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In the News 15.09.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 15.09.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 15.09.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 15.09.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Thrill Of Losing Money By Investing In A Manhattan Restaurant

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If you live in New York City long enough and appear to be successfully employed in an industry that Bernie Sanders dislikes, you will be asked at some point to do three things: sponsor a table at a vanity fund-raiser, become a “producer” of a Broadway play, and invest in a restaurant. I had no trouble declining the honor of hosting a benefit or helping “Hedda Gabler” back to the stage.

I did the restaurant.

And while I am not dumb enough to have imagined I’d make much money as a passive, partial investor in a New York City restaurant, I was dumb enough to think that I could probably earn my money back-ish, while at the same time helping some decent young men fulfill their dream. (Also, it seemed more fun than investing in a municipal-bond mutual fund, which cannot, thanks to the killjoys at the S.E.C., give investors free beers.) But of the many failures of logic and foresight of that investment, which I made in 2010, the one that stings the most is not realizing that so few restaurants in New York make money precisely because too many restaurants in New York have investors like me.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language

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What defines who we are? Our habits? Our aesthetic tastes? Our memories? If pressed, I would answer that if there is any part of me that sits at my core, that is an essential part of who I am, then surely it must be my moral center, my deep-seated sense of right and wrong.

And yet, like many other people who speak more than one language, I often have the sense that I’m a slightly different person in each of my languages—more assertive in English, more relaxed in French, more sentimental in Czech. Is it possible that, along with these differences, my moral compass also points in somewhat different directions depending on the language I’m using at the time?

Psychologists who study moral judgments have become very interested in this question. Several recent studies have focused on how people think about ethics in a non-native language—as might take place, for example, among a group of delegates at the United Nations using a lingua franca to hash out a resolution. The findings suggest that when people are confronted with moral dilemmas, they do indeed respond differently when considering them in a foreign language than when using their native tongue.

Read the rest of this article at Scientific American

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A Giant Problem

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DISRUPTION may be the buzzword in boardrooms, but the most striking feature of business today is not the overturning of the established order. It is the entrenchment of a group of superstar companies at the heart of the global economy. Some of these are old firms, like GE, that have reinvented themselves. Some are emerging-market champions, like Samsung, which have seized the opportunities provided by globalisation. The elite of the elite are high-tech wizards—Google, Apple, Facebook and the rest—that have conjured up corporate empires from bits and bytes.

As our special report this week makes clear, the superstars are admirable in many ways. They churn out products that improve consumers’ lives, from smarter smartphones to sharper televisions. They provide Americans and Europeans with an estimated $280 billion-worth of “free” services—such as search or directions—a year. But they have two big faults. They are squashing competition, and they are using the darker arts of management to stay ahead. Neither is easy to solve. But failing to do so risks a backlash which will be bad for everyone.

Read the rest of this article at The Economist

How Snowden Escaped

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HONG KONG — The tall, lanky American dressed in all black looked familiar. But Ajith, a 44-year-old Sri Lankan refugee seeking asylum in Hong Kong figured the nervous-looking man with the red-rimmed eyes fidgeting in the darkness outside the United Nations building in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon was a U.S. army dodger.

Summoned by his immigration lawyer in the late evening of June 10, 2013, Ajith (last names of the refugees in this story have been withheld), a former soldier in the Sri Lankan military, was told the unidentified man was “famous” and needed “protection.” Little else was revealed except that he would be responsible for covertly moving the American around at a moment’s notice.

“I was very happy to help him,” Ajith recalled during a recent interview with the National Post in his small windowless room in Kennedy Town, on the western tip of Hong Kong Island. “This famous person was a refugee too, same as me.”

Read the rest of this article at National Post

20 Seasons In, Matt Stone and Trey Parker Reveal the Secret to Keeping South Park Cool

As South Park moves toward its third decade, Vanity Fair talked with the show’s creators about how the series has evolved, last season’s Donald Trump episode, and what they really think of P.C. culture.

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On South Park, nothing is off limits. Foul language, gleefully rendered scatological humor, biting social commentary, Kanye West coming out as a gay fish—it’s all pretty much par for the course. Over the past 19 years, Comedy Central’s animated juggernaut has proven to be the most enduring, consistently funny comedy on air. Its closest contemporary, The Simpsons, continues to experiment—but most critics would agree that show has already seen its Golden Age. South Park,however, continually manages to innovate in ways that really pay off—like last season’s robust, successful foray into serialization.

When Matt Stone and Trey Parker first started work on South Park, they never could have known how big it would become. In its first season, the series became Comedy Central’s best-rated show; by its second, it was more-watched than any non-sports show in basic cable history. Ratings have fluctuated since then, but South Park still draws both audiences and critical acclaim. Its most recent Outstanding Animated Program Emmy came just three years ago, for an episode called “Raising the Bar”—which weaves together plotlines including Cartman embracing his obesity, Token making a secret reality series about his friend called Here Comes Fatty Doo Doo, and James Cameron embarking on a deep-sea expedition, for some reason.

Perhaps South Park’s most refreshing element is its refusal to take itself too seriously—no matter how seriously its fans take it. The series has effectively lampooned everything from Scientology to rain-forest conservation to P.C. culture, but often manages to do so without any real agenda. The adults are crazy; the kids are profane and clueless; the situations they find themselves in are so ridiculous that one has to imagine their creators laughing at anyone looking too hard for a deeper meaning. Perhaps the show’s long-running textual introduction says it best: “All characters and events in this show—even those based on real people—are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated…..poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.”

With Season 20 arriving September 14, Vanity Fair chatted with Parker and Stone to find out how they’ve managed to keep South Park fresh for almost two decades—as well as why last season’s Donald Trump episode made them nervous, how comedy and P.C. culture have changed since their show began, and what’s coming next for their quiet mountain town.

Read the rest of this article at Vanity Fair

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // @thetiafox, @ohhcouture, @eaemileeanne