News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A Mess on the Sidewalk

WHEN SIDEWALK LABS, a “smart cities” start-up launched by Google, made its Toronto debut in October 2017, a torrent of global adulation followed. Over the next few weeks, Sidewalk choreographed events featuring luminaries such as former Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Sidewalk founder and CEO Dan Doctoroff. There was even a cameo appearance from Canada’s hipster prime minister Justin Trudeau, whose Liberal government is investing heavily to attract innovation-driven companies to Canada.

For Toronto, which anchors a fast-growing metropolitan region that has become a hub for information technology companies, Google’s heavily hyped expression of interest showcased the city’s aspirations and promise. What that promise is, exactly, remains difficult to discern. Sidewalk Toronto’s pitch was to build a high-tech community on a mostly vacant twelve-acre patch of industrial waterfront site called Quayside, just east of the city’s core. The company’s initial proposal hinted at the urban revolution Google aspires to create: “a neighbourhood built from the internet up,” as Sidewalk Labs likes to put it. Quayside would be fitted out with affordable housing, green buildings, and Google’s Canadian headquarters. The waterfront locale would also become a test bed for high-tech infrastructure, such as automated mini-buses and self-navigating underground delivery carts. The new district will eventually provide homes and workplaces for thousands of people.

Read the rest of this article at: The Bffler

News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Gwyneth Paltrow Is All Business

News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As an actress, Gwyneth Paltrow was embraced by fans and critics, winning an Oscar for her leading role in “Shakespeare in Love.” As a businesswoman, Ms. Paltrow has received decidedly mixed reviews.

Many deride her lifestyle brand, Goop, as little more than an overhyped e-commerce platform peddling pseudoscience and baubles. California regulators secured a $145,000 settlement from Goop last year after suing the company for false advertising, including claims that a $66 vaginal jade egg could balance hormones, increase bladder control and regulate menstrual cycles.

Ms. Paltrow is unbowed. Goop is now worth some $250 million, revenues are growing and Ms. Paltrow is looking to Disney for inspiration, visualizing a company that makes money through online retail, offline experiences, ad partnerships and more.

Ms. Paltrow grew up around show business. Her father was the producer Bruce Paltrow, who died in 2002, and her mother is the actress Blythe Danner. This pedigree makes it all the harder for some people to accept that she is now a chief executive fully engaged in running her own business. Sometimes, she told me, people ask, “Who’s the silent male person who’s helping her?”

There is no secret man running Goop. Instead, Ms. Paltrow herself is fluent in the intricacies of her business, speaking in detail about the tech stacks, contextual commerce strategies and email service providers that power Goop.

And still, G.P. — as she is known to friends — remains every bit the celebrity. On the day we met, she started the day on “Good Morning America” promoting a new cookbook, and ended it singing karaoke on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.

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


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A Journey Into the Radical Art of Brain Injury Survivors

There are musicians and poets, chess players and chefs. There are the ones who play pool and the ones who talk news; the scrabble crew, the smokers, singers and dancers; the writers, the yoga gang and green fingered gardeners. Carol is the local poet; she likes to tell horoscopes. Aquarius? “Polite, tidy and clean,” says Carol. “Likes to spend money.” There’s the lady who just wants to sit and watch the ducks swim by in the canal outside. And then there’s the art studio, packed with painters, sculptors, drawers, photographers and crafters. You’ll find this thriving little community behind a coded iron gate on a busy road in London. It’s called Headway East London, and everyone here has had a life changing brain injury.

Matthew had a colloid cyst in his third ventricle. Mahmood was attacked by a gang of youths while leaving work. Mike, Trudy, Witman and Billy survived strokes. Brian was hit by a lorry while riding his motorbike. Matthew was hit by a car while crossing the road. Sarah was mugged for her handbag. Lina had a brain haemorrhage in a Burger King bathroom. Danny was beaten up in a nightclub. Sam was in a car crash. So was Nifty.

Read the rest of this article at: Vice

News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How English Law Presumes You Guilty, Even if Your Conviction is Quashed

News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When summing up any case to a jury, one of the first things a judge has to explain is that although it is for the jury to decide the facts of the case, they must follow the judge’s directions of law. A favourite cliché of many is then to say “if I am wrong on the law a higher court will put it right.”

“Phew,” the jurors are meant to think, “we can trust that even if this old fool has got the law wrong, no harm will come of it because that ‘higher court’ will make everything right again.”

Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam learnt last week from the Supreme Court what they must have guessed already: the promise that a higher court will put wrongful convictions right is hollow. And although there is statutory provision for the state to atone with compensation for subjecting innocent people to wrongful convictions and imprisonment, it is worded in such a way that compensation can virtually never be paid. It is a bogus, Potemkin provision of no practical effect.

Read the rest of this article at: BarristerBlogger

The Problem With Nostalgia

News 03.07.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be was the hilarious title of Oscar winning actress Simone Signoret’s memoir in 1978, and it’s truer than ever. Seeing the past through rose colored glasses is an increasingly myopic process, especially as technology makes giant strides forward and former modes of communication resound with an astounding obsolescence. As I handily crank out articles like this on my computer and shoot them to my editor via email, do you really think I miss the days when I had to type out a piece on a ratty Smith Corona, make changes with Wite-Out, scissors and Scotch tape, and then hand deliver the thing — sometimes in a blizzard or rain storm — to the publication, only to have to redo the whole process when a rewrite was required (after pre-Google fact-checking took up to an entire day)? Do you somehow assume that I long for a return to the time when I was terrified to leave the house because I could miss a business call? (In the ‘70s, answering machines were not prevalent and cell phones hadn’t yet been invented.) The time when I would regularly cut calls short — even with my own mother — for fear that someone more important, career-wise, might be trying to reach me? (There was no call waiting. You had to pray that anyone who’d gotten a busy signal would try again and again. And not talk too long.) Some survivors and observers longingly look back at eras like that as “a simpler time” and “a more personal moment,” but for a writer like me, it was actually a personal nightmare.

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

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