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In the News 20.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 20.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A Kink in the Hyperloop

In August of 2013, Elon Musk casually released a 58-page proposal online with the unassuming title “Hyperloop Alpha.” Building on an idea the Tesla and SpaceX founder had hinted at in public a few times, the paper laid out his vision for a sleek, near-supersonic train in a giant pneumatic tube that would whisk passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Musk’s inspiration had come when he found himself stuck in L.A. traffic, an hour late for an appointment, and from his disdain for the planned California High Speed Rail project, which had descended into a morass of schedule delays, cost hikes, funding shortfalls, and political overpromising.

The idea had a number of irresistible features. Beyond turning the San ­Francisco–L.A. journey into a 35-minute jaunt, it promised to be clean (100 percent self-sufficient, using solar-panel arrays on the tube), cheap (6 percent as expensive as California High Speed Rail), and glamorously futuristic (floating on what Musk called “air bearings”). It was possible, reading the paper, to picture oneself elegantly cocooned in a steel pod and gliding along the Pacific Coast in what was less a new kind of train than a 21st-century escape capsule freeing us from the archaic shackles of big-government infrastructure.

Read the rest of this article at New York Magazine

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The Afterlife of a Ballerina

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It was a hot, humid Saturday night in Havana, and there was no air conditioning at the Gran Teatro. But all 1,500 seats at the old opera house were taken; tickets had sold out within hours of their release. Thousands more fans crowded onto the steps of the nearby Capitolio, braving the July heat to watch giant outdoor screens on which the performance was streaming. This was a far cry from the staid audiences the Royal Ballet usually danced for in London. Here, tickets were cheap; spectators packed picnics; the atmosphere was raucous. It was 2009, and the first visit from a major foreign ballet company in 30 years. It was also the last time that Alexandra Ansanelli, a star at the peak of her career, would perform.

“A Month in the Country,” the ballet chosen for her last show, is a melodrama based on Ivan Turgenev‘s 1855 play. In it, Natalia, a bored housewife on a Russian estate, falls in love with her son’s new tutor; so do her teenage daughter and the family maid. American audiences sometimes laugh at its over-the-top antics. But with Alexandra as Natalia, it worked.

Alexandra, who had been dancing with the Royal Ballet for three years, and with the New York City Ballet for eight years before that, was spontaneous and unpredictable onstage. She could get carried away by a feeling or a musical note. She was an artist more than a technician, and she was beautiful in a way that could seem anachronistic; she was glamorous. That night, everything came together. She put on one of the best shows of her life. “She danced like it was the last performance,” said her partner that night, Ivan Putrov. “But every performance, she gave everything.”

The curtain fell, and rose again. Alexandra took her bows, and the 88-year-old Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso presented her with a bouquet of roses. Alexandra broke down in tears as the crowd cheered.

Read the rest of this article at Elle

The White Flight of Derek Black

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Their public conference had been interrupted by a demonstration march and a bomb threat, so the white nationalists decided to meet secretly instead. They slipped past police officers and protesters into a hotel in downtown Memphis. The country had elected its first black president just a few days earlier, and now in November 2008, dozens of the world’s most prominent racists wanted to strategize for the years ahead.

“The fight to restore White America begins now,” their agenda read.

The room was filled in part by former heads of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent neo-Nazis, but one of the keynote speeches had been reserved for a Florida community college student who had just turned 19. Derek Black was already hosting his own radio show. He had launched a white nationalist website for children and won a local political election in Florida. “The leading light of our movement,” was how the conference organizer introduced him, and then Derek stepped to the lectern.

“The way ahead is through politics,” he said. “We can infiltrate. We can take the country back.”

Read the rest of this article at Washington Post

The Death of British Business

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It is hard to exaggerate the scale of the disaster the British people have inflicted upon themselves with their decision to leave the European Union, taken in the referendum last June. More than three and a half months since the vote, some of this damage is difficult to quantify, including loss of influence with the US, Europe, and the wider world, the flourishing of insular nationalism, especially in England, and growing hostility toward immigrants—a tendency that had been already visible during the referendum campaign and was disgracefully exploited by the Leave campaigners. But in recent weeks, there have also been stark indications of a kind of damage that is readily quantifiable and severe: the damage that Brexit has and will continue to inflict on the UK economy—an economy that, after decades of mismanagement, is overwhelmingly dependent on foreign enterprise and foreign capital.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Review Of Books

Can a Millennial Mayor Save One of the World’s Most Violent Cities?

Nayib Bukele is trying to wrest control of El Salvador’s capital from the grip of murderous gangs. His weapons? Gentrification, Instagram and YouTube

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Though San Salvador’s Mercado Central is statistically one of the most dangerous areas of one of the most dangerous cities in the world, an outsider wouldn’t know it just by walking through. It is, admittedly, congested, stretching across a few dozen blocks that throb with tens of thousands of vendors, clogging the roads with makeshift stalls and tables. Women hawk tamales and bags of cut papaya, or ladle steaming coffee into flimsy polystyrene cups that buckle from the heat. Boys push wheelbarrows of ice water, bananas, and mangoes past rows of mannequins modelling cheap leggings. This is one-stop shopping at its most frenetic. Life and commerce thrum. Violence here is largely invisible – until, of course, it isn’t.

San Salvador is both the political and homicide capital of El Salvador, a country where, since 2014, the number of murders has surged after the unravelling of a two-year-old gang truce. Gangs have been running Mercado Central for years. According to Salvadoran journalist Óscar Martínez, in a 2015 report on the swelling of violence in the city centre, they tell vendors “where they will sell, how much they will pay for the space to sell … Sometimes they even tell them who to vote for.” Gangs come to the market to recruit children to join their ranks, or to collect renta – a euphemism for protection money – from vendors and stores, or to menace and, when they deem it necessary, to kill.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // @kalyanilodhia, @happilygrey, @gourmettraveller