News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Right now, a box of food from a meal-kit company is probably moldering in my apartment building’s mail room. I haven’t been down there in a few days, so maybe there isn’t one at this very moment. But more than two years of living in this building has taught me there’s basically always at least one box, forgotten and slightly stinky. When I visit friends, I often walk past a similar scene next to their elevators: cartons from Blue Apron or HelloFresh, waiting to find out if they’ll ever become the dinners they were meant to be.

Forgetting you mail-ordered a bespoke set of ingredients for a selection of restaurant-style recipes is a luxurious predicament to be in, but the frequency with which those meal kits seem to be abandoned points to the very same problem they were invented to fix: Consumer surveys have found that most people who buy meal kits do so in hopes of saving time. As it turns out, it takes time to unpack, cook, and clean up after a meal-kit dinner, too.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One year ago, I resigned from NBC News because they ordered me to stop reporting on Harvey Weinstein, and I did not believe that they had been truthful with me or Ronan Farrow, the correspondent with whom I worked for almost a year on what would become one of the defining stories of our time. I felt a responsibility to speak up, and I thought that going on the record might shed some light on what was, as I told the New York Times, a “massive breach of journalistic integrity.”

In response, NBC told the Times that “the assertion that NBC News tried to kill the Weinstein story” was “an outright lie.” Andy Lack, the chairman of news, issued an 11-page memo dismissing it as “unfounded intimations and accusations.” Noah Oppenheim, the president of news, said that I was “never told to stop in the way he’s implying.”

But as I witnessed firsthand during the year I spent at NBC News after Ronan published our reporting in the New Yorker—and as Ronan has further documented in his forthcoming book, Catch and Kill—Lack and Oppenheim were the ones who were lying. They not only personally intervened to shut down our investigation of Weinstein, they even refused to allow me to follow up on our work after Weinstein’s history of sexual assault became front-page news. As the record shows, they behaved more like members of Weinstein’s PR team than the journalists they claim to be. Thanks to them, a leading national news organization, in broad daylight and with zero remorse, abdicated its single greatest responsibility—to relentlessly pursue and tell the truth.

Oppenheim is the one, ironically, who kicked off our reporting on Weinstein. He suggested we interview Rose McGowan, who told us that Weinstein had sexually assaulted her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. After months of reporting, we also obtained the now-infamous audio from an NYPD sting operation in which Weinstein admitted to sexually assaulting a model and aspiring actor named Ambra Gutierrez. We played the recording for Rich Greenberg, the head of the investigative unit at NBC News. “If this airs, he’s toast,” he told us.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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Soon after Michael Tubbs became mayor of Stockton, California, at the age of 26 — the youngest to be elected to a city of over 100,000 and Stockton’s first African-American mayor — he directed his policy fellows to research ways to reduce poverty. Four years earlier, in 2012, the city had declared bankruptcy, and it was still mired with high unemployment and crime. The team came back to report that one way to end poverty was to give people money.

This solution had a name, “universal basic income” (or UBI), and a long history in America as a social-policy idea. It had been embraced by Thomas Paine and Milton Friedman and made a cornerstone of the Poor People’s Campaign advanced by Martin Luther King Jr. Both Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter had proposed replacing welfare with a guaranteed income. More recently, the idea had been revived by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who saw it as a remedy for the burgeoning “useless class” — all those people whose jobs technology is making obsolete.

Tubbs was skeptical, but the following May he attended a conference on the future of work, where he sat next to the economist and developer Natalie Foster. Along with Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, Foster had launched an advocacy group dedicated to advancing the conversation about guaranteed income. She told Tubbs they were looking for a test city, and he suggested that Stockton might be the perfect place.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For thirty-two years, Thomas Joshua Cooper has been working on a project that he calls “The Atlas of Emptiness and Extremity,” a collection of some seven hundred black-and-white photographs that he makes from remote, forbidding, largely unpeopled, all-but-forgotten outcroppings, on five continents and at both poles, along the perimeter of the Atlantic basin. He sets his camera in places with names like Cape Frigid on the Frozen Strait, the Lighthouse at the End of the World, Finisterre—places infused with human awe of the unknown and with the yearning of explorers embarking on a journey from which they will likely not return. “I thought maybe I could learn something by standing on the continental edges of the source of Western civilization and trying to imagine, with my back to the land, what happened when the carriers of the culture went over the edge of the map,” he told me. Another time, he said, “Emptiness and extremity are what I was searching for, with the firm belief that it’d kill me or transform me.”

