News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.14.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s an unconscious tendency to tune out people you feel close to because you think you already know what they are going to say.

“You’re not listening!” “Let me finish!” “That’s not what I said!” After “I love you,” these are among the most common refrains in close relationships. During my two years researching a book on listening, I learned something incredibly ironic about interpersonal communication: The closer we feel toward someone, the less likely we are to listen carefully to them. It’s called the closeness-communication bias and, over time, it can strain, and even end, relationships.

Once you know people well enough to feel close, there’s an unconscious tendency to tune them out because you think you already know what they are going to say. It’s kind of like when you’ve traveled a certain route several times and no longer notice signposts and scenery.

But people are always changing. The sum of daily interactions and activities continually shapes us, so none of us are the same as we were last month, last week or even yesterday.

The closeness-communication bias is at work when romantic partners feel they don’t know each other anymore or when parents discover their children are up to things they never imagined.

It can occur even when two people spend all their time together and have many of the same experiences.

Kaleena Goldsworthy, 33, told me it was a shock when her identical twin, Kayleigh, decided to move to New York City 10 years ago to pursue a career in music. Kaleena, now the owner of a company that makes cocktail bitters in Chattanooga, Tenn., said she and her twin had previously been inseparable. They had spent most of their lives sleeping in the same room, going to the same schools, attending the same parties, competing in the same sports, and playing in the same band.

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

News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were stationed at the top of the grand staircase in the Four Seasons Grill Room, a longtime gathering place for Manhattan’s power brokers in business and the media. The event had just started, and Trump, then host of The Apprentice, still had his long black coat on over his navy suit. Melania was draped in an airy eggplant-­hued cocktail dress.

The party was for veteran Page Six editor Richard Johnson, who had just moved to Los Angeles to work for Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad newspaper, The Daily, and New York’s elite were there to toast him. Katie Couric, Martha Stewart, and Jay McInerney mingled with Page Six reporters as well as publicists like Ken Sunshine, conversation dinning over the funky seventies mixes. Page Six, the gossip column in the New York Post, is an institution built on tipsters, anonymous sources, and old-­fashioned reporting. Appearing in it means you aren’t just a success in your line of business; you are a true boldfaced name. You matter. Items about movie stars appear alongside stories about socialites and power players—as long as you make for good copy, the playing field is level. The fear Page Six strikes in its subjects has made it an indispensable tool for Manhattan’s rich and powerful.

For Page Six, Trump had long been the trifecta: boldfaced name, tipster, and anonymous source. Reporters could call his personal assistant, Norma Foerderer, and within minutes he would call back personally. When contributor Jared Paul Stern called him about a story he was working on concerning Trump’s January 2000 breakup with Melania, he told Stern on the record, “It’s bullshit. It’s not correct.” But the item was peppered with supporting quotes from “one friend” of Trump’s and a “source close to Trump.” Stern says those quotes all came from Trump himself—a practice other former gossip columnists have confirmed Trump employed. Trump, disguised as a friend, said about himself, “He doesn’t care. It’s not like he’s married. . . . [Melania] is a great girl, but Donald has to be free for a while. He didn’t want to get hooked. He decided to cool it.”

(A White House official says, “That NY Post story you are referring to is false,” but wouldn’t comment on Trump supplying the anonymous quotes.)

Trump and Johnson were close—the editor attended two of Trump’s weddings and served as a judge for the Miss Universe pageant when Trump owned the franchise. But the column was about to change. The dapper Johnson, who had been there for a quarter of a century, was being replaced by Emily Smith, a five-foot blond Brit. She had become Johnson’s deputy a year earlier after a stint as the U. S. correspondent for The Sun.

At Johnson’s send-off, in November 2010, Smith, in a simple black sheath dress, made her way around the room as guests congratulated her. When she got to the top of the grand staircase, she was introduced to the Trumps.

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

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THE WEEK leading up to Father’s Day, in June 2013, began like any other, as Peter Basil remembers it; he’s since replayed the events in his mind like a recurring bad dream. Peter recalls standing in the kitchen of his modest split-level home in Tache, a First Nations village that lies deep in the wilderness of northern interior British Columbia. His younger sister Mackie, then in her late twenties, followed him around as he made a pot of coffee.

“Promise me you’ll take care of my baby,” Mackie asked Peter, referring to her five-year-old son.

“Yup,” he replied.

Mackie trailed Peter to the living room and sat next to him on the L-shaped couch, under high school graduation photos of her and her sisters.

“Promise me you’ll take care of my baby,” Mackie repeated to Peter.

“Yeah, geez,” he responded. “Should I be worried? Are you coming back?”

“I’ll be back,” Mackie promised.

