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In the News 22.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 22.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 22.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 22.02.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

Naughty words

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The Cambridge University Press’s online dictionary defines swearing as ‘rude or offensive language that someone uses, especially when they are angry’. Thinking of swearing as ‘rude or offensive language’ is a good start, but it is too rough for our purposes. For one thing, ‘rude or offensive language’ need not involve swearing at all. I am rude or offensive when I tell you that your new baby is hideous, when I accept your thoughtful gift without thanks, or when I crack a tasteless joke about death after you reveal that you have a terminal illness. Some definitions of swearing get around this issue by specifying that swearing should involve taboo (ie forbidden) language – but even this is not specific enough. Taboo language includes not only the familiar, bog-standard swear words like that mentioned above, but also other sorts of words that are not my focus here.

Read the rest of this article at aeon

How to Survive Solitary Confinement

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With a sigh, Johnny Perez rises from his plastic chair, unfolds his lanky frame and extends his wingspan until the tips of his middle fingers graze the walls. “It was from here to here,” he says. “I know because I used to do this all the time.” Until recently, these measurements—10 feet by 6 feet—fit his entire life.

Two years ago, Perez was released on parole after serving 13 years at Rikers Island penitentiary and prisons in upstate New York, three of which he spent in solitary confinement.1 Sitting across from Perez, you wonder how he feels in this space, a tiny, harshly lit conference room at the Urban Justice Center on Wall Street in Manhattan. Whether it brings back traumatic memories, or feels like home, or both.

While there is no universally agreed-upon definition, modern solitary—also called supermax, isolated segregation, and “the box”—is commonly understood to involve confinement to a small cell for 22 to 24 hours a day. Prisoners are not allowed to participate in leisure activities, have hobbies, or speak to others. They are often handcuffed and shackled when they leave their cells—if they ever leave. Perez says he eventually stopped even wanting to.

Solitary confinement has been linked to a variety of profoundly negative psychological outcomes, including suicidal tendencies and spatial and cognitive distortions. Confinement-induced stress can shrink parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, spatial orientation, and control of emotions. In addition to these measurable effects, prisoners often report bizarre and disturbing subjective experiences after they leave supermax. Some say the world regularly collapses in on itself. Others report they are unable to lead ordinary conversations, or think clearly for any length of time. The psychiatrist Sandra Schank2 puts it this way: “It’s a standard psychiatric concept, if you put people in isolation, they will go insane.”

Yet Perez pauses when he is asked how it felt to be confined for so long. “That’s an interesting question,” he says. “Because in a sense, you are confined, and in other senses, you’re free.” Perez says he left solitary confinement a better man than he entered it. He is now fully rehabilitated, and works for the Urban Justice Center, where he helps recently released inmates adjust to the world outside.

Read the rest of this article at Nautilus

SHOP

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Shop the Tuscany Tote at Belgrave Crescent and This Is Glamorous – The Shop

Business of Fashion Boss: ‘People on the Inside Don’t See How Exciting it is’

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These are interesting times to be a nimble, fast-moving fashion site with a focus on business. “We really feel like this is the year there will be a massive shift in the way things work and a ripple effect on the media,” he says. He is referring to Burberry’s recent announcement, followed by other designers including Tom Ford, that its clothes will be available the moment its catwalk show ends. This direct-to-consumer approach could not only reduce the influence of the traditional middleman – glossy magazines, with positively sluggish lead times – but affect them in other ways. “If lots of companies start doing this what is the impact on print advertising? It’s going to be very interesting.”

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

The Single American Women

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Single women are also becoming more and more powerful as a voting demographic. In 2012, unmarried women made up a remarkable 23 percent of the electorate. Almost a quarter of votes in the last presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. According to Page Gardner, founder of the Voter Participation Center, in the 2012 presidential election, unmarried women drove turnout in practically every demographic, making up “almost 40 percent of the African-American population, close to 30 percent of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters.”

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine

Umberto Eco, The Art of Fiction No. 197

15.10.2009 Frankfurt am Main, Steigenberger Hotel, Spiegel Gespräch mit Umberto Eco (* 5. Januar 1932 in Alessandria, Piemont) ist ein italienischer Schriftsteller, Kolumnist, Philosoph, Medienwissenschaftler

The first time I called Umberto Eco, he was sitting at his desk in his seventeenth-century manor in the hills outside Urbino, near the Adriatic coast of Italy. He sang the virtues of his bellissima swimming pool, but suspected I might have trouble negotiating the region’s tortuous mountain passes. So we agreed instead to meet at his apartment in Milan. I arrived there last August on ferragosto, the high point of summer and the day the Catholic Church celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Milan’s gray buildings gleamed with heat, and a thin layer of dust had settled on the pavement. Hardly an engine could be heard. As I stepped into Eco’s building, I took a turn-of-the-century lift and heard the creaking of a door on the top floor. Eco’s imposing figure appeared behind the lift’s wrought-iron grating. “Ahhh,” he said with a slight scowl.

Read the rest of this article at The Paris Review

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