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In the News 06.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 06.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.12.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Reckoning at Standing Rock

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In his farewell address to Congress in 1796, our first U.S. president, George Washington predicted that the flaws embedded in federalism, as it was set up in the U.S. Constitution, would eventually translate into incomprehensible misery for the American Indian. His biographer, Joseph Ellis, tells us that Washington, more than any other of our Founders, foresaw that “what was politically essential for a viable American nation was ideologically at odds with what it claimed to stand for.” America was shaped at its conception by ideals and paradoxes, in equal parts, and by great aspirations and even greater contradictions. Somewhere along the way to full national maturity, cautioned Washington, there would have to be a reckoning between what was “politically essential” for national survival and the unbounded freedom the nation “claimed to stand for.”

If history could be used as a yardstick to measure the essential ingredients of man’s nature, for good and for ill, then for Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, a day was already marked in the future when the newly solemnized rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” would be vanquished by “venality, corruption, and prostitution of office for selfish ends.” Though Washington would not live to see that day, his predictions were soon borne out by the social and political cataclysms of the 19th century. Just as he had predicted, chief among them were the cataclysms caused by flaws embedded in the republican government’s new concept of federalism. In 1787, the American republic was a solitary nation surrounded by hundreds of sovereign Indian nations, yet there was almost no mention of these Native nations in the United States’ founding charter.

Read the rest of this article at High Country News

Unclaimed

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Because the beginning was lost, his story always began in the middle, but there wasn’t much to the middle either: Once upon a time, there was a pickup truck full of hopeful travelers, and then there was a crash. Bodies flew into the desert.

It was in California, near the Mexican border, and the other people in the truck had recently crossed over; it stood to reason that he had, too. One of them died, but he didn’t. Inside his skull, though, his brain shook like an Etch A Sketch: any clear image of his past, erased in a moment.

He awoke in a San Diego hospital. His eyes sometimes tracked people across the room, and his arms and legs sometimes moved, seemingly involuntarily, but he couldn’t speak or eat or even breathe on his own. “Persistent vegetative state,” the doctors called it. He had no way to tell anyone what his name was or where he came from or how he felt or who should be called to hear what had happened to him. There was no way to be sure if he himself still knew those things.

He had only his body to speak for him: a young, round face, dark fuzz on his chin and upper lip; black hair and wide, brown eyes; no tattoos or notable scars, except for the one the wreck had given him. He’d carried only a phone card, purchased in Mexico, and a few pesos and dollars. By the best guess available, he was somewhere between 18 and 20 years old.

Read the rest of this article at The California Sunday Magazine

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Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search

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Here’s what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That’s all I did. I typed: “a-r-e”. And then “j-e-w-s”. Since 2008, Google has attempted to predict what question you might be asking and offers you a choice. And this is what it did. It offered me a choice of potential questions it thought I might want to ask: “are jews a race?”, “are jews white?”, “are jews christians?”, and finally, “are jews evil?”

Are Jews evil? It’s not a question I’ve ever thought of asking. I hadn’t gone looking for it. But there it was. I press enter. A page of results appears. This was Google’s question. And this was Google’s answer: Jews are evil. Because there, on my screen, was the proof: an entire page of results, nine out of 10 of which “confirm” this. The top result, from a site called Listovative, has the headline: “Top 10 Major Reasons Why People Hate Jews.” I click on it: “Jews today have taken over marketing, militia, medicinal, technological, media, industrial, cinema challenges etc and continue to face the worlds [sic] envy through unexplained success stories given their inglorious past and vermin like repression all over Europe.”

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

Rocket Men: Why Tech’s Biggest Billionaires Want Their Place in Space

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The explosion could be felt 30 miles away. At 9.07am on 1 September, a SpaceX rocket containing 75,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene ignited into a fireball that could be seen from orbit, billowing black smoke into the gray sky around its Cape Canaveral launch pad.

On board was a $200m, 12,000lb communications satellite – part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org project to deliver broadband access to sub-Saharan Africa.

Zuckerberg wrote, with a note of bitterness, on his Facebook page that he was “deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite”. SpaceX founder Elon Musk told CNN it was the “most difficult and complex failure” the 14-year-old company had ever experienced.

It was also the second dramatic explosion in nine months for SpaceX, following a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” of a booster rocket as it attempted to land after a successful mission to the International Space Station.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

All Of Her

Marina Abramović’s memoir is her most revealing performance yet.

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Marina Abramović is obsessed with dividing herself into thirds. When she dies, she wants to be buried in three different places—Belgrade, Amsterdam, and New York—in three different tombs. She doesn’t intend to rend her body into parts; even for a performance artist whose works have often included mutilation, suffocation, abnegation, fasting, extreme denial, and rivulets of blood, dismemberment would feel overly gruesome. Instead, she plans to commission two fake Marina corpses for this act, never revealing which city will be home to her actual remains.

There are other requiem requirements, too: She wants the singer Anohni to warble Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” plaintively at her grave; she wants her mourners to wear a bright color, perhaps hot pink. She has worked this all out in advance with her lawyer. The funeral, she said in her 2011 lecture “An Artist’s Life Manifesto,” is “the artist’s last art piece before leaving.” She said this three times at the end of her speech in order for it to sink in. For Abramović, three is more than a magic number. Do something twice, and it might be a mistake. Do it three times, and it becomes an intentional act, a performance.

Abramović, who turns 70 this year, is also convinced that she has a trio of separate selves crowded into her towering, magnetic, and still very alive person. She calls them the Three Marinas in her new autobiography, Walk Through Walls, which emerges from the glitzy celebrity memoir imprint Crown Archetype in October of this year: “There is the warrior one. The spiritual one. And there is the bullshit one.” Abramović may be the only superstar performance artist in the world at the moment, and she has brought all three Marinas to her writing. The book itself has the veneer of an ambitious performance piece, as Abramović exposes her deepest personal wounds and places them next to her artistic triumphs, in order to create a kind of epic mythology around her work.

Read the rest of this article at New Republic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @francesmehardie, @i__am_fashion, @lenaterlutter