News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The 2010s tested interior design like no other decade. The recession of 2007–2009 led people to question long-held assumptions about design, resulting in dramatic changes in how shoppers choose what they buy, where we all get inspired, and what designers create. Modern design became more conscious, more engaged, more exciting, more democratic, more individualistic. It was applied in so many new ways to so many new challenges.

Are we better off for it all? It’s debatable.

I started covering design in 2010, a challenging time for the industry, to say the least. The country was reeling from the recession, which was felt deeply in homes, as millions of families lost them during the foreclosure crisis and never recovered. Construction stalled, and the projects that survived were value engineered within an inch of their lives. Budget materials like plywood and oriented strand board were everywhere. Cautious retailers played it safe with their home-furnishing offerings. The Cooper Hewitt’s triennial asked “Why design now?” and challenged the industry to think about the problem-solving capacity of design in terms of sustainability.

While the dawn of the decade was challenging for the design industry, it also laid the groundwork for the 2010s in ways that we’d never have been able to predict at the time. Instagram, Pinterest, Warby Parker, and WeWork all launched in 2010, and Airbnb, founded two years earlier, received its first round of Series A funding. The ripple effect of these companies on influence, business models, and style is still felt widely today, for better or worse.

Read the rest of this article at: Curbed

News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a sunny November morning in 2018, Kelly Savage rode in a van to the public parking lot of the Central California Women’s Facility, the state prison from which she had just been released. She was clutching her possessions—pictures of her son and daughter, letters from family and friends, $200, and the various knickknacks she had acquired during 23 years of imprisonment. Christy Harper, Savage’s pro bono attorney, and Colby Lenz, a friend and an advocate for the rights of women in prison, had been waiting for her for several hours in the Central Valley sun. “Let’s go!” Savage demanded. She couldn’t help but feel that the prison was about to realize its mistake and take her back in.

In 1998, Kelly and her husband at the time, Mark Savage, were convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Savage’s 3-year-old son (and Mark’s stepson), Justin, after the doctor who conducted the autopsy concluded that he died of blunt-force trauma, with emaciation and dehydration contributing to his death.

At trial, witnesses had testified of abuse—including violence by Mark toward Kelly and Justin, whom the prosecution argued Kelly hadn’t kept safe. Mark and Kelly were both sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. (The couple has since divorced. Mark didn’t respond to a request for comment mailed to the prison where he is incarcerated.) But more than a decade later, amid a broad reconsideration of the criminalization of survivors of abuse, Savage asked for her sentence to be commuted. She argued, in part, that Mark alone had killed her son and that expert testimony wasn’t presented that could explain how the abuse she experienced had made it difficult for her to leave Mark and protect Justin. In December 2017, then Governor Jerry Brown commuted her sentence, which allowed her to ask the parole board for release. Now, at the age of 46, she was out on parole.

Just outside of the prison grounds, Savage and her friends stopped to conduct a small roadside service to honor Justin, for whom she hadn’t performed a proper memorial. Dressed in a white top and gray sweats, Savage held a moment of prayer and released three balloons, one for each year of her son’s life. She wanted her friends inside to see that she was free and honoring Justin in the way she had always dreamed of. Then Savage’s friends drove her to meet some of her relatives for breakfast at a small country diner. Noticeably absent was her and Mark’s 26-year-old daughter, who was four at the time of Savage’s conviction. After her parents had been imprisoned, Savage’s daughter had gone to live with Mark’s mother and stepfather. Savage had a strained relationship with her. She hoped to rebuild it now that she was out. But her daughter wasn’t there.

Read the rest of this article at: Atlantic

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
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Abigail Disney remembers the moment, two decades ago, when she no longer wanted to fly on her family’s private plane. Disney is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who founded the Disney company with his younger brother, Walt, in 1923, and her father was a longtime senior executive there. Abigail’s parents owned a Boeing 737, one of the largest private-aircraft models on the market, and they let her use it for family trips. For many years, when Abigail was raising her four children, she would take the plane to Ireland, to visit her mother’s castle. The plane “was like a flying playpen,” Abigail told me recently. “I’ve known the pilot since I was a teen-ager.” One day, when her children were older, she took an overnight flight from California to New York, where she lives. She was travelling alone, but there was a full staff on duty to cater to her needs. As she got into the queen-size bed and secured the safety belt that stretched across the mattress, preparing to sleep for the next few hours, an unpleasant feeling came over her. “I couldn’t help thinking about the carbon footprint of it, and all the fuel,” she said. “It just felt so wrong.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The attack against Liberia began in October 2016. More than a half-million security cameras around the world tried to connect to a handful of servers used by Lonestar Cell MTN, a local mobile phone operator, and Lonestar’s network was overwhelmed. Internet access for its 1.5 million customers slowed to a crawl, then stopped.

