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News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@laurengores
News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@kellygolightly
News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@chantal_li

My friend Charles told me that June Records would be closing a few hours before the news was made public on the store’s website. June’s building was sold, and the new landlord was terminating the shop’s lease at the end of July. Ever since I spotted the sale sign in late April, I’d had a sinking feeling that this was where things were headed, but the shock of hearing that it was finally coming to pass was immediately replaced by a distinct feeling of sadness.

“Damn it,” I told Charles. “That just sucks.”

June Records wasn’t the oldest record store in Toronto, the largest or its best known. It was a small place, and opened only in 2012. But it meant the world to me for several reasons: it was a block from my house; the selection was eclectic and sweeping; the prices were fair; and its staff members were the kind of knowledgeable, highly opinionated music geeks that possessed a soulful recognition engine more powerful than any algorithm.

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

News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Greenland’s Deepening Ecological Grief

News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

With glacial ice retreating and formerly reliable sea ice becoming more and more treacherous for winter hunting and social trips, the people of Greenland understand climate change first hand. As Dan McDougall reports for The Guardian, a study of 2% of Greenland’s population by the University of Copenhagen and the Kraks Fond Institute for Urban Economic Research reveals that Greenlanders are experiencing greater anxiety and a special sort of ecological grief as direct results of climate change eroding their traditional ways of life.

“There is no question Arctic people are now showing symptoms of anxiety, ‘ecological grief’ and even post-traumatic stress related to the effects of climate change. The impact of climate change on mental health is a looming public health crisis. So if a Greenland-wide survey points to anxieties around food security and way of life it’s another red line between climate change and mental health,” says Howard. “We are searching for terms to capture this deep feeling of pain in Arctic nations – words like eco-anxiety or ecological grief – but for me, something called ‘solastalgia’ perfectly sums up how people living on the frontline of climate change feel. It was coined by the Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht. It is also related to an Inuit word that refers to a friend behaving in an unfamiliar way. It means feeling homesick when you are home. Many of these islanders are in mourning for a disappearing way of life.”

In Ilulissat, Claus Rassmussen is stirring a foul brew of oily blood and fish. “Seal stew,” the sled-dog hunter says. Strung out in a row, his family carry buckets of the murky soup to feed to the dogs – a nightly ritual for Rassmussen and his five daughters.

Over the past two decades, Greenland’s sled dog population has halved to around 15,000 with the numbers still falling. Greenland’s unique sled dog culture and the specialised training technology and knowledge is in danger of disappearing.

An interview with Rassmussen proves more emotional than anticipated. In his modest home, an old wooden cottage among social housing blocks, his face is contorted. Instead of the Greenlandic way – long silences and monosyllabic answers – there comes an outpouring.

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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A Party Room and a Prison Cell

Inside the Friends writers’ room.

Every writer knew the sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach. David Crane would enter the room, toting a script full of notes scribbled in the margins. He would sit down in his chair and begin drumming his fingers on the table before announcing, “All right, we’ve got a lot of really good stuff here.” The assembled writers would silently groan, knowing that this was Crane-ian code for a full script rewrite. Everything was out, and it was time to start again.

“Good enough” was not a concept Crane, or Marta Kauffman, understood or accepted. One day during the first season, writer Jeff Astrof approached Crane with a proposal. “Look,” he told Crane, “right now we work one hundred percent of the allotted time and we have a show that’s one hundred. I believe that if we worked fifty percent of the time we’d have a show that’s seventy-five, so maybe we work seventy-five percent of the time and have a show that’s like a ninety.” Crane instantly rejected the proposal: “Absolutely not. The show has to be one hundred.” There might have been a faster way to get the work done. But this was Marta Kauffman and David Crane’s show, and their room.

After hiring their staff for the first season, Crane and Kauffman gathered the writers to deliver a pep talk, and a challenge. “Comedy is king,” Crane told the assembled writers. “This is a show where we want everything to be as funny as it can be.” For writers in their mid-twenties, many of whom were on their first or second jobs in the industry, this was a thrilling proclamation. Writers like the team of Astrof and Mike Sikowitz had always felt deeply competitive about crafting the best possible joke and getting it into the script — Astrof’s concerns about the punishing schedule notwithstanding — and Crane was seemingly opening the doors wide to all competitors.

Read the rest of this article at: Vulture

News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 08.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the summer of 1987, I graduated from a public high school in Austin, Texas, and headed northeast to attend Yale. I then spent nearly 15 years studying at various universities—the London School of Economics, the University of Oxford, Harvard, and finally Yale Law School—picking up a string of degrees along the way. Today, I teach at Yale Law, where my students unnervingly resemble my younger self: They are, overwhelmingly, products of professional parents and high-class universities. I pass on to them the advantages that my own teachers bestowed on me. They, and I, owe our prosperity and our caste to meritocracy.

Two decades ago, when I started writing about economic inequality, meritocracy seemed more likely a cure than a cause. Meritocracy’s early advocates championed social mobility. In the 1960s, for instance, Yale President Kingman Brewster brought meritocratic admissions to the university with the express aim of breaking a hereditary elite. Alumni had long believed that their sons had a birthright to follow them to Yale; now prospective students would gain admission based on achievement rather than breeding. Meritocracy—for a time—replaced complacent insiders with talented and hardworking outsiders.

Today’s meritocrats still claim to get ahead through talent and effort, using means open to anyone. In practice, however, meritocracy now excludes everyone outside of a narrow elite. Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale collectively enroll more students from households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution than from households in the bottom 60 percent. Legacy preferences, nepotism, and outright fraud continue to give rich applicants corrupt advantages. But the dominant causes of this skew toward wealth can be traced to meritocracy. On average, children whose parents make more than $200,000 a year score about 250 points higher on the SAT than children whose parents make $40,000 to $60,000. Only about one in 200 children from the poorest third of households achieves SAT scores at Yale’s median. Meanwhile, the top banks and law firms, along with other high-paying employers, recruit almost exclusively from a few elite colleges.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

Zadig & Voltaire (UK)

Ask people to name someone they find charming and the answers are often predictable. There’s James Bond, the fictional spy with a penchant for shaken martinis. Maybe they’ll mention Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton or a historical figure, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. Now ask the same people to describe, in just a few seconds, what makes these charmers so likable.

It’s here, in defining what exactly charisma is, that most hit a wall. Instinctually, we know that we’re drawn to certain people more than others. Quantifying why we like them is an entirely different exercise.

The ancient Greeks described charisma as a “gift of grace,” an apt descriptor if you believe likability is a God-given trait that comes naturally to some but not others. The truth is that charisma is a learned behavior, a skill to be developed in much the same way that we learned to walk or practice vocabulary when studying a new language. Other desirable traits, like wealth or appearance, are undoubtedly linked to likability, but being born without either doesn’t preclude you from being charismatic.

For all the work put into quantifying charisma — and it’s been studied by experts through the ages, including Plato and those we talked to for this piece — there are still a lot of unknowns. There are, however, two undisputed truths.

The first is that we are almost supernaturally drawn to some people, particularly those we like. Though this is not always the case; we can just as easily be drawn in by a charismatic villain.

The second truth is that we are terrible at putting a finger on what it is that makes these people so captivating. Beyond surface-level observations — a nice smile, or the ability to tell a good story — few of us can quantify, in an instant, what makes charismatic people so magnetic.

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

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

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