News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Deutsche Bank. North Korea. The Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the president. Again and again, one man has taken his trove of secret documents — and uncanny nose for scandal — to the center of the news.

One sunny Wednesday in February, a gangly man in a sports jacket and a partly unbuttoned paisley shirt walked into the Los Angeles field office of the F.B.I. At the reception desk, he gave his name — Val Broeksmit — and began to pace anxiously in the lobby.

Mr. Broeksmit couldn’t believe he was voluntarily meeting with the F.B.I. An unemployed rock musician with a history of opioid abuse and credit card theft, not to mention a dalliance with North Korea-linked hackers, he was accustomed to shunning if not fearing law enforcement. But two investigators had flown from the bureau’s New York office specifically to speak with him, and Mr. Broeksmit had found their invitation too seductive to resist. Now the agents arrived in the lobby and escorted him upstairs.

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

News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I’ve always been aware of being an inconsistent personality. Of having a lot of contradictory voices knocking around my head. As a kid, I was ashamed of it. Other people seemed to feel strongly about themselves, to know exactly who they were. I was never like that. I could never shake the suspicion that everything about me was the consequence of a series of improbable accidents—not least of which was the 400 trillion–to-one accident of my birth. As I saw it, even my strongest feelings and convictions might easily be otherwise, had I been the child of the next family down the hall, or the child of another century, another country, another God. My mind wandered.

To give a concrete example: if the Pakistani girl next door happened to be painting mehndi on my hands—she liked to use me for practice—it was the work of a moment to imagine I was her sister. I’d envision living with Asma, and knowing and feeling the things she knew and felt. To tell the truth, I rarely entered a friend’s home without wondering what it might be like to never leave. That is, what it would be like to be Polish or Ghanaian or Irish or Bengali, to be richer or poorer, to say these prayers or hold those politics. I was an equal-opportunity voyeur. I wanted to know what it was like to be everybody. Above all, I wondered what it would be like to believe the sorts of things I didn’t believe. Whenever I spent time with my pious Uncle Ricky, and the moment came for everyone around the table to bow their heads, close their eyes, and thank God for a plate of escovitch fish, I could all too easily convince myself that I, too, was a witness of Jehovah. I’d see myself leaving the island, arriving in freezing England, shivering and gripping my own mother’s hand, who was—in this peculiar fictional version—now my older sister.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Review of Books

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Nearly two years ago, the artist and academic Jenny Odell gave a keynote address on “how to do nothing”. In it she talked about the impact of modern life’s ceaseless demands on our time and attention, “a situation where every waking moment has become pertinent to our making a living”. And she discussed how she herself had found respite in nature.

Her talk was written for the Eyeo festival in Minneapolis – described as for the “creative technology community” and attended by the kind of blue-sky thinkers unlikely to balk at references to concepts like “observational eros”. Yet, when the 10,000-word transcript was published online, it went viral. Not only that: many people read it to the end.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was easy to forget, later, that he was a man in love.

That was the Jamal Khashoggi who arrived on a flight into Istanbul, early on the morning of October 2, 2018. He was a few days short of 60 and divorced, a voluntary exile from his native Saudi Arabia living a lonely existence in Virginia. His tall frame carried an unsubtle paunch, and his hair had thinned out to the sides. The graying of his beard was nearly complete, covering an owlish face with eyes that could simultaneously betray easy mirth and deep sadness.

An internationally acclaimed journalist writing for The Washington Post, he was considered brilliant by his peers. But he spent most of his days struggling under the burden of what he’d left behind, writing in hopes of breaking the world’s indifference to the creeping repression in his home country. He’d grown dismayed to see its architect, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman — known in the West as MBS — fêted by Washington and Silicon Valley as a dynamic reformer, while his friends and colleagues back home languished in prison for speaking out. His mission, he had come to believe, was to speak for them.

But on that fall morning in Istanbul, Khashoggi stepped off the plane with an entirely different purpose. Five months earlier, at the opening of a conference on Middle Eastern politics, he’d been approached by a 35-year-old researcher named Hatice Cengiz. She knew his work and wanted to interview him for an article she was writing. At the next coffee break, he sought her out. They spoke for nearly half an hour. She asked him about the prospects for reform in Saudi Arabia; he peppered her with questions about Turkish politics. By the end their exchange had already begun to feel like something deeper. Before his next trip to Istanbul, he emailed to ask if she’d see him again.

The rest happened quickly, at the speed of two people who already knew themselves. By September he had met her parents. Wedding plans were in motion. The pair bought an apartment in Istanbul, the eastern anchor of what would become a dual life there and in the US.

On September 28 they visited Istanbul’s civil-marriage bureau to begin the secular portion of the nuptials. Just one small problem, they were told: Because Khashoggi remained a Saudi citizen, they’d need a certificate from the Saudi government stating that he was unmarried. That would require a trip to the Saudi consulate.

On an impulse, the couple had gone straight there that day. Outside the gate, Khashoggi left his two phones with Cengiz, knowing consular officials would ask for them at the door, and fearing they would take the opportunity to hack them. He was wary. But once inside the staff greeted him warmly. The document he needed couldn’t be produced instantly, but if he came back on October 2 they would have it ready for him, they said. That afternoon, he left for the airport and caught a 2:40 p.m. flight to London to attend a conference.

Read the rest of this article at: Insider

These 526 Voters Represent
All of America. And They
Spent a Weekend Together.

News 10.02.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

GRAPEVINE,TEX. — The voters arrived from all over the country: nine of them named John, 10 who’d come from mobile homes, four who lived in South Dakota. Twenty-seven considered themselves extremely conservative; 30 said they were extremely liberal. Twenty-one were out of work and looking for it. Two came with service dogs. At least one did not tell her parents she was coming here, because talking politics is so hard at home that she didn’t want to admit she was flying to Texas to talk politics with people she didn’t know.

These voters — 526 total, representative of Americans who are registered to vote — were invited to spend a weekend in a resort outside Dallas to prove that there might be a better way to disagree. And, as the furor in Washington was just beginning to build over the possible impeachment of the president, Donald Trump’s name barely came up.

As they arrived, and in breaks between their discussions, The New York Times took a portrait of nearly every one of them. Collectively, their faces are a reflection of all American voters.

Put a diverse group of people in a room, the political scientists James Fishkin and Larry Diamond argue, and they’re likely to mute their harshest views and wrestle more deeply with rebuttals. They become more informed, even more empathetic. And in this setting, the political scientists say, pollsters can get a picture of what people believe when they’re not just relying on sound bites and tribal cues.

In Texas in late September, Mr. Fishkin and Mr. Diamond were trying this experiment ahead of the 2020 election with a microcosm of American voters, each one selected from a nationwide survey of thousands of households to resemble the country’s demographic diversity. “America in One Room,” the event was called.

Participants wore nametags without any indication of partisanship, and in the conversations that resulted, it was often hard to tell which camp to place voters in.

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

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

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