News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects

WASHINGTON — The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.

“These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who has been with the Navy for 10 years, and who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”

In late 2014, a Super Hornet pilot had a near collision with one of the objects, and an official mishap report was filed. Some of the incidents were videotaped, including one taken by a plane’s camera in early 2015 that shows an object zooming over the ocean waves as pilots question what they are watching.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Times

News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College

News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

What Café du Dôme was to the Lost Generation, the dining hall at Bennington College was to Generation X—i.e., the Lost Generation Revisited. The Moveable Feast had moved ahead six decades and across the Atlantic, and while, of course, southwestern Vermont wasn’t Paris, somehow, in the early-to-mid eighties, it was, was just as sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu. And speaking of sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu, check out the habitués. Seated around the table, ready to gorge on the conversation if not the food (cocaine, the Pernod of its era, is a notorious appetite suppressant), berets swapped for sunglasses, were the neo F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Djuna Barnes: Bret Easton Ellis, future writer of American Psycho and charter member of the literary Brat Pack; Jonathan Lethem, future writer of The Fortress of Solitude and MacArthur genius; and Donna Tartt, future writer of The Secret History and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. All three were in the class of 1986. All three were a long way from home—Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Grenada, Mississippi, respectively. All three were, at various times, infatuated and disappointed with one another, their friendships stimulated and fueled by rivalry. And all three would mythologize Bennington—the baroque wickedness, the malignant glamour, the corruption so profound as to be exactly what is meant by the word decadence—in their fiction that, as it turns out, wasn’t quite, and thereby become myths themselves.

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

Notes from the Weekend & a Few Lovely Links 30.04.19

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The Doctor Who Stayed Behind to Save Babies in His Long-Suffering Homeland

BANGUI, Central African Republic — Dr. Jean Chrysostome Gody bounds down a stench-filled hallway in the Central African Republic’s only pediatric hospital, his daily soundtrack the high-pitched crying of dozens of babies in the malnutrition wing.

The sickest of infants lie silent and listless. One baby’s skin is gray and splotchy. A nurse pokes at his head to make sure he’s still alive.

Yet amid all the suffering, Dr. Gody offers something rarely heard in this conflict-plagued country: optimism.

The hospital is no longer filled with children suffering from gunshot wounds and missing limbs from bomb blasts. A fragile calm has settled over Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where the government recently signed a peace accord with rebel groups it had been battling for years. The agreement seems to be holding for now, despite an apparently isolated attack in the countryside in May that killed more than two dozen people.

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

News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How Football Leaks Is Exposing Corruption in European Soccer

News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The first person to receive an e-mail from the whistle-blowing organization Football Leaks was António Varela, a columnist at Record, one of Portugal’s three national sports newspapers. The message arrived early in the afternoon of September 29, 2015. Varela, a precise, watchful man in his early fifties, clicked on a link, which took him to a blog entry that had been created at 5:17 a.m. that day. “Welcome to Football Leaks,” it read, in Portuguese. “This project aims to show the hidden side of football. Unfortunately, the sport we love so much is rotten and it is time to say ‘enough.’ ” Below was a collection of previously unseen documents involving Sporting Lisbon, the eighteen-time winner of Portugal’s national league. “Contracts in Portuguese, contracts in English, contracts in French,” Varela told me recently, in Lisbon. “I had no doubts about it. They were real documents.”

European soccer, which reaches its annual climax this weekend, with the final of the Champions League, the game’s most prestigious club competition, is a wonder of the sporting world. Storied teams such as Liverpool and Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus, rise and fall. Each year, the finest players and coaches conjure, in new forms, soccer’s essential, unthinking grace.

The business side of the sport, however, is more like a painting by Bruegel the Elder. Since 1955, the best teams from each country have played against one another, and that has given rise to a dense intermingling of tactics, feuds, and money. Money above all. “Money scores goals,” as the German saying goes. Unlike American sports, with their draft picks, salary caps, and collective-bargaining agreements, European soccer is a heedless, Darwinian affair. Spending rules are broken. Salaries are secrets. The best leagues are awash in Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds, and Chinese conglomerates. Rumors fly. Middlemen thrive. “Between clubs, it’s not only that we don’t trust each other,” a director of a top European club told me. “We betray each other constantly.” Last season, according to the accounting firm Deloitte, European soccer had revenues of twenty-eight billion dollars, about the same as Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Football League combined.

The first documents released by Football Leaks related to a controversial investment model known as third-party ownership. One of the ways that clubs make money is by buying and selling players. T.P.O., which originated in Latin America, allows external parties to buy a stake in promising young players, in the hope of profiting from a huge transfer deal one day. (In 2017, the Brazilian striker Neymar was sold by Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for around a quarter of a billion dollars.) Proponents of T.P.O. describe it as a form of lending, but many fans believe that it gives investors too much control over a club’s roster and the shape of players’ careers, by influencing when and where a player might be traded.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

How Housing Supply Became the Most Controversial Issue in Urbanism

News 06.03.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For a long time, I thought gentrification was the hottest of urbanism’s hot-button issues. That may still be true. But it has a new (and related) challenger—upzoning, or changing the zoning of an area to allow for higher density.

For years, some urban economists and market urbanists have been making the case that the key challenge facing cities—especially pricey superstar cities and tech hubs—is a lack of housing supply.  There are many culprits in this shortage. They include strict land-use regulations and building codes, politically connected NIMBYs, and other factors, but the end result is the same. A lack of housing supply results not only in higher housing prices, but in increased sorting and displacement, which sharpens inequality and segregation. It even limits innovation and productivity—not just in the affected cities, but across the U.S. economy as a whole.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a new paper by two economic geographers, Michael Storper and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, who question some of the theoretical and empirical claims made from this YIMBY perspective (or what they call the “housing as opportunity” school of thought). Specifically, Storper and Rodríguez-Pose argue that simply increasing the supply of housing through upzoning is likely to add more housing for high earners with no evidence that it would “filter” down as cheaper housing for less advantaged residents. That in turn would only exacerbate the ongoing sorting process that draws more educated and advantaged people to affluent cities and pushes the less advantaged out of them. The ultimate result would be even worse spatial inequality between leading and lagging places.

My article on Rodríguez-Pose and Storper’s paper resulted in a near-immediate barrage of critiques on the internet. David Schleicher of Yale Law School and many others laid into the paper on Twitter. Over at City Observatory, Joe Cortright questioned both the theory and the evidence underlying Storper and Rodríguez-Pose’s findings (and, in a side shot, my decision to write about them):

Rodríguez-Pose and Storper sidestep these nuts and bolts issues of how to fix zoning so that it isn’t exclusionary, in favor of a knocking down a straw man claim that upzoning is somehow a cure for inequality, (an argument that no one seems to be making). In the process, they (and by extension, Florida) lend credence to the NIMBY-denialism about the central need to build more housing in our nation’s cities if we’re to do anything to meaningfully address affordability.

(For the record, I have long been a critic of restrictive zoning and building regulations and NIMBYism, going so far as to dub the latter “the New Urban Luddism.”)

On Friday evening, I received an email from three of Storper’s colleagues at UCLA, Michael Manville, Michael Lens, and Paavo Monkkonen. They wrote a detailed essay replying to key claims in the Storper–Rodríguez-Pose paper, and they shared it with numerous scholars and journalists, which sparked another round of discussion online.

Read the rest of this article at: City Lab

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

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