News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the middle of Johnstone Strait, close to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a calm June day has dialed up a plate-flat sea. But that won’t last long.

“Humpback,” says Jackie Hildering from the cockpit of her runabout, Fluke. She turns her head to a distant sound and a vertical cloud rising off the water.

There it is. Or he, or she; gender indeterminate. Hildering, a humpback whale researcher, angles the boat toward the humpback and throttles the engine way back. She’s just close enough to try—with a telephoto lens—to identify this individual by its unique tail flukes. Humpbacks are fairly slow swimmers, but this one’s moving quickly enough to make her job hard. A mobbing is going down. A half-dozen or so Pacific white-sided dolphins are swarming the whale Hildering will later identify from photographs as an adult named Squall.

The dolphins juke around Squall’s head and flanks. Why are they messing with the whale?

Read the rest of this article at: Hakai

News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Patent No. US D487,709 S was granted on March 23, 2004, to Carolyn Rafaelian-Ferlise of Cranston, Rhode Island. The application captured the concept in a mere five words: “an expandable wire bangle bracelet.” Further details would have been superfluous. The bracelet’s design, as illustrated in a set of accompanying renderings, was astonishingly straightforward, familiar to hard-core rock climbers and Eagle Scouts as a double fisherman’s or a grapevine knot. Somehow, though, no one had ever thought to patent it for jewelry.
Rafaelian, a thirtysomething mother of two daughters, and her sister had recently taken the reins of the modest jewelry factory Cinerama, Inc., launched by her father nearly four decades before. The company had been successful, providing a good living and helping pay for private schools for the family’s five siblings, but its future was far from clear. Cranston, a suburb of Providence, was once the thriving hub of the costume jewelry trade; in the 1970s, nearly 80% of the baubles sold in the U.S. were made in the area. But in recent decades, the market was flooded with cheap overseas imports. One after another, Cinerama’s competitors were forced out of business. Historic mills and factories were being reimagined as luxury lofts.
As uncomplicated as Rafaelian’s design was — a single length of wire, long enough to encircle the wrist nearly twice, cinched on both ends with tiny loops that clasp the main strand — it soon proved remarkably popular. Just over a decade later, more than 10 million of the bangles, all of them made in the U.S. using recycled materials and eco-friendly practices, were being sold every year. Customers could choose from a dazzling variety of charms that promised well-being, empowerment, and spiritual growth — everything from starfish and unicorns to St. Christopher medals, dream catchers, and little enameled memes (“Cat Mom,” “Pumpkin Spice & Chill”). “Alex and Ani bangles are more than just pretty jewelry,” the company explained in the self-published 2013 book Path of Life: Why I Wear My Alex and Ani. “They are unique statements that speak volumes about those who wear them. They are symbols marking individual paths of life.” A little like a tattoo with somewhat less commitment.

Read the rest of this article at: Marker

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The killing of George Floyd has brought an intense moment of racial reckoning in the United States. As protests spread across the country, they have been accompanied by open letters calling for — and promising — change at white-dominated institutions across the arts and academia.

But on Tuesday, a different type of letter appeared online. Titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” and signed by 153 prominent artists and intellectuals, it began with an acknowledgment of “powerful protests for racial and social justice” before pivoting to a warning against an “intolerant climate” engulfing the culture.

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter declared, citing “an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

“We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other,” it continues. “As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes.”

The letter, which was published by Harper’s Magazine and will also appear in several leading international publications, surfaces a debate that has been going on privately in newsrooms, universities and publishing houses that have been navigating demands for diversity and inclusion, while also asking which demands — and the social media dynamics that propel them — go too far.

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

News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On June 22nd, visitors to Slate Star Codex, a long-standing blog of considerable influence, discovered that the site’s cerulean banner and graying WordPress design scheme had been superseded by a barren white layout. In the place of its usual catalogue of several million words of fiction, book reviews, essays, and miscellanea, as well as at least as voluminous an archive of reader commentary, was a single post of atypical brevity. “So,” it began, “I kind of deleted the blog. Sorry. Here’s my explanation.” The farewell post was attributed, like virtually all of the blog’s entries since its inception, in 2013, to Scott Alexander, the pseudonym of a Bay Area psychiatrist—the title “Slate Star Codex” is an imperfect anagram of the alias—and it put forth a rationale for this online self-immolation.

