News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Does Journalism Have A Future?

The wood-panelled tailgate of the 1972 Oldsmobile station wagon dangled open like a broken jaw, making a wobbly bench on which four kids could sit, eight legs swinging. Every Sunday morning, long before dawn, we’d get yanked out of bed to stuff the car’s way-back with stacks of twine-tied newspapers, clamber onto the tailgate, cut the twine with my mother’s sewing scissors, and ride around town, bouncing along on that bench, while my father shouted out orders from the driver’s seat. “Watch out for the dog!” he’d holler between draws on his pipe. “Inside the screen door!” “Mailbox!” As the car crept along, never stopping, we’d each grab a paper and dash in the dark across icy driveways or dew-drunk grass, crashing, seasonally, into unexpected snowmen. “Back porch!” “Money under the mat!” He kept a list, scrawled on the back of an envelope, taped to the dashboard: the Accounts. “They owe three weeks!” He didn’t need to remind us. We knew each Doberman and every debt. We’d deliver our papers—Worcester Sunday Telegrams—and then run back to the car and scramble onto the tailgate, dropping the coins we’d collected into empty Briggs tobacco tins as we bumped along to the next turn, the newspaper route our Sabbath.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Treasure Behind The Wall

News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Alex Bolen, the chief executive of Oscar de la Renta, planned to have his new store in Paris open around this week, just in time for the couture shows. He planned to have a presence in the city even if he didn’t have a show. He had it all figured out.

Then, last summer, in the middle of renovations, Mr. Bolen got a call from his architect, Nathalie Ryan.

“‘We made a discovery,’” he remembered her saying. On the other end of the phone, Mr. Bolen cringed. The last time he received a call like that about a store, their plans to move a wall had to be scrapped because of fears the building would collapse. He asked what, exactly, the discovery was.

“You have to come and see,” she told him.

So, gritting his teeth, he got on a plane from New York. Ms. Ryan took him to the second floor of what would be the shop, where workers were busily clearing out detritus, and gestured toward the end of the space. Mr. Bolen, she said, blinked. Then he said: “No, it’s not possible.”

Something had been hidden behind a wall, and it wasn’t asbestos. It was a 10-by-20-foot oil painting of an elaborately coifed and dressed 17th-century marquis and assorted courtiers entering the city of Jerusalem.

“It’s very rare and exceptional, for many reasons,” said Benoît Janson, of the restoration specialists Nouvelle Tendance, who is overseeing work on the canvas. Namely, “its historical and aesthetic quality and size.”

Boutique renovations, like most renovations, are often delayed. They frequently run over budget. But rarely are they delayed and over budget because a mysterious artwork more than three centuries old has resurfaced.

In the arms race for the most unique! most authentic! store currently underway, when only-in-person experience is what differentiates retail from e-tail, a cultural treasure surrounded by a puzzle straight out of a Dan Brown novel may be the ultimate accessory.

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

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The Oral History Of Office Space:
Behind The Scenes Of The Cult Classic

In 1991, aspiring animator Mike Judge was a touring musician and grad student living outside of Dallas, Texas, when he channeled his past cubicle-life angst – from his former life as an engineer – into a 16mm short film called Office Space, featuring Milton. The vignette about a mumbling office worker and his condescending boss – which Judge drew, voiced and scored –would air on Comedy Central. It was a low-key launch for one of Hollywood’s most singular comedic voices who brought us the generation-defining MTV cartoon Beavis and Butt-Head, the eerily prescient 2006 satirical feature Idiocracy, and HBO’s Emmy-winning tech-nerd lampoon Silicon Valley among others.

The short film also inspired Judge’s live-action feature debut, Office Space: a box-office-flop-turned-cult-classic that ultimately became one of the most relatable workplace comedies of all time. To mark the film’s 20th anniversary (Feb. 19), EW spoke to key on-and-off-screen talent about how the low-budget comedy – starring mostly unknown actors – became a timeless portrait of Everyman Peter Gibbons’ (Ron Livingston) revenge against smarmy bosses, menacing office equipment and T.P.S coversheets. (Did you get that memo, by the way?)

Read the rest of this article at: Entertainment

News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Tech Revolt

News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The election happens. The next day at the Slack office, people were quite literally sobbing in the cafeteria. I was mostly keeping my shit together until my parents called from Canada. I went into one of the little phone booths and just sobbed on the phone. It took a bit of time to grieve, but then you also have to act. The space that Maciej created in Tech Solidarity was incredibly important. To show up at that first meeting at the Stripe offices and see hundreds of other people who are figuring out what the hell to do next was incredibly gratifying. “Oh, Joe who works over at the security team at a text-editor company actually cares about the fate of Muslim people in America.” There were lots of pleasant surprises like that.

