News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

If designed well, cities can be good for us. “If you look at urban dwellers epidemiologically,” says Meyer-Lindenberg, “they tend to be richer, better educated, [with] better access to healthcare. And they also tend to be somatically healthier.” They also tend to have a smaller carbon footprint. “You can’t raze cities to the ground and rebuild them,” he says. “You have to find ways to maximise people’s wellbeing.”

Meyer-Lindenberg is currently tracking how different parts of the city affect our mental wellbeing, using a technique called ecological momentary assessment, in which participants repeatedly report on the environment around them in real time. Various studies have suggested that nature – be that a tree or a park – has an important impact on people’s mental health. The app he is currently designing will allow people to plan their routes through the city in order to maximise their exposure to nature.

“The most beneficial nature is the one that looks like the kind of nature that humans would have encountered during their early evolution,” he surmises. Perhaps the manicured parks of the type preferred by urban planners may not actually be that effective at improving our wellbeing.

Read the rest of this article at: Mosaic 

News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This is one of those places you go for Instagram. The Manhattan Bridge looms, immediate and substantial, over a cobblestone street, framed on either side by a pair of old brick buildings; if you’re standing in the right spot, you can see the Empire State Building through one of the bridge’s uprights. Imagine a woman, young and ambivalent, staring into the middle distance, white sneakers aglow in the dawn, bridge overhead. This area of Brooklyn, once home to abandoned factories and warehouses, now hosts an annual festival for $3,000 German cameras.

A couple weeks ago in New Mexico, a few thousand people in suburban Albuquerque were waiting for the president, the one show we’re always watching.

The time between when you enter a Trump rally and when he finally concludes can be long. You might come in from a bright desert evening, as the crowd did that night, and exit into a pitch-black thunderstorm. In between, you wait for Trump, indoors, without windows, listening to the same 20 songs selected by Trump, from Tina Turner to Andrew Lloyd Webber — that are, like anything else selected by Trump, booming into your brain.

Eventually, to kill time, people at the Santa Ana Star Center did the wave. Seven thousand people rose and fell in red hats and T-shirts — to Luciano Pavarotti’s performance of “Nessun dorma” from a Puccini opera. People raised “Latinos for Trump” signs. A group of teens let out long Woooooooos. Pavarotti wailed in Italian. The wave continued right into the playlist’s next track, “Hey Jude.”

“Is there any place more fun and exciting,” the president asked later that night, “than a Trump rally?”

Trump inspires weird scenes like this from the lovers and haters alike. Pull up YouTube now and you can watch him perform a poem in different cities and in different years, sometimes in reading glasses and sometimes without, sometimes dedicated with cruelty and spite to Syrian refugees and sometimes to the US–Mexico border. Despite the provenance of “The Snake” (an R&B song from 1968), the lyrics have that Classic Tragedy vibe that matches Trump’s acid edge id. “‘Oh, shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin,” goes the poem. “You knew damn well I was a snake before you let me in.”

He’s the man for a moment of algorithmic timelines.

Read the rest of this article at: Buzzfeed

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Long before philosophy and physics split into separate career paths, the natural philosophers of Ancient Greece speculated about the basic components from which all else is made. Plato entertained a theory on which everything on Earth is made from four fundamental particles. There are stable cube-shaped particles of earth, pointy and painful tetrahedron-shaped particles of fire, somewhat less pointy octahedron-shaped particles of air, and reasonably round icosahedron-shaped particles of water. Like the particles of contemporary physics, Plato thought it was possible for these particles to be created and destroyed. For example, an eight-sided air particle could be created by combining two four-sided fire particles (as one might imagine occurring when a campfire dies out).

Our understanding of nature has come a long way since Plato. We have learned that much of our world is made of the various atoms compiled in the periodic table of elements. We have also learned that atoms themselves are built from more fundamental pieces.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a Sunday night in June, the twenty-nine-year-old astrologer Aliza Kelly was preparing to broadcast an Astrology 101 live stream from her apartment, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A glittering SpectroLED light panel made the living room feel like a tiny movie set. “My manager took me to get these lights at B&H,” she said.

A windowsill was lined with gifts from clients—an illustrated zodiac, a white orchid. Kelly sat cross-legged on a taupe ottoman, wearing cat eyeliner and large hoop earrings, greeting people and waving as they appeared in the online chat room. “That is one of my favorite things, as a Leo and as a person—building community,” she said. It was a little before eight-thirty, and some of the fifty-two participants—who had paid between $19.99 and $39.99 each—were typing hellos; one woman, in Europe, had set her alarm for 2:30 a.m., to log in. Once the class started, Kelly clicked through a slide deck about ancient Babylonia; William Lilly, the “English Merlin,” who was consulted by both sides during the English Civil War; and the signs of the zodiac. To explain the traits of Aries, she put up a picture of Mariah Carey (“She loves getting presents”). For Pisces, she had Rihanna and Steve Jobs. “My main favorite thing is to talk about the signs as celebrities,” she said. “Because these are modern-day mythological figures. In ancient Greece, if you said ‘Athena,’ everyone knew, Oh, that’s what Athena is like.”

