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In the News 05.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 05.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@_hollyt
In the News 05.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@katie.one
In the News 05.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@_hollyt

A Metropolitan World

At some unknown moment between 2010 and 2015, for the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population lived in cities. Urbanisation is unlikely to reverse. Every week since, another 3 million country dwellers have become urbanites. Rarely in history has a small number of metropolises bundled as much economic, political and cultural power over such vast swathes of hinterlands. In some respects, these global metropolises and their residents resemble one another more than they do their fellow nationals in small towns and rural area. Whatever is new in our global age is likely to be found in cities.

For more than two decades, geographers and sociologists have debated the character and role of cities in globalisation. Historians have been a step behind, producing less and more cautious work on cities and globalisation, and struggling to find readers. The relative silence is notable. As early as 1996, the sociologist Charles Tilly wrote that historians have ‘the opportunity to be our most important interpreters of the ways that global social processes articulate with small-scale social life’. Generally, historians did not answer the call. We still don’t have the powerful insights of historical perspective on many aspects of the historic urbanisation through which we are living.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

The Great High School Impostor

Before putting the plot into motion, before the five-year masquerade, before the honors and the scholarships and the arrests and the deportation, before any of that, he rode into town on a Greyhound bus on a sleepy spring afternoon, marveling at how smooth the roads were all along the way. He’d come a great distance—5,000 miles from Nova Kakhovka to Harrisburg. But it was a distance he’d collapsed in his mind time and again from his boyhood bedroom in the south of Ukraine, where he’d dreamed of the limitless opportunities he figured he could find only in the U.S. of A.

In America, Artur Samarin was sure, he could change his life forever—but he only had three months to pull it off. As a sophomore at his local university in Ukraine, he had interviewed for a slot in an American exchange program that permitted foreign university students to work summer service jobs in the U.S. Artur had always been an extraordinary student in un-extraordinary circumstances. And though his English was thin, he parroted his way through the application process and landed a coveted post manning the fryer at a Red Robin in South Central Pennsylvania for a few months.

The America Artur discovered after that initial buzzed-up ride into Harrisburg had its perks: clean buses, foliage in full bloom, delicious flame-broiled burgers. But it wasn’t all that he’d hoped—at least not right away. It was expensive, more expensive than he’d expected. He was making $9.50 an hour, good money for home but less good in Harrisburg. The work was grinding. And it took a fair amount of time each day to get to the restaurant, over in the shadow of the Lightning Racer roller coaster at Hersheypark.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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Bikes vs. Cars: The Deadly War Nobody’s Winning

Concussion or no concussion, Steve Hill wants a new bike. Pronto.

“To be honest with you, I feel like I should have it already,” he says to the woman he’s facing, Megan Hottman, a 35-year-old personal-injury lawyer who’s taking notes on a laptop inside her Golden, Colorado, office. From where I sit, just to the right of Hill*—who is 38 and trim—he looks pretty good, considering that he suffered a concussion and whiplash in a car collision just one week ago. But as I watch him, I have to wonder if he should have even driven himself to this meeting. As a longtime rider, I’ve endured similar injuries: I once went to the ER with a concussion after a crash, and I felt the effects for weeks. Hill has already told Hottman that he’s been experiencing dizzy spells.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside

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The Spy Who Came Home

Shortly after an evening nap, Patrick Skinner drove to the police station in the Third Precinct in Savannah, Georgia, wearing ill-fitting body armor. It was late December, and bitterly cold, and he figured that the weather would bring fewer shootings than usual but more cases of domestic abuse. “Summertime is the murder time,” he said. He had come to work early to tape together his body camera, because the clasp was broken.

The shift supervisor—a tall corporal with a slight paunch—stood at a lectern. “Good mornin’, mornin’, mornin’,” he said. It was 10:31 p.m. Speaking through a wad of tobacco, he delivered a briefing on criminal activities from earlier in the day, then listed vehicles that had been reported stolen. “Look out for a cooter-colored truck,” he said.

The walls of the briefing room were sparsely decorated. There was a map of each beat within the precinct—an area, more than half the size of Manhattan, that includes Savannah’s most violent neighborhoods—along with a display case of various drug samples and a whiteboard listing police cars that were out of commission. One had overheated, two had been wrecked in accidents, and two others had broken headlights. A sixth car was labelled “unsafe for road.”

“What does ‘unsafe for road’ mean?” a cop asked.

“That’s all our cars,” another said.

Most patrol officers drive old Ford Crown Victorias, several of which are approaching two hundred thousand miles on the odometer—“and those are cop miles, where we’re flooring it at least twice an hour,” Skinner told me. Officers complain about worn tires, dodgy brakes, and holes in the seats where guns and batons have rubbed impressions into the fabric. Many cars run twenty-four hours a day.

Skinner, who is forty-seven, is short and bald, with a trim beard, Arctic-blue eyes, and a magnetic social energy that has the effect of putting people around him at ease. He wears humor and extroversion as a kind of shield; most of his colleagues know almost nothing about his life leading up to the moment they met.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art?

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ONCE UPON A time, artists had jobs. And not “advising the Library of Congress on its newest Verdi acquisition” jobs, but job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches. Think of T.S. Eliot, conjuring “The Waste Land” (1922) by night and overseeing foreign accounts at Lloyds Bank during the day, or Wallace Stevens, scribbling lines of poetry on his two-mile walk to work, then handing them over to his secretary to transcribe at the insurance agency where he supervised real estate claims. The avant-garde composer Philip Glass shocked at least one music lover when he materialized, smock-clad and brandishing plumber’s tools, in a home with a malfunctioning appliance. “While working,” Glass recounted to The Guardian in 2001, “I suddenly heard a noise and looked up to find Robert Hughes, the art critic of Time magazine, staring at me in disbelief. ‘But you’re Philip Glass! What are you doing here?’ It was obvious that I was installing his dishwasher and I told him that I would soon be finished. ‘But you are an artist,’ he protested. I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well and that he should go away and let me finish.”

What is an artist supposed to be? The figure this anecdote suggests — holed up in an airy turret with her materials, descending only to glissade through parties and openings — may be the one of popular imagination, but she is also a recent phenomenon, a product of our fetishization of genius. She doesn’t work, likely because she makes so much money she doesn’t need to. As a consequence, her talent can start to feel corruptible, like easily torn silk, or larger than life. (Either way, all the more reason to avoid the office.)

But even the celebrity painters of the past half-century had to hustle at one point. As David Salle — who was financially insolvent at the time of his first show, held at the loft of a young dealer named Larry Gagosian in 1979 — admitted in a 2005 lecture, “It was common not to expect to be able to live from your art” in 1970s New York. Inclusion in the city’s top exhibitions during the ’80s brought Salle the fame that allowed him to spend “most days in my studio, alone,” no supplementary income required. Artistic success, it can often seem, means earning enough money from your art not to have to take a job.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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