inspiration & news

In the News 20.07.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 20.07.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
Photo by Emily Faulstich

In an inspired episode of Graham Linehan’s sitcom The IT Crowd, Roy and Moss, the tech geeks based in the bowels of the company building, convince their gloriously clueless manager, Jen, that a bog-standard wireless router is The Internet. She duly unveils the flashing black box at a shareholders’ meeting, announcing, “The Internet!” with a magician’s flourish – the punchline being that, instead of laughing her out of the room, the assembled owners erupt in a collective gasp of wonder: There it is! The Internet!

Read the rest of this article at New Statesman

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The boarding procedure has barely started at Chicago O’Hare, and Ben Schlappig has already taken over the first-class cabin. Inside Cathay Pacific Flight 807 bound for Hong Kong, he’s passing out a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of designer chocolates to a small swarm of giggling flight attendants. The six suites in this leather-bound playpen of faux mahogany and fresh-cut flowers comprise the inner sanctum of commercial flight that few ever witness. They’re mostly empty now, save for two men in their twenties who seem even giddier than the flight attendants. The two stand to greet him. “This is so cool!” exclaims one, and soon Schlappig is ordering champagne for everyone.

This sort of thing happens to Schlappig nearly everywhere he goes. On this trip, his fans will witness Schlappig’s latest mission: a weekend jaunt that will slingshoot him across East Asia — Hong Kong, Jakarta, Tokyo — and back to New York, in 69 hours. He’ll rarely leave the airports, and when he does he’ll rest his head only in luxury hotels. With wide ears, Buddy Holly glasses and a shock of strawberry-blond hair, Schlappig resembles Ralphie from A Christmas Story if he’d grown up to become a J. Crew model. Back beyond the curtain in business class, a dozen jowly faces cast a stony gaze on the crescendos of laughter and spilled champagne — another spoiled trust-fund kid, they’ve judged, living off his parents’ largesse. But Schlappig has a job. This is his job.

Read the rest of this article at Rolling Stone

Inside the Iran Deal – The New Yorker

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As the diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program entered a final phase, in Europe, I visited the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, the ideologue of Iran’s 1979 revolution, in Tehran. One of the grandest mausoleums in the world—its shimmering dome is visible for miles—was under expansion. The Imam’s bare receiving room, in his home, was preserved after he died, in 1989, in tribute to his modesty, but renovations at his tomb featured vaulted ceilings, lined with intricate mosaics, that soared stories high, and epic arches adorned with tiles in many shades of blue. In death, Khomeini’s body is in surroundings grander than the palaces of Persian kings. Editorials compared the opulence to Hollywood sets and condemned the costs at a time of poverty among the living.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

Is genetically engineered food dangerous? Many people seem to think it is. In the past five years, companies have submitted more than 27,000 products to the Non-GMO Project, which certifies goods that are free of genetically modified organisms. Last year, sales of such products nearly tripled. Whole Foods will soon require labels on all GMOs in its stores. Abbott, the company that makes Similac baby formula, has created a non-GMO version to give parents “peace of mind.” Trader Joe’s has sworn off GMOs. So has Chipotle.

Read the rest of this article at Slate

Advertising is making the mobile web almost unusable by clogging up our bandwidth – which may end up driving users to Apple News or Facebook apps

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There’s something so wonderfully easy about reading this column in a physical newspaper. You turned the page, and here it is, with few annoyances or distractions, in an ultra-high-definition typeface which was custom-designed with pleasurable reading in mind. Or – wait – are you reading this on a phone? Did you follow a link from Twitter, or Facebook? Or maybe you’re on a train, or a plane, or you’re trying to use your laptop on your cousin’s crappy Wi-Fi connection out in the countryside somewhere. In which case, there’s a pretty good chance that even getting this far is some kind of minor miracle.

Web-based articles, these days, are increasingly an exercise in pain and frustration. In many ways, the experience of reading such things is worse today than it was in the early days of dial-up internet. Because at least back then web pages were designed with dial-up users in mind. They were mostly text, and even if they used images, the text always loaded first. Today, by contrast, everything is built for a world where everybody has a high-bandwidth supercomputer in their pocket.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

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