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News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Back To The Stratosphere: How The Rarest Music In The World Comes Back

In February 1998, an atmospheric indie rock band from San Jose, California, released their debut album, Stratosphere, on the Seattle independent label Up. The primary members of the band were Clay Parton and Canaan Dove Amber, both of whom sang and played guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums, and soon they added a regular drummer, Jason Albertini. Duster’s music moved slowly and referenced interstellar travel. The “meaning” of their music was found in their sound, rather than in the lyrics of their songs, which were often hard to make out. A guitar chime or synth cloud or processed vocal might bring to mind the image of a lone astronaut drifting through the vacuum of the cosmos, conveying a druggy isolation that could feel blissful one moment and freighted with anxiety the next. It was music for dark spaces and closed eyelids, deeply psychedelic but without sprawl, ambient music with a serrated edge of punk.

Read the rest of this article at: The Ringer

News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Psychiatrist Who Believed
People Could Tell the Future

News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For many years, Kathleen Lorna Middleton lived at 69 Carlton Terrace, in the North London suburb of Edmonton. The house, which faced one of the main roads leading out of the city, had a small plaque to the left of the front door: “Miss Lorna Middleton, Teacher of Pianoforte and Ballet.” Middleton was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, in 1914. She was a talented dancer as a child and had friends who went to Hollywood, but, during the Depression, Middleton’s parents, who were English, lost everything and moved back to London. Middleton, who had small hands, buck teeth, and a pronounced New England accent, opened a school for dance and music in the front room of No. 69 and called her students the Merrie Carltons.

Middleton played the piano, swivelling on her stool, while six girls at a time practiced port de bras using the bookcases for balance. The next class waited on the stairs. The house was crowded with dark furniture and programs from Middleton’s childhood performances with the dates erased. “There was always something—not exactly exotic, but she was totally different,” Christine Williams, who started taking classes with Middleton when she was four, told me recently. “Whatever she did, she posed. She never just stood.”

On a winter’s day, when she was seven years old, Middleton watched her mother, Annie, frying eggs on the stove. “After about two minutes, and without warning the egg lifted itself up. It rose up and up until it almost touched the ceiling,” Middleton wrote, in a self-published memoir. Middleton giggled, but her mother was concerned. She consulted a fortune-teller, who told her that an egg that flew out of the pan often symbolized a death. A few weeks later, one of Annie’s best friends, who had recently married, died and was buried in her wedding dress.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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The Trauma Floor

The panic attacks started after Chloe watched a man die.

She spent the past three and a half weeks in training, trying to harden herself against the daily onslaught of disturbing posts: the hate speech, the violent attacks, the graphic pornography. In a few more days, she will become a full-time Facebook content moderator, or what the company she works for, a professional services vendor named Cognizant, opaquely calls a “process executive.”

For this portion of her education, Chloe will have to moderate a Facebook post in front of her fellow trainees. When it’s her turn, she walks to the front of the room, where a monitor displays a video that has been posted to the world’s largest social network. None of the trainees have seen it before, Chloe included. She presses play.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘Nobody Is Going to Believe You’

News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Over the past two decades, Bryan Singer’s FILMS—The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Superman Returns, four of the X-Men movies—have earned more than $3 billion at the box office, putting him in the top tier of Hollywood directors. He’s known for taking risks in his storytelling: It was Singer’s idea, for instance, to open the original X-Men movie with a scene at Auschwitz, where a boy uses his superpowers to bend the metal gates that separate him from his parents. Studio executives were skeptical about starting a comic-book movie in a concentration camp, but the film became a blockbuster and launched a hugely profitable franchise for 20th Century Fox.

Singer’s most recent project debuted in November. Critics gave Bohemian Rhapsody—which chronicles the rise of the rock band Queen—only lukewarm reviews, but it earned more than $50 million in its opening weekend. By the end of December, it had brought in more than $700 million, making it one of the year’s biggest hits.

The film’s success should have been a triumph for Singer, proof of his enduring ability to intuit what audiences want. In January it won two Golden Globes, including the award for best drama. But Singer was conspicuously absent from the ceremony—and his name went unmentioned in the acceptance speeches. He had been fired by 20th Century Fox in December 2017, with less than three weeks of filming left. Reports emerged of a production in chaos: Singer was feuding with his cast and crew, and had disappeared from the set for days at a time.

On December 7, 2017, three days after The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of Singer’s firing, a Seattle man named Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit against the director, alleging that Singer had raped him in 2003, when Sanchez-Guzman was 17. The day after that, Deadline Hollywood published an interview with a former boyfriend of Singer’s, Bret Tyler Skopek, in which Skopek described a lifestyle of drugs and orgies.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain

News 02.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

My name is Kevin, and I have a phone problem.

And if you’re anything like me — and the statistics suggest you probably are, at least where smartphones are concerned — you have one, too.

I don’t love referring to what we have as an “addiction.” That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what’s happening to our brains in the smartphone era. Unlike alcohol or opioids, phones aren’t an addictive substance so much as a species-level environmental shock. We might someday evolve the correct biological hardware to live in harmony with portable supercomputers that satisfy our every need and connect us to infinite amounts of stimulation. But for most of us, it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve been a heavy phone user for my entire adult life. But sometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren’t helping. I tried various tricks to curb my usage, like deleting Twitter every weekend, turning my screen grayscale and installing app-blockers. But I always relapsed.

Eventually, in late December, I decided that enough was enough. I called Catherine Price, a science journalist and the author of “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” a 30-day guide to eliminating bad phone habits. And I begged her for help.

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

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