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In the News 09.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 09.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 09.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 09.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Cat Hulbert: How I Got Rich Beating Men at Their Own Game

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In the tiny group of gamblers who have become top players at both blackjack and poker, there is only one woman. In her own words, Cat Hulbert describes how she got rich beating male opponents – and the casinos – and explains why in her view women are innately better at poker than men.

For 40 years, a well-known gambling author would, for fun, make bets at the poker table about whether the cocktail waitress would be able to answer commonplace questions. Questions like: Who is the vice-president? Or, what is the longest river in the US?

One day, this guru – who smelled like blue cheese – turned to where I was sitting, next to the dealer, and placed a bet about whether I would know who said: “I think therefore I am”. When I answered correctly – I have a degree in philosophy – he said, “You’re the smartest woman I’ve ever met.”

This is the sort of nonsense I had to put up with throughout my whole career.

Read the rest of this article at BBC

‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - OCTOBER 09: Jimji, 6, cries in anguish as she screams "papa" before funeral parlour workers, move the body of her father, Jimboy Bolasa, 25, (father of two) from the wake at the start of the funeral to Navotas cemetery on October 9, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. On the evening of the 20th of September both Aljon Deparine, 23 and neighbor and friend Jimboy Bolasa, 25, were found murdered. The police claim the boys were alleged drug dealers. According to family members, they were surrenderee's, around 5.30pm unidentified men forcefully dragged the two boys from their homes, put them in between riders on motorbikes and abducted them. Less than an hour later, their beaten bodies, with signs of torture and gunshot wounds were dumped under a nearby bridge. One week later Aljon's brother Danilo was also found executed and his body dumped under a nearby bridge.  Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times                              NYTCREDIT: Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

YOU HEAR A MURDER SCENE before you see it: The desperate cries of a new widow. The piercing sirens of approaching police cars. The thud, thud, thud of the rain drumming on the pavement of a Manila alleyway — and on the back of Romeo Torres Fontanilla.

Tigas, as Mr. Fontanilla was known, was lying facedown in the street when I pulled up after 1 a.m. He was 37. Gunned down, witnesses said, by two unknown men on a motorbike. The downpour had washed his blood into the gutter.

The rain-soaked alley in the Pasay district of Manila was my 17th crime scene, on my 11th day in the Philippines capital. I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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Welcome To Yellowbrick, a ‘Rehab’ For Stuck Millennials That Attempts to Turn Them Into Adults

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It manifested as a series of slow and muddy setbacks—nothing as straightforward as, say, a psychotic break—but Sean’s* Problem followed him for most of his life, flaring up in quiet moments, barely perceptible behind his affable Midwestern boyishness. These days, he’s starting to think the Problem began around the third grade. He lays it all out plainly. After all, Sean is used to telling his life story. He’s been doing it constantly for more than a year.

At Yellowbrick Treatment Center in Evanston, Illinois, the country’s preeminent facility dedicated to addressing the various demons that prevent “emerging adults” from growing up, they call this the Narrative. Upon arrival at Yellowbrick, where Sean had been living, you recount your Narrative for a group of psychologists, from start to finish. A few times a week, you share your Narrative or listen to the Narratives of others. And once discharged from Yellowbrick, according to one former patient, you may listen to a robotic recording of your Narrative, transcribed into a computer program in the third person, with heart-rate monitors affixed to your body. So it’s no surprise that Sean’s got the Narrative thing down pat.

Read the rest of this article at Fusion

How Rousseau Predicted Trump

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“I love the poorly educated,” Donald Trump said during a victory speech in February, and he has repeatedly taken aim at America’s élites and their “false song of globalism.” Voters in Britain, heeding Brexit campaigners’ calls to “take back control” of a country ostensibly threatened by uncontrolled immigration, “unelected élites,” and “experts,” have reversed fifty years of European integration. Other countries across Western Europe, as well as Israel, Russia, Poland, and Hungary, seethe with demagogic assertions of ethnic, religious, and national identity. In India, Hindu supremacists have adopted the conservative epithet “libtard” to channel righteous fury against liberal and secular élites*. The great eighteenth-century venture of a universal civilization harmonized by rational self-interest, commerce, luxury, arts, and science—the Enlightenment forged by Voltaire, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and others—seems to have reached a turbulent anticlimax in a worldwide revolt against cosmopolitan modernity.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

What’s Gone Wrong With Democracy

Democracy was the most successful political idea of the 20th century. Why has it run into trouble, and what can be done to revive it?

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THE protesters who have overturned the politics of Ukraine have many aspirations for their country. Their placards called for closer relations with the European Union (EU), an end to Russian intervention in Ukraine’s politics and the establishment of a clean government to replace the kleptocracy of President Viktor Yanukovych. But their fundamental demand is one that has motivated people over many decades to take a stand against corrupt, abusive and autocratic governments. They want a rules-based democracy.

It is easy to understand why. Democracies are on average richer than non-democracies, are less likely to go to war and have a better record of fighting corruption. More fundamentally, democracy lets people speak their minds and shape their own and their children’s futures. That so many people in so many different parts of the world are prepared to risk so much for this idea is testimony to its enduring appeal.

Yet these days the exhilaration generated by events like those in Kiev is mixed with anxiety, for a troubling pattern has repeated itself in capital after capital. The people mass in the main square. Regime-sanctioned thugs try to fight back but lose their nerve in the face of popular intransigence and global news coverage. The world applauds the collapse of the regime and offers to help build a democracy. But turfing out an autocrat turns out to be much easier than setting up a viable democratic government. The new regime stumbles, the economy flounders and the country finds itself in a state at least as bad as it was before. This is what happened in much of the Arab spring, and also in Ukraine’s Orange revolution a decade ago. In 2004 Mr Yanukovych was ousted from office by vast street protests, only to be re-elected to the presidency (with the help of huge amounts of Russian money) in 2010, after the opposition politicians who replaced him turned out to be just as hopeless.

Read the rest of this article at The Economist

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @terra_naut, @housebeautiful, @kristinabazan