In the News 23.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 23.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 23.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 23.06.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How Nicholas Serota’s Tate Changed Britain

In 1970, if you had said that London would one day become the centre of the international art world, the successor to Paris before the first world war and New York after the second, most people would have thought you mad. The gleaming commercial galleries, the art fairs, the record-breaking sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the arrival of the super-rich from every corner of the globe – all of this was decades away. Large parts of the city were still pitted and scarred from the bombs of the blitz. The port and docks on the Thames in east London were so completely derelict that people assumed they would be like that for ever. Most people didn’t even notice the power station that crouched opposite St Paul’s Cathedral – for there was no Southwark tube station, no elegantly engineered footbridge across the river, no glassy apartments, no Shakespeare’s Globe, no scenic path along the water’s edge to Tower Bridge. No one imagined that this behemoth, then still a decade away from being decommissioned, would one day become the world’s most popular museum of modern and contemporary art.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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The Ken Doll Reboot: Beefy, Cornrowed, and Pan-Racial

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hen he debuted in 1961, Ken (legal name: Ken Carson) was a spindly, anemic fan of casual swimwear. Over the years, he has blossomed into a sculpted, perma-tanned icon of American masculinity. Even if you never played with Ken, his tiny footfall has reverberated through your life; he charges in early in the formative years of the fairer sex, setting an impossible standard for males against which you will be judged forever. Ken is the first man—or, technically, eunuch—many little girls will ever see nude. Consequently, he teaches young ladies that men are meant to have bodies like Olympic water-polo players. He’ll teach girls precisely how much taller than women men should be and (sort of) about the different ways men use the bathroom; Barbie’s Dreamhouse, a one-woman mega-mansion, features a single but quintessential nod to Ken’s existence: a toilet seat that lifts up. “That’s very important for Ken from a girl’s perspective,” says Michael Shore, Mattel’s head of global consumer insights (it means he watches kids play with dolls). “Because guys use toilets different from girls.”

Over time, Ken has been depicted as a rapping rocker (Rappin’ Rockin’ Ken), a doctor (Dr. Ken), and a sovereign of the Crystal Caves (King of the Crystal Caves Ken), but that is what he is reduced to: someone who uses the toilet in a mysterious way.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ


Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
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How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar

It was a Saturday night last December, and Oleksii Yasinsky was sitting on the couch with his wife and teenage son in the living room of their Kiev apartment. The 40-year-old Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher and his family were an hour into Oliver Stone’s film Snowden when their building abruptly lost power.

“The hackers don’t want us to finish the movie,” Yasinsky’s wife joked. She was referring to an event that had occurred a year earlier, a cyberattack that had cut electricity to nearly a quarter-million Ukrainians two days before Christmas in 2015. Yasinsky, a chief forensic analyst at a Kiev digital security firm, didn’t laugh. He looked over at a portable clock on his desk: The time was 00:00. Precisely midnight.

Yasinsky’s television was plugged into a surge protector with a battery backup, so only the flicker of images onscreen lit the room now. The power strip started beeping plaintively. Yasinsky got up and switched it off to save its charge, leaving the room suddenly silent.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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The Ideal Iceland May Only Exist in Your Mind

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LAST AUGUST, I FOUND MYSELF wrung out and miserable over the state of the United States—the vitriol of the presidential election, the deep chasms of reality where we all seemed to find ourselves. I wanted to get the hell away, but not just away. I wanted out. I wanted nothing that resembled where I was coming from. I wanted everything new.

I chose Iceland, which was in the last few minutes of its tourist season, when the roads were about to become impassable. I packed my bags and decided I needed to get there not just before the roads went bad, but before the puffins migrated. Puffins! What could be more new to me than puffins? My weary eyes needed to see things they weren’t accustomed to, and the country’s Mars-like terrain, its misty pools, and its strange flocks of puffins all felt right. Besides, how many times could you see Iceland near the top of all those happiest-people lists before you decided to investigate? I had a fantasy that if I could just be around the puffins in this place I didn’t know, I’d be rid of all I did know, at least for a moment. So I caught a ferry from Landeyjahöfn, 80 miles southeast of Reykjavík, to a tiny island called Heimaey, because someone told me you could see swarms of puffins there.

Read the rest of this article at: Afar

Airbnb Tries to Behave More Like a Hotel

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DENVER — For nine years, Jill Bishop enjoyed the camaraderie of renting out her spare bedroom on Airbnb.

Guests hung out on her comfy sofas. They dined together. They shared her bathroom, which was filled with half-empty shampoo bottles and an array of lotions.

Then, things changed.

Airbnb urged Ms. Bishop to make the bathroom look more like a hotel. New local regulations governing Airbnb meant she had to start collecting city lodging taxes, which made her feel awkward when she had to ask guests for money. And Airbnb began conditioning her to host people who are just looking for a place to sleep — not a home to share.

When one of those travelers finally arrived last year, it jarred her. “He told me that he just uses Airbnb as an alternative to hotels and that he doesn’t really want to talk to his hosts,” said Ms. Bishop, 63, who lives in a single-story ranch house in the North Park Hill neighborhood of Denver. “He really did just come in and sit in his room, with the door closed, while I sat in the living room.”

Airbnb — the sharing-economy start-up born with a crash-on-my-couch informality — is now trying to professionalize its more than two million “hosts” around the world.

In just nine years, the company has built a global hospitality brand on the backs of homeowners like Ms. Bishop. The company’s valuation has skyrocketed to more than $30 billion. Yet to expand further, Airbnb must attract travelers who prefer the predictability of hotels to the quirky array of spare rooms, empty homes and even the occasional yurt that Airbnb has long touted as its backbone.

Travelers accustomed to hotels have come to expect that they can automatically book an Airbnb without having to ask first for the owner’s permission — something that has long been a fixture of the hotel booking process. They want to know that their reservation is firm. They expect fresh linens and privacy. They also anticipate that hosts will act like hotel staff members, meaning they will be courteous and blend into the background.

As a result, Airbnb’s hosts have had to deal with more rules, fees and guidelines. Many have taken on responsibilities that would be handled at the front desk of a hotel, such as explaining (and sometimes collecting) an expanding list of fees and taxes. They are grappling with new tools that let travelers instantly book Airbnbs, much like a hotel reservation system. Airbnb has also introduced recommendations around cancellations and check-in times that mirror those of hotels, and it allows guests to hide listings that ignore that guidance.

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

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @genialegenia; @georgiannalane; @muwine