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News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Apple Computers Used To Be Built In The U.S. It Was A Mess.

In 1988, when Jean-Louis Gassée took a close look at Apple’s “highly automated” Macintosh factory in Fremont, Calif., what he saw was not pretty.

Mr. Gassée, a French specialist in office automation, had just been promoted to president of Apple’s product division by John Sculley, then Apple’s chief executive, and was responsible for the company’s engineering and manufacturing work. When he first started, Mr. Gassée decided to spend two days learning how the company actually built its products by working on a factory production line.

His experience assembling a Macintosh computer display and then stuffing chips into a computer motherboard is an important part of the story behind the artful language on the iPhone box — “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

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

News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

American Ghostwriter

News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

THE PROGNOSIS FOR AMERICAN JOURNALISM is not good. In due course, the cancerous forces of Google, Facebook, and algorithmic optimization will complete the terminal ravaging of the journalistic trade from the inside, chewing through it vital organs one newsroom at a time, hollowing out its traditions and lore. Journalists and editors will grieve the demise of their beloved calling, which once nourished the sacred democratic principle of holding those in power to a sustained public accounting—and, on occasion, created a kind of widely accessible art form. Now, however, as journalism slouches toward oblivion, it churns out high-outrage, low-grade content for its web-addled audience, who click and share anything that flatters their ideological preconceptions.

Sundered from all the now-obsolete protections and best practices of a free and independent press, journalists will do what displaced workers everywhere must: get on with the necessary business of making a living. And a select few will fall into what is perhaps the grimmest possible simulacrum of journalistic endeavor: they will join the now burgeoning market for luxury ghostwritten memoirs.

Among a handful of competitive outfits offering these ghosted biographies, two in particular, LifeBook and Story Terrace, have established themselves as the lead providers of compelling life sagas for an exclusive if international customer base of moguls, C-suite executives, and titans of industry and finance. Publishing hundreds of small-batch editions in recent years, with prices as high as $8,000, these ghost houses have found a way to once again make good money employing journalists writing for the printed page—if not good money for the journalists, then at least for themselves and their investors.

Read the rest of this article at: The Baffler

How Trump Made War On Angela Merkel And Europe

This past July, on the final day of the NATO summit in Brussels, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, proposed a closed-door emergency meeting. The emergency was Donald Trump. Minutes earlier, the President had arrived late to a session where the Presidents of Ukraine and Georgia were making their case to join NATO. Trump interrupted their presentation and unleashed a verbal assault on the members of the alliance, calling them deadbeats and free riders on American power. Trump threatened to go his “own way” if they didn’t immediately pay more for their own defense. His barrage centered on Merkel, Europe’s longest-serving democratic leader.

“You, Angela,” Trump chided Merkel. Most of NATO’s members had failed to fulfill the goal of spending two per cent of G.D.P. for defense, but Trump focussed on Germany’s military spending of just over one per cent of G.D.P. In front of television cameras the previous day, he had accused Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia,” because of a proposed new gas pipeline. His tweets that day sounded like blackmail. “What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Ellen DeGeneres Is Not As Nice As You Think

News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Ellen DeGeneres got sick of dancing, and really, can you blame her?

She has to be the only 60-year-old woman in America who is expected to dance with total strangers wherever she goes. “There’s been times someone wants a picture, and while I’m doing a selfie, they’re like: ‘You’re not dancing!,’” DeGeneres said in her office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. “Of course I’m not dancing. I’m walking down the street.”

As she prepares to release her first comedy special in 15 years, DeGeneres is considering a much bigger change, retiring from the long-running hit show that bears her name. She’s been receiving conflicting advice from her wife, the actress Portia de Rossi, and from her older brother, Vance DeGeneres, a comedian, and has changed her mind more than once.

At a transitional moment in her remarkable career, DeGeneres agreed to sit for a rare series of interviews over two days. As much as anyone possibly could, she has taken on Oprah Winfrey’s mantle as the queen of inspirational daytime talk, providing an oasis of positivity and escapist comedy in a culture short on both. But with DeGeneres’s status as a sunny stalwart come certain burdens and constrictions, like the expectation to dance, which she finally stopped doing on her show two years ago, after some agonizing over how her audience would react.

In person, she is more blunt, introspective and interesting than she is on the show, willing to express mild irritation that might seem off-key in front of a national audience. She’s also much more likely to explore dark corners of her psyche, regrets, second thoughts, anxieties that linger. And DeGeneres is appealingly open about the tensions in her career between providing a cultural safe space and delivering laughs, and says she has learned to care less about being liked.

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

This Eccentric Academic Thinks The Zodiac Killer Is A Hoax

News 12.17.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the fall of 1969, seven-year-old David asked his father why police cars had been following his school bus every day for a couple of weeks. “Oh yeah,” his dad responded matter-of-factly. “There’s a serial killer who has killed four or five people, who calls himself Zodiac, who’s threatened to take a high-powered rifle and shoot out the tires of a school bus, and then shoot the children as they come off the bus.”

A few decades later, still haunted by his childhood bogeyman, David directed a movie about the years-long effort to find the Zodiac. It made considerably less money than most of his other films, like Fight Club or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, perhaps because it’s 157 minutes long, and in the end, the killer is never captured.

Like David Fincher, our culture can’t seem to get over the Zodiac killer. He shows up in Dirty HarryThe Exorcist III and the seventh season of American Horror Storywhere he’s played by Lena Dunham. He’s the subject of his own subreddit and several internet forums — Zodiac Killer SiteZodiac RevisitedZodiac CiphersZodiac Killer MysteryZodiac Killer Factsand Zodiac Killer Hoax. Thanks to a surprisingly robust meme, a May 2016 poll found that 5 percent of Americans believed Ted Cruz was the Zodiac killer and another 18 percent were unsure. Cruz himself has, as academics like to say, made his own contribution to the discourse.

Our collective obsession with the Zodiac killer is frankly disproportionate to the crimes he may have committed. He killed, by most estimates, five people, less than one-tenth the number of people Stephen Paddock shot to death last year at a Las Vegas music festival. But who do you think will be remembered a century from now? Close your eyes and you can see the cryptograms; the circle overlaid with a cross.

Like Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac has become more myth than historical fact. And a few amateur sleuths, chief among them a semi-retired community college writing professor in St. Louis, think the Zodiac was never anything other than a myth — that there was no single Zodiac killer, and that the infamous Zodiac letters were a hoax.

First, though, some basic facts about the five “canonical” Zodiac murders.

On December 20, 1968, teenagers Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday were parked in a gravel turnout on Lake Herman Road, near the town of Benicia in Solano County, California. Another car pulled in beside them, and the driver exited his vehicle and (likely) ordered the teenagers to come out. He then shot and killed them both, Faraday as he was still getting out of the car and Jensen as she was running away.

Read the rest of this article at: Mel

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

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