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News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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All-American Despair

Toby Lingle was cremated in a 49ers cap, a Star Wars T-shirt and sunglasses shortly after his funeral at Highland Park Community Church in Casper, Wyoming. He was 43. The outfit was the daily wear for an aggressively coarse and casual man. Lingle was that guy, the one who told the crude joke to your kids and insisted on swearing in front of the elderly at restaurants. He would simply amp up the blue material and drop some more f-bombs if you called him on it.

His sister, Tawny Perales, showed me a picture of Lingle in his coffin. “He wore the cap all the time because he was losing his hair,” she told me at a Starbucks not far from the church. “People think it’s weird I took the picture, but I don’t care.”

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Day the Music Burned

News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The fire that swept across the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood on Sunday, June 1, 2008, began early that morning, in New England. At 4:43 a.m., a security guard at the movie studio and theme park saw flames rising from a rooftop on the set known as New England Street, a stretch of quaint Colonial-style buildings where small-town scenes were filmed for motion pictures and television shows. That night, maintenance workers had repaired the roof of a building on the set, using blowtorches to heat asphalt shingles. They finished the job at 3 a.m. and, following protocol, kept watch over the site for another hour to ensure that the shingles had cooled. But the roof remained hot, and some 40 minutes after the workers left, one of the hot spots flared up.

The fire moved quickly. It engulfed the backlot’s famous New York City streetscape. It burned two sides of Courthouse Square, a set featured in “Back to the Future.” It spread south to a cavernous shed housing the King Kong Encounter, an animatronic attraction for theme-park visitors. Hundreds of firefighters responded, including Universal Studios’ on-site brigade. But the fire crews were hindered by low water pressure and damaged sprinkler systems and by intense radiant heat gusting between combustible structures.

Eventually the flames reached a 22,320-square-foot warehouse that sat near the King Kong Encounter. The warehouse was nondescript, a hulking edifice of corrugated metal, but it was one of the most important buildings on the 400-acre lot. Its official name was Building 6197. To backlot workers, it was known as the video vault.

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

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Big Mood Machine

MUSIC IS EMOTIONAL, and so our listening often signals something deeply personal and private. Today, this means music streaming platforms are in a unique position within the greater platform economy: they have troves of data related to our emotional states, moods, and feelings. It’s a matter of unprecedented access to our interior lives, which is buffered by the flimsy illusion of privacy. When a user chooses, for example, a “private listening” session on Spotify, the effect is to make them feel that it’s a one-way relation between person and machine. Of course, that personalization process is Spotify’s way of selling users on its product. But, as it turns out, in a move that should not surprise anyone at this point, Spotify has been selling access to that listening data to multinational corporations.

Where other platforms might need to invest more to piece together emotional user profiles, Spotify streamlines the process by providing boxes that users click on to indicate their moods: Happy Hits, Mood Booster, Rage Beats, Life Sucks. All of these are examples of what can now be found on Spotify’s Browse page under the “mood” category, which currently contains eighty-five playlists. If you need a lift in the morning, there’s Wake Up Happy, A Perfect Day, or Ready for the Day. If you’re feeling down, there’s Feeling Down, Sad Vibe, Down in the Dumps, Drifting Apart, Sad Beats, Sad Indie, and Devastating. If you’re grieving, there’s even Coping with Loss, with the tagline: “When someone you love becomes a memory, find solace in these songs.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Baffler

News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Dark Web Drug Sellers Dodge Police Crackdowns

SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities in the United States and Europe recently staged a wide-ranging crackdown on online drug markets, taking down Wall Street Market and Valhalla, two of the largest drug markets on the so-called dark web.

Yet the desire to score drugs from the comfort of home and to make money from selling those drugs appears for many to be stronger than the fear of getting arrested.

Despite enforcement actions over the last six years that led to the shutdown of about half a dozen sites — including the most recent two — there are still close to 30 illegal online markets, according to DarknetLive, a news and information site for the dark web.

This week, customers could still score five grams of heroin — “first hand quality no mix” — for 0.021 Bitcoin (roughly $170), or a tenth of a gram of crack cocaine for 0.0017 Bitcoin (roughly $14) on the market known as Berlusconi.

That means the fight against online drug sales is starting to resemble the war on drugs in the physical world: There are raids. Sites are taken down; a few people are arrested. And after a while the trade and markets pop up somewhere else.

“The instability has become sort of baked into the dark-web market experience,” said Emily Wilson, an expert on the dark web at the security firm Terbium Labs. “People don’t get quite as scared by it as they did the first few times.”

