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In the News 03.30.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 03.30.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.30.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 03.30.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What Smartphone Photography Is Doing To Our Memories

Though they may appear crystal clear in our minds, our memories are not a carbon copy of the events we witnessed.

Every time we recall a memory, we may accidentally alter it or diminish its accuracy. Even trivial memories are easily corrupted with mere suggestions. The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus once found that when people are told cars “collided” instead of “hit,” they recalled a car accident as being more severe than it was.

Most frustrating of all: We change these details and reconstruct reality without being aware we’re doing it. And the seams of our edited memories are silently sealed; we often can’t remember what we can’t remember.

As a journalist who covers psychology, I’m constantly reading about the mind’s failures of accuracy. And it makes me nervous.

Two years ago, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and took 400 pictures along the way. I was worried that images of the canyon — the way the mid-morning light looked on the red-ocher and sand-colored walls — would slip from my memory and be replaced with an approximation. So I leaned on the camera; its memory seemed crystalline, undegradable.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

In the News 03.30.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Redemption of a Lost Prodigy


As the sun set and the tide started to rise around City Island, the seaside village off the eastern tip of the Bronx, Saul Chandler took his seat at a bar called the Snug. Mr. Chandler, 70, a small man who smokes cheap cigars and refuses Budweiser not in glass bottles, is one of the island’s waterfront eccentrics. He is a bar-stool fixture at the pub, known for telling bawdy jokes and paying the tabs of strangers before slipping into the night.

He likes rambling about his boat, a two-masted schooner docked nearby. The shipyard was lonesome throughout winter, but he was usually in the hull of the schooner drinking beer and sawing wood by lamplight, classical music echoing from a radio in his cabin. He mostly tells stories: how he glued himself to a boat he was repairing and had to rip himself free and wander off in his underpants, how he nearly sank in the Bermuda Triangle, how he has named vessels after the Herman Melville novels “Typee” and “Omoo.”

After a few beers, however, Mr. Chandler might tell a story that is not of the cheerful maritime sort:

“I played Carnegie Hall twice before I was 13.”

“I was known for my Bach.”

“They turned me into a trained monkey.”

“If I could forget about music I would.”

When asked to say more, he shrugs, and the stories fade into the barroom haze. But this mysterious specter follows him to his boat. When music is playing on the radio, if a certain violin concerto comes on, he may get up and switch the station off. “The violin upsets me,” he said. “It reminds me of terror.”

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

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
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What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld?

Earlier this year, an old story about Matthew Broderick went viral. In 2009, Alex Cabana was on vacation with his family in Montauk. He and his daughter were waiting in line at a pharmacy, when he struck up a conversation with a man he thought he recognized. In the way that reality warps when someone we’re familiar with from one context is transposed into another, he couldn’t exactly place him.

“I came out of the store and was thinking, ‘I know this guy. He looks famous,’” Cabana said.

Just in case, he asked the man — who he eventually realized was the star of the 1998 Roland Emmerich blockbuster Godzilla — to pose for a photo with his daughter outside. Broderick’s friend, an intruder in this chance portrait of celebrity bleeding into real life, was asked to step aside, as his presence was throwing off the composition of the shot. The second man obliged, and waited patiently in his bright white sneakers and baggy dad jeans, grimacing in the glare of the sun as if he weren’t even there.

Later on, Cabana showed the picture to his wife, who immediately pointed out his hilarious oversight. It was Jerry Seinfeld, who Cabana would later say he watched “every night.” He just hadn’t recognized him.

Read the rest of this article at: The Outline


How ‘The Gospel Of Evil’ Became The Center Of France’s Biggest Fraud Case

Emerging from the morning fog shrouding the art galleries and boutiques of Paris’s 7th Arrondissement, the police arrived at the Hôtel de La Salle at 9:00on November 18, 2014. Once home to the author of France’s code of civil law and, after that, sundry dukes and duchesses, the seventeenth-century mansion was now the headquarters of Aristophil, an upstart investment company founded by Gérard Lhéritier, the son and grandson of a plumber. In just over two decades, the then-sixty-six-year-old Lhéritier—the “king of manuscripts,” as he’d been dubbed by the local media—had amassed the largest private collection of historical letters and manuscripts in the country, effectively cornering the market. Among his 130,000-odd holdings were André Breton’s original Surrealist Manifesto, love notes from Napoleon to Josephine, the last testament of Louis XVI, and fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The bulk was housed in Aristophil’s Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, around the corner on Boulevard St.-Germain. But Lhéritier’s marquee acquisition rested inside a custom-made glass display on the mansion’s ground floor: a yellowed, fraying parchment, four and a half inches wide and nearly forty feet long, densely covered on both sides with 157,000 ornately handwritten words so minute they are virtually illegible without a magnifying glass. Composed in a prison cell by Donatien-Alphonse-François, better known as the Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom has been variously described as “one of the most important novels ever written” and “the gospel of evil.”

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

Fuelling The Future


In his short story ‘Let There Be Light’, the science-fiction author Robert A Heinlein introduced the energy source that would power his Future History series of stories and novels. First published in Super Science Stories magazine in May 1940, it described the Douglas-Martin sunpower screens that would provide (almost) free and inexhaustible energy to fuel the future in subsequent instalments of his alternative timeline. It was simple, robust and reliable technology. ‘We can bank ’em in series to get any required voltage; we can bank in parallel to get any required current, and the power is absolutely free, except for the installation costs,’ marvelled one of the inventors as they worked out the new technology’s potential for rupturing the social order of the future.

The sunpower screens were clay-coated panels that absorbed sunlight and turned it into electricity with almost 100 per cent efficiency, or worked the other way to turn electricity into light. Like most of Heinlein’s Future History stories, this one offered readers a calculated blend of technology and culture. The sunscreens weren’t technology from nowhere – they fitted into a particularly American history of invention that emphasised individual ingenuity against corporate and collective power: in the popular imagination, they were the descendants of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. The story was stamped with Heinlein’s own distinctive brand of anti-corporate politics that emphasised individuals’ responsibility for making their own futures.

Heinlein needed the sunscreens to make his future work; that is, to answer the problem of how technological culture might flourish in a world of diminishing resources. This was not a new problem, even in 1940, and it is an increasingly pressing one now. The question of what is going to fuel the future has never been more urgent. Is it going to be wind or wave power? Will fuel cells, solar panels or even the holy grail of fusion be the answer to our problems? Or are we going to frack ourselves into oblivion? If we want to better understand how we speculate about future energy now, then we need to appreciate the extent to which those speculations have a history, and that their history (from the early Victorian period on) contains such fictions as Heinlein’s story as often as, and frequently mixed in with, highly technical debates about the characteristics and requirements of different modes of energy production and consumption.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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

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