In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Through Two Doors

Imagine throwing a baseball and not being able to tell exactly where it’ll go, despite your ability to throw accurately. Say that you are able to predict only that it will end up, with equal probability, in the mitt of one of five catchers. The baseball randomly materialises in one catcher’s mitt, while the others come up empty. And before it’s caught, you cannot talk of the baseball being real – for it has no deterministic trajectory from thrower to catcher. Until it becomes ‘real’, the ball can potentially appear in any one of the five mitts. This might seem bizarre, but the subatomic world studied by quantum physicists behaves in this counterintuitive way.

Microscopic particles, governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, throw up some of the biggest questions about the nature of our underlying reality. Do we live in a universe that is deterministic – or given to chance and the rolls of dice? Does reality at the smallest scales of nature exist independent of observers or observations – or is reality created upon observation? And are there ‘spooky actions at a distance’, Albert Einstein’s phrase for how one particle can influence another particle instantaneously, even if the two particles are miles apart.

As profound as these questions are, they can be asked and understood – if not yet satisfactorily answered – by looking at modern variations of a simple experiment that began as a study of the nature of light more than 200 years ago. It’s called the double-slit experiment, and its findings course through the veins of experimental quantum physics. The American physicist Richard Feynman in 1965 said that this experiment ‘has in it the heart of quantum mechanics’. Werner Heisenberg, the German physicist and founding member of quantum physics, would often refer to this strange experiment in his discussions with others to ‘concentrate the poison of the paradox’ thrown up by nature at the smallest scales.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Reykjavik Confessions

In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The lava rolls down from the jagged, snowcapped mountain ridge and across the Reykjanes peninsula, swamping the land like a petrified ocean – a swell of charcoal, grey and brown, flecked with a sickly mossy green.

This barren landscape stretches for 100km, the only interruption the odd gloomy mound rising from the earth like an ancient tomb.

A place to dwell for the ghosts of those lost in the network of crevasses and fissures, some of them going down 30 metres, deep enough to swallow a person, to make them disappear.

On the night of 26 January 1974, these fields would have been perilous. A storm had blown in from the Atlantic with snow falling in thick clumps but Gudmundur Einarsson was oblivious to this.

An 18-year-old casual labourer, he had been partying at the Alpyouhusid, a dance hall in the pretty harbour town of Hafnarfjordur, south of Reykjavik.

When he left, in the early hours, Gudmundur decided to walk the 10km home, an act of blind faith that only comes with youth.

One driver spotted him walking unsteadily trying, with another man, to hitch a ride. A short while later, now alone, he almost fell in front of another vehicle. The motorist drove on, leaving him in the snow.

Gudmundur never reached home.

It took several days for search teams to start scouring the lava fields but they were hampered by thick snow, half a metre deep, and after a few weeks the hunt was called off.

In Iceland disappearances aren’t uncommon and are a recurring theme in popular fiction there.

“Over decades and decades in Iceland people have gone missing without anyone finding anything out – they just sort of disappear,” says Snorri Magnusson, an Icelandic police detective with 30 years’ service.

This is what happened to Gudmundur, lost among the Huldufolk, the mythical elves of Icelandic folklore who live in the dark spaces under the lava.

Gudmundur became another statistic, one of the dozens of people in the past 50 years who have vanished.

His name would have faded from the public’s memory if it hadn’t been for another disappearance 10 months later, in November 1974, when the perpetual night of Icelandic winter had returned.

Geirfinnur Einarsson shared the same second name as Gudmundur but the two were not related.

Read the rest of this article at: BBC

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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The Untold Story Of Stripe, The Secretive $20bn Startup Driving Apple, Amazon And Facebook

On a hot summer’s day in a lush, green Cairo garden just a stone’s throw from the Nile, 29-year-old Mostafa Amin is talking about bread. He’s speaking with the kind of reverence usually reserved for celebrities, football teams or minor miracles like manna – the small, doughy rolls dropped from on high to help the Israelites flee the Pharaoh, according to the Bible.

“In Egyptian Arabic, we call bread ‘aish’, which translates as ‘life’,” Amin explains. “We are a culture of bread – not rice, not meat or potatoes. Most of us eat Egyptian baladi bread with all three meals across the day. Last year we were the world’s number-two consumer of flour and we produced – not consumed, okay — 28 billion loaves of baladi. It’s important.”

Indeed, bread is more than just food in Egypt – it’s history, glory, anger and revolution. The first ever loaf of bread was baked in Egypt 10,000 years ago, thanks to the quern, a technological innovation that allowed nomadic people to crush grain. The Nile delta, at the height of the Roman Empire, was the bread basket of the world. Across the 20th century, every drop in the bread subsidy in Egypt, a country where 45 per cent of the population earn around $2 per day, caused huge public protests. On 17 January 2011, a baker called Abdou Abdel Monaam set himself on fire in the port city of Alexandria over the price of bread, sparking an uprising that kickstarted Egypt’s Arab Spring and led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak’s government.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Ryan Gosling On First Man, Moon Landing Conspiracies, And Mild Concussions

In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The moon. That history, that responsibility. The inability to fathom, or believe all the way. The controversy over Chazelle’s scenes on the lunar surface makes me wonder about another enduring controversy—the conspiracy that the original moon landing was faked, filmed instead on a soundstage, by a Hollywood filmmaker, maybe 2001 director Stanley Kubrick.

