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News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Last Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed in which Republican senator Tom Cotton called for a military crackdown on citizens protesting against police killings of Black people. It was an incendiary argument packed with lies the newspaper’s own reporters had already debunked. The decision to publish it led to revolt inside the Times’ newsroom, and, four days later, the resignation of Opinion editor James Bennet, until then reportedly in the running to take over the paper.

Outside the Times, journalists would in days to come deride the paper’s decision to publish the op-ed. Osita Nwanevu of The New Republic traced the debacle to the Times’ insistence on promoting illiberal ideas in the name of liberal ideals, predicting that the paper will “continue to publish the opinions of a right that openly disdains the principles underpinning a free press and a free society.” Vox’s David Roberts wrote that the op-ed shouldn’t have been published “because it reflects a worldview incompatible with the baseline small-l liberal values that make the Times’s work, and journalism generally, possible.” Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, herself a former Times public editor, criticized the publication of the op-ed and took the occasion to argue that whatever the merits of assiduous neutrality in theory, there is no such thing in practice. “Every piece of reporting—written or spoken, told in text or in images—is the product of choices,” she wrote. “We choose what to focus on, what to amplify, what to investigate and examine.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vice

News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For all the value Jon Stewart delivered as a political satirist and voice of reason during his 16-year-run as the host of ‘‘The Daily Show,’’ it’s quite plausible to suggest that the political and media Bizarro World in which we live — where skepticism is the default, news is often indistinguishable from entertainment and entertainers have usurped public authority from the country’s political leaders — is one that he and his show helped to usher in. ‘‘Look, we certainly were part of that ecosystem, but I don’t think that news became entertainment because they thought our show was a success,’’ Stewart says. ‘‘Twenty-four-hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11. There are very few events that would justify being covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So in the absence of urgency, they have to create it. You create urgency through conflict.’’ That pervasive sense of political and social conflict has only grown since Stewart left the air in 2015. It has also made Stewart’s post-‘‘Daily Show’’ silence — apart from a few guest spots on his old friend and colleague Stephen Colbert’s show, he has been mostly out of the spotlight — more intriguing. What has he been thinking about this country while he has been gone? Now he has returned with some answers.

Stewart, who is 57, has written and directed ‘‘Irresistible,’’ a political satire about a small Wisconsin town that becomes engulfed in a political spectacle when a Democratic strategist and his Republican counterpart become fixated on the larger symbolic value and bellwether potential of the local mayoral race. The film, which will make its theatrical and video-on-demand premiere on June 26, is evidence that being away from the grind of a daily TV show has expanded rather than shrunk Stewart’s satirical powers. He’s well aware, though, that in this exceedingly polarized time, making a comedy that takes shots at both political parties, as ‘‘Irresistible’’ does, is an invitation to criticism. ‘‘You’re going to have people on the left who go, In the time of Trump, all you should be doing is a

there is no purpose other than to destroy the mother ship,’’ Stewart says. And the other side’s possible reaction to his return? ‘‘There are people on the right predisposed to say, ‘[expletive] that guy.’ ’’ Some things never change.

How strange is it, after having been basically out of the public eye for five years, to be coming back with something now? ‘‘The world is on fire, here’s my new movie’’ seems like an awkward spot to be in. It’s like showing up to a plane crash with a chocolate bar. There’s tragedy everywhere, and you’re like, ‘‘Uh, does anybody want chocolate?’’ It feels ridiculous. But what doesn’t feel ridiculous is to continue to fight for nuance and precision and solutions.

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

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Most visitors come to Cape Canaveral, on the northeast coast of Florida, for the tourist attractions. It’s home to the second-busiest cruise ship port in the world and is a gateway to the cosmos. Nearly 1.5 million visitors flock here every year to watch rockets, spacecraft, and satellites blast off into the solar system from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, reminding us of the restless reach of our species. Nearly 64 kilometers of undeveloped beach and 648 square kilometers of protected refuge fan out from the cape’s sandy shores. And then there’s the draw of relics like Turtle Mound, a vast hill containing 27,000 cubic meters of oyster shells left by Indigenous tribes several thousand years ago.

Yet some of Cape Canaveral’s most storied attractions lie unseen, wedged under the sea’s surface in mud and sand, for this part of the world has a reputation as a deadly ship trap. Over the centuries, dozens of stately Old World galleons smashed, splintered, and sank on this irregular stretch of windy Florida coast. They were vessels built for war and commerce, traversing the globe carrying everything from coins to ornate cannons, boxes of silver and gold ingots, chests of emeralds and porcelain, and pearls from the Caribbean—the stuff of legends.

Cape Canaveral contains one of the greatest concentrations of colonial shipwrecks in the world, though the majority of them have never been found. In recent years, advances in radar, sonar, scuba diving, detection equipment, computers, and GPS have transformed the hunt. The naked eye might see a pile of rocks, centuries of concretions, crusts of coral, decayed and worm-eaten wood, oxidized metal—but technology can reveal the precious artifacts that lie hidden full fathom five on the ocean floor.

