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In the News 20.02.17: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 20.02.17: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.02.17: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.02.17: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Faultlines, Black Holes and Glaciers: Mapping Uncharted Territories

On a quiet summer evening, the Aurora, a 60ft cutter-rigged sloop, approaches the craggy shore of eastern Greenland, along what is known as the Forbidden Coast. Its captain, Sigurdur Jonsson, a sturdy man in his 50s, stands carefully watching his charts. The waters he is entering have been described in navigation books as among “the most difficult in Greenland; the mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers discharge quantities of ice, while numerous off-lying islets and rocks make navigation hazardous”. The sloop is single-masted, painted a cheery, cherry red. Icebergs float in ominous silence.

Where Jonsson, who goes by Captain Siggi, sails, he is one of few to have ever gone. Because the splintered fjords create thousands of miles of uninhabited coastline, there has been little effort to map this region. “It’s practically uncharted,” he says. “You are almost in the same position as you were 1,000 years ago.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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The Untold Story of Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell's Visionary Tech Incubator

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In 1981, Bushnell created Catalyst Technologies, a venture-capital partnership designed to bring the future to life by turning his ideas into companies. In the era of the TRS-80, Betamax, and CB radio, startups funded by Catalyst pursued an array of visionary concepts—from interactive TV to online shopping to door-to-door navigation—that created entire industries decades later. "I read science fiction, and I wanted to live there," Bushnell explains.

His incubator only existed for half a decade, and most of the tech startups that emerged from it are long forgotten. "You might say he flew too high and his wings burned off," says Alan Alcorn, a longtime collaborator of Bushnell and the developer of Atari's Pong.

Read the rest of this article at: Fast Company

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Michael Flynn, General Chaos

Two days before the Inauguration of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth President of the United States, Michael Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and former intelligence officer, sat down in a Washington restaurant. On the tablecloth, he placed a leather-bound folder and two phones, which flashed with text messages and incoming calls. A gaunt, stern-looking man with hooded eyes and a Roman nose, Flynn is sharp in both manner and language. He had been one of Trump’s earliest supporters, a vociferous booster on television, on Twitter, and, most memorably, from the stage of the Republican National Convention. Strident views and a penchant for conspiracy theories often embroiled him in controversy—in a hacked e-mail from last summer, former Secretary of State Colin Powell called him “right-wing nutty”—but Trump rewarded Flynn’s loyalty by making him his national-security adviser. Now, after months of unrelenting scrutiny, Flynn seemed to believe that he could find a measure of obscurity in the West Wing, steps away from Trump and the Oval Office. “I want to go back to having an out-of-sight role,” he told me.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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How Many Chances Do You Get to Be an American Hero?

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John McCain was hustling down the hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building with the purpose of an Aaron Sorkin character. It was not yet two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, and McCain had already become the fiercest Republican critic of the new administration. While party leaders like Paul Ryan were contorting themselves to defend even Trump’s most ill-conceived executive orders, McCain had been, for a member of the president’s party, on fire: He had criticized Trump for banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, for his failed first mission in Yemen, for his suggestion that he might lift sanctions against Russia; he even took diplomacy into his own hands, reaching out to Australia to assure the country of our continued friendship after Trump had bizarrely confronted its prime minister in their introductory phone call. By many measures, there is no one better positioned to challenge Trump from within his own party. The so-called maverick was just reelected to the Senate by a 13-point margin; at 80 years old, he has both significant stature and nothing to lose. Still, for McCain, opposing Trump is not a simple matter. For one thing, it’s tricky to challenge a vengeful president who has taken to Twitter to accuse McCain of “emboldening the enemy” and “trying to start WWIII.” For another, McCain is not a Republican in Name Only; he is a true believer, an elder of the tribe. He does not exactly relish being deemed the loyal opposition.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

A Short History of the Trump Family

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The most enduring blight left behind by Donald Trump, long after he has smashed things up, will be the pile of books devoted to trying to make sense of him. It will grow after investigative journalists have spent years diving for hidden records, exploring subterranean corporations and foreign partners but never reaching the dark ocean bottom. It will continue after political scientists have trekked through mountain ranges of survey data seeking the precise source of his magnetic attraction for the aggrieved white lower-middle and working classes. It will outlast the pundits holding forth on TV, collecting lecture fees and cranking out bestsellers that retail inside dope gleaned, single-sourced and second-hand, from somewhere near the elevators of Trump Tower. It will not be stemmed even after the memoirs of Trump’s associates, unreliable narrators in the spirit of their leader, have been removed from the remainder bins in used bookstores.

A week after the inauguration, Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Origins of Totalitarianism were number one and number 36 respectively on the US Amazon bestseller list, but the true-life Donald J. Trump story has more to do with what Scott Fitzgerald called ‘foul dust’ than with ideas or ideology. Reckoning with Trump means descending into the place that made him. What he represents, above all, is the triumph of an underworld of predators, hustlers, mobsters, clubhouse politicians and tabloid sleaze that festered in a corner of New York City, a vindication of his mentor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, a figure unknown to the vast majority of enthusiasts who jammed Trump’s rallies and hailed him as the authentic voice of the people.

The notion of a Trump literature begins, appropriately, with an imaginary novel, 1999: Casinos of the Third Reich, contrived by Kurt Andersen, an editor at Spy, a New York magazine of the 1980s and 1990s. Over several months in late 1989 and early 1990, Andersen kept referring to the non-existent Casinos of the Third Reich and its implausible protagonist, Donald Trump, whose narcissistic exhibitionism offered a never-ending source of unintentional self-satire. ‘Who’s my toughest competitor – if not in content, only in style?’ he asked. ‘Prince Charles,’ he answered. ‘I’m thinking of becoming an entertainer,’ he also said. ‘Liza Minnelli gets $75,000 a night to sing, and I’m really curious as to how I would do.’ ‘Yes,’ Andersen wrote, ‘in the blockbuster 1999: Casinos of the Third Reich, it’s nobleman-lounge singer Donald Trump!’ Andersen simply quoted Trump, referred to Casinos of the Third Reich and sat back. Trump did all the work. The fabulous novel had no plot and the protagonist’s character didn’t develop – just like in real life. Spy assumed its readers were in on the joke about the ‘short-fingered vulgarian’. (Marco Rubio flung Spy’s slight against Trump in a debate, without noting its provenance in the defunct magazine, if indeed he knew it. Trump heatedly replied: ‘If they’re small something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem.’ The Trump spectacle often ends with insult imitating satire.)

Read the rest of this article at: London Review of Books

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @ohhcouture; @boutierre_girls; tumblr

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