News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How We’ll Forget John Lennon

News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A few years ago a student walked into the office of Cesar A. Hidalgo, director of the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab. Hidalgo was listening to music and asked the student if she recognized the song. She wasn’t sure. “Is it Coldplay?” she asked. It was “Imagine” by John Lennon. Hidalgo took it in stride that his student didn’t recognize the song. As he explains in our interview below, he realized the song wasn’t from her generation. What struck Hidalgo, though, was the incident echoed a question that had long intrigued him, which was how music and movies and all the other things that once shone in popular culture faded like evening from public memory.

Hidalgo is among the premier data miners of the world’s collective history. With his MIT colleagues, he developed Pantheon, a dataset that ranks historical figures by popularity from 4000 B.C. to 2010. Aristotle and Plato snag the top spots. Jesus is third. It’s a highly addictive platform that allows you to search people, places, and occupations with a variety of parameters. Most famous tennis player of all time? That’s right, Frenchman Rene Lacoste, born in 1904. (Roger Federer places 20th.) Rankings are drawn from, essentially, Wikipedia biographies, notably ones in more than 25 different languages, and Wikipedia page views.

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

Fyre Festival, Theranos And Our Never-Ending ‘Scam Season’

I started noticing it a few years ago: Seemingly every young person on the internet was selling something. Not in the way that we’re all selling ourselves now, cultivating our personal brands on social media. They were selling actual stuff. Shipping hoverboards from China and unloading them in their American high schools. Running parody Twitter accounts that fed into viral ad networks. Posting sponsored content on Instagram for pocket money and freebies.

Occasionally these youthful businesses evidenced a casual relationship with grift. The hoverboards literally blew up. The Twitter accounts stole jokes from struggling comics. Teenage influencers started concocting fake brand deals so they could appear worthy of corporate sponsorship.

The sprites behind the schemes could come across as craven; an online crew of viral marketers referred to non-entrepreneurial peers as “peasants.” But most of them seemed sincere. They wanted to change the world, and they believed that the way to do that was to start their own businesses. Immediately. If corners were cut along the way, they were cut honestly. They were just kids.

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

News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Chasing The Apocalypse

As you might deduce from some of the place names in Nevada — “The Loneliest Highway in America,” “Fire Valley,” “Jackass Flats”— the state isn’t exactly welcoming. If anything, the state prefers ghosts and guns to people. The town of Tonopah hosts not one, but two, haunted hotels: the infamous Clown Motel, and the upscale Mizpah Hotel, where visitors come hoping to hear the disembodied voice of a woman who was reportedly brutally beaten and killed by a jealous lover in one of the rooms. Goldfield, the next nearest town, boasts the abandoned Goldfield Hotel, the subject of multiple ghost adventure TV show invasions; its last living occupants were the military families working at the nearby Tonopah Missile Range.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

The Paths Of Rythm

News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the beginning, from somewhere south of anywhere I come from, lips pressed the edge of a horn, and a horn was blown. In the beginning before the beginning, there were drums, and hymns, and a people carried here from another here, and a language stripped and a new one learned, with the songs to go with it. When slaves were carried to America, stolen from places like West Africa and the greater Congo River, with them came a musical tradition. The tradition, generally rooted in one-line melodies and call-and-response, existed to allow the rhythms within the music to reflect African speech patterns—in part so that everyone who had a voice could join in on the music making, which made music a community act instead of an exclusive one.

Once in America, where the slaves were sent to work in America’s South, this ethos was blended with the harmonic style of the Baptist church. Black slaves learned hymns, blended them with their own musical stylings that had been passed down through generations, and thus, the spiritual was born. In the early nineteenth century, free black musicians began picking up and playing European stringed instruments, particularly violin. It started as a joke—to mimic European dance music during black cakewalk dances.

But even the mimicry sounded sweet, and so the children of slaves made what sweet sounds they could and stole a small and precious thing after having a large and precious history stolen from them. But before this, when slaves were first brought to North America in the early 1600s, slaves from the West African coast would use drums to communicate with each other, sending rhythmic messages that could not be decoded by Europeans. In this way, slaves, whose family members were often held captive in different spaces, could still enter into distant but meaningful conversations with one another. In 1740, the slave codes were enacted, first in South Carolina. Among other things, drums were outlawed for all slaves. Slave Code of South Carolina, Article 36 reads: “And . . . it is absolutely necessary to the safety of this Province, that all due care be taken to restrain . . . Negroes and other slaves . . . [from the] using or keeping of drums, horns, or other loud instruments, which may call together or give sign or notice to one another of their wicked designs and purposes.”

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

The Money Saving Expert: How Martin Lewis
Became The Most Trusted Man In Britain

News 02.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Every Tuesday night, an email newsletter goes out to 13 million subscribers. It’s far more popular than Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter, which has 8 million, and the New York Times Morning Briefing, with 1.7 million. Its name, Money Saving Expert’s Money Tips, barely hints at the astounding range of tricks and deals contained within. Recent emails have featured “hacks” for cheaper meals at Nando’s and McDonald’s, deals on broadband and savings accounts, codes giving discounted access to airport lounges and an offer for free radiator heat-reflector pads.

The newsletter looks like a relic from an earlier age of the internet: thousands of words, with no ads and few images. It began as an email that Martin Lewis – the personal finance journalist now better known as the Money Saving Expert – wrote for his friends. Today, it is the work of dozens of people at, the website Lewis founded in 2003, which has become one of the 100 most popular sites in the UK, with 16 million visitors a month.

The business of saving money has made Lewis extremely wealthy. After he sold the site in 2012 to the price-comparison firm MoneySupermarket for £87m, the Financial Times called him “the most successful journalist in the world, ever”. A year later, he was the seventh most Googled celebrity in the UK, nestled between Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.

Lewis still worries over every line in the email each week. When I went to meet him on a Tuesday afternoon last July, he was studying the draft of that night’s newsletter, pondering aloud the merits of competing broadband deals. There was a gold piggy bank on his desk. It was the height of the heatwave, and Lewis, who is lean and often tanned, was dressed in the uniform of a sensible dad doing his best to enjoy a long-awaited summer holiday: a short-sleeved, stripy white shirt with a denim collar, denim shorts and the navy Skechers that he wore almost every time I met him.

At a time when money has become the measure of everything – when people often think of themselves as consumers rather than citizens – Lewis has become the most trusted man in Britain. In 2015, seven months before the EU referendum, a poll found that 71% of people trusted him when he talked about Europe, putting him ahead of any other public figure. He has achieved that status through an unusual combination of journalism, campaigning and light entertainment, without falling victim to the public’s suspicion of journalists, campaigners and entertainers.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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

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