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News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@newbottega
News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@onparledemode
News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@seemyparis

One of the most radical and important ideas in the history of physics came from an unknown graduate student who wrote only one paper, got into arguments with physicists across the Atlantic as well as his own advisor, and left academia after graduating without even applying for a job as a professor. Hugh Everett’s story is one of many fascinating tales that add up to the astonishing history of quantum mechanics, the most fundamental physical theory we know of.

Everett’s work happened at Princeton in the 1950s, under the mentorship of John Archibald Wheeler, who in turn had been mentored by Niels Bohr, the godfather of quantum mechanics. More than 20 years earlier, Bohr and his compatriots had established what came to be called the ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ of quantum theory. It was never a satisfying set of ideas, but Bohr’s personal charisma and the desire on the part of scientists to get on with the fun of understanding atoms and particles quickly established Copenhagen as the only way for right-thinking physicists to understand quantum theory.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

EVERY AGE HAS its defining minor characters, those who briefly light up the public’s imagination not for their achievements but for how they personify our anxieties and most fervent human desires. Consider the half-Chinese, half-Malay Princess Caraboo, who in 1817 was kidnapped by pirates from her native island of Javasu in the Indian Ocean and sold from ship to ship around the globe until finally she jumped overboard and swam ashore, up the Bristol Channel to the parish of Almondsbury in what is today South Gloucestershire, England. Or so went the story that kindly strangers were able to coax out of the young woman who showed up on a cottage doorstep speaking “gibberish” and wearing a dress “in imitation of the Asiatic costume,” as chronicled in a leaflet published later that year. For 10 weeks, she regaled admirers with reminiscences — of a mother with blackened teeth and a bejeweled nose, and a father of such rank petitioners approached him only on their knees — before she was exposed as a cobbler’s daughter and illiterate servant, born Mary Willcocks in Devonshire. She went on to sustain a living supplying a local infirmary with — poetic justice — leeches.

We, too, have our cheats and impostors, so many these days that some commentators have cited grift as the ascendant ethos of our time. Those indicted or convicted in the past year include the faux European trust-fund baby peeling off hundred-dollar tips even as her credit cards were denied; the mid-list Hollywood stars accused of bribing their children’s way into college; the party promoter who peddled luxury villas on a white-sand Caribbean beach that turned out to be hurricane-relief tents on a gravel lot; and the Stanford University dropout in a Steve Jobs costume touting a health care revolution via a single drop of blood. It’s easy to see these stories as symptomatic of our general miasma of fakery and doubt. Everyone is on the make; everyone is getting conned. But not all of these cases technically qualify as grift, which in its highest form goes beyond mere fraud to question and undermine the institutions that control us, the systems that keep us from getting ahead — and the world as we know it.

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

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On the night of 14 August 2010, the captain of a South Korean trawler, the Oyang 70, left Port Chalmers, New Zealand, for what would be his final journey. The ship was bound for fishing grounds about 400 miles east in the southern Pacific Ocean. When it arrived three days later, the captain, a 42-year-old man named Shin Hyeon-gi, ordered his crew to cast the net over the vessel’s rusty stern. As the men worked furiously on the illuminated deck, the ship soon began hoisting in thousands of pounds of a lithe, slender fish called southern blue whiting, which writhed and flapped across the deck. With each haul, the silvery mound of fish grew.

A type of cod, blue whiting was sometimes ground up into fish sticks or imitation lobster. More often it was pelletised and sold as protein-rich food for farmed carnivorous fish such as salmon. At about 9¢ per pound, blue whiting was a low-price catch, which meant the Oyang 70 had to catch a lot to make a profit. As the crew pulled in the net, tonne after tonne of the fish slid to the deck – 39,000kg in all, a decent haul.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

To be a parent is to be compromised. You pledge allegiance to justice for all, you swear that private attachments can rhyme with the public good, but when the choice comes down to your child or an abstraction—even the well-being of children you don’t know—you’ll betray your principles to the fierce unfairness of love. Then life takes revenge on the conceit that your child’s fate lies in your hands at all. The organized pathologies of adults, including yours—sometimes known as politics—find a way to infect the world of children. Only they can save themselves.

Our son underwent his first school interview soon after turning 2. He’d been using words for about a year. An admissions officer at a private school with brand-new, beautifully and sustainably constructed art and dance studios gave him a piece of paper and crayons. While she questioned my wife and me about our work, our son drew a yellow circle over a green squiggle.

Rather coolly, the admissions officer asked him what it was. “The moon,” he said. He had picked this moment to render his very first representational drawing, and our hopes rose. But her jaw was locked in an icy and inscrutable smile.

Later, at a crowded open house for prospective families, a hedge-fund manager from a former Soviet republic told me about a good public school in the area that accepted a high percentage of children with disabilities. As insurance against private school, he was planning to grab a spot at this public school by gaming the special-needs system—which, he added, wasn’t hard to do.

Wanting to distance myself from this scheme, I waved my hand at the roomful of parents desperate to cough up $30,000 for preschool and said, “It’s all a scam.” I meant the whole business of basing admissions on interviews with 2-year-olds. The hedge-fund manager pointed out that if he reported my words to the admissions officer, he’d have one less competitor to worry about.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 09.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, says he has detected a softening in public hostility towards him in the US over his disclosure of top-secret documents that revealed the extent of the global surveillance programmes run by American and British spy agencies.

In an exclusive two-hour interview in Moscow to mark the publication of his memoirs, Permanent Record, Snowden said dire warnings that his disclosures would cause harm had not come to pass, and even former critics now conceded “we live in a better, freer and safer world” because of his revelations.

In the book, Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programmes being run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s secret communication headquarters, GCHQ.

He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars”.

Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.

“An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”

He is concerned the US and other governments, aided by the big internet companies, are moving towards creating a permanent record of everyone on earth, recording the whole of their daily lives.

While Snowden feels justified in what he did six years ago, he told the Guardian he was reconciled to being in Russia for years to come and was planning for his future on that basis.

He reveals he secretly married his partner, Lindsay Mills, two years ago in a Russian courthouse.

While he would rather be in the US or somewhere like Germany, he is relaxed in Russia, now able to lead a more or less normal daily life. He is less fearful than when he first arrived in 2013, when he felt lonely, isolated and paranoid that he could be targeted in the streets by US agents seeking retribution.

“I was very much a person the most powerful government in the world wanted to go away. They did not care whether I went away to prison. They did not care whether I went away into the ground. They just wanted me gone,” he said.

He has dispensed with the scarves, hats and coats he once used as disguises and now moves freely around the city, riding the metro, visiting art galleries or the ballet, joining friends in cafes and restaurants.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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