Read the rest of this article at: Hakai Magazine

News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Michael Gibson still remembers his first day working for Peter Thiel. Like many of Thiel’s hires, he’d met the contrarian investor through several of the PayPal founder’s variously eccentric political ventures. A onetime self-described “unemployed writer in L.A.,” who’d left a doctoral program in philosophy at Oxford, Gibson had met Thiel through his work at the Seasteading Institute, a Thiel-funded attempt to create a libertarian “floating city” in international waters. Then Thiel asked him to help teach a class at Stanford Law School on philosophy, technology, and politics. And then Thiel asked him to work for his hedge fund. Gibson had no intention of working in finance, or any experience in doing so, but he and Thiel had, he felt, “gelled philosophically,” sharing an interest in social thinkers and scholars of religion like Émile Durkheim and René Girard, as well as a commitment to what Gibson called “liberating people” from socially conditioned ideas.

Some opportunities you just don’t pass up. “I show up to work my first day,” Gibson says: September 27, 2010. “It’s a hedge fund, just as you might imagine on TV—there’s a ticker tape going around the room, a trading desk, lots of screens with Bloomberg Terminals. And I’m sitting there and I’m thinking—how did I end up here?”

It took only a few hours for Gibson’s life to change. A colleague, he remembers, showed up at his desk and told him: “Oh, on the plane ride back from New York last night we came up with this idea. We’re going to call it the anti-Rhodes Scholarship,” a reference to the prestigious 118-year-old scholarship program that brings young scholars from across the former British Empire to study for free at the University of Oxford. “We’re going to pay people to leave school and work on things.”

There was no time to waste. The annual TechCrunch Disrupt conference was starting that day. Thiel was scheduled to speak. Thiel’s staff was keen to burnish his image—Aaron Sorkin’s blockbuster account of the creation of Facebook, The Social Network, was slated to be released soon; early leaked copies of the script had suggested that Thiel, a major early investor in the company, wasn’t particularly sympathetically portrayed. “He wanted to get a jump on that with some good news,” Gibson explained. “So we went to his house, we got into a car, and we went to this conference. And on the fly, we’re coming up with—okay, well, what do we call this thing? How much money? How many years?”

By the time Thiel was backstage, Gibson recalls, they were still discussing specifics. “Then Peter’s on stage, being interviewed and talking about this program as if it already exists, in the present tense.” The Thiel Fellowship would be a kind of “20 under 20” for the tech industry’s incipient disrupters. Twenty entrepreneurs under 20 would get $100,000 to drop out of college and work full-time on their startup ideas. There was no indication, during his interview with TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacey, that the idea had been developed only that day.

Read the rest of this article at: City Journal

News 06.15.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before I moved to Boston in the summer of 2010, I had a conversation with my dissertation adviser, an American originally from Chicago, who has been living in Toronto for decades. I told her that I was excited to go to the U.S. in part to put my money where my mouth is. I had spent years trying to make the argument that there was racism and racial inequality in Canada, just as there was in the U.S., and for years I had been told that I was wrong. I had been told so often that there was nothing political about race or racism in Canada that I wrote an article on the subject so I would have something to hand to the white boys in my PhD program who told me that if I really wanted to know about race, I should watch The Wire.

After I told this to my adviser, the brilliant Jennifer Nedelsky, she paused for a moment, and said that one of the things she thought was most compelling about my work was that I saw race politics differently than American academics. She said that my work turned many of her American-born-and-bred assumptions about race and racism upside down; that what she valued about my research was the way it asks not just why things are the way they are, but whether they have to be that way at all. “I hope you always retain the sense that things are odd,” she said as we parted ways.

Many immigrants experience a culture shock when they arrive in their new country, but Canadians seem to have a particularly hard time acculturating to life in the U.S. This difficulty is sometimes attributed to the narcissism of minor differences, a Freudian theory that suggests communities that have adjacent territories and close relationships are likely to be hostile and contemptuous because they are hypersensitive to the tiny differences between them. And, fair enough – Canada and the U.S. share a dominant language, democratic political culture, origin as white settler societies, tropes of popular culture and more.

The most obvious difference, which few would characterize as minor, is health care. (When I moved to the U.S., I had never heard the terms “co-pay” or “pre-existing condition” before, and I certainly didn’t understand what a deductible meant in the context of health insurance.) The most consequential difference between Canada and the U.S., however, is the manifestation of structural racism. We often think that racism is about a person’s behaviour. Some people, we think, just act in explicitly racist ways toward racial minorities. Those are the “real” racists, we tell ourselves. But racism is not simply a function of individual attitudes, and it can’t be eradicated by changing hearts and minds. Racism is the social, legal, political and economic distinctions that mark and maintain unequal access and entry points to privacy, property, protection, prosperity and personhood. It is embedded in structures, institutions and ideas, especially those about work, deservedness, representation, redistribution and even the proper role of government.

Racism has shaped the contours of every major political, social and economic institution in the United States. Every. Single. One. From banking and real estate to the location of highways and grocery stores. From education to health care, child care and the lack of parental leave. It is especially, obviously pervasive in every part of the criminal justice system, including policing, the cash bail system, prosecution, sentencing, prisons and capital punishment. In each case, racism may not have been a singular or direct cause, but it was certainly a collaborating factor. It has touched literally every facet of American society in ways that I didn’t understand until I got here.

Read the rest of this article at: The Globe and Mail

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