In the News 05.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 05.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 05.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 05.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Gospel of Hard Work, According to Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley’s emphasis on work-life balance may be evolving, but its priesthood still values a very particular kind of grit. This ideological tension came to blows earlier this week in a marathon Twitter fight that started on Memorial Day, with anecdotal evidence and closing arguments still trickling in days later.

The dialogue began innocently enough when Blake Robbins, a tech investor who has worked or interned for companies like Google, Nest, and SpaceX, deployed a flurry of tweets about his philosophy on work-life balance. “When I first got into tech. I thought it was ‘cool’ to work on the weekends or holidays. I quickly realized that’s a recipe for disaster,” Robbins wrote. “Not hanging with friends and family because you’re working isn’t ‘cool.’ Burning out isn’t ‘cool.’ I promise you…your competition isn’t beating you because they are working more hours than you. It’s because they are working smarter.”

But the mood quickly turned. “Totally false,” venture capitalist Keith Rabois tweeted back at Robbins. “Read a bio of Elon [Musk]. Or about Amazon. Or about the first 4 years of FB. Or PayPal. Or Bill Bellichick [sic]. It is pure arrogance to believe you can outsmart other talented people.”

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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A Mobster, a Family and the Crime That Won’t Let Them Go

The aged gangster welcomed me at the door.

Hunched by hard time lived and served, his lean body scarred by several bullets and one ice-pick stabbing, he led a brief tour of the modest rental house he shared in a Massachusetts shore town. He paused to point out his three shelves in the communal refrigerator, a measure of his diminished domain.

This was Ralph DeMasi, once a feared member of the New England underworld whose long résumé included truck hijackings and home invasions, robberies and violence. Days shy of 80, he half-joked that at the moment he’d rather be holding up an armored truck.

He led the way to his small, well-ordered bedroom, where dozens of photographs formed a wall-to-wall collage of contradiction, a blur of toddlers and mobsters. Here, his ex-wife with their baby at an amusement park, and here, a friend at a picnic, shortly before his gangland murder.

“Rudy Sciarra,” Mr. DeMasi said, motioning to a photo of a vicious Mafioso from Rhode Island, long dead. “And the one on the right, he’s a wiseguy out of New York. …”

But he struggled to summon this mobster’s name from his mind’s darker recesses. “You forget people, like, as you go along,” he said. “So the pictures kind of keep me up to — you know.”

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

Looking For Right And Wrong In The Philippines

My Uncle Pepo didn’t want to take us to the farm. It was too dangerous, he said, and he didn’t want me kidnapped on my first trip back to the Philippines in 22 years.

Our family had owned the farm since the end of World War II, when the US government granted the land to my great-grandfather for his service as a guerrilla fighter resisting the Japanese occupation. Uncle Pepo, my mother’s cousin, a dentist of modest means, was the farm’s de facto manager because he lived closer to it than anyone else in the family. From his home in Iligan City, a bustling industrial town on the northern tip of Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines, the farm was less than an hour’s drive up the mountains and into the jungle. Yet even Uncle Pepo hadn’t been there in years.

With eight major languages spoken across its 7,000-plus islands, the Philippines is a fragmented place, and even the dangers vary by region. On the northern island of Luzon, communist insurgents attack from base camps hidden in the mountains. In the Visayas, a cluster of touristic islands in the center of the country, military forces recently warded off an attempted terrorist attack by Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group pledging allegiance to ISIS. In Mindanao, the threat comes from the Islamist rebel groups determined to form an independent state for the country’s Muslim minorities.

Read the rest of this article at: Buzzfeed


How Twitter Is Being Gamed to Feed Misinformation

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After last year’s election, Facebook came in for a drubbing for its role in propagating misinformation — or “fake news,” as we called it back then, before the term became a catchall designation for any news you don’t like. The criticism was well placed: Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, and millions of people look to it daily for news.

But the focus on Facebook let another social network off the hook. I speak of my daily addiction, Twitter.

Though the 140-character network favored by President Trump is far smaller than Facebook, it is used heavily by people in media and thus exerts perhaps an even greater sway on the news business.

That’s an issue because Twitter is making the news dumber. The service is insidery and clubby. It exacerbates groupthink. It prizes pundit-ready quips over substantive debate, and it tends to elevate the silly over the serious — for several sleepless hours this week it was captivated by “covfefe,” which was essentially a brouhaha over a typo.

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

Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump


Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more. He was a pair of ragged orange claws upon the ocean floor, forever scuttling, pinching, reaching for more, a carrion crab, a lobster and a boiling lobster pot in one, a termite, a tyrant over his own little empires. He got a boost at the beginning from the wealth handed him and then moved among grifters and mobsters who cut him slack as long as he was useful, or maybe there’s slack in arenas where people live by personal loyalty until they betray, and not by rules, and certainly not by the law or the book. So for seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin.

He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for.

Thinking of him, I think of Pushkin’s telling of the old fairytale of The Fisherman and the Golden Fish. After being caught in the old fisherman’s net, the golden fish speaks up and offers wishes in return for being thrown back in the sea. The fisherman asks him for nothing, though later he tells his wife of his chance encounter with the magical creature. The fisherman’s wife sends him back to ask for a new washtub for her, and then a  second time to ask for a cottage to replace their hovel, and the wishes are granted, and then as she grows prouder and greedier, she sends him to ask that she become a wealthy person in a mansion with servants she abuses, and then she sends her husband back. The old man comes and grovels before the fish, caught between the shame of the requests and the appetite of his wife, and she becomes tsarina and has her boyards and nobles drive the husband from her palace. You could call the husband consciousness—the awareness of others and of oneself in relation to others—and the wife craving.

Read the rest of this article at: Literary Hub

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @emmamilleruk; @afadingsummer; @alicecatherine