“Last week I talked to a New York Times technology reporter who was planning to write a story on Slate Star Codex,” the post continued. “He told me it would be a mostly positive piece about how we were an interesting gathering place for people in tech, and how we were ahead of the curve on some aspects of the coronavirus situation.” In early March, Alexander had suggested that his readers begin to prepare for potential catastrophe, and his extensive review of the available medical literature led him to the conclusion that, despite the early guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the contrary, masks were likely to prove more useful than not. A month later, he looked back at his forecast and awarded himself a “solid B-”—not perfect, but at least more accurate than the news media, which, with some notable exceptions, he wrote, “not only failed to adequately warn its readers about the epidemic, but actively mocked and condescended to anyone who did sound a warning.” Journalists, in his view, were guilty of an inability or a refusal to weight the possible outcomes. As he put it, if there was even a ten per cent risk of a ruinous pandemic, shouldn’t that have been the headline? Alexander, who prefaces some of his own posts with an “epistemic status,” by which he rates his own confidence in the opinions to follow, thought the media, too, should present its findings in shades of gray.

The final post went on, “It probably would have been a very nice article. Unfortunately, he told me he had discovered my real name and would reveal it in the article, ie doxx me.” Alexander explained that he has a variety of reasons to prefer that his real name, which can be ascertained with minimal investigation, be left out of the paper of record. As a psychiatrist, he suspects that his relationships with his patients could be compromised if they were made aware of his “personal” blog, which gets six hundred thousand monthly page views. The site, and the community it undergirds, has found itself embroiled in various disputes, and his longtime readers would have understood why he wished he’d done more to camouflage his identity. He also worries about the fate of his patients should the clinic for which he works decide to fire him. There was also, he added, the “prosaic” matter of his personal safety. One of his commenters had recently claimed to have been subject to a SWATting, a dangerous prank in which a police SWAT team is given false reason to descend with military force upon a victim’s home. Alexander’s living arrangement is communal, and his responsibility extended to his household. “I live with ten housemates including a three-year-old and an infant,” he wrote, “and I would prefer this not happen to me or them.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 07.10.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Killer Mike didn’t want to go to the press conference but felt like he had to. It had been a long day already. He woke up thinking about how a Black man named George Floyd had been lynched in Minneapolis just the day before, and Mike was busy traveling around Atlanta’s Westside in a food truck he and his friend T.I. had recently purchased, “shaking hands and kissing babies” to create some buzz. But then T.I. got a surprise call from Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was soliciting the rapper’s help to ease tensions after a peaceful protest in downtown Atlanta started turning into a riot. T.I. asked Mike if he wanted to come along. Mike said no at first, according to T.I.: “Absolutely not” and “It’s not our motherfucking job”—but T.I. wore him down over the course of an hour, and Mike felt duty-bound to support his friend. Which is how Killer Mike ended up at city hall to speak on live television, standing alongside legislators and law enforcement, still wearing a T-shirt that said “KILL YOUR MASTERS.”

He spoke extemporaneously and said what was in his heart, touching on everything from his personal relationship with the police to Atlanta history to public policy and a potential path forward.

“I’m mad as hell,” Mike told the room full of reporters. “I woke up wanting to see the world burn down yesterday because I’m tired of seeing Black men die.” He also repudiated the violent protests: “It is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization.”

He added, “Now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize.”

Mike’s stance against violent demonstrations, especially in the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., who famously said, “A riot is the language of the unheard,” was unconvincing to many people, including myself. It’s a side of King that’s often overlooked by history—and a phrase Killer Mike himself quoted in 2015 when addressing the riots in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died from spinal cord injuries while in police custody. Now here Mike was taking another tack, saying Atlanta is “cut different” from other cities.“If we lose Atlanta,” he asked, “what else we got?”

The speech went viral almost immediately. Some praised it as sensible and right on time; critics said his shaming of protesters was out of touch and that the speech was overly sympathetic to a police apparatus broken beyond repair. The mixed reaction is a testament to the deep divisions that exist in this country, even among people who tend to agree on most things. It’s also a testament to who Killer Mike is as a person and as a personality. People like their public figures to fit into neat boxes—conservative, liberal, capitalist, socialist, rapper, activist. Killer Mike is hard to put in any single one, and by his own design. He is as comfortable talking to Joe Rogan as he is to Charlamagne Tha God. He is as critical of centrist Democrats as he is of Republicans. He’s just as willing to debate the likes of Trump-supporting provocateur Candace Owens (at a televised summit in Atlanta, hosted by Diddy) as he is veteran reporter Joy Reid (live on her morning MSNBC show) and will go to war with anyone.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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