In the News 05.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 05.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 05.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internet
In the News 05.05.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Accidental Get Away Driver


They wore no coats. They just shivered there, in the crisp night air. And to the cabdriver who slowed to study the three men who’d called for a ride, this seemed strange. It was January, after all, and the temperature in Santa Ana, California, had dipped into the 50s. Yet these men had on only collared shirts. As they piled into Long Ma’s warm car, the driver filed that detail away.

“Take us to Walmart,” said the man who settled into the passenger seat—and this was the second signal to Ma that something was off. Ma recognized from the man’s voice that he was the one who’d called for the cab, telling Ma that he and his friends had needed a ride home.

His name was Bac Duong, and he spoke to Ma in Vietnamese—their shared native language—and wore on his thin and weary face a salt-and-pepper goatee. It was 9:30 at night, and now they wanted to go shopping? Ma thought. What happened to going home?

In the rearview mirror, Ma could see Duong’s friends, quiet in the backseat: Jonathan Tieu, a pimply 20-year-old, and Hossein Nayeri, an athletic Persian with an air of insouciance.

Read the rest of this article at GQ

An Exclusive, Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Nike Is Trying to Break the 2-Hour Marathon Barrier


Standing on the sweeping bend of the infamous Curva Parabolica, three of the greatest distance runners in history shiver in the late-afternoon breeze, awaiting the signal to begin.

Around them, an uncanny silence prevails. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza, a historic Formula One racetrack nestled in the woodlands of a former royal park northeast of Milan, can seat 115,000 spectators. Since its construction back in 1922, the “Temple of Speed,” as it’s affectionately known, has echoed with the high-octane roar of epic races, hosted countless speed records (at 231.523 mph, which Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya reached in the 2005 Italian Grand Prix, a marathon would take less than seven minutes), and mourned the deaths of more than 50 drivers and 40 spectators, mostly in the freewheeling early days of motorsport.

On this bright day in early March, though, the stands are deserted. On the track are reigning Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, half marathon world record holder Zersenay Tadese, and rising star Lelisa Desisa. Clustered around them are a hand-picked group of 11 Kenyan and Ethiopian runners, flown to Italy for the sole purpose of setting the pace and blocking the wind for the chosen three, plus a small crew of harried and visibly nervous scientists. Since last December, when Nike revealed that it was marshaling its considerable resources for a springtime assault on the two-hour marathon barrier, speculation had swirled about how, precisely, the company planned to slice such a big chunk off Kenyan Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 world record of 2:02:57. Would they run down a mountain? Wear rocket-powered shoes in a giant wind tunnel? Now the veil will finally be lifted, as Kipchoge, Tadese, and Desisa prepare to run a test half marathon with a goal time of exactly 60 minutes. After almost three years of planning, it’s time for a reality check.

Read the rest of this article at Runners World


Design Inspiration | The Edit: How to Style Throw Cushions at Home & the Office

How Trump Could Get Fired


Hours after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, a post appeared on the official White House petitions page, demanding that he release his tax returns. In only a few days, it gathered more signatures than any previous White House petition. The success of the Women’s March had shown that themed protests could both mobilize huge numbers of people and hit a nerve with the President. On Easter weekend, roughly a hundred and twenty thousand people protested in two hundred cities, calling for him to release his tax returns and sell his businesses. On Capitol Hill, protesters chanted “Impeach Forty-five!” In West Palm Beach, a motorcade ferrying him from the Trump International Golf Club to Mar-a-Lago had to take a circuitous route to avoid demonstrators. The White House does all it can to keep the President away from protests, but the next day Trump tweeted, “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

Why Hollywood’sMost ThrillingScenes Are NowOrchestratedThousands of Miles Away


In the summer of 1993, dinosaurs walked through America’s theaters. The first sight of them was breathtaking. There was the anticipation, as Laura Dern and Sam Neill’s helicopter landed and they bumped over green hills in their red Jeep. Then, finally, it came into view: a brachiosaur, plodding among eucalyptus trees, rearing up and stretching its neck to nibble at the treetops like a skyscraper-size giraffe. Neill sank to the ground, doing his best to appear overcome with awe.

In reality, Neill was probably looking at a lime-green backdrop, or maybe the film’s director, Steven Spielberg. But in a movie theater in New Orleans, David Breaux Jr.’s eyes filled with tears of real amazement. “When the brachiosaur stands up and picks the branch off the tree and then falls back and hits the ground — boom!” he recalls. “I was like, that’s what I want to do.”

Breaux, then 21, had just finished his second year at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. Drawing, computers, movies and video games had been his passions since childhood, but it wasn’t until he saw the brachiosaur that he realized all these things could fit together. The dinosaur was created with “visual effects,” abbreviated in the movie business as VFX, the art of combining real-life footage with hand-drawn or computer-generated imagery. This was a distinctly different field from old-fashioned “special effects” — the illusions, like fake blood or dinosaur puppets, employed on set during filming — and Spielberg had just elevated it to magical new heights.

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

Soul of a Molecular Machine

Venki Ramakrishnan

We’re now accumulating data at an incredible rate. I mentioned electron microscopy to study the ribosome—each experiment generates several terabytes of data, which is then massaged, analyzed, and reduced, and finally you get a structure. At least in this data analysis, we believe we know what’s happening. We know what the programs are doing, we know what the algorithms are, we know how they come up with the result, and so we feel that intellectually we understand the result. What is now happening in a lot of fields is that you have machine learning, where computers are essentially taught to recognize patterns with deep neural networks. They’re formulating rules based on patterns. There are are statistical algorithms that allow them to give weights to various things, and eventually they come up with conclusions.

When they come up with these conclusions, we have no idea how; we just know the general process. If there’s a relationship, we don’t understand that relationship in the same way that we would if we came up with it ourselves or came up with it based on an intellectual algorithm. So we’re in a situation where we’re asking, how do we understand results that come from this analysis? This is going to happen more and more as datasets get bigger, as we have genome-wide studies, population studies, and all sorts of things.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We’re at the threshold of a new age of structural biology, where these things that everybody thought were too difficult and would take decades and decades, are all cracking. Now we’re coming to pieces of the cell. The real advance is that you’re going to be able to look at all these machines and large molecular complexes inside the cell. It will tell you detailed molecular organization of the cell. That’s going to be a big leap, to go from molecules to cells and how cells work.

In almost every disease, there’s a fundamental process that’s causing the disease, either a breakdown of a process, or a hijacking of a process, or a deregulation of a process. Understanding these processes in the cell in molecular terms will give us all kinds of ways to treat disease. They’ll give us new targets for drugs. They’ll give us genetic understanding. The impact on medicine is going to be quite profound over the long-term.

VENKATRAMAN “VENKI” RAMAKRISHNAN is a Nobel Prize-winning biologist whose many scientific contributions include his work on the atomic structure of the ribosome. He is Group Leader and Former Deputy Director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, and the current President of the Royal Society. Venki Ramakrishnan’s Edge Bio Page

Read the rest of this article at Edge


P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @londonispink; @topshop; @clairebwagner