In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Brown Point Shoes Arrive, 200 Years After White Ones

For nearly her whole career, Cira Robinson has — like many ballet dancers of color — performed a ritual: painting her point shoes to match her skin.

She did it first in 2001, when she was 15, at a summer program with Dance Theater of Harlem. The company said her shoes needed to be brown, not the traditional pink, but she couldn’t find any in stores, so she used spray paint. “It made them crunchy and just … ew,” she said in a telephone interview.

When she joined Dance Theater a few years later, she started using makeup instead. “I’d go to the cheapest stores and get foundation,” she said, the kind “you’d never put on your face as it’d break you out. Like, $2.95 cheap.”

She’d go through five tubes a week, sponging it onto 12 to 15 pairs of shoes — a process known in ballet circles as pancaking. It took 45 minutes to an hour to do a pair, she said, because she wanted to make sure the foundation got into every crevice and covered every bit of ribbon.

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

In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Faked Out

In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It seems like the last remaining truth, the last fact we can agree on, is that reality itself is slipping away. We don’t breathe the same truths but are suffocating in epistemic bubbles, cut off from each other in separate and competing realities. The substance of the world itself is breaking, and with it going civility, journalism, and democracy. In its place we have post-truth, reality apathy, and alternative facts. There’s fake news, fake audio and fake video, deepfake porn, fake followers on Twitter and fake friends on Facebook. There are bots masquerading as human and humans disguised as bots. Images are increasingly augmented, manipulated, intensified, if not altogether algorithmically generated. Perhaps our only shared reality is of a world that feels fake.

This, at least, is the general despair of a certain cohort who desire a “shared, consensus reality,” and whose proclamations of fakeness become more dramatic. Futurist Mark Pesce warns not just of the end of truth but of the “last days of reality.” The “end of reality” is also the title of an Atlantic article that claims that “the current president has further hastened the arrival of a world beyond truth, providing the imprimatur of the highest office to falsehood and conspiracy.” A Technology Review article on deepfakes cites an NYU professor stating, “If we aren’t careful, [fake imagery] might result in the end of the world.” Echoing this, Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently said that “in the old days, if you wanted to threaten the United States, you needed 10 aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons and long-range missiles,” but today “all you need is the ability to produce a very realistic fake video that could undermine our election, that could throw our country into tremendous crisis internally and weaken us deeply.”

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

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Quitting Instagram: She’s One Of The Millions Disillusioned With Social Media. But She Also Helped Create It.

On the evening of Sept. 26, Bailey Richardson logged in to Instagram for the last time.

“The time has come for me to delete my Instagram,” she wrote to her 20,000 followers, using her white pants as a canvas. “Thanks for all the kindnesses over the years.”

Richardson’s decision isn’t novel: 68 percent of Americans have either quit or taken a break from social media this year, according to the Pew Research Center.

But Richardson isn’t a bystander reckoning with the ills of technology: She was one of the 13 original employees working at Instagram in 2012 when Facebook bought the viral photo-sharing app for $1 billion. She and four others from that small group now say the sense of intimacy, artistry and discovery that defined early Instagram and led to its success has given way to a celebrity-driven marketplace that is engineered to sap users’ time and attention at the cost of their well-being.

“In the early days, you felt your post was seen by people who cared about you and that you cared about,” said Richardson, who left Instagram in 2014 and later founded a start-up. “That feeling is completely gone for me now.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Washington Post

Haunted By His Brother, He Revolutionized Physics

In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The postcard contained only two words: “Hurry up.”

John Archibald Wheeler, a 33-year-old physicist, was in Hanford, Wash., working on the nuclear reactor that was feeding plutonium to Los Alamos, when he received the postcard from his younger brother, Joe. It was late summer, 1944. Joe was fighting on the front lines of World War II in Italy. He had a good idea what his older brother was up to. He knew that five years earlier, Wheeler had sat down with Danish scientist Niels Bohr and worked out the physics of nuclear fission, showing that unstable isotopes of elements like uranium or soon-to-be-discovered plutonium would, when bombarded with neutrons, split down the seams, releasing unimaginable stores of atomic energy. Enough to flatten a city. Enough to end a war.

After the postcard’s arrival, Wheeler worked as quickly as he could, and the Manhattan Project completed its construction of the atomic bomb the following summer. Over the Jornada del Muerto Desert in New Mexico, physicists detonated the first nuclear explosion in human history, turning 1,000 feet of desert sand to glass. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the project’s director, watched from the safety of a base camp 10 miles away and silently quoted Hindu scripture from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” In Hanford, Wheeler was thinking something different: I hope I’m not too late. He didn’t know that on a hillside near Florence, lying in a foxhole, Joe was already dead.

When Wheeler learned the news, he was devastated. He blamed himself. “One cannot escape the conclusion that an atomic bomb program started a year earlier and concluded a year sooner would have spared 15 million lives, my brother Joe’s among them,” he wrote in his memoir. “I could—probably—have influenced the decision makers if I had tried.”

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

My Father’s SOS—From The Middle Of The Sea

In the News 11.14.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Dad was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on his way from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to the Marquesas Islands, 26 days into a single-handed, 2,780-mile crossing that was to be the first major leg of a lifelong dream: sailing around the world. It was 3:30 A.M. where he was, near the equator, an hour behind Pacific time. He was 1,160 nautical miles from the Marquesas, 1,975 from Hawaii, and 1,553 from Mexico—about as far away from land, and help, as you can get.

His boat was a 36-foot Union Cutter called Celebration, built in 1985. It had a white hull, faded teak decks, brass portholes turning turquoise, and forest green sail covers that always reminded me of summer camp. Climbing into the cabin was like disappearing into a hobbit hole—a dark, welcoming space with oak cabinets and big cushions.

Just six hours before Dad sent the pirate alert, late in the evening on May 27, he had used his satellite text messager and tracking device to wish Mom a happy 39th wedding anniversary. He also wanted to ease her concerns that his boat was pointed the wrong way, something she’d noticed on a map that indicated his position based on the messages he sent.

“Hey Hon. I’m fine,” he wrote. “I have enough food, etc. The watermaker is still working. Pulling over & parking in a storm (heave to) is a good skill to have & practice.” He signed off with a smiley face.

The smile was gone now. Ten minutes after his 4:30 message, he e-mailed one of his younger brothers, John Carr, an aerospace engineer in Orange County. “Being kidnapped by pirates,” he wrote. “Talk to martha.” John was asleep, too, and didn’t see it.

About two hours later, Dad followed up with this message to John: “Apparently, I’ve been spared.” A few minutes after that, at 6:54, he messaged Mom: “Hugewind pirates left. I’m fine. Talklater.” He said he’d sent out an SOS and an alert from his EPIRB, an emergency device that transmits a satellite signal to rescuers when a boat is in distress. He asked her to call and cancel them.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside

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