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In the News 19.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets


In the News 19.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 19.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets
In the News 19.10.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy

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In the Northern hemisphere’s sky, hovering above the Milky Way, there are two constellations—Cygnus the swan, her wings outstretched in full flight, and Lyra, the harp that accompanied poetry in ancient Greece, from which we take our word “lyric.”

Between these constellations sits an unusual star, invisible to the naked eye, but visible to the Kepler Space Telescope, which stared at it for more than four years, beginning in 2009.

“We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

Kepler was looking for tiny dips in the light emitted by this star. Indeed, it was looking for these dips in more than 150,000 stars, simultaneously, because these dips are often shadows cast by transiting planets. Especially when they repeat, periodically, as you’d expect if they were caused by orbiting objects.

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic

The Lonely Death of George Bell


They found him in the living room, crumpled up on the mottled carpet. The police did. Sniffing a fetid odor, a neighbor had called 911. The apartment was in north­central Queens, in an unassertive building on 79th Street in Jackson Heights. The apartment belonged to a George Bell. He lived alone. Thus the presumption was that the corpse also belonged to George Bell. It was a plausible supposition, but it remained just that, for the puffy body on the floor was decomposed and unrecognizable. Clearly the man had not died on July 12, the Saturday last year when he was discovered, nor the day before nor the day before that. He had lain there for a while, nothing to announce his departure to the world, while the hyperkinetic city around him hurried on with its business.

Neighbors had last seen him six days earlier, a Sunday. On Thursday, there was a break in his routine. The car he always kept out front and moved from one side of the street to the other to obey parking rules sat on the wrong side. A ticket was wedged beneath the wiper. The woman next door called Mr. Bell. His phone rang and rang. Then the smell of death and the police and the sobering reason that George Bell did not move his car. Each year around 50,000 people die in New York, and each year the mortality rate seems to graze a new low, with people living healthier and longer. A great majority of the deceased have relatives and friends who soon learn of their passing and tearfully assemble at their funeral. A reverent death notice appears. Sympathy cards accumulate. When the celebrated die or there is some heart­rending killing of the innocent, the entire city might weep.

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

Famed Designer Michael Bierut Doesn’t Believe in Creativity


MICHAEL BIERUT HAS a crazy idea. “I’ve actually never said this out loud,” he tells me one morning, while sitting in the main conference room at Pentagram’s New York City office, where he’s a partner. “It’s a private thought that I’ve had, and it’s actually sort of weird.”

Here it goes: Bierut doesn’t believe in creativity.

Ok so, it’s not that he doesn’t believe in it exactly, it’s just that he thinks creativity, in the way we often use the word, is kinda overrated. “There’s a finite amount of newness available at any one time, or maybe period,” he continues. “And you have to use it really deliberately.”

This might sounds strange coming from Bierut, who has spent the last 35 years establishing himself as one of the more—you might say—creative graphic designers in the industry. In the three-plus decades he’s been working, Bierut has crafted some of the most recognizable pieces of graphic design in recent memory.

Read the rest of this article at Wired

There is no such thing as a city that has run out of room

What we really mean when we say we can’t make space for more neighbors.


LAST month, in response to the news that Detroit’s white population is now growing for the first time in decades, with the number of residents surging in particular downtown, a local radio station paused to ask: “Is Detroit big enough for everyone?”

It was an odd question, given that the city’s population is less than half the size it was in 1950, with tens of thousands of empty lots and hollow homesattesting to the ample elbow room. If any community in America has space — crannies to tuck new housing, capacity to absorb more ideas and bodies — it is Detroit.

Read the rest of this article at The Washington Post

The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan (1969)


McLuhan contends that all media–in and of themselves and regardless of the messages they communicate–exert a compelling influence on man and society. Prehistoric, or tribal, man existed in a harmonious balance of the senses, perceiving the world equally through hearing, smell, touch, sight and taste. But technological innovations are extensions of human abilities and senses that alter this sensory balance–an alteration that, in turn, inexorably reshapes the society that created the technology. According to McLuhan, there have been three basic technological innovations: the invention of the phonetic alphabet, which jolted tribal man out of his sensory balance and gave dominance to the eye; the introduction of movable type in the 16th Century, which accelerated this process; and the invention of the telegraph in 1844, which heralded an electronics revolution that will ultimately retribalize man by restoring his sensory balance. McLuhan has made it his business to explain and extrapolate the repercussions of this electronic revolution.

Read the rest of this article at McLuhan Media

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