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In the News 18.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 18.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 18.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 18.07.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Mysterious Metamorphosis
of Chuck Close

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit Chuck Close at his beach house on Long Island. The drive there always reminds me of an escape to the Hamptons in reverse. From the aristocratic brownstones of Park Slope, you work your way steadily down the socioeconomic ladder, past the towering Soviet-­style apartment complexes of Coney Island, through strips of pawn shops and gimcrack hotels that give way to rowhouses fronted with plaster statuary, until at last the journey comes to an end at the sun-­beaten waterfront of Long Beach, a haven for cops and firefighters looking to blow off summer steam, where you pay for access to the sand amid a throng of rented umbrellas and creatine-­engorged pectorals, all of which vanish at sundown into a surfeit of bwomp-­bwomping nightclubs along the strip.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

DONALD TRUMP’S GHOSTWRITER TELLS ALL

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Last June, as dusk fell outside Tony Schwartz’s sprawling house, on a leafy back road in Riverdale, New York, he pulled out his laptop and caught up with the day’s big news: Donald J. Trump had declared his candidacy for President. As Schwartz watched a video of the speech, he began to feel personally implicated.

Trump, facing a crowd that had gathered in the lobby of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue, laid out his qualifications, saying, “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ” If that was so, Schwartz thought, then he, not Trump, should be running. Schwartz dashed off a tweet: “Many thanks Donald Trump for suggesting I run for President, based on the fact that I wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.’ ”

Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

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Darkness Falls on The Dinosaurs

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At least five times in the past five hundred million years, the normally meticulous scalpel of natural selection, which excises this moth or spares that finch on account of the tiniest differences in wing color or beak shape, has become the evolutionary equivalent of a machete. Whole taxonomic groups of organisms—not merely individuals or species but genera, families, and orders—have been cut down in swift, indiscriminate strokes. After each of these mass extinctions, life on Earth eventually recovered but was irrevocably changed, with the creatures that survived, as much by happenstance as hard-earned fitness, becoming the unlikely founders of brave new biospheres. The blue whales, polar bears, and Siberian tigers that today symbolize the threat of extinction in the Anthropocene, the geologic age wrought by humans, owe their very existence to the demise of the most charismatic of all megafauna, the dinosaurs, at the close of the Cretaceous period.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

This Is Your Brain on Silence

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One icy night in March 2010, 100 marketing experts piled into the Sea Horse Restaurant in Helsinki, with the modest goal of making a remote and medium-sized country a world-famous tourist destination. The problem was that Finland was known as a rather quiet country, and since 2008, the Country Brand Delegation had been looking for a national brand that would make some noise.

Over drinks at the Sea Horse, the experts puzzled over the various strengths of their nation. Here was a country with exceptional teachers, an abundance of wild berries and mushrooms, and a vibrant cultural capital the size of Nashville, Tennessee. These things fell a bit short of a compelling national identity. Someone jokingly suggested that nudity could be named a national theme—it would emphasize the honesty of Finns. Someone else, less jokingly, proposed that perhaps quiet wasn’t such a bad thing. That got them thinking.

A few months later, the delegation issued a slick “Country Brand Report.” It highlighted a host of marketable themes, including Finland’s renowned educational system and school of functional design. One key theme was brand new: silence. As the report explained, modern society often seems intolerably loud and busy. “Silence is a resource,” it said. It could be marketed just like clean water or wild mushrooms. “In the future, people will be prepared to pay for the experience of silence.”

Read the rest of this article at Nautilus

Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic Victory

Turkish leader’s instincts saved him from a coup, but his authoritarian instincts will again threaten his legitimacy.

People wave national flags as they march from Kizilay square towards the Turkish General Staff building in Ankara, on July 16, 2016, following following a failed coup attempt.
Turkish authorities said they had regained control of the country on July 16 after thwarting a coup attempt by discontented soldiers to seize power from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that claimed more than 250 lives. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN        (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — Paradoxes have always abounded in the relationship between the Turkish military and the country’s politicians. Turkey’s armed forces — or factions within them — have justified their repeated interventions in politics with claims that they are saving the state from corrupt, populist politicians. The political class, for its part, frustrated as its leaders turn rotten, blames its degradation on over-dominant army interventions that keep wrecking the country’s democratic progress.

The recent attempted coup in Turkey was no exception. On Friday night, an email from a Turkish Armed Forces address said, in effect, that the military was breaking the law in order to restore the rule of law. In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the Turkish people to take to the street in defense of the democracy he has done so much to undermine with attacks on the media and assaults on constitutional checks and balances.

And indeed, the people rushed to secure key points for the government. While some social media postings showed anti-government passers-by cheering on the tanks, a broad social and political alignment emerged against the attempted coup, including rare unison among all the country’s main political parties and media voices. More than 160 people were killed and 1,440 injured in clashes between soldiers sent out to seize power and the pro-government police force and loyalist army factions.

In the end, Erdoğan and his supporters won the day, quickly reconsolidating control. And perhaps this is unsurprising. Election after election — scrupulously democratic in form, but dominated by authoritarian political party leaders in practice — have shown that about half the electorate still supports the president’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Read the rest of this article at Politico

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top Images: @photobyshannon, @ohhcouture, @mivioleta