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News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@openproject_studio via @dana_chels
News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@pamelaloutfi

Ever since her last relationship ended this past August, Liz has been consciously trying not to treat dating as a “numbers game.” By the 30-year-old Alaskan’s own admission, however, it hasn’t been going great.

Liz has been going on Tinder dates frequently, sometimes multiple times a week—one of her New Year’s resolutions was to go on every date she was invited on. But Liz, who asked to be identified only by her first name in order to avoid harassment, can’t escape a feeling of impersonal, businesslike detachment from the whole pursuit.

“It’s like, ‘If this doesn’t go well, there are 20 other guys who look like you in my inbox.’ And I’m sure they feel the same way—that there are 20 other girls who are willing to hang out, or whatever,” she said. “People are seen as commodities, as opposed to individuals.”

It’s understandable that someone like Liz might internalize the idea that dating is a game of probabilities or ratios, or a marketplace in which single people just have to keep shopping until they find “the one.” The idea that a dating pool can be analyzed as a marketplace or an economy is both recently popular and very old: For generations, people have been describing newly single people as “back on the market” and analyzing dating in terms of supply and demand. In 1960, the Motown act the Miracles recorded “Shop Around,” a jaunty ode to the idea of checking out and trying on a bunch of new partners before making a “deal.” The economist Gary Becker, who would later go on to win the Nobel Prize, began applying economic principles to marriage and divorce rates in the early 1970s. More recently, a plethora of market-minded dating books are coaching singles on how to seal a romantic deal, and dating apps, which have rapidly become the mode du jour for single people to meet each other, make sex and romance even more like shopping.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was a warm, overcast afternoon in August 2019, and Joe Scarnici was pumped. A talented photographer who has gone on tour with Madonna, covered the red carpet at the Academy Awards, and worked on campaigns for Pepsi, Scarnici had just wrapped up a call with a new potential client about a big photo shoot. He grabbed some lunch and headed into his office/garage in San Juan Capistrano, California, to sketch out lighting ideas. Suddenly, the phone rang again, this time from a U.K. number. The caller, who had a British accent, introduced himself as Albert, an assistant to Christina Ong, a Singaporean entrepreneur nicknamed the “Queen of Bond Street,” after London’s toniest shopping district, where Ong owns a number of designer stores.

Ong was looking to hire a photographer to shoot a handful of Indonesian athletes she was sponsoring to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Albert explained. If Scarnici was interested, she would call him directly to tell him more. Sure, he said, and 15 minutes later—just enough time for him to run a quick Google search on the reclusive billionaire—Scarnici’s cell phone lit up again. “My first impression was ‘Wow, why is this person reaching out to me?’ ” he recalls. “Because the richest woman in Singapore calling me in my garage just seemed a little fantastic.” Ong, who said she’d been passed Scarnici’s details by Martha Stewart’s assistant (Scarnici shot Stewart for a cookbook launch in 2016), was quick to put the photographer at ease, telling him he’d been highly recommended, before steering the conversation onto yoga, revealing she had a private studio in her house. Did Scarnici ever practice yoga? When he said he’d just done a session that morning, Ong seemed pleased. “Oh, we’re going to get along great,” she purred.

After the call, Albert swiftly sent over a nondisclosure agreement and then a detailed schedule for Scarnici’s six-day trip to Southeast Asia, along with a contract worth $36,000 (his fee plus expenses) and athlete bios. Within 48 hours, Scarnici was hugging his wife and children—one of whom was just two weeks old—goodbye and boarding a plane to Hong Kong, where he would catch a flight to Indonesia.

