News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In front of a sea of coders sitting on folding chairs, their laptops on folding tables, a man appears on a purpley-blue lit stage.

“Seven hundred blockchaingers,” the man shouts at his audience. He points at each programmer in the room. “Machine-to-machine learning … ” And then, at the top of his voice: “Energy transition! Health! Public safety and security! Future of pensions!”

We are at the Blockchaingers Hackathon 2018 in Groningen,
the Netherlands. And something really, really big is happening here, according to the speakers. Earlier on, a film trailer voice asked those present if they could imagine that right here, right now, in this room, they were about to find solutions that would change “a billion lives”. A planet spontaneously combusted in the accompanying video.

And then the Dutch state secretary for the Interior, Raymond Knops arrived, decked out in tech couture: a black hoodie. He’s here as a “super accelerator” (whatever that means). “Everyone senses that blockchain is going to change government drastically,” the state secretary said.

Read the rest of this article at:The Correspondent

News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The day after the Oscars in 2018, everything that had changed, changed back again. Timothée Chalamet had spent the previous months becoming known. He had acted in a film, Call Me by Your Name, which was critically acclaimed as well as an instant object of cultish admiration—and his performance had made him, at 22, the youngest person nominated for best actor in 80 years. He had, simultaneously, been transformed into the rarest of pop confections—fawned over by younger women, older men, and every demographic in between. And he had traveled without pause on the awards circuit since early autumn, back and forth from New York and Los Angeles, practically living out of the first-class lounge and the lobbies of the Bowery Hotel and the Sunset Tower.

But the day after the Oscars, the moment the clock struck midnight and his carriage turned into a pumpkin, Chalamet was right back where he’d been before the whole fantasy had begun: in New York, with no credit card, no apartment, and no longer any structured demands on his time and attention. Outsiders who had witnessed the arrival may have regarded this 22-year-old as being in possession of wealth and clout, but he was suddenly back on his own dime, which amounted to maybe five or six dimes, reticent to stay with family and friends whose lives he felt he was disrupting with all his new baggage. Of course they couldn’t possibly comprehend the chemical reaction that had just transpired. They were still hydrogen and oxygen, and Timothée Chalamet was all of a sudden water.

And so, for three weeks, he disappeared into the wallpaper of the Lower East Side. Specifically, the wallpaper of a little apartment that the French street artist JR kept for visiting collaborators. Chalamet holed up against the ugly New York weather of late winter, and did the only thing he could think to do: learn lines. The King would be his first film since his pivot into fame, and he was anxious to get back to acting after such a long stretch of merely talking about acting. Even more, he needed to blot out the unrecognizable icon the internet was already beginning to make of Timothée Chalamet.

I met Timothée for the first time at the onset of that initial blush of fame, when all of us were being introduced to an actor who had both rare talent and the un-engineerable it that chings like an audible sparkle off a jewel in a cartoon. I wrote a story for this magazine about that first chapter in the arrival of a film star. This is the second chapter, the story of what’s happened since. It wasn’t evident yet, but those three weeks in New York in 2018 were the starting line of what would amount to a 30-month stretch of four new films, two new Oscar campaigns, some refreshing romance, an incessant awareness of the confusing image of himself as—what else to call it?—an emerging global movie star, and a constant concerted effort to figure himself out as both a young actor and a young person in the unceasing spotlight.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

Let’s Google together. Open a Web browser and search for T-shirts. I’ll wait.

Is the first thing you see a search result? I’m not talking about the stuff labeled Ads or Maps. On my screen, the actual result is not in the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or even eighth row of stuff. It’s buried on row nine.

Googling didn’t used to require so much … scrolling. On some searches, it’s like Where’s Waldo but for information.

Without us even realizing it, the internet’s most-used website has been getting worse. On too many queries, Google is more interested in making search lucrative than a better product for us.

There’s one reason it gets away with this, according to a recent congressional investigation: Google is so darn big. An impending antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department is expected to make a similar point.

How does Google’s alleged monopoly hurt you? Today, 88 percent of all searches happen on Google, in part because contracts make it the default on computers and phones. But whether Google is actually fetching you good information can be hard to see. First, Googling is easy and free, which blinds everyone a bit. Second, we don’t have a great alternative for broad web searches – Microsoft’s rival Bing doesn’t have enough data to compete well. (This is the problem of monopolies in the information age.)

Read the rest of this article at: The Seattle Times

News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On paper, sloane, a buoyant, chatty, stay-at-home mom from Fairfield County, Connecticut, seems almost unbelievably well prepared to shepherd her three daughters through the roiling world of competitive youth sports. She played tennis and ran track in high school and has an advanced degree in behavioral medicine. She wrote her master’s thesis on the connection between increased aerobic activity and attention span. She is also versed in statistics, which comes in handy when she’s analyzing her eldest daughter’s junior-squash rating—and whiteboarding the consequences if she doesn’t step up her game. “She needs at least a 5.0 rating, or she’s going to Ohio State,” Sloane told me.

