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News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@mkaecph

It was 2010 and techno-optimism was surging. A whopping 75 percent of American adults were online—a big jump from the 46 percent that were logging on a decade prior—cruising through the information age largely from the comfort of their own homes for the first time en masse. Social media was relatively new and gaining traction—especially among young people—as the world’s attention appeared to shift to apps from the browser-based web.

The Pew Research Center marked the new decade by asking 895 leading technologists, researchers, and critics for predictions of what the internet-connected world of 2020 would look like. On one subject, there was an overwhelming consensus: 85 percent of respondents agreed that the “social benefits of internet use will far outweigh the negatives over the next decade,” noting that the internet by and large “improves social relations and will continue to do so through 2020.” They pointed to the ease of communication and wealth of knowledge granted by the information age as reasons to be optimistic about the future.

What could possibly go wrong?

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

We aren’t just approaching the end of a very newsy year; we’re approaching the end of a very eventful decade. To mark the occasion, Politico Magazine asked a group of historians to put all that happened over the past 10 years in its proper historical context—and literally write the paragraph that they think will describe the 2010s in American history books written a century from now.
Will the seemingly significant events we have lived through this decade be important in the grand scheme? Are there powerful historical forces playing out that we’re missing? Where will Black Lives Matter, the social media revolution, #MeToo, climate change, Barack Obama and Donald Trump fit into the history books?
Many described the 2010s, in the words of Andrew Bacevich, as an era of “venomous division,” characterized by massive racial, economic and political divisions. Some saw hope in the discord—as a catalyst for much needed reform, soon to come. Still other historians pointed out less-noticed trends—in technology and foreign policy—that will resonate far into the future.
How will the future remember the 2010s? Here’s what the experts had to say:

Read the rest of this article at: Politico

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Sonrisa Andersen’s childhood home was a mess. Her parents split when she was eight years old and she moved to Colorado Springs with her mother. Then she realised she was living with a hoarder. It might have been grief over the lost marriage that caused it, or maybe it was a habit that had grown worse as her mother’s dependence on drugs and alcohol intensified. On the kitchen table there were piles of clothes stacked all the way to the ceiling, things they would get for free from churches or charities. Furniture that Andersen’s well-meaning grandmother found on the street accumulated. An avalanche of pots and pans spilled all over the kitchen counters and floor. Anything her mother could get for free or cheap, she would bring into the house and leave there.

As a child, Andersen kept her own space under control, but, beyond her bedroom door, the mess persisted. At 17, she left home, joined the air force and moved to New Mexico. Over time, her career took her to Alaska and then to Ohio, where she now lives with her husband, Shane, and works as an aerospace physiology technician. But the anxiety over her oppressive surroundings at home never left. Clutter was creeping back in, she realised, even though this time she thought she was fully in control.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 01.06.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s a pretty little part of South West London where dead people fall from the sky. It’s a perfectly charming area. The bodies don’t fall on it all the time, of course, only more frequently than one might have obvious reason to suspect in Richmond-on-Thames, East Sheen, and Clapham Old Town, neighbourhoods ordinarily reputed for their high concentrations of French patisseries, Victorian terraced houses, and Fox & Etc.-ish pubs.

The first one plummeted into a supermarket parking lot that was then under construction. That was in 1996. Two years later, a couple on a date swore they saw a second body hit the same spot, though this has never been confirmed. Another few years, another dead person in another parking lot, this one across from the supermarket which had by then been completed. The area received a decade-long reprieve from the bodies after that, but nothing lasts forever. In 2012 residents found one on a leafy side street; then, in 2015, on an air-conditioning unit on top of an office building. And this past summer, the latest: It plunged headlong into a walled back garden, neatly cracking the pavement open and landing next to a sunbather who responded with an appropriate mixture of shock and horror. That is supposed to have been the nearest near-miss.

The bodies are not from London. They appear to have only the fact of their difference in common. They were foreign, they were poor, they were black or brown, and when they were alive they would have been correct to surmise it would be difficult to enter the United Kingdom by filling out the usual paperwork. So, they skipped the forms.

The five landing sites of the confirmed bodies can be connected by a straight line that cuts through London’s southern boroughs, a line that at its most south-westerly point sits 13 kilometres from Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world. A brisk walk along that line takes two hours. This December, the shop people and flat-owners who work and live along the line busy themselves with preparations for both the holidays and a general election that may determine the fate of men not unlike those who occasionally fall dead on these clean streets.

It is a special time of year, and this, a special year. The twinkle lights are twinkling, the pamphleteers are pamphleting, and as politicians warn of fatal consequences if politicians apart from themselves are elected, in between the roar of jets passing overhead notes from the latest sexy-Santa jingle can be heard drifting out of the stores displaying red-ribboned ornaments and the windows of cars ferrying Christmas trees from shop to home:

Read the rest of this article at: McLean’s

When my family and I were still in danger, I emailed these words to a friend* back home in America:

We‘re safebut trapped by fires on three sides. The ocean will be our escape if necessary. People in other coastal towns have been evacuated by sea…If the roads open up and the authorities say it is safe, we will leave immediately. But we know that won’t be today. So we are holed up in our hotel room with a blanket at the base of the door to keep the smoke out.

My wife and my children (ages 4 and 2) are citizens of Australia and the United States. We moved here a year ago, and up until fire season, it’s been perfect.

Our home in the Australian capital of Canberra is among the safest in the nation, as close as it is to Parliament House and the equivalents of the CIA and the Department of State.

But on December 30, we jumped in the family car for a road trip and a long-awaited beach vacation. The website for Bega Valley advertised that it was unaffected by the fires, but thinking of those who were. That was still true until the last hour of our drive, when we noticed an enormous column of smoke rising over the mountains to our left.

By the time, we’d built sand castles and returned to Room 9 of the Pambula Colonial Motor Inn, the highway we had traveled was closed due to the Werri Berri fire. The other westbound highway was closed due to another new fire, called the Wyndham fire, only 20 kilometers away. And the multiple fires burning to our north and to our south, which had been raging for several weeks, meant that we couldn’t leave.

Most of the fires, nearly 100 at the moment, are burning in New South Wales, which is Australia’s California in more ways than one. Although the Australian Capital Territory is nestled into New South Wales, I had been following President Donald Trump’s impeachment a lot more closely than the fires. We’ve had a few fires nearby, but our only real problem has been the smoke, which had forced us to choose between oppressive heat and smoke getting in our house through open windows.

On Christmas Eve, we were in Berrima, New South Wales, visiting family when I met an Australian firefighter for the first time. Like much of the firefighting force in Australia, he was a volunteer. Two firefighters, dads with children around the same age as mine, had been killed a few days before.

I thanked the man for his service and bravery and expressed my dismay that the government doesn’t do more to support them. He said the Berrima community had donated $30,000 to complete construction on the firehouse after the government had paid for only the outer walls and that the equipment they are using is not up to par. He said that the locals show their support by bringing food, water, and other useful things to the firehouse.

“Our favorite is the baby wipes,” he said.

“Baby wipes?”

“Yeah, because we get covered in soot and water is at a premium, so we don’t want to use that to clean off. The wipes are cool to the touch and it’s just so nice on your face. We carry mini-packs in our pockets.”

He told me the temperatures they were facing near the blazes in Celsius, and I couldn’t quite compute, but I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s 10 degrees hotter than Midnight Oil said ‘The western desert lives and breathes.’” Fifty-five degrees Celsius is 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read the rest of this article at: The Intercept

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