In the News 11.12.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 11.12.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.12.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 11.12.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What Happened to the American Boomtown?

Chicago in 1850 was a muddy frontier town of barely 30,000 people. Within two decades, it was 10 times that size. Within another two decades, that number had tripled. By 1910, Chicago — hog butcher for the world, headquarters of Montgomery Ward, the nerve center of the nation’s rail network — had more than two million residents.

“You see these numbers, and they just look fake,” said David Schleicher, a law professor at Yale who writes on urban development and land use. Chicago heading into the 20th century was the fastest-growing city America has ever seen. It was a classic metropolitan magnet, attracting anyone in need of a job or a raise.

But while other cities have played this role through history — enabling people who were geographically mobile to become economically mobile, too — migration patterns like the one that fed Chicago have broken down in today’s America. Interstate mobility nationwide has slowed over the last 30 years. But, more specifically and of greater concern, migration has stalled in the very places with the most opportunity.

As Mr. Schleicher puts it, local economic booms no longer create boomtowns in America.

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


The WIRED Guide to Digital Security

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IN AN AGE of nonstop breaches and hacks, getting a handle on your own digital security matters more than ever. But everyone has their own threat model—a set of concerns unique to themselves. The average smartphone user doesn’t need to know what a Faraday cage is; an NSA contractor probably already has a good grasp of security basics. (Or … do they?) In this guide, we’ve included a few ways to improve your online security posture based on those different levels of risk. These won’t prevent the next megabreach or banish ransomware from the earth. They’re not all-encompassing. But they’ll help get you in the mindset of the types of steps you should be taking based on your particular situation. And they’ll help ensure that the next time you read one of those paralyzing headlines, it doesn’t apply to you.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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Naked Brands: The Future of Fashion

In his book, Understanding Media, released in 1964, Marshall McLuhan observed: “The important thing in today’s world of fashion is to appear to be wearing a popular fabric.” McLuhan, universally regarded as the father of media communications and a prophet of the information age, argued that human conformity was the inevitable byproduct of print technologies such as books and newspapers.

McLuhan saw the power of media environments to radically transform society — the way we think, feel, and engage with one another. Illustrating the influence of media, he writes: “Societies have been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication… All media works over us completely… and leaves no part of us untouched, unaffected, and unaltered. The medium is the message.” In essence, the ways we communicate shape the way society functions, oftentimes without us realizing.

McLuhan predicted that “electric technologies” would transform the world into a global village. No more borders. The end of cultural barriers. Paradoxically, McLuhan argued that, the connectedness of the modern world would create more diversity, and abolish conformity. He predicted a more colorful assortment of creativity, personality, and clothing styles. To that end, the transformation of fashion is an inevitable byproduct of our connected world.

Read the rest of this article at: David Perell

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China’s Selfie Obsession

HoneyCC likes to say that she scarcely remembers the last time someone called her by her given name, Lin Chuchu. She took her online name from a 2003 movie starring Jessica Alba, about an aspiring hip-hop dancer and choreographer named Honey who catches her break after a music-video director sees a clip of her performing. Something similar happened for HoneyCC, who also trained in hip-hop dance, as well as in jazz and Chinese folk styles, and was equally determined to be discovered.

After an injury cut short her dancing career, a few years ago, she and some friends set up an advertising business. Many of her clients were social-media companies, and her work for them led to an observation about the sector’s development: first there was the text-based service Weibo, the largest social-media network in China at the time; then people started posting images. “But a single picture can only say so much,” she told me recently. “To really communicate a message, you need a video.”

Today, HoneyCC, who is twenty-seven, is one of the biggest stars on the video-sharing platform Meipai. Launched in 2014, it is now the most popular platform of its kind in China, with nearly eight billion views per month. In her videos, which last anywhere from fifteen seconds to five minutes, she lip-synchs to sentimental ballads, dances to hip-hop, stages mini sketches, undergoes beauty treatments, and lolls seductively in bed. Petite, with a delicately tapering face, she can play the ingénue, the diva, or the girl next door, and costume changes come at dizzying speed. “Sometimes I look like something out of a dream,” Honey said, flashing a smile of dazzling bleached teeth. “Other times I look like a mental patient. But a pretty mental patient.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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She grew up a tomboy in suburban Chicago, a fan of Hot Wheels, baseball cards and Blackhawks hockey. So when her two brothers tossed a football in the family’s half-acre backyard one day, Amy insisted on playing. They said no, she begged, and one of them whipped the ball at her so hard that it sent her to the ground in tears.

“Our other sister was a real girl,” one of the boys blurted out.

The comment left Amy, about 8 at the time, dumbfounded. There was no other sister, or so she thought.

She raced inside, found her mother smoking at the kitchen table, and told her what her brother Bobby had said.

“Is it true that you had a daughter before me?” asked Amy, who, like her brothers, was adopted at birth.

Marge Sandberg slowly blotted out her cigarette in an ashtray.

“Listen carefully,” Amy recalled her mother saying, “because I’m only going to tell you this story once.”

It was around 1970 in Deerfield, Ill., and Ms. Sandberg told her youngest child a closely guarded secret about a choice the family had made, one fueled by the racial tensions of the era, that sent a black girl and the white girl that took her place on diverging paths.

Decades later, the journeys of the two women tell a nuanced story of race in America, one that complicates easy assumptions about white privilege and black hardship. Lives take unexpected twists and turns, this family story suggests, no matter the race of those involved. And years later, it is not easy to figure out the role of race when looking for lessons learned.

It all started in 1959 when a developer bought a plot of land in Deerfield to build 51 homes. He said he would sell a dozen of them to black people.

This small community about 30 miles north of Chicago had spent years growing in the image of mid-20th-century suburban America: tract housing, green lawns and a population that was virtually all white. Deerfield residents made it clear that they wanted to protect the racial order.

Vandals struck two houses under construction. Someone burned a cross on the lawn of a resident who supported the development. A local pastor who advocated the housing received an anonymous letter that called him a vicious racial slur and told him to “let your children marry one of them and present you with a nice dark brown grandson or daughter,” The New York Times reported on April 17, 1960.

Among those who wanted to see the housing built were Marge Sandberg and her husband, Len, who had moved to Deerfield with their two adopted sons in the mid-1950s. As a Jew, Mr. Sandberg said he had always had sympathy for persecuted minority groups. Ms. Sandberg joined a local group that supported the development. But the efforts to get the homes built were unsuccessful; the city ultimately seized the land from the developer and built a park.

While the talk of the town was about the housing development, the Sandbergs were talking about expanding their family. They wanted a daughter. And so they hired a lawyer, who found a woman looking to put up her newborn girl for adoption. The baby, whom they planned to name Rebecca, was born on April 19, 1962, and when she arrived at the Sandberg house days later, what they saw surprised them.

She was black.

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

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @brothervellies;; @brightonkeller