In the News 03.21.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 03.21.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.21.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.21.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

If you want to stay successful, learn to think like Leonardo da Vinci

Some of history’s greatest contributions have come from polymaths.

Aristotle practically invented half a dozen fields of study across philosophy. Galileo was as much a physicist as he was an engineer when he helped kick-start the scientific revolution. Da Vinci might have been even more famous as an inventor than an artist if his notebooks were ever published.

Even in the last 100 years, we have had people like John Von Neumann and Herbert Simon who have made breakthrough advances across fields as diverse as computer science, economics, and psychology.

That is, of course, not to detract from the specialists who have pushed our progress forward. In fact, until now, these specialists have far outnumbered the polymaths in both their historical ranks and their contributions.

After all, it takes a lot of time to master the depths of a specific field so that you can eventually add something that pushes it ahead. From this point of view, it makes sense that polymaths have been as scarce as they have been.

Still, it’s clear that whenever we have had giants like Aristotle, Galileo, and da Vinci, the contributions they made even in specialized fields may not have been made in the same way if they hadn’t attacked a problem with a diverse inventory of mental knowledge and understanding.

Polymaths see the world differently. They make connections that are otherwise ignored, and they have the advantage of a unique perspective.

In a world increasingly dominated by machines, I have a feeling that this approach is going to become increasingly valuable.

Read the rest of this article at: Quartz


Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women


Every aging society faces distinct challenges. But Japan, with the world’s oldest population (27.3 percent of its citizens are 65 or older, almost twice the share in the U.S.), has been dealing with one it didn’t foresee: senior crime. Complaints and arrests involving elderly people, and women in particular, are taking place at rates above those of any other demographic group. Almost 1 in 5 women in Japanese prisons is a senior. Their crimes are usually minor—9 in 10 senior women who’ve been convicted were found guilty of shoplifting.

Why have so many otherwise law-abiding elderly women resorted to petty theft? Caring for Japanese seniors once fell to families and communities, but that’s changing. From 1980 to 2015, the number of seniors living alone increased more than sixfold, to almost 6 million. And a 2017 survey by Tokyo’s government found that more than half of seniors caught shoplifting live alone; 40 percent either don’t have family or rarely speak with relatives. These people often say they have no one to turn to when they need help.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Reasons To Believe

In the good old days, the arrival of UFOs on the front page of America’s paper of record might have seemed like a loose-thread tear right through the fabric of reality — the closest that secular, space-race America could have gotten to a Second Coming. Two decades ago, or three, or six, we would’ve also felt we knew the script in advance, thanks to the endless variations pop culture had played for us already: civilizational conflicts to mirror the real-world ones Americans had been imagining in terror since the beginning of the Cold War.

But when, in December, the New York Times published an undisputed account of what might once have sounded like crackpot conspiracy theory — that the Pentagon had spent five years investigating “unexplained aerial phenomena” — the response among the paper’s mostly liberal readers, exhausted and beaten down by “recent events,” was markedly different from the one in those movies. The news that aliens might actually be visiting us, regularly and recently, didn’t provoke terror about a coming space-opera conflict but something much more like the Evangelical dream of the Rapture the same liberals might have mocked as kooky right-wing escapism in the George W. Bush years. “The truth is out there,” former senator Harry Reid tweeted, with a link to the story. Thank God, came the response through the Twitter vent. “Could extraterrestrials help us save the Earth?” went one typical reaction.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine


The Real Scandal Isn’t Cambridge Analytica. It’s Facebook’s Whole Business Model.

The plot was made for front-page headlines and cable-news chyrons: A scientist-turned-political-operative reportedly hoodwinked Facebook users into giving up personal data on both themselves and all their friends for research purposes, then used it to develop “psychographic” profiles on tens of millions of voters—which in turn may have helped the Trump campaign manipulate its way to a historic victory.

No wonder Facebook is in deep trouble, right? Investigations are being opened; calls for regulation are mounting; Facebook’s stock plunged 7 percent Monday.

