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News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@aylin_koenig
News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@kristin_rodin
News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@polkenstudio

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, a Twitter storm blew in about bots, those little automatic programs that talk to us in the digital dimension as if they were human.

What first caught the attention of Darius Kazemi was the headline on an article from NPR, “Researchers: Nearly Half of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots” — which Hillary Clinton retweeted to her 27.9 million followers — and a similar headline from CNN.

Mr. Kazemi thought, “That seems like a lot.” An independent researcher and internet artist in Portland, Ore., and a 2018 Mozilla Fellow, Mr. Kazemi has spent considerable time studying the nature and behavior of bots. Stereotypically, bots run amok on social media, at Russia’s behest. Some would argue that there is a vast and often troublesome population of bots out there: In one recent paper — “What Types of Covid-19 Conspiracies Are Populated by Twitter Bots?” — the author noted that some bots were hijacking Covid-19 hashtags with disinformation and conspiracy hashtags, such as #greatawakening and #qanon.

But Mr. Kazemi thinks the bot plot against America is exaggerated.

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

News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A generation ago, when Benedict Anderson was asked on Dutch television what country he would be prepared to die for, he hung his head in silence. “It would depend very much on the circumstances,” he finally said. A leading left thinker about nationalism in his generation, Anderson was born into an Anglo-Irish family in the collapsing Republic of China, and raised in the Republic of Ireland and the United States, where he made his academic career. He devoted much of his life to studying Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, where he died in 2015. He was not a provincial person. Yet the credo of post-nationalism ascendant in the 1990s found no place in his affections. For Anderson, the force of nationalism was not a dark phantom. Like other domains that sometimes seem to be exclusive property of the right—the market, the military—the “nation” was ideological terrain that could be harvested for high and low ends. Drafted into a Bush war in the Middle East, Anderson would have been on the first plane to Canada, but called up for the Indonesian War of Independence against the Dutch, or for the Easter Rising against the British, it would not have been hard to imagine him taking up position.

What is the idea of the nation for? It depends, as Anderson said. Over the centuries nationalism has swung back and forth as a progressive and retrograde force, depending on historical conditions. In revolutionary France the “nation” started as a wrecking ball against feudalism and the church. Before the “nation” became defined by its limit of concern, it appeared to the Old Regime as terrifying in its limitlessness. Before the “nation” could be for anyone it had to be against specific someones: kings, priests and their enablers. Nationalism became a forest fire of fraternity that Napoleon wanted to control-burn through Europe in order to make fertile ground for the imposition of his uniform Code. Hegel believed this was a great leap for the world, but also witnessed its reversals: the way the Napoleonic armies provoked crude nationalist backlashes. He mocked the nationalist students around him determined to throw off the French yoke: “Liberation? Liberation from what? … If I ever see one liberated person with my own eyes, I shall fall to the ground and prostrate myself before him.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Point

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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Fairway Market, which credits itself with introducing New Yorkers to clementines, radicchio, fleur de sel, and vine-ripened fruit, started off as a small grocery store at 74th Street and Broadway, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where it still stands. According to family lore, Nathan Glickberg arrived at Ellis Island from Russia sometime in the 1910s, and by 1933 had saved up enough money to open his own fruit-and-vegetable store. Signs of a family fixation with produce are obvious in a black-and-white photo taken sometime in the vicinity of World War II: Nathan’s wife, Mary Glickberg, is dressed up in heels, pearls, and an omelet-fold updo and, for her formal portrait, positioned in front of the store’s rickety wood fruit crates, which are sagging under the weight of apples, lemons, and oranges stacked shoulder high. Pears back then came wrapped in squares of paper, which Nathan saved and placed beside the toilet. What was good enough for pears’ skin was, evidently, good enough for his.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.17.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Before I saw them silhouetted by the fog of tear gas and the light of police helicopters, back when the crisis we were in meant that our world was uncomfortably quiet rather than uncomfortably loud, my teenagers and I were in need of things to do.

