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In the News 09.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 09.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

The Isaac Jenkins Mikell house in Charleston, South Carolina; photography by Scott Frances

New Establishment List 2015

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A posse of top reporters run the numbers—and unearth some surprising facts—for the most important visionaries, investors, and cultural leaders in “the Year of the Unicorn.” For more about this year’s New Establishment List, read Andrew Ross Sorkin’s opening essay, and see who was inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame.

Read the rest of this article at Vanity Fair

Beverly Hills’ $1 Billion “Vineyard”: The Bizarre Saga Behind L.A.’s Last Real Estate Trophy

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The 157 acres atop the city has traded hands from the Shah of Iran’s sister to Merv Griffin to the mogul behind Herbalife. Then came unknown Chip Dickens, who managed to procure the property for no money at all. Now, The Vineyard is on the market, and the strange, stressful story behind the $1 billion property can be told.

Standing atop a verdant summit near Benedict Canyon, Brad Pitt smoked a cigarette and gazed toward the ocean. A gentle afternoon sun played over the chaparral and sage below. It was 2002, and Pitt had come to Beverly Hills to take stock of a coveted piece of real estate. From the San Gabriel Mountains to Malibu, Los Angeles stretched out in a quiet, glittery panorama. It was the highest peak for miles, a true king’s plot. He turned to Gary Morris, a developer and friend. “So?” mused Pitt. “You think I should buy this?”

Read the rest of this article at The Hollywood Reporter

How Ashley Madison Hid Its Fembot Con From Users and Investigators

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The developers at Ashley Madison created their first artificial woman sometime in early 2002. Her nickname was Sensuous Kitten, and she is listed as the tenth member of Ashley Madison in the company’s leaked user database. On her profile, she announces: “I’m having trouble with my computer … send a message!”

Sensuous Kitten was the vanguard of a robot army. As I reported last week, Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits on the “have an affair” site. When men signed up for a free account, they would immediately be shown profiles of what internal documents call “Angels,” or fake women whose details and photos had been batch-generated using specially designed software. To bring the fake women to life, the company’s developers also created software bots to animate these Angels, sending email and chat messages on their behalf.

To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women. But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290. Each subsequent message and chat cost the man credits. As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one. The overwhelming majority of men on Ashley Madison were paying to chat with Angels like Sensuous Kitten, whose minds were made of software and whose promises were nothing more than hastily written outputs from algorithms.

Read the rest of this article at Gizmodo

Ignore Your Feelings

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Put down the talking stick. Stop fruitlessly seeking “closure” with your peevish co-worker. And please, don’t bother telling your spouse how annoying you find their tongue-clicking habit—sometimes honesty is less like a breath of fresh air and more like a fart. That’s the argument of Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett, the father-daughter duo behind the new self-help book F*ck Feelings.

The elder Bennett is a psychiatrist and American Psychiatric Association distinguished fellow. His daughter is a comedy writer. Together, they provide a tough-love, irreverent take on “life’s impossible problems.” The crux of their approach is that life is hard and negative emotions are part of it. The key is to see your “bullshit wishes” for just what they are (bullshit), and instead to pursue real, achievable goals.

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic

The Myth of Quality Time

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EVERY summer for many years now, my family has kept to our ritual. All 20 of us — my siblings, my dad, our better halves, my nieces and nephews — find a beach house big enough to fit the whole unruly clan. We journey to it from our different states and time zones. We tensely divvy up the bedrooms, trying to remember who fared poorly or well on the previous trip. And we fling ourselves at one another for seven days and seven nights. That’s right: a solid week. It’s that part of the ritual that mystifies many of my friends, who endorse family closeness but think that there can be entirely too much of it. Wouldn’t a long weekend suffice? And wouldn’t it ward off a few spats and simplify the planning? The answer to the second question is yes, but to the first, an emphatic no.

I used to think that shorter would be better, and in the past, I arrived for these beach vacations a day late or fled two days early, telling myself that I had to when in truth I also wanted to — because I crave my space and my quiet, and because I weary of marinating in sunscreen and discovering sand in strange places. But in recent years, I’ve showed up at the start and stayed for the duration, and I’ve noticed a difference.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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