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In the News 28.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 28.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 28.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 28.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts

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Shakespeare said that all the world’s a stage, but the sociologist Erving Goffman added that most of the interesting stuff lies behind the scenes, in what he called the “backstage” areas of everyday life.

Having spent the past eight years doing research on the international wealth-management profession, I have to agree with Goffman: The most revealing information comes from the moments when people stop performing and go off-script. Like the time one of the wealth managers I interviewed in the British Virgin Islands lost his composure and threatened to have me thrown out of the country. His ire arose from an unexpected quarter:  He took offense to my use of the term “socio-economic inequality” in the two scholarly articles I had published on the profession. I thought the articles were typically academic, which is to say, the opposite of sensationalizing and of little interest to anyone outside my field.  But my suggestion that wealth managers might be connected to inequality in any way seemed alarmingly radical to this gentleman.

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic

The Death of the Party

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In his 1992 song “Parties in the U.S.A.,” Jonathan Richman lamented what he perceived as a decline in informal social gatherings since his 1960s adolescence. “Could there be block parties ’bout which I don’t know?” he wondered. “Maybe they’re in neighborhoods where I don’t go / Could there be all these parties down some little lane / With potato chips sitting there and guitar playing?” In 2015, Mr. Richman’s plaint seems even more prescient for the millennial generation (the hedonistic video for Miley Cyrus’s 2009 pop confection “Party in the U.S.A.” notwithstanding). The incidence of house parties in America (and sections of Canada) thrown by and for those in their 20s, the prime years for adult socializing, may be dropping for a raft of technological, economic and cultural reasons.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Drew Barrymore: ‘My mother locked me up in an institution at 13. Boo hoo! I needed it’

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Imagine you were a Hollywood producer pitched the following idea: a baby girl born into an acting dynasty is put to work in a dog food commercial at the age of 11 months. At seven, she’s a film star pouring Baileys over her ice-cream, at 11 she develops a drink problem, at 12 she’s a drug addict, at 13 she cuts her wrists and is hospitalised, and at 14 she’s legally divorced from her parents. Of course, you wouldn’t make the movie. Too far-fetched. There’s only so much disbelief that one can willingly suspend.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

This Is How You Become an Editor

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A couple weeks ago, I received a handwritten thank-you card from a co-worker—the type of card you buy blank from Duane Reade or Walgreens or perhaps part of a box of thank-you cards a generous person keeps, likely because she finds herself often saying thank you with heartwarming notes—and I was about to open it in front of her. I paused, the envelope unsealed and open, but the card still untouched. I slid the entire card, envelope and all, into my breast pocket.

I know intimacy when I feel it; the card was light, but the envelope paper had some weight to it, and my name was written neatly on the front, in capital letters. I received the card because it was her last day at work, and she wanted to thank me. For what I didn’t know. Whatever she wanted to say to me, I couldn’t guess or deduce. We didn’t know each other long. I thought, “By all accounts, I don’t deserve a card, but I have one.”

We’ll come back to the card in eight years.

Read the rest of this article at Catapult

Greenland Is Melting Away

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— The midnight sun still gleamed at 1 a.m. across the brilliant expanse of the Greenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept toward the edge of a river that rushed downstream toward an enormous sinkhole.

If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 percent,” said Mr. Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher.

But Mr. Overstreet’s task, to collect critical data from the river, is essential to understanding one of the most consequential impacts of global warming. The scientific data he and a team of six other researchers collect here could yield groundbreaking information on the rate at which the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, one of the biggest and fastest-melting chunks of ice on Earth, will drive up sea levels in the coming decades. The full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase sea levels by about 20 feet.

“We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions,” said Laurence C. Smith, head of the geography department at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the leader of the team that worked in Greenland this summer. “But to really know what’s happening, that kind of understanding can only come about through empirical measurements in the field.”

For years, scientists have studied the impact of the planet’s warming on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. But while researchers have satellite images to track the icebergs that break off, and have created models to simulate the thawing, they have little on-the-ground information and so have trouble predicting precisely how fast sea levels will rise.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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