Kelly’s schedule is typical for a millennial astrologer. She writes books (on zodiac-themed cocktails); does events (at the private club Soho House); offers individual chart readings (a hundred and seventy-five dollars an hour); hosts a podcast (“Stars Like Us”); makes memes (“for lolz”); manages a “virtual coven” called the Constellation Club, with membership levels that cost from five dollars to two hundred; and has worked as a consultant for the astrology app Sanctuary. She also writes an advice column for Cosmopolitan, and hosts an occasional Cosmo video series in which she guesses celebrities’ signs based on their answers to twelve questions. According to the editor-in-chief, Jessica Pels, who has expanded the magazine’s print coverage of astrology to nine pages in every issue, seventy-four per cent of Cosmo readers report that they are “obsessed” with astrology; seventy-two per cent check their horoscope every day.

Astrology is currently enjoying a broad cultural acceptance that hasn’t been seen since the nineteen-seventies. The shift began with the advent of the personal computer, accelerated with the Internet, and has reached new speeds through social media. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll, almost thirty per cent of Americans believe in astrology. But, as the scholar Nicholas Campion, the author of “Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West,” has argued, the number of people who know their sun sign, consult their horoscope, or read about the sign of their romantic partner is much higher. “New spirituality is the new norm,” the trend-forecasting company WGSN declared two years ago, when it announced a report on millennials and spirituality that tracked such trends as full-moon parties and alternative therapies. Last year, the Times, in a piece entitled “How Astrology Took Over the Internet,” heralded “astrology’s return as a compelling content business as much as a traditional spiritual practice.” The Atlantic proclaimed, “Astrology is a meme.” As a meme, its life cycle has been unusually long. “My account, it was meant to be a fun thing for me to do on the side while I was a production assistant,” Courtney Perkins, who runs the Instagram account Not All Geminis, which has more than five hundred thousand followers, said. “Then it blew up and now it’s like—I don’t know. I didn’t mean for this to be . . . life.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 10.25.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Lana Del Rey is sitting across from Elton John in the kitchen of his Beverly Hills home, where she’s about to talk with her musical hero. But there’s a problem. “Wait a minute, my notes!” she says. “I have 13 pages! Where is my purse?” Elton calls for his staff to help, but Del Rey jumps out of her chair and heads outside to her pickup truck, a black Chevy Colorado with a broken headlight. A couple of minutes later, she returns with a stapled stack of pages.

Del Rey is one of music’s most enigmatic stars, someone whose presence can intimidate even other artists. (“I love Lana,” Billie Eilish recently told Howard Stern. “Around her I just turn into a little, floppy, baby child.”) But there’s no evidence of that mysterious persona today — Del Rey is excited, funny, and maybe a little nervous. “All right!” Elton says as she first walks through the doors of his surprisingly cozy home, full of pop art, with a zebra-print rug and mirrored walls. “I’ve been listening to your album all morning,” he tells her as they hug. “It’s really great. Number Three on Billboard, 108,000 copies sold. Way to go!” Del Rey erupts. “Oh, my God, you know my statistics,” she says, laughing. “Oh,” Elton says, “I know everything.”

Elton is talking about Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Del Rey’s fifth album. After eight years living in New York, she moved to L.A. and started working with producer Jack Antonoff. It radically changed her sound. Del Rey carves out her own darkly alluring vision of the California dream as she sings about listening to Crosby, Stills, and Nash at house parties and falling for a “self-loathing poet, resident Lauren Canyon know-it-all.” Elton says that her new album reminds him of the era when he first came to Los Angeles, in 1970: “You drove around in a convertible, and you listened to Joni Mitchell and you listened to Jackson Browne and James Taylor, and it was just a magical time.”

Elton recalls that period in his new autobiography, Me, where he chronicles his journey — from his difficult childhood to addiction struggles, with behind-the-scenes stories about everyone from Princess Diana to Elvis. “I thought, ‘I’m never going to remember anything,’ Elton says. “But once you open that can of worms, it all starts coming out.” He sees the book as a companion to two other retrospective projects: the 2019 film musical Rocketman, and his three-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, which may end up being one of the highest-grossing tours of all time. He played yesterday in Anaheim, California, and has another show there tonight. “I’m really enjoying it,” he says. “If I wasn’t, it would be an awful long way to go without enjoying something. There’s something about the American audiences. They’re more effusive. More stoned.”

Before their interview begins, Elton excuses himself to change into a sparkling red, white, and blue tracksuit and bedazzled sunglasses — his preshow outfit. “Oh, you little cutie!” Del Rey says as he enters the kitchen. “Can I take a picture, just for my bedside table?” she asks. “Sure,” Elton says, sitting down, crossing his arms, and smirking for the camera. “I know it’s a little creepy,” Del Rey says, “but whatever.”

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

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