inspiration & news

In the News 29.07.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 29.07.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
Photo by Emily Faulstich

Everybody Sucks

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At the risk of sounding like a wounded old-media journalist, let me share a story about my experience with the media-gossip blog Gawker.com, which I, like most journalists who cover stylish topics in New York, have read almost every day for five years. In addition to recently finding attacks on some of my female journalist friends—one of whom was described as slutty and “increasingly sundamaged”; another variously called a “tardblogger,” “specialblogger,” and “developmentallydisabledblogger”—as well as a friend’s peppy little sister, who was put down for wanting to write a “self-actualizing screenplay or book proposal or whatever,”I woke up the day after my wedding to find that Gawker had written about me. “The prize,” said the Website, “for the most annoying romance in this week’s [New York Times] ‘Vows’ [column] goes to the following couple,” and I’ll bet you can guess which newly merged partnership that was. It seems that our last names, composed of too many syllables, as well as my alma mater, Wesleyan; the place we fell in love, Burning Man; our mothers’ occupations as artists; and my husband’s employer, David LaChapelle—in short, the quirky graphed points of my life—added up to an unredeemably idiotic persona (the lesson here, at the least, is that talking to the Times’ “Vows” column is a dangerous act of amour propre). Gawker’s commenters, the unpaid vigilantes who are taking an increasingly prominent role in the site, heaved insults my way:

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine

Sleeping Through a Revolution

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my last letter, I told you there was a time in the late ’60s when the most critically acclaimed movies and music were also the best selling. The Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper album or Francis Coppola’s Godfather film were just two examples. I said that that is not happening anymore, and I wanted to explore with you why this change occurred. Because I spent the first 30 years of my life producing music, movies, and TV, this question matters to me, and I think it should matter to you. So I want to explore the idea that the last 20 years of technological progress — the digital revolution — have devalued the role of the creative artist in our society.

I undertake this question with both optimism and humility. Optimism because I believe in the power of rock and roll or movies to change lives. Certainly witnessing Bob Dylan go electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 changed this Princeton freshman who was intent on being a lawyer into a passionate follower of the Rock and Roll Circus who managed to make a good living from the entertainment business for the rest of his life. My optimism also showed itself in 1996 when I helped found the first streaming video on demand service, Intertainer. Anyone crazy enough to found a service that needed broadband in 1996 had to be an optimist. That led to humility, because the diffusion of broadband was much slower than I thought, so I know that predicting the future is a humble man’s game.

Read the rest of this article at Medium

A Practical Vision of a More Equal Society

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Anthony Atkinson occupies a unique place among economists. During the past half-century, in defiance of prevailing trends, he managed to place the question of inequality at the center of his work while demonstrating that economics is first and foremost a social and moral science. In his new book, Inequality: What Can Be Done?—more personal than his previous ones and wholly focused on a plan of action—he provides us with the broad outlines of a new radical reformism.

Read the rest of this article at The New York review of Books

A DREAM UNDONE

Inside the 50­year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act

O n the morning of his wedding, in 1956, Henry Frye realized that he had a few hours to spare before the afternoon ceremony. He was staying at his parents’ house in Ellerbe, N.C.; the ceremony would take place 75 miles away, in Greensboro, the hometown of his fiancée; and the drive wouldn’t take long. Frye, who had always been practical, had a practical thought: Now might be a good time to finally register to vote. He was 24 and had just returned from Korea, where he served as an Air Force officer, but he was also a black man in the American South, so he wasn’t entirely surprised when his efforts at the registrar’s office were blocked.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

A billion-dollar startup earns its stripes

Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, Sony—San Francisco payments startup Stripe is racking up big partners. But don’t count out rival PayPal just yet.

Patrick Collison never answers his phone when the caller ID says it’s an unknown number. The exercise is always a waste of time: a telemarketer, a wrong number, something. But less than a week before Christmas last year, while he was on vacation in his native Ireland, Collison’s phone buzzed, and he felt the unusual urge to tap “answer.”

Hi, Patrick? It was a man’s voice, nasal in tone. This is Michael Lynton. Scrambling from what this magazine recently dubbed the “Hack of the Century,” the CEO of Sony Entertainment SNE 1.03% was in search of a way to distribute The Interview, the controversial film at its center. Lynton needed a payments infrastructure that could be deployed quickly and withstand the wrath of the hackers who had already embarrassed his company. Stunned, Collison was all too pleased to help.

Stripe, the five-year-old startup that Collison co-leads with his younger brother John, was an unusual choice for a Japanese conglomerate in search of stability. The San Francisco company had struck deals with ascendant neighbors like Facebook FB -0.15% , Pinterest, and Twitter TWTR -15.13% . A Global 500 giant like Sony—let alone one reeling from catastrophe—was a far different endeavor.

But new partnerships with some of the world’s largest companies suggest that Stripe is finally growing into its potential. In the last year the brothers Collison have signed deals with Alibaba (to support Alipay) BABA -0.37% , Apple (Apple Pay) AAPL -0.71% , and American Express (Amex Express Checkout) AXP 0.79% .

Read the rest of this article at Fortune

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