She laughed: “I don’t mean to throw Ohio State under the bus. It’s an amazing school with amazing school spirit.”

But a little over a year ago, during the Fourth of July weekend, Sloane began to think that maybe it was time to call it quits. She was crouched in the vestibule of the Bay Club in Redwood City, strategizing on the phone with her husband about a “malicious refereeing” dispute that had victimized her daughter at the California Summer Gold tournament. He had his own problem. In Columbus, Ohio, at the junior-fencing nationals with the couple’s two younger girls and son, he reported that their middle daughter, a 12-year-old saber fencer, had been stabbed in the jugular during her first bout. The wound was right next to the carotid artery, and he was withdrawing her from the tournament and flying home.

She’d been hurt before while fencing—on one occasion gashed so deeply in the thigh that blood seeped through her pants—but this was the first time a blade had jabbed her in the throat. It was a Fourth of July massacre.

“I thought, What are we doing? ” said Sloane, who asked to be identified by her middle name to protect her daughters’ privacy and college-recruitment chances. “It’s the Fourth of July. You’re in Ohio; I’m in California. What are we doing to our family? We’re torturing our kids ridiculously. They’re not succeeding. We’re using all our resources and emotional bandwidth for a fool’s folly.”

Yet Sloane found that she didn’t know how to make the folly stop. The practices, clinics, and private lessons continued to pile up, pushing everything else off the calendar (except for homework; Sloane knew her girls had to be outstanding athletes and outstanding students to get into the right school). “We just got caught up in it,” she said. “We thought this is what good parents do. They fight for opportunities for their kids.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 10.21.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Seven months ago, if you told me I would be bumming a cigarette from Sean Penn in a parking lot repurposed from Dodger Stadium for emergency use during a viral pandemic, the two of us surrounded by hundreds of cars full of nervous people afraid their bodies harbored an invisible predator that had attacked over seven million of their fellow Americans and killed almost a quarter million of them, all while the same contagion swept the world, shuttered countries, blew up the global economy—I would have said, Oh fuck, yeah, because clearly I’d be on set for a big-budget disaster film starring the two-time Oscar winner, perhaps directed by him, in any case, amazing, beautiful, sounds like 2020 is going to be pretty spectacular.

“Seven months ago” feels a lot longer and bigger than seven months ago.

Seven months ago, zoom was a verb, my wife wasn’t my barber, and I’d never heard my father sobbing on the other end of the phone. In that world, I also didn’t spend my Saturdays volunteering at what may be the United States’ largest testing center for a novel coronavirus—but now I do. I look forward to it all week. Oddly enough, standing in a Dodger Stadium parking lot with Sean Penn barely ranks on the list of weird shit occurring in my life at this moment.

Unlike many famous people, Penn is exactly as tall as you expect him to be. Forthright, friendly, more measured than I would have thought, also present almost in a pained way—which suited the environment. Around us were hundreds of possibly sick people. Several dozen more in gloves and masks and face shields were there to help. I mentioned to Penn the esprit de corps I’d noticed among the staff, that I often felt myself as a volunteer. “It’s even opened my eyes, the way people connect to participating,” he said quietly. “It’s really taken some of the layers of cynicism away. In an incredibly cynical time.”

During a pandemic, time feels elastic, but some things are certain. Winter is coming. Signs indicate a third wave of the coronavirus is about to whack the United States. The absence of government leadership on COVID-19 continues to shock, if not awe—and Hollywood celebrities haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory. At the same time, since March, Los Angeles has been a leader in the fight—and Penn has emerged as an unlikely figure in that success. Thanks to CORE, a nonprofit he cofounded with international aid expert Ann Young Lee a decade ago, in collaboration with the city and the Los Angeles Fire Department and their local testing partner, Curative, anyone can visit the baseball stadium or one of several other fixed and mobile testing sites across L.A. and get a COVID test for free—regardless of symptoms, citizenship, health insurance, or local address—with highly accurate results in under 48 hours. Dodger Stadium handles up to 7,500 patients a day. Los Angeles County can process 20,000. And thanks in part to a $30 million grant from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, CORE has been able to set up similar programs across the country, focused on vulnerable and underserved communities—37 sites in total, from Navajo Nation to New Orleans to New York City—in what appears to be, based on my research, one of the United States’ largest coronavirus testing programs, if not the largest.

All because a couple years ago at Coachella, Sean Penn walked onstage and asked a crowd if anybody wanted a ride in his bus. And what happened afterward, weirdly enough, offers both ideas and solid hope for how we’ll get through whatever is coming next.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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

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