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In the News 25.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 25.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 25.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 25.01.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Makeover Trap

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Every Tuesday on Instagram, millions of users, mostly in their teens to their early 30s, upload an image for #transformationtuesday. On one side of the shot, there’s a selfie of a young man, topless or in underwear, his body slim, pale and unflatteringly lit, phone in hand before a mirror; or a young woman, similarly undressed, lumpy, undefined, slouching. In the second half of the frame, it’s the same body, but changed, enhanced. The young man is now tanned, his pectorals are bigger, his biceps more defined, the filter enhancing the contours of his abdominals. The young woman, in contrast, is smaller and more svelte, arching her back as she positions her legs just so. Often neither image has a head. The accompanying caption will state the time that’s lapsed between the two images – sometimes years, sometimes months, sometimes merely days.

The mainstream media views this sort of thing as proof that young people are turning into self-absorbed narcissists. Sensationalist articles report on young men enraptured by the likeness emanating from the reflective pool of their iPhone screens, or driven to the brink of suicide by a selfie addiction. But these depictions don’t capture the nuance of this layered and complex cultural practice.

Read the rest of this article at aeon

The Right Is Building A New Media “Upside Down” To Tell Trump’s Story

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At last Thursday’s DeploraBall, Gateway Pundit editor Jim Hoft stepped on to the event podium, smiling wide in a maroon blazer and ’70s-style wide-collared party shirt. He had an exciting announcement. “We’ve been in contact with the new administration and they’re doing something different,” Hoft said, referring to a Trump administration decision that would award real legitimacy to his popular, ultra-conservative political site. The Gateway Pundit made a name for itself during the election with headlines like “BREAKING: 71% of Doctors Say Hillary Health Concerns Serious, Possibly Disqualifying!” (she had pneumonia), and served as an engine for rumors of Hillary Clinton’s poor health during her presidential campaign. And now that coverage, and its set of alternative facts, was being rewarded.

“We got word that Gateway Pundit is going to have a White House correspondent position,” Hoft said, whipping up the crowd. “We had 1 million readers a day coming in. And the reason was because I was telling the truth and the mainstream media was telling the fake fucking news!”

The crowd — a loose collection pro-Trumpers gathered to “celebrate memeing a president into existence” — went nuts with a deafening chant of “Real news! Real news! Real news!”

If you’ve been paying attention during the long run-up to Trump’s unexpected victory, you may have noticed a new dynamic in the already fractured and chaotic political media ecosystem. There is a new new media. Its branding (“news you can trust,” “we report the truth”), design (sleek, media-rich webpages), and distribution (heavy social and video presences across Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, podcasts) all feel familiar. But its message is very different. It is unedited and unabashedly pro-Trump, and it often posits an interpretation of reality dramatically different from that of the mainstream media.

Read the rest of this article at BuzzFeed

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Libor Scandal: The Bankers Who Fixed The World’s Most Important Number

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At the Tokyo headquarters of the Swiss bank UBS, in the middle of a deserted trading floor, Tom Hayes sat rapt before a bank of eight computer screens. Collar askew, pale features pinched, blond hair mussed from a habit of pulling at it when he was deep in thought, the British trader was even more dishevelled than usual. It was 15 September 2008, and it looked, in Hayes’s mind, like the end of the world.

Hayes had been woken up at dawn in his apartment by a call from his boss, telling him to get to the office immediately. In New York, Lehman Brothers was hurtling towards bankruptcy. At his desk, Hayes watched the world processing the news and panicking. As each market opened, it became a sea of flashing red as investors frantically dumped their holdings. In moments like this, Hayes entered an almost unconscious state, rapidly processing the tide of information before him and calculating the best escape route.

Hayes was a phenomenon at UBS, one of the best the bank had at trading derivatives. So far, the mounting financial crisis had actually been good for him. The chaos had let him buy cheaply from those desperate to get out, and sell high to the unlucky few who still needed to trade. While most dealers closed up shop in fear, Hayes, with a seemingly limitless appetite for risk, stayed in. He was 28, and he was up more than $70 million for the year.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Peak Millennial? Cities Can’t Assume a Continued Boost From the Young

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Over the past decade, many American cities have been transformed by young professionals of the millennial generation, with downtowns turning into bustling neighborhoods full of new apartments and pricey coffee bars.

But soon, cities may start running out of millennials.

A number of demographers, along with economists and real estate consultants, are starting to contemplate what urban cores will look like now that the generation — America’s largest — is cresting.

Millennials are generally considered to be those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s or early 2000s, and many in this generation are aging from their 20s into the more traditionally suburban child-raising years. There are already some signs that the inflow of young professionals into cities has reached its peak, and that the outflow of mid-30s couples to the suburbs has resumed after stalling during the Great Recession.

Dowell Myers, a professor of demography and urban planning at the University of Southern California, recently published a paper that noted American cities reached “peak millennial” in 2015. Over the next few years, he predicts, the growth in demand for urban living is likely to stall.

Read the rest of this article at The Economist

John Arnold Made a Fortune at Enron. Now He’s Declared War on Bad Science

John Arnold’s tweet, “A new study shows …” are “the four most dangerous words,” is a perfect crystallization of the philanthropist’s skeptical attitude toward a lot of scientific

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BRIAN NOSEK HAD pretty much given up on finding a funder. For two years he had sent out grant proposals for his software project. And for two years they had been rejected again and again—which was, by 2011, discouraging but not all that surprising to the 38-year-old scientist. An associate professor at the University of Virginia, Nosek had made a name for himself in a hot subfield of social psychology, studying people’s unconscious biases. But that’s not what this project was about. At least, not exactly.

Like a number of up-and-coming researchers in his generation, Nosek was troubled by mounting evidence that science itself—through its systems of publication, funding, and advancement—had become biased toward generating a certain kind of finding: novel, attention grabbing, but ultimately unreliable. The incentives to produce positive results were so great, Nosek and others worried, that some scientists were simply locking their inconvenient data away.

The problem even had a name: the file drawer effect. And Nosek’s project was an attempt to head it off at the pass. He and a graduate student were developing an online system that would allow researchers to keep a public log of the experiments they were running, where they could register their hypotheses, methods, workflows, and data as they worked. That way, it would be harder for them to go back and cherry-pick their sexiest data after the fact—and easier for other researchers to come in and replicate the experiment later.

Nosek was so taken with the importance of redoing old experiments that he had also rallied more than 50 like-minded researchers across the country to participate in something he called the Reproducibility Project. The aim was to redo about 50 studies from three prominent psychology journals, to establish an estimate of how often modern psychology turns up false positive results.

t was little wonder, then, that funders didn’t come running to support Nosek: He wasn’t promising novel findings, he was promising to question them. So he ran his projects on a shoestring budget, self-­financing them with his own earnings from corporate speaking engagements on his research about bias.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @eleonoracarisi; @porthjess; @styleheroine