Although Mackie seemed troubled, Peter didn’t think much of the exchange at the time. A few days later, Mackie, Peter, and Peter’s wife, Vivian, went to a nearby community to buy a cake. “Thank You Dads,” it read, next to the image of an eagle. They picked up a few groceries and stopped to check for mail. Because she had lost her ID, Mackie asked Peter to purchase two bottles of vodka for a party later that night, and then they went home. Mackie showered and sat next to Vivian. She rolled on her grey “stretchies,” Vivian said of Mackie’s leggings, and pulled on a blue T-shirt and a black hoodie with a little maple leaf logo. In photos from the time, she has black hair that fell neatly below her shoulders, a youthful face, and a playful smile.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ou’ve probably heard some version of it in recent years. Maybe you’ve even said or thought it yourself. “Politicians are always fighting!” “Politics has become totally irrational!” “Why can’t politicians just compromise, find some consensus and solve our problems?”

For many people, these views have come to seem like basic common sense. In this era of extreme partisanship, the argument goes, what we need is more unity and moderation to bring us together. And if there is one group of politicians who have been blamed for the sorry state we find ourselves in, it is populists.

Since the twin shocks of 2016 – the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump – a cottage industry of authors, pundits and organisations has emerged with the shared goal of fighting populism. Books with names such as The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How Save It, and Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy have been published on both sides of the Atlantic. Tony Blair has set up his Institute for Global Change to find “an answer to the new populism of left and right which exploits the anger and drives the world apart”.

Elsewhere, two of the most prominent politicians defeated by populist competitors, Hillary Clinton and Matteo Renzi, have offered their tips about how to stop populists (too little, too late). And in a truly remarkable bit of chutzpah, populist extraordinaire Silvio Berlusconi has tried to reinvent himself as a pro-EU unifier, here to save Italy from populism. Even the pontiff has warned against populism, with Pope Francis stating that “populism is evil and ends badly”.

What unites these self-styled defenders of democracy, ready to roll up their sleeves and take the apparent populist scourge head-on? It’s certainly not a clear ideology. Nor is it opposition to a particular variety of populism. It is something far more disparate than that. So how about we just call this phenomenon, simply, anti-populism?

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 02.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Nearly three decades ago, when I was an overweight teenager, I sometimes ate six pieces of sliced white toast in a row, each one slathered in butter or jam. I remember the spongy texture of the bread as I took it from its plastic bag. No matter how much of this supermarket toast I ate, I hardly felt sated. It was like eating without really eating. Other days, I would buy a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or a tube of Pringles: sour cream and onion flavour stackable snack chips, which were an exciting novelty at the time, having only arrived in the UK in 1991. Although the carton was big enough to feed a crowd, I could demolish most of it by myself in a sitting. Each chip, with its salty and powdery sour cream coating, sent me back for another one. I loved the way the chips – curved like roof tiles – would dissolve slightly on my tongue.

After one of these binges – because that is what they were – I would speak to myself with self-loathing. “What is wrong with you?” I would say to the tear-stained face in the mirror. I blamed myself for my lack of self-control. But now, all these years later, having mostly lost my taste for sliced bread, sugary cereals and snack chips, I feel I was asking myself the wrong question. It shouldn’t have been “What is wrong with you?” but “What is wrong with this food?”

Back in the 90s, there was no word to cover all the items I used to binge on. Some of the things I over-ate – crisps or chocolate or fast-food burgers – could be classified as junk food, but others, such as bread and cereal, were more like household staples. These various foods seemed to have nothing in common except for the fact that I found them very easy to eat a lot of, especially when sad. As I ate my Pringles and my white bread, I felt like a failure for not being able to stop. I had no idea that there would one day be a technical explanation for why I found them so hard to resist. The word is “ultra-processed” and it refers to foods that tend to be low in essential nutrients, high in sugar, oil and salt and liable to be overconsumed.

Which foods qualify as ultra-processed? It’s almost easier to say which are not. I got a cup of coffee the other day at a train station cafe and the only snacks for sale that were not ultra-processed were a banana and a packet of nuts. The other options were: a panini made from ultra-processed bread, flavoured crisps, chocolate bars, long-life muffins and sweet wafer biscuits – all ultra-processed.

What characterises ultra-processed foods is that they are so altered that it can be hard to recognise the underlying ingredients. These are concoctions of concoctions, engineered from ingredients that are already highly refined, such as cheap vegetable oils, flours, whey proteins and sugars, which are then whipped up into something more appetising with the help of industrial additives such as emulsifiers.

Ultra-processed foods (or UPF) now account for more than half of all the calories eaten in the UK and US, and other countries are fast catching up. UPFs are now simply part of the flavour of modern life. These foods are convenient, affordable, highly profitable, strongly flavoured, aggressively marketed – and on sale in supermarkets everywhere. The foods themselves may be familiar, yet the term “ultra-processed” is less so. None of the friends I spoke with while writing this piece could recall ever having heard it in daily conversation. But everyone had a pretty good hunch what it meant. One recognised the concept as described by the US food writer Michael Pollan – “edible foodlike substances”.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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