But the trip turned out to be a bust. None of the promised subjects turned up—and neither did Ong; instead, at the entrepreneur’s request, Scarnici spent most of the time being chauffeured around Jakarta scouting gyms to use as backdrops while hoping that an athlete might finally make an appearance. The no-show was unusual, Scarnici reasoned, but not unheard of; he’d once spent a week in Europe waiting for a legendary soccer player to make himself available for a shoot. At Ong’s urging, he extended the trip by two days, bailing on a couple of small jobs he had booked back home. But when the talent still failed to materialize, he got on a flight home before the weekend; he was due in New York City on Monday to work with a major sports brand, and there was no way he could cancel. Sympathetic, Ong told him to invoice for his fee and the expenses he’d incurred, which included his flight to Jakarta and various things he’d been asked to pay cash for up front, including his driver, hotel, and food, all the while expressing her wish that once she pinned down the athletes, Scarnici would return to Indonesia and finish the job.

Read the rest of this article at: Marie Clair

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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You’ve just dropped $500 on a new iPad Air. You can’t wait to sign up for Netflix and watch Black Mirror on its dazzling Retina display. So you download the app from the iOS App Store, open it up, and… you’re greeted with what looks like an error message.

“Trying to join Netflix?” it reads. “You can’t sign up for Netflix in the app. We know it’s a hassle. After you’re a member, you can start watching in the app.” Bizarrely, it gives no further instructions on how or where to go if you want to sign up for Netflix: no URL, no QR code, not even a hint of how to join. If you aren’t already a member, it’s a complete dead end.

That’s not a bug. It’s a function of Apple policy. With some exceptions, the company doesn’t let users pay app makers directly for their apps or digital services. They can only pay Apple, which takes a 30% cut of all revenue and then passes 70% to the developer. (For subscription services, which account for the majority of App Store revenues, that 30% cut drops to 15% after the first year.) To tighten its grip, Apple prohibits the affected apps from even telling users how they can pay their creators directly.

In 2018, unwilling to continue paying the “Apple tax,” Netflix followed Spotify and Amazon’s Kindle books app in pulling in-app purchases from its iOS app. Users must now sign up elsewhere, such as on the company’s website, in order for the app to become usable. Of course, these brands are big enough to expect that many users will seek them out anyway.

Read the rest of this article at: OneZero

News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the last years of the 20th century, Glenfeshie, a 17,000-hectare estate in the Scottish Highlands, was in steep decline. Decades of overgrazing by deer had reduced its hillsides to clipped lifelessness. Denied the protection afforded by tree roots, the banks of the River Feshie were losing soil each time it flooded, the water depositing silt downstream. Those few Scots pines that had survived the browsing of the deer were nearing the end of their lives; soon there would be no seed source for the next generation.

Between 1997 and 2006, ownership of Glenfeshie passed between three Danish businessmen – and with it a self-destructive business model. Only by maintaining very high numbers of livestock could the flow of fee-paying deerstalkers armed with rifles be ensured, but because of the rising cost of gamekeepers and estate upkeep, Glenfeshie’s sporting operations were still making a loss. All the while, the pine martens, mountain hares and hen harriers for which the Highlands are a natural habitat were being crowded out by the deer on which the model depended.

In 2006, the billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, the last and richest of the three Danes, whose fashion empire includes the online retail giant Asos, bought Glenfeshie. Urged on by his man on the ground, a former land agent called Thomas MacDonell, he intensified efforts that had started under his predecessor to bring down deer numbers, with a view to allowing the estate’s woodland to recover and biodiversity to return.

Glenfeshie is the biggest of the 12 Scottish estates that Povlsen and his wife Anne began acquiring and rewilding in 1996 – in the process spending a total of £70m and becoming the country’s largest private landowners. Although the term “rewilding” – meaning an approach to conservation that allows nature a free rein – has been in currency since 1990, many traditional landowners and gamekeepers continue to spurn both the term and the idea behind it. In the Highlands, rewilding implies that the concept of the country estate as a setting for people of quality to shoot game has had its time. Never very profitable – the Highlands were where rich people came to spend money they had made elsewhere – in recent decades, the sporting estates have become still less viable. As one veteran gamekeeper told me, very few of them actually make money.

By 2013, MacDonell and his team had culled 8,000 deer at Glenfeshie, and his local opponents, among them a neighbouring deerstalking enterprise, had camped on the moral high ground. “When they shoot deer they call it sport,” MacDonell said wryly when I visited him last September, “and when we shoot deer they call it slaughter. Also, they claimed it would take hundreds of years for the woodland to regenerate.”

