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In the News 16.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets


In the News 16.09.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

Photo by Emily Faulstich

Google Is 2 Billion Lines of Code—And It’s All in One Place

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HOW BIG IS Google? We can answer that question in terms of revenue or stock price or customers or, well, metaphysical influence. But that’s not all. Google is, among other things, a vast empire of computer software. We can answer in terms of code. Google’s Rachel Potvin came pretty close to an answer Monday at an engineering conference in Silicon Valley. She estimates that the software needed to run all of Google’s Internet services—from Google Search to Gmail to Google Maps—spans some 2 billion lines of code. By comparison, Microsoft’s Windows operating system—one of the most complex software tools ever built for a single computer, a project under development since the 1980s—is likely in the realm of 50 million lines. So, building Google is roughly the equivalent of building the Windows operating system 40 times over.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

michael crichton: why speculate?

July 2005 № 332

A talk by Michael Crichton

There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it and when he can.
—Mark Twain

My topic for today is the prevalence of speculation in media. What does it mean? Why has it become so ubiquitous? Should we do something about it? If so, what? And why? Should we care at all? Isn’t speculation valuable? Isn’t it natural? And so on.

I will join this speculative trend and speculate about why there is so much speculation. In keeping with the trend, I will try to express my views without any factual support, simply providing you with a series of bald assertions.

This is not my natural style, and it’s going to be a challenge for me, but I will do my best. Some of you may see that I have written out my talk, which is already a contradiction of principle. To keep within the spirit of our time, it should really be off the top of my head.

Before we begin, I’d like to clarify a definition. By the media I mean movies, television, Internet, books, newspapers and magazines. Again, in keeping with the general trend of speculation, let’s not make too many fine distinctions.

Read the rest of this article at Larvatus Prodeo

When Oscar Danced With Ava Gardner: The Story Behind Oscar de la Renta Spring 2016


I love the paths fashion can take you down once you start talking to designers. On Saturday, when I went up to the Oscar de la Renta HQ, Peter Copping stopped me in my tracks to show me the research behind his Spanish-inflected Spring collection. There on his mood board was a black-and-white photograph of the luminous Ava Gardner spectating at a bullfight in Madrid in the ’50s. The sight of her, with her creamy cheekbones, fitted black dress, wrist stacked with thick gold chain bracelets, an expression of wild enjoyment in her eyes, sent me straight back to a conversation I had about her with Oscar while I was recording his memories for the book I wrote with him, Oscar: The Style, Inspiration and Life of Oscar de la Renta. His tales were always laced with delicious gossip, and one of my favorites was about how he contrived to meet Ava Gardner when he was a handsome young snake-hipped Latin charmer recently arrived from Santo Domingo to study art in Madrid.

Read the rest of this article at Vogue

Why the Best War Reporter in a Generation Had to Suddenly Stop

After fourteen years of being immersed in the bloody wars of our era, C.J. Chivers came home.


Read the rest of this article at Esquire

Who killed the 20th century’s greatest spy?

When Ashraf Marwan fell to his death from the balcony of a London flat, he took his secrets with him. Was he working for Egypt or Israel? And did the revelation of his identity lead to his murder?

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This much is certain: Ashraf Marwan, a man some describe as the 20th century’s greatest spy, was alive when he tumbled from the fifth-floor balcony of his £4.4m London flat. The Egyptian businessman landed, shortly after 1.30pm on 27 June 2007, in the private rose garden at number 24 Carlton House Terrace, a street whose former occupants include three prime ministers (Palmerston, Earl Grey and Gladstone) and which lies a few hundred metres from Piccadilly Circus. Overhead, the lunchtime sky was obnoxious with helicopters, swarming above Tony Blair’s Teflon-plated convoy as it carried the prime minister to Buckingham Palace, where he would hand in his resignation. A woman screamed. Someone called the police. The paramedics arrived too late.Marwan died from a ruptured aorta.

The details of the final minutes of Marwan’s life are much more opaque. Not that there weren’t witnesses: on the morning of his death, four men were meeting on the third floor of an adjacent building, 116 Pall Mall, in a room with a clear view of Marwan’s balcony. In a curious twist, these men – József Répási, Essam Shawki, Michael Parkhurst and John Roberts – worked for one of Marwan’s companies, Ubichem PLC; they were waiting for their boss to join them. He was late. When they called around midday to find out why, he assured the group that he would be with them shortly.

Read the rest of this article at The Guardian

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