Part Cherokee and part Jewish, Cooper was born in California and has lived in Scotland since the nineteen-eighties. In images that are romantic and psychologically severe—the angular grandeur of rock and the terror of the ocean, befuddled by clouds, fog, and breaking waves—the “Atlas” documents an exile’s search for home. He looks for what he calls “indications”—rocks or wave patterns that form arrows, pointing him in the right direction—and avoids horizons, preferring pictures from which there is no clear escape. “He is part of the conceptual-art tradition of artists traversing space to create sculpture,” Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a champion of Cooper’s since the early nineties, told me. “He is also one of our greatest formal photographers. He captures the motion of the environment, which is near-impossible to do.” In late September, the “Atlas” had its début, at lacma, in an exhibition called “The World’s Edge.” At Cooper’s request, the show opened on the five-hundredth anniversary of Magellan’s departure for his trip around the globe.

In Cooper’s photographic epic about exploration, colonization, migration, and homecoming, he is both narrator and protagonist. “In making the Atlas pictures, I may unintentionally become the first person in the world to circumnavigate the boundless coastal perimeter of land-surfaces harbouring the entire Atlantic Ocean,” he has written. He says that a senior cartographer of the “Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World” once told him that he was the first to see many of these places and, because of global sea rise, would likely be the last. “In the life of your children, most of those edges will be underwater,” he told me.

Seventy-three, tall and lumbering, with fair hair turned white and a goaty scruff of beard, Cooper is a kisser of hands, who calls both men and women “sir.” Like a kindly adult out of Roald Dahl, he’s often enthused to the point of inarticulacy. People he admires are “absolute gobsmackers.” He expresses happiness with rapid claps; moved, he thumps his chest with a closed fist; when truly overwhelmed, he says, “Fu-u-u-u-uck.” From the outset, Cooper was unfit for the physically arduous task he assigned himself, which requires that he spend months at sea in small craft, hurl himself from dinghies onto slick rock faces, inch along cliffs, dangle over abysses. He has fallen into quicksand; tumbled from peaks; sailed into a cyclone; been shot at, searched, and detained; had his dinghy swamped among hunting leopard seals. “I get seasick,” Cooper told me. “I’m frightened of water—I can’t stand this shit. In fact, I don’t really know how to swim. I swim like a rock.” He is blind in his right eye, and his glasses fog. In books, which he publishes upon completing segments of his itinerary, he thanks the chiropractors who help patch him together at the journey’s end. He thought the “Atlas” would take seven years; it has taken more than four times that long.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Secular pilgrimage

News 10.16.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Westerners who see ancestor worship as something only other cultures do should look around: signs of its devout practice are everywhere. We have park benches in memory of those who once sat there, plaques to the famous inhabitants of buildings, statues of the great and good in every square.

Our greatest acts of devotion are pilgrimages to where venerated predecessors lived, worked or died: Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion; the site of James Dean’s fatal car crash in California; Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years. Whole towns and cities live off such disciples, from Jane Austen’s Bath to the French town of Descartes in the Loire valley, as La Haye en Touraine renamed itself in 1967 in honour of its famous son.

I’ve been on several such pilgrimages myself, usually to sites that are in themselves thoroughly underwhelming. When I first visited the place where Aristotle’s Lyceum once stood in Athens, it was just an excavation site behind wooden boards. Plato’s nearby Academy was not much better: an unloved municipal park with a few untended archaeological remains. Nothing of David Hume’s family home, Ninewells, remains in Chirnside on the Scottish borders.

Yet there is a pull to such places, one often rewarded with an emotional payoff. One of the most moving pilgrimages I’ve been on was a trip seven years ago to a craggy promontory in Norway on the small lake Eidsvatnet. This was the site of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s custom-built house near the town of Skjolden. It was difficult to find, hard to access, and all that remained were the foundations. But as I sat there and looked out across the water, I felt strangely moved.

On my return home, I learned of plans to rebuild the philosopher’s house – remarkably, it still existed. In 1958, it had been moved to the town and re-erected with modifications. The original windows were stored in a barn. At the time, reconstruction of the home in its original location seemed like a pipe dream. The Wittgenstein Foundation in Skjolden wasn’t even formally established until 2014. But in recent years the plan gathered momentum, helped by the owner’s threat to demolish it if it wasn’t bought from him. In March 2017, the county of Sogn og Fjordane and the local bank Luster Sparebank each gave a million Norwegian krona ($110,000) to the project. In May 2018, reconstruction began. Work was completed quickly. Jans, one of the project’s local builders, told me that, with these pre-cut timber homes, ‘it’s just like building Lego’.

I felt a strong desire to go to the inauguration this June. But I was also apprehensive and sceptical. How would it compare with my first visit? Would the reconstruction diminish the magic, making it feel more like a theme park? And why on Earth did I want to go at all? What is the point of secular pilgrimage?

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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