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In the News 17.08.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets


Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace


SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working. They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Can Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Save the Music Industry?


JIMMY IOVINE HAS a line he likes to use. Actually he has a lot of them. Today, Iovine runs Apple Music, the latest stop in a career that has taken him from studio rat to cofounder of Interscope Records to head of Beats Electronics. But he is also a longshoreman’s son from Red Hook, Brooklyn, and he has inherited his native borough’s brand of salty raconteurism. Over the years he’s assembled a playlist of zingers to describe, for instance, his philosophy for dealing with prima donna artists (“If the shit gets bigger than the cat, out goes the cat”) or his appeal to Dr. Dre to build headphones with him instead of designing an athletic shoe (“Fuck sneakers—let’s make speakers”).

But the line I’m talking about is the one he uses to describe his life’s ambition: “All I’ve ever wanted to do is move the needle on popular culture.” It sounds almost modest, the way he says it. Don’t be fooled. Some music executives want to help talented artists reach their natural audience, no matter how small. Iovine is not among them. He’s after the kind of massive flash points that unite populations around the world and change not just what they listen to but how they dress and move and behave and think and live. “He finds one great idea, gets rid of everything else, and chases it to the end of the earth until it’s everywhere,” says Luke Wood, president of Beats Electronics.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

Love and Death in New Orleans, a Decade After Hurricane Katrina



It was a bright, hot morning at the end of June, one of those Louisiana days when the heat and the humidity make a shawl of the air long before noon. Traffic was piling up along Crowder Boulevard near where the land ends and the lake begins. Automobiles and motorcycles were parked willy-nilly all around the intersection of Crowder and Morrison, stashed side by each on the grass of the island dividing the boulevard, overwhelming the parking lot of the barbecue-meat place and the check-cashing joint a little ways down from the intersection. For the most part, these were not civilian vehicles. Most of the cars had red lights on their roofs. Most of them had emblems on their doors. Kenner. Slidell. Gretna. The Louisiana State Police motorcycle honor guard. Occasionally, there was the brief blast of a siren, just to clear the road. There was going to be a funeral at St. Maria Goretti, and nobody wanted to be late.

Read the rest of this article at Esquire

The Coddling of the American Mind


Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Educationdescribing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic

Kodak’s First Digital Moment


Imagine a world where photography is a slow process that is impossible to master without years of study or apprenticeship. A world without iPhones or Instagram, where one company reigned supreme. Such a world existed in 1973, when Steven Sasson, a young engineer, went to work for Eastman Kodak.

Two years later he invented digital photography and made the first digital camera.

Mr. Sasson, all of 24 years old, invented the process that allows us to make photos with our phones, send images around the world in seconds and share them with millions of people. The same process completely disrupted the industry that was dominated by his Rochester employer and set off a decade of complaints by professional photographers fretting over the ruination of their profession

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

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