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In the News 04.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 04.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Forget Wall Street – Silicon Valley is the new Political Power in Washington

The scholar Barry Lynn worked at the New America Foundation, a Washington thinktank, for 15 years studying the growing power of technology companies like Google and Facebook. For 14 of them, everything was, he says, “great”.

This week, he was fired. Why? He believes it’s because Google, one of the thinktank’s biggest funders, was unhappy with the direction of his research, which was increasingly calling for tech giants including Google, Facebook and Amazon to be regulated as monopolies.

Leaked emails suggest the foundation was concerned that Lynn’s criticism could jeopardise future funding. In one of them, the organisation’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, wrote: “We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points … just think about how you are imperiling funding for others.”

Slaughter denies that Lynn was fired for his criticism of Google. It’s a difficult story to swallow, given that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, along with its executive chairman Eric Schmidt, have donated $21m to New America since 1999. Schmidt even chaired the thinktank for years and its main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab”.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

wires




LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy: ‘I was a Joke. My Wife Said I was Going to Die’

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In 2010, LCD Soundsystem were in the process of booking a tour in support of their third album, This Is Happening. It was to end with a show at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden; evidence of how the band’s career had unexpectedly flourished. Five years on from their debut album, their fusion of dance music, electronic and post-punk, combined with acerbic lyrics, had turned them into one of the US’s most acclaimed and influential bands. They had been garlanded with critical praise, and were recipients of multiple Grammy nominations and album-of-the-year awards. They were authors of All My Friends, a song that frontman James Murphy claims to have felt “embarrassed by, I thought it was too poppy, almost cloying”, but which Pitchfork later said was the second-greatest song of the entire 00s.

Not an inconsiderable achievement, especially if you believe Murphy’s line that he only began making music in his own right because his relationship with the Rapture, the band he was producing, had collapsed, leaving him with nothing to do. He says he was so mortified by the thought of getting on to a stage and singing that it took “a bottle of whisky to do a show”. “Singing’s my nightmare,” he says, blithely. “I was a singing guitar player as a kid and I found it really embarrassing, so I stopped singing and became a drummer. I mean, who does that? I don’t want to be the singing guitar player who writes all the music – I want to play drums and become an engineer.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Kyle MacLachlan Flirts With The Darkness

As one of David Lynch’s regular players, MacLachlan has learned not to parse the material for meaning—just as he’s learned not to demand too much explanation from his director. This, he admits, he learned the hard way. “On Dune, I was rabid. I drove David to madness,” he says. “And finally he closed the door on me.” He offers no detailed analysis of what has transpired over the show’s 16 episodes so far, and I get the sense that my intuition—to focus less on the meaning and more on the form—is the best way to experience it.

Instead, he accepts that there’s a purpose to everything he’s done, simply because Lynch has created it. He offers an explanation for the director’s working relationship with Mark Frost, who is certainly more grounded in his craft. “Mark is the kind of writer who says there needs to be reason and process,” he explains. Lynch, on the other hand, pays closer attention to theme and ideas—particularly where evil comes from, how it corrupts innocent men and women as it spreads like a virus, and where to put it in order to keep it contained. “I don’t think David feels compelled to resolve everything by any means, maybe because of the idea that it’s ongoing and we’ll pick it back up if we have to,” he says, pointing to the differences in the way Lynch and Frost attack the material. “Maybe that’s why they get together once every 25 years,” he laughs.

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

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Will the Earth Ever Fill Up?

To say that Thomas Robert Malthus was unpopular would be putting it mildly. His 19th-century contemporary Percy Shelley, the revered poet, called him a eunuch and a tyrant. The philosopher William Godwin dubbed him “a dark and terrible genius that is ever at hand to blast all the hopes of all mankind.” As Malthus’ biographer later put it, he was the most abused man of his age. And that was the age of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The catalyst for this vilification was the 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population. In it, Malthus—a curly haired, 32-year-old curate of a small English chapel—attacked the claims of utopian thinkers like Godwin, who believed that reason and scientific progress would ultimately create a perfect society, free of inequality and suffering. Malthus took a more pessimistic view. Using United States census data compiled by Benjamin Franklin, he predicted that the “passion of the sexes” would soon cause human populations to outstrip their resources, leading to poverty and hardship. If unchecked, people would continue to multiply exponentially, doubling every 25 years. Agricultural yields, however, would at best increase linearly, by a similar amount each year. In 100 years, Great Britain would have 16 times as many mouths to feed (112 million), but less than half enough food.

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

Surviving this Summer on the Internet

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On the August afternoon that a white supremacist drove a car through a crowd of peaceful protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, I was perched on a bar stool in a café near my home, sipping a glass of rosé while reading a novel and daydreaming. It was one of those rare, near-perfect New York days when the light streamed through a wide-open window, training its beam on the notebook at the table next to me. There, a tutor worked through math lessons with a slightly frustrated adult student.

At 2:52 p.m., a New York Times headline popped up on my phone. My stomach sank as I took in the image of the vehicle, a man just behind it with his feet up in the air, frozen in the moment before his torso smacked the ground. I texted my partner, a University of Virginia graduate, who was herself scrolling through her friends’ Instagram posts with horror. My eyes stung with anxious tears as I thought, not for the first time this year: Everything has changed now and we are all in trouble.

Around me, nothing had actually changed. The tutor was still disentangling math problems. The espresso machine ground beans, cut off, and then switched on again. I tried to return to my book, but gave up and dropped it in my bag. I clutched my wine, which had become more of a coping device than an afternoon treat, and scrolled through my Twitter feed. One person said there were more “bronies” gathered in Philadelphia for a convention than there were Nazis in Virginia. Retweet! Someone else criticized the president for not yet condemning the gathering. Retweet! Now the president was speaking and his words were being live-tweeted, with commentary. I switched to Instagram, to Facebook, even over to Slack to see if my colleagues were watching and maybe reaching out.

I knew I should turn my phone off, but I could not look away.

This is not how August goes—at least not my August. For the past five years, I’ve signed off all social media—essentially any messaging software to which I didn’t have access before 2007, when I got my first smartphone. My annual social media sabbatical has been reliably awesome; it’s an opportunity to notice the things I’ve lost in exchange for all the connections and productivity that social media has introduced to my life. It’s like Whole 30 for the internet—a radical diet change that at first leaves me feeling sick and lethargic, and then slowly returns me to health.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @brothervellies; @katie.one; @brightonkeller

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