dancer to breathe deeply and wiggle their fingers and toes. Graham writes: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

California Dreaming

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Late on a Friday morning this summer, I sat down at a wobbly two-person table outside Sqirl, a tiny counter-service restaurant on the edges of Silver Lake, one of Los Angeles’s hipper neighborhoods. My friend and I attempted to blend in with the rest of the clientele — local screenwriters and hot dads who somehow have the time to laze about during the day and graze on frittatas and malva pudding cake — all of us an incongruous tableau on a remarkably average strip of Virgil Avenue, which Sqirl shares with Twig & Twine floral arrangers, Fiestecita Party Supply, Marshall Security Training Academy, and a cash-only Chinese restaurant called Wah’s Golden Hen.

 

As our table filled up with bowls of spring onion hash and crispy rice salad and glasses of rhubarb lemonade, we looked at the spread with a sense of giddy awe. Everything was Technicolor, an overwhelming bounty. Before breaking into a gargantuan slice of ricotta-and-jam-topped toast, I snapped a photo of our table on the sidewalk, sun-dappled and brimming with vegetable things, and posted the image to Instagram. After we’d finished our meal and left, I saw that another friend — who lives a few blocks from me in Brooklyn — had left a comment: “I’m on my way there right now!”

My trip to Los Angeles this summer was my second in a year, but last time I had mostly eaten burritos and potato chips. This trip would be different, decidedly more food-focused; I almost expected eating at Sqirl to be a little like seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. For a certain stripe of out-of-town visitor (me), a meal there has come to symbolize everything that defines the most stereotypically bourgeois notion of a contemporary Los Angeles lifestyle right now: photogenic scenery, friendly vibes, food that is both virtuous and delicious. We roll our eyes, then thirst for it anyway.

Read the rest of this article at Eater

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The Slow Fade Of Tom Hanks

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When Tom Hanks won his first Oscar for Philadelphia in 1994 — playing the role of a lawyer with AIDS who fights back when his firm unlawfully fires him — the standing ovation was immediate. Even his competitors (Liam Neeson, who’d been nominated forSchindler’s List, and Anthony Hopkins, up for Howards End) stood and hugged him on his way to the podium. Hanks clutched the Oscar, looked up to the balcony, and began a well-practiced speech.

“Here’s what I know,” he declared, before talking about the perfection of his “lover” (Rita Wilson) and the impact of his high school drama teacher and classmate, both of whom are gay. “I wish my babies could have the same sort of teachers, the same sort of friends,” he explained, “and therein lies my dilemma tonight: I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets in heaven are too crowded with angels.”

Hanks was referring to the victims of AIDS — and the fact that playing one, in the throes of death, defying discrimination, is what won him the Oscar. He continued by saying he hoped that the grace of the creator “cools their fevers,” “heals their skin,” and “allows their eyes to see the simple self-evident truth, that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all,” one that “was written down on paper, by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia 200 years ago.” The tears welling up in his eyes threatened to spill over, but he finished with a steady gaze: “God bless you all, God have mercy on us all, and God bless America.”

Read the rest of this article at Buzzfeed

For Helping Immigrants, Chobani’s Founder Draws Threats

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By many measures, Chobani embodies the classic American immigrant success story.

Its founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, is a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent. He bought a defunct yogurt factory in upstate New York, added a facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, and now employs about 2,000 people making Greek yogurt.

But in this contentious election season, the extreme right has a problem with Chobani: In its view, too many of those employees are refugees.

As Mr. Ulukaya has stepped up his advocacy — employing more than 300 refugees in his factories, starting a foundation to help migrants, and traveling to the Greek island of Lesbos to witness the crisis firsthand — he and his company have been targeted with racist attacks on social media and conspiratorial articles on websites including Breitbart News.

Now there are calls to boycott Chobani. Mr. Ulukaya and the company have been taunted with racist epithets on Twitter and Facebook. Fringe websites have published false stories claiming Mr. Ulukaya wants “to drown the United States in Muslims.” And the mayor of Twin Falls has received death threats, partly as a result of his support for Chobani.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Meet Fancy Bear

For the first time in history, Washington has accused a foreign government of trying to influence the US election. Sheera Frenkel investigates the Russian group accused of hacking the US election — and finds they’ve been practicing for this moment for a long time.

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SAN FRANCISCO — On the morning of March 10, nine days after Hillary Clinton had won big on Super Tuesday and all but clinched the Democratic nomination, a series of emails were sent to the most senior members of her campaign.

At a glance, they looked like a standard message from Google, asking that users click a link to review recent suspicious activity on their Gmail accounts. Clicking on them would lead to a page that looked nearly identical to Gmail’s password reset page with a prompt to sign in. Unless they were looking closely at the URL in their address bar, there was very little to set off alarm bells.

From the moment those emails were opened, senior members in Clinton’s campaign were falling into a trap set by one of the most aggressive and notorious groups of hackers working on behalf of the Russian state. The same group would shortly target the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). It was an orchestrated attack that — in the midst of one of the most surreal US presidential races in recent memory — sought to influence and sow chaos on Election Day.

The hack first came to light on June 15, when the Washington Post published a story based on a report by the CrowdStrike cybersecurity firm alleging that a group of Russian hackers had breached the email servers of the DNC. Countries have spied on one another’s online communications in the midst of an election season for as long as spies could be taught to use computers — but what happened next, the mass leaking of emails that sought to embarrass and ultimately derail a nominee for president, had no precedent in the United States. Thousands of emails — some embarrassing, others punishing were available for public perusal while the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, congratulated Russia on the hack and invited it to keep going to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” from Clinton’s private email server. It was an attack that would edge the US and Russia closer to the brink of a cyberwar that has been simmering for the better part of a decade.

The group behind the hacks is known as Fancy Bear, or APT 28, or Tsar Team, or a dozen other names that have been given to them over the years by cybersecurity researchers. Despite being one of the most reported-on groups of hackers active on the internet today, there is very little researchers can say with absolute certainty. No one knows, for instance, how many hackers are working regularly within Fancy Bear, or how they organize their hacking squads. They don’t know if they are based in one city or scattered in various locations across Russia. They don’t even know what they call themselves.

The group is, according to a White House statement last week, receiving their orders from the highest echelons of the Russian government and their actions “are intended to interfere with the US election process.” For the cybersecurity companies and academic researchers who have followed Fancy Bear’s activities online for years, the hacking and subsequent leaking of Clinton’s emails, as well as those of the DNC and DCCC, were the most recent — and most ambitious — in a long series of cyber-espionage and disinformation campaigns. From its earliest-known activities, in the country of Georgia in 2009, to the hacking of the DNC and Clinton in 2016, Fancy Bear has quickly gained a reputation for its high-profile, political targets.

Read the rest of this article at Buzzfeed

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @objectsassembled, @tonybianco, @objectassesembled