The options were limited. There is a pandemic. I could not take them to the mall or drop them off at a friend’s house, from which they would go to a movie and wander around downtown having all kinds of experiences I would never know about unless one of them went horribly wrong. I could not take them to a museum and listen to them complain about how boring everything was, right up until they became obsessed with an exhibit they couldn’t stop talking about in the overpriced cafe. The world was closed to us. We had only the living room, the inside of a car and a nebulous place known as “outside.”

Their whole lives, I have been the kind of parent who has dragged them through a series of adventures I hoped would split the difference between enriching and inexpensive. My own father was a master of this. I remember him taking me and my brother to watch planes take off from Washington National Airport, or strapping us into the front seat of his cab so we could eavesdrop on his conversations with fares, from nuns to prostitutes to congresspeople. When my kids were little, and I was really broke, I tried to live by this same ethos. A favorite adventure was to pick a random bus line here in Oakland and ride all the way to the end and back while the kids clambered on their knees in the plastic seats, watching the boulevards pass. I was trying to show them that there was enough beauty right in front of us — in the neighborhood, on the bus, at the library — to sustain us. There was beauty in the trees and the graffiti, the taco stands and the people. We belonged to a world. Our neighborhood was one that none of their Disney movies or Nickelodeon shows ever told them was beautiful. I wanted to deprogram them, help them see that beauty was feral and wild, democratic and free, that it belonged to us wherever and however and whoever we were.

With the world closed, we had to search further. I piled them into the car to go for “drives.” Often I would have no idea where we were going until we were halfway there. A teacher in my college theater program, a director, once told me that when she was struggling in a rehearsal she would sit in the last row of the theater and announce: “I have an idea.” She would then begin a long, slow walk toward the stage, and by the time she got there, she’d better have had an idea. It wasn’t until I had kids that I understood this. We have visited beaches, forests, brackish inlets where seals bob and cranes perch. We have driven to the campuses of colleges my daughter wants to attend, to find halls emptied and coyotes roaming free through the parking lots. We have driven to the edge of the land in overwhelmingly white Marin County, where a parks official told us we had to go back to Oakland because they didn’t want our germs there.

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

MY OBSESSION with webcams took off during the third week of March. As a travel writer stuck at home, in self-isolation, with no possibility of an actual trip on the horizon, I found myself tuning in to live streams from public spaces around the world. First it was Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, that massive traffic intersection where people move in patterns under cute Japanese bubble umbrellas. I was surprised to discover the crowds only slightly sparser than they’d been on my recent visit. A few clicks later, I was off to rural Czech train stations, platforms bathed in strange yellow light, destination signs wobbling in the wind. I checked out the Castro in San Francisco, hoping to catch a glimpse of friends who live nearby, followed by a random stretch of New Zealand road, near Wellington Airport, so boring that my eleven-year-old son and I actually gasped when a truck drove by. But it’s to the webcams of Rome, specifically the feed from the Spanish Steps, that I return almost daily. A ticker at the bottom of my screen indicates that other armchair voyeurs are online here—between 200 and 2,000 of us at any given hour during quarantine. In this moment, when people can no longer just pick up and go, I’m not alone in finding other tickets to travel, discovering other ways of seeing.

The Spanish Steps webcam is affixed to the dental clinic of Dottore Mazzocco at 66 Piazza di Spagna. From this vantage point, the travertine-and-marble staircase rises majestically to the right. Built in the 1720s and recently refurbished by jeweller Bulgari to repair damage inflicted by so many tourist feet, the steps lead to the Trinità dei Monti church, hidden offscreen. A blurry sign on an adjacent building denotes a museum where the young English poet John Keats died of tuberculosis in 1821 (after being quarantined, incidentally, for typhus on his arrival in Italy). In the foreground is La Fontana della Barcaccia, a half-submerged boat spouting water, designed by the sculptor Pietro Bernini in the early 1600s.

In normal times, the piazza would be bustling with visitors, but now, without a thousand exposed legs in the frame, the architectural details stand out more. In the depths of lockdown, the few locals passing by can’t resist pausing to take photos of their neighbourhood landmark. From 4,000 miles away, I watch them crouch, with smartphones and cameras, sometimes setting up tripods, to get that perfect shot of the fountain in the foreground with the steps behind.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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