In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On The Kidnapped African Boy Who Became A German Philosopher

The Experiment

In 1707, a boy no more than five years old left Axim, on the African Gold Coast, for Amsterdam, aboard a ship belonging to the Dutch West India Company. In those days, the trip to Europe took many weeks, but his arrival in the Dutch port was not the end of his long journey. He then had to travel another few hundred miles to Wolfenbüttel, the home of Anton Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Anton Ulrich was a major patron of the European Enlightenment. His librarian was Gottfried Leibniz, one of the leading philosophers, mathematicians, and inventors of his era, and co-creator, with Isaac Newton, of calculus; and the ducal library in Wolfenbüttel housed one of the most magnificent book collections in the world.

The child had apparently been offered as a “gift” to the duke, who, in turn, handed the boy on to his son, August Wilhelm; and we first hear of him as a member of August Wilhelm’s household. From his baptism until 1735, the boy continued to receive the patronage of the dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, as Anton Ulrich was succeeded by August Wilhelm, and August Wilhelm was succeeded by his brother, Ludwig Rudolf, in turn. And, as a child, he would no doubt have met Leibniz, who lived, as he did, under their patronage.

Read the rest of this article at: Lit Hub

In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook
Before It Breaks Democracy?

At ten o’clock on a weekday morning in August, Mark Zuckerberg, the chairman and C.E.O. of Facebook, opened the front door of his house in Palo Alto, California, wearing the tight smile of obligation. He does not enjoy interviews, especially after two years of ceaseless controversy. Having got his start as a programmer with a nocturnal bent, he is also not a morning person. Walking toward the kitchen, which has a long farmhouse table and cabinets painted forest green, he said, “I haven’t eaten breakfast yet. Have you?”

Since 2011, Zuckerberg has lived in a century-old white clapboard Craftsman in the Crescent Park neighborhood, an enclave of giant oaks and historic homes not far from Stanford University. The house, which cost seven million dollars, affords him a sense of sanctuary. It’s set back from the road, shielded by hedges, a wall, and mature trees. Guests enter through an arched wooden gate and follow a long gravel path to a front lawn with a saltwater pool in the center. The year after Zuckerberg bought the house, he and his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, held their wedding in the back yard, which encompasses gardens, a pond, and a shaded pavilion. Since then, they have had two children, and acquired a seven-hundred-acre estate in Hawaii, a ski retreat in Montana, and a four-story town house on Liberty Hill, in San Francisco. But the family’s full-time residence is here, a ten-minute drive from Facebook’s headquarters.

Occasionally, Zuckerberg records a Facebook video from the back yard or the dinner table, as is expected of a man who built his fortune exhorting employees to keep “pushing the world in the direction of making it a more open and transparent place.” But his appetite for personal openness is limited. Although Zuckerberg is the most famous entrepreneur of his generation, he remains elusive to everyone but a small circle of family and friends, and his efforts to protect his privacy inevitably attract attention. The local press has chronicled his feud with a developer who announced plans to build a mansion that would look into Zuckerberg’s master bedroom. After a legal fight, the developer gave up, and Zuckerberg spent forty-four million dollars to buy the houses surrounding his. Over the years, he has come to believe that he will always be the subject of criticism. “We’re not—pick your noncontroversial business—selling dog food, although I think that people who do that probably say there is controversy in that, too, but this is an inherently cultural thing,” he told me, of his business. “It’s at the intersection of technology and psychology, and it’s very personal.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Tossed Salad And Scrambled Eggs: An Oral History Of Frasier

From the first etching of the Seattle skyline to the final fade-out inside a Chicago-bound airplane, Frasier celebrated the intelligence of its audience with sharp, accessible humor. For 11 seasons, from 1993 to 2004, NBC’s hugely successful Cheers spin-off walked a fine line between extreme theatricality and heightened reality. It played with our emotions, shifting easily from major to minor keys and balancing goofy farce with tales of heartbreak and woe.

The show’s creators, David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee, followed a simple mantra: no stupid jokes, no stupid characters. Deliver smart, heartfelt content framed within awkward situations. And never take the easy way out.

In front of the camera, Frasier’s cast elevated even the best material; behind it they connected as family, becoming godparents to each other’s children and siblings at heart. The fact that Kelsey Grammer (Frasier Crane) and David Hyde Pierce (Niles Crane) still lovingly refer to the late John Mahoney (who played their father, Martin) as “dad” tells you everything you need to know.

Frasier is beloved enough that the mere mention of a potential reboot can spin social media into a frenzy. And while the radio psychiatrist’s future remains unwritten, the pioneering series—which won a record-breaking 37 Emmys from 108 nominations, the most for any comedy or drama until Game of Thrones took the title in 2017—serves as a testament to creative excellence and intelligent comedy. On the 25th anniversary of the show’s premiere in September 1993, it’s time to look back behind the scenes of one of television’s best series ever. We’re listening.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Americans Want To Believe Jobs Are The Solution To Poverty. They’re Not.

