In the News 22.03.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Wednesday 22nd March, 2017
Inside The Hunt For Russia’s Most Notorious Hacker
ON THE MORNING of December 30, the day after Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 US election, Tillmann Werner was sitting down to breakfast in Bonn, Germany. He spread some jam on a slice of rye bread, poured himself a cup of coffee, and settled in to check Twitter at his dining room table.
The news about the sanctions had broken overnight, so Werner, a researcher with the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, was still catching up on details. Following a link to an official statement, Werner saw that the White House had targeted a short parade’s worth of Russian names and institutions—two intelligence agencies, four senior intelligence officials, 35 diplomats, three tech companies, two hackers. Most of the details were a blur. Then Werner stopped scrolling. His eyes locked on one name buried among the targets: Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev.
Read the rest of this article at Wired
Haruki Murakami’s Metaphysics Of Food
Food writing gets a bad rap for being fluffy and bougie, which isn’t quite fair since food is such an essential part of our existence. Outside of the establishment of bona fide culinary writers, many fiction writers have touched on the sensory and emotional aspects of food, from Marcel Proust to Nora Ephron, but no one has tapped into its prosaic humanity quite like the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. This is not lost on Murakami fans, and there are a few blogs devoted to the food his characters prepare, like What I Talk About When I Talk About Cooking. Murakami writes intricate plots with an extremely high level of emotional intelligence, but no matter how fantastical his stories are, his characters remain relatable, and food provides the balance between surrealism and normalcy. He weaves food into his stories in a mundane way that communicates the deep-seated reasons of why, how, and what we eat.
The amount of space given over to food in Murakami’s novels is unusual. In Dance Dance Dance, not a day goes by in the narrator’s life that he doesn’t tell the reader what he ate. Food has nothing to do with the plot, though: the book is about a guy searching for a prostitute he once loved. Murakami details the unnamed character’s diet with remarkable banality. In one scene, he’s staying at a luxury hotel and announces he’s tired of the breakfast spread, so he goes to Dunkin’ Donuts and gets two plain muffins. (“You get tired of hotel breakfasts in a day. Dunkin’ Donuts is just the ticket. It’s cheap and you get refills on the coffee.”) This guy is living in 1980s Japan, but this detail makes him immediately more familiar and accessible.
Read the rest of this article at The Awl
Confession of an Art Director: Occult Advertising Tech
The appeal of ceremonial magick and the occult works for me along two planks, or more aptly, two pillars. One the one hand it addresses my metaphysical yearnings and on the other it compliments my artistic or creative nature.
As it happens, I had been practicing a form of magick long before I realized it as such. You see I work in the revered and despised business of advertising. The big brains in the field keep trying to rename the profession to recapture the mystique it once had in days gone by. Or to avoid the increasing stink associated with the ubiquitous annoyance of “ads.”
Today, they call it content. Who knows what it will be next year. Whether by means of time-tested mass-market retail promotions or targeted infotainment content creation, the end goal is still the same. Access and influence.
I was lured into the craft in the way that most of my colleagues were, with the promise of a steady paycheck (to pay off our massive student debts) while fooling around being “creative” all day. And all night, quite frankly. But hey, they promised me it would be good, dirty fun.
Read the rest of this article at Secret Transmissions
Can we know what animals are thinking?
In 1992, at Tangalooma, off the coast of Queensland, people began to throw fish into the water for the local wild dolphins to eat. In 1998, the dolphins began to feed the humans, throwing fish up onto the jetty for them. The humans thought they were having a bit of fun feeding the animals. What, if anything, did the dolphins think?
Charles Darwin thought the mental capacities of animals and people differed only in degree, not kind — a natural conclusion to reach when armed with the radical new belief that the one evolved from the other. His last great book, “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals”, examined joy, love and grief in birds, domestic animals and primates as well as in various human races. But Darwin’s attitude to animals — easily shared by people in everyday contact with dogs, horses, even mice — ran contrary to a long tradition in European thought which held that animals had no minds at all. This way of thinking stemmed from the argument of René Descartes, a great 17th-century philosopher, that people were creatures of reason, linked to the mind of God, while animals were merely machines made of flesh — living robots which, in the words of Nicolas Malebranche, one of his followers, “eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it: they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing.”
Read the rest of this article at Medium
The strange death of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic.
Richard Lancelyn Green, the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes, believed that he had finally solved the case of the missing papers. Over the past two decades, he had been looking for a trove of letters, diary entries, and manuscripts written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Holmes. The archive was estimated to be worth nearly four million dollars, and was said by some to carry a deadly curse, like the one in the most famous Holmes story “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
The papers had disappeared after Conan Doyle died, in 1930, and without them no one had been able to write a definitive biography—a task that Green was determined to complete. Many scholars feared that the archive had been discarded or destroyed; as the London Times noted earlier this year, its whereabouts had become “a mystery as tantalizing as any to unfold at 221B Baker Street,” the fictional den of Holmes and his fellow-sleuth, Dr. Watson.
Not long after Green launched his investigation, he discovered that one of Conan Doyle’s five children, Adrian, had, with the other heirs’ agreement, stashed the papers in a locked room of a château that he owned in Switzerland. Green then learned that Adrian had spirited some of the papers out of the château without his siblings’ knowledge, hoping to sell them to collectors. In the midst of this scheme, he died of a heart attack—giving rise to the legend of the curse. After Adrian’s death, the papers apparently vanished. And whenever Green tried to probe further he found himself caught in an impenetrable web of heirs—including a self-styled Russian princess—who seemed to have deceived and double-crossed each other in their efforts to control the archive.
For years, Green continued to sort through evidence and interview relatives, until one day the muddled trail led to London—and the doorstep of Jean Conan Doyle, the youngest of the author’s children. Tall and elegant, with silver hair, she was an imposing woman in her late sixties. (“Something very strong and forceful seems to be at the back of that wee body,” her father had written of Jean when she was five. “Her will is tremendous.”) Whereas her brother Adrian had been kicked out of the British Navy for insubordination, and her elder brother Denis was a playboy who had sat out the Second World War in America, she had become an officer in the Royal Air Force, and was honored, in 1963, as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker