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News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Reading In The Age Of Constant Distraction

“I read books to read myself,” Sven Birkerts wrote in The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Birkerts’s book, which turns twenty-five this year, is composed of fifteen essays on reading, the self, the convergence of the two, and the ways both are threatened by the encroachment of modern technology. As the culture around him underwent the sea change of the internet’s arrival, Birkerts feared that qualities long safeguarded and elevated by print were in danger of erosion: among them privacy, the valuation of individual consciousness, and an awareness of history—not merely the facts of it, but a sense of its continuity, of our place among the centuries and cosmos. “Literature holds meaning not as a content that can be abstracted and summarized, but as experience,” he wrote. “It is a participatory arena. Through the process of reading we slip out of our customary time orientation, marked by distractedness and surficiality, into the realm of duration.”

Read the rest of this article at: the Paris Review

News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘If It Gets Me, It Gets Me’: The Town Where Residents Live Alongside Polar Bears

News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Spend enough time in Churchill, and you will hear the stories.

Of hearing a noise outside, pulling open the drapes and seeing a polar bear looking in through the window.

Of walking around a corner at night, coming face-to-face with a bear and, implausibly, scaring it off with the strobe light on a cellphone.

Of encountering an old man with a walker, determinedly clacking past a puzzled bear that peered at him from behind a rock and muttering defiantly: “If it gets me, it gets me.”

Of being about to, against all better judgment, walk the couple of hundred yards from restaurant to hotel room at night, only to be pulled back by a warning that a pair of polar bears had been spotted across the street.

(OK, the last story is mine. The line between being a teller of tales and the subject of an obituary can be thinner than one might like.)

Such is everyday life, particularly during October and November, in this small town on the shores of Canada’s Hudson Bay. A little more than 1,000 miles north of the provincial capital of Winnipeg, Churchill is not just remote, it is defiantly so, accessible overland only by rail, its residents bonded by the conjoined challenges of living on the fringes of the Arctic and sharing their streets with the largest land carnivore in the world.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look The Same

These buildings are in almost every U.S. city. They range from three to seven stories tall and can stretch for blocks. They’re usually full of rental apartments, but they can also house college dorms, condominiums, hotels, or assisted-living facilities. Close to city centers, they tend toward a blocky, often colorful modernism; out in the suburbs, their architecture is more likely to feature peaked roofs and historical motifs. Their outer walls are covered with fiber cement, metal, stucco, or bricks.

They really are everywhere, I discovered on a cross-country drive last fall, and they’re going up fast. In 2017, 187,000 new housing units were completed in buildings of 50 units or more in the U.S., the most since the Census Bureau started keeping track in 1972. By my informal massaging of the data, well over half of those were in blocky mid-rises.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘Wow, $91m!’ – Jeff Koons On Blowup Dogs, Record Prices And His Row With Paris

News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘To get great clarity in the balls, you really need to blow them a lot,” says Jeff Koons, with all the solemnity of a man explaining his tax returns. He gazes lovingly at his balls, which in this particular case are a row of stainless steel spheres suitably blown up to bear an astonishing resemblance to his most famous artistic muse: inflatable rubber toys. But given that Koons shot to notoriety with his 1991 series Made in Heaven – in which he photographed himself and his then girlfriend Ilona Staller in pretty much every sexual position legal in the state of New York – this ball chat really could have gone another way.

Koons, who looks like Pee Wee Herman and talks like Mister Rogers, is taking me around his 10,000 square foot studio in Chelsea, New York. And if you think that sounds big, wait until you hear about his house: he, his wife Justine and their six children (Koons also has two older children from previous relationships) are about to move into their new fixer-upper, which is almost an entire block on the Upper East Side. Koons bought two mega mansions for a total of $35m and spent almost another $5m knocking them together.

It must be nice to not only be an artist but to be your own Medici,” one of his disgruntled neighbours huffed to the New York Post, and after spending an afternoon with the man himself I can confirm that it does seem very nice indeed. While Koons strolls around in a quietly chic outfit of dark blue patterned shirt and blue trousers, young people in white coats skitter around doing what looks to me like most of the work: painting, sculpting, blowtorching.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

From Parkland To Sunrise: A Year Of Extraordinary Youth Activism

News 02.15.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This Valentine’s Day marks a year since seventeen people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. On February 14th, the Web site and social-media feeds of the March for Our Lives, the youth-led gun-control movement that began in the aftermath of the shooting, will go dark. The founders of the movement will not give interviews or make any public comments.

“It’s about recognizing that we need to take time for ourselves because we’ve been going so strongly for the past year without a breather,” Jaclyn Corin, a senior at Stoneman Douglas and one of the co-founders of the movement, told me in a recent phone call. “We’re giving ourselves that time to be with our friends and our family.”

Last year, on February 15th, I travelled to Parkland to cover the tragedy and was surprised to find myself also documenting the rise of a political movement. Along with the rest of the country, I watched as Sarah Chadwick, Cameron Kasky, Delaney Tarr, David Hogg, and their classmates addressed the media and lawmakers with a controlled fury and eloquence made more potent by their youth. Three days later, I attended a rally organized by the Broward County school board in nearby Fort Lauderdale, where a Parkland senior named Emma González made what seems to be the first speech with national resonance by a member of her generation.

Her concluding refrain, “We Call B.S.,” has been printed on buttons and painted on signs. It’s easy to forget how spontaneous it was, written from a place of raw emotion and delivered with urgency by someone with a preternatural rhetorical talent. It was also informed by being a member of a generation that has had to train for school shootings for years. As González said that day, “The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives.”

From the beginning, what made the March for Our Lives students seem different was the simple fact that they believed that the worsening epidemic of gun violence in this country could actually be fixed. Only days after the shooting, they directly lobbied representatives in the Florida state capital of Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C. On March 14, 2018, to commemorate a month since the event and to advocate for stricter gun laws, they led more than a million students to walk out of schools across the country. On March 24th, hundreds of thousands of people rallied outside the Capitol for the March for Our Lives, the largest youth protest in Washington since the Vietnam War. Another walkout followed, on April 20th, the nineteenth anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado.

The protest phase of the movement mostly ended there, but the young activists continued their work. They organized two bus tours to encourage young people to vote, one in Florida and one that toured nationwide, and registered thousands of young voters over the summer. They held public meetings and formed alliances with other local youth gun-control activists—Good Kids Mad City and the Peace Warriors—and survivors of mass shootings in Santa Fe, Texas; Aurora, Colorado; and the Red Lake Indian Reservation, in Northern Minnesota, among many other places. They showed their commitment not only to ending mass shootings but to educating the public on the ways that guns increase the likelihood of fatality in acts of suicide, domestic violence, and gang strife. During a fall college tour, they continued their voter-registration push, partnering with Rock the Vote and the N.A.A.C.P.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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

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