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News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@mariellehaon

No, Data Is Not the New Oil

“Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York Times, The Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data.

Antonio García Martínez (@antoniogm) is an Ideas contributor for WIRED. Previously he worked on Facebook’s early monetization team, where he headed its targeting efforts. His 2016 memoir, Chaos Monkeys, was a New York Times best seller and NPR Best Book of the Year.

The metaphor has even assumed political implications. Newly installed California governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed an ambitious “data dividend” plan, whereby companies like Facebook or Google would pay their users a fraction of the revenue derived from the users’ data. Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes laid out a similar idea in a Guardian op-ed, and compared it to the Alaskan Permanent Fund, which doles out annual payments to Alaskans based on the state’s petroleum revenue. As in Alaska, the average Google or Facebook user is conceived as standing on a vast substratum of personal data whose extraction they’re entitled to profit from.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Inside the Rise and Fall of a Multimillion-Dollar Airbnb Scheme

News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

From the outside, there was nothing especially notable about the small white building on the corner of a cobblestone street in TriBeCa. But until recently, it was a crucial location in a sprawling empire.

“Beautiful Loft Prime Tribeca 4BR/2BA Sleep 10,” read the listing on Airbnb for one apartment there.

Two of the three apartments in the building were popular with tourists looking to stay in one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods — at $600 a night each, they were a bargain for a large group.

But they were also illegal — part of an elaborate real estate scheme to make millions by circumventing state and local laws and Airbnb’s own rules.

The building, on Greenwich Street, was part of a larger enterprise that made more than $20 million in revenue by unlawfully renting 130 Manhattan apartments to almost 76,000 guests through Airbnb, city officials said.

The plot was geared toward getting around city regulations that are intended to keep blocks of apartments from being turned into makeshift hotels that avoid lodging taxes and oversight.

The crackdown on the empire last month was a milestone in the escalating battle between Airbnb and New York City — the company’s largest market in the country. Airbnb condemned the exploitation of its platform, but the scheme showed how the home-sharing site has given opportunists a new kind of hustle.

Airbnb has clashed with other cities. Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Paris and Vancouver, British Columbia, have all passed laws restricting Airbnb rentals. In July, Palma de Mallorca became the first city in Spain to ban Airbnb.

Interviews and documents offer a glimpse at how the New York scheme worked. According to the suit, the ring used multiple misleading identities to dodge Airbnb’s rules, text tourists and book apartments to budget-minded travelers. Addresses were fudged to avoid scrutiny. A cadre of cleaners was apparently recruited through Facebook.

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

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There’s No Such Thing As A Dangerous Neighborhood

In 1982, George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson told a story about a window, a story that changed the fates of entire neighborhoods for decades. Writing in the March issue of The Atlantic, Kelling and Wilson proposed that American policing needed to get back to the project of maintaining order if America wanted communities be safe from harm. “Disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence,” they argued. One broken window leads to scores of broken windows; broken windows signal the breakdown of neighborhood social control; neighborhoods become “vulnerable to criminal invasion,” communities ridden with destruction, drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, and ultimately, serious violence.

In essence, Kelling and Wilson argued that latent danger loomed everywhere, and everywhere people’s disorderly impulses needed to be repressed, or else. Their “broken windows theory” didn’t stay theoretical: Also known as order maintenance policing, this tactic propelled an entire generation of policing practice that sought to crack down on minor “quality-of-life” infractions as a way to stem violence.

Read the rest of this article at: Citylab

News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Rembrandt in the Blood: An Obsessive Aristocrat, Rediscovered Paintings and an Art-World Feud

News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The discovery that upended Jan Six’s life occurred one day in November 2016. Six is a 40-year-old Dutch art dealer based in Amsterdam, who attracted worldwide attention last year with the news that he had unearthed a previously unknown painting by Rembrandt, the most revered of Dutch masters — the first unknown Rembrandt to come to light in 42 years. The find didn’t come about from scouring remote churches or picking through the attics of European country houses, but rather, as Six described it to me last May, while he was going through his mail. He had just taken his two small children to school (in true Dutch fashion, by bicycle: one seated between the handlebars and the other in back). The typical weather for the season, raw wind and spitting rain, would never deter a real Amsterdammer from mounting his bike — and Six’s roots in the city go about as deep as possible — but by the time he arrived at his office, he was feeling the effects. Waterkoud (“water cold”) is the Dutch word for the chilly dampness of the Low Countries that seeps into the bones.

