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In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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See No Evil

Trawling a hotel minibar one night while on a work trip to Amsterdam, I found a piece of chocolate with an unusual name: Tony’s Chocolonely. I giggled at how apt the name was—who eats minibar chocolate unless they are, indeed, a little lonely?—and, on a whim, plugged it into Google.

The results were more sobering than I’d expected. The founder of Chocolonely, Teun (Tony) van de Keuken, founded the company with the goal of making the first (the “lonely only”) chocolate bar produced without labor exploitation. According to the company, this goal actually landed them in legal trouble: Bellissimo, a Swiss chocolatier, sued Chocolonely in 2007, allegedly claiming that “slave-free chocolate is impossible to produce.”

I had heard similar claims about other industries. There was the Fairphone, which aimed at its launch in 2013 to be the first ethically produced smartphone, but admitted that no one could guarantee a supply chain completely free from unfair labor practices. And of course one often hears about exploitative labor practices cropping up in the supply chains of companies like Apple and Samsung: companies that say they make every effort to monitor labor conditions in their factories.

Read the rest of this article at: Logic

In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Joël Robuchon’s Legacy Explained In Eight Dishes

On August 3, 2005, at 9:57 a.m., with the summer sun high in the sky, I walked through the front door of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris’s 7th arrondissement, my knife kit slung over my right shoulder. I approached the first person I saw — a lanky young man in a chefs’ coat, peering into a low refrigerator — and summoned my college French: “Excusez-moi, où est le chef?”

For the next several months, I worked in that pastry kitchen, unpaid, from 10 a.m. until midnight, six days a week, rolling tart shells, peeling grapefruit, pureeing raspberries, sneaking peeks at the pastry chef’s recipe book, comparing notes with other stagiaires, and trying not to fuck anything up. During service, the general manager paced between the front kitchen, which the diners could see, and the prep kitchen, where the interns were allowed to roam. One night, on one of his walks, the GM suddenly stopped in the back kitchen and raised his hand. Very quickly, and silently, everyone threw out every dish they had been preparing and started making it from scratch. Joël Robuchon was in the house.

Though his name was on the door, I only saw the late chef twice. The first time, while at his restaurant in Paris, I was organizing and reorganizing my mise-en-place when he approached, stopped in front of my station, looked down and then up at me, frowned, and said something to the manager, who, when necessary, relayed feedback in real time. I was so nervous I held my breath, but the men moved on from my station without a word to me. Apparently, I passed the test.

Robuchon was Michelin’s most decorated chef before he died on Monday, with 32 stars spread out over restaurants in 13 cities. These achievements earned him fame, but it was his unrelenting demand for perfection that inspired generations of cooks, including me. Chefs are often compared to generals, their teams of cooks to army brigades. Over the course of his working life, thousands of cooks wanted to be in Robuchon’s brigade. Like few chefs before or after him, his leadership and ambition allowed him to expand his vision for dining across the globe, spreading his style of French cuisine and service far and wide. His chain of L’Ateliers (and spin off concepts) are now his legacy just as much as the signature dishes he created, which still grace its menus.

Read the rest of this article at: Eater

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How Matteo Salvini Pulled
Italy To The Far Right

When Matteo Salvini – Italy’s interior minister and the country’s most popular politician – climbed up on the stage last month at the annual meeting of his party, the Lega, he looked out on a sea of green. Many of the party members were wearing green T-shirts, and some had even dyed their hair green. Green is the colour of the flag of Padania, the independent nation, named after the Po Valley, that Salvini’s separatist party (formerly known as the Northern League) has long proposed creating to secede from the Italian state.

