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News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Notes from the Weekend & a Few Lovely Links 21.01.19
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News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Redefining Representation:
The Women of
The 116th Congress

Just over a century ago, Jeannette Rankin of Montana won a seat in the House of Representatives, becoming the first woman ever elected to federal office. In 1917, 128 years after the first United States Congress convened, she was sworn into its 65th session.

One hundred and two years later, one has become 131 — the number of women serving in both chambers of the 116th Congress as of this month.

For most of recorded American history, political power has looked a certain way. Portraits of power call certain images to mind — those of older, white men, dressed in suits and depicted in formal settings.

The 2018 midterm elections ushered in a change in representation; for the first time, more than 100 women serve in the House of Representatives — out of 435 seats — and members of color were elected in more states than ever before.

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

News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Whys Of Seeing

News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Many philosophical questions about the arts would benefit from some serious empirical research. One thinker who welcomed empirical findings was the art historian E H Gombrich (1909-2001), who was influenced by findings in experimental psychology showing that perception is a matter of inference rather than direct seeing. But all too often philosophers have relied on intuitions and hunches without seeking information about how people actually interact with works of art. If we want to understand the arts, it’s time to take experimental psychology seriously.

Today, experimental philosophers and philosophically inclined psychologists are designing experiments that can help to answer some of the big philosophical questions about the nature of art and how we experience it – questions that have puzzled people for centuries, such as: why do we prefer original works of art to forgeries? How do we decide what is good art? And does engaging with the arts make us better human beings?

Christ and the Disciples at Emmaus, believed to have been painted by Johannes Vermeer in the 17th century, hung in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam for seven years; in 1937, it was admired by the Vermeer expert Abraham Bredius as ‘the masterpiece of Johannes Vermeer of Delft’. But in 1945, Han van Meegeren confessed that he had forged this painting (and many others), and should thus be deemed as great an artist as Vermeer. But this did not happen. The same work formerly revered was now derided.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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Creating While Clean

This is a story about sober musicians—about the life that has led them here, and about the life that they live now—but there is no single story here.

Some drank, some used drugs, some did more or less everything, and they did so to very different degrees. Some found themselves at the edge of the precipice, or worse; others simply re-routed from a path or trajectory that they came to see as unwise. Some were clean before the end of their teenage years; some only surfaced into sobriety much later in their lives. Some created the work that made them first or best known before they were sober; some have done so since. Some see significant correlations here; some don’t.

In the modern pop-culture tradition, being a musician has often come with a series of default lifestyle expectations, ones of indulgence and recklessness, larger-than-life living, and a diligent pursuit of altered forms of consciousness. Some see these expectations as having played a part in what happened to them, though most ultimately see their decisions and actions as also—if not mainly—a matter of their own psychology and personality and predisposition.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Keeping The Peace

News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

IN 1989, as the bloody conflict that was the Troubles wore on, British authorities commissioned a confidential report on the “Irish Border problem”.

Despite being 20 years into the violence that had plagued this small corner of the United Kingdom, the conclusions of the lengthy paper into the Irish Border led senior officials in the British army to privately admit that it was proving almost “physically impossible” to close.

Since the early 1970s, 90 per cent of the roads crossing Northern Ireland’s meandering rural Border had been cratered with explosives, blockaded with concrete blocks or saw scraps of railway driven into the roads at an angle to block traffic.

“Unapproved” roads were patrolled by armoured jeep or helicopter, while armed soldiers, police and customs officers carried out their checks at the approved crossing. The most vulnerable crossings, and there were many, were protected by heavily-protected military checkpoints. In some cases, they were backed up by large watchtowers, transforming the Borderlands into a heavily militarised zone.

Yet, even with British military boots on the ground, the Border proved porous.

The core of problem, however, was not simply violent paramilitaries evading or attacking Border security forces. Instead, the British struggled most of all with long-running campaigns by locals to reopen their own local roads.

And so, often on a Sunday afternoon, men, women and children, from Border communities and farther afield, would gather together to fill in roads and rebuild bridges in a constant cat-and-mouse battle with British authorities.

“Having mounted major operations to affect closure these [Border crossings] have simply been reopened making us appear ineffective,” the report bemoaned, saying local efforts were deliberately trying to “embarass and frustrate” them.

Despite acknowledging it was “politically unacceptable”, the report’s authors requested more explosives.

Read the rest of this article at: The Irish Times

The Unbelievable Story Of
The Plot Against George Soros

News 01.21.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The glass tower that houses George Soros’s office in Manhattan is overflowing with numbers on screens, tracking and predicting the directions of markets around the world. But there’s one that’s particularly hard to figure out — a basic orange chart on a screen analyzing sentiment on social media.

The data, updated regularly since 2017, projects the reactions on the internet to the name George Soros. He gets tens of thousands of mentions per week — almost always negative, some of it obviously driven by networks of bots. Soros is pure evil. A drug smuggler. Profiteer. Extremist. Conspiracist. Nazi. Jew. It’s a display of pure hate.

The demonization of Soros is one of the defining features of contemporary global politics, and it is, with a couple of exceptions, a pack of lies. Soros is indeed Jewish. He was an aggressive currency trader. He has backed Democrats in the US and Karl Popper’s notion of an “open society” in the former communist bloc. But the many wild and proliferating theories, which include the suggestion that he helped bring down the Soviet Union in order to clear a path to Europe for Africans and Arabs, are so crazy as to be laughable — if they weren’t so virulent.

Soros and his aides have spent long hours wondering: Where did this all come from?

Only a handful of people know the answer.

On a sunny morning last summer, one of them could be found standing in front of the huge buffet in the Westin Grand Hotel in Berlin. George Birnbaum is built like a marathon runner — tall and slender, his head and face shaved clean. Elegant horn-rimmed glasses frame his piercing blue eyes.

Birnbaum — a political consultant who has worked in the US, Israel, Hungary, and across the Balkans — had agreed to talk for the first time about his role in the creation of the Soros bogeyman, which ended up unleashing a global wave of anti-Semitic attacks on the billionaire investor. But he also wanted to defend his work, and that of his former mentor and friend, Arthur Finkelstein.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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