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In the News 02.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 02.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 02.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 02.19.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Nominees In The 2018 World Press Photo Contest

The top images being considered to win awards in the 61st annual World Press Photo Contest ​have just been released, with the final announcement of the winners coming on April 12. Jury members selected the nominees in eight categories, including the new environment category, from submissions made by 42 photographers hailing from 22 countries. World Press Photo has been kind enough to allow us to share some of this year’s nominees here with you.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

What The Stoics Did For Us


My personal philosophical trajectory can be summarised as follows: (mildly) Catholic by birth; atheist at 15; humanist until 50; then secular Stoic. That is, like a number of people prone to questioning their beliefs, I began with whatever religion was inculcated in me by my family and society, rejected it as soon as I developed sufficient independent thought (in my case, aided by Bertrand Russell and his essay “Why I Am Not a Christian”), and then adopted a more thoughtful framework to make sense of things and to guide me in life.

Why, then, did I not stop at humanism? What’s this Stoic thing all about? Humanism is a great set of ideas which found its roots in Ancient Greek philosophy, and began to flourish during the Enlightenment. It is a philosophy of reason and rational ethics, it supports science, and it promotes social justice and politically progressive causes. And yet, there had always been something nagging me about the whole thing. Whenever I told people that I was a ­humanist (or “secular humanist”, as we usually say in the US) I found that I had more than a bit of trouble articulating what, exactly, that means – other than a collection of nice ideas that seemed to be a list of things I like, more than a coherent philosophy. Atheism, if anything, fares even worse. Yes, I am an atheist, in the same sense in which I am an a-unicornist – I don’t see any positive reasons to believe in a deity, or in unicorns. But that’s just a negative metaphysical or, more strictly, epistemic position. It doesn’t really commit me to anything positive. It isn’t, in other words, a philosophy at all.

Read the rest of this article at: New Huminist

The Final, Terrible Voyage of the ‘Nautilus’

On May 3, 2008, a sunny Saturday in Copenhagen, a crowd gathered along a dock to watch a 58-foot submarine be lowered into the water. Part art project, part engineering feat, the submarine weighed 40 tons and had been built by volunteers at minimal cost from donated iron and other parts. The onlookers cheered as the submarine floated for the first time. Peter Madsen, the designer of the vessel and the organizer of the day’s event, climbed into the hatch, smiling in a white skipper’s hat, before the submarine motored into the water.

Madsen christened the vessel the UC3 Nautilus, after the fictional submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Jules Verne’s antihero Captain Nemo was a figure who lived outside social laws, sailing the seven seas in search of total freedom. Unlike Nemo, Madsen had stayed close to home in Denmark, but he had devoted his life to building audacious vehicles of his own design, ones that might venture high above the atmosphere or down into the depths of the ocean.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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Why ‘Black Panther’ Is A Defining Moment For Black America

The Grand Lake Theater — the kind of old-time movie house with cavernous ceilings and ornate crown moldings — is one place I take my kids to remind us that we belong to Oakland, Calif. Whenever there is a film or community event that has meaning for this town, the Grand Lake is where you go to see it. There are local film festivals, indie film festivals, erotic film festivals, congressional town halls, political fund-raisers. After Hurricane Katrina, the lobby served as a drop-off for donations. We run into friends and classmates there. On weekends we meet at the farmers’ market across the street for coffee.

The last momentous community event I experienced at the Grand Lake was a weeknight viewing of “Fruitvale Station,” the 2013 film directed by the Bay Area native Ryan Coogler. It was about the real-life police shooting of Oscar Grant, 22, right here in Oakland, where Grant’s killing landed less like a news story and more like the death of a friend or a child. He had worked at a popular grocery, gone to schools and summer camps with the children of acquaintances. His death — he was shot by the transit police while handcuffed, unarmed and face down on a train-station platform, early in the morning of New Year’s Day 2009 — sparked intense grief, outrage and sustained protest, years before Black Lives Matter took shape as a movement. Coogler’s telling took us slowly through the minutiae of Grant’s last day alive: We saw his family and child, his struggles at work, his relationship to a gentrifying city, his attempts to make sense of a young life that felt both aimless and daunting. But the moment I remember most took place after the movie was over: A group of us, friends and strangers alike and nearly all black, stood in the cool night under the marquee, crying and holding one another. It didn’t matter that we didn’t know one another. We knew enough.

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

Inside Camp David

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It’s been described as “a place that doesn’t exist.” And it’s an apt portrayal; Camp David is purposely hard to find. The intrigue of the place, its mystery, begins with the difficulty of accessing it. The turnoff, which would easily escape the eye of a casual traveler, is a crack in the almost seamless landscape of Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains, marked with a small sign that reads camp #3, an anonymous designation tracing back to an old Works Progress Administration site from the 1930s. There is no grand entrance, no stately front gate or barrier on the main road. Even David Eisenhower, for whom it’s named, had a hard time locating it on his drives through the mountains with his wife. Its very anonymity is its best defense against intruders, as there is nothing discernible to give it away—no observable security, nothing at all but the woods and a high fence that’s mostly hidden unless you get up close. It can feel, on a dark winter afternoon, as if the nearest human being is a thousand miles away. But if, by accident or intention, you turn in and proceed a few yards down the path, everything changes. The silent landscape springs to life in the form of some of the most capable and observant military forces known to man. Here, the trees really do have eyes.

Camp David’s official name is Naval Support Facility Thurmont, and it is commanded by a U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer—as I was when I served there under Presidents Bush 43 and Clinton as commanding officer, or CO—and staffed by a team of sailors, marines and other military personnel under the White House Military Office (WHMO, pronounced “whammo”). We’re the force on the ground, so to speak, and the story of the camp is very much our story too.

Camp David is functionally invisible, as it’s designed to be. During World War II, the administration went to great lengths to deny the site (then called Shangri‑La) even existed. Such secrecy is understandable in a time of war, but there was another reason for it too: A president needs a small corner of the universe where he can truly be alone with his thoughts and relaxed in his demeanor. Before Reagan took office, Pat Nixon confided to Nancy, “Without Camp David, you’ll go stir crazy.” And most presidents since have agreed.

Churchill wanted to see what a jukebox looked like. He strode inside, handed the stunned owner some coins, and bought a beer. The people of Thurmont still talk about it.

Today, absolute privacy is the gift Camp David continues to bestow on presidents. Press access is extremely limited, and photography is rarely permitted. Unlike at the White House, where every moment is observed and recorded, at the camp, it is possible to close the door and draw the curtains, shutting out the nation for a precious brief time. It’s a place where presidents can breathe.

Read the rest of this article at: The National

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

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