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In the News 04.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 04.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Obama After Dark: The Precious Hours Alone

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WASHINGTON — “Are you up?”

The emails arrive late, often after 1 a.m., tapped out on a secure BlackBerry from an email address known only to a few. The weary recipients know that once again, the boss has not yet gone to bed.

The late-night interruptions from President Obama might be sharply worded questions about memos he has read. Sometimes they are taunts because the recipient’s sports team just lost.

Last month it was a 12:30 a.m. email to Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, and Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, telling them he had finished reworking a speechwriter’s draft of presidential remarks for later that morning. Mr. Obama had spent three hours scrawling in longhand on a yellow legal pad an angry condemnation of Donald J. Trump’s response to the attack in Orlando, Fla., and told his aides they could pick up his rewrite at the White House usher’s office when they came in for work.

Mr. Obama calls himself a “night guy,” and as president, he has come to consider the long, solitary hours after dark as essential as his time in the Oval Office. Almost every night that he is in the White House, Mr. Obama has dinner at 6:30 with his wife and daughters and then withdraws to the Treaty Room, his private office down the hall from his bedroom on the second floor of the White House residence.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Brazil’s Olympic Catastrophe

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RIO DE JANEIRO — IT’S official: The Olympic Games in Rio are an unnatural disaster.

On June 17, fewer than 50 days before the start of the Games, the state of Rio de Janeiro declared a “state of public calamity.” A financial crisis is preventing the state from honoring its commitments to the Olympic andParalympic Games, the governor said. That crisis is so severe, he said, it could eventually bring about “a total collapse in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management.” The authorities are now authorized to ration essential public services and the state is eligible for emergency funds from the federal government.

Measures like these are usually taken for an earthquake or a flood. But the Olympics are a man-made, foreseeable, preventable catastrophe.

I went to Rio recently to see how preparations for the Games are going. Spoiler: not well. The city is a huge construction site. Bricks and pipes are piled everywhere; a few workers lazily push wheelbarrows as if the Games were scheduled for 2017. Nobody knows what the construction sites will become, not even the people working on them: “It’s for the Olympics” was the unanimous reply, followed by speculation about “tents for the judging panels of volleyball or soccer, I guess.”

I asked the Rio 2016 press office for a tour, but it olympically ignored me. Almost all venues are still under construction. I managed to see part of the Barra Olympic Park, which will host many of the events, after buying a last-minute ticket to a Volleyball World League match. Although construction for the Games is progressing, it appears far from “97 percent complete,” as the organizers claimed recently.

I also saw most of the Deodoro Olympic Park, which is apparently open to anyone who wants to see it. I walked straight in and found half-built grandstands abandoned in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

The few projects that have been completed don’t inspire much confidence. In April, a newly built bike path along Rio’s seashore collapsed, killing two people.

Work on the beach volleyball arena at Copacabana stalled because the organizers failed to get the proper environmental licenses. Then the structure was damaged by waves. Workers erected a six-foot-high sand barrier to protect the site. It also protects thugs; tourists are being mugged behind it. A construction worker told me he’d seen a man stabbed there, and warned me to stay away. The robbers were so comfortable that they had left their backpacks and a beach chair nearby on the sand.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight at shop.thisisglamorous.com & Belgrave Crescent

13 steps anyone can take to get rich, according to a journalist who spent his career studying millionaires

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Prompted by legendary businessman Andrew Carnegie, who turned a few nickels and dimes into a fortune, journalist Napoleon Hill researched more than 500 self-made millionaires over 20 years before releasing his 1937 best-seller “Think and Grow Rich.”

“It was Mr. Carnegie’s idea that the magic formula, which gave him a stupendous fortune, ought to be placed within reach of people who do not have time to investigate how men make money,” Hill wrote in the preface.

The 13-step “magic formula” — which involves no mention of “money” or “wealth,” but focuses instead on breaking down the psychological barriers that hold us back from attaining our own fortunes — is just as relevant today, 78 years later.

Read the rest of this article at Business Insider

Selfishness Is Learned

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Many people cheat on taxes—no mystery there. But many people don’t, even if they wouldn’t be caught—now, that’s weird. Or is it? Psychologists are deeply perplexed by human moral behavior, because it often doesn’t seem to make any logical sense. You might think that we should just be grateful for it. But if we could understand these seemingly irrational acts, perhaps we could encourage more of them.

It’s not as though people haven’t been trying to fathom our moral instincts; it is one of the oldest concerns of philosophy and theology. But what distinguishes the project today is the sheer variety of academic disciplines it brings together: not just moral philosophy and psychology, but also biology, economics, mathematics, and computer science. They do not merely contemplate the rationale for moral beliefs, but study how morality operates in the real world, or fails to. David Rand of Yale University epitomizes the breadth of this science, ranging from abstract equations to large-scale societal interventions. “I’m a weird person,” he says, “who has a foot in each world, of model-making and of actual experiments and psychological theory building.”

Read the rest of this article at Nautilus

Where are we now?

Responses to the Referendum

So who is to blame? Please don’t say the voters: 17,410,742 is an awful lot of people to be wrong on a question of this magnitude. They are not simply suckers and/or closet racists – in fact, relatively few of them are – and they are not plain ignorant. You can’t fool that many people, even for a relatively short period of time. And yes it was close, but it wasn’t that close. The margin between the two sides – 3.8 per cent – was roughly the same as the margin by which Obama defeated Romney in the 2012 presidential election (3.9 per cent), and you don’t hear a lot of people complaining about the legitimacy of that, not even Republicans (well, not that many). Plus, turnout in the referendum, at 72.2 per cent, was nearly 18 per cent higher than in the last presidential election. The difference, of course, is that a general election is a constitutional necessity whereas the EU referendum was a political choice. If you don’t like the outcome, don’t say it was the wrong answer to the question. It was the wrong question, put at the wrong time, in the wrong way. And that’s the fault of the politicians.

Read the rest of this article at London Review of Books

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @jo_rodgers, @cosmopolitan_serbia, @portermagazine