Sensational as it sounds, however, the Cambridge Analytica scandal doesn’t indict Facebook in quite the way it might seem. It reveals almost nothing about the social network or its data policies that wasn’t already widely known, and there’s little evidence of blatant wrongdoing by Facebook or its employees. It’s also far from clear what impact, if any, the ill-gotten personal data had on the election’s outcome.

In short, the outrage now directed at Facebook feels disproportionate to the company’s culpability in this specific episode. But that doesn’t mean people are wrong to be outraged. For Facebook, the larger scandal here is not what shadowy misdeeds it allowed Cambridge Analytica to do. It’s what Facebook allowed anyone to do, in plain sight—and, more broadly, it’s the data-fueled online business model that Facebook helped to pioneer.

The Facebook tools and policies that allowed researcher Aleksandr Kogan in 2014 to obtain information for the political-data firm Cambridge Analytica—via an app called Thisismydigitallife—were public and well-known. They were also quite permissive, allowing developers to collect data not only on users who signed up for their app, but also on those users’ Facebook friends. (Facebook has since changed that policy.) As the Washington Post points out, entities ranging from Tinder to FarmVille to Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign used the same tool to collect many of the same kinds of information. As late as 2015, this was simply how Facebook worked.

Read the rest of this article at: Slate

The Excessive Vision of Donatella Versace


From what I can tell, their anger stems from two of Orth’s reported findings. One is that Gianni Versace had apparently met Andrew Cunanan before their fatal encounter. In Vulgar Favors, Orth tracks down and interviews self-proclaimed eyewitnesses to the interactions. The Versace family denies that the two ever crossed paths—though, to be honest, it’s hard to imagine how they (or anyone) could be sure. The second quandary is Orth’s revelation that Gianni Versace had been HIV-positive at the time of his death. Her source is the Miami Beach lead detective on the case, who told Orth that a medical examiner’s blood tests indicated HIV infection. That detective died in 2006. The Versace family has always denied that Gianni Versace had HIV. That’s all we know.

There’s also the compound tragedy bound up in any celebrity death, which is that its emotional toll on the family recurs after the event, endlessly and at unpredictable intervals. First there’s the death itself, which is trauma enough. Then a corny TV docudrama comes out, followed by a 500-page book. Then another TV show, this time with a terrible pun of a title (Fashion Victim: The Killing of Gianni Versace). Then another book and a third TV movie and the reissuing of a previous book. For decades it keeps coming—a campaign of jolts and reminders and randomly inflicted sorrows. The deceased might rest in peace, but his family can’t. So when Ryan Murphy gets his hands on the whole saga, it’s hard to blame Donatella for slamming her door on him.

After the murder, Donatella flew to Miami with her elder brother Santo on a private jet. Gianni’s body was cremated and the ashes placed in a gold box. According to Orth, the gold box was festooned with white orchids, placed inside a larger wooden box wrapped with official seals, and speedily returned to Italy by plane. The will bequeathed half of the company to Donatella’s daughter, Allegra, who was 11 at the time. When the siblings returned home, Donatella shared her plans to take over the design side of the company: “Because I was there, talking for Gianni for two years, I thought people would look at me after, like, ‘Oh, she knows what she’s doing.’ But it wasn’t like that. Everybody was shocked.”

Still, it wasn’t as though Gianni’s death left the company utterly marooned. He’d invented a design vocabulary that his successor could use to write plenty of new sentences: printed silks, kink-inspired leather, Pop-art graphics, metal mesh, the Greek-key motif, the studs, the bias cuts, the leggings, the Medusa head. “I had handfuls of people telling me, You have to follow in Gianni’s steps. He knew how to do it. But myself, I was not sure I had to follow Gianni’s style,” Donatella says. There was a rough patch as she figured out what that meant. “I made a lot of mistake. I know. I did a lot of mistakes for a few years.” By this she is possibly referring to her first solo collections, which received polite but subdued reviews, and possibly also to her escalating drug use at the time. “I really don’t remember what I did,” she says. “It was like a storm. Everything was rubble.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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

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