We were standing on a track overlooking the River Feshie. On either side, young Scots pines displayed bright green needles against the glowing heather. Among the pines grew rowans hung with scarlet berries, and bilberry bushes whose leaves would be fair game for white moth caterpillars in spring. There were more new trees on the far side of the Feshie, binding the banks and spreading up the hillside. MacDonell smiled. “As you can see, our opponents were wrong.”

Over the past 20 years or so, from South America to the Danube basin, ad hoc coalitions of politicians, activists and conscience-stricken billionaires (whose core activities, such as Povlsen’s clothing business, are often less than environmentally friendly), have rewilded millions of acres of mostly failed agricultural and grazing land. Their guiding philosophy – that we should leave the land alone – upends the long dominant view that land should be cleared, ploughed and wrung ever more efficiently for food.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 02.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Melancholy was the most pervasive and elusive of Renaissance diseases, and Robert Burton (1577-1640) its most dedicated, even obsessive, chronicler. His memorial stone on the wall of Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford is inscribed: ‘Paucis notus, paucioribus ignotus, hic jacet Democritus Junior, cui vitam dedit et mortem Melancholia’ (which I translate as ‘Known to few, unknown to fewer, here lies Democritus Junior, to whom Melancholy gave life and death’). It is characteristic of the man that his final words are both mysterious and mischievous, concealing his real identity behind the pseudonym that made him famous. For it was as Democritus Junior that Burton published his only book, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621).

His choice of name declares the author to be the heir of the ancient Greek philosopher, who found the world’s follies so absurd that he could only laugh (unlike his counterpart Heraclitus, whose response was to weep). One early source tells the story of how Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, visited Democritus in his garden at Abdera. He found him dissecting animals, and asked what he was doing. Democritus replied that he was searching for the source of madness, since it afflicted the whole world. When Burton retells this anecdote, he has Democritus looking for the origins not only of madness, but of melancholy. Following in his footsteps, Democritus Junior does the same through the printed page, trying to prove along the way that ‘all the world is melancholy or mad, dotes, and every member of it’.

Melancholy gave Burton his life’s work, as well as an income from his book sales. Whether it gave him death too is harder to say. The younger son of a gentry family from rural Leicestershire, Burton studied at the local grammar schools before going to Oxford, but his undergraduate studies were interrupted for reasons unknown. His age matches the 20-year-old Robert Burton who consulted the renowned astrological physician Simon Forman in 1597 with symptoms of melancholy, and whose history was recorded in Forman’s case notes. Whether or not this was the same man, the author of what is now called the Anatomy (it was ‘Burton’s Melancholy’ in the 17th century) claimed to know the disease through personal experience.

Burton eventually completed his degree at Christ Church, and remained there for the rest of his life. He probably worked on the book for more than a decade before its appearance in print. He claims to have lived ‘a silent, sedentary, solitary, private life … penned up most part in my study’, but this is a little disingenuous. He was also a vicar, college librarian and, for a time, clerk of Oxford market; he wrote Latin drama that was performed in his college. The college’s rules forbade him to marry, but a Latin poem prefacing the Anatomy proclaims the author’s fondness for serving wenches, and he had a reputation for cheeriness. While he ‘never travelled but in map or card, in which mine unconfined thoughts have freely expatiated’, he had a special interest in geography (his older brother William wrote a history of Leicestershire).

Several stories attach themselves to Burton. One is that his pastime was to go to Folly Bridge and listen to the bargemen swearing at one another, at which he would hold his sides with laughter. The other is that he forecast the date of his own death, and made sure he was correct by hanging himself. Though unlikely to be true (and the latter story did the rounds of several astrologers’ biographies) these, like many apocryphal anecdotes, are telling of how their subject came to be perceived. They suggest something of the fractured literary persona he presented, both enlivened and afflicted by melancholy.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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