News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Adventurous. Alone. Attacked.

Carla Stefaniak did everything “right,” her best friend said.

On a five-day vacation to Costa Rica in November to celebrate her 36th birthday, Ms. Stefaniak, a dual Venezuelan-American citizen, chose a gated Airbnb villa near the airport. It had a security guard. It was in a safe neighborhood. And she made sure to get home before dark.

The night before she was to fly to Florida, she contacted her best friend, Laura Jaime, on the FaceTime app. She showed off the crocheted earrings she had bought in a local market and gave a video tour of her villa. The friends planned to see each other the next day, when Ms. Jaime was to pick her up at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

But Ms. Stefaniak never boarded her flight home on Nov. 28.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Time Magazine

News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Dreams Of A Man Asleep For Three Weeks

News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On March 22, 2018, I was rushed to the hospital for life-saving surgery. Due to complications with the procedure, I didn’t regain full, coherent consciousness until the second week in April. For three weeks I was stuck inside my own mind, subject to a seemingly unending series of dreams. Dreams covering on a variety of themes, some light and hopeful, others dark and dismal. I dreamed the end of my life over and over. I was a hero and a villain. Sometimes, but not often, I was Michael Fahey.

Recovery from the surgery necessary to repair an aortic dissection, in which an injury of the aortic wall allows blood to flow between its layers, forcing them apart, is normally relatively quick. My wife was told that I should have been up and talking a couple of hours after the procedure. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Doctors found they could not pull me off the ventilator—if they removed it, I stopped breathing. To make matters worse, as I regained consciousness and discovered the breathing tube down my throat, I panicked and attempted to claw it out. So I was heavily sedated for two weeks. I was treated with paralytic drugs so I could not pull the tubes if I did wake up. I wasn’t in a coma, but I wasn’t conscious, either.

So where was I, as my body lay prone in the intensive care unit at Kennestone Hospital? I was inside of my head. My subconscious wove layer after layer of fictitious narrative, keeping itself occupied as my body healed. I dreamt of superheroes and villains. Of being in exotic lands I’d never had a chance to visit. I gambled for my existence in dark, twisted places. I said goodbye to my life surrounded by my family in the far future. I attempted, through circuitous subconscious methods, to procure pizza and frozen beverages.

Read the rest of this article at: Kotaku

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Conspiracy Theories Can’t Be Stopped

Shortly before killing 50 people at two New Zealand mosques, the man arrested for the Christchurch massacre posted an online manifesto that alluded to the “Great Replacement” — a racist demographic theory that stokes fears of white people becoming, effectively, extinct. Within hours of the shootings, this act of terrorism inspired by a conspiracy theory had already gone on to birth conspiracy theories about itself. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh speculated that the shooter was a secret leftist hoping to use the attack to smear the reputation of the political right.

That a single tragedy could be so tangled in conspiracy mongering should be no surprise at this point. We’ve all watched conspiracies grow from myriad soils: the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the political passions of George Soros, vaccines, climate change, even the football secrets of the New England Patriots. Conspiracy theories appear to have become a major part of how we, as a society, process the news. It might be harder to think of an emotionally tinged event that didn’t provoke a conspiracy theory than it is to rattle off a list of the ones that did.

Read the rest of this article at: FiveThirtyEight

News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“The Big Error Was That She Was Caught”: The Untold Story Behind the Mysterious Disappearance of Fan Bingbing, the World’s Biggest Movie Star

News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Fan Bingbing has been mostly staying at home these days, sending messages on WeChat (the Chinese WhatsApp), working on her English, receiving guests, doing charity work “to wash away her sins,” and otherwise “trying to stay positive,” according to a producer who knows her well. But before the events of last spring, when she abruptly disappeared from public view for three months, she was busy being the most famous actress in China, which is to say, the most famous actress in the world.

Fan is China’s highest-paid female star, with a net worth estimated at $100 million. Her 62.9 million followers on Weibo, China’s Twitter, rivals the total membership of the Communist Party. Among her fans, her classical “melon seed” face—widely viewed in China as a Platonic ideal of beauty—has inspired countless acts of copycat surgery. She is often described as baifumei, a phrase meaning pale-skinned, rich, and beautiful. “The rules of Chinese beauty are rigid, and she follows them,” says Elijah Whaley, a market researcher who specializes in China. Fan has been the face of Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Moët, selling everything from lipstick to diamonds. They say you can’t take a good selfie with her, because she will suck all the beauty away. Her fame has caught the attention of Hollywood: This year, after appearances in the Iron Man and X-Men franchises, she was slated to begin filming an international spy thriller alongside Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, and Lupita Nyong’o.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

Buck the System

News 03.27.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

You can tell how famous someone is by the number of people assembled in a room, setting things up, ready to spring into action at the exact moment of their arrival. J. Cole has about 12 waiting for him at a studio on the Friday of NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. While he’s over at Spectrum Center, finalizing details for his halftime performance on Sunday night, his team has turned a mellow lounge space into a West Elm-decorated war room, preparing to film a few interviews for a documentary he’s working on.

A makeup artist gently cleans her brushes, somewhere someone is audibly losing at Ping-Pong, a cameraman angles a tripod to J. Cole height, several people are typing. He enters imperceptibly, all Gumby limbs and soft energy, setting off a slow ripple of awareness as people realize he’s there. He makes his way around the room, shaking hands, slapping palms, clapping backs, bumping chests. He pauses and asks if anybody ordered him lunch. Sandwiches freeze on their journey to mouths. Everyone avoids eye contact for a tremulous second, hoping he doesn’t notice how the room smells overwhelmingly of french fries, because no, nobody ordered J. Cole lunch.

It’s all good, he says, as someone insists he eat the chicken sandwich belonging to the unlucky bastard who’s stepped out to find a phone charger. Someone puts his otherwise decorative Jordans to their intended athletic use, running to get a menu for him.

All-Star Weekend is a big bang-level collision of NBA and hip-hop celebrity, resulting in a supernova of spectacle and professional obligations. Some people thrive—attending every event from the big game to a runway show for celebrity babies. But for Cole, it’s a weekend dense with the aspects of fame that make him uncomfortable. The day before, he made the nearly three-hour drive from his couch, his wife, and their toddler son in Raleigh to fulfill the duties required of a local hero performing at a major event in his home state.

He sighs. “Everybody hits me up. I got people texting me, like, ‘Bro, I can’t believe you’re performing the All-Star Game halftime show. Ain’t that so crazy?’ In my mind, I’m just like, ‘Bro, this feels like a job—you know what I mean?’ ” J. Cole is social, for sure—he’s loved going out ever since going out meant chasing girls at the skating rink. But he’s notoriously introverted when it comes to events like this. “I don’t like center-of-attention-type moments,” he says. “Like the camera, mad people, the world watching the arena, and I have to do something right.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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