In the News 14.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 14.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 14.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 14.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Inside the Lab That’s Quantifying Happiness

In Mississippi, people tweet about cake and cookies an awful lot; in Colorado, it’s noodles. In Mississippi, the most-tweeted activity is eating; in Colorado, it’s running, skiing, hiking, snowboarding, and biking, in that order. In other words, the two states fall on opposite ends of the behavior spectrum. If you were to assign a caloric value to every food mentioned in every tweet by the citizens of the United States and a calories-burned value to every activity, and then totaled them up, you would find that Colorado tweets the best caloric ratio in the country and Mississippi the worst.

Sure, you’d be forgiven for doubting people’s honesty on Twitter. On those rare occasions when I destroy an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, I most assuredly do not tweet about it. Likewise, I don’t reach for my phone every time I strap on a pair of skis.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside


She’s 98. He’s 94. They Met at the Gym.


Gertrude Mokotoff and Alvin Mann were introduced eight years ago at a gym in Middletown, N.Y., where they still work out twice a week.

“A mutual friend said to me, ‘I’d like you to meet a very nice young lady,’” Mr. Mann recalled after chopping wood one recent morning at his mountaintop home in nearby Cuddebackville, N.Y.

On their first date, he drove her to a restaurant in Middletown called Something Sweet. “He was a perfect gentleman,” she said, and he added, “There was something about her that made me want to keep on talking.”

In a heartbeat, they became an item, talking about dreams and goals and sharing a life together.

Mr. Mann, who had seen the world through the eyes of a young United States merchant seaman, returned from troubled seas and found enough peace and quiet in Cuddebackville to focus on getting a college degree. Ms. Mokotoff, five years his senior, had designed a home on a high ridge in Middletown and was eager to fill it with good company.

“I kept getting teased about dating a cougar,” Mr. Mann said, laughing. “But the age difference never really bothered me because we just hit it off, and I wasn’t about to let her go.”

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

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Why We Fell For Clean Eating

In the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. “Not cool” was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a “gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan”. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a “wellness” blogger in New York City, one of thousands on Instagram (where she had 70,000 followers) rallying under the hashtag #eatclean. Although she had no qualifications as a nutritionist, Younger had sold more than 40,000 copies of her own $25, five-day “cleanse” programme – a formula for an all-raw, plant-based diet majoring on green juice.

But the “clean” diet that Younger was selling as the route to health was making its creator sick. Far from being super-healthy, she was suffering from a serious eating disorder: orthorexia, an obsession with consuming only foods that are pure and perfect. Younger’s raw vegan diet had caused her periods to stop and given her skin an orange tinge from all the sweet potato and carrots she consumed (the only carbohydrates she permitted herself). Eventually, she sought psychological help, and began to slowly widen the repertoire of foods she would allow herself to eat, starting with fish. She recognised that the problem was not her veganism, per se, but the particularly rigid and restrictive diet regime she had imposed on herself.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian


BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found.

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A secret spy plane operated by the US Marshals hunted drug cartel kingpins in Mexico. A military contractor that tracks terrorists in Africa is also flying surveillance aircraft over US cities. In two stories published last week, BuzzFeed News revealed the activities of aircraft that their operators didn’t want to discuss.

These discoveries came not from tip-offs from anonymous sources, but by training a computer to recognize known spy planes, then setting it loose on large quantities of flight-tracking data compiled by the website Flightradar24.

Here’s how we did it.

Surveillance aircraft often keep a low profile: The FBI, for example, registers its planes to fictitious companies to mask their true identity.

So BuzzFeed News trained a computer to find them by letting a machine-learning algorithm sift for planes with flight patterns that resembled those operated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Last year, we reported on aerial surveillance by these planes, mapping thousands of flights over more than four months from mid-August to the end of December 2015.

First we made a series of calculations to describe the flight characteristics of almost 20,000 planes in the four months of Flightradar24 data: their turning rates, speeds and altitudes flown, the areas of rectangles drawn around each flight path, and the flights’ durations. We also included information on the manufacturer and model of each aircraft, and the four-digit squawk codes emitted by the planes’ transponders.

Then we turned to an algorithm called the “random forest,” training it to distinguish between the characteristics of two groups of planes: almost 100 previously identified FBI and DHS planes, and 500 randomly selected aircraft.

The random forest algorithm makes its own decisions about which aspects of the data are most important. But not surprisingly, given that spy planes tend to fly in tight circles, it put most weight on the planes’ turning rates. We then used its model to assess all of the planes, calculating a probability that each aircraft was a match for those flown by the FBI and DHS.

Read the rest of this article at: BuzzFeed

The Underground Chefs of South L.A.


The parking lot of Millenium Shoes, a sneaker emporium in Inglewood, was packed. From afar, it looked like a music festival. Hip-hop played over the speakers, and the line to get in, even by the end of the day, was 40 to 50 people long. But up close, everyone was eating. Banana pudding. Fries topped with chicken and barbecue ranch sauce. Garlic shrimp noodles. Turkey and pastrami sliders. The event, called The Block: Urban Gastronomy Experience, was the first of its kind, a chance for people to try food from different underground chefs all in one place.

Underground economies have long existed in South L.A., the 50-square-mile region below Interstate 10. They arose to provide things that otherwise weren’t readily available —healthy food, for one. Enterprising individuals sold home-cooked meals, often at barber shops and churches, or out of their own homes.

Then, a few years ago, a new wave of black underground chefs began to emerge, posting their dishes for sale on Instagram. “We don’t have Mastro’s, Ruth’s Chris, or Ocean Prime in Compton, none of those nice five-star restaurants that the other side of the I-10 freeway has. We live in the ghetto,” says Malachi Jenkins, the chef behind Trap Kitchen, one of a handful of establishments, along with All Flavor No Grease, The Bléu Kitchen, and Taco Mell, that’s credited with ushering in the latest movement of creative underground food. These pioneers have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers and fans, including Kendrick Lamar, Tyga, and Snoop Dogg. A few have even opened food trucks or brick-and-mortar stores with licensing from the county Department of Public Health.

More than a dozen chefs, mostly in their 20s and 30s, count themselves part of South L.A.’s underground scene. They post the day’s offerings, and within minutes, the orders come tumbling in. Some deliver, others designate pickup spots — their homes, parking lots, street corners — or sell under the table at convenience stores. Here, five of them take us inside their kitchens.

Read the rest of this article at: The California Sunday Magazine

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @cheraleelyle; @emelinaah; @alisaanton