Having now filmed the Apollo 11 moon landing yourself, did you ever find yourself thinking, Oh, so it is possible to fake this?

“To me it was actually the opposite takeaway,” Chazelle says, smiling. “I mean, I remember our crew and I would look at each other: ‘If it’s this hard to literally re-create, like, a five-minute version of this event 50 years later… To re-create a live stream, basically, of hours of this event in 1969?’ I’m of the mind-set it would’ve been harder to fake this than to actually do it.”

At this, Gosling chuckles. He knows the difficulty they endured on the set.

“At that point, you might as well send people off in a rocket,” Chazelle says.

Their moon was a rock quarry that the art department sculpted into a lunar surface. They shot at night, replicating the sun with a giant light engineered by director of photography Linus Sandgren—a light the crew suspects might be the biggest ever made for a movie, a light that ended up getting pretty hot.

“I luckily wasn’t in the space suit,” Chazelle says, “but I don’t think it was the most comfortable shooting environment of all time.…”

“Well…,” Gosling says. He didn’t feel much liberty to protest. “There was always somebody on set that either had direct experience with the missions we were shooting or was indirectly related to it, and I think they were strategically there because it made it impossible to complain about whatever your trivial discomfort was in relation to what they had actually experienced.”

Gosling and Chazelle laugh in recall, a reel of Gosling in pain clearly flashing before both of their eyes. The rapport they’ve established over the course of the two films, with the attendant festivals and ceremonies and close-quarters engagements, glows right at the surface.

I mention to Gosling that I heard he got a concussion on set.

“Nooo,” Gosling says bravely, smirking again. “Mild…”

“Ryan rode everything,” Chazelle says helpfully. “So it was the culmination of the X-15 and the Gemini and the—”

“We shot all those things in the same week…,” Gosling says.

Chazelle explains that the film’s key action scenes—variously involving experimental rocket planes, space capsules, and lunar modules—were filmed together, right on the heels of the physically taxing scenes that depict Armstrong’s training. One sequence was shot on a “multi-axis trainer,” a machine devised to prepare the astronauts for scenarios in which forces might be applied on all three axes at once—pitch, roll, and yaw—and more or less simulate a tumble in space. (Think of that sketchy ride at a hometown fair where you strap yourself in like the Vitruvian Man and get flipped like a coin until you vomit—it’s sorta like that but with more g’s.)

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

In The Kingdom Of The Bears

In the News 10.10.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A snuffling and snorting outside my tent stirs me awake. I sit up, feel for my bear spray, and try to recall my surroundings. My tent is just one of several, and the food is locked in an old trailer down a path through the scrubby trees. The only other sound is my breathing—until a sharp bang from someone hitting a pot splits the air, shooing away our midnight visitor in a calm, firm voice: “Yau ‘thà. [Hello, black bear.] Go on now. Not tonight, thank you.”

I lie back down, and as sleep drifts toward me, my subconscious chides me awake: “There’s toothpaste in a bag by your feet.” Damn, so much for a bare campsite in bear country. I’m over 400 kilometers northwest of Vancouver and a two-hour boat ride from the nearest human outpost, the Wuikinuxv Nation’s village on British Columbia’s central coast. Night one of a three-day camping trip in the nation’s territory—a place that’s pretty much Kingdom of the Bears—and already I’ve failed to consider the furrier beings on the landscape. Any bear within a few kilometers would have smelled our arrival. Once in their midst, a curious odor—even toothpaste—may beckon a sensitive snout.

I tuck my toothpaste—and the face cream and sunscreen I find with it—into a dry bag and shove it outside my tent. In reality, that will do little to keep the bear from coming back to investigate if it’s interested in my lotions and potions. The gesture also does little for my self-reproach—when living with bears is an occasional thing, it’s easy to forget the little courtesies necessary for sharing space. The art of neighboring bears has to be practiced.

After the sun rises, I join people shuffling to the campfire in varying degrees of alertness, by ones, twos, threes, lured by the aroma of camp coffee and the warmth of the flames; it’s mid-June but still chilly in the morning. The kids show up about an hour later than the adults, descending in an alarmingly awake unit of 12 and perking up even more when they smell pancakes. Most of the 35 people in the group—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children—are from the Wuikinuxv [Oh-weh-KEEN-o] and Haíłzaqv [Heiltsuk] Nations. The scientists studying bears in Wuikinuxv territory collaborated with the community to organize the trip. It’s a gesture of reciprocity, an act of appreciation for sharing place and knowledge, a teaching opportunity for the youngest.

Read the rest of this article at: Hakai

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

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