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In the News 01.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 01.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 01.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 01.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How ‘Broadcast News’ Predicted Journalism As We Know It

On the last day of the 1984 Democratic National Convention, in San Francisco, Susan Zirinsky was busy with her work as the CBS News floor producer when the president of the network, Ed Joyce, stopped by with a new acquaintance. Joyce introduced them, but Zirinsky could swear she already knew the man from somewhere: “I said, ‘Hi, you look so familiar, have we met?’” And he said, “No, I don’t think so,’” she remembers. The familiar-looking man asked if he could take her for a cup of coffee, because he wanted to ask her some questions about her work. She told him they could talk tomorrow during her afternoon off. He left. Lesley Stahl — currently of 60 Minutes, at the time a CBS News correspondent — turned to Zirinsky and said, “You’re a fucking moron.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Ringer

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The Science of Loneliness


When people ask me what my greatest fear is, I lie. I tell them about my fear of snakes. I say I have nightmares of being stuck in Fear Factor, lying for a full minute in a pit filled with writhing serpents, just so I can win $1 million. That fear is real. I have those nightmares. But the truth is, my greatest fear is being lonely. In particular, I fear dying alone.

I fear the presence of loneliness. The way it feels. What it may signal to people about who I am. Whether or not it leaves traces of itself on me for people to see. Whether or not people view me as the lonely girl. How sometimes it seems to yawn across rooms filled with people. How it has the ability to take up all the space, even with the best of company.

Some days, it is a dull ache. I carry it with me, lodged between skin and bone. Other days, I feel it catch my breath during life’s inevitably banal moments. Scrubbing stains out of laundry in the sink. Weaving through a crowded sidewalk on my way to buy groceries. It can last for a few minutes. A couple of hours. A few days.

The funny thing is that in my loneliness, I know I’m not alone.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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American Reams: Why A ‘Paperless World’ Still Hasn’t Happened

Old Mohawk paper company lore has it that in 1946, a salesman named George Morrison handed his client in Boston a trial grade of paper so lush and even, so uniform and pure, that the client could only reply: “George, this is one super fine sheet of paper.” And thus Mohawk Superfine was born.

This premium paper has been a darling of the printing and design world ever since. “Superfine is to paper what Tiffany’s is to diamonds,” Jessica Helfand, co-founder of Design Observer magazine once said. “If that sounds elitist, then so be it. It is perfect in every way.”

Mohawk tells the Superfine origin story every chance it gets: on their website, in press releases, in promotional videos and in their own lush magazine, Mohawk Maker Quarterly. And now Ted O’Connor, Mohawk’s senior vice president and general manager of envelope and converting, is telling it again. He sits on an ottoman in a hotel suite on the 24th floor of what a plaque outside declares is “The Tallest Building in the World with an All-Concrete Structure”. It’s day one, hour zero of Paper2017 in Chicago, the annual three-day event at which the industry, its suppliers and its clients come together to network and engage in “timely sessions on emerging issues”. Attendees are rolling in and registering, and the Mohawk team is killing time before wall-to-wall meetings.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

The Best Movies of 2017

In 2017, the most important event in the world of movies was the revelation, in the Times and The New Yorker, of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, and the resulting liberation of the long-stifled voices of the women and men who had been abused by him or other powerful men in the movie business, and, for that matter, in other arts and industries, too. The prevalence of sexual abuse, and the network of complicity that prevented Weinstein’s abuses from coming to light, and which inflicted additional emotional and professional abuses on the victims, have legal, moral, and political implications that are inseparable from aesthetic ones—from the art of movies.

It’s true every year, but all the more conspicuous now, that any list of the year’s best movies has gaps—of the movies, performances, and other creations that are missing because they are unrealized, unrealized because the women (and, yes, also some men) who were working their way up to directing, producing, or other notable activities in the world of movies, who were already acting or writing or fulfilling other creative positions, had their careers derailed when they were threatened, intimidated, silenced, or otherwise detached from the industry by powerful men abusing their power for their own pleasure and advantage.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

The African Enlightenment

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The ideals of the Enlightenment are the basis of our democracies and universities in the 21st century: belief in reason, science, skepticism, secularism, and equality. In fact, no other era compares with the Age of Enlightenment. Classical Antiquity is inspiring, but a world away from our modern societies. The Middle Ages was more reasonable than its reputation, but still medieval. The Renaissance was glorious, but largely because of its result: the Enlightenment. The Romantic era was a reaction to the Age of Reason – but the ideals of today’s modern states are seldom expressed in terms of romanticism and emotion. Immanuel Kant’s argument in the essay ‘Perpetual Peace’ (1795) that ‘the human race’ should work for ‘a cosmopolitan constitution’ can be seen as a precursor for the United Nations.

As the story usually goes, the Enlightenment began with René Descartes’s Discourse on the Method (1637), continuing on through John Locke, Isaac Newton, David Hume, Voltaire and Kant for around one and a half centuries, and ending with the French Revolution of 1789, or perhaps with the Reign of Terror in 1793. By the time that Thomas Paine published The Age of Reason in 1794, that era had reached its twilight. Napoleon was on the rise.

But what if this story is wrong? What if the Enlightenment can be found in places and thinkers that we often overlook? Such questions have haunted me since I stumbled upon the work of the 17th-century Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692), also spelled Zära Yaqob.

Yacob was born on 28 August 1599 into a rather poor family on a farm outside Axum, the legendary former capital in northern Ethiopia. At school he impressed his teachers, and was sent to a new school to learn rhetoric (siwasiw in Geéz, the local language), poetry and critical thinking (qiné) for four years. Then he went to another school to study the Bible for 10 years, learning the teachings of the Catholics and the Copts, as well as the country’s mainstream Orthodox tradition. (Ethiopia has been Christian since the early 4th century, rivalling Armenia as the world’s oldest Christian nation.)

In the 1620s, a Portuguese Jesuit convinced King Susenyos to convert to Catholicism, which soon became Ethiopia’s official religion. Persecution of free thinkers followed suit, intensifying from 1630. Yacob, who was teaching in the Axum region, had declared that no religion was more right than any other, and his enemies brought charges against him to the king.

Yacob fled at night, taking with him only some gold and the Psalms of David. He headed south to the region of Shewa, where he came upon the Tekezé River. There he found an uninhabited area with a ‘beautiful cave’ at the foot of a valley. Yacob built a fence of stones, and lived in the wilderness to ‘front only the essential facts of life’, as Henry David Thoreau was to describe a similar solitary life a couple of centuries later in Walden (1854).

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.