This year, however, the message had changed. A new slogan, “Italians first!”, had replaced the old secessionist battle cries. Blue flags – the Italian national colour – mixed with the green, and Salvini stood at a blue-and-white podium in front of a blue backdrop. The enemy was no longer Rome, but Brussels, international banks and multinational corporations. This was Salvini’s doing: in four years as its leader, he has turned a movement of regional separatism into its seeming opposite, a nationalist party.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Ultra-Pure, Super-Secret Sand
That Makes Your Phone Possible

In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Fresh from church on a cool, overcast Sunday morning in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Alex Glover slides onto the plastic bench of a McDonald’s booth. He rummages through his knapsack, then pulls out a plastic sandwich bag full of white powder. “I hope we don’t get arrested,” he says. “Someone might get the wrong idea.”

Glover is a recently retired geologist who has spent decades hunting for valuable minerals in the hillsides and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains that surround this tiny town. He is a small, rounded man with little oval glasses, a neat white mustache, and matching hair clamped under a Jeep baseball cap. He speaks with a medium‑strength drawl that emphasizes the first syllable and stretches some vowels, such that we’re drinking CAWWfee as he explains why this remote area is so tremendously important to the rest of the world.

Spruce Pine is not a wealthy place. Its downtown consists of a somnambulant train station across the street from a couple of blocks of two‑story brick buildings, including a long‑closed movie theater and several empty storefronts.

The wooded mountains surrounding it, though, are rich in all kinds of desirable rocks, some valued for their industrial uses, some for their pure prettiness. But it’s the mineral in Glover’s bag—snowy white grains, soft as powdered sugar—that is by far the most important these days. It’s quartz, but not just any quartz. Spruce Pine, it turns out, is the source of the purest natural quartz—a species of pristine sand—ever found on Earth. This ultra‑elite deposit of silicon dioxide particles plays a key role in manufacturing the silicon used to make computer chips. In fact, there’s an excellent chance the chip that makes your laptop or cell phone work was made using sand from this obscure Appalachian backwater. “It’s a billion‑dollar industry here,” Glover says with a hooting laugh. “Can’t tell by driving through here. You’d never know it.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

Spotify’s $30 Billion Playlist For Global Domination

In the News 08.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For 70 days at the beginning of this year, Daniel Ek and a group of friends competed to see who could cut their body-fat percentage the most. Ek, the 35-year-old cofounder and CEO of the streaming service Spotify, went on a special regimen, which included twice-a-day workouts and a single meal—specially configured for him—eaten at a set time each afternoon. “You look great,” teased music impresario Scooter Braun, a participant in the contest, who texted his friend after noting Ek’s slimmed-down physique during Spotify’s web-broadcast Investor Day presentation in late March. “Too bad you lost.”

When I see Ek a few days later, on the eve of Spotify’s listing as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange, he acknowledges that he’d been bested in the body-fat battle by several competitors. “I made a strategic error,” he says. In an analytical fashion that is typical of Ek, he then deconstructs both the limitations of the contest (“some folks were heavier to begin with,” he says) and the missteps that he made (“I lost too much muscle mass too early”). Somehow, he doesn’t sound like he’s making excuses; he’s focused on learning, on improving—a trait that has defined him, and Spotify, from the very beginning.

As for the next day’s stock market debut, Ek willfully downplays its importance. “I keep forgetting it’s tomorrow,” he says at one point.

Spotify’s IPO in early April, like Ek’s body-fat obsession, was unconventional. The company didn’t offer any new shares to raise money, instead listing ones already available. There was no bell ringing at the exchange, no public media blitz. Despite the lack of fanfare, though, it was a breakthrough success: Spotify ended its first day with a $26 billion valuation, making it one of the biggest tech IPOs in history. It quickly inspired speculation that other mega-unicorns, like Airbnb and Uber, might come to market via Spotify’s nontraditional method.

Ek is Swedish, and like the Swedish word lagom—which means “in moderation” and is often used to describe that country’s character—he has a proclivity for understatement. He deflects attention (“It’s never one person,” he told me at the outset of our first interview. “It’s the team”) and describes himself as an introvert (“I don’t really do social calls. I tell my friends that I like to be invited, but I probably won’t come”). But Ek isn’t shy about his ambitions: “What motivates me is impacting culture.”

Read the rest of this article at: Fast Company

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