The technical term for this sort of assault is distributed denial of service, or DDoS. Crude but effective, a DDoS attack uses an army of commandeered machines, called a botnet, to simultaneously connect to a single point online. This botnet, though, was the biggest ever witnessed anywhere, let alone in Liberia, one of the poorest countries in Africa. The result was similar to what would happen if 500,000 extra cars joined the New Jersey Turnpike one morning at rush hour. While most DDoS attacks last only moments, the assault on Lonestar dragged on for days. And since Liberia has had virtually no landlines since the brutal civil war that ended in 2003, that meant half the country was cut off from bank transactions, farmers couldn’t check crop prices, and students couldn’t Google anything. In the capital of Monrovia, the largest hospital went offline for about a week. Infectious disease specialists dealing with the aftermath of a deadly Ebola outbreak lost contact with international health agencies.

Eugene Nagbe, Liberia’s minister for information, was in Paris on business when the crisis began. He struggled to marshal a response, unable to access his email or a reliable phone connection. Then his bank card stopped working. On Nov. 8, with hundreds of thousands of people still disconnected, Nagbe went on French radio to appeal for help. “The scale of the attack tells us that this is a matter of grave concern, not just to Liberia but to the global community that is connected to the internet,” he said. The onslaught continued. No one seemed to know why, but there was speculation that the hack was a test run for something bigger, perhaps even an act of war.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 12.31.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As best we can tell, the hauntings began after Andy’s traumatic brain injury. On Christmas Eve 2005, outside a scuzzy bar on the east side of Milwaukee, a drunk man sucker-punched my elder brother, bashing his head against the wall of a brick alcove and leaving him splayed on the snow-confected sidewalk, unconscious with seven brain contusions. For several days, my family sat vigil around Andy’s bed in the ICU, whispering prayers into clasped palms, wincing at the doctors’ ambiguous status updates. At first the prognosis was fatal. So extensive was the bleeding, the hospital felt sure it was only a matter of time before Andy slipped irrevocably into a coma. But he woke fortuitously on the morning of the 30th, wide-eyed and cogent, requesting, of all things, a meal from Boston Market.

After a nine-month-long odyssey of dizzy spells and aphasic episodes, my brother, then 22, regained most of his memory and, as we liked to joke, the better parts of his personality. He bought his own apartment and finished a bachelor’s degree, got married and took a corporate sales position. But something strange started to happen over the next couple of years. At night he heard creaky footsteps in the hallway and stray voices in the closet. Initially, we feared the worst and believed the head injury had jostled his brain into psychosis—a grim but not altogether unreasonable conclusion. Eventually, my dad flew out from Milwaukee to visit Andy at his new home in Houston, and when he arrived, he found my brother sitting meditatively cross-legged on the kitchen floor, with the lights of the chandelier above him flickering of their own accord. Without even the most cursory acknowledgment of my father’s arrival, Andy said, with a kind of holy calm, “There’s someone in the room with us.”

In time my brother began to insist that he could speak to the dead and receive dispatches from the spiritual realm. Whenever I visited him on the West Coast, where he had eventually taken a job in the tech industry, his friends would pull me aside at bars to confide that Andy had “summoned” their dead relatives, battering me with questions about what it was like to grow up with him. Most of my family grew convinced of his paranormal talents. (Bear in mind that up until that point my parents had been lapsed Catholics and flinty-eyed midwesterners, with little tolerance for the supernatural.) My father once gawked at water glasses that slid across the breakfast island—presumably the work of spirits—while Andy stood transfixed at the kitchen’s threshold. When my grandmother passed away, my sister-in-law reported seeing a green orb floating over Andy’s bedside, and upon shaking him awake, they both watched, dumbfounded, as the glinting emerald sphere drifted toward the ceiling and vanished. “Your brother,” my mother once said to me, in a solemn whisper, “has powers.” Things reached some sort of apogee when Andy said he was stopped for a traffic violation and, just as the cop began scribbling a ticket, he channeled the ghost of the officer’s mother, who had recently died from congestive heart failure. The cop let Andy off with a warning.

Naturally, I tended to regard these stories with smirks and sidelong glances. Andy, who is three years older than me, has long had a weakness for showmanship—his coworkers nicknamed him the Bull for his ability to B.S. his way through corporate presentations—and to those who know him well, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to suggest that he has coasted through life on the wind of his own charisma. I have seen him make barrooms come to life with karaoke renditions of “November Rain.” I have seen him dicker with car salesmen, performing such adroit campaigns of ingratiation that he invariably rolls out of the lot in a vehicle for which he has paid several thousand dollars below sticker. I once joined, very briefly, a rave at a club in Milwaukee, a victim of my brother’s coaxing. And so it was precisely this capacity for stagecraft and sweet talk that made me doubtful of—and amused by—his claims of paranormal élan.

Read the rest of this article at: the Atavist

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