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In the News 25.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 25.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 25.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 25.10.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s Magic in Mess: Why You Should Embrace a Disorderly Desk

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In 1726, during a long voyage from London to Philadelphia, a young printer hatched the idea of using a notebook to systematically chart his efforts to become a better man. He set out 13 virtues — including industry, justice, tranquillity and temperance — and his plan was to focus on each in turn in an endless quest for self-improvement, recording failures with a black spot in his journal. The virtue journal worked, and the black marks became scarcer and scarer

Benjamin Franklin kept up this practice for his entire life. What a life it was: Franklin invented bifocals and a clean-burning stove; he proved that lightning was a form of electricity and then tamed it with the lightning conductor; he charted the Gulf Stream. He organised a lending library, a fire brigade and a college. He was America’s first postmaster-general, its ambassador to France, even the president of Pennsylvania.

Read the rest of this article at Financial Times

Anthony Bourdain on Authenticity, Expectations, and Opening the Country’s Most Ambitious Food Hall

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Anthony Bourdain is already sitting in a corner booth when I walk into Sakagura, a Japanese bar in the basement of an office building in midtown Manhattan. Bourdain, I will come to learn, turns early arrivals into a competitive sport—no matter how well you plan, he will be there before you. This might seem like compulsively considerate behavior from a notorious hard-liver like Bourdain, a man whose public personality is tied up with late-night benders, foulmouthed frankness, and consuming such a staggering variety of food that he’s something like the Library of Congress of eating. If anybody is allowed to show up late for a night of sake and sashimi, it’s Bourdain.

Instead he’s pathologically prompt, which makes more sense when you pull back and take a wider view. Anthony Bourdain, the former head chef of Les Halles, a French steak house in New York that was well liked if not particularly influential, didn’t become Anthony Bourdain—the man who has been played by Bradley Cooper on television, the tastemaker whose name is set to be on a $60 million market hall on a pier in New York City, the CNN personality so broadly respected that President Obama will sit down with him in a fluorescent-lit noodle joint in Hanoi—on one-liners and being able to hold his liquor. Bourdain is indefatigable, and his unlikely rise to the top can be explained, in part, by his ability to marshal the energy and concentration needed to stick to an impossibly busy schedule filled with call times and production meetings and long-haul flights across the date line, and still look fresh when the cameras are rolling.

Read the rest of this article at Vogue

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My First Gulfstream

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Like a gothic horror story, my tale begins on a dark and stormy December night in Manhattan. My friend “J” had graciously offered to drop me off after the dinner party we’d both attended. As his chauffeur took us across town via a circuitous route, our conversation drifted intermittently. During the lulls my thoughts turned to a topic that had been troubling me. “I’ve been thinking about buying a jet,” I offered pensively. “What?” J roared back. I braced myself, expecting the worst. Private jets are perhaps the most coveted and yet most taboo status symbols in today’s society. For some, they are the epitome of conspicuous consumption, a contemptible and wretched excess symptomatic of rot from within. Others hold that they are an essential part of business and professional life, a tool of great utility. For most they are a mystery, because those who have them are not very anxious to talk about them. Why should they, when people in the first category are so eager to condemn them? Perhaps, then, you will forgive my cowardice in not offering my name, and in obscuring the identities of some jet owners who helped me along the way. Most luxury items have down-market consumer cousins. Château Lafite Rothschild is, when all is said and done, a bottle of red wine. Good wine, to be sure, and to a connoisseur there is a world of difference between it and, say, a bottle of Thunderbird. However, these extremes are on a continuum of wine choices at every price point and quality level in between. So it is with other luxuries. A Mercedes 600 Coupe lies at one end of a range that includes the Yugo, and yachts are the logical counterpart to humble dinghies.

Read the rest of this article at Vanity Fair

The Open Mind

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For some 2,500 years, humans have located the mind in the brain inside our heads. But we ought to consider the origin of mind with an open mind. Is the mind truly within the brain? Or is this an illusion?

I gained some insight back in the 1980s, as college drew to a close. I was in my 20s and working in Mexico for the World Health Organization on a project to study curanderos – folk healers – in a region where the press of modernisation of a local dam, La Presa Miguel Alemán, 250 miles south-east of Mexico City, was changing communities and local medical services. One morning, on a horseback journey to interview a local healer as part of my project, the saddle on my horse loosened and, with feet still strapped into the stirrups, I was dragged, they tell me, a hundred yards over gravel and rock, my head banging against the ground beneath the horse’s racing hooves. When the young and frightened horse finally came to a stop, my riding companions thought I must be dead, or at least that I’d broken my neck. I did break my teeth and nose, and damaged my arm. The head trauma induced a state of global amnesia that lasted about a day.

In the aftermath of the horse accident, I became attuned to a level of knowing beneath personal identity, personal belief and personal expectation. I had no idea what to call this change in ‘me’ so I never discussed it with anyone, putting it into a category of some existential wakeup call to lighten up, given life’s fragility following that near-death accident, to be grateful to be able to move my neck, be alive, be awake and aware. I didn’t think of it then as a gift, but I realise now it was one of those unplanned experiences that are turning points, even if we don’t realise their impact at the time.

Read the rest of this article at aeon

Elon Musk’s Wild Ride

Biographer Ashlee Vance examines the troubles at Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity.

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Elon Musk recently took the stage in Guadalajara, Mexico, for the performance he’s waited a lifetime to give. Sporting a new, oddly manicured mustache, Musk did his best shy Tony Stark impersonation, informing a crowd of space enthusiasts that, yes, he does plan to colonize Mars. Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, will send thousands of rockets and people to the Red Planet—perhaps within the decade and perhaps at a cost of just $10 billion. Some of the astronauts will die as part of the experiment. Others will live out their days in … well, Musk was not very specific on that.

Musk continues to befuddle planet earth. He’s part techno messiah—a being sent here from the future to save mankind from itself—and part charlatan—a slick businessman dragging foolish investors along on ever grander, cash-burning bets. Every time one of his companies stumbles, Musk seems to have another spectacular thing to announce—a new mode of transportation, the space internet, or a Martian colony—to thrill and confuse. Is Musk trying to distract us from the troubling aspects of his companies, or are the doubters just the shortsighted, risk-averse people holding us all back from a fantastic future?

By any measure, his companies are in trouble. In the spring, a driver of a Tesla Motors car engaged in autopilot mode crashed and died, prompting a forensic examination of the technology by both regulators and consumers. At a more basic level, the automaker quite often struggles to manufacture cars at expected rates, and Tesla’s proposed acquisition of SolarCity, Musk’s solar panel company, has been bedeviled by shareholder lawsuits. Key engineers at Tesla, along with two top public-relations people, have left. SpaceX just suffered another rocket explosion that puts the company’s future in a precarious position. Instead of hunkering down, Musk has (almost impossibly) become more vocal, taking to Twitter and Tesla’s blog, going after critics with fingers of fury.

Read the rest of this article at Bloomberg

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // @thesettingnyc, @stylemba, @stylemba