I think one of the things that Tech Solidarity got really right was: “Don’t show up at these organizations offering to make an app for them that you’re going to abandon. Show up and help them fix their printer. Show up and just give them money. You’re a bunch of tech workers making six-plus figures. You made a lot of money on the IPO or whatever. Just give them your money.”It was after the first meeting that I thought about the pledge. While I’m the one who started the Google Doc, a lot of other people were involved in those early conversations about what does it actually mean to take a stand. What ended up becoming the catalyst was the December 14 meeting  between Trump and all the tech CEOs. The attitude was: “We need to get this done before this date so that it’s not just going to be that he shows up, and there’s fanfare. It’s like he shows up, and there are 3,000 people who said, ‘Hell no.’ ”

I put the pledge together in less than a month. I wrote the first draft but quickly pulled in other people. Once we had that deadline, building the website came easily. Imagine a bunch of programmers scattered around San Francisco and around the country working together to get this piece of writing out. Everybody was texting their friends on Signal, sliding into Twitter DMs, getting the names together, so it wouldn’t just be a few of us standing alone. We were blown away by the speed of it. There’s this idea that, “Oh, well, if so-and-so doesn’t do the work for ICE or whatever then some other contractor will step up and do it.” I mean, maybe, but that doesn’t mean you should be the one doing it. You might as well be the squeaky wheel, be the wrench in the machinery. We were just really excited to meet so many other wrenches.

Read the rest of this article at: The California Sunday Magazine

This Metal Is Powering Today’s Technology—At What Price?

News 01.23.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ONE EARLY SATURDAY morning in La Paz, Álvaro García Linera, the vice president of Bolivia, greets me in the spacious salon outside his office overlooking Plaza Murillo. The debonair, silver-haired 56-year-old politician is known in his country as a committed Marxist ideologue. But today he presents himself as a capitalist pitchman.

The pitch in question involves lithium. García Linera speaks of his country’s natural resource in a simultaneously factual and awestruck way. Lithium, essential to our battery-fueled world, is also the key to Bolivia’s future, the vice president assures me. A mere four years hence, he predicts, it will be “the engine of our economy.” All Bolivians will benefit, he continues, “taking them out of poverty, guaranteeing their stability in the middle class, and training them in scientific and technological fields so that they become part of the intelligentsia in the global economy.”

But as the vice president knows, no pitch about lithium as Bolivia’s economic salvation is complete without addressing the source of that lithium: the Salar de Uyuni. The 4,000-square-mile salt flat, one of the country’s most magnificent landscapes, will almost certainly be altered—if not irreparably damaged—by mining the resource underneath it.

García Linera thus speaks of it reassuringly, even reverently. Leaning in very close, he asks, “Have you been to the Salar de Uyuni?”

When I reply that I’ll be heading there soon, the vice president dispenses with his air of mentholated detachment and seems awash with nostalgia. “When you go to the Salar,” he instructs me, “go there one night. Spread a blanket in the center of the Salar. Turn on some music.”

He is smiling now but emphatic: “Pink Floyd. Turn on Pink Floyd. And stare up at the sky.” The vice president then waves his hand to indicate that the rest would become evident.

The daylong drive from the world’s highest capital city to the world’s largest salt flat provides a roadside tour of South America’s poorest country. From downtown La Paz, perennially clogged with cars and political demonstrations, the road shoots up to El Alto, the working-class stronghold of Bolivia’s second largest indigenous group, the Aymara, migrants from the high plains of the Andes Mountains. Over the next seven hours, the route travels steadily downhill—through villages where effigies of would-be thieves are tied to trees in warning, through the mining city of Oruro—until leveling out, at about 12,000 feet, into a mostly vacant stretch of scrubland occasionally animated by llamas and their lithe cousin, the vicuña. By late afternoon, the pale shimmer of the salt flat yawns across the plain.

I reach the Salar, Spanish for “salt flat,” just before sunset. For about a mile I drive along its smooth and firm surface until its middle-of-nowhereness becomes evident. Stepping out of the SUV and into a gnashing chill, I regretfully conclude there will be no blankets spread beneath the stars accompanied by a trippy Pink Floyd soundtrack. Still, the spectacle is hallucinatory: miles of bleached terrain, relentlessly level and divided into vaguely trapezoidal shapes like a mad giant’s checkerboard, its starkness perfected by the cloudless blue sky and the mahogany Andean peaks in the distance. Motorcycles and 4x4s scud across the roadless surface, destinations unknown. Here and there solitary beings lurch about as if in a postapocalyptic stupor, gazing into what the Bolivian vice president calls “the infinite table of snowy white.”

Read the rest of this article at: National Geographic

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