The antidote to that feeling is encompassed in another word. Gezelligheid, loosely translated as coziness, is the condition people in the Netherlands strive for in the interiors of their homes. It’s often what’s being depicted and celebrated in old-master canvases from the Golden Age of the 17th century, the era that is Six’s specialty: warm domestic scenes, merry companies hoisting tankards, still lifes of tables laden with food. Six’s office, on the ground floor of a building on the Herengracht, one of the city’s main canals — a canal that Rembrandt himself used to stroll — has its share of gezelligheid. The building dates from the early 1600s. Ancient beams cross the ceiling. The views out of the windows are of bicyclists racing by and the evocative, ever-somber surface of the canal reflecting the gabled facades of the buildings on the opposite side.

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

The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief

News 03.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“Don’t worry about parking the car,” says the art thief. “Anywhere near the museum is fine.” When it comes to stealing from museums, Stéphane Breitwieser is virtually peerless. He is one of the most prolific and successful art thieves who have ever lived. Done right, his technique—daytime, no violence, performed like a magic trick, sometimes with guards in the room—never involves a dash to a getaway car. And done wrong, a parking spot is the least of his worries.

Just make sure to get there at lunchtime, Breitwieser stresses, when the visitors thin and the security staff rotates shorthanded to eat. Dress sharply, shoes to shirt, topped by a jacket that’s tailored a little too roomy, with a Swiss Army knife stashed in a pocket.

Be friendly at the front desk. Buy your ticket, say hello. Once inside, Breitwieser adds, it’s essential to focus. Note the flow of visitor traffic and memorize the exits. Count the guards. Are they sitting or patrolling? Check for security cameras and see if each has a wire—sometimes they’re fake.

When it comes to museum flooring, creaky old wood is ideal, so even with his back turned, Breitwieser can hear footsteps two rooms away. Carpeting is the worst. Here, at the Rubens House, in Antwerp, Belgium, it’s somewhere in between: marble. For this theft, Breitwieser has arrived with his girlfriend and frequent travel companion, Anne-Catherine Kleinklaus, who positions herself near the only doorway to a ground-floor exhibition room and coughs softly when anyone approaches.

The museum is the former home of Peter Paul Rubens, the great Flemish painter of the 1600s. Breitwieser isn’t interested in stealing a Rubens; his paintings tend to be extremely large or too overtly religious for Breitwieser’s taste. What sets Breitwieser apart from nearly every other art thief—it’s the trait, he believes, that has facilitated his prowess—is that he will steal only pieces that stir him emotionally. And he insists that he never sells any. Stealing art for money, he says, is stupid. Money can be made with far less risk. But stealing for love, Breitwieser knows, is ecstatic.

And this piece, right in front of him, is a marvel. He had discovered it during a visit to the museum two weeks previous. He wasn’t able to take it then, but its image blazed in his mind every time he sought sleep. This is why he’s returned; this has happened before. There will be no good rest until the object is his.

It’s an ivory sculpture of Adam and Eve, carved in 1627 by Georg Petel, a friend of Reubens’s, who, according to Breitwieser, gifted him the piece for his 50th birthday. The carving is a masterpiece, just ten inches tall but dazzlingly detailed, the first humans gazing at each other as they move to embrace, Eve’s hair scrolling down her back, the serpent coiled around the tree trunk behind them, and the unbitten apple, cheekily, in Adam’s hand, indicating his complicity in the fall of man, contrary to the book of Genesis. “It’s the most beautiful object I have ever seen,” says Breitwieser.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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