Dark web markets are viewed as one of the crucial sources of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. These drugs are often produced in China and sent to users found on the dark net. The packages flowing from China are blamed for compounding the opioid crisis in the United States.

Between the ocean’s bright blue surface and its blackest depths — 660 to 3,300 feet below — is a mysterious, dark span of water. Welcome to the twilight zone.

Recent evidence suggests there are more animals here by weight than in all of the world’s fisheries combined. But who lives here, and in what quantities?

Since August, a group of scientists has been using new technology to better understand the twilight zone’s strange inhabitants. They hope their findings will lead to a more sustainable approach before the fishing industry tries to harvest some of its abundant life as fisheries closer to the surface are diminished.

“The time is right to get this knowledge before it’s too late,” said Heidi Sosik, a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who is leading The Ocean Twilight Zone project. “This twilight zone region of the ocean is really, very barely explored, but the more we learn, the more interesting and more important it seems to be in playing a role in the whole ecosystem.”

Each animal in the ocean has its own auditory signature that ships usually detect by sending out sound waves that bounce or scatter off their bodies. It’s how whale watching cruises often find humpbacks for you to view.

But the acoustic fingerprints of twilight zone animals are still mysterious because shipboard sonar don’t have the bandwidth to distinguish the many organisms living far below the surface in what’s called the deep scattering layer. It’s an area so dense with life that people once thought it was the seafloor.

Around 250 different species of myctophids, or lantern fish, like the specimens above, make up much of this dense layer. Though abundant enough to trick sonar, individually they are no bigger than your index finger.

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

Man in the Window

The California sun caught the light in Bonnie Colwell’s long, honey-blond hair as she stood in the gravel commons of Sierra College.

It was her sophomore year. She worked as a lab assistant in the science department, responsible for a small menagerie of rats, rattlesnakes and orphaned birds. She had brought two of her charges, a young great horned owl and a starling, to practice flying.

The owl, not yet fledged, grabbed Bonnie’s shoulder as the starling launched from the top of her head and wildly into the air, only to return to the safety of the teenager’s loose hair.

The spectacle drew the attention of a stocky, grinning man Bonnie had never noticed before. Joe DeAngelo was thick-muscled and dough-faced, with an odd jounce to his gait. He was five years older than the 18-year-old sophomore. He made a beeline across the open space to her.

Soon, the 23-year-old Vietnam War veteran was showing up at the science lab where Bonnie worked, joining conversations with her and other students. By the end of the first week, he asked Bonnie out.

She said yes to this easy talker, a suitor with an appealing swagger and a penchant for muscle cars.

To Bonnie, he was an energetic and worldly Vietnam vet, an impression strengthened by the fingertip he said was clipped by a bullet during river patrol in the Mekong Delta. Stray fire, he explained coolly.

From Joe, Bonnie learned the rituals of bullfighting on late-night television. He taught her how to lean into canyon curves as she sat behind him on his Honda motorcycle, her nose buried in the smell of English Leather, and how to drive his royal blue Road Runner with the growling engine.

He handed Bonnie a Browning .22 rifle and took her dove hunting by the American River, and she followed nervously as they jumped the fence onto a defense contractor’s property to illegally spear frogs. She once saw Joe shoot a vulture out of the sky.

Joe became Bonnie’s guide to life outside her sheltered, sometimes stifling home. He coaxed her to take risks and to experiment, to scuba dive (which she did) and join him in the pitch-black holes of wells (which she refused). He pushed further, ignoring her boundaries of fear and discomfort. He had an air of superiority, as if he was above the rules. Bonnie saw in him both the light and the dawning dark.

Soon, there was a ring and an engagement. And a night of terror.

Almost half a century later, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 73, stands accused of being one of America’s most prolific serial killers. The ex-cop turned truck mechanic is said to have unleashed an extended spasm of violence in the 1970s and ’80s: Nearly 60 home invasions; 50 rapes; 13 murders. At least 106 victims. When and if there is a trial — the multi-county case is years from going to a jury, and DeAngelo is noticeably deteriorating in jail — prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty. He has not entered a plea.

Prosecutors say he ranged across the state, from Sacramento to Orange County. At every stop in his alleged evolution from burglar and prowler to dog killer, rapist and serial murderer, they say, he escaped detection to start anew under another sobriquet: the Cordova Cat Burglar, the Visalia Ransacker, the East Area Rapist, the Creek Killer, the Diamond Knot Killer, the original Night Stalker.

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Times

News 06.12.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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