News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A Revolution In Time

What year is it? It’s 2019, obviously. An easy question. Last year was 2018. Next year will be 2020. We are confident that a century ago it was 1919, and in 1,000 years it will be 3019, if there is anyone left to name it. All of us are fluent with these years; we, and most of the world, use them without thinking. They are ubiquitous. As a child I used to line up my pennies by year of minting, and now I carefully note dates of publication in my scholarly articles.

Now, imagine inhabiting a world without such a numbered timeline for ordering current events, memories and future hopes. For from earliest recorded history right up to the years after Alexander the Great’s conquests in the late 4th century BCE, historical time – the public and annual marking of the passage of years – could be measured only in three ways: by unique events, by annual offices, or by royal lifecycles.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Evolution of Diet

News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It’s suppertime in the Amazon of lowland Bolivia, and Ana Cuata Maito is stirring a porridge of plantains and sweet manioc over a fire smoldering on the dirt floor of her thatched hut, listening for the voice of her husband as he returns from the forest with his scrawny hunting dog.

With an infant girl nursing at her breast and a seven-year-old boy tugging at her sleeve, she looks spent when she tells me that she hopes her husband, Deonicio Nate, will bring home meat tonight. “The children are sad when there is no meat,” Maito says through an interpreter, as she swats away mosquitoes.

Nate left before dawn on this day in January with his rifle and machete to get an early start on the two-hour trek to the old-growth forest. There he silently scanned the canopy for brown capuchin monkeys and raccoonlike coatis, while his dog sniffed the ground for the scent of piglike peccaries or reddish brown capybaras. If he was lucky, Nate would spot one of the biggest packets of meat in the forest—tapirs, with long, prehensile snouts that rummage for buds and shoots among the damp ferns.

This evening, however, Nate emerges from the forest with no meat. At 39, he’s an energetic guy who doesn’t seem easily defeated—when he isn’t hunting or fishing or weaving palm fronds into roof panels, he’s in the woods carving a new canoe from a log. But when he finally sits down to eat his porridge from a metal bowl, he complains that it’s hard to get enough meat for his family: two wives (not uncommon in the tribe) and 12 children. Loggers are scaring away the animals. He can’t fish on the river because a storm washed away his canoe.

The story is similar for each of the families I visit in Anachere, a community of about 90 members of the ancient Tsimane Indian tribe. It’s the rainy season, when it’s hardest to hunt or fish. More than 15,000 Tsimane live in about a hundred villages along two rivers in the Amazon Basin near the main market town of San Borja, 225 miles from La Paz. But Anachere is a two-day trip from San Borja by motorized dugout canoe, so the Tsimane living there still get most of their food from the forest, the river, or their gardens.

Read the rest of this article at: National Geographic

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Is Noise Pollution the Next Big Public-Health Crisis?

I worried about ringing the doorbell. Then I noticed two ragged rectangles of dried, blackened adhesive on the door frame, one just above and one just below the button. I deduced that the button had been taped over at some point but was now safe to use. I pressed as gently as I could, and, when the door opened, I was greeted by a couple in their early sixties and their son. The son has asked me to identify him only as Mark, his middle name. He’s thirty years old, and tall and trim. On the day I visited, he was wearing a maroon plaid shirt, a blue baseball cap, and the kind of sound-deadening earmuffs you might use at a shooting range.

Mark and I sat at opposite ends of a long coffee table, in the living room, and his parents sat on the couch. He took off his earmuffs but didn’t put them away. “I was living in California and working in a noisy restaurant,” he said. “Somebody would drop a plate or do something loud, and I would have a flash of ear pain. I would just kind of think to myself, Wow, that hurt—why was nobody else bothered by that?” Then everything suddenly got much worse. Quiet sounds seemed loud to him, and loud sounds were unendurable. Discomfort from a single incident could last for days. He quit his job and moved back in with his parents. On his flight home, he leaned all the way forward in his seat and covered his ears with his hands.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Blow Up: How Half A Tonne Of Cocaine Transformed The Life Of An Island

News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Around midday on 6 June 2001, locals from Pilar da Bretanha, a parish on the northwestern tip of the Atlantic island São Miguel, saw a white yacht, about 40 feet long, drifting aimlessly near the area’s sheer cliffs. None of the villagers had ever seen a boat of this size floating so close to that part of the coast, where the sea was shallow, the tides strong and the rocks razor-sharp. They supposed it was an amateur sailor who had got lost.

In fact, the man sailing the boat was a skilled seaman. Two Italian passports, a Spanish passport and a Spanish national ID card were later found in his possession, all of which showed the same 44-year-old with weathered skin and dark curly hair. But each of the four documents listed a different name. In the previous three months, he had crossed the Atlantic twice, sailing more than 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands, just west of Morocco, to north-east Venezuela, and then back again, to São Miguel, 1,000 miles west of Portugal.

Although he was under orders to take the yacht to mainland Spain, his return crossing had been rough. Big lumps of Atlantic swell had pummelled the boat, damaging the rudder and leaving him floundering. Realising he wouldn’t make it to Spain without stopping, he set a course for São Miguel, the largest of the cluster of nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores, a bucolic archipelago first colonised by Portugal in the 15th century.

But he couldn’t go directly into harbour. If the port authorities checked his boat, they would find tens of millions of pounds worth of uncut cocaine, which he was ferrying from Venezuela for a gang based in Spain’s Balearic Islands. He had to get rid of his freight temporarily, and so he began scouring the coast for a place to hide the drugs.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

It’s Time to Break Up Facebook

News 05.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The last time I saw Mark Zuckerberg was in the summer of 2017, several months before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. We met at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., office and drove to his house, in a quiet, leafy neighborhood. We spent an hour or two together while his toddler daughter cruised around. We talked politics mostly, a little about Facebook, a bit about our families. When the shadows grew long, I had to head out. I hugged his wife, Priscilla, and said goodbye to Mark.

Since then, Mark’s personal reputation and the reputation of Facebook have taken a nose-dive. The company’s mistakes — the sloppy privacy practices that dropped tens of millions of users’ data into a political consulting firm’s lap; the slow response to Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention — dominate the headlines. It’s been 15 years since I co-founded Facebook at Harvard, and I haven’t worked at the company in a decade. But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.

Mark is still the same person I watched hug his parents as they left our dorm’s common room at the beginning of our sophomore year. He is the same person who procrastinated studying for tests, fell in love with his future wife while in line for the bathroom at a party and slept on a mattress on the floor in a small apartment years after he could have afforded much more. In other words, he’s human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.

Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day. Facebook’s board works more like an advisory committee than an overseer, because Mark controls around 60 percent of voting shares. Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered. He sets the rules for how to distinguish violent and incendiary speech from the merely offensive, and he can choose to shut down a competitor by acquiring, blocking or copying it.

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

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