News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Why We Sleep, And Why We Often Can’t

Contemporary sleep evangelizers worry a good deal about our social attitudes toward sleep. They worry about many things, of course—incandescent light, L.E.D. light, nicotine, caffeine, central heating, alcohol, the addictive folderol of personal technology—but social attitudes seem to exercise them the most. Deep down, they say, we simply do not respect the human need for repose. We remain convinced, in contradiction of all the available evidence, that stinting on sleep makes us heroic and industrious, rather than stupid and fat.

“If we don’t continue to chip away at our collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success, we’ll never be able to restore sleep to its rightful place in our lives,” Arianna Huffington wrote a couple of years ago, in her best-selling how-to guide “The Sleep Revolution.” By way of inspiration, she offered her own conversion story. She was once lackadaisical about getting enough rest. She thought that to get on she had to stay up. Only when months of chronic exhaustion led her to pass out and break her cheekbone on her desk did she wake up, as it were, to the madness and masochism of her work ethos and set about repairing her “estranged relationship with sleep.” These days, she retires at an eminently sensible hour each night, takes a hot bath with Epsom salts, drinks a cup of lavender or chamomile tea, and, just before getting into bed, writes a list of the things she is grateful for—which is a great way, she tells us, to “make sure our blessings get the closing scene of the night.” As a consequence of her sleep-hygiene regimen, not only has her quality of life improved but her business has done fabulously, too. Sleep isn’t the enemy of success and ambition, she’s discovered, it’s the royal road to the corner office. “Sleep your way to the top!” she jauntily enjoins us.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Last Curious Man

News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Chris Bourdain is searching for a word that he cannot quite find. We’re sitting together in a small café in Grand Central Terminal, drinking table wine and talking about his late older brother, Anthony. Chris has a habit of looking away as he’s talking to you, one of many physical traits he shares with Tony. And right now he is thinking, with Bourdainian intensity, for a way to sum up his brother succinctly, and for a very specific reason.

“The death certificate that was printed in France,” he tells me, “listed as his profession ‘chef.’ And I tried for months to figure out, what is the appropriate way to describe what Tony has been doing for the last seven or eight years? There’s no description for it.”

It’s true. There is no easy description for Tony Bourdain, or for the utterly unique role he managed to carve out for himself in this world. He was a chef. He was an author. He was a very popular TV host—the cheerfully dickish center of the food-media universe. He was an explorer who removed degrees of separation from the world’s sociological arithmetic, a man who was always, in his words, hungry for more.

He’s gone now. And while everyone I talked to for this story is still coming to grips with the enormity of that loss, one can also sense a fierce determination among them that Bourdain’s work cannot end with him. That’s why Chris is racking his brain, trying to boil it all down to a simple vocation, a template that others might be able to follow to live richer, fuller lives.

This is Tony, according to those who knew him best.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

In the News 11.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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Miracle At Tham Luang

Six days after the miracle, when the boys were cocooned in a sterile hospital and the divers had flown home and almost all of the journalists had dispersed, people came to the cave again. There were villagers from the flatlands beneath the Doi Nang Non, the mountains that rise between Thailand and Myanmar, and there were volunteers, hundreds of them in their lemon yellow shirts and sky blue caps, who had been there for most of the 18 days the miracle had required. There were monks, too, at a makeshift dais on the footpath to the cave, and there were dignitaries—local authorities, the families of the boys who’d been blessed by the miracle—in rows of chairs under a long tent.
The people, many of them, brought offerings. Below the mouth of the cave and in front of the big sign that announces the place as Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, in a clearing cut into the dirt at the side of the road, they planted small white pennants and sticks of incense and candles the color of goldenrod. On a table near the monks, they left fish and fruit and the severed heads of pigs.
These were gifts to the spirit of the cave. For almost three weeks, Tham Luang had held within her a dozen young soccer players and their coach, who were trapped by flooding rains without food or water or any possible way to remove themselves. For most of that time, it also was assumed, if rarely spoken aloud, that some of those boys—perhaps all of those boys—could die.
The miracle was that they did not.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Unbelievable Tale Of A Fake Hitman,
A Kill List, A Darknet Vigilante… And A Murder

News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I did not know Bryan Njoroge. I had never met him, talked to him, or encountered him online. In ordinary circumstances, I would have never heard of his death, more than 6,500 kilometres away. Yet in late June 2018, a message arrived in my inbox. Its subject read: “Suicide (or Murder)?” The email contained a link to a webpage showing unequivocally that someone wanted Bryan dead.