In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Vanessa Solivan and her three children fled their last place in June 2015, after a young man was shot and killed around the corner. They found a floor to sleep on in Vanessa’s parents’ home on North Clinton Avenue in East Trenton. It wasn’t a safer neighborhood, but it was a known one. Vanessa took only what she could cram into her station wagon, a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica, letting the bed bugs have the rest.

At her childhood home, Vanessa began caring for her ailing father. He had been a functional crack addict for most of her life, working as a landscaper in the warmer months and collecting unemployment when business slowed down. “It was something you got used to seeing,” Vanessa said about her father’s drug habit. “My dad was a junkie, but he never left us.” Vanessa, 33, has black hair that is usually pulled into a bun and wire-framed glasses that slide down her nose; a shy smile peeks out when she feels proud of herself.

Vanessa’s father died a year after Vanessa moved in. The family erected a shrine to him in the living room, a faded, large photo of a younger man surrounded by silk flowers and slowly sinking balloons. Vanessa’s mother, Zaida, is 62 and from Puerto Rico, as was her husband. She uses a walker to get around. Her husband’s death left her with little income, and Vanessa was often broke herself. Her health failing, Zaida could take only so much of Vanessa’s children, Taliya, 17, Shamal, 14, and Tatiyana, 12. When things got too loud or one of her grandchildren gave her lip, she would ask Vanessa to take her children somewhere else.

If Vanessa had the money, or if a local nonprofit did, she would book a motel room. She liked the Red Roof Inn, which she saw as “more civilized” than many of the other motels she had stayed in. It looked like a highway motel: two stories with doors that opened to the outside. The last time the family checked in, the kids carried their homework up to the room as Vanessa followed with small grocery bags from the food pantry, passing two men sipping Modelos and apologizing for their loud music. Inside their room, Vanessa placed her insulin in the minifridge as her children chose beds, where they would sleep two to a mattress. Then she slid into a small chair, saying, “Y’all don’t know how tired Mommy is.” After a quiet moment, Vanessa reached over and rubbed Shamal’s back, telling him, “I wish we had a nice place like this.” Then her eye spotted a roach feeling its way over the stucco wall.

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

A Spy Story: Sergei Skripal Was A Little Fish. He Had A Big Enemy.

In the News 09.12.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

MOSCOW — Sergei V. Skripal was a little fish.

This is how British officials now describe Mr. Skripal, a Russian intelligence officer they recruited as a spy in the mid-1990s. When the Russians caught Mr. Skripal, they saw him that way, too, granting him a reduced sentence. So did the Americans: The intelligence chief who orchestrated his release to the West in 2010 had never heard of him when he was included in a spy swap with Moscow.

But Mr. Skripal was significant in the eyes of one man — Vladimir V. Putin, an intelligence officer of the same age and training.

The two men had dedicated their lives to an intelligence war between the Soviet Union and the West. When that war was suspended, both struggled to adapt.

One rose, and one fell. While Mr. Skripal was trying to reinvent himself, Mr. Putin and his allies, former intelligence officers, were gathering together the strands of the old Soviet system. Gaining power, Mr. Putin began settling scores, reserving special hatred for those who had betrayed the intelligence tribe when it was most vulnerable.

“A person who chooses this fate will regret it a thousand times,” President Vladimir V. Putin said of moles.CreditPool photo by Maxim Marmur
Six months ago, Mr. Skripal was found beside his daughter, Yulia, slumped on a bench in an English city, hallucinating and foaming at the mouth. His poisoning led to a Cold War-style confrontation between Russia and the West, with both sides expelling diplomats and wrangling over who tried to kill him and why.

Last Wednesday, British officials offered specifics, accusing Russia of sending two hit men to smear Mr. Skripal’s front door handle with a nerve agent, an accusation vigorously denied by Moscow. British intelligence chiefs claim they have identified the men as members of the same Russian military intelligence unit, the G.R.U., or Main Intelligence Directorate, where Mr. Skripal once worked.

It is unclear if Mr. Putin played a role in the poisoning of Mr. Skripal, who survived and has gone into hiding. But dozens of interviews conducted in Britain, Russia, Spain, Estonia, the United States and the Czech Republic, as well as a review of Russian court documents, show how their lives intersected at key moments.

In 2010, when Mr. Skripal and three other convicted spies were released to the West, Mr. Putin had been watching from the sidelines with mounting fury. Asked to comment on the freed spies, Mr. Putin publicly daydreamed about their death.

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

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