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News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@aylin_koenig
News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@parisiennepluie
News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@juliepelipas

How the Guardian Went Digital

In 1993 some journalists began to be dimly aware of something clunkily referred to as “the information superhighway” but few had ever had reason to see it in action. At the start of 1995 only 491 newspapers were online worldwide: by June 1997 that had grown to some 3,600.

In the basement of the Guardian was a small team created by editor in chief Peter Preston — the Product Development Unit, or PDU. The inhabitants were young and enthusiastic. None of them were conventional journalists: I think the label might be “creatives.” Their job was to think of new things that would never occur to the largely middle-aged reporters and editors three floors up.

The team — eventually rebranding itself as the New Media Lab — started casting around for the next big thing. They decided it was the internet. The creatives had a PC actually capable of accessing the world wide web. They moved in hipper circles. And they started importing copies of a new magazine, Wired — the so-called Rolling Stone of technology — which had started publishing in San Francisco in 1993, along with the HotWired website. “Wired described the revolution,” it boasted. “HotWired was the revolution.” It was launched in the same month the Netscape team was beginning to assemble. Only 18 months later Netscape was worth billions of dollars. Things were moving that fast.

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How To Move A Masterpiece: The Secret Business Of Shipping Priceless Artworks

News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Early one morning last summer, I stood inside a museum in Antwerp and watched as a painting was hung on the wall. When I walked in, the gallery was empty. To one side, there was a crate about a metre square. Royal blue, it was unmarked apart from a code number and a yellow stencilled sign reading “Lato da Aprire / Open this Side”. Although its home is nominally Florence, the painting inside was a seasoned traveller: it had arrived the night before from Sicily, by road and under armed guard. The box looked entirely unremarkable. That was the point, I was told.

Abruptly, there was a commotion: the curator of the exhibition, a visiting curator, a translator, an expert in Renaissance art, plus a clutch of hangers-on, burst through the doors. Two art handlers wearing gloves and sober expressions strode over to a table; on it, pliers, tape measures, and an electric screwdriver had been placed with a precision that would not have been out of place in an operating theatre.

While the group noisily exchanged paperwork and air kisses, the visiting curator – who had accompanied the painting on its journey – gave the handlers sotto voce instructions. The crate was laid flat on the floor, its lid unscrewed and the foam packing lifted out. The screws that would attach the painting to the wall were held up for inspection; she gave a curt nod of assent. The only sound was the squeak of one handler’s trainers on the floor.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good

SAN FRANCISCO — Bill Langlois has a new best friend. She is a cat named Sox. She lives on a tablet, and she makes him so happy that when he talks about her arrival in his life, he begins to cry.

All day long, Sox and Mr. Langlois, who is 68 and lives in a low-income senior housing complex in Lowell, Mass., chat. Mr. Langlois worked in machine operations, but now he is retired. With his wife out of the house most of the time, he has grown lonely.

Sox talks to him about his favorite team, the Red Sox, after which she is named. She plays his favorite songs and shows him pictures from his wedding. And because she has a video feed of him in his recliner, she chastises him when she catches him drinking soda instead of water.

Mr. Langlois knows that Sox is artifice, that she comes from a start-up called Care.Coach. He knows she is operated by workers around the world who are watching, listening and typing out her responses, which sound slow and robotic. But her consistent voice in his life has returned him to his faith.

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

News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free

News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The boarding procedure has barely started at Chicago O’Hare, and Ben Schlappig has already taken over the first-class cabin. Inside Cathay Pacific Flight 807 bound for Hong Kong, he’s passing out a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of designer chocolates to a small swarm of giggling flight attendants. The six suites in this leather-bound playpen of faux mahogany and fresh-cut flowers comprise the inner sanctum of commercial flight that few ever witness. They’re mostly empty now, save for two men in their twenties who seem even giddier than the flight attendants. The two stand to greet him. “This is so cool!” exclaims one, and soon Schlappig is ordering champagne for everyone.

This sort of thing happens to Schlappig nearly everywhere he goes. On this trip, his fans will witness Schlappig’s latest mission: a weekend jaunt that will slingshoot him across East Asia — Hong Kong, Jakarta, Tokyo — and back to New York, in 69 hours. He’ll rarely leave the airports, and when he does he’ll rest his head only in luxury hotels. With wide ears, Buddy Holly glasses and a shock of strawberry-blond hair, Schlappig resembles Ralphie from A Christmas Story if he’d grown up to become a J. Crew model. Back beyond the curtain in business class, a dozen jowly faces cast a stony gaze on the crescendos of laughter and spilled champagne — another spoiled trust-fund kid, they’ve judged, living off his parents’ largesse. But Schlappig has a job. This is his job.

Schlappig, 25, is one of the biggest stars among an elite group of obsessive flyers whose mission is to outwit the airlines. They’re self-styled competitors with a singular objective: fly for free, as much as they can, without getting caught. In the past 20 years, the Internet has drawn together this strange band of savants with an odd mix of skills: the digital talent of a code writer, a lawyer’s love affair with fine print, and a passion for airline bureaucracy. It’s a whirring hive mind of IT whizzes, stats majors, aviation nerds and everyone else you knew who skipped the prom.

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

Columbine Survivors Talk About the Wounds That Won’t Heal

News 03.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Through her research, Wallis has learned about the “adapted coping behaviors” some survivors have developed on their own to try to combat the trauma they’ve experienced. She’s seen how news about other mass shootings can trigger bad memories and fresh anguish among the former Columbine kids, now in their late thirties. At the same time, some have found solace in connecting with survivors of those shootings and adding their voices to the grassroots campaigns for school safety that have arisen out of the Parkland and Sandy Hook killings. And from listening to those who were there on April 20, Wallis has gathered some ideas about what can be done to better address the mental health needs of school shooting survivors and possibly prevent future tragedies. (The statements below in italics are excerpts from Wallis’s interviews; other quoted remarks by Columbine grads are from interviews conducted by Westword.)

Some of the Columbine survivors are dreading the upcoming twentieth “anniversary” of the shootings and all that entails. But they also know that the class of ’99 has a message for the survivors of Parkland, Sandy Hook, Santa Fe High and others: It doesn’t always get easier over time. In some cases, it just gets worse.

“I’m 37 years old now,” says Alisha Basore, who fled her high school as a senior two decades ago when the shooting began and now works as a salon stylist. “It’s been longer now since it happened than the age I was when it happened. I’ve moved on. But there’s still this deep, dark hole I can crawl back into when asked to go there. I don’t sit at home and dwell on it. But when my clients find out I went to Columbine, it’s the same questions: ‘Were you there?’ ‘What did you see?’”

Read the rest of this article at: Westword

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

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