On May 29, a person calling themselves Toonbib had exchanged messages with someone they thought was a Mafia capo renting hitmen on the dark web. Toonbib had sent a picture of Njoroge in a suit, lifted from a school yearbook, and an address in Indiana where Njoroge – a soldier, who usually resided at a military base in Kentucky – would stay for a few days. “He will only be in location from june 01 2018- june 11,” Toonbib wrote. They paid about $5,500 in bitcoin for the hit.

The day after, Toonbib started chasing the presumed capo for an answer, which took some more time to arrive. “I will assign an operative to your job and it will be done in about a week, is this ok? I will get back to you shortly with an estimated date,” the capo wrote on June 1. Toonbib never answered. On June 9, Bryan Njoroge was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, near a baseball field in Clarksville, Indiana. His death was recorded as a suicide.

There are no hitmen in this story. There are no sharply dressed assassins screwing silencers on to their Glocks, no operatives assigned, nor capos directing them.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

The Friendship That Made Google Huge

News 12.05.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One day in March of 2000, six of Google’s best engineers gathered in a makeshift war room. The company was in the midst of an unprecedented emergency. In October, its core systems, which crawled the Web to build an “index” of it, had stopped working. Although users could still type in queries at, the results they received were five months out of date. More was at stake than the engineers realized. Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were negotiating a deal to power a search engine for Yahoo, and they’d promised to deliver an index ten times bigger than the one they had at the time—one capable of keeping up with the World Wide Web, which had doubled in size the previous year. If they failed, would remain a time capsule, the Yahoo deal would likely collapse, and the company would risk burning through its funding into oblivion.

In a conference room by a set of stairs, the engineers laid doors across sawhorses and set up their computers. Craig Silverstein, a twenty-seven-year-old with a small frame and a high voice, sat by the far wall. Silverstein was Google’s first employee: he’d joined the company when its offices were in Brin’s living room and had rewritten much of its code himself. After four days and nights, he and a Romanian systems engineer named Bogdan Cocosel had got nowhere. “None of the analysis we were doing made any sense,” Silverstein recalled. “Everything was broken, and we didn’t know why.”

Silverstein had barely registered the presence, over his left shoulder, of Sanjay Ghemawat, a quiet thirty-three-year-old M.I.T. graduate with thick eyebrows and black hair graying at the temples. Sanjay had joined the company only a few months earlier, in December. He’d followed a colleague of his—a rangy, energetic thirty-one-year-old named Jeff Dean—from Digital Equipment Corporation. Jeff had left D.E.C. ten months before Sanjay. They were unusually close, and preferred to write code jointly. In the war room, Jeff rolled his chair over to Sanjay’s desk, leaving his own empty. Sanjay worked the keyboard while Jeff reclined beside him, correcting and cajoling like a producer in a news anchor’s ear.

Jeff and Sanjay began poring over the stalled index. They discovered that some words were missing—they’d search for “mailbox” and get no results—and that others were listed out of order. For days, they looked for flaws in the code, immersing themselves in its logic. Section by section, everything checked out. They couldn’t find the bug.

Programmers sometimes conceptualize their software as a structure of layers ranging from the user interface, at the top, down through increasingly fundamental strata. To venture into the bottom of this structure, where the software meets the hardware, is to turn away from the Platonic order of code and toward the elemental universe of electricity and silicon on which it depends. On their fifth day in the war room, Jeff and Sanjay began to suspect that the problem they were looking for was not logical but physical. They converted the jumbled index file to its rawest form of representation: binary code. They wanted to see what their machines were seeing.

On Sanjay’s monitor, a thick column of 1s and 0s appeared, each row representing an indexed word. Sanjay pointed: a digit that should have been a 0 was a 1. When Jeff and Sanjay put all the missorted words together, they saw a pattern—the same sort of glitch in every word. Their machines’ memory chips had somehow been corrupted.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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